UPSC CSE Prelims Previous Year’s Questions of Modern Indian History with Solutions (2016-2021)

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is the central recruiting agency held responsible for the appointment of group “A” officers under varying services.

The competitive examination comprises of two successive stages :

  • (i) Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination (Objective Type) for the selection of candidates for Main Examination; and
  • (ii) Civil Services (Main) Examination (Written and Interview) for the selection of candidates for the various Services and posts.

The first phase of the UPSC exam i.e. the Preliminary Examination comprises two Objective type papers (MCQ based), General Studies Paper-I and General Studies Paper-II (CSAT), Paper- II is qualifying in nature (33% marks are needed). In Paper- I for every correct answer 2 marks are awarded and for every wrong answer, 1/3rd marks will be deducted i.e. 0.66 marks. Whereas, in Paper-II 2.5 marks are awarded for each correct answer, and 1/3rd marks (0.833 marks) are deducted for each wrong answer. The duration of the examination is 2 hours for each paper and both papers are conducted on the same day.

It is important to note that this stage of the examination is meant to serve as a screening test only as the marks obtained in the Preliminary Examination will not be counted for determining the final rank or service of a candidate.

The odds of clearing this stage are highly skewed as the number of candidates who qualify for the Main Examination is about twelve to thirteen times the total approximate number of vacancies to be filled in the year. Only those candidates who are declared to have qualified in the Preliminary Examination in the year will be eligible for admission to the Main Examination of that year. The cut-off marks for the past years for the General category are mentioned below.

 

UPSC Prelims Cut-off Marks over the years (2016-2021)

 

Year

Cut-off Marks for General category

Percentage

2016

116/200

58%

2017

105.34/200

52.67%

2018

98/200

49%

2019

98/200

49%

2020

92.51/200

46.61%

The Preliminary Exam follows the pattern of objective–type for assessment. It comprises questions from various domains such as economy, polity, geography, history, etc. The syllabus for Paper-I of the Preliminary Examination is given below

  • Current events of national and international importance.
  • History of India and Indian National Movement.
  • Indian and World Geography-Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World.
  • Indian Polity and Governance-Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.
  • Economic and Social Development-Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc.
  • General issues on Environmental ecology, Biodiversity, and Climate Change - that do not require subject specialization.
  • General Science.

 

It is important to prepare for each subject or topic mentioned in the syllabus in a holistic manner in order to clear the examination. While preparing for Paper-I it is important to solve previous year’s questions to get an idea of the breadth of questions asked and predict what sort of questions can be asked in the next year.

The number of questions asked from Modern Indian history is substantial. The questions on Modern Indian history have been compiled below after careful analysis of the previous year’s UPSC papers from 2016-2021.

Weightage of Sub-topics of Modern Indian history questions in the previous 6 years (2016-2021):

 

TRENDS AND STRATEGY OF MODERN INDIAN HISTORY:

From the above graph, it can be inferred that the maximum questions from Modern Indian History come from the British Acts and Policies. The next important topic is the freedom struggle before Gandhi's arrival.

For covering Modern India syllabus, you need to study the old NCERT of Modern India of CBSE 12th standard by Bipan Chandra or you can read Bipan Chandra’s standard book of History of Modern India. You can go for Spectrum, to cover the other topics which are not mentioned in the above book. These books are enough to cover the whole syllabus of Modern India for the Prelims exam, but one needs to revise the topics consistently in order to gain a better understanding of the subject.

 

YEAR-WISE QUESTIONS (2016-2021):

 

2021

 

Q.1 With reference to Indian history, which of the following statements is/are correct?

