Bring out the salient features of key heterodox schools of Indian Philosophy.

Bring out the salient features of key heterodox schools of Indian Philosophy.


  • Introduce heterodox school of Indian Philosophy.
  • Discuss the key features of different schools within the heterodox school of Indian Philosophy.
  • Conclude appropriately
Model Answer :

Schools that do not accept the authority of Vedas are by definition unorthodox or heterodox (nastika) schools of Indian philosophy. The following schools are considered as heterodox schools:


  • Its founder was Charvaka, author of the Barhaspatya Sutras.
  • This school is also known as Lokayata, which means keen attachment to the physical and material world (Loka).
  • Charvaka is a materialistic, sceptical and atheistic school of thought.
  • Charvaka argued against the need to achieve salvation and also denied the existence of God and soul.
  • This schools advocated hedonism and propound the theory of ‘eat, drink and make merry’.


  • The founder of the school is Gautama Buddha.
  • The question of God is largely irrelevant in Buddhism, and one should not trust the Vedas blindly.
  • Buddhism believes that the world is full of suffering, the theory of which is encoded in four noble truths.
  • It advocates Noble Eightfold Path for ending the suffering and attain nirvana.
  • Buddhism is majorly divided into two sects i.e. Hinayana and the Mahayana.


  • The founder of Jain philosophy is Mahavira, the 24 th Tirthankara, although Jainism as a religion is much older.
  • Their basic principle is anekantavada i.e. reality is perceived differently from different points of view, and that no single point of view is completely true.
  • According to Jainism, only Kevalis have infinite knowledge and can know the true answer. All others would only know a part of the answer.
  • They argue that controlling the mind and regulating one’s conduct can stop the suffering faced by human beings. The mind can be controlled by seeking right knowledge and perception.
  • Jain philosophy advocates following the panch-mahavratas i.e. nonviolence, abstinence, truth, non-stealing and celibacy.

Although differing in many features, almost all the schools of Indian philosophy, except Charvaka, are intimately associated with spirituality and have a common goal to improve the human life.

Subjects : History and Culture

Does the right to clean environment entail legal regulations on burning crackers during Diwali? Discuss in the light of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution and Judgement(s) of the apex court in this regard. 

Does the right to clean environment entail legal regulations on burning crackers during Diwali? Discuss in the light of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution and Judgement(s) of the apex court in this regard. 


  • Introduce with Article 21 and why the issues of burning of crackers during Diwali keeps coming up
  • Discuss the need to balance the Right to Religious Freedom (Article 25) and Right to Life (Article 21), and how the SC has refused a blanket ban
  • Discuss why banning is not the solution to clean environment
  • Conclude appropriately
Model Answer :

Article 21 of Indian constitution guarantees Right to Life and Liberty. Subsequent judgements by the apex court (especially after Maneka Gandhi case) have enlarged its scope and right to clean environment has been brought under its ambit.

Issues with burning of crackers:

  • With the various types of crackers, the level of pollution caused is extremely high, which makes the air unbreathable and noise levels intolerable. Almost every year, Delhi and the NCR region witness a spike in pollution level just after Diwali.
  • These regions also report 30% to 40% increased cases of wheezing, respiratory diseases etc. during and post-Diwali.

Balance between Right to Environment and Right to Religious freedom:

  • All freedoms come with certain reasonable restrictions. To ensure the fundamental right to clean environment, the government may take steps to regulate burning crackers during Diwali. But there is a need to balance between Right to Environment and Right to Religious freedom. In 2015, the Supreme Court dismissed a petition which was aimed at putting a blanket ban on bursting of crackers on Diwali or designating a particular place for bursting crackers.

Ban on burning Crackers is not the solution:

  • Totality of causes for pollution need to be tackled: The burning of crackers is just a two day event and only partly contributes to the long term problem of urban pollution especially in the NCR region. Hence, comprehensive measures need to be taken rather than just taking on the bursting of crackers.
  • Cultural Sentiments – A blanket ban on cracker bursting would also be problematic and would annoy the majority of pupulation as bursting crackers during Diwali is a century old tradition.
  • Implementation issue – There are already various restrictions over the type of crackers that can be manufactured and sold. The apex court in 2005 has laid down few essential guidelines relating to firecrackers. Authorities have failed to implement these guidelines.
  • Bursting crackers is matter of individual freedom as well as religious freedom. Worldwide crackers are used to celebrate new year and Christmas festivals.


