Take aways from Civil Services Examination – Mains 2013

Its being a long time since I wrote last post. So far, I was syncing in Failure of 2013 mains. Marks came out recently and everyone must be knowing their weaknesses. There is clear strategy told by Topper Gaurav Agarwal and that is working on your weaknesses.

One more thing I would like to add in that strategy and that is harness your strength as well. That is, while working over weakness, never lose your strength. Generally it is difficult to get over with habitual or behavioral weaknesses but easy to tackle tactical and strategical weaknesses. At age of us (average will be 27 years) , it is almost impossible to get over with behavioral weaknesses. Therefore, I am trying to identify tactical and strategical weaknesses and will chalk out strategies for getting over with those.

There was huge vulnerability of making strategical mistake in 2013 Mains esp in General studies since nobody knew the format of the papers. If you go through the marksheets of toppers, you will find a clear trend, marks in Essay and optional papers were decision makers. Rank 1 got only ~ 33% in GS papers. So if somebody did badly or average in optionals, you chances are gone for being in final list. It is like CSAT paper 2 of mains. If you score less than 150-160 in CSAT paper 2, you are gone even if you got 90+ in CSAT paper 1, where as someone with 180 in CSAT paper 2 with even 60 in CSAT 1 will be in the list.

One take away I took from 2013 mains is that optional paper matters most and you have to find a way to get minimum 50 to 60% in it to at least stay in the game. Marks in GS are very unpredictable but there is lesser chances of deviation from average marks whereas it is huge in optional papers.

I was disappointed from results but I am optimist and knowing the unpredictability of mains 2013, I do not see scope for living in despair. Hmmm…..Let us give it another try.


Halla Bol!

Foreign Policy – Definition and objectives

  • Definition – System of activities evolved by countries/ states for changing the behaviour of other states and adjusting their own activities according to international environment. It has definite objective and principles which are determined by domestic and international factors to achieve national interest.
  • Any of policy should be an adjunct to national policy objectives
    • aligned to domestic politics e.g. economic policy
    • Pre 1992 India voted more with USSR earlier. Post 1992, it is aligned to USA
  • Foreign policy is an instrument to protect and promote national interest of any country.
  • Foreign policy has to be dynamic because of vast changes in last 60 years eg. collapse of USSR, unification of Germany, birth of EU, rise of emerging economies etc. It also evolves because national interests also vary from time to time.

Objectives of foreign policy

  • Socio-economic
    • Getting help from developed countries eg. in 2nd FYP – Non alignment Movement, steel plants, setting up IITs
    • Partnership with USA for agriculture and education
    • PL-186 – USA help for food grains
    • BRICS
  • National Security
    • economic growth and development can not occur without protecting countries boundaries
  • Protecting and promoting countries ideological agenda
    • Normally it is not followed by India
    • eg. USA exports democracy – Egypt, Tunisia
    • India has good opportunities to do this in its neighborhood countries like  Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Myanmar
    • We never export our ideology as per Panchsheel we do not interfere in other countries
    • Our Foreign policy contains both Nehruvian and Gandhian ideas like non-violence, peace
  • Maintain communal harmony within India
    • India is multi-cultural, multi-ethnic
    • It has to take into account Tamils while dealing with Sri Lanka, Muslims with West Asia
  • Our Foreign Policy has regarded neighborhood and concentric circle around central axis of historic and cultural commonalities- buddhism, invasions, civilizational contacts – Iran, Egypt, SE Asia


  • India is not able utilize this much
  • Before independence, we have even geographical contacts with our extended neighbors
  • Though India does not just follow concentric circle theory eg. USA, Brazil, Venezuela etc are far away but it has made considerable progress in relations with them
  • Foreign policy has to be an integral part of larger effort of building nation’s capacities through economic development, strengthening social fabric, well being of the people and protecting our sovereignty and territorial integrity.


Civil Rebellions and Tribal Uprisings – snippets

The backbone of the rebellions, their mass base and striking power came from the rack-rented peasants, ruined artisans and demobilized soldiers.


  • The major cause of the civil rebellions was the rapid changes the British introduced in the economy, administration and land revenue system.
  • The revenues were enhanced by increasing taxes.
  • Thousands of zamindars and poligars lost control over their land and its revenue either due to the extinction of their rights by the colonial state or by the forced sale of their rights over land because of their inability to meet the exorbitant land revenue demanded
  • The economic decline of the peasantry was reflected in twelve major and numerous minor famines from 1770 to 1857.
  • The new courts and legal system gave a further fillip to the dispossessors of land and encouraged the rich to oppress the poor.
  • The police looted, oppressed and tortured the common people at will.
  • The ruin of Indian handicraft industries pauperized millions of artisans
  • The scholarly and priestly classes were also active in inciting hatred and rebellion against foreign rule.
  • Very foreign character of the British rule


