In the final part of the fourth interview from the series, Anshuman Dutta speaks to Bandeep Rabha, ranked No. 10 in the Assam Civil Services Exam.
Q. Please tell us about your interview in detail.
A. I entered the room, praying hard, imploring Him to give me the required strength. There were three panellists headed by Sanjib Gohain sir. The other two were Debeshwar Malakar sir and a subject expert.
I was asked to sit and remove my mask.
Expert: Bandeep, you did your BTech from IIT-Guwahati, right?
A: Yes, sir.
DM sir: Why do you want to be a civil servant?
A: Sir, I always wanted to do something for my people and my State. That’s why, after my graduation, I started an education venture to teach underprivileged students.
DM sir: Being from a prestigious institute to which only a few people get into, you could have served your nation by going into the technical field also. I think your CPI is low. What is your CPI?
A: Sir, my CPI is 5.7.
DM sir: So, that is the truth, right? You came here because your CPI is low.
A: (I didn’t say anything in my defense. It was not the reason why I had opened a startup or prepared for the Civil Services Exam. But, I thought, if I defended myself, it could turn into a debate and I might get into trouble. So, I didn’t say anything.)
SG sir: You live in Tarun Nagar which is frequently flooded. Why is your area flooded regularly?
A: Sir, I believe the drainage system in our area is very inefficient. Moreover, many people in the area throw garbage into the Bharalu River. People have also encroached on many of the wetlands in and around the area. And, everywhere, buildings are being built without any proper water channelling system. So, there is no way out for the water to flow to except the low-depth drains. That is why the area gets inundated quickly.
SG sir: You are saying this in front of the ex Commissioner of GMC, Debeshwar Malakar. Tell me, what will you do if I make you the GMC chairperson?
A: Sir, I believe we should build underground flood chambers like they do in Japan which will allow huge volumes of floodwater to move around; we can store or channelise it into the Brahmaputra.
SG sir: So, it would solve the problem?
A: If not fully, I am sure it will mitigate the issue.
DM sir: Bandeep, you can’t be a good civil servant.
A: (I got very nervous, took a pause, and replied) Sir, I love to understand the problems of people and help them. Whenever people throw garbage into the Bharalu River, I try and talk some sense into them.
SG sir: So, could you influence people in that process?
A: Yes, sir, I did influence a few people.
Expert: Bandeep, have you heard of IoT?
A: Yes, sir.
Expert: Do you know about the Transatlantic internet cable through which we get internet?
A: Yes, sir.
Expert: Do you know that BRICS countries have been trying to create a similar infrastructure?
A: Sir, I am not aware of this. I will look it up.
DM sir: How would you explain the difference between 4G and 5G to a 12-year-old?
A: I would tell the kid: “On YouTube, now you can watch quality videos with ease but with occasional lags. But, when 5G arrives, the quality will be even better, and there won’t be any lags. Now, when you send someone a video, it might take a few minutes. But, when 5G arrives, you will be able to send it within seconds.
DM sir: How will you explain the technicalities?
A: (I explained the bandwidth and spectrum range accurately, he nodded. The members looked satisfied)
DM sir: Tell me about the positive and negative aspects of internet use.
A: The positives are: 1. Connects the world and makes it smaller 2. Direct Benefit Transfers (DBT) made possible and efficient 3. Economic transition due to the internet 4. The Defence and Space sector has made tremendous advancement with the coming of the internet.
The negatives are: 1. People have become less interactive and social cohesion has been lost due to this 2. Fake news and rumours have become quite prevalent.
DM sir: Are you a supporter of the internet?
A: Yes, I am, despite its flaws.
SG sir: Tell me, how would you make Guwahati a Smart City?
A: Sir, I will start with good internet infrastructure. Next would be the Metro Rail and an early flood alarm system for Guwahati.
DM sir: What will happen if we get the Metro Rail?
A: Sir, time will be saved, and time is money today.
Expert: Where does your father work?
A: He is an engineer at PWD.
Expert: Tell me the new name of PWD.
A: Lok Nirman Bibhag. (He was happy I got the answer)
SG sir: Do you do any activities?
A: (I thought of physical activity, so I answered) Sir, I used to play football in my college days. All my friends used to go in the evening and I tagged along with them...
SG sir: (Asked something about district football).
A: (I couldn’t understand, and I was honest about it) I don’t know, sir.
SG sir: I won’t ask you about the Rabha tribe since you must be prepared for it. Tell me, where do Mishing people live?
A: Sir, mainly in districts like Dhemaji.
DM sir: Do you know any cultural aspect of Mishing life?
A: Sir, I know they organise Ali Aai Ligang.
DM sir: What is Ali Aai Ligang?
A: Sir, I don’t know.
Expert: (Asked me about Pabitra Rabha, I answered well).
SG sir: Bandeep, I will ask you one last question. This question was asked to me when I appeared for my APSC interview. “What happens after a lion roars on a silver screen?”
A: I remembered the lion roaring on the MGM production logo. And, then, I also remembered Sean Connery had died recently. Since James Bond movies are produced under MGM, so I asked if I could guess and then I replied: “Sir, James Bond?”
(All the three members laughed!)
That was the end. I might have missed some questions or couldn’t remember some answers well.