  1. The Nizamat of Arcot emerged out of Hyderabad State.
  2. The Mysore Kingdom emerged out of Vijaynagara Empire.
  3. Rohilkhand Kingdom was formed out of the territories occupied by Ahmad Shah Durrani.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below.

a) 1 and 2

b) 2 Only

c) 2 and 3

d) 3 Only

 

Answer – A

 

Q.2  Consider the following statements:

  1. The Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms of 1919 recommended granting voting rights to all women above the age of 21.
  2. The Government of India Act of 1935 gave women reserved seats in legislature.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

a) 1 only

b) 2 only

c) both 1 and 2

d) Neither 1 nor 2

 

Answer – B

 

Q.3 With reference to 8th August 1942 in Indian history, which one of the following statements is correct?

a) The Quit India Resolution was adopted by the AICC.

b) The Viceroy’s Executive council was expanded to include more Indians.

c) The Congress ministries resigned in seven provinces.

d) Cripps proposed an Indian Union with full Dominion Status once the Second World War was over.

 

Answer – A

 

Q.4 Who among the following is associated with ‘Songs from Prison’, a translation of ancient Indian religious lyrics in English?

a) Bal Gangadhar Tilak

b) Jawaharlal Nehru

c) Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

d) Sarojini Naidu

 

Answer – C

 

Q.5  Who among the following was associated as Secretary with Hindu Female School which later came to be known as Bethune Female School?

a) Annie Besant

b) Debendranath Tagore

c) Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar

d) Sarojini Naidu

 

Answer – C

 

Q.6  In the context of Colonial India, Shah Nawaz Khan, Prem Kumar Sehgal and Gurbaksh Singh Dhillon are remembered as

a) leaders of Swadeshi and Boycott Movement

b) members of the Interim Government in 1946

c) members of the Drafting Committee in the Constituent Assembly

d) officers of the Indian National Army

 

Answer – D

 

Q.7 In the first quarter of seventeenth century, in which of the following was/were the factory/factories of the English East India Company located?

  1. Broach
  2. Chicacole
  3. Trichinopoly

Select the correct answer using the codes given below

  1. 1 Only
  2. 1 and 2
  3. 3 Only
  4. 2 and 3

 

Answer – A

 

Q.8 With reference to Madanapalle of Andhra Pradesh,  which one of the following statements is correct?

  1. Pingali Venkayya designed the tricolour Indian National Flag here.
  2. Pattabhi Sitaramaiah led the Quit India Movement of Andhra region from here.
  3. Rabindranath Tagore translated the National Anthem from Bengali to English here.
  4. Madame Blavastsky and Colonel Olcott set up headquarters of Theosophical Society first here.

 

Answer – C

 

2020

Q.1 In the context of Indian history, the Rakhmabai case of 1884 revolved around:

  1. women’s right to gain education
  2. age of consent
  3. restitution of conjugal rights

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

 

Answer – B

 

 Q.2 Indigo cultivation in India declined by the beginning of the 20th century because of

(a) Peasant resistance to the oppressive conduct of planters

(b) Its unprofitability in the world market because of new inventions

(c) National leaders’ opposition to the cultivation of indigo

(d) Government control over the planters

 

Answer – B

 

Q.3 Wellesley established the Fort William College at Calcutta because

(a) He was asked by the Board of Directors at London to do so

(b) He wanted to revive interest in oriental learning in India

(c) He wanted to provide William Carey and his associates employment

(d) He wanted to train British civilians for administrative purposes in India

 

Answer – D

 

Q.4 With reference to the history of India, “Ulgulan” or the Great Tumult is the description of which of the following events?

(a) The Revolt of 1857

(b) The Mappila rebellion of 1921

(c) The Indigo revolt of 1859 – 60

(d) Birsa Munda’s revolt of 1899-1900

 

Answer – D

 

Q.5 One common agreement between Gandhism and Marxism is

(a) The final goal of a stateless society

(b) Class struggle

(c) Abolition of private property

(d) Economic determinism

 

Answer – A

 

 Q.6 Which of the following statements correctly explain the impact of the Industrial Revolution on India during the first half of the nineteenth century?

(a) Indian handicrafts were ruined

(b) Machines were introduced in the Indian textile industry in large number.

(c) Railway lines were laid in many parts of the country.

