This is the Interview Script – Barani Kumar IAS. Exclusive on our UPSCHub.com
Its relevance and scope in the Civil Services but completely ignored to do some research on the institution. I managed to mumble something about Symbiosis)
“Sir it explains the interaction between two different organisms living in close physical association, typically to the advantage of both.”
*Chairman : ‘Mutualism and ‘Symbiosis’ are one and the same or…?
*Me : ( I had a vague idea.) “I am not sure about it sir. Can I guess ? ”
*Chairman : “Sure”
*Me :“ More or less both are the same. Symbiosis is a broad Category whereas Mutualism is a type of symbiosis “
( I couldn’t find any expression from Chairman. He then delved into pure biology and asked many questions)
*Chairman : “ Tell me about Mendel’s Law”
*Me : “Sir it is sudden change in DNA sequence” (Again no reaction from chairman)
*Chairman : What do you mean by Halifax Co-efficient ?
*Me : (Absolutely no idea. I wondered why he fired such questions towards a metallurgical engineer . I managed to remain calm because in various occasions and particularly during mock interview sessions, Sathya sir had warned about these type of questions. So I know such questions were mainly intended to destabilize or to unsettle the candidates. I simply replied with smile .) “No idea Sir”
(However , after these unsettling questions, the chairman showed some sympathy and asked me about my experience in Srinagar where I did my Engineerig.)
*Chairman : “ Tell me about your experience in Srinagar.”
*Me : (Finally they entered into my comfort zone, but I was determined not to explicitly express my comfort) I described my experience briefly.
*Chairman : “ What was your Contribution in the rehabilitation of 2005 Uri earthquake victims and what role did the army play?”
( I had mentioned in the Detailed Application Form that I was a part of an NSS team that helped in the rehabilitation of victims of the 2005 Uri earthquake.)
I answered it in detail giving a vivid description of the damage I had witnessed, the hopelessness in the eyes of the people, and our efforts with the able support of the army to rebuild the lives of victims in makeshift camps.
He (Chairman) changed the topic after showing some kind of appreciation
*Chairman : “ What’s your opinion on caste politics in India”?
*Me : “ It is a curse. Though caste provides an identity to a lot of people it is often misused by a majority of politicians to meet their ends”
*Chairman :“Suggest some measures to minimize caste ideology in India”?
*Me : (I gave a few points) “ encouraging Inter-caste marriages by giving incentives to the couple “.(Chairman interrupted now)
*Chairman :“ That already exists”
*Me : “Sir, Reservation for the son and daughters of Inter-caste couples can be considered.” (All most all the members raised their eye brow)
*Chairman : “ Then..?”
*Me : “ Election Commission can keep vigil over caste-based political parties during campaignin for elections”
(After a beief pause the member to his left took over.)
(He asked me if I was ready to answer questions on engineering considering it’s been about 5 years since I was out of College. Even though I was tempted to say that I wasn’t I said I was ready)
*Member 1 : “Why does India Lag behind China in Steel Production”?
*Me : (Since I worked in the non-ferrous sector I didn’t have much knowledge about the steel sector. But I adopted the approach which most of us are asked to do during the main Exam.)
“India ha been a little lackadaisical when it came to spending toward R&D but the situation is rapidly changing and we’ll be one among the top steel producers within a decade”.
(He seemed convinced and fired his next question.)
*Member 1 : “ What are rare earth metals and why are they in the news”?
*Me : (I gave a textbook answer) “ They are the elements that include Lanthanides like Scandium,Yttrium, Cerium, Etc, and are used in mobile phones, laptops, Flat screen displays, etc, Recently China was accused of maintaining a stranglehold over rare earths and artificially inflating its prices.”
(I smiled at the end of it and he promptly acknowledged and smiled back and other member started her volley of questions.)
*Member 2 : “Why have you chosen political Science as an optional
(Lady member) Subject”?
*Me :“I like international Relations and felt that I had a flair for it”.(She smiled)
*Member 2 : “ Tell me about the recent development in Indo-China relations”.
(That was the day when all the newspapers had the headlines of the five-point formula proposed by the new-Chinese President Mr.Xi Jingping. I didn’t waste a moment to answer that and said that the ties have reached a new height with the unveiling of the five-point formula and I drew a comparison with Nehru’s Panchsheel at which point the Chairman asked me to list out the five points.I was not able to tell it verbatim but I delivered the crux of it emphasizing on cultural ties, accommodating each other’s concerns, etc.)
She then asked me about trekking and the places I had visited. When I mentioned that I had been to Himachal durin school days she visibly became curious and asked me to elaborate futher.(That lady member might be from Himachal Pradesh) I told all the places I had been to like Rohru, Sungri, Simla which got all the others involved in a discussion about trekking. She further asked me about the geography culture , Vegetation , demography , food habits of the region. I managed answer it without much difficulty despite the fact that it had been more than a decade since I was there, Primarily because Sathya sir had taken us on a 3-D pan-India vitual tour very often.
