"I've broken the jinx" exulted Shah Faesal. One of the main reasons for this jinx is that Muslims do not appear in sufficient numbers for these examinations. Explaining why, Dr Syed Hamid says: “Apart from the small middle class, most other Muslims live in bastis where the din and dust would never let a student study in equanimity. Segregation has become so acute that I don’t see things changing very soon.”
But not everyone believes there is reason to despair. M. Abubacker Siddique, for one, is a delighted man today. Back in 1994, this HSC alumnus achieved the brilliant feat of securing the 2nd rank in the UPSC examinations, setting a record that has only now been broken by Faesal. The IAS officer, who is now the private secretary to Union home minister P. Chidambaram, says, “Finally someone has broken the record!” Giving a glimpse of the strong bonds that exist between the institute and its alumni, he says, “I still go back to HSC, and I was on a mock board that interviewed Shah Faesal. Faesal and I, we are the absolute evidence to show that the system is fair.”
As Siddique sees it, low recruitment of Muslims into the civil services is a matter of perception: “Any community needs to know that there is a good chance of getting through and doing well. Once you can see that happen, your numbers will start rising.” Creating more Siddiques and Faesals is clearly vital to changing perceptions, and in order to do so, Siddique says, HSC needs to widen the pool. He says that it should actually move away from the rigorous process of putting applicants through tests and introduce a canvassing system to find bright students and motivate them into giving the UPSC exams a shot. In order to do so, Siddique believes, what needs to be stressed is not the power echelons of New Delhi, but the power they will have to change things at the grassroots. “As an IAS officer, no post can give you more satisfaction than that of a district collector. You get to see things as they happen, and you get to intervene. Nothing can match that.”
From an article by Shreevatsa Nivetia on Hamdard Study Circle in Outlook. More than 165 Muslims have made it to Civil services through Hamdard Study Circle.To Read More click here.
Read the success story of Shah Faisal and Mariam Farzhana Sadiq here and here