Thiruvananthapuram: Shahid Thiruvallur never had the opportunity to attend a mainstream school and studied at a madrasa, has secured 693rd rank in the UPSC Civil Services Exam 2017. The 28-year-old native of Thiruvallur village, in Kozhikode district, has cracked the UPSC examination in his sixth attempt.
After 12 years of religious education at Qazi Kunhi Hasan Musliyar Islamic Academy at Kappad in Kozhikode district, Shahid bagged the Maulvi title with ‘Hasani’ degree, a course which equipped him to become a madrasa teacher. While studying for Hasani, he completed Class X and Class XII, and finally got a degree in English — all through distance courses.
He started working as a madrassa teacher in Kannur for Rs 6,000 in 2010 and continued for two years. He often used to work on Arabic and English translations to make his living. Later he quit the job to pursue his career as a journalist and joined Chandrika daily, a mouthpiece of Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), where he has been working as a sub-editor for almost two years.
“It is during my tenure with Chandrika that I received deeper knowledge about news in general and developed an improved worldview which prompted me to prepare UPSC exams intensively,” Shahid said to News18 adding that the civil services were always on his mind.
Shahid, who had Malayalam literature as optional subject in UPSC, was studying at the Centre for Coaching and Career Planning at Jamia Millia Islamia University in Delhi. He was also enrolled in the Center for Civil Services Coaching in Maulana Azad National Urdu University in Hyderabad, where he was supported financially by Muslim Students Federation, the student body of IUML.
But Shahid has not forgotten his roots. The civil services exam, he said, was a way to tell the society that madrasas are not a breeding ground of terrorism. “There may be stray issues or controversies, but madrasas in Kerala can contribute civil servants also,’’ Indian Express reported him saying.
A total of 990 candidates — 750 men and 240 women — have been recommended by the commission for appointment to various central government services, UPSC said in a statement. This includes 51 Muslim candidates as well.
The civil services examination is conducted annually in three phases — preliminary, main and personality test or interview — to select officers for Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service and Indian Police Service, among other civil services.