1. Prologue
  2. CDS2014: History- analysis
    1. [Table] Overall breakup
    2. [Table] Internal Breakup
    3. Reference books
    4. Toughness of History Section
  3. History: Ancient India
    1. #A1: Vedic Age
    2. #A2: Jainism Buddhism
    3. #A3: Kings of Ancient India
    4. #A4: Temple / Architecture
  4. History: Medieval India
  5. History: British Raj, Modern India, Freedom Struggle
    1. #B1: Before Gandhi
    2.  #B2: Gandhi and after
  6. World History 


UPSC  conducted Combined Defense service exam CDS(I)2014 on 9th Feb 2014. I’m starting the answerkey of General Knowledge paper=> History portion. (Remaining subject soon, in separate articles.) And yes, remainng articles on budget as well.

CDS2014: History- analysis

[Table] Overall breakup

Topic CDS1-2014 CDS2-2013 CDS1-2013 CAPF-2013 CSAT-2013
History 23 26 18 22 15
total MCQs 120 120 120 125 100
% 18% 22% 15% 18% 15%

barring a few exception, you can see that in all UPSC exams- history gets weightage around 1/5th of the paper (20%) – be it Combined Defense service exam, Central Armed Police forces exam or CSAT (IAS/IPS/IFoS) preliminary exam.

[Table] Internal Breakup

History MCQs in CDS(I)-2014 %
Ancient 9 41%
Medieval 3 14%
Modern (British Raj) 8 36%
World History 2 9%
Total 22 100%
  • Highest to lowest=> Ancient >> Modern>> Medieval
  • Just like CSAT, UPSC’s affinity for Buddhism-Jainism continues here as well. 4 out 9 MCQ from that portion.

Reference books

by solving the question papers, we can see what books should be used to the preparation of next exam:

book utility in CDS 2014 paper
TN State edu.board Class 11, 12 atleast 10 MCQs
Lucent GK Book atleast 10 MCQs
TMH General Studies Manual atleast 8 MCQs
Spectrum culture barely 2
spectrum’s Brief History of Modenr India (Spectrum Brief history Modern India (Rajiv Ahir)) barely 2

Bipin Chandra
I could solve all, without having to open it.

For future CDS exam, for History section:

  1. Use TN State education board books (class 11 and 12) as your base material. click me for free download. (sidenote: if you have old NCERT, then there is no need for TN State books. But if you don’t have old NCERT then there is *absolutely* no need to feel guilty OR insecure “mere paas puraani NCERT nahi hai“. Because TN history books will work just fine- their coverage runs almost identically the same like old NCERT.)
  2. For supplementary reading/additional prep. refer to
    1. Lucent GK Book OR
    2. General Studies Manual (any publication, any edition).

Q. Do I still need to read history from (new) NCERT, if I have either TN/old NCERT?
for UPSC Civil service exam….yes.
for Combined defense services exam…no.

For solving History portion, I’ve ignored (new) NCERTs because

  1. TN state edu board books are way better in this portion. (even for Civil service). In my old articles/studyplans I had not mentioned them because only while solving GS Mains paper last month (Jan 2014), I got to read them in detail and found them to  be excellent.
  2. (New) NCERTs suck at GK type MCQs in History. Although, It is not their fault- because NCERT professors wanted to create GK-free-tension-free history for kids so they don’t get frustrated. But UPSC’s uncle-ji professors still want to harass.) Although (new) NCERTS are still useful for Science-geography-economy. I’m only mentioning them being less useful in History portion.
  3. I’ve also avoided (old) NCERTs because not everyone has them. Besides content-coverage wise, Tamilnadu State edu books runs almost the parallel to them.

