Lending Hands to someone is better than giving a dole.
Quick but steady wins the race
Character of an institution is reflected in its leader
Education without values . as useful as it is, seems rather to make a man more clever devil
Section – B
Technology can not replace manpower
Crisis faced in India-Moral or Economic
Dreams which should not let India sleep
Can capitalism bring inclusive growth.
First of all, it was a very pleasant and welcoming , since 2014 , that UPSC is asking 2 essays rather than one.Which gives ample opportunity to amplify the marks.It is difficult to get more than 120 on a single essay and marks depends on connecting with the examiner.If your view point in a single essay , speaks to the mind of the examiner, you will get good marks , if not – only god can save you:).
Moreover , it is rather difficult to write 2500 word on a single topic, one usually runs out of material and digresses.
But now, when one has 2 essays , it gives real latitude to the aspirants and also helps diversify and increase one’s marks.Moreover, it is good for the UPSC too as they get to know more about you.
In general sense , Essays are all about personality and how to interpret and answer them.The essays needs in-depth understanding of a subject and this need critical thinking and one’s continuous effort to learn.
Lets analyse the essays of this year:-
There is a departure from dominance of quote based essays, which are mostly philosophical .And unless, one knows why a particular author made the quote , what is the background of it , one would not able able to answer satisfactorily.
For eg- in 2013 – “Be the change you want to see in this world ” .To answer this essay one needs to understand who said it,why he said it, was he the only one who said, how it was popularized by certain philosophy or person in our culture etc and the multiple angles of it.
Hence, quote based essays are little vague in nature and attempting them either can be very rewarding or very disastrous depending on one’s understanding and connect with the subject.Chance of digression is very high.One of the reason why who scored 140 one year scores 60 in the next year – we have personally endured this.
This year essays like – Lending Hands to someone is better than giving a dole and Quick but steady wins the race may look like quotes, but they are statements . Now how to answer them is important .
1)Lending Hands to someone is better than giving a dole –
This essay is completely relevant and a contemporary issue.If any of you have read economic survey of 2014 , you will know why this statement came. The survey is critical of the non performing , extravagant burden on Indian exchequer – rather known as SUBSIDY.How the subsidies are creating troubles rather than helping the needy.
One might think this as an philosophical essays- but it is not- it is an economic essay.There is little space for philosophy though .
Also we have asked you to read one particular article in one of our Sunday diaries , and if one has read this , he/she would be able to answer this perfectly.
and the quote in the article – ““Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” is very apt for this occasion.If you have read the article , you can even cite the example of particular IAS officer, there by making the answer more relevant to contemporary topic.
The core of the essay is however subsidy , but you cannot put figures and numbers per se, they have to be used judiciously and essay is probably checked by English professor, hence, excessive economic terms would make your essay technical and will hamper your marks. Thus it has to be answered by one of our principle philosophy – “Simplicity“.
One might argue that the essay is more philosophical (can cite examples/stories of the past) and no need to put SUBSIDY as the core theme, but remember, to make it relevant you have to use SUBSIDY , because there is a reason why UPSC has asked it this year and connecting it with contemporary issue is the single most important factor.
In conclusion ,this is an economic essay .Now you have to make the English professor understand economics.If you keep that in mind and write , this is a very nice essay to attempt.
2)Quick but steady wins the race:-
Lets understand why this was asked ?
The political development in the last year , the anti-corruption movement, Jan Andolan etc , gave rise political parties and instantaneous decisions led to unproductive log jam.It was quick but it was not steady.The product of the movement – Jan Lokpal bill is yet to do anything substantial on curbing corruption.Though it was a great movement as it generated the necessary social condition for anti-corruption in Indian Psyche.This is a fit case example of – if you are quick and not steady how it is going to to fail.
The theme of the essay is both quick and steady – that means – India is a young country and it is the time to harness India’s demographic dividend, this needs both – quick development and steady development that are sustainable.
