History is a subject that has always fascinated individuals with its ability to transport us back in time, allowing us to explore the rich tapestry of human civilization. In the context of the UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) examinations, history is not just about delving into the past; it’s about comprehending the socio-cultural dynamics that have shaped our world. If you’re an aspiring civil servant with history as your optional subject, you’re in for a journey of profound discoveries. To excel in this domain, it’s vital to acquaint yourself with the past years’ questions, which serve as invaluable guides. In this blog series, we’ll embark on a systematic exploration of history optional subject-wise previous year questions from 2013 to 2023, starting with the captivating realm of “Social and Cultural Developments.”
The UPSC Mains examination is a rigorous test of one’s knowledge, analytical skills, and the ability to connect historical dots. Social and Cultural Developments play a pivotal role in this challenging journey, encompassing the diverse facets of human society, from art and architecture to religion and philosophy. By examining questions from the last decade, we’ll not only gain a better understanding of the kind of inquiries posed by UPSC but also unravel the intricate narratives that have influenced civilizations across the ages. Join us in this historical expedition as we delve into the captivating subject of Social and Cultural Developments and equip ourselves for success in the UPSC Mains examination.
Social and Cultural Developments History – Previous Year Questions (UPSC CSE Mains History Optional)
The state of indigenous education, its dislocation; Orientalist – Anglicist controversy. The introduction of western education in India; The rise of press, literature and public opinion; The rise of modern vernacular literature; Progress of science; Christian missionary activities in India.
1. Review the educational policy of the English East India Company. To what extent did it serve the imperial interests of Great Britain? (1988)
2. ‘Nowhere was the influence of the missionaries felt more than in relation to the women’s movement.’ Comment in about 200 words. (1989)
3. What was the Anglicisit – Orientalist controversy about? How was it resolved and with what results? (1990)
4. “India broke her British fetters with western hammers.” Comment. (1997)
5. The Christian Missionary propaganda from 1813 onwards was “often insensitive and wounding.” Comment. (1999)
6. “India broke her British fetters with Western hammers.” Comment. (2002)
7. Examine the impact of British rule on Indian Society in the 19th Century. (2004)
8. “The vernacular press in the nineteenth century was both newspaper as well as ‘viewspaper* that enlightened the dormant masses”. Comment. (2008)
9. “Orientalism produced a knowledge the past to service the needs of the Colonial State.” Elucidate. (2011)
10. “The vernacular press in nineteenth century India served not just as newspapers but more importantly as views – papers.” Comment. (2011)
11. “The current practice of categorization of ‘Early Modem India’ is based on a shift from the old imperialist periodization of ‘Muslim India’- ‘British India’ to the more secularist one of ‘Medieval India’ – ‘Modern India’, which puts Indian history in a universalist chronological structure.” Critically examine. (2012)
12. Do you agree with the view that the growth of vernacular literature in the 19th and the 20th centuries paved the way for social reform and cultural revival in India? (2016)
13. Assess the role of press in arousing awareness on important social issues in the second half of the nineteenth century. (2017)
14. What was the significance of Orientalist Anglicist controversy in nineteenth century India? Analyse. (2018)
15. Examine the forces at work for the introduction of western education in India. Analyse the thrust given to it by the Christian Missionaries. (2019)
16. Critically examine the following statement in about 150 words: The introduction of Western education transformed India in unforeseen ways. (2021)
17. Critically examine the following statement in about 150 words: The Vernacular Press Act of 1878 was designed for better control of the vernacular press and to empower the government with more effective means of punishing and repressing seditious writings. (2021)
FAQs on Social and Cultural Developments
Q: What is sociocultural theory of development, and how does it impact individual growth?
A: The sociocultural theory of development, often associated with Lev Vygotsky, emphasizes the role of social interaction and cultural context in shaping an individual’s cognitive and psychological development. It posits that individuals acquire knowledge and skills through social interaction and cultural tools. This theory highlights the importance of social relationships and cultural context in learning and personal growth.
Q: Can you provide some examples of cultural development in history and contemporary society?
A: Cultural development is a dynamic process that includes the evolution of art, language, customs, and traditions within a society. Examples can range from the Renaissance in Europe, which witnessed a flourishing of art and knowledge, to the contemporary globalization of cuisines, where the fusion of diverse culinary traditions reflects cultural development.
Q: What was social and cultural life like during the Delhi Sultanate period in India?
A: The Delhi Sultanate, which ruled much of the Indian subcontinent from the 13th to 16th centuries, had a significant impact on the social and cultural fabric of the region. During this time, Persian culture and Islamic traditions influenced architecture, literature, and art. The era also saw the development of Indo-Islamic architecture, Sufism, and the growth of Persian and Arabic literature in the subcontinent.
Q: What are some notable examples of social and cultural uprisings in history?
A: Social and cultural uprisings have been pivotal in reshaping societies. Notable examples include the French Revolution in 1789, which led to profound political and cultural changes in France, and the Civil Rights Movement in the United States during the 1950s and 1960s, which challenged racial segregation and advanced social justice.
Q: How can social and cultural uprisings impact contemporary society?
A: Social and cultural uprisings have a lasting impact on society. They can lead to legal and political reforms, changes in social norms, and cultural revolutions. For example, the women’s liberation movement in the 20th century significantly transformed gender roles and rights, while the Arab Spring uprisings in the early 2010s reshaped the political landscape in several Middle Eastern countries.
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