Exclusive Interview with Dr. Shah Faesal (IAS)
Living by an example prepare SINCERELY, NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE
Inspiration is key to success besides education. The impressive journey of a man from Kupwara leading to officialdom has been remarkable on one hand and source of encouragement for the generation next on the other hand. Dr Shah Faesal’s love for Urdu has made his dream come true when most of the aspirants are still glued to foreign language. Dr SHAH FAESAL described his rock-hard experience with young Journalist MANSOOR PAREY
Q1. How did civil service exam struck in your mind?
DSF: I had heard one can become a DC or SP directly by qualifying this exam and looking at MR A G Mir IPS IG CID, then SSP Anantnag made me realize that is possible for a boy from Kupwara to do it. And I have done my basic schooling from GHSS Sogam and then from Biscoe school Srinagar.
Q2. What was the reason for shifting from medicine to Administration? Can you recall the exact moment when you realized the importance of civil services?
DSF: I didn’t realize the importance of civil services. I realized that we are living in a strange part of the world where civil servants are given more importance than doctors and teachers. My innocence had inspired me to take up medicine and my worldview changed it. I must confess it was not a decision driven by higher ideals of life but rather by the not so higher ideals of the society I lived in.
Q3. What is the reason more candidates from state are taking up civil service now?
DSF: Everything said and done Civil Service as a career option is not that bad. Our salary is not at par with the private sector, there is political pressure, there are chances you might lose it to allurements of the job, lose your anchor and get corrupt. But at the same time there is opportunity to do immense good for the poor and downtrodden. Our youth have realized the importance of good governance and they want to be the participants in this change.
Q4. Would you please comment upon the present status of competition of civil services in this part of the world? What are the concerns of youth in Kashmir?
DSF: In all developed countries role of bureaucracy had declined and society is prizing its technocrats, professors, doctors and scientists. But our irony is that we are yet to reach that level of progress where colonial structures can be decimated overnight. India is a unique case and civil services will continue to be important here for some more time. Kashmiri youth have also realized this and they are now seeking their due place in this steel frame of India. For Kashmiri youth IAS/IPS/IFS mean a stable career, a good social position, opportunity to work at the grassroots level for making a difference.
Q5. Having lot of experience in the field, what would be your message for the civil service aspirants?
DSF: They must keep their expectations low. If you are coming here to contribute and fight out then sky is the limit. But if power and perks excite you then I am not sure you will finish it happy.
Q6. Despite having a strong background in science stream, why did you choose Urdu and Public Administration as your optional subjects?
DSF: My father taught me Persian as a child which made it easy to learn Urdu and his love for Allama Iqbal made me passionate about Urdu poetry and all that this great language signified. Urdu as a subject made all the difference.
Q7. Who was the source of inspiration behind your Success?
DSF: Mr. A G Mir was a great inspiration. He ignited the spark inside me. But it was my father who taught me like no other child has been taught perhaps. He compensated for all that I could have missed due to my origins from a remote village, my education in a roof-less rural-school, disadvantageous background.
Q8. What according to you is the biggest issue facing the youth in Kashmir?
DSF: I think the biggest issue is unemployment. I meet brilliant youngsters who are educated but are sitting home as there are limited opportunities in govt. sector and private sector is yet to take off.
Q9. One of your fan Z Anjum asks you, “Have you written any book till now, or plays and poems. What are they about please give the full details about them? What kind of books do you read?”
DSF: Dear Z Anjum I have not written any book. No, not yet. Yes I want to and I wish I am remembered more as an author one day (smiling) than as a civil servant. Allama Iqbal has influenced me to core. I am a history buff, have written some English poems which are currently under review with the publisher. I have to write a book on Kashmir but at present my job won’t allow me to be sincere with the subject so let’s wait for some time.
Q10. Can you describe the feeling once you came to know about your Selection? What has been your biggest learning?
DSF: It was a great feeling yes. But I have moved on from there since. Focus is now on my work in Bandipora District. Hard work never goes waste.
Q11. What would be your advice to the youngsters appearing for the exam?
DSF: Prepare sincerely. It is not as difficult an exam as it is made to be. J&K students have a natural advantage due to our ease with English language. Give your best and if you don’t make it don’t worry. Something better might be waiting for you.
Q12. You have been writing regularly for local dailies. Did your writings help you anywhere?
DSF: Yes I used to write. It helps a lot. Greater Kashmir and Rising Kashmir are great platforms that young people in Kashmir get to express their views. It motivates.
Q13. Tell us something about Initiative competition Promotion (ICP)
DSF: It is a voluntary initiative a brainchild of A G Mir IPS. Young KAS Officers like Shahnawaz, Owais, Shoiab and a few more of us take free classes on Sundays and also conduct mock tests for the aspirants.
Q14. People tell you (Dr Shah Faisal) and Dr Showket Ahmad Parey open the flood gates for Kashmiri Youth in civil services your reaction?
DSF: Last seven years have witnessed a complete shift in the way our youth looked at Civil Services. I am happy that role models like Syed Abid. Showkat Parray, Mohammad Aijaz has emerged not because they followed me but because their own struggles had successful endings.
Author is working journalist in Kashmir and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org