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State PCS

Mains Practice Questions

  • Q. “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” - Mahatma Gandhi (150 words)

    (a) Explain the meaning and significance of this quote in the context of public service.

    (b) Give an example of a situation where you applied or witnessed this principle in your personal or professional life.

    (c) How can this quote inspire you to overcome ethical dilemmas and challenges in your future role as a civil servant?

    15 Jun, 2023 GS Paper 4 Theoretical Questions


    • Introduction: Start your answer with explaining the quote
    • Body: Answer all questions individually:

    a. Discuss the significance of the quote for a public servant

    b. Share any instance from your life when you applied the principals of this quote

    c. Discuss how can you apply this quote if you become a civil servant in future

    • Conclusion: Conclude by summarizing the key points discussed in the answer


    The quote “Be the change that you wish to see in the world” by Mahatma Gandhi means that one should not wait for others to change the world for the better but should take the initiative and responsibility to do so oneself. It also implies that one should embody the values and principles that one wants to promote in society, such as honesty, integrity, compassion, justice, and peace.


    (a) By embodying the change, they wish to see; public servants can inspire others and encourage them to follow suit. When public servants embrace this mindset, they become agents of change and role models within their communities. Their actions have the potential to influence others and create a ripple effect, sparking a positive transformation on a larger scale. By embodying the values of honesty, integrity, compassion, and accountability in their own work, public servants can inspire trust and confidence in the institutions they represent.

    (b) One instance where I applied the principle of "being the change" in my personal or professional life was during my involvement in a literacy campaign in a rural area. Upon realizing that numerous children were unable to attend school due to poverty, lack of infrastructure, and social barriers, I refrained from attributing blame to the government or society. Instead, I actively chose to contribute to the solution by utilizing my spare time to teach basic reading and writing skills to some of the children. Furthermore, I took the initiative to encourage other volunteers and local residents to participate in this endeavour alongside me. Through these actions, my intention was to bring about a positive impact in their lives while simultaneously raising awareness about the significance of education.

    (c) As a Civil Servant, this quote can inspire me to overcome ethical dilemmas and challenges in my future role as a civil servant by reminding me of the purpose and values of public service. Whenever I face a situation where I have to choose between doing what is right or what is easy, I can ask myself what kind of change I want to see in the world, and act accordingly. I can also draw inspiration from the life and work of Mahatma Gandhi, who was a public servant himself and who practiced non-violence, truthfulness, selflessness, and courage in his struggle for India’s independence. He set an example for public workers by following high moral standards and serving the people with humility and devotion.


    Mahatma Gandhi's quote serves as a guiding principle to overcome ethical dilemmas and challenges as a civil servant. It encourages personal accountability, leading by example, challenging the status quo, empathetic problem-solving, and continuous self-improvement. By internalizing this quote, you can stay true to your values and contribute to positive change in your role as a civil servant.

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