  • It is necessary to exercise certain prudence and caution in this situation and best way to go about it is to hoslistically tackle the problem of pollution. Implementing various guidelines along with regulating the bursting of crackers and steps to sensitize people about the environmental problems is a better solution.

Subjects : Current Affairs

India and Afghanistan’s efforts at improved connectivity to circumvent Pakistan are commendable, but concerns remain in their execution. Comment. (150 words)

India and Afghanistan’s efforts at improved connectivity to circumvent Pakistan are commendable, but concerns remain in their execution. Comment. (150 words)


  • Introduce with the need for India and Afghanistan to find new trade routes
  • Discuss the connectivity efforts including air freight corridor and chabahar port and highlight issues
  • Conclude appropriately
Model Answer :

Afghanistan had no direct land route to India, and has to pass through Pakistan. There is much interest between India and Afghanistan for greater trade and economic cooperation, but despite the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) of 2010, Pakistan continues to delay/deny truck shipments from Afghanistan to India.

To overcome Pakistan’s obstructionist behaviour to India-Afghanistan trade, the two countries took two major initiatives including linkages via Chabahar port in Iran and the recently launches air freight corridor.

India-Afghanistan air corridor:

  • The two countries launched the India-Afghanistan air freight corridor in June 2017.
  • It is aimed at providing the private sector in Afghanistan with a platform to increase their exports to India.
  • The plan allowed Afghanistan traders to pay what they would have to transport their goods by road and the rest would be paid by the Afghan government.
  • Issues:
  • Though welcomed by the traders, the air corridor has been hit by logistical problems, including shortage of cargo planes, procedural delays caused by lack of adequate cargo screening machines and cold storage facilities at the Afghanistan airport as well as delays in customs clearances in India.

Chabahar port: 

  • The Chabahar port phase I recently inaugurated also marks an important milestone in India-Iran relations and also provides a viable transit corridor to Afghanistan.
  • Issues:
  • The India-Iran-Afghanistan trilateral agreement to develop transit trade has yet to be ratified in Iran. There are delays in developing berths as well as the railway line connecting Chabahar to the Afghan border at Zahedan.


Eventually, India’s dealings with both Afghanistan and Iran are not just about circumventing Pakistan. They should open up important new connectivity and commerce avenues, as well as develop markets in Central Asia, and through them to Russia and Europe.

Subjects : Editorials

Prelims 2019: Important Organization by Sriram’s IAS

Prelims 2019: Important Organization by Sriram’s IAS

Download here


What are the benefits of using Coal Bed Methane (CBM)? Give an account of CBM resources in India.

What are the benefits of using Coal Bed Methane (CBM)? Give an account of CBM resources in India.


  • Briefly discuss about Coal Bed Methane in introduction.
  • Give the advantages of CBM.
  • Then discuss about their distribution in India and present situation.
  • Conclude appropriately.
Model Answer :

Coal Bed methane is natural gas that is stored (absorbed) in deeply buried coal seams. It is pipeline-quality gas that requires no or minimal processing prior to sale. The presence of methane is well known from its occurrence in the coal mining industry, particularly underground mining where it can present serious safety risks. This unconventional source of natural gas is now considered as an alternative source for augmenting India’s energy resources.

Benefits of using Coal Bed Methane:

  • Industrial use– By using CBM gas as an industrial fuel, the profile of small-scale industries like in the Raniganj region of West Bengal has been radically transformed.
  • Efficiency- The thermal output and quality of CBM were far superior to alternative fuels.
  • Environment friendly– CBM is considered as the environment friendly gas as it emits only carbon dioxide and water on combustion.
  • Safer to extract– As extraction of CBM is done prior to coal mining activities, it makes mining activities safer by degassing the coal seams.
  • Gas based economy– The increasing use of natural gas as a fuel by SMEs will be instrumental in augmenting the overall national goal of developing a gas-based economy. Thus extraction of CBM would help in increasing the domestic gas production.

