Compulsory English Paper (Civil Services Mains) 2007

1. Write an essay in about 300 words on any one of the following: (100)
(a) Heritage Tourism is Good for Us
(b) Importance of a Work-Ethic
(c) Should Mercy-Killing be Legalized for Terminally ill Patients?
(d) The Culture of Modesty
(e) “Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Liberty”.

2. Read the passage carefully and write your answers to the following questions in clear, correct and concise language: (5 x 15 = 75)
An educated man should know what is first-rate in those activities which spring from the creative and intellectual faculties of human nature, such as literature, art, architecture and music. I should like to add science and philosophy, but in these two subjects it is difficult for any but the expert to estimate quality, and many educated people have not the close knowledge necessary to judge their real worth. On the other hand everyone has close and daily contact with the other four. Architecture surrounds him in every city, literature meets him on every book-stall, music assails his ears on his radio set and from every juke-box; and art in its protean aspects of form and colour is a part of daily life. The architecture may often be bad, the literature and music often puerile, the art often undeserving of the name; but that is all the more reason why we should be able, in all of them, to distinguish good from bad.

To judge by the literature offered us in hotel book-stands, and by most of the music played on the radio and by jukeboxes we might be more discriminating in these fields than we are if it be said that music and art and literature are not essentials of life but. its frills, I would reply that if so, it is curious that they are among the few immortal things in the world, and that should a man wish to be remembered two thousand years hence, the only certain way is to write a great poem or book, compose a great symphony, paint a great picture, carve a great sculpture, or build a great building.

(a) What is it that is necessary for an educated person to know?
(b) Why does the author exclude science and philosophy from it?
(c) What makes it practically easy for an educated man to be able to know literature, art, architecture and music?
(d) How does exposure to ordinary literature and music help us?
(e) What is the author’s argument to prove that music, art and literature are essentials of life?

3. Make a précis of the following passage keeping the length within the limits of 230-240 words. It is not necessary to suggest a title. Failure to write within the word limit may result in deduction of marks. The précis must be written on the separate précis sheets provided for the purpose that must then be securely fastened inside the answer book. (75)

What part should reading play in our lives? It should certainly not be a substitute for action, not for independent thinking, nor for conversation; but it may be a help and stimulant to action; thought and talk; and it is capable of providing almost infinite pleasure. There on our bookshelves or on summons from a library are wits, wisdom, adventure, romance from all ages and from all over the world. Is there any wonder that our eyes sometimes stray wistfully to the bookshelves and away from a dull visitor, or that we shirk a tiresome duty for an exciting book?

Books or people? Reading or conversation, listening in to a broadcast or watching a television programme? Which is the better way to gain knowledge or to spend your leisure? Some fortunate people seem always to find time for both and to enjoy both almost equally. My great friend, Arthur Wanchope, a fine soldier, an able administrator and a very gifted personality, was a constant reader; yet always ready to lay aside a book for talk.

The advantages of reading over talk are, of course, many. We can select the book that suits our mood, can go at our own pace, skip or turn back whereas we cannot turn over two pages of a tedious companion or close him or her, with a bang. But reading too has its own drawbacks. It lacks the human touch, the salt of life, and is therefore a dangerous substitute for thought or action. Bacon in one of his essays observes that reading maketh a full man; conference (that is talking) a ready man; and writing an exact man. One would like to be full of knowledge, ready in speech and exact by training. What short of books have impressed me and what books have found a permanent place  on my bookshelves?

To begin with my profession-soldiering. I do not believe that soldiering, a practical business,  in which human nature is the main element, can be learnt from text-books. But for those who have  grasped the principles of war and have understood that the human factor is the most important element in it. There is military reading that is quite fascinating and valuable. Real and re-read the campaigns of the great commanders, said Napoleon. I would venture to put it differently and would say that the lives and characters of the great commanders are what students of war should examine, since their campaigns are only incidents in them; and that the behaviour of leaders and of their men in the field is the real subject for study.

In my general reading history, biography and travel occupy a prominent place; and since I have spent a considerable proportion of my life in the East there are a good number of volumes on India and the Middle East. There is plenty of poetry on my shelves and a good deal of it is in my head. Poetry should dance in the mind, and blow one a kiss; or gallop to adventure with a cheer; or whisper gently of things past; not shuffle or slouch past with dark incomprehensible mutterings. Perhaps I am getting old, anyway I prefer the old poets.

Lastly comes what is sometimes called ‘escapist literature, the books we read with no other aim, than to rest or amuse the mind; to forget the day’s chores and the morrow’s anxieties. This is perhaps the most pleasant form of reading for most, and I suspect the only form of reading for many. The volume chosen may either be a thriller or soother — a thriller to bring sense of adventure into the dull daily routine or a soother to rest tired nerves. Our grandfathers in their leisurely days were content with the stately, comfortable three volume novel, but that had passed before the beginning of this century.

You will choose your books as you choose your friends, with taste and discrimination; I hope; because they can tell you something of your profession and interests, because they are wise and helpful, because they can stir your blood with tales of adventure, or because they are gay and witty. I can only wish you will get as much pleasure from them as I get from my books.  (Words: 703)

4. (a) Rewrite the following sentences after making necessary correction of errors: (10)
(i) The Greeks were brave peoples.
(ii) His hat was blown off by the strong air.
(iii) I am the one who am to blame.
(iv) We should sympathies with blind.
(v) I’d rather play cricket and not swim.
(vi) Walking through the front door a wasp stung him.
(vii) Two plus nine are eleven.
(viii) I have built the house in 1960.
(ix) Their wedding has not been a very happy one.
(x) Choose only such friends whom you can trust.

(b) Rewrite the following sentences, inserting suitable articles where necessary: (5)
(i) What kind of ______ animals is it?
(ii) He will return in _____ hour.
(iii) He is ______ richest man in our street.
(iv) Gold is not ______ useful metal.
(v) While there is ______ life there is hope.

(c) Form Verbs from the following Nouns: (5)
(i) Courage
(ii) Memory
(iii) Prison
(iv) Class
(v) Friend

(d) Put the verbs in bracket in the correct tense and rewrite the following: (5)
India (have) many calendars which Indians (use) since very early times. More than thirty (be) still in use. One difficulty about having so many calendars (be) that the same date (fall) on different days according to each.

5. (a) Use each of the following words in two separate sentences, first as a Noun and then as a Verb: (10)
(i) Bank
(ii) Battle
(iii) Bite
(iv) Brave
(v) Brush

(b) Change the following sentences into their corresponding (a) Negatives and (b) Questions: (10)
(i) Ram resembles his father.
(ii) Raju studies French.
(iii) The bicycle costs Rs. 500.
(iv) The thief broke the window open.
(v) My mother has a beautiful umbrella.

(c) Use the following phrases/idioms in sentences so as to bring out the meaning: (5)
(i) The Lion’s share
(ii) Close shave
(iii) At daggers drawn
(iv) (To) die in harness
(v) (To) eat one’s words

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