UPSC IAS Mains History Optional Solved Exam Paper - 2002
:: Paper - I ::
1. Mark any fifteen of the following places on the map supplied to you and write short descriptive notes on the places plotted by you on the map
2. Bodh Gaya
11. Mohenjo Daro
1. Ajanta: The caves of Ajanta (listed on UNESCO’s world heritage sites) are situated on the northern fringe of the Maharashtra plateau in district of Aurangabad. They lie off one of the ancient arterial trade routes connecting Western India to North India through Mahishmati and Ujjain. Extending over 550m, they are aligned in a horse-shoe form. The caves are a very fine combination of architectural and sculptural works and paintings, and were carved out for Buddhist monks to live a monastic life. These caves were excavated roughly, from about the second century BC to the seventh century AD. There are in all 30 caves (including the unfinished ones), out of which caves 9, 10, 19, 26 and 29 are chaitya grihas, while the rest of them are viharas.
2. Bodh Gaya: Located on the banks of Phalgu River in the state of Bihar, Bodh Gaya is seen as the most important of Buddhist pilgrimage centres. This is the place where Lord Sakyamuni (Gautama Buddha) entered into meditation after being moved by the sufferings of mankind. The giant Bodhi tree (a peepal) that we find there today is believed to have grown from the original Bodhi tree under which Prince Siddhartha meditated and finally attained nirvana. The Maha Bodhi temple in Bodh Gaya is an architectural amalgamation of many cultures. The temple bears the stamp of architecture of the Gupta dynasty and subsequent ages. On the walls of the temple, one can see the image of Buddha carved in different aspects and in the sanctum sanctorum, a colossal Buddha is seen touching the ground, which has mythological significance in Buddhist lores. The famous Chinese travellers, Fa-Hsien and Hsuan Tsang visited Bodh Gaya.
3. Dholavira: Dholavira, known for its large Indus Valley Civilisation settlement, lies in the north-west corner of Khadir, a large island in the Rann of Kutchch in the state of Gujarat. It was discovered in 1967 and was excavated by R.S. Bisht. Dholavira was settled by the Indus Valley people around 5000 years ago. Dholavira is divided into three main parts: the citadel, the middle town, and the lower town. The most special feature of Dholavira is its watershed management system, with huge water reservoirs and check dams. The largest water reservoir measures 80.4m x 12m x 7.5m. The most interesting discovery at Dholavira is a large inscription comprising ten letters in the Indus Valley script, each letter engraved on a slice of crystalline material.
4. Dwarka: An ancient town with great historic importance, Dwaraka is a small town located on the north-western tip of the Kathiawar (Saurashtra) peninsula in Jamnagar district of Gujarat. Dwaraka, the name derived from the Sanskrit word Dvara meaning door, was the ‘Gateway of India’ in ancient times, an entrepot for ships engaged in overseas trade with Egypt, Arabia and Mesopotamia. The earliest reference to Dwaraka is found in a maritime geography of trade between India and the Roman empire, The Periplus of the Erythrean Sea, dating to the period AD 80-115. The Periplus refers to Dwaraka as the Gulf of Baraco, while mentioning the location of Bhrigukachchha. The Mahabharata refers to Dwaraka; Shankaracharya in early medieval times founded a matha, a great Hindu religious centre, at Dwaraka.
5. Girnar: The Girnar Mountain, in the neighbourhood of Junagarh in Saurashtra in the state of Gujarat, is also referred to as Ujayantagiri or Raivatgiri in scriptures. This is considered to be Neminath Mountain or the fifth peak of the Shatrunjaya mountain range. The place is sacred to Jains as they consider it to be the birthplace of their 22nd tirthankara, Neminath.
The Mauryan governor, Pushyagupta, during the reign of Chandragupta Maurya, built a tank called Sudarshana Lake or Sudarshana tadga here. This lake was renovated by Rudradaman, the Saka ruler, as well as by the ministers of Skanda Gupta, Chakrapalita and his son Parndatt, which shows that the lake remained important even during the Gupta period and after. At Girnar, we find the famous inscription of the Western Kshatrap Saka ruler, Rudradaman, which is considered to be the first Sanskrit inscription as well as the longest chaste Sanskrit inscription.
