WITHIN hours of the Civil Services Examination results being published, Shah Faesal had become a celebrity. The telephones in his Delhi and Srinagar homes kept on ringing and he had the media running after him. Surrounded by relatives and admirers, he had a tough time dealing with the situation. He spoke to Frontline amid the chaos. Excerpts from the interview.What difference have the CSE results made?
I am the same, but I think the people around me have changed. I feel more responsible after the reaction of the masses all across India. It is a special feeling, but nothing has really changed for me.
What were your immediate thoughts after the results were declared?
I was overwhelmed that I don't have to do conventional study anymore. Besides, I wanted to call my mother immediately to share all my happiness. She deserved to be the first to know it.
You have been quoted as saying I will bring peace to the Valley...
I was misquoted. I just said that I will enlarge the constituency of peace here. The conflict is too big an issue to be resolved by me.
Why, do you think, there are fewer Muslims coming into the IAS?
The small number of Muslims in the final selection list of the IAS confirms what the Sachar Committee report says. The social, economic and educational backwardness of Muslims in India is unfortunate. Not many Muslims qualify at the mains stage. Every aspirant, irrespective of their community, must work hard; a good education also plays an important role.What is your message for aspiring candidates?
The Union Public Service Commission is, I believe, in search of creativity now. The clich of memorising routine subjects is no more a unique selling point. Above all, we must realise that hard work has no substitute. Not only can we be in the IAS list but we can lead it as well.What are your immediate plans?
I will meet young people in colleges and universities and share my vision with as many youngsters as I can. We will organise conferences and special meetings to capitalise on the success and try to make our capable young people believe that everyone from here can do it. I know students in Kashmir who can top the IAS examinations but who live in a cocoon without exposure, or have not got a chance to prove their mettle. I want the youth to come out of the vicious circle of violence and change perceptions.How did you prepare for the examination?
I just went to Hamdard Study Circle in New Delhi, particularly to use library facilities. Dedication is what helps one to sail through. I prepared in less than a year for the examinations.What was your choice of subjects?
I opted for Public Administration for its relevance in the field of work after the examinations. And Urdu I was in love with the language from the beginning. I got a chance to read beyond my favourites of Allama Iqbal and Faiz Ahmed Faiz.Any marriage plans?It is the last priority.Any dreams to fulfil?
I want to work for downtrodden women and children as a capable administrator. I would love to be Union Cabinet Secretary one day, as wished by Governor N.N. Vohra. It will help to break the common belief that Muslims cannot be given strategic posts in this country. I hope I will get the Jammu and Kashmir cadre now, but then I am ready to serve anywhere in the country.You are a celebrity now...
Nothing lasts for ever. I really fail to understand how celebrities can handle so many people. It is just a routine. It has happened before, and will continue to happen, only the players will be different.