Around 50 Muslims cracked the Civil Services Examination 2017. Caravan Daily talked to some of them to know why they opted for civil services and how they cracked one of the toughest examinations in the country. Their experience is being shared in a series of stories – Editor
The two young men above are the first Muslims from Aurangabad to crack the Civil Services Examination. One more interesting thing is: Both are science graduates but chose Urdu as their main subject for the Mains and yet succeeded.
GHAZANFAR ABBAS |Caravan Daily
Making their parents feel proud are two Muslim youths from Aurangabad – not just because they have cracked the prestigious Civil Services examination, but also because they are the first Muslims from the Maharashtra district to do so. Meet Shaikh Salman and Mohammad Nooh Siddiqui who have just tasted the success of their hard work. The final results of India’s Civil Services Examination 2017 were announced by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) on Friday (27th April 2018) and it brought good news for the two friends. Salman and Nooh secured 326th and 329th all-India rank respectively and are most likely to join the Indian Revenue Service (IRS).
Interestingly, despite being from engineering and science background, both Salman and Nooh had opted for Urdu literature as the common subject in the Mains of Civil Services Exam. But what remains commendable for the duo is their struggle, which definitely will be an inspiration for many young UPSC aspirants.
Son of Farmer Parents, Shaikh Salman is First Graduate of his Village
Twenty-six-year old Salman has Masters in Chemistry. He hails from Kasabkheda village in Aurangabad district and happens to be the first graduate from his village. With his family’s earning being dependent on farming, he did his basic schooling from the Zila Parishad school and went on to complete his secondary and higher secondary from Kunjkheda Madarsa School affiliated to the Maharashtra State Board. Following that he did his bachelors and masters in Chemistry from Maulana Azad College, Aurangabad.
Sharing his success story with Caravan Daily, he explained why he opted for Civil Services as career.
“My family’s financial condition is weak. Both of my parents are farmers. I have seen so much poverty in my village that I made up my mind to opt for civil service in order to remove poverty. I took this decision after attending a seminar on civil service examination. Due to financial constraint I could not take any private coaching. All the coaching that I availed was funded through scholarships. In 2012 I got a scholarship from Kawish Foundation and in 2014, I made it to the Hamdard Study Circle and in 2016, I was eligible for the Jamia Millia Islamia’s residential coaching academy in New Delhi.”
“My parents and siblings (one elder brother and younger sister) helped me a lot but main credit for my success goes to my mother. She has struggled a lot for me. She works in farms too.”
Salman cracked UPSC in his fourth attempt. In the first and second attempt he could not even clear the prelims. In third attempt he had cleared prelims but couldn’t qualify for the Mains.
Appreciating the guidance he availed from the three coaching centres he said, “These coaching centres were very helpful for me in achieving my goal. The fact that they provided accommodation too served as an extra help for me to do the preparation.”
He then said, “I want the youth from poor family background to try for Civil Services. If you are firm and determined, the family background and poverty do not matter. Though it takes time but God will not leave you hopeless.”
Quoting Allama Iqbal he appealed to the youth, “Khudi ko kar buland itna ke har taqdeer se pehle Khuda bande se khud poochhe bata teri raza kya hai.” (Develop the self so that before every decree, God will ascertain from you: “What is your wish?”)
He summed up by saying, “I believe in ‘Seva Parmo Dharma’ (Service to Humanity is Highest Religion), so my aim will be to serve the society. I will try my best to deliver my services to the society, especially to the poor children so that they can have a better future.”
Son of a Bakery Owner, Nooh’s Tale is all about Perseverance
Third among his siblings, Nooh Siddiqui, 27, completed his B.Tech (Food Technology) from Queen’s College, Aurangabad in 2011. After that, he struggled for six long years to realise his dream. He revealed that the risk he took by setting out for UPSC without taking a job post engineering, has eventually paid off. He only focused on UPSC and did not appear for any other competitive exam. But failure in four attempts in a row did not dissuade him. On the contrary, with every failed attempt he realised that his performance was improving and hence he kept on preparing and finally got success in the fifth attempt.
Talking to Caravan Daily, Nooh, said, “I wanted to do my Masters from any Canadian university, but due to financial constraint I couldn’t apply for it. So, my family encouraged me to opt for civil services, which I also realized was a very good career option. So, I took it as a challenge. Though I had not been able to crack the mains in my previous four attempts but every year my marks were improving, so I knew that I was approaching my target.”
“I opted for civil services for two reasons – one, I wanted to serve the nation and the second my aspiration was also being fulfilled in this career. In Civil Services, a person gets powers to utilize the resources for the welfare of people. My aim will be to implement the policies and focus on curbing corruption as in all probability I will be getting through to IRS.”
Unlike Salman, lack of guidance was the biggest problem that Nooh faced. However, it was his father Shoib Siddiqui, who kept inspiring him. Shoib runs a bakery of his own.
“I give full credit to my father for me clearing the UPSC exam as it was he who always encouraged me. He has been my motivator. First, I did self-preparation for one year at Kawish Foundation but in our city there are not many to guide us. So I shifted to Pune, where I did my UPSC preparation for one-and-a-half years. Then I went to Delhi in 2013 after winning a scholarship from the Zakat Foundation of India for UPSC coaching,” Nooh told.
Later, in 2015, Nooh also got selected for Jamia Millia Islamia’s residential coaching.
“The role of Jamia’s coaching is undeniable. The facilities, library, test series, guidance and especially the competent group of students provided me immense opportunity to improve myself during preparation,” he said.
He too quoted Allama Iqbal to inspire youth for Civil Services. He quoted Iqbal, “Sabaq Phir Parh Sadaqat Ka, Adalat Ka, Shujaat Ka. Liya Jaye Ga Tujh Se Kaam Dunya Ki Imamat Ka (Read again the lesson of truth, of justice and valour! You will be asked to do the work of taking on responsibility for the world).”
“Think big first and keep preparing for it. It will help you to achieve the big goal. Have faith in God,” he said as his message to youths.
The Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination, 2017 was conducted on 18th June, 2017. Over 9.57 lakh candidates applied for this examination, out of which 4,56,625 candidates actually appeared. Only 13,366 candidates qualified for appearance in the Written (Main) Examination held in October – November, 2017. Of them, 2568 candidates qualified for the Personality Test conducted in February – April, 2018. The final results were announced on 27th April and 990 candidates were declared successful. Around 50 of them are Muslims.