Answered: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – May 31

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1. The French Revolution became the classic example of a revolution which many nations tried to emulate. Discuss the biggest achievements of the French Revolution.(GS 1)



  • The French revolution obviously had a major impact on Europe and the New World.
  • Historians widely regard the Revolution as one of the most important events in human history.

The biggest achievements of French revolution are:-

  • The French Revolution had a major impact on Europe and the New World.
  • Economy:-
    • Rural France became more a land of small independent farms.
    • Harvest taxes were ended,  much to the relief of the peasants.
    • It changed the course of human history, bringing an end to feudalism and making a path for future advances in broadly defined freedom of an individual.
  • Social:
    • Because all the children had a share in the family’s property, there was a declining birth rate.
    • Workers acquired rights
    • Free land was a reality
    • Agricultural reforms
  • Political:
    • held out the promise of rule by law under a constitutional order, but it did not rule out a monarch.
    • It helped in the emancipation of the individual, in greater division of landed property, the abolition of the privileges of noble birth, the establishment of equality, the simplification of life.
    • After the French revolution especially in France power to rule actually stayed with people.The king was a figurehead, the nobility had lost all their titles .
    • The impact on French nationalism was profound. Napoleon became such a heroic symbol of the nation that the glory was easily picked up by his nephew, who was overwhelmingly elected president
    • Nationalism became a powerful force in all European Countries
    • Constitutionalism was accepted
    • Declarations of Rights had been made three times
    • Right to Property declared
  • Concerns:
    • Actual constitution of 1799 was a farce.
    • These Declarations were more form than substance. In 1799 they
      were omitted.
    • Flagrantly violated in the Terror, equality and security were
      prefered to liberty (1799)
    • It was never really tried, the Dictatorship began in
  • Religious:
  • Concerns:
    • No religious freedom, strong anti-Protestant & anti-semitic
      feelings arose

2. What was New Imperialism? How was it different from the earlier version?(GS 1)


New imperialism:-

  • New Imperialism was a period of colonial expansion by European powers,Japan and USA during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
  • The period is distinguished by an unprecedented pursuit of overseas territorial acquisitions.
  • At the time, states focused on building their empires with new technological advances and developments, making their territory bigger through conquest, and exploiting their resources.
  • During the era of New Imperialism, the Western powers (and Japan) conquered almost all of Africa and parts of Asia.
  • The new wave of imperialism reflected ongoing rivalries among the powers, the economic desire for new resources and markets, and a civilizing mission ethos.
  • Many of the colonies established during this era gained independence during the era of decolonisation that followed WWII.

How is it different from the previous version:

Old Imperialism


New Imperialism (1870-1914)


Economic causes:

·         God, Glory, and Gold

·         Sought precious metals and goods
they could not produce

·         Sought new routes to Asia


Economic causes:

·         Cheap, certain raw materials

·         Colonies functioned as markets for
manufactured goods

·         Large profits with minimum risks

·         Military bases and materials

·         Outlet for surplus population



·         Primarily Roman Catholic missionary zeal


·         As much Protestant missionary  activity as Catholic


Geographic focus:

·         Africa—coastal
Asia—coastal, islands

·         Americas—primary focus for

Geographic focus:

·         Sub-Saharan Africa divided up
South and southeast Asia colonized

·         Spheres of influence—Asia



·         Ocean-going vessels

·         Cannon

·         Muskets

·         Writing



·         Quinine

·         Machine gun

·         Railroad

·         Telegraph

·         Steamboat




·         Aspect of exploration and Commercial Revolution

·         Africa and Asia—more commercial

·         Explored for new trade routes

·         Americas more a land empire

·         Founded settlements
Established rule


·         Aspect of Industrial Revolution

·         Africa and Asia land empires

·         Pushed social reforms and western

·         Spread blessings of Western culture


·         Large geographic areas under single nation

·         British established permanent
colonies with limited self-rule

·         Spain—subjected conquered people
to system of forced labor

·         Not interested in territorial acquisitions
and war, though they did occur


·         Smaller colonial areas

·         British relied on indirect rule

·         Other powers ruled directly through
paternalism and assimilation

·         Not result of coherent planning

·         With telegraph, more control from
mother country

·         More racism and segregation


·         State-supported in Java and India



·         Africa

·         not state education

·         left to Missionaries;

