1. History / Culture in Prelims-2018
  2. Solutions for History Culture MCQs in Prelims-2018

History / Culture in Prelims-2018

  • On 3rd June 2018, UPSC conducted Prelims exam for recruitment in IAS/IPS and other civil services.
  • Paper-I consisted of 100 MCQs from general studies. For that, I’ve already published answerkey for Science, Polity and Environment, Geography and International Relation answerkey and their strategies for the next year.

Now coming to the History and Culture, and its comparison with the earlier years:

UPSC Prelim-2018 History answerkey

  • Nothing from Indus Valley or Aryan civilization, unlike 2017. May be examiner was so tired of the representations against Indus Valley Horse MCQ last time that he decided to play safe but not touching that era altogather!
  • UPSC examiner has firmly made up his mind: “I’ll ask so tough question from”Buddhism-Jainism“, that no ordinary aspirant can solve”. Prelims 2016-2017-2018 all are same in this regard. 2018: He asked about Sthanakvasi (Jain) and Maitrya (Future Buddha)
  • Medieval dictionary / occupations not asked. No Mahattar, Pattakila, Araghatta, Eripatti, Taniyurs, Ghatikas or any other dictionary stuff this time. Just one MCQ on French traveler who wrote about Indian diamond mines.
  • Last two years’ love for Southern dynasties is now replaced with Southern poets: Tyagaraja and Annamacharya asked.
  • Last year asked about Sun temples, this year about Islamic architecture construction material.
  • State specific obscure dance / festival / craft with special focus on North East: this type of MCQs again asked just like 2017.
  • Affection for low-profile freedom-organizations continuous: Last year about Madras Mahajan Sabha etc, this time about Swarajya Sabha.
  • Communist-Prem also continues: Last year about Trade disputes Act, this year about Hind Mazdoor sabha.
  • This year bit unusual because asked two questions from under Post-Independent India: 1) Hind Mazdoor Sabha (1948) and 2) Chronology of Air India to Goa’s independence.

Sadistically tough MCQs should not be cherished with “Sapna Theory”

Prelim History tough

  • Prelim-2017 had 4 Easy + 1 Medium + 9 Tough = 14 MCQs.
  • Prelim-2018 has 6 Easy + 2 Medium + 13 Tough = 21 MCQs.
  • When good number of questions can’t be solved from coaching material, their arm-chair experts can’t turn into UPSC critiques, because if they do so, then they’ll have to admit that “Nothing came from our material, UPSC examiner had designed such sadistically tough MCQs from random sources to keep us in limit.”
  • So, instead they turn into UPSC Apologists i.e. “क्योकि कोई शब्द किन्ही कारणों से कहीं पर दिखा था, इसलिए आपको सपना आ जाना चाहिए था की यूपीएससी उससे जुडा हुआ पर प्रश्न करेगा, और आपने स्वयम ही उसपर पी.एच.डी. थीसिस तक का ज्ञान रट के जाना था.” (Translated: “Because some vague term had appeared in random place at theHindu so you were supposed to get Sapna (dream) / Lord’s divination that a related MCQ will come, and you were supposed to do 360 degree PHD around that term before going in the exam hall.”)
  • Examples: Tyagaraja MCQ, just because 2017 was his 250th anniversary, so you were to get a dream that UPSC would ask whether Annamacharya who was born ~265 years before him, was Tyagaraja’s contemporary or not?
  • Puthukkuli shawls related article appeared in theHindu, so whatever shawls, towels, sarees, napkins and handkerchiefs appear in Hindu, you’re supposed to make its compilation.
  • A PHD scholar Dr. Balakrishan had written a column in theHindu, 2018-Jan that French gem merchant, Jean-Baptiste Tavernier acquired Hope Diamond from Kollur mines in Andhra Pradesh in 1666. And this MCQ came in Prelim-2018. Now, the same column contains nearly two dozen terms related to notable gems vs kings vs thieves, and UPSC examiner could lift any of that, so you should have memorized them all, And you should turn into a UPSC-Bhakts ke “waah, what a nice MCQ! UPSC has aptly framed a question to inculcate the respect for national treasures, because country requires officer with emotional intelligence, therefore, IQ nhi EQ develop kro!”…..Sapna-theorists peddle this type of non-sense analysis and rub salts on the wounded candidates of Prelims-2018, instead of admitting that “you’re not supposed to tick all 100 MCQs, nor the cutoff is going to be 200 marks therefore it’s futile to put additional-efforts in history / culture for the next attempt, because x, y and z are the more scoring and convertible portions of Prelims GS Paper1.”

