'Jab Padhengi Betiyan, Tab Badhengi Betiyan': IAS Topper's Teacher Bats for Never-Say-Die Attitude
Ishita Kishore, a graduate in economics from Shri Ram College of Commerce at Delhi University, made headlines on Tuesday when she secured the top rank in the esteemed Civil Services Exam (CSE) conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). Kishore achieved this feat in her third attempt, with political science as her optional subject in the CSE Mains. In an interview with Shubhra Ranjan, whose classes Kishore attended to prepare for the exam, they discussed the qualities that differentiate a topper from the rest and how the profile of aspiring civil servants has evolved over the years. Here are the edited excerpts:
Firstly, congratulations on your student Ishita Kishore topping the prestigious Civil Service Exams. She is the second student from your classroom, after Tina Dabi, to achieve this feat. How do you feel about it? I am elated to be a part of their success story. I believe that history repeats itself, but it requires consistency and dedicated guidance. However, I also want to emphasize that it ultimately stems from the students' willpower.
Kishore, an economics graduate, chose political science as her optional subject. What, according to you, is the reason behind many students from diverse backgrounds opting for political science? This can be explained on two levels. Firstly, at the intrinsic level, political science as a subject is comprehensive and inherently linked to the general studies syllabus. Secondly, at the structural level, there is a strong guidance and support system available for political science as an optional subject. At Shubhra Ranjan, we ensure the provision of quality education. In addition to classroom guidance, our test series and crash courses act as a guiding light.
The fact that the first four toppers this year are women is noteworthy. What is your perspective on this? It demonstrates that when daughters are educated, they progress. It gives me immense satisfaction that the current government acknowledges and supports the empowerment of women. I hope this outstanding result will inspire more "Nari Shakti" (women power) in the future.
Several of your students have achieved excellent ranks in the exam. After Tina Dabi, who topped the CSE in 2016, your student has secured the top rank this year. Do you see any special qualities in these toppers? For me, every student is equal. However, when I interact with my students, I often find that toppers possess a never-say-die attitude. They understand that success is not achieved overnight. If I were to list three qualities required to clear the UPSC exam, they would be perseverance, being a dreamer, and hard work.
Why is it sometimes observed that candidates who are highly knowledgeable and intelligent fail to clear the exam, despite being potential toppers? What are the causes of failure? This happens because intelligence alone is not the sole determinant of success in this exam. I always emphasize that, rather than knowing everything, it is essential to know what not to study for the exam. This is where coaching plays a crucial role. Coaching rationalizes your efforts and guides intelligence in the right direction.
In what ways has the profile of successful candidates in the exams changed over the years? There have been notable changes in terms of gender representation, with women dominating the rankings. There has also been a shift in terms of language, with Hindi-medium candidates receiving recognition. Additionally, working professionals are now performing well in the exams. Graduation also holds significance, as this time around, about nine rankers in the top 20 are from the University of Delhi. I believe the recently introduced CUET (Common Eligibility Test) will further catalyze these changes in the coming years.