UPSC Civil Services Exam – My General Studies study material list

Reading Time: 5 minutes

I have written previously about UPSC Civil Services Examination previously. Click here to read that post. Here goes the booklist now. I advise you to check it in the latest notification regarding what subjects are required to be studies in pre/mains/both to what extent. Also, please note that this list is made up over a period of more than one attempt at the UPSC Civil Services Exam, hence the books might seem to be a lot, but they are what got me through.

CSAT

-“CSAT” by PN Roy Chaudhary (Pearson)

HISTORY

-Ancient India – Only Art & Culture aspect covered through Art & Culture notes.
-Medieval India – “Medieval India” by Irfan Habib + Art & Culture aspect covered through Art & Culture notes.
-Modern India – Grover & Mehta for Preliminary & Mains + Nitin Sangwan notes for Mains
-Post Independence India – “India Since Independence” by Bipin Chandra
-Modern World History – PDFs from Online Encyclopaedia ClassZone.com on all the relevant topics + YouTube videos for important events to understand them better.
-Art and Culture – Nitin Singhania book + NIOS notes (these are better for mains but don’t cover everything, hence you have to supplement it with some other notes or material from internet)

-For revision of Indian History, I personally found the concise notes of SRIRAM IAS to be good. Don’t go for the point format notes, but rather go for the mains-style notes that are in paragraph form. It contains Ancient/Medieval/Modern India notes in just about 125 pages in total.

GEOGRAPHY

-“Certificate Physical and Human Geography” by GC Leong (this is for basics of geography)
-Nitin Sangwan notes
-SRIRAM IAS Notes for Cropping Patterns, etc
-Vajiram class notes and yellow books for various topics that I couldn’t find in the above mentioned materials.
-Current Affairs to supplement it in context of the current developments.

POLITY

-Sriram IAS printed notes (if you have to go for one resource, go for this)
-“Indian Constitution” by DD Basu is a great book for improving quality of answers as an addition to the Sriram IAS notes.
-Representation of People Act – Random notes from Internet.
-E-Governance – Internet
-Current Affairs to supplement it in context of the current developments.

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

-Chokkalingam Class Notes
-Current Affairs to supplement it in context of the current developments.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

-Current Affairs (mainly)
-If you do not have a background in science, then you may go through NCERT books of 6-10 to get basic concepts.
-Vajiram Class Notes & Yellow Books to understand basics of science if you are not from science background.

ENVIRONMENT & BIODIVERSITY

-Shankar IAS Notes (They’re comprehensive and cover everything you’ll need for pre and mains)

DISASTER MANAGEMENT

-CBSE Notes on Disaster Management (Class XI)
-Some other random resources from internet on disaster management.

ECONOMY

-Sriram IAS printed notes (if you have to go for one resource, go for this)
-Various handouts by Vajiram & Ravi + Sriram IAS relating to specific topics of the subject.
-Current Affairs to supplement it in context of the current developments.

SECURITY

-Vajiram Yellow Book
-Current Affairs to supplement it in context of the current developments.

ETHICS

-Introducing Ethics – A Graphical Guide (A great book to start with!!)
-Lexicon Ethics
-2nd Administrative Reforms Commission – Report number 4 (It is on Ethics)
-“The Difficulty of Being Good” by Gurcharan Das
-Video Lecture series titled “Justice” by “Michael Sandel” (Harvard)
-Various online websites via Google for case-studies

SOCIETY

-NCERT (“Indian Society” – I’ve lost it now, so I don’t remember exactly, but perhaps class 10th)
-Role of Women – Internet + Public Administration Notes
-Globalisation etc – Internet – GK Today website

ESSAY

-Some book on essays by a local publisher (Kumar Book Company or simply called “KBC Nano”) to gather fodder points on issues
-SRIRAM IAS handouts on Essay modules (I got these from my roommate, but they were available in market also).

More details on essay writing will be shared in a new post little later on.

NEWSPAPER

-Indian Express. I had studied The Hindu for a while but switched to Indian Express and then stuck with it.

CURRENT AFFAIRS

-VISION IAS Monthly Notes + PRE 365 + MAINS 365 series.

FOLLOWING BOOKS, MAGAZINES, WEBSITES, ETC THAT CAN BE GONE THROUGH AS PER TIME AVAILABILITY. I HAD READ THEM IN MY ATTEMPTS, SO THE KNOWLEDGE GAINED THROUGH THEM COUNTS.

BOOKS

-Vision Mains Test Series (I didn’t attend the test series. I just bought the solved questions papers from market)
-Chronicle magazine on “Art and Culture” – Great Resource (FOR ART & CULTURE)
-“Pax Indica” by Shashi Tharoor (FOR INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS & ESSAY)
-“Post American World” by Fareed Zakaria (FOR INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS & ESSAY)
-“Ethical Governance in Business and Government” edited by Ramesh Arora (FOR ETHICS)
-India Yearbook (FOR INFO ON INDIA)
-“Economic Survey” by Government of India (FOR ECONOMY)
-“India – The Future Is Now” edited by Shashi Tharoor (FOR INFO ON INDIA & ESSAY)
-“Reimagining India” edited by McKinsey and Company (FOR INFO ON INDIA & ESSAY)
-“The Burden of Democracy” by Pratap Bhanu Mehta (FOR INFO ON INDIA & ESSAY)
-Summary of 2nd Administrative Reforms Commission Reports (14 in number) – Available in Market. I was given a copy by my Public Administration sir, and this summary was from a Public Administration perspective. (FOR POLITY, ETC)
-“India – Development and Participation” by Amartya Sen & Jean Dreze (FOR ECONOMY, POLITY & ESSAY)
-“Public Institutions in India” edited by Devesh Kapur & Pratap Bhanu Mehta (Excellent book for critique of Parliament, Judiciary, President, Regulatory Institutions, etc) (FOR POLITY & ESSAY)
-Unique Publishers’ Book on Hindi for Mains Language Exam (FOR HINDI LANGUAGE)
-Manorama Yearbook (Science + Special Articles carried in the particular edition + random reference whenever I had time)
-Small thin books called “Primer on RTI” and “Primer on MGNREGA” (FOR POLITY)
-General Budget + Railway Budget (Analysis and Important Schemes from internet)
-My GRE Notes (for CSAT English – Yes I was planning to go abroad for further studies and did the coaching for that, but then later on dropped the plan).

