Modassar Shafi, AIR 418, CSE 2013 (IRS)



I am Modassar Shafi. Born and brought up in Darbhanga district of Northern Bihar,I did my early schooling in a community run Urdu medium school in the village of my maternal grandfather. Later on, I did my matriculate examination from the Bihar Government run Hindi medium high school.

As per the traditions set by my uncles and siblings, I moved to Aligarh Muslim University for my 10+2 and subsequently completed B.Tech (Electronics) in 2007.  I was also a part of the university literary club, particularly its quizzing team in my engineering days.

I was placed in software multinational called CSC from the campus. After working for three years as software developer, I quit my job for preparation for the UPSC civil services exams. I moved to Hamdard Study Circle in New Delhi for full time preparation for this exam. Although, I did not attend any full time professional coaching for this, I did utilize the prelims test series of VajiRam and Ravi for my first attempt. Later on I used general studies study materials from different coaching institutes like Vision IAS and Sri Ram IAS.

After appearing for three interviews in a row I got through and was placed at rank 418 in UPSC 2013 exams. I was allocated Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise) and I am continuing with the same. In 2014 exams also I was placed in almost equivalent rank of 420.

Strategy for Urdu Literature as an Optional Paper:

From 356/600 in 2011 exams to 274/500 in 2014, I have consistently scored well in Urdu literature optional paper. This pattern of marking has led a number of aspirants to opt for this paper, thinking that the scoring is easier in the Urdu literature. My first and foremost request would be to refuse this myth. Scoring top marks in Urdu literature is as difficult as in any other optional paper. Depending upon you aptitude for Urdu literature, this would need as much determined effort as one would give to other mainstream papers like Public administration and Geography.

Moreover, one should have genuine interest in Urdu literature, particularly the aspects of Urdu Shayeri and fiction to have an edge above others. If you don’t have it now, you will have to cultivate it. Otherwise, you would be stuck in the mediocre range marks in UPSC and that would not help you in securing the top ranks.

Additionally, the role of answer writing cannot be overemphasized in the case of Literature paper. Most of us do not write in our usual course of graduation and post graduation. If you happen to be an engineer like me, it becomes even more important because we just don’t have any habit of writing, even in exams. Therefore, for Urdu literature a daily dose of writing is necessary to acquire good speed and command over the literary language ( adbi zaban).

One could follow the books and material listed below to prepare for this paper. One should start with the prose part of the second paper and complete all the original texts mentioned in the syllabus. In this, Apne Dukh Mujhe De do of Rajendra Singh Bedi is the collection of short stories, that is in the syllabus and not only the short story of the same name.

The poetry part can be covered by selecting some of the ghazals and nazms , that are popular in the literary circuit. Reading the muqadma of the poetry collections would give u a head start. One could also take the help of the notes of Jamia Millia Islamia’s Residential Coaching Academy for this. The literary supplements of newspapers like Roznama Rashtriya Sahara and Siyasat and websites like would be of further help.

This paper would need you to have an immersive experience. You should listen to ghazals sung by great singers and should feel the meaning in renditions of prose by artists like Ziya Muhiuddin.

Lastly, I have not taken any professional coaching for this paper. However, I have benefitted immensely from the lectures of renowned critic Prof. Shamim Hanfi and linguist Prof. Mirza Khalil Ahmed Beg, in Hamdard Study Circle, specifically conducted for the optional paper. The guidance of such persons would be important for nuances of the poetry part of this paper.


1.Urdu ki lasani tashkil — Mirza Khalil Ahmad Beg

2.Urdu Nasar ka tanqueedi mutala—Sumbul Nigar

3.Urdu Shayeri ka tanqueedi mutala—Sumbul Nigar

4.Tareekhe zabane urdu— Noorul Hasan Naqvi

5.New NCERTs on tareekh and asnaaf.


  1. Iqbal: shayer aur Mufakkir by Nurul Hasan Naqvi
  2. Ghalib : Shayer aur Maktoobnigar by Nurul Hasan Naqvi

Original Texts:


1.Bagho Bahar—Mir Amman


3.Nairang-e-Khaya——–Mohd.Husain Azad

4.Godan— Prem Chand

5.Apne Dukh Mujhe de do— Rajendra Singh Bedi

6. Ghubar-e-Khatir— Abul Kalam Azad


  1. Intekhab-e-Kalam-e-Mir (edited by Abdul Haq)
  2. Sahrul Bayan —Mir hasan
  3. Sharah-e-Diwan-e-Ghalib —- yusuf salim chishti
  4. Bal-e-Jibrail (Iqbal) Sharah—yusuf salim chishti
  5. Gul-e-Naghma — Firaq
  6. Dast-e-Saba—- Faiz
  7. Bint-e-lamhat— Akhtarul Iman

Other Resources:

1.Residential Coaching Academy, Jamia Millia Islamia’ s notes on papers 1 and 2.

2. Israr sir’s notes


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