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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 21 FEBRUARY 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 21 FEBRUARY 2019


NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.


Topic– Indian Art and culture

1) Literary account of foreigners proved extremely useful in writing the history of Ancient India. Discuss.(250 words)

 

Key demand of the question

Literary account of foreigners have played a useful role in writing the history of ancient India. The question expects us to discuss the account of such travellers and how they enabled us to write the history of ancient India.

Directive word

Discuss – Here your discussion needs to focus on highlighting the account of foreigners and how they enabled us to understand in detail the society, polity, economy etc of Indian society.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Highlight that Foreign travelers in the past played a more profound role than tourists of the present day. They were agents of civilizational contact and exchange, bringing with them new ideas, skills and technologies and returning with new knowledge.

Body – discuss how Greek and Roman literary account has proven useful by discussion some works and highlighting it’s significance in writing the history of ancient Indian.

  • Hsuan-Tsang – Account during Harshavardhan’s era.
  • Al Beruni (AD 973 – 1048) – Mahmud of Ghazni. Culture of Indians especially the hindus.
  • Abdur Razzaq – Vijaynagar Empire
  • Fa-Hien – Account of the Gupta Period. An extensive account of society. first to talk about the caste system and shudras. Shudras were kept outside the town and entered the town by making a noise with a stick. Fahien had also mentioned about Shaiv and Vaishnav religion.

Conclusion – Highlight the impact and importance of such accounts.

Introduction:

From very ancient times, foreigners visited India. They were agents of civilizational contact and exchange, bringing with them new ideas, skills and technologies and returning with new knowledge. Some of these visitors have left a valuable account of the places they visited, people they met, events they witnessed and the experiences they underwent.

Body:

  • Greeks:
  • The oldest accounts of India which have come down to us from abroad are of the Greeks. But although India figures in the writings of Herodotus and Ctesias, these consist largely of incredible tales. The most realistic and perhaps the most important of these is Indica by Meagasthenes.
  • Meagasthenes was an ambassador sent by Seleucus Nikator, a general of the Alexander the Great, to the court of Chandragupta Maurya. He resided at Pataliputra, near modern Patna, and also travelled around the country. He describes India’s two largest rivers – Sindhu and the Ganga;
  • He has described the people of India with admiration. He has given a graphic account of their physical features, their dresses, diet and social customs. According to him the people of India were divided into seven classes according to their occupation: Philosophers; Peasants; Herdsmen; Craftsmen and Traders; Soldiers; Overseers and Spies; Councillors or Assessors.
  • Romans:
  • Apart from the Greeks, India had a flourishing trade with Rome: hence, it was natural that contemporary Roman authors too mention India in their narratives. Thus we have a geographical account of India by Ptolemy in his book Geography of India, written in about 130 A.D.
  • Yet another account of India comes to us from the pen of Pliny. In his work Natural History, Pliny wrote about Indian plants, animals and minerals. The most interesting observation of his was that Rome was losing a lot of bullion to India through its import of luxurious goods.
  • Chinese:
  • With the spread of Buddhism we have a number of pilgrims from the east — especially China — who have left us very valuable accounts which help us to reconstruct the history of the period. The earliest of these is Fa Hian, a Buddhist monk who was in India between A.D. 405 and 411.
  • Fa Hian’s book A Record of Buddhist Kingdoms tell us a great deal about India of 1,500 years ago.
  • Although main mission of Fa Hian was to collect Buddhist manuscripts and visit the monasteries, he has left an account which throws invaluable light about India in the fifth century during the rule of Chandragupta Vikramaditya.
  • Following the footsteps of Fa Hian, more than sixty Chinese travellers visited India and have left accounts of their travels. The most important of these was Hieun Tsang, who visited India two hundred years after Fa Hian.
  • Hieun Tsang carefully noted down all that he saw, but unlike Fa Hian and I Tsing, his observations were not confined to religious matters alone. His travel account, known as Travels or Records of Western Lands, comprises of twelve books, containing details of political, social, economic and religious lives of the 7th century Indians and the rule of Harshvardhana.
  • Hieun Tsang then reached his destination –Nalanda, the great seat of learning in those days. He spent a couple of years in Nalanda, learning Sanskrit, and studying Buddhist texts.
  • No account of Harsha and his reign and even the contemporary political and religious condition of India during this period can be satisfactory unless the historian turns to the account of Hiuen Tsang.
  • Arabs:
  • From the 8th century onwards, when the Arabs conquered Sindh, India figured prominently in the chronicles written by the Muslim scholars. Of these the most important is Abu Rihan, better known as Alberuni.
  • During the years of his exile in India, Alberuni availed of the opportunity to study its people and their culture. He even learned Sanskrit, studied the ancient texts and was familiar with such diverse subjects as mathematics, chemistry, philosophy, religious rites, customs, astronomy and astrology of India.
  • Alberuni translated or wrote about twenty-four books in Arabic, among which his work on India, his Kiatb-ul-Hind, is the most outstanding. This voluminous book is considered as the most comprehensive account of India ever written by a foreigner.
  • Ibn Batuta was a Morrocan traveller and visited India during the reign of Muhammad-Bin-Tughlaq. His book “Rihla” (the travelogue) provides extremely rich and interesting details about the social and cultural life in the subcontinent in the fourteenth century.
  • Abdur-Razzaq Samarkhandi gave one of the most important descriptions of the city of Vijayanagara in the fifteenth century. He was a diplomat who came visiting from Herat.
  • Europeans:
  • French jeweller Jean-Baptiste Tavernier travelled to India at least six times. He was particularly fascinated with the trading conditions in India, and compared India to Iran and the Ottoman empire.
  • Some of the travellers, like the Italian doctor Manucci, never returned to Europe, and settled down in India.
  • François Bernier, a Frenchman, was a doctor, political philosopher and historian. Like many others, he came to the Mughal Empire in search of opportunities. He was in India for twelve years, from 1656 to 1668, and was closely associated with the Mughal court, as a physician to Prince Dara Shukoh, the eldest son of Emperor Shah Jahan, and later as an intellectual and scientist, with Danishmand Khan, an Armenian noble at the Mughal court.

