Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Synopsis: Mains Self Study Test – 15

Insights Mains Self Study 2016- Test 15

You can find Mains self Study Question papers and answer written by aspirants HERE

These questions are based on THIS Timetable.

Note: Following answers are neither model answers nor proper synopsis. We are trying to provide you information that is not usually found in textbooks.  If you have already written answers to these questions, compare and check if you have written relevant points, if you haven’t answered yet, choose important points from the following content to frame 200 words answer.


1) Critically analyse the contribution made by William Jones towards understanding India’s culture and tradition. (200 Words)


Sir William Jones was one of the most important company’s officer who gave a real boost to the understanding of India’s culture and tradition.He realized that India had much to offer to the world in areas of arts and sciences.

His contributions are as follows: –

  • He came to Calcutta as a judge of Supreme Court of Bengal in 1783 and established the “Asiatic Society” on 15th January 1784.The society and its journal can be regarded as a landmark in the revelation of the traditional thoughts and culture of India.This stimulated the study of ancient Indian history and culture. It marked the restoration of ancient learning in and about India.
  • Jones realized that it was the East, which held the secrets of early history and civilization of man; and that unless the East was known, the history of man could not be written.This made oriental studies much more attractive to west.
  • Jones invented the system of transliteration and translated the Laws of Manu (Manusmriti) into English.
  • He was the first westerner to study and write a paper on Indian Classical Music, the first person to put forward a plan for classification of Indian plants and animals. He was instrumental for compilation of books on Botany, Zoology, Astronomy and Philosophy.
  • He declared that the Sanskrit language is of wonderful structure, more perfect than Greek, more copious than the Latin and thus laid foundation for birth of Science of Linguistics. Thereafter, many western universities began founding chairs in Sanskrit.
  • He translated Kalidasa’s “Abhignana Shakuntalam, Ritu Samhara and Jayadeva’s Gita Govinda” into English. This lead to study of Indian dramatic literature and mythology. Further he also encouraged study of Indian chronology.

However,he was criticised by many for imperfect classification of languages and incorrect conclusions drawn. Nevertheless, his works led to great progress in the study of India.

2) Compare and contrast administrative policies of Warren Hastings and Cornwallis. (200 Words)


Warren Hastings was the appointed as the governor general of Bengal in 1773-1785 .Cornwallis was governor general of Bengal in 1786-1793. Cornwallis gave greater emphasis to the principles laid down by his predecessors, rather than new principles.

  • Hastings ended the dual system that was started by Robert Clive and the company assumed sovereign functions. This tendency towards centralisation was continued under Lord Cornwallis.
  • Hastings sought to check the “get rich quick” mentality of company’s servants by forbidding them to indulge in private trade or accept presents and compelled them to sign covenants. He also sought to give them adequate salaries. But financially handicapped by numerous wars, it was difficult for him to do so. But, Cornwallis, placed in better financial circumstances, could improve pay scales and allowances of all senior servants of company and thus check corruption.
  • Both did not favour entry of Indians into higher civil or police service.
  • In revenue administration, Hastings made a quinquennial settlement, but fell back to system of annual settlement. He regarded zamindars as mere tax collectors and discouraged them from bidding in the settlement. This system failed because of oppression by zamindars and setting of very high land revenue. So, Cornwallis acted on the presumption that zamindars are strongly entrenched in the country and a satisfactory settlement could be made only with them. He introduced permanent settlement, but this also led to exploitation of farmers and stagnation in revenue collection.
  • Warren Hastings set up a rudimentary judicial system by setting up faujdari and diwani adalats at district levels. Cornwallis improved and elaborated the system by setting up a hierarchy of courts both for civil and criminal cases.
  • The separation of revenue administration from civil jurisdiction was begun by Hastings. But it was the Cornwallis code which clearly separated magisterial functions from a district collector.

Both sought to solve the Indian problems by Anglicisation of Indian administration. They introduced British principles and planted British institutions in India.

3) “While the pressure of the free trade lobby at home worked towards the abolition of the Company’s monopoly over Indian market, it was Evangelicalism and Utilitarianism, which brought about a fundamental change in the nature of the Company’s administration in India.” Examine. (200 Words)

Why was there a free trade lobby ?