MAGAZINES

-Yojana (for Government Schemes, fodder points on some issues, etc)
-Kurukshetra (for Government Schemes, fodder points on some issues, etc)
-World Focus (I read it for sometime for International Relations. OKAY OKAY magazine with some good articles.)
-Frontline (I read it for sometime)
-Civil Services Times (Good magazine. Go for this if you want to go for a single mazagine)
-Some Chronicle magazines on certain issues that come on certain topics (e.g. I took one on Governance and Art & Culture)
-Pratiyogita Darpan on Economy (fact-studded)

You should not spend more than 1-2 hours per issue of Yojana/Kurukshetra. Your target is not to read the book from start to end word-by-word but to gather information from there by filtering out whatever is relevant to your preparation. Just skim through the entire magazine – there is lot of repetition in the magazines. Just note down whatever is relavant – schemes, success stories, failures, innovative techniques, etc.

WEBSITES

http://www.mrunal.org (You all perhaps will know what all this site is useful for)
http://www.foreignpolicy.com/
http://www.project-syndicate.org/ (Quality of articles is unparalleled + Comments by readers/users are also insightful)
http://www.economist.com/
http://gktoday.in (Good for current affairs and other GS Material)
http://www.fairobserver.com/ (Offers a neutral viewpoint on issues)
http://thediplomat.com/ (good for Asia-Pacific news, esp on India and China)
http://www.prsindia.org/ (good for news related to Laws in India)
http://www.idsa.in/ (good for security issues and deep commentary on other issues related to India)
http://www.postwesternworld.com/
http://www.e-ir.info/
http://www.mea.gov.in/foreign-relations.htm (for International Relations)
http://www.youtube.com/user/CaspianReport/videos (for International Relations)
http://archive.today/QWg0T (For understanding Globalism and Localism)
http://www.thehindu.com/ (for some articles that friends suggested to read as I read Indian Express)
http://currentaffairs.gktoday.in/ (perhaps the most extensive coverage for UPSC style current affairs)
http://pib.nic.in/newsite/mainpage.aspx (Backgrounders & Features are good sections + for government viewpoint on news)
http://forumias.com/ (Personal view: This website used to be good in 2012-14 when I used to prepare as number of users was very less then. The quality has deteriorated since then if you ask me.)

In case of any queries/comment, do comment on the post or email on the email id mentioned in “About” page.

Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan – Mere Rashk-e-Qamar

Reading Time: 4 minutes

This ghazal “Mere Rashk-e-Qamar” had recently gotten very popular through the movie Baadshaho (though the movie had an abridged version of the ghazal). The original one was sung by Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

My first exposure to Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was as a child. I remember listening to “Kinna sohna tenu rabb ne banaya”, “Akhiyan udeek diyan”, “Aafreen Aafreen”, “Mast qalandar” and many more songs when I was a small child. Off-and-on, I keep listening to Nusrat sahab, but had a renewed interest in his qawwalis/ghazals after this song from the movie Baadshaho came up. The sufi lyrics are such that you make an instant connection with them.

We all know that Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan made the ghazals/qawwali reach to a global audience. He used sufi lyrics in his qawwalis/ghazals. As Wikipedia states,

Alexandra A. Seno of Asiaweek wrote:

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s voice was otherworldly. For 25 years, his mystical songs transfixed millions. It was not long enough … He performed qawwali, which means wise or philosophical utterance, as nobody else of his generation did. His vocal range, talent for improvisation and sheer intensity were unsurpassed.

This was Google’s take on Nusrat on his 67th birthday in 2015.Google Doodle on 67th birthday of Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Mere Rashk-e-Qamar” is perhaps my favourite qawwali/ghazal by Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. I had actually read the translation of the ghazal online here. I could not have done a better translation, so I will be copy-pasting the same here – all credits to the original author. I do not know Urdu, so I cannot vouch for the Urdu that is written in this post, but the translation is correct to the best of my knowledge.

The qawwali starts with talking about how two lovers meet for the first time – more like the viewpoint of the man and how he sees the woman – and how the man is ecstatic in a multitude of ways. There are many references to wine and the cup bearer, as is usually found in sufi poems. Love and Wine, if I understand it correctly, are though of as similar in sufism. The beauty of the lady is defined in a brilliant way – most beautiful description that I have read since last time I read the description of his lover by a man in the poem “Aate dian chirian” by Shiv Kumar Batalvi – who is one of my favourite poets in any language. (I just now realised that I MUST translate the said verses in Shiv Kumar Batalvi’s poem for others to read. His legacy must be shared.)