6. Hastinapur: Hastinapur, located in present day Meerut district of western Uttar Pradesh, finds mention in the great epic Mahabharata as well as in the Puranas. According to the Mahabhorata, Hastinapur was the capital of the Kuru clan and, according to the Puranas, King Nichakshu was forced to shift his capital to Kaushambi due to the flooding of Hastinapur. The evidence of the flood has been obtained in archaeological excavations. As per the Jain legends, three of their 24 tirthankaras were related with this place. Archaeologically, Hastinapur has been divided into five parts. It is a famous PGW site; though OCP culture has also been found (wheat and rice as well as objects of copper and iron belonging to the period have been found). It also gives evidence of NBPW culture-punch marked coins, iron implements and rings and precious metals suggesting the prosperity of the region. The period from 200 BC-AD 300 was marked by use of red ware and has revealed the use of burnt bricks and regular house planning.
7. Kanchipuram: Kanchipuram, about 70 km from Chennai, was the historical capital of the Pallavas from the sixth century AD to the eighth century AD. Later, it came under the influence of the Cholas, the Vijayanagara rulers, the Muslims, and the British. Kanchipuram has been a centre of Tamil learning and culture. It has also been a centre of religious teachings for centuries. Kanchipuram is also known the world over for its silk sarees. It is also famous for its hand woven silk and cotton fabrics, woven in contrasting colours.
Kanchipuram has magnificent temples of unique archit ctural beauty, bearing eloquent testimony to its glorious Dravidian heritage. It was once known as the city of a thousand temples. Today it has around 126 temples. Some of the very famous temples of Kanchipuram include the Kamakshi Amman temple and Vaikuntha Perumal temple. Kanchipuram is among the seven most sacred pilgrim centres for the Hindus. The Adi Shankara is believed to have established his Episcopal seat here. Before the advent of Hinduism, this city had been a centre of Buddhism. Thus it can be rightly regarded as the ‘religious capital of South India’.
8. Kaushambi: Situated at a distance of 48 kms from Allahabad, on the bank of the Yamuna, Koshambi was an important city of ancient India. Hien-Tsang visited the place in seventh century A.D. More than ten Bodh Viharas have been identified here. A town of ancient origins Kosambi was the birthplace of the sixth Tirthankara. A stone pillar inscription discovered near Kosam, gives Kosambi or Kausambi its name. Kosambi was also an important halting place of persons travelling along the great trade-route connecting Saketa and Sravasti on the north, and with Paithana on the banks of the River Godavari on the South. Hsuan-Tsang visited Kosambi in the 7th century AD.
9. Madurai: Madurai lies on the banks of River Vaigai in Tamil Nadu. As narrated in legends, Madurai was originally a forest known as Kadambavanam. An early Tamil text, Madurai Kanji of Marudan contains a full-length description of Madurai and its people under the rule of King Nedunjeliyan. According to the Silappadikarare, Madurai was destroyed because of the curse of Kannagi. Kautilya refers to Madurai as a place famous for cotton fabrics. Megasthenes visited Madurai in the third century BC. Later, many people from Greece and Rome visited Madurai and established trade links with the Pandya kings. Madurai flourished till the 10th century AD when it was captured by the Cholas, the arch rivals of the Pandyas. The Cholas ruled Madurai till the beginning of the 13th century when it was again taken over by the Pandyas. In 1371, Madurai became a part of the Vijayanagara kingdom, and later came under the control of the Nayakas. Madurai is surrounded by several mountains, and it is famous for jasmine flowers which are transported to other cities of India as well as exported. Madurai with a 2500-year old history is the oldest city in Tamil Nadu, both historically and mythologically.
10. Malkhed: This city was founded by Rashtrakuta ruler Amoghvarsha I. Al-Masudi has mentioned the glory and splendour of this city.
