MOHAMMAD QASIM was born in a poor family at Ruknuddin Sarai in Sambhal district of Uttar Pradesh. On a handcart, his father used to sell Haleem (a variety of Biryani) at roadside. Qasim used to help his father by washing dishes when he was younger. He completed his primary schooling in an Uttar Pradesh government school and passed 12th from Warsi Junior High School in Ruknuddin Sarai. Later, he joined Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), where he completed BA LLB and then passed LLM from Delhi University. Qasim bagged the and also qualified UGC NET in 2021. Qasim, who has secured the 135th rank in the UP Provincial Civil Service Examination, in an interview with MOHAMMAD NAUSHAD KHAN, said, he would consider everyone equal in the eyes of law, for justice is his first choice and priority. Excerpts:
When you first came to know that you have qualified UP Provincial Civil Services Examination, what was your inner feeling?
The feeling cannot be expressed in words so easily. I was not very sure whether I will qualify or not. I thought if I became successful, I would be able to change my generation; but if I fail, I would be in trouble, again hardship and depression. I used to think I will be back to square one. But when I saw the result, I was literally shivering and was finding hard to believe that I had qualified.
I asked my friend to crosscheck the result whether it is true. It was difficult to believe whether it was me or some other Qasim. I was writing my name for years but even then I was unable to believe that yes it is my name. Even today when I see the result, I match it with my hall ticket to be cent per cent sure about it. Sometimes, I feel that I am dreaming and will wake up. Even today I feel it’s a dream.
How would you like to recall your days of struggle after you have finally qualified UP Provincial Civil Services Examination?
It’s a huge difference. The relief, happiness and mental piece I have received after success cannot be measured in any way. Earlier, I used to be in very deep stress and in state of depression but even then I was able to maintain continuity because it would have pushed me back as compared to others in terms of education. Those days were very bad. It would be better for me if it is erased from my memory very fast. The more you are in stress the greater will be the effect on your education. More stress results in depression, people become hopeless and remain isolated, cut off from the society, unable to face anybody. It was indeed a very difficult phase.
How were you able to manage financial burden?
I used to enjoy whatever I did. I had no problem in any kind of work then and even now. I am in a habit of doing work since childhood. I was never ashamed of doing anything. What I did in my childhood helped me work hard in my education and for my competition. I feel, for education you need to work less hard as compared to working as a labour because I knew that when I used to wash utensils and pull handcart. I have also worked as a labour when maize corn was to be transported to Delhi and most of the labourers were children who used to separate the maize. I remember blood used to come out from my hand and I used to put clothes on it and start working again. The hand which should hold a pen was holding instruments of labour. All these motivated me to work hard and achieve something. I enjoyed my hard work and never complained for anything.
What you have to say on support of your family?
Without family support, it was impossible for me to move on. I could see the spark and hope of my success in their eyes. The only thing they kept on repeating is ‘Yes, I will be able to do it’, ‘We will make him do it.’ Every time they used to talk of my education and career. When I moved to Aligarh for my study, the only topic in my family discussion was: yes, he will be able to make it; he will qualify; we will do so and so after he is successful. I received all kinds of support be it financial support, mental and emotional support from my all members of my family. My parents were my biggest strength. My brother, sister all supported me and encouraged me. My father is now 70 years old; he worked very hard to see me qualifying and now he is the happiest man.
What were the challenges you faced during education?
I was from Hindi medium background, studied in a government school. I kept on working hard and shifted to English medium after working hard for two years. As I had bagged the All India Rank 1 in the LLM Entrance Exam in 2019, I was allotted the prestigious Jubilee Hall where only first rank holders from any stream were allowed to live. I improved my English there. I got appointment as Assistant Professor at two places – one in a university in Panipat and the other in Integral University, Lucknow. But then, I qualified and was undergoing training and after my training will join High Court of Uttar Pradesh.
What would you like to say to students who are now preparing for judicial services?
They should try to find out their own unique and innovative ways of preparation and competing exams. So that they can continue with their studies, remain motivated and are not distracted from their goal. There can be many more methods individually. But what is common are integrity, honesty, punctuality and perseverance. It is a very neat and clean exam. It is equal for all, rich or poor, and no discrimination. If you work hard, no one can stop you from qualifying it. It requires continuous hard work and smart preparation. Persistence is key, never lose hope and keep your focus on study. If you lose hope, you will be left far behind. Never think of success or failure, keep on trying with strong determination – then only success will be at your doorsteps.
What would you like to achieve finally after becoming judge?
I would like to become a good judicial officer, always standing for justice. Justice should be my priority, to work and act as per the Constitution and whenever I have to deliver justice, the demand of justice should always be before the eyes. I will try to be just to all, no matter what religion, caste or class a person belongs to. To me everyone will be equal in the eyes of law. I will consider myself successful only when I am able to achieve it in letter and spirit.