Previous Year Modern History Prelims Questions PDF with Solutions [2013-2020]

UPSC Prelims 2021 is going to take place on 27th June 2021. Modern History is an important segment from where many questions are expected in General Studies Paper-I. In 2020, there were around 20 questions from History. Most of the questions were of a medium to tough nature. As the syllabus of history remains least affected by current affairs, candidates are advised to go through the old Modern History Questions asked over the year for IAS Prelims 2021 revision.

This article will provide you with 2013-2020 Modern History Questions that were asked in IAS Prelims Paper-I. Candidates can also download the questions and their answers PDF given in this article for the IAS Exam preparation.

Get previous years’ subject-wise questions of UPSC Prelims from the links provided below:

Ancient History Questions in UPSC Prelims Medieval History Questions in UPSC Prelims
Art and Culture Previous Year Questions in UPSC Prelims Polity Questions in UPSC Prelims
UPSC Prelims Economy Questions UPSC Prelims Environment & Ecology Questions
UPSC Prelims Geography Questions Science & Technology Questions in UPSC Prelims

Table of Content:

Year-Wise IAS Prelims Modern History Questions

UPSC Prelims Modern History Questions Trend [2013-2020]

The Civil Services Prelims Modern History Questions are provided year-wise below:

IAS Prelims 2020 Modern History Questions

1. In the context of Indian history, the Rakhmabai case of 1884 revolved around

(1) Women’s right to gain education

(2) Age of consent

(3) Restitution of conjugal rights

Select the correct answer using the code given below :

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

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

(a) peasant resistance to the oppressive conduct of planters

(b) its unprofitability in the world market because of new inventions

(c) national leaders’ opposition to the cultivation of indigo

(d) Government control over the planters

3. 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

4. With reference to the history of India, “Ulgulan” or the Great Tumult is the description of which of the following events?

(a) The Revolt of 1857

(b) The Mappila Rebellion of 1921

(c) The Indigo Revolt of 1859 – 60

(d) Birsa Munda’s Revolt of 1899-1900

5. 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.

6. 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 State’s 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 are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

7. 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 only 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

Candidates can get the notes on the relevant articles from where the modern history questions were asked in IAS Prelims 2020:

Indigo Rebellion List of Viceroys of India
List of Governors-General in India Birsa Munda
Industrial Revolution Gandhi-Irwin Pact

IAS Prelims 2019 Modern History Questions

1. With reference to land reforms in independent India, which one of the following statements is correct?

(a) The ceiling laws were aimed at family holdings and not individual holdings.

(b) The major aim of land reforms was to provide agricultural land to all the landless.

(c) It resulted in the cultivation of cash crops as a predominant form of cultivation.

(d) Land reforms permitted no exemptions to the ceiling limits.

2. Consider the following statements about ‘the Charter Act of 1813’:

(1) It ended the trade monopoly of the East India Company in India except for trade in tea and trade with China.

(2) It asserted the sovereignty of the British Crown over the Indian territories held by the Company.

(3) The revenues of India were now controlled by the British Parliament.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

3. With reference to the Swadeshi Movement, consider the following statements:

(1) It contributed to the revival of the indigenous artisan crafts and industries.

(2) The National Council of Education was established as a part of the Swadeshi Movement.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

4. Consider the following pairs:

Movement/Organization Leader
1. All India Anti-Untouchability League Mahatma Gandhi
2. All India Kisan Sabha Swami Sahajanand Saraswati
3. Self-Respect Movement E. V. Ramaswami Naicker

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

(a) 1 only

(b) 1 and 2 only

(c) 2 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

5. With reference to the British colonial rule in India, consider the following statements:

(1) Mahatma Gandhi was instrumental in the abolition of the system of ‘indentured labour’

(2) In Lord Chelmsford’s ‘War Conference’, Mahatma Gandhi did not support the resolution on recruiting Indians for World War.