By 1800, Britain was undergoing industrial revolution. Cheap machine-made goods were manufactured on a large scale. This created the necessity to develop and integrate the Indian markets for manufactured goods and ensure a secured supply of raw materials. This required more effective administration and tying up of the colony to the economy of the mother country. Thus, there was pressure in Britain to abolish East India Company’s monopoly to trade with India and allow free trade of other English companies too with India.

Role played by Evangelicanism in bringing about administrative changes:

Both Evangelicanism and Utilitarianism asserted that conquest of India was a sinful act. But neither of them advocated abolishing British rule in India. Instead, they advocated for reforms, so that Indians could get the benefit of good government. Evangelicanism was spread by missionaries in India. It held that the main problem with India was to do with the religious ideas held by people, which made them more ignorant. This could be changed through dissemination of Christianity. Thus, the Charter Act of 1813 allowed Christian missionaries to enter India without any restrictions. Civilising India would mean that India would experience improvement and they would become consumers of British products.

Role played by Utilitarianism in bringing about changes:

Jeremy Bentham preached that the ideal of human civilisation was to achieve the greatest happiness of greatest number. He held that good laws, efficient and enlightened administration were effective agents to bring change. Hence,the law commission was appointed and the Indian penal code was drawn up. Lord William Bentick too believed in utilitarian philosophy that legislation was an effective agent of change so he abolished sati and child infanticide.

 In the long run, authoritarianism in the name of utilitarianism and the racial arrogance of the colonisers, led to the growth of Indian nationalism.

4) “The Charter Act of 1813 was an important benchmark in the push towards westernization of India.” Comment. (200 Words)


The previous charter act of 1793 had given monopoly to East India Company to trade with east for a period of 20 years. During that time, rise of Napoleon Bonaparte in France had made days difficult for Britain due to Napoleon’s continental system. Due to these hardships, British traders demanded entry to the ports of Asia and dissolve the monopoly of EIC.

Also,the Christian missionaries had also been demanding restriction free entry into India to carry on the civilising mission. Evangelists like Charles Grant and utilitarian’s like Jeremy Bentham and James Mill also played role here. The theory of free trade policy of Adam smith had also become quite popular in those days.All these culminated in the Charter Act of 1813.

Provisions of the (1813) act:

  • The act ended the monopoly of EIC in trade with India.
  • The act permitted Christian missionaries to establish themselves in India and propagate english and preach their religion.
  • The act provided for a sum of 1 lakh rupees annually to be set apart for introduction and promotion of literature and knowledge of science in India.
  • Financial provision was also made to encourage revival of Indian literature and for the promotion of science.
  • As emphasis was on English education and western scientific knowledge, it too favoured westernisation of India.

5) Discuss the differences between Permanent Settlement system and Ryotwari settlement system of land revenue extraction. (200 Words)


Permanent Settlement Ryotwari System
Introduced by Lord Cornwallis Started by Alexander reed and continued by Thomas Munro
Applied in Bengal province, Bihar, Odisha. Applied in madras and Bombay presidency.
The state’s land revenue demand was settled once for all and was not revised. The state revised its land revenue demand after a fixed number of years ranging from 10 to 40 years.
Zamindar was recognised as the owner of the land and peasants as mere tenants. Zamindar could mortgage, bequeath or sell the land. Agreement was made directly with the ryot or peasant who was considered as owner of the land. Only peasant could sub-let his holding, mortgage or sell.
The state held zamindar responsible for payment of land revenue and in default, the land could be confiscated and sold out. Ryot could not be evicted from land as long as he pays the state demand timely.
Revenue collected by the zamindar from the peasant was divided into 11 parts. 10 parts went to government and zamindar would keep 1 part. Assessment of land was done. Munro assessed the revenue at 50-55 % and later reduced it to one third of the estimated produce.
Causes of failure: peasants lost land rights, they had no incentive to improve production, zamindars,oppressed cultivators. Cultivator was required to pay a fixed sum as rent irrespective of the yield. Assessments were done by agents who made unfair extortions.




