I was allotted Ms Rajni Razdan’s board. There were four other male members. I was sitting outside waiting for my turn. Suddenly a buzzer went off and then one UPSC official asked me to get up and opened the door for me.
Me: May I come in Madam.
RR: Yes please come in.
Me: Good Afternoon Madam. Good afternoon Sirs.
RR: Please be seated.
Me: Thank You madam.
There was a silence of around 15-20 seconds with RR going through some papers, possibly of previous candidate or mine. I saw two members observing me very carefully and smiling.
RR: Bache, would you please wait outside for five minutes? We will call you back.
Me: Yes Madam. Not a problem.
(I got up, left the place and sat back at my waiting seat. After five minutes I was called back
Me: (Making May I come in gesture. She nodded)
RR: (Just As I entered) Please be seated.
Me: Thank You Madam.
Now she asked me my name, Roll No and verified my photograph. Again then there was a
silence of around 1 minute as she was going through my DAF. Was the toughest period for me.
RR: So are you working somewhere?
Me: Yes madam. I am working with Corporation Bank in Mumbai.
RR: (without looking at me and still reading) What were your optionals?
Me: Madam Political Science & Intl Relations and Sociology.
RR: Which one you liked most?
Me: (After some thinking) Madam Sociology.
RR: What did you learn from sociology?
Me: Madam studying Sociology gave me deep insights into how various aspects of society work.
It was also interesting and I really enjoyed studying it when I was preparing. (Still reading and
RR: How many languages are there in India recognized by the constitution?
Me: Madam 28 languages specified in eighth schedule. (I later checked, it was 22….)
RR: Aren’t there more?
Me: Madam I think it’s around 28. But I am not 100% sure. (She again nodded)
RR: Are all those languages spoken?
Me: Yes madam.
RR: (with a smile) What about Sanskrit? (a slight laughter among all members)
Me: (I too smiled a little) Madam some people speak to a little extent.
RR now asked the first member to proceed. He was the most cordial and pleasant among all.
M1: So Himanshu, you have done your engineering in IT.
Me: Yes sir.
M1: Tell me what is Social Media?
Me: Sir social media we can say are the social networking sites like facebook, twitter through
which people can interact among themselves.
M1: Okay tell me the good things and bad things about social media. Everything has its
advantages and disadvantages.
Me: Sir good things are that people can share their views among each other as happened in Arab
Spring. They can criticize govt. policies if they feel something is not right. The main thing is that
it has obliterated the time-space distance among people. The bad things are that there are
privacy issues. Something private getting leaked can be seen by all. Plus there are hate speeches
and messages as happened with Kokrajhar violence.
M1: Isn’t it also that today’s youth spend a lot of time in it?
Me: Yes sir. I have many friends being busy in such sites.
M1: No what about you?
Me: Sir I have a Facebook and Orkut account. I have a blog as well. Though I do login every day I
don’t spend much time there. I don’t get time only to do that.
M1: So what do you blog about?
Me: Sir, I post some of my articles, some quotes which I have collected, articles of other..
M1: (interrupting) what articles you write about? Tell me an article that you are really proud of
Me: Sir, I have written on patriotism, sexual violence against women…
M1: Tell me about the article on patriotism.
Me: Sir I wrote about how we get patriotic feelings only on independence and republic day. That
our patriotism should not be limited only to national security and territory. Nation includes our
people, animals, environment, etc and…
M1: (interrupting) Ok I will give you a hypothetical situation. Listen very carefully (This took my
nerves for a second). Suppose Gandhiji, C. Azad, Bhagat Singh and Netaji SC Bose are alive today.
Who would you choose to lead our country and why?
Me: (After thinking for some time) Sir I would choose Gandhiji.
Me: Sir because I feel the other three were driven by certain fixed ideologies. Though Gandhiji
had his own ideology he was also a pragmatic person. He knew how to lead masses and unite
them in spite of many differences among them. This I feel the other three freedom fighters
would not be able to do so.
M1: Whom would you choose as second?
Me: Sir, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. (He seemed satisfied with both answers)
M1: So you have mentioned animal welfare in your form. Can you name some organizations
associated with such work.