Even individual MCQ required you to know too many facts

  • There is an MCQ about sarees and shawls of 3 states.
  • Another MCQs asks about festival / dance / ballad of 3 NE states.
  • Third MCQ asks about institutes founded by 3 different individuals.
  • Then, “Which of these three Committees / acts” responsible for English education.
  • There are two chronology based questions: one before independence (Neeldarpan to Anandmath: four events) and one post-independence (Air India takeover to Goa independence: four events).
  • Thus, atleast 10 out of these 21 MCQs are of such nature that you’ve to know validity of 2, 3 or 4 statements / terms to arrive at the correct answer. This too makes history section quite tough.

Although History MCQs were faster to process than Polity MCQ, despite higher quantity

  • Out of 100 MCQs, 21 were from History-Culture, whereas 13 Polity and 8 International Relation (IR) questions.
  • But, as I had pointed out earlier, most candidates spent inordinately large amount of time in Polity segment because 1) False-pride 2) Guessmaster-giriTM could only lead to elimination of 2 out of 4 options but after that stage, it became too difficult to walk away without ticking 3) good number of polity MCQs were “applied” in nature. So, candidate had to spend more brain power (and time) in solving them.
  • Whereas, in History, very few questions required you to think and interpret history. Most of the MCQs are factualGK: “Sthanakvai=Jainism”, “Maitreya=Future Buddha”, “Bani-Thani=Kishangarh”, “Founders of Hind Mazdoor Sabha”…you either know this or you don’t know this.
  • Very few History-MCQs required interpretation of history, e.g. “Economic consequences of British rule”. Majority of the History MCQs didnot contain any meta-keywords / structures that could help the Guessmasters eliminate the wrong options.
  • So, history was a ‘tick it OR leave it’ scenario against Polity’s “overthink it AND then must tick it” scenario. Because of these reasons, History’s 21 MCQs were much faster to process compared to Polity’s 13 MCQs in the real exam-hall.

YET History makes the paper SEEM lengthy because it “BLOCKS the view”

  • I publish the answerkeys in topicwise manner but the actual question papers contains 100 MCQs in a sequential manner. Left-side page contains English MCQ and Right-side page contains their Hindi translation. There are total 43 pages in the question booklet.
  • Now observe the sequence of 21 History MCQs in the Paperset-D. I’ll write the question number in a new bullet whenever the continuous numerical sequence is broken.

I’ve used the red-highlighters to demonstrate the tough MCQs within history subject:

  • 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15
  • 26
  • 36, 37
  • 39
  • 46
  • 49, 50
  • 59
  • 64
  • 67
  • 76
  • 97
  • 99

Similar is the case with other subjects- geography, economy, polity, science…basically they create roadblocks. Nowadays, the process employed by most candidates is as following:

  1. First solve whatever 30-40-50 MCQs you can solve confidently.
  2. Then again go through the paper, and solve additional 20-30 MCQs by guesswork and calculated risk. Some of your answers will get wrong, nonetheless you make gains via law-of-averages because correct answer gains +2.00 marks whereas penalty for wrong answer is only -0.66.

UPSC Prelim-2019

  • In the online exam such as CAT and IBPS, there is option for “Mark and Review”.
  • But UPSC CSE is conducted in pen-and-paper mode. It’s very tedious to mark and review 20-30 MCQs’ question-numbers & page numbers in the last rough-page.
  • So basically candidates scan through the whole paper again in the second round. But because of the ‘roadblocks’ created by tough MCQs, it decreases their speed and efficiency in wading through the 43 pages of question booklet.
  • Therefore, a better strategy is to use a red / black pen to completely strikeout the question which you can’t solve through any blind guess or calculated guess.
  • Then such “UNSOLVABLE MCQS” will not block the view, and you can process the second round in much efficient manner.

Should you take History Optional because 21 MCQs asked from here?

  • Syllabus of History is lengthy. Majority of the first-attempt candidates can barely finish history-optional’s syllabus before the prelims, let alone revising all the advanced-GK embedded inside it. So, unlikely that first-attempt-history-optional-player ticked with more accuracy than non-History-optional player.
  • In the Mains, History Optional Paper-II, Map / location based 2-markers GK is asked. But beyond that, History is descriptive and analytical paper. Yes, there were advanced-History-GK MCQs that senior players from history-optional could have solved more easily e.g. Jean Tavernier = Diamonds, Lajpat founded American Home-rule so he must be guy stayed in USA for a while, Arthur Wellesley vs Lord Wellesley are two different persons etc. But even they couldn’t have mugged up or came across all the advanced-History-GK that was asked in Prelim-2018.
  • History optional also overlaps with General Studies Mains Paper1. So yes there is some advantage gained in Culture and Freedom struggle. However, the portion of World History and Post-Independent India is continuously shrinking. In the last FOUR years, there has been ZERO question from Post-Independent India in GSM1, and World History has shrunk from 50 Marks (GSM1-2013) to just 10 marks (GSM1-2017).
  • So, in the mains exam, if you look at the number and complexity of questions with overlapping in the respective optional subjects of History, Geography, Political Science, Public Administration, Anthropology etc… It’s a mixed picture. In some years, the Mains GSM1 geography is so complex that Geo-optional walla seem at advantage, and there are years when UPSC asks very straight forward question or totally unexpected question e.g. how JUNO mission helps learning about earth’s origin?(GSM1-2017)…thus giving hardly any advantage to them.
  • Therefore, it’s **misleading to say “ALL the History Optional-walla had MEGA-advantage in Prelims-2018**, therefore it’s the BEST optional to select for CSE-2019“. You should select an optional subject depending on your interest, patience, guidance and the availability of material to prepare it.

