[GS1] Culture: Answerkey & Analysis of Mains-2013 Questions Sangam, Chola, Tandav & Studyplan, Booklist for UPSC Mains-2014

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IAS Mock Interviews
  1. Prologue
  2. Q1. Sangam Literature
    1. Part#1: doesn’t help in Political history because:
    2. Part#2: Social conditions in Sangam Age
    3. Part#3: Economic conditions in Sangam Age
  3. Q2. Chola Temples
  4. Q3. Tandav Dance
  5. Analysis/Rambling/Commentary/Observations:
    1. Marks per question
    2. Difficulty level & BackbreakingTM
    3. Causal revision = #Epicfail
    4. Focus on Dramatic part = also #EPICFAIL
    5. Studyplan for Mains-2014 Culture section
    6. Working professionals don’t waste salary
    7. No point in crying over the spilled milk

Prologue

The syllabus is new, pattern is new, BackbreakingTM techniques are new: hence any analysis is hollow and shallow, without solving the questions first.
So, Let’s start with the…
Culture Questions in GSM-I-2013

Following questions were asked:markswords
  1. Though not very useful from the point of view of a connected political history of South India, the Sangam literature portrays the social and economic conditions of its time with remarkable vividness. Comment.
10200
  1. Chola architecture represents a high watermark in the evolution of temple architecture.
5100
  1. Discuss the Tandava dance as recorded in the early Indian inscriptions.
5100
20 out of 250 marsk= only 8% of the paper.20400

The Answer Sources

To solve above questions, I’ve used following books:

Book typeDid the book have sufficient content for the given question?SANGAMCHOLATANDAV
SchoolTextbookNCERTshardlyhardlydidn’t find
NIOS Culturehardlyfew linesone line
Tamilnadu Class 11yesyesdidn’t find
ICSE Class 9yesyesdidn’t find.
India’s Ancient Past RS Sharma. aka the fabled old NCERT.yesyesdidn’t find.
CompetitiveExamSpectrum’s Culture bookhardlyyesjust 1 line
TMH General Studies Manualyesyesdidn’t find.
Krishna Reddyyesyesdidn’t find.
Readymade material from Coaching/Correspondence/postal class.didn’t usedidn’t usedidn’t use
AcademicAL Basham, A Wonder that was IndiayesyesFew lines.
  • Yes= means at least 60% of the answer content was available. “Yes” doesn’t mean 100% content for the said question is given verbatim in the said book.
  • Didn’t find= either the answer was not given there OR I didn’t read carefully.
  • Didn’t use=because same content given in standard reference books for free/ cheap price.

Now time for the answers:

Q1. Sangam Literature

Q. Though not very useful from the point of view of a connected political history of South India, the Sangam literature portrays the social and economic conditions of its time with remarkable vividness. Comment. (10m | 200words)

Approach: Have to comment on three issues:

  1. Sangam literature doesn’t help much to dig POLITICAL history of South India.
  2. Sangam literature helps understanding the SOCIAL condition of South India.
  3. Sangam literature helps understanding ECONOMIC condition of South India.
BOOKS NOT MUCH USEFULUSEFUL
  1. A few rudimentary points under NCERT Class 6 and class 12.
  2. NIOS culture course, Ch6 talks about Sangam but hardly anything on ‘socio-economic’ details.
  3. Spectrum’s culture book talks about Sangam literature but hardly anything on society or economy.
  1. 2/3rd of the answer (Society + Economy) can be directly finished from ICSE Class 9 History textbook alone. But doesn’t talk about first part (Why Sangam literature doesn’t help understanding pol.history of S.India?)
  2. ^same as above with TMH General Studies Manual.
  3. Old NCERT Class 11 = India’s Ancient past RS Sharma (under Oxford Publication). Matter Covered under chapter 3 and 22.
  4. Tamilnadu State Board History Textbook Class 11, Chapter 8
  5. AL Basham, A wonder that was India: under chapter 9.
  6. Indian History, Krishna Reddy Chapter on Post Mauryan India.

