1. The majestic ruins of the Vijayanagar empire in Hampi signify the refined style of temple architecture and sculpture art that was unparalleled. Discuss.
Introduction: Since it is already mentioned in the question that Hampi was built by Vijaynagar rulers, you don’t need to mention it again separately in your introduction. You start by mentioning that it has been included in Cultural World Heritage sites, or any other way using fewer words.
Since many of you have written very informative and beautiful answers, we will give you a scholarly article on Vijayanagara architecture – both religious and civil (For your knowledge). You can use the relevant details in your answer.
Temple architecture :
A typical Hindu temple has a cluster of structures with sanctorum as its nucleus. A smaller temple could be a single chambered shrine with the image of the God or Goddess is installed in its sanctum. A large temple can be an elaborate campus with many auxiliary structures within it.
Large Vijayanagara temples are typically enclosed within giant compound walls. Tall pyramidal towers make the gateways to the temple campus. The principle shrine at the center of the campus and the main towered gateway are in the sale axis. Usually this axis is along the East-West direction with the temple facing the east. Immediately around the principle shrines are the auxiliary shrines of the Goddess (typically the consort of the God) and gods of the Hindu pantheon.
For example a temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu would have an image of Vishnu in its main sanctum. Somewhere nearby would be a shrine dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu. It is not unusual to find the shrines of a number of other gods associated with Vishnu.
A very typical example of Vijayanagara (Vijayanagar) style temple architecture is the Virupaksha Temple at the Hampi village. The temple is dedicated to Lord Siva, the god of destruction. Next to the main shrine are the two shrines of Goddesses Pampa and Bhuvaneswari.
For majority of their grand temples, Vijayanagara borrowed the Tamil country’s architecture (The Chola’s Architecture) for making its towers. The lower portion is usually made of giant granite blocks with a huge wooden door installed at the centre of it. Either side of the doors is carvings of the doorkeeper deities wielding clubs or other similar weapons. Either sides of the passageway are carved with life-sized nymph figures or images of gods.
The top portion of the pyramidal tower is made of brick & mortar. The exteriors of which is packed with terracotta images of gods, demigods, people, animals and host of other mythological themes. The pinnacle is usually an inverted barrel shaped with two hones projecting on either side. The hones resemble that of cows, a sacred animal in Hinduism, and the tower is thus called Gopuram (the home of cow).
Usually a large elevated hall with porches stands in between the entrance tower mentioned above and the main shrine. These open halls are one of the architectural pieces that best demonstrate the Vijayanagara architectural skills.
The hall structure stands on a platform with porches. The platform is typically a few feet tall with fluted sides. Chains of intricate carvings go around the platform. The porches, typically located on all sides, give access to the top of the platform. Granite pillars support the usually flat roof structure. These pillars are carved with rampant Yalis (giant mythical creatures). Generally the Yali pillars seems facing the porch or the central hall portions. The other pillars are carved with images of gods and other mythical themes. Vijayanagara architects succeeded in using these monolithic giant pillars as an integral artistic feature of the architecture than merely as a structural inevitability. Though many large temples in Hampi have them in plenty, the halls of Vittala Temple are the best place to see them in close proximity.
A semi closed small hall called Antarala connects the hall to the sanctum.
Usually large temples would have a large standalone hall, typically like the hall above explained, used for the annual ceremonial wedding of the god and goddess.
The long pillared cloisters along the inner side of the compound wall are another typical feature of the Vijayanagara architecture. This was used us a community dining hall and for prayer.
Apart from the above one can find many structures and artifacts like the lamppost, the flag post etc that are of ceremonial and functional significance.
