1. Question from UPSC Mains GS1
  2. Introduction (Define > Origin > Data)
  3. Body#1: Early Indian Society- Love and tolerance
  4. Body#2: Modern India- Love & Tolerance plays important part
  5. Conclusion (discuss -> summarize & end on +ve note)
  6. Afterthoughts / Pitfalls

Question from UPSC Mains GS1-2017

Till now, I had solved the first nine questions of UPSC Mains General Studies Paper1 (2017). Now I shall solve the 11th Jingping

Q.11: The spirit of tolerance and love is not only an interesting feature of Indian society from very early times, but it is also playing an important part at the present. Elaborate. (GSM1-2017, 250 words, 15 marks)

सहिष्णुता व् प्रेम की भावना न केवल अति प्राचीन समय से ही भारतीय समाज का एक रोचक अभिलक्षण रही है, अपितु वर्तमान में भी यह एक महत्वपूर्ण भूमिका निभा रही है | सविस्तार स्पष्ट कीजिए|

Syllabus Relevance in GSM1? Salient features of Indian Society; Diversity of India.

UPSC Mains spirit tolerance and love

Introduction (Define > Origin > Data)

There are three ways to open an answer:

  • Define: If question was about cryosphere or sustainable development – we should open by defining those keywords. But here question is about tolerance, love & society- if you start by defining those terms, it’ll look pathetic.
  • Origin: Suitable method for this question- we can give “origin of the issue” i.e. India is a plural and diverse society. Because if India was a homogenous one-language-one-religion society then there was no need of love / tolerance in the first place!
  • Data: You can open answer by throwing numbers and statistics related to population, number of languages, major religions etc. But I dont want to take trouble of searching those statistics, I’ll simply open with “origin”

Introduction (Origin):

  • India is a vast country with a lot of diversity in her physical and social environment.
  • People of different racial stocks, ethnic backgrounds and religious beliefs have settled down here.
  • While their food habits, dress patterns and languages vary but the spirit of love and tolerance is common elements among all of them.

Body#1: Early Indian Society- Love and tolerance

For ancient- medieval – sufficient content available in the NCERT books. I’ll only write only selected points:

  • Buddhism and Jainism’s concepts of non-violence are direct corollary to the spirit of tolerance.
  • Sufi saints’ sense of piety, tolerance, sympathy, concept of equality attracts both Muslims and Hindus.
  • Emperor Akbar listened to scholars from different religions at the Ibadat Khana in Fateh Pur Sikri at Agra on every Thursday. He even started a faith called Din-i-Illahi which encompassed ideas from various religions.
  • Parsis were persecuted in Iran, Jews in Hitler’s Germany. But both have inter-mingled with us for several thousands of years and have become an integral part of the Indian society.
  • Gandhi and many other freedom fighters / social reformers strived for Hindu-Muslim harmony, fought against social evils such as child marriage and untouchability and were successful. [If society was intolerant, they’d have been unsuccessful.]

Body#2: Modern India- Love & Tolerance plays important part

We’ve to elaborate the sentence “Love & Tolerance playing an important part…at present”. Meaning, you have to not only give examples but also you have to link it “why / how are those L&T-examples playing important part in (Modern) Indian society?”

Love & Tolerance counters the Destructive forces in India:

  1. To increase their cadre strength, the Left-wing extremists (LWE) try to create divisiveness between poor vs rich, Dalits vs upper caste, Tribals/Christians vs outsiders, yet they’re unable to expand their ideological base beyond the Red-corridor and within this Red-corridor they’re struggling to retain existing followers.
  2. ISIS could recruit only a handful of misguided youth from India, unlike the western countries where ISIS could not only find more recruits, but also carried out multiple “Lone-Wolf-Attacks” on innocent civilians.
  3. Despite the rise of fake news and provocative messages over social media- communal disturbances are usually confined within a small geographical area and are tackled within a short time frame. One matchstick can’t burn the whole India.
  4. Whether Tibetans, Bangladeshis or Rohingya- persecuted communities from our neighboring countries always want to enter India- because India are more peaceful than their home nations.

Love & Tolerance= opportunities within India

  • Muslims find work as cooks, pony/horse operators and palanquin bearers at Amarnath Shrine. Local Muslims have been instrumental in relief and rescue operations during snow storms, landslides and floods in this area.
  • Similarly, Hindus find work around Sufi Dargahs and Mughal monuments as shopkeepers, guides and tour operators.
  • National holidays on major religious festivals- they create economic opportunities for tourism, restaurants and film industry.
  • People from all religions go out to watch movies of Salman Khan, Shahrukh Khan and Rajnikanth irrespective of whether they’re released on Diwali or Eid, irrespective of the said actor playing the role of a Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh or Dalit.

Don’t digress from question by narrating Padmavat movie controversy. Because even if you try to portray that “ultimate release of the movie proves our tolerance”- but unnecessary words will be wasted on an event that is merely a drop in the whole timeline of Ancient to Modern India.

Love & Tolerance= opportunities abroad

  1. Indian society’s L&T sprit, combined with Government’s soft diplomatic power creates economic opportunities in terms of investment, exports and job creation.
  2. Our diaspora is not usually persecuted in middle-east or Africa.
  3. It’s not uncommon to find Indian-origin persons commanding high positions in the executive and legislative wings of Western democracies.

Conclusion (discuss -> summarize & end on +ve note)

Question had keyword “elaborate”, so it’s a “discussion” type question, therefore answer must end in “summary”, No need to give ‘findings / suggestions’.

Barring occasional incidents of violence and hatred, Indian civilization has always celebrated plurality and promoted love & tolerance. This spirit has countered the destructive forces within India and created opportunities for Indians both within and outside our country. Thus, despite the diversity within Indian society in terms of religion, region, caste and language – our spirit love & tolerance has helped all of us to survive, sustain and flourish.

Afterthoughts / Pitfalls

  • My answer has gone beyond 500 words, but in real-exam difficult to recall that many points within given time limit, so automatically it’ll compress down to 250 words.
  • You’re asked to elaborate the given statement about Love and Tolerance. Examiner has not asked you to “CRITICALLY EXAMINE” the statement. Therefore, you should merely ‘discuss’. Meaning, DONOT divert from the discussion by providing “Diagnosis and Solution”. For example..
  • Body should not contain diagnosis like “Communalism has divided our society for long. It causes belief in orthodox tenets and principles, intolerance hatred of other religions and religious group, distortion of historical facts and communal violence. PAK/ISI Funding hatred. Social media is fueling intolerance. Atrocities against Dalits rising etc.
  • Conclusion should not contain NEW suggestions like “Economic problems of the people, like-poverty and unemployment must be resolved in the country before the problem of communal violence, mob lynching and other forms of intolerance can be totally eliminated.”
  • Constitution’s Preamble/ DPSP की पिपुडी: can be played but it looks cliched. Besides, same GSM1-2017 question paper had another similar question “Distinguish between religiousness/religiosity and communalism giving one example of how the former has got transformed into the latter in independent India.” So if you play the same flute at both places- it’ll harm your impression. In a given question paper, ideally you should not play the DPSP-पिपुडी more than once.
  • Vasudhaiva Kutumbkam, Unity in Diversity की पिपुडी : These are also cliched phrases and expressions. When answersheet after answersheet, examiner sees the same phrase in introduction / conclusion he starts giving average and identical marks to each candidate. Therefore, try to bring some freshness in your choice of words, but that can come only when you read more news columns / magazines, instead of just cramming their bulleted-PDF-summaries.

Visit Mrunal.org/Mains for more on the Art of Answer-Writing.