Part#1: doesn’t help in Political history because:

  1. Three Sangams held between 100-250AD
    1. First sangam: attended by Gods and Sages. Work didn’t survive.
    2. Second: only Tolkappiyam (grammar book) survives = doesn’t help much.
    3. Third (last) Sangam: has eight anthologies (Ettutogai). Here too, not all work has survived. + has following limitations:
  2. Since poets were patronized by ruling elites- exaggerations about the victories, territorial influence. Even a cattle raid on village would be narrated as war.
  3. More focus Hero-worship rather than how they shaped power balance and foreign relation with other states.
  4. some of the names, titles, dynasties, territories, wars and like mentioned these poems are imaginary.
  5. No archeological evidences to corroborate certain settlements mentioned in Sangam Poems. e.g. Kaveripattanam.
  6. Many of these poems are erotic / romantic in nature.
  7. Much of the work still untranslated. Thorough study yet to be done.

Part#2: Social conditions in Sangam Age

From Sangam literature, we get following information about South Indian society:

VALUES
  • South Indian society celebrated both love (Akam poems) and wars (Puram poems)
  • Heroic death, sacrifice, stones and memorials greatly cherished.
VARNAS
  • Sangam poets mention four Varnas:
    1. Arashar (King/nobility)
    2. Brahmanas (priests)
    3. Viashiyar (traders)
    4. Velala (Farmer)- they even held civil and military post.
  • Brahmanas (priests) performed yagna before wars
  • Priests, poets and bards (Panar): respected by society and patronized by ruling elite.
Women
  • allowed to choose their partners
  • Love marriage common practice.
  • Widow life miserable.
  • Sati practice was also prevalent upper caste. (hard to believe but yes, it is given in TN state text book.)
social Interaction
  • Society divided on clan based groups called “Kuti”
  • Inter-dining and social interaction among Kuti groups was permitted.
  • Meaning a stringent 4-fold stratification and Jati system of North Indian type, was not prevalent during that stage of Tamil Society, but appeared at later period.
  • Society essentially in tribal-pastoral in character: Tribal customs, totem worship prevalent. people wore amulets to ward off evil, bring rain and luck.
DEATHVaried from burial in urns to cremation rituals.

Part#3: Economic conditions in Sangam Age

From Sangam literature, we get following information about South Indian Economy:

OVERALL Economy
  1. There were five economic zones (tinai), each supporting a different economic activity. (hills, drylands, jungle, plains and coast)
  2. While the kings received income from trade, tributes and plunder, but a regular system of taxation was not seen.
  3. All three kingdoms (Chola, Chera, Pandya) wanted to subjugate lesser chieftains, hence war, raid and plunder were normal feature of the society- leading to destruction of resources and manpower. We can infer this from Sangam poems describing the sorrow of villagers, whose cattle and farm produced were plundered by enemy chieftains.
Occupation
  1. Agri, hunting, gathering, fishing and pastoralism = main activities
  2. cattle raids are frequently mentioned in the poems= pastoral economy.
  3. Tools were mainly used for hunting and raids. But Crafting specialization was rudimentary, only served as secondary source of income.
  4. Traders were prosperous- dealt with salt, corn, textile and gold.
FOREIGN TRADE
  1. Both inland and external trade was practiced.
  2. Major export: silk, cotton, ivory, pepper and pearls- All highly valued by the foreigner. Sangam Poems narrate about how Yavans came in their own vessels, purchased pepper with gold, and supplied wine and women to Indian rulers to get trading permissions.
  3. (Despite having no formal taxation system) Chola, Chera and Pandiyan kingdoms became wealthy mainly by exporting these commodities to Roman Empire and South East Asian kingdoms. (and they didn’t have high current account deficit because Sangam poems donot mention crude oil import.)
WOMEN in Economy
  1. agriculture: Women actively involved in planting, weeding, husking and winnowing of paddy
  2. Spinning, weaving, basket making, garland making and flower selling were among other occupations pursed by women.

