In 2012 Salman Taj Patil cracked the UPSC exam in first attempt and became the first Muslim IPS officer from Solapur. In this candid conversation with Imran Inamdar the 31 year old talks of issues concerning the Muslim community, of the state of education among Muslims and of his own preparation for UPSC a few years ago.
How did you manage to achieve this feat?
I immersed myself into the preparation completely. There was only one aim in my mind and that was to crack UPSC. My parents provided very good emotional support and my father Mr. Jafar Taj always encouraged me saying that ‘you are too energetic and brilliant, you can easily crack UPSC, just focus on your studies and be consistent.’
Who is your role model and Why?
Being a Muslim obviously Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) is my role model. He has showed us the complete way of life. My parents are also firm pillars of support for me. They are always there to guide me.
How to study to appear for UPSC exam?
The preparation starts at school level. Reading news papers, taking part in extracurricular activities, essay writing, debate competition play a key role. One needs to be updated about all current events. Critical analysis is also very important and it improves and polishes writing skill. Practice makes a man perfect. Nobody comes to the world with all the knowledge and skills. Effort, positive atmosphere, focus and support of near and dear ones matters most.
Why are Muslim youths far behind in cracking UPSC exam?
This is very important question. In my opinion our educational infrastructure and negative mentality are fully responsible for this. It has been hammered that qualifying this exam is very difficult or nearly impossible for minority community youth. This type of thinking is damaging and we should come out from this depressing thinking. It is a very fair competition. Achievement is a result of hard work only. It’s time to change our direction of thinking. When we focus and work hard Allah also helps us.
How do you feel serving as an IPS officer?
It’s a wonderful experience. In fact working as a police officer is a great social work itself where one gets an opportunity to help the oppressed, put criminal behind bars and provide safety and security to women and children. For this service we are getting salary from the government and will surely get Ajar (reward) from Allah too.
Sachar committee reports reveal tremendous decline of Muslims in India in all walks of life. What are the reasons behind it?
We are ourselves responsible for this backwardness. We don’t follow the path of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) and teachings of Quran which shows the complete way of life. We don’t read, and think over it. ‘Iqra’ which means read was the very first Quranic word to be revealed. How many of us follow the same? Education should be on our top priority specially girls’ education.
During studies what did you do to relieve stress?
I used to study for about 10 to 12 hours a day. That was hectic so I played cricket with friends and took a walk in the park to get myself mentally fresh again. And horse riding is also my hobby.