Important Temples: (From Wikipedia)
Hampi has various notable Hindu temples with some vedanta theology inside the temples, some of which are still active places of worship. Among the most notable are:
BadaviLinga :This is the largest Linga image in Hampi. Located next to the Lakshmi Narasimha statue the Linga is housed inside a chamber with an opening in the front. A close look on this icon can reveal three eyes (depicting the three eyes of Shiva) carved on it. Legend has it that this was commissioned by a peasant woman and hence the name (Badva means poor in local tongue).The sanctum in which the Linga is installed is always filled with water as a water channel is made to flow through it.According to Hindu theology the River Ganga (Ganges) was brought from swarga to earth to quench the drought. But the river was so forceful that it could split the earth into two pieces if allowed to fall on earth. Lord Shiva consented to take the impact by allowing the torrent of Ganga to fall on his matted hair. Thus helping to release a smooth flowing river on to earth from his hair. As an iconic representation of this, in Siva temples you can spot a dripping pot hanged over the Linga.
Malyavanta Raghunathaswamy temple was constructed in the ancient style of architecture, the temple of Malyavanta Raghunathaswamy stands 3 km down the road. Its inner walls flaunt peculiar and interesting motifs of fish and marine creatures.[
Hazara Rama Temple Complex: This ruined temple complex is well known for elaborate frescoes from the Hindu theosophy and a sprawling courtyard well-laid with gardens. It is well known for more than many thousand carvings & inscriptions on & in the temple depicting the mighty story of Ramayana. It has about 1000 carvings & inscriptions depicting the story of Ramayana.
Jain Temple: Reliefs of Jain temples are present in this area hat includes Hemkut Jain temples, Ratnantraykut, Parsvanath Charan and Ganigatti jain temple. Most of the idols are now missing from these temples. Ruins suggest that these temples belong to 14th century.[
Krishna Temple Complex: This temple complex has been recently excavated through the last decade, and restoration work is still in progress. The temple has the Sacred Tank or the Pushkarani located on its eastern side.
The mantapas of Vittala temple
The stone chariot at Vittala complex
Vittala Temple Complex:This is perhaps the most famous and well-known among the ruins of Hampi. The iconic stone chariot in the vicinity of this temple complex is a symbol of Karnataka Tourism. Of late, floodlights have been installed in the temple complex that provide illumination at dusk, thereby adding to the grandeur of the architecture.
The temple houses the famous musical pillars. The British wanted to check the reason behind this wonder and so they had cut two pillars to check if anything was there inside the pillars that was producing the sound. They had found nothing but hollow pillars. Even today we can see those pillars cut by the British.
The road leading to the temple was once a market where the horses were traded. Even today we can see the ruins of the market on both the sides of the road. The temple contains the images of foreigners like Persians selling horses.
Muslim Sunni masjid
Preksha temple and groups
Virupaksha Temple known as the Pampavathi temple, it is an ancient temple situated in the Hampi Bazaar. It predates the founding of the Vijayanagara empire. The temple has a 160-foot (49 m) high tower at its entrance. Apart from Shiva, the temple complex also contains shrines of the erotica statues Bhuvaneshwari and Pampa.
The Vijayanagara Empire established in 1336 by Harihara I and his brother Bukka Raya I of Sangama dynasty based in South India is known for temples, monuments, palaces and other structures across South India. The monuments in and around Hampi are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its cultural, historical and scientific significance. Temple architecture received a new impetus and reached to new heights under the patronage of the Vijayanagara rulers.
(1) Vijayanagara architecture is a vibrant combination of the Chalukya, Hoysala, Pandya and Chola styles. It is also influenced by later Deccan and Dravidian styles.
(2) Important features of Vijayanagara style of temples and architecture were monolithic pillars, ornate pillared halls, decoration on exterior side of the walls and rayagopurams, or monumental towers adorned with life-sized figures of Gods and Goddesses that stand at the entrance of the temple. Local hard granite was used as building material because of its durability. The courtly architecture is generally made of mortar mixed with stone rubble and often shows secular styles with Islamic-influenced arches, domes and vaults.
(3) Virupaksha temple also known as Pampapati temple in Hampi is dedicated to Lord Shiva, known here as Virupaksha. The gopuram which is more than 50 meters high has a brick superstructure and a stone base.
