UPSC Prelims Modern History Trend Analysis: Part 1

In an earlier blog post (How to approach prelims 2016) I discussed the importance of solving test papers, making educated guesses, analysis of mistakes etc. I also emphasized on solving past year question papers and analyzing the trend.

After that, I analysed IAS prelims polity and economy section and we could glean some insights from that. In this series, I would analyse modern history section of IAS prelims.

Modern Indian History has a very vast syllabus and now days not more than 7 – 8  <avg. 7 questions in last 5 years> questions are asked from that portion.

Weightage given since 2009

  • 2015 – 8
  • 2014 – 5
  • 2013 – 6
  • 2012 – 8
  • 2011 – 9
  • 2010 – 11
  • 2009 – 12

Most of the questions are very easy questions from oft – repeated topics. Our target should be not to do PhD on every topic but to get easy questions right. It’s important that reading should be purposeful not cover to cover reading of history books.

In this series, I shall discuss questions and explanations of last 7 years (2015 to 2009) prelims modern history section. Attempt has been made to solve the questions as one would do in exam hall i.e using elimination method, pausing and thinking at red flags (all, none, only, weird statements), applying some tikdams where necessary.

After every question, I have mentioned some learning objectives – things which are the most important  from exam point of view, things which have been asked again and again. You have to learn them all without any exception.

Key insights from the analysis 

  1. Average number of questions asked in last 5 years is 7 and almost every question is solvable with decent knowledge and logic
  2. Lots of questions and statements are repeated year after year <solve past 23 year history without fail>
  3. More than questions, topics are repeated year after year
  4. Even when you don’t know all the options, often answer wallh option is clearly visible <importance of reading all the options>
  5. UPSC doesn’t ask questions which need remembering very intricate yet very useless details <for instance, it wound’t ask number of members in Viceroy’s executive council or legislative council but broad details and trends should be known – number increasing or decreasing>

Most important topics

  1. Cabinet Mission plan, Cripss mission, GOI act 195, GOI act 1919, GOI act 1909, Victoria proclamation 1858, charter act of 1813, regulating act of 1773
  2. Quit India movement, Civil Disobedience movement, Non cooperation movement, Rowlatt Satyagraha, Swadeshi movement
  3. Gandhi’s first three movements
  4. Imp. sessions of congress <covered in titbits>
  5. Annie Besant, Sarojini Naidu, Raja Ram Mohan Roy and Arya Samaj
  6. Economic critque of colonialism
  7. Reforms of Lord Cornwallis
  8. Land revenue system – Zamindari, Ryoywari and Mahalwari
  9. Munda and Santhal revolt, Bardoi Satyagraha, Tebhagha and Telangana movement, Eka movement, Indigo movement

Summary of all the chapters of Modern India book by Spectrum Publication is must. You must learn every point written there by heart.

Once you have done that-

  1. Learn about imp. things about all governor generals <spectrum ready reckoners>
  2.  Arrival of Portuguese, French, Dutch and British <OLD NCERT modern India 1st 2 chapters would do>
  3. Peasant, Tribal and Working class revolts, Lower class movement <Periyar, Vaikom Satyagraha, Narayan Guru, Satyashidha Samaj, Ambedkar>
  4. Socio – religious reform movement <go through the summary plus all the facts about Ram Mohan Roy, Dayanand Saraswati >

In this series we would be covering past 7 years papers <59 questions>. History being history does not change with time. So, you would be best served if you could at least solve the history portion of prelims from 1993 onward. There would be some 150 questions and they would serve you better than any prelims test series of this world.

