Time 11:55 AM, 10th April 2013, UPSC office
Board chairman: Manbir Singh, i will refer him as MS
Members (M1, M2, M3, M4)
Subjects: History, Geography
Interest: Archaeology, Visiting Historic places, International affairs
[MS] You are working in a sun rise sector and still you want to join civil services
[Neeraj] Yes sir
[MS] What do you think of China’s building of dam on Brahmaputra?
[Neeraj] Not good for India sir
[Neeraj] China will divert water to irrigate land in Yunan province (north and NE of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam can face water scarcity in near future.
[MS] Recently we got an award from a tribunal, what was that?
[Neeraj] Kishenganga river project, we got award on Pakistan
[MS] How is this issue different from China making dams?
[Neeraj] Sir, because we have Indus river treaty with Pakistan, signed in 1960 but we do not have any such treaty with China so we cannot force China in this regard.
[MS] Is China diverting water from Brahmaputra a speculation or something concrete?
[Neeraj] I first read this in Frontline in 2011 but that time this was discarded now China has openly declared to do so. Moreover China does not inspire confidence because there is huge censorship over information/press there. Same thing happened in 1962 war with China, i have read this in Himalayan Blunder, famous book by Brigadier Dalvi. Indians were thinking that Pakistan was going to attack them but it happened otherwise and we were caught unprepared.
[MS] I have also read Dalvi’s book, why his entire Brigade was annihilated?
[Neeraj] Because his brigade did not have artillery support while Chinese had come prepared.
[MS] What is String of Pearl theory?
[Neeraj] China encircling India by building naval bases in Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.They have already built Hambantota port in Srilanka and Gwadar in Pakistan.
Pakistan-China friendship as they claim is Deeper than the deepest of Oceans and Higher than highest of the mountains so Pakistan can easily give its port to China in case of war etc.
[M1, a lady] Neeraj, you appear very intelligent but i am bemused to see that your hobby is archaeology and visiting historic places? How come it became your hobby?[Neeraj] Mam, I did my B. Tech from IIT-BHU, Varanasi. I visited historic site of Sarnath there and also the museum. I actually touched the National Emblem(Ashokan Capital) there.
That time it started to interest me.
[M1] What are the sites you have visited?
[Neeraj] Sarnath, Qutb Complex, Karle Caves, Ajanta & Ellora caves, Daultabad Fort, Golconda Fort, Hampi, Meenakshi Temple, Winchester (city of King Alfred and Arthur).
[M1] What are the problems Indian ASI is facing?
[Neeraj] Shortage of staff, huge number of sites etc.
[M1] What are the threats to Ajanta caves?
[Neeraj] Flash camera light, vehicular pollution (I missed the vandalism part here)
[M1] Why IAS?
[Neeraj] Challenging, Public Service
[M1] IT is also challenging
[Neeraj] But public service is not there
[M2] Do you know about AFSPA? What are key provisions?
[Neeraj] (I told all the provisions and areas where it is in force, also told about the commission set up in 2004 that recommended to repeal it, He was very happy)
[M2] Do you know the name of the lady who is on strike?
[Neeraj] Irom Sharmila, fast unto death for last 12 years
[M2] Why AFSPA should not be applied in Naxal areas?
[Neeraj] It should not be applied anywhere and it should be reviewed or repealed. After all we all are Indians and no one should be allowed to have full immunity to do anything.
[M2] What innovative things you will do in rural areas?
[Neeraj] e-governance, e-FIR, MCTS, Solar Power, Agriculture BPO, Azim Premji University type venture in Education.
[M3] Who was PM of India in 1971?
[Neeraj] Indira Gandhi
[M3] Who was Indian Army chief?
[Neeraj] General Manekshaw
[M3] Who was Eastern Command Chief
[Neeraj] General Arrora
[M3] Very good
[Neeraj] Thank you Sir
[M3] Bangladesh was liberated in 1971 but Mujiburrahman was killed in 1975, why?
[Neeraj] Effect of Jamat e Islami and pro Pakistani element in Bangladesh military
[M3] Where does Brahmaputra originate?
[Neeraj] Near Mansarovar Lake
[M3] Which regions it pass through?
[Neeraj] China, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Bangladesh
[M3] Assam is prone to Brahmaputra floods; show should we care China diverting water from it?
[Neeraj] Because we don’t know how much water it will divert
[M3] Nixon threatened India by sending Naval battleship to Bay of Bengal, What did India do?
[Neeraj] India already had a treaty with USSR and Indira Gandhi said in meeting that don’t worry, USSR is sending its nuclear submarine to counter that threat. USA buckled down finally.
[M4] You all answers were good but have a doubt. You live in an AC environment; you simply want to join IAS for its fanfare. You are getting excellent salary; you will get less than half of what you are getting right now. Why you want to join?
[Neeraj] Sir, I still spend 1 month in my village, I still don’t have an AC. I have helped my village by spreading awareness against leakage in PDS.
[MS] Thank you Neeraj
[Neeraj] Thank you sir (and I walked out)
Total interview time 25 minutes, this is an unedited transcript