Education and Careers

A dream come true: madrasa graduate

Mumbai: Throughout my Madrasa life, one dream that I’ve cherished while sleeping on the straw mats, was to clear the Civil Services exams, Hammad Zafar who cracked the coveted exams this year said while talking to media even as his cell continued to receive calls from well-wishers.

Hammad Zafar, one among the 998 recommended for the Civil Services based on the 2012 UPSC exams, had graduated from Jamia Salafiyah of Varanasi in 2001 before completing further education at Jamia Millia Islamia and later at Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Further making his success a model for the students of the Urdu medium schools, Hammad had written his exams in the Urdu language. Not many people are aware that the Civil Services exams can also be written in Urdu.

Hammad belongs to a  poor family of Maunath Bhanjan - a district in east Uttar Pradesh famous for producing renowned Islamic scholars.

Hammad said financially he was not in such a strong position to think for a demanding career like civil services. He said while studying at Madrasa Aaliya, he used to assist his father in weaving - the local trade.

“However, the success of Ansari Shahid Nadvi in civil services encouraged me to try for the exam which is considered as one of the toughest in the country”, he said.

Anasri Shahid Nadvi and Dr. Waseemur Rehman Qasmi are the two other madrasa graduates who cleared the civil services in the last few years.

After basic education at Madrasa Aaliya, Hammad went to Jamia Salafiyah in Varanasi. After graduating in 2001, he went to Jamia Millia Islamia and later to Jawaharlal Nehru University.

“At JNU, I started preparing for civil services exams simultaneously with reading for MA and M.Phil. For professional training in the course, I approached Zakat Foundation and got valuable knowledge. Later, I joined Crescent Academy for further coaching”, he said.

Acknowledging his education in madrasa, he said that they were assets for the country and if properly maintained can contribute more in nation building.

“Unlike the perception, madrasas are valuable assets for the country, and have a lot of talents. Madrasa graduates have the talent to crack not only the civil services exams but any competitive exam”, he said.

He suggested formation of a board of national universities to approve a syllabus for the Indian madrasas keeping intact their existing form.

“Changing the syllabus of the madrasas will destroy the actual purpose of these Islamic seminaries. What we need is to introduce modern subjects in the madrasas and a syllabus approved by national universities so that madrasa graduates can take admission for further education”, he said.

Sharing the concern that representation of Muslims in the civil services is not proportionate to their population, he said, “Numbers of Muslims in the civil services can be increased if more and more people appear for the exams. For that we need mobilization at grassroots”, he said.

He also said that the foundation of the country is very strong though there may be some people who are corrupt and incompetent.

“Good and bad people are everywhere. But the fact is that India has more people who are good. This is why the country is progressing so fast. The onus of improving the system is not just on civil servants. Its the responsibility of the entire society”, he said.

Ather Shazan,