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[ Day 15 – Synopsis ] 75 Days Mains Revision Plan 2023 – GS Paper 1 & Ethics


GS Paper 1

Q1. In what ways does the incorporation of folk motifs and narratives in early Buddhist stupa art enhance the accessibility and relatability of Buddhist teachings? (10M)


It is perhaps only in Buddhism that a particular structure has been recommended by its founder for worship and salvation, for the Stupa enables the worshiper to not only think of the Buddha as an imminent reality (by regarding the Stupa as a visual manifestation of the Buddha), but also epitomizes his enlightenment and nirvana. In this way the Buddhist Stupa transcends its predecessor, the burial mound or tumulus, by shifting the emphasis from a particular relic to a higher transcendental actuality as realized by the Buddha, i.e. the Buddha’s attainment and the worshiper’s goal.



Incorporation of folk motifs and narratives in the early Buddhist stupa art: Sanchi, Sarnath, Amaravati and Bharhut stupas are the oldest examples of Early Buddhist stupa art. The Birth, Enlightenment, First Sermon and Great Departure are depicted using various motifs in these stupas.




  • Cultural Context: Early Buddhist stupa art incorporated familiar folk motifs and symbols from the local cultural context, making the teachings relatable to the people and helping the audience connect with the teachings on a deeper level.
    • For example, the scenes on the Bharhut sculptures, relating to the life of Gautama Shakyamuni include, among others, the dream of Maya (Illustrating the descent of a Bodhisattva in the form of an elephant into the mother’s womb), the defeat of Mara etc. were portrayed using folk art styles and motifs.
  • Visual Storytelling: One example is the Jataka tales, which depict the Buddha’s previous lives and his moral teachings through engaging stories. The Jataka stories were depicted on the torans of Stupas.
    • The Jataka tales narrating the stories and ideals of Buddhism such as ahimsa or non-violence and nature conservation are also shown through the animal motifs like lion, bull, horse, stag etc. on Stupas.
  • Symbolic Representation: Folk motifs were employed as symbolic representations of Buddhist concepts and teachings. For instance, the lotus flower, a common motif in early Buddhist art, symbolizes purity and spiritual awakening.
    • Similarly, the main structure of the Great Stupa consisted of a flattened hemispherical dome, called an anda, placed atop a cylindrical base. Anda, represents the infinite dome of heaven and signifies the cycle of birth, death and rebirth.
  • Local Beliefs and Practices: Local beliefs were incorporated in folk motifs to popularise Buddhist teachings. This integration helped bridge the gap between pre-existing cultural traditions and the new Buddhist ideas, making the teachings more acceptable and relatable to the local population.
    • For instance, in regions with a strong belief in nature spirits, Buddhist art often depicted deities in a manner that resembled local nature spirits, fostering a sense of continuity and familiarity.
  • Moral teaching by examples: The inclusion of stories depicting virtues such as compassion, generosity, and honesty helped the audience understand and internalize these teachings.
    • The Jataka tales, for example, often portrayed acts of selflessness and kindness, inspiring individuals to emulate these qualities in their own lives.
  • Emotional Connection: Folk motifs have the power to evoke emotions and connect with people’s sentiments. Early Buddhist stupa art utilized this emotional resonance to create a deeper connection with the teachings.
    • The three elements of the chattra at Sanchi represented the Three Jewels of Buddhism: The Buddha, the Dharma (the Law), and the Sangha (the community of monks).


The use of folk motifs and narratives in stupa art also helped to convey complex philosophical concepts in a visually engaging and easily understandable manner. The vibrant depictions of everyday life, mythological stories, and moral lessons provided a context for viewers to interpret and appreciate the teachings of Buddhism. This approach ensured that Buddhist messages were not limited to the intellectual elite but could be comprehended and internalized by people of all social strata.


Q2. Critically examine the specific policies and institutions employed by the British colonial state to solidify its control and authority over India? (15M)


The British colonial state was qualitatively different from the pre-colonial Indian states especially in the manner in which it marshalled military force and extracted resources from India. The policies of British colonial state were designed to exploit Indian resources, establish control, and consolidate British power.


Specific policies employed by the British colonial state to solidify its control and authority over India; –

