UPSC IAS Mains History Optional Solved Exam Paper - 2007
:: Paper - I ::
1. Mark the following places on the map supplied to you and write short descriptive notes on them.
:: Paper - II ::
1. Comment on any three of the following statements in about 200 words each:
(a). The Revolt of 1857 seemed to call the very presence of the British into question. What it did not do was reverse these changes.
Ans: A mighty popular revolt broke out in Northern and Central India in 1857 and nearly swept away the British rule. It began with the mutiny of sepoys but soon engulfed wide regions and involved themasses. Millions of peasants artisans and soldiers fought heroicallyfor over a year and bytheir exemplary courage and sacrifice wrote a glorious chapter in the history of the Indian people.
The revolt broke out at Meerut on the 10th May 1857. The Meerut soldiers marched to Delhi and proclaimed the aged and powerlessBahadur Shah the Emperor ofIndia. Delhi waswon to become theCentre of Great Revolt and Bahadur Shah its great symbol. Bahadur Shah in return wrote to all chiefs and rulers to organize confederacy to overthrow British regime. The entire Bengal army soon rose in revolt which spread quickly. Awadh, Rohilkhand, poall, tile Bundelkhand. Central India, large parts of Bihar, and East Punjab all shook off British authority. In many princely states. rulers remarked royal to their British overload. but the soldiersrevolted. Manyof the htdorc troopsrebelled and joined sepoys. Many small chiefs of Maharashtra and Rajasthan revolted with the support of people.
The tremendous sweep and breadth of the revolt wasmatched byits depth. Everywhere in Northern and Central India. the mutinyofsepoys triggered popular revolts ofthe civilian population.Alter the sepoys had destroyed British authority. the conunon people rose up in arms often lighting with spears and axes, bows and arrows.
In many places, people revolted even before the sepoys did or even when no sepoy regiments were present. It is the wide participation by the peasants, the artisans, shopkeepers and zamindars which gave it real strength as well as the character of a popular revolt, especiallyin the areasincluded in Uttar Pradesh andBihar. Here the peasants and zamindars expressed their grievances by attacking money lenders and new zamindars.
British law court, revenue offices. Much of the strength of the revolt of 1857 lay in Hindu, Muslim unity. Among the soldiers and people and among leaders, there was complete cooperation between Hindus and Muslims. The Hindus and Muslimsrebels and sepoys respected each other’s sentiments.
The revolt through challenging the British role could not reverse the changes brought by the British. This was owing to many weakness from which the revolt suffered. Foremost was the revolt could not assume all India’s character. Also, the rebels did not havemodern weapons and other materials ofwar.Also, they did not possess aforward-looking progranmte. a coherent ideology a political perspective or a vision offuture society and economy. It represented no social alternative tobe intermitted after capture of power. The revolt was first great strength of Indian people. It passed the way for rise ofmodem national movement.
(b) “Of the evils which corroded Indian society in the nineteenth century were probably those stunted its womanhood.”
Ans: Of the several evils cording the Indian society in the nineteenth century, the most growing with the stunting the women. For countless centwise, women in India had been subordinated to men and severally opposed. The variousreligions practiced in India as well as the personal laws based on them cognizedwomen to a statusinferior tothat ofmen. The condition of upper class women was in this regard worse than that ofpeasant women. The traditional view often praised the role ofwomen as wives and mothers but as individuals they were assigned a very lowly social position.
They were supposed to have no personality of their own apart fromtiesto their husbands. Theycould not find any other expression to their in boon talents or desires except as housewives. In fact, theywere seen as adjusts to men. A women could only marry only once, a man was pemitted have more than one wife. Among Muslims, too this custom of polygamy practiced. In large parts of the country, woman had to have behind the purdah. The custom of earlymarriage prevailed, and even children of eight or nine were married.Widow could not remarryand had to reap as ascetic and restricted life. In manyparts ofthe country. the horrifying custom of sati was or self-immolation of widows prevailed. Hindu women had no right to inherit property. not did they enjoy the right to geminate an undesirable marriage. Muslim women could inherit propertybut only half as much as a man could, and in matter of divorce even theoreticallythere was no igniting between husband and wife. In facts, Muslim women headed divorce.
