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How to pass the civil service exams

Anandan is a 23-year-old history graduate from a local college. He comes from a lower socio-economic background and works as a plumber, assisting his father. Unable to afford special coaching classes for the highly competitive civil service exams, he uses second-hand books and online resources. 

Anandan has created his own virtual peer group by becoming a member of several Facebook civil service exam preparation groups. Although he posts very little, embarrassed by his poor English, he downloads questions and listens in on discussions pertaining to the exams. He also shares question papers between these groups. Anandan hopes that this online support on Facebook means he might pass for the state level, if not the national level, civil service.

Anandan doesn’t personally know any of the people on these groups, though he regularly chats with a couple of them on Facebook using Tamil in an Anglicised script – namely ‘Tanglish’. As a history graduate he might quiz them, for example:

“Frenchu thaan kadaisiya Indiavukku varthagathukku vanthangala?” This translates as: “Were the French the last ones to come to India for trade purposes?”  

Within the next couple of years Anandan aims to tackle his exams, thanks to the help of his Facebook peer groups, which he thinks will continue to grow. When he passes, he promises to write a note to all of his peer group, personally thanking them for his success…all through Facebook.

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