Conclusion:

                The travellers account help in reconstructing the India’s History. It helps us to understand the social, political and economic situations of the past where not much recorded information is available.  All these accounts are a treasure-trove of information – a boon to the chronicler of the past.   


Topic-  salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

2) Kabir was one of the chief exponents of the Bhakti movement in the medieval period. Discuss the Relevance of the teachings of Kabir in Contemporary India?(250 words)

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to highlight the status of Kabir within the folds of bhakti movement and explain his teachings in detail. Thereafter, the question expects us to relate his teachings to the problems faced in contemporary India and how his teachings prove relevant.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Give a background of Kabir.

Body

Discuss his teachings and the relevance of his teaching in modern India.

  • He preached a religion of love which aimed at promoting unity amongst all castes and creeds. In fact he was the first saint who tried to reconcile Hinduism and Islam. Kabir was not interested in organising any religion
  • Kabir did not believe in extreme asceticism and abstractions from the world. He condemned idolatry and useless ceremonies. He believed in the equality of man and declared that before the high throne of God all were equal.
  • He wished to abolish the caste system as well as the antagonism of the religions based on blind superstition or on the selfish interest of the minority exploiting the ignorance of others. He desired to establish social and religious peace among the people who lived together, but who were separated from one another by religion.
  • Kabir made an attempt at a fusion of Islamic mysticism, having as its object a loving devotion to a single God, and Hindu tradi­tions”. Kabir’s teachings do not give preference either to Hindus, or Muslims. On the other hand he admired whatever was good in the two cults and condemned whatever was dogmatic.

Conclusion – explain how application of his views would prove beneficial for India and its contemporary challenges.

 

Introduction:

Kabir Das was a 15th-century Indian mystic poet and saint, whose writings influenced Hinduism’s Bhakti movement. He is known for being critical of both Hinduism and Islam, stating that the former was misguided by the Vedas, and questioning their meaningless rites of initiation such as the sacred thread and circumcision respectively. His most famous writings include his dohas or couplets and verses are found in Sikhism’s scripture Guru Granth Sahib.

Body:

Kabir was a great social reformer whose teachings are as relevant on present day as in his time.

  • Equality: Kabir taught us to follow the path of equality and harmony. The same principles have been carried forward by Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Ambedkar, Deen Dayal Upadhyay and Ram Manohar Lohia etc.
  • Anti-Discrimination: Kabir had a clear vision and approach towards social equality. He created awareness to end discrimination in the society. An individual should be valued on the grounds of humanitarian qualities instead of caste or religion.
  • Communalism is a lurking evil in the Indian societal context the essential syncretism and universalism which are part of Kabir can help in solving this issue to a certain extent.
  • Morals of life: Kabir highlighted simple virtues like honesty, love, truth, faith in oneself, encouraging introspection, and more.
  • Antagonist of caste system and evil practices: Kabir was a great opponent of the caste system. He stressed that in God’s creation all were equal. He advised his followers to give up such inhuman practices as untouchability, feelings of high and low etc. He further opposed the worship of stone images, or even the worship of different gods and goddesses and was against rituals and ceremonies in religion.
  • Love and Tolerance: Love for all was Kabir’s principal tenet. He emphasized that love was the only medium which could bind the entire human kind in an unbreakable bond of fraternity. Kabir detested the frivolities and rituals in Hinduism and Islam for, these could never bind together mankind. He advised all to give up hatred and perpetuate love for one and all.
  • Kabir was strictly against the practice of hypocrisy and didn’t like people maintaining double standards. He always preached people to be compassionate towards other living beings and practice true love. Which is somewhat missing in present days.
  • He urged the need to have company of good people that adhere to values and principles.
  • Today’s world is bogged down by the excessive materialism of the world. The deep seated economic inequalities of the world are leading to a simmering discontent across the world. Kabir’s principles of compassionate ethics are relevant
  • Corruption is the deep seated problem in India which is eating away the vitals of the nation inside out the emphasis on honest livelihood by Kabir if understood in the right spirit will provide a way of changing the individual perspective.

