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A Bank Interview -- Please read and learn

Facing The Interview Board
Right Approach
The Candidate
Miss Padmaja Naidu is a cheerful and charming young lady with the additional advantage of enjoying a very beautiful appearance. With her abundant, long flowing dark hair, lively and large attractive eyes, fair height, long aquiline nose, shapely contours and supple body, Ms.Naidu enjoys the resemblance of a fresh popular and youthful film actress. Though her complexion is wheatish, she has the correct make-up to show herself in the most attractive light and impress those with whom she comes into contact, by her appearance and carefully chosen and well-fitting dress. Her special attractions are her remarkable charm, liveliness and enthusiasm.
The pleasant and cheerful smile adorning her lips, a natural round dimple appearing on her right cheek and the sparkle in her large, almond-shaped eyes enhance her beauty manifold. Her light pink saree, matching blouse, elegant hair style, cultivated carriage plus her proper make-up also contribute towards her impressive and arresting personality. She automatically attracts attention and none is able to resist the temptation to feast his eyes by admiring her beauty. This exceptionally pretty and well-dressed lady candidate also enjoys a sweet and melodious voice. Her convent style pronunciation and perfect English, turn out to be her extra assets in helping her to make a strong impact on others.
Although she is the only lady candidate on this day for the IAS interview, she is fully confident and completely at ease in the company of the strangers who all happen to be members of the opposite sex. We find her to be a ready and a good mixer and an able conversationalist. She speaks fluently in a forceful and persuasive manner, creating a strong as well as favourable impact on her listeners. She is the first candidate to be summoned for interview that morning and she takes it in her stride without any nervousness or apprehensions.
After taking leave of other candidates with whom she was engaged in exchange of information, she walks up to the interview room in her attractive style with full confidence. Before getting inside the room, she gently knocks at the door to conform to requirements of etiquette and seeks permission in the formal manner. Inside the interview room, she proceeds gracefully towards the big round table where Chairman and the Members of the Interview Board are seated. On approaching the seat meant for the candidate, she comes to a stop and thereafter joins her hands in the traditional ‘Namaste’ Posture and greets the Board in a cheerful and audible voice.
The Interview
Padmaja : Good morning to you all, please. (There is also a Lady Member in the Board. Hence the candidate preferred to greet them all jointly instead of differentiating them and repeating greetings as Good morning, Sirs and Good morning, Madam.)
Chairman: Good morning, Miss Naidu. Kindly sit down and make yourself fully comfortable.
Padmaja : Thank you, Sir. (She sits down on the seat meant for the candidate with minimum of movement and without any noise. She adopts a posture which is relaxed and yet attentive. She sits erect, bead up and back resting on the back rest of the chair. Her legs are crossed in front with feet pulled in. She remains observant and her eyes indicate interest and enthusiasm. The smile continue to play on her lips and she looks cheerful, invigorating and lively.)
Chairman: I see from your dossiers that you have graduated from Osmania University in Hyderabad but have taken your masters degree in Economics from the Delhi University. Can you explain why you have migrated from Hyderabad to Delhi for your post-graduation?
Padmaja : (Smiling) Sir, my father was a Brigadier in the Army. When he was posted to the forward area, all of our family members, had to stay behind in Hyderabad itself which was his previous duty station. There was no family accommodation in the forward area to which he was posted on transfer. At that stage I was already doing my graduation in the college at Hyderabad. Within a couple of year my father completed his tenure in the forward area and was transferred to Delhi. I had still one year to complete for my degree. Therefore, I joined the hostel and my mother and younger brother moved over to Delhi to join my father. After completing graduation I also shifted to Delhi and joined the Delhi University for my M.A.
Chairman: Didn’t you have any problem in getting admission into Delhi University and also getting acclimatized to the new surroundings of Delhi?
