Read below and answer the why first
Preparing for UPSC? Or any other competitive exam? It’s quite obvious that you are, and even if you aren’t, it’s a very high possibility that in the future, you definitely will. Because that’s how things are. It has become a commandment of the 21st century. Like every religion has described certain prescriptions and deeds that you must do before you die, otherwise, you’ll go to hell. Now, the same is the case with competitive exams. Any of your family members, relatives, or even a stranger can ask you this question, “Are you giving some test?” And if you say ‘no’, then their reaction is worth seeing. It’s like a huge “What” in the beginning, and then a lecture of about an hour, as if you were about to commit sacrilege by not participating in competitive examinations.
That’s how this country operates. Sometimes the wind blows in the direction of engineering, then everyone is becoming an engineer, and sometimes it shifts to medical science, to become a doctor. If you can’t be a doctor, then be an engineer. What’s the connection between the two? If someone has the aptitude of becoming a doctor, and somehow not able to enter the mainstream, then he can be asked about the option of physiotherapy or something related to it. But engineering? How did you reach there? That’s how it was a few years back.
And these days the trend has changed. It’s UPSC now. Everyone wants to be an IAS these days. They even say we are preparing for IAS. It’s not a separate examination. It’s UPSC civil services and there are various other posts like IAS, IPS, IFS, IRS, etc.
If you just ask randomly to young people on the street what they are doing, more than 90 percent will say, “Will give some tests, let’s see then.”
So, I ask you, what’s your reason to become an IAS officer? And don’t lie to yourself. Don’t say it’s social service. If you wanted to serve, you would already be doing it. No matter, even if you are a student, still you can get connected to some NGOs and offer your services during your free time.
Even IAS toppers give the weirdest reasons. Wonder how they pass the interview? I guess courtesy of mock classes that prepare the candidate by helping him to cram lies about himself. I mean, how can you prepare someone for an interview? You just have to be truthful and honest, that’s all.
But someone wanted to get out of poverty, some wanted to improve their social status, some wanted to feel like an officer, some liked the red beacon. Last year, the topper said his girlfriend inspired him. Oh! So you’re not inspired by the sad state of the country, you have no ideas about the development, just looking for inspiration from your parents, family, or girlfriends so you could achieve some feat. To show others, that you’re something.
All this has been blown out of proportion in a big way. Just look at the interviews of the toppers. You never interview a farmer, a sculptor, or someone who’s spent his entire life planting trees or taking care of nature, but this you think is ‘success’. What has he done so significant that he’s interviewed like a celebrity? Cramming some stuff about history, or polity makes him intelligent? Then Einstein definitely cannot be considered a genius because he could do no such things. And you must have a look at some of the question papers of state administrative examinations or JBT examinations. They ask you about the locations of temples there. But somehow if you can put all that information into your mind, then you are selected and everyone starts thinking you’re a genius. Because you don’t matter to them, it’s the chair that you’re holding on to.
When David Cameron was the Prime Minister of England, some photos of him traveling in a tube came in the newspapers. He was sitting next to the other officegoers, but not a single person was interested in him. Everyone was like, so what, he’s going to his job, we’re going to ours.
And these civil services were started by the Britishers to select a few clerks for their services. And we have not bothered to change it even a bit. Still, we use the term ‘Collector’.
And look at the irony, those who get IPS, or IRS still try to get IAS by taking the exam one more time. If you want to be an IAS, then why take up IRS or IPS at all. Leave the services you’re getting, and again prepare so you can get IAS, and if you don’t, do something else. Because you never wanted to be a police officer in the first place, then why join it at all. What’s the greed all about?
Let’s take the example of the USA. There, a very small percentage of jobs are issued by the government. And suppose it advertises for the same in the newspaper, hardly 400-500 candidates show up for 250 posts. And those who come for the interview have certain specialization in that area. Some have a degree in public administration, some are political science experts. Their life goal is to join and handle administration. And the rest of the public is engaged in their own activities. If someone likes to make coffee, he has a career in coffee-making and no one treats or feels that any work is superior or inferior.
So, what’s your reason? If you’re already engaged in some service work and just looking for a better platform to do that, then it could be a reason to go for UPSC. Or you have some brilliant ideas about the development or management of the country.
Polishing your parents’ ego, or trying to feel good about yourself, or because you just want a job cannot be the reason to opt for UPSC exams.
And this nation has lost its entire creativity due to government exams. What can you think about when it comes to a career? Not more than the range that has been offered to you by society. For example: If you like to ride a bike or drive a car so much, can’t you start some service giving lessons to other people on how to ride it. You can teach them to drive a car. You can start something like that on your own. Or come with some other idea, something which your heart yearns for. Try to listen to your calling.
There’s a little joke about this. But more than a joke, it’s the reality of our lives.
A student was asked by his teacher, “Suppose there are 10 sheep in a closed farm, and someone opens the door and let one of them come out. How many sheep are left on the farm then?”
“Not a single one”, replied the student.
The teacher angrily shouted at him, “Don’t you know even basic mathematics?”
The student then replies, “Master! I may or may not be aware of mathematics, but I am perfectly aware of sheep. We have them at home as well. And if one of them goes one way, all the other follow as well.” Don’t be like a herd of sheep. Think for yourself. And don’t fall into the trap of UPSC or any other competitive examinations. Use all your mental capability and find out your calling. And even if you want to be an IAS, do it for the right reasons. It’s a precious life, don’t waste it listening to others who don’t know anything about life at all. It’s time the hoopla around government exams come to an end. IAS is not a God-given or existential thing, it’s just a job. If the process of administration changes, civil services could end completely as well. So, there isn’t anything compulsory about it.