13 April 2024 RAS Mains Answer Writing

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Subject – Indian History

Topic -Imperialism and Colonialism in Asia and Africa, Impact of World Wars

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Q1 What were the key objectives and outcomes of the Berlin Conference in the late 19th century?(2M)

Berlin conference (1884-1885) :

Objective: organized by major European powers of that time to establish guidelines for the acquisition of African territories, aiming to avoid potential rivalries and conflicts.

Participants: The participating countries were Britain, Germany, France, Belgium, Portugal, and Italy. However, there was no African representation.


  1. The General Act of Berlin can be seen as the formalization of the Scramble for Africa.
  2. The partitioning of Africa into spheres of influence based on the Principle of Effective (De facto) Occupation : it disregarded ethnic, cultural, and linguistic differences, leading to later conflicts.

Q2 Conditions favoring the growth of imperialism in the 19th century(5M)
  1. Industrial Revolution Demands: Increased production and capitalist motives drove nations to seek new markets and raw materials.
  2. Improvements in Transportation: Steamships and railroads facilitated faster trade and exploitation of conquered areas.
  3. Extreme Nationalism: Intense nationalism fueled by pride and power aspirations led to a race for colonies.
  4. ‘Civilizing Mission’ Ideology: The belief in bringing civilization to ‘backward’ peoples justified imperial expansion.
  5. Role of Explorers and Missionaries: Their reports and endeavors paved the way for colonization.
  6. Weak Governance in Asia and Africa: Lack of industrialization and weak governance made these regions vulnerable to European conquest.

Q3 How did World War I shape global politics, societies, and economies?(10M)

World War I, often referred to as the “Great War,” was a global conflict that took place from 1914 to 1918 between central powers vs allied forces

Impact on Global Politics:

  1. Disintegration of Austro-Hungarian Empire
  2. End of Absolute Monarchies: Absolute monarchies in Austria, Germany, Turkey (Ottoman Empire), and Russia came to an end, marking a transformative shift in governance structures.
  3. Strengthening of the Slogan of Self-Determination:
    • The principle of self-determination gained prominence, leading to the growth of democracy in newly formed states such as Czechoslovakia, Lithuania, and Latvia. In Turkey, Kamal Pasha established a republican government.
  4. Rise of New Ideologies:
    • Socialism: The Bolshevik Revolution in Russia marked the rise of socialism.
    • Fascism: Italy, under Mussolini, witnessed the emergence of fascism.
    • Nazism: Germany, under Hitler, saw the rise of Nazism.
    • Militarism: Japan experienced a surge in militarism.
  5. Emergence of the United States and Japan:
    • The United States played a significant role by lending over $10 billion to the allies under the “Liberty Loan Program.”
    • The U.S. military industry thrived, and President Wilson actively participated in peace conferences.
  6. Establishment of the League of Nations (LoN): to foster permanent peace and international cooperation.
    • Simultaneously, the International Labour Organization (ILO) was formed.
  7. Paris Peace Conference and Peace Treaties:
    • Peace treaties, based on Woodrow Wilson’s 14 points, were formulated.
    • Principles included self-government, state reorganization along ethnic lines, and overall disarmament.
    • Treaty of Versailles with Germany: The Treaty of Versailles outlined German land losses, disarmament, war reparations, and the infamous war guilt clause.
    • Treaty of Sèvres with Turkey and Others

The social impact of World War I was profound and far-reaching, affecting individuals and societies on multiple levels:

  1. Loss and Grief: 
    • The war resulted in a staggering toll of approximately 80 lakh deaths and over 2 crore injuries. The enormity of the human cost left communities grappling with immense sorrow.
  2. Displacement and Migration: 
    • The peace conferences addressed geopolitical issues but failed to provide a permanent solution for minority populations. This lack of resolution led to feelings of separation and uncertainty among displaced communities.
  3. Demographic Change: 
    • The war caused a social crisis, resulting in a population bulge, especially among women and children. However, the reconstruction of Europe created opportunities for women in economic activities, leading to an improvement in their societal position.
  4. End of European Racial Supremacy:
    • The war showcased valor not only among Europeans but also among African, Indian, and Japanese soldiers, challenging the notion of European racial superiority.
  5. Ideological Challenges:
    • Europe grappled with profound questions about its civilization. The book “The Decline of the West” by Oswald Spengler raised queries about the true nature of European civilization.
  6. Rise of Atheism:
    • The war contributed to a rise in atheism and a sense of disillusionment among people. The traumatic experiences led many to question the traditional notions of hope and happiness in life.
  7. War Crimes and Social Immorality: 
    • The war witnessed unprecedented levels of brutality, giving rise to war crimes. Additionally, the overall atmosphere of conflict led to an increase in social immorality, further challenging pre-war moral standards.