Toughness of History Section

It is debatable- varies from person to person, on his preparation level. I would classify following 10 out 22 MCQs as “tough” because:

  1. They asked trivial GK that most of the serious players ignore (especially for Medieval) And/OR
  2. The answer is not easily found in standard reference books that we use for competitive exams.

here is the list of such tough MCQs:

  1. MCQ about Kalhan’s Rajtarangini… this was on the similar pattern like Huen Tsung’s book asked CSAT 2013. Nowhere to be found in routine books for competitive exams.
  2. Indian Feudalism.
  3. NC Kelkar’s association with Home Rule– trivial GK type.
  4. No. of Mahajanpada listed in Buddhist texts- trivial GK type.
  5. Ashoka’s stone portrait.
  6. Sher Shah’s administration
  7. Books vs author (Medieval- most players ignore medieval GK.)
  8. Buxar and Allahabad (because most players ignore British history before 1857)
  9. Surendra Nath Benerjee (whether he attended 1st INC or not)
  10. Ignatius Loyola.

Anyways, let’s start solving the History MCQs.  (Remaining subjects- polity, geography, science etc in separate articles soon). Any correction, mention in the comments- but avoid Wikipedia as reference source.

History: Ancient India

Ancient history Qs
Jainism Buddhism 4
Kings of Ancient India 2
Temple / Architecture 2
Vedic age 1
Total 9

#A1: Vedic Age

Q1.Which one of the following statements about Rig Veda is not correct?

  1. Deities were worshipped through prayer and sacrificial rituals.
  2. The Gods are presented as powerful, who could be made to intervene in the world of men via the performance of sacrifices.
  3. The Gods were supposed to partake of the offerings as they were consumed by the fire.
  4. The sacrifices were performed in the temples.

TN Class 11, Page 33

Towards the end of this Vedic period, there was a strong reaction against the priestly domination and against sacrifices and rituals. The rise of who these and Jainism was the direct result of the elaborate sacrifices.

From this we can conclude #A is right

TMH General Studies Manual page 11

The importance of Agni Can be related to the frequency of sacrifices in the early Vedic period. It was thought that the offering to Agni were carried to the Gods in the form of smoke => #C is right.

TN Class 11, Page 30

Vedic aryans worshipped natural forces like fire, wind, rain and thunder. There were no temples and no idol worship during the early Vedic period.

Question requires us to find the wrong statement, hence answer (D).

#A2: Jainism Buddhism

Q1.Consider the following statements:

  1. The Jains believed that Mahavira had twenty-three predecessors.
  2. Parshvanatha was twenty-third Tirthankara.
  3. Rishava was immediate successor of Mahavira.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 and 2
  2. 2 and 3
  3. 2 only
  4. 3 only

Table is given on page 24 of Lucent GK Book

No. Tirthankar
1 Rishabha
23. Parshvanatha
24 Mahavira

Accordingly, first and second statement correct but third statement incorrect. Therefore, Answer (A) 1 and 2.

Source#2: Spectrum’s culture book: Chapter Religion Philosophy => Jainism topic. There were 23 tirthankars before Mahavira. Rishabha being the first and Parshvanatha being the 23rd

Source#3: TMH General Studies Manual page 20 tells the same story.

Q2. The Fourth Buddhist Council was held in Kashmir under the leadership of

  1. Bindusara
  2. Ashoka
  3. Kunal
  4. Kanishka

TN class 11, page 43. The fourth Buddhist council was convened in Kahsmir by Kanishka under the chairmanship of Vasumitra. => Answer D.

Source #2: Table given on Lucent GK Book page 21, it was Kanishka. Answer (D)

Q3. The University of Nalanda was set up by which Gupta ruler?

  1. Kumaragupta II
  2. Kumaragupta I
  3. Chandragupta II
  4. Samudragupta

Source #1:

TN class 11, page 103: Kumargupta was the son and successor of Chandragupta II. He laid foundation of the Nalanda University which emerged as an institution of international repute. =>Answer (B)

Source #2: Lucent GK Book Page 44.

Q4. Which one of the following statements about ancient Indian Mahajanapadas is correct?

  1. All Mahajanapadas were­ oligarchies where power was exercised by a group of people
  2. All Mahajanapadas were located in eastern India
  3. No army was maintained by the Mahajanapadas
  4. Buddhist and Jaina texts list sixteen Mahajanapadas

Lucent GK Book Page 15: Buddhist literature (Anguttara Nikaya, Mahavastu) and Jain literature (Bhagavati Sutta) present a list of 16 Mahajanapads with minor variation in names. =>D is correct.

source #2: TMH General Studies Manual page 17.

