Our IAS craze and unhealthy subsidence

In the run-up to 2019 UPSC (IAS/IPS/IFS) examination are the hundreds of

aspirants from the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Although the selections quantitatively each

year aren’t anywhere near the numbers in other states, yet the state produced impactful toppers and brilliant officers. From the breakthrough success of Dr Shah Faesal to the dashing Athar Amir; the belief of the Kashmiri youth in their latent abilities has cemented. What ensued was no looking back, a series of success stories from the towns, villages. and cities alike, until the last year’s abysmal figures from the region.

Though there have been lesser jubilations in between, but the current fall is jaw-dropping, particularly and has thrown many heads around the tables into discussions and debates about the possible reasons and likely outcomes. What impact would it have on pursuit of cracking the examination that stands out as one of the toughest examinations in the world, is to be seen. Pertinently, what led to the debacle last year can’t be attributed to a single factor, rather a series of mishaps snowballing into a despairing outcome.

The impression that getting into civil services is one of the ways to solve problems of the landlocked state, is in no mood to leave the perceptions of the good chunk of populace. What makes this an apparent reality is the mayhem of maladministration prevailing in all the regions of the state. The political sentiments too find a refuge in the fact that the record of the administrators serving in the state since its accession with the union doesn’t produce expected results when put to test. The state stands next to only Bihar (2005 Survey by Centre for Media Studies, CMS) in rising corruption rank. This has just improved a little to put it at the 5th most corrupt state after Maharashtra (CMS Survey 2017).

What adds to frustration is the fact that Kashmir Administrative Services examinations, particularly the 2016 examinations, have become more of an impediment than an upward ladder. Stretching it for three years now without an end in sight, has had a greater role played in dwindling these numbers. But the tale ends not here!

The untimely resignation of the trend-setter Faesal weighs heavy when looking vis-a-vis the state of affairs in the valley. Coming out with the statements like, “I felt being in a prison in all these ten years of service”, may further dampen the spirits. Would Faesal find better arguments to suffice now for a person who left the services in such a manner becoming a guiding light for others?

Lacking the means and methods in providing a peaceful ambience and breeding atmosphere to the youth in general, and student community in particular, the state

doesn’t let its flowers bloom for the larger good of the society. Channeling the anger on the streets into a useful resource for rebuilding the state is a daunting task ahead for both the mainstream as well as the Hurriyat leadership alike. Moreover, promoting the qualifiers, if any, as youth icons is all too important.

There is a dire need of putting a streak of passion in the direction of reclaiming the space in this esteemed examination. Perseverance, persistence and patience – along with hope, and a lasting belief in both the system and in oneself is the prerequisite. For a Kashmiri aspirant, a must have traits to survive the odds prevailing at the place. Come what may, the opportunities to serve are there and would be grabbed by one or other if not by us. There is no point losing the hope because of the last setback suffered in the numbers.

It is not just any other gatecrashing entrance to secure a job with the central government, but a life changing experience, complemented with the dynamic leadership skill and holistic development of a person. It endows more than it consumes from oneself while journeying through its different phases. Even if one loses its mantle, the gains come around in another form. The chronic gloom has to end today, tomorrow or some other day. To put it in a simplest poetic liner aisi bi koi shaam hai jiski sehr na ho.

Good Luck to all the aspirants from the state, and beyond!

Ahmad Masood is an IAS Aspirant.