SYNOPSIS [11th June,2020] Day 2: IASbaba’s TLP (Phase 2): UPSC Mains Answer Writing (General Studies)

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  • June 11, 2020
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TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
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SYNOPSIS [11th June,2020] Day 2: IASbaba’s TLP (Phase 2): UPSC Mains Answer Writing (General Studies)


1. How did the colonial occupation of different parts of the country by non-British European powers affect the local economy, culture and politics? Examine.

गैरब्रिटिश यूरोपीय शक्तियों द्वारा देश के विभिन्न हिस्सों पर औपनिवेशिक कब्जे ने स्थानीय अर्थव्यवस्था, संस्कृति और राजनीति को कैसे प्रभावित किया? जांच करें।

Demand of the question:

It expects students to write about the impact of colonial occupation of non-British European powers on economy, culture and politics.


Most historians have observed that the coming of the Portuguese not only initiated what might be called the European era, it marked the emergence of naval power. Other European powers like Dutch, British, and French followed Portuguese mostly with trading ambitions and expectation of minimal native intervention in economic endeavours.


Impact of Portuguese occupation:

  • Portuguese occupied areas of Goa, Diu and Daman, Dadra Nagar Haveli and Mumbai port which was later transferred to British.  
  • The Portuguese ships carried cannon, and this was the first step in gaining monopoly over trade—with the threat or actual use of force. The Portuguese declared their intention to abide by no rules except their own, and they were intent on getting a decisive advantage over the Indians and over the Indian Ocean trading system.
  • The Portuguese showed military innovation in their use of body armour, matchlock men, and guns landed from the ships. The Portuguese may have contributed by example to the Mughal use of field guns, and the ‘artillery of the stirrup’.
  • The art of the silversmith and goldsmith flourished at Goa, and the place became a centre of elaborate filigree work, fretted foliage work and metal work embedding jewels. However, though the interior of churches built under the Portuguese have plenty of woodwork and sculpture and sometimes painted ceilings, they are generally simple in their architectural plan.
  • India, the memory of religious persecution and cruelty detracts from the other contributions made by the Portuguese in the cultural field. However, it cannot be forgotten that the missionaries and the Church were also teachers and patrons in India of the arts of the painter, carver, and sculptor.
  • As in music, they were the interpreters, not just of Portuguese, but of European art to India. 

Impact of Dutch occupation: 

  • Dutch were in India to cater growing spices demand in world. During the days when the Dutch were commercially active in India, they operated several mints, at Cochin, Masulipattam, Nagapatam.
  • The difference between the Dutch and the other European powers was that the Dutch were not directly a colonial administrative power. They were always interested in trade. It was only in Cochin that they came closest to what the other European powers did.
  • Dutch were compelled to leave India by 1795 as increased activity threatened British interests. 

Impact of Danish occupation:

  • The Danes are better known for their missionary activities than for commerce. Previously priests had not attempted to convert, and Indians denied entry to European churches.
  • The British government, highly suspicious of missionary’s activity, discouraged missionary work in their Indian territories. However, since Serampore was under Danish rule, the missionaries and the Press were able to operate freely. 

Impact of French occupation:

  • The French were the last of the European powers to enter the eastern trade. In 1668 the first French factory was established in Surat. The French obtained Pondicherry in 1673 then built Chandranagore subsequently. There was rivalry between the French and the British and the Dutch for major share in the eastern trade.
  • The French hopes of establishing their political powers came to an end in 18th century. However, French continued to help Tipu in modernisation of his army.
  • French revolution ideas of liberty, equality and fraternity quite influenced Tipu’s mind. Idea of state controlled trading company also influenced Tipu. He tried to establish foreign trade relations outside India.
  • French influence on art can be seen around the areas of Pondicherry. 


Over a period of time, European companies exhibited interest in obtaining more and more concessions from the Indian rulers as each was very desirous of gaining a monopoly of eastern trade against the other powers. This desire for monopoly made them enter into conflicts with one another both on land and sea. By 1750, the fortune smiled at the British and the British emerged victorious and developed designs to establish their political supremacy in India.

2. How did the Anglo-Maratha rivalry shape the contemporary politics of the Indian subcontinent? What were its long term implications? Discuss.

एंग्लोमराठा प्रतिद्वंद्विता ने भारतीय उपमहाद्वीप की समकालीन राजनीति को कैसे आकार दिया? इसके दीर्घकालिक प्रभाव क्या थे? चर्चा करें।

Demand of the question:

It expects students to write about the role played by Anglo-Maratha rivalry in shaping contemporary politics of Indian subcontinent along with its long term implication. 


There were three Anglo-Maratha wars fought between the late 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century between the British and the Marathas. In the end, the Maratha power was destroyed and British supremacy established. However Maratha war machine delayed British occupation of India by around 50 years. 


