Roman Saini is teaching live on Unacademy Plus
Model answers for UPSC CSE Mains GS paper 1 - 2017
Question 1:: How do you justify the view that the level of excellence of the Gupta numismatic art is not at all noticeable in later times? Answer: The Gupta period is considered as the "Golden Age" of classical art in India and one of the most significant hallmarks of this period is coinage. They carried the numismatic tradition of earlier Kushanas and Western Kshatrapas.
The gold coins, known as Dinaras, had inscriptions in Sanskrit and showed the king on the obverse and goddesses/legends (the most common being the goddess Laxmi) on the reverse.They also depicted the king playing musical instruments (Samudragupta playing Veena) and performing 'Asvamedha' or horse sacrifice. Some other type, mainly the silver ones, carried the images of Garuda and peacock. With the foreign invasions and the decline of Guptas, the design, execution, purity and excellence of the coins gradually deteriorated. The regional coinages were poor in terms of artistic value and minted in baser alloys like bullion (silver and copper). Even the coinage of medieval dynasties and Mughals could not match the bar set by Gupta coins.
Question 2: Clarify how mid-eighteenth century India was beset with the spectre of a fragmented polity Answer: The political scenario in mid-eighteenth century India was characterized by chaos and anarchy. The various changes that took place during this period were: 1.Decline of Mughal Empire:Aurangzeb's misguided policies i.e. hard headed attitude towards Rajputs, Marathas and Jats, over-centralized system of administration, failure to make good alliances and religious fanaticism weakened the stable Mughal polity. Incompetent successors, internal rebellions and attack of foreign invaders especially Nadir Shah and Ahmad Shah Abdali paved the way for Mughal decline.
2. The Emergence of Regional Polities:The provincial governors under the Mughals set up independent states Hyderabad, Bengal and Awadh. Some regional states were set by the rebels against Mughal such as Maratha, Sikhs, Jats and Afghans. All the vassal chiefs and provincial governors of the Mughals became de facto rulers. 3. Rise and expansion of the British power in India: The rise and expansion of the British power in India opened a new phase in the history of India.By 1765 they had brought the eastern India under their control and gradually expanded their territory towards north and south. Thus these developments during mid-eighteenth century gave rise to a fragmented polity, the ultimate beneficiary of which were the British who consolidated their empire in India.
Question 3: Why did the 'Moderates' fail to carry conviction with the nation about their proclaimed ideology and political goals by the end of the nineteenth century? Answer: The Moderate leaders like Dada Bhai Naoroji, Pheroz Shah Mehta, M.G. Ranade, Baddrudin Tyabji and G.K. Gokhale lit the torch of freedom struggle but could not spread its light to masses. The Moderate ideology which believed in complete faith in the British sense of justice and loyalty to the British government, working for gradual or piecemeal reforms within constitutional limits, trickling down of enlightenment from educated to masses, and which considered British rule as a boon for modernization of India failed to resonate with the masses.
The moderates were considered as a forum for elites like lawyers and journalists and their method of prayer, petition, persuasion, representation and deputation was called the 'method of medicancy'. They lacked faith in the masses and had contradictions within themselves on issues like Permanent Settlement, factory reforms etc. However, despite their failure to create a true mass movement the Moderates succeeded in exposing the true character of British Imperialism by giving the Drain theory and in raising political consciousness among the people on various issues.