—but this is more than 500 words. Have to compress:—

Keypoints- Sangam

Q. Though not very useful from the point of view of a connected political history of South India, the Sangam literature portrays the social and economic conditions of its time with remarkable vividness. Comment. (10m | 200words)

Key points:

  1. Sagam Litt. fails to give political history because:
    1. While three Sangams were held, only the last gathering provides material relevant to political history.
    2. With Hero worship as prime focus, Poets often exaggerated victories and territories of the kings.
    3. Some of the names, places, dynasties, territories are imaginary and not corroborated by archeological evidences.
    4. Part of the literature is erotic and romantic in nature.
  2. Sagam Litt. Gives social picture:
    1. Society cherished love, wars and heroes.
    2. Bards, priests and poets received royal patronage.
    3. Poets mention four varnas: Nobility, priests, traders and farmers.
    4. Society divided into clans (Kuti), however dining and social interactions permitted among them.
    5. Unlike North India, the South Indian society did not have stringent 4-fold varna stratification and Jati system.
    6. Women were allowed to choose partners, but life of widows was miserable.
  3. Sagam Litt. Gives economy picture:
    1. Five economic zones (tinai) viz. hills, drylands, jungle, plains and coast, each supporting a different economic activity.
    2. Agriculture, hunting, gathering, fishing and pastoralism were primary occupations. Crafting, weaving served as secondary source of income.
    3. Women formed a significant part of labour force, particularly in paddy cultivation, craft and weaving.
    4. Kings received income from trade, tributes and plunder. Regular system of taxation was absent. However, export of pepper, ivory, silk, cotton and booty from raids made the kings wealthy.

This is ~200 words.

Q2. Chola Temples

Q. Chola architecture represents a high watermark in the evolution of temple architecture. Discuss. (5 marks | 100 words)
100 words can be easily gathered from any of the following books, but the real problem= can you recall decent points worth 100 words in the actual exam hall?

  1. NIOS Culture, Ch. 13 (~50 words.)
  2. Class 9 ICSE History textbook, page 74
  3. Tamilnadu Class 11 History textbook, chapter 13.
  4. Indian History, Krishna Reddy
  5. Under TMH General studies manual, section History of India=>art and architecture=>Cholas. Sufficient content
  6. Spectrum’s culture book (page 145 in 2004’s edition)
  7. AL Basham, Wonder that was India, Page 359-360

Chola Architecture
Answer Keypoints:
The Cholas followed and refined Pallava architecture, with following notable features:

  1. Use of stones instead of bricks.
  2. Walls decorated with sculptures and paintings of deities, kings and queen instead of lion motifs from Pallava.
  3. Temples are enclosed by decorative walls and entrance (Gopuram);
  4. have an audience hall (Mandap); a deity room (Garbhgriha); a pyramid like storey above the deity room (Vimana)
  5. Ultimately the beautiful Shikara stone at the top – each with elaborate and meticulous carvings- Weighing in tonnes yet placed without help of cranes.

During their reign, Cholas studded the entire Tamil landscape with such temples including Nagaeshwvara, Brihadeshwvara, Airavateshwara and Chidambaram -their style even followed by other kingdoms in South India and Sri Lanka.

~110 words.

Q3. Tandav Dance

Q. Discuss the Tandava dance as recorded in the early Indian inscriptions. (5 marks |100 words)

  • Spectrum’s culture book barely gives two lines.
  • NIOS culture course ch. 12 mentions that “traditional Indian culture the function of dance was to give symbolic expression to religious ideas. The figure of Lord Shiva as Nataraja represents the creation and destruction of the cosmic cycle.
  • From a small paragraph in AL Basham page 310, it becomes obvious that ^above NIOS sentence is talking about Tandava dance.

