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20 Solved Questions with Answers
  • Indian Heritage & Culture

    1. How do you justify the view that the level of excellence of the Gupta numismatic art is not at all noticeable in later times? (2017)

    Gupta coins are among the most remarkably detailed coins from ancient India featuring exquisite artistic details. They stand out from coins crafted during the reign of other dynasties on following counts:

    • Achievement of remarkable craftsmanship was evident by the finesse of the variety of images carved on both faces of the coin and its smooth and even wedges.
    • Detailed carvings ranged from Chandragupta riding a horse to Samudragupta playing a Veena and the Goddess Lakshmi to a sacrificial horse for Ashvamedha ceremony and so on.
    • Apart from these detailed images, there were inscriptions as well, often adding details of the image inscribed on the coin.
    • Also, most of the important kings of Gupta dynasty are now believed to have had multiple coin-types during the course of their reign, in which older designs were dropped and newer motifs were adopted.
    • Scholars have pointed out that such designs were made possible by use of clay-molds by skilled mint-masters.

    In the post-Gupta period, not only the quality of gold coins fell, but also the numbers of gold coins being issued dropped drastically. Due to systemic economic distresses, town-based artisans producing good quality coins were forced to migrate to the countryside causing a decline of craft production and a decay of townships. Without urban centres and foreign trade, and with increasing decentralisation of political power which had resulted from the urban to rural migration of artisans, the excellence of Gupta numismatic art could not be sustained or recreated in the times that followed.

  • Indian History

    2. Clarify how mid-eighteenth century India was beset with the spectre of a fragmented polity? (2017)

    The first half of the eighteenth century witnessed decline and disintegration of the mighty Mughal Empire and rise of virtually independent regional powers. Lack of strong central authority and emergence of regional power weakened the political structure that led to rise of foreign power.

    Factors that could be considered to play potent role in fragmented polity were–

    • The Mughal court saw a host of weak emperors in succession, emperors who were incapable to command the glorious empire and would rather indulge in wasteful extravagance of pomp and show. Courtrooms became kingmaker’s ground for treachery and war of succession became recurrent.
    • A number of powerful kingdoms such as Bengal, Avadh, Hyderabad and Mysore arose and became virtually independent from the Mughal Empire. 
    • The weakened Mughal Empire was challenged by Marathas time and again. Marathas captured vast swathes of territory in northern and central India.
    • The remaining illusion of continued domination of Mughal power was shattered by Nadir Shah’s (Shah of Persia) invasion of India in 1739.
    • Afghan ruler Ahmad Shah Abdali also made frequent inroads into Punjab and finally took over Delhi in 1756-57. Marathas, who were considered as only contender to fill the power vacuum in Delhi, were defeated by Abdali's forces in the Third Battle of Panipat (1761). The war didn’t decide who will rule India but who would not.

    After these series of events, the Mughal Empire ceased to exist as an all-India empire in practice. The British took advantage of the entire situation. They defeated the forces of Bengal in Battle of Plassey and finally combined forces of Bengal, Awadh and Mughal were crushed in Battle of Buxar.

  • Indian History

    3. Why did the ‘Moderates’ fail to carry conviction with the nation about their proclaimed ideology and political goals by the end of the nineteenth century? (2017)

    The moderates were not against the British rule per se and had strong belief in sense of justice and goodness of the British rule. They pursued the policy of gradualism and constitutionalism. Constitutional reforms, administrative re-organisation and protection of civil rights were high on agenda and methods of prayers, petition and protest were followed.

    Moderates met limited success in later stages due to various reasons–

    • The political jargons used by the moderates were alien to uneducated masses. There was also lack of political faith in the masses. Thus people largely remained aloof.
    • It was gradually realised that the British didn’t concede to any of the major demands of the moderates.
    • Indian Council Act 1892 was criticised. Moves such as further amplification of repressive laws under IPC and reduction in number of members in Calcutta Corporation didn’t go down well with progressive elements in INC.  
    • Political ideologies of the moderates were blamed to be inefficient. Methods followed by moderates were described as political mendicancy. The result was emergence of a more militant school of thought.

    However, the role of moderates can also not be negated. They were first to create national awakening among Indians and prepared a solid ground for mass oriented national movement at later stages that followed.

  • World History

    4. What problems were germane to the decolonization process in the Malay Peninsula? (2017)

    Malay Peninsula was under the British influence since they first came in the late 18th century looking towards Southeast Asia for new resources. Since then the British East India Company traded and partly controlled the region. The growth of their China trade further increased the company’s desire for bases in the region near it.

    The decolonization of Malaya Peninsula was an extension of the series of decolonization movements going across the Asia and Africa and was influenced from this process which speeded-up after the World War-II.

    • Malay Peninsula was a multi-racial, multi-cultural society with Malay Chinese and Indians forming major ethnic and interest groups which was a suitable condition for colonial powers to consolidate their regime.
    • Fall of Singapore and Japanese advances in Malay Peninsula during the World War–II forced the British to consider reassessment of its non-interventionist policies in favour of ethnic cooperation and multiracial government in this region. But with the presence of diverse interest of different groups reaching to a consensus was a tough task.
    • Cold War ideological rivalry was prevalent in Malayan Peninsula too where with the rise of commintern aligned communist parties like Malayan Communist Party and Chinese Communist Organization, the fear of Malayan Peninsula falling to the Communists emerged.  It was a nightmare for the liberal democracies/ colonial powers (i.e. British) which ensured transfer of power to ideologically friendly regimes.

    The decolonization of Malayan Peninsula was largely a result of long reconciliation process between the Malayan nationalist and the European colonial powers.  Their mutual compromise gave the British the confidence to speed up the process of decolonization through a smooth decolonization process.

  • Geography

    5. How does the Juno Mission of NASA help to understand the origin and evolution of the Earth? (2017)

    With the principal goal to understanding the origin and evolution of Jupiter, the Juno spacecraft (NASA) was launched in 2011.  Juno will study Jupiter much more thoroughly, given the array of nine scientific instruments that it carries on board.

    The huge gas planet was likely the first planet formed and had a major impact on the formation of other planets. Like our sun, Jupiter is composed primarily of hydrogen and helium but is also imbued with other heavy elements fundamental to the creation of terrestrial planets.

    By studying the atmosphere on Jupiter we can get an unprecedented insight into its origins and most importantly on the origins of other planets in our solar system including Earth. Once Jupiter’s current construction is known, it will then be possible to work out how, when and potentially where in the Solar System the first planet formed. The spacecraft will hunt for oxygen (in the form of water) in Jupiter’s atmosphere, which may also help explain how Earth got its water.

    To summarize, we can expect to learn a wealth of information about Jupiter’s inner workings in the months and years to come. In discovering Jupiter, we’ll be discovering a part of ourselves.

  • Geography

    6. “In spite of adverse environmental impact, coal mining is still inevitable for development”. Discuss. (2017)

    India’s coal reserves, fourth largest in the world, provide it with a cheap source of energy. However, the mining of coal causes severe damage to the environment:

    • Pollution due to exposure of mining waste to air and water.
    • Coal mining results in methane emissions, a powerful greenhouse gas.
    • Fires from underground mines can burn for years, releasing smoke containing CO2, CO, NOx, SO2 etc.
    • Deforestation when trees are cut down or burned for clearing the way for a coal mine.

    Despite the damage caused by coal mining, it is expected to contribute the dominant share to India’s electricity production for decades to come. Even with annual growth rates above 10%, the share of renewable sources in India is unlikely to reach even 10% of the energy mix before 2040. (Solar energy still provides only about 1 per cent of the electricity generated in the country).

    India’s reliance on coal is expected to persist even in 2040s, with an envisaged share of 42%-50% in energy mix. A lower growth trajectory of renewable energy in view of the challenges and uncertainty of prices, storage costs, grid connectivity and parity make it over-ambitious to expect them to be central for India’s development.  

  • Geography

    7. Mention the advantages of the cultivation of pulses because of which the year 2016 was declared as the International Year of Pulses by United Nations. (2017)

    Despite the strong evidences of health and nutritional benefits of pulses, its consumption remains low in many developing and developed countries. Therefore, the United Nations declared the year 2016 as the International Year of Pulses to heighten public awareness of the nutritional benefits of pulses as part of sustainable food production aimed towards food security and nutrition.

    Advantages of Cultivation of Pulses:

    • Pulses are able to increase biodiversity as they are able to fix their own nitrogen into the soil, which increases soil fertility.
    • Introducing pulses into crop production can be key to increasing resilience to climate change.
    • Pulses also offer a great potential to lift farmers out of rural poverty, as they can yield two to three times higher prices than cereals, and their processing provides additional economic opportunities, especially for women.
    • Pulses are a powerful ally in achieving food security. They are economically affordable, can be grown in dry environments, and have a low food wastage footprint, as they can be stored for long periods without spoiling.

    Therefore, pulses contribute significantly in addressing hunger, food security, malnutrition, environmental challenges and human health and also are a vital source of plant-based proteins and amino acids.

  • Geography

    8. How does the cryosphere affect global climate? (2017)

    Cryosphere is the frozen water part of the Earth system - snow cover, permafrost, sea ice. It impacts global climate in a variety of ways:

    • Snow and ice have a high albedo, reflecting back a significant amount of solar radiation back into space. In this way, cryosphere acts as an important cooling factor in the global climate system.
    • Snow and ice act as an insulating layer over land and ocean surfaces, holding in heat and moisture that would otherwise escape into the atmosphere. This insulation, then, also acts to cool the global climate.
    • Since cold polar seawater is dense due its high salinity and sinks to the bottom of the ocean, spreading out across the globe and acting as a pump which drives oceanic circulation that transfers energy between the equator and the poles – acting as a conveyor belt.

    The cryosphere is highly vulnerable to global warming. Therefore, any change in its composition is likely to have great side-effects on the global climate.

  • Indian Society

    9. In the context of the diversity of India, can it be said that the regions form cultural units rather than the States? Give reasons with examples for your view point. (2017)

    India has been a country of multiple diversities like linguistic, religious, and cultural diversities since ancient times. After independence, various demands of reorganization of states on the basis of various aspirations comprising of cultural similarity, linguistic identity and others emerged from different parts of India. Though the government reorganized various states and also formed new states but cultural units have been intact in India till this day.

    • Recently Chhath parv has been celebrated in Purvanchal region, which comprises the eastern end of Uttar Pradesh and western end of Bihar, where Hindi-Urdu and its dialects Awadhi and Bhojpuri are the predominant language.
    • Population living in green revolution area that comprises Punjab, Haryana and west Uttar Pradesh practices nearly same traditions and represents a single cultural unit.
    • Influence of Dravidian culture can be seen across all South Indian states, food habit of people living in these states is similar, wedding rituals are same.
    • North eastern region comprising 8 states represents as a single cultural unit in terms of their traditions.
    • Rice fish culture has also been practiced across all coastal regions in different states.

    It shows that cultural units in India are not necessarily concurrent with states and beyond the boundaries of formal division of states.

  • Indian Society

    10. What are the two major legal initiatives by the State since Independence addressing discrimination against Scheduled Tribes (STs)? (2017)

    Scheduled tribes of India, due to developmental displacement, and in absence of proper rehabilitation initiatives, have faced cultural discrimination and socio-political and economic exploitation. Due to lack of education and skills, for decades these tribes continued to be oppressed at the hands of the larger society.

    To undo these injustices and to safeguard tribal rights, the government undertook several constitutional and legal initiatives, significant among which have been Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities), 2015 and Panchayat (Extension to the Scheduled Areas), Act, 1996.

    The SC & ST PoA, 2015 prohibits the commission of offences against members of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SCs and STs) and establishes special courts for the trial of such offences and the rehabilitation of victims, thereby preventing any potential social discrimination faced by the SCs and STs.

    PESA empowers the scheduled tribes to safeguard and preserve their traditions and customs, their cultural identity, community resources and also their customary modes of dispute resolution, thereby helping them from being vulnerable at the hands of larger society and also protecting their identity and culture from the onslaught of dominant culture.

    These two legal initiatives have perhaps played the greatest role in addressing the concerns and in protecting the rights and cultures of various tribal groups in India.

  • Indian Society

    11. The spirit of tolerance and love is not only an interesting feature of Indian society from very early times, but it is also playing an important part at the present. Elaborate. (2017)

    Spirit of tolerance and love in Indian society can be defined as that harmony and assimilation which can be observed among the diverse communities of the country. This spirit can clearly be seen in the ancient world where king Ashoka renounced all violence and war, and took to preaching Dhamma, the special religion of love and peace.

    Then we can see that continuously throughout history, India has been home to people as diverse as the Hunas, Parthians, Greeks, Scythians, Turks and later on the Mughals. Though some of them may have come to the country as invaders, they did not or rather could not, see India as an enemy. The result has been a tremendous assimilation or races, languages and cultures - a process that is continuing still. In fact, something similar had already taken place a thousand years earlier when the Aryan-speaking people had migrated into the country, forever shaping the destiny of the country and its post-Harappan people. It was in this spirit of tolerance and love, that perhaps was created some of the world’s most majestic works of art (eg. the Taj Mahal), the most original of interpretations on the meaning and philosophy of life (eg. the Upanishads), and created the most simple and honest forms of devotion to the almighty (eg. Bhakti and Sufism).

    Thankfully, due to the presence of this spirit in our society so far we have been able to reflect rationally and peacefully to most of the problems that we are currently facing. Then on the global front, India exerts on citizens of this world a great unifying force. This is in the form of non-violence (Ahimsa), peaceful co-existence (NAM); in pledging protection to the global commons (Paris Climate Pact), to the rights of man (democracy, human rights), and to universal nuclear disarmament etc. If one day India has to shine in the comity of nations, if Indians have to truly get involved in the making of a better world, and if someday we have to get rid of tragic things like poverty, pollution, crime and terrorism etc, we will have to share this spirit of love and tolerance and spread it to all human societies across the world.

  • Indian History

    12. Examine how the decline of traditional artisanal industry in colonial India crippled the rural economy. (2017)

    When the Britishers took over, traditional Indian artisans ruled the world and supplied about a quarter of all manufactured goods produced in the world as famously quoted by Peter, the Great that ‘commerce of India was the commerce of world!’

    Nationalist economists proposed that with the beginning of British rule in mid-eighteenth century, the process of deindustrialization started for the traditional artisanal industry. The various reasons for that were:

    • The traditional artisanal industry lost its many patrons, like rulers, zamindars etc. after the coming of colonial rule.
    • The colonial rule flooded Indian market with cheaper manufactured goods against which Indian handicrafts lost the competition.
    • The colonial rule also opened Indian markets with zero import tax which went in favour of British manufactured goods. Moreover, Indian goods were severely restricted in foreign markets due to various regulations and taxes leading to loss of market.
    • The artisans also suffered at the hands of colonial power by having to agree to exploitative terms. The English carried on the put-out system of manufacture where the artisan was supplied with the materials and the finished product was brought at a low price. The English also procured raw cotton from peasants, at a low price and sold it at exorbitant rates to the artisans. Thus, the artisan suffered both as a buyer and a seller.
    • With the advent of railways in mid-nineteenth century onwards the process of deindustrialization was further fastened by colonial economic and commercial penetration into the hinterlands of India.

    This not only eroded the prosperous income base for millions of Indian artisans but eroded the labour productivity of Indian agriculture due to crowding and the twin pillars of traditional Indian rural economy were completely crumbled.

    Thus, in a short span of just 200 years (1757-1947) the entire rural economy which was self-sustained and prosperous for ages was completely crippled.

  • Indian History

    13. Highlight the importance of new objective that got added to the vision of Indian independence since the twenties of the last century. (2017)

    The ‘twenties of the last century’ was the watershed moment for the Indian national movement. With emergence of new scenarios and actors the movement became a true mass movement.

    This decade started on the backdrop of Russian Revolution and emergence of communism as an alternative to Imperialism which presented a new ray of hope for the colonies undergoing struggle for independence. With the rise of socialists and communists in India, the issues of peasants and workers became an important objective of Indian independence.

    Mahatma Gandhi returned to India in 1915 and with some initial experiments on limited scale in Champaran, Kheda and Ahmedabad, finally in the early twenties he was all set to take the leadership of Indian National Movement and this changed the vision of Indian independence.

    • Starting with Non Cooperation Movement in the early twenties, he led Civil Disobedience Movement in early thirties and finally Quit India in early forties. In these years, Indian national movement transformed from the movement of few middle class elites, to a mass movement.
    • The objectives of Independence became Swaraj and Sarvodaya where the fruit of independence was to be tasted by the last man standing in the row and not mere the transfer of power from one set of white elites to another Indian elites.
    • After twenties the goal of political independence was gradually broadened by the constructive programmes where the issues of untouchability and Hindu- Muslim unity were also considered as important goals.
    • Fundamental Rights and Economic Policy was shaped during Karachi resolution of 1931.

    Hence the vision of Indian independence was broadened in scale and scope after the twenties of last century.

  • Geography

    14. Account for variations in oceanic salinity and discuss its multidimensional effects. (2017)

    Salinity refers to the amount of salt dissolved in 1000 gms of sea water. It is usually expressed as parts per thousand or ppt. The salinity for normal open ocean ranges between 33 o/oo and 37 o/oo. Oceanic salinity varies significantly due to the free movement of ocean water and its distribution has two aspects:

    • Horizontal: The areas of highest salinity (about 37o/oo, in Atlantic Ocean) are found near the Tropics due to active evaporation owing to clear skies, high temperature and steady Trade Winds.
    • From the tropical areas, salinity decreases both towards the equator and towards the poles. Salinity is relatively low near the equator (about 35 o/oo, in Atlantic Ocean) due to high rainfall, high relative humidity, cloudiness and calm air of the doldrums.
    • In polar seas, salinity decreases (20-32 o/oo) due to very little evaporation and due to melting ice yielding fresh water.
    • Vertical: Generally salinity decreases with increasing depth. Surface water is more saline due to loss of water from evaporation. This varies greatly with latitudes and is influenced by the cold and warm currents. In higher latitudes, salinity increases with depth and in middle latitudes it increases upto 35 meters and then decreases.
    • The multidimensional effects of oceanic salinity are as follows:
    • Salinity determines compressibility, thermal expansion, temperature, density, absorption of insolation, evaporation and humidity.
    • Salinity & Water Cycle: Water in liquid state dissolves rocks and sediments which creates a complex solution of mineral salts in ocean basins. Conversely, in other states such as vapor and ice, water and salt are incompatible and water vapor and ice are essentially salt free. By tracking ocean surface salinity we can directly monitor variations in the water cycle: land runoff, sea ice freezing and melting, and evaporation and precipitation over the oceans.
    • Salinity, Ocean Circulation & Climate: Ocean circulation in deep waters is primarily driven by changes in seawater density, which is determined by salinity and temperature. In the North Atlantic near Greenland, cooled high-salinity surface waters can become dense enough to sink to great depths.
    • Salinity & Climate Density: The ocean stores more heat in the uppermost three meters than the entire atmosphere. Thus density-controlled circulation is key to transporting heat in the ocean and maintaining Earth's climate. Excess heat associated with the increase in global temperature during the last century is being absorbed and moved by the ocean.
    • Ocean also influences the distribution of fish and other marine resources.
    • NASA studies suggest that sea water is getting fresher in high latitudes while saltier in sub-tropical latitude. This will significantly impact not only ocean circulation but also the climate in which we live.

  • Geography

    15. Petroleum refineries are not necessarily located nearer to crude oil producing areas, particularly in many of the developing countries. Explain its implications. (2017)

    Oil refineries usually in developing countries are built away from the oil producing areas, the implications of which are both negative and positive, vis –a- vis environmental and economic costs:

    Positive implications:

    • Rrefineries tend to be situated closer to markets or distribution centres as it helps in saving transport costs of refined products because transport costs of refined products tends to be higher than transporting crude, as refined products lose weight through evaporation during transporting.
    • Since pipeline transfer of refined products in India is still only with private companies, it is not evenly distributed, making transportation through this method difficult. When refineries are far away from the market, other modes of transport for refined products like railways, road or waterways, always increases the economical as well as the environmental costs (eg. air pollution).
    • Since oil producing areas have a limited oil producing capacity the investments in setting up a refinery in its vicinity can go to waste once oil in the area dries up. Hence, it becomes economical to set up refineries near markets where a continuous consumer demand keeps it viable for longer durations of time.
    • Refineries also need abundant sources of water for cooling purpose and for discharge of wastes, and hence environmental concerns make refineries viable only where there are sufficient water resources available.
    • Promote decentralized industrial growth and balanced regional development.
    • Seaboard location eases the export of petrochemical products.

    Negative implications:

    • Having crude transported to large distances add to environmental pollution and economic costs.
    • Also, it does not incentivise further exploration and setting up of oil producing areas as it doesn't attract other industrial investments.

  • Geography

    16. In what way can floods be converted into a sustainable source of irrigation and all-weather inland navigation in India? (2017)

    India experiences monsoons for a period of four months during which sometimes incessant rains cause floods and devastation, while for the rest of the year it remains dry for most parts, often resulting in water shortages. This excess flood water can surely be used as a valuable resource in water scarce regions for the non-monsoon months, thereby solving the twin problems of flood and water scarcity. The following methods may be used to achieve this objective:

    • River linking: The government has been ambitious with this project of diverting excess water from overflowing rivers to rivers in non-perennial regions, in order to solve the problems of flood and water shortage. These river linking channels could also be useful as all-weather inland navigation waterways, thereby helping in creating a cheaper and pollution free mode of transport.
    • Rain water harvesting: The excess water can be captured and stored in wells, tanks etc. during rains as was practiced in many parts of India during medieval period (in form of stepwells/baolis etc).
    • Multi-purpose projects/dams: Dams can be erected in flood areas to capture excess water which can then be released slowly over the year as per irrigation requirements.
    • Inundation canals and weirs: Flood water can also be managed by making diversions through inundation canals, small irrigation structures, and with weirs that take away excess water to the agricultural fields.

    The methods stated above, can go a long way in solving various water woes of India if implemented expeditiously and on a large scale.

  • Geography

    17. What characteristics can be assigned to monsoon climate that succeeds in feeding more than 50 percent of the world population residing in Monsoon Asia? (2017)

    Some parts of the world experience seasonal winds like land and sea breezes but do so, on a much larger scale. There are tropical monsoon lands with on-shore wet monsoons in the summer and off-shore dry monsoons in the winter. They are best developed in Indian sub-continent, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, parts of South China and Northern Australia.

    Characteristics of Monsoon Climate

    Temperature: Monthly mean temperature in Monsoon climate is above 18°C but temperature ranges from 15-45°C in summer and 15-30°C in winters. This temperature range helps in cultivating various crops such as wheat and rice, staple crop for the large population in the world.

    Precipitation: Monsoon is associated with high precipitation. Annual mean rainfall ranges from 200-250cm but varies according to the intensity of seasonal winds. It also helps in paddy cultivation.

    Distinct season: Seasons are chief characteristics of monsoon climate. Distinct seasons have been observed with the movement of sun between the Tropic of Cancer and Capricorn. It facilitates the cultivation of various types of crops.

    • The Cool dry season: Out blowing dry winds, the North-East Monsoon, bring little or no rain to the Indian sub-continent. It has been observed during October to February.
    • The Hot dry season: The temperature rises sharply with the sun’s northward shift to the Tropic of Cancer. Coastal regions are a little relieved by sea breezes.
    • The Rainy season: Rainy season has been observed during mid June to September. With the burst of the South-west monsoon in mid June, torrential downpours sweep across the country. Almost all the rain for the year falls within this rainy season.
    • This pattern of concentrated heavy rainfall in summer is a characteristic feature of the Tropical Monsoon climate.
    • The Retreating Monsoon: The amount and frequency of rain decreases towards the end of the rainy season. It retreats gradually southwards after mid September until it leaves the continent altogether.

    The role of monsoon is vital in the economy of major parts of the world because it is the main source of irrigation in rain-fed areas and facilitates in feeding more than 50 percent of the world population residing in Monsoon Asia.

  • Indian Society

    18. The women’s questions arose in modern India as a part of the 19th century social reform movement. What were the major issues and debates concerning women in that period?  (2017)

    In the 19th century, the problems of women in India invited the attention of Western humanitarian thinkers, Christian missionaries and Indian socio-religious philosophers. Many issues related to women prevalent during 19th century were discussed thoroughly.

    • The socio-religious philosophers protested evil practices such as Sati, child marriage, prohibition of widow remarriage, polygamy, dowry and the Devadasi system.
    • Their views were strengthened when Christian missionaries exposed the evils of such social customs.
    • Further, some of the enlightened British officials in India and England also initiated measures to remove these social evils.
    • Pandita Rama Bai, Savitribai Phule, Tarabai Shinde, Anandibai Joshi and Sarojini Naidu and many other enlightened women came forward to liberate the rest of women.
    • The practice of Sati was prohibited officially in 1829 in Bengal with the active participation of Raja Ram Mohan Roy and then in Madras in 1830.
    • Reformers reinterpreted the Sashtras in favor of widow remarriage. In 1855 Ishwar Chandra Vidhyasagar started a vigorous campaign in favor of widow remarriage.

    To summarize, the issues of women in the 19th century are mainly related to the social upliftment of women in Indian society. Efforts were on to empower women that included social reforms and economic self-reliance.

  • Indian Society

    19. Distinguish between religiousness/religiosity and communalism giving one example of how the former has got transformed into the latter in independent India. (2017)

    Religiousness/religiosity is the quality of being religious, pious and devout. In other words it is known as having strong religious feeling or belief.

    Through the ages India society has been spiritual and religious and its Indian connotation Dharma has been the guiding force of Indian civilization by setting the standards for personal and social life.

    However communalism is a negative connotation which indicates political trade in religion. It is an ideology on which communal politics is based and consists of three elements:

    • A belief that people of same religion have common secular interests i.e. they have same political, economic and social interests. So, they can be segregated as a distinct socio-political community.
    • It indicates that in a multi-religious society like India, the common secular interests of one religion are dissimilar and divergent from the interests of another religion.
    • The interests of the follower of the different religion or of different ‘communities’ are seen to be completely incompatible, antagonist and hostile.

    In independent India the Ayodhya issue where construction of a temple or masjid has been constantly evoked to reap political mileage in a country where deep religious sentiments of different communities are attached. Year after year and election after election this issue has been evoked to polarize the communities on religious line for electoral gain at the cost of delicate social fabric of a multi-religious and multicultural India.

  • Geography

    20. “The growth of cities as I.T. hubs has opened up new avenues of employment, but has also created new problems”. Substantiate this statement with examples. (2017)

    Cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune, Mumbai, Delhi-NCR etc grew significantly and fastidiously in the last two decades owing to growth in the IT-related services sector. The employment provided by the IT sector agrees with middle-class values and aspirations, further boosting the relevance and importance of these IT hubs, and further causing inward migration to these destinations.

    Since, these IT hubs employ a considerable number of people, and since they attract a host of other related and unrelated services needed to cater to the daily needs of these employees, it causes the twin problems of over-population and over-crowding. The result is that municipal services get over-stretched, housing prices soar, traffic gets congested, prices of essential commodities inflate, and most importantly social tensions develop and increase. Sometimes, civil and police administrative machineries are also put to test in these cities. Especially in bigger cities like Delhi-NCR where IT hubs create sub-localities within the city, policing power is seen decreasing proportionately to the size and scale of a locality’s policing requirements. This is why problems like crimes against women, child abduction, racial-religious mob violence etc happen with great frequency in such places.

    Lastly, the growth of cities as IT hubs creates problems with pollution, waste disposal and energy management. Also, E-waste generation and its associated harms, and also the strain that IT infrastructure put on the electric grid, are much bigger challenges than one would like to admit and the only way forward is to follow sustainable development practices while developing IT hubs.

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