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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 7 August 2020


NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.


General Studies – 1


 

Topic : Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

1. Temple architecture constitute a significant part of India’s cultural heritage, in this context throw light on the various types of temple architecture in India. (250 words)

Reference Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania

Why the question:

The question is related to GS 1 syllabus under the following heading- Salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

Key Demand of the question:

The question wants us to write in detail about the temple architecture its origin and evolution plus its varied varieties in the country. 

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

The question is straightforward and there isn’t much to deliberate, start by explaining what constitutes a temple.

Body:

Discuss about the Indian temple architecture and sculpture in detail.

 Deal with major topics like Nagara Temple Architectural Style, Dravida Temple Architectural Style, Vesara Temple Architectural Style, etc. and the sculptures associated with them. And also throw light upon the Buddhist and Jain architecture.

Explain the basic forms of Hindu temples, Jain temples and Buddhist temples, their structures and other associated architectural factors.

Provide for a spatial map of the country with different varieties of temples across it.

Conclusion:

Conclude by highlighting their significance.

Introduction:

Temple architecture of high standard developed in almost all regions during ancient India. The distinct architectural style of temple construction in different parts was a result of geographical, climatic, ethnic, racial, historical and linguistic diversities. Ancient Indian temples are classified in three broad types. This classification is based on different architectural styles, employed in the construction of the temples.

Body:

In India, every region and period produced its own distinct style of temples with its regional variations. Three main style of temple architecture are the Nagara or the Northern style, the Dravida or the Southern style and the Vesara or Mixed style. But at the same time, there are also some regional styles of Bengal, Kerala and the Himalayan areas.

nagar_dravid

Nagara style or North Indian temple architecture:

  • The Nagara style that is palpable in different parts of India with varied elaborations in different localities has two particular features.
  • In North India it is common for an entire temple to be built on a stone platform with steps leading up to it.
  • They usually have elaborate boundary walls or gateways.
  • While the earliest temples had just one tower, or shikhara, later temples had several.
  • The garbhagriha is always located directly under the tallest tower.
  • There are many subdivisions of nagara temples depending on the shape of the shikhara.
  • There are different names for the various parts of the temple in different parts of India; however, the most common name for the simple shikhara which is square at the base and whose walls curve or slope inward to a point on top is called the ‘latina’ or the rekha-prasada type of shikara.
  • The second major type of architectural form in the nagara order is the phamsana, which tends to be broader and shorter than latina ones.
  • Their roofs are composed of several slabs that gently rise to a single point over the centre of the building, unlike the latina ones which look like sharply rising tall towers.
  • The third main sub-type of the nagara building is generally called the valabhi type.
  • These are rectangular buildings with a roof that rises into a vaulted chamber.
  • Dashavatara temple (Deogarh), Vishwanatha temple (Khajuraho), Lakshman Temple (Khajuraho) are few examples.

Dravidian style or South Indian temple architecture:

  • Dravida style of temple architecture became popular in South India. Dravida style of temples was developed dynastically, however the major features of these temples remained common across the dynasties.
  • Unlike the Nagara temple, the Dravida temple is enclosed within a compound wall.
  • The front wall has an entrance gateway in its centre, which is known as a gopuram.
  • The shape of the main temple tower known as Vimana is like a stepped pyramid that rises up geometrically rather than the curving shikhara of North India.
  • In the South Indian temples, the word Shikhara is used only for the crowning element at the top of the temple which is equivalent to the amalaka and kalasha of North Indian temples.
  • In the Dravida style temples, one will generally find sculptures of fierce dvarapalas or the door-keepers guarding the temple.
  • It is common to find a large water reservoir, or a temple tank, enclosed within the complex.
  • Subsidiary shrines are either incorporated within the main temple tower or located as distinct, separate small shrines beside the main temple.
  • Unlike Nagara style, at some of the most sacred temples in South India, the main temple in which the garbhagriha is situated has, in fact, one of the smallest towers.
  • Shore temple (Mahabalipuram), Brihadesvara temple (Thanjavur), Meenakshi Temple (Madurai) are few which typifies this style.

