UPSC IAS Mains History Optional Solved Exam Paper - 2003
Q1. Mark any fifteen of the following places on the map supplied to you and
write short descriptive notes on places plotted by you on the map:
1. Kot Diji
1. Kot Diji: The place of Indus Valley civilization, Kot Digi
is situated at twenty four km to the south of Khairpur in the.Sindh province of
Pakistan and 40.24 km to the east of Mohanjodaro. Archaeological evidences show
that probably the preIndus village of Kot Digi was destroyed in fire and later
the people from the Indus civilization inhabited this place.
2. Banamali: It is situated in the dry bed of the lost
Sarasvati in district Hissar, Haryana. The excavations have revealed the remains
of the pre, mature, and post Harappan cultures. In the earliest phase, the
settlement was fortified with the mudbricks of the ratio 3:2:1 and later, of
4:2:1. Town planning was based on that of the Harappan form a citadel on the
higher level and a lower town segregated from the former by a massive wall. The
most important antiquity found over here is a complete clay model of a plough.
Other antiquities include terra-cota perforated jar, goblet, gold beads,
bronze/copper arrows, speadheads; beads of Lapis Lazuli, agate, carnelian: seals
and sealings etc.
3. Tiruchirapalli: At present, Tirucharapali is a district in
Tamil Nadu. Situated on the bank of river Kaveri. It was under the rule of the
Cholas, the Pandyas and also the rulers of Vijaya Nagar. Later, it was under the
governance of Madras Presidency. In the modem times, it was an important place
during the BritishFrench battle (the Karnataka battle).
4. Tamralipti: It is identified with modem Tamluk near the
mouth of the Ganges in the Midnapur district of West Bengal. It was the most
important seaport and the emporium of trade in eastern India. It was connected
with Taxila by land and river on one hand and with south-east Asia by sea on the
other. It is mentioned in Jatakas and other texts as a port where from the
merchants of northern India sailed to Suvarnadvipa, i.e. Java and Sumatra.
5. Vaishali: Vaishali has been identified with the village
Basarh which is situated 20 miles away from Mujaffarpur district headquarters in
Bihar. In 6th century BC it was the capital of the Lichchavi republic and also
the headquarters of the powerful Vajji confederacy. It was annexed by Ajatshatru
to the state of Magadh. Later a Lichchavi princess Kumaradevi married Chandra
Gupta I and this event was glorified in the Gupta coins
6. Kundagram: Kundagram is situated in the Vaishali district
of Bihar. Mahavir was born here. The remains of the ancient Vaishali are found
here. The republic of Jataka dynasty was established during the 6th century BC.
Kundagram is a very important place of pilgrimage for the Jams.
7. Puri: It is situated in the state of Orissa. The temple of
Vishnu-Jagannatha and the “Black Pagoda” of Konarak (built in the 15th century)
are situated here, making the place an important pilgrimage. The “Black Pagoda”
is a temple of Surya, the sun-god. It was formerly one of the largest and most
splendid temples of India. Though the exceptionally frank eroticism of many of
the Konarak sculptures has given the ‘Black Pagoda’ a rather infamous
reputation. Possibly it was a centre of a tantnc cult though erotic sculpture
doesn’t suggest the solemn ritual of the sakras, but something much less
8. Ujjain: Ujjain lies on the eastern bank of the river
Shipra in Madhya Pradesh. It was the capital of Avanti, one of the Sixteen
Mahajanpadas in the sixth century BC. During the Mauryan period, it was the seat
of a governor (Kumara) which was occupied by Ashok before he was sent to Taxila.
Ozene’or Ujjain was under the rule of Saka king Chastana at the time of Ptolemy
(2nd Century AD). Ujjain was situated on the trade route from the north and
north-west to the western coast and was an important emporium of trade.
According to the Periplus, the commodities from different parts of the country
were first brought to ‘Ozene and then sent to Bargaya for export to foreign
countries’. It was also an important religious centre and was traditionally
associated with Mahakala Shiva as one of the seven holy cities of India.
9. Badami: Badami, earlier called Vatapi, is situated in the
Bijapur district of Karnataka. It was the capital of the early Chalukyas under
whom it developed as an important centre of rock cut architecture. There are
four caves here three of Brahminical faith, dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu and
one of Jaina faith. They were dug in the 6th century A.D, as an inscription of
King Mangiest dated 578 in cave III indicates. The Brahminical caves here are
the earliest rockcut caves in South India, and show an advance over the earlier
Brahminical caves at Udaygiri (Bhilsa, MP).
10. Guggara: Guggara is located at Punjab of Pakistan, and it
is famous for a dam.
11. Sarnath: Sarnath is situated 5 km north of the Varanasi
city in U.P. It is one of the four holiest cities of the Buddhists as Buddha
preached his first sermon here, called in the Buddhist texts as the
“dharma-chakra parivartana’. Saranath is quite rich in Buddhist antiquities.
Ashoka had built a Dharmarajika stupa here and erected a
pillar surmounted by a magnificent capital of four lions and an abacus having
wheels with twenty four spokes representing ‘dharma-chakras’. An edict is also
inscribed on it warning the monks and nuns not to create dissensions in the
Buddhist vihars. It indicates the present of a large number of Buddhists at
Sarnath. A monastery probably dating from the Gupta times is also here.
12. Amravati: It is situated in Guntur district on the
southern bank of the river Krishna, about sixty miles above its mouth. Lying on
the outskirts of the ancient town of Dharnikota, it is famous for the Buddhist
strips and its marble like limestone sculptures which represent the earliest
Buddhist monuments in the Krishna Valley and range from 200 BC to AD 300.
13. Jaugada: Located in Ganjam district of Orissa, Jauguda is
known for the discovery of Ashokan major rock edicts which include two separate
edicts called the Kalinga edicts. The latter edicts are addressed to the
officers and ministers of a town Sampa, identified with Jaugada itself, and
instruct them to be judicious and fair in their dealings with the people so that
Ashoka’s policy of ‘Dhamma’ could achieve the desired results.
14. Kolhapur: Kolhapur is situated near Tungbhadra, tributary
of Krishna river. In the middle ages it was the main centre of the Marathas. In
1707, Tarabai, the wife of the youngest son of Shivaji, led a battle against
Shanu here. Later, Shanu conceded independence of Kolhapur state. A box with an
inscription from the times of Ashoka has been discovered in a large stupa at
Kolhapur. It was also an important place under the rule of Satvahans.
15. Nagarjunakonda: It lies on the right bank of the river
Krishna about 100 km west of Amravati. It was the capital of the Ikshvaku kings
in the thirdfourth century AD and was known as Vijaypuri. It was a centre of
the Purvashaila and Aparshaila schools of Mahasamghika sect of Buddhism and
famous for the great Buddhist stupa called Mahachaitya, and about thirty other
Buddhist monuments. It is one of the most intensively excavated site and has
revealed the evidence of neolithic and megalithic phases of culture. During
Satavahana and lkshavaku periods it became an important settlement. It was
inhabited by a number of merchants and artisans who were organized in guilds.
