Not every day do we get to hear pleasant news from the beautiful union territory of Jammu & Kashmir that a woman has made it to the top rolls of IAS officers’ list. Meet Ruveda Salam, hailing from a small district of Kupwara and having successfully cleared the UPSC exams twice.
That’s’ true! Once she was recruited under IPS and the next time she bagged a rank for IAS. She has proudly become the first woman to successfully clear the IPS exam in the year 2013 from the then state of Jammu & Kashmir( It is now declared as a Union Territory by the Government of India).
Dr. Ruveda is an MBBS graduate from Srinagar. She completed her graduation from government medical college, Srinagar. After that she did not seek further specialization into medicine. Instead she ventured into preparing for the civil services exams. She cleared the Kashmir Administrative services exam before taking up UPSC exams.
She credits the greater part of her success to her parents, especially her father. Her father, according to her was the biggest motivational factor in her life amidst the not-so-healthy conditions prevailing in Jammu & Kashmir from a very long time.
He motivated her to dream big of becoming an IAS officer right from her childhood days only. It is truly inspiring to know that she cleared the exam in her very first attempt. All this, when in her state there is violence and mob clashes every other day.
This apart from limited access to study material, no proper coaching centers available for help, very poor internet connectivity etc. After her recruitment to the IPS cadre, she flew to Hyderabad for further induction and training purposes. Later she served as the Assistant Commissioner of Police in the state of Tamil Nadu in Chennai.
The IPS tenure according to her was a very exhaustive one, physically challenging, tough and made for a very challenging career for her.
Though she made it to the top cadre in the very first attempt of civil service exam, she always aimed for more. Hence, again this year she took up the exam and cleared successfully in much higher ranking.
So, she jumped to the IAS cadre this year.
Tenure as IPS officer
For 8 months she served as IPS officer in Chennai. As part of her service as ACP, she performed night patrolling activity for almost three rounds per week. She begins her tasks early in the day, as early as 7 AM by way of reporting to her senior police officials, gathering reports and miscellaneous records from her junior subordinates, handling high level meetings and traffic surveillance.
Everything a man does of her caliber and ranking, she too performs with the same ease and earnestness. A top performer and tedious lady at work, she was approached by many women seeking help and support for their problems.
She was very proactive in guiding them and supporting them morally in her own way. She made sure to handle women issues with a lot of sensitivity and extra care. As part of the youth 20 summit held at the G-20 nations meet, she got the fabulous opportunity to present a paper at Sydney.
Contribution to women empowerment
Apart from her regular work schedules, Dr. Ruveda has been extra ordinarily talented to help other women to achieve great heights in life. This is especially true for girls from her own state, whom she has substantially been a guiding force from before to bring them in the right direction of career awareness.
She has motivated many girls from her own state to take up their career seriously and live a life independently. She has guided many of them to take up training and coaching for IAS exams. During her training in Hyderabad, she conducted many workshops specially meant for women to encourage them and bring them in the right direction to build a prosperous career in the civil services area.
Talking of her journey she stresses on the need to maintain a balance between personal priorities and career calls. Both personal and working life needs a good balance in her opinion.
She talks about the need and privilege of women becoming independent decision makers and encourages them to step out of their comfort zones to achieve something in life. She is a tough task master and explains that women need to venture out into the world to see and experience their lives in totality.
Her favorite pastimes
She is a big fitness freak and jogs everyday to stay fit. She loves poetry, especially those from William Wordsworth and Robert Frost. It is her reading habit that took her to different places and gave her a rich arena of experience. She is an avid traveler and loves to explore new and different kinds of places.
She is good at tasting cuisines from across the country. She is extremely proud of our Indian culture and tries to know different kinds of people and their mindsets.
She loves to see different cross cultural variations in India alone and happily embraces people and their culture wherever she goes without much difficulty. She loves to talk to people from diverse cultural backgrounds and various vocations too.
Exam preparation tips from Dr. Ruveda
Dr. Ruveda is of the strict opinion that candidates shouldn’t be misguided by the myth that certain subjects in the IAS exam are scoring, whereas others are non scoring. Every subject has its own beauty and standing, so none of them should be treated differently.
The interest and perseverance of a candidate is what takes him to the top and not the subject chosen. According to her, General studies is one such paper that has been given more importance in recent years. So, more importance need to be given to that section.
One good habit that should be inculcated in all children, irrespective of their educational backgrounds is newspaper reading. Every child should be taught to read newspapers in their mother tongue and English right from their childhood as it builds an excellent base for their future.
The best time to begin preparation for the IAS exams in from the time a student enrolls himself for graduation. Patience, perseverance and most importantly, love and dedication for the subject will take candidates certainly to the top scores.
Apart from school studies, a candidate should also look into business news materials, editorials, chronicles, journals, international news reports, keep himself updates with the latest trends in science and technology to stay ahead of the rest in competition.
She took up public administration and sociology as her optional subjects. She spent at least 5 to 6 hours for the subjects in a day apart form general studies preparation. A good basic understanding is essential in every subject that the candidate chooses for preparation.
A lot of content useful for the exam could be researched from the internet. Coaching centers are not necessary for a student who believes himself in himself and his practice. But rigorous training in subjects chosen for the exam, understanding in depth, internet searching for core concepts, newspaper mining for every small detail is quintessential parts of preparation. Apart from this general awareness and good approach to preparation are like the icing on a cake for any candidate.
She has expressed her happiness that nowadays the Kashmiri youth have slowly but steadily increased enrolment in education and career and have joined the mainstream society. They are readily building a career for themselves and their families to rely on them.
She feels that the NCERT syllabus upto the 12th standard apart from equally important reference books like Lakshmikanth’s Indian Polity, Bipin Chandra’s modern India, economic news by Pratiyogita Darpan and lastly Wikipedia are treasure houses of knowledge and must haves for any candidate.
She vows to be successful in all her endeavors and be of immense help to the youth, women in nation building processes. Education according to her is what makes a difference in every life and hence should be the most basic necessity for a human being.
She faced lot of tough questions in the interview on the present scenario in her native state, global warming, field of medicine, women empowerment etc.
Ambition together with tough dreams and the desire to make it come true is what takes a person to the hilt of success. Anybody can climb the ladder of success, but to emerge extraordinary amongst a society that is purely biased and seeped in restrictions is an unbelievable feat.
This has been achieved by Dr. Ruveda and she is a pioneer in her field. A lot of support from her father and later her own ambition to conquer higher levels of success in life created a learning space for her.
She broke age old traditions and emerged out from the shell that probably most other women from her community of her native state stick to. Lastly, the media and the country feel proud of an extraordinary women achiever the country has got and hopes to have many more in her footsteps.