Mains Marathon

Answered: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – March 1

1.What do you understand by water harvesting? Mention any one instance that show that water harvesting existed during ancient India. (GS 3)

आप जल संचयन से क्या समझते हैं? कोई एक उदाहरण दें जिससे पता चले कि जल संचयन का अस्तित्व प्राचीन भारत के दौरान था।

Suggested Answer

Water harvesting :-

  • In general, water harvesting means capturing rain where it falls or capturing the run off in your own village or town. It is sometimes considered as the activity of direct collection of rainwater.The rainwater collected can be stored for direct use or can be recharged into the groundwater.
  • Water harvesting can be undertaken through a variety of ways

o   Capturing runoff from rooftops

o   Capturing runoff from local catchments

o   Capturing seasonal floodwaters from local streams

o   Conserving water through watershed management

Some of the instances which show water harvesting existed even during ancient India:-

  • Excavations show that the cities of the Indus Valley Civilisation had excellent systems of water harvesting and drainage. The settlement of Dholavira, laid out on a slope between two storm water channels, is a great example of water engineering.
  • Jhalaras are typically rectangular-shaped stepwells that have tiered steps on three or four sides.

o   Jhalaras were built to ensure easy and regular supply of water for religious rites, royal ceremonies and community use. The city of Jodhpur has eight jhalaras.

  • Bawarisare unique stepwells that were once a part of the ancient networks of water storage in the cities of Rajasthan. The little rain that the region received would be diverted to man-made tanks through canals built on the hilly outskirts of cities. The water would then percolate into the ground, raising the water table and recharging a deep and  intricate network of aquifers.

o   To minimise water loss through evaporation, a series of layered steps were built around the reservoirs to narrow and deepen the wells.

  • AharPynes are traditional floodwater harvesting systems indigenous to South Bihar.

o   Ahars are reservoirs with embankments on three sides that are built at the end of diversion channels like pynes.

o   Pynes are artificial rivulets led off from rivers to collect water in the ahars for irrigation in the dry months.  Paddy cultivation in this relatively low rainfall area depends mostly on aharpynes.

  • Johads, one of the oldest systems used to conserve and recharge ground water, are small earthen check dams that capture and store rainwater.

o   Several johads are interconnected through deep channels, with a single outlet opening into a river or stream nearby.

o   This prevents structural damage to the water pits that are also called madakas in Karnataka and pemghara in Odisha.

  • Dungs or Jampois:-

o   Dungs or Jampois are small irrigation channels linking rice fields to streams in the Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal.

  • Cheruvu:-

o   Cheruvu are found in Chitoor and Cuddapah districts in Andhra Pradesh. They are reservoirs to store runoff.

  • Bhanadaras:-

o   These are check dams or diversion weirs built across rivers. A traditional system found in Maharashtra, their presence raises the water level of the rivers so that it begins to flow into channels. They are also used to impound water and form a large reservoir.

  • Kere:

o   Tanks, called kere in Kannada, were the predominant traditional method of irrigation in the Central Karnataka Plateau, and were fed either by channels branching off from anicuts built across streams, or by streams in valleys.

o   The outflow of one tank supplied the next all the way down the course of the stream; the tanks were built in a series, usually situated a few kilometres apart.

o   This ensured a) no wastage through overflow, and b) the seepage of a tank higher up in the series would be collected in the next lower one.

  • Zings:-

o   Zings are water harvesting structures found in Ladakh.They are small tanks, in which collects melted glacier water.

o   Essential to the system is the network of guiding channels that brings the water from the glacier to the tank.

o    As glaciers melt during the day, the channels fill up with a trickle that in the afternoon turns into flowing water. The water collects towards the evening, and is used the next day.

  • Zabo:-

o   The zabo system is practiced in Nagaland in north-eastern India. Also known as the ruza system, it combines water conservation with forestry, agriculture and animal care.

  • Eri:-

o   Approximately one-third of the irrigated area of Tamil Nadu is watered by Eris (tanks).

o   Eris have played several important roles in maintaining ecological harmony as flood-control systems, preventing soil erosion and wastage of runoff during periods of heavy rainfall, and recharging the groundwater in the surrounding areas.