Old NCERT’s resurgence?

Although I’ve said this many times before but new aspirants have the same doubt, so I’ll repeat it again:

  1. Old NCERT contain lot of factualGK, bloody history and very few black-&-white photos. Whereas NEW NCERTs contain lot of colorful photos, and a very secular history with relatively less factualGK. According to new NCERT no Indian king killed, oppressed or plundered anyone. Every Indian king built magnificent monuments, wrote poems, blew pipudi (small flute) and sang songs. Britishers were the only evil persons in Indian History.
  2. In 2007, new NCERTs for History came into circulation. But for a few initial years, UPSC kept using question bank from the old NCERTs (i.e. factualGK bloody-war type MCQs), so the toppers from that era keep saying “you must read OLD NCERT”.
  3. It’s true that in Prelims-2018 some of the History factualGK can be solved from old NCERT. And, the Old NCERTs are also available from private publishers namely:
    1. Ancient Past by R.S.Sharma
    2. Medieval India by Satish Chandra | हिंदी में भी उपलब्ध
    3. Modern India by Bipan Chandra
    4. World History by Arjun Dev | हिंदी में भी उपलब्ध
  4. But, The number of pages and amount of GK that you’ve to memorize from old-NCERT to gain the advantage of 1-2 MCQs… it’s has very poor Cost:Benefit. Even the World History-walli old NCERT has little utility in Mains ever since Pratik Nayak has released the entire World History youtube lecture series in a much better and comprehensive manner.
  5. On the other hand, you could solve atleast 3 History, 2 Environment, 2 Polity, 2 Science and 3 Economy MCQs from new NCERTs with relatively less effort.
  6. Even in the lower tier exams where History MCQs are factualGK type, you can make do with LucentGK+Spectrum’s Brief History of Modern India | हिंदी में भी उपलब्ध combo or TamilNadu+Spectrum’s Brief History of Modern India | हिंदी में भी उपलब्ध combo.
  7. So, no need to waste time on Old NCERTs, unless you’ve plenty of time to waste.

Strategy for Prelims-2019: How to study History?

  • First cultivate the taste for History. The, best source is Tamilnadu board’s Class11 History Textbook (covering Ancient Medieval) and Class12 History Textbook (covering Freedom struggle & World History, however you may ignore world history given here.)
  • I recommend Tamilnadu 11-12 History Textbooks for three reasons:
    1. Freely available PDF. Click me.
    2. They have balanced mixture of factualGK and analytical history. Useful for both UPSC and State services alike.
    3. They move in a proper sequence and comprehensively cover the entire ancient-medieval-modern Indian history, unlike new NCERTs which completely ignore certain bloody/dark eras of India history, and directly jump from Harappa to Sufi/Bhakti to British-Indian-cities to attainment of freedom, as if nothing happened in between those events!

Art and Culture:

Detailed Solutions for History Culture MCQs in Prelims-2018

Art and Culture

Q11. With reference to the religious practices in India, the “Sthanakvasi” sect belongs to (Pre18 Set-D)

  1. Buddhism
  2. Jainism
  3. Vaishnavism
  4. Shaivism

Difficulty: Tough, not available in the routine books for history / culture.

Answer: Sthanakvasi don’t differ much from the other Svetambara Jainas, hence now-a-days they invariably call themselves as Svetambara Sthanakvasi. [Ref: Random Google Book]

Guessmaster-giriTM doesn’t HELP. Because GM-Rule#5: Word-association, “-vasi” suffix suggest that word could be associated with Hindi / Gangetic belt, but in that case it could have been Vaishnavism also.

Q12. With reference to the cultural history of India, consider the following statements : (Pre18 Set-D)

  1. White marble was used in making Buland Darwaza and Khankah at Fatehpur Sikri.
  2. Red sandstone and marble were used in making Ilara Imambara and Rumi Darwaza at Lucknow.

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

Difficulty: Tough. Who can memorize such small details about every monument? And not all four of these monuments are covered in an individual books for Art and Culture.