میرے رشکِ قمر تو نے پہلی نظر، جب نظر سے ملائی مزہ آ گیا
mere rashk-e-qamar tu ne pehli nazar, jab nazar se milaaii maza aa gaya
O my envy of the moon, when your eyes first met mine, I was overjoyed

برق سی گر گئی، کام ہی کر گئی، آگ ایسی لگائی مزہ آ گیا
barq si gir gaii kaam hi kar gaii, aag aisi lagaaii maza aa gaya
Lightning struck and destroyed me; you ignited such a fire that it made me ecstatic

جام میں گھول کر حسن کی مستیاں، چاندنی مسکرائی مزہ آ گیا
jaam mein ghol kar husn ki mastiyaan, chaandni muskuraaii maza aa gaya
Mixing beauty’s mischief into my drink, the moonlight smiled – how enjoyable!

چاند کے سائے میں اے میرے ساقیا، تو نے ایسی پلائی مزہ آ گیا
chaand ke saaey mein ae mere saaqiya, tu ne aisi pilaaii maza aa gaya
In the moon’s shadow, O my cup-bearer, you made me drink such a wine that I was ecstatic

نشہ شیشے میں انگڑائی لینے لگا، بزمِ رنداں میں ساغر کھنکنے لگے
nasha sheeshe mein angraaii lene laga, bazm-e-rindaan mein saaghar khanakne lage
Intoxication spread through the bottle, and goblets clinked in the party of debauchees

میکدے پہ برسنے لگیں مستیاں، جب گھٹا گھر کے چھائی مزہ آ گیا
maikade pe barasne lagiin mastiyaan, jab ghata ghir ke chaaii maza aa gaya
Mischief descended upon the tavern, and when storm clouds poured down, I was overjoyed

بےحجبانہ وہ سامنے آ گئے، اور جوانی جوانی سے ٹکرا گئی
behijaabana woh saamne aa gae, aur jawaani jawaani se takra gaii
Unveiled, she came before me, and her youthful splendor collided with mine

آنکھ اُن کی لڑی یوں میری آنکھ سے، دیکھ کر یہ لڑائی مزہ آ گیا
aankh un ki lari yuun meri aankh se, dekh kar yeh laraaii maza aa gaya
Her eyes clashed with mine in such a way that seeing this fight made me joyful

آنکھ میں تھی حیاہ ہر ملاقات پر، سرخ عارض ہوئے وصل کی بات پر
aankh mein thi hayaa har mulaaqaat par, surkh aariz hue wasl ki baat par
Modesty was in her eyes every time we met; her cheeks blushed red when I spoke of our union

اُس نے شرما کے میرے سوالات پہ، ایسے گردن جھکائی مزہ آ گیا
us ne sharma ke mere sawaalaat pe, aise gardan jhukaaii maza aa gaya
Embarrassed by my questions, she lowered her head in such  a way that I was delighted

شیخ صاحب کا ایمان مٹ ہی گیا، دیکھ کر حسنِ ساقی پگھل ہی گیا
shaikh saahib ka eemaan mit hi gaya, dekh kar husn-e-saaqi pighal hi gaya
The shaikh’s faith was obliterated; upon seeing the cup-bearer’s beauty, it melted away

آج سے پہلے یہ کتنے مغرور تھے، لٹ گئی پارسائی مزہ آ گیا
aaj se pehle ye kitne maghroor the, lut gaii paarsaaii maza aa gaya
Before today, how proud he was; now his piety has been lost – how enjoyable!

اے فناؔ شکر ہے آج بعدِ فنا، اُس نے رکھلی میرے پیار کی آبرو
ae Fana shukar hai aaj baad-e-fana, us ne rakhli mere pyaar ki aabroo
O Fana, today I am grateful that after my demise, she has maintained the honor of my love

اپنے ہاتھوں سے اُس نے میری قبر پر، چادرِ گل چڑھائی مزہ آ گیا
apne haathon se us ne meri qabar par, chaadar-e-gul charhaaii maza aa gaya
With her own hands, she spread a sheet of flowers on my grave – how delightful!

* Note on the takhallus: The takhallus (Urdu: تخلص) is the pen name adopted by a poet in Urdu, and is usually incorporated into his/her poems near the end. It often has a double meaning as both a name and as a word. Fana Buland Shehri included his takhallus in this qawwali when he says, “ae Fana shukar hai aaj baad-e-fana, us ne rakhli mere pyaar ki aabroo”. Fana is the author’s name, but it also means “annihilation”. This adds another meaning to that line: “O annihilation (death), today I am grateful that after my demise, she has maintained the honor of my love”.

Marvellous, isn’t it? Powerful one!

Punjabi Songs & Sharry Mann – Part 1 – Roohafza

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I am an avid music listener, and love listening to Punjabi songs. Punjabi is my mother-tongue. Punjabi songs have gotten more and more popular recently especially by the way of Bollywood. And yes, recently we have seen that more and more punjabi songs are coming that are tilting towards disco or club music with not so meaningful lyrics. Gone are the times of singers who used to sing meaningful songs.

But in this trend of “dhinchak” type songs, some songs sung by Sharry Mann stand out. He sings meaningful lyrics that help listeners connect to the song itself. “Roohafza” is one of such songs. This song reminds me of my childhood – be it the going to school in morning or VCR or Shaktimaan. The lyricist/singer knows how to connect with the listener. I’m just sharing the lyrics of the song here for you to read. I will also try to translate the song into English and also write the trans-literation.

You can find the video of the song here.

