Inside the Ivory Tower
Raju Mishra, IAS
The time is here for DAF , test series, as well rekindled hope for next year. You already know about importance of DAF as questions are asked extensively from this during your interview. For DAF I would suggest you spare a little time and think of the service and cadre preference diligently apart from the usual information . All of us have a dream service and our home cadres sorted in our heads but what after that ? The thing is in your current state of mind we high on spirits and longing for success and selection is our final aim . Pause for a moment and think that the service and cadre shall stay with you in most cases for your life !! So give it a good thought before you fill your choices . Forumias has good links on services , alternatively go online and read up about the various services before you fill your choice . As for the cadres , all of you are well informed of the problems faced , the good and the bad in all the states . Secondly keep in mind you shall be spending the next 10 years of your life in rural areas in case of IAS and IPS . So be mentally prepared for it . During preparation I heard a lot of people say “ bhai selection Ho Jaye Baaki nothing else matters “ or “ IAS Banaa do bus , Sarkar Se salary hi nahi lenge” etc . But post selection you shall see so many things matter including place of work , salary , personal life among others . So give these things a little thought for once chosen you can never change these until and unless you reappear for the examination and we all know that’s a cycle we are not very keen on !
Okay now to the main topic . I was posted in the field nearly a month back and man o man what an experience it has been . At the outset let me just tell you that in the civil services the powers , responsibilities and problems which you actually face in the field are 10x the times you currently imagine sitting in your home right now . There is tremendous scope for you to make an impact , and you do get a great night sleep after a tiring day having done your work diligently .
I had seen Gaurav’s video (2013 AIR1) regarding how his life saw a stark change and the realities of ground work a few months back on YouTube . It is a brilliant video and I recommend it for all of you to watch . Things are so true be it about lack of resources ,lack of trained personnel , or the interference . Certain things defy logic and trust me at times your patience is tested . It is in those times that I am reminded of interview answers I had prepared which the time has come for implementation namely : Logical –analytical approach to problem solving , innovative and out of the box solutions + patience , persistence and perseverance. Let me give u an example .
I wanted to implement the e district program and hence told my staff that I shall not sign any income certificate not applied online barring emergencies . Now this led to more resistance fro the staff than the citizens who came into my office to try and explain the situation . Ranging from scholarship deadlines to delay in processing due to lack of digital signature etc . I first opened scholarship website and showed them the deadlines were long into the future and assured them that they will have my digital signature within 48 hours ! This e district project was to be implemented around 8 weeks back but was not due to inertia . Learn that word you shall face it a lot . Secondly the discretion that I myself projected as well of all evil during preparation days is very much required at times . Be it for consideration of emergency medical cases or in one case counselling for a seat the next day . If I did not have this discretion to give them offline certificates the general public interest would have been harmed to a huge extent . Thus the need for balanced perspective on issues !
People have tremendous respect for us for the simple Reason that they expect us to deliver under all conditions and all circumstances . It was an humbling experience for me on the first day of office when an elderly person asked my permission to enter my room , opened his chappals at the door and entered my office . He was a mean of meagre resources and needed help regarding food and some relief material . To be able to help the most destitute and make a little difference to their lives was what motivated me for the service and being able to do that each day in itself is an unmatched reward .
As for the level of challenges I was recently caught in a situation where nearly 100 young guys surrounded me and demanded certain action (nearly impossible to implement) during an ongoing procession . They were agitated and I was all alone caught in this unaware situation with no police or officials nearby . I on the pretext of medical attention for an injured person ( which caused the uproar amongst them in the first place ) moved them away from the spot and took them to a nearby police station . It was very testing times as I awaited police backup , with the constantly shouting crowd demanding action and me trying to maintain personal calm and that of the group for a clash between communities could be sparked off any moment .The matter of fact is anything can go wrong when a crowd is agitated and united by an idea/cause. However with timely intervention and cooperation of all the matter was contained . But those 1.5 hours were probably the most testing I have faced till now .
I hope these snippets reinvigorate your energies during these crucial final months . There is a world of good we can do , maybe not all shall get coverage or bring you fame but you have the opportunity to serve with silence and trust me it is a great opportunity . I read somewhere the best smile is one that has fought its way through tears of hard work , I sincerely wish at the end of the UPSC cycle of your lives you all find that smile !
P.S. Kindly mail on firstname.lastname@example.org for any help with regards to your preparation , although may not be able to reply promptly but will definitely get back J