UPSC (CSPT) Interview, 2011, Shri IMG Khan

Result: Not Recommended
Essay (Cinema): 96
General Studies: 109+135
Public Administration: 102+93
Sanskrit: 169+142
Interview: 210/300
Total: 846 (written), 1056 (total)
Attempt: III
Roll No.: 007433

Related Details:
Hobbies: Poetry Writing, Dramatics, Computers
Games: Chess, Badminton
Education: B-Tech M-Tech (Dual Degree) Electrical Engineering, Decent CPI: 8.1, 8.4
Jobs: Sun Microsystem, Bangalore and Wadhawan Holdings, Mumbai (6 months each), Sir Ratan Tata Trust, Delhi (4 months, after mains 2010)
Options: Public Administration, Sanskrit
From: Gorakhpur, UP

11:10 IMG Khan’s Board
Me: Please may I come in.
Ch: Yes.
Me: Good morning ma’m. Good morning to all of you sirs.

Ch: Sit down
Me: Thanks Sir.

C: Sudhanshu. You have done your graduation from IIT Kanpur. Oh, you are an M Tech. So you have spent 5-6 years..
Me: Yes Sir 5 yrs.
C: .. in Electrical Engineering. Yet you took Sanskrit as one of your subjects. Did you have any background.
Me: No Sir. (little pause)
I took it because I was looking for a short subject, fixed syllabus.
C (smiled): So how is it fixed? You mean the stanzas are mentioned …
Me: Yes Sir.

C: Ok. How do you think Sanskrit literature is going to help you in the administrative services?
Me: Sir, the Sanskrit language is very theoretical…
C: No. I am asking about the literature..
Me: Yes Sir, I am coming to the same point. While the language is theoretical, the literature is very practical (C nods). They talk about nature, culture, current society traditions….We can take the good points and try to incorporate them in our society.
C: Like..
Me: Sir, like truth from ‘Satyamev Jayate’, secularism from ‘sarv dharm sambhav’, brotherhood, from Gita, ‘Karmanye Vadhikaraste..’ – doing our duties.. Sir actually I have a different take on it…. (blabble).. I think that it talks about adhikar ie right and not hope as in, karm karo fal ki asha mat karo. I believe that if there is no hope we might not be able to focus and perform well, but if we perform we do not have the right to claim results. There might be someone more capable than us. (blabble)
C: Ok. But today, the civil servants are focused towards performance and unless they perform they can’t be promoted and blah blah… Don’t you think that it is just philosophy and not realistic.
Me: Sir it is a bit idealistic but it has a definite realistic element as well. Ideally, we hope that we will get some result but in reality we do not reach our goal to the fullest. The result is something we can not have our right on….
C: No but …… (He countered and frankly I do not remember what he said). Leave it, Lets move on (pointed to M1)
Me: Sir I am also trying to say the same thing but probably am not able to put it correctly. (Then explained the whole thing again)
C: Ok (I believe he was not completely convinced, though he gave a pleasantly smiling look. I still am awed and gratified by his gentle countenance throughout the interview)

M1: Sanskrit is being taught till 8th 9th in our schools, yet people are not being able to speak in Sanskrit. In general how will you augment education through ICT. You have done your M Tech in Electrical Engineering, I believe you know ICT
Me: Yes Sir, Information…
M1: How will you help in education through ICT?
Me: Sir, a direct application that comes to my mind is Virtual Labs.. (explained a bit, babbled). Sir another way is teleconferencing. Teaching remotely. (again babbled something)
M1: But don’t you think it will be very boring.
Me: Yes Sir, I agree with you, it won’t be as good as a direct conversation with the teachers.
M1: So what can we do about it.
Me: (Thought for some moment), Sir we may put a trained person to keep a balance between students and remote teacher.
M1: What do you mean by balance?
Me: (I was trying to mean interaction but I was searching for the word. I don’t remember if I said something satisfactory)
M1: How can we increase interaction?
Me: Sir, one thing could be touch screen.
M1: But its not feasible to give touchscreens to every student.
Me: Sir I believe that current technologies can actually make it possible. We can also use (I said something which I do not remember at all. I believed I faltered yet again)
M1: Did you have any such thing at IIT?
Me: No Sir, not during our time.

(Somehow the lady member came to my rescue, it might have been hinted by the Chairman)
LM: Sudhanshu, I see you have done 3 jobs each for 4-5 months. Why?
Me: Sir, Sorry, Ma’m, I did the first two jobs to save enough financial resources for my preparations.
Ch: You mean coaching etc..
Me: Yes Sir. I did the third job after my mains 2010 to aid myself financially and to get a wider perspective about NGOs. Back in Mumbai, I started my own NGO Gut-Ka, where we did street plays to take up the causes, popularize the causes of other NGOs.
(The Chairman seemed interested and nodded his head a few times)
In Sir Ratan Tata Trust, I worked with around 35 NGOs all across India.
LM: What is the difference between a trust and a society.
Me: Ma’m a trust is an organisation, registered under The Societies Act itself, mostly to fund other NGOs. It generally hold shares or gets its funds from the corporate organizations, family businesses etc. and pass them on to the NGOs.
LM: It may not necessarily be a family organisation.
Me: Yes ma’m.
The society is an small organisation…. well ma’m it may not be small, its an organisation of 7 or more people for a social cause and social betterment.
LM: (Wasn’t satisfied) So you have poetry writing as your hobby. Can you name a few poets?
Me: Ma’m The first name I would like to take is of Firaq Gorakhpuri, because I am from Gorakhpur. Other than him there are many poets in Hindi like Dinkar Nirala Maithili Sharan Gupt…
LM: Who is most acclaimed poet in India?
Me: Ma’m in Hindi language?
LM: No in India, in general.
Me: Ma’m Rabindra Nath Tagore.
LM: Tell me some English poets.
Me: Keats, Byron, Shelly…
LM: Tell me some contemporary names.
Me: Ma’m, I can’t recall any currently.
LM: Okay tell me some romantic poets.
Me: Ma’m in Hindi?
LM: No I said romantic poets. Obviously English.
Me: (I took a long pause. I was confused because the earlier names I took were romantics only)
Ch (comes to the rescue): You may say no if you don’t read English poetry
Me: Sir I don’t read them but I may try answering the question.
(Small pause). Ma’m I believe Byron Shelly were romantic poets.
LM: Yes.
M2: Yes Byron Shelly.
(M2 continues. Smooth transition)