Terracota objects, beads of semi-precious stones, ivory bangles etc. have been
recovered here. The copper coins of the Satvahanas and the lead coins of the
Ikshavakus have also been found. Roman coins indicate the trade connections with
16. Calicut: It is situated on the coast of Malabar in Kerala.
On 17th May, 1948, Vasco de Gama discovered a new sea route to India and reached
near this famous port of Calicut. This really had ‘farreaching repercussions
from the civilized world. Through this Portuguese were the first among the
European nations to embark on the adventures in the East. At that time, Calicut
was ruled over by the Hindu ruler bearing the hereditary title of `Zamorin’.
17. Haldighati: Haldighati is situated near Aravali hills in
Rajasthan. A fierce battle was fought at Haldighati near Kumbhalgarh on 18th
June, 1976 between Akbar and Ranapratap, the Sisodia Rajput King. The place is
mainly famous for his gallantry and heroic battle against Akbar. His army fought
bravely but at last he had to take sojourn in the hills. Hunted from rock to
rock by his implacable enemy, and ‘feeding his family from the fruits of his
native hills’, he continued the war with undaunted spirit and energy and had the
satisfaction of recovering many of his strongholds before he died on 19th
January, 1597, at the age of fifty-seven.
18. Golkonda: It is situated on the bank of the river Moosi
near Hyderabad in Andhrapradesh. The remains of medieval south Indian
establishment have been found here on a very large scale. It was ruled over by
the Yadavas of Devgiri and Kaktees of Varangal. It was linked with the Delhi
Sultanate in 1310, when Malik Kafoor reached here. In 1518, Quli, Qutub Shah
established his dynasty in Golkonda. Aurangzeb assimilated it into the Moghul
Empire in 1687. It was once famous for diamonds. The Golkonda fort was made on
the hills of granite.
19. Somnath: Situated near the coastal area at Prabhaspattan
in Kathiavad in the state of Gujarat, the place is famous for the celebrated
Shiva temple. It was built by the Chalukyas. The most famous invasion of Mohmud
Ghazni took place in 1025-1026 when he marched against this famous temple of
Somnath. The temple was famed throughout India. The treasure accumulated in it
was also proportionate to its wide popularity.
20. Mathura: It is a district in Uttar Pradesh. It has been
to historical importance during different time periods as it was in the centre
of north India. In 6th century B.C. it was the capital of the Mahajanpada of
Shoorsen. During excavation here, coins of the IndoBactrian ruler Minander,
have been found. At the end of the 1st century, the school of Mathura began.
Working for centuries in the white-spotted red sandstone of the locality, it
produced works which were carried a and wide. It’s inspiration was Jaina. The
most striking remains of the Mathura school are the ‘yakshis’ from the railings
of a stupa. which was probably Jaina. It provided a reflection of the ancient
Indian outlook of life.
Q2. Asses the pattern of settlement, economy, social organization, and
religion of India during 2000 BC to 500 BC from archaeological evidences. (for Answer Join Online Coaching for IAS Mains Exam)
Q3. The Sixth century BC was a period of religious and economic unrest in
India Comment. (for Answer Join Online Coaching for IAS Mains Exam)
Q4. Examine the information of Fahien about the political,
religious, social and economic conditions of India. Make a comparative study of
his account with that of Yuan Chwang.
Fahien was a Chinese monk who travelled India during the age
of Chandra Gupta Vikramaditya. He travelled during C 399-414. His travelogues
give a fine impression about Chandra Gupta’s empire. The various aspects of his
empire, i.e. political, religious, social and economic, were clearly reflected
in his writings.
Yuan Chwang was another Chinese who visited India during C
360-644 during the reign of King Harshavardhan. Like Fahien. he was also a
Buddhist and came to India to explore more about Buddhist texts and places
related to Buddhism and to acquire authentic Buddhist scriptures.
Fahien noted the peacefulness of India, the rarity of serious
crime. and the mildness of the administration. He stated that it was possible to
travel from one end to the another, in the country without molestation, and
without passports. In his remarks on social custom he stated that all
respectable persons were vegetarians, mcateating being confined to low castes
and untouchables. He found Buddhism still flourishing, but theistic Hinduism was
Yuan Chwang was also aware of the four classes and had
mentioned many mixed classes, no doubt accepting the orthodox view of the time
that these sprang from the intermarriage of the four, but he shows no clear
knowledge of the existence of caste in its modem form. Yuan Chwang had mentioned
both about vegetarian and non vegetarian.
Fahicn’s record shows that in place of the old sacrificial
Brahmmnism. Hinduism has appeared. But in the best days of the Gupta Empire
Indian culture reached a perfection which it was never to attain again.
Humanitarian ideas, probably encouraged by Buddhism, were effective in Gupta
period in moderating the fierce punishments of earlier days. Fahien stated that
the death penalty was not imposed in north India, but most crime was punished by
fines and only serious revolt by the amputation of one hand. Executions were
rare. Yuan Chwang, 200 years later, reported that prisoners were not executed
under Harsha, but were left to rot in dungeons. Punishments were rather mild as
compared to the later times.
According to Fahien, the Shudras were kept outside the town
and entered the town by making a noise with a stick. They were butchers,
hunters, and fishermen. Yuan Chwang had also described this. Fahien states that
the income of the government was mainly based on the revenue taxes which was
one-sixth of the total production. Government officials were given fixed income
and there was no contribution from the people. Donation was prevalent in those
times. Fahien had made special note of free hospitals maintained by the
donations of pious citizens. Yuan Chwang had also reported that Nalanda was
supported by the revenues of an enormous estate of one hundred villages, and by
the alms of many patrons, including the great Harsha himself; it provided free
training for no less than 10,000 students, who had a large staff to wait on
them. Fahien was enamored by Patliputra and the huge palace of Ashoka. According
to Yuan Chwang, Patliputra was not a main city of north India and its place was
taken by Knnauj. Yuan Chwang had mentioned about the social and economic
conditions. As staled earlier, he reported about varna system and marriage.
Fahien had not described all this. But both of them had stated that the economy
was based on agriculture. He had given a detailed description of the Buddhist
pilgrimages. According to him, the Buddhist religion was divided into Mahayana
and Heenayana. He saw twenty Buddha vihars in Mathura. But in Kapilavastu. Gaya
and Kushinagar the condition was deteriorating which indicated the weakening of
Buddhism. In the description of Fahien, it is not clear whether Brahmin religion
was prevalent in the country or not. He visited two vihars near the stupa of a
Ashoka in Patliputra- in one of them the Mahayana monks resided and in the other
the Heenyana monks. The ruler of Madhya desh was a worshipper of Vishnu.
according to him mutual relation was cordial and peaceful among the Hindus and
the Buddhists. This indicates the religious tolerance of the society. Yuan
Chwang had also described the religious conditions of India at that time. The
Buddhist religion was clearly declining Despite of this, hundreds of monks
resided in the country. Fahicn had mentioned about the Jainism also. But there
is no mention of the Jain religion in Yuan Chwang’s texts. Fahien had also
mentioned about Shaiv and Vaishnav religion. Fahien, in comparison to Yuan
Chwang, had not been so observant and informative with regard to social,
economic and political conditions of the society. Yuan Chwang had completely
described the period of king Harshavardhana.