2.Discuss the impact of Brahmo movement in bringing religious reform. (GS 1)

धार्मिक सुधार लाने में ब्रह्म आंदोलन के प्रभाव पर चर्चा करें।

Suggested Answer

Brahmo movement:

Impact of brahmo movement in bringing religious reforms:

  • It impacted all fields of social reform, including abolition of the caste systemand of the dowry systememancipation of women, and improving the educational system.
  • The role of the Brahmo movement as the ‘first intellectual movement which spread the ideas of rationalism and enlightenment in modern India’ cannot be over-emphasized.
  • Itsliberal approach to social and religious questions won the approbation of Europeans and Indiansalike. 
  • Its educational and social reform activities instilled a new confidence which, in turn,
    contributed to the growth of national movement. A number of BrahmoSamajists were later prominent in the struggle of Independence.
  • It denounced polytheism and idol worship. 
  • It discarded faith in divine incarnations.
  • It denied that any scripture could enjoy the status of ultimate authority transcending
    human reason and conscience
  • It took no definite stand on the doctrine of karma and transmigration of soul and left it
    to individual Brahmos to believe either way
  • It criticized the caste system.
  • The movement gave the upcoming middle class cultural roots and reduced the sense of
    humiliation that the British powers had created
  • Modern, rational, secular, and scientific outlook was promoted realizing the need of the
    modern era.
    The reformers aimed at modernisation rather than outright westernization. A
    favourable social climate was created to end India’s cultural and intellectual isolation from the world.


  • Narrow Social Base :
    • Reform in practice in any case affected a very small minority.
    • Only the educated and urban middle class was involved in the social reform movement, while the needs of vast majority of peasants and the urban poor were ignored.
  • Movement did not reach rural India 
    • Given the situation of widespread illiteracy in the rural areas and because of the absence of modern and diversified communications network, they were doomed to have a very limited audience, mainly urban-based.
    • Thus even in terms of its practical appeal the movement remained urban, besides its other limitations.
  • Casteism remained strong
    • Caste distinctions remained strong and the religious and social practices did not die away. Caste and customs proved to be hard to eradicate from Indian consciousness.
    • The tendency of the reformers to appeal to the greatness of the past and to rely on scriptural authority led to compartmentalizing religions as also alienating high caste Hindus from lower caste Hindus.
  • Communal Consciousness

Overemphasis on religious, philosophical aspects of culture while underemphasizing secular aspects led to the Hindus praising ancient Indian History and Muslims confining to the medieval history. This created a notion of two separate segments of people and increased communal consciousness.

3.What do you understand by ‘wisdom’? Do you think that we need more wise people in administration than intelligent ones? (GS 4)

आप ‘ज्ञान’ से क्या समझते हैं? क्या आपको लगता है कि हम बुद्धिमान लोगों की तुलना में प्रशासन में अधिक ज्ञानी लोगों की ज़रूरत है?

Suggested Answer


More wise administrators are needed than intelligent ones because:

  • A wise person is someone who, although probably has better than average raw Intelligence, has the rare talent of seeing not only the logical results of an action, but its unintended consequences and can weigh the moral benefits each, therefore consistently making better decisions based on the best probable outcome for all.
  • It is much more desirable to be extremely wise because extreme intelligence, alone, cannot always make the right decision.
  • Only intelligent people can’t or won’t act “for the common good” when they are faced with conflict between multiple parties or priorities. They refuse to consider “right action” or the well-being of the group, team or community in favor of relying on the conventional perspective or their own personal goals.
  • Wisdom includes the ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting.It is insight. Also, wisdom requires control of one’s emotional reactions so that universal principles, reason and knowledge prevail in determining one’s actions.
  • When one faces with ethical dilemma it is the wisdom which helps the administrator to choose the right decision.
  • In building relationships Wisdom acts even better than emotional intelligence.
  • Intelligent administrator may be able to detect the problem like the corruption or reasons for not implementing a certain government scheme and suggest solutions but a wise administrator would be able to take mesures to prevent the problem in the first place itself.

However mere wisdom is not enough sometimes more intelligent ones are needed because:-

  • Intelligence can not be neglected as it helps in making the system more efficient.

A proper balance of wisdom and intelligence is necessary for reaching balanced decisions in public interest.A wise administrator is tend to be intelligent which is not the same in the reverse way.


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