Bilal Mohiudin Bhat knew from his young age where he wanted to be in his life and today, having passed the civil service examination with rank 10, he feels all that went into pursuing his dream was worth it. He talks to Young Journalist Mansoor Parey.
Why did you decide to appear in the civil service examination?
Bilal: My father worked in state services and I derived all my inspiration from him. This thought developed from school itself.
Why do you think young men like you decide to be a civil servants?
Bilal: Civil services is one of the most distinguished services of our times. It provides you the platform to deliver performance in areas that directly affect public at large. The attracting part is the opportunity to apply skill and intelligence for a social beneficial cause.
Please tell us about your schooling and family background?
Bilal: I studied in Minto Circle Srinagar, and then I graduated from SKUAST Jammu in Veterinary Science. My father worked as a KAS officer. We hail from Handwara. I have three brothers and a sister, all working in government sector. My sister-in-law and my wife are in services. The women in my household have been given equal opportunity to excel in careers. Two of my brothers are doctors and my elder brother is working in Science and Technology Department as Joint director.
Can you describe the feeling once you came to know about your selection?
Bilal: I thanked Almighty Allah for the success. The feeling was amazing and cannot be expressed in words.
What is the atmosphere in your native village and adjacent areas?
Bilal: There has been a lot of effort, sacrifice and an iron behind this success. It was not an individual struggle but my entire family helped and provided the support I needed throughout this long journey. My village folk are extremely happy and I wish more youth from all those areas get into jobs that secure their future.
Cracking KAS, IFS and other top exams and now coveted IAS, are you satisfied with what you have achieved now?
Bilal: Yes I feel I am blessed but I will not stop here… I still have to achieve more and I still have to evolve. The real game begins when actually one starts working in the field and delivers to an optimum level. Academically I will not stop reading. Right now I do not know but definitely there would be newer areas wherein I will learn and grow personally and professionally.
How did your family members contribute to your success?
Bilal: My parents have been my guiding light throughout my career. My siblings and moreover constant support from my wife has been source of strength.
Best advice you have ever received from anyone and what was that?
Bilal: Well, it is not one. But I feel my father has been my alter ego and I derive much of my traits from him. But yes personally, I feel one’s own determination, willpower and sincerity are the real key to success.
When should one ideally start the preparation? And how many hours one should devote to crack this Exam?
Bilal: I would say one year before the prelims would be right. And I feel it is not about number of hours but quality of study that is required. But roughly around 6 to 7 hours are sufficient to crack the exam.
Do you think an average student can crack this exam? Does the place of preparation matter? How did you cope up with the pressure of both family and friends?
Bilal: You have asked a very good question. Yes why not, place does not matter but the source of study material matters definitely. It is always good to be with a study group of like-minded people. I was at work initially and transferred to various districts as DFO but that did not deter my preparation level.
People in Kashmir are obsessed with medicine and engineering. Why did you opt for a different line?
Bilal: Yes we see a major chunk opts for a career in these fields here but this mindset is changing. It all depends on individual. I think I was obsessed with civil services. As I said my family already had doctors I groomed myself to do something different.
What is the difference between self-study and availing coaching from subject experts while preparing for Civil Services? Would you suggest certain books and other study material for preparation to civil services?
Bilal: I feel we need to approach this exam rightly .There is no compulsion on taking coaching. Yes we can collect study material from sources but I feel internet is the best coach today, virtually. I read two national papers, then Bipin Chandra for History , all NCERT textbooks from Class 6th till 12th , economic survey, India year book, Laxmikant for polity and for my subject I read my own material from graduation but I read a lot from internet.
Would you like to join J&K Cadre?
Bilal: Yes, definitely I want to work in JK. It is my home state and I understand the problems of people better and that would help me to deliver effectively.
Thank you Bilal, for sharing your views with our Readers.
*The Interviewer is working Journalist in Kashmir and can be contacted on email@example.com