Q5. Write short essays in not more than 200 words each on any three of the
(a) Kalhan as a historian
Kalhan as a historian : Kalhan is an important historian in
Indian history. The 12th century A.D.Kashmiri poet, Kalhan, wrote ‘Rajtarangini’-
the river of kings `which has been of great value for the study of the history
of Kashmir. This history of his native land is in verse and the language is
Sanskrit. Out of the Sanskrit writings, Rajtarangini’ is one of the foremost
historical writing. Kalhan had sketched a detailed description of the history of
Kashmir from geological age upto his own age His writing was much more important
than that of the others during the same period because it was of much more
historical importance. Not only had he described the deeds of a brave person but
he had also tried to understand and explain the conditions of that time.
Kalhan was the son of a minister and later became the
consultant of King Harsha of Lahore Dynasty. As he was into the political system
directly, he was able to understand the political activities very minutely.
Though he was under several kings, he didn’t get any patronage from them. That
is the reason that Kalhan was able to write an unbiased and clear historical
writing without any pressure from the kings upon him. So, his writing was devoid
of rhetorical and clear of praises, evident in other writers under the patronage
of the kings.
He chose the medium of verse for his writings. Although his
writing seems to be inclined towards ornate style, he has mingled the historical
truth in it. In his historical writing, he laid emphasis on the transience of
the worldly life and physical materials. He wished that people should learn
lesson from the mistakes of their past. For this, he had to analyze the
conditions and events very minutely. This very analysis makes his writing much
more special than that of others. Kalhan had also given the sources of his
writing. He had used information about temples and other records. His use of
records as reason based sources of history was indeed an important contribution
to history. But he was not clear about the dates. Besides this regionalism was
apparent in his writing. He had included all the famous kings (i.e. Maurya
kings) as the rulers of Kashmir. Despite these minor aberrations, his writing is
really unique in every sense and no other contemporary historian can be compared
with him as far as his importance and minute observation is concerned.
Q(b) Experiments of Mohammad Tughluq
In the medieval Indian history, Mohammad Tughluq is known for
his new and revolutionary experiments. He made five plans and tried to implement
them. But he could not fully control the execution of the plans. His experiments
failed because of natural calamity. According to the historians, his experiments
were not wrong but wen, executed at a wrong time as these were far ahead of
their times. Following are his experiments:
(i) Capital Transfer: In 1327 Mohammad Tughluq shifted his
capital from Delhi to Devgiri and changed its name to Daulatabad. According to
Berni, Devgiri was situated at the centre of the kingdom. According to
tban-Batuta, the king was doing this in order to punish the people. As this
transfer was done in the summer season, it faced many problems. After two years
again, Delhi was made the capital. This resulted in the Sultan’s losing in the
estimation of the people and could never win back their confidence all his life.
(ii) Introduction of Token: Currency Introduction of token
currency was the second unprecedented project launched by Muhammad Tugluq. He
made the bronze coins as the legal tender in about 1330. A.D., and put them at
par, in value with the silver coins. The fundamental principle of this token
currency was same as that of the modem paper and metallic currency. This idea
was based on the experiment by the Chinese king Kublai Khan. The logical reason
for this experimentation was that there was lack of silver in the world at that
time. The plan was good but there could not be complete control over the minting
of the coins ss a result of which there was an abundance of forged coins and a
great deficiency was caused. The project failed and there was a great loss
entailed upon the treasury.
(iii) The Khorasan Expedition: According to Berni, the king
recruited 3,70,000 armed personnel for the conquest of Khurasan and Iraq. The
expedition was not undertaken probably because of the Sudden and unexpected
changes that came about in the diplomatic and political relations of Persia.
Egypt and Transoxiana. The maintenance and equipment caused a heavy drainage of
(iv) The Carachil Expedition: According to Berni, this
expedition was a part of the project ‘Khurasan expedition’. After the failure of
that scheme, the sultan wanted to utilige a part of the Khurasan army
Contemporary historians stated that the Sultan wanted to occupy the area near
China border. But due to ice-cold winds and rains, followed by the outbreak of
plague, these expeditions couldn’t be executed and was abandoned.
(v) The Enhancement of taxation in the Doab Due to the above
plans, the economy of the kingdom was in dire straits so Sultan enhanced the
Doab tax as he was anxious to replenish the empty treasury. The taxes were said
to be intolerable and wrought untold miseries on the people. After that, the
spread of general famine was the last nail in the coffin. Officials tried to
collect taxes by force. As a result of which the farmers revolted and there
enhanced the countrywide discontent against Muhammad Tughluq.
Q(c) Sufi Movements
Every religion developed some sort of mysticism in course of
time, so even Islam developed mysticism in the form of Sufism. In fact Kuran has
two different interpretations. The Orthodox interpretation was given by Muslim
Shariyat while its liberal interpretation was given by Muslim Tariqat. In fact
it was Tariquat that became the basis of Sufism.
The term Sufism originates from the term ‘safa’. The original meaning of Safa
was either sacred (pious) or coarse woolen cloths. In other word we can say,
some saints preferred to wear the coarse woolen cloth in reaction to the
luxuries in life.
In 10th A.D. there was a decline of Abbasid Caliphate and the rise of Turkish
monarchy. It was during this period as a reaction to corruptions and luxuries,
that creeped into Islamic way of life, Sufism appeared.
Sufism developed in the land of Persia. With the Turkish
invasion in India, a number of Sufi saints got settled in Punjab, Sindh and
other regions of north India. The first Sufi saint who came to India at the time
of invasion of Mahmud Ghazni was Sheikh-al-Huzuri or Data Ganj Baksh. During the
time of Ghazni invasion Sheikh Muinuddin Chisti came to India and he made his
khanqah in Ajmer. In 16th Century Abul Fazal talks about 14 Sufi Silsilah in
India of them chisti and Suhrawardi were more important.
The founder of chisti sect was Sheikh Muinuddin Chist. Two important Sufi
Saints were Nasiruddin Chirag-i-Dehlavi and Nizumuddin Aulia. Chisti saints were
living a very austere life and kept themselves away from the government favour.
The founder of Suhrawardi sect was Bahaudding Jakaria. Suhrawardi saints were
occupying the government jobs and seeking the government favour.
A number of ideologies contributed to the rise of Sufism. We
can underline the influence of Hinduism, Mahayana Buddhism, Zorastrianism, neo-platonism
on Sufism. Under the influence of monistic philosophy even Sufi saints started
to talk about the unity of soul and God. That’s why they were opposed by
Orthodox muslims and Ulemas who characterized the relationship between God and
Man as the master and the slave. So when a Sufi saint of 10th century
Mansur-bib-Hallaj declared himself to be An-Halaq he was taken as a heretic and
he was hanged to death. Later some other sufi saints in 12th century Al-Gazzali
worked as a mediator between orthodox Islam and Sufism. He declared that Allah
and his merits cannot be perceived simply with the help of rationalism but also
on the basis of self-light.