Me: Sir there is PETA. Then there is NGO Karuna based in Mumbai with which I was associated.
Passed the baton to second member. He grilled me the most and always wanted more.
M2: You have played Badminton in school. Tell me some national players in Badminton.
Me: Sir, Pullela Gopichand, Saina Nehwal, P Kashyap, Jwalla Gutta.
M2: Tell me some recent rising star.
Me: Sir there is one lady (thinking) but I am not able to recollect her name. It was in this year
Mains paper as well (I don’t know why I said that. The answer was PV Sindhu though)
M2: Where is the National Bandminton Academy located?
Me: Sir in Hyderabad (made a guess)
M2: And who is the national coach there?
Me: Sir P Gopichand. (Again a guess)
His facial expressions told me that my guesses were right.
M2: What is the full form of PETA?
Me: Sir, People… (Thinking but I could not recollect). Sorry Sir I am not able to recollect.
M2: Tell me the name of certain people associated with such work.
Me: (Here suddenly Pamela Anderson popped into my head but I stopped myself from saying
that name) Sir there is Kunal Kapoor, Diya Mirza. They have adopted vegetarianism and
M2: Tell me some people from public life and not celebrities.
Me: Sir there is Maneka Gandhi. She has been doing pioneering work for animals.
M2: Okay you have studied sociology. Have you studied Social Work? What is the difference
between Sociology and Social Work?
Me: Sir, though I have not studied Social Work if I can make a guess I would say Sociology is
more about arm chair theorizing while social work is related more to work at field.
M2: Can you name some prizes associated with social work?
Me: Sir there is Magsaysay award.
M2: Can you name some Indian recipients of this award?
Me: Sir there is Mr Rajinder, the water man of India (I didn’t remember his last name)
M2: What did he do?
Me: Sir he helped in spreading awareness about water conservation and management.
M2: Where? Which part?
Me: Sir in Rajasthan.
M2: Tell me some recent Indian personality who was awarded this prize?
Me: Sir there is one person who won recently due to his work in microfinance. But I am not able
to recollect his name.
M2: What is micro-finance?
Me: Sir it is where capital is provided to poor vulnerable groups for their self-employment and
M2: Some prominent person associated with this.
Me: Sir Mohammad Yunus of Bangladesh has successfully implemented this model and have
provided micro-finance to women SHGs.
M2: You must have studied NGOs in sociology.
Me: Sorry sir, my studies were limited to the syllabus of examination and NGO was not a part of
M2: But still you must have studied it in General Studies.
Me: Yes sir. An NGO is a Non-profit Organization doing social work on various issues.
M2: Tell me some names of NGOs for animals based in Delhi.
Me: (after giving a thought) Sorry Sir I don’t know.
M2: Regarding this recent incident in Delhi Justice Verma has submitted a report. Can you tell
what were the recommendations made by the report?
Me: Sir, first the report recommended that there should be no death penalty. The convict can be
put in life imprisonment if the crime is very brutal.
M2: Do you support death penalty?
Me: No Sir. (I was quite firm on this)
Me: Sir two wrongs do not make a right. Every man is a product of the society and if he has
done something wrong it is our duty to correct him, change him, mould him. Further there is no
evidence that point that death penalty act as a deterrent for preventing such crimes.
M2: Even for the rare crimes. Even for the rarest of rarest crimes.
Me: No Sir. But this is my personal opinion. (I thought he was referring to SC judgment)
M2: Of course it’s your personal opinion but…
RR:(interrupted) Even if someone murdered 30 people.
Me: No madam. Even if someone murders people..(Here I fumbled). He can be given life
imprisonment. But it’s our duty to change that person.
RR: What about the sentiments of the relatives of those people? (Who got killed or brutalized)
Me: Madam with due respect to the relatives of such persons I feel if someone has done
something wrong we should not reciprocate the same thing. Every man is a product of society and it’s our job to change him. (Here I was repeating statements though I was very firm on my
M3: Then what we did with Kasab was also wrong?
Me: Sir Kasab was a different issue. There were certain security implications. But still in the end
he was just a 22 years old boy who was influenced.
(In all this death penalty arguments I got little emotional which I feel should have been avoided.)