Distribution of CBM in India:

  • According to the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons, India has the fifth-largest proven coal reserves in the world and, thus holds significant prospects for exploration and exploitation of CBM.
  • The potential CBM resources in the country are about 2600 Billion Cubic Metres in 12 coal bearing states of India.
  • The Gondwana sediments of eastern India host the bulk of India’s coal reserves and the current CBM producing blocks. Some of best prospective areas for CBM development are situated in Damodar Koel valley and Son valley.
  • Though 33 blocks were awarded for extraction so far covering 64 percent of the total available coal bearing areas in 12 states, CBM is currently being produced in only four blocks, in Jharkhand, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh.

As the demand of energy will continue to rise in future in India, this is the right time to boost production capacities and supplies across all the CBM-rich regions of the nation. The government is targeting CBM’s contribution of five per cent of national gas production (from 1.78 percent in 2016-17). To this end, the new Hydrocarbon Exploration Licensing Policy (HELP) is a good move as it encourages CBM extraction by offering a single-licence for exploration and production for all forms of hydrocarbons, as well as giving marketing and pricing freedom.

Subjects : Geography – Resources

Examine the contribution of moderates in the Indian freedom struggle.

Examine the contribution of moderates in the Indian freedom struggle.


  • In introduction mention the formation of INC and moderates were dominant early on
  • Explain the methods and role of political work of moderates
  • Conclude with how they set the stage for the Extremists to take over
Model Answer :

In 1885, various nationalist associations united and formed Indian National Congress under the leadership of AO Hume, Surendranath Banerjee, Anand Mohan Bose, Umesh Chandra Bannerjee etc. Many of the early leaders of INC who dominated the Congress policies during this period were staunch believers in moderate political methods and hence were referred to as the Moderates. Their believed in constitutional agitation within the confines of the law. They tried to generate awareness among the public on various issues and then presented the public demands to the Government through resolutions, petitions, meetings, etc.

Contribution of the moderates:

  1. Economic Critique of British imperialism: Dadabhai Naoroji, RC dutta and D Wacha propagated the economic “drain theory” and exposed the exploitative nature of the British rule.
  2. Constitutional reform and propaganda in legislation: Gradual constitutional reforms ultimately leading to the 1935 GoI Act, Expansion of legislative councils and increase in their powers, Indian membership in executive councils, amendments to the India Council Acts were a result of moderate struggle.
  3. Campaign for general administration reform: Moderates had some success in lobbying for the Indianisation of services, separation of executive from judiciary, increase expenditure on welfare, labour laws etc.
  4. Defence of civil Rights: Some of their most vociferous demands were centered around the civil and political rights, including the right to speech, thought, association and free press, and they had good success in this.

Early moderates represented the most progressive force of that time. They have trained people for political work, spread nationalist sentiment and exposed British exploitative character. However, their success was limited as they had a narrow social base, and their leaders did not have much faith in the masses. But moderates were successful in creating solid base for more vigorous militant mass based national movement which was seen during Swadeshi Movement (post 1905).

Subjects : History and Culture

Discuss the major forms of Buddhist architecture found in India.

Discuss the major forms of Buddhist architecture found in India.


  • Introduce briefly about beginning of Buddhist architecture.
  • Discuss the major forms of Buddhist architecture along with examples.
  • Conclude appropriately
Model Answer :

The Buddhist school of architecture gained popularity in 3rd Century BC during Mauryan period, emperor Ashoka established Buddhism as his state religion and opted for the architectural monuments to spread Buddhism in different places.

The major structures associated with Buddhist architecture are:

Stupas: The Stupas holds the most important place among all the Buddhist structures. A Stupa is a dome-shaped monument containing Buddhists’ relics or some significant artefacts of Buddhism. The best examples of stupas are at Amaravati, Sanchi, Barhut and Gaya. Sanchi stupa is one of the most striking architectural remains of ancient India.

