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Wednesday, December 13th, 2017 10:38 PM

A new beginning from Kashmir

Education & Career

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Kashmir is always regarded as the heaven on earth, but truth is it is disturbed with so many factors, but things are changing now in Kashmir. Tourism has resumed, so is the smiles of the people.

The entire Kashmir valley is now rejoicing the achievement of the Athar Aamir-ul-Shafi Khan, the 23 year-young who ranked second in the civil service exam, in UPSC exam this year. The achievement is historic and important because he has done so from a region, which has seen its educated youth swell the militants’ ranks.

kasmir UPSC

“I’m extremely happy and delighted and I am very honored to be selected in the biggest public service examination, now with this responsibility comes accountability towards people, wish me so that I can do my best for the people of the country.” was the immediate reaction of Athar, when this writer called him on his phone to congratulate and know about his story.

Athar has achieved the feat with many others but this year UPSC topper is a Delhi Girl Tina Dabi followed by Athar and the third spot went to Delhi-based Jasmeet Singh Sandhu.

Athar’s story might pep the Valley at a time the latest news from its academia has been a Kashmiri-outsider divide at NIT Srinagar following celebrations of an Indian cricket defeat and a protest that prompted police caning of outstation students.

Few from Kashmir have done so well in the civil service exam as Athar, although Shah Faesal from north Kashmir’s Kupwara had laid down a marker by earning the topmost rank in 2009. Till that year, few Kashmiris had made it to the Union Public Service Commission’s merit list but once Faesal bucked the trend, several from the Valley have been clearing the exam every year.

Although the inspiration since his childhood are his parents and grandfather, who led a simple life keeping the integrity. He says, “my biggest inspiration is my grandfather. His hard work, passion and enthusiasm have been a great source of motivation for me since childhood”. The inspiration for this service is the service itself, which gives opportunity to work in ground level, but Athar said Faesal, now the state’s director of education, was one of his biggest inspirations in the service. “I hope that Kashmiris will excel in every field, be it civil services, medicine, engineering or whatever, His (Faesal’s) story gave me confidence and it basically opened the door for others to crack the exams”. But it’s not these young men and women who have been grabbing the spotlight.


The father of Athar, Mohammad Shafi Khan, an economics teacher at a girls’ higher secondary school in Anantnag, shared with Youthens News, tale behind this achievement, who is unstoppable with the tales of his proud son “I am proud of my son, I’m thankful to God and I pray that my son becomes an inspiration for the young generation of Kashmir,” he said as his first reaction. When asked about Athar’s motivation, father Mohammad Shafi Khan described “Athar, has always been a brilliant student, hardship has always been there, very limited resources to support his education, but he qualified in the Medical and joined Jammu Medical College, in its first semester his opted for IIT and cleared, he joined IIT Himachal and completed his Electric Engineering from IIT and immediately sat for UPSC in the year 2014. He had cleared the exam last year as well but ranked 581st, which prompted him to take it again this year. Having joined the railway services last year, he now plans a career in the Indian Administrative Service he cleared but was not satisfied by his ranking. So he opted for again this year and finally bagging the second topmost position”.

He was very knowledgeable and always participate in extra curricular activities mainly debates and earned many state level awards.

His father said, “I had always advised him, not to follow path, rather made a path for others to follow”

South Kashmir has been a virtual conveyor belt of educated young men taking up arms against the State in recent years, and many of them have died in gunfights with the security forces. Despair, though, does not have little purchase on Athar, nor is he easily swayed from his goal by disappointment. The achievement of Athar is the true representation of the modern Kashmir.


Now Athar promises that he will work hard, “I will keep working hard and serve the country to the best of my ability as a civil servant. In the last year of my B.Tech, I was very clear that this is what I wanted to do. I would have been paid better in an MNC but money is the last motivation for me. The IAS comes with roles and responsibilities that can actually change the lives of people. India today is an India of possibilities. Being young today means being a part of the huge transformation that this country is going through. The youth are the heart and soul of a nation. With their energy and vigour, they can act as catalysts of change and bring in a long-lasting transformation that has more impact”.



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