UPSC Quotes – Important, Famous Quotes for UPSC Mains Essay Papers

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

Quotes for UPSC: Writing appropriate UPSC quotes for essays is a great strategy to enhance the quality of your content. For ages, many philosophers and famous personalities have said amazing quotes for essays UPSC that became the source of motivation for millions but not all those quotes tend to prove helpful in the exam. Usually, quotes by Max Weber, Marx, Nehru, Gandhi, etc., prove beneficial in creating an impact.

Sprinkling meaningful UPSC quotes in essays on specific issues like democracy, governance, environment, etc., can armor your essay writing skills in the exam. Below you will find meaningful quotes for UPSC Mains and general studies on issue-based category topics and writings by famous authors and personalities.

UPSC Quotes for Essay

Quotes for UPSC are pre-defined phrases given by famous authors on some particular issues. UPSC quotes can be applied in an essay only when it seems relevant. Suitable quotations can enhance the quality of essay writing for UPSC exam. It reveals to the examiner that a candidate has caught the core vision of the essay topic.


On the other hand, utilizing UPSC quotes unnecessarily can be fruitless for one. Proper usage of quotations should be understood by aspirants so that they do not use them forcefully at places where they are not required just because they believe they have memorized them well.

UPSC Quotes for Essay and GS Exam

Quotes are one of the important segments for UPSC Mains General Studies and essay writing. But, selecting the type of quotes for a particular is more important than remembering the bulk.

Writing quotes by celebrities, authors, and famous personalities for the issues like Peace, Justice, Materialism, Consumerism, Democracy, and Science Vs Religion will support your answer and helps the examiner to judge your understanding of the topic.

Best Essay Quotes for UPSC (Subject Wise)

Several quotations for essay writing are based on subjects like Agriculture, Sustainable Development, Environment, etc. Given are a few of the UPSC quotes that can be used in essays along with their author names.

Sustainable Development Quotes

Quotes for UPSC Author
Forests are the lungs of our land Franklin D. Roosevelt
Because we don’t think about future generations, they will never forget us Henrik Tikkanen
There are no passengers on spaceship earth. We are all crew Marshall McLuhan
There is no ‘Plan B’ because we do not have a ‘Planet B.’ We have to work and galvanize our action.

There must be a better way to make the things we want, a way that doesn’t spoil the sky, or the rain or the land.

Paul McCartney
Our ancestors did great work for humanity. What will we do for the next generations? Lailah Gifty Akita

Environment UPSC Quotes

Quotes for Essay UPSC Author
The Earth is a fine place and worth fighting for. Ernest Hemingway
The ultimate test of man’s conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard. Gaylord Nelson
The environment is where we all meet; where we all have a mutual interest; it is the one thing all of us share. Lady Bird Johnson
What is the good of having a nice house without a decent planet to put it on? Henry David Thoreau
What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and one another. Mahatma Gandhi
The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it. Robert Swan

Agriculture Quotes for UPSC

Quotes for Essay UPSC Author
No race can prosper till it learns there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem. Booker T. Washington
Agriculture was the first occupation of man, and as it embraces the whole earth, it is the foundation of all other industries. E. W. Stewart

Gender Equality UPSC Quotes

Quotes for UPSC Author
We’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons… but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters. Gloria Steinem
I raise my voice not so I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard. We cannot succeed when half of us are held back. Malala Yousafzai
No country can every truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contribution of half its citizens. Michelle Obama
Gender equality is more than a goal in itself. It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance. Kofi Annan
Achieving gender equality requires the engagement of women and men, girls and boys. It is everyone’s responsibility. Ban Ki-moon
A gender-equal society would be one where the word ‘gender’ does not exist: where everyone can be themselves. Gloria Steinem

Science vs Religion UPSC Quotes

Quotes for Essay UPSC Author
Science without religion is lame, and Religion without Science is blind Einstein
Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men Martin Luther King
All thinking men are atheists Ernest Hemingway
The notion that Science and Spirituality are somehow mutually exclusive does a disservice to both Carl Sagan
What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence Christopher Hitchens

Quotes for Ethics UPSC

UPSC Quotes Author
We must become the change we want to see Mahatma Gandhi
Heart is a very good fertilizer; anything we plant love, fear, hate, hope, revenge, jealousy-surely grows and bears fruit. We have to decide what to harvest Swami Vivekanand
Be truthful, gentle and fearless Mahatma Gandhi