11. Mohenjo Daro: Mohenjodaro, meaning Mound of Dead, is situated on the right bank of River Indus in Larkana District, now in Pakistan. It was discovered by R.D. Banerjee in 1922. The city, a major example of the Indus Valley Civilisation, was divided into two parts-the western citadel and the lower town. The citadel has large structures like the Great Bath (11.88 m x 7.01 m x 2.43 m) a granary, a collegiate building, and the assembly hall. Mohenjo-daro could have been the twin capital of the Indus Valley Civilisation along with Harappa. Some of the special finds at the site are a statue of a dancing girl made of bronze, evidence of cotton cloth, and the figure of a bearded man in steatite. The largest number of seals of Harappan civilisation are from Mohenjo-daro. Apart from that, three cylindrical seals of Mesopotamia have also been found at Mohenjo-daro.
12. Nalanda: Nalanda, situated close to Patna in Bihar, was originally the site of a monastery built during Buddha’s lifetime. It became a famous Buddhist Mahavihara or university from the fifth century to the first decade of the thirteenth century with over 10,000 students from several places-China, Japan, Tibet, Indonesia and 1,500 teachers. It has been described as the ‘Oxford University of Mahayana Buddhism’. Hsuan-Tsang, the Chinese pilgrim, spent three years at Nalanda in the 7th century. Another Chinese pilgrim I-tsing, spent 10 years at the university. Bhaktiyar Khilji destroyed it in AD 1197. In 1951, the International Centre for Buddhist Studies was set up here. Its famous libraries are Ratna Sagar, Ratna Ranjak, and Ratan Odadhi.
13. Purushpur: It was the capital of Kushanas. Now it is known as Peshawar. Kamshka, the greatest Kushan ruler made here a massive stupa and many other gigantic structures.
14. Ropar: Ropar or Rupanagar is a district headquarters in Punjab about 40 km from Chandigarh on the left bank of the River Sutlej. It was the first Harappan site excavated in independent India. The excavations from here reveal a sequence of the main cultural periods: Harappan (200 BC-1400 BC), PGW (AD 700-AD 1200), and Medieval (AD 1200-AD 1700). We obtain evidence of re-occupation of the site during the PGW period after a long break. The distinctive features of this period are fine and well-burnt bricks. Copper was the main metal used in this period in addition to some broken pieces of iron which suggest iron smithing. Other antiquities found include precious stone beads and terracotta toy carts. The third period marked the second urbanisation and witnessed the emergence of Mahajanapadas. Silver punch-marked coins, ring soaked wells, burnt bricks and other antiquities, ring-polished stone, items made of ivory and bone, such as, comb and hair pins have been found. A gold coin of Chandra Gupta I has also been found. A hoard of 660 copper coins from 200 BC-AD 600 was found in an earthen pot. Excavation has revealed the prosperity of the people between the eighth and the 10th century AD.
15. Sanchi: Sanchi is situated about nine km south-west of Vidisha in Madhya Pradesh. Crowning the hill top of Sanchi, nearly 91 metres in height, is the group of Buddhist monuments which draws attention even from a distance. It is unique in having the most perfect and well preserved stupas, and Buddhist art and architecture pertaining to a period of about thirteen hundred years, from the third century BC to the twelfth century AD, almost covering the whole range of Buddhism. The foundation of the great religious establishment of Sanchi, destined to have a glorious career as an important centre of Buddhism for many centuries to come, was probably laid by Ashoka (circa 273-236 BC), when he built a stupa and erected a monolithic pillar here. The dedicatory inscriptions at Sanchi unmistakably show that the prosperity of the Buddhist establishment here was, to a great extent, due to the piety of the rich merchants of Vidisha, and its strategic situation on two important trade routes.
16. Shravanabelagola: Shravana Belagola, 51 km south-east of Hassan in Karnataka, is one of the most important Jain pilgrim centres. According to Jain legends, Chandragupta Maurya, along with Jain guru, Bhadrabahu, retired to this place during the last year of his reign, and died practising salaphena (starvation) as per Jain custom. Shravana Belagola is famous for an 18-m high statue of Gomateshwara (Lord Bahubali, son of the first tirthankara Rishabdev) built in 983 AD by Chamundaraya. The statue stands atop one of the hills called Indragiri and is considered as the world’s tallest monolithic structure. Thousands of devotees congregate here to perform the Mahamastakabhi- sheka-a spectacular ceremony held once in 12 years, when the over 1000-year-old statue is anointed with milk, curd, ghee, saffron, and gold coins. Chamunda Rai, the minister and general of the Ganga king, Rajamalla IV, also built a basadi (Jain temple) at Chandragiri hills. The pyramidal superstructure and the plastered walls show the monument’s southern character.
