Friday, 21 November 2014




Since World War II, the nation-state has been regarded with approval by every political system and every ideology. In the name of modernization in the West, of socialism in the Eastern bloc, and of development in the Third World, it was expected to guarantee the happiness of individuals as citizens and of peoples as societies. However, the state today appears to have broken down in many parts of the world. It has failed to guarantee either security or social justice, and has been unable to prevent either international wars or civil wars. Disturbed by the claims of communities within it, the nation-state tries to repress their demands and to proclaim itself as the only guarantor of security of all. In the name of national unity, territorial integrity, equality of all its citizens and non-partisan secularism, the state can use its powerful resources to reject the demands of the communities; it may even go so far as genocide to ensure that order prevails.

As one observes the awakening of communities in different parts of the world, one cannot ignore the context in which identity issues arise. It is no longer a context of sealed frontiers and isolated regions but is one of integrated global systems. In a reaction to this trend towards globalisation, individuals and communities everywhere are voicing their desire to exist, to use their power of creation and to play an active part in national and international life.

There are two ways in which the current upsurge in demands for the recognition of identities can be looked at. On the positive side, the efforts by certain population groups to assert their identity can be regarded as “liberation movements”, challenging oppression and injustice. What these groups are doing—proclaiming that they are different, rediscovering the roots of their culture or strengthening group solidarity—may accordingly be seen as legitimate attempts to escape from their state of subjugation and enjoy a certain measure of dignity. On the downside, however, militant action for recognition tends to make such groups more deeply entrenched in their attitude and to make their cultural compartments even more watertight. The assertion of identity then starts turning into self-absorption and isolation, and is liable to slide into intolerance of others and towards ideas of “ethnic cleansing”, xenophobia and violence.
Whereas continuous variations among peoples prevent drawing of clear dividing lines between the groups, those militating for recognition of their group’s identity arbitrarily choose a limited number of criteria such as religion, language, skin colour, and place of origin so that their members recognize themselves primarily in terms of the labels attached to the group whose existence is being asserted. This distinction between the group in question and other groups is established by simplifying the feature selected. Simplification also works by transforming groups into essences, abstractions endowed with the capacity to remain unchanged through time. In some cases, people actually act as though the group has remained unchanged and talk, for example, about the history of nations and communities as if these entities survived for centuries without changing, with the same ways of acting and thinking, the same desires, anxieties, and aspirations.

Paradoxically, precisely because identity represents a simplifying fiction, creating uniform groups out of disparate people, that identity performs a cognitive function. It enables us to put names to ourselves and others, from some idea of who we are and who others are, and ascertain the place we occupy along with the others in the world and society. The current upsurge to assert the identity of groups can thus be partly explained by the cognitive function performed by identity. However, that said, people would not go along as they do, often in large numbers, with the propositions put to them, in spite of the sacrifices they entail, if there was not a very strong feeling of need for identity, a need to take stock of things and know “who we are”, “where we come from”, and “where we are going”.

Identity is thus a necessity in a constantly changing world, but it can also be a potent source of violence and disruption. How can these two contradictory aspects of identity be reconciled? First, we must bear the arbitrary nature of identity categories in mind, not with a view to eliminating all forms of identification—which would be unrealistic since identity is a cognitive necessity—but simply to remind ourselves that each of us has several identities at the same time. Second, since tears of nostalgia are being shed over the past, we recognize that culture is constantly being recreated by cobbling together fresh and original elements and counter-cultures. There are in our own country a large number of syncretic cults wherein modern elements are blended with traditional values or people of different communities venerate saints or divinities of particular faiths. Such cults and movements are characterized by a continual inflow and outflow of members which prevent them from taking on a self-perpetuating existence of their own and hold out hope for the future, indeed, perhaps for the only possible future. Finally, the nation-state must respond to the identity urges of its constituent communities and to their legitimate quest for security and social justice. It must do so by inventing what the French philosopher and sociologist, Raymond Aron, called “peace through law”. That would guarantee justice both to the state as a whole and its parts, and respect the claims of both reason and emotions. The problem is one of reconciling nationalist demands with the exercise of democracy.

1.    According to the author, happiness of individuals was expected to be guaranteed in the name of:
1.         Development in the Third world.
2.         Socialism in the Third world.
3.         Development in the West.
4.         Modernisation in the Eastern Bloc.

2.    Demands for recognition of identities can be viewed:
1.         Positively and negatively.
2.         As liberation movements and militant action.
3.         As efforts to rediscover roots which can slide towards intolerance of others.
4.         All of the above.