(d) Heavy duties were imposed on the imports of British manufactures.

 

Answer – A

 

Q.7 The Gandhi-Irwin Pact included which of the following?

  1. Invitation to Congress to participate in the Round Table Conference
  2. Withdrawal of Ordinances promulgated in connection with the Civil Disobedience Movement
  3. Acceptance of Gandhi’s suggestion for enquiry into police excesses
  4. Release of only those prisoners who were not charged with violence

Select the correct answer using the code given below

(a) 1 only

(b) 1, 2 and 4 only

(c) 3 only

(d) 2, 3 and 4 only

 

Answer – B

 

Q.8 With reference to the book “Desher Katha” written by Sakharam Ganesh Deuskar during the freedom struggle, consider the following statements :

  1. It warned against the Colonial State’s hypnotic conquest of the mind.
  2. It inspired the performance of swadeshi street plays and folk songs.
  3. The use of ‘desh’ by Deuskar was in the specific context of the region of Bengal.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

 

Answer – A

 

Q.9 The Vital-Vidhvansak, the first monthly journal to have the untouchable people as its target audience was published by

(a) Gopal Baba Walangkar

(b) Jyotiba Phule

(c) Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

(d) Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar

 

Answer – A

 

2019

 

Q.1 Consider the following statements about ‘the Charter Act of 1813’ :

  1. It ended the trade monopoly of the East India Company in India except for trade in tea and trade with China.
  2. It asserted the sovereignty of the British Crown over the Indian territories held by the Company.
  3. The revenues of India were now controlled by the British Parliament.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

 

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1,2 and 3

 

Answer – A

 

Q.2 With reference to Swadeshi Movement, consider the following statements :

  1. It contributed to the revival of the indigenous artisan crafts and industries.
  2. The National Council of Education was established as a part of the Swadeshi Movement.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

 

Answer – C

 

Q.3 Consider the following pairs :

                   Movement                                                     Organization Leader

               1. All India Anti-Untouchability League         Mahatma Gandhi

               2. All India Kisan Sabha                                  Swami Sahajanad Saraswati

               3. Self Respect Movement                                 E.V. Ramaswami Naicker

Which of the pairs given above is/are correctly matched?

(a) 1 only

(b) 1 and 2 only

(c) 2 and 3 only

(d) 1,2 and 3

 

Answer – D

 

Q.4 With reference to the British colonial rule in India, consider the following statements :

  1. Mahatma Gandhi was instrumental in the abolition of the system of ‘indentured labour’.
  2. In Lord Chelmsford’s War Conference’, Mahatma Gandhi did not support the resolution on recruiting Indians for World War.
  3. Consequent upon the breaking of Salt Law by Indian people, the Indian National Congress was declared illegal by the colonial rulers.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 1 and 3 only

(c) 2 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

 

Answer – B

 

Q.5 With reference to Indian National Movement, consider the following pairs :

                Persons:                            Position head

  1. Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru :        President, All India Liberal Federation
  2. K.C. Neogy :                           Member, The Constituent Assembly
  3. P.C. Joshi :                             General Secretary, Communist Party of India

Which of the pairs given above is/ are correctly matched?

(a) 1 only

(b) 1 and 2 only

(c) 3 only

(d) 1,2 and 3

 

Answer – D

 

 

2018

 

Q.1. Which one of the following statements does not apply to the system of Subsidiary Alliance introduced by Lord Wellesley?

  1.  To maintain a large standing army at others expense
  2.  To keep India safe from Napoleonic danger
  3.  To secure a fixed income for the company
  4.  To establish British paramountcy over the Indian States

 

Answer- C

 

Q.2. He wrote biographies of Mazzini, Garibaldi, Shivaji and Shrikrishna; stayed in America for some time; and was also elected to the Central Assembly. He was

  1. Aurobindo Ghosh
  2. Bipin Chandra Pal
  3. Lala Lajpat Rai
  4. Motilal Nehru

 

Answer- C

 

Q.3. After the Santhal Uprising subsided, what was/were the measure/measures taken by the colonial government?

