A section of the students cited several other questions to claim that the exam had taken a right-wing tinge. There were questions that asked candidates to identify the 12 “jyotirlingas” of Lord Shiva and name the communities that were against the organisation of Ganapati festival.
“The emphasis was on Brahminical history rather than on a secular history of the majority of the people,” said a candidate, a research scholar from Mumbai University. “The framing of some questions was such that it promoted a certain view of history, for example a question that asked ‘Which two classes of people were against the organization of the Ganapati festival?’ with the correct answers probably being ‘liberal Hindus of the School of Ranade’ and ‘orthodox Congress politicians.'”
Not everyone was upset by these questions. Nitin Chavan, a Pune-based candidate, said governments of the day do influence public exam questions to an extent.
“Going by these standards, the day is not far when they might ask in exams about Obama’s DDLJ quote from his recent Delhi speech,” said Chavan. “I do not think the question paper promoted a particular political view beyond the degree to which political parties in power always influence academics. When I was in school, the Congress was in power and my school textbook devoted a long paragraph to glowingly describe the first meeting between Sonia Gandhi and Indira Gandhi,” he said. MPSC officials could not be reached for comment.
In 2012, MPSC had faced the ire of candidates when it had asked them to choose between “savitabhabi.com”, “anitabhabhi-.com”, “hindu.com” and “cyber.com” as the name of a website then recently banned by the government of India. Many candidates had not taken kindly to the question being asked as apart of the current affairs section.