ਉਹ ਜੂੜੀ ਵਾਲਾ ਬਚਪਨ ਤੇ ਉਹ ਕੇਸਰੀ ਪਟਕਾ
Oh joori wala bachpan te oh kesri patka
That childhood with bun on the head and that orange head-cover

ਤੇ ਸੁਬਹ ਸਵੇਰੇ ਉੱਠ ਸਕੂਲ ਨੂੰ ਜਾਣ ਦਾ ਝਟਕਾ
te subah savere uth school nu jaan da jhatka
and the shock of going to school in the morning

ਮੇਰੀ ਮਾਂ ਦੀ ਪਰਦੇ ਪਿੱਛੋਂ ਕੀਤੀ ਝਾ ਨਾ ਮਿਲੇ
meri maa vi parde pichon kiti jhaa na mile
(Now) I don’t get that peek-a-boo that my mother used to play

ਮੇਰੀ ਰੂਹ ਨੂੰ ਬਚਪਨ ਵਾਲਾ ਰੂਹ-ਅਫ਼ਜ਼ਾ ਨਾ ਮਿਲੇ
meri rooh nu bachpan wala roohafza na mile
My soul does not get the roohafza I used to have in childhood

ਮੇਰੀ ਰੂਹ ਨੂੰ ਬਚਪਨ ਵਾਲਾ ਰੂਹ-ਅਫ਼ਜ਼ਾ ਨਾ ਮਿਲੇ
meri rooh nu bachpan wala roohafza na mile
My soul does not get the roohafza I used to have in childhood

ਓ ਬਚਪਨ ਕਰ ਗਿਆ ਝਾਤੀ
o bachpan kar gya jhaati
Childhood played peek-a-boo

ਓਏ ਰੱਬਾ ਕਿਥੇ ਜਾਂ ਫਸਾਤੀ
oye rabba kithe jaan fasaati
O God where am I stuck now

ਸੀ ਕੋਠੇ ਤੇ ਅੰਟੀਨਾ ਤੇ ਕਿਹੜੇ PVR ਸੀ
si kothe te antena te kehre PVR si
There used to be only one antenna on the roof, and there were no PVR (cinemas)

ਗੀਤਾ ਹੁੰਦੀ ਸੀ ਭਾਭੀ ਤੇ ਸ਼ਕਤੀਮਾਨ ਯਾਰ ਸੀ
geeta hundi si bhabhi te Shaktimaan yaar si
Geeta was our sister-in-law and Shaktimaan was our friend

VCR ਤੇ ਤਿੰਨ ਫ਼ਿਲਮਾਂ ਦੇ ਚਾ ਨਾ ਮਿਲੇ
oh VCR te 3 filma de chaa na mile
(Now) I don’t get that pleasure of seeing 3 movies on a Video Cassette Recorder (VCR)

ਮੇਰੀ ਰੂਹ ਨੂੰ ਬਚਪਨ ਵਾਲਾ ਰੂਹ-ਅਫ਼ਜ਼ਾ ਨਾ ਮਿਲੇ
meri rooh nu bachpan wala roohafza na mile
My soul does not get the roohafza I used to have in childhood

ਮੇਰੀ ਰੂਹ ਨੂੰ ਬਚਪਨ ਵਾਲਾ ਰੂਹ-ਅਫ਼ਜ਼ਾ ਨਾ ਮਿਲੇ
meri rooh nu bachpan wala roohafza na mile
My soul does not get the roohafza I used to have in childhood

ਓ ਬਚਪਨ ਕਰ ਗਿਆ ਝਾਤੀ
o bachpan kar gya jhaati
Childhood played peek-a-boo

ਓਏ ਰੱਬਾ ਕਿਥੇ ਜਾਂ ਫਸਾਤੀ
oye rabba kithe jaan fasaati
O God where am I stuck now

ਬਾਬੇ ਦੇ ਗੁਰੂਪੁਰਬ ਤੇ ਸੀ ਗੁਰੁਦ੍ਵਾਰੇ ਜਾਂਦਾ
baabe de gurupurab te si gurudware jaanda
I used to go to Gurudwara on birthday of the Gurus

ਅੱਜ ਕਲ ਬਸ ਫੇਸਬੁੱਕ ਤੇ ਪਾ ਕੇ ਹੈ ਸਾਰ ਜਾਂਦਾ
ajj kal bas facebook te paake hai saare jaanda
Now I just post it on Facebook and that’s it

ਸਬ ਕੁਝ ਮਿਲਦਾ ਹੈ ਬਾਬਾ ਤੇਰਾ ਰਾਹ ਨਾ ਮਿਲੇ
sab kujh milda hai baba tera raah na mile
(Now) I get everything but I’m unable to find the path to you

ਮੇਰੀ ਰੂਹ ਨੂੰ ਬਚਪਨ ਵਾਲਾ ਰੂਹ-ਅਫ਼ਜ਼ਾ ਨਾ ਮਿਲੇ
meri rooh nu bachpan wala roohafza na mile
My soul does not get the roohafza I used to have in childhood

ਮੇਰੀ ਰੂਹ ਨੂੰ ਬਚਪਨ ਵਾਲਾ ਰੂਹ-ਅਫ਼ਜ਼ਾ ਨਾ ਮਿਲੇ
meri rooh nu bachpan wala roohafza na mile
My soul does not get the roohafza I used to have in childhood

ਓ ਬਚਪਨ ਕਰ ਗਿਆ ਝਾਤੀ
o bachpan kar gya jhaati
Childhood played peek-a-boo

ਓਏ ਰੱਬਾ ਕਿਥੇ ਜਾਂ ਫਸਾਤੀ
oye rabba kithe jaan fasaati
O God where am I stuck now

ਮਿੱਟੀ ਉੱਗੇ ਮਿੱਟੀ ਵਿੱਚੋਂ, ਮਿੱਟੀ ਵਿੱਚੋਂ ਦਾਣੇ ਖਾਲੇ
mitti ugge mitti vicho mitti vicho daane khaale
Dirt (man) grows from soil and we eat grains grown in the soil