3.    Going by the author’s exposition of the nature of identity, which of the following statements is untrue?
1.         Identity represents creating uniform groups out of disparate people.
2.         Identity is a necessity in the changing world.
3.         Identity is a cognitive necessity.
4.         None of the above.

4.    According to the author, the nation-state
1.         has fulfilled its potential.
2.         is willing to do anything to preserve order.
3.         generates security for all its citizens.
4.         has been a major force in preventing civil and international wars.

5.    Which of the following views of the nation-state cannot be attributed to the author?
1.         It has not guaranteed peace and security.
2.         It may go as far as genocide for self-preservation.
3.         It represents the demands of communities within it.
4.         It is unable to prevent international wars.


Democracy rests on a tension between two different principles. There is, on the one hand, the principle of equality before the law, or, more generally, of equality, and on the other hand, what may be described as the leadership principle. The first gives priority to rules and the second to persons. No matter how skillfully we contrive our schemes, there is a point beyond which the one principle cannot be promoted without some sacrifice of the other.

Alexis de Tocqueville, the great nineteenth century writer on democracy, maintained that the age of democracy, whose birth he was witnessing, would also be the age of mediocrity: in saying this he was thinking primarily of a regime of equality governed by impersonal rules. Despite his strong attachment to democracy, he took great pains to point out what he believed to be its negative side: a dead level plane of achievement in practically every sphere of life. The age of democracy would, in his view, be an unheroic age; there would not be room in it for either heroes or hero-worshippers.

But modern democracies have not been able to do without heroes: this too was foreseen, with much misgiving, by Tocqueville. Tocqueville viewed this with misgiving because he believed, rightly or wrongly, that unlike in aristocratic societies there was no proper place in a democracy for heroes and, hence, when they arose they would sooner or later turn into despots. Whether they require heroes or not, democracies certainly require leaders, and, in the contemporary age, breed them in great profusion: the problem is to know what to do with them.

In a world preoccupied with scientific rationality the advantages of a system based on an impersonal rule of law should be a recommendation with everybody. There is something orderly and predictable about such a system. When life is lived mainly in small, self-contained communities, men are able to take finer personal distinctions into account in dealing with their fellow men. They are unable to do this in a large and amorphous society, and organized living would be impossible here without a system of impersonal rules. Above all, such a system guarantees a kind of equality to the extent that everybody, no matter in what station of life, is bound by the same explicit, often written, rules, and nobody is above them.

But a system governed solely by impersonal rules can at best ensure order and stability; it cannot create any shining vision of a future in which mere formal equality will be replaced by real equality and fellowship. A world governed by impersonal rules cannot easily change itself, or when it does, the change is so gradual as to make the basic and fundamental feature of society appear unchanged. For any kind of basic or fundamental change, a push is needed from within, a kind of individual initiative which will create new rules, new terms and conditions of life.

The issue of leadership thus acquires crucial significance in the context of change. If the modern age is preoccupied with scientific rationality, it is no less preoccupied with change. To accept what exists on its own terms is traditional, not modern, and it may be all very well to appreciate tradition in music, dance and drama, but for society as a whole the choice has already been made in favour of modernization and development. Moreover, in some countries the gap between ideal and reality has become so great that the argument for development and change is now irresistible.

In these countries no argument for development has greater appeal or urgency than the one which shows development to be the condition for the mitigation, if not the elimination, of inequality. There is something contradictory about the very presence of large inequalities in a society which professes to be democratic. It does not take people too long to realize that democracy by itself can guarantee only formal equality; beyond this, it can only whet people’s appetite for real or substantive equality. From this arises their continued preoccupation with plans and schemes that will help to bridge the gap between the ideal of equality and the reality which is so contrary to it.

When pre-existing rules give no clear directions of change, leadership comes into its own. Every democracy invests its leadership with a measure of charisma, and expects from it a corresponding measure of energy and vitality. Now, the greater the urge for change in a society the stronger the appeal of a dynamic leadership in it. A dynamic leadership seeks to free itself from the constraints of existing rules; in a sense that is the test of its dynamism. In this process it may take a turn at which it ceases to regard itself as being bound by these rules, placing itself above them. There is always a tension between ‘charisma’ and ‘discipline’ in the case of a democratic leadership, and when this leadership puts forward revolutionary claims, the tension tends to be resolved at the expense of discipline.