Conclusion:

Kabir Das is one of India’s ‘Priceless Gems’ – who is called a saint because of his writings – full of wisdom, and teachings for the masses. The simplicity and wisdom of 15th century mystic saint-poet Kabir’s dohas have never been more relevant than in today’s fractured times


Topic-  salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

3) The Vijayanagar empire architecture was heavily borrowed from the earlier dynasties of the region. Analyze. (250 words)

Reference

Ncert

Directive word

Analyze-here we  have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts, and present them as a whole in a summary.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to look deeper into the Vijaynagar architecture and bring out how it was heavily borrowed from the art of earlier dynasties.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  Vijaynagar empire. E.g Vijayanagara or “city of victory” was the name of both a city and an empire. The empire was founded in the fourteenth century. In its heyday it stretched from the river Krishna in the north to the extreme south of the peninsula

Body-

Discuss in detail about the Vijaynagar architecture and write in detail about its relationship with the art and architecture of the earlier dynasties that ruled the southern parts of India. Give examples to corroborate your views. E.g

  • Vijayanagar era architecture can be broadly classified into religious, courtly, and civic architecture.
  • Its style is a harmonious combination of the Chalukya, Hoysala, Pandya, and Chola styles that evolved in earlier centuries and represents a return to the simplicity and serenity of the past.
  • It is also influenced by later Deccan and Dravidian styles.
  • Preferred for its durability, local hard granite was the building material of choice, as it had been for the Badami Chalukyas.
  • Vijayanagar temples are surrounded by strong enclosures and characterized by ornate pillared kalyanamandapa (marriage halls); tall rayagopurams (carved monumental towers at the entrance of the temple) built of wood, brick, and stucco in the Chola style; and adorned with life-sized figures of gods and goddesses.
  • This dravida style became popular during the reign of Krishnadeva Raya and is seen in South Indian temples constructed over the next two centuries.
  • The courtly architecture of Vijayanagar is generally made of mortar mixed with stone rubble and often shows secular styles with Islamic-influenced arches, domes, and vaults.
  • Some famous temples exemplifying the Vijayanagar style include the Virupaksha Temple at Hampi and the Hazara Rama temple of Deva Raya I etc.

Conclusion– based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

Introduction:

Vijayanagara or “city of victory” was the name of both a city and an empire. The empire was founded in the fourteenth century. In its heyday it stretched from the river Krishna in the north to the extreme south of the peninsula. People remember it as Hampi, a name derived from that of the local mother goddess, Pampadevi.

Body:

The rulers of Vijayanagara borrowed concepts and building techniques which they then developed further. Vijayanagar architecture is a vibrant combination of the Chalukya, Hoysala, Pandya, and Chola styles, which evolved from prior empires in earlier centuries. It is also influenced by later Deccan and Dravidian styles. Preferred for its durability, local hard granite was the building material of choice, as it had been for the Badami Chalukyas. However, soapstone, which was soft and easily carved, was also used for reliefs and sculptures.

Vijayanagar era architecture can be broadly classified into religious, courtly, and civic architecture.