Vesara:

  • The Vesara style also called the Chalukyan type possessed the Dravidian vimana and the Nagara- type faceted walls.
  • At times, the Vesara style of temples is also found as an independent style, created through the selective mixing of the Nagara and Dravida orders.
  • In the southern part of the Deccan, i.e., in the region of Karnataka where some of the most experimental hybrid styles of vesara architecture are to be found.
  • In case of ornamentation of temple walls and pillars, Chalukyan temple shows indigenous quality.
  • The Chalukyan builders modified the Dravida towers by minimizing the height of each storey and arranging them in descending order of height from base to top with much ornamentation in each storey.
  • Instead of inclined storey here modification is seen in the vertical shape of the tower
  • There are three sub-divisions in the Vesara Style of Temple Architecture
    • Chalukyas Temple Architecture.g: Ravan Phadi cave, Aihole, Karnataka; Lad Khan Temple at Aihole, Karnataka; Durga Temple at Aihole, Karnataka; Temples at Pattadakal, Karnataka
    • Hoysalas Temple Architecture. Eg: Hoysaleswara temple; Temples at Belur, Halebid, and Somnathpur
    • Vijayanagar Temple Architecture. Eg: Hazara Rama Temple; Virupaksha Temple, Hampi; Shravanabelagola – Gomateshwara Temple

Central Indian Temple architecture:

  • Ancient temples of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan share many traits. The most visible is that they are made of sandstone.
  • Some of the oldest surviving structural temples from the Gupta Period are in Madhya Pradesh.
  • The crowning elements- amalak and kalash, are to be found on all nagara temples of this period.
  • These are relatively modest-looking shrines each having four pillars that support a small mandapa which looks like a simple square porch-like extension before an equally small room that served as the garbhagriha.
  • Famous temples in Central Indian Temple Architecture
    • Dahavatara Vishnu Temple, Deogarh, Uttar Pradesh
    • Khajuraho Temples
    • Chausath Yogini temple
    • Kandariya Mahadeva temple in Khajuraho
    • Lakshmana Temple

Western Indian Temple Architecture:

  • The temples in the north-western parts of India including Gujarat and Rajasthan, and in western Madhya Pradesh are large in numbers.
  • The stone used to build the temples ranges in colour and type.
  • While sandstone is the commonest, a grey to black basalt can be seen in some of the 10th to 12th century temple sculptures.
  • The most exuberant and famed is the manipulatable soft white marble which is also seen in some of the 10th-12th century Jain temples in Mount Abu and the 15th century temple at Ranakpur.
  • Among the most important art-historical sites in the region is Samlaji in Gujarat and The Sun temple at Modhera

Eastern Indian Temple Architecture:

  • Eastern Indian Temples are in North Eastern Assam, Bengal, and regions of Odisha.
  • The temple architecture shows that terracotta was used as a major medium of construction.
  • Since many of the ancient temples were renovated, later on, it becomes really difficult to study the history of what survives in the sites.
  • There are three sub-divisions in Eastern Indian Temple-Architecture:
    • Assam Temple Architecture India. Eg: Kamakhya Temple
    • Bengal Temple Architecture. Eg: Siddheswara Mahadeva temple in Burdwan, W.B; Temples in Telkupi in Purulia district, W.B
    • Odisha – Kalinga Architecture. Eg: Jagannath Temple of Puri and Lingaraj Temple of Bhubaneswar portray Rekha Deula style while Vaital Deula of Bhubaneswar typifies Khakhara Deula and the Sun Temple at Konark remains a prominent example of Pidha Deula.

Hill Temple Architecture:

  • This is a unique form of architecture developed in the hills of Kashmir, Garhwal, Kumaon, Himachal among others.
  • Considering the proximity to Kashmir, it is not astonishing that the temple has a strong influence of Gandhara in the 5th Century A.D.
  • Hindu and Buddhist, both the traditions were intermingled and used to build temples in the hills.
  • Wooden buildings with pitched roofs were spread across the hills.
  • The main garbhagriha and shikhara were made in the rekha-prasad type, but the mandapa was still made up of wood.
  • Pagoda style temples were also made.
  • Jageshwar in Almora, Chambavat near Pithoragarh are a few examples.

Buddhist Temple Architecture:

  • The pre-eminent Buddhist site is Bodhgaya. While the bodhi tree is of immense importance, the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodhgaya is an important reminder of the brick work of that time.
  • Many of the sculptures in the niches in the temple are dated to the 8th century Pala Period.
  • The design of the temple is unusual. It is, strictly speaking, neither dravida or nagara. It is narrow like a nagara temple, but it rises without curving, like a dravida one.
  • The monastic university of Nalanda is a mahavihara as it is a complex of several monasteries of various sizes.
  • The sculptural art of Nalanda, in stucco, stone and bronze, developed out of a heavy dependence on the Buddhist Gupta art of Sarnath.
  • Depictions of crowned Buddhas occur commonly only after the 10th century.
  • Later other major Buddhist monasteries developed in Odisha. Lalitagiri, Vajragiri and Ratnagiri are the most famous of them.
  • The port-town of Nagapattinam was also a major Buddhist centre right until the Chola Period.