  1. The territories called ‘Santhal Paraganas’ were created.
  2. It became illegal for a Santhal to transfer land to a non-Santhal.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

 

Answer- C

 

Q.4. Which among the following events happened earliest?

  1. Swami Dayanand established Arya Samaj
  2. Dinabandhu Mitra wrote Neeldarpan
  3. Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay wrote Anandmath.
  4. Satyendranath Tagore became the first Indian to succeed in the Indian Civil Services Examination.

 

Answer- B

 

Q.5. Which one of the following is a very significant aspect of the Champaran Satyagraha?

  1. Active all-India participation of lawyers, students and women in the National Movement
  2. Active involvement of Dalit and Tribal communities of India in the National Movement
  3. Joining of peasant unrest to India’s National Movement
  4. Drastic decrease in the cultivation of plantation crops and commercial crops

 

Answer- C

 

Q.6. In 1920, which of the following changed its name to “Swarajya Sabha”?

  1. All India Home Rule League
  2. Hindu Mahasabha
  3. South Indian Liberal Federation
  4. The Servants of Indian Society

 

Answer- A

 

Q.7. With reference to educational institutes during colonial rule in India, consider the following pairs of Institution vs Founder:

  1. Sanskrit College at Benaras: William Jones
  2. Calcutta Madarsa: Warren Hastings
  3. Fort William College: Arthur Wellesley

Which of the pairs given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 and 2
  2. 2 only
  3. 1 and 3
  4. 3 only

 

Answer- B

 

Q.8. Regarding Wood’s Dispatch, which of the following statements are true?

  1. Grants-in-Aid system was introduced.
  2. Establishment of universities was recommended.
  3. English as a medium of instruction at all levels of education was recommended.

Select the correct answer using the code given below :

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

 

Answer- A

 

Q.9. Which of the following led to the introduction of English Education in India?

  1. Charter Act of 1813
  2. General Committee of Public Instruction, 1823
  3. Orientalist and Anglicist Controversy

Select the correct answer using the code given below

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1,2 and 3

 

Answer- D

 

Q.10. Economically, one of the results of the British rule in India in the 19th century was the

  1. increase in the export of Indian handicrafts
  2. growth in the number of Indian owned factories
  3. commercialization of Indian agriculture
  4. rapid increase in the urban population

 

Answer- C

 

Q.11. The staple commodities of export by the English East India Company from Bengal in the middle of the 18th century were

  1. Raw cotton, oil-seeds and opium
  2. Sugar, salt, zinc and lead
  3. Copper, silver, gold, spices and tea
  4. Cotton, silk, saltpetre and opium

 

Answer- D

 

Q.12. Consider the following events:

  1. The first democratically elected communist party government formed in a State in India.
  2. India’s then largest bank, ‘Imperial Bank of India’, was renamed ‘State Bank of India’.
  3. Air India was nationalised and became the national carrier.
  4. Goa became a part of independent India.

Which of the following is the correct chronological sequence of the above events?

  1. 4- 1- 2- 3
  2. 3- 2- 1- 4
  3. 4- 2- 1- 3
  4. 3 - 1- 2- 4

 

Answer- B

 

Q.13. Who among the following were the founders of the “Hind Mazdoor Sabha” established in 1948?

  1. Krishna Pillai, E.M.S. Namboodiripad and K.C. George
  2. Jayaprakash Narayan, DeenDayal Upadhyay and M.N. Roy
  3. P. Ramaswamy Iyer, K. Kamaraj and Veeresalingam Pantulu
  4. Ashok Mehta, T.S. Ramanujam and G.G. Mehta

Answer- D

 

Q 14.In the federation established by the Government of India Act, 1935 residuary powers were given to the

  1. Federal Legislature
  2. Governor General
  3. Provincial Legislature
  4. Provincial Governors

 

Answer: B

 

2017

 

Q.1 Who among the following was/were associated with the introduction of Ryotwari Settlement in India during the British rule?