  • Religious Architecture:
    • Vijayanagar temples are surrounded by strong enclosures and characterized by ornate pillared kalyanamandapa (marriage halls); tall rayagopurams (carved monumental towers at the entrance of the temple) built of wood, brick, and stucco in the Chola style; and adorned with life-sized figures of gods and goddesses.
    • This Tamil dravida-influenced style became popular during the rule of king Krishnadevaraya and is seen in South Indian temples constructed over the next 200 years.
    • Examples of Rayagopuram are the Chennakesava Temple in Belur and the temples at Srisailam and Srirangam.
    • In addition to these structures, medium-size temples have a closed circumambulatory (Pradakshinapatha) passage around the sanctum, an open mahamantapa (large hall) and a temple tank to serve the needs of annual celebrations.
    • Vijayanagar temples are also known for their carved pillars, which depict charging horses, figures from Hindu mythology, and yali (hippogriphs).
    • Some of the larger temples are dedicated to a male deity, with a separate shrine intended for the worship of his female counterpart.
    • Some famous temples exemplifying the Vijayanagar style include the Virupaksha Temple at Hampi and the Hazara Rama temple of Deva Raya I etc.
    • Hampi Stone chariot is influenced by Raths made in Mahabalipuram by Pandayas. Example: Dharmaraya rath, Draupadi Rath etc.
  • Palaces and Courtly Architecture:
    • Most of the palaces faced east or north and stood within compounds surrounded by high, tapering stone and earth walls.
    • They were built on raised granite platforms with multiple tiers of mouldings decorated with carved friezes.
    • The courtly architecture of Vijayanagar is generally made of mortar mixed with stone rubble and often shows secular styles with Islamic-influenced arches, domes, and vaults.
    • Examples are the Lotus Mahal palace, Elephant stables, and watch towers.
  • Civic Architecture
    • Gateways were distinctive architectural features that often defined the structures to which they regulated access.
    • The arch on the gateway leading into the fortified settlement as well as the dome over the gate are regarded as typical features of the architecture introduced by the Turkish Sultans.
    • Located on one of the highest points in the city, the “mahanavami dibba” is a massive platform rising from a base of about 11,000 sq. ft to a height of40 ft. There is evidence that it supported a wooden structure.

Conclusion:

                The Vijayanagara style is an amalgation of the Chalukya, Hoysala, Pandya and Chola styles evolved earlier in the centuries when these empires ruled and is characterised by a return to the simplistic and serene art of the past. The architecture was also in keeping the local conditions and topography in mind.


Topic-  salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

4) The cultural creativity and intellectual efflorescence that were the hallmarks of the European Renaissance were conspicuous by their absence in the Indian situation. Comment. (250 words)

The hindu

 

Directive word

Comment- here we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.  

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to express our knowledge and understanding of the Indian renaissance and express our opinion as to whether or not, cultural creativity and intellectual efflorescence that were the hallmarks of the European Renaissance were absent in Indian renaissance.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- write a few introductory lines about the  western renaissance. E.g The European Renaissance was characterised by the discovery and triumph of humanism and the re-emergence of man to the centre of history with sensitivity to his creative ability, reflected in his achievements in the past.

Body-

Discuss  about the cultural and intellectual aspect of the renaissance and form an opinion as to whether they were a part of Indian renaissance as in Europe, or not. E.g

  • The social and religious reforms witnessed in 19th century India were neither a continuation of past efforts nor their reinvocations to face contemporary challenges.
  • While the pre-colonial movements were trapped in feudal ethics, the 19th century regeneration occurred in the context of an emerging middle class which mainly developed its social vision, political beliefs and cultural ethos from the history of Western societies, received through the medium of the ideological apparatuses of the colonial state.
  • Modernity in India had a different trajectory. Its origin was not in indigenous intellectual and cultural churning but in the influences disseminated by the colonial state and its agencies.
  • The relationship between the traditional and the “colonial-modern” was not dialogical but mainly one of domination. Restricted by prevailing caste and religious practices and attracted by the “colonial-modern” life, this new breed of Indians experienced the tension between what was possible in the new world and what was practised in the traditional.
  • The changes in the social and cultural life they sought to materialise emerged out of this tension.
  • The participation in the colonial order demanded a refashioning of the social world of the colonised, at the same time there was considerable social pressure to maintain traditional social practices.
  • The social and religious reform witnessed in 19th century India, which was an attempt to reconcile the cultural world of the middle class with the demands of the new way of life, emerged out of this dynamic.
  • As a result, unlike in Europe, reformation took precedence over renaissance in India.

Conclusion- based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

Introduction:

The Renaissance is a period from the 14th to the 17th century, considered the bridge between the Middle Ages and Modern history. It started as a cultural movement in Italy in the Late Medieval period and later spread to the rest of Europe. The philosophy of humanism began to emerge in Italy. Humanism emphasizes that man is the center of the universe and that all human achievements in art, literature, and science should be regarded. It emphasized the dignity of man

Body:

The cultural and intellectual aspect of the renaissance

  • The European Renaissance was characterised by the discovery and triumph of humanism and the re-emergence of man to the centre of history with sensitivity to his creative ability, reflected in his achievements in the past.
  • The Renaissance paintings that celebrated the human body are a reflection of the rebirth of man.
  • The emergence of man to the centre stage also meant emancipation from social bonds, particularly religious bonds, which provided the inspiration for the Reformation and the necessary intellectual freedom for Enlightenment.
  • A new world of scientific knowledge and social thought were opened before him.
  • Renaissance, Reformation and Enlightenment formed an interconnected triad from which modernity drew its strength, character and vision.