Without taking any more time, let’s look at modern history portion of prelims 2015

1. With reference to Rowlatt Satyagraha, which of the following statements is/are correct?

    1. The Rowlatt Act was based on the recommendations of the ‘Sedition Committee’
    2. In Rowlatt Satyagraha Gandhiji tried to use the Home Rule League
    3. Demonstrations against the Simon Commission coincided with the Rowlatt Satyagraha

(a) 1 only

(b) 1 and 2 only

(c) 2 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

  • Rowlatt act is asked time and time again
  • You know Rowlatt act protests happened in 1919 (jalliah wallah bagh) while Simon commission came to see the workings of GOI Act, 1919 in 1928 so 3rd is wrong. Eliminate 3rd
  • Now look at 2, home rule league movement started in 1916 and Gandhiji did use volunteers of home rule league

Learning – Rowlatt act, Jalliah Wallah bagh massacres, Himalayan blunder

2. Who of the following was/were economic critic/critics of colonialism in India?

    1. Dadabhai Naoroji
    2. Subramania Iyer
    3. C. Dutt

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 only

(b) 1 and 2 only

(c) 2 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

  • Again multiple times it has been asked. Naoroji and Dutt you all know.
  • 1 and 3 only in 1 option
  • This question was asked in CAPF 2016 also <indirect repeat, books written were asked>

Learning – books written by Nairoji and Dutt

  1. With reference to Congress Socialist Party, consider the following statements:
    1. It advocated the boycott of British goods and evasion of taxes.
    2. It wanted to establish the dictatorship of proletariat.
    3. It advocated separate electorate for minorities and oppressed classes.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 3 only

(c) 1, 2 and 3

(d) None

  • Separate electorate were demanded only by Muslim league and Ambedkar
  • No party would advice evasion of taxes. As a protest, it can ask you not to pay taxes or not to pay illegal due but not to evade that is hide and not pay taxes
  • CSP is not communistic but socialist so no question of dictatorship

Learning – Formation of Congress socialist party, formation of Swarajya party, formation of liberal party , their leaders, point of differences with main congress party

  1. The Government of India Act of 1919 clearly defined

(a) the separation of power between the judiciary and the legislature

(b)the jurisdiction of the central and provincial governments

(c)the powers of the Secretary of State for India and the Viceroy

(d)None of the above

  • A and c are bogus options
  • It introduced dyarchy in states. So among provincial subject, some transferred to popularly elected ministers in state. As there was a provincial list, it defined jurisdiction of central and provincial govt
  • Covered in titbit

Learning – GOI act 1909, 1919 and 1935

  1. Who of the following organized a march on the Tanjore coast to break the Salt Law in April 1930?

(a) V.O Chidambaram Pillai

(b) C. Rajagopalachari

(c) K. Kamaraj

(d) Annie Besant

  • You have to remember the name, Dandi march is way too important
  • BTW, V.O.C.P had differences with Gandhi and had withdrawn from congress in 1920, more of a labor leader later

6. Consider the following statements :

  1. The first woman President of the Indian National Congress was Sarojini Naidu.
  2. The first Muslim President of the Indian National Congress was Badruddin Tyabji

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

  • Repeat question.
  • In 2014, question about Annie besant was asked and one of the statement was that she was the 1st woman president which is true
  • 2nd statement is true
  • Both covered in titbit

Learning – Give special focus to contribution of women

7. With reference to cabinet mission, which of the following statements is/are correct?

  1. It recommended a federal government.
  2. It enlarged the powers of the Indian courts.
  3. It provided for more Indians in the ICS

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3

(c) 1 and 3

(d) None

  • B and c are bogus options
  • More or less Indians in ICS, these were the battles fought before Gandhi came on the scene.
  • There was already federal govt under GOI act, 1935. It also provided for federal govt with very weak centre to assuage concerns of League
  • Cabinet mision plan is asked again and again

Learning – 5 pointers on cabinet mission and Cripps mission and differences

8. Which one of the following movements has contributed to a split in the Indian National Congress resulting in emergence of ‘moderates’ and ‘extremists’?

(a) Swadeshi Movement

(b) Quit India Movement

(c) Non-Cooperation Movement

(d) Civil Disobedient Movement

  • Repeat
  • Swadeshi movement led to Surat split in 1907
  • What were the main issues of conflict in swadeshi b/W moderates and extremist
  • What led to reunification of Congress
  • Why did liberal party separate from Congress

Learning – Swadeshi – boycott movement, 1906 Calcutta session and 4 resolutions, Politics played by moderates there, Formation of Muslim League, Split in congress, annulment of Partition in 1911

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Atul Chauhan

Loved it. To the point crisp and loical.