You must have that hunger for success
ACROSS THE TABLE
For this boy from central Kashmir’s Budgam district, it wasn’t easy to think of being in the elite Indian Administrative Service. The dilemma whether to go for the IAS or stay in the medical profession made him restless for quite sometime. But he could not stand it anymore and finally decided to have a plunge. He wanted to be in touch with the grassroots and here was the way. Dr Mir Umair, who made it to the IAS this year, talks about his journey in an interview with Greater Kashmir correspondent, Faheem Aslam
You have made it to IAS. How do you feel about it?
It is a very special feeling. And I feel great to be a part of this elite service. But the process has just begun. I hope I am able to accomplish the essence of Civil Services. That is to catering to people and their needs and overcoming the logistic difficulties along the way.
How did you think of Civil Services?
You see I always felt that our state was under-represented in the area. People like Muhammad Shafi Pandith and Iqbal Khanday have been my inspiration. I had a privilege of interacting with Mr Khanday personally in 2007. And then one important factor was Mr Ghulam Rasool Sofi, the income tax commissioner. Deep inside my heart, I always felt he has achieved something extraordinary. So that is how it all happened.
What is that one-thing that motivated you to go for IAS?
I was actually amazed. To me it was an absolute paradox. That district Budgam, though being in close proximity with Srinagar, has not reaped different benefits. So I thought I can contribute a lot in this direction. I could see the grievances of my people in the district. I would interact with them. So I always felt that urge to address their problems. And I think IAS is one way to do that.
You sat in the IAS Prelims. You thought you’d make it to Mains?
In my mind, I only thought that I am giving myself a fair chance to appear in the examination, irrespective of the outcome. The thing is that I had made a strategy which spread over 3 years before I actually took the exam. I was of the opinion that I should crack it.
How did you go ahead with it?
I went ahead with it in the last four to five years. It was very expensive to stay in Delhi. I used to work in erratic shifts, sometimes in the morning, and sometimes in the evening. I had coaching classes for one year just to get the feel of what it is like. I must say that I owe a lot to the University of Kashmir. The coaching classes I attended there for two months enlightened me a lot.
Any problems you faced during your journey to IAS?
Yes many. Few of my acquaintances had expressed their reservations that this examination is very uncertain. They said I am already 30. And it is too late to appear in it now. And if I failed, it will be a huge career risk. There were some critics. They proved to be a source of encouragement in a sense that I made it a point to make it to the IAS despite their reservations. I had a point to prove to myself. I was competing with me, myself. Each one of us has our supporters and critics. They motivate you. I had done my MBBS from Mumbai University in 2003. For one year, I was preparing for MD exams in 2004. So I got into the PG programme in 2005. I had to make a choice whether to join it or do something else. I felt I was a good doctor, but my aptitude was more suited toward Civil Services. So it was a tough call to make. Then I got a go-ahead from my father. All along the journey, many of my friends have encouraged me. Ms Seema Sharma from Mumbai was a huge inspiration.
And what were your thoughts before sitting in the interview?
I had a belief in the transparency in the Union Public Service Commission. I thought if I had in me what it takes, I will get there. With all confidence I sat in the interview. And the Board of interviewers was very cordial to me.
Can you share with us some of the questions they asked you?
The first question I had to face was: You have come from district Budgam, what is the biggest challenge on ground in the Valley? I said the issue is largely axiomatic, economic reservations hold the key because the state is not primarily industrial and difficult terrains add to the problem and there are some inherent and logistic difficulties that are specific to the state. They also asked me like what brought me to the IAS. 90 percent of my interview revolved around Kashmir; my profession, the medical science. They asked me in medical science, how I can contribute to the medical problems specific to the sate.
You have been a successful cricketer. Did that exposure helped you in your IAS?
Earlier I thought I will give it a free hand. Let me try my luck in cricket. In Mumbai there were many opportunities. I took a break of couple of years from medicine. It was difficult to mange both. I got an opportunity to travel to England to represent my club. But after two years, I thought it is not happening the way I want for some reasons. So let me just get back to medicine. I did a fair bit of travelling in England and Europe that time. That exposure certainly enlightened me.
Whom do you give credit for you ultimate success?
It goes to my parents, my brother, Ms Seema Sharma, and all my friends and teachers who have supported me from time to time. They always stood by me.
Your message for the youth of Jammu and Kashmir?
For youth, I can stress on certain things. I will re-emphasize that perseverance is the matter of hanging in when others give up. And we have miles to go before we sleep. And then within your-self there must be a fundamental discontent. You need two things: you must have that hunger for success, and the desperation to achieve it. It is as if, your life won’t be complete until you succeed. That fundamental discontent has to be there.
What would be your suggestions to future IAS aspirants?
My suggestion would be that they must believe in themselves. Impossible is nothing. I would recommend them that we have an excellent faculty in the University of Kashmir. They can provide that link that is needed. Students must consult the teachers there who have come from different reputable universities to guide the IAS aspirants. There was an excellent faculty from Delhi, Jamia Millia etc who were engaged in the Coaching. That broadened my vision.
Why did you choose Geography and Psychology?
Every thing in the world is spread out in time and space. Geography deals with space. And if I can take care of the space factor, everything will fall in line. And a board member asked me why I opted for Psychology; I said human behaviour is interesting and enigmatic. It is an opportunity for me where I can widen my horizons.
How do you plan to proceed now?
I pray to Allah that I accomplish the goals that ought to be in the essence of civil service. That is to touch the life of the masses at the grassroots level.
Lastupdate on : Tue, 11 May 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 11 May 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 12 May 2010 00:00:00 IST
- MORE FROM OP-ED
Governing body meets today; OPD tickets, tests may become expensive
Srinagar, May 11: The management of SK Institute of Medical Sciences Soura is contemplating to increase the retirement age of its faculty members from 60 to 65 years, the proposal in this regard More
- Srinagar City
Police failure coupled with shortage of workforce and ‘half-baked’ road widening projects put thousands to inconvenience amid gridlocks, wrong parking and ‘snail’s pace’ of buses
Srinagar, May 11: A day after the Director General of Police, Kuldeep Khoda asked the authorities to “strictly ensure smooth flow of traffic”, the police Tuesday failed to regulate traffic putting More
GK NEWS NETWORK
Poonch, May 11: A couple arrested near Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch district last evening was sent to 7-days police remand on Tuesday. Muhammad Ashraf son of Ghulam Muhammad of Budgam district More
- South Asia
‘Judicial crises to end soon’
NISAR AHMED THOKAR
Islamabad, May 11: The Pakistan Administered Kashmir Prime Minister, Raja Farooq Haider Khan today said the state-run Television was involved in the “vilifying” campaign against him adding he would lodge More
- GK Business
Experts call for transforming education system to churn out entrepreneurs
Srinagar, May 11: Expressing concern over huge unemployment in the state, experts Tuesday emphasized the need for transforming the education system to produce more and more entrepreneurs. Speaking More