The cultural creativity and intellectual efflorescence that were the hallmarks of the European Renaissance were conspicuous by their absence in the Indian situation

  • In the absence of an innovative and critical spirit, orthodoxy and obscurantism, which sapped the energy and initiatives in society, reigned supreme.
  • The social and religious reforms witnessed in 19th century India were neither a continuation of past efforts nor their re-invocations to face contemporary challenges.
  • While the pre-colonial movements were trapped in feudal ethics, the 19th century regeneration occurred in the context of an emerging middle class which mainly developed its social vision, political beliefs and cultural ethos from the history of Western societies, received through the medium of the ideological apparatuses of the colonial state.
  • Modernity in India had a different trajectory. Its origin was not in indigenous intellectual and cultural churning but in the influences disseminated by the colonial state and its agencies.
  • The newly emerging middle class, who were drawn towards a new cultural situation through their association with the colonial rulers as trading intermediaries and subordinates in the administration, were the propagators of this modernity.
  • Restricted by prevailing caste and religious practices and attracted by the “colonial-modern” life, this new breed of Indians experienced the tension between what was possible in the new world and what was practised in the traditional.
  • The social and religious reform witnessed in 19th century India, which was an attempt to reconcile the cultural world of the middle class with the demands of the new way of life, emerged out of this dynamic.
  • As a result, unlike in Europe, reformation took precedence over renaissance in India.
  • The period of renaissance was not particularly known for creativity, which received an impetus only when renaissance and reformation merged with nationalism and tried to usher in an alternative modernity.
  • The social space thus vacated by these movements have been colonised by conservative and obscurantist forces, giving way for the return of the socio-religious practices that the reformation had tried to eliminate.
  • The transition from feudalism to colonial modernity, however, attracted critical engagement with prevalent religious practices.
  • Social reforms mainly centred on the emancipation of oppressed and marginalised groups such as women and Dalits. The reformers intervened to ensure their right to life and freedom of choice.
  • The “lower castes”, variously described as “untouchables”, “Harijans”, Scheduled Castes and Dalits, could not be part of the social mainstream: they could not enter temples, use public roads or draw water from wells. This inhuman treatment was opposed by reform movements, particularly by those from within the “lower castes”.
  • The reason for this denouncement can be partly traced to the internal weaknesses of the renaissance itself. The first was a disjunction between political and socio-cultural concerns. Secondly, tradition was conceived in religious terms and rationalisation of or opposition to change was drawn from religious texts.

Conclusion:

Many of the ills of contemporary Indian society can be traced to the unfinished agenda of the Indian renaissance. Although the renaissance brought about a qualitative change in perspectives and practices, its impact was limited to a very small section of society. Yet, it did generate a cultural and intellectual break without which the later movements would not have been possible.


Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors.

5) Do you think India needs an anti-torture legislation. Critically analyze.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

Custodial torture is an inhuman and barbaric practice, which has been in vogue since ages, except in most of the modern liberal democracies, where it has been abolished. In this context it is important to discuss whether India also needs an anti-torture legislation or not.

Directive word

Critically analyze-  here we have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts, and present them as a whole in a summary. based on our discussion we have to form a concluding opinion on the issue.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to dig deeper into the issue of custodial torture in India and bring out the reasons as to why there is a need for an anti-torture legislation in India.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– mention about the huge pendency of cases in Indian courts of law and mention the prevalence of 3rd degree as an accepted form of custodial torture in India.

Body-

  1. Discuss in points as to why custodial torture is an inhuman practice. E.g
  • The practice of custodial power is about men — and sometimes, women — who are in positions of power, even if for a brief while and over a limited terrain, having custody over a powerless person.
  • It is about the use of custodial opportunity to torture the captive’s body and mind.
  • And there, in that arena of wantonness, it becomes something of a sport for the human “Gods” that rule mere humans.
  • Custodial death, when not ‘natural’, is the extreme end-point of custodial torture.
  • The death penalty, notwithstanding ‘due process’, is a close kin to this lawless and heartless game etc.
  1. Discuss why there is a need for an anti-torture legislation in India. E.g
  • India has practised and continues to practise the ‘third degree’ with impunity.
  • India has signed but not ratified the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
  • Without such a law, there is no meaning to signing the Convention.
  • Mention about the lapsed bill.
  • Mention some Human Rights Commission reports which highlight custodial torture in India etc.

Conclusion- based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

Introduction:

Custodial torture is global, old and stubborn. The butchering last October of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi tells us custodial torture and killing are no country’s, creed’s or culture’s monopoly.  In India, the National Human Rights Commission figures of reported torture cases, the report said the figures showed custodial violence and torture continue to be rampant in the country. It also pointed out that the number of reported cases being only a fraction of actuals, the situation was serious.

