UPSC examination thrice without any luck. “It is not just the issue of poor translation of questions from English to Hindi but the entire curriculum of the exam. It gives undue emphasis to logical reasoning and mathematical ability and is unfair to a humanities student like me,” he says.
BALKESH CHOWDHARY, 26
Escaped arrest on several occasions when she was a part of protests
From: Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan. Now lives in Mukherjee Nagar, Delhi. Pays Rs 7,000 for a room.
Family: They are all farmers. None is literate.
Education: MSc in chemistry from Rajasthan University, Jaipur.
Medium of education: Hindi
Coaching: G S Academy, Mukherjee Nagar. Paid Rs 35,000 for a general studies course.
Earlier UPSC attempts: Twice — in 2012 and 2013. She could not clear the Prelims.
Why UPSC? While she was working as a lecturer, a colleague suggested that she should take the civil services examination and she came to Delhi. She thinks that this is a way of “giving back to society”.
Her story: Chowdhary had to struggle every year to complete her education. “I would not eat at home for days so that my parents would allow me to go to school and then college. They are conservative and did not want me to study. They wanted me to get married as soon as I turned 18. I have two younger brothers and both are married,” she says. Since her family did not support her, Chowdhary began giving private tuitions to students. Later, she worked as a lecturer at a college in Jhunjhunu. She feels the CSAT format “discriminates” against her. “Till Class XII, I did not know the difference between ‘this’ and ‘that’. There is no way I can become a civil servant if the UPSC exam format is not changed. The government discriminates against us — only 5 per cent of the successful candidates are from non-English medium backgrounds,” she says.
SURENDRA P GUPTA, 30
Detained on July 27 near
From: Hussainganj village, Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh. Now stays in Wazirabad, Delhi. Shares a room with another UPSC aspirant — each pay Rs 6,000 a month.
Family: His father, a farmer, passed away in 2007.
Education: Masters in public administration, Lucknow University
Medium of education: Hindi
Earlier UPSC attempts: He cleared the civil services preliminary examination twice — in 2007 and 2009. He could not clear the Mains.
Why UPSC? “I was not happy with my job. So, I decided to take the civil services examination,” he says.
His story: After his father’s death, Gupta was forced to take up a clerical job at Allahabad Bank and State Bank of India in Allahabad, which he quit for UPSC. “I have been a Hindi-medium student, but have a fair knowledge of English. I noticed that when I was attempting the CSAT paper in Hindi, my score dipped. This is not just true for me but for many other applicants,” Gupta says. With just two attempts left, Gupta shifted to Delhi a month ago. “My friends were in Delhi preparing for UPSC. So, I thought that I should give my last two attempts continued…
Former Apple executive and Dwarka MLA Adarsh Shastri has also been included in the spokespersons’ list.