Rakib Ahmad Zia, a teacher of political science from Central Kashmir has authored more than 100 books covering diverse subjects.
Hailing from Naroo Budgam, he has authored books related to Political Science, General Knowledge and various competitive examinations catering to the students as well as teachers’ community.
Currently he is working as an assistant professor and also holds the charge of Vice Principal in Vitasta School of Law and Humanities in Srinagar.
Rakib told Rising Kashmir that he is the first person from his village, who has done Post Graduation and studied in university but today he feels proud that people of his village are doing good in every field.
After completing Post Graduation in Political Science, he pursued M.Phil and B. Ed. degree as well. He started his career in 2003 teaching Political Sciences at various higher secondary schools and colleges of Kashmir. During the long journey of more than 20 years, he has devoted most of his time to writing books catering to the academic needs of students. His aim behind writing books was the unavailability of study material in the market.
“The novels and fiction books are easily available but students usually face problems with academic books. The student community often struggles in finding the appropriate study material. Sometimes the books have very high standards that don't match with the syllabus of the course,” he said.
While he was a student in college, he felt that there was a dearth of text books and reference books. Due to the non- availability of the internet in the 90s, he said that he used to compile notes by visiting libraries, asking for help from teachers and seniors. The process of note making would usually take a lot of time.
“As a student, I have faced problems during college and university days as there was not enough study material available. Then I started writing books with which students can study without facing any problem,” he said.
The first book written by him in 2003 was about the constitution of Jammu and Kashmir. A small handbook of about 150 pages is currently available in all the libraries. Then a book regarding General Knowledge of Jammu and Kashmir was also written by him where he gave a detailed description about all the districts.
“There was no GK book back then. In the small handbook, I mentioned all the districts and what they are known for. The book also became very popular. Also, I wrote a number of books for cracking entrance examinations of various courses like PG, B.Ed. etc.,” he said.
In 2004-2005, he wrote the book for cracking the PG entrance examination of Political Science which was well received by the students.
He said that the books regarding various competitive examinations were also not available and students had to face a tough time while preparations.
He has also made a dictionary regarding Political Science where jargon and important terms were explained in easy words. “The response of the dictionary was also good. It was compulsory for all the students. Also, the teachers teaching in various colleges consulted my books for teaching and they too recommended my books for their students,” he said.
Still feeling the dearth of writers for the subject, he said that he will continue writing books. “This requires a lot of experience and demands a lot of hardwork. If there is any topic which I have not touched yet, I receive texts and calls from students,” he said.
Many national and local publishing houses have been approaching him. Currently he is working with an old publishing house, Mamta Publishing Private Limited.
Making study material and reference books was not an easy task for him. “I had to visit the library and collect the material from different books. Initially in the absence of computers, I used to make handwritten notes and get it typed from other places. Later on, when I purchased my own computer, I had to take a loan,” he said.
He further said that he has achieved newspapers and old books of years which have proved to be of good help. “My habit of reading newspapers every day and archiving them has helped me a lot. I have archived newspapers from almost 10-15 years which have articles, General Knowledge updates and other useful things which helped in my books too. Many times, my family told me to throw away those newspapers and old books but for me, it’s a treasure,” he said.
Being good at studies since beginning, he was suggested by his acquaintances to opt science subjects but his interest lay in literature and social sciences.
He said, “After matriculation examinations, some of my subjects were Urdu, Arabic and Political Sciences. My interest in Political Science developed as it was about states, governance, rights and constitution. It talks about rights and duties and something that relates with our day-to-day life.”
Due to his interest in literature, he has some writings in Urdu as well. To impart lessons, he has also created a YouTube channel.
“I often used to see content regarding comedy and news on YouTube, I saw some educational content too and thought we could use it for educational videos and my students too suggested that I start a channel. They said people from other states can also see my lecturers. It has been 4-5 months now and there are a good number of subscribers,” he said.
In the past, Rakib has taught in many coaching centers as well but he felt a need of having a counseling section in the academies to guide the students.
“With the mushrooming of the coaching centers, the quality has decreased. I felt that in an academy there should be a guidance & counseling section also. In addition to teaching students, we can also counsel them.”
In the future, he has a plan of opening an academy where counseling sessions with the students regarding career options can be done with the experts. “Students who are good at studying are often told to take science as subjects but in future they are not able to crack entrance examinations which make them frustrated. There is a need to guide students and inform them about various career options. On a personal level, I do counsel students,” he added.
Talking about the career opportunities in Political Science, he said, “In Political Science, if a student pursues higher studies, then one can go for teaching. There is a lot of scope in teaching in colleges, schools etc. Political Science is being taught in lower classes as well which has opened up many opportunities. Also, Political Science gives us detailed knowledge about politics, governance and elections etc. One can also join politics at Panchayat, municipality, state or national level. Also, one can be a political advisor or spokesperson. There is a scope in writing as well. One can also write about international issues. One can also work in human rights organizations and NGOs.”
He further said that law and political sciences are interrelated. “In BA LLB course, there is a subject of Political Science in 1st and 2nd semester. Also, Public Administration is more about Political Science. The students are very interested in the subject because it is very closely related with law,” he said.
Talking about his struggles, he said that he belonged to a family who were not much educated. “My parents were uneducated and other relatives didn’t study much but I made a decision that I have to study further.”
While concluding with the message he said, “The students need to be focused. The purpose of education is not to avail a job. Education helps in personality development. The people should not discourage students from studying further and working in different fields while studying. In foreign countries, students’ study and do other work as well. This culture hasn’t been developed yet. That is the reason many educated people are unemployed.”