IAS Mains GS Paper 1 Answerkey [Part 1]

Aspirant Forum presents the Mains 2014 Answer key. Our team has tried to strictly adhere to the wordlimit.

Last year’s Mains examination experience has shown that unless the Paper is attempted in the suggested wordlimit, it is difficult to complete the paper. Thus, our effort has been to write the answers within the prescribed word limit.

We welcome the aspirants to discuss the answers. You may discuss about the questions in the comments section.

Question 1. To what extent has the urban planning and culture in the Indus Valley Civilization provided inputs to the present day urbanization? Discuss

10 marks

Answer. The urban planning and culture of the Indus valley civilization provided the input to the present day urbanization in many way:


  1. A sophisticated and technologically advanced urban culture is evident in the Indus Valley Civilization. The quality of municipal town planning suggests the knowledge of urban planning and efficient municipal governments which placed a high priority on hygiene.
  2. The Indus civilization’s economy appears to have depended significantly on trade, which was facilitated by major advances in transport technology
  3. Indus systems of sewerage and drainage that were developed (hydraulic engineering of the Indus Valley Civilization).
  4. Harappan society had no rulers, and everybody enjoyed equal status.

These points highlight the influence of the Indus Valley civilization on the modern urbanization. The whole structure of the modern urban centers follow a similar symmetry in terms of patterns of settlement. Similarly, while the economic activities have diversified in the modern urban centers, the role of trade and manufacturing has remained important, like that of the Indus Valley Civilization.



Question 2. Gandhara sculpture owed  as much to the Romans as to the Greeks. Explain.

10 marks

Answer. The Gandhara School of Art was initially a Greeco-Roman-Buddhist art. The Gandhara region had long been a crossroads of cultural influences. Gandhara arts have maintained multifold contacts with Rome and Greek. In its interpretation of Buddhist legends, the Gandhara school incorporated many motifs and techniques from Classical Roman art, including vine scrolls, cherubs bearing garlands, tritons, and centaurs. The basic iconography, however, remained Indian.

The Gandhara school drew upon the anthropomorphic traditions of Roman and Greek religion and represented the Buddha with a youthful Apollo-like face, dressed in garments resembling those seen on Roman imperial statues. Some of the special features found in this schools are- spiritual Buddha represents calmness; bearded Buddha, with mustache; wavy hair Buddha, with large forehead with Urna. The sculpture, under the Gandhara art was made in close resemblance to the Roman-Greeko images of Gods.

Greek sculpture believed in mythological and idealist statues, while the Roman sculpture was more realistic. The Gandhara sculpture evolved as a hybrid of these characteristics.



Question 3: Taxila University was one of the oldest universities of the world with which were associated a number of renowned learned personalities of different disciplines. Its strategic location caused its fame to flourish but unlike Nalanda, it is not considered as a university in the modern sense. Discuss.

10 Marks

Answer: The location of Taxila university made it popular because it lied at the passage of India from central Asia. The foreign rulers and scholar were attracted towards it because of its location which resulted into flourishing of the university. But the main reasons that it is not considered as a university in a moder sense are:

  1. Nalanda university had disciplines of Astronomy, Mathematics, Politics and Science; while Taxila university was mainly associated with teaching of Vedic literature and art skills like archery and hunting only.
  2. The Nalanda university had students from Korea, China, Japan, Tibet, Persia and Turkey, on the other hand, Taxila had students from Indian Janpadas and adjoining areas only. Thus, having a limited spread in terms of engagement of students.
  3. The ratio between the teacher and student were ideal in Nalanda which is considered standard in modern concepts also. Dormitories for students, meditation room, separate classroom, huge library in Nalanda has made it closer to modern concept of university .
  4. The expenditure of Nalanda were met from the revenues of 100 villages, while in Taxila economic requirement were made by the rulers. Notwithstanding of its strategic location, it can not be considered as modern university in comparison to Nalanda in modern context.




Question 4: The third battle of Panipat was fought in 1761. Why were so many empire-shaking battles fought in Panipat?

