by Khalid Bashir Gura
SRINAGAR: Faisal Hussain, 28, a resident of Chitterkote in remote Karnah in border Kupwara district was an eighth standard student in 2005 when on October 8 earthquake jolted Kashmir.
Years later, Hussain, who qualified KAS-18 last week, has indelible memories of tremors deeply etched on his mind.
“The earthquake destroyed our school. We had to study under an open sky,” Hussain said. As years passed by, Hussain did not let nature’s fury decide his fate as he continued with his education. Karnah was one of the worst impacted regions of the earthquake outside Uri. Both these towns located at the Line of Control were close to the epicentre of the earthquake on the other side of the LoC.
He passed his higher secondary exams from Government Boys Higher Secondary School Kandi Karnah. Afterwards, he got himself enrolled at Government Degree College Bemina to pursue his graduation.
Soon after his first year in under-graduation, he was appointed as Rehbar-e-Taleem (RET) teacher. Till recently, this was the entry into government-run schools at almost no-costs and no service facilities. However, the experience was supposed to count one day. While teaching as an auxiliary teacher, Hussain continued his studies and completed his post-graduation in history from Kashmir University as a private candidate.
“I wanted to achieve something in life. As soon as I joined education department, I shared the thoughts of appearing in civil service exams with my family,” said Hussain whose maternal uncle, Farooq Ahmed, a teacher by profession supported his decision. “My maternal uncle imparted basic educational guidance to me since childhood. I am thankful for his contribution.”
Soon, Hussain had to juggle between his job and preparation for his dream. He devised the plan and strategy accordingly. “I had to manage the time between my job and my studies. I had a little spare time. I would wake up early in the morning and study until I left for the job. In the evening as I returned I continued with my studies till late at night,” he said.
Hussain used the internet for his preparation as access to newspapers and other resources in the far-flung village was difficult. “I prepared my own notes which were very helpful for revision,” Hussain said, adding he had opted for the Urdu language as his optional subject.
In 2013 he appeared for his first attempt but was not able to clear the exam as his preparations were not enough, he admitted. In 2016 he had the opportunity to sit and prepare but faced heartbreaking failure again. Even though in his second attempt he couldn’t clear mains exam, he did not lose his heart and came back strongly.
Even after facing failure twice, Hussain used it as a stepping stone to success. “It is a fallacy to think that only people with elite background and resources can qualify,” Hussain said. “Anyone can. I have had my education through government schools.”
The internet played an important role in Hussain’s preparation. “Internet helped me to keep myself updated with current affairs. Almost 50 per cent of my preparation was done through the internet,” he said as he accessed local and national newspapers through the internet. Besides that, he used to study monthly magazines like Yojna, chronicle, Vision IAS, etc and watch Rajya Sabha TV to enhance his understanding of various issues and current affairs.
“Even though I failed in two attempts and the process is very long I remained hopeful.”
When asked why he chose to be an administrator instead of a teacher, Hussain said being in KAS provided an opportunity to serve diverse sections of government.
“Ours is a developing and welfare-oriented nation and civil services are involved in formulation and implementation of policies,” Hussain said.
When asked whether teaching helped him in his preparations or was a hindrance, he said it helped in the holistic development of his personality. “Besides clearing concepts, teaching enabled me to cover 30-40 per cent syllabus of his exams,” he said.