Kashmir has done it yet again. Out of 47 Muslim candidates selected in Civil Services Exams this year, 15 students come from Jammu and Kashmir. The same was the number in 2017. 14 of them were there in the 2016 list. If in last few years, the Muslim list has suddenly jumped, the credit goes mainly to Kashmiris. This is another matter that the Muslim list still remains only one third of what it should have ideally been considering their percentage in the national population.
When about 5 years back I went to Kashmir for a 4 day whirlwind tour delivering 11 talks in Baramulla, Sopore, Sri Nagar and nearby areas, I had noticed a revolutionary intellectual trend there. I found the intellectual level of Kashmiri students much higher than anywhere in the country. In several of my programmes, the participants asked questions specifically related to my theories and concepts and often referred to the comments made in my books and articles. I was frankly pleasantly shocked. In my own way, I tried to instil in them a desire to lead the Indian Muslims from front rather than fighting for a separate country, something which does not appear likely even within decades. When I returned to Delhi and talked to friends about what I noticed, many of them refused to believe. When the results of the UPSC civil services exams came next year, the reality of the intellectual revolution taking place in Kashmir dawned on the whole nation.
About 950 students are selected for Civil Services every year in the country out of a population of 125 crores. This means that 7.6 students are selected per one crore population. The population of J & K is around 1.25 crore and 68 percent of them are Muslims. It means that the population of Kashmiri Muslims is around 85 lakhs. If 15 are selected out of 85 lakhs, their ratio comes to 17.6 per 1 crore. It shows that the ratio of the selection per 1 crore population in Kashmiri Muslims is almost double the national average. This is undoubtedly a wonderful display of mettle, planning and hard work. Kashmir is sending more candidates than the total number of candidates sent by some of the most populous states like UP and MP. This becomes even more admirable considering the fact that Kashmiris have to live in the midst of almost perpetual disturbances recurrently leading to violence. This is no ordinary tribute to the abilities of the Kashmiris. This proves that they are the most brilliant people of the country. I wish they soon came out of the spiral violence and played the role of the intellectual leadership of the country. We must hope that their performance continues to improve and the Muslims of the rest of the country take a cue from them and sooner than later reach where they should be.