SYNOPSIS: PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION OPTIONAL – Paper 1- TLP UPSC Mains Answer Writing [05th August, 2020] – Day 1

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  • August 5, 2020
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TLP Public Administration Optional
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1. The foreign policy of British rule in India was almost in compliance with that propounded by Kautilya. Illustrate with the help of suitable examples.   10 marks (150 words)                                                                                            


In the beginning, form a template about the postulates of Kautilya, regarding the foreign policy. Then provide examples for every postulate present in the template. This fulfills the demand of the question. Further, enrich your answer with good quotes of public administrationists, wherever necessary.

From Paper1

As this is a history-based question, there are rare chances of bringing the content from the first paper here. However, you can use the keywords that are taken up from the same.


Kautilya’s Raja mandala theory speaks about six strategies to deal with foreign policy. They are a combination of war, peace alliance, and duality. And it is no surprise that the British used all the six strategies of Kautilya to set their foreign policies, during their rule in India.


The six strategies of Kautilya are as follows:

Sandhi or Samdhi: (Making peace with the adversaries) Kuatilya had stated the peace-making to be the safest strategy; as the time and efforts used in defending the enemies can be used in the welfare of the state. British nevertheless, made peace with several states like the Treaty of Sagauli with Nepal; and the peace treaty with the Dutch, etc. 

These treaties were greatly helpful to England, as stated rightly by Kautilya. One such example is that even today Gorkha regiment of Nepal is a part of both Indian and the English armies.

Vigraha: (It is the preparedness for the war) Kuatilya had opined that a king should be alert, cautious, and ever-prepared for the war.  Britain also was well prepared to wage the war anytime with its probable opponents. The whole course of the Indo-Afghan war took place with the single most intention to be cautious of Russia foraying into the Indian mainland.  

Asana: (neutrality) it is neither being a friend nor an enemy of any of the neighbors. The neutrality of the British can be observed in the Anglo-Maratha wars. Here Britain was a mute spectator when factions of Marathas (Gaikwad, Bhonsle, Sindhia, and Holkar) were busy fighting amongst one another.  

Yana: is waging the war. And Britain fought several battles with almost all the then powerful monarchs of India. Their wars began with the Battle of Plassey and ended with the Quit India Movement – which was no less than a war.

Samsraya or Sansraya: it is the act of taking protection (alliance) from a powerful king in-order to avoid a war with the minor king. The visit of Captain Hawkings to the court of Jahangir and obtaining his Dastak to carry out trade and commerce in India is the best example for Samsraya. 

Dviavibhav: this is the shrewd strategy of seeking peace with one king in-order to pursue hostility with another. Kautilya prescribed this duality with one’s friends, a friend of a friend, and with the enemy of one’s enemy. The Anglo-Mysore war wherein the British made peace with Marathas and Nizams against Tipu is the best evidence worth stating here. 


Hence, the foreign policy of British rule in India was an emulation of the foreign policy propounded by Kautilya to a major extent. Along with these 6 strategies, Britishers are said to have been followed the Kautilya’s Kutila Neethi as well; as they used every alliance they sought during their entire rule, for their personal benefits.

Foreign policy is,” peace, commerce and friendship with all; and entangling alliance with none.” Thomas Jefferson.  

2. Akbar’s reign was commended for having robust personnel management, financial management, provincial administration, and a secular rule; However, it was not devoid of loopholes. Do you agree? Justify.    15 marks (200 words)


Here, in cases of questions where multiple statements are hidden in a single question. The best strategy is to answer every phrase of the question effectively. 

And when the question asks to justify, it demands the examinee to take a stand in favor of the statement.

From Paper1

Already the question contains some of the keywords that are borrowed from the first paper. We have to welcome those words by providing apt explanations to them, and further facilitate such borrowing with the usage of more of such concepts and keywords. 


Prof. Jadunath Sarkar gives full credit for Akbar in particular and Mughals in general, for bringing in ‘one administration, one language, and one coinage throughout India.


Akbar’s reign was commended throughout the lengths and breadths of history for the following reasons:

Robust personnel management: From teeth to tail, every official working in Akbar’s administration had fixed roles and responsibilities. Ex: Mir Baksh – paymaster, Sadar-u- Sadr – religious adviser, Kotwaal – intelligence and the postal department.

Further, the Mansabdari system provided the rank, the military force, and the economic benefits altogether. Officials here seemed to be contented with all these emoluments. And there were rarely any rebellions in the kingdom (individual interests correlated with group interests, hands-on boss, theory Y cosmology).  

Magnificent financial administration: Akbar had a very advanced taxation system. Todar Mal’s Dahsala, Zabti, Keth Batai, Lang Batai, and other means of collection of taxes were very flexible, easy to assess, and peasant friendly. These resulted in prompt payment of taxes, leading to a huge collection of revenue assets.  

A well structured provincial administration: The kingdom was divided into provinces (Subas), which were then divided into Sarkars and further into Parganas. Every Suba had a provincial governor named Subadar, and a financial administrator named Diwan. And the account books were handled by Quanungo. 

Hence, the law and order machinery, the finance, the taxation department, and others were intact; making the provincial administration a well-oiled machine.

A secular rule: Akbar’s concept of Sul-i-Kul was based on the philosophy of universal brotherhood. His Din-e- Ilahi was an effort to reconcile various religious differences among his subjects.

Further, Akbar’s move to cancel Jizyah was commended throughout history. And his effort to establish Ibaadat Khana was a feather on his cap, which made him one of the most secular rulers of the world.

However, his administration had the following loopholes;

  • Akbar’s policy of the selection of officials was mostly based on either the kinship or the friendship. Meritocracy was conspicuous in its absence during Akbar’s rule.
  • The Rajput policy of Akbar was not welcomed by all the rulers of Rajputana. Some of the rulers considered it, a sin to lose one’s kinship and work as an official under the superiority of another king. However powerful the king may be. 
  • The Mansabdari system was not infallible either. In this, the military ranks were assigned to all the people present in Akbar’s court. Hence, even Tan Sen, Birbal, Todar Mal, etc had to fight wars when they were called for. Birbal, one of the Akbar’s most brilliant Navarathnas, lost his life fighting against invaders in Punjab.
  •  Lastly, despite having such a huge taxation wealth. Akbar spent a very less amount of revenue assets to improve the lives of peasants, artisans, and common people of the state. Most of it was spent on building forts, conquests, and on the cultural luxuries inside his court.


Thus, all these deliberations justify that, despite being a great statesman, an able administrator, and an impartial ruler. Akbar didn’t make mark-able efforts to plug the loopholes present in his administration. And, these got carried over to his posterity which ultimately led to the weakening of the kingdom. 



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