History is a subject that not only takes us on a journey through time but also allows us to understand the intricate web of events that have shaped the world we live in today. In the realm of competitive exams, especially the UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) Mains, history becomes a critical domain of study. One of the most popular optional subjects for UPSC aspirants is History, and within this vast subject, a fascinating segment lies in the constitutional developments of colonial India between 1858 and 1935. To conquer this segment, aspirants often turn to previous year questions to glean insights into the pattern, depth, and scope of questions asked by the UPSC. In this blog series, we embark on a historical journey through past UPSC Mains papers, specifically delving into the questions related to constitutional developments in colonial India between 1858 and 1935 from 2013 to 2023. Whether you are a history enthusiast, an aspiring civil servant, or simply curious about this intriguing period in India’s history, join us in this exploration of past exam questions, their significance, and the knowledge they offer to those preparing for the UPSC Mains examination.
UPSC Mains is renowned for its grueling and extensive syllabus, with history being a pivotal part of it. The constitutional developments during the colonial era offer a profound insight into India’s struggle for self-governance and its path to independence. These questions, spanning a decade, encompass various dimensions of the constitutional journey, touching upon the Government of India Acts, the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms, the Nehru Report, and the Poona Pact, among other significant milestones. By dissecting these questions, we not only seek to understand the historical aspects but also discern how the UPSC frames its queries, and what it expects from aspirants. Whether you’re a UPSC aspirant aiming to enhance your historical knowledge or a curious mind interested in the complexities of colonial India’s constitutional developments, this series will provide valuable insights into a pivotal period in Indian history and the competitive exams that examine it. So, let’s embark on this educational voyage through the lens of UPSC’s History Optional Subject-Wise Previous Year Questions on Constitutional Developments in Colonial India between 1858 and 1935.
Constitutional Developments in the Colonial India between 1858 and 1935 History – Previous Year Questions (UPSC CSE Mains History Optional)
1. What changes did the British attitude undergo towards the Princely states after 1858? Was the Government of India Act of 1858 intended to introduce direct relations between the Princes and the Crown? (1985)
2. “Dyarchy was introduced with high hopes and it must be said that, on a theoretical analysis and if worked under ideal conditions, it is not without merits.” Comment in about 200 words. (1988)
3. ‘The relations of the Native States, however conducted are essentially with the British Crown and not with the Indian Government.’ Comment. (1991)
4. ‘No native state should be left to exist in India which is not upheld by the British power or the political conduct of which is not under the absolute control.’ Comment. (1992)
5. ‘Please remember, in granting separate electorates, we are sowing dragon’s teeth the harvest will be bitter.’ Comment. (1992)
6. The Government of India from Canning to Curzon was regarded ‘‘as a white man’s burden rather than as a call to creative effort or the preparation for a new era.” Comment. (1995)
7. The Diarchy provided by the Montford reforms “certainly created suspicion without and frictions within.” Comment. (1995)
8. The Montague Declaration (20 August 1917) was observed more closely in the “realm of imperial relations” than anything else. Comment. (1998)
9. Explain the attitude of the Indian National Congress towards the constitutional changes of 1909, 1919 and 1935. (1998)
10. “Please remember, in granting separate electorates we are sowing the dragon’s teeth and the harvest will be bitter.” (Morley). Comment. (2009)
11. “Though the Act of 1919 was superseded by that of 1935, the preamble to the former was not repealed- the preservation of the smile of the Cheshire cat after its disappearance, and the latter said nothing about Dominion Status.” Elucidate. (2013)
12. “Montague-Chelmsford reform proposals introduced ‘dyarchy’, but blurred the lines of responsibility.” Critically examine in 150 words. (2014)
13. “Although the Government of India Act of 1935 replaced dyarchy with Provincial Autonomy, the overriding powers of the Governor diluted the spirit autonomy.” Elucidate. (2015)
14. Critically examine: “An ideology of paternalistic benevolence, occasionally combined with talk of trusteeship and training towards self-government, thinly veiled the realities of a Raj uncompromisingly white and despotic.” (2018)
15. Could Dyarchy (1919) satisfy the national sentiments of the Indians? (2018)
16. Is it justified to say that the Government of India Act of 1935 had all brakes, but no engine. (2019)
17. Discuss the major constitutional developments in India after 1858 and their impact on society and polity. (2021)
FAQs on Constitutional Developments in the Colonial India between 1858 and 1935
Q: What were the key milestones in India’s constitutional development between 1858 and 1947?
A: During this period, several significant events shaped India’s constitutional development. Notable milestones include the Government of India Acts of 1858, 1909, and 1919, which gradually increased Indian representation in legislative bodies, the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms of 1919 that introduced dyarchy and the Government of India Act of 1935, which laid the foundation for provincial autonomy. These acts paved the way for the establishment of the Indian Constituent Assembly, which drafted the Indian Constitution, leading to India’s independence in 1947.
Q: What constitutional developments took place in India between 1773 and 1858?
A: The period between 1773 and 1858 witnessed significant constitutional developments in India. The Regulating Act of 1773 marked the beginning of British parliamentary involvement in India’s governance. The Charter Acts of 1793, 1813, and 1833 further defined the relationship between the British Crown and the East India Company. The Charter Act of 1833 introduced Indian representation in legislative bodies. These acts aimed to regulate the Company’s affairs and establish a semblance of accountability. However, the doctrine of ‘laissez-faire’ and the subsequent Indian Rebellion of 1857 led to the end of the East India Company’s rule and the beginning of direct British rule through the Government of India Act 1858.
Q: What were the major constitutional developments in India from 1858 to 1947?
A: This era witnessed several key constitutional developments. The Government of India Act 1858 marked the transfer of power from the East India Company to the British Crown. Subsequent acts, such as the Indian Councils Act 1861 and the Government of India Acts of 1909 and 1919, expanded Indian participation in legislative bodies and introduced limited self-governance. The Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms of 1919 established dyarchy and the concept of responsible government in provinces. The Government of India Act 1935 allowed for provincial autonomy and the establishment of a federal structure. These developments paved the way for the formation of the Indian Constituent Assembly, which drafted the Indian Constitution, leading to India’s independence in 1947.
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