ਮਿੱਟੀ ਹੀ ਮਿੱਟੀ ਨੂੰ ਛੱਡ ਗਈ, ਮਿੱਟੀ ਹੀ ਫਿਰ ਗਾਣੇ ਗਾਵੇ
mitti hi mitti nu chadd gai mitti hi fer gaane gaave
Dirt (man) has forgotten its roots today, dirt (man) is singing songs then

ਮੈਂ ਸਹੀ ਨਾਲੀ ਦੀ ਮਿੱਟੀ ਤੂੰ ਤਾਂ ਮਹਿੰਗੇ ਬਾਣੇ ਭਾਵੇ
main sahi naali di mitti tu ta mehnge baane paave
I am the dirt from sewer, and you are an expensive dirt,

ਮਿੱਟੀ ਇਕ ਦਿਨ ਮਿੱਟੀ ਮਿਲਣੀ, ਘਾ ਨਾ ਮਿਲੇ
mitti ik din mitti milni gaaa na mile
Dirt (man) will eventually turn into dirt only and not grass

ਮੇਰੀ ਰੂਹ ਨੂੰ ਬਚਪਨ ਵਾਲਾ ਰੂਹ-ਅਫ਼ਜ਼ਾ ਨਾ ਮਿਲੇ
meri rooh nu bachpan wala roohafza na mile
My soul does not get the roohafza I used to have in childhood

ਮੇਰੀ ਰੂਹ ਨੂੰ ਬਚਪਨ ਵਾਲਾ ਰੂਹ-ਅਫ਼ਜ਼ਾ ਨਾ ਮਿਲੇ
meri rooh nu bachpan wala roohafza na mile
My soul does not get the roohafza I used to have in childhood

ਓ ਬਚਪਨ ਕਰ ਗਿਆ ਝਾਤੀ
o bachpan kar gya jhaati
Childhood played peek-a-boo

ਓਏ ਰੱਬਾ ਕਿਥੇ ਜਾਂ ਫਸਾਤੀ
oye rabba kithe jaan fasaati
O God where am I stuck now

(The last paragraph is not as simple as it seems, and can be interpreted in multiple ways. I have put here what I could understand from it.)

Again, hats off to the lyricist and the singer for writing and rendering such a beautiful song. Like I mentioned earlier, every time I listen to the song, I can remember (and re-live) my childhood memories.

(more posts about other such songs by Sharry Mann will be posted in near future as and when I am able to find out time to do so)

All about IPS

Reading Time: 12 minutes

This post is basically a compilation from my answers at Quora about IPS, Police, UPSC Civil Services Examination and certain new additions.

Indian Police Service (better known simply as IPS) is a premier service in the country. Every year 150 candidates get selected into the service based on the Civil Services Examination (CSE) conducted by Union Public Service Commission. The examination process is itself a year long process.

Here’s everything that you might want to know about IPS – from preparation for the Civil Services Examination to finally getting posted on field.

About the Civil Services Examination:

I have already posted details about the Civil Services Examination previously on my website. Please click here to see the details.

Every year, you have to start afresh with the examination. Preliminary scores do not count in mains. They’re just to shortlist people for mains. Final merit is based on mains + interview marks.

About the preparation for Civil Services Examination:

This is a very testing phase. This requires persistent efforts. There is no specific period of time for which you need to study or have coaching classes to succeed in the exam. I have seen people study 6 hours a day for 4 months making it to the list. On the other hand, I have seen people studying 10 hours a day for years not making it to the final list.

People will often say that you need to get coaching classes to succeed in the examination.

But if you ask a successful UPSC CSE, there is something even more important than coaching classes – good guidance.

That’s what is usually provided by coaching classes. If you are able to get it outside coaching class, you have absolutely no need of going to a class. The minimal money you’ll need to spend will be on some books or notes.

People often ask which is the best coaching institute, in Delhi or elsewhere.

None of the coaching institutes is the best one.

They all have parts that are best ones in the market. Join any institute if you plan on joining one, and grab notes of the other from the market. In the end, it is your personal efforts that matter the most.

My study table used to look like this at a point of time.

Civil Services Examination is a territory of uncertainties. Only 1 thousand of the 10 lakh who fill the form get selected finally. So, for worst case scenario, do have a backup plan.

During examination process, you have to fill a form called DAF (Detailed Application Form). Here you fill in your service and cadre preferences. You are allotted your cadre and service based on merit and then as per your service and cadre preferences.

UPSC CSE is difficult because of following reasons:

  • Vast syllabus
  • Fierce competition
  • Less number of posts
  • Margin to commit errors is less
  • Amount of preparation needed
  • Consistent hard work needed for years and months
  • Lot of mental toughness needed to stay on track for years and months

UPSC is a mature body. There used to be a time (about atleast a decade or two back) when the type of questions asked in preliminary examinations used to be too objective, with many of them being knowledge based. Even now some questions do come that are knowledge based, but the number is quite less.

The UPSC notification always says a thing about the preliminary examination:

no special knowledge/study is needed to clear the examination if you’re an aware person.

If you did all your studies diligently in school classes, if you’re studying the newspaper everyday, and not just reading it, then there is very high probability that you can even clear the preliminary examination without any coaching or special notes.

