He lost his father at a tender age of two years and had to spend seven years at an orphanage in Srinagar’s Bemina because of acute penury back home in Doda, but his grit and hard work eventually paid him rich dividends.
24 year old Gazi Abdullah, who belongs to remote Gundna village in Doda district, has ranked 46th in the open merit list among the 70 qualifiers and fourth in the resident of backward area (RBA) category in the prestigious Kashmir administrative service (KAS) exams, results for which were declared on Tuesday.
“I was born in 1996 and my father Mohammad Abdullah, a private school teacher, died in 1998. He had picked up arms and joined militancy before being killed in an encounter that year. My mother Nagina Begum never divulged it to me but today when I insisted she eventually told me the truth. Probably she kept it a secret to protect me from going astray. Despite being uneducated, she has been the biggest inspiration and strength for me. She emotionally and morally supported me to come this far,” Abdullah said.
Doda region was a hot bed of Pak sponsored terrorism in the 1990s.
Abdullah stated that his mother had no option but to send him to an orphanage since she had no means to raise him at home.
“My mother Nagina Begum is uneducated and works on a meagre honorarium of Rs 2,400 per month as an integrated child development services (ICDS) helper. After I passed class 4th from Rafiq memorial academy in Doda, I was sent to an orphanage in Srinagar where I spent seven years,” he said.
Abdullah recalled the hard times he and his mother had to go through.
“We had nothing to eat. Even today she gets paltry honorarium as an ICDS helper. I was sent to the orphanage called welfare educational institute in Srinagar where I studied till class 12. I was one of the 10 toppers in class 10th in Kashmir division,” said Abdullah.
The young man said that he realized soon that it was his battle to overcome the challenges life had thrown at him.
“After 12th I returned to Doda and started giving private tuitions to meet my expenses. I did my graduation from Doda in life sciences and then my PG in botany from AMU,” he said.
He said he cracked the prestigious KAS exams in his very first attempt.
“I wanted to set an example for others like me. Despite a disturbed past, I never went astray and stayed positive,” he added.
Abdullah, who never took any coaching to crack the KAS exams, said he was immensely helped in his pursuit by second hand books and free educational material available on the internet.