(4) The Hazara Ram temple is dedicated to Lord Rama and the walls of the temple carry the story of Ramayana carved on stone.
(5) Vittala temple dedicated to Vittala, an aspect of Vishnu is known for its world-famous stone chariot or ratha in front of the temple. The other notable feature is the musical pillars that support the roof of the main temple representing a musical instrument, and is constructed as 7 minor pillars arranged around a main pillar. These 7 pillars, when struck, emanate the 7 notes from the representative instrument, varying in sound quality based on whether it represents a wind, string or percussion instrument.
(6) There are other temples like Krishna temple, Kodandarama temple and Lotus Mahal which are unique and significant.
Unfortunately, most of the city of Vijayanagar is now in ruins, represented by the well-known site Hampi which is dotted with little hills of granite. The Government needs to take immediate steps to protect these monuments because of its cultural and architectural richness. This will attract tourists from India and other countries which will generate income for the government and local population and also provide an opportunity for the tourists to witness the wonders of such a magnificent empire.
2. “The more I saw, the more I admired the Master’s genius — his uncanny ability, through the magic of his brush to depict mood, emotion and atmosphere and to encapsulate the whole story in the selected scene”. How far this quote about Raja Ravi Varma describes his art? Discuss.
Raja Ravi Varma, also referred as “Rafael of the East” is considered “father of modern paintings in India”. He had the vision and talent to render on canvas, realistic, human-like images of the deities.
Ravi Varma was also the first serious Indian painter to use oil as his medium and to use live models to create some of the scenes in his pictures.
Another departure from the norm (from Indian painters) is his style; many of his paintings are quite similar to those of the Grand Masters from Italy or Holland.
His favorite subject was people, especially women. From portraits to figures and depiction of elaborate scenes from Hindu mythology, his sense of proportion, perspective, rendering of skin tones and the elaborate folds and texture of clothing, Ravi Varma was a cut above other artists. Ornaments were painted true to the metals, the hands and feet perfectly shaped, the expressions captured accurately and the colors and composition rendered with a rare sophistication.
His works can be classified into three categories:
Portraits: The dark background, the subdued light playing on the subject’s face, the masterly treatment of the ornaments and clothing all are quite similar.
Paintings of Every Day Themes: much care and attention is given to detail of the background that it attains equal importance to the main characters. The background also shows his mastery of perspective as well as that unique quality to impart the texture of the subject.
Scenes from Hindu mythology: It is in these paintings Ravi Varma’s grandeur becomes obvious. Perfectly proportioned men and women set against elaborate background rival any painting by the Italian or Dutch masters.
(Write a brief conclusion.)
Best answer: SherniZaad
Raja Ravi Varma is known as the legend when it comes to Indian paintings. He was known for his unique style and capacity to depict the mood and atmosphere of the scenes beautifully on the canvas creating magic in true sense.
His style was unique because he painted with European techniques while incorporating Indian themes and subjects thus giving his paintings totally a new dimension. His oil paintings and water paintings depicting Indian mythological scenes are brilliant examples.
Through his paintings like Jatayu trying to save Sita from Ravan, he portrayed excellently the whole mood and emotions of the story on just one canvass. He was often criticized for showing extra emotions in his work but this was his strength usually missing in other artists.
His other paintings depicting love story of Shakuntala and Dushyantha, disguise of Draupadi, etc are spectacular creations of art making Raja Ravi Verma a true modern artist and a role model for the future artists .
3. The classical dance forms of India are characterised by both similarities and differences. Elucidate.
(Most of the points have been covered under the best Answer section. These are just a guideline for good answer)
You should mention about classical dances in India (who gives this distinction, how many are there etc.)
You should highlight the richness of Indian dances and trace the tradition from its origin.
Highlight the similarities/ differences under broad headings and also give examples.
Musical instruments etc.
Uniqueness of each dance
(you can add more points)
Your conclusion should reflect the concern about the present status of dance forms and a need to provide institutional support to maintain the legacy.
