September 9, 2015
They say that circumstances sometimes make the person and at other times the person makes his circumstances. In P. Kanagaraj’s case, it was a bit of both. When it comes to preparing candidates for the gruelling civil services examinations, he is the right person to go to. And the best part is, he does it free of cost.
The 42-year-old professor, who holds a PhD in political science from Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi, has over the years shaped the career of 14 civil servants. “I reached the interviews held for civil services in both 1998 and 1999. But I wasn’t successful. Now I use the experience I had gained to teach IAS aspirants,” says Kanagaraj.
Kanagaraj started in 2003 by teaching the students in the staff room of the Government Arts College, where he works as a professor. Today, students flock to the Centre for Higher Learning, where interactive sessions and mock interviews are held with personalities who have successfully cracked the civil services examinations.
“I ensure that the candidates are not cut off from the society. I also keep in place the psychological connection between the society and the bureaucracy. I arrange for several interactive sessions with well-known personalities. Once we hosted a session with E.M. Sudarsana Natchiappan, Member of Parliament,” Kanagaraj says.
The Centre for Higher Education was recently involved in creating awareness among the students of corporation school students about career prospects after graduating from college. “At least 17,000 students have attended our classes,” says Kanagaraj, adding that socially-committed industrialists from the locality have helped to nurture the spirit of entrepreneurship in the students.
Kanagaraj now plans to extend his services to Dharmapuri, Coimbatore, Madurai, and Chennai. “We plan to rope in PhDs, VCs and academicians to hold mock interviews for IAS examination students,” says Kanagaraj.
S Ajitha Begum, the first Muslim woman from Tamil Nadu to qualify for the all India civil services, says it was due to Kanagaraj’s initiative that she became an Additional Superintendent of Police in Jammu. “He took personal classes for me at GRT Institute of Technology,” says the 2008-batch officer.
Others like Arul Kumar, another 2008-batch IPS officer, found the classes extremely useful. “I took classes to prepare for optional papers, general studies, and personal interviews. It helped me become an Additional Superintendent of Police at the Rampur subdivision of Shimla district,” he says.
B Satheesh Kumar, a 2004-batch officer, who is now the Superintendent of Police at Rohtak district in Haryana acknowledges the effect that Kanagaraj’s classes had on him. “His influence is especially obvious when it comes to writing essays, I could see him in my own writing,” says the officer.