Anyways let’s combine:

  1. In South India, religious dancing was part of the earliest known tradition –and Shiva himself is considered to have invented no less than 108 different dances.
  2. Some of his dances are calm and gentle, while others fierce, orgiastic, heroic, bold, vigorous and terrible- such as the Tandava dance of Nataraja.
  3. Tandava and Lasya, are two basic aspects of Classical Indian Dance, associated with Shiva and Parvati respectively.
  4. In Tandava dance form, the angry Shiva is surrounded by his drunken attendants (ganas), he beats out a wild rhythm which destroys the world at the end of the cosmic cycle.
  5. Thus Tandava dance is meant to give symbolic expression to religious idea of Shiva being the Destroyer among the trinity of Bramha, Vishnu and Mahesh.

~123 words.

Although original question is “Discuss Tandava as recorded in the early Indian inscriptions”= so even above answer is incomplete. Because it doesn’t talk about any inscriptions. Finally “Wikipedia” (=the most unreliable source for MCQs), gives the seemingly right points.

Ancient Hindu scriptures narrate various occasions when Shiva or other gods have performed the Tandava viz.

  1. When Sati jumped in sacrificial fire in Daksha’s Yajna to give up her life, Shiva performed the Rudra Tandava to express his grief and anger.
  2. The Bhagavata Purana talks of Krishna dancing his Tandava on the head of the serpent Kaliya.
  3. According to Jain text: Indra performed Tandava in honour of Rishabha’s birth (Jain tirthankar).
  4. Shivapradosha stotra mentions: when Shiva performs the Sandhya Tandava, the other gods like Brahma, Vishnu, Sarasvati, Lakshmi and Indra play musical instruments and sing Shiva’s praises.
  5. In some temple sculptures, Ganesha is depicted in Eight armed form, dancing the Tandava.

~115 words.

Anyways, let’s combine and compress

Keypoints: Tandav Dance

Q. Discuss the Tandava dance as recorded in the early Indian inscriptions. (5 marks |100 words)

  1. Tandava and Lasya, are two basic aspects of Classical Indian Dance. Shiva himself is considered to have invented atleast 108 different dances- including the fiercely aggressive Tandava- where he destroys the world at the end of the cosmic cycle.
  2. Thus Tandava is meant to give symbolic expression to religious idea of Shiva being the Destroyer among the trinity of Gods.
  3. Ancient Hindu scriptures narrate many incidents where Tandava was performed including:
    1. Shiva at the death of Sati, to express his grief and anger.
    2. Krishna on the head of serpant Kaliya
    3. Indra at the birth of Jain Tirthkar Rishabhdev

~100 words.

Analysis/Rambling/Commentary/Observations:

before reading further, make sure you’ve read above culture question-answers first, and also tried solving them at home from whatever books/material you’ve at home.

Marks per question

Over the last few years, UPSC was moving towards “more questions for less marks” trend e.g.

No. Of Questionsx Marks Per question=Total Marks
16060
23060
41560
51260

In 2012’s General Studies Mains paper, some of the Questions were even asked for “1 mark” each! E.g PV Sindhu, Mario Miranda.

  • So, it was natural for the players to expect that lot of questions will be of 1m, 2m, 5m each.
  • Even in IFoS-2013 Mains exam, UPSC had asked all questions in 6-8 marks range. so the expectation even more bolstered.
  • Hence the study approach of most candidates= focused on gathering maximum number of “terms” with 20-50 words for each. Especially for culture, sci-tech, even for world-history to some extent.
  • UPSC did follow that expected line: questions were indeed small, only in terms of marks (5 marks and 10 marks each) but not in terms of length (100 words and 200 words each).

