SYNOPSIS [30th NOVEMBER,2020] Day 43: IASbaba’s TLP (Phase 2): UPSC Mains Answer Writing (General Studies)

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  • December 2, 2020
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Question Compilation, TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
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SYNOPSIS [30th NOVEMBER,2020] Day 43: IASbaba’s TLP (Phase 2): UPSC Mains Answer Writing (General Studies)


1. The disintegration of the Ottoman Empire created many fault lines for Europes’s future. Do you agree? Substantiate.


As the directive here is substantiating it is necessary to give examples while giving an argument. In the introduction you can explain about how and when the disintegration of ottoman empire took place. In the main body part, it is necessary to explain what kind of effects it created citing Europe’s future. While concluding it is necessary to connect it with the recent developments. 


At the start of World War, I, the Ottoman Empire was already in decline. The Ottoman army entered the war in 1914 on the side of the Central Powers (including Germany and Austria-Hungary) and were defeated in October 1918. Following the Armistice of Mudros, most Ottoman territories were divided between Britain, France, Greece and Russia.


Disintegration of the Ottoman Empire and fault lines for Europe’s future:

  • The Ottoman empire officially ended in 1922 when the title of Ottoman Sultan was eliminated. Turkey was declared a republic on October 29, 1923, when Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881-1938), an army officer, founded the independent Republic of Turkey.
  • He then served as Turkey’s first president from 1923 until his death in 1938, implementing reforms that rapidly secularized and westernized the country.
  • Following the Armistice of Mudros, most Ottoman territories were divided between Britain, France, Greece and Russia. 
  • The Aftermath of dissolution of ottoman empire drastic political, cultural, economic, and social changes across Europe observed. 
  • The former empire of Austria-Hungary was dissolved, and new nations were created from its land such as Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia.
  • In Europe, they retained only the country of Turkey. Poland, which had long been divided among Germany, Russia, and Austria-Hungary, was reconstituted. Within the British Empire too, disaffected nations fought for independence. 
  • Hence, in geographical sense it completely changed the political map of Europe by creating or dividing the nations.
  • However, it was not just the effect of the fall of ottoman empire but also the impact of end of first world war which changed the political discourse across Europe. 
  • The harsh conditions forced upon Germany after the end of world war I actually supplemented the anger of Germans, thereby it supplemented rise of Hitler, who became the prominent figure for World War II.
  • Besides it also increased the ideological debate between Western thinkers and Eastern thinkers. As a result, two polar opposite ideologies as communism and liberalism gained prominence in Europe. Which in fact led to creation of Berlin wall in 1961.
  • It not only affected the political sphere but it also affected the economic sphere too. For instance, after disintegration of ottoman empire, we can easily observe economic hardships of many European countries. 
  • For instance, around in 1923, 42 billion German marks were worth the equivalent of one American cent.
  • The effects of disintegration of ottoman empire are not just limited to supplement the impact of World war I and World War II but they are impacting even today’s world too. For instance, UK left European Union i.e. Brexit.  


The aftermath effects of disintegration of ottoman empire are still visible today. However, Europe due to its strategic location suffered the most after disintegration of ottoman empire. The effects are still relevant today as many nations are asking to come out of European Union. However, Europe needs to understand the rise of China and should have foresight to tackle this challenges, else it might culminate in to world war III or new imperialism. 

2. Industrial revolution became the engine of European colonialism in the 19th century. Comment.


As the directive here is comment, it is necessary to give different viewpoints and then own opinion. You can start in introduction by telling what is industrial revolution and when it started. In the first half of main body part you are expected to show how Industrial revolution gave impetus to European colonialism in the 19th century. In the conclusion, you can show how it affected the history of colony and changed the course of world history. 


The Industrial Revolution, now also known as the First Industrial Revolution, was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Europe and the United States, in the period from about 1760 to sometime between 1820 and 1840. This transition included going from hand production methods to machines which led to the rise of the mechanized factory system. 