(3) Consequent upon the breaking of Salt Law by Indian people, the Indian National Congress was declared illegal by the colonial rulers.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 1 and 3 only

(c) 2 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

6. With reference to Indian National Movement, consider the following pairs:

Person Position Held
1. Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru President, All India Liberal Federation
2. K. C. Neogy Member, The Constituent Assembly
3. P. C. Joshi General Secretary, Communist Party of India

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

(a) 1 only

(b) 1 and 2 only

(c) 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Candidates can get the notes on the relevant articles from where the modern history questions were asked in IAS Prelims 2019:

Land Reforms in India Charter Act, 1813
Swadeshi Movement All-India Kisan Sabha
Arrest of Mahatma Gandhiji in South Africa Constituent Assembly of India

IAS Prelims 2018 Modern History Questions

1. Regarding Wood’s Dispatch, which of the following statements are true?

(1) Grants-in-Aid system was introduced

(2) Establishment of universities was recommended

(3) English as a medium of instruction at all levels of education was recommended.

Select the correct answer using the code given below :

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

2. With reference to educational institutes during colonial rule in India, consider the following pairs:

Institution Founder
1. Sanskrit College at Benaras William Jones
2. Calcutta Madrasa Warren Hastings
3. Fort William College Arthur Wellesley

Which of the pairs given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 and 2

(b) 2 only

(c) 1 and 3

(d) 3 only

3. Which among the following events happened earliest?

(a) Swami Dayanand established AryaSamaj.

(b) Dinabandhu Mitra wrote Neeldarpan.

(c) Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay wrote Anandmath.

(d) Satyendranath Tagore became the first Indian to succeed in the Indian Civil Services Examination.

4. In 1920, which of the following changed its name to “Swarajya Sabha”?

(a) All India Home Rule League

(b) Hindu Mahasabha

(c) South Indian Liberal Federation

(d) The Servants of India Society

5. Which of the following led to the introduction of English Education in India?

(1) Charter Act of 1813

(2) General Committee of Public Instruction, 1823

(3) Orientalist and Anglicist Controversy

Select the correct answer using the code given below

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

6. Economically, one of the results of the British rule in India in the 19th century was the

(a) increase in the export of Indian handicrafts

(b) growth in the number of Indian owned factories

(c) commercialization of Indian agriculture

(d) rapid increase in the urban population

7. After the Santhal Uprising subsided, what was/were the measure/measures taken by the colonial government?

(1) The territories called `Santhal Parganas’ were created.

(2) It became illegal for a Santhal to transfer land to a non-Santhal.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

8. He wrote biographies of Mazzini, Garibaldi, Shivaji and Shrikrishna; stayed in America for some time; and was also elected to the Central Assembly. He was

(a) Aurobindo Ghosh

(b) Bipin Chandra Pal

(c) Lala Lajpat Rai

(d) Motilal Nehru

9. Which one of the following statements does not apply to the system of Subsidiary Alliance introduced by Lord Wellesley?

(a) To maintain a large standing army at others expense

(b) To keep India safe from Napoleonic danger

(c) To secure a fixed income for the Company

(d) To establish British paramountcy over the Indian States

10. Who among the following were the founders of the “Hind Mazdoor Sabha” established in 1948 ?

(a) B. Krishna Pillai, E.M.S. Namboodiripad and K.C. George

(b) Jayaprakash Narayan, Deen Day al Upadhyay and M.N. Roy

(c) C.P. Ramaswamy Iyer, K. Kamaraj and Veeresalingam Pantulu

(d) Ashok Mehta, T.S. Ramanujam and G.G. Mehta

11. Which one of the following is a very significant aspect of the Champaran Satyagraha?

(a) Active all-India participation of lawyers, students and women in the National Movement

(b) Active involvement of Dalit and Tribal communities of India in the National Movement

(c) Joining of peasant unrest to India’s National Movement

(d) Drastic decrease in the cultivation of plantation crops and commercial crops

12. The staple commodities of export by the English East India Company from Bengal in the middle of the 18th century were

(a) Raw cotton, oil-seeds, and opium

(b) Sugar, salt, zinc, and lead

(c) Copper, silver, gold, spices, and tea

(d) Cotton, silk, saltpeter, and opium

Note – The questions and its answers are taken from Series A.

