[Essays] November Week1: New Urbanism, Regional Chauvinism, Majoritarian Populism

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  1. Democracy
  2. Economy, Development
  3. Science, Religion, society
  4. Environment, Healthcare
  5. Want to participate?


  1. True character of a democratic country is in its adherence to the due process of law. (during SC hearing on custodial torture.)
  2. Regional chauvinism- the biggest threat to federalism.
  3. Majoritarian Populism is as bad as an authoritarian state. Context: this Hindu column
  4. Proactive citizens are nation’s greatest asset- Modi
  5. Terrorism- an evil scourge against whole of mankind. (MEA Spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin)
  6. Can undoing the wrongs of past, cure all the problems of India? (Jaitley says alone it can’t)
  7. Non-violence and peaceful coexistence- the key determinants of Indian philosophy.
  8. Universalism and collective security- the final objectives of state policy.

Economy, Development

  1. India needs its own growth-model without upscaling western ideas.
  2. Second generation of economic reforms in India needs more than just one big bang idea. (Jaitley).
  3. Cleanliness is the greatest service to the poor- Modi
  4. Can social intervention alone eradicate inequality & social disparity?
  5. Growth strategies cannot succeed without equality of opportunity.
  6. Can growth and social inclusion can be pursued together?
  7. New urbanism in India.

Science, Religion, society

  1. Emotional intelligence — A novel psychological vaccine. (seminar topic).
  2. science and faith take us to the same place.
  3. Scientific temper among Indian citizens. (Context: Modi linking Ganesha and Mahabharat with scientific innovation)
  4. To confine our attention to terrestrial matters would be to limit the human spirit. (says Stephen Hawking)
  5. India needs to spurn western model of feminism. (says Commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Recall earlier Emma Watson too highlighted faults in that model.)
  6. Society does not go down because of the activities of criminals, but because of the inactivity of the good people. (Swami vivekanand. Edmund Burke too made similar quote.)

Environment, Healthcare

  1. Climate change can’t be reverted without bringing the North-South Divide. (G20 Sherpa Suresh Prabhu).
  2. Non Communicable Diseases (NCD)- the major threat to national development. [says report of World Economic Forum]
  3. Can India move beyond the conflicts between conservation and development?
  4. Can development and environment protection go hand in hand?

Want to participate?

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  1. title and key-points of your essay
  2. URL link to your google doc

For earlier lists, visit Mrunal.org/essays.

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20 Comments on “[Essays] November Week1: New Urbanism, Regional Chauvinism, Majoritarian Populism”

  1. Anybody…….
    When will the upsc acknowledge that they have received the DAF printout.

    1. @abhijit It took more than 2 weeks last year to receive an acknowledgment from UPSC

  2. Hello all,

    So here is a not very good attempt at writing a complete essay. I almost died writing this much and it’s still just about 1500 words!! God help me in the Mains. Also, apologies in advance to anyone who reads it, for the ‘tedha’ and bad handwriting. Another reason for UPSC to hate me! :-(

    Anyway, here are the details:

    Title: The true character of a democratic country is in its adherence to the due process of law

    1. All democracies have ‘Rule of Law’ in common.
    2. Evolution of thought on this – from Divine Right of Kings to inalienable rights of the individual to ‘Rule of Law’ concept, especially with Locke, Rousseau elaborating on need to control arbitrary power of state.
    3. A sort of definition of ‘Rule of Law’ – the set of laws from which state derives authority, not other way round.
    4. A.V.Dicey differentiated between ‘Procedure established by Law’ (narrow interpretation) and ‘Due process of law’ (wider interpretation) – explanation of both, example from Indian and American constitution
    5. Evolution of views of Supreme Court, which first stuck with Procedure established by law…later on said its synonymous with due process of law.
    6. Doctrine of basic structure of constitution and how it is an example of triumph of due process of law
    7. Why is due process of law necessary? Emergency example.
    8. Elaboration of why any democracy is incomplete without due process of law
    9. How due process of law is a dynamic component of democracy, a constant conflict between state trying to get more power and civil society and other institutions trying to curtail it – example of AFSPA, encounter killings etc
    10. Positive elements of Indian democracy that help maintain due process of law – SC, NHRC, CAG, civil society etc
    11. Examples of how governments that tried to overstep limits on power had to step back
    12. Conclusion that due process of law is built into the spirit of the Indian constitution.

    If anyone has the patience to read this, please do give feedback! Here is the link –


    Thanks all,


    1. Hi Nimisha

      I read your essay two times. Based on m experience I am sharing with you few points that I felt:

      Good points:

      1) Your essay is very good and worth reading. Clarity of thought and expression is there and the way you have uploaded it by scanning shows your dedication towards it. Very good. Keep writing.
      2) IMO word limit doesn’t matter much, it can be short of 200-250 but even in that if your essay is complete in all sense and in flow of thoughts it is brilliant. But here you are 1000 almost short, lot of time is there I am sure you will improve it.
      3)Handwriting is legible clean and 100 times better than at least mine.
      4) Grammar and use of words is awesome.