The specific emphasis of Sufism is on the love for God. It
tried to relieve the soul through professing qualb (heart).The objective of
Sufism is to make a travel from Ishq-Mizazi (worldly/mundane love) to
Ishq-Haqiqi (spiritual love). In Sufism there was the emphasis over Pir (the
spiritual guid), Murid (Disciple), wali (successor) and Khanquah (resting place
Q (d) Chauth and Sardeshmukhi.
In the reign of the niter Shivaji, there were two sources which contributed
to the income of the Maratha Kingdom- Chauth and Sardeshmukhi.
Chauth : It was one fourth of the total land income of any
region. It was taken from that region which was protected by the Maratha army
from any foreign invasion. According to the historian Ranade, it was not only a
donation to the army but was a tax given in lieu of the protection from foreign
invasion. The sultans of South and the Moghals had given this right to collect
this tax from their areas to the Marathas- The 3/4 part of chauth had been
collected for the maintenance of army. It was collected by maratha (Sardar)
chief for his own sustenance too, in the form of Saraujam. The 6% of Chauth
Sahotra (tax) was kept aside safely for the Part Secretary Three percent of
Chauth, which was called Not gauda was distributed by the Maratha raja at his
will. 16% of this Raja kept for himself, which was collected by Peshwa or
representative. With the help of this right the economy of state came in the
hands of the peshwas. For the first chauth was demanded after the treaty of
Sardeshmukhi : It was an old tax given to the maratha chief
as he was the head of the state (Deshmukh). According to Shivaji being the
hereditary Sardeshmukh highest in rank and in lieu of being the custodian of
the rights of the people, he has the right to collect Sardeshmukhi. There was an
official in Qutubshahi (Golkonda) state to collect the deshmukh tax.
Sardeshmukhi was equal to the 10% of land revenue, which was collected by the
Maratha rulers himself or by his representative. This tax was collected from
those areas which were included in the Maratha state. The Maratha chiefs used to
appoint their own separate tax officials which were different from the central
officials. The chief appointed officials (Aumashta) who used to collect 90%
Sardeshmukhi for them.
Q6. Attempt a critical essay of the Indian science and civilization in the
light of Alheruniis writings. What merits and drawbacks, do you find in his
account? (for Answer Join Online Coaching for IAS Mains Exam)
Q7. What impact did Kabir and Nanak leave on Indian society and culture?
(for Answer Join Online Coaching for IAS Mains Exam)
Q8. Akbar built the Moghul Empire by enlisting the support of the Rajputs,
Aurangzeb destroyed it by alienating the Rajputs? Do you agree?
After ascending to the throne solving earlier problems,
Akbar started his policy of the expansion of the kingdom in a proper way. In
that period. the Rajputs were an important political power. Akbar developed very
friendly relations with them and took their help in political matters. Through
their power and help, Akbar not only established an enormous Moghul kingdom but
also gave a proper form to their participation in strengthening the Moghul
Kingdom in later periods. This fact is very important that during the reign of
Akbar, the Moghul Empire was greatly expanded. During the times of his
predecessors, there were only battles and in that of his successors, the Empire
was only partly expanded. In Akbar’s times, the association with the Rajputs
started and a friendly relation was established.
As a result of which, the struggle based on religious and
political basis of the level for the ruler class diminished gradually. An age of
friendship and cooperation started which helped both the sides. In the Delhi
Sultanate, the Rajputs had enjoyed and important place from earlier times. In
the beginning of the Moghul period, Babur and Humayun faced a major resistance
from the Rajputs during their reign. Babur had to fight with Rana Sanga but
after that the Rajput’s political dominance, lessened. Till 1556, the Afghans
had an important place in Indian politics. Akbar understood the importants of
the Rajput power and hence made a proper policy to take their help in the
affairs of the Empire. Due to this policy, the Rajputs not only did become his
supporters, but they also contributed actively in the expansion of the Moghul
Empire. As the revolts of the Rajputs diminished, the reign of Akbar was more or
less very peaceful. So, he could build a permanent empire giving enough time to
There were two major problems as Akhar ascended to the
throne- (i) the problem of the Afghans and (ii) the problem of revolt by the
Hindu ruler class. The Rajputs could have been a help in solving these problems.
The Afghans could have been uprooted if there was an association between the
Moghuls and it the Rajputs. It is known that during the reign of Behar and
Humanyun there developed an armed alliance between the Afghans and the Rajputs.
Keeping in view all these things, Akbar sought the help of a section of the
powerful Hindus the Rajputs. in solving the internal and external problems.
Akbar had promised the Rajputs that there would be no interference in their
social, religious and internal political matters. Although there was not any
essential condition to establish marriage relations. Akbar strengthened his ‘
relations with the rulers like King Bharmal with the help of marriage.
At first, in 1562 Akbar had a treaty of friendship with king
Bharmal. King Bharmal and his family cooperated with Akbar till the end. Almost
the whole of the Rajput region was included in the Empire of Akbar. Uptill
1585-86, the Rajputs had not only become friends but were participant in the
Empire. In the battle of Kabul in 1580 Mansingh showed undaunted gallantry and
bravery. King Todarmal had strengthened the economy of the state by giving a new
dimension to the land revenue system of that time. The contribution of the
Rajputs in the Mughol service consolidated the Empire. Mansingh as the Subedar
of Kabul, Shekhawat as that of Agra and Jagannath as that of Ajmer, provided
stability to the Empire.
The predecessors of Akhar, Jahangir and Shanjahan, more or
less followed his Rajput policy. But during the reign of Aurangzeb, there came a
drastic change in these policies. In the beginning, Aurangzeb got the help of
the Rajputs. In the fight of succession Jaswant Singh gave military help to
Aurangzeb. But in 1679, he had to face the opposition from the Rajputs. Even
after that, the relation of Aurangzeb with the Rajput didn’t finish completely.
But indeed it got strained. In 1978, after the death of Jaswant Singh the ruler
of Marwar, Aurangzeb interfered in the issue of successor of Marwar. This made
the Rathore Rajputs his enemies. He fought battles with the Rajputs also during
the Marwar battle, Aurangzeb forced ‘jazia tax’ on the Hindus. He collected
pilgrimage tax also and destroyed many temples. This gave rise to feeling of
enmity and resentment among the Hindus. Later on, the ruler of Marwar allied
with the Rathore Rajputs against Aurangzeb. The Rajputs also helped his
unsatisfied and revolting Son Akbar, but Aurangzeb solved this problem by his
Till the end of the period of Aurangzeb the Moghuls had gained strength in north
India and sought help of the Marathas in the South, that is why he didn’t give
much attention to the Rajputs. Apart from his orthodox policy the contemporary
situations very much contributed to his Rajput policy.
The economic and feudal problems were basically responsible
for the decline of the Moghul Empire, not his Rajput policy. He added another
problem to his problems by distancing the Rajputs. His Rajput policy reflects
his incapability to handle the issues which gave a fillip to the prestige of the
Moghul Empire. As a result of which political and religious resentment spread
to a great extent. So, comparing and analyzing the policies and deeds of Akbar
and Aurangzeb, there is no doubt that Aurangzeb destroyed the prestige and
esteem of the Moghul Empire which had prospered and shined brilliantly tinder
the golden reign of Akbar. While Akhar quite diplomatically acquired the
support of the Rajputs. Aurangzeb alienated them and weakened his Empire.
