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Builder of dreams: mason’s sons clear civil services prelims

By F. Ahmed, IANS,

Ganderbal (Jammu and Kashmir) : Through the nightmare of militancy when his brother was shot down by security forces, a barely-literate mason here laid the foundation of dreams when he ensured good education for his three children. Now his two sons are a step closer to joining the state civil services.

Abdul Khaliq, 52, barely had a formal education. After working as an unskilled labourer for many years, he finally became a mason.

“I make enough money to sustain my wife, two sons and a daughter,” Khaliq, a resident of Manigam village in Ganderbal district, told IANS.

“By Allah’s grace I have been able to somehow educate my children. Both my sons are graduates and my daughter is studying in Class 12,” he said while using his trowel to lay the next brick for the school building he is working on.

Khaliq’s happy surprise came early this month when both his sons passed the preliminary exams for the state civil services. They are now preparing for the main exams.

“I could not believe it. Both have got good percentages and those who know something about these exams tell me they have a fairly good chance to make it to the civil services.

“I have since been praying for their success. It all lies in Allah’s hands, but I shall leave no stone unturned in getting them books and other things they need to prepare for the tough competition even if I have to sell my land,” he said.

During the 1990s, Manigam had been a hotbed of militancy. Khaliq’s brother was a militant who was killed in a shootout with security forces. But now there is a more conscious attempt to integrate with the national mainstream, with many villagers trying to ensure their children are educated.

Over 60,000 aspirants appeared this year for the state civil service preliminary exams and nearly 11,600 passed the first hurdle.

“We have 395 posts to fill and these 11,600 aspirants shall now sit in the main exam to make it to the interview level,” said Khazir Muhammad Wani, a member of the state public service commission.

While Khaliq is approaching senior officers in his district to get tips for his two sons to crack the civil service exams, thousands of other parents like him are also dreaming their children will become bureaucrats and police officers.

“Gone are the days when people would think civil service exams are something the Kashmiris could never make it to. Our children have the motivation and the desire to make it and this means more than half the way has already been covered,” Wani said.

(F. Ahmed can be contacted at [email protected])