Tahir Bhat talks to the KAS’s 2017 topper, Anjum Bashir Khan, a resident of Surankot, to understand what is the basic requirement for cracking the coveted civil service examination
The Year 2017’s Kashmir Administrative Service (KAS) topper is from the border Surankote belt and what makes him special is that he did not go to any special coaching. Married already, Anjum Bashir took the top slot in his very first attempt.
Hailing from Mohra Bachai village, Anjum Bashir, 27, secured 1514.33marks in open merit.
Son of a retired lecturer Bashir Ahmad Khan and a school teacher Ghulam Fatima, Anjum’s brother is Assistant Director of Forest Protection Force and his sister is a lecturer. He himself is a school teacher, a position he is now planning to resign from.
“Anjum passed all his examinations with flying colours’, Bashir Ahmad, his father, said. “Right from his childhood I had an intuition he will achieve something big someday.”
Anjum did his schooling from his ancestral village in a state-run school. Later, the family shifted to Jammu after their home was gutted in a fire in 1990’s in the backdrop of conflict. They lived in Jammu until 2007.
After completing his higher school education from Ranbir Higher Secondary School, Anjum went to Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University (BGSBU) in Rajouri in 2012, for Bachelors in Technology (B Tech). Two years later, he landed in education department as a teacher.
His father was very emotional while talking about his son’s career options. “He was selected in the J&K Bank twice but he refused to join saying he does not want to land in an interest-related business,” Khan said. “He said he would prefer to stay as unemployed rather than getting a job that is not of his choice.”
Anjum said though he had been dreaming since his school days to get into the administrative service, it was during his student days in the BGSBU, and, later as a schoolteacher, when he actually got a clear direction. It was in the University, where he developed an interest in current affairs, politics and public administration.
“To be honest, I started preparing for the KAS when I was in the middle of B Tech,” Anjum said. “And then, I had decided that I will stay with my parents for which I should get a job that suits me.”
He was married in 2016 to Dr Farhana. This, Anjum says, added to the family members who would encourage him to crack the civil service examination.
With an engineering background, Anjum made a decision about the choice of his subjects for the prelims. He picked Public Administration in the prelims and added Anthropology for the mains.
Getting into study mode while earning is slightly a difficult changeover. Preparation period was uneasy. Initially, he faced many problems, which fizzled out gradually as he got familiar with the new routine.
Anjum said, he ensured, that he should end up living while preparing for the competition. “I never studied after 12 in the night,” Anjum said. “My plans for the study were different for both prelims and mains. For prelims, I studied two subjects a day and for mains, I studied one subject for first three days of the week and second for other three days.”
He credits his success to parents, teachers and friends. “They had faith in me when I was personally dithering,” Anjum said. But, he insists, his strength came from taking less preparation pressure, daily recitation of the Quran and praying, five times a day.“Setting the goal and staying focused on it is the only thing needed to crack difficult examinations.”
What makes Anjum’s success so special is that he never went to any coaching centre. “I did it all by myself as the entire family was supportive and encouraging,” Anjum said. “Being educated, my parents were my main guides and they played a major role in accomplishing my dream.”
For candidates aspiring to join civil services, Anjum suggests they must take more time in studying general studies. Having knowledge about current events and international issues, he says, plays a vital role in qualifying the examination.“Be a good learner and have firm belief and faith in the Almighty,” he says.