SYNOPSIS [5th February,2021] Day 23: IASbaba’s TLP (Phase 1): UPSC Mains Answer Writing (General Studies)

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  • February 8, 2021
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Question Compilation, TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
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SYNOPSIS [5th February,2021] Day 23: IASbaba’s TLP (Phase 1): UPSC Mains Answer Writing (General Studies)


1. Is it possible to excel professionally without having a supportive family? Critically examine. 


Since question is asking you to critically examine so you need to examine both sides of an issue and come to a balanced conclusion.


Most people believe that success is something which we can do by ourselves without any support. Moreover, the majority of people accept that successful people are known for their reputation, great job or wealth. However, successful people are not only having a good position in their job or rich in money. Otherwise, it is also about having happiness in their life. Owing to the fact that the people who are rich in gold, but not having good family life doesn’t mean that they are successful people; furthermore, life with a great career but lacks relations with family, hardly calls that a success. This led us to a question that: Is it possible to excel professionally without having a supportive family?



  • Many people argue that success must depend on variety of essential elements. Support of society such as school and environment are the factors on people success. However, most of people believe that family support is the most significant factor on people success on account of the fact that family is the first learning place and it is an economic and emotional supports for individuals.
  • As family is the first learning place of an individual in this world, so it is one of the most vital support that make people successful. 
  • Large number of people point out that family is the smallest group of social life and also it is the first group of people who teach you about the crucial fundamentals of life. For example, they teach you the norm and value of life and teach you what is right and wrong. 
  • Moreover, family is an institution that has a function in teaching personalities of children since they were born. Also, family always instructs children and gives guidance about personal values and social behaviour to their children.
  • Also, family has a function to determine status of family members such as nationality, religion and belief. Furthermore, support of family can help people to develop positive interpersonal relationships). For example, value, attitude, belief, faith and even culture that children were taught and cultivated by family could provide children to have a positive perspective in social life. Besides, it provides an environment that encourages learning both at home and school.
  • From another perspective, support of family provides us with economical provision and emotional support. Many people believe that economic support and emotional support are the common function in today’s families and these functions lead to children’s success. To begin with, family is the basic foundation of society’s economic institutions. The economic functions of a family are important for children’s success. 
  • Economic support from parents expands children’s opportunities in educational and social lives. For instance, family provides children’s education such as tuition and material of learning and also family supports foods, clothes and medicine to family members because it is an important factor and essential provision for life and subsistence. 
  • Furthermore, emotional support of family is one of the most significant factors that persuade people to achieve their goals. Love and warmth in family can build family members to be happy and close to each other. Besides, love of parents towards children is also important because it could motivate children to become more courageous and also it helps inspire children to work hard in performance that they want to do in the future. In addition, many people claim that family support may be able to help reduce stresses and increase protective security in children’s life. For example, when children have experienced emotional breakdown, they might ask for advice to solve their problems from their family and also, they can create mutual understanding.


  • The lack of social support is the problem that family faces nowadays. For this reason, the role of family toward their children decreased slowly. As evidence of this, social environment is one of the most significant factors that bring up people successful characteristic and also it is one fundamental aspect influencing people’s success. 
  • To start with, most of people argue that school provides many opportunities of education system to children and also support of school can encourage students and children through activities and social experiences. Moreover, a lot of people believe that teacher resemble a second parent because a teacher has influenced in children’s learning. 
  • As a result of the fact that children begin studying in the age around five and approximately graduate on the age of twenty-five years old. Thus, in this the period of education, a teacher has the effects on the children’s lives in terms of their idea, attitude and apprehension. 


Numerous people debate that friend resembles a mirror of ourselves that reflects our true identity. However, the argument that social support such as school, teacher and even friend makes people more successful might not be true completely. Owing to the fact that support of schools or governments don’t have sufficient money, housing, material of learning and another provision to support all students. Moreover, love and affection cannot receive from the support of society. For example, when people have experienced emotional breakdown, they want a spirit and comprehension from their family. Thus, encouragement of family is not enough for people. In addition, most of experts claim that although the treatment and education need to be supported by the government. However, it’s not enough, it needs to be taken care by the family. As a consequently, especially family environment, and also these parents might have sufficient financial support, and also, they can encourage and motivate their children in the right way. Besides, being closeness and intimacy of family are the support that make people more successful not a support of society.

2. What were the merits of the Guru-Shishya tradition? Discuss.


Question is very straight forward in its approach students are expexted to mention guru-shishya tradition in introduction and then write its merits with proper explanation.


The Guru is a teacher who guides the Shishya’s (student’s) life or a spiritual mentor who leads the shishya from blindness or ignorance to bliss, wisdom, and enlightenment. The Guru-Shishya tradition has been an inevitable part of education in ancient Indian culture. This involved the tradition of a living and learning relationship between the Guru and the Student (Shishya), signifying the emotional, intellectual, and spiritual bonding between them. This strong bond between the Guru and the Shishya enables the Guru to become a mentor who leads the Shishya from ignorance to wisdom, and enlightenment. Guru-Shishya proximity thus is not only a part of our social order, but also a milestone in the life of a human being in society.


