Modern History Previous Year Questions (PYQs) | UPSC Mains Examination

Modern History Previous Year Questions (PYQs)| UPSC Mains Examination

On this page, you will find all the updates related to the previous year’s questions of the subject Modern History for the UPSC IAS Mains examination.

General Studies Paper 1 of the UPSC mains exam encompasses a wide array of subjects, including history, art and culture, geography, and society. History holds a significant position within this paper, and questions are posed on various aspects such as the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues,  the Indian Freedom Struggle — its various stages, and important contributors/contributions from different parts of the country and Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.

Modern history can also be relevant in essay writing and ethics papers, where candidates may be asked to analyze historical events, their ethical dimensions, and their impact on contemporary society.

Q.1) What was the difference between Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore in their approach towards education and nationalism? [Answer in 150 words] [10 Marks] [2023]

Q.2) How did colonial rule affect the tribal in India and what was the tribal response to colonial oppression? [250 Words] [15 Marks] [2023]

Q.3) Why did the armies of the British East India Company–mostly comprising of Indian soldiers–win consistently against the more numerous and better equipped armies of the Indian rulers? Give reasons. [Answer in 150 words] [10 Marks][2022]

Q.4) Why was there a sudden spurt in famines in colonial India since the mid-eighteenth century? Give reasons.[Answer in 150 words][10 Marks][2022]

Q.5) Bring out the constructive programmes of Mahatma Gandhi during Non-Cooperation Movement and Civil Disobedience Movement.[250 Words] [15 Marks] [2021]

Q.6) To what extent did the role of the Moderates prepare a base for the wider freedom movement? Comment.[250 Words] [15 Marks] [2021]

Q.7) Trace the rise and growth of socio-religious reform movements with special reference to Young Bengal and Brahmo Samaj. [150 Words] [10 Marks] [2021]

Q.8) Evaluate the policies of Lord Curzon and their long-term implication on the national movement. [150 Words] [10 Marks] [2020]

Q.9) Since the decade of the 1920s, the national movement acquired various ideological strands and thereby expanded its social base. Discuss. [250 Words] [15 Marks] [2020]

Q.10) The 1857 uprising was the culmination of the recurrent, big and small local rebellions that had occurred in the preceding hundred years of British rule. Elucidate. [150 Words] [10 Marks] [2019]

Q.11) Examine the linkages between the nineteenth century’s ‘Indian Renaissance’ and the emergence of national identity. [150 Words] [10 Marks] [2019]

Q.12) Many voices had strengthened and enriched the nationalist movement during the Gandhian phase. Elaborate. [250 Words] [15 Marks] [2019]

Q.13) Assess the role of British imperial power in complicating the process of transfer of power during the 1940s. [250 Words] [15 Marks] [2019]

Q.14) Throw light on the significance of the thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi in the present times.[150 Words] [10 Marks] [2018]

Q.15) Clarify how mid-eighteenth-century India was beset with the spectre of a fragmented polity. [150 Words] [10 Marks] [2017]

Q.16) Why did the ‘Moderates’ failed to carry conviction with the nation about their proclaimed ideology and political goals by the end of the nineteenth century? [150 Words] [10 Marks] [2017]

Q.17) Examine how the decline of traditional artisan industry in colonial India crippled the rural economy. [250 Words] [15 Marks] [2017]

Q.18) Highlight the importance of the new objectives that got added to the vision of Indian Independence since the twenties of the last century. [250 Words] [15 Marks] [2017]

Q.19) Explain how the upraising of 1857 constitutes an important watershed in the evolution of British policies towards colonial India. [200 Words] [12.5 Marks] [2016]

Q.20) Discuss the role of women in the freedom struggle especially during the Gandhian phase.[200 Words] [12.5 Marks] [2016]

Q.21) Highlight the differences in the approach of Subhash Chandra Bose and Mahatma Gandhi in the struggle for freedom. [200 Words] [12.5 Marks] [2016]

Q.22) How difficult would have been the achievement of Indian independence without Mahatma Gandhi? Discuss. [200 Words] [12.5 Marks] [2015]

Q.23) Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. B R Ambedkar, despite having divergent approaches and strategies, had a common goal of amelioration of the downtrodden. Elucidate. [200 Words] [12.5 Marks] [2015]

Q.24) Examine critically the various facets of economic policies of the British in India from mid-eighteenth century till independence. [150 Words] [10 Marks] [2014]

Q.25) In what ways did the naval mutiny prove to be the last nail in the coffin of British colonial aspirations in India? [150 Words] [10 Marks] [2014]

Q.26) What were the major political, economic and social developments in the world which motivated the anti-colonial struggle in India? [150 Words] [10 Marks] [2014]

Q.27) Defying the barriers of age, gender and religion, the Indian women became the torchbearer during the struggle for freedom in India. Discuss. [200 Words] [10 Marks] [2013]

Q.28) Several foreigners made India their homeland and participated in various movements.Analyze their role in the Indian struggle for freedom. [200 Words] [10 Marks] [2013]

Q.29) In many ways, Lord Dalhousie was the founder of modern India. Elaborate. [200 Words] [10 Marks] [2013]

Trends of Modern History PYQs For UPSC Mains

In recent years, the examination trend has shown that questions related to Modern India typically carry a weightage of 25 to 40 marks, while the number of questions on modern India in the last 4 years has remained consistent ( around 2-3 questions).
Therefore, it is crucial for candidates to thoroughly analyze and practice the previous year’s questions (PYQs) on topics mentioned under Modern History in the UPSC official syllabus to enhance their preparation.

The mains questions for Modern history in recent years have covered a wide range of topics. In 2023, questions were on Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore, colonial rule affects on tribals of India. In 2022, questions delved into subjects like the reason behind the sudden spurt in famines in colonial India and the armies of the Britishers. The 2021 examination included a question regarding the non-cooperation Movement and Civil Disobedience Movement, moderates, and socio-religious reform movements. In 2020, there were two questions, related to the Indian national movement and policies of Lord Curzon. This diversity of topics underscores the significance of a comprehensive understanding of modern history for UPSC Mains. The practice of PYQs can allow candidates to get a better idea of the type of question asked and tailor their preparation accordingly.

YearTotal Marks  weightage
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