by Khalid Bashir Gura
SRINAGAR: This is the story of living for parents. A young boy who had already made to the National Institute of Technology (NIT) and was about to be an engineer, decided to live her mother’s dream, keen to see her son a doctor. So he started afresh and delivered her his success.
This is the story of Waqas Iqbal Haji, 24, a resident of Bongam in Shopian, who secured 606 out of 720 in the open merit category. He appeared for the examination barely a few months before the age-bar could have rendered him ineligible to sit for the national test.
Even though having completed his B Tech in civil engineering at SSM College of Engineering, Iqbal decided to appear in NEET examination while pursuing his second semester of M Tech at NIT Srinagar.
Haji said he appeared in NEET examination with the sole intention of fulfilling his parents’ dream especially his mother of seeing her son as a doctor. Even though he had already completed his civil engineering and was now pursuing M Tech, the wishes and words of his mother: “Kaash Aap Doctor Hote,” kept him restive.
Iqbal sensed the opportunity to appear in the NEET examinations during successive lockdowns in Kashmir. As the people were enclosed, the internet was shut and the educational institutions were closed, Haji decided to utilize his time in revisiting his basics and it paid him back. He had completed his B Tech in January 2018 and simultaneously appeared in GATE examination next year and qualified that as well.
An eldest among his two siblings; a brother and a sister, Iqbal said: “My uncle is a doctor and he is my inspiration, along with my father and mother who brought me up.”
The son of a cab driver, Iqbal’s father helped him all through his journey of academic excellence and even in his decisions.
“The smiles on the faces of parent’s matters a lot for me,” he said, adding that the sacrifice of going back and studying again was worth it. When asked if he regretted his decision as he had already invested his time in engineering, Iqbal said: “not at all.”
When asked what an aspirant should do during the preparation process, Iqbal said that he has observed in most of the candidates that even before preparation they are fearful of results and waste a lot of time thinking about disempowering thoughts of whether they can or not. “Instead they should focus on the process,” said Iqbal as with consistency and hard work one can achieve any goal.
Haji recommended NCERT books for aspirants for the preparation rather than losing themselves in a lot of material. “They should also read some other basic references,” said Iqbal.
When asked about the role of a social media and how important the internet is in the preparation, Haji said: “I have not used social media since 2011 when I was enrolled in the science stream and wanted to achieve my dreams,” even though he admitted using WhatsApp to stay updated.
According to Haji, the internet ban and slowing down of speed apparently worked in his favour and many students as is evident by the good score of many students but he also acknowledged the other difficulties faced due to its shutdown and low speed.
“I qualified NEET without any coaching,” he said as he is about to begin his fresh journey in a medical college for the sake of his parents.
This season, Kashmir has a young boy who will enter the medical school after memorising the Quran.
Faizan Ul Islam, 19, he is from a distant village of Handwara who scored 541 marks in his third attempt.
A resident of Muqam Rajwar Handwara, Islam had his schooling from local upper primary school. He was enrolled to Jamia Siraj Ul Uloom in Muqam where he memorized full Quran within three years. Later he passed class 10 and 12 from Government Boys Higher Secondary School Qalam Abad.
“Dedication and hard work are important for qualifying any exam,” said Islam besides that he considers the internet as very important in this modern era. “The credit for my success goes to my parents and all the teachers.”
When asked what should be the approach of students appearing in the exams, he said: “They should follow NCERT books and regularly go for mock test.”