Padmaja : (Smiling again) Luckily, Sir, I had obtained a 1st Division with 70 percent of aggregate marks is my Degree examination. As such I had no difficulty in securing admission. As for the new surroundings, it was quite all right. I am used to such frequent changes in places, as my father was getting regularly transferred from place to place throughout the country. With such service background I did not have any problem in adapting myself to the new environment.
1st Member: Which of the two Universities you like more and why?
Padmaja : I find both places very interesting and congenial for studies. If required to choose, my preference will be for Delhi, particularly for post-graduate education. At the national capital we have not only students from all parts of India, but also from several foreign countries. This affords plenty of opportunity for the cross pollination of ideas. Besides, Delhi being the capital has the advantage of being the venue of various seminars on current issues both of national and international import. These seminars addressed by leading intellectuals have great educative value. Further, the library facilities in Delhi, in my view, are also better. You have not only the University library, but many embassies also have their own libraries in addition to the well-stocked libraries equipped with latest books of Indian Council of World Affairs, India International Centre, Indian Institute of Public Administration and a network of Delhi Public Libraries, World Bank Library, etc. Another aspect of Delhi is the atmosphere which is more free. I mean you are encouraged, may be because of the foreign students, to attend o your studies on your own, think freely and express your view without inhibitions. In the South, I would say, conformity and conservatism in the academic field are still preferred; though of late, there is a change of wind there too but not on the scale of Delhi. Regional parties have a lot of say, I mean, interference from the politicians is somewhat on the higher side in State capitals. These are my impressions but may be I could also be wrong or that I did not have the opportunity to see the better side.
1st Member: Didn’t you experience politicization of the students’ population in Delhi also? For example, the union elections, strikes, etc., have also been there in Delhi.
Padmaja : Yes, Sir. They were there but somehow or the other in the circle of senior students with whom I was moving, I was not affected much by the politics, elections, strikes, etc. In fact, frankly putting, I am against student unions fighting elections as affiliates to different political parties. We come to learn at the feet of intellectuals and not by fighting for our rights as trade unionists. At best, a committee of meritorious students may be constituted o present the genuine grievances of students before the Grievance Cell of each college headed by Principal. It should meet once a month. In this connection, I welcome the interim order of the Supreme Court in December 2006 to implement the Lyngdoh Committee recommendations on student’s union elections. I strongly believe that students should take part in healthy extracurricular activities only. Studies must come first and we should not get involved in actual politics.
            Comments: The chairman has started the ball rolling with some affable, personal questions to put the candidate at ease and establish proper rapport. We find the candidate fully relaxed and extremely cooperative. She speaks fluently without inhibitions. While explaining the reasons for doing her graduation in Hyderabad and post-graduation in Delhi, she subtly brings out her good family background and her proficiency in studies. Tactfully, she has conveyed to the Board that she has done extremely well in her to decide and choose between two alternatives. His idea obviously is to test the decision – making ability and reasoning ability of the candidate. We find the candidate coming out of this test with flying colours. After giving due credit to both institutions she casts her preference to Delhi and explains the reasons for her choice in a rational, logical and convincing manner. Her answer also indicates her powers of observation and assimilation. We notice there is method and organization in her approach. Her interest interests are extensive. We learn that the candidate is keen to do original thinking and arrive at independent conclusions. In other words, she is enterprising, adventurous and ready to take reasonable risks. Since she refers to students from abroad and other parts of India facilitating free exchange of ideas, it is apparent socially she is well-up and a good mixer. Thus, even at the preliminary and opening stage her answers give a good insight into many of her favourable personality and leadership traits.
            2nd Member: Miss Naidu, do you feel that democratic socialism and economic growth with social justice are one and the same? In case they are different, which one do you think should come first?
Padmaja : Well, Sir, as I could see it, we are referring to two distinct subjects-one concerns politics and the other economics. The political goal is to have democracy and socialism at one and the same time. The economic goal is to have increased economic wealth through industrialization and other means. There is also a marriage between the economic goal and the political goal in the concept of socialism. This marriage is indicated by the concept of social justice of equitable distribution of wealth. We have seen there are various ways of achieving equitable distribution of wealth which is being generated in the country.