Body:

Custodial torture is an inhuman practice:            

  • It represents the worst form of excesses by public servants entrusted with the duty of law enforcement.
  • The practice of custodial power is about men — and sometimes, women — who are in positions of power, even if for a brief while and over a limited terrain, having custody over a powerless person.
  • Custodial death, when not ‘natural’, is the extreme end-point of custodial torture. The death penalty, notwithstanding ‘due process’, is a close kin to this lawless and heartless game.

Need for an anti-torture legislation in India:

  • India has practised and continues to practise the ‘third degree’ with impunity.
  • India signed the UN Convention against Torture in 1997, but neither has it ratified nor followed or preceded by domestic legislation to outlaw and prevent custodial torture.
  • India’s non-ratification of the Convention is both surprising and dismaying.
  • In 2010, the then government introduced Prevention of Torture Bill in the Lok Sabha in 2010 and had it passed in 10 days. The bill as passed by the Lok Sabha was referred to a select committee of the Rajya Sabha.
  • The committee gave its report recommending the Bill’s adoption later the same year. It lapsed with the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha. And was not revived by the 16th, the present Lok Sabha.
  • The current government spoke of amending Sections 330 (voluntarily causing hurt to extort confession) and 331 of the Indian Penal Code, but in vain.
  • there has been no consistent documentation of torture-related complaints. The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) does not document cases of custodial torture. The NHRC does deal with cases of torture in custody, but the annual figures related to such cases do not get reported in its reports.
  • In the ten-month period between September 2017 and June 2018, English language news reports on Internet noted 122 incidents of custodial torture resulting in 30 deaths. In several cases among these 122 incidents, there were multiple victims.
  • The procedure to deal with children in conflict with law is different from the routine procedure of criminal justice system. But incidents show that children have been subjected to torture in police custody
  • Torture is not just confined to police custody, but is also perpetrated in otherwise assumed to be “safer” custodial institutions like judicial custody (prisons), juvenile homes, de-addiction centers etc
  • Nine years after the report of the Select Committee and 21 years after signing the Convention, India is yet to legislate a law that will outlaw torture

Way Forward:

  • In a matter that concerns ‘life and liberty’, the Supreme Court is the guardian of the Constitution’s guarantees.
  • The Law Commission of India submitted its 273rd report recommending government to ratify the UNCAT and also proposed the Prevention of Torture Bill 2017.
  • Definition of torture should be broadened to include discrimination of any kind as one of the purposes of torture. It is widely recognised that discrimination based on religion, caste and association with ideas does have an impact on the incidence and extent of torture.
  • Given the fact that there is a possibility of a range of acts that can be committed under torture, cruelty and ill-treatment leading to differing severity of harm—the punishment prescribed should have further gradation. Also, death penalty should not be included as the punishment.
  • The bill should enlist possible factors based on which the calculation of compensation should be devised.
  • It is imperative that the democratic opposition makes the ratification of the Convention and a new anti-torture legislation part of its common programme. The 17th Lok Sabha must take a stand on this matter.
  • It gives us a choice to join the civilised world in moving away from ancient barbarism

Conclusion:

The prevention of torture has been one of the key human rights developments in the last decade. With India’s strong stake for a seat at the security council, the issue has assumed importance. There is an urgent need to address the ways in which inequalities continue to exist and question the nature of our criminal justice system which turns a blind eye to torture.


Topic– Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Human Resources

6) The advent of Industry 4.0 requires a human centric approach unlock growth. Discuss.(250 words)

Livemint

Why this question

The article discusses the potential human capital related challenge that is likely given the way 4th industrial revolution is shaping up. The article also discusses how nations have started gearing up and India needs to follow suit. The article touches several topics in GS2 and GS3 syllabus and thus needs to be discussed in detail.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to bring out the changes brought about by the advent of technology such as AI etc which is giving rise to 4th IR. Thereafter, it expects us to discuss how skill upgradation is necessary to deal with these changes and the efforts of India in comparison to other countries in bringing about such changes. Finally, we need to provide a fair and balanced opinion and discuss way forward.

Directive word

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain about what do you mean by 4th IR.

Body

  • Discuss the changes brought about by 4th IR and how adapting to such changes require an emphasis on learning and unlearning.
    • The World Economic Forum estimates 75 million jobs may be displaced, but 133 million new roles may emerge globally in a few years. These new jobs will be different and will require higher application of cognitive skills alongside working with deep technologies.
    • McKinsey says pretty much the same thing with more alarming statistics over a broader time horizon. Globally, 400 to 800 million jobs may be displaced by 2030, requiring as many as 375 million people to switch job categories entirely. Numerous studies have been carried out (including by Nasscom) and it’s clear why re-skilling is an imperative.
  • Highlight how other nations have started dealing with this challenge –
    • Countries have started to put in place national digital skills strategies, including in Asia etc
  • Discuss what India needs to do.