Industrial revolution became the engine of European colonialism in the 19th century: 

  • European power acquired colonies which ensured a regular supply of raw materials. In return the countries which were industrially advanced took this raw material, processed it and sold the manufactured products in to the colonies itself. 
  • European powers overseas colonies were the captive market for the goods it produced now. Textile industry and the iron industry adopted some innovations of its own as well. Hence, it led to colonies being the backyard as well as market for the European countries.
  • Innovated machines like the flying shuttle, spinning jenny and power loom, made the production much easier and faster, while at the same time requiring less human capital. 
  • It resulted in large scale production of manufactured goods. However, the market in Europe was not that much developed to assimilate such huge quantity of product. Hence, Europeans tried to expand their market in the colonies. 
  • It led to flourishment of trade, market, and communication across the world.
  • Due to industrial revolution shipping industry also got developed. Which led to transport revolution.
  • To expand facilities for transport by water much cheaper than overland, European countries began connecting rivers and lakes with canals. Canal building spread to Europe and America and was a big help in providing cheaper transportation, especially after steam boats came into use.
  • It not only led to market expansion in colonial countries but it also led to local market destruction in colonies too. For instance, the large quantities of European produce in the market side-lined locally produced handicrafts in India. 

It resulted in following effects: 

  • It strengthened the roots of colonialism by capturing the markets of colonised countries. 
  • It also strengthened the expansionist policies of European colonial countries. 
  • It increased the settler colonialism, i.e. foreign citizens move into a region and create permanent or temporary settlements called colonies. 
  • It is exemplified in the colonies established in what became the United States, New Zealand, Namibia, South Africa.
  • However, it also led to exploitative colonialism, where foreign armies conquer a country in order to control and capitalize on its natural resources and indigenous population. Europeans established authoritarian regimes in these colonies, which had no limits on state power. For instance, in Congo Basin. 

Hence, it can be said that, Industrial revolution led to dominance of European countries over colonies they captured and after that they settled down there. It resulted in expansion of European colonialism.


 Industrial Revolution observed the emergence of modern capitalist economies around the world at this time as the GDP per capita saw an exponential rate of growth around this time. Economic historians regard the Industrial Revolutions as the most important moment in human history since the domestication of animals and plants and hence it can be said that Industrial revolution became the engine of European colonialism in the 19th century.

3. How did ideas of enlightenment affect the European history? Briefly describe.


It expects students to write about enlightenment and how enlightenment ideas affected the European history.


The Enlightenment was a period from the late 17th century into the 18th century were new ideas about government, personal freedom and religious beliefs began to develop in Europe. Each of them had their specific ideas and views about what made themselves and their age different from the previous people and their ages. However, all of them strongly believed in certain major concepts & ideas.  These are faith in reason, belief in change & progress and finally faith in the concept of nature.


Characteristics of enlightenment:

  • Reason
  • Empiricism
  • Science
  • Universalism
  • Individualism
  • Toleration
  • Uniform human nature
  • Secularism

Ideas of enlightenment affected European history in the following ways:

  • Degeneration of the Absolute Monarchy: Absolute monarchy reached its peak under Louis XIV, and began to degenerate during his lifetime. Refusal of Louis XV to remedy the abuses of the old order, inefficiency of Louis XVI, all added to the initiation of the process of French revolution.
  • Hegemony of the ideology of profiteering: There were some historical events also which intensified the process of modernity. In Western Europe industrialisation had come with the ideology of capitalism. The desire for mass production urged the mercantile community to find out new markets for the sale of their product. For example, East India company in India.
  • Process of different revolutions: The economic (the global capitalist economy), the social (formation of classes and an advanced sexual and social division of labour), the cultural (the transition from a religious to a secular culture) and political (the rise of the secular state and polity).
  • Spread of modern ideas: During the 18th-century people began to look at the whole world and the role of people in a different way. The French Philosopher and writer Francois Marie Voltaire attacked the authority of the religious institutions and the governments of the day. Jean-Jacques Rousseau criticised civilisation itself saying that people should not obtain more possession or power than needed.
  • The triumph of liberalism: The objective of enlightenment was to attain social justice for the mankind as a whole. This justice could be materialised by development. Thus, liberalism triumphed over feudalism and created a model of social justice and progress. As a matter of fact, liberation is the dominant ideology of the western democracies, with its roots in enlightenment thought.
  • Modern capitalism: There was capitalism in some form or the other before the advent of enlightenment. But, in the aftermath of urbanisation, industrialisation, colonialism and democracy, capitalism took a modern form. Enlightenment made capitalism an international affair. There emerged capitalist market relations at a global scale.
  • Birth of modernity: Modernity thus created the institution of nation-state and an international system of states, a dynamic and expansionist capitalist economic order based on private property, industrialism, the growth of large-scale administrative and bureaucratic systems of social organisation and regulation, the dominance of secular, materialist, rationalist and individualist cultural values, and the formal separation of the ‘private’ from the ‘public’.
  • Affected legal codes and governmental structures: The Age of Enlightenment influenced many legal codes and governmental structures that are still in place today. Montesquieu a huge proponent of the Enlightenment, Montesquieu suggested the theory of the separation of powers in order to obtain a political system of checks and balances, promoting order and equality. Principles of the Enlightenment also featured heavily in the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence.