One way of doing this is having the major means of production in the hands of the Government. In our case, it is the public sector. The other means is to resort to various methods of taxation and levelers to distribute the wealth in an equitable manner. We can also have old age insurance, unemployment insurance and other such facilities to bring about equitable distribution. In the Communist countries they adopt an authoritarian approach. The Government controls not only the means of production but also the entire distribution mechanism. Where there is unbridled democracy as in the Western democracies, the Government neither controls the means of production nor interferes with the distribution. There is free enterprise and the laws of supply and demand are allowed to operate in a fair manner. Both these approaches have contributed for increased production and higher rate of economic growth. They have also been able to restrict and control the population growth. Thus, greater wealth is produced and the same is available for distribution to fewer people.
In India, we have followed mixed economy, like we have married democracy to socialism. I have already pointed out how public sector has turned out o be a white elephant. Our controls, licencing, permits and other restrictive measures to manage distribution have only resulted in corruption and black money. Thus, we do not have enough wealth to distribute and with population explosion the numbers to share are too large. Therefore, we have not been able to achieve the goal of social justice as well as the economic growth so far to the desired extent.
Comments: The Second Member now probes the candidate in the filed of the candidate’s specialization. He poses some controversial questions and asks the candidate to give her views, justifying the same with appropriate and convincing reasons. We find the candidate accepting the challenge with confidence and conviction. She displays commendable knowledge in the subject of her specialization. We find that her ideas are extensive and she could argue in great depth. Her grasp is excellent and she analyses the problem in a systematic and methodical manner. She is able to adduce very logical, rational and convincing reasons for her stand. We notice the candidate has originality and intellectual integrity. She is able to take a firm stand on any controversial issue, without hesitation, doubt or inhibition. She accepts responsibilities willingly and cheerfully,. Where necessary, she is ready to differ, but she does so with plenty of tact and a sweet and enchanting smile.
3rd Member: Is it your view that democratic socialism is an unworkable proposition?
Padmaja : I am Sorry, Sir. I would say that democratic socialism can succeed in countries where the population is well educated and the size of the population is manageable and where there is already adequate industrial development. For instance, in countries like England, France and even Japan democratic socialism can succeed but in our case we have several unfavourable factors. Deposit all the handicaps, we have still been able to make impressive progress. Perhaps, we would have made greater progress particularly in the filed of economic growth if we would have not opted for democratic socialism. We could have thought of socialism after we have achieved the desired level of economic growth.
Comments: The Members has posed a very difficult and complex question to the candidate. It calls for an involved answer, deep knowledge, wide range of ideas and sound analytical ability. We find the candidate displaying remarkable imagination, resourcefulness and understanding. She has broken down the problem into bits and clarified the issues with ease, eloquence and simplicity. Throughout, the candidate has displayed tremendous will-power, stamina and self-confidence. She has carefully avoided the trap set by he Member. Thanks to her excellent perception and analytical mind, she is able to make the very difficult problem appear as extremely simple. Thus, the candidate is practical minded and result oriented. She has the patience and perseverance to go the root of the problem and find a workable solution.
4th Member: The Bamiyan Buddha statues were in news recently. Can you tell us why? Also provided a brief description of them.
Padmaja : Yes Sir, I can. The year 2011 marks the tenth anniversary of the tragic destruction of the 1500-year-old Buddha statues a Bamiyan in Afghanistan. Their destruction by the Taliban began on March, 2, 2001 with the help of dynamites, rocket launchers and tanks.
Sir, the Bamiyan Buddhas were two 6th century monumental statues of standing Buddhas carved into the side of a cliff in the Bamiyan valley in the Hazarat region of central Afghanistan. They are carved on the face of he Hindu-Kush mountains, situated 230 km northwest of Kabul at an altitude of 2,500 meters.
These statues were great representatives of the classic blended style of Gandhara ar. The two unique colossi, 55 and 38 metre tall, respectively – the first of which was the tallest in the world-synthesised various art styles, including the Gandhara and Greco-Roman. Thus, they represented a wonderfully creative phase of Buddhist history.