Difficulty level & BackbreakingTM

CULTURE QUESTIONS IN 2013PREVIOUSLY
  1. on Sangam literature giving picture of South India’s society and Economy
  1. Sangam literature has been asked under two markers in GS papers (2000 and 2007)
  2. How do recent archaeological findings and Sangam literary texts enlighten us about the early state and society in South India? (2008 under History optional)
  1. Chola temples
  1. GS paper in 1999 under two markers.
  2. Bring out the regional variations in the early south Indian temple architectural styles. (2008 under History optional)
  1. Tandav Dance
not seen in previous paper (or maybe I didn’t look carefully)
  • Two out three topics were not new, the only challenge was to bring 200 and 100 words worth content respectively- especially for students without history optional.
  • For both questions- sufficient matter available in standard reference books, as we saw while solving the answers.
  • But then a player wouldn’t have prepared such topics in that detail- because the previous trend of UPSC forced him to do Gadhaa majoori of mugging up 50 dozen folk dances, painters, authors etc. for 20-30 words each with hope that lot of 2 markers will be asked.
  • The GS1 paper started with culture question- hence most players would have panicked and it indirectly affected their performance even in remaining questions from history-post-independence India and geography where they did have sufficient answer points inside their head.
  • Besides, even if the answer is verbatim given in a standard reference book- hiding in the plain sight, doesn’t mean the aspirant can recall all the points during the actual exam. The stress, anxiety and fatigue doesn’t let the mind perform @100% efficiency.
  • Even if he can recall entire content, still it is humanly impossible to finish 25 questions in 5000 words with high quality points within three hours.

Thus, once again, the innocent bystanders are massacred while UPSC deploys BackbreakingTM move against coaching classes, rot learners (and senior players*).

Some more Conspiracy theories:

THEORY #1
  • All three culture questions are related to south India. Because Sangam=South India, Chola=South India and Tandav Dance=Nataraja=associated with South India.
  • In other words, the paper was set by a South Indian professor.
  • So for Mains-2014, candidate must prepare South Indian culture topics thoroughly.
THEORY #2
  • In CSAT, CAPF and CDS 2013 exams, UPSC has shown its prem for Buddism and Jainism MCQs. Prior to that, two markers related to folk dances and festivals.
  • So Coaching walla (and senior players*) would have assumed that similar Buddism-Jainism-cave-folk-festival type stuff will come in Mains.
  • Therefore, asking about South Indian culture was the most logical step according to UPSC’s BackbreakingTM rulebook for Mains-2013.
  • And hence, the most logical thing to do for Mains-2014= ignore south Indian culture!

*it is a widely believed conspiracy theory that UPSC chairman prefers first timers over senior players. All this so called exam reform/gimmicks/tomfoolery is meant to prevent any senior player from gaining advantage by his repeated experience.

And as usual, my sympathies and respect goes for these hard working senior players for they’re the victims of circumstances- everyone wants to crack exam in first trial, but Cinderella story doesn’t happen with everyone- so what can they do? Try again and again until age, attempt, money or willpower runs out.

Back to the culture topic:

Causal revision = #Epicfail

  • Frequent and serious revision is more important than wide coverage. e.g Chola temples question: Gopuram, vimana, Mandap etc.= you’ve already come across these terms many times in the same routine books like GS Manual and Spectrum’s culture.
  • But while reading, if you just superficially glance over the information “thik hai..thik hai” (in the haste to finish reading many topics) then you cannot recall points in the exam=> low quality filler answers.

Focus on Dramatic part = also #EPICFAIL

In December 2013, the state election result came. BJP won in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh; and emerged as the largest party in Delhi.

Newschannel Anchorwill BJP form government in Delhi? or will you give external support to AAP? How will delhi result affect Modi’s chances in 2014 general election? blah blah blah
BJP spokespersonBut why are you so obsessed with Delhi? Delhi is worth only 7 parliament seats. Why are you not talking about the other large states that we’ve won- Rajasthan and MP? They’ll give us good number of Parliament seats in 2014!

Same is the problem with some UPSC candidates. Always worry about the dramatic parts rather than paying attention to bigger picture.

