UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam: History Optional 2018 Paper-I
Baljit Dhaka
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HCS Mains test series

UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam: History Optional 2018 Paper-I

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UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam: History Optional 2018 Paper-I

Marks-250                                                                                                                                        Time: Three Hours

Question Paper Specific Instructions:

Please read each of the following instructions carefully before attempting questions.

  • There are EIGHT questions divided into two sections.
  • A candidate has to attempt FIVE questions in all.
  • Questions no 1 and 5 are compulsory and out of the remaining, THREE are to be attempted choosing at least ONE from each section.
  • The number of marks carried by a question /part is indicated against it.
  • Word limit in questions, wherever specified should be adhered to.
  • Attempts of questions shall be counted in chronological order. Unless struck off, attempt of a question shall be counted even if attempted partly. Any page or portion of the page left blank in the answer book must be clearly struck off.


1. Identify the following places marked on the map supplied to you and write a short note of about 30 words on each of them in your Question cum Answer Booklet. Locational hints for each of the places marked on the map are given below seriatim. (2.5 x 20 = 50 Marks)

1. Megalithic burial site
2. Early Agricultural center
3. Chalcolithic site
4. Early Harappan site
5. Cave Paintings
6. An ancient temple
7. Paleolithic site
8. Political and Cultural center
9. Political and Cultural center
10. An ancient seaport
11. Terracotta center
12. Buddhist center
13. Harappan site
14. Inscriptional site
15. Vaishnava cultural site
16. An ancient capital
17. Painted Grey Ware site
18. A Jaina centre
19. Chalcolithic site
20. An ancient capital

2. (a) How did the early Indian historical tradition, as reflected in Itihasa Purana, emerge? What are the distinctive features of this genre? (20 Marks)

2. (b) “Archaeological evidence does not give direct access to the possible social and political dimensions of the decline of the Harappan civilization. What it does indicate very clearly is that the Harappan culture underwent a gradual process of de-urbanization”? Comment. (15 Marks)

2. (c) Give an account of gana-sanghas (non-monarchical state systems)? Why did they decline? (15 Marks)

3. (a) Do you agree with the popular view that Mauryas established a unitary and highly centralized if not monolithic state system? (20 Marks)

3. (b) The concept of Shramanic religions, with particular reference to Buddhism, had their roots in Upanisadic ideas. Discuss. (15 Marks)

3. (c) “Doubtless it was not a free state it was any rate a state” (K.A.N.Sastri), Reflect upon the nature of local self-government institutions in the Chola country.” (15 Marks)

4. (a) What was the impact of trans-regional and trans-continental trade in the post Mauryan period on social and cultural life of India? (20 Marks)

4. (b) “Utpanna dravide bhakthi, Karnate vriddhimagata l

Sthita kinchit maharashtre gurjare jirnatam gata ll" - Padmapurana

Account for the emergence of bhakti in Dravida desa. (15 Marks)

4. (c) Discuss the experimentations with art and architecture during the Gupta-Vakataka period. (15 Marks)


5. Answer the following questions in about 150 words each: 10×5=50 marks

5(a) “The battles of Tarian and Chandawar laid the foundations of Turkish rule in India”. Elaborate. (10 Marks)

5(b) Discuss evidence on slavery provided by Ibn Batuta with special reference to female slaves. (10 Marks)

5(c) Discuss the advancement made in Textile Technology under the Delhi Sultans. (10 Marks)

5(d) “Akbar wished to assert his strong belief in God, but his concept of the way god is to be worshipped was independent of either ourthodox Islam or Hinduism.” Comment. (10 Marks)

5(e) Discuss the literature written in Hindi in Mughal India. (10 Marks)

6(a) Critically analyze the changing nature of caste and gender relations during the early medieval period. (15 Marks)

6(b) “An important feature of agriculture in Mughal India has been the large number of crops raised by the peasants.” Illustrate by giving examples. (15 Marks)

6(c) “The policy of creating heterogeneous nobility by Muhammad Tughlaq started the process of disintegration of Delhi Sultanate.” Explain. (20 Marks)

7(a) Do you agree that convergence of political vacuum and impact of Islamicate culture and polity.  (15 Marks)

7(b) Describe the new architectural features added by successive Sultans in the construction of Tombs in India. (20 Marks)

7(c) What was the role of Sufi Folk literature in the diffusion of Islam in India in general and in Deccan in particular. (15 Marks)

8(a) Discuss the working of Zamindari System under the Mughal rulers. Also describe the role played by the Zamindars in the agrarian economy of Mughal India. (20 Marks)

8(b) “The art of building was carried to highest degree of perfection under Shahjahan”. Illustrate by giving architectural details of two of his most celebrated buildings. (15 Marks)

8(c) “The Afghan invasions in the Eighteenth Century not only signified the military irrelevance of the Mughal Empire but also hastened its decline.” Explain. (15 Marks)