Paper - II
Q1. Comment on any three of the following statements in about 200 words
(a) ‘Absentee landlordism was a consequential feature of Bengal’s Permanent land
In Bengal the revenue had previously been collected through
hereditary Zamindars. The Zamindars of Bengal were really the rural agent
government. Below the Zamindars came the cultivating peasants. They were exposed
to the rods of Zamindars as the Zamindars were liable to the rot the government
officers, but like the Zamindars themselves they had a traditional hereditary
right were rarely dispossessed. But in British period e right had been
The great difficulty of the company was to know how much the
countryside could safely pay. This the Zamindar’s secret which they were
disinclined share since their living depended on its exploitation At first the
company’s demand together with servants’ derangment of the local economy led to
collection. Hastings made several attempts regularize the situation but he never
succeeded penetrating the Zamindars’ secret. Due to settlements were made with
the Zamindars for a of years, fixed at ten in 1789 and finally permanent. The
Zamindars were looked as landlords. In England the central feagure in
agriculture at the time was the landlord and the British officials made the
mistake of thinking that the Zamindars their Indian counterpart. The landlord in
Britain ii the owner of the land not only in relation to the term but also in
relation to the state. But in Bengal x the zamindars were landlord over the
tenants, he himself subordinated to the state. Intact he ii reduced virtually to
the status of a tenant of (helm India Company.
The Zamindar was to make a fixed annual papa to the
government. retarning one tenth of his collect as his fee. But at first the
rates were high and pt did not rise, so that he could not even squeeze peasant.
Then he was sold up instead of being but up but left where he was in the Mughal
way .The result was a big change in Zamindari personnel and the appearance of
new men from Calcutta who bought estates as financial speculations. The new
landlord were often absentees with no local connection, 1, Bengal peasantry
became a rustic proletariat.
Q(b) ‘India underwent suffering andmortality in the wake of recurring
famines’ in the later half of the 19th century.
A major characteristic of British rule in India and the net
result of British economic policies was theprevalence of extreme poverty among
its people. The poverty of the people found its culmimation in a series of
famines which ravaged all parts of India in the second half’ of the 19th
century. The first of these famines occurred in western UP in 1960-61 and cost
over 2 lakh of lives. In 1865-66 a famine engulfed Orissa, Bengal, Bihar and
Madras and took a fall of nearly 20 lakhs of lives. Orissa alone losing 10 lakhs
of people. More than 14 lakhs of persons died in the famine of 1868-70 in
western U.P., Bombay and Punjab. Many states of Rajputana. another affected
area, lost one-fourth to one-third of their population. Perhaps the worst famine
in Indian history till then occurred in 1876-78 in Madras, Mysore, Hyderabad,
Maharashtra, Western U.P., and the Punjab. Maharashtra cost 8 lakhs people,
Madras nearly 35 lakhs. Mysore nearly 20% of its population and UP over 12 lakhs.
Drought led to a countrywide famine in 1896-97 which affected over 9.5 crores of
people of whom nearly 45 lakhs died. The famine of 1899-1900 followed quickly
and caused widespread distress. In spite of official efforts to save lives
through provision of famine relief, over 25 lakhs people died.
Apart from these major famines, many other local famines and
scarcities occurred. William Digoy, a British writer has calculated that, in
all, over 28,825,000 people died during famines from 1854 to 1901. India’s
economic backwardness and poverty were not due to the niggardliness of nature.
They were abundant and capable of yielding, if properly utilized, a high degree
of prosperity to the people. But as a result of foreign rule and exploitation,
and of a backward agrarian and industrial economic structure-in fact as the
total outcome of its historical and social developmentIndia presented the
paradox of a poor people living in a rich country.
Q(c) ‘In the summer of 1942 Gandhi was in a strange and uniquely militant
Britain and France joined together to placate Hider. The
Government of India immediately joined the war without consulting the National
Congress or the elected members of the central legislature. While Congress was
in full sympathy with the victims of fascist aggression, and was willing to help
the forces of democracy in their struggle against fascism. So congress demanded
freedom to participate actively in the struggle. The British government refused
to accept this demand and tried to pit the religious minorities and princes
against the Congress. The Congress therefore asked its ministers to resign.. In
October. 1940 Gandhi gave the call for a limited Satyagraha.
Vinoba Bhave was the first to offer Satyagraha. By 15 May
1941, more than 25,000 Satyagrahis had been jailed. In the East. Japan was
growing and occupied Rangoon in March 1942 and was moving towards India and the
spectre of Japanese conquest began to haunt the people and their leaders. In the
mean time British Government desperately wanted the active cooperation of
Indians in the war effort. To secure this cooperation it sent to India in March
1942 a mission headed by a Cabinet Minister. Sir Stafford Cripps, who was
earlier the strong supporter of Indian National Movement. Even though Cripps
declared that the aim of British Policy in India was “the earliest possible
realization of self government in India”- detailed negotiations between him and
the Congress leaders broke down. The British govemment refused to accept the
Congress demand for the immediate transfer of effective power to Indians. The
failure of Cripps Mission embittered the people of India. The period from April
to August 1942 was one of the daily heightening tension, with Gandhiji becoming
more and more militant as Japanese forces moved towards India.
The congress now decided to take active steps of compel the
British to accept the Indian demand for independence. The All India Congress
Committee met at Bombay on 8 August 1942. It passed a famous ‘Quit India’
Resolution and proposed the starting of a nonviolent mass struggle under
Gandhiji’s leadership to achieve this aim. Addressing the Congress delegates on
the night of 8 August he delivered a fiery speech and gave a slogan, “Do or
Q(d) ‘Rabindranath Tagore’s nationalism was based on a Catholic
Tagore’s concepts about ‘nation’ and ‘state’ were not of
Indian origin. He held the view that it was of European origin. To him state is
an “organization for power”. The concept of Nation state may have suffered due
to it. The “Nation is the greatest evil for the nation They “trade on the
feebleness of the rest of world”. It aims at success and not goodness. It is
collective selfishness at the cost of morality. In its organic form, it reduces
individual to a mere Cog. Nationalism, he felt, it has hindered the growth of
humanism. Both Nation and Nationalism have a very narrow scope. He considered
Nation to be opposed to the social interest of man. The ideal of the social man
is unselfishness, but the ideal of the nation. like that of professional man, is
selfishness. The belief in nation state and nationalism have raised barrier
between the societies. The basis of Hindu civilization is society, the basis of
European civilization is the state. But if we ever think that to build up the
Nation after European pattern is the only way open and the only aim of humanity,
we shall be wrong. He loved all men irrespective of their racial levels. In
small minds, patriotism disassociates itself from the higher ideal of humanity.
It becomes the magnification of self. On a stupendous scale-magnifying our
vulgarity, cruelty, greed dethroning God, to put up this bloated self in its
place. Hence, “price of patriotism is not for me. I earnestly hope that I shall
find my home anywhere in the world before I leave it”. His patriotism was not
bound to the geographical limits. He identified himself with all humanity.