Chaityas: Chaitya is a hall of worship for monks. It is rectangular in shape with many columns and a semi-circular roof. The main door has a large window, the only source of sunlight. There is a stupa at the end of the hall. Some very beautiful rock-cut chaityas are in at Ajanta, ElIora, Karle, Bagh, Barabara hills.

Viharas: Vihara (Monasteries) consist of a central hall with small cells all around, which is the dwelling place of monks. During Ashokan period, these were plain rooms. At a later stage, they were decorated with artistic columns and other pieces of sculpture. Examples of viharas are: Nalanda, Taxila, Nagapattinam, Ajanta and Ellora caves.

Temples: Temples or Pagodas are multi-story Buddhist towers, erected as a memorial or shrine. They are symbols of five elements of the universe – earth, water, fire, air and ether, and along with them consciousness, which is considered the ultimate reality. They are full of carvings and sculptures, are mainly pyramidical in shape. The most prominent temple is Mahabodhi temple. Other major Buddhist temples are at Sanchi (450 CE), Taxila and Sarnath.

Pillars: Pillars erected during Mauryan times were highly influenced by Buddhism. Monolithic shaft, beautifully sculpted capitol and abacus are striking features of these pillars. Fragments of pillars are found at Sanchi, Sarnath, Amaravati etc. The lion-capital pillar at Sarnath is the most magnificent piece of Mauryan pillars.

The Buddhist architecture is a unique blend of spirituality and craftsmanship, providing valuable information on the rich social and cultural heritage of India.

Subjects : History and Culture

 Why was Britain the first country to experience industrial revolution? And how were the lives of British children affected by the industrial revolution? (150 words)

 Why was Britain the first country to experience industrial revolution? And how were the lives of British children affected by the industrial revolution? (150 words)


  • Give a brief introduction of industrial revolution.
  • Discuss the factors responsible for industrial revolution in Britain.
  • Then, discuss the impact of industrialization on children.
  • Conclude appropriately.
Model Answer :

The desire to produce more goods at low cost to make higher profits led to the industrial revolution and further growth of capitalism. Industrial Revolution was the beginning of a machine age because it was then that machines began to take over some of the work of men and animals. It began in England in about 1750.

The reasons for Britain to first experience the revolution are:

  • Britain had accumulated vast profits through her overseas trade which could provide the necessary capital.
  • She had acquired colonies which ensured a regular supply of raw materials.
  • Due to a large number of landless small peasants there was no dearth of labor force.
  • Britain had plenty of natural resources such as iron and coal, essential for industries.
  • She also developed a large shipping industry for the transportation.

But some sections of society like children were affected in a negative way by the industrial revolution:

  • Children were often employed in textile factories because they were small enough to move between tightly packed machinery.
  • The long hours of work, including cleaning the machines on Sundays, allowed them little fresh air or exercise.
  • Children hands often got crushed in the machines, while some died when they fell into machines as they dropped off to sleep from exhaustion.
  • The owners of coal mines used children to reach deep coal faces or those where the approach path was too narrow for adults. Roofs caved in or explosions took place, and injuries were therefore common.

Hence industrialization brought benefits like low cost of goods as well as hardships like unemployment, smoky crowded cities, unhealthy living and working conditions, rivalry and conflict between nations.

Subjects : History and Culture

What are the objectives of Swachch Bharat Abhiyan? Do you think construction of toilets in sufficient number may eliminate open defecation? Discuss.

What are the objectives of Swachch Bharat Abhiyan? Do you think construction of toilets in sufficient number may eliminate open defecation? Discuss.
  • Introduce with SBA
  • Mention objectives of SBA
  • Bring out reasons why construction of toilets alone cannot solve the issue
  • Provide some suggestions
Model Answer :

Launched on 2nd October, 2014, Swachch Bharat Abhiyan is a national campaign by the Government of India to create Clean India by 2019.