  • From 1763 to 1856, there were more than forty major rebellions apart from hundreds of minor ones.
    • Sanyasi Rebellion: (1763-1800)
    • Chuar uprising (1766-1772 & 1795-1816); Rangpur and Dinajpur (1783); Bishnupur and Birbhum (1799); Orissa zamindars (1804-17) and Sambalpur (1827-40) and many others



  •  These rebellions were local in their spread and were isolated from each other.
  • They were the result of local causes and grievances, and were also localized  in their effects.
  • Socially, economically and politically, the semi-feudal leaders of these rebellions were backward looking and traditional in outlook.
  • The suppression of the civil rebellions was a major reason why the revolt of 1857 did not spread to South India and most of Eastern and Western India.


  • Santhals
  • Kols of Chhotanagpur (1820-37)
  • Birsa Munda (1899-1900)


  • The colonial administrators ended their relative isolation and brought them fully within the ambit of colonialism.
  • Introduced new system of land revenue and taxation of tribal products
  • Influx of Christian missionaries into the tribal areas
  • They could no longer practice shifting agriculture
  • Oppression and extortion by police officials
  • The complete disruption of the old agrarian order of the tribal communities provided the common factor for all the tribal uprisings

Revolt of 1857 – snippets

  • During the Governor-General Lord Canning
  • May 11, 1857. The Meerut incident. Capture of Delhi. Proclaiming B S jafar as the emperor.
  • Almost half the Company’s sepoy strength of 232224 opted out of their loyalty to their regimental colours.
  • Kanpur: Nana Saheb; Lucknow: Begum Hazrat Mahal; Bareilly: Khan Bahadur; Jagdishpur (Ara): Kunwar Singh; Jhansi: Rani Lakshmi Bai
  • Only the Madras army remained totally loyal. Sikh regiment as well remained largely loyal

Causes for the revolt

The revolt was a result of the accumulated grievances of the people against
Company’s administration and a loathing for the character and policies of the
colonial rule. The causes can be classified as social, economic, religious and

  • The conditions of service in the Company’s army and cantonments increasingly came into conflict with the religious beliefs and prejudices of the sepoys.
  • The unhappiness of the sepoys first surfaced in 1824 when the 47th Regiment of Barrackpur was ordered to go to Burma. To the religious Hindu, crossing the sea meant loss of caste. The sepoys refused. The regiment was disbanded and those who led the opposition were hanged.
  • The rumors about the Government’s secret designs to promote conversions to Christianity further exasperated the sepoys.
  • The greased cartridges.
  • They were also unhappy with the emoluments
  • Discrimination and racism
  • Misery brought to the peasants by the British rule. E.g. the land revenue system imposed in Oudh, where about 75000 sepoys came from, was very harsh.

Unfolding of revolt

  • After the capture of Delhi, a letter was issued to the neighboring states asking for support.
  • A court of administrators was established in Delhi
  • Ill-equipped, the rebels carried on the struggle for about a year
  • The country as a whole was not behind them. The merchants, intelligentsia and Indian rulers not only kept aloof but actively supported the British.
  • Almost half the Indian soldiers not only did not revolt but fought against their own countrymen.
  • Apart from a commonly shared hatred for alien rule, the rebels had no political perspective or definite vision of the future
  • Delhi fell on September 20, 1857.
  • Rani of Jhansi died fighting on June 17, 1858.
  • Nana Saheb escaped to Nepal hoping to revive the struggle.
  • Kunwar Singh died on May 9, 1958.
  • Tantia tope carried on guerrilla warfare until April 1959 after which he was betrayed by a zamindar, captured and put to death.

One exceptional speedy judgement in Criminal Case

Mumbai’s Special Session Court declared its judgement in Shakti Mill Case within 7 months. A photo journalist was raped by few yougesters including a juvenile. This has been possible only after amendments in CrPC last year. Criminal justice system is well known for its snail pace in
delivering justice to victims. This case has been an exception. Judgement in Delhi Gang rape case of a medical student in dec 2012 was also declared swiftly but due to extreme public pressure and media scrutiny. This incidence and subsequent protests all over country forced our law makers to amend CrPC and provide stricter punishment to sexual assailants. It is significant that the judge has sentenced the four convicts under Section 376D, which deals with gang rape, to the maximum punishment of imprisonment for the remainder of their natural life. Though Case is yet to decide on whether to use Section 376E which provides death sentence to repeated offenders.

This judgement will give hope to many sexually assaulted victims. There is a fair degree of certitude now that timely complaints and disclosures would help the police to undertake a proper investigation, while public opinion and activism keep the issue alive so that the case is not derailed at the trial stage. As the Shakti Mills trials demonstrate, the way forward is in fostering trust in the system of criminal administration by efficient investigation and speedy trials.