If you’re familiar with educational YouTube videos posted by Drishti IAS, one of India’s leading coaching institutes for UPSC aspirants, chances are you have watched a few hosted by Dr Vikas Divyakirti.
Dr Divyakirti is the organisation’s founder and managing director, who has developed a “star status” over the past two decades.
Born to a middle-class family in Haryana, Dr Divyakirti cleared the UPSC Civil Services Examination (CSE) in 1996 in his first attempt and was assigned to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. He resigned after a year and established Drishti IAS coaching classes in 1999, headquartered in Mukherjee Nagar, Delhi, and with branches in Prayagraj and Jaipur. His wife, Dr Taruna Verma, is also a director at the coaching institute.
With over seven million subscribers on Drishti IAS’s YouTube channel and 51,900 followers on his Instagram account, Dr Vikas Divyakirti is known for breaking down complicated subjects on current affairs in colloquial Hindi.
He is regarded as one of the most revered teachers in India’s civil services community. Quora users discuss why:
‘He fought for Hindi-medium students against CSAT’
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According to a report by The Wire, model answers for the CSAT (Civil Services Aptitude Test) are available exclusively in English. Civil aspirants opting for the exam in their local languages have, for long, alleged a language bias in the evaluation process, in addition to inadequate translations of questions.
Machine learning engineer Nishant Kumar, who refers to Dr Divyakirti as “the Harshad Mehta of the 21st century”, said that the teacher has always come forward for his students and is a strong advocate for their issues. “He fought for Hindi-medium students against the CSAT (pattern). When I watch his videos, I feel motivated and wish to learn (more about) every subject, but he is well-known for Hindi literature,” wrote Nishant.
Divyakirti has opined that aspirants will remain apprehensive about their preparation until the results reflect equal representation. “Social and linguistic diversity plays a key role in shaping the future of this country. The UPSC must think about these concerns and formulate a plan of action to encourage diversity and inclusion in the bureaucracy. Otherwise, it will remain the colonial-era administrative system where nobles and affluent individuals ruled the people,” he was quoted as saying.
Notably, the former civil servant has completed an MA, an MPhil, and a PhD in Hindi literature from Delhi University, where both his parents were also professors of Hindi literature. Additionally, he has received a postgraduate degree in English-to-Hindi translation from Delhi University and Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan.
‘Incredible teaching style, great sense of humour’
Synergy Marine Group employee Avanish Kumar said that he has watched all of Vikas Divyakirti’s videos and especially recommends the concept talks. “He is famous for his incredible teaching style. Some qualities that I have noticed include his unique method of clearing concepts of complex topics, a great sense of humour (you will never get bored of his teaching), a simple living, his humble nature and love and support for Hindi-medium civil service aspirants,” he wrote.
Alok Kumar, a 19-year-old student from West Bengal, wrote, “I started watching Vikas sir’s concept talk on Uniform Civil Code…and watched all of them within a month. You will be surprised to know that I switched from the science stream to law. The way he teaches is really great…He starts from zero and finishes as an expert on that topic.”
Another Quora user, a software engineer by profession, shared that Dr Vidyakirti has a “charismatic personality”. “UPSC aspirants from the Hindi background treat him as a father figure. His way of teaching is so relaxing and mind-engulfing that…a few minutes of conversation can make you feel more energised and focused towards your goal,” he wrote.
Takeaways for non-civil aspirants, too
Despite not being a civil services aspirant, BTech student Abhinav Singh said he watches Divyakirti’s videos on a regular basis. “I advise everyone to watch his general lectures, such as those on essay writing and how to prepare for interviews, because it can help in any domain. If anyone wants to hear unbiased opinions on any topic, he is the person for it,” he wrote.
Abhinav, whose sister is a civil services aspirant from the Hindi-medium background, also enjoys reading ‘Drishti Current Affairs Today’, a monthly magazine on contemporary news for whom Divyakirti is the principal editor.
Some tips for UPSC preparation:
According to Dr Divyakirti, aspirants must see the UPSC Civil Services IAS Prelims only as a qualifying exam in order to appear for the mains. He has recommended setting an idealised score to select a target segment and following a time-table during preparations.
For writing good answers, he has suggested including both positive and negative aspects of a given situation and highlighting the most important sections. He has also recommended solving previous years’ papers thoroughly and reading success stories of IAS officers to keep oneself motivated.