Jain Temple Architecture:

  • Jains were prolific temple builders like the Hindus, and their sacred shrines and pilgrimage spots are to be found across the length and breadth of India except in the hills.
  • The oldest Jain pilgrimage sites are to be found in Bihar. In the Deccan, some of the most architecturally important Jain sites can be found in Ellora and Aihole.
  • In central India, Deogarh, Khajuraho, Chanderi and Gwalior have some excellent examples of Jain temples.
  • Karnataka has a rich heritage of Jain shrines and at Shravanabelagola the famous statue of Gomateshwara.
  • The Jain temples at Mount Abu were constructed by Vimal Shah.
  • The temple is famous for its unique patterns on every ceiling, and the graceful bracket figures along the domed ceilings.
  • The great Jain pilgrimage site in the Shatrunjay hills near Palitana in Kathiawar, Gujarat, is imposing with scores of temples clustered together.

Conclusion:

The temple architecture was mainly influenced by geographical, ethnic, racial, historical and linguistic diversities of Indian sub-continent. Every region and period produced its own distinct style of images with its regional variations in iconography.  The temple is covered with elaborate sculpture and ornament that form a fundamental part of its conception.

 

Topic : Indian Constitution—historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

2. Why were the ideals of socialism and secularism explicitly added to the constitution? What do these ideals mean and how have these been reflected in the Constitution? Explain.  (250 words)

Reference: Live Mint 

Why the question:

The question is premised on the ideals of socialism and secularism enshrined in the Indian constitution and their significance.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the significance of the ideals of socialism and secularism to Indian constitution and their relevance and importance.

Directive:

Explain – Clarify the topic by giving a detailed account as to how and why it occurred, or what is the particular context. You must be defining key terms where ever appropriate, and substantiate with relevant associated facts.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Define the terms of socialism and secularism.

Body:

Start with the historical background of secularism and socialism not beyond the constitutional assembly debates. Define both the terms in Indian context. Socialism lays emphasis on the welfare of the people, it seeks to give equality to the people and tries

to remove exploitation of one class by the others and ensures economic and political equality to all. Indian secularism includes three basic notions:  Freedom of religion, Equal citizenship to each citizen regardless of his or her religion, State neutrality in the matter of religion and equal conservation of all religions and equal religious rights to all the citizens.

Mention the reasons behind their addition to the constitution.

 Also mention the constitutional provisions which reflect these two ideas.

Conclusion:

Conclude that Socialism and secularism are inalienable features of the Indian Constitution and Indian society which found a late mention in the Constitution but they have been acting as guides to constitution makers and guarantors.

Introduction:

The words secular and socialist were introduced in the Indian Constitution by 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act during the Emergency by Indira Gandhi’s government. Secular and socialist were added to reassure the nation that minorities would be safe and the moneyed class would not dominate the economy. The basic structure doctrine, in other words, already contained within it the principles of secularism and socialism as envisaged by our constitution framers. However, the Government of the day added to explicitly into the preamble of the constitution.

Body:

Reasons behind adding secularism and socialism to the constitution:

  • With the passing of the 42nd amendment, the spirit of secularism which was always part and parcel of the Constitution was formally inserted into its body.
  • Indian constitution already had “secular” characteristic defined in Article 25.
  • The socialistic principles were also under part IV of constitution, Articles enumerated from 36-51 called as Directive Principles of State Policy.
  • The reason of adding these words were to ensure the economic justice and elimination of inequality in income and standard of life.
  • Secularism implies equality of all religions and religious tolerance and does not identify any state religion.
  • The government of the day was convinced that the addition of word ‘secular’ will tone up the morale of the minorities.
  • The word ‘Socialist’ was included in the Preamble as the government believed that the future of India was in Socialism.
  • Anti-poverty programs, slum demolition drives, and the forced sterilisation campaign were some of the most important measures carried out by the government during this period.

Socialism is a range of economic and social systems characterised by social ownership and democratic control of the means of production as well as the political theories and movements associated with them. Broadly, it’s a political and economic system under which the means of production are owned by the community as a whole, with government ensuring the equitable distribution of wealth.

India adopted socialism which drew inspiration from Gandhi and Nehru rather than Marxian socialism. Whereas Gandhian socialism was based on satya, ahimsa, trusteeship and decentralisation and Nehru’s socialism was a liberal and a type of fabianist socialism, Marxian socialism emphasised on class wars and the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Secularism is the “indifference to, or rejection or exclusion of, religion and religious considerations.” In political terms, secularism is the principle of the separation of government institutions and persons mandated to represent the state from religious institution and religious dignitaries.

