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"I firmly believed, nobody

could stop me this time", says Sufiyah Faruqui

Friday, June 12, 2015 06:24:16 PM, Aleem Faizee


Sufiyah with her parents

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Urged by her parents to opt for something other than engineering, as they felt it would not suite her, she decided for even harder. “To our surprise, when we urged her to look for something else than engineering, she decided to try for UPSC”, Siraj Faruqui, the proud father of Sufiyah Faruqui, who ranked an imposing 20th rank in the list of 791 candidates recommended by Union Public Services Commission (UPSC) for the plush government jobs, recalled. He paused, laughed for few moments and then continued, “We were in fact puzzled and couldn’t advise her to rethink. But one thing was there in our minds. Owing to the hard work needed to crack the UPSC exams, we thought she would realize the difficulties and would change her mind very soon.” Siraj Faruqui, himself an employee with state civil services, was speaking to from his Bhopal residence.


Sufiyah on her part however was firmly resolute. After early failures, May 4, 2009 was finally her day when Union Public Services Commission (UPSC) announced the results. Ranked 20 in the list of 791 recommended candidates, Sufiyah was not only among the top 100s but also topped the list of 31 Muslims from all across the country who made their way to the coveted civil services.


When requested her for an interview, there was a long queue of media personnel at her Bhopal residence. Yet Sufiyah gracefully accepted our request to share her inspiring, motivating and guiding accounts with Aleem Faizee for the readers. The Excerpts:



History was my favorite subject. Owing to the passion I had for the subject, I developed a very good reading habit and went on to complete my post graduation in Arts with History as the special subject. Afterwards I had a chance to join a local college as a Lecturer but declined because something in me was urging me to opt for even harder. My family background too helped me in deciding the career. Hailing from a well off family with quite a few numbers of bureaucrats had given me a chance to closely monitor their life. There were likes of Indira Mishra, former Chief Secretary Chattisgarh, Late IAS Mrs. Tajurrehman and other lady IAS officers who inspired me a lot. Hence when I was to choose one, it did not take me long to give civil services a try.


Was it an easy decision?

Certainly not! But I had always taken the challenges in my stride. Once decided, I never let lose my confidence and tirelessly worked to achieve my target. In the first attempt I failed. Instead of losing confidence I analysed myself and found my preparation for the coveted exam was not satisfactory. Also, for the guidance I heavily depended on local resources. I found them insufficient. Hence I traveled to Delhi and other places to seek guidance, counseling and even coaching needed to crack the exams. Yet I failed. However I kept on trying and finally succeeded in my fourth and final attempt.


In so many years since 2005 when you persistently worked to achieve your goal despite failures, was there any moment during this tenure when you thought of revoking your decision?

Never! Opting out was never in my wish list. In fact there was a time when after I failed in the third attempt, my parents and other family members were advising me to withdraw. But it was me who persuaded them to keep faith in me. I took special care for my final attempt. So prepared was I for this attempt that even before the declaration of the results I firmly believed, nobody could stop me this time.


And the secret mantra for the belief was?

That I knew my weaknesses was my greatest strength. Moreover cracking UPSC exam is all about time-management, stress handling, your stamina and how effectively you perform in a difficult situation. Academic apart, it is a test to judge if you are emotionally and mentally strong enough to cope with pressure. There was a lesson for me in every failure. I successfully worked on them and the result is for all to see.


Looking at the hard work involved and the tests you listed here, don’t you find it surprising that the girls hold the fort and stand ahead of their male counterparts in the UPSC list?

Physically they might look brittle but the fact is that girls are emotionally stronger, are focused and can handle a difficult situation more effectively.


Apart from your own efforts, to whom you would give credit for the grand success?

My family and the peer group consisting of close friends who firmly stood behind me. Then there are fellow colleagues who along with me were preparing for the UPSC exams. One among them was my senior Pooja Pande who supported me the most. Also, the support I received from Hamdard Delhi and other resource persons in various subjects immensely helped me to reach to this place.


What would you advise to the students who aspire to appear for the UPSC exams in near future?

There are instances of bright, intelligent and capable students failing in the UPSC exams. The reason is lack of proper guidance, family constraints and of course the finance. Hence those who are really interested in civil services and intend to appear for UPSC exams should carefully look at these limitations. Also, they ought to be dedicated, hard working, focused, very sincere and should be prepared to handle the gamble that is associated with UPSC exams. The results are not in one’s favour always. Effectively handling such situations determine one’s strength. Where one stands vis-à-vis these virtues decide weather he or she is capable of civil services or not.


Finally when we asked about her future ambitions, she shrugged off and smiled as if to suggest she now needs a break after years of persistent hardship before she could think on something else.





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