SYNOPSIS: IASbaba’s TLP – 2017 : UPSC Mains General Studies Questions [22nd Aug, 2017]- Day 32

  • August 24, 2017
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SYNOPSIS: IASbaba’s TLP – 2017 : UPSC Mains General Studies Questions [22nd Aug, 2017]- Day 32


1. What do you understand by the terms ‘prejudice’ and ‘stereotype’ in the social context? How do such social attitudes lead to social inequality and exclusion? Discuss by taking examples.


Prejudice means a preconceived notion about a group of persons which is not based on any evidence (E.g. the holocaust happened due to the prejudice towards Jews). When a person acts on his prejudice, then it becomes discrimination.

A stereotype is a fixed or oversimplified image held against a person or usually a group based on race, nationality or sexual orientation (Women are not as smart or capable as men)


Our prejudiced view and caricaturizing often lead us to favoritism amongst groups which decreases social participation of certain groups which decrease their social mobility.

Similarly stereotypical views about a particular group for example against African Americans and Women help us to justify their poor status and both racial and economic superiority of those above them in social hierarchy and leads to “perpetuation of social attitudes




                                 ?                                                 ? LACK OF SOCIAL MOBILITY

                     STEREOTYPING                             SOCIAL INEQUALITY

For example a study commissioned by McKinsey Group and UN women in USA found that even though women occupy half of mid level management they get 28-30% less salary than their male counterparts similarly This Gender stereotyping also extends to Sports field where in Premier Tennis tournaments due to Stereotyping women of being weak led to prejudiced view of having shorter matches and consequently lower prize money which is in perpetuity since a long time.

This prejudiced view against particular groups leads to alienation and an atmosphere of mistrust consequently leading to exclusion of the group from full societal participation.

Eg: Discriminated view of Transgender community and stereotyping them as unnatural or deviants with occult practices has led them to beggary and exclusion from participating in education, employment opportunities or political arena which has lead to severe social and economic inequality which is perpetuating across generations.

Though certain stereotyping is unavoidable in a globalised world there is definitely a need for societal sensitization and use of affirmative legislations with strict implementation that give these discriminated classes a chance to rise up the social hierarchy and ensure full participation.


Prejudice means a preconceived notion about a group of persons which is not based on any evidence. (e.g: dark skinned people are not beautiful). Stereotype refers to a generalization made for a larger group based on behavior of a small sample of those in that group. (e.g: all transgender people are beggars)

The effects of these social attitudes on society (apart from creating an atmosphere of mistrust)
Social Inequality : Alienation of the particular subsection leads to their poor performance in demographic parameters (income, education) causing social inequality. The section of people is less likely to come forward and express their right to employment and livelihood due to fear of persecution. Due to this inequality Muslims, transgender are among the least income group in India. They are constantly discriminated against in employment and even physical violence is not unheard of.

Exclusion: Depression in individuals who are discriminated against might lead to them not participating in the societal functioning and hence exclusion.
Many women today prefer to become housewives in spite of having good educational qualifications.

Prejudice and social inequality are unavoidable in a multicultural society like India. The need of the hour is to encourage such depressed sections through affirmative action, stricter implementation of anti-discrimination law like that against untouchability, gender harassment




2. What do understand by the term ‘commodification’ in the social context. Do you see any commodification of social institutions, beliefs or events? Explain by taking examples. Also discuss its effects on the society as a whole.


Today we live in a world run by market economy. With raise in globalization, commodification is touching ever sphere of society. Commodification refer to a situation where in everything is seen as a product with a price tag.


This commodification has touched even our social life.

  1. Social Institution:
  • Education: most important foundation for any society. Gone are days where education was sacred.
  • Marriage Ceremony: Most sacred moment with blessing of well-wishers is now status exposing event.
  1. Beliefs:
  • Astrology: The reach of it depends on the ability to pay.
  • Religious institution: Accessibility of God depends on your ability to donate.
  1. Events:
  • Festivals: Every festival in India had some cultural and religious significance but now it is spending of money on lavish things.
  • Birthday celebrations: It is celebration day only for affordable class.



  • Market: for product and new business ideas.
  • Increasing standard of living and employment opportunity.


  • It is creating class divide based on status.
  • Exploitation: Women, children are exploited and objectified.


Like every discovery and invention which is both boon and bane, same way commodification has changed society which has both positive and negative outcomes. It is up to us how we utilize the changes and succeed in life.

Best Answer: Rsp



3. What we know today as ‘caste’ is more a product of colonialism than of ancient Indian traditions. Do you agree? Which British interventions led to the strengthening of the caste system in India? Discuss.

“Caste” in ancient India was based on the basis of birth and was not rigid while what we see today is based on birth. Thus, the caste system as we see today is very different from the one that existed before colonial rule.

British interventions that led to strengthening of caste system in India:

  • Caste based census: Starting from 1881, census including caste of people were carried out. Also, there was an attempt to build a hierarchy of caste based on the census data. The censuses became a catalyst for an increased consciousness about their caste and its status among the Indian people.
  • Britishers also documented caste and tribe maintaining all complexities and brought it out in official gazettes.
  • GOI Act, 1935: The legal framework under this act led to the formation of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.
  • The practice of giving land ownership on basis of caste further increased the importance of the system.
  • Biased study of British historians to depict wide segregation in Hindu society existing from ancient times also played a big role in entrenching caste based divisions.
  • The British did not allow the Indian soldiers of diverse backgrounds to be placed in the same regiments, thereby implanting a gap between them.
  • Communal award of 1932- created separate electorate for dalit, forward and backward caste for the first time.
  • The “Aryan invasion” theory propagated by British deepened the caste system as well as North-South divide within India.
  • Other measures like defeat of the temple entry bill to appease the orthodox section of the society.