Characteristically, the legitimacy of such a leadership rests on its claim to be able to abolish or at least substantially reduce the existing inequalities in society. From the argument that formal equality or equality before the law is but a limited good, it is often one short step to the argument that it is a hindrance or an obstacle to the establishment of real or substantive equality. The conflict between a ‘progressive’ executive and a ‘conservative’ judiciary is but one aspect of this larger problem. This conflict naturally acquires piquancy when the executive is elected and the judiciary appointed.

6.    Dynamic leaders are needed in democracies because:
1.         they have adopted the principles of ‘formal’ equality rather than ‘substantive’ equality.
2.         ‘formal’ equality whets people’s appetite for ‘substantive’ equality.
3.         systems that rely on the impersonal rules of ‘formal’ equality lose their ability to make large changes.
4.         of the conflict between a ‘progressive’ executive and a ‘conservative’ judiciary.

7.    What possible factor would a dynamic leader consider a ‘hindrance’ in achieving the development goals of a nation?
1.       Principle of equality before the law.
2.       Judicial activism.
3.       A conservative judiciary.
4.       Need for discipline.

8.    Which of the following four statements can be inferred from the above passage?
A.  Scientific rationality is an essential feature of modernity.
B.      Scientific rationality results in the development of impersonal rules.
C.      Modernisation and development have been chosen over traditional music, dance and drama.
D.      Democracies aspire to achieve substantive equality.
1.    A, B, D but not C
2.    A, B but not C, D
3.    A, D but not B, C
4.    A, B, C but not D

9.    Tocqueville believed that the age of democracy would be an un-heroic one because:
1.         democratic principles do not encourage heroes.
2.         there is no urgency for development in democratic countries.
3.         heroes that emerged in democracies would become despots.
4.         aristocratic society had a greater ability to produce heroes.

10.  A key argument the author is making is that:
1.       in the context of extreme inequality, the issue of leadership has limited significance.
2.       democracy is incapable of eradicating inequality.
3.       formal equality facilitates development and change.
4.       impersonal rules are good for avoiding instability but fall short of achieving real equality.

11.  Which of the following four statements can be inferred from the above passage?
A.      There is conflict between the pursuit of equality and individuality.
B.      The disadvantages of impersonal rules can be overcome in small communities.
C.      Despite limitations, impersonal rules are essential in large systems.
D.      Inspired leadership, rather than plans and schemes, is more effective in bridging inequality.

1.       B, D but not A, C
2.       A, B but not C, D
3.       A, D but not B, C
4.       A, C but not B, D


The production of histories of India has become very frequent in recent years and may well call for some explanation. Why so many and why this one in particular? The reason is a twofold one: changes in the Indian scene requiring a re-interpretation of the facts and changes in attitudes of historians about the essential elements of Indian history. These two considerations are in addition to the normal fact of fresh information, whether in the form of archeological discoveries throwing fresh light on an obscure period or culture, or the revelations caused by the opening of archives or the release of private papers. The changes in the Indian scene are too obvious to need emphasis. Only two generations ago British rule seemed to most Indian as well as British observers likely to extend into an indefinite future; now there is a teenage generation which knows nothing of it. Changes in the attitudes of historians have occurred everywhere, changes in attitudes to the content of the subject as well as to particular countries, but in India there have been some special features. Prior to the British, Indian historiographers were mostly Muslims, who relied, as in the case of Sayyid Ghulam Hussain, on their own recollection of events and on information from friends and men of affairs. Only a few like Abu’l Fazl had access to official papers. These were personal narratives of events, varying in value with the nature of the writer. The early British writers were officials. In the eighteenth century they were concerned with some aspect of Company policy, or, like Robert Orme in his Military Transactions, gave a straight narrative in what was essentially a continuation of the Muslim tradition. In the early nineteenth century the writers were still, with two notable exceptions, officials, but they were now engaged in chronicling, in varying moods of zest, pride, and awe, the rise of the British power in India to supremacy. The two exceptions were James Mill, with his critical attitude to the Company and John Marchman, the Baptist missionary. But they, like the officials, were anglo-centric in their attitude, so that the history of modern India in their hands came to be the history of the rise of the British in India.

