Two of the successful KAS candidates share their journey to the coveted KAS. Kashmir Life congratulates all the successful candidates and wishes them all the best.
My path to success is an odyssey of ups and downs and a pause in between. Being from a lower middle class family of Nowhatta, Srinagar, I had my schooling expectedly from a local school – S.M.I Mission School. I had inherent dislike for studies and would bunk classes very often. I did not enjoy school. And than came a Pandit lady teacher, Sarla Zutshi, who changed the system root and branch. She showered praises on me, lavishly, and somehow discovered a lost self and, self confidence in me and wedded me to studies. This incarnation was a surprise to everybody.
After matriculation I chose mathematics and set engineering as my first goal. It was in NIT (erstwhile REC), where I pursued electrical engineering, that I had the tryst with most genius people. The exposure to tests, viva, assignments, seminars and practicals etc shapes all the coordinates of a person. The time post college was a testing time. I lurched in search of a job. Everyday of unemployment was dimensionally bigger than the previous one. Spending two long years without a job, was tough. Meanwhile, I and some of my batch mates applied for a job in J&K Bank, and were selected.
Taking the bank job was more a compulsion. My technical qualification took a back seat and I was sandwiched between monotonous debit and credit details. That was perhaps the minima of my life. One day I gained strength to dream – to see myself among the decision makers. For a long jump you need to go some steps backward, so I left the bank. Unfortunately I could not crack KAS in the first attempt but thank God I got selected as junior engineer in PDD.
In PDD you are married to faults. It is an all weather, 24×7 job where you have to rectify faults, restore supply, manage staff and always be ready for the emergency. Amidst all this busy schedule KAS posts were advertised. for me this was the last opportunity as the age was not on my side. The hibernation was over and I devoted myself to studies. Thanks to my colleagues who supported me every time. A good score at preliminary level invigorated me. I chose Kashmiri language as an optional subject. Once the mains result was out I could fancy my chances and sprinted off in the interview.
I can never forget the way my mother hugged me with tears trickling down her face – conveying everything without saying a word. Seeing myself as means of jubilation for my family was so exhilarating. My advice to new aspirants is to conceive a dream and then chase it. Never let the failures overwhelm. If you already have a dream you are half way through. You can and you will. Remember all things are difficult before they are easy.
Don’t lose focus
Watching successful people from a distance always made me curious, what is the extra they possess. Born in a middle class family my parents managed to provide me good schooling even if they had to slash their own expenses. Seeing the aspiration of my parents for me, I worked hard for common entrance test after class 12th. I landed up in the veterinary college as I could not secure enough points to make it to the MBBS. I remember my uncle encouraging me to give Veterinary sciences my best. He said to me, “One step at a time, but don’t lose the focus.” While pursuing B.VSc I constantly reminded myself to live up to the expectations of my family.
I was motivated by my father who really wanted me to do KAS as he also had once applied for KAS. He always wanted me to do KAS. My father used to tell me, “Faheem I have kept unfinished task which you have to complete”. I started to prepare for KAS during my internship. I prepared my prelims from Tata Mcgraw Hill’s general studies and chose Veterinary Science as my optional paper.
After the results of the Prelims were declared, I started to prepare for the mains exams and had veterinary science and zoology as my optional. Zoology was the obvious choice for my 2nd optional as it had a direct link with the veterinary science subject. On an average I used to devote around 6 hours for studies every day. But as the exam got nearer I increased the study time to around 12hours a day. I didn’t take any coaching for the mains exam but went for personality development for interview to The Civils Jammu.
The NCERT text books were of immense help as these clear the basic concepts. Spectrum series was also of help for the preparation of General Studies. For veterinary science I used my own class notes and for zoology I started with my reference books of my 11th and 12th class and then the study material from Brilliant tutorials Chennai.
The time from the start of preparation of the civil services to the results was about two years and it was difficult to remain motivated. Thanks to my parents and my friends who kept me motivated. My parents especially my mother were the motivating force. My personality was moulded to a large extent by my brother Syed Wasim and my uncle Dr. Syed Javaid Ahmad Bihaqi was always an inspiration. Last but not least I thank Dr Iqbal Hussain Mir, a friend, philosopher and guide who helped me to stay motivated and on the right track.