One should have conviction and a burning desire inside to achieve anything in life. This has been a good year for women from Jammu and Kashmir. While SehrishAsgar from Kishhtwar district in Jammu ranked 23rd in the Union Public Services Commission examination, Dr Ruveda Salam became the first Muslim woman from the Kashmir valley to pass the UPSC exam. Dr Salam, who hails from the border District of Kupwara, currently works as a manager at the Department of Industries and Commerce in Jammu & Kashmir. Even when she was studying for a medical degree at the Government Medical College, Srinagar, she was determined that she would join the civil services. Thanks to her parents -- her father is a former deputy director general of Doordarshan. This was not the only hurdle she faced in her desire to be a "nation builder." Absence of adequate and timely study material, frequent political disturbances in the valley leading to strikes were other challenges the 27-year-old Dr Salam confronted.
The whole state feels very proud of reaching such a level. There is this sense of turmoil in the valley and the situation does not allow her to pursue such dreams. So being the first woman to get a rank in the UPSC from the Kashmir valley does give her sense of pride. Dr Salam told about her preparation for this that she has not done any coaching. She had already qualified for the state civil services exam without coaching. Then she was on probation for some time. It was not possible for her to move to Delhi or any other metropolitan city to undertake coaching. She prepared for one whole year before preliminary exam, got the right material from Delhi and the Internet also helped her. Besides that, she also took guidance of some senior IAS officers in the state. She carried her study books to office and whenever time permitted did study.
There were different kind of challenges faced by her like strikes in the valley, stone pelting and it is very difficult for her to get newspapers, study material whenever she needs it. Another thing she felt was that because of the disturbances, because of the political nature of the entire dispute you tend to get involved in the political situation. Another challenge is that of being a woman that too Muslim girl is supposed to marry at an early age. But her parents were able to support her. She was able to overcome subjects that would distract her from studies and her parents had always supported her convictions.
Rock band “Pragaash” should also learn lesson from her and there was nothing wrong with women being part of a band. They (the girls who formed Pragaash) were well dressed, within the garb of religious teachings. Sufism is part of the culture of Jammu and Kashmir and they didn't have to let it go. Kashmiri society can allow girls to pursue their dreams without any show of vulgarity or obscenity. This is the age of women empowerment and education is the basic tool which will empower women, make them financially independent and allow them to make the right choices.
The Kashmiri youth have immense potential and talent. They should capitalize the energy in building their carrier instead of indulging in antinational activities like militancy or stone pelting. Kashmiri youth are second to none and should serve the country in whatever capacity they can. Kashmiri people should make efforts to contribute something the nation's development at their own level and in whatever way they can. One must remember that only through small contributions can a big change be experienced at the national level. Hope Kashmiri people particularly youth will work with integrity and more so being a human understand others problems. Face the challenges with honesty, peace, love and dedication.