6) How did the new judicial administration system introduced in mid nineteenth century, which was different from the Mughal judicial system, affect ordinary people in the British India? Examine. (200 Words)


The Mughal Judicial system:

The Mughal judicial system was not centrally organised, it was dependent to a large extent on local faujdars and their executive discretion. The application of Sharia varied widely depending on the seriousness of the case and the interpretation of Muftis and Qazis. Focus of the system was more on mutual resolution of conflicts rather than punitive justice. The punishment given often depended on the status of the accused.

So, in order to bring positive changes, European supervision was considered necessary.

 Warren Hastings’s contribution: Each district was to have 2 courts, a civil court (diwani adalat) and a criminal court (faujdari adalat). Muslim laws were to be applicable in case of criminal matters and Hindu or Muslim laws in personal matters. Civil courts presided over by European district collectors. Supreme court set up under regulating act of 1773 which relied on European law. Thus, there was duality in judicial system.

 Lord Cornwallis: Cornwallis code separated revenue collection from administration of civil justice. He introduced a system of hierarchy of courts from zilla (district) and city courts to four provincial courts and sadar diwani adalat with appellate jurisdiction. All courts were headed by European judges. Jurisdiction of criminal courts did not extend to British born subjects, who remained under jurisdiction of supreme court at Calcutta.

Later, code of civil procedure, Indian penal code, code of criminal procedure were also formulated.

Under Lord William Bentick, association of Indians in courts increased but that was confined to lower ranks.

The British judicial system affected common people in the following ways:

  • Previously, Indians had access to a variety of procedures. Under British, they were subjected to a streamlined system.
  • Justice became distant, not just physically, because of geographical distance from district courts, but also psychologically, as common man did not understand the complex judicial procedures dominated by a new class of lawyer. As a result, justice also became expensive.
  • Court cases started piling up, for most people, justice became inordinately delayed.
  • The concept of equality before law did not apply to Europeans. So common people suffered while Europeans were hardly punished.

However, the British system increased the awareness of Indians about courts, litigations, and laws. It also provided them a way to peacefully resist and question injustice.

7) Critically assess the impact of commercialization of agriculture that was undertaken by the British. on Indian peasant society. (200 Words)

Commercialisation of agriculture became prominent around 1860. It brought a change from cultivation for home consumption to cultivation for the market. Cash transactions became the basis of exchange and largely replaced the barter system.

There were various factors that led to commercialisation of agriculture during British rule in India. The chief factor was colonial subjugation of India under the British rule. India was reduced to be the supplier of raw materials and food grains to Britain and importer of British manufactured goods. Many commercial crops like cotton, jute, tea, tobacco were introduced to meet the demand in Britain.

Impact on Indian farming community:

  • The British introduced new land revenue system to ensure stability of land revenue. They fixed exorbitantly high rents. In order to meet the high demand of revenue, peasants perpetually remained indebted to the local money lenders and fell into their clutches.Peasants who failed to pay revenue were often evicted from lands.
  • The policy of commercialisation of agriculture led to market oriented production of cash crops such as opium, tea, coffee, sugar, jute, indigo. Indian peasants were forced to grow these crops which spoiled the fertility of soil.
  • Also,cultivation of food crops declined. This led to a series of famines where millions succumbed to hunger and starvation.
  • Indian agriculture got linked to world market. So farmers had to face price fluctuations.
  • It affected the traditional relations between agriculture and industry.
  • The commercial revolution was not accompanied by any technological revolution. So technological obsolescence led to low returns to farmers.

However, a positive impact was regional specialisation of crop production based on climatic conditions, soil etc. Deccan districts of Bombay presidency grew cotton, Bengal grew jute and indigo, Bihar grew opium, Assam grew tea.


8) “Two important intellectual criteria which informed the reform movements were rationalism and religious universalism.” Discuss. (200 Words)

The reform movements of 19th century were based on rationalism and religious universalism.


