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IAS Foundation 2023-24, Batch Starts: 27th July

History Optional Paper-I Section A by Rashid Yasin

  • Category
  • Test Date
    2022-05-26 07:00:00
  • Evaluated


  • Attempt both questions
  • The test carries 30 marks.
  • Write Each answer in 150 words.
  • Any page left blank in the answer-book must be crossed out clearly.
  • 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 light do early inscriptions and literature throw on the Status of Women (2010) in politico-socio-sphere?

Question #2. Was India civilized before the advent of the Aryans? State briefly the extent and striking features of the earlier civilization, if any. 

(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 light do early inscriptions and literature throw on the Status of Women (2010) in politico-socio-sphere? 

Ans: The status of women was shaped by social, economic and political structure prevalent in ancient times as mentioned in literature and inscriptions. 

A large number of terracotta figurines of Mother Goddesses show plants growing from the embryo. Moreover, a bronze statue of a dancing girl was found, depicting ornamentation which indicated that women enjoyed little freedom. 

During the Early Vedic Phase, in the political sphere, women were allowed to become members of the Sabha and Vidhata. They even participated in rituals and acted as Vedic composers as well as intellectuals which indicate that they enjoyed a respectable position in the society as mentioned in the Vedic texts like Rig Veda. 

At the same time, there is no mention of child marriage in Rig Veda which indicates that women were allowed self-actualization. In this way, the early Vedic phase was a golden phase for women in ancient India. 

During the later Vedic phase, land became the major resource and the status of women deteriorated in the society. This was due to their dependency on their male counterparts, because of agriculture and shifting of central resource from cattle to territory/land. 

Moreover, there is no mention of female divinities in the later phase of the Vedic period like Aditi and Usha as in the early Vedic phase, highlighting their subjugated position. 

In the Age of Mahajanapadas, Magadha emerged as the most powerful Mahajanapada which was situated beyond the core Brahmanical zone. So, it was marked by social equality and women enjoyed a relatively good position. 

The inscriptions of Ashoka through the Ashokan Dhamma clearly mention to respect elders and parents. This contributed to women emancipation as womanhood began to be appreciated. 

Later during the 6th century BC, the emergence of Heterodox was marked by Buddhism and Jainism. In the course of time, women were allowed to enter the Sangha and soon they were looked upon as an object of lust by the monks. 

The Age of Mercantilism was marked by the rise of urban centres. During this age, a law maker named Manu through his work Manusmriti highlighted that women should remain inside the four walls and cover their bodies. But to convince women, Manu prescribed that women should be given some wealth after getting married so it can be used during times of adversity. 

The economic vibrancy and growth between the 2" century BC and 3" Century A.D could not prohibit women from stepping out of their houses. They equally contributed to trade and commerce and acted as poets, singers, intellectuals. 

The Gupta Empire was marked by economic prosperity but as agriculture was dominant, the status of women got deteriorated because they were dependent on their male counterparts for livelihood. 

Later, when the temples began to be constructed, it was observed that women stayed in the temple premises and acted as dancers and worshipped God. They were named as Devadasis. 

Therefore, women enjoyed a respectable position in the ancient times when economic vibrancy prevailed and the main occupation was not that of agriculture but in ancient history they were looked upon as a commodity or material and society remained patrilineal in nature. 

Q2. Was India civilized before the advent of the Aryans? State briefly the extent and striking features of the earlier civilization, if any. 

Ans: The historical sources and the findings of the archeologists provide information Ans. about a civilization named "Indus Valley Civilisation or Harappan Civilisation' With this, it can safely be accepted that India was civilized before the advent of the Aryans. 

The Harappan Civilization had a quite large extent which started from Manda in the North and Daimabad in the South in the Deccan region of India. On the other hand, from Sutkagan Dor in the west on the Iranian Coast to Alamgirpur to the east in the State of Uttar Pradesh in India, its geographical shape was more or less like a triangle which extended to approximately 13,00,000 sq.km in the tota area. 

The Harappan Civilisation had distinctive features in which some of them an also used in contemporary times. The first and foremost was the "City Planning of Harappan civilization which is marked by roads constructed in a Grid Pattern that is cutting with each other at a right angle. The roads were connected will covered drains which show that people of Harappa even considered good health and hygiene. 

The second striking feature was the division of city in two parts whereby: the "Citadel", was highly fortified and constructed on an elevated are which at that time indicated that important personalities must have live( there and granaries were also constructed in the Citadel region to secure foodgrains from calamities. The lower part of the city was available for the common masses. 

The Harappan Civilization was also active in trading activities and also in religious and architectural activities. Harappan Civilization had trade relations with the contemporary Mesopotamian Civilization as evident from the evidences like Lapiz Lazuli that have been found. They also had knowledge of making alloys from copper and tin which had a resultant product as bronze, therefore this civilization is also called as Bronze Age. With all these features of this civilization, it is widely said that the Indus Valle Civilization was the most progressive civilization in history but like every civilization that has crest and trough, Indus Valley Civilization also came to an end after it climax in around 1700 B.C.

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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 your answer sheet, merge them all in a single PDF and upload in the Your Answer Copy section of the same question.


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