#A3: Kings of Ancient India

Q1. The only inscribed stone portrait of Emperor Ashoka has been found at

  1. Sanchi
  2. Amaravati
  3. Kanaganahalli
  4. Ajanta

Page 333, A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India: By Upinder Singh

In autumn of 1993. a team of archeologists surveyed Sannai, Karnataka…. most dramatic evidence came from Kanagahalli. The discoveries at the site included a broken relief sculpture showing a king and queen flankaed by female attendants. An inscription in brahmi letter read “Ranyo Ashoka” (King Ashoka), leaving no doubt about the central figure.

Hence answer (C)

Q2. Consider the following statements from Kalhana’s Rajatarangini :

  1. The common people ate rice and Utpala-saka (a wild vegetable of bitter taste).
  2. Harsha introduced into Kashmir a general dress befitting a king which included a long coat.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Statement 1 is right because

Kashmir: Valley and Its Culture by Shri Ram Bakshi:

  1. Page 92: Rajatarangini points out that the scarcity of rice invariably resulted in disastrous famine. This clearly proves that rice was the principle food of the people.
  2. Page 93: The Rajatarangini mentions a kind of wild-growing herb of bitter taste called utpalasaka generally taken by common people.

Statement 2 is right because

Journal of India Textile History page 9:

Harsha was inordinately fond of rich garments and ornaments. He introduced for general wear a dress which was fit for a king => statement II right.

Hence answer (C) both 1 and 2 correct.

#A4: Temple / Architecture

Q1. Which one of the following was a temple built by the Chola Kings?

  1. Brihadiswara Temple, Tanjavur
  2. Meenakshi Temple, Madurai
  3. Srirangam Temple,Thiruchirapalli
  4. Durga Temple, Aihole


Chola Temple Features

  1. Spectrum’s culture book, Page 278=>Chola period=> Brihadiswara temple at Thanjavur => Answer A.
  2. Lucent GK Book Page 55: Chola Empire=> Rajaraj built Vrihadeshwar temple attributed to Shiva, Tanjore. => Answer (A)
  3. TMH General Studies Manual Page51

Q2.Match List-I with List-II and select the correct answer using the code given below the Lists:

List –I (Temple) List –II (Town)
A.Kailasnathar 1.Bhubaneshwar
B.Lingaraj 2.Khajuraho
C.Kandariya Mahadev 3.Mount Abu
D.Dilwara 4.Kanchipuram


answer (a) (b) (c) (d)
A 4 2 1 3
B 4 1 2 3
C 3 1 2 4
D 3 2 1 4

Correct pairs are as following

Correct pair Reference
A4: Kailasnatha = Kanchipuram Page 128, TN Class 11.
B1: Lingaraja temple=Bhuvaneshwar Lucent GK Book Page 55 (Rajput kingdom)
D3: Dilwara = Mt. Abu Lucent GK Book Page 26 Example of Jain Architecture. TMH General Studies Manual Page 49

so accordingly, answer is B.

History: Medieval India

Q1. Consider the following statements about Sher Shah’s administration:

  1. He divided his empire into Sarkars; which were further subdivided into Parganas.
  2. The Sarkars and the Parganas were directly administered by Sher Shah without the help of any other officials.

Which of the statements given above is correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

TN class 11, page 103:

  • Sher Shah’s empire was divided into 47 sarkars- administered by Chief Shiqdar and Chief Munsif.
  • Each Sarkar was further divided into several Parganas. They were administered by Shiqudar, Amin, Fotear and Karkuns.

Therefore, statement #1 is right but #2 is wrong. Hence answer (A).

Q2. Consider the following statements regarding Indian Feudalism in the early medieval period

  1. The revenue assignments were called Bhoga.
  2. The hereditary chiefs neither collected revenues nor assumed administrative powers.

Which of the statements given above is /are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Statement #1 is right because:

Indian History, Krishna Reddy: Indian History, Page B33

Early Medieval India…. The political elites were beneficiary of assignments made to tem- on the basis of clan connection or in lieu of services made to the state- in the form of landed property,  which became their Bhoga, grasa or whatever the regional expression was.

