Case of an IAS Topper
Fate of a Scheduled Caste Candidate
The Union Public Service Commission under the Constitution of free India started functioning from January 26, 1950. The The Union Public Service Commission Commission conducted its first examination to recruit personnel for the IAS and Central Services the same year. There were 3,647 candidates for this examination. The First Report of the UPSC does not mention the number of Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe candidates. But it discloses that Achyutananda Das was the country's first SC to make it to the IAS in 1950 itself. He was, in fact, the topper of his batch in the written examination.
Achyutananda Das, from West Bengal, secured 613 (58.38 per cent) out of 1050 marks in written examination whearas N. Krishnan from Madras secured 602 (57.33 per cent). But in the interview, Krishnan secured 260 (86.66 per cent) out of 300 as against 110 (36.66 per cent) by Achyutananda Das. Thus Achyutananda was left miles behind by Krishnan due to the latter's performance in the viva-voce test. But the case of Aniruddha Dasgupta, also from West Bengal, whose performance was extraordinary in his viva-voce test is both interesting and revealing. The marks obtained by these three may be examind to appreciate the case of the topper in the table one.
The margin of difference of marks between Achyutananda Das and N. Krishnan in written papers being eleven only in the viva-voce test, if the latter outstripped the former, there is not much surprise perhaps. But the written and viva-voce marks of Aniruddh Dasgupta in comparison with those of Achyutananda Das raise a number of issues. Dasgupta secured the highest marks in viva-voce among all successful candidates recommended for appointment to the IAS, IPS, IFS, etc. But it was also he who got the lowest aggregate as well as the lowest average of all those qualified for appointment to the IAS and Allied Services. Further, he scored the lowest marks of all the qualified candidates in General Knowledge. In other words, Dasgupta scored 26.66 per cent in General Knowledge, 47.04 per cent in written aggregate but an astounding 88.33 per cent in Personality Test as against 52.66 per cent, 58.38 per cent and 36.66 per cent respectively scored by Achyutananda Das. The margin of difference of marks between Das and Dasgupta in written examination was as vast as 119. Reduced into percentage, Das was a unbridgeable 11.33 per cent ahead of Dasgupta.
Any candidate strong in General Knowledge is usually expected to face the Selection Board very confidently and to perform competently. Aniruddha Dasgupta's poorest (26.66 per cent) score amongst all successful candidates in General Knowledge notwithstanding, he must have thrown up the biggest surprise by scoring the highest marks in the interview. His viva-voce score of 265 which was followed by Krishnan with 260, not only helped him make up the vast gap between him and Achyutananda Das but he left the latter far behind. In the ultimate count, Krishnan topped; Aniruddha Dasgupta occupied the 22nd position in the merit list and Achyutananda Das was assigned the 48th position. He was the last man in the list of qualified candidates recommended for appointment in the IAS. He was allotted to the cadre of Uttar Pradesh. Aniruddha Dasgupta excelled both Achyutananda Das and Krishnan in General English only. There is no published record to examine the questions which were posed by the Selection Board to Das, Dasgupta and Krishnan and the answers offered by them. If those were available, posterity would have benefited by acquiring the tools and techniques adopted by Dasgupta as to how to impress the Selection Board of the UPSC despite miserable written scores.
First Scheduled Tribe in IAS
Nampui Jam Chonga, from Assam, was the country's first tribal in the IAS through the examination held in 1954. He was allotted to the Assam-Meghalaya cadre. His case bears striking similarities in certain aspects with that of Achyutananda Das, the first SC in the IAS. Nampui Jam Chonga scored third highest marks in General Knowledge, and 51.51 per cent average but got 160 (53.33 per cent) only in Personality Test. His scores can be compared with that of Rathindra Nath Sengupta, an IAS allotted to the West Bengal cadre with the help of Table 2 below.
Nampui Jam Chonga scored 747 in written papers as against Rathindra Nath Sengupta who got 692 marks-the difference between them being 53 marks. The percentage of marks of the latter was 47.86 and that of the former 51.51. Sengupta's score (50) in General English was the lowest of all the qualified candidates; in General Knowledge he was the second lowest, his pride being humbled by Snehlata Puri (Punjab) who scored 37 (24.66 percent). Neverthless, Sengupta scored the second highest 240 (80 per cent) in Personality Test, the highest 260 (86.66 per cent) being secured by two candidates-S.K.Chaturvedi, Madhya Pradesh cadre and D.Bandopadhyay, West Bengal cadre. S.K.Chaturvedi was the topper of his batch.
Nampui Jam Chonga ultimately was placed at 64th, the last in the merit position for appointment to the IAS whereas Rathindra Nath Sengupta was assigned the 52nd. Notwithstanding their impressive performance in written papers, both Achyutananda Das and Nampui Jam Chonga could not impress the personality Test Board. Both Dasgupta and Sengupta, on the other hand, proved the reverse that their personality impressed the Selection Board more than their pen could impress their examiners.
1.UPSC Pamphlet of IAS, etc. Examination [Part I] 1950-51.
The author is the Vice-Chancellor, Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar Bihar University, Muzaffarpur.