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Name: PRANAY PATHAK
Hello friends. Recently, I took my UPSC interview and would like to share my experience. For the sake of convenience, I am putting all the questions together, though they were asked by different members of the panel.
Q. So, Mr.Pranay, you want to go for IPS?
Me: Yes, sir.
Q. You look like a 10th class boy. How will you command the troops?
Me: Sir, I believe it is not the size of the tiger in the fight. It is the size of the fight in the tiger.
Q.(Smiling) So you are very fond of reading. Something similar was said by Mark Twain. Can you tell me what did he say? However, I did not say so owing to your physique but the way you look.
Me:Sir, he said “It is not the size of the ‘dog’ in the fight, it is the size of the fight in the ‘dog’.”
Q. So, you misquoted him?
Me: No sir, I didn’t quote him at all. I said what I believe about myself. I am not a dog. I am a tiger.
Q.(Laughing) Ok. So, tiger, I mean Pranay, people crave to get into IIM A. You dropped out of IIM A? May I know why?
Me: Sir, I got the inspiration of dropping out of IIM A from Father of Management Peter Drucker himself. He said, “There is no point in being the richest man in the cemetery.” So, the wealth and lucre that I could have gained by virtue of being an alumnus of IIM A never allured me. I wanted to join the armed forces.
Q.(Interrupted midway) Yes, I can see from your dossier that you qualified to join Army. What happened then?
Q. All ok?
Me: Yes sir. Unfortunately, I am no longer fit to be a member of Army.
Q. I could notice that you were bit uncomfortable while walking. You are fine now?
Me: Yes sir. Absolutely fine.
Q. Pranay, why do you want to join IPS?
Me: Sir, I believe shrouds don’t have pockets. But, while lying under a tri-colour shroud, what Hemant Karkare or Sandeep Unnikrishnan or Ashok Kamte carried along transcends whatever wealth can buy. I am not afflicted by ‘martyrdom syndrome’. But, yes I want to serve the nation by blood and iron. And if need be, would not hesitate from taking the bullet on the chest.
Q. Pranay, you are from Rajasthan. Why you have given preference to Tamil Nadu cadre then?
(Note: My first preference is Tamil Nadu cadre).
Me: Sir, the officers whom I idealise, served in Tamil Nadu. I just want to follow their footsteps.
Q. Whom do you idealise. Who are your favourite officers?
Me: Sir Thiru Walter Devaram and Thiru K. Vijay Kumar. I am an ardent fan of Thiru C. Sylendra Babu as well.
Q. Did I listen ‘Thiru’?
Me: Yes sir.
Q. It is evident from your DAF that one of your hobbies is learning languages. My God! You have so many hobbies. So, which all languages do you know.
Me: Sir, I can read, write and speak in 10 languages: Hindi, English, Punjabi, Urdu, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and Bengali.
Q. Really! Can you write in Tamil? Write my name in Tamil.
Me: Sure ma’am, unga peyar enna? (what’s your name). Also, kindly let me know you are Thirumati (Mrs.) or Selvi (Ms.).
Note: Thereafter, I wrote her name comfortably with proper salutation.
Q. What is the difference between ? and ??
Me: Ma’am, both are pronounced as ‘na’. But, ? is used to begin a word and cannot be used to end a word. While, ? is used in the middle of a word and a word ought to be ended by this. (The panelist seemed to be very elated on this answer)
Q. Pranay can we converse for few seconds in Bengali?
Me: Sir, given my lack of practice I am not very articulate in Bengali. But, if you ask me I can recite few poems in Bengali.
Q.Please go ahead.
Me: Recited ‘Ekla Cholo Re’ by Rabindranath Tagore.
Q. I want to listen to another poem in Bengali.
Me: Started reciting ‘Amar Sonar Bangla’ (again by Rabindranath Tagore).
Q. (Interrupted midway) My dear, this is the national anthem of a country. Don’t you think you should stand in its honour while singing it?
Me: Sir, as far as my memory goes, this song was composed by Rabindranath Tagore in the aftermath of partition of Bengal. I did not take it as the national anthem of Bangladesh, but as a piece of art. Yet, I am sorry sir.
Q. Apology accepted. Pranay, you have mentioned that you have a penchant for poetry. Do you write poems? Recite a couple of lines of any poem that you wrote.
Me: Sir, I believe one swallow does not make a summer.
Q. No issue. You may recite the whole poem.
Me: An epitome of profound and divine grace,
Comely gestures, pretty face.
Hair like stream fed by perennial springs,
You preen like a peacock with azure wings.
At your behest the Sun shall rise,
Deep like Thames your limpid eyes.
Indebted to God, this Venus is so cute,
Melting like a taper in your pursuit.
Towards the apocalypse this adorer shall wait,
Enchanting and mesmerizing your doe’s gait.
In scented paradise your grace shall ace,
When the moon disappears, you shall take its place.
Q.Great! Wonderful! By the way, now I can see the ‘Tamil Connection’ (laughing).
Me: No sir. There is no Tamil Connection apart from being inspired by Thiru K. Vijay Kumar.
Q. So, tell me something about Operation Cocoon.
Me: Ma’am, it was the operation launched to nab forest brigand Veerappan.
Q. You have secured first position in National Level Debate Competitions in both English and Hindi? Are you proficient in both the languages?
Me: Yes ma’am.
Q. Kindly translate what I say in Hindi: Excessive rainfall is harmful for soil.
Me: ‘Ativrishti mrida ke liye hanikarak hai.’
Q. Awesome. How do you visualise striking down of NJAC by Supreme Court?
Me: Ma’am as far as my knowledge goes, an independent judiciary is a basic feature of our constitution. And given the fact that the government could have had a say in the appointment of judges under NJAC, it would have militated against this basic feature of our constitution. It would have meant interference of the executive in the judicial functions.
Q. What do you think is the need to ‘Act East’?
- To diminish our dependence on the US and the West. (Push factor)
- There is a limitation on ‘Acting West’ as we have to go through the tinderboxes of Pakistan, Afghanistan, etc. We have an arc of instability lying on our West. (Push factor)
- To leverage the vibrant economies of our Eastern and South Eastern neighbours like South Korea, Singapore, etc. (Pull factor)
Q. How do you visualise India in the light of the changing world order?
Me: Sir, India is no longer a pawn, but a flamboyant player on the geopolitical chessboard. Shall I adduce few examples to substantiate this?
Q. No need. You play chess? What have you learned from the game of chess that you can apply in your real life?
Me: That after the game of chess the King and the pawns go into the same box.
Q.(Beaming) Good. Which organisation do you aspire to join if you get into IPS?
Me: Sir I would love to be deputed to National Security Guard someday. Moreover, it would be a privilege if I get forward postings. I would like to contribute my share in the fields of counter-terrorism, counter-insurgency and espionage as well.
Q. Ok Pranay. We are done. Anything from your side?
Me: Sir, nothing much, but I would like to quote the person who inspired me to go for IPS. People celebrate Independence Day. They do cherish Republic Day. But, very few Indians know that 21st October is Police Commemoration Day. Before I retire from the service, I would ensure that every Indian has a sense of respect for the Police. Jai Hind.