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What Ails Hindi Medium Candidates in UPSC CSE? Know From Toppers

The performance of Hindi medium candidates in UPSC CSE has not been up to expectations. The prestigious exam has been witnessing continuous fall in the percentage of successful Hindi medium candidates. After a seven years’ gap, two Hindi medium candidates could make it to the top 25 this year.

The overall performance of Hindi medium candidates in UPSC Civil Services Examination leaves much to be desired. This prestigious exam has been witnessing continuous fall in the percentage of successful Hindi medium candidates. Last few years have been noticeably low key as no Hindi medium candidates came in the top 20 list, barring this year’s CSE-2021 results when Ravi Sihag cracked UPSC CSE-2021 with AIR 18 and brought some relief and smiles to Hindi medium aspirants. Apart from him, Sunil Kumar Dhanwanta also cleared the exam in Hindi securing 22nd rank.

After a seven years’ gap, Hindi medium candidates made it to the top 25 this year. This achievement of Ravi and Sunil has again raised hope among the students of Hindi medium as well as regional languages medium. But, what could be the reasons for Hindi medium students not being able to compete with their English medium counterparts? The reality is that in UPSC, on an average, only 50 students out of a thousand choose Hindi medium and out of them, only 10 or 15 pass the exam. The final selection even reduces the number further.

Indian Masterminds interacted with Ravi Sihag, UPSC CSE-2021 Hindi medium topper to know about his views on why Hindi medium aspirants lag behind in UPSC CSE.

REASONS

Speaking to Indian Masterminds, Ravi Sihag cited the lack of study material and the writing style in Hindi as the main reasons. In comparison to English, there are not enough study material available in Hindi. Candidates face problems in writing in Hindi because of the script – you have to take your pen up and down continuously and sentences are also long. One cannot complete the mains exam writing in Hindi normally, but English medium students can do it easily. He also says that English medium aspirants’ backgrounds are strong in comparison to Hindi medium ones.They are usually IITians, MBBS and engineers.

“I was preparing for SSC before becoming an UPSC aspirant. So my English was little bit good. I usually read English material and translated it into Hindi. Hence, I did not face these kinds of problems,” he said.

C-SAT IMPACTING

C-SAT was introduced in UPSC from 2011. And this year, due to the sudden change in syllabus, the number of candidates appearing in the Hindi medium examination also decreased. Some UPSC aspirants and even toppers feel that CSAT is also a reason why Hindi medium aspirants have less weightage in the civil services exam. 

Generally, Hindi medium students come from Arts background, so they are at a disadvantage as compared to science background students. When the results of Hindi medium went down rapidly, there was an agitation, too, on C-SAT.

Before 2010, candidates used to prepare for an optional subject and General Studies (GS) in the pre-exam. In the main exam, there were two optional subjects and the focus was on general studies. At that time, serious students would get success by doing in-depth study of traditional subjects and studying GS from newspapers, magazines and other books. But all this changed after C-SAT was introduced.

WHAT TO DO

Offering his suggestions, Ravi said that more time should be given to Hindi medium candidates because of the difficulty level in script. “But I know that this is not going to happen. I think government should ensure study material for Hindi medium students, materials should be prepared.”

In the last few years, situation has improved somewhat. One can find better study material in Hindi now. Ravi suggests that all Hindi medium UPSC aspirants should focus on English, at least try to be more comfortable in English so that it will be easy for them.

NUMBERS AT A GLANCE

In 2013, when the syllabus changed, 25 were selected from Hindi, out of which, only one got IAS. In 2014, only 5% from Hindi medium was successful in the examination, Nishant Jain’s with AIR 13 was the best performer. In 2015, only two from Hindi medium found place in the top 100. In 2016, only three from Hindi medium were in the top 50. In 2017, successful Hindi candidates’ number fell below 50, the best ranker among them got 146. The best ranker in Hindi in 2018 got 337, while the second got 339.

WHAT HINDI TOPPERS SAY

IAS officer Nishant Jain, who secured All India Rank 13 in UPSC 2014 exam, says, “The main reason for this condition of Hindi medium is the question paper of the exam. In this, the questions are not asked in normal Hindi, but the English questions are translated and printed in the paper as they are. Students have to bear the brunt of this. In such a situation, students feel that it is better to do some hard work in English only, so that the question becomes easy to understand.”

He also said that students preparing for UPSC find only old question papers in Hindi, hence they have no other alternative but to go looking for English ones. Most of them change the medium after the result of the exam. This is one one of the reasons the number of students in Hindi medium is continuously decreasing. At the same time, he feels, the content makers are also laying greater stress on English in comparison to Hindi.

HINDI AS SECOND LANGUAGE

If you go by numbers, then you will find that Hindi is the mother tongue of 52.8 crore people of the country, i.e. 43.6% of the population. About 13.9 crore (over 11%) speak Hindi as their second language. It is clear that Hindi is the mother tongue or second language of 55% of the population. Between 1971 and 2011, the number of Hindi speakers increased from 202 million to 528 million, an increase of 161%.

On the other hand, knowing the English language is extremely important due to the pressure of English in exams and interviews. For this reason, while there were 2.6 million English speakers in the 2001 census, 8.3 million marked it as a second language in 2011.

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