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Phenomenon of Shah Faesal: Some lessons

Monday, May 24, 2010 10:56:55 AM, Balraj Puri

Dr. Shah Faisal

(Photo: S. Subramanium/The Hindu)

Shah Faisal, first Kashmiri to top IAS exams: As always the results of Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) examination brings with it another tale of inspiration for the country. This year, Shah Faisal, a Kashmiri doctor ..... Read Full

Kashmiri doctor who tops IAS exam wants to be role model

Shah Faesal is a phenomenon which is unparalleled in recent years in Kashmir. His performance has been hailed from the Governor and the Chief Minister to a layman in Kupwara. Columns after columns have been written on him. His fame has crossed the lofty Pir Panchal. The spontaneous welcome he received at the airport and unending crowd that continued to greet him at his residence for many days without any organisational support would be envy of any popular leader. It has demonstrated the potential of Kashmir youth if given an opportunity.

In a way, he fills, however partially, the vacuum created after the decline in popularity of political parties and their leaders. So much has been written on our new hero that I can hardly add more to it. I would confine my observation to some lessons younger generation may learn from his achievement.

A pertinent point that strikes me is that why Faesal and other of his two colleague from Kashmir and too from Jammu who have been selected in the prestigious Indian Administrative Service happen to be medical graduates. How would medical knowledge help them in their administrative work. Faesal did say that he would be available to any patient in need of medical help. But would not it be at the cost of his primary duty for which he has been selected?

May be medical course helps candidates get more marks than those with social sciences subject. For science paper examiners award marks with mathematical accuracy whereas papers in social sciences are never awarded cent per cent marks. It calls for reform in system of marking. But it is undeniable fact that knowledge of social sciences equips any administrator to do his job better.

I learnt this fact more clearly when I used to visit Academy for training of IAS probationers at Mussoorie for lectures. I always found that my lectures went home more effectively with those with a social science background. I had a similar experience in my lectures to probationers who opted or were allotted to J&K State. I always emphasized the need for knowledge about history of every region and of cultural diversity of the State. Even doctors would do their job better with knowledge of sociological background of their patients.

The least that can be done is to introduce a capsule course in social science for science students and similar course in science subjects for social science students. Total ignorance of one field to the other and vice versa keeps both of them somewhat illiterate. Some time back great intellectual CP Snow had warned against the dangerous consequences of dividing the society in what he called “Two Worlds.” His warning was heeded by most of the western world. We must follow his sane advice before it is too late and our educational institutions produce split personalities.

I must take this opportunity to warn against the craze among our younger generation for following the exact footsteps of Faesal. Nor should parents put undue pressure that might make them paranoid. Moreover while faesal is an excellent source of inspiration, no two persons can be exactly alike. The aptitudes differ.

Amir Khan’s famous film 3 diots brings home this lesson in a telling manner. There is no ideal course of subjects or career for everybody. Each should choose them according to his/her aptitude and talent. A student who fails miserably in one subject may excel in another subject.

There should be provision in every school for aptitude test or vocational guidance by experts and training facilities for completing for various careers. Everybody need not go, nor can afford to go to Delhi as Faesal did for joining coaching institute is certainly a very prestigious career. But many new vistas have also been opened for aspiring educated youth suitable to their aptitude.

His own aptitude does not seen to suit for medical course, if his activities before appearing for IAS tests are any guide. His columns in Greater Kashmir did not require knowledge of medicine. His campaign for Right to Information Act, along with another dedicated worker for the cause Mazaffar Bhat, merely shows his belief that right to information is essential pre-requisite for a democracy. Obviously he did not learn this lesson in the medical college. There is no reason to believe that without medical degree he could not be selected for IAS or do justice to his engagement before this selection. There are many courses, more remunerative and prestigious than IAS. Prospectus and full information about them should be available in every educational institute. Even less remunerative career gives better satisfaction if it suits your aptitude. Lastly I must repeat that I am no less proud than any body else of the signal achievement of Faesal . I believe that he is capable of scaling further height for which I offer my best wishes whatever be their worth. But true lesson from his example for young generation would be to try to excel him and that can best be done by knowing your aptitude and available options.




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