The Mains examination is understanding based. The vast amount of knowledge you have doesn’t imply that you’ll be successful in clearing it. You need clearer understanding of issues – that is why people stress on NCERT books as they clear basic understanding first. Anyways, these days understanding based questions are coming more.

Interview isn’t a test of knowledge. UPSC has already tested your knowledge in preliminary and mains examinations.

The official name for interview is “Interview for personality test”, and that is what it is.

No knowledge tested again – they test your personality through the kind of questions they ask you.

About Training at National Police Academy, Hyderabad (Phase 1):

Exactly 150 candidates are selected for IPS every year since 2012. It will remain the same till MHA notifies a change.

Training period of an IPS probationer is 104 weeks exactly (or 2 years), which includes:

  • 3 months Foundation Course
  • 10 months Training at National Police Academy, Hyderabad
  • 2 months of attachments here and there with various forces.
  • 6 month District Practical Training in your allocated cadre.
  • 2 months of phase 2 training in Hyderabad again.
  • Rest one month is holidays in a group of 7 days each time at various times during training.

Your shirt/trouser size is taken and uniform is stitched (2 normal khakhi uniform, 1 cotton uniform for drill/parade, 2 jungle/combat uniform, etc) in initial days. You get shoes, cap, socks, PT/Sports dress, belt, etc accessories from SVPNPA canteen called Suraksha Plaza at subsidised rates.

Training begins in NPA in December month. You report on a Sunday mostly and training starts from the very next day. Before you even reach NPA, all IPS probationers are divided into groups. These groups are there for a week. Outdoors are light for this first week. In this first week, your physical proficiency is tested by various tests and bases on these tests, squads are formed after the first week. These squads remain there till the end of Phase-1 of training. Your daily physical activities are held in squads and most of attachments are also done on squad basis.

So, over a period of a year, you develop bonding with your squad members, a bond which lasts for a lifetime in most cases. This is more true in case of your buddy.

In every squad, every member has a buddy. So, a squad of 20 people will have 10 buddy-pairs. These buddy pairs are responsible for each other during training (especially outdoors and attachments).

Group Photo of my squad
Group Photo of my squad
  • Morning schedule begins quite early in NPA. You have to report down outside IPS mess for fall-in (i.e. reporting into your respective groups or squads as we call it) at 5:25. So you get up accordingly. Ohh yeah, guys have to shave every day. That’s the one thing checked daily. Girls have to tie their hair into a bun and wear a mesh on the bun.
  • Daily different outdoor activities are held in morning like running/pt on one day, horse riding on another, drill/parade on another, etc. Every kind of activity has a uniform associated with it. These activities are held in 2 sessions with a break of 10-15 minutes in between. You may need to change your uniform after one session. You get free around 7:30am.
  • You get fresh and have (a heavy) breakfast then.
  • Indoor classes start from 9-1:30pm on various subjects like CrPC, IPC, Evidence act, Ethics, Management, etc.
  • Lunch break from 1:30-3.
  • Then outdoors again from 3-4:40.
  • Then 15 min break to change.
  • Then games till 5:30.

In summers, post lunch schedule is delayed by an hour because of heat.

Also, once you are alloted your cadres, you have to attend 40 minutes language class during the lunch break.

Training given to all IPS officers is the same (though time constraints are relaxed a bit for ladies in certain outdoors). It includes:

Indoors

  • CrPC
  • IPC
  • Evidence Act
  • Ethics
  • Management
  • Forensics
  • Cadre language
  • etc

Outdoors:

  • Running
  • PT
  • Equitation/Horse Riding
  • Swimming
  • Obstacle Course
  • Cross Country Races (upto 16km)
  • Route March (upto 42km)
  • Firing
  • Drill/Parade
  • Yoga
  • Medical Emergencies
  • Tactics (major focus since Mumbai attacks)
  • Sports/games

Besides:

  • On Saturdays you have half day with no outdoors. You have to do Swacch Bharat work on Saturday morning.
  • There are formal dinners with senior faculty at times which extend upto 10-11pm.
  • There are attachments to various places like Mussoorie for ITBP, Indore for BSF, Army, etc.
  • Also, there are attachments for learning elections etc where you visit place where elections are going on.
  • Also, you have to have a minimum attendance of 90% in indoors and 95% in outdoors to write exams. So, you cover up any missed classes on Saturday/Sunday.
  • 2 week Bharat Darshan is also there where you visit some states.
  • Also, there’s certain time beyond which you cannot remain outside academy.
  • Also, you don’t get leave easily except in exceptional circumstances.
  • Sunday is a holiday – but it is also taken up at times as some personality might not be able to give time otherwise.

You, as an IPS Probationer, are easily identifiable by your haircut etc or by the fact that you go out in groups or that you are accompanied by some uniformed personnel when you go in a group.

So you’ll get good reception from local police. But that doesn’t mean you can abuse this fact. The personnel who go with you won’t let you abuse this fact and will report the same if you do so. You’re meant to be an officer who doesn’t misuse his stature.

Regarding leaving academy:

  1. Generally IPS Probationers are not allowed to leave academy for personal reasons, until and unless it is an emergency or due to a special reason. (e.g. Someone in family died, your own marriage, getting admitted to hospital, etc)
  2. On a daily basis, you go outside academy only within the time limits prescribed by the academy authorities (varies every year).
  3. You’re officially not in academy if you are going on some attachment to some other place.

