Why clearing Civil Services is so important to an average Indian



By Santosh Dubey

Cracking the Union Public Service Commission’s examination for civil services is a dream of many Indians. People aspiring to be babus,  spend at least Rs 3 lakh for the coaching. But is it worth the money and effort?

It may be accredited to the colonial hangover of the British era, where the tyranny of the bureaucracy was a major factor in infusing fear in the general population and further consolidation of the colonial government.

After Independence, Class ‘A’ All India Services became a symbol of a impunity, and the pass of upward mobility in various ingrained hierarchies of the Indian society. It became a dream of every aspirant to become a collector, because it gave tremendous power and made them invincible politically, socially and economically.

Till 1990s it was majorly a class phenomenon, when the UPSC exam was taken in only English language making it accessible only to the higher castes who could afford English education.

Deep ingrained casteism in the social fabric of our society alienated lower castes from this exam and subsequently from bureaucracy.

Later with OBC reservation and nod to Hindi language as a medium to take this exam, it became a mass exam, but still caste inclusion is still a major challenge in bureaucracy.

Fashion of ‘Sarkari’ Job

The rampant corruption in government departments coupled with socialist inclination of Congress government made bureaucracy a dream job for Indians. The idea of making millions while sitting in power (read corruption) added to the charm of this lucrative job.

A government babu was the first choice as a groom. It not only got him a fair skinned girl (because our society still believes Anglophonic is good)  but also a huge dowry.

Present ‘Tense’

Atul Singh Jha, who is a UPSC aspirant says “this is the most prestigious and coveted job in India. UPSC examination is also known as the mother of all examinations as it does not only test your knowledge, but also tests your character”.

“The whole examination process of UPSC takes around a year to complete. So, the students preparing for it must be mentally strong. Aspirants have to go through the preliminary test first. Candidates selected in preliminary test are eligible to appear in the mains examination. Those who make it past the mains, then go for the personality test.”

Atul Singh Jha further says “cracking UPSC is not an easy task and of course, it takes much time for preparation”. So, one should have at least 2 to 3 years in reserve for the preparation.

Asked about how to prepare for this examination, another UPSC aspirant Ravi Shankar Kumar says “Internet has nowadays become single most important source but one should not get much involved in web world and select information wisely”.

Apart from this, coaching institutions also play a vital role in clearing UPSC examinations. An electronics engineering graduate Abhinav from Ghaziabad, who is now preparing for this examination says, “Coaching classes are compulsory as these provide you the proper guidance. Apart from this, continuous touch of different magazines and newspapers are equally important in success”.

Asked about the problems faced during the preparation of UPSC examination, Abhinav says, “We face certain problems like lodging and high cost of coaching. Rooms available in coaching areas are of high cost with no ventilation and other basic facilities”.

This mother of all Indian exams is tough, time consuming and very selective. Though more than a million will appear to take this test this year , only a handful will make through this gateway exam to so called ‘bright future.’