The story of Abid Nazir Chopan, having taken up arms against the government months after clearing a National Defence Academy examination to serve as a military officer in the Indian army, is still being talked about in Kashmir how he went to join the Hizbul Mujahideen.
And on Sunday, against this backdrop, some 1900 young Kashmiris turned up at the lakeside campus of the University of Kashmir to take the NDA exams. It was perhaps for the first time that the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) had held the exam in the Kashmir valley.
“This was my first chance and I did well,” said Muhammad Iqbal, of Handwara who appeared in the test. “Time management was very difficult.” He said that this was first time when examination was held in Kashmir. “Earlier aspirants had to go to Jammu and the other states to appear in examinations.”
Akhter Ayoub, another aspirant from Sopore, said that he was preparing for the NDA test for two years. “To be a commissioned army officer is something I have been yearning for some time,” he said. “This is a challenging job and I love the challenge.” Akhter has studied in a coaching center in New Delhi and mathematics was his optional subject. “I have firm belief that I will crack examination.”
The candidates, who appeared in the examination had passed their 12th standard examination were below the age of 19, a must requirement for the examination. The selection process, according to the aspirants is based on the written Test and later a Service Selection Board interview.
The examination, according to them constitutes of two sections, one revolves around mathematics and the other a General Ability Test. The aspirants who qualify the first round would be called for an interview.
Some months back Umar Fayyaz, a youngster who had become a soldier in the Indian army after having taken the same exams, was shot dead by militants in Shopian for apparently having joined the Indian army. He was first taken from his home by guerrillas and next morning his body was found near a bus depot in the district.