Secularism has been discussed in India primarily as a state policy towards religious groups. The debate on secularism began by pointing to the difference of the Indian variation to its Western counterpart, either by pointing to an idea of a ‘principled distance’ or samadharma samabhava, where all religions are treated as equal.

Secularism and Socialism in Indian constitution:

  • India’s survival as a multi-religious, multilingual, multiracial, multicultural society will depend on how successful it is in working its secularism
  • Indian Secularism equally opposed oppression of dalits and women within Hinduism. It also opposes the discrimination against women within Indian Islam or Christianity and the possible threats that a majority community might pose to the rights of the minority religious communities.
  • Indian Secularism has made room for and is compatible with the idea of state- supported religious reform. For example- Indian constitution bans untouchability under Article 17. There is also abolition of child marriage and lifting the taboo on inter-caste marriage sanctioned by Hinduism.
  • Indian Secularism deals not only with religious freedom of individuals but also with religious freedom of minority communities i.e. individual has the right to profess religion of his /her choice. Likewise, religious minority also have a right to exist and to maintain their own culture and educational institutions.
  • India in its modified socialist pursuit relied on three pillars of development strategy–
    • planning for rapid industrial and agricultural growth which was not under the absolute control of State.
    • a public sector to develop strategic industries, which was to progressively become a self-sustained profit-making sector.
    • a mixed economy- Mixed economy was preferred earlier due to lack of adequate resources, but the private sector was to work under a broad framework of planning.
  • Consequently, while retaining socialism as a principal constitutional value, as declared in Preamble, Fundamental Rights and DPSP, India didn’t shy away from approaching a more liberal economy and means of distributive justice when needed.
  • It smoothly transitioned to LPG reforms in the 1990s, opened its sectors and markets to global opportunities and competition, to continue its growth story keeping up with the changing times and needs

Conclusion:

The Articles of the Constitution as well as the spirit of the Preamble both underscore the spirit of socialism and secularism. In the Preamble, the people of India resolve to secure all citizens social, economic and political justice, and this resolution is made solemnly, and not by invoking any divine power. Although, these found a late mention in the Constitution but they have been acting as guides to constitution makers and guarantors.

 

Topic : Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation. Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

3. Discuss the Mandal moment that saw ferocious backlash by sections of upper castes. DO you think entire architecture of reservations needs a review in the country? Support your arguments with suitable examples and give solutions to the issues. (250 words)

Reference: Hindustan Times 

Why the question:

Thirty years ago, on August 7, Indian politics and society changed. In a historic move, the VP Singh government decided to implement the recommendations of the Mandal Commission, and open up reservations for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in government jobs. Thus the question.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the Mandal moment and the box of Pandora it opened in the Indian society with respect to the system of reservations. Discuss in what way India needs to revisit its reservation architecture and suggest solutions to address the same.

Directive:

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly discuss what Mandal moment was.

Body:

Explain that the Mandal moment saw ferocious backlash by sections of upper castes. This opposition was articulated on two axes — the fact that reservations compromised merit, and if at all reservations should open up beyond what was offered to Scheduled Castes and Tribes, it should be on economic lines. These arguments hid beneath it a real fear of losing power and opportunities. And it launched an era of open hostility between upper castes and backward communities, particularly in the Hindi heartland. OBCs became a force to contend with, and it is no surprise that no government in Uttar Pradesh or Bihar can now be formed without their active support.

Discuss its effects on the system of reservation in India.

Suggest measures and remedies that are required to cure the current system of reservation.

Conclusion:

Conclude that Mandal empowered communities. But the entire architecture of reservations needs a review, with the aim of creating a just, inclusive and equal society, without pandering to populist movements.

Introduction:

The Second Backward classes commission headed by Indian parliamentarian B.P. Mandal is popularly known as ‘Mandal Commission’. It was established in India in 1979 by the Janata Party government with a mandate to “identify the socially or educationally backward.” It considered the question of seat reservations and quotas for people to redress caste discrimination, and used eleven social, economic, and educational indicators to determine backwardness. The commission recommended that OBCs should get 27% reservation in jobs in central government services and public sector units.

The decision changed the narrative of Caste that had been the basis of unbridled torture and ostracisation into the instrument of social justice. However, it also opened up a Pandora’s Box, leading to widespread opposition and vote bank politics.

