I want to share with you a poem.
Brother Muniruddin Sheriff introduced me to the spirit of THIS poem.
Who wrote it? When it was written? I don't know. But it has been my favourite for the past two decades. I can recite it by heart.
It is a wonderful poem. It may not be brilliant than Allama Iqbal's fiery, inspiring poems. But still I like it. As I said I heard it from Muniruddin Sheriff. You would love his voice. It smacks lots of confidence and never say die attitude. In those days SIO's zonal office functioned in peiamet's kattur sadayappan street's office. Oh..! those were the most romantic, hectic, hilarious days. The story of those days could be told some other time.
Now back to the poem. Come on recite with me. You would love the spirit.
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,I have been reciting this poem off and on for the past twenty years. I have always loved to share this with my friends. Seldom I have come across persons who are not quitters.
When the road you are trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
When you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.
Life's race is full of twists and turns,
As everyone of us finally learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won, had he stuck it out,
Don't give up, though the pace seems slow
You may succeed if you give it a go.
Success is failure, turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt.
You can never tell how the race will end,
A victory may lie just around the next bend.
So stay the course when you're hardest hit;
It's when things seem worse that you must not quit.
But last fortnight I met a terrific personality who personifies this poem. When I first met her and conversed with her the lines of this poem kept on hovering over my mind. She is Mariyam Farzhana Shadiq. Her father is Muhammad Sadiq. Her mother is Fathima Sadiq. Her brother is Muhammad Hussain Sadiq. What has Mariyam achieved? She stands tall among the winners of the UPSC exam this year. She has got 30th rank among the 734 winners. Out of 734, twenty seven brothers and sisters were Muslims. Mariyam is the first among Muslims.
The success story of Mariyam starts from a trip she made to Yezhilagam - the collector's office in Chennai.
It was a trip she made some fifteen years back. She accompanied her father, who went there for some work.
It was her maiden visit to any Government Office. She was just twelve years old and was studying in seventh standard in the famous church park convent. She was simply bowled over by the charm generated by the district collector. The way he generated awe among the staff there, the sudden change in the office atmosphere upon his arrival, the expectations twinkling in the eyes of the waiting public, the glow in the face of a waiting widow with a petition clutched tightly in her hand - every thing made a lasting impact in her.
That was the day when she resolved to become a collector. Whether she was in school or chatting with friends the scenes from the Govt office kept on replaying in her mind.
She kept this desire alive. She lived with this desire. She modified herself. She vowed to accomplish her goal: நான் கலெக்டர் ஆவேன்
To say it in her words என்ன ஆக வேண்டும் என யோசிப்பதற்குள் it was decided!
This dream became her sole purpose of her life. She worked hard to realise this dream. She discarded going to movies..! Infact for the past fifteen years she has not seen a single movie. She worked hard and passed the higher secondary exams with flying colours. She got admitted to Stella Mary's College and passed the BCom with first class. She joined MCom in SIET college and passed with distinction. Then she left to Delhi to join vajiram ravi coaching institute for IAS aspirants there. She cleared the preliminary exams but failed in Mains. She didn't lose heart.
Pressure was there. The relatives were giving suggestions. Alliance options were piling up. But she didn't budge. She vowed to continue her struggle. Her father was on her side giving her support and motivating her.
She returned to Chennai and joined the Jai Ganesh Coaching Academy for IAS aspirants there. She worked indefatigably. Now she cleared both preliminary and mains, but failed in interview. She didn't let it go. She didn't quit. She didn't lose her heart. She worked hard with renewed vigour. She kept herself saying :"Winners never quit; Quitters never win. And I want to be a winner"
Ultimately this year she tasted success! She got 30th rank!
When asked about the secret of her success, Mariyam simply said : 'All praise be to Allah" Her father echoes the spirit. It is simply heartening.
And above all, here is a good news which will make you exhilarate with joy. Mariyam had embraced Islam some years before. Her father, mother and brother too have embraced Islam. Alhumdulillah!
And also read : There is no full stop in India!