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Shahla Nigar second in public service exams
By Syed Mohammad Iqbal
Young Shahla Nigar has done the state of Bihar and Indian Muslims proud.
The bespectacled Nigar, with roll number 001579, has stood second in India
in the most prestigious Civil Services Examination-2000, conducted by
Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). The UPSC opens the doors to the
top bureaucratic posts including civil administration, foreign service and
police in the country. The first position has also been bagged by a girl,
Vijay Lakshmi Bidari of Bangalore. Earlier, it was Aamir Subhani of Bihar
who topped in the civil exams a few years ago and now serves his home
state of Bihar as an IAS officer. Soft-spoken Shahla's optional subjects
in the civil examination were political science and sociology.
A confident 26-year-old Shahla has become overnight the role model for all
civil service aspirants. Having made the dreams of her mother and the late
engineer father come true, it is now her wish to work for the welfare of
Bihar, particularly for the women of the state. Her first objective, she
says, would be to work for the empowerment of women and the marginalized
in general, using education as her preferred tool.
Shahla studied at Arrah and Muzaffarpur districts and finally at Indira
Gandhi Girls's High School, Hazaribagh (now in the newly-created Jharkhand
State), from where she passed matriculation in which she stood first among
girls. She continued with her brilliant academic career at the Patna
Women's College from where she did her Intermediate in Arts before moving
to Miranda House, Delhi University for a graduate course.
Shahla topped in Delhi too. She continued with her studies at Hindu
College of the Delhi University from where she completed her MA in
political science. Later, she completed her MPhil, also from the Delhi
University and enrolled for a PhD on ‘Liberalism and Communitarianism’,
which includes a study of the American political theorist John Rawls.
However, even before she could conclude her doctorate, Shahla was selected
for an officer's job in the NABARD, country’s premier agriculture bank.
‘I really had to burn the midnight oil after office,’ Shahla Nigar
says. Besides, the hard work she had put in, she gives credit for her
success to Almighty Allah and to the blessings of her late father, Abdul
Moin Khan, who was an executive engineer in Bihar’s Irrigation
Department, and to her mother. She has a family of three sisters.
‘Whatever be the optionals, what carries one through is hard work and
perseverance’, Shahla says as an advice to those who are planning to
compete in the UPSC. She feels that getting into this service should not
be an end in itself but a means to an end. Even though eight years have
passed since her father died, he still continues to be an inspiration to
her. The other source of inspiration is her mother, who, she says, has
made many sacrifices to educate her and her two sisters. Shahla is
presently sharing joy and happiness with her family members and friends in
Patna, the capital of Laloo's Bihar. q