Barieq Manzoor, a Downtown girl topped IGNOU’s BCom examination. It was beyond her expectations. In an interview with Saif Ullah Bashir, she says her success was the outcome of her ‘smart work’
Kashmir Life: Tell us about your schooling?
Barieq Manzoor (BM): My parents admitted me at Minto Circle School. I remained a favourite student of my teachers. I was the head girl. I generally scored the first position. What I am today is because of my school. Later on, I went to Government Girls Higher Secondary school Amira Kadal Srinagar. I work with dedication. I scored 96.4 per cent marks in twelfth class. I was at the sixth position all over the Kashmir. After that, I joined IGNOU.
KL: Your family background?
BM: Our family is small. I have an elder sister, mom and dad. I have no brother. They have a role in my success. Particularly my dad, my life is incomplete without him. He is my friend as well as a mentor. He never rejected any of my wishes. My father has struggled a lot so it is my responsibility to help him live a comfortable life. I always try to be a son for my family. I want to lessen their burden.
KL: Why did you choose IGNOU (Indra Gandhi National Open University) to continue your studies?
BM: It was my personal decision. I usually don’t consult anyone for suggestions.
KL: Did your parents support your decision?
BM: As I told you earlier, my dad is my mentor and friend. My family supported my decisions. They have faith in me and I have tried to live up to their expectations.
KL: How was your experience with IGNOU?
BM: As far as IGNOU, there is no need to attend the classes on a daily basis. Our classes are held on Sundays. It was not an easy thing for me. Sometimes I felt socially detached but I didn’t give up. I used to miss my friends. Overall my experience was neither bitter nor sweet. But choosing IGNOU was the right decision for me.
KL: How do you spend your leisure?
BM: I help my parents. I learn driving. I learn shorthand. Reading Holy Quran is part of my routine.
KL: What is your goal in life?
BM: I want to crack civil services. It is my goal and I am hopeful that I will definitely succeed.
KL: Were you expecting the first position?
BM: Sincerely it was beyond my expectations. It was a gift from Almighty. In fact, when I read the letter sent by IGNOU, I read it thrice. It was as if I was dreaming. I will never forget that moment.
I was not at home. My mother received the letter which was sent by speed post. She informed me on the phone. When I read it there was no limit to my happiness.
KL: What was the reaction of your parents?
BM: Both my parents kissed and hugged me. It was a great moment for them too.
KL: How did you prepare for exams? Did internet blockade affect your studies?
BM: I believe in smart work more than hard work. I always enjoyed studies. I used to go through notes and study the books recommended by IGNOU. Internet blackout didn’t affect me much. Fortunately, IGNOU conducted our exams before August 5 and that time internet was working normally.
KL: Who was the chief guest of the convocation where you received the gold medal?
BM: The chief guest was Minister of Human Resource Development (MHRD) Ramesh Pokhriyal and the Vice-chancellor of IGNOU. The event was held in New Delhi. There were other VIP guests too.
KL: What is your message to those who discriminate against womenfolk?
BM: Several incidents have happened to me when I felt humiliated. My success is an appropriate response to them. Now they will be ashamed of themselves and for their remarks. I proved that women are neither fools nor failures.