The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) witnessed a three per cent rise in the number of Muslims candidates who cracked the most competitive exam in the country this year.
The number of Muslims who have cleared the UPSC exams varies from year to year. In 2022, a total of 29 Muslim candidates cleared the exam, which is about 3 per cent of the total number of successful candidates. This is a slight increase from the previous year when 25 Muslim candidates cleared the exam. Muslim candidates have been doing well in the prestigious exams since 2016. Prior to that, they constituted only 2.5 per cent of the total successful candidates.
Sources in the Minority Affairs Ministry said that there has been a “progressive improvement in the performance of Muslim candidates in the last four years.”
A member of the minority affairs described it as “a big feat because the number used to remain around 2.5 per cent until recently.”
Notably, Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government increased the budget allocation for minority community candidates appearing in the UPSC exam. The budget for providing free and subsidized coaching for minority candidates was raised from Rs 8 crore to Rs 20 crore in the 2019-2020 budget.
This increase in funding was made under the ‘Support for students clearing prelims conducted by UPSC, SSC, State Public Service Commissions etc’ scheme. This budget increase reflects the government’s efforts to support and empower minority candidates in their UPSC exam preparations.
Despite challenges, there are several Muslim candidates who have successfully cleared the UPSC exams and gone on to have successful careers in the Indian government.
These candidates are an inspiration to other Muslims, and they show that it is possible to overcome challenges and achieve success. The increase in successful Muslim candidates can be attributed to various factors, including awareness, educational initiatives, and the efforts of aspirants from the Muslim community.
This year 13 candidates from Jammu and 3 candidates from Kashmir have qualified for the prestigious exam.
Shah Faesal’s emergence as a topper marked a watershed in the aspirational story for IAS as local youth idolised him as an icon for his success in the competition which has seen a lot of changes since 1968 when Muhammad Shafi Pandit became the first Kashmiri to join the Indian Administrative Service.
He was followed by Iqbal Khandey in 1978, Khursheed Ahmad Ganai in 1982 and Asghar Samoon in 1993. In 1994, Abdul Gani Mir and Javed Geelani joined the IPS (Indian Police Service).
The role of Abdul Gani Mir, who is at present Inspector General ITBP, is significant in motivating youngsters towards the IAS examination, considering he was Shah Faesal’s mentor and established the Initiative for Competition Promotion (ICP), which helped students to prepare for the exams in 2008.
Athar Aamir-ul-Shafi Khan was the next one to secure a second rank in CSE-2015, to become a household name in Jammu and Kashmir, where he is serving as Commissioner of Srinagar Municipal Corporation and is also the CEO of Smart City Project.
Others like Sehrish Asgar, Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, and Syed Abid Shah make up the pride of the Union Territory signifying that Muslim youth are getting the best opportunities in India depending on their capabilities and talent and their merit is being rewarded.
The example of Waseem Ahmad Bhat from Brahgam, Dooru in Anantnag district in Kashmir Valley is more proof of how hard work is rewarded. He secured seventh all-India rank this year.
This was his second attempt; earlier getting AIR 225 when he qualified for UPSC 2021. Posted as Indian Revenue Services (IRS) officer in Nagpur, Waseem is an engineering graduate from the National Institute of Technology, Srinagar (B Tech).
He is not the only Muslim one from J-K. Naved Ashan Bhat from Sopore (84th rank), Manan Bhat of Soura in Srinagar (231), Mohd Irfan from Thathar Bantalab in Jammu (476), Dr Iram Choudhary from Rajouri (852) are among the 16 candidates who have qualified as well.
Some of the notable Muslim candidates who have cleared the UPSC exams are Safna Nazarudeen, who ranked 45 in the 2019 UPSC exams and Areeba Nomaan, who ranked 109 in the 2021 UPSC exams.
These candidates are just a few examples of the many talented Muslim candidates who have cleared the UPSC exams. They are an inspiration to other Muslims. (ANI)