The official school dominated the writing of Indian history until we get the first professional historian’s approach, Ramsay Muir and P.E. Roberts in England and H.H. Dodwell in India. Then Indian historians trained in the English school joined in, of whom the most distinguished was Sir Jadunath Sarkar and the other notable writers: Surendranath Sen, Dr. Radhakumud Mukerji, and Professor Nilakanta Sastri. They, it may be said, restored India to Indian history, but their bias was mainly political. Finally have come the nationalists who range from those who can find nothing good or true in the British to sophisticated historical philosophers like K.M. Panikker.

Along with types of historians with their varying bias have gone changes in the attitude to the content of Indian history. Here Indian historians have been influenced both by their local situation and by changes of thought elsewhere. It is in this field that this work can claim some attention since it seeks to break new ground, or perhaps to deepen a freshly turned furrow in the field of Indian history. The early official historians were content with the glamour and drama of political history from Plassey to the Mutiny, from Dupleix to the Sikhs. But when the raj was settled down, glamour departed from politics, and they turned to the less glorious but more solid ground of administration. Not how India was conquered but how it was governed was the theme of this school of historians. It found its archpriest in H.H. Dodwell, its priestess in Dame Lilian Penson, and its chief shrine in the Volume VI of the Cambridge History of India. Meanwhile in Britain other currents were moving, which led historical study into the economic and social fields. R.C. Dutt entered the first of these currents with his Economic History of India to be followed more recently by the whole group of Indian economic historians. W.E. Moreland extended these studies to the Mughal Period. Social history is now being increasingly studied and there is also of course a school of nationalist historians who see modern Indian history in terms of the rise and the fulfillment of the national movement.

All these approaches have value, but all share in the quality of being compartmental. It is not enough to remove political history from its pedestal of being the only kind of history worth having if it is merely to put other types of history in its place. Too exclusive an attention to economic, social, or administrative history can be as sterile and misleading as too much concentration on politics. A whole subject needs a whole treatment for understanding. A historian must dissect his subject into its elements and then fuse them together again into an integrated whole. The true history of a country must contain all the features just cited but must present them as parts of a single consistent theme.

12.    Which of the following may be the closest in meaning to the statement ‘restored India to Indian history”?
1.   Indian historians began writing Indian history.
2.   Trained historians began writing Indian history.
3.   Writing India-centric Indian history began.
4.   Indian history began to be written in India.
13.    Which of the following is the closest implication of the statement “to break new ground, or perhaps to deepen a freshly turned furrow”?
1.   Dig afresh or dig deeper.
2.   Start a new stream of thought or help establish a recently emerged perspective.
3.   Begin or conduct further work on existing archeological sites to unearth new evidence.
4.   Begin writing a history free of any biases.
14.    Historians moved from writing political history to writing administrative history because:   
1.   attitudes of the historians changed.
2.   the raj was settled down.
3.   politics did not retain its past glamour.
4.   administrative history was based on solid ground.
15.    According to the author, which of the following is not among the attitudes of Indian historians of Indian origin?
1.   Writing history as personal narratives.
2.   Writing history with political bias.
3.   Writing non-political history due to lack of glamour.
4.   Writing history by dissecting elements and integrating them again.
16.    In the table given below, match the historians to the approaches taken by them:
                    A    Administrative           E    Robert Orme
                    B    Political                      F    H.H. Dodwell
                    C    Narrative                    G   Radha Kumud Mukherji
                    D    Economic                   H   R.C. Dutt
1.   A—F           2.   A—G           3.   A—E           4.   A—F 
      B—G                 B—F                 B—F                  B—H
      C—E                 C—E                 C—G                 C—E
     D—H                D—H                 D—H                 D—G

Right through history, imperial powers have clung to their possessions to death. Why, then, did Britain in 1947 give up the jewel in its crown, India? For many reasons. The independence struggle exposed the hollowness of the white man’s burden. Provincial self-rule since 1935 paved the way for full self-rule. Churchill resisted independence, but the Labour government of Atlee was anti-imperialist by ideology. Finally, the Royal Indian Navy mutiny in 1946 raised fears of a second Sepoy mutiny, and convinced British waverers that it was safer to withdraw gracefully. But politico-military explanations are not enough. The basis of empire was always money. The end of the empire had much to do with the fact that British imperialism had ceased to be profitable. World War II left Britain victorious but deeply indebted, needing Marshall Aid and loans from the World Bank. This constituted a strong financial case for ending the no-longer-profitable empire.

Empire building is expensive. The US is spending one billion dollars a day in operations in Iraq that fall well short of full-scale imperialism. Through the centuries, empire building was costly, yet constantly undertaken because it promised high returns. The investment was in armies and conquest. The returns came through plunder and taxes from the conquered.

