About three decades ago, a child who had just lost his father was sent to an orphanage by his helpless mother in a hope that fate would treat him better in Mukkom Muslim Orphanage. He belonged to that stratum of the society where a child’s dream takes wings only to be crushed later by the harsh realities of the society. With a poor background, none to mentor and fend for his family life wasn’t a bed of roses for this young man. But, in spite of all the hurdles, today that young man is proudly an IAS officer, currently posted in Nagaland. Yes, an IAS officer who truly deserves to be where he has reached.
The young man known by the name of Muhammad Ali Shihab, is a perfect illustration of this age old proverb which says, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”. He had both financial and family issues to deal with and coming from a lower stratum of society he was thrown with a few other challenges that most of the privileged children of the upper society wouldn’t even have to think of during their education. After his higher secondary, Shihab wanted to study further like most other students, but to support his family he had to take up the job of a peon in Kerala Water Authority but his ambitious mind couldn’t content himself with just being a peon so he enrolled for a Bachelor’s degree in history at a private institution and a few years later joined as an upper primary school teacher in Malappuram.
Even though he was now teaching, his inner self hadn’t yet found peace and he attempted 21 various competitive exams conducted by various Government agencies for various posts. Luck meeting hardwork, Shihab secured 226 rank in the first attempt of the Indian Civil Service Examination, a giant leap for a boy who had started with almost nothing in his life. Even after all these efforts, his basic knowledge of English wasn’t enough to appear for an interview so he took help of a translator. At every step, Shihab was thrown with challenges, but he kept walking undeterred by all.
There’s a lot one can learn from him, he is a true hero in every sense. If you are determined to succeed, your caste, creed, gender or riches doesn’t matter. Shihab had a strong will to study and achieve something in life but he didn’t have the resources. However, being a good student he was supported by a Muslim orphanage in Kerala to continue his studies and when he wanted to prepare for the Civil Service examination, a Delhi based NGO, Zakat Foundation of India came to his rescue and later there was a faculty of civil services training institute who helped him.
Currently he is serving as a Sub-Divisional Officer in Kohima, Nagaland heading newly formed Food Security policy in his district. He advocates proper time-management and disciplined as well as a balanced life as the building blocks for successful life.
Those who want to achieve larger objectives in life, help comes on its own and doors for better opportunities open up. If you are already working hard, work hard some more and fate would surely smile at you. So, instead of slacking down buckle up, strive towards your goal with double enthusiasm and determination. Also, always remember that without failures, hard work and unknown challenges the fruit of success would not taste this sweet.