Prelims on 24th Aug, 9.5 Lakhs Aspirants

So it is final now. Prelims will be held as per the schedule. And almost 9.5 lakhs aspirants have applied this year. Such a huge competition !

God save the aspirants. Confidence level is falling. But what else can we do? We have to fight and give our best shot. And leave the tension of result on God. 

The Problem of Religious Fundamentalism in India

All religions are true. They all preach love, benevolence, virtue and make a man civilized. No religion is bad and no religion is superior to another religion. India has unique distinction of having followers of almost all major religions found in the world. People professing to different religions and sects are living peacefully in India since ancient times. The co-interaction among different religions has produced a unique civilization. However, we are also seeing the rise of religion fanatics, who don’t accept other religions as true. They consider only their own religion as the one and only religion deemed fit to exist. Such fanatics have become a threat to peace and security in India.

Religious fundamentalism in India raised its head during the colonial period. The British colonial government followed the policy of divide and rule. To perpetuate its rule in India it highlighted the communal distinction among Hindus and Muslims. It played one religion against another. India got portioned due this very religious fundamentalism. But even now it is posing a serious challenge to unity and integrity of the country. Since independence India has seen thousands of riots when several thousand innocent people lost their life and property. Religious fundamentalism has also result in secessionist demands from several parts of the country. Kashmir, Nagaland, Punjab [demand for Khalistan+ now dormant] and other places are burning in the fire of terrorism .The frequent instances of bombings in different cities are also linked with religious fundamentalism

What is the cause for religious fundamentalism? In my opinion the politics of vote bank is the main cause for the menace of religious fundamentalism. The policy of appeasement of one religion over another by the political parties for getting their votes creates friction in society. Moreover the political parties don’t take care of these people after they are elected. They demand remain unfulfilled. The members of the minority community feel cheated. They say that they are discriminated in recruitments, business places, development schemes etc. They say that their villages, roads, etc are not developed.  The rate of unemployment, illiteracy is very high among these people.

The members of the majority community are angry due to continued appeasement of the minorities. Some of them want to expel the minorities and create a Hindu nation. They hold parochial view of nationalism. For them every member of the minority community is a terrorist. There is rise of cyber Hindus who don’t tolerate voice of dissent from minority communities.

The main problem is lack of development and employment. If people are jobless they are an easy target for cunning religious fanatics and foreign enemy states. Also due to lack of education and awareness innocent, gullible young men are get trapped in nefarious designs of some anti-social, anti-national elements. The problem of religious fundamentalism can be solved to great extent by offering or creating employment opportunities for everyone. Unnecessary appeasement should be stopped. Discrimination based on religion should be checked. The government should create a robust mechanism to ensure that innocent people are not framed in terror charges.

Religious fundamentalist should be banned from making public speeches. They should be severely punished if they don’t mend their ways and incite communal violence. Anti-riot forces should be stationed at all the places which have history of communal riots. The proportion of minority community in such forces should be increased.

India is a vast country. The minority communities of India are as large as some of the European countries. India cannot progress if it ignores its minority communities. There are laws, schemes and provisions for them in the constitution. But the need is to implement those laws, rules and schemes on ground. Justice must prevail.

The state has to embrace all the religious communities. It has to take everyone on the path of development. Nobody should be left behind. India is doing remarkably well in protecting the rights of the minorities. It is an example for even the developed countries. But due unemployment and backwardness innocent and gullible people easily get influenced by the fundamentalist. They are brainwashed and incited to do violence and create anarchy.

Religious fundamentalism is a challenge for security and stability of India. Besides using hard power, soft power should also be used to tackle it effectively. 

Strategy for UPSC Prelims 2014 CSAT

Merely 33 days are left for the prelims of cse 2014. All the candidates are terrified. And the recent hullabaloo regarding the CSAT [Paper II] has only added to the miseries of the candidates. Chances are that UPSC will not succumb to government pressure. But the total weight age for English comprehension may decrease. Exam date is unlikely to change. It is already too late. So 24th August 2014 will stay as the D-Day.

So what is your strategy for safely sailing the preliminary test? The cut off for 2013 for general category was 241. In any scenario, the cut off for this year will at least 270+. It may go up but not below this. As this is my very first attempt at this mother of all exams, I am very much scared. What if I am not able to score beyond the cut off marks? It will mean I will have to wait for one more year, cursing my fate. [Anyways, I will not give 2nd attempt.]

Stop reading anything new. Just practice and revise what you have already read. Don’t procrastinate. Increase the number of hours. Avoid distractions. Feel good. Don’t build unnecessary pressure. Think that you have very good chances of qualifying for the mains exam. Avoid negative minded people and market rumours. Focus on your notes and solve more and more practice sets. Increase reading speed. Brush up the short cuts for Paper 2.

If you are not feeling confident enough, and you genuinely feel that you have not read enough [and not practiced enough] then don’t waste your attempt. Start from today for the next year’s exam. But if you have read enough, practiced enough and still feeling a little bit scared, then don’t worry. It is normal. I have talked to seniors and some toppers. They also feel like this.

Once again I will repeat- feel good, take care of your health, don’t touch new study materials, don’t fall prey to rumours and practice several practice sets. You have to score at least 270 for sailing through the prelims to qualify for the mains. I not any jyotishi baba, so don’t take 270 as the final cut off score. It is just a challenge set before you. It may go upto 280 or 290 or even 300. It may go below 241 if the questions are really very tough. Don’t worry about cut offs. Prepare honestly and give your 100 percent in the exam. That’s all.