Best Answer1: SherniZaad
The Sangeet Natak Academy currently confers classical status to 8 dance forms- Bharatnatyam, Kuchipudi, Odissi, Kathak, Mohiniattam, Kathakali, Manipuri and Sattriya- all being unique and different in their own way yet showing some similarities.
1) Origin – most basic and important factor differentiating them is the place of their origin for ex Kathak originated in North India and Kuchipudi and Andhra pradesh, Sattriya in Assam and Kathakali in Kerala.
2) Emphasis – each dance form emphasizes on different aspects of natya, nrittya and nritta. For instance, in Bharatnatya emphasis is placed on expressions with dance however in Kathak, the more importance is given to the foot work and dancing.
3) Make up – dancers wear different kinds of makeup according to their culture. In kathakali, heavy painting of face is done using colors like green, white etc. whereas in Odissi, minimal make is done keeping the face very real and natural.
However,apart from the differences these dances show a few signs of similarities like depiction of Tribhanga posture in case of Bharatnatyam and Odissi, invocation of God before starting of the performance, performing on the music of their own regions, portraying of mythological scenes especially from krishnaleela, Mahabharata scenes etc.
Indian culture is unique with combination of all forms of art showcasing diversity under each of them. However, due to western aping culture and focus on new dancing styles like contemporary and freestyle, our classical dance forms are lagging behind. It’s the need of the hour to create awareness, encourage these art forms in schools and higher level, incentivize Dance gurus and instill a feeling of pride for our culture in each of us
Your introduction should briefly tell about the recent news related to Nudge units being setup by Niti Ayog and also discuss what is behavioural economics in brief.
Mention the Significance of behavioural economics in public policy under broad headings. Also give examples.
bottom up approach
Efficiency and effectiveness
Better response towards the schemes.
Recognizing social norms
(you can add few more points)
You should mention that it is a step in the right direction but a caution should be taken while applying it.
Best Answer: -MYK
Far beyond the realm of Keynesian economics, lies the domain of behavioural economics which addresses anomalies as to WHY? an individual behaves in a typical way under a given set of economic choices.
Behavioural economics is the branch of psychology that deals with social, psychological and cognitive factors that shapes the behaviour of an individual. With greater need to optimize the government scheme’s outcomes, NITI Aayog’s collaboration with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to establish “BEU / Nudge” units is a timely and welcome step.
Lies in persuasion and influencing the behaviours of individual & institutions. This is highly sought as:
1) Scheme’s success and failure is in part their acceptance by public. “Give Up Subsidy Scheme” failure to elicit a strong response.
2) Helps understand the impact that the scheme intervention will have on social, economic, cultural & educational level. “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” aimed at influencing the citizenry of the importance of girl’s education; “Indradhanush” Immunization scheme
3) Persuasion -> The benefits of family planning is well acknowledged, however there is no rational use of contraceptives and sterilization techniques
4) Influence & Reform -> Swach Bharat Mission which aims to put an end to “Open Defecation” works on bringing a change in mind-set of individuals.
5) Cost effectiveness – Pushing the awareness campaigns in areas where it is needed – Though, stringent punishment are listed under PCPNDT Act, it needs to reform patriarchal norms in low sex ratio areas – say, an intensive sex ratio drive in Haryana versus a low drive in Kerala
6) Enables informed and well intentioned actions – Optimize electricity usage while not in use, use of CFL, participation in local committees etc. are major factors under community’s behavioural science
Needless to say that in a resource constraint Nation, optimum utilization is the road to sustenance. NITI Aayog’s “Behavioural Economic Units” would surely pave a way to ensuring a sustainable future.
Best Answer2: – SherniZaad
By establishing a Behavioral Economics/ Nudge Unit in collaboration with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation,Niti Ayog has made a move towards more effective implementation of the government’s flagship programmes like Digitsl India, Jan dhan yojana and Swachch Bharat Abhiyan.
