Hailing from Kashmir and that too from a part of the state that is in the throes of the ongoing separatist upsurge, it was not an easy decision for Zubair Ahmad Itoo to join the Army. But he did, since this is what his heart always aspired for, “to wear a soldier’s uniform and fight for the country”.
A strapping young man, Zubair says, he was always clear about his goal in life. “I always wanted to be a soldier. And this is why I preferred Services Selection Board examination over other entrance tests,” he told Narada News. “And by God’s grace, I succeeded. My dream has come true”.
Zubair secured the fourth position in the examination and after training at Officer’s Training Academy in Chennai, will take over as the Commissioned Officer in the Army.
He is a resident of village Krangsu in Anantnag district, one of the most affected areas in the current unrest. His father Gulzar Ahad Itoo is a fourth class employee in J&K’s Agriculture Department and always prioritised the education of his children.
Before he passed the SSB, Zubair was in New Delhi for five years pursuing his BTech. “I have rarely been in Kashmir in these years. I only visited during vacations,” he says adding it was during this time he made up his mind to join the Army. “I started preparing for the examination with dedication, always dreaming if I would make it”.
Zubair now feels all the “pride” of having cracked the examination and would like to “serve the country”.
Like the rest of Kashmir, Krangsu has also been up in revolt. “Several persons have been arrested in our village for indulging in protests,” Zubair’s brother Haris Gulzar Itoo told Narada News.
But, Haris said, his family was safe and nobody had tried to harass them. “The government had offered us security but we refused to take it. It is our village, our people and we fear nobody here,” he said.
Zubair was at his home for a better part of the ongoing unrest after taking his SSB examination in June. However, soon after the result was announced recently, he shifted to 15 Corps headquarters at Badamibagh in Srinagar. And now he has gone to Chennai for further training.
“I am proud I have done something different in the prevailing troubled situation,” he said. “My success shows a way to the youth. And I hope they will take it”.
His message to Kashmiri youth is that the street protests would yield nothing. “If anything would, it is studies,” he said. ‘I urge all of them to pursue education and work for the country”.
Though earlier another Muslim youth from the state Nabeel Ahmad Wani topped the BSF Assistant Commandant’s exam, he is from Udhampur in Jammu province which has been unaffected by the turmoil in Kashmir Valley with Zubair’s area as its hub.