By Zaidul Haque, TwoCircles.net,
Kolkata: Arshi Hasmat, from Kolkata, has topped the 2014 Judicial Service Examinations of West Bengal, making her only the second Muslim to top the coveted test in recent years. In 2008, Bushra Adil had topped the same examination. Incidentally, on both occasions laurels to the community were brought by women.
The result of 2014 Judicial Service Examinations was declared on December 30, 2014. Of the total 117 selected candidates, 19 (16%) are Muslims, seven of whom are women. Interestingly most of the successful candidates of the community come from poor family background.
Arshi Hasmat stood rank first in West Bengal Judicial Service Examination 2014
Besides Arshi, six other women are Nasrina Parvin Rank-19, Yesmin Ara Khatun Rank-24, Jeba Parvin Rank-33, Nazmus Sahar Rank-86 and Shahina Shams Rank-113.
The topper of this year Arshi Hasmat is from the Hastings locality, on the outer fringe of Muslim dominated Khidderpore area. She has always been a meritorious student and had secured 82.25% in her senior secondary examinations from the Kendriya Vidyalay located in the Fort William Complex, not very far from Hastings. She later graduated in law Jogesh Chowdhury Law College with good marks and is currently completing her LLM at Calcutta University.
Among total seven sisters and one brother, Arshi is the youngest. Interestingly one of her elder sisters has also earlier qualified the same judiciary examination few years ago and is serving as a Judge in the West Bengal Judges Court.
Arshi Hasmat in a program at Bijoy Krishna College, Howrah
She told TCN that as their father Sk Hasmat had passed away while they were still young, their family faced hardships but it did not deter them from completing their education. She says that when she was in class IX, her father had expired, but their mother, Kaniz Fatma, who studied till high school, inspired them to complete their education.
In her personal life, Arshi is religious as well and she dons the scarf in public and prays five times daily. Besides her mother, Holy Quran has been a source of inspiration for her. Stressing on the importance of education, particularly for girls, she says that the first verse of the Holy Quran revealed is “Iqra” (to read).
Arshi says that after clearing the entrance examination as she went for the interview, a male candidate advised her to take off her scarf as this may not reflect well on the interviewing panel and she may be disqualified. She was, however, prepared to face the interview in the dress she was comfortable, she says.
An eloquent orator and budding poet, Arshi says she answered all the questions she was asked confidently that seemed to have impressed the panellist. Although a native speaker of Urdu, Arshi is fluent in Bengali as well, besides Hindi and English.
An excited Arshi is now waiting for the appointment letter as she appeals to Muslim girls to come forward in higher education.
Sk Zafor Ali (in red sweater), Rank 45 in West Bengal Judicial Service Examination 2014, with his parents and elder brother
TCN also spoke to Sk Zafar Ali, now residing at Maheshtala of South 24 Parganasa, who ranked 45. After completing the primary education Zafor studied in Secondary and Senior Secondary in a Hindi Medium school at Khidderpore in Kolkata. He was Law graduate from Hazra Law College and is now studying in first year LLM at Aliah University.
Son of a retired labour of a Jute Mills, Sk Zafor told TCN, “After joining the job as Judge my first attention will be to give real justice. I will try my best to give the justice according to Indian constitution.”
Zafor also said that he wants to start an academy in Kolkata which will be exclusively for Hindi and Urdu Medium as there is very few Urdu medium institutions in the city and the state.