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An average performer at school and at college. Couldn’t manage beyond the Main in the first two attempts. Had taken a break to concentrate in a career in teaching. He finally resurrects himself much like the Phoenix to top the list for IAS this year! Read about this remarkable man, Alok Ranjan Jha, his efforts and his success...
Q. How did you feel after your success? A. Initially it was extremely difficult for me to believe. I feel elated at the result. It took a couple of days for
the news to sink in. But the feeling was really good.
Q. Tell us something about how you started out. A. Actually I was teaching at Hindu College as a lecturer in Political Theory. And that was the time when I
decided to go for it. In 1997 I started my preparations and 1998 was my first attempt. I managed the Prelims but could not make it through the Main. In 1999, I did not write because I decided to concentrate on building my career as a lecturer. In 2000, I wrote again. Again I got through the Prelim but not the Main.
Q. What was the real shift in emphasis in your preparations in this third attempt? A. I think I was more methodical and systematic this time. Q. How did you prepare for Political Science? A. I did not need much extra preparation because I had Political Science as a subject in my B.A., M.A.,
and M.Phil. Further, I taught it for a couple of years. So, I was very comfortable with this particular subject. Of course, I had to brush up certain areas to tune my preparations to the demands of UPSC. For that, I prepared some random notes with jottings and stuff. But that did not take much of my time.
Q. Why did you choose Sociology? A. Basically for two reasons. Primarily because Sociology and Political Science have much in common.
That cuts down your preparation time. Secondly, study of society really fascinates me.
Q. Did you have any formal training in Sociology? A. No, I did not. Q. How should one go about preparing for Political Science?
I was initially upset because quite a few changes had been incorporated in the changed syllabus. There is less emphasis on political theory and thought and more on contemporary issues like Globalization, Human Rights, International Law, Environmental Issues, Global commerce, and the like. And I think a student who is a regular reader of a good newspaper or a good magazine and is aware of what is happening around him stands a good chance now. So, on the whole the approach is quite
my understanding of the world around me. How was your interview? What was your experience? I was a bit scared to begin with. I think do have a role to play because the syllabi for the exam is vast. what do you think of Sociology as a subject? How did you prepare? It is interesting. Institutes guide you how to go about it. both quantitatively and qualitatively. But the moment I entered. think about time management and they keep you on track. is very important. For Statistics I did practise a bit. Q. One of the two papers was quite lengthy. I think. time management was one factor that made the difference. very friendly and extremely nice. So one has to go by the institute’s record. and my understanding of social issues. That. Both my optionals helped me in this regard. right from the beginning the Board was very cordial. Otherwise I did not practise writing as such. In the first attempt it was difficult to manage all questions. I said to myself if I am not able to write more than 150 words within 3 or 4 minutes I am not going to succeed. particularly.contemporary and I managed to handle the scope after a few initial hitches. Why did you choose IFS? It has more to do with my fascination for diplomacy and international relations rather than aversion to any other service. And. So I was very careful this time. At that time she was a student of the Delhi School of Economics. How did you prepare for Essay? Actually I did not do any deliberate preparation for the Essay. Coaching institutes. If one feels comfortable there one should go. Nayanika Mathur was a great help to me. is fairly interesting. a friend of mine. Q. Q. not even for a moment I felt uncomfortable. Apart from what you have already told us. interact with them. And I think the way India and the world is changing and the way India’s relations with the changing world are taking shape. the theory part. I would rather leave the answer incomplete than exceed the time limit. But I would like to say that one should be careful about the kind of institute one is choosing. Q. Q. I relied on my wide reading. So. The way we have to study about thinkers. Q. What is your opinion about choosing coaching institutes? I think coaching institutes play a very crucial role. Q. What about General Studies? What was going wrong with you in previous attempts? One of the biggest mistakes I made in both my previous attempts. but I did jot down important points for all possible questions and topics. the kind of people who are teaching there and. I feel foreign service in coming years is going to be extremely . was time management and that still remains a problem. So. All institutes are actually not up to the mark. Did you practise answer writing regularly? Not really. They were very polite.
attitude towards the world and the people around me because it is the first place where socialization begins outside the family. But two things I want to make very clear. As a place for students JNU is far more compact. There is much more interaction among the students at JNU than compared to that of DU. One. because (God forbid!) if you don’t get through. the number of students in JNU is far less. You did graduation from Hindu College and then you went to JNU. Don’t take it to your heart. media or elsewhere before they get into this. I want them to have a sense of detachment from the exam.challenging. It has left a deep impact on my personality. Where have you done your schooling? St. you should not feel dejected and stop giving hundred per cent to everything else in life. both are equally good. . So. Any advice for future aspirants? First I would like to wish all of them good luck. they should have a career chalked out either in academics. Michaels. because I do think there is some amount of unpredictability in this exam and two. Q. Q. JNU does have very meritorious students. Of course. Q. We might not realise that in concrete terms. but that is true for the Delhi University too. Patna. Q. do you attribute your success to your school and those formative years? Every school as an institution always gives its contribution to an individual. What do you think is the difference in approach in both universities? As far as merit and academic excellence of faculties is concerned. No doubt.