17. Sravasti: Buddha gave here his sermons many times. It was the capital of Kosal. It was named after Sravasta who was a great sage.
18. Tanjore: Thanjavur (or Tanjore) is situated in Tamil Nadu. It was the capital of the great Chola Empire, and later of the Thanjavur Nayakas and the Marathas. Thanjavur is renowned for the Brihadeshwara Temple built by Rajaraja Chola (AD 985-1012). With the tallest man in any temple in India (62m and 13 storeys high, topped by a dome), it is a magnificent temple. The conception and scale, the perfect symmetry of the tower are noteworthy. The temple is a World Heritage monument. An enormous Nandi (second largest in India), carved out of a single block of granite, guards the entrance of the sanctuary. Built with many large granite blocks, the temple has superb inscriptions and sculptures of Shiva, Vishnu, and Durga on three sides of the massive plinth. The Saraswati Mahal Palace was started by the Nayakas of Madurai around AD 1500, but was completed by the Maratha ruler of Thanjavur. The palace library instituted by Maharaja Serfoji has a collection of 30,000 palm leaf manuscripts and rare European books.
19. Thaneshwar: Thanesar is located near Kurukshetra in Haryana. In around the sixth century AD, it was the seat of power of the Pushyabhutis to which King Harshavardhana belonged. Harsha was born here. Thanesar is a sacred town for Hindus because Shiva was first worshipped here in the form of the linga. The Chinese pilgrim, Hsuan-Tsang has visited Thanesar, and has described it as a prosperous city. The tomb of Sheikh Chilli Jalal, Chini Masjid, and Pathar Masjid are some important monuments of this place, which indicate that the place developed as a centre of Sufism.
20. Varanasi: It was the capital of Kashi Mahajanapada which was later on merged into Magadh by Magadhan ruler Bimbisar. Varanasi was famous for silk cloth called Kauseyak and ivory work.
:: Paper - II ::
1. Comment on any three of the following statements in about 200 words each:
(a) “The Verdict at Plassey was confirmed by the English victory at Buxar.”
Ans: The death ofAlivardi in 1756 gave rise to dissensions among various groups within the court on the questions of succession to the throne of Bengal and the battle of Plassey showed the depth of functionalized in the Nawab’s court. The treachery of the close lieutenants of the Nawab rather than the might of theEnglish decided the fate of the battle. The battle of Plassey was followed, in the words of the Bengali Poet Nabin Chandra Sen, by “a might of external gloom for India”. This battle was of immense historical importance. It paved the way for the British mastery Bengal and eventually of the whole ofIndia. It boostedBritish prestige and as a single stroke raised them to the status of a major contender for the Indian empire.
British commercial preparation intoBengal was not merely disrupting the cycle of economic creativity in the interior, but was clearly threatening to jeopardise theNawab’s authority. Under the circumstances, it was not surprising that the abuse of dastak by the company servants for their private trade was the immediate cause of the war of 1764. The combined forces ofMir Kasim, NawabofAwadh, ShahAlam and provincial nobility of Bihar and Orissa, failed to restrain the English advance and independent rule of the Nawabs in Bengal came to an end. This was one of the most decisive battles of Indian history for it demonstrated the superiority of English arms over the combined army of two of the major Indian power. It firmly established the British as masters of Bengal, Bihar, Orissa and placedAwadh at their mercy.
(b) “India broke her British fetters with Western hammers.”
Ans: The rise of national consciousness in the 19th century was essentially the result of the British rule. The economic. political and social changes brought about by the British rule resulted in the oppression of all classes of Indian people giving rise to a wide spread dissatisfaction among the masses. The uniform system of administration. development of postal and telegraph, railways, printing press and educational institutions created by British primarily as measures for running an effective administration also become instrumental in providing favourable conditions for the rise and growth of national movement.Unconsciousness was developing in the educated sections and middle classes. It was this middle class consciousness. which became the chief medium for the channelisation of popular discontent, and was instrumental in the development of national consciousness in India.