Indian History, VK Agnihotri, Page B88

Under Alauddin Khalji’s rule, Bhaga (land Revenue), Bhoga (cesses) and Kar (taxes) became the basis for assignment of land to nobles. So, yes first statement is right.

Statement #2 is wrong because

Pearson Indian History Manual by Vipul Singh, Page 20

Indian feudalism from 750 to 1200.=> The hereditary chiefs began to assumed many of the functions of the government. They not only assessed and collected land Revenue, but also assumed more and more Administrative powers such as right of punishing and extracting fines on their own.

Hence statement #2 is wrong, because it says “they didnot collect Revenue.”
Therefore, final answer A only 1 correct.

Q3.Match List-I with List-II and select the correct answer using the code given below the Lists:

List-I(Text) List-II(Author)
A.Kitab-al Hind 1.Ibn Battuta
B.Rehla 2.Al-Biruni
C.Humayun Nama 3.Lahori
D.Badshah Nama 4.Gulbadan Begum


a 2 4 1 3
b 3 1 4 2
c 3 4 1 2
d 2 1 4 3

correct matches are as following

B1: Kitab al Rehla=Ibn Battuta Lucent GK Book Page 66
C4: Humayun Nama=Gulbadan Begum Lucent GK Book Page 83
D3: Padshah nama= Abdul Hamid Lahori (for Shah Jahan’s reign)

There is only one option where this pattern fits=> Answer D.

History: British Raj, Modern India, Freedom Struggle

#B1: Before Gandhi

Q1. Consider the following statements:

  1. Battle of Buxar provided the key to the English to establish their rule in India.
  2. The Treaty of Allahabad, concluded in 1765, enabled the British to establish their rule in Bengal.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

TN class 11, last chapter, last page, last paragraph.

  • In 1764, The English defeated combined forces of Mughal Emperor and NAwab of Bengal in Battle of Buxar. The English military superiority was decisively established.
  • 1765: Robert Clive concluded Treaty of Allahabad with Mughal Emperor, which granted Diwani rights to English East India company. Thus, the British Power India, was thoroughly established.

Therefore, Both statements correct. Answer C.

Q2. Who among the following was not associated with the activities of the Theosophical Society?

  1. Madame H.P. Blavatsky
  2. Mr.A.O. Hume
  3. Col.H.S.Olcott
  4. Mrs.Annie Besant

TN Class 12, page 129.

Theosophical society was founded in New York (USA) in 1875 by Madam HP Blavatsky, a Russian lady and Henry Steel Olcott, an American colonel. Later in 1893, Mrs Annie Besant arrived in India and took over the leadership of the society after the death of Olcott.

Source#2: TMH General Studies Manual Page 108

Q3.Consider the following statements about Syed Ahmed Khan,the founder of Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College

  1. He was a staunch supporter of Indian national congress
  2. Muhammadan Anglo oriental college was set up with the objective of promoting learning of Islamic education among the Muslims.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Statement #1: is wrong because

Statement #2: wrong because

  • Source #1: TMH General Studies Manual page 109: it mainly provided for Education in humanities and science through English medium.
  • Source #2: TN class 12, Page 130: He founded a modern school to promote English education among Muslims. This had later grown into the Mohammedan Anglo Oriental College and then into Aligarh Muslim university.

Q4. Consider the following statements about the First Session of the Indian National Congress:

  1. It was held in Bombay in 1885.
  2. Surendranath Banerji could not attend the Session due to the simultaneous session of the Indian National Conference.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Statement #1 is right because

TN Class 12, Page 141

first session of Indian national congress was held @Bombay in 1885 with WC Benrjee as its chairman. =>statement I is correct.

Statement #2 is right because as per pci.inc.in

Surendranath Banerjea was not invited to the first session of the Congress until the very last moment, and since he was preoccupied with the second session of the National Conference in Calcutta, (he) could not attend it (First session of Indian national congress).

therefore, final answer C both 1 and 2.