No immorality was attached to imperial loot and plunder. The biggest conquerors were typically revered (hence titles like Alexander the Great, Akbar the Great, and Peter the Great). The bigger and richer the empire, the more the plunderer was admired. This mindset gradually changed with the rise of new ideas about equality and governing for the public good, ideas that culminated in the French and American revolutions. Robert Clive was impeached for making a little money on the side, and so was Warren Hastings. The white man’s burden came up as a new moral rationale for conquest. It was supposedly for the good of the conquered. This led to much muddled hypocrisy. On the one hand, the empire needed to be profitable. On the other hand, the white man’s burden made brazen loot impossible.

An additional factor deterring loot was the 1857 Sepoy Mutiny. Though crushed, it reminded the British vividly that they were a tiny ethnic group who could not rule a gigantic subcontinent without the support of important locals. After 1857, the British stopped annexing one princely state after another, and instead treated the princes as allies. Land revenue was fixed in absolute terms, partly to prevent local unrest and partly to promote the notion of the white man’s burden. The empire proclaimed itself to be a protector of the Indian peasant exploitation by Indian elites. This was denounced as hypocrisy by nationalists like Dadabhoy Naoroji in the 19th century, who complained that land taxes led to an enormous drain from India to Britain. Objective calculations by historians like Angus Maddison suggest a drain of perhaps 1.6 percent of Indian Gross National Product in the 19th century. But land revenue was more or less fixed by the Raj in absolute terms, and so its real value diminished rapidly with inflation in the 20th century. By World War II, India had ceased to be a profit centre for the British Empire.

Historically, conquered nations paid taxes to finance fresh wars of the conqueror. India itself was asked to pay a large sum at the end of World War I to help repair Britain’s finances. But, as shown by historian Indivar Kamtekar, the independence movement led by Gandhiji changed the political landscape, and made mass taxation of India increasingly difficult. By World War II, this had become politically impossible. Far from taxing India to pay for World War II, Britain actually began paying India for its contribution of men and goods. Troops from white dominions like Australia, Canada and New Zealand were paid for entirely by these countries, but Indian costs were shared by the British government. Britain paid in the form of non-convertible sterling balances, which mounted swiftly. The conqueror was paying the conquered, undercutting the profitability on which all empire is founded. Churchill opposed this, and wanted to tax India rather than owe it money. But he was overruled by India hands who said India would resist payment, and paralyze the war effort. Leo Amery, Secretary of State for India, said that when you are driving in a taxi to the station to catch a life-or-death train, you do not loudly announce that you have doubts whether to pay the fare. Thus, World War II converted India from a debtor to a creditor with over one billion pounds in sterling balances. Britain, meanwhile, became the biggest debtor in the world. It’s not worth ruling over people you are afraid to tax.

17.    What was the main lesson the British learned from the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857?
1.   That the local princes were allies, not foes.
2.   That the land revenue from India would decline dramatically.
3.   That the British were a small ethnic group.
4.   That India would be increasingly difficult to rule.

18.    Why didn’t Britain tax India to finance its World War II efforts?
1.   Australia, Canada and New Zealand had offered to pay for Indian troops.
2.   India had already paid a sufficiently large sum during World War I.
3.   It was afraid that if India refused to pay, Britain’s war efforts would be jeopardised.
4.   The British empire was built on the premise that the conqueror pays the conquered.

19.    Which of the following was NOT a reason for the emergence of the ‘white man’s burden’ as a new rationale for empire-building in India?
1.   The emergence of the idea of the public good as an element of governance.
2.   The decreasing returns from imperial loot and increasing costs of conquest.
3.   The weakening of the immorality attached to an emperor’s looting behaviour.
4.   A growing awareness of the idea of equality among peoples.

20.     Which one of the following best expresses the main purpose of the author?
1.       To present the various reasons that can lead to the collapse of an empire and the granting of independence to the subjects of an empire.
2.       To point out the critical role played by the ‘white man’s burden’ in making a colonizing power give up its claims to native possessions.
3.       To highlight the contradictory impulse underpinning empire building which is a costly business but very attractive at the same time.
4.       To illustrate how erosion of the financial basis of an empire supports the granting of independence to an empire’s constituents.

21.     Which of the following best captures the meaning of the ‘white man’s burden’, as it is used by the author?
1.       The British claim to a civilizing mission directed at ensuring the good of the natives.
2.       The inspiration for the French and American revolutions.
3.       The resource drain that had to be borne by the home country’s white population.
4.       An imperative that made open looting of resources impossible.