Behavioral Economics basically is a study of psychological, social and cognitive factors affecting the economic choices of individuals as well as institutions. It helps towards achieving better outputs with minimal level of expenditure which is quite a need in India in the context of growth and development. It has the potential of making huge impact on the policy making and implementation :-
1) Awareness – Government schemes remain underutilized due to lesser or no awareness among the most needy masses. Nudge unit with help of ad campaigns can bridge the awareness gap.
2) Close relationship – Better implementation of government programmes will help in shaping the relationship between the government and people thus improving governance.
3) Expenditure – can be reduced with better utilization of fund and avoid misuse which can help India in containing its deficits.
4) Bottom up approach- knowing the behavior and decision making style of people is very important for successful implementation of schemes.
5) Attitudinal change- efforts of the Unit will be in understanding as well as changing the attitude of the society by recommending changing in advertising (Jaha Soch Wahi Shochalaya), finacial flow etc.
India is a democratic country with people belonging to different backgrounds 2ith different line of thinking. It’s impossible to impose any plan or policy on them or expect them to adapt to new schemes equally. Hence, stealing a leaf from UK’s book of creating a Nudge unit is a welcoming step and this will help India to reach towards holistic development.
Best Answer3: – Kyu
Behavioral economics explores why people sometimes make irrational decisions, and why and how their behavior does not follow the predictions of economic models.
The recent decision of NITI aayog to set up a “nudge unit “ or Behavioural Insights Team in order to apply behavioral economics while formulating public policy in India is significant since:
–well intentioned policies so far have failed due to behavioral quirks e.g., failed TB interventions because patients don’t follow complete treatment course, usage of toilets built through Swach Bharat
–the magnitude and diversity of Indian population would make a top down approach unviable. Understanding people’s behavior and enabling their participation would be the key here.
–would enable optimum resource usage in a resource-strained nation such as India and avoid wastage due to failed policy initiatives
Apart from enabling success of public welfare schemes it also finds application in possibly curbing tax avoidance and inculcating sense of civic duty.
However, a certain level of prudence also must be observed while resorting to behavioral approach since there is a danger that policymakers might assume a paternalistic attitude with respect to citizens. Behavioral economics is simply one of the tools that might be adopted to ensure public and national welfare.
Best Answer4: Mani
Behavioural economics involves studying, analysing and understanding the behaviours of different sections of an economy. Since economy functions on the basis of interactions between people, government, businesses and markets, behavioural economics is important:
It helps in understanding the ways in which people perceive policies and initiatives of govt. thus, govt can frame better policies
Given the diversity at economic, cultural, social levels, studying behaviours will help in clearer understanding about the impact of these factors on people
Increased efficiency in implementation of policies. Areas that are defined as requiring more assistance can be given greater attention. For example: In places where open defecation in more rampant with people supporting it, requires extra effort than just providing funds under swacch baharat abhiyan
Help in evaluating the effects of policies on ground. Many times pilot projects work but fail on scaling. Studying people’s response to initiatives will help in improving them.
Provide adequate data to private sector in understanding gravity of issues and help accordingly under PPP initiatives.
Promotes community participation in public policy.
Help in economising expenditure and ensuring efficiency in spending.
Recently a World Bank report highlighted that policies based on behaviours of people are more likely to succeed on ground. Thus, NITI Ayog’s decision to set up behavioural economic unit holds promise. However, effort must be made towards efficient data collection, analysis and implementation of results with transparency.
5. Evaluate India’s strategic opportunities and risks in Afghanistan.
Note: Many of you have just highlighted the economic benefits of India-Afghanistan relationship, rather than evaluating on strategic opportunities.
The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) drawdown in 2014 led to a cautious approach to the otherwise proactive policy India followed in Afghanistan.
India’s strategy in Afghanistan is guided by the desire to prevent an Islamist government that would readily provide Pakistan with strategic depth and a safe haven for terror groups rather than facilitating a pro-India government in Afghanistan.