·         higher education not promoted

·         Asia

·         More access to higher education

·         Superiority of Western learning and
culture stressed

·         ultimately provoked anti-colonial resistance and nationalism



Resistance to Colonial Rule :-

·         Natives of New Mexico revolted against Spanish settlers

Resistance to Colonial Rule :-

·         Algerians and East Africans failed in
resistance attempts

Leading states:

·         1500s: Portugal & Spain

·         1600s :France, Britain, &


Leading states:

·         Great Britain

·         France

·         Germany

·         USA

·         Italy

·         Belgium

·         Russia


Impact of colonization:


·         Death of natives from war and
European diseases

·         Breakdown of traditions

·         Positive
Global exchange of food items and


Impact of colonization:

·         Negative:

·         Death of natives from war and
European diseases

·         Economic exploitation

·         Arbitrary political divisions

·         Breakdown of traditions

·         Positive

·         Reduced local warfare

·         Unification

·         Modernization

·         Raised standards of living


Reason for End:-

Nations lost interest because:

·         Napoleonic Wars

·         Nationalistic movements

·         Industrial development

·         Cost of colonies outweighed benefits


Reasons for end:

WorldWar I and

Native uprisings



3. Discuss how maternal undernourishment is a potent contributor to child stunting in India.(GS 2)


How maternal undernourishment is a potent contributor to child stunting in India:-

  • UNICEF report shows that an estimated 195 million children under age 5 in developing countries suffer from stunting, a consequence of chronic nutritional deprivation that begins in the period before birth if the mother is undernourished.
  • Of these, more than 90 per cent are in Asia and Africa.
  • Maternal undernutrition affects a woman’s chances of surviving pregnancy as well as her child’s health.
  • Women who were stunted as girls, whose nutritional status was poor when they conceived or who didn’t gain enough
    weight during pregnancy may deliver babies with low birthweight. These infants in turn may never recoup from their early disadvantage.
  • Like other undernourished
    children, they may be susceptible to infectious disease and death, and as adults they may face a higher risk of chronic
    illness such as heart disease and diabetes.
  • Thus the health of the child is inextricably linked to the health of the mother.
  • A woman’s low weight for height or
    anaemia during pregnancy can lead to low birthweight and continued undernutrition in her children.
  • At the same time, maternal undernutrition increases the risk of maternal death during childbirth.
  • Household food security, often influenced by such factors as poverty, drought and other emergencies, has an important role in determining the state of child and maternal nutrition in many countries.
  • Short stature of the mother and poor maternal nutrition stores increase the risk of Intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR).
  • The level of maternal nutrition during pregnancy can affect newborn body size and composition.
    • Iodine-deficiency in mothers usually causes brain damage in their offspring, and some cases cause extreme physical and mental retardation.
    • This affects the children’s ability to achieve their full potential.
    • In 2011 UNICEF reported that thirty percent of households in the developing world were not consuming iodized salt, which accounted for 41 million infants and newborns in whom iodine deficiency could still be prevented.
  • Other factors include:-
    • A study in Pakistan revealed that
      the majority of infants with signs of undernutrition hadmothers with virtually no schooling.
    • Women’s social status in many developing countries, the low status of women is considered to be one of the primary determinants of undernutrition across the life cycle.
    • Women’s low status can result in their own health outcomes being compromised,
      which in turn can lead to lower infant birthweight and may affect the quality of infant care and nutrition.
    • A study in India showed that women with higher autonomy were significantly less likely to have a stunted child when compared with their peers who had less autonomy.
    • Infants born to young mothers who are not fully developed are found to have low birth weights.
    • Maternal body size is strongly associated with the size of newborn children.

What needs to be done?

  • Evidence of successful programmes
    in a number of countries – salt iodization,vitamin A supple-
    mentation, exclusive breastfeeding and community-based treatment of severe acute malnutrition – shows that this can
    be done rapidly and effectively, and the experiences gained in these programmes can be used as a guide.
  • An improvement in the status of women including access to education and health care, a higher  degree of decision-making power and gender equality  will contribute to marked and sustained improvements in child  nutrition.
  • A global momentum is needed that will entail unified and compelling advocacy among governments, lead organizations and institutions.
  • Enhanced advocacy and resources,
    in combination with strengthened collaboration and effective coordination at the international level, should be
    reflected at the country level, with clear national ownership and leadership.


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