1. Art and Culture: Temples & Caves
  2. Art and Culture: books, scriptures & rituals
  3. Art & Culture: Buddhism
  4. Art & Culture: Islam & Sufism
  5. Art & Culture: Misc-GK
  6. Medieval India
  7. Freedom Struggle
  8. Gandhi’s Role
  9. About the Quizmaster

Art and Culture: Temples & Caves

Q. Which one of the following statements about the Elephanta Island is correct? (CDS-2018-i)

  1. It was given its name by the British after a large elephant structure located there.
  2. It contains one large cave.
  3. It is well-known for a spectacular carving of Vishnu described in the Vishnudharmattara Purana
  4. It is associated with the Pashupata sect.


  • Elephanta is an island near Bombay. It was originally called Sripuri. The Portuguese after seeing the large figure of an elephant named it Elephanta. So, A is wrong.
  • Elephanta island has 5 Hindu and 2 Buddhist caves so B is wrong.
  • They’re mostly dedicated to Lord Shiva, hence C is wrong.
  • Thus, we are left with answer-D: It is associated with Pashupata sect (associated with Shaivism) .

Q. Name the platform used for ritual purposes by the kings of the Vijayanagara Empire. (CDS-2018-i)

  1. Mahanavami Dibba
  2. Lotus Mahal
  3. Hazara Rama
  4. Virupaksha


  • Hazara Rama Temple in Hampi depicts the story of the epic Ramayana.
  • Virupaksha temple in Hampi is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Lotus Mahal in Hampi is famous for its Zenana enclosure- which was a socializing area for the women folks in the royal family.
  • Mahanavmi Dibba is an elevated square stage used by Vijayanagar Kings for watching the army march-pasts, war games, aquatic sports, shows of the royal animals, musical / religious performances.

Ref: NCERT Std. 12- Themes in Indian History Part-II, Chapter 7- An Imperial Capital Vijayanagara (c. fourteenth to sixteenth century).
Mahanavami Dibba

Q. What is/are the common elements between the Kailasanatha temple at Ellora and the Shore Temple at Mamallapuram?

  1. Both temples are monolithic and carved out of single rock.
  2. Both follow the Gopura style popular in Pallava architecture.
  3. Both are located on the Indian coastline.

Select the correct answer using the codes below.

  1. 2 and 3 only
  2. 1 and 2 Only
  3. 2 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3


  • Statement 1: Kailasanatha is a rock cut temple, but Shore temple is not.
  • Statement 2: Rajasimha Group introduced the structural temples and Gopura style in Pallava architecture. The Kailasnath temple at Kanchi and the Shore temple at Mahabalipuram are examples
  • Statement 3: Ellora is not on the coastline, and the answer could have been arrived by elimination: The Shore temple faces east towards the sea and has three shrines – east and west to Shiva and the middle for Vishnu (Anantashayana).

Art and Culture: books, scriptures & rituals

Q. In the 10th Mandala of the Rigveda, which one of the following hymns reflects upon the marriage ceremonies? (CDS-2018-i)

  1. Surya Sukta
  2. Purusha Sukta
  3. Dana Stutis
  4. Urna Sutra

HINT: Aryans wore urna-sutra (woollen thread) clothes during sacrifice. Rig Veda’s Dana Stutis praise the gift-giving by patron. Purush Sukta is considered to be the first instance where all four varnas are mentioned together. Hence Surya Sukta is the answer. Ref: Multiple Google Books.

Q. Who deciphered the Brahmi and Kharoshthi scripts? (CDS-2018-i)

  1. Piyadassi
  2. Colin Mackenzie
  3. Alexander Cunningham
  4. James Prinsep

HINT: D, James Prinsep. Ref: TN Board Std. 11 Lesson-5

Q. Who is the author of Manimekalai? (CDS-2018-i)

  1. Kovalan
  2. Sathanar
  3. Hango Adigal
  4. Tirutakkatevar

HINT: Sathanar. Ref: TN Board Std. 11 Lesson-8: Manimegalai by Sittalai Sattanar

Q. In ancient India, many plays/theatres/dramas were compiled by noted authors. Consider the following:

  1. The author depicted life in the court of King who was also called as sakari.
  2. Dual languages were used viz. Sanskrit and Prakrit for the Upper varna and lower varna characters respectively in the theatre/drama.

The above type of writings can be narrated to whom of the following authors?