The importance of western import on the regenerative process in the society in the 14th century is undesirable. However, if we regard this entire process of reform as a manifestation of colonial benevolence and limit ourselves to viewing only its positive dimensions, we shall fail to do justice to the complex character of the phenomenon. The impact of modern western culture and consciousness of defeat by a foreign power give birth to a new awakening. Thoughtful Indians began to look for the strengths and weaknesses of their society and for ways and means of removing the weaknesses. They were impressed in particular by modern science and the doctrines of reason and humanism. They also came to hold that elements of modern western thought which had to be imbibed for the regeneration of their society. The modern educational systems familiarised the educated classes with the ideas of equality, liberty and nationalism. They Were exposed to the works ofliberal writers and thinkers. The Indians who were studying in England found on their return toIndia that they were denied all the rights which were taken for granted in the European Countries. These above factors gave a vision of a prosperous modern India.
(c) “Gandhi restrained mass movements, yet he retained his popularity among the masses.”
Ans: Gandhi was primarily a man of action and his own experiences in life helped him more than his readings involving and shaping his ideology. He was able to arouse and unite all sections of the Indian people in a militant mass national movement. The struggle in South Africa created a new image of Gandhi that he was the leader of Indian people and not of any region or religious community. This worked as a decisive factor in Gandhi’s entry into Indian politics.
Through technique of Satyagraha, Gandhi succeeded in controlling the mass movements. The abrupt withdrawal of the Non-Cooperation Movement by Gandhi after the Chauri Chaura incident had demoralising effect on many congress leaders and had to a sharp decline in the national movement. Before launching theCivil Disobedience. Gandhi was still not sure of his plan of action. He once again tried for compromise with the Government. The Government response to Gandhi’s proposal was negative. Still Gandhi was hesitant. After all, the dominant section in the peasantry and the business groups found the Gandhian non-violent model convenient because they feared to lose if political struggle turned into uninhibited and violent Social revolution.
Gandhi brought different sections and classes by society together against the British rule. With his entry into Indian politics, there started a new era of mass mobilisation. It was by taking up regional issues that he emerged as a national leader. It is necessary to mention that there have always been strong differences of opinion on the relevance of Gandhi’s ideology. But the fact remains that his ideas deeply influenced the course of our struggle against the British rule and determined its major thrust and direction.
(d) “The ideology of Subhash Chandra Bose was a combination of nationalism, fascism and communism.”
Ans: In the closing stage of the Civil Disobedience movement, Subhash horrered around the working class movement. He inspired the students and the underprivileged, towards a radical militant temper. This eventually facilitated the formation of the Congress Socialist Partywithin the framework of the congress organisation. Subhash confined himself progressively, to the discussions on the conducting of India’s struggle for freedom, looking for new styles and strategies to intensify it and getting impatient for a show down with the authorities. InApril 1939 he left the congress and organised the Forward Bloc and the Kisan Sabha.In November 1941 he escaped fromIndia and surfaced in Berlin, where he met Hitler. He was of the view that one’s enemy’s enemy is one’sfriend. He organized theAzad Hind Fauj or the Indian National Armywith the help of his Japanese allies. to fight for the freedom of India. In dealing with the role of Subhash during this period we have to take note of the fact that what he did was not due to his support to Facist Germany or expansionist Japan but for India’s freedom.
Subhash lost his mark on the congress by lying emphasis on the industrialisation ofIndia and planned economic growth on the Soviet pattern. He was in fact instrumental in the formation of a National Planning
Committee oftheCongress. He appeared to have identified the manner in which the anti-imperialist struggle had to rise above all sectional considerations of class and creed by emphasising the actual sufferings of the people. He seemed to know how the struggle must be escalated and strengthened by rallying all the victims of the imperialist rule, especially the toiling people. The consequent process of radicalisation of the national movement owed substantially to the vision and exertion of Subhas Chandra Bose.