Some important points are given below, which should be in your answer. Provide brief description of 2-3 lines each as the question asks you to “evaluate”.
Elimination of Anti-India Terrorism and ISIS
Undermine Pakistan’s Influence in Afghanistan and Reduce Political Space for Pakistan
Undermine Taliban and other Terror Groups
Strategic Depth vs Pashtunistan: Durand Line
Strengthen Ties with Iran
Enhance Ties with the CARs
Enhance Stake in the Natural Resources of Afghanistan
India’s Internal Security Preparedness and Strategy
Intensify Economic Activities
Intensify Creation of Alternative Infrastructure
Financial and Military Aid
(Provide at least evaluation of some 5 points)
Terrorism from AF-Pak Region
ISIS: An Indirect Threat and Threat of Radicalisation of Afghanistan
Threat of encirclement of Pakistan
Still politically unstable and recent attacks by extremists don’t present an assuring picture
India’s absence in Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) on Afghanistan reduces its ability to influence decisions.
China and Pakistan involvement also hamper the India’s interest with their huge infrastructural investment and being neighboring state respectively.
India’s friendly relations with Kabul might turn India- Pakistan’s relationships more bitter . Moreover, India’s strategy of getting closer to Kabul might make other countries to form alliance to counter India (ex- Friendship 2016 drill between Russia, China and Pakistan).
(Provide good conclusion)
Best answer 1: Soumya Anand
India and Afghanistan’s civilisational ties have been bolstered with India’s soft diplomacy in the form of Zaranj-Delaram Highway, Afghan Parliament and Salma Dam leading to strong strategic relationship.
-> Heart of Asia Conference should be utilized and invitation to join the “6 plus 1 group” should be accepted to ensure India’s safety concerns from TTP etc.
-> India should utilize its military prowess and increase supplies of defence equipment along and training of Afghan soldiers.
-> Afghan Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement and Chabahar port should be leveraged to access the growing Afghan markets and to Central Asian Republics.
-> Initiatives like TAPI need to be focused which create incentives for peace for all parties.
-> The immense goodwill enjoyed by Indians in Afghan should be translated to trade and greater cultural contact.
-> Taliban continues to grow along with other terrorist organisations directly threatening Indian security.
-> $ 2b have already been invested by India in Afghanistan creating a lot of stakes for peace.
-> Afghanistan prefers the northern route to Central Asia and China’s OBOR due to Pakistan’s obstructions and is increasing Chinese influence.
-> India’s absence in QCG on Afghanistan reduces its ability to influence decisions.
-> Withdrawal of US forces might lead to greater instability in the country.
India should choose its path carefully and with “strategic independence” keeping in mind the immense potential a peaceful and progressive neighbor can hold.
Best answer 2: APPLE
Bilateral relationship between Afghanistan and India have traditionally been strong and friendly and they reached a one step further when India became the only south asian country to recognize soviet backed democratic republic of afghanistan in 1980s
1-Pak is situated b/w AFGHANISTAN , iran,india and through chabahr port, india can control geopolitical interests of pak and counter CPEC.
2-indian army has constructed a major road in afganistan province connecting Delaram to Zaranj which is key to build up transportation link to bypass pak.
3-In 2005 ,India proposed Afghanistan’s membership in (SAARC) which can b reciprocating factor for India as well in accquiring a permanent seat in UNSC.
4-salma DAM officially called” india afghanistan frnship dam”is a major irrigational dam set up..
5-TAPI gas pipeline and afghanistan -pak-india trade route are stategically imp.
1-Sending of AFGHAN cadets for millitary training to pak and allowing of pak securities to conduct “joint millitary”operations in eastern part of afghanistan are examples of terrorism like threat…
2-developement projects may get hinder due to hostile environment in afghanistan..
3-involvement of china n pak can pose developemental and economic threats
Clearly remarked as” BIG BROTHER” yet india needs to move cautiously to maintain the relations and combating the risks for herself as well which no country can hamper.