Topic: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times;
1) It is argued that democracy is integral to the Indian nation and that there are many examples of its rich democratic traditions in the ancient Indian republican polities before Independence. Do you agree? Critically comment. (250 Words)
Why this question?
This question tries to test how objective you are about India’s history. It’s our tendency to claim first in everything. Were ancient republics truly democratic? Knowing right answer helps in Essay. This question can be asked in Mains as it’s directly related to syllabus (India’s culture and political philosophy topics)
Key demand of the question:
You should substantiate that ancient India ‘republics’ were not true democracies (disagree unless you are historian of national/world repute).
Critically comment – You MUST be objective in your opinion. You have to write about counter argument (why some say ancient republics were democratic) and come back to main argument that they were not democracies. Critically comment is not writing positive and negative about something. It’s about giving space to counter-views (agree or disagree).
Structure of Answer:
In the introduction write contribution of ancient republics to India’s rich tradition, but say that democracy was not one of their contribution (You have to take a stand). You may say they were less democratic though.
In the body, first talk about democracy being integral to India. Then with examples, write why ancient republics were not true democracies. You may also argue that the definition of democracy has changed since past and try to make an argument (it’s an hint to make similar arguments).
Try to focus on cultural aspects (conform to GS-1 syllabus)
In the conclusion, convey that India is indeed blessed to have had such republics which have made India more secular and accommodative which are the hallmarks of democracy. You should not be too critical or harsh. Show love for the country – objectively though.