Candidates can get the notes on the relevant articles from where the modern history questions were asked in IAS Prelims 2018:

Wood’s Despatch Education System in India During British Rule
19th Century Social and Religious Reforms in India Important Newspapers and Journals During Indian Freedom Struggle
Home Rule Movement Impact of British Rule
Santhal Revolt Subsidiary Alliance
Champaran Satyagraha East India Company

IAS Prelims 2017 Modern History Questions

1. Who among the following was/were associated with the introduction of the Ryotwari Settlement in India during the British rule?

(1) Lord Cornwallis

(2) Alexander Read

(3) Thomas Munro

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 only

(b) 1 and 3 only

(c) 2 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

2. Consider the following pairs:

(1) Radhakanta Deb — First President of the British Indian Association

(2) Gazulu Lakshminarasu Chetty —Founder of the Madras Mahajana Sabha

(3) Surendranath Banerjee — Founder of the Indian Association

Which of the above pairs is/are correctly matched?

(a) 1 only

(b) 1 and 3 only

(c) 2 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

3. The object of the Butler Committee of 1927 was to?

(a) Define the jurisdiction of the Central and Provincial Governments.

(b) Define the powers of the Secretary of State for India.

(c) Impose censorship on national press.

(d) Improve the relationship between the Government of India and the Indian States.

4. With reference to Indian freedom struggle, consider the following events:

(1) Mutiny in Royal Indian Navy

(2) Quit India Movement launched

(3) Second Round Table Conference

What is the correct chronological sequence of the above events?

(a) 1-2-3

(b) 2-1-3

(c) 3-2-1

(d) 3-1-2

Candidates can get the notes on the relevant articles from where the modern history questions were asked in IAS Prelims 2017:

Ryotwari System Butler Committee Report
Royal Indian Navy (RIN) Mutiny Quit India Movement

IAS Prelims 2016 Modern History Questions

1. The plan of Sir Stafford Cripps envisaged that after the Second World War

(a) India should be granted complete independence

(b) India should be partitioned into two before granting independence

(c) India should be made a republic with the condition that she will join the Commonwealth

(d) India should be given Dominion status

2. What was the main reason for the split in the Indian National Congress at Surat in 1907?

(a) Introduction of communalism into Indian politics by Lord Minto

(b) Extremists’ lack of faith in the capacity of the moderates to negotiate with the British Government

(c) Foundation of Muslim League

(d) Aurobindo Ghosh’s inability to be elected as the President of the Indian National Congress

3. Consider the following:

(1) Calcutta Unitarian Committee

(2) Tabernacle of New Dispensation

(3) Indian Reform Association

Keshab Chandra Sen is associated with the establishment of which of the above?

(a) 1 and 3 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

4. The Montague-Chelmsford Proposals were related to

(a) social reforms

(b) educational reforms

(c) reforms in police administration

(d) constitutional reforms

5. Satya Shodhak Samaj organized

(a) a movement for upliftment of tribals in Bihar

(b) a temple-entry movement in Gujarat

(c) an anti-caste movement in Maharashtra

(d) a peasant movement in Punjab

6. The `Swadeshi’ and ‘Boycott’ were adopted as methods of struggle for the first time during the

(a) agitation against the Partition of Bengal

(b) Home Rule Movement

(c) Non-Cooperation Movement

(d) visit of the Simon Commission to India

Candidates can get the notes on the relevant articles from where the modern history questions were asked in IAS Prelims 2016:

Second World War Proposals of Cripps Mission
Difference Between Moderates and Extremists All India Muslim League
List of INC Sessions and Their Presidents Events Under Lord Minto
Keshab Chandra Sen Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms
Jyotirao Govindrao Phule Partition of Bengal

IAS Prelims 2015 Modern History Questions

1. Consider the following statements

(1) The first woman President of the Indian National Congress was Sarojini Naidu.

