Shah Faesal, an MBBS degree holder from Srinagar, aced the highly competitive UPSC Civil Services Exam this year.
Shah beat out competition from over 4 lakh applicants to claim top-spot in his maiden attempt.
So how did he do it? How did he prepare for one of the country's most difficult and most prestigious exams?
What motivated him to take the UPSC exam? And what are his future plans?
In a chat with Getahead readers on June 15 Dr Shah Faesal answered these and other questions related to India's youth.
For those who missed the chat here is the transcript.
Murali asked, Hi Shah,, Congrats on the achievement
Dr Shah Faesal answers, Thank you Murali. I really appreciate this.
krishna asked, how did u prepare for the upsc exams and daily how many hours did u devote for studying them and how many books did u refer to please specify them --KRISHNA MUMBAI
Dr Shah Faesal answers, i believe in studying extensively and studying all kinds of subjects -- be it political science, psychology, philosophy, history etc because it is important to understand the broader picture. Also it is not about how many hours you read but enjoying what you read and study
hi asked, What do you think, Why kashmiris support Pakistanis despite the later bleeding Kashmir with militancy?
Dr Shah Faesal answers, These are the misconceptions about Kashmir that are prevelant outside of the state. the truth is that Kashmiris want a safe space and are not supporting pakistan at all. Why would anyone want to support violence?
Tabrez asked, Why have you gone for a change from medical to civil services?
Dr Shah Faesal answers, I am serving the nation and that is what matters. I am not going to the US and making the big bucks there as a doctor. I am staying right here and serving the people.
Parwej asked, Pleaese could you share me your daily routine?
Dr Shah Faesal answers, i am ordinary gentleman and spend the day like everyone else. There is nothing 'Super' about toppers. we are like every next person. maybe we study a little more than the rest. but i can assure you there is nothing different about me :-)
anjanmajumder asked, hello...thanks....my question is simple sir how to motivate all thetimemfor this mother exam
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Dr Shah Faesal answers, it is about overcoming momentary upsets and failures. you just have to keep going and keep your focus on the target. you have to look beyond the fence... it is all very green beyond there. you just have to cross the fence. the problems and the difficulties should motivate you.
rkk asked, Dear, What message u give to younger generations in Kashmir and India. your preference is Foreign or Administative service and why.?
Dr Shah Faesal answers, message for all youth: please stop being parochial and selfish and start thinking about the entire country. we have to take it to great heights. i am planning to opt for IAS.
tarun asked, Hi, Congratulations for your grand success in Civil Services. I am a software professional, i work from 9:00AM to 6:00 PM. Is it possible for me to crack civil services in first attempt without quiting job? What optionals should i take? I have great interest in Mathematics, but i have heard that it is difficult to score in mathematics. Howmany hours will be sufficient for me to study without taking any coaching?
Dr Shah Faesal answers, if you think you can cover the syllabus in that short a time then i dont think you need to quit. but if you feel you need for a single minded focus then maybe it is good idea to quit your job. it depends on what kind of person you are and how much you know of the subjects
anupam asked, Sir,what was your optional subject?
Dr Shah Faesal answers, public administration and urdu literature
vishaldeep asked, Hi Faisal, I am also from J&K. The education standard of J&K is not upto the national level plus the militancy factor. So how u r able top the IAS otherwise we rarely come to know people from J&K even clearing the IAS/IIT examinations.
Dr Shah Faesal answers, our education standards are quite high. The moment the youth in Kashmir is motivated enough to appear for UPSC, i think a lot more people will clear the exams.
shilpa asked, Congrats sir..... In which part of india you would like to work?
Dr Shah Faesal answers, Anywhere in India. The entire country is my own.
topper asked, what is ur next plan of action?
Dr Shah Faesal answers, going for training
bizz asked, Congratulations on your success in UPSC. In what capacity would you like to serve the country and do you plan to take measures to eradicate extremism and corruption from our society / country?
Dr Shah Faesal answers, talking will do it for us. we have to question dogmas and rise above the petty differences of caste creed religion gender and regionalism. the moment we rise above all this, things will sort themselves out.
JEET asked, how much does brilliancy matters in civil service xams?
Dr Shah Faesal answers, it does matter. it will give you an advantage. because you are competing against four lakh people. there is no place for mediocrity
abbujan asked, What will uou tell your Muslim bothers on this occasion ?
Dr Shah Faesal answers, i believe muslims have not occupied a large space in bureaucracy. now is the time. you have to appear for the exams and make a difference. take charge of your life.
rajmagr asked, Dear sir, I have completed 10+2. what should i do to clear upsc exam?
Dr Shah Faesal answers, focus on your graduation so there is some safety net and something you can fall back upon.
GaneshNadar asked, Would you like to be a doctor or an administrator?
Dr Shah Faesal answers, i will continue being a doctor. but i will keep my IAS post
email@example.com asked, Congrats. My Son is also planning to give UPSC exams. What guidelines can u provide. Thanks
Dr Shah Faesal answers, please encourage your son. and provide him all the support you can
Athar asked, Hi Faisal, First, tons of Congrats.... :) This is Athar Iqbal and I am from Mumbai. I have done my B.tech in Electrical and now I am working with a IT firm, but I aspire to be an IAS. Can you tell me when is the right time to start for preparation, how much time it would take for the same and which subject shall I choose. I love mathematics and physics by the way.
Dr Shah Faesal answers, today is the right time.
prateek asked, Hiii faisal... Babus is blamed for inefficient policies affecting growth of business I have a startup firm and am a young enterpeneur what is your advice to dealing with such constraints for me? You are also young what are your thoughts? should businessmen resort to any means for attaining ends Or they should exhibit moral responsibilities too As most of the businessman are the one forcing babus to take bribe and follow other wrong methods
Dr Shah Faesal answers, once you stop bribing babus, they will not be corrupt. and use RTI to get them on track.
Puneet asked, What role does coaching institutes bring about in the preparation for the IAS exams and what is your
contribution for acheiving this wonderful result.
Dr Shah Faesal answers, very little role. they cannot equip you with creativity. that is what UPSC looks for. may help you in orienting a bit.
yahoodc asked, please mention what are the personal qualities one must aspire to have to have long term success in life and exams like upsc,interview etc...
Dr Shah Faesal answers, confidence and capacity to bear failures/
Chirag asked, Mr. Faisal i am a graduate engineer into IT and right now working for a MNC. This December I'll leaving my job and will be starting to prepare for UPSC will full dedication. At what extend this decision is right for you.
Dr Shah Faesal answers, if you are really serious about it, it might be a good decision
Puneet asked, What questions roam in your mind for the future of Kashmiris living and studing in India. Will everyone aspire to be a topper?
Dr Shah Faesal answers, not everyone needs to get into civil services. all i hope is that they excel in whatever fields they choose. i hope the kashmiri youth is accepted by everyone and are treated as one. i hope people understand the pain and pathos in the state and not look at it as just another tourist spot.
vasant asked, Given a chance to change a system, which area you will like to choose for immediate change.?
Dr Shah Faesal answers, Corruption.
harsha asked, Tips on patience, perseverance? How to cope with failures? Is it true muslims in India love pakistan first? Why is India such a filthy country?
Dr Shah Faesal answers, look at the pain of others. look at other failures around you. your pain is too small to cry over. lets stop suspecting our own people india is not a filthy country. dont look at just the dark spots we have a lot of positive things too
Dr Shah Faesal says, Thank you very much for joining me for this chat on rediff.com. Keep logging