About District Practical Training (DPT):

After Phase-1 of training at NPA, you report to your cadre at the State Police Academy. State-specific training is done there for generally about a month. In this time, you are allotted your districts for training. After training at State Police Academy, you leave for your district and report to your District SP. There training is done regarding:

  • District Police Office
  • Police Lines
  • Reserve Office
  • Circle Inspector
  • Urban Police Station
  • Rural Police Station (here you generally take charge as SHO – Station House Officer and investigate some cases).
  • Sub-Divisional Police Office (this is important as SDPO is the first posting an IPS gets in a district).
  • etc…

During this time, you generally have a direct access to the SP and other officials of the district as they will be very much interested in your training.

Team Hooghly – I did my DPT in Hooghly.

About Training at National Police Academy, Hyderabad (Phase 2):

After your training in District, you report back to NPA Hyderabad. Training is similar to Phase-1 except that:

  • There is not as much stress on outdoors as there is during Phase-1.
  • In indoors, there is more focus on things you observed and learnt during your district training. Every probationer has to give a presentation regarding the same.

This is perhaps the last time when you get to meet all your batchmates at a place.

Here, you visit a foreign country for about a week. It varies from batch to batch during basic course training. Israel has been place of choice recently for last few batches though.

About Posting:

Once you’re allotted a cadre (which happens after results of UPSC CSE come out), you’ve to serve in the same cadre till your retirement. There are a few exceptions though:

  • You can go on central deputation or to another cadre for some years but after the deputation period is over, then you have to get back to your cadre.
  • You can change your cadre if you have spouse in another cadre. But here, your cadre has to give clearance to relieve you and the accepting cadre has to give clearance to accept you.
  • Based on extreme medical conditions or threat perception to your life, your cadre can be allowed to be changed.

The progression in service is as follows:

  1. ASP (Under Training) or ACP (Under Training)
  2. ASP (or better known as Sub Divisional Police Officer – SDPO) or ACP in Commissionerates
  3. Additional Superintendent of Police or Additional DCP in Commissionerates
  4. Superintendent of Police or DCP in Commissionerates
  5. Senior Superintendent of Police
  6. Deputy Inspector General of Police or Joint CP in Commissionerates
  7. Inspector General of Police or Additional CP in Commissionerates
  8. Additional Director General of Police or Special CP in Commissionerates
  9. Director General of Police or Commissioner of Police in Commissionerates
  10. Director of Intelligence Bureau (highest ranked IPS officer in Country)

At state level, the highest post is that of Director General of Police.

At union level, the highest post is that of Director of Intelligence Bureau.

Besides, the current National Security Advisor (NSA) Mr. Ajit Doval is an IPS Officer. It is one of the strongest post in the country presently.

Challenges lie at every step.

Some of the challenges are:

  • The challenge of making up your mind to venture into the uncertain field of Civil Services Examination, at times without a “Plan B”.
  • The challenge to get hold of basics in the first few days of your preparation.
  • Then the challenge to build more and more upon your basics.
  • The challenge to study for so many hours every day for months or years at a stretch.
  • The challenge to stay apart from family and friends for so much time to focus on your studies.
  • The challenge to finish up your syllabus to the maximum (Never is the syllabus finished 100% by anyone).
  • Side by side, you have the challenge of not giving up on the preparation or yourself. You’re allowed to get bored, but not allowed to be disheartened.
  • The challenges are many and road is uphill, but if you stand tall in the face of such challenges, success will be yours.

Some pros of IPS:

  • Respect and dignity of working in one of the premier service/job in the nation.
  • Satisfaction of giving people justice in an instant.
  • People look up to you in their toughest of times, and they will not believe that police officials themselves go through such tough times themselves each day. The best part is that you solve such of people’s problems.
  • Perquisites like government quarter, government vehicle, etc.
  • Affecting the life of people in many ways – policing is not the only thing police does. It undertakes lot of social responsibilities like interacting with schoolchildren, old age people, organising self defence classes for women, etc. Police touches life of people every single day in a hundred ways (probably more than hundred actually).
  • Job security.

About life of an IPS Officer:

One word answer: Challenging.

Life of an IPS is challenging.
Life of an IPS is challenging.

Detailed answer:

We often hear that policing is a thankless job, where the good works done by us are often skipped & forgotten and mistakes highlighted. We are the ones who have to jump into the gutters of crime & corruption and emerge out spotless. We do not hesitate from doing this because

police is not a job, it is a service, hence it is called IPS.

I’ll like to tell you about the daily schedule of a police officer. There is no schedule actually! It is because Crimes and Law & Order situations don’t see time or place. So, we have to be always ready to spring into action. You might be having a party on your kid’s birthday or travelling to your parents when you will get a call regarding some major Crime or Law & Order situation, and you’ll have to cancel everything and rush to there.

To understand the life of an IPS officer, you need to have an idea of what all work police personnel do. It includes:

  • Crime Prevention
  • Crime Detection
  • Investigation
  • Law & Order duty
  • Providing security at various political & governmental programmes
  • Providing security at important places like banks
  • Court and Prison duty
  • Travelling to other districts/states to catch criminals
  • Pilot duty when VIPs are travelling
  • Security of senior officials
  • … and the list goes on and on endlessly.

Further, the posts and related work are:

  • As an IPS officer, you are first posted as Assitant SP (Under Training) where you learn real on-field policing by having attachments with SP, Addl. SP, Assistant SP, Police Lines, SP Office, etc. Here you are supposed to learn, but it is not uncommon to be given important responsibilities during this time to test your mettle.
  • Then you’re posted as Sub-Divisional Police Officer at ASP rank where you handle a sub-division. This is the first field posting an IPS gets.
  • Then you’re posted as Additional SP where you handle one of the Zones of a district or handle some special duty as the case may be.
  • Then comes the most important post in IPS, i.e. SP, where you are responsible for the functioning of an entire district. It is here that the mettle of an IPS officer is proved.
  • Senior ranks are more or less supervisory (though no less important) going from the ranks- DIG, IG, ADGP, DGP.