Tagore made this belief his own. He expended the spiritual
unity of man and of universalism on this basis. The true freedom according to
him is. the freedom of soul. Since, the common spirit is present in all; men,
therefore, are equal. For this, he held that the harriers of race, nationalism,
religion and caste should not be taken as more than the paper walls.
Q2. What was the impact of early British land policy on the ‘village
communities’ of North India? (for Answer Join Online Coaching for IAS Mains Exam)
Q3. Trace the factors which led to a split in the Indian National Congress
in 1907.What was its impact on the course of the nationalist movement? (for Answer Join Online Coaching for IAS Mains Exam)
Q4. Examine the causes of the rise and progress of revolutionary movements
in India from 1905 to 1931.
Along with the open political movements. there arose in the
first decade of the 20th century various revolutionary groups in the different
parts of the country. These early revolutionaries, active mainly in Bengal,
Maharashta, Tamil Nadu and Punjab had no faith in constitutional agitations.
They believed that by terrorizing British officials, they would be able to
demoralize the entire machinery of the government and bring about freedom. After
the government suppressed almost all open political agitations and imprisoned a
large number of nationalist leaders, the activities of the revolutionary groups
After the division of Bengal, the leadership of
Anti-partition movement soon passed to militant nationalist, like Tilak, Bipin
Chandra Pal and Aurobindo Ghose. This was due to many factors.
Firstly. the early movement of protest by the moderates
failed to yield results. Even the liberal secretary of state John Morely, from
whom much was expected by the moderate Nationalists, declared the partition to
he a settled fact which would not be changed. Secondly, the government of the
two Bengals, particularly of East Bengal, made effective efforts to divide Hindu
and Muslim. Seeds of HinduMuslim disunity in Bengal Politics were perhaps sown
at this nine. This embittered the nationalists. But most of all, it was a
repressive policy of the government which led people to militant and
revolutionary politics. The government of East Bengal, in particular, tried to
crush the nationalist movement. Official attempted at preventing student
participation in the Swadeshi Agitation. The singing of Bande Matram in public
streets in East Bengal was banned. Public meetings were restricted and sometimes
forbidden. Laws controlling the press enacted. Swadeshi workers were prosecuted,
and imprisioned for long periods.
Many students awarded even corporate punishment. From 1906 to
1909 more than 550 cases came up before Bengal court. Prosecutions against a
large number of nationalist newspapers were launched and freedom of press was
completely suppressed. Military police was stationed in many towns where it
clashed with the people_ One of the most notorious examples of repressions was
the police assault on the peaceful delegates of Bengal provincial conference at
Barisal in April 1906. Many of the young volunteers were severely beaten up and
the conference itself was forcibly dispersed. In December 1908 nine Bengal
leaden including the venerable Krishna Kumar Mitra and Ashwini Kumar Drift were
deported. In 1908, the great Tilak was arrested and given the severe sentence of
6 years imprisonment. Chidambram Pillai in Madras and Hari Sarvottam Rao and
other in Andhra were put behind bars. As the militant nationalists came to the
face, they gave the call for passive resistance in addition to Swadeshi and
Boycott. They asked the people to refuse to cooperate with the government and to
boycott government service, the courts, government schools, and colleges and
municipalities and legislative councils, and thus, as Aurobindo Ghose put it,
“to make administration under present condition impossible”. The militant
nationalists tried to transform the Swadeshi and Anti-partition agitation into a
mass movement and gave the slogan of independence from foreign rule.
The youth of Bengal found all avenues of peaceful protest and
political actions blocked and out of desperation they fell back upon individual
heroic action and the cult of the bomb. They no longer believed that passive
resistance could achieve nationalist aims.
The British must therefore, be physically expelled. In 1904,
V.D. Savarkar had organized the Abhinav Bharat, a secret society of
revolutionaries. After 1905 several news papers had begun to advocate
revolutionary terrorism. The Sandhya and the Yugantar in Bengal and the Kal in
Maharashtra were the most important among them.
In December 1907 an attempt was made on the life of the
Lieutenant Governor of Bengal and in April 1908, Khudiram Bose and Prafull a
Chaki threw a bomb at a carriage which they believed was occupied by Kingsford,
the popular judge at Muzaffarpur. Prafulla Chaki shot himself dead while
Khudiram Bose was tried and hanged. The era of revolutionary terrorism had
The revolutionaries also established centres of activity
abroad. In 1915 during an unsuccessful revolutionary attempt. Jatin Mukherjee
popularly known as Bagha Jatin gave his life fighting a battle with the police
at Balasore. Rash Bihari Bose, Raja Mahendra Pratap, Lala Hardayal, Abdul Rahim,
Maulana Ubaidllah Sindhi, Champa Karaman Pillai, Sardar Singh Rana and Madam
Cama were some of the prominent leaders who carried on revolutionary activities
and propaganda outside India.
Another reflection of the new mood was growing activity of
the revolutionary terrorist movement which too was beginning to take a socialist
turn. The failure of the first non-cooperation movement had led to the revival
of the revolutionary movement. After an all India conference. the Hidustan
Republican Association was founded in October 1224 to organize an armed
revolution. The government struck at it by arresting a large number of terrorist
youths and trying them in the Kakori conspiracy case (1925). Seventeen were
sentenced to long term of imprisonment, four were transported for life and four
including Rain Prasad Bismal and Ashfaquallah were hanged. The terrorists soon
came under the influence of socialist ideas. and in 1928, under the leadership
of Chandra Shekher Azad changed the name of their organization to the Hindustan
Sociolist Republican Association (HSRA).
They also gradually began to move away from individual heroic
action and terrorism. But the brutal lathi-charge on an anti-Simon Commission
demonstration on 30 October, 1928 led to a sudden change. The great Punjabi
Leader Lala Lajpat Rai died as a result of the lathi blows. This enraged the
youth and on 17 December 1928, Bhagat Singh, Azad and Rajguru assassinated
Saunders, the British Police officer who had led the Lathi Charge. The HRSA
leadership also decided to let the people know about their changed political
activities and objectives and the need for a revolution by the masses.
Consequently, Bhagat Singh and B.K. Dutt a threw a bomb in the Central
Legislative Assembly on 8 April 1929. The bomb did not harm anyone, for it had
been deliberately made harmless. The aim was not to kill but, as their leaflet
put it, “to make the deaf hear”. Bhagat Singh and B.K. Daft a could have easily
escaped, but they deliberately chose to be arrested for they wanted to make use
of the court as a forum for revolutionary propaganda.
In Bengal too, revolutionary terrorist activities were
revived. In April 1930, a well-planned and largescale armed raid was organised
on the government armoury at Chitagang. under the leadership of Surya Sen. This
was the first of many attacks on unpopular government officials. A remarkable
aspect of the terrorist movement in Bengal was the participation of young women.
The Chitagang revolutionaries marked a major advance. Their’s was not an
individual action but a group action aimed at the organs of the colonial state.