  • Elimination of open defecation
  • Conversion of unsanitary toilets to pourflush toilets (a type of pit latrine, usually connected to two pits)
  • Eradication of manual scavenging
  • 100% collection and processing/disposal/reuse/recycling of municipal solid waste
  • A behavioral change in people regarding healthy sanitation practices
  • Generation of awareness among citizens about sanitation and its linkages with public health

However, the number of toilets constructed alone are not exactly an indicator of the success of the SwachhBharat Mission.


  • Many people in rural India prefer open defecation, even when they have access to their own privately-built latrine due to behavioural and cultural reasons.
  • The newly constructed latrines do not fit well with the culture of purity and pollution that also underpins the caste system.
  • People are reluctant to accumulate faeces in latrine pits near their homes; they believe that latrine pits will fill up more quickly than is actually the case; and they are worried about how latrine pits will be emptied.
  • The access to public or community toilet is very poor. Even in the areas where public toilet has been constructed, people do not prefer to use these toilets due to unhygienic conditions.

Way Forward:

  • It is imperative to bring attitudinal changes in people towards sanitation. Awareness programs need to be launched to aware people about the benefits of using toilets and weed out misinformation about use of such toilets and to break traditional practices.
  • Local community empowerment is the most powerful tool.
  • Rather than monitoring how many toilets have been created, a monitoring mechanism should be developed on the levels of open defecation, usage of toilets constructed, amount of solid municipal waste reduced, percentage of cleanliness achieved etc.


We need to learn lessons from the Pulse Polio campaign, which helped eradicate polio in the country. A sanitation campaign of such epic proportions will help the government achieve its goal of elimination of open defecation. We need to focus beyond the construction of toilets by incorporating best strategies for changing people’s sanitation behaviour.

Subjects : Yojna summary

Discuss the contribution of Buddhism to Indian Culture. Despite bringing the social and religious revolution, why did Buddhism decline in India?

Discuss the contribution of Buddhism to Indian Culture. Despite bringing the social and religious revolution, why did Buddhism decline in India?


  • Introduce with Buddhism
  • Point out contributions of Buddhism to Indian Culture.
  • Discuss the reasons for the decline of Buddhism in India.
  • Conclude appropriately
Model Answer :

Buddhism propounded by Gautam Buddha was a remarkable social and religious movement started in the 6th century BC. It concentrated on the worldly problems faced by a people and prescribed the path through which these problems can be conquered and one can attend nirvana.


  • The concept of “ahimsa” was the chief contribution of Buddhism which became the cherished value of our nation.
  • It tried to uplift position of women and shudras in the society.
  • Buddhism had a remarkable contribution towards art and culture of the country. Stupas like in Sanchi and rock cut caves of Ajanta and Ellora are primary examples.
  • The residential universities like Nalanda and Taxila were the epicentre of education and knowledge which were promoted by Buddhism.
  • Buddhism contributed to the development of literature in Pali and other local languages.
  • Buddhism has a key role in spreading Indian cultural values to other parts of the world, majorly in countries in Asia.

Despite these remarkable contributions the Buddhism declined due to following reasons:

  • The revival of Brahmanism and rise of Bhagvatism led to falling in popularity of Buddhism.
  • The local languages, primarily Pali, were used by masses. After 1st century AD, the Buddhists began using Sanskrit which was languages of elite and it alienated masses from Buddhism.
  • After Mahayana Buddhism gained popularity, the idol worship and making offerings became prevalent, and this led to declining in moral standards.
  • By 7th century AD, Buddhist monasteries were dominated by ease loving people and materialistic distractions. They started overlooking Buddha’s principles of a monk’s life.
  • Some Kings like Shashanka of Gauda also persecuted followers of Buddhism. During medieval times in southern India, Vaishnavites and Shaivites were bitterly against the buddhism resulting into the weakening of Buddhism.
  • Huna invaders in the 5th-6th century AD and Turkish invaders in the 12th century AD destroyed the Buddhist monasteries.

Despite the decline of Buddhism in India, it left an abiding mark on the ethos of Indian culture. It is still very popular in many Asian countries and serves as a mascot of the Indian soft power.

Subjects : History and Culture