Downtown’s New Star

Born and brought up in a family with good educational background and shielded from the violence in Kashmir, a youth from Srinagar’s old city has made it to the list of aspirants who successfully cracked the IAS exam this year, Sana Fazili reports.

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Adnan Asmi

The narrow lanes of Shehr-i-Khaas in Srinagar are often in news for stone-pelting and unrest brewing against the state. Agitated youth have fought relentless battles with forces using stones as their arms. On May 4, when the results of Indian Administrative Services (IAS) were declared, it was a moment of joy and celebration in the house of Adnan Asmi, a resident of Nawakadal, who was one of the eleven candidates from the state who made it to the civil services this year.

With a ranking of 189, it was in his third attempt since 2009 that Adnan finally cracked the exam. The idea of getting into civil services wasn’t a sudden decision. Adnan had been groomed to get into the civil service and the idea was fed to him since childhood. In fact, it was his grandfather, Professor Late Shareef-u-Din, a renowned English professor of his times in Kashmir, who kept guiding him and inspiring him to join the services.

Professor Shareef who died last year has also been a teacher of many bureaucrats of Kashmir valley. “It was my grandfather who trained my mind and guided me to pursue the goal of qualifying Indian Administrative Services.” Adnan says with confidence.

Adnan completed his studies till Higher Secondary level from Kashmir valley. He studied Humanities at Higher Secondary level and his excellence in his academic career has been a consistent thing. He topped his batch in Higher Secondary Board Exams in 2005. By this time, his energy was already channelized as he had started reading books, newspapers and journals to remain updated about the current affairs and gaining the information necessary to crack the competitive exam.

After qualifying his Higher Secondary Board exams, Adnan shifted to Delhi where he joined St. Stephen’s College. For his graduation, he opted for BA programme in which he studied Political Science and Economics. In his college days, the young Kashmiri boy had been active in co-curricular and other activities and had, in fact, been elected as the President of St. Stephen’s College Students’ Union. But he says he carefully managed the time between his studies and the college activities.

Adnan Asmi believes that the preparation of civil services exams should be a consistent process and the aspirants need to remain dedicated as he himself started preparing soon after the completion of his Class 12 exam.

Since Nawakadal falls in a highly volatile zone of Srinagar where severe restrictions are imposed in case of any eventuality, Adnan, like many other students living in different parts of Kashmir valley, faced problems due to the conflict and tense situations. Yet, he was shielded by his affluent and educated family from the happenings around him, “I was able to achieve the goal, which was indeed the dream of his family as well, because of the support of my family members,” he says.

Adnan’s father is an employee in State Bank of India while his mother is a housewife. Adnan’s brother is an engineer who works in Saudi Arabia. The persistence shown by Adnan’s family was one of the reasons why Adnan sat for the exam three times in the last four years. Apart from preparing for the civil services exam, Adnan did his Masters in Political Science through IGNOU. He is also pursuing his Masters in Sociology from University of Kashmir.

In the past few years, Kashmiri youth have shown their interest in Indian civil services and many have appeared in competitive exams to achieve their dreams. Adnan believes that the situation has improved in Kashmir on the front of education and career in the past few years. “Career options are now more diverse and dynamic. Things are now changing in Kashmir. Earlier there were few career options, but now there is progress and change is in the air,” he says.

Sharing his view about the idea of work culture that he would like to see in coming years, Adnan says that he would like to be transparent and hold people accountable who are found involved in any negligence. He says there is a need to have a system where decision would be effective. “Consensus building and transparency are the two main concepts that I would like to inculcate into the work culture at my office,” he says.

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