Poverty cannot be an obstacle for achievement. If it was so, I would not have been a KAS officer
Human experience through the ages has established that what a man seeks, he achieves. Courtesy our limited thinking and ambition, we do not even ask for big achievements. We get content with too little in life. Muzaffar Ahmad Malik’s life may have been the same. Coming from a humble background, he had never even thought of being a KAS officer. “I used to believe that such fortunes are not achievable for poor people,” the young KAS officer candidly admits. Fortunately, the inspiration by a friend became his guiding mantra for life. Today, Malik is a proud member of Kashmir Administrative Services (KAS) and is serving as BDO Damhal, Hanjipora, Kulgam.
Simple Expectations From Life
Although there are many stories of individuals of humble background making it to KAS, Muzaffar Ahmad Malik stands apart. Malik was the son of a labourer. His expectations from life were so simple that in his entire village, nobody had ever imagined that someone from their background could make it to Kashmir Administrative Services. Malik’s rise proves that determination and commitment can take a man a long way.
The journey was not easy. Malik’s family was steeped in poverty. They belonged to a downtrodden section of the society. Malik hails from a remote village named Brimer in Uttersoo, Anantnag. The village was in such a backward area that it had no roads or electricity till 2017. His father used to work as a laborer. It was hard for the family to make ends meet. Malik did primary education at Government Middle School, Brimer, and then moved to Government High School Uttersoo. After matriculation, he chose the medical stream and studied at Government Higher Secondary School, Uttersoo. Malik’s maternal uncle was a central government employee. Till Malik was in Class 10, his uncle supported him financially and also emotionally. He constantly motivated Malik to study hard and achieve some good positions in life.
In order to support his family financially, Malik quit school after Class 12 and started working as an accountant with a local contractor. He continued his education as a private student. He completed graduation in Arts from University of Kashmir and did Masters in Sociology from Indira Gandhi National Open University. He continued to give his best to academics, and qualified NET-JRF. He joined a private school as a teacher in his native village. In 2012, Malik was selected as an RET teacher and also as a general line teacher. Malik is the first person in his family to do graduation and then post graduation.
The Journey To KAS
Every year, thousands of youngsters appear for the examinations conducted for Kashmir Administrative Services and hope to become KAS officers. Only a handful make the cut. Malik was among the hopefuls in 2017. He admits that he may never even have thought of appearing for KAS. While he was pursuing Masters in Sociology from IGNOU, his Counselor Dr. Jozy Ara was impressed by his hard work and commitment and urged him to prepare for KAS. “I used to think that KAS is not what a poor man can hope for. But Dr Jozy Ara guided and motivated me. She taught me the scheme of the examination and helped to choose my main and also optional subjects.”
At that time, Dr Ara was serving as Assistant Professor in IGNOU. Later, she too appeared for the same exam and is presently a KAS officer. Following Dr Ara’s advice, Malik started preparing for the civil services. He cleared the exam in his second attempt with 35th rank. In his first attempt, he missed the target by just 11 points. Malik could not afford coaching classes for KAS. He relied on his hard work, passion, and determination to clear the exam. He appeared for a free mock test organized by ICP, and managed all preparation on his own. It is inspiring that among students who pay heavy fee to coaching centers to appear for KAS, Malik qualified the examination in flying colors on his own merit.
The Village Celebrates
Malik is the first KAS officer from his village. The entire village celebrated his success. Everyone is proud of him, and he has become an inspiration for the village youth. “When I was selected for KAS, this was a new term for the villagers. They had never even heard of it.” Malik is grateful to his parents for always supporting him, providing him everything to the best of their abilities and for giving him the freedom to choose his career. Malik has three siblings. His two sisters have completed post-graduation, and the younger one is preparing for NEET. Says Malik, “It was my dream to serve my people. I am happy that as a KAS officer, I shall be able to fulfill my dream.”
Dream Big, Work Hard, Make it Happen
Malik urges that one must always believe in oneself. “Be positive and determined. Dream big, and make use of your abilities to achieve your goals.” Malik says the world is an information superhighway where knowledge is just a click away. Youngsters must make the most of this opportunity. He also urges the youngsters that they must not be afraid of failure. “Do not feel disappointed. Failures are the first steps towards success. They make us strong. Never give up. Keep trying, stay determined, start well and never stop until you succeed. Accept challenges. Cracking the civil services is tough but not impossible,” he advises. Malik adds that the government has provided many schemes for the benefit of the poor. All individuals, especially the youth, must be aware of these schemes to draw their benefit,” he says.