Conclusion – Give a fair and balanced opinion and discuss way forward.

Introduction:

The fourth industrial revolution or Industry 4.0 is the current  and developing environment in which disruptive technologies and trends such as the Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI) are changing the way we live and work. It is characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.

According to Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum and author of The Fourth Industrial Revolution, the new age is differentiated by the speed of technological breakthroughs, the pervasiveness of scope and the tremendous impact of new systems.

Body:

Industry 4.0 is a double-edged sword. The changes brought about by 4th IR:

  • Positives:
    • There is an artificial intelligence (AI)-driven $15.7 trillion game-changer that is unfolding. Of this, India can claim a $957 billion boost to its gross domestic product in the next 12-15 years.
    • The global digital transformation market is expected to grow from $ 445.4 billion in 2017 to $ 2,279.4 billion by 2025.
    • The World Economic Forum estimates 133 million new roles may emerge globally in a few years.
    • These new jobs will be different and will require higher application of cognitive skills alongside working with deep technologies.
    • The race for talent acquisition is intense. Countries have started to put in place national digital skills strategies, including in Asia.
    • increasingly powerful computing devices and networks, digital services, and mobile devices, this can become a reality for people around the world, including those in underdeveloped countries.
    • advances in biomedical sciences can lead to healthier lives and longer life spans. They can lead to innovations in neuroscience, like connecting the human brain to computers to enhance intelligence or experience a simulated world.
    • Digital technology can liberate workers from automatable tasks, freeing them to concentrate on addressing more complex business issues and giving them more autonomy.
  • Negatives:
    • The cutting-edge technologies such as AI will disrupt 70% of market leaders across industries in the next 10 years.
    • The World Economic Forum estimates 75 million jobs may be displaced globally in a few years.
    • McKinsey says globally, 400 to 800 million jobs may be displaced by 2030, requiring as many as 375 million people to switch job categories entirely.
    • The skill gap is significant and is being acutely felt across industries.
    • The economic benefits of the Fourth Industrial Revolution are becoming more concentrated among a small group. This increasing inequality can lead to political polarization, social fragmentation, and lack of trust in institutions.
    • Technological advances are also broadening the scope of surveillance. In the UK today, an estimated 6 million CCTV cameras are recording activity all over the country.
    • Public trust in business, government, the media, and even technology is falling. This is a crisis that is dividing societies and creating instability around the world.

Way forward for India:

  • Re-Skilling:
    • Re-skilling and upskilling will have to be undertaken by every stakeholder.
    • Massive open online courses to re-skill the Workforce participants by companies using their own learning platforms and tapping into their partner networks.
    • Learning has happened in silos where learners have been pitted against one other. This has to morph into a collaborative mindset to create an environment of shared learning.
    • Industry needs to have deeper engagements with academia, Centres of Excellence and research labs to reach our optimum potential.
    • Universities will have to re-train to ensure students are employable in the digital era.
  • Investment:
    • Indian IT is taking convincing strides to sustain its position as the preferred transformational partner for global clients. Towards this, investments of about ₹10,000 crore of have been earmarked for re-skilling.
    • The government doubled its Digital India budget to $480 million in 2018-19, which will be used for research and training in deep tech.
  • Initiatives:
    • The announcement of the National AI Centre, AI portal, and the identification of nine areas to be driven by technology are positive steps towards evangelisation.
    • the Karnataka government along with Nasscom has launched a CoE for data science and AI.
  • Global Approach:
    • As many as 20 countries across the globe have adopted AI National Strategy. Governments worldwide recognise the inevitable shift and are adopting AI, analytics, and allied technologies to deliver citizen-centric services, including real-time response.

Conclusion:

We have to consciously build positive values into the technologies we create, think about how they are to be used, and design them with ethical application in mind and in support of collaborative ways of preserving what’s important to us. This effort requires all stakeholders—governments, policymakers, international organizations, regulators, business organizations, academia, and civil society—to work together to steer the powerful emerging technologies in ways that limit risk and create a world that aligns with common goals for the future.


Topic– Issues related to education, human resources

7) Teacher training requires an urgent overhaul in India. Examine.(250 words)

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Why this question

One of the major reason for our poor ranking in education indicators can be attributed to the quality of teaching staff in India. The article examines the issue and proposes solutions and thus is an important topic to be prepared for mains.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to discuss the problem with respect to quality of teachers in India and how it is impacting the education indicators of the country. Thereafter it expects us to discuss the problems with the existing system and why and what kind of overhaul it requires.

Directive word

Examine – When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any .

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Highlight that teachers play an important role in improving education outcomes and the quality of teachers leave a lot to be desired in India.

