Compulsory English Paper (Civil Services Mains) 1998
Candidates should attempt all questions.
The number of marks carried by each question is indicated at the end of the question.
Answers must be written in English.
Q. 1. Write an essay in about 300 words on- any one of the following : 100
(a) The Limits of Science
(b) Our Intellectuals
(c) Have We Lost the Direction ?
(d) Computers in Everyday Life
(e) Below the Poverty Line
Q. 2. Read this passage carefully and answer the questions set at the end 75
We think of the moon as only a stone, a stone gone cold. An airless, waterless stone and the prophetic image of our own earth when, some few million years from now, the senescent sun shall have lost its present fostering power . …. And so on. This passage could easily be prolonged – a Study in Purple. But I forbear. Let every reader lay on as much of the royal rhetorical colour as he finds to his taste. Anyhow, purple or no purple, there the stone is – stony. You cannot think about it for long without finding yourself invaded by one or other of several sentiments. These sentiments belong to one or other of two contrasted and complementary groups. The name of the first family is Sentiments of Human Insignificance, of the second, Sentiments of Human Greatness. Meditating on that derelict stone afloat there in the abyss, you may feel a worm,. abject and futile in the face of wholly incomprehensible immensities. ‘The silence of those infinite spaces frightens. me.’ You may feel as Pascal felt. Or, alternatively, you may feel as M. Paul Valery has said: `The silence of those infinite spaces does not frighten me.’
For the spectacle of that moon need not necessarily make you feel like a worm. It may, on the contrary, cause you to rejoice exultantly in your manhood. There floats the stone, the nearest and most familiar symbol of all the astronomical horrors: but the astronomers who discovered those horrors of space and time were men. The universe throws down a challenge to the human spirit; in spite of his insignificance and abjection, man has taken it up. The stone glares down at us out of the black boundlessness. But the fact that we know it justifies us in feeling a certain human pride. We have a right to our moods of sober exultation.
(a) How does the writer describe the moon ?
(b) Do you think that the image of the moon revealed here is prophetic ? Why ?
(c) What kind of two contrasted and complementary sentiments does the moon evoke ?
(d) What does the author try to suggest about the place of man in the universe ?
(e) Give the central idea of the passage. Q. 3. Write a precis of the passage given below in your own words, not exceeding 160, on the special sheets provided. The precis sheets should be fastened securely inside the answer book. State the number of words used by you in the precis.
N.B. : Marks will be deducted if your precis is much longer or shorter than the prescribed length. 75
I speak of peace because of the new face of war. Total war makes no sense in an age when great powers can maintain large and relatively invulnerable nuclear forces and refuse to surrender without resort to those forces. It makes no sense in an age when a single nuclear weapon contains almost ten times the explosive force delivered by all of the Allied air forces in the Second World War. It makes no sense in an age when the deadly poisons produced by a nuclear exchange would be carried by the wind and water and soil and seed to the far corners of the globe and to generations yet unborn.
Today the expenditure of billions of dollars every year on weapons acquired for the purpose of making sure we never need to use them is essential to keeping the peace. But surely the acquisition of such idle stockpiles, which can only destroy and never create, is not the only, much less the most efficient, means of assuring peace.
I speak of peace, therefore, as the necessary rational end of rational men. I realize that the pursuit of peace is not as dramatic as the pursuit of war, and frequently the words of the pursuer fall on deaf ears. But we have no more urgent task.
Some say that it is useless to speak of world peace or world law or world disarmament, and that it will be useless until the leaders of those nations, perceived to be hostile by us, adopt a more enlightened attitude. I hope they do. I believe we can help them do it. But I also believe that we must re-examine our own attitude, as individuals and as a nation, for our attitude is as essential as theirs. And every graduate of this school, every thoughtful citizen who despairs of war and wishes to bring peace, should begin by looking inward, by examining his own attitude toward the possibilities of peace.