Bhagat Singh. Sukhdcv and Rajguru were executed on 23 March 1931. In his last
message of 3 March 1931 he declared that the struggle in India would continue so
long as “a handful of exploiters go on exploiting the labour of the common
people for their own ends. It matters little whether these exploiters are purely
British capitalists, or British and Indians in alliance or even purely_
Indians”. And he accepted that he acted as a terrorist but he was not the
The revolutionary terrorist movement soon abated though stray
activities were carried on for several years more. Chandra Shekhar Azad was
killed in a shooting encounter with the police in a Public Park. Surya Sen was
arrested in February 1933 and hanged soon after.
5. Comment on any three of the following statements in about 200 words each:
(a) ‘The French Revolution attacked privileges and not property.’
French society was divided into classes or estates. There
were two privileged classes-the clergy and the nobility. These were known as the
first estate and estate respectively. These two classes together owned about 40
per cent of the total land of France. They were exempted from taxes and
controlled most of the administrative posts and all the high ranking posts in
the army. Their income primarily came from their large land holdings. A minority
of these also depended on pensions and gift from the king. They considered it
beneath their dignity to trade or to be engaged in manufacture or to do any
work. The life of the nobility was everywhere characterized by extravagance and
luxury. Due to what France was suffering economic crisis. There were of course
poorer sections in these two top estates. They were discontent and blamed the
richer member of their class for their misery.
The rest of the people of France were called the Third
Estate. They were common people and numbered about 95 per cent population of the
total. People of the Third Estate were unprivileged people. Louis XVI was the
king when revolution broke out.
Every phenomenon in history has got an economic
interpretation. And the revolution of 1789 was definitely an economic
revolution. The cleavage between man and man, based upon the privilege which was
enjoyed by a set of people and denied to another, was mainly an economic
difference. It was that privilege that shifted the main burden of taxation upon
the soulder of the poor and denied the high posts in the government to all but
the well born. Thus the difference between privileged and the unprivileged was
based on some opportunities lavishly bestowed upon some and totally denied to
others. This inequality or desire for equality or the demand for social and
economic justice was the fundamental reason of the revolution of 1789. As a
result of the revolution all privileges were abolished and people started to
avail equal opportunities. Thus the French Revolution attacked priviledged not
Q(b) ‘The roots of the rise of Fascism lay in Peace Treaties.’
The end of the First World War, “The war to end all wars”, it
was believed, would be followed by an era of peace, freedom, democracy a better
life for everyone. But the development during the next 20 years these hopes. One
of the major drawbacks was the coming to power of dictatorial regimes in many
countries of Europe. Some of the roots of the conflicts in Europe lay in Peace
Treaties after the war. After the sense of humiliation rising from defeat of
1918 Germany was left to the mercy of its powerful enemies. On January 18. 1919
allied nations drafted a peace treaty with Germany giving her five days time to
sign it or face an invasion. Germany had no choice but to sign what she called
dictated peace. She was forced to accept her “war guilt”. The treaty had a
chapter which started by stating about Germany’s accepting the responsibility of
Germany and her allies for causing all the loss and damage to them. On 28 June,
1919 the Treaty of Versailles was signed with Germany.
According the provision of this treaty, AlsaceLorrain, which
Germany had seized from France in 1871 was returned to France. Belgium, Denmark
and Lithuvania also gained territories from Germany. Germany was debarred from
uniting with Austria, the Rhineland was to be permanently demilitarized and
occupied by the allied troops for 15 years. The strength of the German army was
fixed at 100,000 and she was not to have any air force and submarines, only a
limited number of naval ships. Having been forced to admit her ‘war guilt’, she
was required to pay reparations to the Allies. The reparation were assessed
later on amounted to £ 6,600 million. He was also deprived of all her colonial
possessions having been divided among the victorious powers as per the secret
treaties. The reparation settlement doomed the German economy for the
foreseeable future. Because of these the German began to experience severe
That Italy turned to Fascism, may at first seems surprising,
in view of the fact that the Italians emerged as victors after the first world
war. Yet its difficulties were rooted in the problems that the war had done
little to resolve. The demoralising and humiliating effects of the war gave rise
to Fascism in Italy. The financial cost of Italian participation was over $ 15
billion. Compared to Britain and France these sacrifices were far greater as
Italy was a poor country. But, in the peace treaties during the division after
the fighting the Italians got less than the expected. While Italy did receive
most of the Austrian territories promised in the secret treaties, it was felt
that these were inadequate for their valuable contributions and sacrifices made
in the war. All of these factors contributed to the revolutionary mood in the
country. In this situation, Mussolini leading an army of Fascist militia gained
control of the Italian government. It was all the result of the humiliating
effects of the peace treaties of the first world war and not because of the
strength of Fascism.
Q (c) ‘The Security Council is the heart of the United Nations.’
Protracted deliberations and mutual negotiations led to the
inception of the United Nations Organization in 1945. International peace and
security is the first concern of United Nations Organization, and the wing of
United Nations which perform this duty is the Security Council.
The security council often described as the enforcement wing
of United Nations. For this purpose, its service can be requisitioned any time.
This naturally implies that the security council has to work continuously so
that it can take quick action in the event of threat to international peace or
security. At present the Security Council comprises of 15 members-five permanent
and ten non-permanent. The five permanent members are China, France, Russia, USA
and United Kingdom. The non-permanent members are not eligible for immediate
For its deliberative and enforcement functions the Security
Council is meant the heart of United Nations, because every matter related to
peace and security are settled and discussed in Security Council. In the first
instance the council has the power to discuss and investigate any dispute or
situation and make recommendation to the member states to settle their disputes
by peaceful means. Disputes or situation likely to endanger international peace
and security may be brought to the attention of Security Council by any member
of UN, by the Geneal Assembly or by the Secretary General.
The Security Council has also been vested with important
enforcement powers. When the Security Council finds that a peaceful settlement
among the disputant countries is not possible, it can decide upon measure which
it considers necessary for the maintenance of order and restoration of
international peace and security. While taking up adequate measures, Security
Council first tries to resolve the dispute without involving the use of armed
forces. For this purpose it can adopt measures like complete or partial
interruption of economic relations, severing of rail, sea, air, postal. radio
and other communication links; and snapping of diplomatic relations.
The new members to the world body can he admitted by General Assembly only on
the recommendation of the Security Council. By virtue of this power the Security
Council refused to recommend admission of Albania, Bulgaria, Hungary. Romania
etc. as members of United Nations. Due to these elaborate powers and functions
security council has been called the heart of the UN.
Q (d) ‘The Brussels Treaty of 17 March, 1948 paved the way for the formation
During the World War II, Britain, the United States and the
USSR had together fought against the fascist countries, but after the war
conflict began to emerge between Britain and the US on the one hand and the
USSR on the other, the relation between them began to deteriorate and came to be
characterized by what is called the Cold War. It became more and more intense
and the world was divided into two major blocksthe US and West European
countries forming one bloc and USSR and the socialist countries of Eastern
Europe forming the other. With the increase in the might of the USSR the
mergence of government ruled by communist parties in many parts of the world
alarmed the government of US, Britain and other west European countries.
They all became aligned and began to follow a policy mainly aimed at curving
the growth of communism.