On the contrary in the colonial period we also saw various factors that played an indirect role in weakening the caste system as well:

  • Industrial cities like Mumbai, Surat gave opportunity to every section of society to be part of economy without discrimination which is visible even now in urban areas.
  • Cornwallis introduced “Equality of law’ and “equal protection of law” providing equal protection to each citizen.
  • Henry Vivian Derozio , a Britisher by descent started “Young Bengal movement” and became part of Indian renaissance.
  • Western and secular education and learning of Voltaire, John Adams etc. established a middle Indian society which provided the leadership for Indian reform movement.


Although Britishers formalised the system of caste in India, independent India too has a role in strengthening and diversifying it. The modern caste system is a direct descendant of the British colonial interventions but the continuation of communal violence, honor killings, incidents like purification of the CM’s office in Lucknow, the implementation of Mandal report in 1990 deepened the caste lines, existence of Caste- related politics even independence shows that we are accepting and encouraging the promotion of the caste system as organized by the British rather than coming out of it.

Best answer: Event Horizon




4. The performance of Indian athletes at the Brazil Paralympics last year is testimony to the grit and bravery of differently abled persons. Yet the policy discourse in India has not catered fully to their special needs. Do you agree? Examine.

Note: Many students failed to understand main theme of the question that is differently abled sportsman/athletes their issues and policy measures, instead they wrote about general disability issues.


India performed exceptionally well in the latest Summer Paralympics held in Brazil, winning four medals in different events.

  1. Devendra Jhajharia set a world record in javelin throw winning gold. The same goes with Marian Thangavelu, whose performance was exceptional in high jump.
  2. Deepa Malik, despite her age of 45, not only appeared but won silver in shot put. This shows the hard work, grit and dedication put by the athletes despite severe odds.

Main Body

The policy discourse when it comes to sports (except Cricket) in India is pitiable, it is even worse when it comes to athletes with special needs.

  1. Issue with Paralympics Committee of India. Other agencies lack funds, riddled by corruption, nepotism and politicized like any other institution.
  2. The infrastructure for training is meager or completely absent, and those present are not differently abled friendly developed after consider training needs of athletes
  3. Sponsorship and recognition issues, the athletes have to put their own resources in training, which puts high pressure on their financials.
  4. General societal perception, prejudices and attitude towards any differently abled person in general athletes in particular.
  5. In other countries huge funds are poured into establishing sporting facilities, many NGOs participating to train players, a whole ecosystem of coaches and training staff is present which is absent in India as a whole.

The recent case of a para-athlete forced to beg in Berlin representing India at the swimming championship, when she fell short of cash shows the apathy of the policy makers.

However there has been change in policy approach towards sports other than cricket in the country. Realizing Indian athlete’s capabilities off late various policies try to address few of these issues in piecemeal manner,

  1. Target Olympic podium scheme.
  2. Rajiv Gandhi khel ratna award to Denendra Jhajaria recognizing his achievement in Rio Paralympics 2016.
  3. Financial award declared by states to winners in Paralympics eg. Delhi, Tamil Nadu.
  4. Spending on training to promote rural and nationally recognized para-olympic and Olympic sports also qualified for credit under the CSR rules.
  5. Person with disabilities Act 2016.


There is no coherent policy for sports ecosystem in the country. Policy efforts are to be made towards decentralized planning of infrastructure, identifying talent at a young age, providing training and other facilities by the state, proper care during their career and post-retirement have to be offered, then only can our country reap its demographic dividend not only in economy but also sports.

Best Answer: Redeemer911



5. Iran is set to emerge as not only an important supplier of energy, but also as a key regional player in Central Asia and the Near East. Comment. How do you assess India’s recent outreach to Iran? Will it benefit India? Examine.

  • Regional significance and importance for india:

 Security aspect:

  1. Iran wants a peaceful Afghanistan in its neighbourhood. With the US presence being wound up in Afghanistan Iran can play a major role for a peaceful and stable Afghanistan.
  2. Both India and Iran has invested constructively in Afghanistan. Therefore, India and Iran can jointly fight against terrorism.
  3. Iran is playing a major role in eliminating ISIS from Syria


  1. Iran’s Bandar Abbas port conceived as the hub for the INSTC is the shortest and most economic route to central ASIA
  2. India is also developing Chabahar port which is the gateway to central Asia and also to Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan.


  1. Huge oil and gas reserves which can complement Indian needs, Iran has 9.3 per cent of global oil reserves and 18.2 per cent of gas reserves.
  2. Chabahar Port:  India is now looking to attain two berthing docks at the port, to give the country an edge not only in trade with Iran but access to Central Asia and beyond as well.
  3. Investments in Farzad B: India was awarded the development of the Farzad B block in the Farsi gas field, and had committed $1 billion to the project.
  4. International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC):  The INSTC is a multi–modal idea to connect Indian trade with Central Asia, Eurasia and Russia.
  5. India–Iran gas pipeline: A pipeline connecting Chabahar port via Oman and then taking the subsea route to India.


  1. Iranian authorities have accused Pakistan’s ISI of helping the Baloch separatist movement in Iran and its leader Abdulmalik Rigi. This is a chance for India to develop co-operation with Iran as both the countries are facing internal disturbances funded by Pakistan.
  2. India has stood by Iran, even when it was facing economic sactions by the US, by agreeing to pay for oil in kind, now that the sanctions are lifted, both can mutually benefit

Best Answer: The Silent Guardian




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