My mother and my brother are my inspiration: Rehana Bashir
Belonging to Mendhar village in Poonch district, a far-flung area of Jammu Kashmir, she became the first woman IAS qualifier from Mendhar, Poonch. She secured an all-India rank of 187 in a competition of over 10 lakh applicants vying for 1000 posts. Rehana Bashir did her schooling upto Higher Secondary-level from Army schools in Jammu. After qualifying her medical entrance exam, she did her MBBS from SKIMS Soura, Kashmir and pursued her internship from Government Medical College, Jammu. During her internship, Rehana decided to go for civil services. Though she qualified her NEET for post-graduation and PSC exam for the post of a medical officer, she remained firm on her decision of UPSC. Rehana Bashir shares more about herself and her journey with Ajaz Rashid … Excerpts
AR: What was the reason that you left your medical career and opted for civil services?
RB: I was a dedicated medical student and I wanted to be a good doctor but certain situations happened during my medical career where I felt my position is limited. For example, I found so many patients who used to come again and again despite a proper treatment and that thing compelled me to think for a reason. I found there are other reasons for their ill health which includes unhygienic sanitation, food adulteration, substandard drugs and a lot many more reasons. So as a doctor I could not do anything other than prescribing some drugs for them. My limited position in the medical profession forced me to find a bigger authority to make a bigger transformation for common people. By being in administration, I think I can do more for my society. Even my brother, who is already in civil administration, encouraged me. In my legitimate motive for the betterment of society and in the midst of my internship I decided to go for civil services.
AR: Who are the people who have supported you?
RB: Unfortunately, my father passed away when I was just in ninth standard and I remember that he used to ask me to do something big in my studies as well as in my career. After him, my brother and my mother supported me at every step during my education. I do remember that when my father died, it was my mother who nurtured my brother and me. She assured me that she would perform every sacrifice for the sake of our studies and I respect that. Apart from my family, the friends and mentors in my medical fraternity played a great role in achieving my goal.
AR: What did you study to crack the civil services?
RB: My brother is my inspiration and like him, I did not go for any coaching or extraordinary studies and I followed his guidance and used the internet material. I don’t say coaching doesn’t play a good role but we had limited financial support and after my father’s death, it was my mother who had to manage all. So I didn’t want to put more pressure on her pocket and decided to go for self-studies. I used to surf the internet for study material and guidelines set by my brother.
AR: You belong to a Gujjar community and it is rare that any girl from your community in J&K cracks the UPSC exams. Is it so? How do you feel?
RB: Yes, it is true. I am the first women from my region (Poonch) and my community who has qualified the UPSC exam. I am not aware but if I am correct, Ruvaida Salaam also belongs to ST category. I am very happy. I always wanted to do something for the welfare of my region. I want to serve my people. Though whenever a candidate cracks the civil services exam, he or she has to keep in mind that they have to serve anywhere in the state or the country but definitely it remains somewhere in mind to serve their native village, town or state. That is what I have in the back of my mind that I want to do something for my place because the people there are facing a lot of hardships like communication problems, bad road connectivity, poor healthcare, and lack of educational infrastructure. No doubt the administration is working for the welfare of the people in the state but I too want to play my part and contribute for my native society.
AR: What are the tips you would want to share with the civil service aspirants?
RB: We should remember that competition is high and many times an aspirant cannot make it even after qualifying the mains. So we should keep our mind stress-free, should not lose hope and remain focused. The stress out of failure usually cut off us from our family, friends and relatives. But I would like to say that all these relations are our stress busters. We should not get cut off from our relations as they are always helpful. We should remain focused on our goal and keep trying and do whatever you have set for your life. Secondly, we should not challenge our body. If we get tired during studies, then take rest because the body also needs rest and it is not the only body that gets tired but the brain also needs some rest. Thirdly, we should remain motivated, study good material and books. Last but not least, I personally feel healthy food really helps.
AR: Now that you are in the administration. What kind of administrator you want to be?
RB: I want to be an administrator who performs her duty well. What is expected of my post and what is expected from me by the society, I want to do that because I have understood that when we fail to perform our duties as a part of the society at any level, we create problems in the society. I have chosen this thing and I have to work hard with integrity, remain dedicated, accountable and responsible.
AR: What do you do when you got a breathing space?
RB: I want to go back to my friends which I could not do during my preparation. I would like to associate with my relatives who I missed most of the occasions. I like to be social and I suggest all people remain connected with their families, relatives, neighbours and friends.