From Helper To Lawyer

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Mohammad Aslam had come to Srinagar as a domestic helper but is now pursuing a law degree from University of Kashmir. With help from his employer and an unshakable resolve he is on his way to becoming a successful lawyer, Ikhlaq Qadri tracks his journey.

Dream and determination to succeed is what can make people do what they are made for. Coming from a village near the Line of Control, working as domestic help for managing school fee and uniform and braving all odds and reaching the highest seat of learning, the University of Kashmir, Muhammad Aslam is about to complete his B.A LLB from the department of law.

Aslam, 24, hails from village Badan Singtun. In early 1990’s many families in his village crossed over to another side of Kashmir while the remaining were forced by the army to flee.

“Army forced us to migrate and occupied our land, which was nearly 50 kannals,” he says.

Aslam’s family comprised of eight members is settled in Salamabad. He was admitted in a primary school and later went to the hostel run by the social welfare department in Uri.

“The conditions were not favourable. Even then I wanted to study,” he says.

With meagre resources at home, Aslam, after appearing for his 10th-grade exam, moved to Srinagar. He worked as a domestic helper at Nazir Ahmad Khan’s house.

With help and support from his employer, Aslam joined Zainakote Higher Secondary School. Aslam used to spend on fees, books and uniform whatever wages he got from Khan.

“I used to do every sort of work in my employer’s home.I would polish shoes, wash clothes and do the household work. I was happy that I am earning myself. I was not ashamed.”

After passing class 12 examination he wanted to join a course in law. With limited financial help, Aslam’s dream of becoming a lawyer seemed too distant. Although his employer was ready to assist him for the admission in Amar Singh College, Aslam wasn’t happy.

“He told me that he will provide me the fee for admission to Amar Singh college but my choice was to join University.”

Encouraged by his father, Aslam finally appeared in the University’s entrance exam and cleared it.

“My father sold his cattle and arranged money for my admission.”

Now in 5th semester, Aslam is sharpening his skills spending time in the library during the night and attending seminars and conferences.

“I would have been in my 6th semester but had a backlog in my first semester. The reason is that I wasn’t able to understand my subjects as they were in English. As I have read in an Urdu medium school, It becomes really hard for me to understand my subjects. But now I am working day and night not only to study law but to improve my English.Over the past one year, I have improved a lot.”

During early days of his struggle, Aslam also had a good taste for poetry. He has written many poems.

“Mei ne Pathar se tarasha hai ye heere ka Wajood,Warna meri jaan ko kuch aur hi Manzoor tha.”

Aslam wants to join politics after becoming a successful lawyer. He has faced a lot of criticism for various reasons but that has not weakened him. “People used to make fun of me. They would laugh at me when I would speak about my dreams,” he says.

“Lahho ko chant tu mann se, zubaan se bol mat kuch b,Chattan ban ke khada ho ja tufaaon ke maidanu mei.”

“My vision is to achieve excellence first as a student of law, then a bureaucrat, then advocate, and lastly a politician.A leader has to go through the system and only then can he talk about the limitations of a society,” he says.

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