  1. Lord Cornwallis
  2. Alexander Reed
  3. Thomas Munro

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 only

(b) 1 and 3 only

(c) 2 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

 

Answer- C

 

Q.2  Consider the following pairs:

  1. Radhakanta Deb: First President of the British Indian Association
  2. Gazulu Lakshminarasu Chetty: Founder of the Madras Mahajana Sabha
  3. Surendranath Banerjee: Founder of the Indian Association

Which of the above pairs is/are correctly matched?

(a) 1 only

(b) 1 and 3 only

(c) 2 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

 

Answer- B

 

Q.3  In the context of Indian history, the principle of “Dyarchy (diarchy)” refers to

(a) Division of the central legislature into two houses.

(b) Introduction of double government i.e., Central and State governments.

(c) Having two sets of rulers; one in London and another in Delhi.

(d) Division of the subjects delegated to the provinces into two categories.

 

Answer- D

 

Q.4  With reference to Indian freedom struggle, consider the following events :

  1. Mutiny in Royal Indian Navy
  2. Quit India Movement launched
  3. Second Round Table Conference

What is the correct chronological sequence of the above events ?

(a) 1-2-3

(b) 2-1-3

(c) 3-2-1

(d) 3-1-2

 

Answer- C

 

Q.5  The object of the Butler Committee of 1927 was to?

(a) Define the jurisdiction of the Central and Provincial Governments.

(b) Define the powers of the Secretary of State for India.

(c) Impose censorship on the national press.

(d) Improve the relationship between the Government of India and the Indian States.

 

Answer- D

 

Q.6 The Trade Disputes Act of 1929 provided for

(a) the participation of workers in the management of industries.

(b) Arbitrary powers to the management to quell industrial disputes.

(c) an intervention by the British Court in the event of a trade dispute.

(d) a system of tribunals and a ban on strikes

 

Answer- D

 

Q.7 Consider the following statements:

  1. The Factories Act, 1881 was passed with a view to fix the wages of industrial workers and to allow the workers to form trade unions.
  2. N.M. Lokhande was a pioneer in organizing the labour movement in British India.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

 

Answer- B

 

2016

 

Q.1 The `Swadeshi’ and ‘Boycott’ were adopted as methods of struggle for the first time during the

(a) agitation against the Partition of Bengal

(b) Home Rule Movement

(c) Non-Cooperation Movement

(d) visit of the Simon Commission to India

 

Answer- A

 

Q.2 Satya Shodhak Samaj organized

(a) a movement for upliftment of tribals in Bihar

(b) a temple-entry movement in Gujarat

(c) an anti-caste movement in Maharashtra

(d) a peasant movement in Punjab

 

Answer- C

 

Q.3  The Montague-Chelmsford Proposals were related to

(a) social reforms

(b) educational reforms

(c) reforms in police administration

(d) constitutional reforms

 

Answer- D

 

Q.4 Consider the following:

  1. Calcutta Unitarian Committee
  2. Tabernacle of New Dispensation
  3. Indian Reform Association

Keshab Chandra Sen is associated with the establishment of which of the above?

(a) 1 and 3 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

 

Answer- B

 

Q.5  What was the main reason for the split in the Indian National Congress at Surat in 1907?

(a) Introduction of communalism into Indian politics by Lord Minto

(b) Extremists’ lack of faith in the capacity of the moderates to negotiate with the British Government

(c) Foundation of Muslim League

(d) Aurobindo Ghosh’s inability to be elected as the President of the Indian National Congress

 

Answer- B

 

Q.6 The plan of Sir Stafford Cripps envisaged that after the Second World War

(a) India should be granted complete independence

(b) India should be partitioned into two before granting independence

(c) India should be made a republic with the condition that she will join the Commonwealth

(d) India should be given Dominion status

 

Answer- D