  • Nitin’s book says, “Buland Darwaza the imposing 40 metre red sandstone structure was built in 1576 AD, to commemorate Akbar’s victory over Gujarat. It is the largest gateway of the world.” But it doesn’t mention whether White marble is used or not. However, ICSE Class 9 textbook Page 150 says Buland Darwaza constructed in red and yellow standstones with white marble inlay in the span of the arches. Other random google books reveal that Khankah too contains white marbles. So, statement#1 is right.
  • Second statement is wrong. “Rumi Darwaza, Bara Imambara, Chhatar Manzil …. monuments in the Lucknow city are fragile in terms of structural strength (because) The common material used for raising most of the monuments in Lucknow was brick and plaster. The two ingredients used are unique in their own sense but their strength when compared with rock solid stones is much less.” says TimesofIndia
  • So, accordingly answer should have been “A”. Four ‘unofficial’ Answerkeys were unanimous in this regard (Mrunal, Vision, Shankar and Insights) but UPSC has kept ‘D’ as the official answer, which means either UPSC examiner had referred to some other book from library which says different things, or he had made a mistake. But, UPSC complaint window is only 7 days after prelims whereas official Answerkey declared almost one year after prelim is over- so there is no way anyone could have known or complained!

Q14. With reference to Indian history, who among the following is a future Buddha, yet to come to save the world? (Pre18 Set-D)

  1. Avalokiteshvara
  2. Lokesvara
  3. Maitreya
  4. Padmapani

Difficulty: Tough. While the term Maitreya is mentioned in NCERT, Std 11, Introduction to Indian Art, Chapter 4, Page 35. But, it doesn’t refer to him as future Buddha. Nor it’s given in the other routine books.

Answer: Krishna Reddy’s Indian History ch.4 Mauryan Empire – Subtopic Religious movement. “…..and interest developed in Maitreya, the future Buddha, whose coming was said to have been prophesied by the historical Buddha and who in years to come, would purify the world with his teachings.

let’s also learn about the wrong options, lest they’re asked in future exams: Avalokitesvara (watchful lord), also called Padmapani (lotus-bearer), whose attribute is compassion, which reaches down even to Avichi, the lowest Buddhist purgatory. Loksesvara is also used as a synonym for him.

Q39. Consider the following pairs Craft vs Heritage of: (Pre18 Set-D)

  1. Puthukkuli shawls: Tamil Nadu
  2. Sujni embroidery: Maharashtra
  3. Uppada Jamdani saris: Karnataka

Which of the pairs given above is/are correct?

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

Difficulty: Tough because not in routine books. And even if it were given, difficult to memorize and recall all 617 approved / pending entries of Geographical Indicators from India. Yes, Random theHindu articles covered these terms in 2017 but I don’t subscribe to the “Sapna-Theory” that you were supposed to make your own compilations of all arts, craft, beaches, flora-fauna, hybrid varieties and dino-discoveries that are reported in theHindu.

Answer: Got to this GI registry page of India, click on “Show all entries”, then find it among the 617 entries!

  • Sujni embroidery- Incorrect. It belongs to Bihar.
  • Upada Jamdani Sarees- Incorrect. It belongs to Andhra Pradesh.
  • So, by elimination, we are left with answer A: 1 only and we must believe without proof that Puthukkuli shawls are indeed made in Tamil Nadu (and memorize this lest it’s asked in next exam!)

Q67. Consider the following pairs of Tradition vs State: (Pre18 Set-D)

  1. Chapchar Kut festival: Mizoram
  2. Khongjom Parba ballad: Manipur
  3. Thang-Ta dance: Sikkim

Which of the pairs given above is/are correct ?

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

Difficulty: Medium, because although it can be solved directly from Nitin’s book but in real-exam stress a candidate can get confused over closely located NE states vs. dance / festival.

Answer: Nitin Singhania’s Culture Book | हिंदी में भी उपलब्ध Ch5- Indian Music, Subtopic: Folk Music, Folk Dances of India.

  • Khongjom Parva is an important folk music from the state of Manipur. It is a popular ballad genre which is a musical narration of the battle of Khongjom fought between the British army and the Manipuri resistance forces in 1891. So, statement#2 is right, this eliminates A and C.
  • Thang Ta is the exclusive martial dance form of Manipur. Thang means sword and Ta means spear. So, statement#3 is wrong, this eliminates D. Therefore answer must be B: only 1 and 2, and we must accept without finding proof & remember it too, that Chapchar Kut is indeed celebrated in Mizoram. (lest it’s asked in next Prelims!)

Q97. The well-known painting “Bani Thani” belongs to the (Pre18 Set-D)

  1. Bundi school
  2. Jaipur school
  3. Kangra school
  4. Kishangarh school

Difficulty: Easy given verbatim in Nitin’s book.

Answer: Nitin Singhania’s Culture Book | हिंदी में भी उपलब्ध Ch.2 on Indian Paintings. Subtopic: Classification of Indian Painting.