At first sight, it looks as though panchayati raj, the lower layer of federalism in our polity, is as firmly entrenched in our system as in the older and higher layer comprising the Union Government and the States. Like the democratic institutions at the higher level, those at the panchayat level, the panchayati raj institutions (PRIs), are written into and protected by the Constitution. All the essential features, which distinguish a unitary system from a federal one, are as much enshrined at the lower as at the upper level of our federal system. But look closely and you will discover a fatal flow. The letter of the Constitution as well as the spirit of the present polity have exposed the intra-State level of our federal system to a dilemma of which the inter-State and Union-State layers are free. The flaw has many causes. But all of them are rooted in an historical anomaly, that while the dynamics of federalism and democracy have given added strength to the rights given to the States in the Constitution, they have worked against the rights of panchayats.

At both levels of our federal system there is the same tussle between those who have certain rights and those who try to encroach upon them if they believe they ran. Thus the Union Government was able to encroach upon certain rights given to the States by the Constitution. It got away with that because the single dominant party system, which characterised Centre-State relations for close upon two decades, gave the party in power at the Union level many extra-constitutional political levers. Second, the Supreme Court had not yet begun to extend the limits of its power. But all that has changed in recent times. The spurt given to a multi-party democracy by the overthrow of the Emergency in 1977 became a long-term trend later on because of the ways in which a vigorously democratic multi-party system works in a political society which is as assertively pluralistic as Indian society is. It gives political clout to all the various segments which constitute that society. Secondly, because of the linguistic reorganisation of States in the 1950s, many of the most assertive segments have found their most assertive expression as States. Thirdly, with single-party dominance becoming a thing of the past at the Union level, governments can be formed at that level only by multi-party coalitions in which State-level parties are major players. This has made it impossible for the Union Government to do much about anything unless it also carries a sufficient number of State-level parties with it. Indian Federalism is now more real than it used to be, but an unfortunate side-effect is that India’s panchayati raj system, inaugurated with such fanfare in the early 1980s, has become less real.

By the time the PRIs came on the scene, most of the political space in our federal system had been occupied by the Centre in the first 30 years of Independence, and most of what was still left after that was occupied by the States in the next 20. PRIs might have hoped to wrest some space from their immediate neighbour, the States, just as the States had wrested some from the Centre. But having at last managed to checkmate the Centre’s encroachments on their rights, the States were not about to allow the PRIs to do some encroaching of their own.

By the 1980s and early 1990s, the only national party left, the Congress, had gone deeper into a siege mentality. Finding itself surrounded by State-level parties, it had built walls against them instead of winning them over.
Next, the States retaliated by blocking Congress proposals for panchayati raj in Parliament, suspecting that the Centre would try to use panchayats to by-pass State Governments. The suspicion fed on the fact that the powers proposed by the Congress for panchayats were very similar to many of the more lucrative powers of State Governments. State-level leaders also feared, perhaps, that if panchayat-level leaders captured some of the larger PRIs, such as district-level panchayats, they would exert pressure on State-level leaders through intra-State multi-party federalism.

It soon became obvious to Congress leaders that there was no way the panchayati raj amendments they wanted to write into the Constitution would pass muster unless State-level parties were given their pound of flesh. The amendments were allowed only after it was agreed that the powers of panchayats could be listed in the Constitution. Illustratively, they would be defined and endowed on PRIs by the State Legislature acting at its discretion.

This left the door wide open for the States to exert the power of the new political fact that while the Union and State Governments could afford to ignore panchayats as long as the MLAs were happy, the Union Government had to be sensitive to the demands of State-level parties. This has given State-level actors strong beachheads on the shores of both inter-State and intra-State federalism. By using various administrative devices and non-elected parallel structures, State Governments have subordinated their PRIs to the State administration and given the upper hand to State Government officials against the elected heads of PRIs. Panchayats have become local agencies for implementing schemes drawn up in distant State capitals. And their own volition has been further circumscribed by a plethora of “Centrally-sponsored schemes”. These are drawn up by even more distant Central authorities but at the same time tie up local staff and resources on pain of the schemes being switched off in the absence of matching local contribution. The “foreign aid” syndrome can be clearly seen at work behind this kind of “grass roots development”.