Rise of Maratha Empire: 

  • The Hindu Maratha Empire was founded by the warrior Shivaji Bhonsle in 1674 in what is today the state of Maharashtra. 
  • Its power grew as bands of Marathas fought the Mughals, whose empire has grown weak after the death of Aurangzeb in 1707, and the Persian invasion of Nader Shah in 1739. 
  • The Marathas, moreover, utilized guerrilla tactics that proved to their advantage against large and divided Mughal armies. 
  • By the middle of the 18th century, the Marathas had emerged as the most powerful entity in India. 

Rivalry of Anglo-Maratha shaped contemporary politics of India:

  • Even though the Maratha Empire lost the Third Battle of Panipat to the Afghans in 1761, it still remained the dominant power in India, and occupied Delhi from between 1770 to 1803, officially as the agents of the Mughal Empire, though in reality the converse was closer to the truth. In addition, the Marathas dominated much of the rest of India, including Odisha and the Rajput states.
  • Frequently allied with the British against South Indian states such as Hyderabad and Mysore, which were both closer to the French.
  • After 1761, Maratha state became more of a confederacy than an empire, as its successful generals carved out new territories for themselves, and established dynasties, such as the Holkars and Sindhias, in addition to the peshwas, the title of the hereditary prime ministers who had become the de facto rulers of the empire during the course of the 18th century.
  • As the Maratha Empire assumed the shape of a confederacy after the Panipat loss, with strong regional leaders asserting greater power and control, the Peshwas in Pune started to lose ‘visibility’ over the kingdom.
  • British foresight exemplified in keeping Awadh as buffer state to keep Marathas at bay even after defeat of later in 1764, battle of Buxar.  
  • The British took advantage of this situation and continued to intervene in local succession battles in Pune, Indore and Gwalior, trying to provide local support to make small incremental gains. 
  • The main cause of the first Maratha war was the increased interference of the British in the affairs, both internal and external, of the Marathas and also the struggle for power between Madhav Rao and Raghunath Rao.
  • It was these divisions between Maratha chiefs, as well as the competing ambitions of the Marathas and British, the region’s two greatest powers that made war hard to avoid. 
  • Even in 1800, the Maratha Empire controlled most of western, central, and north India, including territory it administered on the behalf of the Mughals, the greatest in the world after the Qing Empire of China; if it had acted in a strategic and united manner, it could have held its own in the subcontinent.
  • In terms of military technology, it was not as a particular disadvantage, and moreover the British were preoccupied with fighting Napoleon. Nonetheless, the British were in a stronger position because of their ability to better monetize revenue from their now-substantive Indian territories, their perfecting of military drilling, and their ability to use divisions among their enemies to their advantage.
  • Delhi and most of north India passed into British hands in 1803, as well as the protectorate of the Mughal family, still nominally the rulers of much of India, a legal fiction that both the Maratha and British maintained.
  • The Maratha polity ultimately had too many constituent components jostling for self-preservation for the state to hold together, especially when British protection seemed to provide more stability than the constant clashes of the main Maratha clans, however competent they were in commanding their own particular armies and fiefs.

Long term implications of Anglo-Maratha rivalry:

  • According to Percival Spear in The Oxford History of Modern India, 1740-1947, by the time of Maratha defeat, most other central and western Indian states previously tributary to the Marathas made subsidiary treaties with the British, including Bhopal, Jaipur, Udaipur, and Jodhpur. However, the territories ruled by the peshwas in western Maharashtra were annexed and became part of the Bombay Presidency, directly ruled by the British. 
  • Moreover, many of the non-Maratha states under Maratha influence, such as the Rajput states, were happy in their relief from Marathas and Pathans. 
  • British rule in South Asia began in Bengal between 1757 and 1765 as the British East India Company won battles, and was eventually given the legal right to collect revenue from that region by the powerless Mughal government.
  • Marathas lacked vision to unite Indian powers against British, rather british succeeded to divide Indian powers and defeat one at a time. Marathas hegemony could not become popular outside Maharashtra.
  • British had no enemy in west and south after the defeat of Marathas, which areas remained quite inactive in 1857 revolt indicate fatigue to fight against British or hope of reforms in caste system and education.
  • Failure of native power to defeat British or replace Mughal with legitimate indigenous alternative power lowered the morale of Indians about political and military capacity.


The debacle of Marathas in 1818 led to the complete dominance of the British throughout India, except for the northwest where the Sikh Empire still thrived, leaving the principal surviving Indians state as islands in a sea of British territory, or fenced in.