First, let us examine our attitude toward peace itself. Too many of us think it is impossible. Too many think it unreal. But that is a dangerous, defeatist belief. It leads to the conclusion that war is inevitable, that mankind is doomed, that we are gripped by forces we cannot control.
Our problems are man-made: therefore they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings. Man’s reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly unsolvable and we believe they can do it again.
Let us focus on a more practical, more attainable peace, based not on a sudden revolution in human nature but on a gradual evolution in human institutions, on a series of concrete actions and effective agreements which are in the interest of all concerned. There is no single, simple key to this peace, no grand or magic formula to be adopted by one or two powers. Genuine peace must be the product of many nations, the sum of many acts. It must be dynamic, not static, changing to meet the challenge of each new generation. For peace is a process, a way of solving problems.
With such a peace there will still be quarrels and conflicting interests, as there are within families and nations. World peace, like community peace, does not require that each man love his neighbour; it requires only that they live together in mutual tolerance, submitting their disputes to a just and peaceful settlement. And history teaches us that enmities between nations, as between individuals, do not last forever. However fixed our likes and dislikes may seem, the tide of time and events will often bring surprising changes in the relations between nations and neighbours.
So let us persevere. Peace need not be impracticable, and war need not be inevitable. By defining our goal more clearly, by making it seem more manageable and less remote, we can help all peoples to see it, to draw hope from it, and to move irresistibly toward it.
Q. 4. (a) Fill in the blanks with the appropriate forms of words given below : 10
deter, increase, ardour, resolve, courage, divide, prestige, commend, pious, invoke
(i) Paradise Lost opens with an ………………. of the divine.
(ii) When is your next ……………… due ?
(iii) One must have a firm ………………. to achieve one’s goal.
(iv) Unless we are ……………… we can never face obstacles.
(v) Will our nuclear explosions have quite a ……………… effect ?
(vi) United we stand, ……………… we fall.
(vii) The programme of rehabilitation is …………………. .
(viii) Without ……………… religious pursuit has hardly any meaning.
(x) In Gandhian era the people of our country had ……………… spirit of patriotism.
(x) This school is a very ……………….. institution.
(b) Use the following words in your own sentences, each both as a noun and a verb : 10
practice; question; complement; substitute; crop.
(c) Rewrite the following sentences as directed : 5
(i) “Help me Cassius, or l die,” cried Caesar.
(Turn it into the indirect form.)
(ii) John in brighter than all other students in his class.
(Change into the positive degree.)
(iii) You cannot see him, for it is not easy to reach him.
(Give one word for the words in bold italics.)
(iv) She would not go home during the holidays
(Use a question tag.)
(v) If you do not work hard, you cannot succeed.
Q. 5. (a) Correct the following sentences : 10
(i) It is an unique privilege to welcome our guests.
(ii) A herd of cattles were grazing in the farm.
(iii) If you would have studied hard, you should have passed.
(iv) One of my friend is a good poet.
(v) Either his parents or Pheroze is going to come today.
(vi) When you are going to London to meet with your friends there ?
(vii) For heaven’s sake, please don’t ask me that why am I not coming ?
(viii) I cannot be able to play cricket this evening.
(ix) You are the teacher here, isn’t it ?
(x) Shakespeare, the playwright and the poet born in Stratford-upon-Avon.
(b) Fill in the blanks choosing the appropriate words put within the brackets : 10
(i) He …………… his past statement in the course of his speech.
(ii) In their response to the call they are ………………… .
(iii) There is no ………………. to the gift he received.
(iv) ………………. distillation is an offence.
(v) He had no ………………….. to any help.
(vi) He is certainly not honest; he is always ……………….. .
(vii) Smoking is ………………. here.
(viii) Kishore sends his …………………….. to you.
(ix) We must not cast any …………….. at him, for he is innocent.
(x) The students’ attitude to their teacher is not ………………. .
(c) Use the following phrases in your own sentences bringing out the meaning : 5
(i) Out of tune
(ii) To put one’s foot down
(iii) At sixes and sevens
(iv) Through thick and thin
(v) To put something up
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