10 Marks

Answer: The Third Battle of Panipat took place on 14 January 1761, at Panipat, between the forces of the Maratha Empire and the invading forces of the King of Afghanistan, Ahmad Shah Abdali. The reason why so many battle fought in Panipat were:

The belligerents ended up fighting in the general area of Haryana due to two reasons:

  1. One of the parties almost always came from the North/Northwest.
  2. Both parties wanted Delhi, because it is smack in the middle of two of the most agriculturally productive regions of the world. The Plains of the Indus and the Ganga. Whoever controls Delhi, controls North India.

This was the reason even far-flung kingdoms, based in Kabul, or Pune chose to send huge armies to Delhi, because they thought the investment was worth it. Conflicts that could have been long drawn-out wars (like the Mughal campaign in the Deccan) often became watershed battles in the North, because Delhi/Agra were big time seats of power and the stakes were always high.




Question 5: Sufis and medieval saints failed to modify either religious ideas and practices or the outward structure of Hindu/Muslim societies to any appreciable extent. Comment.

10 Marks

Answer: The Sufi and Medieval saints represent an important aspect of the medieval times in India. This generation of saints emerged as a reaction to the growing orthodoxy and superstition in the Hindu religion, and decried the degrading situation of the social order. However, an analysis of the impact of these saints reveal that they failed to mark a significant change in the social order. This might be because:

  1. The Sufi and other saints generally propagated their ideas by singing and preaching to the local populace. While their message was received by a good number of audience, the memory of the same could not last long due to the nomadic nature of these saints.
  2. There was no institutional structure formed by these groups. Thus, the message propagated failed to mark a long-term change. Also, without any organised structure of followers, the lineage of the saints could not continue.
  3. The sufi and bhakti saints failed to offer a proper alternative to the social customs that they attacked. Thus, the absence of an alternative to the social customs left the status of the traditions unaffected.
  4. Most of the followers of the sufi and bhakti movement came from the lower strata of the society. It was much difficult for such sections to break the shackles of the religious and social customs and form a new cult of their own.
  5. Another significant reason for the limited spread of ideas was that the geographical reach of these saints was limited.
  6. There also existed great factionism among the bhakti saints as well as sufi order, due to which these groups could not form a unified order. The ideas of these saints were often different to each other.




Question 6: Examine critically the various facets of economic policies of the British in India from mid-eighteenth century till independence.

10 Marks

Answer: The various aspects of the economic policies of British in India from 1750s to 1947 could be observed as:

  1. In the mid-eighteenth century, a major change occurred in the relationship between Indian states and the East India Company (British). Through the Battle of Plassey (1757) and Battle of Buxar (1764), the EIC assumed the diwani rights of a large part of East India, thus transforming it’s stature from a merchant to a revenue collector. Thus, the EIC began to profit from trading as well as revenue collection.
  2. The period of the second half of the 18th century witnessed a number of reforms in the Indian revenue system, in the form of various land revenue systems, like- Zamindari (Permanent Settlement), Ryotwari and Mahalwari systems.
  3. The British also moulded the development of the various forms of industries and plantations, as per their needs. Thus, steps were taken to develop large plantation crops and cash crops. At the same time, there was a decline of the traditional crafts and handicrafts, which were not well received by the English.
  4. A watershed in the economic policies of India was the Revolt of 1857, after which the control of the Indian subcontinent went to the hands of the British crown. Since then, the British also reformed the attitude towards the Indian Princely states, considering them as allies and accommodating their existence within the ambit of the British paramountacy.
  5. The rule of British, since 1858, became an imperial rule in the modern sense. British derived large amount of resources, in the form of Home Charges and other means, and used arbitrary duties for trade with India.
  6. British also dictated the terms of international trade for India, and often restricted the Indian traders to transact with nations, that were hostile to Britain.
  7. Finally, Britain also used Indian economy as an appendage to pursue the colonial missions abroad.

However, in a long run, the economic policies of British worked to sow the seed of industrial development in India.



