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UPSC Essentials | Mains answer practice — GS 1 (Week 16)

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UPSC Essentials brings to you its initiative for the practice of Mains answer writing. Mains Answer Writing covers essential topics of static and dynamic parts of the UPSC Civil Services syllabus covered under various GS papers. This answer-writing practice is designed to help you as a value addition to your UPSC CSE Mains. Attempt today’s answer writing on questions related to topics of GS-1 to check your progress.

QUESTION 1

Discuss how Bhakti Movement flourished under the Mughal Empire.

QUESTION 2

How did the American freedom fight serve as a source of inspiration for Mahatma Gandhi?

General points on the structure of the answers

Introduction

— The introduction of the answer is essential and should be restricted to 3-5 lines. Remember, a one-liner is not a standard introduction.

— It may consist of basic information by giving some definitions from the trusted source and authentic facts.

Body

— It is the central part of the answer and one should understand the demand of the question to provide rich content.

— The answer must be preferably written as a mix of points and short paragraphs rather than using long paragraphs or just points.

— Using facts from authentic government sources makes your answer more comprehensive. Analysis is important based on the demand of the question, but do not over analyse.

— Underlining keywords gives you an edge over other candidates and enhances presentation of the answer.

— Using flowcharts/tree-diagram in the answers saves much time and boosts your score. However, it should be used logically and only where it is required.

Way forward/ Conclusion

— The ending of the answer should be on a positive note and it should have a forward-looking approach. However, if you feel that an important problem must be highlighted, you may add it in your conclusion. Try not to repeat any point from body or introduction.

— You may use the findings of reports or surveys conducted at national and international levels, quotes etc. in your answers.

Self Evaluation

— It is the most important part of our Mains answer writing practice. UPSC Essentials will provide some guiding points or ideas as a thought process that will help you to evaluate your answers.

THOUGHT PROCESS

You may enrich your answers by some of the following points

QUESTION 1: Discuss how Bhakti Movement flourished under the Mughal Empire.

Introduction:

A simple introduction to this answer can revolve around a general statement about Bhakti Movements.

— The Bhakti movement first emerged in the Tamil south between the sixth and ninth centuries CE, it spread to north India during the late Sultanate and Mughal periods.

— The Bhakti movement in the north not only carried influences of the culture introduced by the Muslim rulers but also flourished to a large extent thanks to the politico-administrative structure envisaged under the Sultanate and Mughal rulers.

(Source: How the Bhakti movement flourished under Mughals by Adrija Roychowdhury)

Body:

You may incorporate some of the following points in the body of your answer:

— Persian cosmopolitan culture made its way to South Asia with the Ghaznavid invasions of the 11th century which was based on the political ideal that society must be governed by a just king whose rule is divine in origin and who ensures the well-being and prosperity of diverse religious and cultural groups.

— In his book, A Geneology of Devotion: Bhakti, Tantra, Yoga and Sufism in North India (2019), Patton Burchett, a scholar of religious studies, has argued that the Bhakti of North India was influenced by the values, institutions, and perspectives of Persian literary and political culture on the one hand, and by popular Sufism on the other.

— He argued that under the Sultanate rulers, the predominant tantric ritual traditions of the region underwent a palpable decline. It coincided with the Mongol invasions of Iran and Central Asia, resulting in a large immigration of Persianised cultural elites into India. Indirectly, it resulted in the rise of a new mass-based Sufism throughout Asia. This new form of Sufism was more interested in making an impact on the political culture and popular religious life of people.

— Several scholars have over the years commented on the similarities that the Bhakti movement shared with Sufism. For instance,

(i) Diana Eck noted that both Bhakti and Sufism “stressed the inner life of devotion and love, not the outer world of ritual and practice”

(ii) Historian Shahabuddin Iraqi, remarked that “the various trends of spiritual thought that developed under the Bhakti and Sufi movements drew much from each other, consciously and unconsciously.”