M2: Okay you were saying. Tell me the other recommendations.
Me: Sir there was another recommendation that says among defence personnel if a sub-ordinate
does a crime related to sexual violence then his superior would also be liable.
M2: Yes, now imagine you being a SP of a district and your constable does such crime in some
corner and you will be prosecuted for that. Do you support this?
Me: Sir I am not 100 per cent in support of this.
M2: Than how much percent you are in support of this? Tell me the percentage. (Everybody
Me: (admitting my mistake and smiling) Sir I do not support it.
M2: ok what other recommendations were made.
Me: Sir it asked for more fast track courts and speedy trials.
M2: What else. (I think he was looking for AFSPA)
Me: Sorry sir I am not able to recollect.
Passed to third member.
M3: So you have done your graduation from Mumbai University. Textile Engineering.
Me: Sorry sir I have done my engineering in IT.
M3: Ok. Have you gone through the budget?
Me: (reluctantly) Yes Sir. I have read it in newspapers.
M3: Tell me what were the proposals in the budget for IT Industry?
Me: Sorry sir, I don’t know.
M3: Said something. Trying to give me a hint.
Me: Sir there was a proposal that if 100 crore of investment….
M3: (interrupted) No there was one related to chips.
Me: Sir there is a proposal for cluster development…
M3: (Not satisfied) Have you heard of CSR? Has it been in the news?
Me: Sir it stands for Corporate Social Responsibilty where corporates spend a certain part of
their profit into social welfare activities. It has been incorporated in New Companies Bill and
has been made mandatory.
M3: But don’t you think it is unjust for corporates by the government?
Me: Sir Government cannot be a panacea for all the social problems. Two percent is not a big
amount. So I think it’s a good thing if it goes for a social cause.
M3: So you think government doesn’t have funds (I actually didn’t mean this). Do you know how
much increase there is on education in this year’s budget?
Me: Sorry sir, I don’t know.
M3: What is Current Account Deficit?
Me: Sir it is the difference between our exports and imports.
(He didn’t seem satisfied. I knew this was not the correct definition.)
Me: Sir it includes ECB. No that would be in capital account. Apart from export-import it
includes what a foreign company remits back… (I really messed it up here)
M3: See it is basically related to Balance of Payment. Ok How much it is right now.
Me: Sir it is more than 3.5 per cent of GDP.
M3: No in figures.
Me: Sir around $200 billion.
M3: No you don’t know. It is $80 billion. Ok tell me what items we are importing due to which
CAD is high?
Me: Sir it’s mainly due to gold and petroleum products. (Should have said crude oil)
M3: Yes but tell me two more items.
Me: Sir pulses. (He nodded in negative). Sorry sir I don’t know.
Passed to next member.
M4: So you have done your X from Delhi and then did your XII and graduation from Mumbai.
Me: Sorry sir, I did my X as well from Mumbai. My father got transferred from Delhi to Mumbai
when I was in eighth. So we had to shift.
M4: But you have here mentioned that… (There was nothing mentioned wrong). Let us leave
that. So you work in a bank.
Me: Yes sir.
M2: Which bank?
Me: Sir Corporation Bank.
M4: So what makes you interested in Banking?
Me: Sorry sir I didn’t get you. (Actually I couldn’t understand the meaning of the question)
M4: Repeated the same question. Luckily this time I managed to understand it somehow.
Me: Sir first I get a good salary i.e. remuneration is good. Second I also get to do public service.
We have been opening Aadhar based accounts for subsidy as our branch comes into the pilot
M4: Then why you want to be in civil services?
Me: Sir the same thing but on a bigger level. Civil services will give me a unique (a big stress)
opportunity to do public service as well as it will also give me a sense of personal achievement.
M4: Personal achievement? Civil Services is all about team work where when if you do your
work successfully your boss will take the credit while if things go wrong you will be faulted for
everything. (Smiled and looked at other members. Here he tried to make a joke but no body
Me: Sir actually what I meant was that it’s a good career. I said something more that I don’t
M4: Ohh good career.
After that he concluded.
RR: ok thank you.
Me: Thank you madam. Thank you sirs.