      Constructive points in my view:

      1)You need to work more on framing structure of an essay. It is not good in my view. Things are lying scattered here and there.

      2)You have portrayed Dicey in a wrong way. I suggest you to go through 3 concepts of rule of law of Dicey and then frame an opinion and project it. This will help you in knowing more about due process of law.

      3) Rule of law basically means every one is subject to law even the prime minister and president too. Law is supreme! Equality of law, article 14!! Mention it this too if you are writing that. Also explain the event little nicely. For example : You wrote about emergency and how IG through the amendments destroyed the now called basic structure of constitution and later you said next government improved it. You took a brilliant point but ended in bad way. You could have put in a better way how raj narain challenged her fake election and how jagmohan lal showed the brilliant example of rule of law by invalidating it.

      4) Topic is of due process of law, you can include following examples too : Indira Sawhney case, KB case, Sahara scam, 2g scam, cwg scam, coal bllock allocation, RG assasinators, Babri case, Gujarat riots, you can cite historical case of warren hasting trial in London, trial of oscar pistorius, hanging of kasab and afzal guru are few finest example that you can cite in this socially economically and politcally nationaly or internationaly. In current you can also give example of lalit narain mishra case, arushi case and kohli case. All thes are good exmples of due process of law in democatic country. Rest afspa you have already cited. While writing for 9/11 case, use name of draconian ‘patriot act’ under which due process of law was harmed. These will increase your words too. Make sure you write about them after putting our own analysis.

      5) Try to include quotes too

      These are basic points which you keep in mind as what I see. Rewrite same essay again after getting all opinions and inputs.
      Over all its good. Well done. I have written few essays on some topics including this too, if you want i can mail it you to understand structure.

      1. Dear Abhay,

        Thank you SO MUCH for that brilliant input!! I absolutely agree with everything you say, and thank you very much for the appreciation! I knew there was definitely something incomplete about what I was writing about Dicey, but this is what I remembered at the time and didn’t want to cheat! :-) I will make sure to go through it properly once again, keeping in mind Article 14 and all that you said.

        The same thing about Emergency and quotes, I am not very good at remembering very specific details and I was in a sort of hurry to finish writing about it, I don’t know why. I will force myself to remember every single detail that I can next time and write it. And YES, when I was uploading the essay I was like, WHY THE HELL didn’t I mention that it was the Patriot Act? I think the issue probably was that I shouldn’t have hurried through anything. But what I’m worried about is that UPSC said they’ll ask multiple essays this time round so what if they ask us to write 3 essays in 3 hours of 1500 words or something? Anyway, that’s certainly no excuse for compromising on the quality of the writing and you’re right, I should have structured the essay better.

        And yes, many more examples should have been given, instead of just AFSPA, so that the issue could be examined from all possible angles. Thank you again for spending so much time on giving me this input, it REALLY helps, I know how to go forward in essay writing now! Finally, I would definitely like to read your essays on this topic and other topics too! My email id is [email protected]. Looking forward to it!

        Thanks again,


    2. hello nimisha, after a long time i am reading a hand written essay which itself is appreciable first. although i am going to take civil service only on 2015 the art of essay writing is what i am doing first now. the entire mains is essay writing type answers without which i dont think reading anything will count.. so I am just giving a honest opinion.If u feel its wrong sorry.But more than appreciation i think a decent criticism is what will be helpful especially in mains . I am going to say a few points which might be helpful in essay paper, most of it everyone knows but do u do that. That s what makes the difference between 60-80 marks and 125&above marks and ultimately decides you getting into services or not.

      1.This essay paper is long when we compare it with other general studies papers, (hope no division of compulsory 3 r 4 essays and upsc keeps it to one) so the need to break the flow in a calculative manner to keep the reader interested is a must or else you will lose the edge irrespective of your paper having valid points.

      2.some tables ,some food chain diagrams ,chemical equations,venn diagram,ladder formation, and add your own favourite, anything from a angry bird picture to stickman

      for eg: IN the democracy and due process of law, you could use all the above said things in your essays very easily . and one in every two pages of those will make the examiner be more patient with reading your points and make him feel the flow much much better.

      due process of law

      In same way you could use stick man name him democracy ,with head in one picture showing it as due process of law and arms and legs are different pillars of democracy and another without head with no due process of law.

      3. write a introduction first and use one of the way of drawing a diagram of some kind with it . IT shud be in a way that it will make the reader know that you have understood the question and which way you are going to travel. well just have few ideas for everything before hand so you could just easily do it .a few ways for social issues , some for science and tech and so on .so you don’t have to brain storm too much for it.
      4.It is a long essay always remember that. so when a question like the one in democracy is written try to speak from all the associated parties angle. From the theorists of democracy’s PERSPECTIVE , to constitutional makers,from governments perspective, from courts, from general public and within that try to include the TIMELINE of how the thought process from each one s perspective evolved and then go to a inference and finally a good solution or a suggestion or acceptance depending on the question.

