Questions asked in Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission (TNPSC) Group 1 examination on 3 January have left educational and media experts bewildered with most of questions pertaining to only the Dravidian movement.
According to popular television anchor-turned-media observer Rangaraj Panday, if candidates who took the examination knew about the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and its alliance partners, they could be sure of getting through.
The multiple-choice questions are mostly one-sided, trying to celebrate and propagate Dravidian principles. In fact, if any candidate had gone through the history of Dravidar Kazhagam (DK), DMK and those aligned to them, they could easily score above 150 marks of the total 300 at stake.
About 1.3 lakh candidates wrote the TNPSC Group I exam for 69 vacancies across 876 centres with at least 90,000 of those who had got admit card for the examination failing to turn up.
The examinations were held to fill the posts of deputy collectors, deputy superintendent of police, assistant commissioners (commercial taxes), and deputy registrar of cooperative societies, besides a solitary vacancy for district officer (fire and rescue services).
Surprisingly, no political party, including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has objected to the questions despite those behind the setting up of these questions croaking with glee.
Ironically, the question paper has no space for either the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), its founder M G Ramachandran or the party’s last 10-year rule when it had come up with some good welfare schemes.
Pandey wonders if either Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) or the State Fisheries, Personnel and Administration Minister D Jayakumar are aware of the contents of the question paper.
Here are samples of the questions asked:
The questions continue on these lines. While E V Ramasamy is termed as Periyar, late Tamil Nadu Chief Ministers C N Annadurai and M Karunanidhi are termed “Arignar” and “Kalaignar” in the question paper.
However, when it comes to national leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi and K Kamaraj, they are just Gandhi and Kamaraj – a clear case of bias on the part of those who set the paper.
A majority of the questions are spun around DK and Periyar.
Pandey has charged those who have set the question paper with trying to force the Christian, communist and Dravidian ideologies among the candidates.
The problem with the question paper is that it had nothing to ask the candidates on other landmark movements such as the Bhakthi or any other religious movement in Tamil Nadu.
The questions ignore the great contributions of the Chera, Chola and Pandya kings in South India and the golden rule of the Guptas and Mauryas in the country. Nor does it have reference to the great Maratha emperor Shivaji.
On the other hand, the questions have reference to the Mughals rule and their kingdoms.
Pandey wonders what would political parties and Dravidian followers, who had raised a hue and cry over the forward-looking National Education Policy, do if the Bharatiya Janata Party were to set up questions papers asking only about Syama Prasad Mookherjee or the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or the late Atal Bihari Vajpayee or veteran leader Lal Kishan Advani.
Reacting to Pandey’s views on social media, one out how a priest, Joe Arun, claimed that he was involved in the revision of syllabus for Tamil Nadu school students and had injected “Jesuit ideas” in social studies lessons.
The priest was addressing a conference at Chennai’s Loyola College.
Another termed the question paper as “shameful, casteist and hate-filled”.
The questions paper leaves one wondering if any senior official had reviewed it at all or was any official owing allegiance to the DMK and its alliance behind this.
This also leads to an issue whether those who had prepared the question paper have already decided that the DMK will regain power in the assembly elections due in a couple of months time.
Getting through the examinations will need the candidates to be thorough or familiar with the Dravidian movement, which means one has to be a staunch follower than just know it.
A media report said, one aspirant “found it a pleasure to answer the question”, while Prince Gajendrababu, education activist and general secretary of Tamil Nadu State Platform for Common School System (SPCSS –Tamil Nadu), said it “reflects the culture”.
Critics say that this will lead only to more inductions of such followers, which in the ultimate analysis will affect the coordination with the Union government and functioning of departments such as the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments.
As you are no doubt aware, Swarajya is a media product that is directly dependent on support from its readers in the form of subscriptions. We do not have the muscle and backing of a large media conglomerate nor are we playing for the large advertisement sweep-stake.
Our business model is you and your subscription. And in challenging times like these, we need your support now more than ever.
We deliver over 10 - 15 high quality articles with expert insights and views. From 7AM in the morning to 10PM late night we operate to ensure you, the reader, get to see what is just right.
Becoming a Patron or a subscriber for as little as Rs 1200/year is the best way you can support our efforts.