22.  The central theme of the passage can be best summarized as:
1.       Our grassroots development at the panchayat level is now driven by the “foreign aid” syndrome.
2.       Panchayati raj is firmly entrenched at the lower level of our federal system of governance.
3.       A truly federal polity has not developed since PRIs have not been allowed the necessary political space.
4.       The Union government and State-level parties are engaged in a struggle for the protection of their respective rights.

23.  The sentence in the last paragraph, “And their own volition has been further circumscribed...”, refers to:
1.    The weakening of the local institutions’ ability to plan according to their needs.
2.    The increasing demands made on elected local leaders to match central grants with local contributions.
3.    The empowering of the panchayat system as implementers of schemes from State capitals.
4.    The process by which the prescribed Central schemes are reformulated by local elected leaders.

24.  What is the “dilemma” at the intra-State level mentioned in the first paragraph of the passage?
1.    Should the state governments wrest more space from the Union, before considering the panchayati system?
2.    Should rights similar to those that the States managed to get be extended to panchayats as well?
3.    Should the single party system which has withered away be brought back at the level of the States?
4.    Should the States get “their pound of flesh” before allowing the Union government to pass any more laws?

25.  Which of the following most closely describes the ‘fatal flaw’ that the passage refers to?
1.    The ways in which the democratic multi-party system works in an assertively pluralistic society like India’s are flawed.
2.    The mechanisms that our federal system uses at the Union government level to deal with States are imperfect.
3.    The instruments that have ensured federalism at one level have been used to achieve the opposite at another.
4.    The Indian Constitution and the spirit of the Indian polity are fatally flawed.

26.  Which of the following best captures the current state of Indian federalism as described in the passage?
       1.    The Supreme Court has not begun to extend the limits of its power.
2.    The multi-party system has replaced the single party system.
3.    The Union, state and panchayati raj levels have become real.
4.    There is real distribution of power between the Union and State level parties.


Fifteen years after communism was officially pronounced dead, its spectre seems once again to be haunting Europe. Last month, the Council of Europe’s parliamentary assembly voted to condemn the “crimes of totalitarian communist regimes,” linking them with Nazism and complaining that communist parties are still “legal and active in some countries.” Now Goran Lindblad, the conservative Swedish MP behind the resolution, wants to go further. Demands that European Ministers launch a continent-wide anti-communist campaign—including school textbook revisions, official memorial days, and museums—only narrowly missed the necessary two-thirds majority. Mr. Lindblad pledged to bring the wider plans back to the Council of Europe in the coming months.

He has chosen a good year for his ideological offensive: this is the 50th anniversary of Nikita Khrushchev’s denunciation of Josef Stalin and the subsequent Hungarian uprising, which will doubtless be the cue for further excoriation of the communist record. Paradoxically, given that there is no communist government left in Europe outside Moldova, the attacks have, if anything, become more extreme as time has gone on. A clue as to why that might be can be found in the rambling report by Mr. Lindblad that led to the Council of Europe declaration. Blaming class struggle and public ownership, he explained “different elements of communist ideology such as equality or social justice still seduce many” and “a sort of nostalgia for communism is still alive.” Perhaps the real problem for Mr. Lindblad and his right-wing allies in Eastern Europe is that communism is not dead enough—and they will only be content when they have driven a stake through its heart.

The fashionable attempt to equate communism and Nazism is in reality a moral and historical nonsense. Despite the cruelties of the Stalin terror, there was no Soviet Treblinka or Sorbibor, no extermination camps built to murder millions. Nor did the Soviet Union launch the most devastating war in history at a cost of more than 50 million lives—in fact it played the decisive role in the defeat of the German war machine. Mr. Lindblad and the Council of Europe adopt as fact the wildest estimates of those “killed by communist regimes” (mostly in famines) from the fiercely contested Black Book of Communism, which also underplays the number of deaths attributable to Hitler. But, in any case, none of this explains why anyone might be nostalgic in former communist states, now enjoying the delights of capitalist restoration. The dominant account gives no sense of how communist regimes renewed themselves after 1956 or why Western leaders feared they might overtake the capitalist world well into the 1960s. For all its brutalities and failures, communism in the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and elsewhere delivered rapid industrialization, mass education, job security, and huge advances in social and gender equality. Its existence helped to drive up welfare standards in the West, and provided a powerful counterweight to Western global domination.

