Thursday, 29 September, 2022
HomeIndiaEducationUPSC question paper gets 'lost in translation', RSS-backed body wants it drafted...

UPSC question paper gets ‘lost in translation’, RSS-backed body wants it drafted in Hindi

RSS-linked Shiksha Sanskriti Utthan Nyas says 90% of UPSC qualifiers are from English-language backgrounds, which shows others are at a disadvantage.

Text Size:

New Delhi: An RSS-linked committee wants the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to draft the question papers for the civil services examination in Hindi, and then translate them into other regional languages and English.

A committee formed by RSS-linked education body Shiksha Sanskriti Utthan Nyas (SSUN) has made the suggestion to the Narendra Modi government. It had earlier called for the scrapping of the aptitude test in the UPSC exam and a change in the interview pattern.

The rationale behind the push for a Hindi question paper, the SSUN explained, was that when the question paper is set in English and translated into vernacular languages, the essence of the question is lost in translation. This, it adds, puts students taking the exam in Hindi and other languages at a disadvantage.

According to Devendra Singh, head of the SSUN’s competitive exams reform committee, almost 50 per cent of the words lose their meaning in translation. He cites the examples of words such as “population”, which is generally “jansankhya” in Hindi but was translated as “samashti” in one question paper. “Data”, which should be “data” in Hindi as well, was translated to “dutt”, he added.

“If a question is in English and it is translated into Hindi and other languages, there is an increased chance of error in the questions,” Singh said. “Almost 50 per cent of the words that are translated from English to Hindi are wrong because they are either loosely translated or are extremely difficult words.”

“This is a disadvantage for candidates writing their exam in Hindi and other Indian languages, because they are forced to resort to the English paper anyway,” he added.

According to Singh, over 90 per cent of those who qualify the UPSC exams are from an English-language background. “Our research shows that in 2018-19, only 40 students who wrote their exam in Indian languages, including 17 who wrote the paper in Hindi, were able to qualify, which is a huge disparity,” Singh said.

Also read: Hindi has grown from 20,000 to 1.5 lakh words in 20 years, and very quietly

Fair point, but not the solution

While former UPSC members agree that the point being raised is valid, they do not see setting papers in Hindi as a solution to the problem.

“The point that the RSS is raising is valid because meaning is mostly lost in translation when a question paper is translated from English to Hindi, because people are either using things like Google translate or Hindi official dictionaries with difficult words,” a former UPSC member said.

“However, that does not mean setting the paper in Hindi will solve the problem.”

Asked if this would affect the composition of the panel that sets the question papers, the former member said: “Of course, UPSC will need to have people who know Hindi in the panel that sets question papers. But they have to be necessarily multilingual and not just those who know Hindi.

“There has to be someone to moderate the paper, so having multilingual people is a must.”

Question papers are set by a secret panel in the UPSC, the composition of which is not disclosed by the commission. Only the secretary and chairman of the commission deal with the panel, which consists of experts in various subjects and issues.

Also read: 100% Hindi in communication: How rural development ministry plans to promote the language


Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

Support Our Journalism

India needs fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism, packed with on-ground reporting. ThePrint – with exceptional reporters, columnists and editors – is doing just that.

Sustaining this needs support from wonderful readers like you.

Whether you live in India or overseas, you can take a paid subscription by clicking here.

Support Our Journalism


  1. I demand for Regional language not for hindi. Everyone not comfortable in hindi, But also comfortable in their own regional languages.

  2. Then the people who are translating the question papers should be conscious and must take every possible measure while translating the same. This is an irrelevant way of doing the same… If they have raised that such is the issue happening .. then first all those people are taking the toughest exam most casually and next what should be the probability that the other way round the mistakes won’t happen while translating from hindi to english.

  3. Useless RSS ,they don’t have any right to order UPSC what to do and what not to do. By the way Hindi is not a majority language speaking in India . So just don’t think only for Hindi speaking masses . India is land of diversity . So respect others non-speaking Hindi states too.

  4. I am little agree with the point raised by RSS linked body. We know this very clearly that, by translating question paper it slightly losses its essence and upsc wants to judge the student that how he/she understanding.
    Now the matter is, to represent the nation upsc can judge the aspirant on other basis that the candidate is able to communicate and represent the nation all around or not.
    Thus it is clear that Change is necessary for welfare of nation

  5. Why this shitty RSS putting his nose in way better, educated, experienced and esteemed institution…

  6. i do not agree with RSS opinion as its not about english, but its about to represent the nation at the international level where we need to kearn english as well and better to earn it before joining the post i mean giving exam

  7. This is an absurd argument. Any thing written originally in another language and translated always loses something when translated. Translating from Hindi which has a limited vocabulary of scientific and economic words will only result in gibberish. The fact is that Hindi is an utterly useless language with little commercial value and zero scientific and international value. Worse it is the language of the invaders, as shown by the nearly total similarity between Urdu and Hindi. Furthermore, it is not the language of a majority of Indian states.

    • Resemblance of urdu and Hindi has different story man. Urdu is not language of Invaders Urdu is born in India. Don’t confuse urdu with arabic. Hindi is the language of majority of state in India and spoken by far more majority. Wake up

Comments are closed.

Most Popular