Update: competition over and result has been declared. click me to see it

  1. Technical Requirements
  2. Where to send the article?
  3. Topic Requirements
  4. Language Requirements:
  5. Good Faith Requirements:
  6. About the IR/Diplomacy Book Prizes
    1. Peu Ghosh
    2. Shashi Tharoor
    3. VP Dutt
  7. FAQ

After the grand success of writing competitions in September and October here goes the round for November Month: Write an exam-oriented, revision-friendly article and get a chance to win three books on International Relations (IR) For UPSC General studies Mains paper 2.

  1. International relations by Peu Ghosh (PHI)
  2. Pax Indica by Shashi Tharoor (Penguin)
  3. India’s foreign policy since Independence by VP Dutt (NBT)

all the good entries will be packed in zip file and released along with result. That way entire community can benefit. (PS this time, Since Mains starts from 2nd Dec, I’ll release zip file on 26th Nov and result on 1st Dec. so that players writing Mains 2013 can benefit from those articles.)

Technical Requirements

  1. Article must be Minimum 3 pages long article in Times new roman size12 font
  2. Must be in MS Word (.doc) format. Don’t send PDF format.
  3. Last date to submit: 25th November 2013, midnight
  4. At the bottom of your article, you must include following
    1. List of reference webpages URLs, reports and books you used to prepare the article.
    2. Your full name, Postal-address, email id and contact number. (Don’t worry, personal information will be removed before the articles are put on public domain.)
    3. Your “preference” for the Prize, if your article is chosen among top-3 winner. e.g. Ghosh>Shashi>Dutt or Shashi>Ghosh>Dutt etc. (to decide preference- you may scroll down and see the review.)
  5. Zip file containing all good entries, will be released on 26th November 2013 (Because Mains starts on 2nd Dec- so won’t help much to Mains players if released on 1st Dec)
  6. Result will be announced on 1st December 2013. After deliberations with Jury.

Where to send the article?

  1. On gmail id
  2. In Email subject, just write “article submission” (that way my gmail automatically filters and puts them under a separate folder and helps me process it fast.)

Topic Requirements

  1. Must be relevant to the new syllabus of Mains General Studies. Click me to see the syllabus in excel format.
  2. Avoid topics that are already covered under Mrunal.org (use the searchbox on top left corner) OR submitted in the previous months’ competitions- UNLESS you’ve lot of new information to add.
    1. Click me to see September month
    2. Click me to see October month
  3. Avoid generic essay topics such as Women empowerment, poverty removal, corruption removal, food security etc. UNLESS you’re making a super-duper comprehensive article with 12th FYP, government schemes, policies, current affairs etc.
  4. Avoid clichéd topics from current affairs e.g. FDI in Multibrand retail, Need for CBI autonomy etc.
  5. Avoid static topics that are already well-explained in the standard reference books e.g.
  6. Causes of 1857 mutiny, Gandhi-Irwin Pact, Cabinet Mission plan etc. in Bipin Chandra and Spectrum’s books
  7. Fundamental rights, various constitutional bodies etc. in the great M.Laxmikanth.
  8. Avoid lifting content from any competitive magazines, coaching-class material, blogs/sites for competitive exams.
  9. Avoid Wikipedia.
  10. You may use the content from newspaper websites, government sites, and official websites of international bodies. But don’t just copy paste paragraphs from there, try to summarize and condense the wisdom given in such article/report.
  11. If you have doubt in topic selection, don’t hesitate from sending me a mail.

Language Requirements:

  1. Must be revision friendly.
  2. I’m not looking for scholarly essays or academic research papers. It must be Exam-Oriented+ Revision Friendly article.
  3. Must be in English, but doesn’t need to be in formal English and chaste grammar. You can put things in any way you want, to keep it revision friendly. Avoid SMS-language bcz its 2tuf 2read.
  4. Minimum use of passive voice. Minimum use of Sentence connectors (whereas, which,….) Because they slow down the pace of reading and revision.
  5. Avoid writing in big paragraphs. Try to put things under headings, subheadings, bullets-numbering.
  6. Avoid filler lines. Avoid writing the obvious. (e.g. like how Mohan gives speech…Naxalism is the great threat India faces today. India needs to reduce its current account deficit and dependence on crude oil import. Food inflation must be curbed. Sustainable development is essential…and so on) Instead of such filler lines, try to list decent points that can be readily used for a 12-15 marker descriptive question or hardcore facts that can be asked in Prelims MCQs.
  7. Avoid mentioning exact dates and exact money. “On 12th Sep 2013, Government allotted 12593 crore rupees on xyz thing.” Nobody is going to ask / remember dates. Such details only break the flow of reading a revision friendly article.
  8. In short, avoid mentioning things that are irrelevant from a descriptive paper/ interview/MCQ point of view.

Good Faith Requirements:

This competition runs on good faith that

  1. You’ll not lift content from any competitive magazines, coaching material, similar blogs/sites associated with competitive exams. (Obviously I don’t read each and every coaching class material or competitive magazine, so I cannot manually verify plagiarism for each and every case.)
  2. You understand that once your article is released in public domain, there is good chance some xyz spam site will copy paste it or some Xerox-center of Delhi might sell its printouts. I cannot prevent such things or protect your copyright.
  3. You’ll not submit multiple articles under different usernames just to raise your winning chances. You can submit multiple articles under a single username, but only the one best entry will be considered for award.
  4. I cannot manually explain to each and every contender why his/her article did not win prize.