India has been steady but not quick , hence we have lost 2 decades of opportunity as compared to China.
This essay can also be answered from citing examples from past . Once can cite examples such as Jadev Payeng (Forest man of India) – who single handedly brought a large number of area under forest through his actions. He was quick to realize that the Majuli Island can sink and only way to save it – is to grow forest cover , which can stop soil erosion and absorb excessive rainwater and he was steady in his action to plant the trees- day in – day out .We know that flood happens when forest covers on the banks were lost as forests act as sponge – they capture the water and release it slowly- hence stooping the flood.Many more such examples can be cited.One can cite historical examples – related to administration as well.
It is usually said that slow and steady wins the race , however the essay is quick and steady- that means UPSC is asking on the contemporary theme not on the age old idea of perseverance.
The relevance is , as pointed before how our governance structure should change from Slow and steady to quick and steady.
This essay has to be answered – If you are quick and not steady how it is going to fail and if you are slow but steady then how it is going to fail.
Another example can be environment – how it needs quick but steady action to succeed across globe.How we are on the verge of climatic catastrophe and how only fast and steady action can save it.
So , this is a question related mostly to – administration/policy – “designing action- taking decision-implementing it and sustaining it ” is the core.
The question mocks the rabbit and tortoise story of the past- slow and steady wins the race.
Various examples can be cited for this essay and can be both person centric/example centric or administration/policy centric .If one uses the larger objective such as administration and policy issues then it will connect with the reader , however one can use both – as one may see fit.
3)Character of an institution is reflected in its leader:-
This is a far too direct statement . If one has ample name of leaders and the institutions they led and how they changed and strengthened/weakened it – one can answer this.
This is a simple theme – the essay should delve in to – how a good man can lead a bad institution is a better way and how a bad man finds loophole in a good institution and makes it worse.
One fodder material for this can be the different Governor- Generals of India in British period. How the good one tried to do better while the bad ones tried to make it worse , even though they all were part of same institution and how their character changed the perception of their institution in the public psyche , thus painting a good/bad character of the institution altogether.
There can be multiple ways to answer this, however one should list down all the names institutions before hand and then answer the question.
Overall, this is a good essay for Public administration students , for others it is usually less attractive.
4)Education without values . as useful as it is, seems rather to make a man more clever devil
This is a quote by C.S. Lewis , however unlike past , this quote does not need greater understanding of the background of the quote and one can comfortably answer this .
It is essentially an Ethics question related mostly to Sociology. Because, we have seen , in recent times how educated ones are leaning towards extremism .
How absence of value based education has led to moral denigration in contemporary times.
How only technical education is only creating a man of skill who are devoid of ethics and take the garb of their education to justify their means.
How we are creating younger generations , who are only chasing money , becoming self-centered and disconnected from the society.
How education is creating a clever ones , yet the devil ones.
How our education is designed to teach skills to humans and not humanity .
This is a very broad topic and many examples can be cited for it , it is worth the attempt , moreover this lets one to show their understanding by ending it with a positive note and giving the necessary way forward.
Out of the 4 topics :-
Lending Hands to someone is better than giving a dole -ECONOMIC- Worth the attempt- One can gather enough to write about it- topic is not digressive in nature-once can end with a very good conclusion
Quick but steady wins the race:- ADMINISTRATIVE/POLICY- Worth the attempt – One can gather 1300 word easily – topic is not digressive in nature- one can end with a good conclusion , but it will be not as appealing as the previous one (we might be wrong though :))
Character of an institution is reflected in its leader:-PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION- Good for the optional people
Education without values . as useful as it is, seems rather to make a man more clever devil– SOCIOLOGY – worth the attempt- topic is very appealing yet can be dangerous if you digress, one needs Gandhi’s Idea of Education to get good marks on this- Many would have attempted this one- theme is bound to be critical , little scope for optimism as this is a critical topic.
As you have seen above , each topic has a specific core area – Sociology /Pub Ad/Economy.