Body

  • Explain the issue in detail
    • India’s persistently low-learning outcomes gain momentum once again in light of Pratham’s Annual Status Of Education Report
    • Pratham CEO Rukmini Banerji has highlighted the central role of teachers in improving learning outcomes
    • Unfortunately, teachers in India, especially those in the government school system, are largely seen as a governance problem, with the focus on getting them into the classroom rather than developing their skills and motivation.
  • Explain the problems with the current system
    • National Council of Educational Research and Training study finds there is no systematic incorporation of teacher feedback into designing trainings, and little variation or consideration of local issues
    • The outcome of such training is limited and there is no measure of whether this is translated into classroom practice. Eventually, such factors have significant multiplier effects in how they de-professionalize the larger teaching profession and drive down a teacher’s “internal responsibility”—the sense of duty to the job, shaped by the environment in which the teacher operates.
  • Discuss the nature of solutions required to the problem
    • Incorporation of teacher feedback
    • Strengthening the training system etc

Conclusion – Give a fair and balanced view and discuss way forward.

 

Introduction:

Teachers play a vital role in educating and inspiring the young generation to become the demographic dividend of the future generation. NGO Pratham’s Annual Status Of Education Report shows that India’s persistently low-learning outcomes gain momentum once again. Quality of education is depends upon the quality of teacher. Teachers’ training in India is unable to cover tough spots and follows a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach.

Body:

Economist Eric Hanushek finds that a child taught by a good teacher gains 1.5 grade-level equivalents, while a child taught by a bad teacher only gets half an academic year’s worth. Teacher Education is a crucial area which urgently needs focus in order to develop the standards of pedagogy in India. It is suffering from many deficiencies and structural issues

  • Majority of aspiring teachers do not have basic concepts of mathematics, leave aside teaching to students.
  • Results of TET shows dismal figures of only 3-4 percent of them passing the eligibility test.
  • Although NCTE lays down the minimum qualification criterion for appointing teachers at various level, but some states have sought relaxation in minimum qualification in recruitment as teachers. This has created a large pool of ‘untrained teachers’. Around 20 percent of regular teachers and 40 percent of contact teachers did not have professional qualifications for elementary education.
  • Teachers in India, especially those in the government school system, are largely seen as a governance problem, with the focus on getting them into the classroom rather than developing their skills and motivation.
  • Those teachers not meeting the qualification were mandated to get it within five years, but this remains unmet.
  • Widespread corruption in appointment of teachers as seen in Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and with variation in other states also.
  • A National Council of Educational Research and Training study finds there is no systematic incorporation of teacher feedback into designing trainings, and little variation or consideration of local issues. There is no measure of whether this is translated into classroom practice.
  • Nearly half the teachers believe that not all children could achieve excellent educational outcomes because of their socioeconomic backgrounds.
  • Only 25% incorporate activity-based learning and 33% use storytelling or role-play in their paedagogic approach, either because these weren’t priorities or because they did not have time.

Government Initiative so far:

  • The ministry of human resource development and the National Council for Teacher Education in collaboration with non-government stakeholders launched the National Teacher Platform or Diksha in 2017.
  • Diksha is envisioned as a one-stop solution to address teacher competency gaps through courses that address their skill gaps and by empowering them to “learn what they want, where they want”.
  • State initiatives like RISE(Rajasthan Interface for School Educators), Rajasthan’s version of Diksha.
  • National Council for Teacher Education plans and co-ordinates the development of teacher education system throughout the country.
  • Justice Verma Commission and Poonam Batra Committee was appointed to look into teacher education. Their recommendations were based on creating new teacher education programmed in multi disciplinary environments.

Way forward:

  • The World Development Report On Education (2018) states that “teacher skills and motivation both matter” and that individually-targeted, continued training is crucial to achieving learning improvements through teachers.
  • Better incentives for teachers: Post training, there should be no differences in the salary of teachers, public or private. This will attract the best young minds towards this profession and will help it regain lost ground.
  • Investments in teacher capacity through stronger training programmes. Teachers need to unlearn and relearn the subjects and the way it should be taught. There is no point in teaching and employing rote learning, for just passing the examination.
  • Teacher training programmes should be complemented by focus-group discussions with local NGOs and community-based organizations.
  • The teacher training models should have the ability to provide continuous professional development through a blended model, complementing existing physical trainings.
  • A technology-enabled platform which allows training to become a continuous activity rather than an annual event is necessary.
  • Apart from creating good content, it is also important to consider teachers’ technology consumption patterns, the potential of gamification to drive up engagement and the role of headmasters in promoting teachers’ professional development.

Conclusion:

Teachers are important. This importance doesn’t stem from their exalted mythical status, but from their role as professionals and critical levers in defining the quality of education children receive. Thus, Teacher education program forms the back bone of education system of a nation.