Q5. Consider the following statements

  1. B. G. Tilak founded the Home Rule League is April 1916 in Maharashtra.
  2. N. C. Kelkar was not associated with Home Rule Movement.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

First statement is correct

As per TN Class 12, page 153. (and Page 104, Spectrum Brief history Modern India (Rajiv Ahir); Page 15 TMH General Studies Manual).

Second statement is wrong because

  • Page 103, Glimpses Of Indian National Movement By Abel M
  • Tilak had appointed Joesh Baptista and NC Kelkar as President and Secretary of the Home rule league founded at Poona.
  • Meaning NC Kelkar was definitely associated with HRM. =>Statement #2 wrong. Final answer (A) only 1 correct.

 #B2: Gandhi and after

Q1. The social ideals of Mahatma Gandhi were first put forth in

  1. Hind Swaraj
  2. An Autobiography—The Story of My Experiments with Truth
  3. History of the Satyagraha in South Africa
  4. The Bhagavad Gita According to Gandhi

Page 24: Social and Political Thought of Mahatma Gandhi  By Bidyut Chakrabarty

This (Hind Swaraj) was the most authentic text of Gandhian social and political ideas….

Hence answer (A)

Q2. Which among the following was the reason of the resignations of the Indian ministers in all the provinces in the year 1939?

  1. The Governors refused to act as constitutional heads
  2. The Centre did not provide the required financial help to provinces
  3. The Governor-General converted Indian administration from federal to unitary one because of the beginning of the Second World War
  4. India was declared a party to the Second World War without the consent of the provincial governments

TN Class 12, Page 167- On 1st September 1939, WW2 broker out. The British government without consulting the people of India involved the country in the war. The Congress vehemently opposed it and as a mark of protest the congress ministries in the provinces resigned on 12th December 1939. Hence answer (D).

Other sources:

Q3. Which one among the following was not a proposal of the Cabinet Mission, 1946?

  1. The Constituent Assembly was to be constituted on the democratic principle of population strength
  2. Provision for an Indian Union of Provinces and States
  3. All the members of the Constituent Assembly were to be Indians
  4. British Government was to supervise the affairs of the Constituent Assembly

Krishna Reddy: Indian History Page C259

The Main provisions of Cabinet Mission plan were as following

  1. formation of a constituent assembly on the basis of a recently elected provincial legislature by allotting to each province a total number of seats proportional to its population => A is right.
  2. A union of India comprising of both British India and the princely states=> B is right
  3. C is right by itself. (while there was internal reservation for Muslim, Sikhs etc but all Indians).

Hence we are left with wrong statement is D.

World History

Q1. The Society of Jesus, whose followers were called Jesuits, was set up by

  1. Martin Luther
  2. Ulrich Zwingli
  3. Erasmus
  4. Ignatius Loyola

As per Britaanica, Saint Ignatius of Loyola- one of the most influential figures in the Catholic Reformation of the 16th century, founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) in Paris in 1534. => Answer D.

Q2. Consider the following statements concerning the initial phase of the Industrial Revolution in England :

  1. England was fortunate in that coal and iron ore were plentifully available to be used in industry.
  2. Until the eighteenth century, there was a scarcity of usable iron.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Old NCERT Class 9 Ch7 (uploaded on Mrunal.org/history)

England in the 18th century was in the most favorable position for an industrial revolution, Because of following reasons….England had plenty of natural resources, such as iron and coal, essential for industries. The sources of iron and coal existed side by side and this saved England from many difficulties that other countries faced.

Therefore statement #1 is definitely correct.

Statement #2 becomes debatable

Scarcity of Usable iron, is said in context of world => NCERT says other countries were facing problem. Hence #2 is right. Scarcity of Usable iron, is said in context of England => and question asking in context of “Engand”=>NCERT says they had plenty of iron and coal. Hence #2 is WRONG.

Final answer: A or C depending on UPSC’s official answer key
— THE END of History answerkey—Remaining subjects (Polity, geography, science, economy etc.) coming soon. Visit Mrunal.org/CDS for more on Combined defense services exam and SSB interviews.