Essay Quotes for UPSC in Hindi

Quotes for UPSC लेखक/व्यक्तित्व
मानव सुख और नैतिक कर्तव्य अविभाज्य रूप से जुड़े हुए हैं। जॉर्ज वाशिंगटन
ज्ञान हर देश में सार्वजनिक खुशी का मजबूत आधार है।
99 प्रतिशत असफलताएँ उन लोगों से आती हैं जिन्हें बहाने बनाने की आदत होती है।
दुश्मन से छुटकारा पाने के लिये उससे प्यार करना चाहिये। लियो टॉल्स्टॉय
एक आदमी एक अंश की तरह है जिसका अंश वही है जो वह है और जिसका हर वह है जो वह अपने बारे में सोचता है। भाजक जितना बड़ा होगा, अंश उतना ही छोटा होगा।
गलत का गलत होना बंद नहीं होता क्योंकि इसमें बहुमत का हिस्सा होता है।
असामान्य बातें कहने के लिये सामान्य शब्दों का प्रयोग करना चाहिये। आर्थर शोपेनहावर
हर आदमी दुनिया की सीमाओं के लिये अपनी दृष्टि के क्षेत्र की सीमा लेता है।
करुणा नैतिकता का आधार है।

Famous UPSC Quotes for Essay Writing on Issue-Based Categories

One of the most common categories for essay writing in the UPSC Exam is the issues in society. Issues like Education, Science vs. Religion, Corruption, Peace, Caste, and related topics are more likely to be asked in the exam.

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it” – Aristotle is one of the most notable quotes on Education. Below are some other famous quotes for essay writing on Issue-based categories:

UPSC Quotes on Poverty

  • Poverty is like a punishment for a crime you didn’t commit – Eli Khamarov
  • Poverty is the worst form of violence – Mahatma Gandhi

Corruption Quotes for UPSC

  • Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power – By Abraham Lincoln
  • Righteousness is the foundation stone of peace and good governance – By Confucius

Quotes on Education for UPSC Essay

  • We want the education by which character is formed, strength of mind is increased, the intellect is expanded, and by which one can stand on one’s own feet – Swami Vivekanand
  • One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world – Malala Yousafzai
  • Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope – Kofi Annan

UPSC Quotes on Women Empowerment

  • Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world – Hillary Clinton
  • I think women are foolish to pretend they are equal to men, they are far superior and always have been – William Golding
  • If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman – Margaret Thatcher
  • Educate a man and you educate an individual. Educate a woman and you educate a family – A. Cripps

Quotes for Essay UPSC on Education

  • To educate a person in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society – By Theodore Roosevelt
  • It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it – By Aristotle
  • Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world – By Mandela
  • Children must be taught how to think, not what to think – By Margaret Mead
  • Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learnt in school – By Einstein

Health Quote

  • It is the health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver – Mahatma Gandhi

UPSC Quotes on Democracy

  • The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men – By Plato
  • I understand democracy as something that gives the weak the same chance as the strong – By Mahatma Gandhi
  • The tyranny of a prince in an oligarchy is not so much dangerous to the public welfare as the apathy of a citizen in a democracy – By Montesquieu
  • The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter – By Churchill
  • There cannot be daily democracy without daily citizenship – By Ralph Nader

Peace Quotes for UPSC

  • Peace and Justice are two sides of the same coin – By Eisenhower
  • When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace – By William Gladstone.

Important Quotes for Essay Writing by Famous Authors and Personalities

IAS aspirants should refer to UPSC Mains GS and essay papers of the last few years to memorize various quotes that come in handy and then assemble their own lists. The famous quotes by famous authors, philosophers, or personalities are stated below:

