Saturday, March 01, 2008

Why I became a Civil Servant?

This article by cosmic voices has prompted me to write my answer to “Why I became a civil servant?” The reasons are very much the same as mentioned there but I could not resist imparting my wisdom on this vital subject.

There are questions like what is truth, what is morality, what is right. And then there is Dholpur House’s (UPSC Office) variant of these, “Why you want to become a civil servant?” Somehow I could escape/fool/convince board members about my reason there and now I can calmly blog the truth.

My answer is, I had nothing else to do.

Not convinced, OK, I shall elaborate. I come from middle, middle class and my parents are in government service. I knew what they knew, what the township in which we lived knew. My license to success in this world was education. And what is the biggest success one can achieve through education. You got it right, civil services. I wanted the biggest TV, smartest car, largest house, the most beautiful girl in the town, and along with all of them, the best job.

Some of you might not be very happy about my platonic reasons. Till now I have given reasons that came in my adolescence. Where was the zeal to do something for the country, where was the motivation from inside to do what I really wanted to do, where were the ‘more mature’ reasons. I shall give them too.

I hated the slow way in which the clerk in a government office did his work. I could never forget the nurse in the government hospital that misbehaved with the patients. I turned my eyes from the horde of beggars on the traffic signal as if they do not even exist. And then, adrenalin gushed in me too when I watched Rang De Basanti.

After all such incidents, I heard a voice inside me, do something about it. The answer available was, become a civil servant. In fact as I grew, I could satisfy all my ambitions by dreaming to become a civil servant. I wanted to have a social status, a secure future and a challenging work. I also wanted to make my parents feel proud. Whenever I had an ambition, I asked myself, “Will it be satisfied if I became a civil servant?” The answer was always yes.

As I grew, it became an obsession and I had to achieve it. No other service could have offered me even half of these. The bug of becoming an IAS entered in the childhood and I had no escape.

The reasons may sound selfish, but in my philosophy of life, everything has to be done in one’s own self interest. I help somebody not because of my kindness, but because I feel good after that. I would like to work for my country not because one should work for his country, but because ‘I’ shall feel happy after doing that. I never believed or unfortunately could not have any 'benevolent' reasons.

I do not know if what I was able to state the truth, or if I even know the truth. That is why I said, this question is a variant of all those philosophical questions which do have ‘right’ answers. Everyone has to seek his/her own definitions. I even doubt if UPSC members are really serious when they ask “Why you want to become a civil servant?”

When all my ‘selfish’ goals are satisfied in this service, and I knew no other alternatives, tell me am I not correct when I say, I had nothing else to do!


Hari said...

Hi Anurag,
I don't think u need to look everything from the prism of 'selfishness'

I would call yours 'self actualisation'need.( having read bit of Maslow in Public Adm, I think u could better appreciate it.:)

Man reaches 'self actualisation'stage after fulfilling all other needs and I believe u reached that stage.:)

K.Karthikeyan said...

The post is very much true. Though people say that 'I want to become an IAS officer to serve India, people, etc' - the real fact is the power and respect that a civil servant will get, is the actual reason behind their ambition. Most of the IAS aspirants start dreaming after hearing those things from their parents in their childhood.

Thanks Mr.Anurag for the info :
//No, if a person does not appear in
//prelims, attempt is not counted.

Can you please give me your mailId? I am preparing for UPSC exams. I need some guidance. Though it is my childhood dream, I started preparing only now.

I am a 'Software Engineering student' currently doing my internship at Cisco Systems, Bangalore. I got an job offer there. I am in a dilemma whether to accept it or not. Whether it is possible to work and prepare for exams in parallel? Can you suggest some good coaching institutes?

My native is Sattur, a small town in Tamil Nadu.

I was in the plan to attend the CSE 2008 preliminary, just to see the question paper. I dropped the plan after reading your post ("Civil Services Preparations: General Facts"). Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

"The reasons may sound selfish, but in my philosophy of life, everything has to be done in one’s own self interest"....sounds like one more Ayan Rand! ;) Good luck!

Anurag Srivastava said...

