Like the national trend, the craze for Civil Services among Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir seems to have touched a low this year as only a handful of the candidates have qualified for the coveted services this year.
Shah Faesal topped of the 2009 batch of Civil services to set a trend that would soon be followed by the youth of this militancy-affected Valley. Last year at least 16 youth from J&K had made it to the UPSC list of successful candidates.
However, this trend in no way diminishes the achievements of those who made it like Waseem Ahmad Bhat, (rank 225), and Iqbal Rasool Dar, (rank 611) both hailing from remote villages of Kashmir.
Waseem, 23, an engineering graduate, has become the first in his village, Bragham in Anantnag district in South Kashmir to qualify for the UPSC examination. He made it in the first attempt. He told Awaz-the voice, “ hard work, commitment with proper guidance and parental support” helped him crack the examination.
Waseem said there is no other way than working hard for achieving success in an examination where people from diverse fields are competing. He says for people like him“it is difficult to succeed because we do not have a proper direction.” He has qualified several other entrances for jobs conducted by the government.
Waseem had to go to Delhi in 2019 for his IAS dream but since it was Covid-19 lockdown times, he had to struggle to get proper guidance.
He chose Anthropology as the main subject for the examination. Eldest of three siblings, Waseem has two younger sisters, who are in school. His father works with the agriculture department and his mother is a homemaker.
“My inspiration came from many of my seniors in college who are in the Government services and have tried the Civil services,” Waseem said.
His message to those with similar dreams: “If you want to get it done, make your plans and work hard. No matter one gets it in one attempt, hard work changes everything and you can get it in one or two attempts….it finally helps to grow.
Iqbal Rasool Dar, (rank 611), had worked for this day for four years. He too is a qualified engineer. This 28-year old from the Handwara area of Kupwara in North Kashmir completed his PG in Political Science and took it as the main subject in civil services.
Coming from a humble background, Iqbal Rasool Dar, 28, hails from a remote area. Interestingly, the area has two other Civil servants - Abdul Ghani Mir (IPS 1994) who is posted as ADGP in J&K Police, and also Shah Faesal, (2009 IAS) who has since left the service for public service.
Iqbal said he was inspired by Bilal Ahmad Bhat, from Kupwara who ranked 10th in the 2016 Civil Services exam. Bhat is presently DM Kulgam. He has been interacting with the aspirants at different levels and guiding them.
Iqbal has a special gratitude for Jamia Millia Islamia New Delhi, where he stayed as a resident to get coaching for the coveted examination.
“It really needs sustained hard work and is also emotionally distressing at times,” Iqbal said.
Jamia Milia coaches 120 aspirants for writing the civil services examination annually.