Banihal youth among 7 from JK crack IAS

Srinagar: A young social worker, who took up rehabilitation and relief work for the Muzaffarnagar riot victims, has brought laurels to his hometown Banihal in the mountainous Ramban district by cracking the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) examinations.
Afaq Giri, 26, is among the seven Kashmiris who cracked the IAS examinations, the results of which were announced Thursday. Three Gujjar youths from the state have also qualified the prestigious exams. They are: Owais Ahmad Rana Bajad, son of Zahour Rana, of Kalaban Poonch; Qamar ul Zaman Chowdhary, son of Zaman Chowdhary, of Surankote, Poonch; and Mehtab Ahmed Jagal, of Gursai, Poonch.
Coming from an educated and well-off family, Afaq has done his schooling from Sainik School, Nagrota. He completed his degree in Electronics and Communications from Government College of Engineering and Technology Jammu before moving to Gurgaon, where he worked with Nokia-Siemens as a core planning engineer. He quit his job in 2012 and started preparing for IAS.
Afaq is the oldest among three siblings. His father, Mohammad Yusuf, is a Range Officer in the State Forest Corporation, while his brother Ubaidullah has done diploma in civil engineering. His sister Sundas is doing her BDS from Government Dental College, Jammu.
“After Allah, the credit for my success goes to my mother. I’m sure wherever she is, she must be happy. I’m also happy that I have fulfilled my mother’s much cherished dream. More than me, it was her dream,” a jubilant Afaq told Kashmir Reader.
In November 2012, Afaq’s mother passed away after prolonged illness. Her death left indelible mark on Afaq’s mind, affecting his concentration over studies. However, Afaq soon realized that he has to make his mother’s dream come true.
“I was with my mother at the SKIMS, Srinagar for over a month. Her condition was deteriorating with every passing day. It was then, when I decided to opt for IAS. I knew she might not live to see this day. However, I was determined to turn her dream into reality,” he said.
“Her death shattered me. It was the most difficult time of my life. However, my mother’s love and prayers made it happen,” he adds
An outspoken Afaq has also worked vigorously for the relief and rehabilitation of Muzaffarnagar riot victims. He and his friends from Jamia Millia Islamia started a page on Facebook and managed to raise funds for the victims.
“I’ll do social service for rest of my life, insha’Allah. However, to do it a larger scale, some authority is needed. A person should have something in his hands to take decisions. Alhamdulillah, I’m looking forward to take some decisions for the betterment of people,” he said.
Afaq, who has cracked the IAS in his first attempt, says that his priority will be to work for the welfare of the downtrodden who have been marginalized. He said if he gets a chance to serve his homeland, he will try his best to benefit the common masses.
“There are many issues which need to be corrected. I would also like to work for the district Ramban where the literacy rate in the recent Census was shown 50 percent,” he said.
Commenting on his success story, Afaq says that there is no substitute to hard work. Apart from that, he says, a strategy is something that needs to be made well in advance.
“Hard work and a good strategy is success mantra, I believe,” he adds.