The next member (Member 3) appeared very amiable and smiled incessantly from the beginning. After a lot of deliberation he started his questions.
*Member 3 : “ Tell me one thing that you dislike most”.
(This may seem like a very simple question but I realized my answer could potentially reveal what kind of personality I am. So I asked him whether he meant it in a general sense or whether he wanted me to be more specific. When he said he was expecting a general answer I thought for a while and blurted out)
*Me : “Corruption”
(At that moment it seemed to me as the most apt answer. Of course , everyone desplses corruption and I was no exception. But when I look back L felt that my answer would have appeared as more of a rhetoric and a lame attempt to impress the board. Anyway, there isn’t much I could do about it after I said it. He was Visibly bored, probably, because he must have heard dozens of such overambitious answers.)
*Member 3 : “Tell me the other things besides corruption that you detest most”.
I kept it simple this time around and said things like laziness, lack of integrity and all the other vices that came to my mind. What else could I say? He smiled at me and gently tapped my shoulder and asked if I were married. I said I wasn’t. He said the next question is one which involved many hypothetical situations and one of them was that I was married. I didn’t have any problem as long as it was a mere hypothesis. He asked me to take a couple of minutes to answer the question and I was Getting tensed due to the hype he had created over it.
*Member 3 : “You are District Magistrate and you are facing mounting pressure from politicians, your bosses, your peers, your subordinates and even from your wife. At this point what would you tell yourself to tide over this situation.”
(Sounds like a pretty simple question that we may come across in the Decision making part of the Preliminary Test. I started to organize my answer in my mind and was feeling quite confident. But the moment L looked up and saw five pairs of eyes staring at me, waiting for me to speak, I completely lost It. I felt jittery and coundn’t take the silence any longer. I said I was ready to answer and started off really well.)
*Me : “Such pressure will always be a part of a civil servant’s life and one should not be intimidated by this. I would not be perturbed by all this and would do what I am expected to do.”
(I bluntly stopped there not knowing what to speak next. All my efforts to speak a coherent sentence failed and I was just stuttering. He gave an endearing smile and asked me to stop. He said that he ot what he wanted. I have absolutely no idea what he meant. I felt miserable and was wallowing in self-pity. I thought that I should have been prepared for any question however trivial it may sound. I thought I had to pay the price for taking things so lightly. He signaled the next member that he had finished.)
*Member 4 : “Tell me about your home town Trichy”.
I told everything I knew about Trichy ranging from the Cauvery delta, Rockfort, Srirangam temple, Uraiyur cheroot and etc…(He then went on to the topic which I was anticipating the whole time.)
*Member 4 : What is UNHRC?
*Me : “ It stands for United Nations Human Rights Commission. It is an Inter-governmental body of 47 countries within the Un system which looked into the realm of human rights protection.”
*Member 4 : ” What stand must India take on the UNHRC resolution against Sri Lanka”.
*Me : “ India has to weigh the options carefully and decide such that it addresses the concerns of the Tamils without jeopardizing our ties with Sri Lanka. India must insist Sri Lanka to implement the recommendations of LLRC as soon as possible.”
*Member 4 : “Tell me about the 13th Amendment to the Lankan Constitution.”
*Me : “ It was an outcome of the 1987 Indo-sri Lankan Accord and it dealt with the creation of provincial councils and devolution of powers”.
(He seemed to be convinced with my answer and I too felt happy to have answered satistactorily in what appeared to be the last question of my Personality Test. But suddenly the Chairman sprang a surprise. He said he wanted to ask one last question. It was again a situational question’)
*Chairman : “ You are in the position of selecting one of your two subordinates for an important assignment. The first being intelligent, efficient but corrupt and dishonest while the other, an honest, hard-working & straight forward person but inefficient, who would be your preference.”
*Me : (I almost instantly said) “I would go for the latter.”
*Chairman : “How could you pick an inefficient person”?
*Me : “Honesty and integrity are qualities which are hard to final and that it must come from within unlike efficiency which can be imparted by proper training”.
(This prompted a smile from everyone and one member even asked me if I did believe that efficiency can be imparted. He appreciated my optimism and wished me luck .The Chairman smiled and said that my interview was over. I felt a great sense of relief and thanked all the members and left the room pondering over my performance. For the next half an hour I was just replaying all the questions that were asked and my responses to them and felt that I had done a fairly decent job barring a few blunders which I could have avoided.)
So, that was my experience at Dholpur house. I hope it was worth spending time reading
it and I also hope you’re not cursing me for wasting 10 minutes of your precious time.
All the best. I m looking forward to read many such experiences from you.