By Robancy A Helen
New Delhi, April 23, 2019: Aspirants to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) examinations need strong determination, hard work and perseverance to succeed, says Sayyed Riyaz Ahmed, a successful candidate from Maharashtra.
Candidates from disadvantaged sections, vulnerable people, and socially vulnerable groups such as historically downtrodden Dalit community (formerly untouchables) can crack the highly competitive exams provided they get sufficient opportunity to study and excel, Ahmed said at function in New Delhi.
He was among 18 who shared their experiences of cracking the UPSC exams the April 20 function to felicitate them by Zakat Foundation of India (ZFI) that coached them.
The UPSC on April 5 announced the results of the Civil Services Examination 2018.
The ZFI is an UPSC coaching center in collaboration with Interfaith Coalition for Peace.
“I failed in grade 12 and made five attempts to clear UPSC exams in 2018 with 261 ranks. Failures are not a stumbling block for those who try harder,” Ahmed told the gathering.
Another successful candidate was Rena Jamil, a married woman with a child from Jharkhand who had prepared for the exams from home through ZFI guidance.
“It gives us the confidence that though the competitive exams are challenging, there is always hope for those who work hard to achieve the heights,” Jamil, who was placed at 380 in the rank list, told Matters India.
Shahid Ahmad from Uttar Pradesh who was ranked 475 came from a poor Muslim family in Uttar Pradesh. He did his schooling in Madarasa (Muslim religious school). His success proves that social conditions are not a barrier to become successful.
The ZFI was established in 1997 as a grassroots level organization to train and empower aspirants from minority and socially backward communities to the UPSC exams.
Syed Zafar Mahmood, its president, and his team coach candidates for Civil Service examinations by placing them in reputed coaching centers.
Father Devasagayaraj M Zacharias, national secretary for Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) Office for Dalits and Backward Classes, was one of the invitees for the felicitation.
“The program was motivational and it will give confidence for minority candidates like Dalit Christian students who can crack these high level examinations,” the Catholic priest said.
Last year the CBCI Office for SC/BC signed a Memorandum of Understanding with ZFI.
“We called for the applications from candidates to undergo this training. We promised to support one girl and one boy from Dalit Christian community. Unfortunately no Dalit Christian applied and made avail this opportunity. But we continue to have dialogue with ZFI so that the Dalit Christians UPSC aspirants can be part of the UPSC coaching,” Father Zackarias added.
“We need to motivate our candidates from high school days onwards. The Madurai Jesuits are having Indian Administrative Service clubs in some of the schools run by them. The CBCI Office for SC/BC was supporting coaching of Dalit and Tribal Christians from 1996 to 2011. We have success stories because of our interventions,” he said.
The Dalit Christian students who are discriminated and denied opportunities by society can be also motivated, trained if there is a proper platform for them to face these competitive exams, the CBCI official said.
“The Dalit Christian aspirants should be motivated well and they need intensive training to crack the competitive examinations and should be able to give back to society” said Father Lourduswamy, former executive secretary for SC/ST/BC Commission.
Through the CBCI Office for SC/BC, Father Lourduswamy and his successors—Fathers Philominraj and Cosmon as the national secretaries, sponsored SC/ST Christian students to prepare for the Civil Service Examinations.
From 16 years from 1996 the CBCI Office for SC/BC conducted coaching at Guwahati, Kottayam, Ranchi, Bangalore, and Tiruchirappalli.
In the past, some Tribal Christians became revenue officials and deputy collectors. In Kerala one candidate entered Indian Foreign Service and John Louise from Tamil Nadu became IAS and others have passed other Government Civil Service examinations.