Aligarh: It was a day of fireworks at New Delhi's Mukherjee Nagar-based Zakat Foundation - an organization devoted to increasing the number of civil servants in India, whose 17 candidates made to the final list of civil services examination on Tuesday. The organization, which selects candidates for coaching after an exam conducted at centres situated in areas of concentration of Muslim population, had coached a total of 35 candidates. Significantly, 16 of its students had also cleared the prestigious exam even last year.
The candidates who cleared the exam this year include Farha Husain from Rajasthan, Mohd Arshad from Jharkhand, Ansar Ahmad Shaikh from Maharashtra, Minhajuddin Nizami, Ashar Ahmad, Arish Bilal from Uttar Pradesh, Anna Sosa Thomas, Benson Samuel, Dr Ibson Shah and Ashif Anakarth from Kerala, Asim Anwer from Karnataka, Syed Junaid Adil, Dr Bashit Qayoom, Dr Bilalwal Shafeeq Chowdhury, Shakil Ahmad Ghani, and Deeba Farhat from Jammu and Kashmir and Hussain Mehedi Rahman from West Bengal.
The organistaion's founder, Zafar Mahmood, who was in Aligarh to encourage and inspire AMU students to prepare for civil services exam, told TOI, "Political representation of Muslims is very low because constituencies of Muslim majority areas are mostly reserved for SC/ST candidates. The Sachar Committee had asked for referring this anomaly to the Delimitation Commission. Similarly, sufficient number of Muslims are not appearing for civil services exam after a well-directed training. . The effort needs to be made by sincere community leaders and well-wishers."
Explaining the way the foundation picks up talent and nurtures them for the country's top exam, Mahmood, himself a civil servant who took voluntary retirement in 2009, said, "The candidates are taken only after they clear the foundation's in-house exam. The exams are conducted in Kerala, Jammu and Kashmir and in Kolkata keeping the concentration of Muslim population in mind and also the fact that the potential of people in these regions is very good. Then a test is held in Delhi for the Muslim aspirants from the rest of India. After the results are out, good performers are taken in and are provided with residential as well as coaching facilities in New Delhi's Mukherjee Nagar. A monthly report card of each candidate is maintained to track his or her performance."
Since Independence, there have been just four Muslim toppers of civil services exam and one of them, Shah Faesal from Kashmir who topped the exam in 2009, was coached by this foundation.
According to Mahmood, a lack of information and confidence in the system has led to disinterest of Indian Muslims in the civil services exam. "Ever since I joined the services in 1977, I made it a point to visit AMU, Jamia Milia Islamia and other minority institutes to encourage Muslim students for taking the exam. I met students and encouraged them to become part of the policymaking system and governance," he said.
(The Times Of India City / 10 May 2016)---
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