Body:

The Mandal movement:

  • In 1980, the commission’s report affirmed the affirmative action practice under Indian law whereby members of Other Backward Classes (OBC), were given exclusive access to a certain portion of government Jobs and slots in public universities.
  • 27% seats in central government jobs and educational institutions are reserved for the backward classes after Mandal Commission recommendations.
  • In 1990, the then Prime Minister V P Singh announced in the Parliament that the recommendations of the Mandal Commission would be implemented, resulting in a paradigm shift in the national polity.
  • The announcement witnessed violent protests all over India, especially in northern and western India, and many students immolated themselves in protest and a few of them died as well.
  • Following the severe opposition, the issue of OBC reservation reached the Supreme Court in 1992.
  • The decision of 27% reservation for OBCs was later upheld by the Supreme Court in the Indra Sawhney Case.
  • The SC also stated that the only caste was not an indicator of social and educational backwardness.
  • To ensure that benefits of the recommendations of the Mandal Commission percolated down to the most backward communities, the creamy layer criteria was invoked.

Concerns were raised against Mandal Commission recommendations and it faced severe backlash due to:

  • Mandal Commission faced mainly opposition on two grounds, that reservation would compromise the merit and can the reservation be given on economic lines.
  • This lowered the importance of merit in securing job by emphasizing more on class reservation.
  • It mostly revolves around vote-bank politics which defeats the original purpose of reservation policy.
  • In order to fulfil populist demands, political parties continued to expand reservation to the extent that communities who are well-off, avail reservation quotas.
  • This has undermined the entire purpose of reservation, envisaged as a tool to address historic injustice, and made it an exercise in power distribution and employment generation.
  • The implementation of the report providing reservation to the backward classes further deepen the class divide between upper and lower class. The policy of reservation has caused the resentment of those communities which did not have a share in the reservation.
  • It may unleash a more-backward-than-thou race among various castes for the limited spoils, lead to corruption in the certification of castes, and raise expectations.
  • The already intense competition gets worsened when caste becomes the basis for selection. Thus it will lead to inter-caste rivalries. Since the new policy does not consider all castes equal, inequalities within the government departments will increase.
  • Politics based on caste and region became more prominent. Eg Jat reservation agitation.
  • It led to entrenchment and institutionalization of caste as an important determinant in India’s socio-politico structure and thus impacting every aspect of life, which is inherently against equality and creates fissures in society.
  • According to the Justice Rohini Commission, out of almost 6,000 castes and communities in the OBCs, only 40 such communities had gotten 50% of reservation benefits for admission in central educational institutions and recruitment to the civil services.
  • This has led to a political divide and demands for sub-categorisation, a process currently underway.

The above mentioned concerns raise the need to look at restructuring the reservation policy.

Way forward:

  • Reservation has remained a powerful tool of affirmative action. However, after nearly 75 years of independence, India’s socio-economic polity has not transformed as expected.
  • There is an urgent need to ensure that the benefits of reservation reach the really needy and deserving.
  • Preparations for Census 2021 are on-going due to the current pandemic. There is still time to create an expert group to evaluate the methodology for collecting caste data and include it in the Census forms.
  • Losing this opportunity would leave us hanging for another 10 years without good data for undertaking sub-categorisation of OBC quota or evaluating claims to OBC status by different groups.
  • This should probably be taken as a good opportunity to reshape the nature of affirmative action in India.
  • The government will have to expand the economic aspect and create fresh opportunities so that people, especially young people, who leave agriculture are absorbed in non-farm sectors.
  • It is time that India made a critical assessment of its affirmative action programmes.
  • The government should consider the economic, political and social wellbeing of the community and make a balanced decision.
  • Problems of these castes should be addressed through government schemes and programmes.
  • Progressive steps should be taken to ensure that poorer section among the backward communities get the benefit of reservation system.
  • The policy of reservation should be gradually phased out after it serves its purpose.

 

Topic : Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

4. Deliberate upon the security concerns associated with increasing nuclearization of the world countries. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The article discusses the concerns associated with nuclear weapons.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the security concerns associated with increasing nuclearization of the world countries.

Directive:

Deliberate – Weigh up to what extent something is true. Persuade the reader of your argument by citing relevant research but also remember to point out any flaws and counter- arguments as well. Conclude by stating clearly how far you agree with the original proposition.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by quoting key facts such as – Since 1945, the United States, the Soviet Union/Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea have armed themselves with destructive nuclear weapons. Over 1,26,000 nuclear weapons have been built since the beginning of the atomic age.

Body:

Start by briefly discussing the damage potential these nuke weapons have, The use of existing weapons against civilian populations can cause a high number of casualties as observed in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The large numbers of nuclear tests are causing grave and long-lasting damage to the environment and public health.

