From growing up in an orphanage and working several odd jobs as a child, B Abdul Nasar slowly worked his way up to taste success that he much deserves.

From living in orphanages to becoming IAS the inspiring story of Kollams new Collector
news Human interest Thursday, July 04, 2019 - 13:37

If Kollam Collector B Abdul Nasar could wish for anything, it would be for his late mother to see that her son tasted success after a lifetime of struggle. “By the time I reached somewhere in life, she was not healthy enough to realise that her son was indeed doing very well,” he says. 

At age 5, Nasar lost his father and spent the rest of his childhood in orphanages across Kerala until the age of 17.  If he has tasted success in his career today, it’s because of the huge role his late mother Manjumma played, he says. It was his mother's burning desire to get her children to study well that drove him to ace the game of life.

The 49-year-old moved across districts in Kerala since early childhood, and worked at least six different kinds of jobs. "When my mother was widowed early on, it put a lot of financial stress on her. With six children to feed, she had to take to domestic work to sustain her family. Although she wanted her children beside her, relatives and other folks around us convinced her to send me to an orphanage in my native place, Thalassery, to ease her burden," Nasar said. 

Nasar is delighted about his current posting, but the journey has been nothing short of arduous. 

"I used to sneak out of the orphanage in Thalassery and do odd jobs in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode. I have worked in hotels and shops as a delivery boy and a cleaner. When I was 16, I used to work as a cashier, newspaper distributor, tutor and STD booth operator. I got into it seeing children around me start working at a young age," Nasar recalls. 

After completing his Class 10, he was shifted to the Vatanapally Orphanage in Thrissur. It was in Thrissur Vatanapally Islamia College that he completed his Class 12 exams. Later, after doing a short course in Bengaluru, he went back to his hometown of Thalassery, where he joined the Government Brennen College for BA in English Literature. He then joined Farook College in Kozhikode and completed his Masters and B.Ed from there.

Nasar adds that he was never an exceptional student in school. However, certain role models entered his life at the right time and inspired him to reach for the sky. 

"In 1983, Kerala cadre IAS officer and present CEO of NITI Aayog Amitabh Kant was Thalassery Sub Collector. A visit by Kant to the orphanage inspired all the students. I was among them and I too was in awe. Kant is a crucial figure to Thalassery and even today, people recollect him with fondness," Nasar adds. 

Considering civil services as a career option became a feasible idea for Nasar only post marriage, and he became serious about preparations. With his wife Ruksana supporting him, he traveled to Chennai, Delhi and Aligrah to prepare for the exam. Nasar cleared the Kerala State Civil Service Executive (Deputy Collector Exam). 

He was awarded the best Deputy Collector in Kerala in 2015. Among his other achievements, Nasar got the state government to change the entrance exam to an online one, which he did in his capacity as the entrance exam commissioner. 

However, the achievements most cherished by the 49-year-old is the applause he earns from people.

"I cannot begin to the explain the feeling you get when you do something for the people and they are happy," he says. Nasar recounted an incident that happened during the time he worked as Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) in Wayanad a few years ago. 

"A group of tribal people had come to my office. I heard them say that they did not have ration cards and were hence starving. I immediately arranged for provisional rations cards for the group and started the process to get them permanent ones. Later on, they came and knelt down in front of my office. That really teared me up as it hit me that I could really make a difference," he said. 

With a life that is fitting material for a biography, Adul Nasar says that his biggest takeaway from his experiences is that the common man is king and his job is to serve them.

"To everyone who has entered the services and to those who will in the future, I just have to say that there is no greater joy than helping the common people. Our job is exactly that," he trails off. 

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