Shahid Raza Khan with students from his madrasa in Bihar
Shahid Raza Khan with students from his madrasa in Kerala | By special arrangement
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New Delhi: A madrasa graduate from Bihar and a student of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Shahid Raza Khan, cracked the civil services examination this year with an all-India rank of 751, which he hopes will get him into elite services such as the IAS, IPS and IFS.

Khan is part of a small but growing tribe of madrasa students to score high in the prestigious UPSC examination, the gateway to Indian bureaucracy.

Khan credits his UPSC success to the time he spent at the madrasa, which, he says, taught him how to memorise and how to remain calm at all stages in life.

“We used to memorise the Quran and other literature in Arabic. It gave me a clear advantage in preparing for the civil services because I could memorise things easily,” Khan told ThePrint over the phone from his hometown in Aminabad, Bihar, where he is celebrating his success with his friends and family members.

The 28-year-old spent seven years preparing for the exam.

His journey began in 2011 when he came to Delhi after completing his studies at the Al Jamiatul Ashrafia, a well-known seminary in Mubarakpur, Uttar Pradesh. Khan completed his graduation and post graduation in Arabic literature from JNU. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Islamic Studies from the university.


Also read30 OBCs who cleared 2017 UPSC exam not given services for ‘hiding their high income’


‘Studying at madrasa was my choice’

While Khan says JNU played a huge role in his success, he believes that going to a madrasa does not mean a person cannot study mainstream subjects or get into mainstream, non-religious careers.

Even as all his other siblings — he has seven brothers and sisters — went to regular schools after Class 10, Khan chose to continue his studies in a madrasa because of his interest in religion.

Khan says his father, who retired from a government job and his mother, a homemaker, encouraged him to pursue his dreams.

“Going to a madrasa to study was my own choice because of my interest in religion. I went to a local madrasa in my village till Class 10 and after that, I continued further education at Mubarakpur,” he said.

“I studied Islamic Studies, Philosophy, Quran and other things at the madrasa. I joined JNU in 2011 for my graduation as I thought that the environment would be conducive to prepare for the civil services examination. I started my preparation in 2012.”

Along with his Arabic Studies course, Khan studied science, mathematics, English and other subjects from the National Council for Education Research and Training (NCERT) school books to prepare for the UPSC exam.

“My time at the madrasa was a lifetime learning experience and something that I wanted to pursue. Teachings that I received there always keep me calm in life and give me a greater purpose,” he added.

With his research on politics on Islam, he wants to challenge the theories of Islam.

“I am working on politics of Islam and things such as jihadism,” Khan said. “Through my research, I want to challenge the existing theories and notions of Islam, the way the religion is viewed.”

As a bureaucrat, he wants to do the best he can for the society.


Also read: UPSC recruitment has fallen 40% since 2014 while govt struggles to fill IAS-IPS vacancies


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20 COMMENTS

  1. Approve of him to teach all madrasa child of modern fairness of gender and transfer right;the need for amending NEWER timely revisions through legislation.and Teach every madarasa graduate to draft secular right to follow muslim and non muslim.HOPE HE KNOW THE IMPLICATIONS.JAI HIND.

  2. Congratulations Mr Khan. Serve the Humanity with all the love and care. And suppress the hate among the humans.

    Allah doesn’t stop and differentiate in feeding the humans based on their faith and so one should follow him in serving the humanity.

    Make this country a better place for humans from all the faith. All the best.

  3. OMG! What will happen to this nation where a madrasa student will be an administrator? Very depressive. What is the use of Arabic language for an administrator? Nobody can change the views of a madrasa educated man. It is useless for the administration and the society. Subjects like Urdu, Arabic, Pharsi, Islamic studies, etc should be scrapped from the civil services.

  4. Even after clearing the UPSC examinations he is attributing his success to learning at the madrassa shows his inclination and mindset. Recent attack on Sri Lanka carried out by billionaire businessman educated in UK and numerous other terrorists belonging to elite class of the society. This indicates a serious and dangerous trend for future world peace.

  5. He says he’s so much interested in religion, but civil service is not a career in which he can explore more into his religious ambitions.
    UPSC demands ‘analysis’ and not ‘rote-learning’. Aspirants, please don’t get mislead. His is an exceptional case it seems

  6. The ThePrint should maintain it’s rationality. JNU and then seven years for preparation does not manifest that Madrasaha education is responsible for his success.

  7. I have never sat for IAS exam.
    But if memorisation of mumbo jumbo rather than analytical mind is a requirement for UPSE then no wonder India is in deep trouble.

  8. One of the commentators says religious education is good to make you a good human being but it does not give you the skill to analyse problems.
    What good such analytical brain is if it does not guaruntee a learner to be a good humane.
    Education means to train to lead to succes.
    A leader has to be a good humane first and the rest is mandatory

  9. Cogratuletions to shahid.proud of ur parents.keep good going.allah bless u.may allah give u strength to manege all the services.
    Abdul

  10. Heartiest congratulations Mr Khan.. I wish people like you should be inspiration to other.. though, path ahead might not be cake walk.. but I am sure, ur determination, values and blessings of your family and friends will give you strength. I wish you luck and wishes. I wish, U give us more reason to congratulate u in future. All the best time forever.

  11. Kuran teaches you to practise blind faith. It does not encourage you to analyse facts before you, but it expects to accept its dictact as God’s final word.

    Without going into matters of faith, we have to acknowledge that today’s knowledge economy jobs, let alone executive roles such as IAS, require careful analysis of facts while often making choices which may not be intuitively obvious.

    Religious education may make you a good person, but may not improve your qualification for jobs where outcomes are far more important and route to success is ambiguous.

  12. Congrats and best wishes to Mr Khan, but he may be an exception rather than the rule.

    Rote learning can never improve analytical skills which are required to do qualitative or quantitative analysis and structured problem solving. Which is what we need.

    Haven’t we heard of hordes of unemployable arts and science graduates who struggle to do simple jobs. If we cannot eliminate rite learning, which is at the heart of Indian education system, we can never progress as a country.

  13. It’s extremely overwhelming that students from madarsas are coming to the elite services an that shows to others that these places are also capable to produce quality students Shahid u’ll be t guding light to others. All the best for all your future endeavors. God bless you

  14. बहुत हे उम्दा खबर।
    चलो सभी मदरसे ।

    प्रिंट के सम्पादक मलिक तथा सभी सदस्यो की अपनी औलदो को मदरसे मे दाखिला करावाके मिसाल पेश करणी चाहिये।

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