My friend Swapnil is preparing for his Civil Services exam. A recent discussion with him convinced me how we Indians are totally ignorant of so many things about our country. As an example, how many of us know Operation Cactus? It was a (successful) military operation the Indian government initiated against armed mercenaries who tried to overthrow the Maldives government. Where does India rank in terms of geographical area? Can you describe the preamble in the Constitution of India? We as Indian citizens are ignorant about our history, geography, scientific achievements, politics, international relations, our military prowess…

The country is run not so much by politicians in power but the IAS officers, those brilliant civil servants who formulate critical policies that have secured our democracy. The civil services’ exams are considered to be one of the toughest in the country. Aspirants totally devote many years in knowing so many facets of India, a crucial aspect in studying for the exam . They are expected to know obscure facts about our country. Not just that, in the interview one is also judged by her/his ability in dealing with real-life case scenarios such as ‘How would you tackle the Maoist situation?’ A lay answer might be, “Just bring in the military and shoot out the mischief-mongers”. Thankfully, the country is not left to such Hitlers or Mussolinis.

In the recent sabbatical, I am currently reading about India as much as I can lay my hands on. Unfortunately, Wikipedia gives only a superficial view or so to say, a fact-based perspective as against an opinion-based perspective. As far as documentaries are concerned, hardly any documentaries are made on important topics like the Indo-Pak wars or the Operation Blue Star. Our news channels are constantly busy in lifting their TRPs by breaking news everyday. Nevertheless, some interesting Wiki-links are given below: