Model Questions for UPSC PRE CSAT PAPER SET - 45
For ages, the Indian psyche has been geared to devoting one’s life to the welfare of ‘all’, sarvabhuta hite ratha. It has also focussed not on the individual self but on the entire globe; vasudhaiva kutumbakam was always the objective. The Western world remains unaware of the strength of Indian culture, traditions and beliefs. It has good reason to do so. An accurate perception would have harmed its colonial interests and exploitation of nations for which it was not entitled under any rationale, logic or tradition. This legacy, however, continues in another form. Those influenced by Western philosophy, attitude and approach to life refuse to understand indigenous thought and culture even at this stage. To them, any mention of Indian tradition and culture is a conservative statement. If you think of highlighting Indian contributions to global civilisation, they immediately apprehend that India is going backward in the history. To them, self respect, patriotism and the sense of pride in being an Indian are outdated concepts. The mere mention that spirituality is an important part of educationist anathema to them. After World War II, the victorious Americans realised the futility of war, bombs, destruction and killings. A group of American school teachers planned a book on spirituality in 1945. This was published by the Elementary School Teachers Association of America in 1947. The title is ‘Spirituality in Elementary Schools’. In India, the mere mention of the world ‘Spirituality’ is attributed to political pressure. Recently the Director-General of UNESCO’s International School of Educational Planning, Paris, visited India and was apprised of the proposed curricular changes in school education, which were under discussion. The Director General, a former education minister of Norway, gave details of curriculum renewal in Norway and indicated that in their curriculum for school education prepared in 1997, they have proposed to prepare a ‘spiritual man’ through school education. Even a unitary society like Norway is gearing up for the times when multi-ethnic people would be living there. There would be different religions, and consequently, linguistic and ethnic diversities would emerge. In the Indian context, the focus on spirituality has always been there. The swift pace of educational change is emerging as a prime contributor to the pace of progress of developmental initiatives. The relevance of education will have to be ensured professionally in the context of social, cultural and economic changes. The global acceptance of education for social cohesion and for learning to live together deserves in-depth attention and consideration in the national context. The perpetration of a model of education transplanted by alien rulers, even after five decades of independence, does not reflect positively on indigenous initiatives. Indian education must be rooted in Indian culture. At this juncture, everyone, whether educated, literate or illiterate, realises the significance of education for future generations. Even the weakest are willing to contribute literally everything to educate their children. Such universal acceptance never existed before. Simultaneously, it is necessary that a national consensus emerges on the need for desirable educational changes. This, of course, is in conformity with the stipulations of experts and policy statements as well. The regular revision of the school curriculum is a globally accepted phenomenon and any question of revising the curriculum framework after more than a decade need not give rise to any apprehension in any quarter. Developing nations need peace, harmony and the willingness to work together among its citizens and communities. India sorely needs this as it still has to win the battles against poverty, illiteracy and socio-economic inequalities. Only a total national effort can contribute effectively to these. India’s 50 lakh school teachers can transform future society once they internalise the importance of their role and the tasks assigned to them. The commitment and performance of teachers, which is often projected as a matter of serious concern, can be changed only if public opinion is also transformed by political and religious leaders on the one hand, and social workers, intellectuals, thinkers and educationists, on the other. The role of the media has somewhat been discouraging. Even the national channels find no time to telecast suitable programmes for children and teachers. Commercialisation appears to have overtaken national requirements, which should get top priority, like transforming society through imparting the appropriate type of education, that inculcates values like respect, tolerance and creativity among the youth of this country. The Indian education system need not be bogged down by its of-trumpeted failures. The achievements of the past are considerable. In the last five decades, we have achieved a literacy rate of over 60 per cent. And this has been through indigenous efforts. Undoubtedly, we have much more to achieve but that needs to be done in an environment of optimism and motivation. The entire focus of school education both in and out of the classroom needs to prepare the individual to understand his duties and responsibilities on the one hand and the need to develop the necessary, competence, skills and attitudes to execute them on the other. Future education needs to be geared towards the culture of peace in which India’s diversities, pluralities and multiplicities will be treated as positive assets that contribute to national unity. School programmes, functions, and celebrations can reinforce these initiatives. Every school should have a mission statement. It should attempt to develop capacities and design activities to rediscover the local socio-cultural ethos that would contribute to developing a sense of belonging among children. It is the school education that needs to acknowledge and appropriately internalise among the learners the responsibility for the future and need to respect all life and living beings.
1. India can win battles against socio-economic problems of poverty and illiteracy only by
(a) focussing education to prepare individuals to do their duties and responsibilities
(b) desirable educational changes and fresh programmes for children and teachers
(c) encouraging to build an environment of optimism and motivation
(d) changing the opinions of the social workers and religious leaders
2. What the author means by ‘mission statement’ ?
(a) To base education on spirituality and respect for all living things
(b) That every school should focus on developing the capabilities of the students, creating a sense of belonging
(c) The task undertaken by the school to focus on the harmonious development of the child
(d) That there is the need to develop the competence, skills and attitudes of the children.
Have you ever come across a painting by Picasso, Mondrian, Miro, or any other modem abstract painter of this century, and found yourself engulfed in a brightly coloured canvas which your senses cannot interpret? Many people would tend to denounce abstractionism as senseless trash. These people are disoriented by Miro’s bright, fanciful creatures and two-dimensional canvases. They click their tongues and shake their heads at Mondrian’s grid works, declaring that the poor guy played too many scrabble games. They silently shake their heads in sympathy for Picasso, whose gruesome, disorted figures must be a reflection of his mental health. Then, standing in front of a work by Charlie Russell, the famous western artist, they’ll declare it a work of God. People feel more comfortable with something they can relate to and understand immediately without too much thought. This is the case with the work of Charlie Russell Being able to recognise the elements in his paintings-trees, horses and cowboys-gives people a safety line to their world of ‘reality’. There are some who would disagree when I say abstract art requires more creativity and artistic talent to produce a good piece than does representational art, but there are many weaknesses in their arguments.
People who look down on abstract art have several major arguments to support their beliefs. They feel that artists turn abstract because they are not capable of the technical drafting skills that appear in a Russell; therefore, such artists create an art form that anyone is capable of understanding and that is less time consuming, and then that you are a good parade it as artistic progress. Secondly, they feel that the purpose of art is to create something of beauty in an orderly, logical composition. Russell’s compositions are balanced and rational; everything sits calmly on the canvas, leaving the viewer satisfied that he has seen all there is to see. The modem abstractionists, on the other hand, seem to compose their pieces irrationally. For example, upon seeing Picasso’s Guernica, a friend of mine asked me, “What’s the point? Finally, many people feel that art should portray the ideal and real. The exactness of detail in Charlie Russell’s work is an example of this. He has been called a great historian because his pieces depict the lifestyle, dress, and events of the times. His subject matter is derived from his own experiences on the trial, and reproduced to the smallest detail.
I agree in part with many of these arguments, and at one time even endorsed them. But now, I believe differently. Firstly, I object to the argument that abstract artists are not capable of drafting. Many abstract artists, such as Picasso, are excellent draftsmen. As his work matured, Picasso become more abstract in order to increase the expressive quality of his work. Guernica was meant as a protest against the bombing of that city by the Germans. To express the terror and suffering of the victims more vividly, he destorted the figures and presented them in a black and white journalistic manner. If he had used representational images and colour, much of the emotional content would have been lost and the piece would not have caused the demand for justice that it did. Secondly, I do not think that a piece must be logical and aesthetically pleasing to be art. The message it conveys to its viewers is more important. It should reflect the ideals and issues of its time and be true to itself, not just a flowery, glossy surface. For example, through his work, Mondrian was trying to present a system of simplicity, logic and rational order. As a result, his pieces did end up looking like a scrabble board. He sees with his eyes. This is the reality he reproduces on canvas. To the abstract artist, reality is what he feels about what his eyes see. This is the reality he interprets on canvas. This can be illustrated by Mondrian’s Trees series. You can actually see the progression from the early recognisable, though abstracted trees, to his final solution, the grid system.
A cycle of abstract and representational art began with the first scratching of prehistoric man. From the abstractions of ancient Egypt to representational, classical Rome, returning to abstractionism in early Christian art and, so on up to the present day, the cycle has been going on. But this day and age may witness its death through the camera. With film, there is no need to produce finely detailed, historical records manually. The camera does this for us more efficiently. May be, representational art would cease to exist. With abstractionism as the victor of the first battle, may be that a different kind of cycle will be touched off. Possibly, some time in the distant future, thousands of years from now, art itself will be physically non-existent. Some artists today believe that once they have planned and constructed a piece in their mind, there is no sense in finishing it with their hands. It has already been done and can never be duplicated.
3. The author argues that many people look down upon abstract art because they feel that
(a) modem abstract art does not portray
(b) abstract artists are unskilled in matters of technical drafting
(c) abstractionists compose irrationally
(d) All of the above
4. According to the author, people feel comfortable with representational art because
(a) they are not engulfed in brightly coloured canvases
(b) they understand the art without putting too much strain on their minds
(c) paintings like Guernica do not have a point
(d) they do not have to click their tongues and shake their heads in sympathy
5. In the author’s opinion, Picasso’s Guernica created a strong demand for justice since
(a) it was a protest against the German bombing of Guernica
(b) it was a mature work of Picasso, painted when the artist’s drafting skills were excellent
(c) picasso managed to express the emotional content well with his abstract depiction
(d) it depict, the terror and sufferings of the victims in a distorted manner