The pursuit of a career in the Indian Civil Services through the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) examination is a formidable challenge, with aspirants required to showcase their knowledge and analytical skills across a vast array of subjects. One such subject that has been a constant fixture in the UPSC Main Examination is “History,” and within this subject, the “Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries” hold a significant place. It’s a period characterized by socio-cultural, economic, and political developments that significantly shaped the trajectory of the Indian subcontinent. In this blog series, we’ll dive deep into the importance of the History optional subject, particularly focusing on the “Society, Culture, and Economy in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries,” and the relevance of previous year questions spanning from 2013 to 2023. Understanding this subject not only enriches our historical knowledge but also equips aspiring civil servants with valuable insights to tackle the UPSC Mains effectively.
Society, Culture and Economy in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries History – Previous Year Questions (UPSC CSE Mains History Optional)
Society: composition of rural society, ruling classes, town dwellers, women, religious classes, caste and slavery under the Sultanate, Bhaktl movement, Sufi movement; Culture: Persian literature, literature In the regional languages of North India, literature in the languages of South India, Sultanate architecture and new structural forms, painting, evolution of a composite culture; Economy: Agricultural production, rise of urban economy and nonagricultural production, trade and commerce.
1. Where, when and how did Urduoriginate? Write short answer of not more than 200 words. (1985)
2. ‘The period of Delhi Sultans witnessed the emergence of Indo-Persian culture.’ Discuss the statement with reference to developments in the fields of language, literature, art and social life. (1986)
3. Write brief essay: Indo – Islamic architecture during the Khalji and Tughluq period. (1992)
4. Write brief essay on Meaning and features of the Maharashtra Dharma. (1994)
5. Growth of regional languages and literature during the medieval period. (1995)
6. Throw light on the Land Revenue System of Sultanate period. (1998)
7. Write brief essay- Amir Khusro was an eminent poet not a historian. (2000)
8. Give a critical assessment of the contributions of Amir Khusrau and Barani to Indo-Persian literature. (2009)
9. Identify the main factors that sustained the expansion of urban economy in the Delhi Sultanate. (2009)
10. Examine the increasing importance of maritime trade of India during thirteenth to fifteenth centuries. (2010)
11. Analyse the racialcomposition and the role of nobility under the successors of Iltutmish. How did it affect the contemporary politics? (2012)
12. Bhakti and mysticism of Lai Ded emerged as a social force in Kashmir. Comment. (2013)
13. Evaluate the Malfuzat texts as sources of medieval history. (2013)
14. Evaluate the conditions of industries in India from 1200- 1500 CE. (2013)
15. Critically evaluate the educational development during the Sultanate period. (2013)
16. Evaluate criticallythe conditions of labour from 1200 – 1500 CE on the basis of historical sources. (2013)
17. Assess the Lekhapaddhati as an important source for evaluating the society and economy of the thirteenth century CE with special reference to Gujarat. (2013)
18. Evaluate the contribution of Vaishnava saints to the growth of medieval Bhakti literature. (150 words) (2014)
19. Trace the technological and stylistic development in the architecture of the Sultanate period. (2014)
20. “Sufis and medieval mystic saints failed to modify either the religious ideas and practices or the outward structure of Islamic / Hindu societies to any appreciable extent.” Comment for / against. (2015)
21. Discuss in brief the land – revenue system and judicial administration of the Delhi Sultanate. (2015)
22. Evaluate the contents of the Tabaqat-iNasiri as a source of medieval history. (2016)
23. Delineate non – agricultural production and urban economy in the 13th and 14th centuries C.E. (2017)
24. Discuss evidence on slavery provided by Ibn Batuta with special reference to female slaves. (2018)
25. Discuss the advancement made in Textile Technology under the Delhi Sultans. (2018)
26.Describe the new architectural features added by successive Sultans in the construction of Tombs in India. (2018)
27. Delineate the state of agriculture during the Sultanate period. (2019)
28. Critically evaluate the Muslim Nobility during the period of Tughlaq dynasty, (in 150 words) (2020)
29. How did international trade support urbanisation in North India during the 13- 14th century CE. (in 150 words) (2020)
30. Some new crafts production were introduced by the Turks. Comment. (2020)
31. Identify the different categories of Persian Literature which emerged during the Delhi Sultanate, (in about 150 words) (2021)
FAQs on Society, Culture and Economy in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries
Q1: What were the key societal changes during the 13th and 14th centuries in India?
A1: The 13th and 14th centuries in India saw significant societal changes, including the rise of Sufism and Bhakti movements, which emphasized religious tolerance and inclusivity. There was also the spread of vernacular languages and literature, and the emergence of a more cosmopolitan society with the growth of trade and urban centers.
Q2: How did the culture evolve during the 13th and 14th centuries in India?
A2: The culture of this era was marked by the synthesis of indigenous and foreign elements. Persian influence led to Indo-Persian art and architecture, and it was also a period of prolific temple building. The literature of this time, with works like the “Bhakti” and “Sufi” poetry, reflected the evolving cultural landscape.
Q3: What were the economic developments during the 13th and 14th centuries in India?
A3: Economic developments in this period were noteworthy. Trade flourished, with the establishment of trade guilds, and Indian goods found markets in distant regions. The development of the currency system, increased agricultural productivity, and a burgeoning banking system were key economic features.
Q4: How did the Bhakti and Sufi movements impact society during this period?
A4: The Bhakti and Sufi movements played a transformative role in society. They encouraged social inclusivity and undermined caste hierarchies. These movements promoted personal devotion to God and a more liberal interpretation of religious practices.
Q5: What were the significant historical events in India during the 13th and 14th centuries?
A5: Notable events include the invasion of the Delhi Sultanate by the Mongols, the establishment of the Vijayanagara Empire, and the reign of the Mughal ruler, Akbar. The 14th century saw the Khalji and Tughlaq dynasties in Delhi, and the decline of the Chola dynasty in the south.
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