Highlight the vulnerabilities that such weapons expose us to. Nuclear weapons supporters have often argued that the use of nuclear weapons is impossible because of deterrence.

Take hints from the article and draw suitable touch points.

Conclusion:

Conclude what needs to be done to address such grave security concern the world is to face.

Introduction:

According to a latest report by Swedish think tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), All nations that have nuclear weapons continue to modernize their nuclear arsenals, while India and China increased their nuclear warheads in the last one year.

Nuclear weapons today pose an unimaginable threat to mankind and a nuclear weapon free world is call of the hour. The recent North Korean nuclear crisis highlights the fact that the world is heading toward a dangerous nuclear era which poses threat not only to human life and property but has the potential to cause irreversible damage to the environment.

Body:

nuclear

Current scenario of nuclear weapons in the world:

  • The nine nations that have nuclear weapons include the USA, Russia, UK, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea.
  • The total number of nuclear warheads in these nuclear-armed countries has gone down from 13,865 in 2019 to 13,400 in 2020.
  • This marked a decrease from an estimated 13,865 nuclear weapons at the beginning of 2019.
  • The decrease in the overall numbers was largely due to the dismantlement of old nuclear weapons by Russia and the U.S., which together possess over 90% of the global nuclear weapons.
  • However, India, Pakistan and China have increased their nuclear stockpile and are significantly modernising their arsenals.
  • China’s nuclear arsenal had gone up from 290 warheads in 2019 to 320 in 2020, while India’s went up from 130-140 in 2019 to 150 in 2020.
  • Pakistan’s arsenal was estimated to be between 150-160 in 2019 and has reached 160 in 2020.
  • Both China and Pakistan continue to have larger nuclear arsenals than India.

Security concerns associated with increasing nuclearization of the world countries:

  • The large number of nuclear tests are causing grave and long-lasting damage to the environment and public health.
  • Nuclear weapons could be launched at any moment against any target around the world.
  • There is no realistic way to protect against nuclear weapons, whether they are used deliberately, inadvertently, or accidentally.
  • The availability of ballistic missiles has made it impossible to intercept nuclear weapons once they are launched. Neither fallout shelters nor ballistic missile defence systems have succeeded in negating this vulnerability.
  • Nuclear threats in some cases have produced anger, and anger can trigger a drive to escalate, as was the case during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.
  • Nuclear threats have not always produced fear and caution as propounded by nuclear enthusiasts. On the contrary, countries with nuclear weapons have gone to war quite often, even with other countries with nuclear weapons, albeit in a limited fashion. Countries have not always shown the expected restraint.
  • Constant jibes by Pakistani politicians to use nuclear weapons against India has further spread hate amongst neighbouring countries.
  • In the real world, it is not possible for planners to have complete control on nuclear weapons.
  • In several historical instances, what prevented the use of nuclear weapons was not control practices but either their failure or factors outside institutional control. The most famous of these cases is the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.
  • Strategic planners often use worst-case assumptions about the intentions and capabilities of other countries to argue for the acquisition of greater destructive capabilities, driving endless upgrades of nuclear arsenals, and offering a rationale for new countries to acquire nuclear weapons.
  • All nuclear-weapon states have admitted to the possibility that deterrence could fail, evident in their plans for preparing to fight a nuclear war.
  • A major concern with respect to nuclear weapons is the illusion regarding the controllability of nuclear weapons.
  • In the real world scenario, it would not be possible to have complete control. The desire to believe in the perfect controllability and safety of nuclear weapons creates overconfidence, which is likely to lead to accidents and possibly to the use of nuclear weapons.

Way forward:

  • In the times of ever-increasing geo-political tensions, adequate measures are required to monitor nuclear arsenals and to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and materials.
  • Arms control is also vital for addressing mounting challenges of nuclear proliferation.
  • The world should share concern that not only is further reduction in nuclear stockpiles difficult in the near term, but even existing nuclear arms control agreements are now at risk.
  • The U.S. and Russia have reduced their nuclear arsenals under the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) but it will lapse in February 2021 unless both parties agree to prolong it. Therefore, efforts should be made to extend the New START or negotiate a new treaty.
  • There is a need to continuously reduce substantially the size of nuclear forces in all states that possess them.
  • There is a need for increased efforts to resolve regional confrontations and conflicts that give rise to new nuclear powers.
  • The security of nuclear weapons and materials should be increased
  • There should be an inclusive step-by-step approach toward nuclear weapons free world
  • Non –governmental organisations also have important role to play. Recently, ICAN received the Noble Peace Prize. Geneva-based ICAN is a coalition of nongovernmental organizations from different countries working together to eradicate nuclear weapons. ICAN had been at the forefront to bring about the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
  • There are multiple nuclear equations — U.S.-Russia, U.S.-China, U.S.-North Korea, India-Pakistan, India-China in today’s world but none is standalone. Therefore, world requires to think afresh to bring nuclear stability.