(2) The first Muslim President of the Indian National Congress was Badruddin Tyabji.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

2. Who of the following organized a march on the Tanjore coast to break the Salt Law in April 1930?

(a) V. O. Chidambaram Pillai

(b) C. Rajagopalachari

(c) K. Kamaraj

(d) Annie Besant

3. The Government of India Act of 1919 clearly defined

(a) the separation of power between the judiciary and the legislature

(b) the jurisdiction of the central and provincial governments

(c) the powers of the Secretary of State for India and the Viceroy

(d) None of the above

4. With reference to Congress Socialist Party, consider the following statements:

(1) It advocated the boycott of British goods and evasion of taxes

(2) It wanted to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat.

(3) It advocated a separate electorate for minorities and oppressed classes.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 3 only

(c) 1, 2 and 3

(d) None

5. Who of the following was/were economic critic/ critics of colonialism in India?

(1) Dadabhai Naoroji

(2) G. Subramania Iyer

(3) R. C. Dutt

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 only

(b) 1 and 2 only

(c) 2 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

6. With reference to Rowlatt Satyagraha, which of the following statements is/ are correct?

(1) The Rowlatt Act was based on the recommendations of the ‘Sedition Committee’.

(2) In Rowlatt Satyagraha, Gandhiji tried to utilize the Home Rule League.

(3) Demonstrations against the arrival of the Simon Commission coincided with Rowlatt Satyagraha.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 only

(b) 1 and 2 only

(c) 2 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

7. Which one of the following movements has contributed to a split in the Indian National Congress resulting in the emergence of ‘moderates’ and ‘extremists’?

(a) Swadeshi Movement

(b) Quit India Movement

(c) Non-Cooperation Movement

(d) Civil Disobedience Movement

8. With reference to Indian history, which of the following is/are the essential elements of the feudal system?

(1) A very strong centralized political authority and a very weak provincial or local political authority

(2) The emergence of administrative structure based on control and possession of the land

(3) Creation of the lord-vassal relationship between the feudal lord and his overlord

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Candidates can get the notes on the relevant articles from where the modern history questions were asked in IAS Prelims 2015:

Sarojini Naidu Salt Satyagraha
Government of India Act 1919 Colonialism
Rowlatt Satyagraha Revision Points – Moderates, Extremists, Passive and Active Resistance

IAS Prelims 2014 Modern History Questions

1. The Partition of Bengal made by Lord Curzon in 1905 lasted until

(a) the First World War when Indian troops were needed by the British and the partition was ended.

(b) King George V abrogated Curzon’s Act at the Royal Darbar in Delhi in 1911

(c) Gandhiji launched his Civil Disobedience Movement

(d) the Partition of India, in 1947 when East Bengal became East Pakistan

2. The 1929 Session of the Indian National Congress is of significance in the history of the Freedom Movement because the

(a) attainment of Self-Government was declared as the objective of the Congress

(b) attainment of Poorna Swaraj Was adopted as the goal of the Congress

(c) Non-Cooperation Movement was launched

(d) decision to participate in the Round Table Conference in London was taken

3. The Ghadr (Ghadar) was a

(a) revolutionary association of Indians with headquarters at San Francisco.

