Protests, violence and pallet guns dominated news headlines from the Kashmir Valley since July when Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani was killed by security forces. Amid those clashes, a few youngsters from the region beat the odds and topped various competitive examinations this year. Despite having limited resources, they worked hard and scored good positions in UPSC and defence recruitment examinations.
Athar Aamir Khan
In 2009, Shah Faesal became the first Kashmiri to top the UPSC Civil Services Examination, thereby becoming the poster boy for youngsters from the state aspiring to make it big.
Following his path, this year, seven Kashmiris have cracked the UPSC Civil Services Examination 2015 with Athar Aamir Ul Shafi Khan, a resident of South Kashmir, bagging the second position.
Athar said there is immense potential in the state’s youth and they wish to crack various examinations. “A lot of students come for advice and I tell them that clearing civil services is not difficult. If you are focussed, you can achieve what you aim. Though the exam is not as big a fad as it is in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, you will see there is an interest among the youth,” says this year.
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Nabeel Ahmad Wani
BSF Assistant Commandant’s exam topper, Nabeel Ahmed Wani, said that the youth in J&K is capable of cracking every exam. “About 95 per cent of the youngsters want to serve the nation and it is only handful of them who are on the wrong path,” said he.
Wani hails from Udhampur and has always been a bright student. He did his engineering from Punjab and secured first rank. “Since, I belong to a village, we had limited sources but my mother and father supported me,” he said.
Wani appeared in various exams including the armed forces and BSF. He said that he did not join BSF to earn money but to get the satisfaction of serving the motherland.
Zubair Ahmad Itoo
Zubair Ahmad Itoo’s dreams to become soldier was finally fulfilled when he cleared his Services Selection Board (SSB) examination and got fourth rank this year.
Itoo completed his engineering from the SRM University Delhi. Zubair had cleared the examination from special selection centre (North) and will now join 49-week long officer training at Officers Training Academy in Chennai.
Hailing from Anantnag district — a place that has faced maximum violence and terrorist attacks — Itoo is optimistic about the future and believes that “youth can only achieve something through education”.
Following the training at Chennai Academy, Zubair will join the Indian Army as a Lieutenant.
— with inputs from PTI and ANI