Iqbal Hassan Moona, an engineering graduate from SSM College of Engineering and Technology was completely into his studies till semester of his engineering graduation.
Moona, a resident of Sopore, was the topper of his batch in electrical engineering which he completed in 2017.
“I was deeply into my engineering field but the graduation day of B. Tech at SSM College was a turning point for me when I decided to shift my focus to civil services,” said Moona who qualified the KAS exams the result of which was declared by J&K PSC on Tuesday.
“On our graduation day in SSM college, some bureaucrats were invited as guests to felicitate and award the outgoing students. The presence of these bureaucrats on stage changed my mind and I decided to qualify civil service exams,” he said. Moona has secured 35th rank among the qualified candidates.
Moona qualified his KAS exam in his first attempt after completing B.Tech in 2017.
“The notification was issued in 2018 and after appearing in all exams I was figuring in the selection list,” he said.
Despite being focused on civil service exams, Moona joined M.Tech course in Kurukshetra University in 2018.
“I joined my M.Tech course just to have a backup option because my parents wanted me to pursue higher education in case I couldn’t make it to civil service exams. It was just for the satisfaction of my parents otherwise I was completely focused towards KAS exams,” he said.
As per the result notification, a total of 70 candidates have qualified the KAS-2018 exams. These 70 vacant positions were referred to PSC in May 2018.
Around 25000 candidates appeared in preliminary examinations in September 2018 out of which 1750 candidates who were declared successful and 1703 appeared in Mains examination. Around 229 candidates were declared successful after Mains exams out of which 194 appeared in the interview.
Malik Kamila Mushtaq topped the list followed by Mir Dawar Habib at the second position and Diksha Raina at No 3.
Meanwhile, Iqbal Hassan Moona while sharing his journey towards his first successful attempt for KAS exams said he would read Greater Kashmir and The Hindu newspaper to remain abreast with the current happenings during his preparation.
“I would also read other online magazines but after the communication breakdown in J&K in 2019, GK was the only source of information for me,” he said.
He said the support from his parents and friends was a motivational force for him to crack the competitive exams.
Shafiya Maqbool is another engineering graduate from Sopore who qualified the KAS exam in her second attempt. After completing her Bachelors in Engineering from Jammu, she made an unsuccessful attempt for KAS exams in 2016.
“After my first unsuccessful attempt I applied again in 2018 for the second time and have qualified it now. Our preliminary and Mains exam was conducted on time but the interview got delayed as the commission was dissolved in 2019,” she said.
Shafiya has completed her 10+2 in science subjects but she joined the engineering profession as she had opted for mathematics as her additional subject in 10+2 level.
“After class 12th exams, I did not qualify MBBS exams but got selected in Engineering because Mathematics was my 5th subject,” she said.
While pursuing her bachelor’s in engineering, Shafiya developed a passion to crack IAS exams. “For this I went to Delhi to take free coaching from Jamia for two years. I could not make it IAS for some reasons,” she said.
For her, the year coaching from Jamia was a driving force for her to crack the KAS-2018 exams.
“No doubt there was a lack of facilities like the internet in J&K but I think my base was strong because of my coaching I received in Jamia,” she said.
Shafiya attributed her success to the support and cooperation of her parents.
“There was a societal pressure on me because I completed my B.Tech in 2015 and since then I was not doing any job, Few years ago I got a private job but I left that to prepare for civil service exams,” she said, adding that instead of giving explanation to society she preferred to be in isolation and prepare for KAS exams.