In 2010, after Dr. Shah Faesal cracked the IAS exam with first rank, Kashmiri youth showed great enthusiasm towards civil services. Since then there is no look back and every year hundreds of well qualified Kashmiri youth participate in the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) Examinations and fewer of them realize their dream to join the prestigious services. This year as many as 15 youths from Jammu and Kashmir cracked the coveted exam and Faz lul Haseeb secured the 36th position from Kashmir. A shy but confidant and positive young man from small town Sopore of North Kashmir is very excited about his achievement. He discusses in length with an editor of The Legitimate Asem Mohiuddin what it means to him, his family and for whole Kashmir.
AM: When you first learnt about your success, what was your first reaction?
FH: Actually I am of calm nature so my reaction was normal, but at the same time my parents were very excited and emotional with tears in their eyes
AM: How did you knew about your result?
FH: Since morning I knew that it is the result day and I was in Tangmarg with my friends. We have a watsapp group of friends and someone texted me there that you have got 36th rank. Initially I took it lightly but after checking it myself I found it true.
AM: Tell us something about yourself?
FH: Basically, I am from Peer Mohalla Sopore, later we shifted to Srinagar some twenty years back. I passed my 10th and 12th class examination in 2007 and 2009 respectively from Srinagar and after that completed my engineering in 2014 from Jammu. From 2014 onwards I started preparing for my civil service exams in Delhi
AM: Did you ever tried to become a doctor, engineer or any other profession?
FH: Yes absolutely, I tried it after passing my 12th class examination and got selected in engineering. At that time I asked my parents that whether I should appear in any competitive exam like CET, AIEEE etc, they said no leave it because they had IAS on their mind from the very earlier. And I had no much interest initially, but with time I got the exposure of things and it developed interest in me as well for IAS.
AM: What was the reason behind your motivation? Was it your confidence or your upbringing since you are from an academic family?
FH: Actually it was my father’s academic background and support of my mother who is also in teaching profession. As my father is a professor he used to teach me himself at home so I had that type of atmosphere at my home to focus on such a big goal.
AM: Had you ever thought that you should do something else other than IAS?
FH: Yes, we always need a second option in our lives, because we never know what will happen in future. My main aim and dedication was towards IAS but at the same time I had prepared myself for other options like KAS etc. too because we should always keep ourselves secure. In fact I will advice the same to my friends also who aspire to join the civil services.
AM: How many times you attempted for this exam to qualify?
FH: Before this successful attempt I made two more falied attempts earlier. When I attempted for first time I didn’t had that much preparation to crack this exam, although it is very tough to crack so obstacles can come in the way. But we need to fight back positively until we achieve the set target.
AM: Can you share the study tips for the youth aspiring to join the same exams?
FH: In every field we need dedication, consistency, hard work etc, these are the general principles which we need to apply everywhere but apart from that we need to focus on the syllabus. The major reason for the failure of participants is that they don’t even open the syllabus when IAS is a syllabus bound exam. We should use syllabus the way we use it in 10th and 12th class examinations.
Secondly, we need to consult the people who had already qualified the exam because they can easily figure out what we are lacking and what we should do to overcome. They can guide us well.
AM: What will be your message to the people who don’t have access to such qualified officials and can’t afford coaching classes?
FH: If a student starts to prepare for it from graduation, he needs to read the newspapers like ‘The Hindu‘ and ‘Indian Express’ for 2 years and after that he can go for other things. If someone has done graduation and is only preparing for Civil Services, he needs to prepare it according to the plan. One needs to read the books probably a few but repeatedly so that he can get the things properly. Some of the subjects are ‘Indian Politics by Laxmikanth’, for history he needs to study ‘Spectrum’ and for Economy any book where basic terms of economy are explained. The most important thing is newspaper, as my seniors have also advised me for the same. You should also read at least any monthly current affair magazine.
On social media sites like facebook. You should like news pages like NDTV, The Hindu etc which is very helpful and keeps you updating about various things.
One should make his time schedule the way that he gets enough time for recreation or we can say ‘masti’. You don’t need to study for 24*7, you need to live a normal life with routine. Sustainability is very important like if you study for 12 to 06 am, you should do it daily. You need break sometimes and don’t need to overripe the things.
AM: You are also an author, tell us something about it?
FH: Well I can’t say that I am an author, but I had a little interest in writing since my childhood, sometimes I try to write short stories whatever comes on my mind, I write poetry also which is very raw according to me, but over a short period of time that thing will be also corrected and I had written some stories which were published by ‘Penguin India’. I used to write for newspapers also. For IAS I had to take a break from these things but I hope these things will start again very soon.
AM: Which cadre would you prefer the most?
FH: As I live in Jammu and Kashmir, so it will be my first preference, but it is ok if I will be appointed anywhere else. My main aim is to serve people and that can be done anywhere not at any specific place. Government spends lot of money on us, so it is upto them to appoint us anywhere they feel our services are required and I am ready for that.
AM: When you find this type of job, obviously one needs to become more responsible. How will you take this responsibility?
FH: In this type of job, you have daily integration with people and you get used to it, so anyone can be happy to have this responsibility.
AM: There are various crises in country like corruption and at bureaucratic level. What should we expect from you?
FH: Basically, I think that the trend has changed, there used to be a colonial trend earlier that IAS is a wing for government and not for common people but now it has changed. The main aim of All India Service is meant for developmental activities. I think the new breed of administrators is doing very well and you can expect the same from me.
AM: In which area or field you would like to serve?
FH: it is not a specialist but general service, I would love to work in any field because we need progress in every field, like if we will talk about Jammu and Kashmir tourism we have a lot to explore, so there are various things that need to be developed because we live in an under developed country.
AM: Who is your biggest inspiration?
FH: There are various people who have inspired me, but if I talk of local level it is my father who always inspired me and for civil service my inspiration was my senior Bilal bhai who has also qualified IAS with 10th rank and many more friends. I had different inspirations from different fields.
AM: What is your message for Kashmiri youth?
FH: My message for the Kashmir youth is try to analyze your talent, don’t make any field that much specific so that you can’t find any other alternative further. You can get fame in every field and getting fame is not a bad thing because you get motivation from that.
Parents and teachers has the greatest role in it. Media also needs to organize career counselling sessions and organize shows so that people can come and analyze that what actually they want in life and what their aim is.