(b) nationalist organization operating from Singapore

(c) militant organization with headquarters at Berlin

(d) communist movement for India’s freedom with headquarters at Tashkent

4. What was/were the object/objects of Queen Victoria’s Proclamation (1858)?

(1) To disclaim any intention to annex Indian States

(2) To place the Indian administration under the British Crown

(3) To regulate East India Company’s trade with India

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

5. The Radcliffe Committee was appointed to

(1)Solve the problems of minorities in India

(2) Give effect to Independence Bill

(3) Delimit boundaries between India and Pakistan

(4) Enquire into riots in East Bengal

Candidates can get the notes on the relevant articles from where the modern history questions were asked in IAS Prelims 2014:

Lord Curzon First Round Table Conference
Ghadar Party Government of India Act 1858

IAS Prelims 2013 Modern History Questions

1. With reference to Indian History, the Members of the Constituent Assembly from the Provinces were

(a) directly elected by the people of those Provinces

(b) nominated by the Indian National Congress and the Muslim League

(c) elected by the Provincial Legislative Assemblies

(d) selected by the Government for their expertise in constitutional matters

2. The demand for the Tebhaga Peasant Movement in Bengal was for

(a) the reduction of the share of the landlords from one-half of the crop to one-third

(b) the grant of ownership of land to peasants as they were the actual cultivators of the land

(c) the uprooting of Zamindari system and the end of serfdom

(d) writing off all peasant debts

3. The people of India agitated against the arrival of Simon Commission because

(a) Indians never wanted the review of the working of the Act of 1919

(b) Simon Commission recommended the abolition of Dyarchy (Diarchy) in the

Provinces

(c) there was no Indian member in the Simon Commission

(d) the Simon Commission suggested the partition of the country

4. Quit India Movement was launched in response to

(a) Cabinet Mission Plan

(b) Cripps Proposals

(c) Simon Commission Report

(d) Wavell Plan

5. Annie Besant was

(1) responsible for starting the Home Rule Movement

(2) the founder of the Theosophical Society

(3) once the President of the Indian National Congress

Select the correct statement/statements using the codes given below.

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

6. The Ilbert Bill controversy was related to the

(a) imposition restrictions the Indians of certain to carry arms by Indians

(b) imposition of restrictions on newspapers and magazines published in Indian languages

(c) removal of disqualifications imposed on the Indian magistrates with regard to the trial of the Europeans

(d) removal of a duty on imported cotton cloth

Candidates can get the notes on the relevant articles from where the modern history questions were asked in IAS Prelims 2013:

Peasant Movements in British India in 18th & 19th Centuries Zamindari System
Simon Commission Cabinet Mission Plan
Annie Besant Ilbert Bill

UPSC Prelims Modern History Questions [2013-2020]:-Download PDF Here

UPSC Prelims Modern History Answers [2013-2020]

The answers to UPSC Modern History Questions asked in Prelims (Series A) from the year 2013 to 2020 are given in the tables below:

2020 IAS Prelims Modern History Questions with Solutions
1. B
2. B
3. D
4. D
5. A
6. A
7. B
2019 IAS Prelims Modern History Questions with Solutions
1. B
2. A
3. C
4. D
5. B
6. D
2018 IAS Prelims Modern History Questions with Solutions
1. A
2. B
3. B
4. A
5. C
6. C
7. C
8. C
9. C
10. D
11. C
12. D
2017 IAS Prelims Modern History Questions with Solutions
1. C
2. B
3. D
4. C
2016 IAS Prelims Modern History Questions with Solutions
1. D
2. B
3. B
4. D
5. C
6. A
2015 IAS Prelims Modern History Questions with Solutions
1. B
2. B
3. B
4. D
5. D
6. B
7. A
8. B
2014 IAS Prelims Modern History Questions with Solutions
1. B
2. B
3. A
4. A
5. C
2013 IAS Prelims Modern History Questions with Solutions
1. C
2. A
3. C
4. B
5. C
6. C

Get all the previous years’ UPSC Question Papers in the linked article.

UPSC Preparation Links:

UPSC Mains GS 1 Strategy, Syllabus and Structure History Questions of UPSC Mains
NCERT Ancient History Notes for UPSC NCERT Medieval History Notes for UPSC
NCERT Modern History Notes for UPSC Topic-Wise UPSC Prelims Questions PDF

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