4th Member: What are your views regarding the destruction of these statues by the Taliban?
Padmaja : Sir, the destruction o these statues by the Taliban is one of the most horrifying acts conducted by them. The gruesome destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas has become a symbol of oppression and religious intolerance. Moreover, the Taliban’s barbaric destruction of the Buddhas exposes the limits of International conventions mean to safeguard heritage structures of universal value. I strongly condemn this act of their.
4th Member: What was the international reaction to the situation?
Padmaja : Sir this fanatic act was condemned by most of the nations of the world. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates condemned the destruction as “savage”. Japan and Switzerland, among others, sledged support for the rebuilding of the statues.
Our own nation vehemently condemned the destruction. New Delhi had even offered to arrange for the transfer of all the artifacts to India (prior to their destruction) “where they would be kept safely and preserved for all mankind” but these overtures were rejected by the Taliban.
4th Member: Tell us about the attempts made or heir reconstruction.
Padmaja : Sir, efforts for their reconstruction have gained momentum since 2003 when they were declared World Heritage sites. Thereafter, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has been coordinating the conservation efforts in Afghanistan.
Sir, I would also like to mention that even before their destruction, the Indian government, through the Archaeological Survey of India, played a commendable role in he conservation of the Bamiyan monuments between 1969 and 1977.
After their being declared the World Heritage sites in 2003, they were simultaneously placed in the list of sites in danger, which helped mobilize international expertise and financial support for their protection.
UNESCO’s efforts since 2003, towards reconstruction of these statues are appreciable. This is because instead of rushing to rebuild the destroyed icons, as desired by some of the heritage experts and funding countries, it opted for a three-phase project to demine the area, strengthen the mountain cliffs and improve the vicinity. It is involving local communities in conservation efforts and attempting to build their capacities. Due to this sustainable approach of the UNESCO, the Bamiyan site is now ready to be removed from the list of World Heritage sites in danger.
The demand to rebuild the Bamiyan Buddhas has turned up after experts demonstrated the feasibility of reconstructing the smaller of the two statues, using fragments from the original statues.
The UNESCO has finally turned down the project of rebuilding these statues, citing financial and authenticity concerns. It asserted that people “don’t need to see a fake, they need to see the reality. And these statues have been destroyed.” The final decision in this matter has been taken after carefully analyzing the costs and benefits of the project, including the social gains that would have occurred to the local community.
Comments: This candidate reveals commendable knowledge of international matters. She has studied current international developments in full perspective and present her views in a rational, logical and convincing manner. Her grasp and understanding of complex issues are remarkable. She is able to think and plan with foresight and imagination. Her approach is objective and analytical. She does not allow her views to be coloured or influenced by her personal prejudices or emotional involvement. She can be relied on to look ahead and plan effectively to cope with future developments.
5th Member: Would you consider the regional parties increasingly voted to power in the States as an impediment for national integration, unity and faster economic growth?
Padmaja : No, Sir, I feel there could be healthy competition when we have different parties in power at different States. Each government can show innovation, imagination and efficiency in promoting the welfare of the people. There need not necessarily be any confrontation with the Centre so long the democratic norms and conventions are followed and the national interests are kept in view. In America, for instance, the Democrat President is in power as head of the Federal government, but in the constituent States, there are several governments headed by Republicans. Despite Republicans and Democrats ruling in different States, America as a whole is making very good progress and has emerged as the most powerful country in the world. India also, in a similar manner, can make rapid progress, provided all our political parties realize their responsibilities and show good understanding. Nothing should be done by anyone which goes against national interest. There should be perfect harmonization of regional interest with national interest.