      5. The main reason i believe this paper itself in upsc is not because to see how much you know in a topic ,that they see in 4 GS papers but they even give choices to select so that they could see how you analyse a topic which you yourself took to write and not forced on you without any choice. thats the reason i think the paper wont change in to 3 r 4 different essays with no choices. they dont want you to write just answers, they want you to write an essay. if someone seriously prepared for mains they will be able to know something about atleast one of the essay that is the thought process behind the questions so that you will know the answer. they just check how you are able to go through with it in a way everyone could follow especially the reader.. as an administrator the though process and making others understand that is what they want.

      Anyways very less time for the mains. use the above said venn diagrams,ladder n such in polity n economy n social sector readings for GS papers too just draw it while revising.. no harm in doing one per question in GS papers n optional papers .. you will have time believe that first before going to the exam. hope at least someone reads this and gets 1 extra mark following a single tip from here the time i took to share this is fulfilled even if not i have improved my typing skills and brushed upon my essay writing strategy.

    3. Hi Nimisha
      I wish u ol d best.
      Well ur handwriting is good so is ur essay…However what i felt(though i m no expert)
      Begining could hav been different like smthng little philosophical like mans urge towards equality ,,,,,, like that
      Second u hav mentioned say rosseau ,,,, social contract ,,,, locke nd others, but there is no flow , no contuinity ….it looks artificial, lacking unity…..

      Of course u write good and as u mentioned u were in hurry so i think even if u spend good time on strategy , collecting thoughts fodder etc it will b of great help…..

      About multiple topics the word limit wil of course be lower…….

      Good luck

  3. Plz sir update the syllabus of CAPF …it was changed…

    1. Hi Raku,

      I read your essay and it’s really great in terms of providing background content and information about legal definitions and cases related to due process of law, I missed out on a lot of this. But I think you need to include more of your own opinion on this, how due process of law is not just a legal concept, it is a very important component of public life in a democracy, which impacts many more things.

      It needs a more ‘personal touch’ I would say! Please do give feedback on my essay too, if possible!

      1. Hi Nimisha,
        I went through your essay. Eveything is good except that it looks unstructured. May be you need to make a flowchart and think deeply for half an hour before writing from two and half hours. This will surely help you to structure your essay.
        Thanks for input. I know, my opinion is missing. I first did some research on that topic, memorised it and then wrote the essay. However, the in the following essay, I have included your suggestions. Have a look :


        1. HI!

          Thanks for the input, yes I will make sure now to structure my essays properly!

          I read your essay on proactive citizens, lots of good points, and strong opinion too! :-)

          I feel you could have examined the issue from a few more aspects. You have addressed cleanliness and street sexual harassment of course, but there are some other things like ensuring accountability of government through RTI, participating in community development related projects, responding to government initiatives asking for inputs, making sure to vote, encourage women empowerment in one’s own personal life etc. Perhaps dividing it into economic, social and political would help.


          1. Hi Nimisha,
            Thanks ! RTI, Citizen charter, responding to government initiatives asking for inputs etc. are great points. Somehow..kuch na kuch reh hi jata hia…Yeah. SPELTE technique is good for essay writing.

  4. hi mrunal !!
    Can you please suggest from where we should collect gud points to write essay on these topics .

    1. @ Mon : There is no particular source from where you can derive points for essay. I dont know what other people do for writing essay but I depend upon 2 things for essay writing : First, my writing skills which I have developed over long period of time. Second, knowledge on the subject. While practising essay, if you attempt a very odd topic like MYSTICISM AND RELIGION, then try to read some related articles over internet,try to understand the important points. After this, when you sit down to write it, recall those points, make a flow chart or structure of essay and use your creative writing skills.

  5. Terrorism- an evil scourge against whole of mankind.
    This is a very open topic and full of facts, information and analysis which could be quite tricky in exam situations. Under the zeal of writing everything, you may end-up deviating from the topic. that’s what happened with me. However, I have tried my best to concentrate around the topic but after reading the final essay, I found it radical. What you guys think ? Lemme know.


  6. Non Communicable Diseases (NCD)- the major threat to national development

    An estimated 60 per cent of all deaths in India in 2012 were owing to Non Communicable Diseases (NCD) shows the World Health Organisation’s data, but India’s response to these preventable diseases has been “largely underfunded” said a report released by the World Economic Forum and the Harvard School of Public Health. According to the report , India stands to incur a cost of $4.58 trillion between 2012 and 2030 due to NCDs and mental health conditions.Urging the government to push for the control of NCDs — cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes and cancer — the report describes them as major threat to human health, economic growth and national development. The report said that primary prevention of NCDs, built upon robust early screening and a strong healthcare infrastructure, is a promising path for reaping favourable returns on investment in the Indian context.

  7. Which current topics in easy that time

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