  • In Prelims, just because one or two tough questions from culture/classical dance come, so they panic, they start doing Ph.D study on all classical dance forms, all temples, all painting, google n wiki day and night …while ignoring the high-scoring areas such as freedom struggle, geography, polity, Economy, Environment-biodiversity and Science.
  • In mains, at max, culture is just 8%, even out of that, the toughest question the Tandav Dance is just 5 marks (2% of the whole paper) and that too requires 100 words to be written.

UPSC-Mains-General-Studies-GS-Paper1

  • Compare to that, there were plenty of questions in Indian History, world history, post-independence India and geography (totaling >60% of the GS1 paper), where cost: benefit was quite good. So, that’s where your focus should be.
  • In the game of chess, if you try to defend every pawn, you end up losing the entire match. In short, a culture topic must be prepared but should not be prepared beyond its aukaat.

Studyplan for Mains-2014 Culture section

Q. What / How to prepare the culture section for Mains-2014? What books to refer?

GS preparation is like Kung-fu, every master develops his own style. you don’t have to read all of these following book, just mix-match-tweak as per your requirement and comfort level.

bookcommenthope for 2014 culture MCQ/Descriptive
(new) NCERT
  • Quite good for geography and science theory based MCQs.
  • But their history textbooks have dumbed down entire India history to secular case studies to prevent any new PILs and controversies.
  • As a result, New NCERT are not helping much in this history/culture related MCQs/Descriptive. Even Buddism, Jainism related basic GK-MCQs is not covered properly.
Almost useless for history.
NIOSHad UPSC asked same questions in 2m/20 words, then NIOS alone would have sufficed. But unfortunately, it did not.Cursory reading.
Tamil Nadu Textbooks (TNT)
  • The History coverage is both useful in MCQ and descriptive coverage for competitive exams.
  • Detailing is Similar to Old NCERT but with eye candy fonts and pictures.
  • available for free: Click ME
Very useful.
ICSE textbook
  • Two culture questions in Mains-2013= more like luck by chance.
  • ICSE textbooks are not free. and free alternative available (TNT)
Useful
Old NCERT
  • Some of them available at Mrunal.org/history
  • Remaining chapters will be uploaded in near future.
  • If you don’t have it, then there is always Tamilnadu Textbooks (TNT)/GS Manual.
Useful
GS Manual
  • The history (+culture) section GS manuals is written based on old NCERT + a few books from history optional. so, if you’ve GS Manual, no need for doing double majoori with Old NCERT.
Useful but not essential.
Spectrum’s Culture bookSurvived this time, but left limping. Overall future utility reducedNot much useful.
AL Basham
  • Too bulky, technical, academic in nature.
Cost: benefit is bad.
Krishna Reddy
  • Before CSAT era, UPSC prelims used to have two papers: GS + optional.
  • At that time, Krishna Reddy’s Indian History and Laxmikanth’s Pub.Ad were the essential books for their respective optional subjects.
Useful for people with History optional.Useless for others.
websiteswiki/ google / internet full of resources on Indian culture.Random surfing, Net Ph.D =useless.
coaching/postal material
  • For culture section they’re employing “Spray and pray” technique. i.e. they give you 600-700-1500 pages worth material, the coverage is so large that it is humanly impossible to mugup all data.
  • And if luck by chance any question is asked in official UPSC exam, they can still make marketing claim that it came from our material!
Even Xeroxing them is a waste money and paper.

So ^these are some of the books / sources for Indian culture. Design your own studyplan/ kung-fu style according to your requirements for Culture section in Mains 2014.

The focus should be on memorizing points that can help you assemble a 100-150 words content in the exam.

If you have come across any other awesome resource/book, do mention it in the comments below.

Working professionals don’t waste salary

In recent years, many working professionals have entered in the fray, but because of the job workload they can’t spare much time. So they’re always looking for some way to reduce the studyload + they also have salary money to spare (because most of them unmarried).

