“Just like corporates have their policy of CSR, I, personally have the moral responsibility of ensuring that I help and guide as many UPSC aspirants as I can.”
These are the words of IPS officer Suraj Singh Parihar, who cleared the UPSC examinations in Hindi medium in 2013 and 2014 with an All India Rank of 334 and 189 – and he lives by these words.
Since Parihar’s posting as SP of Gaurela –Pendra- Marwahi, mapped as the 28th district of Chhattisgarh, work keeps him rather busy through the week.
Despite his hectic schedule, he continues to host webinars as and when possible, to clear doubts and help aspirants get answers to their numerous queries. Parihar deems it his moral duty to pay it forward.
Suraj Singh Parihar sharing tips for aspirants.
“Until now, in various ways, I would have helped thousands of UPSC aspirants with their doubts,” Parihar tells me. He recollects the time when he was preparing and feels that if he had someone to turn to and seek counsel, he would have been able to utilise his time much better and perhaps even clear the examination earlier.
Leveraging social media
Parihar has always used his various social media handles to stay in touch with aspirants and help them out. He says, “Since I am now unable to conduct a webinar every weekend, I use my social media handles to collate the questions and then conduct one to answer them all.” Parihar is available on Instagram, Facebook, e-mail, and Twitter.
So far there have been three online sessions, the first one had about 2500 aspirants, the second 3000 aspirants and the last one saw 13,000 aspirants participating.
What these sessions entail?
There is a pre-prepared question bank, which Parihar makes from all the questions he is asked by aspirants on his social media handles. Once those are covered, the session is thrown open to the participants who get their queries answered. The duration of these sessions ranges from an hour to hour and a half, depending on the number of participants and questions being asked.
Parihar also tries and gets other UPSC toppers to join these sessions for a wide range of perspectives. The last session had nine officers from various streams participate and sometimes when Parihar is not able to gather other officers, he conducts the sessions by himself.
Oft repeated queries
A majority of the aspirants have similar kind of questions, says Parihar. Sharing some of the questions, he says, “Aspirants ask how they can improve their communication skills, tips to prepare for UPSC while managing a full-time job, what optional paper to choose, and even questions about how to stay focussed and away from social media.”
Some of the tips that Parihar gives aspirants are:
“If you are a working professional and need to carve out time to prepare then one of the strategies that you could adopt will involve planning and utilising your time well. While you give your 100 per cent to your job, do the same when you are studying and forget everything else during that time,” he says.
2. Get your ingredients together
“Just like when you cook you get all your ingredients together, use your syllabus well and gather all material before you commence preparation. Once that is done, all you have to do is focus on studying and the results will be good,” says Parihar.
3. Face your challenges
Many aspirants who approach Parihar ask him about how to improve their English language skills, and to this he says, “Make a conscious effort to speak in English, read as many English newspapers as you can, watch programmes in English, practise in front of a mirror, and befriend people who can help you better your communication skills.”
4. Have Plan ‘B’ Ready
“Because of the uncertainty of the examinations, it is prudent that aspirants have a plan ‘B’ also in place,” says Parihar. As a word of advice, he also adds here, “Always remember that no exam or challenge is more important than your peace of mind and self-worth. Give it your best but accept the results with grace.”
How can you attend these sessions?
The details of these webinars are posted in the social media handles of Parihar and be accessed from there. Parihar also answers questions, shares tips, and study material on his Instagram and Facebook pages.
“I wasted almost four years in trying to figure out some basic questions, and if I can help aspirants in some way, then that for me will be a great achievement,” he tells me as we conclude our call.
(Edited by Vinayak Hegde)