The economic impact of World War I was profound and multifaceted:

  1. Shattering of World Economy: The war caused an approximate loss of $400 billion, disrupting the global economic landscape.
  2. Development of War Economy: During the conflict, there was a shift to a war economy, marked by a boom in iron and steel sectors, while other industries faced closure.
  3. Destruction of Trade: Disruption in trade patterns led to the practice of purchasing less and selling more. This situation prompted an increase in custom duties.
  4. Change in Trade Pattern: Europe, previously an exporter to Africa and Asia, became an importer from America and Japan. This shift was accompanied by the promotion of laissez-faire ideas.
  5. Severe Debt Crisis in Europe: The war resulted in a significant debt crisis in Europe. To address this, paper currency was expanded, leading to inflation, especially in Germany. Countries like Britain abandoned the gold standard.
  6. Shift in Creditor-Debtor Dynamics: America emerged as the largest creditor, reversing its status from a debtor country.
  7. Rise of Socialist Elements: Socialist elements gained prominence with discussions on labor welfare and the establishment of the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Golden Age for Colonies: The war created opportunities for colonies as capitalists initiated new industries in these regions.

Q4 निम्नांकित पंक्ति का भाव-विस्तार कीजिए : (शब्द सीमा : लगभग 100 शब्द)  [RAS Mains 2021]

‘हिंसा बुरी चीज़ है पर दासता उससे भी बुरी हैI’

 ‘अहिंसा परमो धर्मः’ का मंत्र प्राचीनकाल से मिलता है। अपने हित-साधन के लिए दूसरे के अस्तित्त्व को समाप्त कर देना, यहाँ तक कि दूसरे को दुःख पहुँचाना बुरा कार्य है। वास्तव में हिंसा मनुष्य को पशु के समान बना देती है और व्यक्ति में प्रेम तथा स्नेह की भावना समाप्त हो जाती है। निस्संदेह हिंसा बुरी चीज़ है, लेकिन दासता उससे भी अधिक बुरी है। मनुष्य विवेकशील प्राणी है और दासता की बेड़ियों में नहीं बंध सकता। यदि किसी को विवशता के कारण दास बनकर रहना पड़ता है, तो वह जीवन मृत्यु के समान है।  इसलिए कहा गया है ‘पराधीन सपने हुँ सुख नाहीं’।                                      
                                                          जीवित होते हुए मुर्दे की भाँति जीना भी हिंसा से कम नहीं है। दासता से मनुष्य का मानसिक विकास नहीं हो पाता। अतः विचारकों ने यह भी कहा कि गुलामी की जंजीरों को तोड़ने के लिए यदि अहिंसा का मार्ग भी छोड़ना पड़े, तो वह बुरी बात नहीं होगी। दासता को अंगीकार कर लेने में तो स्वतंत्रता का प्राकृतिक अधिकार छिन जाता है। तब हम अपने विकास की संभावनाओं का, आज़ाद होकर नए-नए कार्य करने की सृजनशीलता का गला घोंट देते हैं। फिर हमारे पास उस मनुष्यता के लिए बचता ही क्या है, जो स्वतंत्र रहकर ही नवनिर्माण करते रहना चाहती है। संस्कृत में भी कहा गया है- जीवनात्तु पराधीनाज्जीवानां मरणं वरम्‌ अर्थात्‌ पराधीन जीवन से तो मरना अच्छा है। भारतीय स्वतंत्रता संग्राम के दौरान गाँधी जी के नेतृत्व में अनेक बार ऐसे विवाद खड़े हुए कि अंग्रेजों के साथ हिंसात्मक व्यवहार से पेश आया जाए या उनकी-गुलामी स्वीकार कर ली जाए । ऐसे में, अहिंसा को मानवता की सबसे बड़ी ताकत माना किंतु स्वतंत्रता को सर्वोपरि माना गया। महात्मा गांधी ने कहा था कि -“अहिंसा कायरता की आड़ नहीं है, वीर व्यक्ति का सर्वोच्च गुण है।” 

गाँधी जी ने भी अनेक बार इसी तरह का मत दिया कि कायरता को स्वीकार करने के स्थान पर तो तलवार उठाना बेहतर है। गाँधी जी ने हिंसा और अहिंसा में अहिंसा का वर्णन किया किंतु हिंसा और गुलामी में से तो हिंसा अपनाकर भी आज़ादी प्राप्त करने को बेहतर माना। 

                                                               अत: हिंसा अपने आप में श्रेयस्कर नहीं है किंतु दासता को स्वीकार करने का अर्थ हैं- शासक की तमाम तरह की हिंसाओं को हमेशा के लिए स्वीकार करना और हार मान लेना , जो हिंसा से भी बुरा है।

हिंसा कलंक इंसान पर, मिटे न इसका दाग;

दासता मरण इंसान का, कभी फले ना बाग।

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