@Hari: Either I am on self actualisation needs......... or I am on Physiological needs, Security and socila needs. I cant believe I still remember so much of Pub Ad :)

@Kartik: My id is I hope you have read my posts under civil services preparations, you can mail me any other doubts

@coolhound: The thought of Ayn Rand in West Bengal certainly needs good luck :P

Shailesh said...

BUt what was the "right" answer you gave? U must surely wud have added ur humour to it too!

Serving one's nation may also be categorised into self interest,n thts why its better to be self interested.

rahul said...

...very true...everything one does is for his own selfish desires..but adornes it a garb of social welfare and blah blah...and u really do sound like rearden of Atlas of luck for the future mate!!!!

Anonymous said...

at least u r honest. How do u plan to meet your ambition of biggest tv smartest car etc as a civil servant though?or did u mean something else?

Anurag Srivastava said...

@shailesh: I told them the truth, but not in the language used in blog. In bureaucracy you can speak the truth, but it has not be sugar coated :)

@Rahul: Thanks a lot if I could sound like Rearden. The truth is I am far from the superheroes of Atlas Shrugged :)

@Anonymous: I dont plan to meet my ambition of 'biggest tv smartest car'..... and yes you missed the most beautiful girl in the town :)

The reason is I dont want to miss on my other ambitions too. So I found an optimum solution, in which I can have all, albeit with a lesser degree. In civil services, I can get a medium TV, good enough car, and along with it a challenging work, security of life, pride in parents eyes etc.

I think its the balance that counts in life and I feel civil services provides me that.

I think I have to improve my writing skills so that my readers dont get the (wrong)impression that 'I mean something else' :)

Vivek Kumar said...

Well said :)

K.Karthikeyan said...

Hi Mr. Anurag,

I have sent a mail to you. Please read it in your free time. Seeking for guidance from you. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anurag, its really amazing to read the honest opinion. Earlier i had a kind of view that IAS belongs to some other planet (just kidding). However i find it not that bad dream about material things. it is like Adam Smith's "invisible hand", everybody is contributing to society by pursuing self-interest. it is just that you chose a big platform, and most important you acheived it.

Anurag Srivastava said...

@vivek: Now here is a compliment from the king of blogosphere. I treasure it :)

@kartik: I just sent a reply.

@anonymous: I am happy to make IAS earthly :P

Cosmic Voices said...

This post is probably the one which is the most reflective of your blog title.. "Just Simple" :-)

Anurag Srivastava said...

@cosmic: I hope simple things also works. Good that I am found consistent with the title. ANd yes you too have many 'cosmic voices' inside your head. Blog down more often :)

Subhiksh Vasudev said...

Hi Anurag,
Call it a co-incident or what but landing at your blog space having read your article in Competition Success Review (CSR) seemed a great feeling :)

It was a pleasure to read all your posts pertaining to IAS exam.

I have successfully completed a degree in B.Tech (ECE) from Bharati Vidyapeeth's College of Engineering, GGSIP University this year and have further joined the Delhi University's Faculty of Law to pursue a 3year LLB degree.

I have always thought about giving it a shot at the CSE but hailing from an engg. background, I could never really devote any time to understand how the UPSC/CSE machinery functions like.

Thanks to your informative insightful views on the same as I shall start my preparations for the coveted exam early next year.

If possible, kindly share your e-mail/contact no: at which you can be reached at your own convenience, as I'd like to receive guidance and advice for the anxieties related to the exam.

Thanks, my best wishes and warm regards, :)

Subhiksh Vasudev.

deepak said...

Hi Anurag,
This is Deepak from Mumbai,I would like to know what were your optionals? and what made you opt them.


As I Move On said...

Hi Anurag, I am your junior from IITK, need your help, so if possible can you take some time out off your busy schedule and let me know your email id or phone no., as it would be relatively convenient for me to speak thr. I know you are a busy man, but I assure you that I will try my best and not take much of your time. Thanks

Debotosh Chatterjee said...

hullo anurag , please check your email id that you have given in one of the comments of this thread . I have sent a message to your id ,please check it !