Now, regarding the kind of life, it is

  • Challenging –
    • because you have no schedule
    • because you have to do things spontaneously at times
    • because deadlines are always near
    • because you need to do all the works mentioned above
    • because you need to maintain a balance between work and family
    • because you need to entertain politicians too
    • because people and media will say that you failed to prevent a crime that happened inside 4 walls of a house
    • because the force working under you is understaffed and over-burdened and lack motivation at times due to the same
    • because sometimes you are not able to do things no matter how hard you try, because crime won’t stop happening
    • because rallies and processions will keep on happening, because the duties police does (as mentioned above), keep on increasing.
    • There will be times when people will point their fingers at you, but you cannot be demotivated, because policing never stops.
    • There will be times when even your good deeds will be questioned, but you cannot let that stop you.
    • There will be times when people will question the honesty of entire police fraternity when one of them does something wrong.
    • You have to run faster than Usain Bolt to catch criminals in situation, so you’ve to be physically fit.
    • You have to be able to sleep for only 2-3 hours for days at stretch (or have sleepless nights too at times) due to ground situations, and then still attend meeting the next morning.
    • You have to be able to look into the eyes of victims and assure them that things will be alright.
    • You have to have knowledge of science, forensics, mechanical engineering, management, history, geography, etc to handle situations at times.
    • You have to remember the CrPC and IPC in detail so that you don’t commit any errors while doing your duty. Besides, you have to have knowledge of every minor act that is passed by Union as well as State government so that you prosecute criminals under correct Law and Correct Sections of the Law.
    • You have to listen to abuses of people even if 2 out of 1000 don’t like the work that you’re doing.
  • Satisfying – But the most important factor is that the service is satisfying.
    • You have the power to give instant justice to an aggrieved person, and people respect your Khakhi uniform for that.
    • No matter what situation happened – be it crime, law & order, natural disaster, accident, civil dispute, any function, family disputes, any other emergency, people turn to you – because they trust you, because they know that police will do the work no matter what it is.
    • You know that by the work that you do, you’re making the lives of people easier, even if your personal life is being sacrificed while doing that.
    • There have been many cases that I’ve seen personally when general public wrote appreciation letters to the SP praising the good work done by police personnel, but this (sadly) goes unnoticed by the general public (and media).
    • It is easy to point out problems in something, but it takes guts to set those things right – and police has the guts to do so.

That is it. In case of any queries/questions, please comment below.

What is UPSC Civil Services Exam?

Reading Time: 2 minutes

This graphic will give you an idea about the Civil Services Examination which is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).

UPSC Civil Services Examination

Of the approximately 10,00,000/10 lakh/1 million people who fill in the form for the examination (in recent years it has been even more than that), only about 1000-1100 make it to the final list of candidates (that is a success ratio of approximately 0.1%). But let the figure of 10,00,000/10 lakh/1 million not let scare you – the number of ‘serious’ candidates are way less than that, because (for the sake of generalisation):

  • About 25% of the people do not even write the Preliminary Examination due to various reasons. (7.5 lakh left as competition)
  • Of those who write, only one-third are serious. (2.5 lakh left as competition)
  • Further, half aren’t prepared (1.25 lakh left as competition)
  • Further, half aren’t prepared enough (~60,000 left as competition)
  • Further, for some candidates, the day of examination/interview is a bad day due to various reasons.

So, in the end, your competition might be with about approximately 50,000 candidates.

Based upon the final result, appointment is made to the following services:

  • Indian Administrative Service.
  • Indian Foreign Service.
  • Indian Police Service.
  • Indian P & T Accounts & Finance Service, Group ‘A’. (v) Indian Audit and Accounts Service, Group ‘A’.
  • Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise), Group ‘A’.
  • Indian Defence Accounts Service, Group ‘A’.
  • Indian Revenue Service (I.T.), Group ‘A’.
  • Indian Ordnance Factories Service, Group ‘A’ (Assistant Works Manager, Administration). (x) Indian Postal Service, Group ‘A’.
  • Indian Civil Accounts Service, Group ‘A’.
  • Indian Railway Traffic Service, Group ‘A’.
  • Indian Railway Accounts Service, Group ‘A’.
  • Indian Railway Personnel Service, Group ‘A’.
  • Post of Assistant Security Commissioner in Railway Protection Force, Group ‘A’
  • Indian Defence Estates Service, Group ‘A’.
  • Indian Information Service (Junior Grade), Group ‘A’.
  • Indian Trade Service, Group ‘A’ (Gr. III).
  • Indian Corporate Law Service, Group “A”.
  • Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service, Group ‘B’ (Section Officer’s Grade).
  • Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Civil Service, Group ‘B’.
  • Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Police Service, Group ‘B’.
  • Pondicherry Civil Service, Group ‘B’.
  • Pondicherry Police Service, Group ‘B’.

Official notification for UPSC Civil Services Examination 2017 is given here. There you can find out the details of syllabus for various optional subjects and General Studies and list of Services Identified suitable for Physical Disabled Category along with the Physical Requirements and Functional Classifications.

For more information, you might want to check out the wikipedia page on UPSC Civil Services Examination by clicking here.

Hello World!

Reading Time: 1 minute

Here is the customary “Hello World” post that you would expect from a computer programmer. Will be sharing more and more in the time to come.