My UPSC interview questions

Interview – April 29 – 1st in Afternoon

Board – P. Kilemsungla Ma’am


Questions by Chairperson –

  1. You have written Teaching as a hobby, what kind of teaching do you do?

  2. What did you gain from teaching slum kids?

  3. Are you still in touch with these kids?

  4. What could be done to improve the education services in rural areas?

  5. Give me two solutions which would be effective in bridging the quality of education rich and poor students get?


Member 1 –

  1. What is the difference between society and civil society?

  2. Do you think the difference is artificial? Wouldn’t it be better if we have only – a society and not many civil societies?

  3. Name major insurgencies which happened in India after 1947.

  4. Explain any one of them. (Explained Punjab issue)

  5. How do you see the role of administration in dealing with this particular issue?

  6. What can we learn from this?


Member 2 –

  1. You studied Metallurgical Engineering, then why did you opt for Sanskrit Literature?

  2. In ancient times, there used to be no writing mechanism or printing, how did our ancestors retained such vast literature?

  3. Why are we not able to remember even one verse?

  4. What were you doing for past four years after graduation? (Told about joining PMRDF)

  5. Is this scheme workable? Do you think such programmes should be there at all?


Member 3 –

  1. You were talking about Shruti and Smriti as modes of keeping record. I want to check your memory. Tell me Maheswar Sutra.

  2. What is the importance of Maheshwar Sutra?

  3. Have you read that Kalidasa has described several regions in India apart from Kashmir where saffron is grown?

  4. How do you think he could possibly know such things?

  5. Have you read Ritusamhara of Kalidasa?

  6. You must have read that Kalidasa was a dumb person earlier. How did he change?

  7. What can we learn from this?


Member 4 –

  1. How can we tackle the problem of slum proliferation in India?

  2. Is microfinance a workable option in low cost housing sector?

  3. You must have heard of high profile resignations lately – in India and elsewhere also?

  4. Do you think that such resignations are justified?


Overall, the board was very cordial. At no point did they show any positive or negative expressions. I did not give good answers in situation based questions. Even in other questions, I gave very general answers. 

Sanskrit Pearl of the day:

यदि सत्सङ्गनिरतो भविष्यसि भविष्यसि ।
तथा सज्जनगोष्ठिषु पतिष्यसि पतिष्यसि ॥

– हितोपदेश, मित्रलाभ 

Meaning of the subhAShita:

If (you) stay in good company, you shall stay.  Similarly, if (you) fall off from good company, (you) shall fall.


One’s character is immensely influenced by the company he keeps.  The more one stays in good company, the better he prospers.  That, in turn implies, that when one’s company or association is not up to the mark, he shall fall off from the pedestal of character.  The company one keeps speaks volumes about his mettle.  Someone once said, ‘tell me thy friends and I shall tell you thy character’!  Such is the profoundness of one’s  association.  The more one keeps good company, the more he grows.  The more one moves away  from it, the more he regresses.  One has to be mindful of this always.  It is not a goal to achieve one day and forget all about it!  It is a constant process towards progress.

The beauty of the verse, is also in the play of the words.  The verse at first shot might seem confusing or even wrong!  But punctuation is powerful.  There is a ‘,’ between the two bhaviShyasi-s and the two patiShyasi-s!  The first bhaviShyasi indicates, being in good company.  The second one means, you shall be (as in, survive)!  Similarly, the firstpatiShyasi means, fall off from good company.  The second one implies, you shall fall (in morality and survival)!!

May each person be good and keep good company, so the entire universe will become a ‘company to keep’ :).

Sanskrit Pearl of the day:

अक्रोधेन जयेत् क्रोधमसाधुं साधुना जयेत्
जयेत् कदर्यं दानेन जयेत् सत्येन चानृतम्

– महाभारत, उद्योगपर्व

Meaning of the subhAShita:

Anger is won over with calmness (without anger); the immoral are won with morale; a miser is won by giving; lies are won over with truth.


Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, then, limb for a limb, life for a life….. There is no solace inspite! This is no way to put an end to any kind of misery!

If one displays anger all the time and the onlooker continually keeps his calm, how long can the angry man keep his temper? He would feel like he is kicking his arms and legs against the air – no matter how much he tries, can’t hurt the air :). Eventually, he shall learn to keep his calm, he has no choice. Anger is won over with calmness.

When immoral laws are exercised, they are won over with morality. Many independence struggles were based on this principle. Non-violence has sustained against violence. Good has triumphed over evil.

A miser is won over with generosity. If a miser is given and given without reservations, he is bound to get saturated at some point and understand the importance giving. Possessions are not for clinging on, but for putting it to good use for the welfare of those around. That is taught by giving.

Winning over lies is as simple as telling the truth! Honesty keeps the mind and soul peaceful. Lies do not stand a chance in front of it. Also, it is so much easier to be honest than not. When telling the truth, one doesn’t have to remember anything! Don’t have to keep track of all the lies or have the fear of being caught :). Moreover, truthfulness is the only way, when one’s quest is the ‘ultimate truth’. Truth is hence a win win situation for anyone.

Keep thy calm, morality, generosity and honesty. Makes life simple and peaceful too.