Paintings at Kishangarh is associated with the most romantic legends – Sawant Singh and his beloved Bani Thani. and of the intertwining of lives and myths, romance and bhakti. It is sometimes argued that the women in ‘bani thani’ is said to resemble the character of Radha.

Q99. With reference to cultural history of India, consider the following statements : (Pre18 Set-D)

  1. Most of the Tyagaraja Kritis are devotional songs in praise of Lord Krishna.
  2. Tyagaraja created several new ragas.
  3. Annamacharya and Tyagaraja are contemporaries.
  4. Annamacharya kirtanas are devotional songs in praise of Lord Venkateshwara.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

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

Difficulty: Tough, because Annamacharya not covered in routine books. 2017 was the 250th birth year of Tyagaraja. and Annamacharya’s name was mentioned in Vice President’s PIB speeches related to M.S. Subbulakshmi in 2017. However, this is not say that you were supposed to get a “Sapna / divination” do PHD on all composers of Carnatic / Bhakti music, because that is not practicable.

Answer: Nitin Singhania’s Culture Book | हिंदी में भी उपलब्ध ch. 18 Fairs and festivals of India subtopic: Secular festivals: “Saint Tyagaraja along with Muthuswami Dikshitar and Shyama Sastri, comprise the Trinity of Carnatic music.” Then going by a gut-feeling that if Annamacharya was a ‘real contemporary’, then his name would be among the Trinity. Hence statement#3 is wrong, A, C and D eliminated so answer is B: 2 and 4 only. Still, in real exam stress, it’s tough to even recall the names of Carnatic Trinity, and there is always a risk that Annamacharya could have been a ‘low profile’ contemporary of Tyagaraja, hence not covered in routine books.

But just to cross check

  • Saint Tyagaraja (c. 1767 − 1847 CE): –composed thousands of devotional compositions, most in Telugu and in praise of Lord Ram. So, #1 can’t be true. This eliminates A and C. [Poonam’s Ancient-Medieval Book Ch.15 on Bhakti movement]
  • Ours is the land which reverberated to the music of Annamacharya in the 15th century”, says Vice President in PIB Speech- 2017 Nov. So, definitely Annamacharya and Tyagaraja (born in 1767) can’t be be contemporaries. By elimination we get B: 2 and 4 only.

Guessmaster-giriTM possible, if you go by their GM-Rule#2 that all dates / figures related statements are always wrong, then #3 ought to be wrong and by elimination you arrive at correct answer #WITHOUT-STUDYING-ANYTHING..

History: Medieval

Q13. Which one of the following foreign travellers elaborately discussed about diamonds and diamond mines of India? (Pre18 Set-D)

  1. Francois Bernier
  2. Jean-Baptiste Tavernier
  3. Jean de Thevenot
  4. Abbe Barthelemy Carre

Difficulty: Tough. Although this is indirectly hinted in NCERT but difficult to recall and take risk in real exam stress. Because you couldn’t exactly remember whether it Jean Tavernier vs Jean Thevenot? Yes, a PHD scholar Dr. Balakrishan had written a column in theHindu, 2018-Jan that French gem merchant, Jean-Baptiste Tavernier acquired Hope Diamond from Kollur mines in Andhra Pradesh in 1666. But I don’t subscribe to the “Sapna-Theory” for the reasons already mentioned in the opening part of this article.


  • NCERT, Std 12- Themes in Indian History, Part II, page 122: “French jeweller Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, who travelled to India at least six times. He was particularly fascinated with the trading conditions in India.” Since he was a jeweler, he seems the most suitable candidate for being fascinated with PNB’s LoU diamonds and diamond mines. But still let’s find exact proof:
  • Krishna Reddy’s Indian History ch.12 on Mughal Culture: Tavernier was another French traveler who visited India between 1640 and 1667. Being a diamond merchant, he was particularly interested in diamonds and visited various diamond mines in India, especially those of the Deccan.

While we are at this question, let’s also solve the wrong options, lest they’re asked in future exams:

  • Jean De Thevenot (1626): one of the first French travellers, graphically describes the cultivation of indigo and the extent of its cultivation in his book Remonstrantie.
  • Frenchman, Francois Bernier (1656– 58). His book Travels in the Mughal Empire mentioned the life of the peasantry, their poor conditions, towns, industries, life in the countryside and the urban culture and, above all, the major manufactures of India.
  • Abbe Carre also a Frenchman, visited Mughal India between 1672 and 1674 and recorded his information in The travels of Abbe Carre in India and the Near East. He wrote about the port towns and the role of the newly formed French East India Company. But his work is not as famous as his other French-mates, so, might be an undercover agent sent by French King. [Salman khan plans trilogy: Ek tha Carre, Carre Zinda hai, Carre Murda nhi hai.]

