Civils Marathon- 19: Essay writing as an art

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Civils Main examination contains Essay paper

Civils Main examination contains Essay paper. Most of the candidates with different educational backgrounds may not be in the habit of writing an essay in a traditional way. The question paper has two sections. The candidate has to write two essays choosing one from each of the sections A and B in about 1000 to 1200 words. Each question carries 125 marks. When we look back at the previous question paper of 2021, we will have an idea of the mindset of the examiner. Candidates are advised to go through at least 7 to 8 years previous question papers to have an idea about the variety of questions appeared earlier. Let us examine the 2021 paper.

Section A

l The process of self-discovery has now been technologically outsourced.

l Your perception of me is a reflection of you, my reaction to you is an awareness of me.

l Philosophy of want lessness is utopian, while materialism is a chimera

l The real is rational and the rational is real.

Section B

l Hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.

l What is Research, but a blind date with knowledge!

l History repeats itself, first as a tragedy, second as a farce.

l There are better practices to best practices.

When we look at the way of questioning, we can easily understand that the mindset of the examiner is to observe the depth of knowledge of the candidate.

Selection of two topics

Among the eight questions given, each has a variety of subjects. When choosing the question, one has to be careful. The philosophical touch and the wider implications of the subject are to be examined first. At the outset it appears most of the questions are philosophical in nature. To impress upon the examiner, one has to have hold on the subject as well as diction and depth of knowledge.

Starting trouble

How to begin the answer is a very big dilemma. It is observed that one may start with a quotation of a reputed person. You should have three or four quotations in your mind to impress the examiner about your knowledge. It should be relevant and appropriate to the subject. For

example the question hand that rocks the cradle rules the world appeared earlier also. It is intended to explain about women empowerment and the role of a mother in the life of a person. She is the guide and philosopher of a child and she grooms the person with utmost sincerity till he is a grown-up person.

She narrates the baby several stories to imbibe the spirit of adventure, simplicity, behavioural sciences and what not. Till he/she attends maturity she is the person who guides the personality to create a mindset of culture. The other aspect of the question is woman is capable of ruling the country and changing the lifestyle of entire nation. Here the example of several national and international leaders can be explained. For example, in India Indira Gandhi created history in developing the nation and ruling the country with her indomitable courage. She has won international appreciation for her dynamic nature. While concluding the essay one has to explain how women's representation in public service has gained momentum.

Paragraph division

Word count is most important. Prepare a rough sketch about how the essay can be attempted. If needed, statistics are more important to present the ideology. The narration style should be in a dignified manner. Beating about the bush is not advisable. Come to the point and explain your ideology to the examiner with good diction. The style of writing the narration and diction will definitely impress upon the examiner and he may allot you around 90 to 100 marks out of 125. Don't exceed the word limit. Don't cut short by presenting yourself within 900 words. Each paragraph can be given a caption to attract the examiner. Think over the complexity of the question and decide before to present it in a dignified manner.

History repeats

This question is based on the historical evidence of India and other countries also. This question is not about history but it is about the way each nation progresses towards development. Several wars and the after effects of the war are to be explained in such a manner that the actual facts are to be highlighted. Be careful in narrating the incidents and the personalities who contributed for the development of the nation. The philosophical touch of the question is to be unearthed in the explanation of the question.

Utopian theory

Utopian theory often envisions an isolated society, under favourable conditions where there can be no injustice if its members comply with societal ideals. This goes to show that the definition of Rawlsian ideal theory arguably holds as a viable, although simplified definition of Utopia. Social and political philosophy has inherited a great deal from the work of John Rawls. He has been widely credited with revising social theory in the 20th century. Amongst his many contributions is an intuitively simple concept which has sparked controversy and debate. While attempting this question it should have an impressive mark on the examiner's mind.

Closing paragraph

The examiner should be impressed with the closing words of the essay. It can be a quotation or summing up of the entire narration of your ideology. One may not accept your ideology but the presentation and the diction, the style should impress the examiner. This paper is a gateway for the mains examinations. Each year the pattern of questioning is different. Most of the years they have the hallmark of philosophy. Go through earlier question papers.

Clarity in thought

It is necessary to have clarity in thought while presenting the ideas in a coherent manner. No need to have bombarding language or high-flown language. Presenting oneself in a dignified manner with coherent ideas is important. Your goal should be to impress the examiner to gain many more marks. All the best.

(The author is retired Additional Director General Doordarshan, Delhi)

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