1. Prologue
  2. Technical Requirements
  3. Where to send the article?
  4. Topic Requirements
  5. [Other category]
  6. Language Requirements:
  7. Good Faith Requirements:
  8. Prizes to Win
    1. Three books on Freedom Struggle (Bipin, Sumit, Rajiv)
    2. TMH General Studies Manual (English)
    3. Gandhi: A life (NBT)
    4. Separate author page for constant contribution
  9. FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions


After the grand success of writing competitions in in last four months, here comes the round for January 2014: Write an exam-oriented, revision-friendly article and get a chance to win five books

  1. Tata McGraw-Hill General Studies Manual 2014 (in ENGLISH)
  2. Bipin Chandra: India’s struggle for Independence (Penguin Publication)
  3. Sumit Sarkar: Modern India (1885-1947) (Macmilan Publication)
  4. Rajiv Ahir: Brief History of Modern India (Spectrum Publication)
  5. Gandhi: A life by Krishna Kripalani (NBT)

+ For constant high quality writers: an opportunity to have a separate author/bio page on Mrunal.org

Technical Requirements

  1. Article should be Minimum 3 pages long article in Times new roman size12 font.
  2. Must be in MS Word (.doc) format. Please don’t send PDF format. Word format helps the readers to merge, update, and compress information to suit their own revision requirements in future.
  3. 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-5 winner. e.g. GS manual>Bipin>Sumit>Rajiv >Gandhi. (To decide preference- you may scroll down and see the review of those books.)
  4. Last date to submit: 26th January 2014, midnight.
  5. Result will be announced on 1st February 2014, based jury votes.

Where to send the article?

  1. On my gmail.com id
  2. In Email title, 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. Should be relevent to UPSC civil service prelims, mains or interview.
  2. UNLESS you’ve lot of new information to add, please avoid writing on:
    1. Topics that are already covered under Mrunal.org (use the searchbox on top left corner)
    2. Topics neatly covered in Gold/platinum category articles previous months’ competitions. (some examples are internal security, food security, comparing Constitutions, bilateral relations with neighbours etc.) you can see previous month’s entries on this page: Mrunal.org/write2win
    3. generic essay topics such as Women empowerment, poverty removal, corruption removal, etc. UNLESS you’re making a super-duper comprehensive article with 12th FYP, government schemes, policies, current affairs etc.
  3. Avoid clichéd topics from current affairs e.g. FDI in Multibrand retail, Need for CBI autonomy, Lokpal etc.
  4. Avoid static topics that are already well-explained in the standard reference books e.g. Causes of 1857 mutiny, Gandhi-Irwin Pact, Cabinet Mission plan etc. in Bipin Chandra and Spectrum’s books; similarly Fundamental rights, various constitutional bodies etc. are neatly given in great M.Laxmikanth.
  5. Avoid lifting content from any competitive magazines, coaching-class material, blogs/sites for competitive exams. They’ll be rejected.
  6. Avoid Wikipedia unless in extreme case.
  7. You may use the content from newspaper websites, government/international organization sites, committee report etc. But please don’t just copypaste all paragraphs from there, try to summarize and condense the wisdom given in such article/report in your own words- in a layman friendly, revision friendly language.
  8. If you have doubt in topic selection, don’t hesitate from sending me a mail. but please don’t ask  “suggest me topic?”, you need to shortlist a few topics of your own, I can only tell which one should you write on.

[Other category]

Articles on following topics also welcome. They will be shared in the zip file for the benefit of everyone. (Although as such they’ll not be considered for prize unless exceptionally great quality. But still they’ll count in gold/platinum categorization for getting separate author page.)

Here is the list of acceptable topics:

  1. From those who appeared in Mains-2013:
    1. Your answers: Especially for Ethics and Essay papers (also welcome for GS and Optionals)- at least the keypoints that you answered and self-assessment: what do you think about your own answer now, that the exam is over and dust has settled and you’ve the time to crosscheck from books and news sites.
    2. Your analysis, answer and strategy of optional subjects (but should be elaborate just like Ms.Swagata Tarafdar’s entry of psychology in last month).
    3. All the epiphanies, reflections and revelations, What went right, what went wrong, what do you cherish, what do you regret, what are your future plans and past mistakes. It need *not* be limited to just this mains– but your overall journey so far, in the competitive exams
  2. Motivational, time management related articles. (Must be from your own mind. Copy paste work/generic advice won’t be included.)
  3. Aptitude, Reasoning, Comprehension and Grammar related content. But must be your own work- no copy paste job please.
  4. Computer tips/techniques useful in exam-studies (Without involving piracy.)
  5. Sharing Experience/Wisdom about any competitive exam, written, interview that you’ve appeared. Nowadays many exams conducted online, so there are no ‘previous papers’, similarly for some less known specialized PSU exams barely a few people apply hence no information through google. So whatever you want to share from your personal experience. do share.
  6. Job profiles of relatively unknown posts for which exam is recently conducted or soon to be conducted. for e.g. Bihar Military welfare officer. What do you know about that job- from personal experience, through friends, contacts, relatives or parents? Often there are vacancies but no information available on what is the nature of work, what’re promotion chances etc. So future aspirants can make an informed decision on whether to apply or to try for some other job.

Language Requirements:

  1. I’m not looking for scholarly essays or academic research papers. It must be Exam-Oriented+ Revision Friendly+laymen friendly article.
  2. 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.
  3. Minimum use of passive voice and flowery adjectives. Minimum use of Sentence connectors (whereas, which,….) Because they slow down the pace of reading and revision.
  4. Avoid writing in big paragraphs. Try to summerize under headings, subheadings, bullets-numbering.
  5. Avoid filler lines. Avoid stating 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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 and jury members don’t read each and every random coaching class material, magazine or website, so cannot manually verify plagiarism for each and every case.)
  2. You understand that once your article is released in public domain, some xyz spam site/coaching material might lift it, or some Xerox-walla in Delhi might sell its printouts. I cannot prevent such things or protect your copyrights.
  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 or why it is in the particular gold/silver/bronze category and what were the specific deficiencies in the article.

Prizes to Win

Total five books (+chance to get a separate author page on Mrunal.org)

Three books on Freedom Struggle (Bipin, Sumit, Rajiv)


  1. Bipin Chandra: India’s struggle for Independence (Penguin Publication)
  2. Sumit Sarkar: Modern India (1885-1947) (Macmilan Publication)
  3. Rajiv Ahir: Brief History of Modern India (Spectrum Publication)

Their review/utility already discussed in the previous article on GS (Mains) History Answerkey and analysis. click me

TMH General Studies Manual (English)

In last month’s competition, the prize was General Studies Manual in Hindi. This time English edition of the same Tata McGraw-Hill General Studies Manual. My thoughts/review remains the same:

General Studies Manuals serve four purpose:


  1. Augment your preparation of static topics after finishing NCERTs. Because NCERTs alone don’t cover all the MCQ worthy information for history, science and geography.
  2. Have 300-400 mock MCQs at the end of each section- to you practice at home.
  3. Even provide some static content for mains. (e.g. in GS1 2013: Sangam age’s socio-economic conditions, temperature inversion, continental drift topics etc. are given)
  4. Also useful in CDS, CAPF, RBI, state PSC officer grade exams- where candidate has to face GS/GK MCQs, but after finishing NCERTs, he doesn’t have the time or money to go through a lot of reference books e.g. Bipin Chandra, Goh Che Leong, Majid Hussain etc.

Limitations of GS Manuals:

(Same for all the publication houses: TMH, Arihant, Spectrum, Unique et al)

  1. Too bulky
  2. Too expensive
  3. Their Polity and Economy section hardly of use, because nowadays most aspirants use Laxmikanth for Polity and Ramesh Singh for Economy, given their better content and proven record for usefulness in MCQs.
  4. For geography, many candidates read NCERT then directly refer GC Leong, Majid Hussain or DR Khullar.
  5. Same way, for Freedom Struggle, many candidates use combo of NCERT then directly to Bipin / Spectrum etc.

Thus, finally the utility of GS Manuals boil down to only four areas:

  1. Science: Physics, chemistry, biology: theories, facts, principles.
  2. Ancient and medieval history (especially when person doesn’t have the “OLD” NCERTs)
  3. Mock MCQs on all static topics. History, geography, science, polity and economy. (especially when person is not enrolled to some coaching class)
  4. For CDS, CAPF, RBI, state PSC Officer exams: where you’ve don’t have time / money go through a lot of reference books e.g. Bipin Chandra, Goh Che Leong, Majid Hussain etc.