 

Topic : Major crops-cropping patterns in various parts of the country, – different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.  Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

5. Unscientific use of irrigation water is giving rise to a variety of ecological problems in India. Elucidate.  (250 words)

Reference: The Wire 

Why the question:

The question talks about the ecological problems that are being caused owing to unscientific use of irrigation water in the country.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the ecological problems that are being caused owing to unscientific use of irrigation water in the country. Suggest solutions to address the same.

Directive:

Elucidate – Give a detailed account as to how and why it occurred, or what is the particular context. You must be defining key terms where ever appropriate, and substantiate with relevant associated facts.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Introduce the answer by giving a brief highlight of present scenario of irrigation in India.

Body:

Irrigation consumes about 84 percent of total available water in India, while industrial and

Domestic sectors consume about 12 and 4 percent respectively. India has already realized over 80% of its irrigation potential. While this reflects significant irrigation expansion, unscientific utilization of irrigation water has raised several issues. There are multiple factors contributing to unscientific use of irrigation water like low irrigation

Efficiency; poor water management; ineffective ground water policy; heavy subsidization in Electricity etc. Discuss them in detail.

Explain in brief the issue of unscientific use of irrigation water. Enlist the ecological hazards resulting from the same.

Conclusion:

Conclude with suitable solutions.

Introduction:

Irrigation is the process of applying water to the crops artificially to fulfil their water requirements. Nutrients may also be applied to the crops through irrigation. The various sources of water for irrigation are wells, ponds, lakes, canals, tube-wells, and even dams. Irrigation offers moisture required for growth and development, germination, and other related functions.

Body:

The Environmental impacts of irrigation relate to the changes in quantity and quality of soil and water as a result of irrigation and the effects on natural and social conditions in river basins and downstream of an irrigation scheme. The impacts stem from the altered hydrological conditions caused by the installation and operation of the irrigation scheme.

Direct Effects

  • An irrigation scheme draws water from groundwater, rivers, lakes or overland flow, and distributes it over an area.
  • Hydrological, or direct, effects of doing this include reduction in downstream river flow, increased evaporation in the irrigated area, increased level in the water table as groundwater recharge in the area is increased and flow increased in the irrigated area.
  • Likewise, irrigation has immediate effects on the provision of moisture to the atmosphere, inducing atmospheric instabilities and increasing downwind rainfall, or in other cases modifies the atmospheric circulation, delivering rain to different downwind areas.
  • Increases or decreases in irrigation are a key area of concern in precipitation shed studies, that examine how significant modifications to the delivery of evaporation to the atmosphere can alter downwind rainfall.

Indirect Effects:

  • Indirect effects are those that have consequences that take longer to develop and may also be longer-lasting. The indirect effects of irrigation include the following:
    • Water logging
    • Soil salination
    • Ecological damage
    • Socioeconomic impacts
  • The indirect effects of water logging and soil salination occur directly on the land being irrigated.
  • The ecological and socioeconomic consequences take longer to happen but can be more far-reaching.
  • Some irrigation schemes use water wells for irrigation. As a result, the overall water level decreases. This may cause water mining, land/soil subsidence, and, along the coast, saltwater intrusion.

Adverse Impacts:

The reduced downstream river flow may cause:

  • reduced downstream flooding
  • disappearance of ecologically and economically important wetlands or flood forests
  • reduced availability of industrial, municipal, household, and drinking water
  • reduced shipping routes.
  • reduced fishing opportunities. The Indus River in Pakistan faces scarcity due to over-extraction of water for agriculture. The Indus is inhabited by 25 amphibian species and 147 fish species of which 22 are found nowhere else in the world. It harbors the endangered Indus River dolphin, one of the world’s rarest mammals. Fish populations, the main source of protein and overall life support systems for many communities, are also being threatened
  • reduced discharge into the sea, which may have various consequences like coastal erosion and salt water intrusion in delta’s and estuaries

Measures needed:

  • Irrigation can have a variety negative impact on ecology and socio economy, which may be mitigated in a number of ways.
  • These include sitting the irrigation project in a location which minimize negative impacts.
  • The efficiency of existing projects can be improved and existing degraded croplands can be improved rather than establishing a new irrigation project.
  • Developing small-scale, individually owned irrigation systems as an alternative to large-scale publicly owned and managed schemes.
  • The use of sprinkler irrigation and micro-irrigation systems decreases the risk of water logging and erosion.
  • Where practicable, using treated wastewater makes more water available to other users Maintaining flood flows downstream of the dams can ensure that an adequate area is flooded each year, supporting, amongst other objectives, fishery activities.

