A man who grew up in an orphanage secured the 46th rank in the Jammu and Kashmir Administrative Service.
A resident of the Doda district, Gazi Abdullah lost his father when he was just two years old. He was raised in an orphanage in Kashmir and pursued his post-graduation at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU).
"I credit all my success to my mother who always pushed me to pursue my dreams. Though she was uneducated, she knew the importance of a good education and hard work. We had to overcome many hurdles and I owe all my success to her," Gazi Abdullah told ANI.
Due to their poor financial conditions, Gazi Abdullah's family had sent him to an orphanage for children in Kashmir.
Gazi Abdullah was known to be a consistent hard worker from quite early on. In class 10, he claimed the 10th position across the state and later cracked the AMU entrance exam.
"Living in an orphanage was a mix of different experiences and emotions. I did my best to create opportunities out of hardships. I learned a lot of discipline as we had to wake up early and manage with one cup and one roti in the morning till lunchtime. I am glad I pursued higher education as I was like a caged parrot in the orphanage. College gave me a lot of exposure," he said.
Gazi Abdullah had a lot of work opportunities right after completing his graduation but despite his family being in a financial crunch, he decided to pursue post-graduation since he cleared for several scholarships.
Speaking about his preparation for the KAS exam, Gazi Abdullah said that he focussed on basics like NCERT books and the correct use of the internet.
"I started preparing from the very basic level and relied on NCERT books and later some standard civil service books. Along with this, I used to tutor students at a nearly tribal hostel in the evenings to make ends meet. This was an ''ek teer se teen nishaan'' (one arrow, three targets) situation, as I could earn some money, students got good tuition, and I could be clear about basic concepts in many subjects including history and political science," he said. "I only used the internet to study current affairs. I believe that the internet is like a matchstick. You can either choose to burn your house down or you can light a fire to keep you warm."
Despite financial troubles and seeming hopelessness, Gazi Abdullah kept his eye on his target.
"The burning passion and fire I had in me kept me going and rather than focussing on my problems, I continued to work hard. Even if several people who wrote the exam were richer and were more educated, I knew that I could do this because I believe that I had the talent for this which cannot be bought," he said.
"I believe that people on the grassroots are very disconnected. I think my first initiative will be to reduce the space between interference between governance and the public so that the grievances of the poorest sections of society can reach the ears that can make a change," he concluded.