3. What was the Mahalwari system? How did it impact the socio-economic conditions of peasants in India? Describe. 

महलवारी प्रणाली क्या थी? भारत में किसानों की सामाजिकआर्थिक स्थितियों पर इसका क्या प्रभाव पड़ा? वर्णन करें।

Demand of the question:

It expects students to write about the revenue method of Mahalwari system and its impact on the socio-economic conditions of peasant in India.


Mahalwari system launched by Holt Mackenzie covered the states of Punjab, Awadh and Agra, parts of Orissa and Madhya Pradesh. During the 1800s, the British tried to establish their control over the administrative machinery of India. The System of Land Revenue acted as a chief source of income of the British. Thus, they used land to control the entire Revenue system, strengthening their economic condition in India.


Mahalwari system of revenue collection:

  • Mahalwari areas, the Land revenue was fixed for the whole village and the village headman collected it. Meaning theoretically Village headman itself was a landlord/zamindar.
  • R.M Bird provided for detailed survey to assess the revenue of entire mahal or fiscal unit, based on the net value of potential produce of the field.
  • The total revenue was then to be shared by the members of co-sharing body. The state was to appropriate two thirds of revenue of the land and the settlement was to be made for 30 years. 
  • British obliged the farmers to pay revenue in cash and not in kind. The land revenue was increased arbitrarily to finance British wars and conquests. But the farmers had no right to appeal in the court of law. Farmers had no understanding of cash economy, with frequent droughts and famines, their condition worsened.  
  • Hence they had to borrow money from unscrupulous grain traders and money-lenders with compound interest rate which led to perpetual indebtedness. 
  • A new village came-where existence was based on competition and struggle among independent individuals. Farmers shifted from food crop to Cash crops. But cash crops need more inputs in terms of seeds, fertilizer, and irrigation; hence farmer had to borrow more.
  • This brought moneylenders, Shroff, Mahajan, Baniya, into limelight- they were in control of village land without any accountability. Thus British land revenue system transferred ownership of land from farmer to moneylender.
  • Eventually, the typical Indian villager was stripped of all savings, caught in debt trap, mortgaging almost everything-whether personal jewellery, land and livestock, or tools and equipment. 

Impact on the socio-economic condition of peasant in India: 

  • Towards about the end of the colonial period, the total burden on the peasant of interest payments on debt and rent on land could be estimated at a staggering Rs 14,200 million.
  • Zamindars gave loan to farmers/labourers and demanded free labour in return. This practice prevented farmers/labourers from bargaining wages.
  • Begari, Bonded labour, or debt bondage became a common feature in large parts of the country. Even in ryotwari areas, upper caste controlled the land. Lower caste was reduced to sharecroppers and landless labourers.
  • Small tenants continued to cultivate with traditional techniques led to low productivity. Rich farmers/zamindars lacked the risk bearing mindset for capitalist mode of production i.e. invest more money in seeds, fertilizer,  animal husbandry, contract farming,  large-scale capitalist agriculture using hired wage labour under their direct supervision.
  • Even if they wanted to take risk, government did not give any agricultural support, like credit; insurance etc. and yet demanded high taxes. 
  • It is not surprising, therefore, that Indian agriculture, which was facing long-term stagnation, began to show clear signs of decline during the last decades of colonialism.
  • Independent Farmer/tenant was hardly left with any money to re-investment in agriculture. Most of his surplus income/profit went into paying taxes. These taxes were used for exporting raw material from India to Britain which led to drain of wealth.
  • When individuals or small group of farmers could not organize a collective action against Zamindars/government, they started robbery and dacoity.
  • The impoverishment of the Indian peasantry was a direct result of the transformation of the agrarian structure due to colonial economic policies, ruin of the handicrafts leading to overcrowding of land, the new land revenue system, colonial administrative and judicial system.

However, Peasants lately emerged as the main force in agrarian movements, fighting directly for their own demands. The demands were centred almost wholly on economic issues. The movements were directed against the immediate enemies of the peasant—foreign planters and indigenous zamindars and moneylenders. The struggles were directed towards specific and limited objectives and redressal of particular grievances. 

Colonialism was not the target of these movements. It was not the objective of these movements to end the system of subordination or exploitation of the peasants. Territorial reach was limited. There was no continuity of struggle or long-term organisation. The peasants developed a strong awareness of their legal rights and asserted them in and outside the courts.


The peasantry were never really to recover from the disabilities imposed by the new and a highly unpopular revenue settlement. Impoverished by heavy taxation, the peasants resorted to loans from money-lenders/traders at usurious rates, the latter often evicting the former from their land on non-payment of debt dues. These money-lenders and traders emerged as the new landlords, while the scourge of landless peasantry and rural indebtedness has continued to plague Indian society to this day.


TLP HOT Synopsis DAY-2  PDF

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