Srinagar doctor is first Kashmiri to top UPSC exams

It was a battle against all odds for Faesal Shah after his father was killed by militants.

Srinagar: It was a battle against all odds
for 26-year-old Faesal Shah after his father was killed by
militants in 2001, but the medico overcame the trauma to
become the first Kashmiri to top the Civil Service Exams.

Celebrations erupted in Faesal`s native village Sogam
in Lolab valley, 115 kms from here, as the news of his
achievement reached the residents.

Faesal`s mother Mubeena, a teacher in government
school, ensured that her children are able to continue their
education after their father Ghulam Rasool Shah, also a
teacher, was killed by militants in Kupwara in 2001.

Faesal, an MBBS degree holder who topped the
prestigious examination in his maiden attempt, said it is a
dream come true and a proud moment for his family.

"My father was a great inspiration. He was a great
teacher. I gathered my courage and ultimate it is the effort I
put in that paid the results," Faesal, who is in Delhi, told

His brother Shahnawaz Shah is also doctor. Faisal
did his schooling from local high school in Sogam and Bisco
higher secondary Srinagar. He was selected in MBBS in 2003 and
got his medical degree from government medical college

"He was a born genius. I saw some extraordinary
capabilities and qualities in him and advised him to prepare
for IAS examination," gushed his maternal uncle Professor
Wali Mohammad, senior scientist in S K University of
Agricultural and Science and Technology.

Faesal, he said, wanted to become a Kashmir Police
Service officer and had applied for Kashmir Administrative
Services but due to a clash in examination dates, he opted for

"He left his internship and went to Delhi to prepare
for IAS examination. By dint of hardwork he topped," he said.

Wali said Faesal should be an inspiration to students
especially from rural areas. "If they work with dedication,
sky is the limit," he said.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah
congratulated Faesal saying that given a level-playing field,
Kashmiris can compete with the best in the country.

Faesal topped the list of 875 candidates who qualified
in the Civil Service Exam 2009 after a rigorous screening and
testing process.

"Faesal has shown a way forward to young Kashmiri boys
and girls. He rose from adversity to clinch the top spot in
the prestigious examination in his first attempt. He has shown
that given a level-playing field, Kashmiris can compete with
the best in the country," Omar said while extending his best
wishes to the young doctor.

Union Minister for Non-conventional and Renewable Energy
Farooq Abdullah also congratulated Faesal saying, "it is a
matter of pride for the entire state. I complement this boy
for overcoming all the adversities to achieve this feat."

Another youth Showkat Ahmad Parray of north Kashmir`s
Baramulla district has also excelled in UPSC examination.
Parray, a resident of Wizer village, 55 kms from here got
256th rank in the all-India test.

After completing his graduation in 2008, Parray could
not continue studies because of poor economical conditions and
was searching for a job to support his family. He was
recruited as a veterinary assistant surgeon in the department
of Sheep Husbandry this year.

"I was not in a position to go for coaching anywhere. My
father, a power development department employee, could not
afford to support me economically and I prepared at home," he

He found BVSC and AH degree tougher than civil service
test and said for a BVSC holder cracking it is easier.

"I did not prepare with enthusiasm as my perception was
that IAS is beyond my capability. But after Shahid, also a
veterinarian, qualified for IAS last year, it became a source
of inspiration for me," Parray told PTI on phone.

Other toppers

Securing the second rank in civil service examination
in his second attempt, Prakash Rajpurohit, an engineering
graduate from IIT Delhi, is elated.

"I am very happy. It was my second attempt and I had
to work very hard," he said.

Rajpurohit did not take any coaching and studied on
his own. Son of a manager of public sector company Seaton
India Ltd, Rajpurohit completed his class-XII from DAV Public
School in Dayanand Vihar here.

Devoting 8-10 hours daily for preparation for two
years, Prakash gave the exam twice, in 2008 and then in 2009.

"My parents helped me a lot. If I required any
material for studies, they used to get it for me," said

He wants to join the Rajasthan IAS cadre because it is
his home state. "IAS has a lot of diversity and challenge and
also gives a chance for public service," he said.

Securing the third rank in civil service examination,
Iva Sahay said "I am humbled. I wanted the top rank. But even
if I`ve got the third rank I am happy. Looking at the kind of
struggle the top ranker from Srinagar has gone through, I am
totally humbled to get the third rank".

Iva has done MA in Geography from JNU and she was
preparing for the examination since October 2008. She said she
will take up IAS stream.

"I want to join the IAS cadre because I want to be a
part and parcel of what is happening in the country. I do not
want to be away from the country," she said.

Her father is a professor in Allahabad University and
her mother is a lecturer in a college in Bihar. She used to
study for 16 hours everyday.