  • In Aligarh movement, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan emphasised the role of religion in the progress of society – If religion did not keep pace with and meet the demands of time, it would get fossilized.
  • Akshay Kumar Dutt advocated widow remarriage and opposed polygamy and child marriage. In doing so, he was not concerned about religious sanctions or whether they existed in the past. He cited medical reasons against child marriage.
  • Gopal Hari Deshmukh, popularly called Lokahitavadi held that if religion did not sanction social reforms,, the religion itself should be changed as religion was made by man, and what was laid down in the scriptures need not necessarily be of contemporary relevance.
  • Raja Ram Mohan Roy also held that we should deviate from Vedas if reason demands so.

Religious universalism:

  • Raja Ram Mohun Roy considered different religions as national embodiments of Universal Theism. The Brahmo Samaj was initially conceived by him as a Universalist church. He attacked polytheism of Hinduism and trinitarianism of Christianity.
  • Syed Ahmad khan also viewed that all prophets had the same din (faith) and every nation had different prophets.
  • Rama Krishna Paramahansa also viewed that Ram, Hari, Allah are just different ways of attaining liberation or Moksha and essentially all represented the same truth.

However, faced with the challenge of colonial culture and ideology, universalism, instead of providing the basis for development of a secular ethos, retreated into religious particularism.

9) Assess the contribution of Justice Mahadev Govind Ranade to India’s freedom struggle. (200 Words)

MG Ranade was an Indian social reformer, a distinguished scholar and founding member of Indian national conference.

His contributions are as follows:

  • He was the cofounder of Poona sarvajanik sabha, a pre-congress organisation.
  • He was co-founder of Prarthana samaj which advocated for women education, widow remarriage, and elimination of caste distinctions.
  • He saw the need for heavy industry for economic progress and believed in western education as a vital element.
  • He was founder of social conference movement, directing his social reform efforts against child marriage, shaving of widow’s heads, heavy cost of marriages. He was one of the founders of widow remarriage association.
  • He encouraged translation of standard English works and tried to introduce vernacular languages into university curriculum.
  • He advocated use of constitutional and legal means to attain freedom and bringing about social reforms.
  • He forwarded the idea of establishing agricultural banks by the government to give loans directly to the farmers.

MG Ranade, though against child marriage, married a 11 year old bride (Ramabai Ranade). He however, mentored her, who went on to become a prominent social reformers.

He is also criticised for wavering between an agenda for reform on the one hand and a traditional society on the other. As a result he failed to take a more radical stand.

He believed in gradual, evolutionary reforms, which should come from within the Indian society itself. He wished to see an Indian society that is free of constraints, bigotry, fatalism. He was a calm and patient optimist, who in his own ways, desired a national regeneration.

10) “The man who is most frequently associated with the struggle for the freedom of the Press during the nationalist movement is Bal Gangadhar Tilak.” Examine why. (200 Words)

Tilak’s contribution to press :

  • Tilak founded the newspaper Kesari (in Marathi) and Mahratta (in English). He used their columns to spread discontent against British rule and to preach national resistance. He was a courageous journalist.
  • During 1896, bubonic plague spread over Pune. It reached epidemic proportions. British troops were brought to deal with emergency but harsh measures were used including forced entry into private houses, evacuation of hospitals and segregation camps, destroying personal possessions. Though measures were well meant, they were regarded as acts of tyranny and oppression. Tilak took up this issue by publishing inflammatory articles in Kesari. He quoted the Bhagvad Gita and held that no blame could be attached to anyone who killed an oppressor.
  • Following this, commissioner Rand was killed by Chapekar brothers. Tilak was charged with incitement to murder and was imprisoned.
  • In 1908, two Bengali youth, Prafulla Chaki and Khudiram Bose, threw bomb on the carriage of judge Kingsford of Muzzafarpur, but erroneously killed 2 women. Tilak, in Kesari, defended the revolutionaries and called for immediate Swaraj or self-rule. He was arrested on charges of sedition and sentenced to 6 years imprisonment in Mandalay.

In spite of imprisonments, he was a staunch supporter of freedom of press. He held that newspapers have the right to form public opinion.Also, he criticised government for its actions which went against interest of Indian people. His arrests also gave rise to massive public reaction and newspapers proclaiming that they would defend freedom of press by following Tilak’s example. Thus, Tilak’s contribution to the way journalism headed was momentous during his time.