UPSC PRE 2020 History & Culture Questions - Explanation

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With reference to the cultural history of India, which one of the following is the correct description of the term ‘paramitas’?

(a) The earliest dharmashastra texts written in aphoristic (Sutra) style

(b) Philosophical schools that did not accept the authority of Vedas.

(c) Perfections whose attainment led to the Bodhisattva path

(d) Powerful merchant guilds of early medieval south India.

Paramitas is generally translated as “perfection or completeness”. In Buddhism, there are certain virtues such as purification of karma and helping sentient beings while trying to attain the final goal of BuddhismEnlightenment. The perfection of these virtues can be known as Paramitas of Buddhism. According to Buddhist texts and scriptures, Mahayana Buddhism has developed six paramitas or perfections while Theravada Buddhism has developed ten paramitas or perfections.


In the Indian history, The Rakhmabai case of 1884 revolved around 

  1. Women’s rights to gain education

  2. Age of consent

  3. Restitution of conjugal rights

Select the correct answer using the given code below-

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3


Indigo cultivation in India declined by the beginning of the 20th century because of

(a) Peasants resistance to the oppressive conduct of planters

(b) Its unprofitable in the world market because of new inventions

(c) National leaders’ opposition to the cultivation of Indigo

(d) Government control over the planters

Wellesley established the Fort William college at Calcutta because:

(a) He was asked by the board of directors at London to do so

(b) He wanted to revive interest in oriental learning in India

(c) He wanted to provide William Carey and his associates with employment

(d) He wanted to train British civilians for administrative purpose in India.


With reference to the history of India, ‘ulgulan’ or the great tumult is the description of the which of the following?

(a) The revolt of 1857

(b) The Mappila rebellion of 1921

(c) The Indigo revolt of 1859-1860

(d) Birsa Munda’s revolt of 1899-1900

With reference to the Scholars/literatures of ancient India, consider the following statements :

  1. Panini is associated with Pushyamitra

  2. Amarsimha is associated with harshavardhana

  3. Kalidasa is associated with chandragupta-2

Which of the above given statements is/are correct-

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

With reference to history of India consider the pairs

  1. Aurang            -  in-charge Of treasury of the state

  2. Banian              -  Indian agent of the East India Company

  3. Mirasidar          - designated revenue payer to the state

Which of the pairs above is/are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3 only

Aurang is a Persian term for a warehouse - a place where goods are collected before being sold. The word also refers to a workshop for finished a Persian term for a warehouse. A place where goods are collected before being sold.

WIth reference to religious history of India, consider the following statements

  1. Sthaviravadins belong to mahayana Buddhism

  2. Lokottaravadin sect was an offshoot of Mahasanghika sect of Buddhism

  3. The deification of Buddha by Mahasanghikas fostered the mahayana Buddhism

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3 only

Which of the following statements correctly explains the impact of the Industrial revolution on India during the first half of the nineteenth century?

(a) Indian handicrafts were ruined

(b) Machines were introduced in the Indian textile industry in large numbers

(c) Railway lines were laid in many parts of the country

(d) Heavy duties were imposed on the imports of british manufacturers

Consider the following events in the history of India:

  1. Rise of Pratiharas under king Bhoja

  2. Establishment of pallava power under Mahendravarman-I

  3. Establishment of Chola power under Parantaka-I

  4. Pala dynasty founded by Gopala

What is the correct chronological order of the above events, Starting from the earliest time?

(a) 2-1-4-3

(b) 3-1-4-2

(c) 2-4-1-3

(d) 2-4-1-2

Which of the following phrases defines the nature of the ‘Hundi’ generally referred to in sources of the Post Harsha period?

(a) An advisory issued by the king to his subordinates

(b) A diary to be maintained for daily routine

(c) A bill of exchange

(d) An order from the feudal lord to his subordinates

With reference to the book ‘desher Katha’ written by Sakharam Ganesh Deuskar during the freedom struggle, consider the following statements

  1. It warned against the colonial states’ hypnotic conquest of the mind

  2. It inspired the performance of swadeshi street plays and folk songs

  3. The use of ‘desh’ by Deuskar was in the specific context of the region of Bengal.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3 only

Statement no 2 regarding street plays and folk songs is not mentioned clearly in the sources. Here let us wait for the answer key to be published by UPSC.

The Gandhi Irwin pact included which of the following?

  1. Invitation to Congress to participate in the round table conference

  2. Withdrawal of ordinances promulgated in connection with the Civil Disobedience Movement

  3. Acceptance of Gandhiji’s suggestion for enquiry into police excesses

  4. Release of those prisoners who were not charged with violence

Select the correct answer using the code given below

(a) 1 only

(b) 1,2 and 4 only

(c) 3 only

(d) 2, 3 and 4 only

The Vital Vidhvansak, the first monthly journal to have the untouchable people as its target audience was published by

(a) Gopal Babu Walangkar

(b) Jyotiba Phule

(c) Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

(d) Bhimarao Ramji Ambedkar

G.B. Walangkar was the first to fight for the rights of the Mahars in Maharashtra. He retired from military service in 1886 and mobilized people and made them conscious about their human rights. He highlighted the grievances of the people through his writings in two Marathi newspapers, Dinbandhu and Sudharak, in which he argued that casteism and untouchability had no religious base and were creations of the Hindus. To prove his theory he wrote a booklet titled “Vital Vidhvansak”.

With reference to the history of India, the terms Kulyavapa and dronavapa denote

(a) Measurement of land

(b) Coins of different monetary value

(c) Classification of urban land

(d) Religious rituals

The Kulyavapa, Dronavapa, Adhavapa are the terms related to land measurements mainly mentioned in the copper plate inscriptions of Gupta era that were found in Bengal. 

The word Kulya refers to the measure(weighing unit) of seeds and Kulyavapa means the area of the land that was required to plant the  seedlings of paddy seeds of one Kulya in weight. 

Kulya is as much of a land that can be cultivated by two ploughs. 

Who among the following rulers advised his subjects through this inscription?

          “Whosoever praises his religious sect or blames other sects out of excessive devotion to his own sect, with the view of glorifying his own sect, he rather injures his own sect very severely ”

(a) Ashoka

(b) Samudragupta

(c) Harshavardhana

(d) Krishnadevaraya

With references to the history of India,consider the following pairs:

Famous Place          Present State

1. Bhilsa                  -Madhya Pradesh

2. Dwarasamudra   -Maharashtra

3. Girinagar             -Gujarat

4. Sthanesvara       -Uttar Pradesh

Which of the pairs given above is/are correctly matched?

(a) 1 and 3 only

(b) 1 and 4 only

(c)2 and 3 only

(d) 2 and 4 only

Dwarasamudra- Karnataka

Sthanesvara- Haryana

With reference to the period of Gupta dynasty in ancient India,the towns Ghantasala,kadura and Chaul were well known as

(a) ports handling foreign trade.

(b) capitals of powerful kingdoms.

(c)places of exquisite stone art and architecture.

(d) important Buddhist pilgrimage centres.

With reference to the cultural history of India, consider the following pairs:

1. Parivrajaka  – Renunciant and wanderer

2. Shramana   –  Priest with a high status

3. Upasaka     – Lay follower of Buddhism

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1and 2 only

(b) 1 and 3 only

(c) 2 and 3 only

(d) 1,2 and 3

Shramana means a seeker, one who performs acts of austerity, ascetic.

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