Mains Marathon

Answered: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – February 28

Mains Marathon UPSC Answer writing

1.What do you understand by the policy of ‘divide and rule’? Briefly discuss the important features of British policy of divide and rule. (GS 1)

आप ‘फूट डालो और राज करो’ की नीति से क्या समझते हैं? संक्षेप में ‘फूट डालो और राज करो’ की ब्रिटिश नीति के महत्वपूर्ण सुविधाओं पर चर्चा करें।

Suggested AnswerPolicy of divide and rule:

  • The policy of ‘divide and rule’ is seen as a mechanism used throughout history to maintain imperial rule. It identifies pre-existing ethno-religious divisions in society and then manipulates them in order to prevent subject peoples’ unified challenge to rule by outsiders.
  • Creating or encouraging divisions among the subjects to prevent alliances that could challenge the sovereign aiding and promoting those who are willing to cooperate with the sovereign fostering distrust and enmity between local rulers encouraging meaningless expenditures that reduce the capability for political and military spending
  • The concept refers to a strategy that breaks up existing power structures, and especially prevents smaller power groups from linking up, causing rivalries and fomenting discord among the people.
  • Historically, this strategy was used in many different ways by empires seeking to expand their territories.
  • It’s an age old idea having roots dating back to Roman empire.

Important features of British policy of divide and rule:

  • From the start the British and French backed various Indian states in conflicts between each other, both as a means of undermining each other’s influence and consolidating their authority.
  • By 1858, when British Empirical rule was established firmly in India, the rulers started playing Indians against one another for instance princes against people; Hindu against Muslims; caste against castes; and provinces against provinces. British rulers adopted the policy of “Divide and rule”.

o   British realized that as long as they adroitly exploited the religious, linguistic and historical divisions that marked Indian society they were relatively safe.

  • Organisation of the army:

o   Rajputs, Brahmins and upper class Muslims were mostly removed from the Army for the revolt. By having loyal minority groups form the Army, Britain ensured that the majority doesn’t influence the army.

o   Martial and Non martial state categories– post 1857 revolt, the states which suported British were encouraged by employing more people in the army- example Punjab and Nepal. Whereas those state which were against British were not rewarded. There again British divided the states of India.

  • Appeasing zamindars and princely states :

o   Preserving, or increasing the authority of Zamindar through formally recognising, classifying and creating a taxonomy of the Princely States

o   Sale of equipment and training to the Armies of the Princely states.

o   Introduce restrictive recruitment policies for the Civil service, that ensured only those either brought up or well versed in British culture, could obtain well paid employment.

o   Creating new classes like Zamindar pitched against sharecroppers through new land revenue system. Such elite class hardly ever opposed British oppression


  • Racial divisions:

o    One of the earliest means of divisions were based on race. The English people believed that India was divided into 2 main races- Aryans and the Dravidians.

  • Partition of Bengal:

o   Lord Curzon partitioned Bengal in 1905 along religious lines. Indian regions were seldom organized by religious lines until then.

  • Lastly they devoted their attention to backward castes:

o   After gaining the loyalty of Muslims, during the second half of the nineteenth century with the formation of Muslim league and separate electorates in Minto Morley reforms, the British turned their attention to uplift non-Brahmin castes and to secure their confidence.

o   Rulers encouraged Non -Brahmins leaders to form their political pressure groups on the basis of castes and raise their voice against Brahmins.

o   The policies, which they adopted for fulfilling the objectives, were following:-

  • Introduction of Modern Education system:
  • In 1835 introduction of modern education and in 1844, announcement of making knowledge of English as compulsory for government employment paved way for imperial designs and created rift in the Indian society.
  • In the near absence of industrial, commercial or social service activity, the educated Indians depended entirely on Government jobs. This led to a keen competition between different sections of Indian society. British rulers took advantage of the diversities that already existed in India for centuries
  • Resevations in educational institutions and government jobs
  • Start of Census Operations:
  • Census operations were also used for the purpose of further splitting the Hindu community. It created political identities in India. Census operation, introduction of electoral politics and suggestion of the Census Commission for 1911 Census, to exclude untouchables, from Hinduism, had made position of untouchables prominent in Indian political scene.
  • Demands were readily accepted through Communal Award of 1932
  • All these measures served a double purpose they got the credit for the amelioration and protection of the lowly. Also the distribution of power on communal basis kept balance of power and prolonged their rule in India by keeping the natives busy in their in-fights.
  • Partition:-

o   After 1940during Second World War period, they decided to quit India.

o   Even then, British rulers played their game and divided the country into two India and Pakistan.