In this tense international situation, the Brussel’s Treaty
was signed on 17 March, 1948 by Britain, France, Belgium, Holland and
Luxemburg. It was a treaty of economic, social and cultural collaboration and
collective self defence. It was a commitment by the five powers who signed it
that if any of them was attacked in Europe (which meant that their colonies were
not covered) all other signatories would provide all military aid and other
assistance within their power. This treaty created the Brussel’s Treaty
organization also. It was defensive in nature without naming any enemy in
advance, but Soviet block interpreted it as an alliance against her as was the
tense situation at that time.
It is in this background that the North Atlantic Treaty
Organizations (NATO) was formed in 1949 for defence against Soviet Union. The
members of this alliance were US, Britain, France, Belgium, Canada, Denmark,
Iceland, Italy, Netherland, Luxemburg, Norway and Portugal. NATO army was
created which established its bases in many countries in Europe.
Q6. ‘Bismarck united Germany not bymajority of votes and speeches but by a
policy of “blood and iron”. In the light of this statement assess the
contribution of Bismarck to the unification of Germany. (for Answer Join Online Coaching for IAS Mains Exam)
Q7. Examine the causes of the Russian Revolution of 1917 and indicate its
significance in world history. (for Answer Join Online Coaching for IAS Mains Exam)
Q8. Analyse the factors leading to the end of the Cold War and account for
the U.S. ascendancy in the world.
The cold war had begun at a time when the allies, including
the US and USSR had successfully defeated the Nazi Germany and her axis
partners. The world had expected the lasting friend among the victors when they
split and formed two hostile camps. The cold war ended (1990) at a tine when the
common man had come to live with it and it was expected that (despite ups and
downs and detente) the cast-west conflict would become permanent. When the cold
war suddenly ended, the Western Bloc had not expected ‘victory’ and the Eastern
Bloc was still dreaming of self destruction of capitalism. The end of cold war
came under the aegis of two rather improbable collaborators-Ronald Reagan and
Mikhial Gorbachev. The American president had been elected to reaffirm the
traditional varieties of American exceptionalism. He was expected to continue to
contain communism, not to defeat it. He represented the right in US society.
Gorbachev was determined to reinvigorate what he considered a superior soviet
ideology. Reagan and Gorbachev both believed in the ultimate victory of their
side. Henry Kissinger compared the two men and concluded that while “Reagan
understood the mainsprings of his society, whereas Gorbachev had completely lost
touch with his society”.
The process of end of Cold War started in the second half of
the 1980s when there was softening in the attitude of the top leaders and they
adopted conciliatory posters towards each other. The first concrete
manifestation of this change was the Malta Summit between president Bush of US
and Mikhail Gorvachev of Soviet Union. In this summit, held aboard ship off
Malta on 2 December 1989, the two leaders made a serious bid to reduce tensions
and check the growing threats or conflicts in various areas like middle-cast.
It has rightly been asserted that the Malta Summit marked the beginning of a new
phase in the post World War 11 international polities. It also laid the
foundation of political cooperation between US and USSR in shaping the post war
order in Europe.
The Washington Summit (May 30-June 2. 1990) further
contributed to the easing of cold war. At this summit president Bush and
President Gorbachev concluded a number of agreements on nuclear, chemical and
conventional arms. The two sides agreed to destroy-thousands of tons of
chemical weapons and reduce their stockpiles. They agreed to start destruction
of these weapons in 1992 and finish it by 2002 AD. They also agreed to cease
further production of these weapons with immediate effect. Another important
outcome of this summit was that the two leaders agreed on principles regarding
the strategic Armed Reduction Treaty (START) which was finally signed on 21
July, 1991. Under this treaty the two superpowers agreed to effect reduction to
equal levels in defined strategic offensive arm over a period of seven years.
They also agreed to set up a joint commission on certification and inspectign.
This was followed by announcement of ‘Unilateral disarmament’ by president
Bush. He even indicated his intention to take nuclear tactical weapons out of
European soil and reduce possibility of any accidental war. President Bush
removed from alert status all missile covered by START and ordered removal of
all nuclear artillery shells from overseas bases. He urged Soviet Union to match
the nuclear arms cut. The soviet leaders responded favorably and on 5 October
1991 president Gorbachev not only announced extensive cuts in tactical nuclear
weapon, but also announced cut of more missiles then it was required under
START. Further, Soviet Union also announced one year moratorium on nuclear
This process of unilateral cut of nuclear arms was repeated
by president Bush in Jan, 1992, and president Yeltsin of Russia responded
equally and announced a 10 point disarmament with the objective of liquidating
all nuclear, biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction.
In the meanwhile the leaders of North Atlantic Treaty
Organisation (NATO) and the Warsaw Pact held a conference on security and
cooperation in Europe (CSCE), in Paris in November 1990 with a view to
eliminate the threats of surprise attack and establish parity of conventional
weapons in Europe. The treaty provided for scrapping or conversion about 40.000
tanks and equal number of armored vehicle as well as more than 50,000 artillery
pieces on both sides. It was also decided to refuse the number of fighting
planes and helicopter gunships. In the wake of above developments the leaders
of Warsaw Pact countries decided to dissolve the Eastern European alliance in
July 1991. This put an end to east-west confrontation.
The factors which contributed to the end of cold war are that
first. the changed strategic perception of two super powers greatly contributed
to the end of cold war. As the two super powers attained parity in nuclear
weapons, they realised that nuclear weapons would be suicidal for both. None of
them would be able to win the war, while both would be ruined beyond
redemption. Second the enormous expenses being incurred on the maintenance of
military bases across the seas, was greatly straining the economy of US and it
was though desirable to curb this futile expenditure, particularly in view of
the fact that the maintenance of military bases provided only nominal gains.
Third, the two superpowers came to realize that the regional
conflicts and proxy wars (as in Vietnam, Angola and Afghanistan) had served no
useful purpose. On the other hand these wars had caused serious financial
burdens on the two superpowers. This economic strain in turn had led to
deterioration of economy of the two countries. This resulted in record trade and
budget deficits in United States. Kikewise the military commitment in lands
situated far away had upset the soviet economy. All this obliged the leaders of
two superpowers to climb down from the earlier rigid postures and reduce
When the cold war ended, it was expected that an ideal world
based on understanding, cooperation, disarmament and peace would emerge. But
this happened only in the term of America alone.
In the post cold war world there have been and are many
crises, but no overriding ideological challenge to the united states. Chinese
communist leaders have opted for liberation, though in their own style. China
is no more ideological challenge to the United States, her being people’s
republic not withstanding. There are emerging economic competitors like Germany
and Japan and Russia is still a nuclear power and can pose a challenge to
Almost every situation in post-cold war period in a special
case. Circumstances helped the United States to prevail in the cold war. But, it
may not he very easy for her to dominate the (expected) multipolar world of the
After the breakup of USSR, US became the sole power to
interfere in matters of the world politics in her own terms. The possibility of
Unipolar world was being discussed. The US tried to build a new world order by
applying its own domestic values to the world at large. Russia was too involved
in its own domestic problems. The US led 28 nation coalition’s military action
against Iraq for the liberation of Kuwait in 1991 played a major role for the US
ascendancy in the world. Its role in Afghanistan has also proved her supremacy
over the world community unchallenged.