History Optional Mains Paper I: 2021 [Section A- Ancient India]


Q.1 Identify the following places marked on the map supplied to you and write a short note of about 30 words on each of them in your Question-cum-Answer Booklet. Locational hints for each of the places marked on the map are given below seriatim: [50 Marks]

(i) Paleolithic site

(ii) Mesolithic site

(iii) Neolithic site

(iv) Neolithic-Chalcolithic site

(v) Harappan site

(vi) Proto-historic and historic site

(vii) Inscriptional site

(viii) Jain monastic site

(ix) Coin hoard

(x) Paleolithic site

(xi) Terracotta site

(xii) Rock-cut caves

(xiii) Ancient learning centre

(xiv) Political and cultural centre

(xv) Buddhist site

(xvi) Ancient port

(xvii) Early historic site

(xviii) Ivory hoard

(xix) Buddhist monastic centre

(xx) Temple complex


(a) Do you agree that ecological factors influenced the flow and ebb of the Harappan Civilization? Comment. [15 Marks]

(b) Do you consider that the Upanishadic principles embody the high point of Vedic religious thought? Comment. [15 Marks]

(c) Analyze the significance of external influences and indigenous development on post-Mauryan art. [20 Marks]


(a) Will it be proper to consider the Megaliths to represent a single, homogenous or contemporaneous culture? What kind of material life and culture system is revealed in the megalithic cultures? [15 Marks]

(b) How would you characterize the nature of Mauryan state on the basis of Kautilya’s Arthashastra? [15 Marks]

(c) How did the Varnashrama Dharma manifest the increasing social complexities in the Gupta and post-Gupta period arising from social and economic developments? [20 Marks]


(a) “The political and economic needs of rulers, combined with economic and status needs of the merchant class, together provided the receptive cultural milieu in which Buddhism flourished,” Comment. [15 Marks]

(b) Large number of land grants in hitherto non-arable tracts invariably meant expansion of agriculture in early medieval India. How did the management of hydraulic resources (different types of irrigation works) facilitate expansion of agriculture in this period? [15 Marks]

(c) Discuss the relationship between emergence of literature in vernacular languages and formation of regional identities in early medieval India. [20 Marks]

Note: All Questions are from our topic wise study materials.

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