About the IR/Diplomacy Book Prizes

so you can decide your preference.

Peu Ghosh

International relations by Peu Ghosh (PHI)

Book-cover-IR-peu ghosh

  1. NAM covered in detail including the summit @Sharm-El-Sheikh (2009).
  2. chapter on regional bodies: EU, AU, OPEC, APEC, OAS, SAARC and ASEAN. SAARC summit upto Thimpu (2010).
  3. India’s bilateral relations summarized in approx. two pages for each country: US, Russia, China, Pak, Bangla, Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
  4. Mock questions at the end of each chapter.
  5. Has chapters on Neo Colonialism, third world, cold war.
  6. Chapters on globalization, terrorism, human rights, sustainable development provide decent fodder material for essay/descriptive/interview.
  7. Major disarmament treaties covered in two paragraphs each. (Negative: India’s stand is not elaborated.)
  8. Prominent Economic institutions summarized in approx. one page each: IMF, WTO, G20, BRICS, IBSA, IOR-ARC , BIMSTEC, MGC, NAFTA and MERCOSUR.
  9. Detailed chapter on UN and its organs and function.
  10. India’s foreign policies under Various Prime ministers: from Nehru to Mohan (upto Dec 2012) neatly summarized in just 40 pages. + unlike VP Dutt’s book, Peu Ghosh has covered both Lal Bahadur Shashtri and Morarji Desai.


  1. First few chapters cover theories of international relations – may be useful for political science optional but hardly relevant from GS point of view.
  2. While for NAM, SAARC, ASEAN, he talked about recent issues and concerns, but didn’t provide current affairs on EU, OPEC, APEC etc. Just static info on structure-functions.
  3. Most of the stuff is from 2007-08 era. Only at few places talked about 2012.
  4. Novelty factor: Mohan’s foreign policy from 2004-2012. Other than that, overall nothing new under the Sun that you haven’t seen in other books/sources/websites.

Shashi Tharoor

Pax Indica by Shashi Tharoor (Penguinbooks)

Book-cover-IR-Pax Indica

  1. Goldmine of quote based questions (if UPSC wants to ask) for example
    1. India cannot aspire to be a truly convincing “great power” until it achieves a better handle on its region without support and active involvement of outsiders. Comment
    2. In terms of bilateral relations, India’s approach towards Nepal has been dismissive and neglectful. Do you agree? Cite examples to justify your stand.
    3. India’s positive involvement in Bhutan directly benefits the people of North East. Elaborate.
  2. Separate chapter on India’s relations with Pakistan, China and USA each. Talks in detail about what is done/happened and what should be done in future. (~40-50 pages each)
  3. Analysis of India’s relations with Afghan, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lank in approx. three pages each.
  4. Analysis of India with IOA-ARC, BIMSTEC, ASEAN, Arab World etc in approx. four pages each.
  5. Doesn’t paint rosy good picture of everything- Also brings out criticism about India’s approach towards IOA-ARC, Look-East Nepal, and suggests reforms.
  6. Essay points for soft power, global commons, multi alignment etc.

Not so Good: unlike the other two books, Shashi won’t give you “taiyaar maal” (readymade summarized material). Because this one is written from Intellectual/academic point of view. More like a collection of essay than discussion of syllabus topics. While has its utilities in Essay/interview but you’ve to dig the gemstones, analysis and good quotes out of his chapters.

VP Dutt

India’s foreign policy since Independence by VP Dutt  (National Book trust)
Book-cover-IR-VP Dutt

  1. Covers foreign policies of Nehru, Indira, you know who, Rao, Gujaral, Vajpayee and Mohan in ~250 pages.
  2. Mohan’s foreign policy covered in detail ~115 pages = Novelty factor. Although book written in 2007 (then only reprinted) so doesn’t cover all the latest happenings.
  3. Product of National book trust (NBT), so dirt cheap yet paper-binding is good.


  1. While full chapter is dedicated for you know who, there is hardly anything on Lal Bahadur Shashtri or Morarji Desai’s foreign policy.
  2. Except Mohan’s foreign policy- nothing new under the Sun that is not already covered in IGNOU’s (free) IR material.
  3. Nothing separately on international bodies/organization/agreements or India’s bilateral relations.


Q. Why should I participate in this competition, there are only three books and probably hundreds of contenders? The probability to win a prize is very low. Why should I share my knowledge with others? I think this is a waste of time!

You haven’t really understood a topic, unless you can fluently explain it to others without boring the hell out them. So if you try to write an exam-oriented revision friendly article, you’re improving your own preparation of that topics. Besides, all good entries will be put in a zip file and shared with everyone=you’ll be getting a big pile of free notes anyways- and it’ll have more important data for exams than the three award books listed here!

Q. How can I know there will be no nepotism?

  1. I’ve asked my allies and friends not to participate in this competition. (Although that too runs on a good faith that they’ll not submit articles under fake names!)
  2. I’ll shortlist the top 10-15 entries. Show them to a few senior players of UPSC, and with their ‘jury’ service, the top-3 Winners will be decided.

Q. Is my personal information safe?

Some people hold stupid competitions to gather your personal info, then sell your email id and phone number to those tele-marketing companies, bogus MBA colleges and insurance sellers. But I assure you that I won’t do it. Before uploading the zip file, I’ll remove your address/mail/contact number.