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Culture GS Paper I by Piyush Kumar

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  • Published
    2021-09-15 10:38:00


  • Attempt One question out of the given two.
  • The test carries 15 marks.
  • Write Your answer in 150 words.
  • Any page left blank in the answer-book must be crossed out clearly.
  • After Writing the Answer upload your copy in JPEG format in the comment box.
  • Evaluated Copy will be re-uploaded on the same thread after 2 days of uploading the copy.
  • Discussion of the question and one to one answer improvement session of evaluated copies will be conducted through Google Meet with concerned faculty. You will be informed via mail or SMS for the discussion.

Question #1. What factors contributed to the birth and rise of the Bhakti Movement, and how it enriched Indian literature? (150 words)

Question #2. Discuss the water management and conservation plans in Harappan cities, particularly in Harappan city of Dholavira? (150 words)

(Examiner will pay special attention to the candidate's grasp of his/her material, its relevance to the subject chosen, and to his/ her ability to think constructively and to present his/her ideas concisely, logically and effectively).

Model Answer

Question #1. What factors contributed to the birth and rise of the Bhakti Movement, and how it enriched Indian literature? (150 words)

The foundation of Bhakti movement can be traced to South India with the contribution of Adi Shankaracharya and succeeding philosopher which is articulated in the devotional poems composed by Alvars and Nayanars. The Main focal point of bhakti was not sacrifices and irrelevant rituals but a loving devotion between God and a Devotee. The rise of bhakti movement could be ascribed to a number of political, socio-economic and religious factors.

Factors contributed to rise of the Bhakti Movement

  • Religious factors: Role of Bhakti Saint: The Vedas and Upanishads' intricate philosophy was incomprehensible to common masses. They desired a simple form of worship, religious activities, and social norms. Bhakti movement emerged was an alternative, a basic form of personal devotion to God.
  • Adi Shankaracharya, Ramanuja, Kabir, Guru Nanak, Shri Chaitanya, Mirabai, Ramananda, Namdev, Nimbarka, Madhava, Eknath, Surdas, Tulsidas, Tukaram, Vallabhacharya, and Chandidas were among the Bhakti movement's most prominent proponents. They were the founders of the Bhakti movement, who by their poem, devotion, simplicity and philosophies encouraged people to worship the god in most basic form of devotion and love.
  • The Muslim community's Sufi saints also influenced the movement. Rise of Sufi movement and consequent conversion necessitated the process of reforms in Hinduism.
  • Political Factors: Because the old Rajput-Brahman alliance was antagonistic to any heterodox movement, the Turkish conquest of India provided fertile ground for the emergence of bhakti in north India. The rise of Islam, which coincided with the Turkish conquest, weakened the Brahmans' influence and status. As a result, non-conformist movements with anti-caste and anti-Brahmanical ideologies grew in popularity. The loss of power and influence by the Brahmans and the new political situation ultimately created circumstances for the rise of the popular monotheistic movements and other bhakti movements in Northern India.
  • Social Factors: Many social evil abnormalities existed in Hindu society, including caste rigidity, irrelevant rituals and religious practises, blind faiths, and social dogmas. Common men, in general, had formed an aversion to these societal ills and needed a liberal type of religion in which they could identify with basic religious acts.
  • The monotheistic movement attracted the emerging classes of urban artisans because of its egalitarian beliefs, as they were dissatisfied with their low status in traditional Brahmanical hierarchy. for example, Khatris in the Punjab.
  • Increasing tension between practitioners of Hinduism and Islam. The influence of Muslim governance and the spread of Islam instilled fear among the Hindu population. Some of the fundamentalist rulers had wreaked havoc on the Hindus. They were looking for some consolation to help them heal their broken hearts.
  • Socio-Economic Factors: It has been suggested that the bhakti movements reflected popular feelings against feudal oppression. Despite the fact that there is nothing in the poetry of the bhakti saints, they supported the peasantry's class interests against the surplus-extracting feudal state.

