Ruveda Salam is the first woman from Kashmir to crack the UPSC exams – twice!
In 2013, Dr. Ruveda Salam from the remote Farkin village in the border district of Kupwara, made history by becoming the first woman from Kashmir to crack the UPSC exams.
After serving as the Assistant Commissioner of Police in Chennai for a year, she cleared UPSC again in 2015 to fulfil her childhood dream of becoming an IAS officer.
Image source: rediff.com
Living in the Kashmir valley poses its own set of challenges. Political disturbances, strikes, curfews, and local stone pelting incidents are many and frequent. Twenty-seven-year old Ruveda Salam had to face these issues on a day-to-day basis. Despite lack of professional coaching classes, limited access to newspapers and study material, Ruveda worked hard and successfully cleared the UPSC exams, not once but twice.
It was Ruveda’s father who inspired her, giving her the confidence to work towards becoming an IAS officer. Her mother helped by fending off all suggestions of an early marriage, letting Ruveda focus on building the life she wished for herself.
Ruveda began her career in 2009, after getting her medical degree from the Government Medical College in Srinagar. While still an intern, she applied for the J&K Public Service Commission examination. There were 398 posts advertised and Ruveda, with her state rank of 25, secured one of them. She quit medicine and joined the state civil services, working there for two years.
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In 2013, she took the UPSC exams and cracked them to become the first woman from the Kashmir valley to do so. Her initial posting was in the Indian Police Services. She trained in Hyderabad and on completion of the training served as the Assistant Commissioner of Police in Chennai. But this wasn’t the real success she sought. She still had to fulfil her childhood dream of becoming an IAS officer. So, again in 2015, she cleared the UPSC exam for the second time. This time she got a higher rank, which enabled her to join the IAS.
Apart from these career successes, Ruveda works towards inspiring many youngsters, particularly girls.
She has given motivational speeches on many platforms, where she discusses matters such as IPS training, her love for her work, and preparation for the Civil Services examinations. She wishes to see more girls from Kashmir scale new heights, and encourages them to come forward to appear for these exams.
“Being Kashmiris, when we venture outside our state, some people feel we are anti-India. We can change that perception with our attitude. Others feel that we cannot compete; we can change that by proving our mettle. As a Kashmiri girl, it is more difficult as people think we don’t venture out. With the right attitude this can also be overcome,” Ruveda concludes.