Nowadays, working professional= main target audience for coaching-correspondence business. And the new GS syllabus’ uncertainty factor boomed the business like never before.

But in this article, you’ve seen that all questions could be solved directly from Standard reference books (except Tandav dance). So, avoid falling into the “readymade material / external dependency” mindset- it doesn’t help in UPSC exam. If you’ve big money to spend, better spent it on some “infrastructure” that helps in study- like more tubelights in the studyroom, bigger desk, more comfortable studychair, faster internet, bigger monitor, tablet, laptop, rental room near office to save travel time etc. Don’t pour salary into drain for garbage material.

No point in crying over the spilled milk

(Only meant for Players who wrote Mains-2013)

  • “For the exam you should have done this, you should have done that…” I’m not going to preach any of that, because if you had known that UPSC was going to ask these type of lengthy detailed questions, then you would have definitely prepared in a different fashion accordingly.
  • Based on your understanding of the previous trend, You had prepared in the best manner you could. So, If some random person on internet claims he wrote 250 out 250 marks, then you don’t have to become sleepless and restless over it.

Remember the wisdom given in the Geeta

दुःखेष्वनुद्विग्नमनाः
सुखेषु विगतस्पृहः।
वीतराग भयक्रोधःस्थितधीर्मुनिरुच्यते॥(२-५६)
The one who is not disturbed by miseries,
Or elated in happiness.
The one who is free from fear, anger and cutoffs,
Is called a sage of steady mind.
  • So, Now it’s the time to move on- prepare for the interviews, prepare your location-graduation related questions, prepare opinion based current affairs, prepare your hobbies and so on.
  • And simultaneously, do work on whatever career backup/Post graduation/other competitive exams you have.
  • DO get a computer certificate. (CCC). http://www.nielit.in/student411ccc.htm
  • DO enroll to any decent PG course in IGNOU’s distant education program. http://www.ignou.ac.in/ignou/studentzone/programmelist

The next prelims is in late August 2014. That’s more than a half year away. You’ve already have the experience of clearing one CSAT, you don’t need to focus on CSAT for 24/7 basis anymore.
My point being, don’t be fixated in “prelim-mains-interview-prelim-main-interview” mindset, otherwise 3-5-7 years of youth life are gone in no time and one day you realize you don’t have PG, you don’t have work-ex, your life and biodata file basically sucks.

This time, you’ve a long gap between Mains-2013 to Prelims-2014. Use those months wisely. If you don’t want to execute any backplans, no problem. But at least prepare the necessary groundwork. e.g

  1. If MBA is your backup, then get the idea: when do CAT/MAT/CMAT/XAT/GMAT/IRMA etc. application forms come every year, when are the exams taken? What are the good colleges and courses to apply for? What type of questions are asked? And so on.
  2. If State service is your backup, then prepare all the static / theory stuff related to state history/geography/schemes/economy. That’ll also help in interviews.

It is one thing to have career backup in your head, but it’s an entirely different thing to actually set it in motion when you really want to execute that backup.

Therefore, Groundwork must be prepared in advance. I say this, not to demotivate you but to caution you-Lightening doesn’t strike on everyone, but nor does the Cinderella story happen with everyone- so don’t put all eggs in one basket.

Anyways, Next time, we’ll solve the Indian History/Freedom Struggle related portion from GS Paper I.

