ABC of Civil Services | Classic case of sour grapes

ABC of Civil Services | Classic case of sour grapes

The life of a person who clears civil service examination undergoes a lot of changes. There will be felicitations to begin with followed by gifts pouring in. The doors which were closed till then will suddenly open. But since the three-stage selection process involves a lot of rejections also in every stage, there will be a huge number of people who fail to make it to the final list. Have you ever thought about those people who miss the chance of being part of the Indian bureaucracy?

Normally, people continue to pursue the same if they are left with further attempts. In fact, majority of the candidates need multiple attempts to clear this exam as the competition is really tough. People who try to identify and rectify their mistakes have a greater chance of winning. But what if your attempts are over and you have not achieved the dream? There are other examinations by the Central and State Governments to attempt and candidates who seriously prepare for civil service examinations will find other tests a lot easier. A lot of people switch over to academics too. But the maximum number of people who fail to crack this examination ends up setting up coaching institutes. Yes, ninety five per cent of the coaching institutes for civil services in India are run by people who have failed to clear this exam.

ABC of Civil Services | Classic case of sour grapes

Many people who own these institutes say that they do not want the expertise and knowledge they gained while preparing to go waste; hence the idea of nurturing the future aspirants. Quite a few people take up teaching in institutes while preparing itself to meet the expenses and many continue to teach even after making it to service. Most of the institutes are known for their star faculties. There are many online platforms too which are quite popular and people who do not join the institutes also subscribe them.

Frustrated lot

ABC of Civil Services | Classic case of sour grapes

The problem arises when people who fail to clear the exam develop a kind of bitterness in general and in particular towards the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). They feel that the selection process is not fair and people who are not so good make it to the services. They openly talk about these things in class and project that the whole process is a gamble. Others try to criticise the nature of questions set by the UPSC. I recently came across a comment in an online website where the person pointed out the “intellectual bankruptcy” of the UPSC to include such a question in the Main examination!

There is a gender angle also to the whole thing. Though the number of women who clear civil service is just around thirty per cent of the total, there are many in the top ten ranks in recent years. Some people believe that this is because of favouritism in awarding marks to women during interview. The women toppers were ridiculed as mere muggers and women candidates are sometimes subjected to ill-treatment by these prejudiced minds. One such prejudiced candidate ended up facing an interview board headed by a chairperson and there were four women candidates along with him waiting to be interviewed! He was deeply frustrated with all these and ended up with a bad performance.

Lucrative business

ABC of Civil Services | Classic case of sour grapes

The civil service coaching is a big business and there is a lot of profit involved. That makes it a lucrative opportunity for many youngsters. The dynamic nature of the syllabus and examination can be tackled only by a person who has written this exam. Even the college teachers who teach in these institutes have some direct experiences with this examination. But the irony is that many people who make a career out of this examination do not believe in the fairness of the system. And to make matters worse, they feed the future aspirants off their own frustrations and all sorts of rumours.

There are a lot of factors involved when it comes to success in the civil service examination. But dame luck is obviously not one of them. Every winner is a story of hard work, persistence and determination. If you doubt the fairness of the system, better quit. Anybody who find only outside factors responsible for his/her failure can never be a good guide or mentor. So, my suggestion to the future aspirants will be that if a person vents his/her frustrations in the class, even if he/she is a good teacher, do not follow their advice.

(The author is a former IPS officer and a trainer for civil service aspirants)