  • Land Revenue System: The British implemented the land revenue system, which involved the assessment and collection of land taxes. They introduced the Permanent Settlement in certain regions, where land revenue was fixed and hereditary landowners became intermediaries between the British administration and the peasants.
    • This system ensured a steady revenue stream for the British and reinforced their authority over land and agriculture.
  • Territorial Expansion: Through a combination of military force, diplomacy, and the exploitation of local divisions, the British gradually expanded their territorial control in India.
    • They utilized the policy of “subsidiary alliances” to establish alliances with Indian rulers, allowing them to extend British influence over more territories. E.g. Hyderabad
    • The policy of annexation or doctrine of lapse was also employed, whereby territories were directly taken under British rule. E.g. Satara, Jhansi
  • Divide and Rule: The British adopted a “divide and rule” policy, exploiting existing divisions among the local populations to maintain control.
    • For example, the partition of Bengal in 1905, Provision of separate electorate for Muslims under Morley-Minto reforms.
  • Suppression of Resistance: The British colonial state implemented policies to suppress any form of resistance or dissent. They enacted laws like the Rowlatt Act in 1919, ban on vernacular press (1878) etc. curtailed civil liberties and gave the colonial government extensive powers of arrest, detain and silence opposition.
    • g. to crush the Kuka uprising (1872) in Punjab, many rebels were shot dead, blown from guns and hanged.
  • Restriction of Indian Industries: The British implemented policies that restricted Indian industries to protect British manufacturing. They imposed high tariffs on Indian goods, discouraged the development of local industries, and encouraged the export of raw materials from India to Britain. These policies served to strengthen the British economy at the expense of Indian economic growth and self-sufficiency. E.g. The Calico Acts (1700, 1721) banned the import of most cotton textiles into England from India.

Institutions employed:

  • Indian Penal Code and Criminal Justice System: The British introduced the Indian Penal Code (IPC) in 1860, which codified criminal law in India. The IPC was based on English legal principles and provided a framework for the administration of justice. The British also established a hierarchical and centralized criminal justice system, which further consolidated their control over law and order.
    • Laws such as the Indian Penal Code and the Criminal Tribes Act were used to suppress political movements and maintain social control.
    • These laws were often biased and discriminatory, protecting British interests while undermining indigenous institutions. E.g. Illbert bill controversy of 1883.
  • Military Supremacy: The British established military dominance in India, which played a crucial role in the establishment of their empire. They recruited Indian soldiers, known as Sepoys, into their armies but maintained British officers in key positions of authority. E.g. Officers like Campbell, Clive etc.
    • The British also employed the policy of “martial races,” recruiting soldiers from select communities known for their loyalty and military skills. E.g. Gorkha, Sikhs
  • Administrative Systems: The British established a centralized administrative system that allowed them to exercise control over vast territories. They implemented bureaucratic structures and laws that suited their interests.
    • For instance, the Indian Civil Service (ICS) was staffed primarily by British officials, ensuring their dominance in decision-making and governance.
  • Educational Institutions: The British established educational institutions in India, including universities, colleges, and schools. These institutions followed a Western-style curriculum and emphasized English education. it produced a class of Indians who were anglicized and loyal to British rule, reinforcing British authority and undermining traditional Indian education systems.
  • Railways and Transportation Infrastructure: The British colonial state invested heavily in building railways and other transportation infrastructure in India. This infrastructure not only facilitated economic activities but also enhanced the mobility and control of British authorities.


These policies worked together to establish and maintain British power in India, allowing them to exploit the country’s resources, extract wealth, and establish a vast empire that lasted for nearly two centuries. The legacy of these policies continues to shape the social, economic, and political landscape of India even after the end of British colonial rule.





Syllabus: Attitude: content, structure, function

 Q3. What do you understand by the given quote? “Your attitude is an expression of your values, beliefs, and expectations”.



Attitudes are the positive or negative evaluations made about people, issues, or objects. It serves as a way of expressing our inner values, beliefs, and expectations to the external world.



Impact of values, beliefs and expectations on attitude formation:

  • Values- strong values unwavering positive attitude: In Khushwant Singh’s “Train to Pakistan” , the character named Iqbal Singh, a Sikh magistrate refuses to let hatred and prejudice guide his actions as he firmly believes in the values of compassion, tolerance, and equality.
  • Beliefs- attitude can change when beliefs not met: when Ambedkar’s belief in equality, fraternity and justice were tampered by caste Hindus he said ‘Even though I was born in the Hindu religion, I will not die in the Hindu religion.’
  • Expectations: MGNREGA was introduced in 2005 with the aim of providing a social safety net, met the expectations of rural communities, leading to a strengthening of positive attitudes towards the government and policymakers

Attitude changes when values, beliefs and expectations are not met:

  • Values: Valuing compassion and affection towards his own family Arjuna refuses to fight in Kurukshetra until Lord Krishna through Bhagavad-Gita provides expands his value system with a broader perspective of righteousness, moral duty and ultimate welfare of society.
  • Beliefs: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) helps patients identify negative thoughts and irrational beliefs that are causing them distress and change their attitude. For instance challenging negative beleifs like ‘Im worthless’ in a depressed person.
  • Expectations: During the 1950s expectations of bonhomie were high between Indian and China. But with the unilateral war of 1962, Indian expectation of ‘Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai’ were trampled and an attitude of mistrust developed.


The quote emphasizes that our attitude is not just a fleeting emotion but a reflection of our values, beliefs, and expectations.

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