The social positions of Hindu and Muslim women as well astheir values were similar. Moreover in both the casestheywere economically and socially totally dependent on man. Lastly, the benefit of education was derived to most of them. In addition, women were taught to accept their subjugation and even towelcome it as a badge of honour. It is true that occasionally woman of the personality of Razia, Chandbibi orAhalyabai arose in India, but theywere exceptions to the general pattern and do not in any way change the picture. Moved by the humanitarian and egalitarian impulses of the 19" century, the social reforms started powerful movement to improve the position of women. Notable in thisregard wasrole of
All India Women’s Conference as well as the efforts of Gandhiji and others.
(c) “At Karachi in 1931, the Congress defined what Swaraj would mean for the masses.”
Ans: TheCongress met at Karachi on 29' March 1931 to endorse the Gandhi-Irwin or the Delhi Pact. Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev had been executed despite Gandhji’s best efforts to save their lives. The Congress endorsed the Delhi Pact and reiterated the goal of Puma Swaraj.
The Karachi session became memorable for its resolution on theFundamental Rights and the National Economic Programs. Even though the Congress had from its inception fought for the economic interests, civil rights and political liberties ofthe people, thiswas the first time that the Congress defined what Swaraj would mean for the masses. It also declared that in order to end the exploitation of the masses, political freedom must include the real economic freedom for the starving millions. The resolution guaranteed basic civil rights of free speech, free press, free assembly and freedom of association, equality before law irrespective of caste, creed or sex; neutrality of state in regard to all religions, elections on basis of universal adult franchise, and free and compulsory education. It promised substantial reduction in rent and revenue, exemption from rent in case of uneconomic holdings, and relief of agricultural in datedness, control of usury, and better conditions for workers including a living wage, limited hours ofwork and protection ofwomen workers.It also conferred the right to organize and form unions to workers and peasants, and state ownership or control of key industries, mines and means of transport. It alsomaintained that the culture, language and script of the minorities and of different linguistic areas shall be protected.
In short, the Swaraj for the masses would mean the basic civil liberties of equality freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship. Further, the Swaraj for the peasants wasto mean reduction in the rent, and exemption in case of uneconomic holding. For the workers, the Swaraj would mean betides complete independence, the independence to work for limited hours and protection for women workers in addition to the living wages.
The Karachi resolution bysetting the parameters oftheSwaraj wasreflecting the then dominant leftwing ring of the national movements. The resolution was to remain in essence the basic political and economic programme of the Congressin later years.
(d) “There is no other instance in the history of mankind of a poet and philosopher working such a miracle in shaping the destiny of his people.” (A Tribute to M. Iqbal)
Ans: lqbal was a philosopher, poet and a political leader. He got elected to the Punjab legislative assembly in 1927 and became the President of Allahabad session of Muslim League in 1930.
Initially, he was greatsupporter ofHindu-Muslim unity. Later he became advocated ofthe separate state of Pakistan. In addition to his political activism. Igbal was considered a foremost Muslim thinker of his date. His poetry and philosophy written in Urdu stressed the rebirth ofIslamic and spiritual redemption through individual freedom, moral integrity and self development. His worksinclude “the secret of theSelf, Nala-i-Yatim (viels of an orphan). Himala, Shikwa, Howab-i-Shikera,Ashar-i-khundi,Jabur-i-Azani.
lqbal symbolized certain approaches. Firstly, lqbal wanted the youth to stand up and boldly face up the challenges. Secondly. Ighal considered Quran not only as book of religion but a coherent system of principles on which life must be organized He considered that Quran provides perfect harmony. balance and stability in the society. He firmlyopposed theocracy. Thirdly, he was against Muslim alienation after WorldWar I and especiallyat hands of communal elements. Iqbal became perhaps the single major influence in sharpening the feelings of Muslim segregation on the basis of tradition, culture, history and religion. In 1930, at his presidential address at Allahabad session of Muslim League he argued that the principle of European democracy could not be applied in India without recognizing the fact the communal groups. Thus, he voiced concern for an independent Muslim State. He specified, the territory of Pakistan by saying “I would like to see Punjab, NWFP, Sindh and Baluchistan amalgamated into a single state being called Indian Muslim State. He was at pains to state that the creation ofseparate state for Muslim wastothe best interest ofIndia and Islam. For India, it meant unityand peace and for Islam, it meant an opportunityto rid itselfofArabian stamp.ButIgbal’s Pakistan was a separate State on the basis oflinguistic infirmity. Iqbal became of his ideas stands out as poetand philosopher working such a miracle in shaping the destiny of his people.