Freedom Struggle: Before arrival of Gandhi

Q15. Which one of the following statements does not apply to the system of Subsidiary Alliance introduced by Lord Wellesley? (Pre18 Set-D)

  1. To maintain a large standing army at other’s expense
  2. To keep India safe from Napoleonic danger
  3. To secure a fixed income for the Company
  4. To establish British paramountcy over the Indian States

Difficulty: Easy, covered in all routine preparation sources.


UPSC Prelim-2018 History answerkey Subsidiary alliance

  • Pratik Nayak’s History lecture on Youtube HFS2/P1: British Treaties– Subsidiary Alliance & Lord Wellesley. Point A, B and D were the salient features of Subsidiary Alliance, hence “C” doesn’t apply.
  • Alternate source: TN Class 12 Page 25-26.

Q26. He wrote biographies of Mazzini, Garibaldi, Shivaji and Shrikrishna; stayed in America for some time; and was also elected to the Central Assembly. He was (Pre18 Set-D)

  1. Aurobindo Ghosh
  2. Bipin Chandra Pal
  3. Lala Lajpat Rai
  4. Motilal Nehru

Difficulty: Tough because this particular Freedom fighter GK not covered in routine books.

Answer: Lala Lajpat Rai founded the Indian Home Rule League in the US in 1916 (TN History Class 12 book, page 150). So, he’s the closest match.

  • ICSE History textbook class 10 page 110 confirms that he indeed wrote those biographies Mazzini, Garibaldi et al.

Q36. After the Santhal Uprising subsided, what was/were the measure/measures taken by the colonial government? (Pre18 Set-D)

  1. The territories called ‘Santhal Paraganas’ were created.
  2. It became illegal for a Santhal to transfer land to a non-Santhal.

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

Difficulty: Tough because second statement’s validity not given in routine material.


  • NEW NCERT Class 12 Themes-III page 272: It was after the Santhal Revolt (1855-56 ) that the Santhal Pargana was created, carving out 5,500 square miles from the districts of Bhagalpur and Birbhum. The colonial state hoped that by creating a new territory for the Santhals and imposing some special laws within it, the Santhals could be conciliated. So statement#1 is right.
  • After the revolt was suppressed the British government passed the the Santhal Parganas Tenancy Act (SPT), which prohibits the transfer of land. So, statement#2 also right. Ref: This webpage

Anti-GuessmasterTM because their GM-Rule#1: extreme worded statements are always wrong. #2 is basically saying no santhal can sell any land to non-santhal- so it ought to be wrong. Besides, a Guess-master would also think that since British wanted Zamindars / outsiders to ‘move in’ to the jungle areas for exploitation purpose so #2 could not have happened.

Q50. Which among the following events happened earliest ? (Pre18 Set-D)

  1. Swami Dayanand established Arya Samaj.
  2. Dinabandhu Mitra wrote Neeldarpan.
  3. Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay wrote Anandmath.
  4. Satyendranath Tagore became the first Indian to succeed in the Indian Civil Services Examination.

Difficulty: Tough, although it’s given in routine books but difficult to recall exact years of these closely packed events between 1859-1882.

Answer: years are scattered across Spectrum’s Brief History of Modern India | हिंदी में भी उपलब्ध

  • 1859: Neeldarpan written
  • 1863: Satyendranath cleared British-UPSC without coaching.
  • 1875: Arya Samaj
  • 1882: Anandmath written.

Freedom Struggle: After arrival of Gandhi

Q9. Which one of the following is a very significant aspect of the Champaran Satyagraha? (Pre18 Set-D)

  1. Active all-India participation of lawyers, students and women in the National Movement
  2. Active involvement of Dalit and Tribal communities of India in the National Movement
  3. Joining of peasant unrest to India’s National Movement
  4. Drastic decrease in the cultivation of plantation crops and commercial crops

Difficulty: Easy for anyone who has prepared freedom struggle in a diligent manner.

UPSC Prelim-2018 History answerkey Champaran

Answer: Watch Pratik Nayak’s HFS9/P2: Gandhi in India: Champaran, A’bad, Kheda. Option A, B and D are irrelevant to Champaran Satyagraha. Champaran Satyagraha completed 100 years in 2017, but this was a straight-forward question, so you had to prepare it irrespectively, whether you got 100 years’s “सपना” or not.

Guessmaster-giriTM can only help narrowing down the choices. GM-Rule#1 extreme worded statements are always wrong so A and D ought to be wrong.

Q49. In 1920, which of the following changed its name to “Swarajya Sabha”? (Pre18 Set-D)

  1. All India Home Rule League
  2. Hindu Mahasabha
  3. South Indian Liberal Federation
  4. The Servants of India Society

Difficulty: Tough. Not given in routine books, and even if it were given, difficult to memorize and recall such low-profile term in real exam!