Enriched Indian literature

  • The Bhakti movement is also considered to be a cultural revolution and significant impact on the literary works in languages such as Hindi, Marathi, Gujarathi, Bengali, Punjabi etc.
  • Tulsidas' Ramcharitmanas and Hanuman Chalisa are two of his most well-known compositions. Tulsidas made the epic of Ramayana and other spiritual literature more accessible to the common man by writing in Avadhi, a Hindi dialect. This also marked a departure from the tradition of writing religious writings in Sanskrit.
  • Kabir wrote in the vernaculars as well. The Dohe, or two-line compositions, constituted the majority of his works. They were full of common metaphors and similes, which he used to spread his philosophy. 
  • Surdas, a blind poet, was the author of Sursagar and composed over 100,000 poems in honour of Lord Krishna. His works were written in Braj Basha, a Hindi dialect that was later elevated to the rank of a literary language.
  • The Gita Govinda by Jayadeva is a renowned devotional treatise about Lord Krishna that combines passion, devotion, and lyricism. Its central theme is love between Lord Krishna's and Radha
  • Jnanadeva's works, Bhavartha Dipika (also known as Jnanesvari) and Amrutanubhava, are venerated as sacred scriptures in Marathi. Namdev's and Tukaram's works resisted Sanskrit to compose religious literature in Marathi.

Bhakti literature was instrumental in popularising the Bhakti cult, and it marked a considerable departure from prior devotional literature, which was largely written in Sanskrit and centred on sacrifices and rituals. Bhakti literature popularised spiritual philosophy among the common people while also contributing to the growth of regional languages.

Question #2. Discuss the water management and conservation plans in Harappan cities, particularly in Harappan city of Dholavira?

Harappans is known for their town planning. An efficient and well-planned drainage system is a notable feature of Harappan settlements. Although perennial rivers like the Indus, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi and Sutlej flowed through the region, the Harappans found it difficult to harness water from them because they lacked the wherewithal to make dependable cementing material on a large scale for conduits. Therefore, they could have tapped the floodwaters that surged into inundation channels and natural or artificial reservoirs.

Water Management and Conservation Planning

  • Harappans made elaborate arrangements for water for drinking and bathing. The sources of water were rivers, wells, and reservoirs or cisterns.
  • Harappan built the drains for collecting rainwater were separate from the sewage chutes and pipes. Corbelled arches composed of brick or stone slabs covered the major drains in most of the Harappan cities.
  • Dockyard of Lothal is the one of the most distinctive features of the site. It's a roughly trapezoidal basin surrounded by brick walls. A sluice gate and a spill channel were installed in the dockyard to keep the water level consistent.
  • The Great bath at Mohenjo-Daro is a unique example. Finely fitted bricks set, edge to edge with gypsum mortar, made the tank's floor and walls watertight. A thick layer of bitumen was applied to the tank's sides, making it one of the world's earliest examples of waterproofing.
  • The wells had very small diameter to enable the ground water to rise higher due to hydraulic pressure in Allahdino. It may have been used to irrigate the nearby fields.

Water Management and conservation in Dholavira

  • Water must have been a treasured substance in an area lacking a perennial source of surface water and where the groundwater, largely brackish and saline in the first place, tends to dry up during droughts.
  • The city of Dholavira had an impressive and unique water harvesting and management system.
  • Dams were built across two streams- Manhar and Mandsar to channelize their water into reservoirs. Several large, deep-water cisterns and reservoirs have been found which preserved precious stores of rain water
  • The Harappans reduced the velocity of the water flow further upstream by raising a series of dams, which also diverted surplus water to the reservoirs within the city
  • Keeping in mind the general slope of the city, several bunds were constructed across the width of the tanks to reduce the pressure of the stored water body on the city walls which enabled water to be stored in selected tanks instead of spreading it out over a large area, which would lead to quick evaporation and seepage.
  • A very conservative estimate is that the reservoirs within the city walls covered an area of at least 17 ha, containing not less than 250,000 cubic metres of water

Therefore, Harappans water management and conservation apart from surplus agriculture, flourishing non-agricultural activities and efficient town planning gave the Harrapans a distinct unique identity and helped in sustainability of its urban features and character.

Note: You have to write your answers on an A4 size sheet leaving margins on both sides based on UPSC pattern. Mention Your Name on 1st page and Page Number on each page. After writing the answer, Click pictures of each page of the answer sheet and upload them altogether (in JPG/JPEG/PNG format) in the comment section of the same question.

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