Therefore, I keep saying all the time: you don’t need to buy brand new GS Manuals, second hand used edition also works just fine. Because the static/theory portion remains one and same irrespective of year.

anyways, the fifth book to win:

Gandhi: A life by Krishna Kripalani (NBT)


  • This is published by National Book Trust (NBT), so it has the signature style of NBT books= “overview” in 200-300 pages; divided into a few dozen chapters of 4-5 pages each; and a few photos in the center and good paper-binding quality.
  • Book covers Gandhi’s childhood and upbringing, years in Britain and South Africa, and his role in India’s struggle of Independence.
  • Just 200 pages. His thoughts and quotes spread across the chapters. Has indirect utilities for Essay and interviews, if you don’t have the time to go through Gandhi’s original autobiography.
  • Other than that, nothing new under the sun that you cannot find through google after all Gandhi’s life is well documented and discussed by many.
Good read for essay, interviews and group discussion? YES
Essential for success in competitive exams? NO

Separate author page for constant contribution

In past, some writers have constantly contributed high quality articles, yet did not win any prize. But their good work deserves recognition. So, their reward will be a separate page that lists their name, bio, photo and contributions: For example: Mrunal.org/authors/Manikandan

Requirements to get such separate author-page

  1. At least one of your article was shortlisted in platinum category in any month. (it doesn’t matter whether it won prize or not)
  2. Apart from that article, atleast 9 of your articles have been in the Gold and/or Platinum category. (Meaning total ten high quality articles.)

Utility:  For any Job/PG/MBA interviews, you can mention “writing/blogging/content-writer” as your hobby/extra-curricular and give that web-link to your author page, as  proof.   It adds weight because Mrunal.org stands among Top-2000 websites for India (as per the Alexa ranking of January 2014).

Don’t worry if you haven’t contributed that much, because competition will run even for upcoming months. Once you cross that limit, contact me with your bio and photo, and the page will be created. Even good will entries will be counted as long as they’re in gold/platinum list.

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

Why do you give these books?

As a result of this site’s popularity, I get free books as samples, review copies and gifts from various publication houses, friends, well-wishers, senior and retired players. Since September 2013, I’ve holding competitions to give these books to talented writers.

Where can I download the entries of previous competition?

All of them available on Mrunal.org/write2win for free download.

Will you repeat this competition next month?

Yes, it’ll be regular cycle on this site. Last date to submit= 26th of the given month (for month with 31 days) and 25th (for month with 30 days)

And result usually declared on 1st of the next month.

Why should I participate in this competition, there are only five books and 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!

  1. In the three GS papers of Mains 2013- many topics could be handled through these articles. so, the candidates who drafted those articles and had appeared in the exam- they could recollect the points very quickly compared to others who may have just read them from books. Hence by sharing knowledge with others, the person helped himself.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 five award books listed here!
  4. + separate author page on Mrunal.org for constant high quality contributors. (e.g. Mrunal.org/authors/Manikandan) You can cite it to impress interview panel, your buddies and anyone else.

How can I know there will be no nepotism?

  1. I shortlist the top 10-15 entries. Show them to a few senior players of UPSC, and with their ‘jury’ service, the top-5 Winners are decided.
  2. 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 and third party addresses.)

What will you do with these articles?

  1. I’ll put all article-submissions (of both winner+non winners) in a zip file. This Zip file will be shared along with the result announcement. That way, all aspirants can download the notes, and use it for their own preparation.
  2. I may edit-tweak a few of them further and publish under various categories of mrunal.org (e.g. /snt, /enb, /diplomacy etc.)
  3. If a submission is total bogus quality. It will be trashed, won’t even put it under the Zip file.

Is my personal information safe?

Yes, 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.

Can I submit more than one article?

Yes you’re most welcome. they’ll be included in the zip file. But at maximum, one-person-one-address will be eligible for one book prize only. Meaning if same person submits three exceptional quality articles, doesn’t mean he gets three books. (Although they do count for getting separate author page.)

I don’t want to any books, can I still participate?

Ofcourse you can. Your good will entries will be included in the zip file. (and they’ll be counted for getting separate author page).