[UPSC Interview 2020] – Transcript #215 : Manoj Soni Sir Board, PSIR Optional

Date of interview: 14  September 2021
Board:  Manoj Soni Sir
Hobbies: Reading Fiction and traveling
Optional: Political science and International relations


  1. India is a diverse country in terms of culture, cuisine, dress, etc. Tell me something unique about Amroha’s culture (my hometown)?
  2. Do you know how to play Dholak? (Amroha is famous for its Dholak industry)
  3. Do you know about Kamal Amrohi? Which all movies did he produce?
  4. What was your work profile? What all did your organization do?
  5. Why did you prefer data analytics over chemical engineering?
  6. Tell me any two memorable events from your tenure as the head of literary society in the college? (I told him about the Model UN that we organised, and the monthly book club meets that we started)
  7. Is UN still relevant? Would we ever be able to move towards a World government system?
  8. Meaning of your name?

Member 1

  1. (Taking the cue from book club)
  2. Recently I went to a mall and found children’s book being sold by kg. How did we reach such a low point in terms of reading?
  3. Socio cultural similarities that you observed between UP and Punjab?
  4. Differences, if any?
  5. Celebrities endorsing products that they themselves don’t use. Is it ethical on their part?
  6. Have you ever heard of the term “Famous for being famous”? (I linked it to social media influencers, but she clarified that it meant someone being famous because they were linked to famous families/persons)
  7. What is more important: intensity of punishment or certainty of punishment?

Member 2

  1. How is political science and international relations related?
  2. With globalization on wane, do you think international relations as a discipline is still relevant?
  3. In terms of Afghanistan crisis, what should both India and Afghanistan do to mutually allay each other’s concerns?
  4. Do you really think India has a leverage upon Afghanistan or Taliban particularly?
  5. SAARC has become defunct or is it just inactive as of now? Should India revive it?

Member 3

  1. Why do you like to travel?
  2. Where all have you traveled?
  3. Do you travel in a group or solo?
  4. Safety concerns for female travelers?
  5. What can we do to improve in this domain?
  6. How do you manage your food?
  7. Have you ever faced difficulties in terms of infrastructure, especially the washrooms for female travelers?
  8. If you’ve to encourage a batch of 6-8 standard students to take up chemical engineering, how would you do it? Tell me any specific experiment.

Member 4:

  1. (Started by saying that he really liked my confidence, and how I’ve been speaking with my experiences)
  2. Tell me about your work experience? What was your job role?
  3. How did you navigate the cultural shift while working for a US based bank?
  4. What difference did you notice between Indian banks and US banks?
  5. What did you learn on the job that might help you become a good diplomat? (Told me that he was trying to gauge if I’ll be a good fit for the IFS, since it was my first preference)
  6. Jalandhar is a beautiful city. What did you like the most about it?
  7. Do you know about Nooran sisters? Ever attended their concerts?
  8. (A bit of discussion upon their songs)


  1. The board had a really good time interacting with you.
  2. We wish you all the best for your future.
  3. Take care of yourself and your family well.
  4. You may go now.

(This transcript has been posted by a community member of ForumIAS)
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