UPSC Mains History Question Paper

The General Studies Paper 1 of UPSC mains comprises of the broad topics history, geography, and society. History is an important topic in this paper with questions being asked from the freedom struggle, world history, art and culture, and post-independence India.

In this article, we have compiled all the history questions asked in the IAS mains exam from 2013 to 2019.

UPSC Mains History Question paper from 2013 to 2019

Candidates can check the questions asked in the UPSC Mains History paper from 2013 to 2019 for better IAS Exam preparation.

Art & Culture

2019

  1. Highlight the Central Asian and Greco-Bactrian elements in Gandhara art.

2018

  1. Safeguarding the Indian Art Heritage is the need of the moment. Discuss.
  2. Assess the importance of the accounts of the Chinese and Arab Travellers in the reconstruction of the history of India.
  3. The Bhakti movement received a remarkable re-orientation with the advent of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.Discuss

2017

  1. How do you justify the view that the level of excellence of the Gupta numismatic art is not at all noticeable in later times?
  2. Examine how the decline of traditional artisanal industry in colonial India crippled the rural economy.

2016

  1. Early Buddhist Stupa-art, while depicting folk motifs and narratives successfully expounds Buddhist ideals. Elucidate.
  2. Krishnadeva Raya, the King of Vijayanagar, was not only an accomplished scholar himself but was also a great patron of learning and literature. Discuss.

2015

  1. The ancient civilization in Indian sub-continent differed from those of Egypt, Mesopotamia and Greece in that its culture and traditions have been preserved without a breakdown to the present day. Comment.
  2. Mesolithic rock cut architecture of India not only reflects the cultural life of the times but also a tine aesthetic sense comparable to modem painting. Critically evaluate this comment.

2014

  1. To what extent has the urban planning and culture of the Indus Valley Civilization provided inputs to the present day urbanization? Discuss.
  2. Gandhara sculpture owed as much to the Romans as to the Greeks. Explain.
  3. Taxila university was one of the oldest universities of the world with which were associated a number of renowned learned personalities of different disciplines. Its strategic location caused its fame to flourish, but unlike Nalanda, it is not considered as a university in the modern sense. Discuss.
  4. Sufis and medieval mystic saints failed to modify either the religious ideas and practices or the outward structure of Hindu / Muslim societies to any appreciable extent. Comment.

2013

  1. Though not very useful from the point of view of a connected political history of South India, the Sangam literature portrays the social and economic conditions of its time with remarkable vividness. Comment.
  2. Discuss the Tandava dance as recorded in the early Indian inscriptions.
  3. Chola architecture represents a high watermark in the evolution of temple architecture. Discuss.

Candidates can check the Art and Culture Notes from the linked article.

Freedom Struggle

2019

  1. The 1857 Uprising was the culmination of the recurrent big and small local rebellions that had occurred in the preceding hundred years of British rule.
  2. Many voices had strengthened and enriched the nationalist movement during the Gandhian phase. Elaborate.

2018

  1. Why indentured labour was taken by the British from India to other colonies? Have they been able to preserve their cultural identity over there?

2017

  1. Clarify how mid-eighteenth century India was beset with the spectre of a fragmented polity.

2016

  1. Explain how the Uprising of 1857 constitutes an important watershed in the evolution of British policies towards colonial India.
  2. Discuss the role of women in the freedom struggle especially during the Gandhian phase.
  3. Highlight the differences in the approach of Subhash Chandra Bose and Mahatma Gandhi in the struggle for freedom.

2015

  1. How different would have been the achievement of Indian independence without Mahatma Gandhi? Discuss.
  2. It would have been difficult for the Constituent Assembly to complete its historic task of drafting the Constitution for Independent India in just three years but for the experience gained with the Government of India Act, 1935. Discuss.

2014

  1. The third battle of Panipat was fought in 1761. Why were so many empire-shaking battles fought at Panipat?
  2. Examine critically the various facets of economic policies of the British in India from mid-eighteenth century till independence.
  3. In what ways did the naval mutiny prove to be the last nail in the coffin of British colonial aspirations in India?

2013

  1. Defying the barriers of age, gender and religion, the Indian women became the torch bearer during the struggle for freedom in India. Discuss.
  2. Several foreigners made India their homeland and participated in various movements. Analyze their role in the Indian struggle for freedom.
  3. In many ways, Lord Dalhousie was the founder of modern India. Elaborate.

 

Post-Independence 

2019

  1. Examine the linkages between the nineteenth century’s “Indian Renaissance” and the emergence of national identity.

2018

  1. Throw light on the significance of the thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi in the present times.
  2. Discuss whether the formation of new states in recent times is beneficial or not for the economy of India.

2017

  1. Highlight the importance of the new objectives that got added to the vision of Indian Independence since the twenties of the last century.
  2. The women’s questions arose in modern India as a part of the 19th century social reform movement. What are the major issues and debates concerning women in that period?
  3. Distinguish between religiousness/religiosity and communalism giving one example of how the former has got transformed into the latter in independent India.

2013

  1. Critically discuss the objectives of Bhoodan and Gramdan movements initiated by Acharya Vinoba Bhave and their success.
  2. Write a critical note on the evolution and significance of the slogan “Jai Jawana Jai Kisan”.
  3. Discuss the contribution of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad to pre-and post-independent India.
  4. Analyze the circumstances that led to Tashkent Agreement in 1966. Discuss the highlights of the agreement.
  5. Critically examine the compulsions which prompted India to play a decisive roles in the emergence of Bangladesh.

Candidates can check the Modern History Notes at the linked article.

World History

2019

1. Explain how the foundation of the modern world was laid by the American and French Revolutions.

2017

  1. Why did the ‘Moderates’ failed to carry conviction with the nation about their proclaimed ideology and political goals by the end of the nineteenth century?

2016

  1. The anti-colonial struggles in West Africa were led by the new elite of Western-educated Africans. Examine.

2015

  1. Why did the industrial revolution first occur in England? Discuss the quality of life of the people there during the industrialization. How does it compare with that in India at present?
  2. To what extent can Germany be held responsible for causing the two World Wars? Discuss critically

2014

  1. What were the major political, economic and social developments in the world which motivated the anti-colonial struggle in India?
  2. What were the events that led to the Suez Crisis in 1956? How did it deal a final blow to Britain’s self-image as a world power?
  3. The New Economic Policy – 1921 of Lenin had influenced the policies adopted by India soon after independence. Evaluate.

2013

  1. “Latecomer” Industrial revolution in Japan involved certain factors that were markedly different from what west had experience.
  2. Africa was chopped into states artificially created by accident of European competition. Analyse.
  3. American Revolution was an economic revolt against mercantilism. Substantiate.
  4. What policy instruments were deployed to contain the great economic depression?

 

You can practice writing answers for these questions and improve your answer writing skills for the UPSC mains exam.

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