NEW DELHI- Junaid Ahmed, a 27-year-old alumnus of the prestigious Aligarh Muslim University who completed his engineering from Sharda University, came third in the civil services final examination 2018, the results of which were declared on Friday evening.
Ahmed’s choice of subject was geography and he took guidance from the Zakat Foundation, an NGO working for community upliftment. Ahmed has been preparing for the exams since 2013.
“I have seen failure before and today, I am completely overwhelmed. This sense of achievement has come with the burden of responsibility,” Ahmed was quoted by News18 as saying. “And I now have to work for the people and make sure the schemes of the government reach beneficiaries.”
Ahmed’s father is a lawyer and his mother a homemaker. He studied in St Mary’s School in Bijnore district’s Nagina town in Uttar Pradesh. He has two sisters and a younger brother.
“I come from a middle-class background – every parent in India wants their child to become an IAS officer, my parents were no different. I was not so keen, but with time I realised I can do it and then prepared myself for it,” he said.
Ahmed said he would like to work towards ensuring that more people from his community appear for the exams. “Many Muslims don’t want to sit for these exams, they think the test would be biased against them,” he said. “Most importantly, their socio-economic condition is not good. I would do my best to inspire more of them and keep them motivated to sit for the exams. The only thing that matters is hard work and focus.”
Zafar Mahmood, founder of Zakat Foundation of India, said, “Junaid joined us at later levels of the UPSC – for the mains. His victory is good news for the efforts of community members – who laboured 10 years ago to make Muslims sit for the exams.”
“If we start looking from independence, until 10 years ago the community’s participation was only 2.5%. We made efforts and started getting results over the last two to three years and held civil services orientation programmes, among other things,” he said. “Now, we see a 5% jump in representation. The participation in exams has improved and so has the quality of aspirants.”
Kanishak Kataria, a B.Tech from IIT Bombay, topped the exam, followed by Akshat Jain, an engineering graduate from IIT Guwahati. Srushti Jayant Deshmukh secured the top spot among women. The top 25 candidates comprise 15 men and 10 women.