IAS Mains Previous Year Paper : English Compulsory (2004)
IAS Mains Previous Year Paper : English Compulsory (2004)
English - 2004 (Main) (Compulsory)
2. Read the following passage and answer, in your own words, the questions that follow at the end (5 x 15 = 75)
This civilization was also geared to a cycle of agricultural activity which substantially determined the total ordering of society. Hence, the fact that the great epicentres of Indian civilization were located in the plains of the Indus and the Ganga in the north; and those of the Mahanadi, the Godavari, the Krishna, and the Cauvery in the south. Over the centuries the people living in these riverine regions had conjured into existence a round of economic activity and a set of social institutions, which were designed to produce the agricultural wealth which sustained life. Indeed, the structure of rural society; with a central place occupied by the cultivating classes, which were linked by ties of patronage and prescription to numerous artisanal and menial groups; and the fabric of caste society; with the interlocking institutions of Varna and Jati has to be looked upon as the historical answer of the Indian genius to the needs of sustaining production in a rural society; The striking feature of this social organization was the premium which it put on self-sufficiency and survival within the framework of an agrarian civilization.
(a) What is the most distinctive feature of Indian civilization?
There is some similarity between Italy and India. Both are ancient countries with long raditions of culture behind them, though Italy is a newcomer compared to India, and India is a much more vast country Both are split up politically, and yet the conception of Italia, like that of India, never died, and in all their diversity the unity was predominant. In Italy the unity was largely a Roman unity, for that great city had dominated the country and been the fount and symbol of unity. In India there was no such single centre or dominant city, although Benares might well be called the Eternal City of the East, not only for India, but also for Eastern Asia. But, unlike Rome, Benares never dabbled in empire or thought of temporal power. Indian culture was so widespread all over India that no part of the country could be called the heart of that culture. From Kanyakumari to Amarnath and Badrinath in the Himalayas, from Dwarka to Pun, the same ideas coursed, and if there was a clash of ideas in one place, the noise of it soon reached distant parts of the country. Just as Italy gave the gift of culture and religion to Western Europe, India did so to Eastern Asia though China was as old and venerable as India. And even when Italy was lying prostrate politically, her life coursed through the veins of Europe. It was Metternich who called Italy a “geographical expression”, and many a would-be Metternich has used that phrase for India, and, strangely enough, there is a similarity even in their geographical positions in the two continents.
More interesting is the comparison of England with Austria, for has not England of the twentieth century been compared to Austria of the nineteenth, proud and haughty and imposing still, but with the roots that gave strength shriveling up and decay eating its way into the mighty fabric. It is curious how one cannot resist the tendency to give an anthropomorphic form to a country. Such is the force of habit and early associations. India becomes Bharat Mata, Mother India, a beautiful lady, very old but ever youthful in appearance, sad-eyed and forlorn, cruelly treated by aliens and outsiders, and calling upon her children to protect her. Some such picture rouses the emotions of hundreds of thousands and drives them to action and sacrifice. And yet India is in the main, the peasant and the worker, not beautiful to look at, for poverty is not beautiful.
Does the beautiful lady of our imaginations represent the bare-bodied and bent workers in the fields and factories? Or the small group of those who have from ages past crushed the masses and exploited them, imposed cruel customs on them and made many of them even untouchable ? We seek to cover truth by the creatures of our imaginations and endeavour to escape from reality to a world of dreams. And yet, despite these different classes and their mutual conflicts there was a common bond which united them in India, and one is amazed at its persistence and tenacity and enduring vitality. What was this strength due to? Nor merely the passive strength and weight of inertia and tradition, great as these always are. There was an active sustaining principle, for it resisted successfully powerful outside influences and absorbed internal forces that rose to combat it.
And yet with all its strength it could not preserve political freedom or endeavour to bring about political unity. These latter do not appear to have been considered worth much trouble; their importance was very foolishly ignored, and we have suffered for this neglect. Right through history the old Indian ideal did not glorify political and military triumph, and it looked down upon money and the professional moneymaking class. Honour and wealth did not go together, and honour was meant to go, at least in theory, to the men who served the community with little in the shape of financial reward. The old culture managed to live through many a fierce storm and tempest, but though it kept its outer form, it lost its real content. Today it is fighting silently and desperately against a new and all-powerful opponent — the bania civilization of the capitalist West. It will succumb to this newcomer, for the West brings science, and science brings food for the hungry millions. But the West also brings an antidote to the evils of this cut-throat civilization -- the principles of socialism, of cooperation, and service to the community for the common good.
(c) Rewrite the following sentences as directed within brackets: (5)
5. (a) Correct the following sentences: (10)
(b) Choose the appropriate words from those given in the brackets to fill in the blanks in the following sentences:10
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