The old way of life was represented by superstition, an angry God, and absolute submission to authority. The thinkers of the Age of Reason ushered in a new way of thinking. This new way championed the accomplishments of humankind. Individuals did not have to accept despair. Science and reason could bring happiness and progress. Kings did not rule by divine right. They had an obligation to their subjects. Europeans pondered the implications for nearly a century.

4. The history of African decolonisation is sharply contrasted from its Asian counterparts. Elucidate.  


It expects students to write about African decolonization and how its sharply contrasted from its Asian counterparts.


The decolonisation of Africa took place in the mid-to-late 1950s to 1975. The changes that came during the process was sudden and radical as the colonies made their transition towards independence at times marred by political violence. The decolonisation of Asia was the gradual growth of independence movements in Asia, leading ultimately to the retreat of foreign powers and the creation of a number of nation-states in the region.


Decolonisation of Africa sharp contrast from its Asian counterparts:

  • Neo-Colonialism: The old European powers sought to exert influence in newly independent trades through biased trade policies. Colonial powers were technologically advanced. So they used it as a leverage in directing foreign investment and hence controlling the new states. This came to be known as Neo-Colonialism. This was dominant in African decolonising countries whereas Asian countries were free to decide their own economic and trade policies.
  • Nature of Discrimination: Religious and Caste based discrimination was highlight of Asia. In Africa it is racial Discrimination which was dominant. 
  • Pan-Africanism: A feeling of brotherhood was growing within the indigenous people of Africa. This meant a pooling of resources and external support in the struggle for independence. As more and more countries attained freedom, the entire process was hastened. This type of pan regional phenomenon was missing in Asian decolonisation process.
  • Democratic System: In Asia after independence, democracy prevailed but most of former colonies of Africa fell into Dictatorship.
  • Tribal differences: Many countries were brought together by the sheer military forces of the colonisers. Lack of a common cultural past and tribal belligerence meant that they slaughtered each other inside these artificial boundaries imposed upon them. This led to worst genocides in Nigeria, Congo (Zaire), Burundi and Rwanda. Asian countries lacked such tribal dominance and were divided on natural cultural boundaries.
  • Border Demarcation: National boundaries were demarcated based on Religious and Geographical lines but it was absent in Africa where still Civil war is going on for nation based on Ethnicity.
  • Ethnic conflict: In some countries with an influential white settler population, Decolonisation was a more complex affair. They offered firm resistance because they were privileged under the old system. E.g. Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and the erstwhile Apartheid regime of South Africa. Sometimes, as in Zimbabwe, forced taking away of estates from the white minority led to an overall fall in productivity and caused economic crises. Such influential white settlers were minute in Asian countries and had very much limited influence.
  • Spill over effect: In Asia starting from India, majority of nation got independent within few years but in Africa it continued for decades.
  • Aftermath of Decolonisation: Army coups were common in countries with weak leadership and limited mass base in democratic processes. For example, Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, Congo etc.
  • Sovereignty: Most of Asia gained sovereignty in its external and internal matters but still Colonial influence exists in Africa. Ex: French intervention in Chad, Mali etc.

There are certain similarities in both of their struggles:

  • Inspirations: Both continents derived inspiration from Western Educated elites like Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru, Sardar Patel, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah etc.
  • Administration: Both country still follows European institutional systems in Administration like Bureaucracy and Judiciary.
  • War: War followed in both continents after independence like Indo-Pak wars, Vietnam Wars, Arab-Israel wars, Algerian wars etc.

