Synopsis and Review-Think and Learn [Day 1]

  • IASbaba
  • June 29, 2015
  • 36
Think and Learn-2015, UPSC Mains- Think and Learn-2015
Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Archives-Think and Learn-Mains 2015


Synopsis/Feedback/Review/Remarks on Think and Learn-[Day 1]


Excellent start of today’s initiative. It can’t be better than this. Kudos to your participation and dedication. Some excellent answers were written today and to our surprise you people nailed it. If you go like this, success is like ‘The Girl next Door’ 🙂


Here is the overview of what happened today on THINK and LEARN


1) The Vijayanagara Empire is said to be the epitome of architecture in Southern India. What are the architectural traditions that inspired these architects and how did they transform these traditions? (200 Words, 10 Marks)


This is not a typical Art and Culture question where by hearting some temple names and dance forms would help you. UPSC does not ask such questions these days. Instead they are concentrating on the concept, philosophy behind the art/culture/architecture in that particular era.

So, in this question, the main crux is not to just list out the salient features, but instead, we need to answer, from where the architects of the Vijayanagara Empire got inspired/enthused.

It might be shocking to believe that this question has been directly taken from wikipedia, thus, this is a fairly widely known concept, and is not just a random minute detail.

Thus, after giving a short introduction to the Vijayanagara Empire, mentioning the King Krishnadevaraya, we need to change our focus on the first part – Traditions that inspired these architects. This can be done within 100 words.

Then the next part should be answered within the next 100 words – How these traditions were transformed by the architects to make their own style, mirroring the contemporary society. Since the Vijayanagara Empire was constantly in war with Islamic kingdoms like Bahamani, they started introducing secular features into their own architecture.

While answering this, do mention two-three temples along with important places like Hampi etc.

So, even our model answer would get one mark each for each point, thus, this answer would fetch around 6/10 in the examination. 🙂

Vijayanagara empire, especially under King Krishnadeva Raya was a very prosperous kingdom which gave a lot of emphasis to the advancement of its culture, literature and architecture. The architecture of this Southern kingdom, present mainly around the Hampi area, consisted of not only large temples, but also other marvels like elephant sheds, city planning, aqueducts and many more.


The main traditions that inspired these architects are


  1. In temple building, they followed the models laid down by the Chalukyas, Cholas and Pandyas.
  2. Like the other large kingdoms, they also spent lavishly on works of public utility, i.e. tanks, reservoirs, lakes, palaces and temples.
  3. Pre-dominantly Hindu temples, with large pillars, halls, gopurams and shikharas.


And the architects completely transformed these traditions through –


  1. The usage of Islamic architecture, like domes, arches and vaults. This was a new secular architecture, saliently different from the older traditions.
  2. Temples like Vitthala and Hazare Rama showed a change from the previous grandeur to simplistic and serene architecture.
  3. They also focussed on building carved monoliths within the temple, and the usage of wall paintings etc., as seen in the Virupaksha Temple.

Thus, Vijayanagar empire can rightly be called as the epitome of architectural wonder of South India.


Today’s Top Answer for this question is by – Urvashi Saini 🙂 Many congratulations to her


But, even her answer was lacking in few segments, so we are posting our review also along with the answer. But, she has tried to answer with the maximum number of points within the word limit, which is commendable.


The Vijayanagara empire brought such variations in south indian architectural as well as sculptural style that surpasses that previously in India.

Architects got inspired by various traditions and transformed them in following ways :-
>> They were greatly influenced by previous prospered cholas , chalukyas, hoysalas and pandyas style and produced vibrant combination of their architecture.

>> Under the constant threat of invasion, they used locally available hard granite because of its durability.

>> To meet king’s ritualistic need, they switched from “vesara” or Deccan style monuments to Dravida style “Gopurams”.

>> Their style had also another element of “carving and consecration” of large monoliths which was not seen in earlier centuries.