Famous Authors and Personalities UPSC Quotes
Quotes for UPSC by B.R. Ambedkar I measure the progress of a community by the degree of progress which women have achieved
Life should be great rather than long
UPSC Quotes by Thomas A Edison 5% of the people think; 10% of people think they think and the other 85% would rather die than think
When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this – you haven’t
Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time
Many of life’s failures are people who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up
I never did a day’s work in my life, it was all fun
Good fortune happens when opportunity meets preparation
I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work
Genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration
The most necessary task of civilisation is to teach people how to think. It should be the primary purpose of our public schools. The mind of a child is naturally active, it develops through exercise. Give a child plenty of exercise for body and brain. The trouble with our way of educating is that it does not give elasticity to the mind. It casts the brain into a mould. It insists that the child must accept. It does not encourage original thought or reasoning, and it lays more stress on memory than observation
Quotes for UPSC by Plato The beginning is the most important part of the work
The butterfly counts not months but moments and has time enough
Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark
Everything comes to us that belongs to us if we create the capacity to receive it
A mind with all logic is like a knife with all blades. It makes the hand bleed that uses it
Don’t limit a child to your own learning, for he was born at another time
UPSC Quotes by Tagore You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.
A mind all logic is like a knife all blade. It makes the hand bleed that uses it
Everything comes to us that belongs to us if we create the capacity to receive it
Don’t limit a child to your own learning, for he was born in another time
Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark
The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough
Essay Quotes for UPSC by Bertrand Russell Longing for love, the search for knowledge and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind
Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric
If there were in the world today any large number of people who desired their own happiness more than the desired the unhappiness of others, we could have paradise in a few years
UPSC Quotes by Immanuel Kant Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never merely as a means to an end, but always at the same time as an end
Quotes for UPSC by Socrates There is only one good, knowledge and one evil ignorance
The unexamined life is not worth living
Know thyself
He who is not contented with what he has would not be contented with what he would like to have
By all means, marry; if you get a good wife, you’ll become happy; if you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher
UPSC Essay Quotes by Mark Twain The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read
The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer someone else up
If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything
Kindness is a language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see
God created war so that Americans would learn Geography
It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare
I do not fear death; I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it
Classic – a book people praise but don’t learn
UPSC Quotes by Martin Luther King Wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrow
We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope
There comes a time when silence is betrayal
The time is always right to do the right thing
A right delayed is a right denied
Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that
Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase
If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever may do you have to keep moving forward
If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way
Not everybody can be famous but everybody can be great, because greatness is determined by service
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy
Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy to a friend
Life’s most persistent and urgent question is : “What are you doing for others?
It’s the action and not the fruit of the action which is important
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere
Public opinion alone can keep a society pure and healthy
One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws
Lightning makes no sound until it strikes
A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live
Quotes for Essay UPSC by Thomas Jefferson On matters of style, swim with the current, on matters of principle stand like a rock
I am a greater believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it
I can’t live without books
Honesty is the first chapter of the book of wisdom
Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time, who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be done if we are always doing
Quotes for UPSC by H. Jackson Brown Jr. Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein
UPSC Quotes by Mahatma Gandhi God has no religion
A man is the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes
To my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being
To believe in something and not to live it is dishonest
The future depends on what you do today
Poverty is the worst form of violence
In a gentle way, you can shake the world
An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind
Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well
Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed
First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win
Be the change that you wish to see in the world
In doing something, do it with love or never do it at all.
Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever
Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will
Seven Deadly Sins. Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Science without humanity; Knowledge without character; Politics without principle; Commerce without morality; Worship without sacrifice
The simplest acts of kindness are by far more powerful than a thousand heads bowing in prayer
There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread
The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems
Quotes by John F. Kennedy We need men who can dream of things that never were
Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly
To those to whom much is given, much is expected
One person can make a difference, and everyone should try
Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth
A journey of Thousand miles begins with one step
A child miseducated is a child lost
A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on. Ideas have endurance without death
Without debate, without criticism no administration and no country can succeed and no republic can survive
The supreme reality of our time is the vulnerability of our planet
The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened
Mankind must put an end to war – or war will put an end to mankind
Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names
Quotes by Leo Tolstoy A man is like a fraction whose numerator is what he is and whose denominator is what he thinks of himself. The larger the denominator, the smaller the fraction
Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it
To get rid of an enemy, one must love him
Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself
Quotes for UPSC by Thomas Paine Whatever is the right as a man is also the right of another; and it becomes my duty to guarantee as well as to possess
The mind once enlightened cannot again become dark
Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must undergo the fatigue of supporting it
Independence is my happiness; the world is my country; to do good my religion
UPSC Quotes by Franklin Roosevelt The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have little
The only thing we have to fear is fear itself
Quotes for UPSC by Henry David Thoreau This world is but a canvas for our imagination
Things do not change. We change
Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify
Dreams are the touchstones of our characters
Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves
I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavours to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours
Never look back unless you are planning to go that way
Quotes by Jeremy Bentham Rarest of all human quality is consistency
Quotes by Gautam Buddha However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act on upon them?
Every morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most
Doubt everything. Find your own light
Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it
Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense

Tips to Write UPSC Quotes for Mains

UPSC quotes are beautiful and meaningful sentences that provide profoundness and humor in one’s essay writing. Many authors and renowned personalities have conveyed remarkable words that have been inspirational.

Aspirants can use these quotes for essays in the UPSC exam to garnish their essay solutions. The best UPSC quotes are considered to be from authors like Max Weber, Nehru, Marx, Mahatma Gandhi, Emile Durkheim, etc.

  • Students should avoid utilizing controversial or politically charged quotes by involved politicians unless the proclamation is neutral, or else it could indicate discrimination.
  • Candidates should not change the exact words of a quote. Quotes are factual information, so it is better if you memorize and use the actual phrase, rather than writing an incorrect quote.
  • UPSC quotes should be appropriate and related to the topic and explanation.
  • Aspirants should not completely rely on quotes as it would demonstrate that writer is having fewer thoughts in mind and using other’s phrases to elaborate their essay solution.
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