  • Not only in India but During Britishrule of Nigeria from 1900 to 1960, different regions were frequently reclassified for administrative purposes. The conflict between the Igbo and Hausa made it easier for the British to consolidate their power in the region.


  • The Constitution of India, through Articles 14, 15 and 16, guaranteed equality of opportunity to all citizens relating to advancement and employment or appointment to any office under the State.
  • However it also allowed the Government to make special provisions in favour of any backward class of citizens.

2.How did Quit India movement start? What is its significance in India’s struggle for independence? (GS 1)

भारत छोड़ो आंदोलन कैसे प्रारंभ हुआ? भारत के स्वतंत्रता संघर्ष में इसका महत्व क्या है?

Suggested Answer


This mega movement also known as the August Movement of India or the Bharat ChhodoAndolan was launched in August 1942.

How did Quit movement start?

  • Second worldwar:
    • It all started in the year 1939, when the British Governor-General of India, Lord Linlithgow, brought India into the second world war without its consultation.
  • Immediate cause of QIM was the failure of Cripps mission.The talks between Cripps and Indian nationals failed.
  • Japan’s role:
    • o The attitude of Gandhi and Congress changed because in the Second World War the Japanese were triumphing and they had already overrun Singapore and Malaya. They were nearly reaching Burma and India.
    • o So Wardha Resolution also known as “Quit India Resolution” was passed in 1942.
    • o The resolution also proposed civil disobedience if the British did not agree to the demands.
  • It was realized that any further silence would be tantamount to accept the right of the British government to decide India’s fate without any reference to the wishes of her people.
  • Economic reasons:
    • o That was also a time of a rising inflation and the acute shortage of food stuffs.
  • Political:
    • o There was a general demoralization of the Congress leaders because of British actions.
    • o The rioting in the major cities of India like Bihar, caused supplies for British troops to become blocked making it increasing harder for the troops to protect the east boarder of India from Japan, and to continue trying to restore order and peace.


  • The ‘Quit India’ movement, more than anything, united the Indian people against British rule.
  • Famous slogan “Do or Die”was given by Mahatma Gandhi during this movement
  • One more feature to be noticed in this connection was the refusal of Gandhi to condemn the violence of the masses.
  • The Quit India movement was the spontaneous participation of the masses compared to the earlier non-cooperation and civil disobedience movements.
  • The great significance of this historic movement was that it placed the demand for independence on the immediate agenda of the national movement.
  • Student participation in full was a special character of this agitation.
  • But the most notable feature of the Quit India Movement was the total opposition to it offered by the Communist Party. Communists obstructed the nationalist activity by aligning them­selves with the imperialists and their minions.
  • It was during this movement that the British realized that they would not be able to govern India successfully in the long run and began to think of ways they could exit the country in a peaceful and dignified manner.This movement finalized the Independence of India and transfer of power.
  • It kept the Congress Party united all through these challenging times.
  • Mass participation:
    • o It instilled a new confidence among the Indian masses and aroused a spirit of total sacrifice in them.
    • o The movement attracted participation from a large number of people including such varied professions as peasants, workers, lawyers, teachers, soldiers, etc. Men and women of all age groups formed the cadre of the movement.
    • o It was essentially spontaneous mass upheaval.
  • The most important feature of Quit India Movement was the absence of religious communal riot during the movement of 1942.

3.How does soil erosion takes place? How do you prevent soil erosion? (GS 1)

मिट्टी का कटाव किस तरह होता है? आप मिट्टी का कटाव कैसे रोक सकते हैं?

Suggested Answer


  • Soil erosion is the removal of soil by the force of nature,particularly wind and water more rapidly than the various soil forming processes can replace it.Water and wind are the most important factors which are simultaneously engaged in soil formation and soil erosion.


  • It mainly takes place due to man’s ill judged activities such as deforestation,over grazing and faulty methods of cultivation.Intensiveagriculture,roads, anthropogenic climate changeand urban sprawl are amongst the most significant human activities in regard to their effect on stimulating erosion.
  • Deforestationcauses increased erosion rates due to exposure of mineral soil by removing the humus and litter layers from the soil surface,removing the vegetative cover that binds soil together,and causing heavy soil compaction from logging equipment. Severe fires can lead to significant further erosion if followed by heavy rainfall
  • Excessive grazing by cattle on the slopes of hills cause rapid soil erosion.Heavy grazingreduces vegetative cover and causes severe soil compaction, both of which increase erosion rates.
  • With the increase in human population,demand for land is increasing at a rapid pace and forest and other natural vegetation is removed,exposing the soil to the forces of erosion.
  • Soil erosion by water takes place in the form of sheet and gully erosion.

o   Sheet erosion takes place on level lands after a heavy shower and the soil removal is not easily noticeable.But it is harmful since it removes the finer and more fertile top soil.

o   Water and wind erosion are the two primary causes of land degradation; combined, they are responsible for about 84% of the global extent of degraded land, making excessive erosion one of the most significant environmental problems worldwide.

o   Off-site effects include sedimentation of waterways and eutrophication of water bodies, as well as sediment-related damage to roads and houses.