Role of India:

After Indian independence, India supported Decolonisation strongly in International fora through the leadership of Non-Alignment movement. India actively mobilised international opinion in favour of Decolonisation. In Indonesia and Africa, it was vocal in support. It also sent troops to solve the Congo Crisis of the 1960s. Besides, India contributes actively to the UN peacekeeping forces that operate in different parts of Africa.


Decolonisation was a force of good that helped liberate billions of people across the globe from exploitation under an oppressive foreign rule. As a cultural process, it is continuing to date. It ended up with the majority of the world achieving self-determination and self-rule. Majority of the so-called “Third world” is still mired in extreme poverty. The way forward is through human development, the spread of education and building of institutions through regional Pan-African, Pan-South Asian cooperation. The democratisation of international order will help the third world more in getting its grievances addressed and in building a more equitable world.

5. Do you agree with the assertion that capitalism had triumphed with the disintegration of the USSR? Critically comment.


As the directive here is critically comment, it is necessary to give both sides views and then put forth your own opinion. In the introduction you can start by giving how and when does the disintegration took place. In the first half of main body part it is necessary to give views in support of triumph of capitalism. In the next half give arguments in against triumph of capitalism. You can conclude by showing how it is still relevant this debate is still relevant today. 


The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was a loose confederation of 15 republics with Russia as the leader. USSR was a strong bloc with great control over global politics from 1922 to 1991, when it was disintegrated into smaller units. However, it is asserted by the western countries that capitalism had triumphed with the disintegration of the USSR.


Capitalism had triumphed with the disintegration of the USSR:

  • The disintegration of USSR brought at the forefront the lacunae of socialistic model of economic governance to the developing world. It was seen as a victory of capitalism over socialism, often termed as ‘end of ideology’ thesis.
  • Western institutions like IMF and World Bank in the global economic governance pushed developing countries to adopt neo-liberal economic policies. Hence, rise of free economic market took place. 
  • Changes in politics of Europe led to disappearance of division between Western and Eastern Europe. Demolition of the Berlin wall, the unification of Germany, the end of the Warsaw Pact and rise of democratic regimes changed the politics of Europe.
  • Disintegration of USSR also affected the relations with the other countries. For instance, financial aid from the Soviet Union to India was significantly reduced. 
  • Rise of free market economy, fall of Berlin wall, increased globalisation, and wide spread of liberal ideology supplemented the triumph of capitalism. 

As a result, the disintegration of the USSR resulted in USA’s dominance along the world politics table. However, it can’t be exactly said that capitalism triumphed across the globe. As many of the countries across the globe were following their own policies. 

Survival of parallel ideologies/flows after disintegration of USSR: 

  • The Non-Aligned Movement was formed during the Cold War as an organization of States that did not seek to formally align themselves with either the United States or the Soviet Union, but sought to remain independent or neutral.
  • One of the biggest challenge to capitalism came from Vietnam. The Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) in the north was supported by the Soviet Union, China, and other communist countries, while the United States and its anti-Communist allies backed the Republic of Vietnam (ROV) in the south.
  • The Socialist Republic of Vietnam was formally established on July 2, 1976 and the loss of USA in Vietnam war still persists as a ‘Vietnam Syndrome’ in every western thinker’s mind who thought that Capitalism has triumphed. 
  • Besides Rise of China posed greatest challenge to capitalism. It literally overshadowed the assertion that capitalism has triumphed. For instance, current trade war between USA and China. 
  • It’s not just about the Asian countries, but communism also spread in the backyard of USA, i.e. in Cuba. 
  • Also USA’s invasion in Afghanistan, Iraq shows that, capitalism triumph after disintegration of USSR is just an illusion, and USA is still trying to gain dominance over middle-east Asian countries through capitalism. It’s actually an endeavour to assert capitalism in an attempt to capture the oil resources and strategic locations. 


It is of no doubt that after the disintegration of USSR, power equations across the world changed. It led to rise of USA and made the world a uni-polar world on political scale. However, different ideological flows still persisted which overshadowed the assertion of triumph of capitalism.  The attempt of USA to pose capitalism as a triumphed ideology is still continuing. However, other ideological flows also have maintained their stronghold in their respective spheres.  

TLP HOT Synopsis Day 43 PDF

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