  1. Kalidasa
  2. Harisena
  3. Ravikirti
  4. Banabhatt>

HINT: Kalidasa. Ref: NCERT, Standard 6

Q. Who was/were the 10th century composer(s) of the Nalayira Divya Prabandham?: (CDS-2018-i)

  1. Alvars
  2. Nayanars
  3. Appar
  4. Sarnbandar

HINT: The importance of the traditions of the Alvars and Nayanars was sometimes indicated by the claim that their compositions were as important as the Vedas. For instance, one of the major anthologies of compositions by the Alvars, the Nalayira Divyaprabandham, was frequently described as the Tamil Veda, thus claiming that the text was as significant as the four Vedas in Sanskrit that werecherished by the Brahmanas. Ref: NCERT Std. 12- Themes in Indian History Part-II, Chapter 6 Bhakti – Sufi Traditions Changes in Religious Beliefs and Devotional Texts (c. eighth to eighteenth century)

Q. Verses ascribed to poet-saint Kabir have been compiled in which of the following traditions? (CDS-2018-i)

  1. Bijak in Varanasi
  2. Kabir Granthavali in Rajasthan
  3. Adi Granth Sahib

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

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

HINT: Verses ascribed to Kabir have been compiled in three distinct but overlapping traditions. The Kabir Bijak is preserved by the Kabirpanth (the path or sect of Kabir) in Varanasi and elsewhere in Uttar Pradesh; the Kabir Granthavali is associated with the Dadupanth in Rajasthan, and many of his compositions are found in the Adi Granth Sahib. So, All three are correct. [Ref: NCERT Std. 12- Themes in Indian History Part-II, Chapter 6 Bhakti – Sufi Traditions Changes in Religious Beliefs and Devotional Texts (c. eighth to eighteenth century)]

Art & Culture: Buddhism

Q. Which Buddhist text contains an account of the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka? (CDS-2018-i)

  1. Vinaya Pitaka
  2. Sutta Pitaka
  3. Abhidhama Pitaka
  4. Mahavamsa

HINT: The Ceylonese Chronicles Dipavamsa and Mahavamsa throw light on the role Asoka in spreading Buddhism in Sri Lanka. [Ref: Nitin Singhana section on “Influence of Indian religion abroad.”]

Q. Which one of the following statements about Buddhist Stupas in India is not correct? (CDS-2018-i)

  1. Ashoka played an important role in popularizing the Stupa cult.
  2. They were repositories of relics of Buddha and other monks.
  3. They were located in rural areas.
  4. They were located close to trade routes.

HINT: They were located in rural areas is not correct. According to a Buddhist text known as the Ashokavadana, Asoka distributed portions of the Buddha’s relics to every important town and ordered the construction of stupas over them. [REF: NCERT Std. 12- Themes in Indian History Part-I, Chapter 4 Thinkers, Beliefs and Cultures]

Art & Culture: Islam & Sufism

Q. Around twelfth century Sufi Silsilas began to crystallize in different parts of the Islamic world to signify (CDS-2018-i)

  1. continuous link between the master and disciple
  2. unbroken spiritual genealogy to the Prophet Muhammad
  3. the transmission of spiritual power and blessings to devotees

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

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

HINT: Sufi silsilas began to crystallise in different parts of the Islamic world around the twelfth century. The word silsila literally means a chain, signifying a continuous link between master and disciple, stretching as an unbroken spiritual genealogy to the Prophet Muhammad. It was through this channel that spiritual power and blessings were transmitted to devotees. Special rituals of initiation were developed in which initiates took an oath of allegiance, wore a patched garment, and shaved their hair. Thus, all statements are correct. [REF: NCERT Std. 12- Themes in Indian History Part-II, Chapter 6 Bhakti]

Q. Which one of the following statements is not correct? (CDS-2018-i)

  1. Al-Biruni identifies the Sufi doctrine of divine love as self-annihilation with parallel passages from Bhagavad Gita.
  2. According to Al-Biruni, Sufi theories of Soul were similar to those in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra.
  3. The Hatha Yogic treatise Amrita Kunda had lasting impact on Sufism.
  4. Hujwiri’s conversation with the Yogis shows that he was impressed with their theory of the division of the human body.

HINT: @UPSC Examiner: लेकिन इतना डिटेल में कौन प्रिपेर करता है!!!?????

  • According to al-Biruni, the sufi theories of the soul were similar to those in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra. Like the Yoga Sutra, sufi works also stated that ‘the bodies are the snares of the souls for the purpose of acquiring recompense’. Al-Biruni also identifies the sufi doctrine of divine love as self-annihilation with parallel passages from the Bhagavad Gita. Therefore “A” and B are right. Ref: multiple Google Books.
  • There was also much exchange of ideas between the Sufis and Indian yogis. In fact the hatha-yoga treatise Amrita Kunda was translated into Arabic and Persian, So C is right. [Ref: NIOS Culture Page 131]
  • Hujwiri was known as Datta Ganj Baksh. Hujwiri comments that before he settled in Lahore some sufis believed in theories that he calls brahmanical. According to Hujwiri they wrongly believed that ‘annihilation (fand’) signifies loss of essence and destruction of the personality, and that subsistence (baqa) indicates the subsistence of God in man. Therefore “D” is wrong. Ref: multiple google books.