Way forward:

To achieve more sustainable water use by increasing irrigation efficiency, it needs to be combined with some other interventions:

  • Use of subsidy for irrigation efficiency must be combined with the weather and extended range forecasts to reduce weather-based risk perception by farmers.
  • Access to loans and crop insurance can be used in an effective way to drive farmers to go for less-water intensive crops.
  • Data networks to track total inflows and recoverable outflows of irrigation water along with the losses.
  • Caps on water extraction, irrigated areas and electricity use to ensure effective irrigation efficiency.
  • Behavioural change with a focus on maximizing agricultural production with minimal water use.

 

Topic : Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of Family society and educational institutions in inculcating values.

6. Discuss in detail Gandhiji’s philosophy of Means and Ends. (250 words)

Reference Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by Lexicon Publications

Why the question:

The question is straightforward and is based on the principle of means and ends of Gandhiji.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in detail Gandhiji’s philosophy of Means and Ends.

Directive:

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly define Means and Ends; in simple terms, ends are the goals or results. Means are the methods used to achieve goals.

There are differing schools of thought with some justifying any means for achieving the goals while others uphold the need for right means to achieve the objectives in true sense.

Body:

Explain Gandhian perspective on the relative importance of Means and Ends. For Gandhiji, there is some inviolable connection between means and ends similar to the one

Between a seed and a tree. Gandhiji stated that it is means, rather than ends, that provide the standard of morality. As per him, the only thing that is completely within control is the means to achieve the goal.

For Gandhiji, violence and non-violence cannot be different means to serve the same end, since they are morally different in quality and essence, they must necessarily achieve different results.

Quote relevant examples to substantiate your answer.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of the philosophy and in what way it holds true even in today’s times.

Introduction:

In simple terms, ends are the goals or results. Means are the methods used to achieve goals. There are differing schools of thought with some justifying any means for achieving the goals while others uphold the need for right means to achieve the objectives in true sense. Consequentialism focuses on judging the moral worth of the results of the actions and Deontological ethics on judging the actions themselves.

Body:

Gandhiji’s views on means and ends:

  • Gandhi seems to stand almost alone among social and political thinkers in his firm rejection of the rigid dichotomy between ends and means and in his extreme moral preoccupation with the means to the extent that they rather than the ends provide the standard of reference.
  • He was led to this position by his early acceptance of satya and ahimsa, truth and nonviolence, as twin moral absolutes and his consistent view of their relationship.
  • He said “The means may be likened to a seed, the end to a tree; and there is just the same inviolable connection between the means and the end as there is between the seed and the tree.”
  • According to Gandhi our attention should be primarily focused on means because, as a very famous adage goes, as we sow so shall we reap. He was a strong believer of the rule of Karma.
  • Although we can choose our ends, we do not have much control over it – we cannot know in advance whether these ends will be achieved. The only thing that is completely within our control is therefore the means with which we approach our various ends.
  • It is not the end that we can work with but only means. Different means will lead to different ends.
  • This is not to say that both violence and non-violence cannot both lead to the independence of a country, but that the country thus created will be one based on violence if the means are violent and pacific if the means are non-violent.
  • Violence and non-violence cannot be different means to secure the same end; since they are morally different in quality and essence, they must necessarily achieve different results.

Gandhiji practiced the purity of means throughout his life and is evident through the following:

  • Gandhi withdrew the first large scale mass movement “Non-cooperation movement”, because of one single ‘Chauri Chaura incident’ because the incident deviated from his Non-violence stance and he immediately called off the movement despite criticism.
  • The Seven Sins philosophy also emphasises on Importance of Means. For example, in the list of sins – Politics without Principles, Wealth without Work, Worship without Sacrifice, etc., the former are the ends whereas the latter symbolises means which imply that Ends are of lesser value without the desired means.
  • Gandhi’s notion of democracy is that under it the weakest shall have the same opportunities as the strongest. Which stands for Deontological ethics i.e. putting dignity of an Individual over narrow definition of democracy.

Conclusion:

Mahatma Gandhi was not only a capable leader but a great thinker as well. His Philosophy can be summed up in his words- “Means are after all, everything’. As the means so the end…”. According to Gandhiji, if we are sure of the “purity” of the means we employ, we shall be led on by faith, before which “all fear and trembling melt away”. Unconcern with results does not mean that we need not have a clear conception of the end in view.


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