Kashmir Valley erupts in celebration as news of Faesal topping the Civil Services examination spread

The Kashmir Valley erupted in a spontaneous celebration on Thursday after the news that Shah Faesal, a medical graduate from a remote village in Kupwara, had topped this year's Civil Services Examination.

Faesal's journey to the topmost job in the country was seen as an achievement for the youth managed to crack the prestigious examination despite some recent traumatic experiences.

Seen as recognition of the Kashmiri talent, Faesal is the first Kashmiri Muslim to top the All India Services.

As Faesal was in Delhi, his temporary residence in Srinagar and ancestral home in Sogam village suddenly found themselves thrust in the limelight.

“We never imagined that Faesal would achieve such a thing. The phones have not stopped ringing,” said family friend Abdul Majid Pir.

Faesal's mother Mubeena, a government school teacher, is overwhelmed. After the killing of his father Ghulam Rasool Shah by militants in 2002, the first test Faesal faced was appearing for the Professional Entrance Examination for MBBS.

“He was disturbed, but he went ahead and was selected,” said Mubeena, tears of joy sparkling in her eyes. “I did not put any restrictions on him and whatever he wanted to do, he went ahead and did it,” said the proud mother.

After the death of Faesal's father, a respected teacher in the area, the family, including a sister and a brother, shifted to Srinagar. However, the incident did not affect Faesal's resolve to achieve his goal.

People from all walks of life visited Faesal's home to congratulate his family for a feat that has “made every Kashmiri proud.”

In Sogam, people celebrated by bursting crackers.

“Remarkable feat”

Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said it was a remarkable achievement. “Wherever Kashmiris have worked, they have excelled. I am proud of Faesal, who hails from a remote village. He has worked so hard and made us real proud,” he told The Hindu, adding that Kashmiri talent was unmatched.

The former Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, and People's Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti congratulated Faesal.

In a joint statement issued here on Thursday, the PDP leaders also said that the youth from the remotest Lolab area of the Kupwara district proved his capability by securing the first position in the country. They said Faesal's achievement also proved the intellectual potential of the youth of Jammu and Kashmir and that his success would give inspiration to youth of the State.

Youth National Conference president Qaisar Jamsheed Lone and MLA Lolab Abdul Haque Khan were among others who congratulated Faesal.

After a 16-year gap

The last Kashmiri to have qualified for the IAS was Asghar Hassan Samoon. Faesal has entered the elite services after a gap of 16 years. Two more Kashmiris qualified for the Civil Services this year, while one entered the IPS last year.