>> King also had Muslim architects in their court which enabled the harmonious exchange of architectural ideas. There are many ‘arches’, ‘domes’ and ‘vaults’ that show these influences.

The rich heritage of Vijayanagar empire , one of the UNESCO world heritage site, is an epitome of south indian architecture which also show example of flexibility in adaptability and combination of different kinds of architecture.

Our Review to this answer –

Hi Urvashi,

You have written it excellently, including all the important points, but what is worrisome is the structure. The question clearly asks two questions, in two different stages.

One, the traditions that inspired the architects. And two, how the architects transformed these traditions. You have indeed answered both the parts, but you have mixed them up too. Instead you should have divided your answer into two parts, each dealing with each question.

And yes, including names of atleast two temples would have made your answer stand out. Right now it has all the required points, but the structure should have been designed a bit better.

Nevertheless, you would still get 4.5/10, solely for including all the important points.

Thank you and please do try to answer the other questions. 🙂

2) Unlike Rajya Sabha, which enjoys almost equal powers to that of Lok Sabha, the State Legislative Council is a mere subordinate to the Legislative Assembly. Discuss. (200 Words, 10 Marks)


Many answers have just given the salient features of both RS and LC. But that was not what the question had asked for.

The main crux of the question is that the Rajya Sabha portrays Federalism, which is one of the Basic Features of the Constitution, whereas the Legislative Council portrays nothing. That is the basic philosophy of this question. After that has been addressed, the difference in the powers, composition, duties etc., can be written alongwith the relevant Articles mentioned in the Constitution.

In such Polity Questions, where Constitutional Bodies are mentioned, one has to always write an answer with the required Articles. That would fetch the answer more marks.

Our Model answer would also get around 6/10, if we give one mark to each point. (Note that the average marks in GS Paper 2 is 60-70 out of 250)


Rajya Sabha, also called the Council of States, is almost equal to the Lok Sabha in the Parliament, but the same cannot be said about their corresponding Legislative Councils and Legislative Assemblies in the states, for the following reasons –


  1. The Rajya Sabha has a stronger ideological role to play as the representative of the States in the Centre. Thus, this is as powerful as the Lok Sabha, which acts as the representative of the People of this country. No such strong ideological role is assigned to the Council.

  1. From Article 80 of the Indian Constitution till Article 121, the powers, constitution, role, membership, duties etc., of the Rajya Sabha has been given in detail while the same cannot be said of the Legislative Council, which has been just mentioned a few times.

  1. The Legislative Assembly can create or destroy the Council according to its own wishes. That is not possible with the Rajya Sabha, which is a permanent body.

  1. Most of the Indian States have chosen not to have an extra body, because it does not serve much purpose, other than as a check on the laws made by the Assembly. Some of the larger states still do have a Council, mainly to satisfy the politicians who couldn’t get into the Assembly.

  1. The Council does not have as many powers as the Rajya Sabha. It can easily be ignored or overthrown.


Thus, the Legislative Council is termed as a mere subordinate to the Legislative Assembly.


Today’s Top Answer for the Question would go to – Napolean 🙂 Congrats Man!!


Indian Constitution provides a bicameral Legislature, in which upper house (Rajya Sabha) is a permanent body at the centre but at state level Legislative Council creation is based on the decision of Legislative Assembly.

Differences between Rajya Sabha(RS) and Legislative Councils(LC):

  1. RS can pass resolution empowering parliament to make laws on state legislature, while LC mainly used to give representation to certain special interests of states
  2. RS members can participate in election of a president which doesn’t appear in LC
  3. RS consists of representation of states and thus reflect federal element of polity, on other hand, the issue of federal significance doesn’t arise in case of LC
  4. LC is heterogeneously constituted where as RS homogeneously constituted represents only the states consists of mainly elected members (Only 12 nominated out of 250)
  5. LC is only a dilatory chamber which is adopted from Britain, it cab at best delay a bill by 4 months (3+1)
  6. Only with respect to money bills, RS and LC are on a similar footing.

