As thousands of UPSC applicants wrote the preliminary examination on Sunday — following a month-long controversy over the examination pattern — Civil Services aspirants alleged that the paper continued to be biased towards English-medium students.
“Our problems still continue. We do not have a problem with English but the Hindi translation of English questions,” Ushapati Tripathi said. Tripathi had gone on a nine-day-long hungerstrike in Mukherjee Nagar earlier this month before being picked up by police from the protest venue.
Justifying his decision to take the preliminary examination, Tripathi said, “If one did not give the examination this time and the government eventually provided some relief to us, they will at least not turn around and say that it does not apply to you because you haven’t taken the test.”
Meanwhile, another aspirant Surendra Pratap Singh, who had also taken part in protests, took the preliminary examination in English. “I did not want to take a chance this time. Although I am a Hindi-medium student, the Hindi translation of questions in the paper are such that even a Hindi professor will not be able to understand them. The Hindi words used in the paper are very difficult. So I felt that I should attempt the paper in English with whatever knowledge I have in that language,” Singh said.
According to protesters, the government’s decision that marks of the English section questions, in Paper II, will not be included for gradation or merit in Civil Services exam has served no purpose. “The paper used to be for 200 marks earlier. Since, the English comprehension questions are no longer counted, the total marks has gone down. This will affect the cut-off marks. Moreover, there used to be around seven questions on decision-making, which is a very crucial aspect of a civil servant’s job. Today’s paper did not have any decision-making questions,” Rahul Parasher, another UPSC applicant who took the examination on Sunday, said.
Earlier this month, scores of UPSC aspirants had staged demonstrations in various parts of the capital, alleging that the examination discriminated against students from regional backgrounds or those with no professional degrees. Students had alleged that the Hindi translation of comprehension passages in CSAT paper in the preliminary examination level was poorly done.
They had also demanded postponing of the preliminary examination date. However, the Supreme Court, on Saturday, had ruled that the examination will not be postponed.