M2: So Sudhanshu, tell me the difference between Sanskrit Prakrit and Hindi.
Me: Sir Sanskrit is the most ancient language, the original language. Prakrit is an apbhramsh of Sanskrit, or if we say crudely, its corrupted form. Sir, Hindi is a language that developed due to common usage through a combination of Persian and the then prevalent form of Sanskrit.
M2: Hindi is an apbhramsh of Prakrit.
Me: Yes Sir.
M2: Now since you have used this word apbhramsh, I want to ask you to tell me the difference between tatsam and tadbhav.
Me: Sir, tatsam is the purest and original for of the word. Tadbhav is the form that develops and gets distorted through common usage. For eg, Ksheer and Kheer.
M2: Okay so tell me the difference between Dambh, Ahankar, and Ghamand. They appear to be very similar. What’s the difference?
Me: (Long Pause) Sir, I do not know the difference but I may try.
M2: Yes try.
Me: Sir, Ghamand is the most negative term of them all where we might have a pride of our positive and negative qualities both, and in general mostly the negative ones. In Ahankar, which is a bit positive, we have a pride in positive things but occasionally we may feel pride in negative things as well. Dambh is most positive one where we have a pride in our good qualities only.
(Now on some research I have found that Dambh should be either equal to or baser than ghamand. Hence the order would be Dambh M2: Oh.ho.ho.ho.. you are so wrong. You should check that.
Me: (Shyly).. Yes Sir.
M2: OK tell me the meaning of Yogah Karmasu Kaushalam. And from where is it taken?
Me: (Pause) Sir, I don’t think I remember from where it is taken.

(M2 hinted to M3, who promptly came to the rescue and I did not have to take a guess on the meaning.)
M3: Sudhanshu, I would like to start from your original point, ‘doing your duties’. What will be the basis for your duties, the orders or your own thinking… or what…. (Very long question, he was trying to explain)
Me: Sir I would go with my personal feeling wherever I would believe maximum people are helped.
M3: But if you are given an order which you know that is wrong, a written order. Then what will you do.
Me: Sir, in that case since I am an implementor I would implement the orders. But at the same time I would persuade him to take back the order and tell him about the wrongs.
M3: But Supreme Court has said in a recent decision that even the implementors are wrong if they go ahead on a wrong decision.
Me: Yes Sir. (I wanted to explain further, but he kept on explaining)
M3: So is there any framework for the actions…
Me: Sir do you mean ministerial responsibility.
M3: No an overarching framework.
Me: Sir Constitution?
M3: Yes.
Since you have written Chess, can you tell me the difference between three openings – ( I have no clue what he said ), Ruy Lopez and Queen’s Gambit.
Me: Sir, could yo please repeat the first one.
M3: ()
Me: Sir, I do not know anything about the first one. For the other two I may try but I am not too sure.
In both the openings, the pawn in front of the queen is moved first. (I had said queen instead of king in anxiety and I did not realize it till later. Now I find that this was a blunder overall.)
M3 (gave me a stern look): and then?
Me: Sir in Queen’s Gambit, the bishop is moved. (Blunder)
M3: How can it move if the pawn is in front.
Me: (Realizing my earlier mistake) Sorry Sir, I said queen earlier, the pawn in front of the king is moved. Now the bishop can move.
Ch: Are isne kabhi college wollege me khela hoga… (smile)
(I nodded. What else.. I felt I had committed the worst mistake of life not saying no at the beginning)

Ch: Okay Sudhanshu I would like to ask you one more thing. You said back then that Sanskrit was the oldest language. Do you know that the Tamilians are claiming that their language is the oldest. Now I think even the Telugu is in the run.. Tamil scripts dated 2500 years ago have been found …..
Me: Sir Vedas are believed to be written 1000 years,.. I mean in 1000 1100 BC
Ch: There is no conclusive proof for that.
Me: Yes Sir, all these are just claims. No one knows the truth.
Ch: Hmm (smiles). Ok Sudhanshu your interview is over. You may go.
Me: Thank You Sir. Thank you.. Thank You ( 2-3 times seeing each member, I left )
At the door when I looked back, I found M2 moving his head in a non approving manner, the lady member was smiling and the others had put their heads down.

11:30-35 The End. (20-25 minutes)