— The political alliances that Mughal Emperor Akbar formed with the Rajputs went a long way in allowing Bhakti institutions and literature to flourish in early modern north India.

— The Kachwahas of Amer, followers of the Ramanandi Bhakti sect, served in Akbar’s Mughal court and were significant in formulating imperial policies and practices of governance.

— Akbar made a land grant to the officiating priest of the Govindadev temple in Vrindavan. The Mughal-Kachawaha nexus emerged as one of the most important Bhakti religious centre of the period.

— According to Burchett, the commonalities between Sufism and Bhakti become more apparent when it comes to the Nirgun Bhakti order to which Ravidas belonged.

Difference between Nirgun and Sagun?

— The Nirgun saints, who primarily belonged to lower castes, opposed the Vedic scriptures and its Brahmin proponents as having divine power. The Nirgun saints had a different view of God than the Sagun saints, who worshipped a God without a form. Sagun saints like Mirabai and Surdas were worshippers of God in form, such as Krishna.

(Source: How the Bhakti movement flourished under Mughals by Adrija Roychowdhury)

Conclusion:

Your conclusion should be short. You may include:

— Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a link between the 14th-century social reformer and Bhakti saint Sant Ravidas and the Mughals.

— While laying the foundation stone of a temple dedicated to Ravidas, Modi praised him for holding his ground and showing courage to fight against the “oppressive rule” of the Mughal Empire.

Related Previous Year Questions

Evaluate the nature of Bhakti Literature and its contribution to Indian culture. (2021)

The Bhakti movement received a remarkable re-orientation with the advent of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Discuss. (2018)

QUESTION 2: How did the American freedom fight serve as a source of inspiration for Mahatma Gandhi?

Introduction:

A simple introduction to this answer can revolve around a general statement about American War of Independence.

— America celebrates its victory from the oppressive tax system of the British Empire on July 4. On this day, about two and a half centuries back, the 13 states of North America, which was part of the British Empire had declared themselves independent and formed the United States of America.

— The American independence struggle was significantly different from nationalist upheavals in other British colonies in the East. In America, it was the British immigrants who got into a heated argument with the ruling British government officials. On the other hand, in colonies like India or the West Indies, the locals unitedly revolted against the oppression of the Western rulers.

(Source: How Mahatma Gandhi drew inspiration from the American independence struggle by Adrija Roychowdhury)

Body:

You may incorporate some of the following points in the body of your answer:

— Gandhi began the renowned Dandi march in March 1930 to protest the oppressive salt tax levied by the British government. Gandhi’s campaign was reminiscent of the illustrious Boston Tea Party.

— On January 4th, 1932, when Gandhi was actively propagating ‘Satyagraha’, he wrote the following message in his weekly journal, ‘Young India’ — “Even as America won its independence through suffering, valour and sacrifice, so shall India, in God’s good time achieve her freedom by suffering, sacrifice and non-violence.”

— The Tea Act of 1773 gave a monopoly of tea trade to the English East India Company. It was resisted by the colonists on ideological grounds. According to Samuel Adams, one of the most prominent leaders of the American Revolution the British tea monopoly was “equal to a tax.”

— The Boston Tea Party surprised the English Crown and ultimately led to an armed conflict between Britain and the thirteen colonies that lasted from 1775 to 1783 and culminated in the independent creation of the United States of America.

— Like the Boston Tea Party, Gandhi’s salt march played the role of awakening the British authorities to take seriously the demands of Indian nationalists.

(Source: How Mahatma Gandhi drew inspiration from the American independence struggle by Adrija Roychowdhury)

Points to Ponder

Non-cooperation Movement

Civil Disobedience Movement

Quit India Movement

Related Previous Year Questions

Bring out the constructive programmes of Mahatma Gandhi during Non-Cooperation Movement and Civil Disobedience Movement. (2021)

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Previous Mains Answer Practice

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