Question 7: In what ways did the naval mutiny prove to be the last nail in the coffin of British colonial aspirations in India?

10 Marks

Answer: The Royal Indian Navy mutiny (also called the Royal Indian Navy Revolt or Bombay Mutiny) encompasses a total strike and subsequent revolt by Indian sailors of the Royal Indian Navy on board ship and shore establishments at Bombay harbour. It exposed real face of British imperialism by strike against the discriminatory policy of British regarding pays, food, status ,racial or any kind of racial discrimination. This particular incident proved to be a major breakthough in the history of the Indian freedom struggle:

  1. While the mutiny broke within the organised order of the British defenses, it also gave fire to the issue of racial and ethnic discrimination.
  2. The Mutiny broke at such a critical time that acted as a spark to the sentiments of the masses as well as Indians serving the British.
  3. Naval mutiny was one of those rarest incident where a part of the defense forces (navy) and the civilian population joined in the agitation against the British rule and exploitation. Thus, the call for strike and the subsequent violence rapidly caught fire and spread to the local populace.
  4. The role of Indian leadership in controlling the mutiny proved that the control of the Indian politics had finally shifted from the English to the Indian hands.

These factors were a direct hint that proved that the days of the British were over in India.



Question 8: What were the major political, economic and social development in the world which motivated the anti-colonial struggle in India?

10 Marks

Answer: A number of events and developments in the world motivated the anti-colonial struggle in India:

  • Politically-
  1. German and Italian Unification inspired the minds of the Indians to unite as a nation. Though the reign of the English had not manifest itself in the full form, the ideas manifested through these international events remained alive in the memory of many.
  2. World War-I was another important event that triggered a chain in the Indian polity. It led to the rapid growth of industries, and also contributed to the national freedom struggle. The treatment of Turkey by the victor nations, motivated the Khilafat movement and subsequently the Non-Cooperation movement. World War I also gave new ideas to the revolutionaries in India.
  3. World War II was an important event in the history of the world as well as India. English dragged India into the world war. This caused a continuous exchange of ideas between the freedom fighters and the world. The adventures of the Azad Hind Fauj, became a source of inspiration for generations. This period also became a time of several political debate on the nature of struggle that India should launch against the colonial power.
  4. The rise of USA as a major power in the international politics, and displacement of the Britain as the ‘Workshop of the World’ had many repercussions for India. With the coming of the USA as one of the important powers, the anti-colonial propaganda in India, and the world, gained great strength.
  5. The era of Decolonisation also inspired the Indian masses to further the drive against colonialism. The period of 1940s witnessed a growing crusade against colonialism.
  • Economic Factors
  1. Great Economic Recession was a major blow to the international system. Not only it lead to dismantling of the international economic order, but it also exposed the vulnerable nature of the colonial powers. this period witnessed rapid growth of industries in India.
  2. Role of Indian Expatriates lies in transmitting the message of freedom and rights. Persons like Dadabhai Naoroji championed the cause of India, and inspired the generations of early leadership in India.
  3. Rise of Japan, US and Other Powers gave an opportunity to Indians to increase international engagements with the rest of the world, and shrink the dependence on the English. A number of international groups emerged to advocate for the cause of India’s freedom.
  • Social
  1. French Revolution has long been seen as the source of revolutionary ideas. The ideas of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity became the main principles on the basis of which the freedom struggle was fought.
  2. Western Education played an instrumental role in arousing the nationalist sentiments of the masses.
  3. Communist Movement was an important source of revolutionary ideas. Communism carried a message of freedom and anti-colonialism, and thus, became particularly attractive to the generations of communist leaders.
  4. Home Rule Movement of Ireland also inspired the anti-colonial freedom struggle in India.


More Coming soon…

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3 responses to “IAS Mains GS Paper 1 Answerkey [Part 1]”

  1. aashritha says :

    Thank you for providing the answers , as it helps lot for the beginners in writing the answers for mains . It would be pleasure if you provide answers for previous papers questions.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Anjali says :

    These answers are so relevant even I did not get such answers in my previous year question bank🙃🙂


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