Answer: Upon repeated instance from home rule leaguers, Gandhi did accept the presidentship of the Home Rule League only in 1920 and changed its name to “Swarajya Sabha”. [Ref: Random Google book]

While we are at it, let’s also gain knowledge about the wrong statements, lest it’s asked in future exam!

  • South India Liberal Federation (SILF), aka Justice Party, as was officially known at the time of its founding in 1916. EV Ramaswamy Naicker aka Periyar is prominent personality associated with it.
  • The Servants of India Society was formed in Pune, Maharashtra, on June 12, 1905 by Gopal Krishna Gokhale, who left the Deccan Education Society to form this association.
  • Hindu Mahasabha was founded by Madan Mohan Malviya and some Punjabi leaders in 1915.
  • Guessmaster-giriTM can only help narrowing down the choices. GM-Rule#5: “Word association”. Swarajya /self-rule as a word/idea associated with Gokhale (Servants of India) and Tilak (Home rule / freedom is my birth right.) So, answer could be A or D. But even arriving at this stage to apply GM-Rule#5 requires a lot of background knowledge, so, this is not ‘guessing’ per se.

British India: Education (3 MCQs)

Q59. With reference to educational institutes during colonial rule in India, consider the following pairs of Institution vs Founder: (Pre18 Set-D)

  1. Sanskrit College at Benaras: William Jones
  2. Calcutta Madarsa: Warren Hastings
  3. Fort William College: Arthur Wellesley

Which of the pairs given above is/are correct?

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

Difficulty: Tough, although these are covered in routine books. But in real exam stress, candidate would get confused over Arthur Wellesley / Lord Wellesley.

Answer: Spectrum’s Brief History of Modern India | हिंदी में भी उपलब्ध Ch.10 on Education

  1. In 1791 due to the sincere efforts of the British resident, Jonathan Duncan, a Sanskrit College was established to promote the study of Hindu laws and philosophy in Banaras. And Sir William Jones is associated with Asiatic Society of Bengal (NCERT themes-II page 232). So, #1 is wrong. A and C eliminated.
  2. Fort William College was established by Lord Wellesley (1798) for the training of civil servants.
  3. Arthur Wellesley was the brother of Lord Wellesley who fought the 4th Anglo-Mysore war against Tipu Sultan. Arthur Wellesley, forced Tipu to retreat to his capital Srirangapattinam. (TN Class 12 page 29). So #3 is wrong, C and D eliminated.
  4. Thus by elimination, we are left with B: only 2, and we must accept without proof & memorize that Calcutta Madrassa was indeed founded by Hastings (lest they ask in next prelims).

Q64. Regarding Wood’s Dispatch, which of the following statements are true ? (Pre18 Set-D)

  1. Grants-in-Aid system was introduced.
  2. Establishment of universities was recommended.
  3. English as a medium of instruction at all levels of education was recommended.

Select the correct answer using the code given below :

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

Difficulty: Easy, covered in all routine books, and nature of statements are such that it doesn’t require much mental effort in recollecting GK type factoids.


Guessmaster-giriTM possible, if you go by their GM-Rule#1 that all extreme worded statements are always wrong then #3 ought to be wrong and by elimination you get the right answer A, #WITHOUT-STUDYING-ANYTHING..

Q46. Which of the following led to the introduction of English Education in India ? (Pre18 Set-D)

  1. Charter Act of 1813
  2. General Committee of Public Instruction, 1823
  3. Orientalist and Anglicist Controversy

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

Difficulty: Medium because routine books cover only Macaulay’s committee (1835) and not this 1823’s Committee, so even if you’re sure about 1 and 2, you could have second thoughts about picking A or D.

UPSC Prelim-2018 History answerkey English Education

Answer: Pratik Nayak’s History lectures on Youtube- HFS3/P1:British India: Education & Socio-cultural Policy. All three are correct.

Guessmaster-giriTM possible, if you go by their GM-Rule#4 that in UPSC “3tf MCQ” (3-statement-true/false), IF each individual statement contains barely 1-2 words then all of them are correct. Ofcourse, this MCQ has four statements but the skeleton is similar, so, you directly get the right answer D: 1, 2, 3, and 4; #WITHOUT-STUDYING-ANYTHING.

British India: Economy (2 MCQs)

Q37. Economically, one of the results of the British rule in India in the 19th century was the (Pre18 Set-D)

  1. increase in the export of Indian handicrafts
  2. growth in the number of Indian owned factories
  3. commercialization of Indian agriculture
  4. rapid increase in the urban population

Difficulty: Easy, covered in routine prep. sources.


UPSC Prelim-2018 History answerkey Agriculture

Q8. The staple commodities of export by the English East India Company from Bengal in the middle of the 18th century were (Pre18 Set-D)

  1. Raw cotton, oil-seeds and opium
  2. Sugar, salt, zinc and lead
  3. Copper, silver, gold, spices and tea
  4. Cotton, silk, saltpetre and opium

Difficulty: Easy, given in NEW NCERT.


