Shah Faesal (26), a doctor from Srinagar and son of a school teacher killed by militants, became the first Kashmiri to top the civil services exam. The results were announced on Thursday.
“I have no words to describe my happiness,” Faesal, a 2008 batch graduate of the Jhelum Valley Medical College, said in Delhi on Thursday.
“My achievement has helped break a stereotype about my community,” said Faesal, who cracked the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) exam in his first attempt. “It will be an inspiration and set precedence for the people of Kashmir.”
An RTI activist, a columnist in a Srinagar daily and a doctor, Faesal always wanted to “do something big”, said his mother Mubeena.
“It’s a matter of great honour for the family,” said Mubeena, a teacher, her eyes brimming with tears. She only wished her husband, Ghulam Mohd Shah, were alive to share the family’s joy. Ghulam was killed in 2002.
“I really miss my father at this point in time,” Faesal said.
This was the second violent death in the family. Earlier, Mubeena’s brother, Irshad, had died “in cross-firing”, Mubeena said.
Faesal said he had first-hand experience with insurgency violence, and wanted to “bridge the communication gap between the people of Kashmir and the government”.
Of the 875 candidates who qualified the 2009 civil services exam, 680 are men and 195 women. Prakash Rajpurohit, an engineering graduate from IIT-Delhi, came second. Iva Sahay from JNU, who bagged the third rank, was the first among woman candidates.