Q. What is the name of the literary genre developed by the Khojas who are a branch of the Ismaili sect?: (CDS-2018-i)

  1. Ginan
  2. Ziyarat
  3. Raag
  4. Shahada

HINT: The Khojahs, a branch of the Ismailis (a Shi‘a sect), developed new modes of communication, disseminating ideas derived from the Qur’an through indigenous literary genres. These included the ginan (derived from the Sanskrit jnana, meaning “knowledge”), devotional poems in Punjabi, Multani, Sindhi, Kachchi, Hindi and Gujarati, sung in special ragas during daily prayer meetings. Ref: NCERT Std. 12- Themes in Indian History Part-II, Chapter 6 Bhakti – Sufi Traditions Changes in Religious Beliefs and Devotional Texts (c. eighth to eighteenth century).

Art & Culture: Misc-GK

Q. Which one of the following temples of India has won the ‘UNESCO Asia Pacific Award of Merit, 2017’ for cultural heritage conservation? (CDS-2018-i)

  1. Kamakhya Temple, Guwahati
  2. Sri Ranganathaswami Temple, Srirangam
  3. Meenakshi Temple, Madurai
  4. Kedarnath Temple, Kedarnath

HINT: The massive renovation and restoration effort at the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangam, executed through the public-private partnership model, has won the UNESCO Asia Pacific Award of Merit 2017 for cultural heritage conservation Ref: [TheHindu, November 2017]

Q. Which of the following statements about the usage of the term ‘barbarian’ is/are correct? (CDS-2018-i)

  1. It is derived from the Greek word ‘barbaros’ which means a non-Greek.
  2. Romans used the term for the Germanic tribes, the Gauls and the Huns.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

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

HINT: C, Both 1 and 2

Greek word “barbaros” means foreign or rude. Romans used the term “barbarian” to mean someone who did not speak Latin- and it included all Germanic tribes, Gauls and Huns. [Ref: Google Books]

Medieval India

Q. The idea of ‘Farr-I Izadi’, on which the Mughal Kingship was based, was first developed by which one of the following Sufi saints? (CDS-2018-i)

  1. Shihabuddin Suhrawadi
  2. Nizamuddin Auliya
  3. Ibn al-Arabi
  4. Bayazid Bistani

HINT: The Mughal Courts (c. sixteenth- seventeenth centuries) Abu’l Fazl placed Mughal kingship as the highest station in the hierarchy of objects receiving light emanating from God (farr-i izadi ). Here he was inspired by a famous Iranian sufi, Shihabuddin Suhrawardi (d. 1191) who first developed this idea. [REF: NCERT Std. 12- Themes in Indian History Part-II, Chapter 9, Kings and Chronicles]

Q. Which of the following is/are the feature(s) of the Brahmadeya Grants during c 600-1200 AD? (CDS-2018-i)
1. Their creation meant a renunciation of actual or potential sources of revenue by the State.
2. These grants could vary from a small plot to several villages.
3. Most grants were made in unsettled areas
Select the correct answer using the code given below.

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 2 only
  4. 1, 2 and >

HINT: Brahmadeya (given to Brahmin) was tax free land gift either in form of single plot or whole villages donated to Brahmans in the early medieval(600-1200 AD) India. As per many inscriptions like Uttarmerur during Chola large scale land was expanded under agriculture and irrigation. This can be attributed to the Brahmadeya land grants hence all three statements are right. Ref: NCERT Standard 7, Chapter 2 NEW KINGS AND KINGDOMS.

Freedom Struggle

Q. Consider the following statement: “So much is wrung from the peasants, that even dry bread is scarcely left to fill their stomachs” Who among the following European travellers had made the above statement about the condition of peasantry in the Mughal Empire?: (CDS-2018-i)

  1. Francisco Pelsaert
  2. Francois Bernier
  3. Jean-Baptiste Tavernier
  4. Niccolao Manucci

HINT: Francisco Pelsaert, a Dutch traveller, visited the subcontinent during the early decades of the seventeenth century had said this. Ref: NCERT Std. 12- Themes in Indian History Part-II, Chapter 5, Through the Eyes of Travellers Perceptions of Society (c. tenth to seventeenth century)

Q. Assertion: The Lucknow pact was signed between the Congress and the Muslim leagues in 1916. Reason (R): The younger militant nationalists of league advocated coming closer to congress on issue of self-rule.