Mrunal recommends

  1. (free) NCERT, NIOS, TN-Books 4 History,Geo,Sci
  2. Indian Polity M.Laxmikanth (Hindi | English)
  3. Spectrum: Modern History (Hindi | English)
  4. Maths: Quantam CAT Sarvesh Kumar
  5. Objective General English SP Bakshi
  6. Word Power made Easy -Norman Lowe
  7. Topic wise Solved Paperset by Disha

82 Comments on “[GS1] Culture: Answerkey & Analysis of Mains-2013 Questions Sangam, Chola, Tandav & Studyplan, Booklist for UPSC Mains-2014”

  1. its avery nice and useful guidance for aspirant

  2. Now, i have some clarity about Gs 1 culture sir thank you so much..

  3. Hello sir. I am Raghu. Can you suggest me how to start studying Histroy. Where from should I start. So far I finished modern india from 12th class NCERT. So I am a bit confused as to how to start to get basic idea of all the events in history. Also do tell me which books to prefer. I have with me 10th, 11th, 12th NCERT books, India’s struggle for independence by Bipin Chandra. Do I have to take any other book?

  4. can anyone please respond to my message?

    1. @ Raghunadha Reddy kandi
      as Mrunal sir provided the link of TNT books for history , i think u should go with it and revise. After that solve previous 3 years paper of history portion .If u get some idea about the pattern then go for NIOS + India’s struggle for independence by Bipin Chandra and solve a lot of MCQ of history portion . But revision is must…..
      I hope it will help you .

  5. Sir,
    what about Jha And Shrimali….is it useful for pre or mains…

  6. Hello Sir,
    This may not be the right thread for this question, but i am still sking it.
    I m working and am really passionate abt this exam. But my dilemma is that i have only 1 attempt left due to age in 2014. So should i prepare with the job(i can give 5-6 hours) daily or should i quit and do a self study or coaching? I have a good idea about the exam and the subjects, but i will be starting from scratch i.e NCERT basic books and also basics for my optional.
    As i have only 6 months till July2014,so please advice what is best?…..to leave job or not and self prepare or join a coaching?

  7. there was a question about ‘ Perini shiva-tandavam’ in 07 gs paper

  8. @my last attempt
    Dont leave a job, as a senior guy you how the exam will be. 5 to 6 hours will do for this exam. You may take leave for mains. Dont ever quit your job without backup.

  9. @sameer
    1,2,3 from first section and 5,6 from second section will be evaluated.

  10. hello sir i am appearing for csat 2014..

    Kindly guide me for my optional subject..GEOGRAPHY

    i dont have any coaching class …

    plz help me friends with
    what prepartion strategy should i follow
    from wehere to start and what to cover… }

  11. Its very nyc.plz I need more

  12. Can anyone tell me where to get printed copy of tamilnadu state education board 11th history book in Delhi? Plz reply

    1. Brother, download the free PDF file of TNT and simply take a print out.

  13. which book is good tamilnadu ncert OR older ncert for ancient and mideval india?

  14. Sir by TNT Text Books for culture. Do you mean only class 11 (TNT) text book.

  15. 1st time in net i have come across such an awesome website

  16. Sir,I would like to know the subjects and the optional subjects to be chosen. Pl. help me I do not go to any coaching class. And the whole syllabus to be studied for upsc exam. I don`t know anything would You guide me please

  17. sir i will be attempting 2015 exams you will suggest same strategy for 2015

    1. Yeah , keep studying NCERT for History , geography and Economics. For polity follow some standard book and put special emphasis because u can score 100% in this section. History too. Solve paper then and analyse ur weakness and strong area. If u did a question wrong besides having strong concept on that then again analysis and pick out the type of mistake u did. Always be friendly with Environment and Biodiversity. Chill ON !!! Keep solving questions and revise the concept encountered while attempting questions.

  18. Sir, have u analysed geography part of GS1 and other general studies papers also? I couldn’t find them, plz help!!

  19. In Tandava dance form, the angry Shiva is surrounded by his drunken attendants (ganas), he beats out a wild rhythm which destroys the world at the end of the cosmic cycle….what a lines sir awesome i love it,sir

  20. nice composition

  21. someone please suggest me some map prctise book for history optionals

  22. your collection of information from various sources is quite appreciating but the approach of presenting answer from UPSC point of view ie. analysis , interpretation and conclusion is not upto mark.

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