Srinagar: Ruvaida Salam is scripting history in Kashmir. She’s the only woman of eight successful candidates from the state to have cracked the Indian Administrative Services (IAS) exams this year.
But this is just one the many achievements for Ms Salam. She completed her MBBS degree from Government Medical College in Srinagar and after that also qualified for the Kashmir Administrative Services (KAS) in 2009.
A resident of Kupwara district near the Line of Control (LoC) her achievement is no easy feat. “Even if you’re living in the Srinagar city it becomes difficult, because whenever the situation gets out of hand due to so many unavoidable circumstances, we have to face the ire of the public. There have been strikes, newspapers are unavailable, and study material is not available. There is a psychological effect on you, because you never know what is going to happen next,” she explains. Ms Salam says family support has been the key. “My father encouraged me and never made me feel that I am weak as a woman and I can’t compete equally with boys,” she adds.
“I feel honored. She is the first girl from my community to do so well,” says her father Salamudin Bajad who retired as the deputy director of Doordarshan and brought her to Srinagar to escape the conflict and bombs of their home town.
The man often credited with inspiring many like Ms Salam is senior IPS Officer Abdul Gani Mir.
For the last seven years he along with a group of local officers has been working with boys and girls aspiring to take the IAS exams.
“When I joined this cadre in 2006, I tried to understand why people from this state are not making it to the civil services. I found that the students from this place are not appearing in the exams because they had certain misconceptions” says A G Mir who is now Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir
In a marked change from the previous years, there are more youth from the Kashmir valley opting for government jobs. Ms Salam’s success story is proof of a new generation’s hope is translating into big achievements.