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L.Srikumar Pai
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Srinagar,  (IANS) A Kashmiri doctor who has made history by topping the coveted Indian civil services exam Thursday pledged to be a role model for the young from troubled Jammu and Kashmir.

Shah Faesal, 27, says he owes his success to his well-knit middle class family from Kupwara -- his 47-year-old mother Mubeenaji, a younger brother and a young sister -- and to divine blessings.

Talking to IANS on telephone from New Delhi, Faisal said: 'I am humbled. I had faith in my hard work, Allah's grace and the blessings of my family.

'My mother, brother and sister equally share the honour as they supported me like a rock when I decided to sit for the most coveted exams in the country.'

Faesal cleared the examination in his very first attempt. 'I am very happy and want to serve the people of the country. I want to set an example by providing corruption-free administration to the people.'

It has been no easy accomplishment for this young man, who was born in far-off Sogam village in the north Kashmir district of Kupwara, around 120 km from Srinagar.

Born in 1983, when Jammu and Kashmir was a tranquil place, the boy did his schooling till the 10th class in a village government school, with all its demerits.

But he was focussed. That helped him top the MBBS exams from the Jhelum Valley Medical College in Srinagar, where he also served as an intern.

For one committed to integrity, Faesal was a Right To Information activist in his college days.

Then tragedy struck. His father, Ghulam Rasool Shah, was a sincere school teacher. Unknown gunmen shot him dead in 2002.

After the tragedy, the distraught family shifted to Srinagar and lived in Gul Bahar colony in uptown city area.

By then, Jammu and Kashmir was in turmoil, the separatist war leaving a trail of death and destruction and pushing bright minds to seek sanctuary in other Indian cities.

Faesal moved to the Jamia Milia Islamia, Delhi's third university, for coaching after passing the preliminary civil service examination.

As a doctor he says he is in a noble profession. 'But my people need me as a civil servant. I want to be a role model for Kashmiri youth.'

His mother is overjoyed.

'I cannot fully express my joy though I knew Faesal had the capability to do it. It is entirely Allah's grace,' said Mubeenaji.

'You will be amazed to know that Faesal wanted to join the IPS (Indian Police Service), but now he will be joining the IAS (Indian Administrative Service)', she said.

Said younger brother Shah Nawaz, who passed the MBBS exam from a college outside Jammu and Kashmir: 'We knew he would make it. All of us had complete faith in his passion.'

Faesal's younger sister, Tilat, is a teacher in a government school in Kupwara district.

When the results were announced Thursday, the Kashmiri man's dreams had come true.

He came first among 875 candidates - 680 males and 195 females, all of whom will get to join the prestigious Indian Foreign Service, IAS, IPS or any other central service.

Faesal wants to work for Jammu and Kashmir, 'and my people'. As of now, he does not know if he will get to do that.

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