Thinking is like a game, it does not begin unless there is an opposite team

Essay Paper UPSC 2023 (Mains) Solved question paper and analysis of the exam are mentioned in this article below. Aspirants are advised to take a look to get a deeper understanding of the exam.

This topic seems to revolve around the idea that critical thinking often emerges in response to opposing viewpoints or challenges.Candidates may have been asked to explore how the clash of ideas leads to innovation and progress.

Read more: 11 Year-wise UPSC Civil Services IAS Mains Essay Previous Year Solved Papers (2013 – 2023)

Q. Thinking is like a game, it does not begin unless there is an opposite team. (UPSC Mains 2023)

In a small village in Odisha, a prodigious young girl named Anjali learned the game of chess from her grandfather. Anjali always won when she played with her family, so her grandfather began to play the role of her “opposite team.” The real learning began when she started losing.

The opposition made her think, adapt, and innovate. It wasn’t about winning or losing anymore; it was about understanding the value of having an “opposite team” to provoke her thought processes. Just like Anjali’s game of chess, our thinking often needs an opposing force to deepen and evolve.

Read moreEssay Solved Question Paper: UPSC Civil Services Main Exam (Written) 2023

1: Political Discourse

In a democracy like India, the presence of opposition parties is indispensable. The ruling party may have its policies, but it’s the opposition that keeps them in check. For instance, the opposition played a significant role in questioning the government during the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

2: Scientific Innovation

India’s ISRO faced competition from international space organizations, which fueled its ambitions, leading to landmark projects like Chandrayaan -3. The challenge was the catalyst for innovation.

3: Educational Framework

The Gurukul system was questioned by western education methods. Today, India adopts a blend of practical and theoretical education, benefiting from the best of both worlds.

4: Cultural Diversity

The blend of various religions and cultures in India represents the beauty of diversity, leading to a richer understanding of human civilization.

5: Economic Reforms

Indian economic reforms in 1991 were propelled by an economic crisis. The crisis acted as the opposite team, leading to liberalization, privatization, and globalization.

6: Public Health

The opposite team in public health is the outbreak of diseases like COVID-19. India’s COVID-19 vaccination drive is a response to this opposite team.

7: Technological Advancement

India’s technological landscape is continuously shaped by competition from countries like the USA and China. Companies like Infosys, TCS, and Reliance Jio have thrived in this competitive environment.

8: Environmental Concerns

Climate change acts as an opposing force compelling us to think about sustainable development. India’s push for renewable energy sources like solar and wind is a result of this challenge.

9: International Relations

The geopolitical challenges from neighboring countries like Pakistan and China force India to strategize and bolster its foreign policy.

10: Social Justice

Opposition to social stigmas and practices like dowry and casteism provokes critical thinking that fuels social reform movements.

UPSC conducted the Civil Service Mains exam for essay paper on 15 September 2023.


Echo Chambers: The political polarization in India threatens constructive opposition.

Misinformation: Lack of credible opposition in social media discussions.

Complacency: Without a challenging environment, institutions may become stagnant.

Resistance to Change: Strong opposition sometimes leads to stagnation rather than innovation.

Ethical Dilemmas: Balancing competitive thinking with ethical considerations is a challenge.


Civic Education: Programs like ‘Pragati’ can educate citizens about the importance of constructive opposition.

Digital Literacy: Government initiatives like the ‘Digital India’ campaign should focus on critical thinking.

Policy Reforms: Continuous reforms can ensure that complacency doesn’t set in. The ‘Make in India’ initiative is a step in this direction.

Open Forums: Platforms for open dialogue can facilitate healthy opposition. The ‘Jan Bhagidari’ portal is an example.

Ethical Guidelines: Stringent ethical guidelines can be imposed on sectors like scientific research to ensure competition doesn’t compromise ethics.

Real-Life Examples & Case Studies

GST Implementation: The opposition’s critique led to several revisions.

Mangalyaan: ISRO’s internal competition led to a cost-effective mission.

Odisha’s Educational Model: A blend of traditional and modern methods of learning.

“The Only Way to Have a Friend is to Be One” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Emerson’s words echo the importance of mutual respect in any form of opposition. The very essence of thinking as a game is to recognize that the opposite team is not an enemy but a facilitator of growth.


In conclusion, the ‘opposite team’ is not just a competitor but an essential component for progress. It instigates the complexities of thought, leading to a refined understanding of the world around us. Just like Anjali’s evolution in chess, our nation’s growth is enriched by its ‘opposite teams.’ To move forward, we must not just tolerate but embrace them.

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