  • NEW NCERT, Std 8- Our Past III, Chapter 2: “….The fine qualities of cotton and silk produced in India had a big market in Europe…. The competition among the European companies inevitably pushed up the prices at which these goods could be purchased.
  • NEW NCERT Std.12- Ch.12 Colonial Cities: “….By the end of the nineteenth century, half the imports and exports of India passed through Bombay. One important item of this trade was opium that the East India Company exported to China.
  • From the above lines, Option D seems the closest choice. Still, for the satisfaction of Hairsplitters, let’s cross check whether saltpetre is correct?

Krishna Reddy’s Indian History ch.12 Commerce with Europe:

  • Indigo and saltpetre were the other major imports from India, and the fact that both products were produced in the eastern Gangetic plain, especially in Bihar, stimulated British efforts to establish factories on the east coast as well as the west coast of the Indian subcontinent.” So Saltpetre was indeed exported otherwise British wouldn’t have made efforts to setup factories on East coast.

Post Independent India (2 MCQs)

Q10. Who among the following were the founders of the “Hind Mazdoor Sabha” established in 1948 ? (Pre18 Set-D)

  1. B. Krishna Pillai, E.M.S. Namboodiripad and K.C. George
  2. Jayaprakash Narayan, DeenDayal Upadhyay and M.N. Roy
  3. C.P. Ramaswamy Iyer, K. Kamaraj and Veeresalingam Pantulu
  4. Ashok Mehta, T.S. Ramanujam and G.G. Mehta

Difficulty: Tough, not available in the routine books for history / post-independence.

Answer: From their about-us page: http://www.hindmazdoorsabha.com/about-hms.php

  • The Founding Conference elected Com. Ashok Mehta as the General Secretary and Com. G.G. Mehta and V.S. Mathur as Secretaries. Ms. Maniben Kara and Com. T.S. Ramanujam were elected as Vice-Presidents of HMS. So, D is most fitting.
  • Guessmaster-giriTM can only help narrowing down the choices. GM-Rule#5: “Word association” Option A and C have people with Southern names, whereas Hind-Mazdoor sounds like a northern / gangetic belt organization. So, they don’t fit. Similarly, those who know brief biographies DeenDayal Upadhyay- he worked in a different organization & different set of ideas. So, he doesn’t ‘fit’ well with J.P.Narayan (Socialist) and MN Roy (Communist). This means A, B and C are irrelevant and we get correct answer D. But arriving at this stage to apply GM-Rule#5 requires a lot of background knowledge, so, this is not ‘Guessmaster-giriTM’ per se.

Q76. Consider the following events: (Pre18 Set-D)

  1. The first democratically elected communist party government formed in a State in India.
  2. India’s then largest bank, ‘Imperial Bank of India’, was renamed ‘State Bank of India’.
  3. Air India was nationalised and became the national carrier.
  4. Goa became a part of independent India.

Which of the following is the correct chronological sequence of the above events?

  1. 4 – 1 – 2 – 3
  2. 3 – 2 – 1 – 4
  3. 4 – 2 – 1 – 3
  4. 3 -1-2 -4

Difficulty: Tough because while every serious candidate knows Imperial Bank to SBI happened in 1955 (in the course of Economy/ Banking Sector Evolution) and Goa independence was in early 60s (in the course of Polity preparation). So, 2 comes before 4, so, A and C are wrong but still you’ve two options left. And, post-independence India comes in Mains syllabus, so candidates don’t prepare in-depth factual GK. And yes, Air India had been in news because of its proposed privatization in Budget-2018, and SBI had been in news because of merger of its Associated banks and BMB WEF 1/4/17. But I don’t subscribe to the Sapna-Theory here, because ‘Established in _ _ year / Chronology’ type MCQs are very rare in Economy. So candidates don’t pay that much attention to it.

Answer: NCERT Political Science Class 12 Page 33

  • As early as in 1957, the Congress party had the bitter taste of defeat in Kerala. In the assembly elections held in March 1957, the Communist Party won the largest number of seats to the Kerala legislature….The governor invited E. M. S. Namboodiripad, the leader of the Communist legislature party, to form the ministry. For the first time in the world, a Communist party government had come to power through democratic elections.
  • This means 1 comes in between 2 (SBI-55) and 4 (Goa-60s). Correct option should have this pattern: _ – 2 – _ – 1 – _ – 4-_. Third event could be in any of these blank spaces. Only Option B fits this pattern.
  • And just to gain GK knowledge: In 1953 Air India Nationalisation- took place. Before that it was owned by the TATA Group.
  • In 1962, December Goa became part of Independent India. The Indian armed forces had to conduct a military operation named operation Vijay.

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