However, having said so, I would not support regional parties calling the shot in formation of Government at the Centre as also formulation and implementation of various national schemes as was done under NDA regime-a policy that is being perpetuated under the ruling UPA dispensation. These regional parties have a very restricted view confined to their States only.  They refuse to look through national prism. India is neither America nor Britain where the electorate is far more enlightened. In fact, soon after independence, we started State building (on linguistic lines) rather than national-building. Though we take pride that we are the biggest democracy but that is only in terms of numbers but not in quality of the electorate a majority of which has woefully little interest / knowledge of national issues, what to speak of international issues.
6th Member: I realize that you support existence of Regional parties. So, what are your views regarding the formation of a separate state of Telangana.
Padmaja : Sir, I vehemently oppose the formation of a separate Telangana state. The creation of further States out of the existing ones is indeed a very unwise decision which will be detrimental to the integrity of a nation like India. If we delve deep into the history of post Independence India, we will never endorse the idea of further division of the Indian States. Politicians today try to cock a snook at the giant task carried out by the far-sighted leaders like the late Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Patel knew very well and had realized that unity was the first and foremost task of the Indian Government which had to be attained at any cost. He did not hesitate to use even force for the inculcation and upkeep of a national spirit and India emerged as a nation. Had it been divided into different principalities as it had been at the time of Independence, we would not have lived in an India as it is today. In fact, selfless leaders like Sardar Patel have disappeared and modern leaders, I mean a majority of them, only look at the country for the fulfillment of their won unhealthy aspirations. They think in terms of maintaining their clout, even if it is achieved by placing the integrity of the country at stake. How Patel united India with an iron had has been forgotten by the politicians of this generation. If we turn pages of history, we can find the proof of his enormous effort. He had to unify 222 states in the Kathiawar peninsula of his native Gujarat into a princely Saurashtra alone in 1948 and six other states in 1949. The example of annexation of Hyderabad has already been referred to. In fact, the modern day politicians think that more States will mean more opportunity for doing politics and reaping a rich harvest. They are not interested in India as a whole. They have, it seems, forgotten the saying, “United we stand, divided we fall”. No Central Government will succeed in holding together a larger number of States than 28, which  we have got today. At that, the creation of one more State of Telangana will give an impetus to divisive and secessionist forces which are already at work. To my mind, the Centre should act wisely with regard to this issue and its opposition parties as well as allies will also lend their helping hand, if it takes a positive stand.
7th Member: What are your views regarding the transfer of High Court judges from one State to another?
Padmaja : If feet it will contribute to India’s unity and enrich our judicial structure. But such transfers should not affect the independence of the judiciary. Even before Independence and also soon after Independence and also soon after Independence the judges were being transferred from one State to another, mostly at their own requests. This has not in any way affected the independence of the judiciary. Inter-State transfer of judges should not be used as a weapon of punishment or victimization for making judges to conform.
What happened in the mass transfer of Punjab and Haryana High Court judges and its Chief Justice was a sordid affair which should never be repeated by Judiciary which is the only hope of the people now since both Legislature and Executive have failed them.
As regards the policy of transfer of judges from one State to another, the code elaborated by the Supreme Court should be followed.
Chairman: Thank you, Miss Naidu.
Comments: The candidate is well-versed with the current national and international events. She is able to express mature view and substantiate her arguments by proper rationale and logic. She is free and frank and speaks out her mind boldly without any inhibitions. At the same time, she is not rigid, obstinate or self opinionated. She is merit-oriented.
Concluding Comments: A cheerful, pleasant and very charming candidate, Miss Padmaja  is keen, alert, enthusiastic candidate. Miss Padmaja  is keen, alert, enthusiastic and lively. She proves to be quick on the uptake and her general awareness is sound. She displays commendable will power, motivating ability and dynamism. With her resolute, clear-cut approach and positive attitude she succeeds in creating a strong and favourable impact on others. She is goal-oriented, knows what she wants and how to get it. Her preparations are thorough, work methodical and system well-orgainsed. Her self-confidence is backed by sustained efforts and she is quite adventurous and enterprising. She uses her resources and imagination to advantage and finds workable solutions to complex problems in a realistic manner. Selected and specially recommended. 

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