People here are more fascinated to the IAS/IPS exam than the Section Officer Exam. We heed the news of UPSC than our Public Service Commission (PSC, commonly called as Lok SewaAyog). I attribute this for two reasons. First, we are so much used to with the Indian cinemas, web series, Cricket League, that we find this fancy. From the Unacademy Cracking Six in the IPL to many successful stories of IAS in Indian films/Web Series, we are accustomed to the IAS stories. The second is the sheen and power of IAS officer. Vehicles with siren and escorts give us a yearning to become IAS. Do you feel that there is the same craze of Nepalese Administrative Service (NAS) as of IAS?
A total of 93,012 examinees appeared in examinations for various posts in the civil service of Nepal in the fiscal year 2019-20, said the Public Service Commission. Though, competition is comparatively tougher in IAS with ratio of vacancies and application of around 1: 1000, but the NAS is also competitive owing to 1: 100 ratio of the same. Though, equivalent to IAS, Section Officer of Nepal doesn’t have that much jurisdiction and amenities, but it has its own sheen and power, power- enough to change the system.
In the same backdrop, People in social media are going gaga over the web series- ‘Aspirants’, which is all about the UPSC exam and IAS dream. While watching this series, there were threads of memories which showed my past drenched in pain and joy, which can be a saga, if gone blow-by-blow. Let me give you a brief notion of exams of PSC as of an aspirant and an achiever of it based on episode of the series.
Episode 1- What is in Optional? : Kathmandu struggle for many of us begins with landing in Kalanki/Koteshwor with sacks of loaded rice and then diverging to variedlocations; where my route diverged to Kirtipur, a paradise for students and first destination for many out-of–town students. This historic town itself gives vibes to study. Looking from the heights of Rajinder Nagar of Delhi to the dreamersis like looking from Bagh Bhairabh of Kirtipur, where many aspirants can be seen weaved with their kites of dreams to be an officer. The quest of what books to read, which institute to join resembles the novelty in the field, and then to choose the high scoring optional in our time (not in new syllabus)put majority in dilemma. Though, an undergrad in Business Studies, I chose Political Science in my optional.
Episode 2- There should be good teachers:There are quite a few Coaching centers and teachers, most of them centered to Putalisadak and Bagbazar. Standing in the micro bus of Kirtipur and travelling tothe institutes in pursuit of good coaching centers and teacherswas a routine for some days. I chose one among them despite the fact that there were hardly any good teachers and institutes. The tragic part is that even today, there is not a standard institute to train the aspirants of PSC. Vajiram and Ravi, Drishti and Unacademy in India are of different standard delivering quality education, where Nepal has the lacunae. They just give tiring lectures and the classes are wrapped up. Burgeoning Online services in this field have even deteriorated the quality of education. Nonetheless, criticism without efforts from your ground is guff.Irrespective of the notes and guidance of the tutors, one has to preparehimself. So, there is no any best teacher than you.
Episode 3- Maintain a positive approach: To achieve success, students need three strong qualities: Patience, Perseverance and Dedication. The one who hasthese characters writes his name in the gazette. I learnt years ago that there should be positive approach in the answer writing too, which is mentioned by Dhairya in the series as well. You can’t just write everything is trashy in our country. It is very easy to blame the system and tell that there is no future in this country. Abhilash in the series tells thatno one is happy in the country and I toosee most of the sentiments of Nepali youth go with this. Rather than complaining the system only, be the change. Don’t keep cribbing. This is your country. There are myriads of problems and solving them is the best ecstasy. For me, earning 40,000 as a Section Officer here is far better than earning in lakhs in foreign land.
Episode 4- What is Plan B?: Let me put you an interesting conversation between Abhilash and Dhairya.
Abhilash: Dhairya, in childhood, whom did you support while watching Tom and Jerry?
Abhilash: Jerry, yes, me too. I think everybody did. Do you know why did Jerry win every time and Tom lost every time? Because, Tom was fighting for food for just one time. But Jerry was fighting for his survival. There was no plan B for Jerry.
It is well known that it is tough to crack the PSC exam. So, Aspirants,Is the Tom and Jerry quote valid in life? Is that true that the success comes to those who have no plan B?
In my view, yes, there is no plan B for passion. But, to be pragmatic, What if there were no added attempts for Abhilash? There are some things that time cannot mend.So, there is always a plan B while you fail Plan A. You don’t have to prepare for it, but should accept that Plan B will run your life happily.
Final Episode- Pre, mains and Life: Preliminary Exam (Pre) is the screening exam. If an aspirant clears the Pre, he is eligible for mains-which is the writing paper; which is same for NAS as well. Going through all these exams, at one moment, you feel that Exam is Life. But dears, life goes on. NO ANY EXAM IS LIFE. Sandeep Bhaiya in the series is an epitome of emotions and warns us that while being focused on Plan A, we may lose our family, love and friends.
Let me end with two live examples. First, Roman Saini, the brain of Unacademy, who is the sponsor of the ‘Aspirants’, quit IAS after his two years of service as an Assistant Collector. He is running in multi-million dollars and even has joined hands with the tech giant ‘Facebook’.Second, I was a medical aspirant (2010-2013), and thought that there was no plan B.
Section Officer (2018)