Top Guns

With an overall pass percentage of around 60 per cent, the class 12th results have sprung up some surprises with students from lesser-known schools also taking the top honours. Kashmir Life meets some of them

Atif Jan Topper Science Stream

Seeming not so contended with his performance in tenth class where he secured 20th position, Atif Jan this time made sure he will step up his rank in the list. He topped the science stream in this year’s 12th class results, with 490 marks out of 500. Atif a resident of Nowshera, Srinagar has had his schooling from Tyndale Biscoe. He was studying biology, chemistry, physics and English as main subjects and Mathematics as an additional subject. However, he doesn’t want to become a doctor or an engineer. “I think we have enough of doctors and engineers in our family. I want to do something different!”

Atif plans to go in research. Technology, science, research fascinates him, he says. “I may go with robotic science”. But the plans may change with passing time, he clarifies. Fully supporting his dream of becoming a researcher, his family first wants him to give Common Entrance Test (CET) a try, but Atif says it would not be a matter of life and death for him like other students.  Atif’s father Mohammed Ayoub, is a project officer in Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI) and his mother is working in SKUAST-K. Atif’s elder sister is pursuing engineering at Islamic University of Science and Technology, Awantipora. Having been a brilliant student  throughout Atif, expected to be among the toppers. “But being on the top was a surprise,” he said. “I knew I would score good marks but what worried me was the newly introduced series system.”

Atif terms the newly introduced series system “tricky” rather than “discriminating” as most of the students refer it to. But opines if the questions would have remained same in each series with different sequences it would have been better.

There were regular protests during the 12th class exams this year, to change the examination pattern but no one paid attention.

Arjumand Qadir Kala Topper Arts stream

She is focused, talks straight, and has answers on the tip of the tongue for every query. Arjumand Qadir Kala, 18, has defied the traditional belief. She has topped the Arts stream, and has become the second topper in the Kashmir valley in the 12th class examination.

Five kilometers from Baramulla town in Sheerwani Colony of Khawja Bagh there is jubilation. Neighbors, relatives have been thronging the single-storey house of Abdul Qadir Kala. His third daughter, Arjumand, has secured second position with 489 or 97.07 % marks. This is for the first time that anyone from Baramulla town has topped in the Arts stream in the valley.  “I am happy. It is the prayers of my parents and my hard work,” says a soft spoken Arjumand Qadir.

A small tin case, filled with books of General Knowledge, Political Sciences and English, serves as a desk for her studies. Arjumand reads books which other students hesitate to read. She would study for more than 11 hours a day.

The house the Kala’s live in is still under construction. Windows are covered with plastic sheets, making it cold inside. But Arjumand’s grit kept her going.

“Even during the chilling winter nights I would never stop studying. My greatest strength has been my two elder sisters,” says Arjumand.
Theirs is the only single storied house in the entire Sherwani Colony. Her father Ghulam Qadir says that he has put all his earnings into the education of his four daughters.

He says, “I had huge expectations from Arjumand. It was my dream that she should be among the toppers in Kashmir valley. Today I am a happy father because she didn’t let me down.”

Ghulam Qadir Kala doesn’t have a son and Arjumand is a third girl child in the family.

She wants to become a government officer. “I was interested in pursuing Arts from an early age. I liked political science and sociology. When I told my parents that I want to become a KAS officer, they were surprised. But everyone supported me from the very beginning.”

The principle of her school, Javid Ahamd, says that Arjumand used to get first position in the debates, and in her academics. “I am happy that my school has achieved such a distinction now,” he added.

Her mother, Hajra Begum, says she had tears in her eyes when she heard the news of her daughter topping the list.

“I don’t have complaint to Almighty Allah for not giving me a son. My daughter has proved that girls do better than boys.”

Saba Tariq Topper Commerce

Defying the conventional notions, Saba Tariq chose not to dream of becoming a doctor like most other girls of her age. Born into a family where medicine is talked over dinner almost every single day, Saba chose commerce after passing her secondary school examination. She topped the commerce stream in class 12 this year. With 97.40 per cent marks she stands third in the overall ranking in Kashmir division.

“Both my parents are connected to the medical profession in a way. My mother is a nurse while my father works as a senior X-ray technician,” she said.

Ask her about her future plans and pat comes the reply, “As I belong to the saffron town of Pampore, my dream is to make use of saffron in such a way that it creates employment for the locals.”

“May be, I could try my hands at making perfumes or simply trade in saffron like my uncle,” she added shyly.

Unlike many other students of her age who chose commerce as a last option Saba opted for it despite scoring more than 80 per cent marks in her secondary school examination. “Thank God! My parents didn’t push me to opt medicine. They respected my decision and never pressurized me in any way that would have hampered my growth,” she said.

She wants to pursue business studies.

One of her paternal uncles, Muhammad Ashraf Mir, told me that she deserves all the attention as she has worked really hard. “She wanted to prove people wrong who would often look down at female students who opt for commerce in Kashmir,” he said.

Her father who was busy answering phone calls from well wishers told me that Saba dared to dream different as she always wanted to be self-dependent person.
Saba Tariq is a student of Muslim Education Institution Pampore.

Samiya Banday : Topper Home sciences

Samiya Banday has topped the Home Science stream with 435 marks in 12th class results. Samiya, a student of Girl’s Higher Secondary, Kothi Bagh, is happy. She is the first person from her family to have topped the board exams.

Samiya didn’t want to be a doctor so she Home Science field. She wants to become a dietician.

She believes it would never have been possible without her parents support to opt for this field. “My parents never told me to opt for medical sciences,” she says.

Samiya, hailing from Hazratal, Srinagar, is the youngest among her siblings. Her elder brother is working with a private company and her sister is doing PG from IGNOU. Samiya’s father is a retired employee from Sheep Husbandry Department and her mother is an employee with ICDS.

However, choosing Home Science was not so easy. “It is very difficult to go against the set trend of going in the medical or non-medical streams as Kashmiri society has always been supportive to doctors and engineers only.” She feels people should be made aware about other streams as well. There is lot of scope in subjects like Home Sciences.

Samiya is busy attending phone calls from her relatives and friends from past 24 hours now which has added to her joy and has given her a reason to feel special.

Reporting by Syed Asma, Sameer Yasir, Shams Irfan and Saima Bhat.

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