It would be easier to take the Council of Europe’s condemnation of communist state crimes seriously if it had also seen fit to denounce the far bloodier record of European colonialism—which only finally came to an end in the 1970s. This was a system of racist despotism, which dominated the globe in Stalin’s time. And while there is precious little connection between the ideas of fascism and communism, there is an intimate link between colonialism and Nazism. The terms lebensraum and konzentrationslager were both first used by the German colonial regime in south-west Africa (now Namibia), which committed genocide against the Herero and Nama peoples and bequeathed its ideas and personnel directly to the Nazi party.

Around 10 million Congolese died as a result of Belgian forced labour and mass murder in the early twentieth century; tens of millions perished in avoidable or enforced famines in British-ruled India; up to a million Algerians died in their war for independence, while controversy now rages in France about a new law requiring teachers to put a positive spin on colonial history. Comparable atrocities were carried out by all European colonists, but not a word of condemnation from the Council of Europe. Presumably, European lives count for more.

No major twentieth century political tradition is without blood on its hands, but battles over history are more about the future than the past. Part of the current enthusiasm in official Western circles for dancing on the grave of communism is no doubt about relations with today’s Russia and China. But it also reflects a determination to prove there is no alternative to the new global capitalist order—and that any attempt to find one is bound to lead to suffering. With the new imperialism now being resisted in the Muslim world and Latin America, growing international demands for social justice and ever greater doubts about whether the environmental crisis can be solved within the existing economic system, the pressure for alternatives will increase.

27.  Among all the apprehensions that Mr. Goran Lindblad expresses against communism, which one gets admitted, although indirectly, by the author?
(1)  There is nostalgia for communist ideology even if communism has been abandoned by most European nations.
(2)  Notions of social justice inherent in communist ideology appeal to critics of existing systems.
(3)  Communist regimes were totalitarian and marked by brutalities and large scale violence.
(4)  The existing economic order is wrongly viewed as imperialistic by proponents of communism.
(5)  Communist ideology is faulted because communist regimes resulted in economic failures.

28.  What, according to the author, is the real reason for a renewed attack against communism?
(1)  Disguising the unintended consequences of the current economic order such as social injustice and environmental crisis.
(2)  Idealising the existing ideology of global capitalism.
(3)  Making communism a generic representative of all historical atrocities, especially those perpetrated by the European imperialists.
(4)  Communism still survives, in bits and pieces, in the minds and hearts of people.
(5)  Renewal of some communist regimes has led to the apprehension that communist nations might overtake the capitalists.

29.  The author cites examples of atrocities perpetrated by European colonial regimes in order to
(1)  compare the atrocities committed by colonial regimes with those of communist regimes.
(2)  prove that the atrocities committed by colonial regimes were more than those of communist regimes.
(3)  prove that, ideologically, communism was much better than colonialism and Nazism.
(4)  neutralize the arguments of Mr. Lindblad and to point out that the atrocities committed by colonial regimes were more than those of communist regimes.
(5)  neutralize the arguments of Mr. Lindblad and to argue that one needs to go beyond and look at the motives of these regimes.

30.  Why, according to the author, is Nazism closer to colonialism than it is to communism?
(1)  Both colonialism and Nazism were examples of tyranny of one race over another.
(2)  The genocides committed by the colonial and the Nazi regimes were of similar magnitude.
(3)  Several ideas of the Nazi regime were directly imported from colonial regimes.
(4)  Both colonialism and Nazism are based on the principles of imperialism.
(5)  While communism was never limited to Europe, both the Nazis and the colonists originated in Europe.

31.  Which of the following cannot be inferred as a compelling reason for the silence of the Council of Europe on colonial atrocities?
(1)  The Council of Europe being dominated by erstwhile colonialists.
(2)  Generating support for condemning communist ideology.
(3)  Unwillingness to antagonize allies by raking up an embarrassing past.
(4)  Greater value seemingly placed on European lives.
(5)  Portraying both communism and Nazism as ideologies to be condemned.



1.   (1)                           2.   (4)                            3.   (4)                           4.    (2)                            5.     (3)
6.   (3)                            7.    (3)                            8.    (1)                            9.       (1)                          10.      (4)
      11.  (3)                           12.   (3)                          13.    (2)                         14.     (3)                          15.      (4)
      16.  (1)                           17.   (4)                          18.    (3)                           19.   (3)                         20.         (4)
      21.  (1)                           22.    (3)                         23.    (1)                           24.   (2)                         25.   (3)
      26.  (4)                           27.   (3)                          28.   (2)                           29.   (5)                          30.   (1)
      31.  (4)                          

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