  • On-site impacts include decreases in agricultural productivityand ecological collapse, both because of loss of the nutrient-rich upper soil layers. In some cases, the eventual end result is desertification.

o   Unsustainable agricultural practices are the single greatest contributor to the global increase in erosion rates.

o   The tillage of agricultural lands, which breaks up soil into finer particles, is one of the primary factors. The problem has been exacerbated in modern times, due to mechanized agricultural equipment that allows for deep plowing, which severely increases the amount of soil that is available for transport by water erosion.

o   Others include mono-cropping, farming on steep slopes,  pesticideand chemical fertilizer usage ,row-cropping, and the use of surface irrigation

o   Desertification and loss of biological potential will restrict the transformation of dry lands into productive ecosystem.Currently, 25 per cent of India’s total land is undergoing desertification while 32 per cent is facing degradation.

  • Rainfall, and the surface runoffwhich may result from rainfall, produces four main types of soil erosion: splash erosion, sheet erosion, rill erosion, and gully erosion.
  • Urbanizationhas major effects on erosion processes first by denuding the land of vegetative cover, altering drainage patterns, and compacting the soil during construction and next by covering the land in an impermeable layer of asphalt or concrete that increases the amount of surface runoff and increases surface wind speeds.


  • As much as 105.19 million hectares (Mha) of the country’s total geographical area of 328.73 Mha is being degraded.

How to prevent soil erosion?

  • The most effective known method for erosion prevention is to increase vegetative cover on the land, which helps prevent both wind and water erosion
    • o Terracingis an extremely effective means of erosion control, which has been practiced for thousands of years by people all over the world.The practice of tilling sloped land along lines of consistent elevation in order to conserve rainwater and to reduce soil losses from surface erosion. Contour farming act as reservoirs to catch and retain rainwater, thus permitting increased infiltration and
      more uniform distribution of the water.
    • o Traditional planting methods, such as mixed-cropping (instead of monocropping) and crop rotation have also been shown to significantly reduce erosion rates.
    • o Applying a layer of mulch and fertilizer over the soil. The mulch and fertilizer layer will assist the soil to soak in water slowly and it will also lessen the impact of rainfall as it penetrates through to the soil
    • o The retaining wall will act as a shield for the soil and prevent soil erosion from occurring
  • Matting:
    • o One of the most common products which are most commonly used on residential properties, vegetation crops and vacant land is matting. Matting is available in wood fibres which make it environmentally friendly and biodegradable. The matting will be placed on the soils surface and prevent erosion from occurring. The matting will allow plants, crops and trees to grow through it and the soil will be healthy and stabilized.
  • Another measure that maintains soil cover is green cane harvesting or ‘trash blanketing’. When a cane crop is harvested, the leaves and tops of the cane are left on the ground as a ‘trash blanket’. This protects the soil from erosion by raindrop impact.
  • Geotextiles:
    • o Using geotextiles is an effective method because it also stabilizes soil. When used in conjunction with growing vegetation, it is even more effective.
  • Creation of windbreakers by planting evergreen trees around gardens or farmland, to prevent the wind blowing away the soil.
    • o Windbreakers helps in protecting crops from damage caused by strong & severe wind and improve plant health, quality and yield. Crop protected from wind are able to retainsignificantly more moisture.
  • Government measures:
    • o To check soil erosion by Jhum cultivation, a programme of educating the tribal people has been taken by the govt. of India
    • o Soil health card
    • o KCC
    • o Green phablet ,Green Sim , from ICRISAT
  • International lessons:
    • o Green wall of China project:
      • The end target is the creation of 405 million hectares of new forest covering 42 per cent of China’s territory and increasing global forest cover by 10 per cent.
      • The goal of this new tree line is to prevent erosion and desertification by creating a barrier of stable soil across the north of the country. The Chinese project to halt desertification in its tracks can serve as an apt benchmark for India

Goal 15 of the SDG’s specifically advocates protection, restoration and promotion of sustainable terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, comba


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