Orphan At 5, He Is A District Collector Now: Inspiring Journey Of An IAS Officer

Orphaned at the age of 5 and worked to support his own studies while in school and college, Nasar IAS's story would beat any other rags-to-riches story.

Orphan At 5, He Is A District Collector Now: Inspiring Journey Of An IAS Officer

B Abdul Nasar IAS, Kollam District Collector, in his office.

New Delhi: 

An order B Abdul Nasar IAS received two weeks ago was the culmination of struggles he had undergone in his life from childhood to this day. The order said, B Abdul Nasar IAS has been appointed as the Collector of Kollam, a district in Southern Kerala. Orphaned at the age of 5 and worked to support his own studies while in school and college, Nasar, a native of Thalasseri in Kerala's Kannur, whose story would beat any other rags-to-riches story.

After the death of his father at the age of 5, Nasar and his five siblings were looking at the bleak future while their mother, 'the biggest supporting system he had in his success' according to Nasar, started working at households to meet the ends.

This was the only thing, according to Nasar, that his mother's strives along with his lone brother, helped him and his siblings to survive for years from extreme poverty.

"Extreme poverty was the reason. Umma (mother) was the sole bread winner. She looked after us all. She was the biggest support system I was blessed to have in my life. If it wasn't for her, I wouldn't be here. She used to motivate me with offers," said an emotional Nasar while talking about his mother who died five years ago.

To orphanages

Kerala's community based orphanage system helped Nasar to overcome his troubles of life for almost 13 years. As a five year old, Nasar was sent to Darussalam Orphanage in Thalasseri and completed his matriculation after spending 10 years there.

"This was a change for me from the life back home. But, I used to get bored studies and I ran away from the Orphanage couple of times," he says.

"But, every time that happened, I used to go back to the orphanage, after thinking that mother would be worried about me," he added. 

Where ever he reached, he used to work in hotels, in various roles.


Vatanapally Orphanage where B Abdul Nasar IAS completed his higher secondary education. 

"Hotel jobs were the easy and available job for a 10 year old. I had worked as supplier and cleaner in most hotels I went to," he says.

As a teenager, he travelled across Kerala.

After completing his SSLC (Class 10), he was sent to another reputed orphanage in Thrissur, Vatanapally Orphanage where he completed his Pre-Degree (Class 12).

"I did not like my studies. It was my mother who gave me 'various offers' and kept me hooked to studies," he remembered. 

College days

After Vatanapally Islamia College, he went to Bengaluru to study a job oriented course of Health Inspector Diploma.

Then he joined Government Brennen College, Thalassery in his native place for BA in English Literature. 

"Again, I started working along-side my classes there. I used to give tutions and worked as telephone operator and newspaper boy," he said. 

After graduation, Nasar joined Farook College in Kozhikode and completed his Masters and B.Ed from there.

"I have always been an average student. Except for my Pre-Degree and MSW (which I did after joining Government Service), my performances were below first class. While I was in Vatanapally, I had had a good environment to study and scored marks almost close to the top rank holders," he said.

Life in government service

In 1994, he started his life as a government servant in Kerala Health Department as a health inspector. But, in one year after joining the service, he was called by one of his mentors to join a school in his village where worked as an upper primary teacher for some time.

But soon he returned to the health service.

During this time, Kerala Government announced recruitment to a Kerala State Civil Service Executive (deputy collector) post and he applied.

Civil Service was his dream for long. With the support of his wife MK Ruksana, who was working as a school teacher, he took leave from the service and started preparing for the coveted government job for which the recruitment is conducted under Union Public Service Commission or UPSC


B Abdul Nasar IAS with his family. 

He went to Chennai, Delhi and Aligarh, and engaged in the preparation, but, the times he spent in North India changed his perception about life and its goal, with that he returned to Kerala and started attending an MSW course which he completed in 2002 from Rajagiri College, Ernakulam. His preference at that time changed to social service from Civil Service.

This was the time the state government started the examination process of deputy collectors in State Civil Service which was initially announced in 1990s.

In Civil Services

He attended the prelims examination in 2002 and mains of State Civil Service in 2004. By the time, the number of vacancies was increased and he was among few who were called for the interview. 

In 2006, he was selected for State Civil Service and appointed Deputy Collector. 

In 2015, Nasar was recognised as best Deputy Collector in the state.

Wedded to technology and its implications in public service, Nasar's ideas have been influential and effective in delivery of services in all offices he has been affiliated in the past.

While he was working as state entrance exam commissioner, it was under his tutelage the Kerala government had initiated the efforts to change the exams to online format. 

According to an order issued by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions in October 2017, B Abdul Nasar was elevated to IAS rank against vacancies that had risen between January 1 and December 31, 2015. 

Before joining as Kollam District Collector, B Abdul Nasar IAS was working as Housing Commissioner to Government of Kerala.

He believes the common man is 'the true masters of a civil servant'.

"It is not just a matter of service delivery to the people, but, the services delivered should convince our true masters, the common man," he says. 

About dreams coming true

"It not just about you are dreaming to achieve something but also about your struggles, efforts and prayers including of those who love you can make the things happen as you expect them to happen," Nasar IAS says.

"Parents, mainly mothers - because that's my experience, can create wonders in their children's life," he adds.

Apart from his mother, wife and brother Muhammed Kasim, a former Health Supervisor, he remembers several people who have helped him achieve these career heights; they include late PK Ummer Kutty, former Thalassery Municipal chairman and manager Darussalam Orphanage, late Pookka Abdurahman, an official who was associated with Darussalam Orphanage; Prof Yaseen Ashraf, his teacher and famous media person, CA Haneefa Master, Director, Vatanapally Orphanage Committee; and Dr Prasannabai, a family friend since late 90s.

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