I am sharing below article on behalf of Nivedita S Balaraddiyavar (AIR 303). She has got one of the highest marks in essay this year (148).
I made a small note of what I wrote in the essays briefly after the exam as seen here. I started both essays with quotes which closely related to the arguments that I would make in the essay.
SECTION B – How I wrote:
- Started with a quote , Rumi’s quote : “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about.” The quote here related to the ideas of morality. If you can’t think of a quote or an anecdote, don’t force it please. Start with the best thought that comes to the mind and keep adding to it in case of philosophical topics. I personally feel that structure is not as important in topics like those in Section B. What matters is how you connect your thoughts and move from one idea to another. Keep practicing until you get a hold of it. It’s difficult in the beginning but you will get there. Read articles/blogs online, or read novels if you like, on such topics like Joy, Morality, Principles, Character, Power, Utility, et cetera. I am picking these terms from past year questions:
- LINK: https://mrunal.org/2018/09/dl-upsc-csm18-essay.html
2. In topics like these, it is more like Ethics paper. Your personality and ideas matter to a greater extent. We all have unique ideas and thoughts to share and do feel free to put them on paper. It should be such that the examiner is able to enter your world full of your own thoughts and appreciate them even if not agree with them entirely. (Although restrain from extreme thoughts, it is a risk we take to impress them 🙂). For example, last year I saw someone agreeing with the thought that “Fulfillment of ‘new woman’ in India is a myth” and arguing her case with examples. Also, the other side of argument was given but more weightage to the former. Similarly, in the Customary Morality topic, I agreed that it can’t guide modern life and gave lots of examples and barely wrote the other side of it but one paragraph (That is, it may bring stability but individual rights still matter more). I was worried about not balancing arguments but in retrospect, I think they do appreciate if we write freely and effectively doing justice to the topic.
3. Also, luckily I remembered the judgement on Section 377, particularly the words by CJI Dipak Misra. (As to how social morality can’t guide modern life). Reading judgments by Supreme Court may also help in expressing better if you are illustrating them in the essay. I have used almost all examples based on SC cases. (Adultery, FGM, Section 377 etc). In addition, I mentioned examples from novels as well suggesting the status of women in 18th century – the subjugation, coverture, discrimination based on ideas of social morality and used them to argue better.
4. Psychology as an optional has helped me with content. I wrote about Kohlberg’s theory of moral development in lay terms. This way, if your optional has ideas that you can employ, do make good use of them. But don’t heavily lean onto them. (Read Gaurav sir’s article for this).
5. I saw many people using terms like ‘Constitutional morality’ but not showing clarity while expressing their thoughts. I myself wasn’t sure about the term which was used many times in the judgement. So, I instead wrote about personal moral code and how each one of us are capable of making reasonable judgements of the world around us, thus emphasising upon individual well being and “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”.
I think most people have an idea regarding such objective-ish topics. Many have also written enough articles about them to help us . Anudeep sir’s article has covered it beautifully. For instance:
In section A, an addition I think I made was to add a philosophical touch to it. I gave an importance to non-monetary exchanges of values to tackle poverty; trust, loyalty and affection are such values for which I gave examples. So, the ideas were connected this way. Also, defined clearly what prosperity means to me and how it is related to the quality of life and the idea of the world in which we want to live.
So, the core idea is that we need to write our thoughts freely and organise them better. Practice helps in the latter but for being able to write better ideas, we need to think beforehand about various issues and values, especially those that have appeared in past year questions. So, make a list of such topics and prepare to think. While reading for GS, keep essay in mind as well and try to think what topics can be asked based on every day events. Customary morality is one such topic.
All the best!
Link to one of the essays that I wrote – https://drive.google.com/file/d/1uDEMSHqfzun0901kGiUifU5HFwUrMDaq/view?usp=sharing