  1. Both A & R are true & R is the correct explanation of A.
  2. Both A & R are true, but R is not a correct explanation of A.
  3. A is true, but R is false.
  4. A is false, but R is true.

HINT: B, There was a demand for temporary convergence of issues by leaders of muslim league when it comes to safeguarding of issues for muslims and go for self rule. Though they never absolutely demanded to go strongly with the congress.

Q. The Sanyasi revolt took place during the company rule and Warren Hastings subdued the sanyasi revolt after a great campaign. Which of the following works are based on the revolt?

  1. Anand Math
  2. Bandi Jiwan
  3. Devi Chaudhurani

Select the correct codes:

  1. Only 2 and 3
  2. Only 1, 2 and 3
  3. Only 2
  4. Only 1 and 3

HINT: Anandamath is a Bengali novel, written by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, and Devi Chaudhurani- another Bengali novel written by Bankim Chandra Chatterji revolve around this revolt. Ref: Spectrum’s book.

Q. Which of the following statements about the Non-Cooperation Movement is/are Correct? (CDS-2018-i)

  1. It was marked by significant participation of peasants from Karnataka.
  2. It was marked by non-Brahmin lower Caste participation in Madras and Maharashtra
  3. It was marked by the lack of labour unrest in Places like Assam, Bengal and Madras.
  4. It was badly shaken by the Chauri Chaura incident in 1922 after which Gandhiji decided to continue with the movement on a much smaller scale.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

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

HINT: From Plassey to Partition by Shekhar Bandyopadhayay. Chapter 6- The age of Gandhian Politics. Page 303:

  • Statement 2- Correct. Non Brahmin lower caste movement took place in Madras and Maharashtra
  • Statement 1- Not Correct. Karnataka was not affected by the NCM.
  • Statement 3- Not correct. There was labour unrest in Assam, Bengal and Madras
  • Statement 4- Not correct. After Chauri Chaura it was stopped.

Q. Which of the following statements about Sir Syed Ahmad Khan is/are correct? (CDS-2018-i)

  1. He argued that India was federation of ethnic communities based on common descent.
  2. His Philosophy was very similar to that of the Indian National Congress.
  3. He imagined India as a Nation State based on individual citizen’s rights.
  4. The curriculum at the Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College blended Muslim theology and European empiricism.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

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

HINT: 2017 marked the 200th birth anniversary of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, the founder of Aligarh Muslim University, may be that’s why UPSC asked this question. In 1875, the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College was founded by Sir Syed, he was quite willing to take on the religious clergy, which opposed scientific education, and was even called a kafir for his pains. He was ridiculed and ostracized but he forged ahead. Hence #4 is right, and there is only one option with this combo. (Ref: Indian Express Article in November 2017)

Gandhi’s Role

UPSC examiner’s sudden “PREM” for Gandhi in this CDS-2018-paper, is ‘curious’.

Q. Consider the following statement: “A sound body means one which bends itself to the spirit and is always a ready instrument at its service.” The above statement is attributed to (CDS-2018-i)

  1. Sardar Patel
  2. Winston Churchill
  3. Mahatma Gandhi
  4. Baden-Powell

Hint: Gandhi returned to India for good in January 1915. In April of the same year, he wrote a letter to a Tamil colleague in South Africa, explaining why (in his view) sport was not, for him, an ideal form of physical exercise. At this time Gandhiji gave this quote. Ref: Telegraph

Q. Who among the following was the founder of Phoenix Settlement? (CDS-2018-i)

  1. Mahatma Gandhi
  2. B. R. Ambedkar
  3. Rabindranath Tagore
  4. Swami Vivekananda

HINT: Phoenix Settlement, founded by Mahatma Gandhi in 1904 on the north-western edge of Durban to experiment with satyagraha, sarvodaya and ahimsa (non-violence). It was here Gandhiji first used three principles to champion the cause of mine and sugarcane workers, liberation of women and fight against alcohol. REF: various GK books on Gandhi’s life.

About the Quizmaster

Pratik Nayak History SPIPA

  1. Pratik Nayak is a nationally acclaimed faculty for History, famous for his youtube lecture series on Indian History and World History.
  2. He is the director of Pratik’s Academy for Competitive Exams-PACE. Within the first year of its inception the academy has generated 22+ selections in Gujarat Public service commission exams and 2 Selections for UPSC.
  3. For UPSC/GPSC coaching enquiries visit- www.pratiknayak.com and facebook.com/pratiknayak.in Or call +91 70696 20058/ 079-26763422