Updated: May 1, 2018 9:31:14 am
Having never had the opportunity to attend a mainstream school, let alone college, after primary school education, T Shahid, a former madrasa teacher from Kerala, has proved that tenacity eventually triumphs. The 28-year-old native of Thiruvallur village, in Kozhikode district, has cracked the UPSC examination in his sixth attempt, ranked 693.
Son of madrasa teacher Abdul Rahman Musaliyar and homemaker Sulekha, Shahid said he was forced to opt for a Muslim religious educational institution, run by an orphanage at Kappad in Kozhikode, at age 10 given financial crisis at home.
After 12 years of religious education and leading a secluded life at the Islamic seminary, Shahid bagged the religious ‘hasni’ degree, a course which equipped him to become a madrasa teacher. While studying for hasni, he completed Class X and Class XII, and finally got a degree in English — all through distance courses.
“From 2010 to 2012, I worked as a madrassa teacher in Kannur for Rs 6,000,” Shahid said.
After the degree in English in 2012, for a brief he worked at the Malayalam daily Chandrika, managed by the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML). And that’s when, Shahid said, his perspective towards life changed — “I started reading about general issues. The 12-year life at the Islamic institute had made my perspective narrow. But working as a journalist made me look at the world outside.”
This was also the time he felt he should try to have a career other than becoming a religious scholar.
Shahid, who had Malayalam literature as optional subject in UPSC, said the coaching classes in Delhi, sponsored by IUML’s students’ wing MSF, helped broaden his mind further. “Those coaching days gave me a lot of exposure, which the madrasa teacher in me never got,’’ he said.
But Shahid has not forgotten his roots. The civil services exam, he said, was a way to tell the society that madrasas are not a breeding ground of terrorism. “There may be stray issues or controversies, but madrasas in Kerala can contribute civil servants also,’’ he said.
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