In a World’s biggest democracy, the position of Legislative council must be further strengthened so as to checks the hasty, defective, careless and ill considered legislation made by assembly.


3) Bitcoins can never be the global currency of the future. Critically Examine. (200 Words, 10 Marks)

This is a fairly simple question and the main focus should be on the Directive word here – “Critically Examine”, which means that we need to examine both pros and cons of the given statement.

Thus, we need to start the answer by defining what Bitcoins are, how are they useful to us etc. Then write some points saying that Bitcoins do have a future role to play as the global currency. But then, mentioning the current disadvantages should make the examiner understand that the Bitcoins, in their current form cannot be called the global currency of the future.

Our model answer would get 6/10, by giving 1 mark to each unique point, alongwith an introduction and a conclusion.

Bitcoins are a virtual currency system which uses cryptographic techniques to keep the transactions safe and secure. So, it is mooted that they have the opportunity to be the next global currency, due to the following characteristics –


  1. Privacy – With bitcoins, currency can be traded without disclosing who they are. This increases anonymity and thus safety.
  2. Open to all – Anyone with an internet connection can get involved with the Bitcoin network.
  3. Decentralized – No central governmental regulatory or bank oversees all the transactions. This helps in lower transaction costs and faster trade, without any hassles.


But, even with all these advantages, Bitcoin can never become the global currency because

  1. Due to the intense anonymity, it is a ripe ground for terrorist activities, illegal black-marketing etc, thus needs a stringent regulation.
  2. Due to very less number of Bitcoins, inflation can be very high and arbitrary.
  3. Since there is no central authority to regulate, frauds will be frequent and it might lead to economic bubbles also, thus affecting the whole global formal economy.


Thus, even though Bitcoins seem futuristic, without any regulation and transparency, it will not be accepted by the majority. Thus, in its current form, Bitcoins have very less chances of becoming the next global currency.


Today’s Top Answer would go to – VC 🙂 Very well done!!


Bitcoin is a decentralized digital crypto-currency which uses peer to peer technology to operate with no central authority or bank regulating it. It is created digitally through the process called mining which uses computing power to solve mathematical problems through software. Bitcoins can never be the global currency of the future because of the following financial,operational,legal,customer protection and security related risks:

  1. As bitcoins lack intrinsic value so their value is a matter of speculation leading to huge volatility in value exposing users to potential losses.
  2. Digital currency like bitcoin stored in ewallets is prone to theft and loss via hacking,malware,compromised access credentials.
  3. Though it has an upside in being a decentralized currency with no one central authority being able to control the monetary policy and cause meltdown, at the same time it also has a big downside also as it provides no established framework for recourse to customer problems/disputes etc.
  4. A potential instrument for money laundering as it has the ability to be used anonymously so it could be a haven for criminals to use bitcoins for illicit activities without being traced.

Note- From tomorrow your one answer will be reviewed by us. Just to make it level playing for others. Everyone’s interest and personal guidance is our motto. You write your best answer and we will evaluate it and will send you synopsis and reviews every night. We promise to up the surprises after the Prelims. Lot in the store. Also your time has to be strategically balanced for Prelims preparation as well. Do follow our prelims plan. Make it go viral and compete with the best. In our full Mock, you should compete with the best of minds before the real competition. Let’s gear up. See the enthusiasm of IASbaba Team 🙂 It would never have been possible without your support. Let us achieve it together 🙂 There will be lots of negative energy and criticism but nothing matters. All that matters is your success. Are you people with us?

Share your feedback and comments. Let us make it more productive and reach to the heights never imagined. Thank You 





For a dedicated peer group, Motivation & Quick updates, Join our official telegram channel –

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel HERE to watch Explainer Videos, Strategy Sessions, Toppers Talks & many more…

Search now.....

Sign Up To Receive Regular Updates