Shahid T from Kerala has been honoured by various associations in UAE for his success despite his poor background. He urges NRI parents and children to think beyond management, medical and engineering courses and try the Indian Civil Service to make a difference in their lives and serve their country, reports Khaleej Times.
ABU DHABI — Shahid T, 29, from the south Indian state of Kerala couldn’t attend regular school due to poverty. Instead, he received his education from a madrassa and cracked India’s Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) civil service exams in his sixth attempt with a rank of 693 in May this year.
Shahid urges NRI parents and children to think beyond management, medical and engineering courses and try the Indian Civil Service to make a difference in their lives and serve their country.
Shahid has been honoured by various associations throughout the UAE this week and he finds it as an opportunity to get across his point to youngsters living abroad.
He noted that if he can succeed despite his poor background and no formal education, then youngsters in the UAE stand a very good chance to succeed in the civil service exams.
“In the UAE, children get the best quality educational facilities. The schools here follow a holistic system of education. Children and youngsters can play a key role in India’s decision making and policy formulations. The youth should dream and prepare for a job like civil service in the same way they do for engineering, medical or management roles. They can bring many fresh ideas and solutions from here to India.
“The exposure children get here is tremendous and India needs such young minds to serve the country. Indian civil service should be on the agenda of children in schools and youngsters working here. If you have an analytical mind, you have an urge to bring about change and serve your country, then civil service is for you.”
Shahid said expats generally only look at only “financially rewarding jobs”. “NRIs make great contributions to the Indian economy through remittances, but don’t get their dues from the federal government because they aren’t part of the policy formation team of civil servants. If more youth from here are part of the Indian civil service, then their problems and issues can also get addressed in the best possible way,” Shahid said.
He noted that civil service exam is the toughest exam in India, but “systematic studying helps”.
Talking about his education, Shahid said: “I have gone through difficult times. I couldn’t continue regular school after Class IV due to a financial crisis at home and joined an Islamic centre run by an orphanage. I did religious studies for the next 12 years. The centre facilitated writing Class X, XII and degree exams through distance education.”
Later, Shahid worked as a journalist for one-and-a-half years in Kozhikode. He also taught in five madrassas. It was during these days that he studied for civil service. He wrote his first UPSC exam at the age of 22.
“Instead of setting a number of daily hours, I used to manage my available spare time in the best possible way and study. Quality, not quantity, matters.”
Shahid had invested six years of his time chasing Indian civil service position. “I got negative marks – below zero – in my first attempt. My first failure was a big blow, but when you have seen so much of hardship, it also prepares you to be mentally strong.
“However, I couldn’t clear the preliminary round of the exams in all my five attempts. I was patient and focused on my end goal. And finally I succeeded in my sixth attempt.”