From the Treta Yuga, Ramayana has mentions of the Gurukul system and Lord Rama’s Guru Rishi Vishwamitra. Also, scriptures about Dwapara Yuga talk about Lord Krishna’s Guru Rishi Sandipani. The teacher-disciple relationship is a divine bond which has a spiritual and religious significance in our country. Guru-Shishya parampara is a Sanskrit phrase in which shishya literally translates to ‘student of a guru’ while parampara refers to ‘an uninterrupted succession’. Thus the lineage is simply passing the wisdom from a succession of Gurus to their Shishyas through oral tradition.

Merits of Guru-Shishya tradition-

  • Gurukul system was focused on training by a single teacher or from teachers of similar thought process, who partnered and shared their teaching. This system works great for elementary education, where each student can get a lot of personal attention from the teacher.
  • Guru is said to be worthy of such respect and unwavering trust of the disciple, since he takes the responsibility for molding the disciple into what he should be. The disciple that follows Guru’s word with faith, is supposed to be assured of reaching the goals (sometimes irrespective of the personal merit of the teacher).
  • Both Guru and Shishya grow in the process, the student transforms through his Guru’s knowledge and the Shishya keeps his Guru’s teachings alive. Undoubtedly, the Guru-Shishya relationship holds almost a spiritual place in Indian culture.
  • There are many Guru Shishya paramparas in Sanatana Dharma, which have come down uninterrupted over millennia. All the Vidyas and literature like Vedas, Vedangas, Darsanas and Dharma sastras have come down as Guru Shishya paramparas. The various flavors of similar knowledge, for instance different branches of Veda have come down as Guru Shishya paramparas.
  • All the religions in Bharatiya Civilization, whether the Vedic ones such as Vishnava and Saiva, and also outgrowths like Buddhism, have come down as Guru Shishya paramparas. Besides, various variants of the religions developed in the same framework of Guru Shishya parampara. The different schools of practices like Tantra, Smarta are Guru Shishya paramparas.
  • Knowledge is of two kinds, deductive and experiential. While the student gets initial guidance and understanding of the subject from the teacher to understand the premises and continue study with his discrimination, experiential knowledge is supposed to be pursued in a different way. Here there is needed an unwavering faith in the teacher, and a determination to follow his word on the path, irrespective of how it sounds to his discriminatory logic and Guru-Shishya parampara focusses on the experiential part learning where a student or shishya is tested in real life experiences.
  • Guru Shishya Parampara is the teacher-disciple lineage. Being a civilization that respects experiential knowledge, we hold high respect for the teacher of such knowledge. It is separated from the socio-political structure and spans across social/political divisions since such knowledge is beyond those divisions. This is the institution that kept religion and theological practices and beliefs from occupying place in governance, and also kept the administrative structure from interfering with the institution of knowledge.
  •  Bhakti traditions adopted the Guru-Shishya tradition as a main medium of knowledge flow because spirituality is something where there are no written literature and role of Gurus became paramount.
  • In medieval time Peer-Murid relation in muslim culture was solely based on the lines of Guru-Shishya tradition, this way sufism became an integral part of muslim culture in India.


The Guru-Shishya tradition started fading away in the Indian culture with the advent of British rule. Though we don’t find the Guru Shishya tradition in most of the fields, it’s still alive in the field of art, specifically performing arts like Dance, Music and Yoga. Moreover there has been a push towards reviving the tradition in recent past with the formulation of Guru-Shishya parampara scheme in 2004 the benefits in art, literature and music were recognized as immense and young talent nurturing requires the revival of the tradition, however more needs to be done in actually realizing the benefits of age old tradition which India is famous for.

3. Should a person always align his/her values to the prevalent social norms? Share and substantiate your views.


While commenting upon what is personal value and societal norms, you need to highlight whether a person’s values should always align with the prevalent social norms. Share you views in this regard with proper substantiation and also throw light on other side of the argument.


Personal Values are “broad desirable goals that motivate people’s actions and serve as guiding principles in their lives”. All societies provide for standards specifying appropriate and inappropriate behaviour. The standards which regulate behaviour have been termed social norms.


  • A social value differs from individual value. An individual value is enjoyed or sought by the individual which a man seeks for himself. Even though these values are commonly shared, they do not become social values. As distinct from individual values, a social value contains a concern for others’ welfare. Social values are organised within the personality of the individuals.
  • These values develop into norms where norms influence an individual’s attitudes and his motives. They impinge directly upon a person’s self-conception. They take precedence over abstract sentiments. The individual becomes a good member to the extent he abides by the norms.

Aligning personal values with societal norms –

  • The norms determine and guide person’s intuitive judgments of others and person’s intuitive judgments of himself. They lead to the phenomena of conscience, of guide feelings, of elation and depression. They are deeper than consciousness. Becoming a member of guilt consists of internalizing the norms of the group. Through internalization they become a part of himself automatically expressed in his behaviour.
  • A norm by definition implies a sense of obligation. It lays down a standard of behaviour which one ought to follow. Many of the problems of personality as well as society are mostly the problems of non-conformity to norms. Conformity to norms is normal.
  • The individual having internalized the norms, feels something like a need to conform. His conscience would bother him if he did not. Further people would disapprove his action if he violates the norm. Thus both internalized need and external sanctions play an effective role in bringing about conformity to norms.
  • Humans live in a society and all his actions are influenced by or directed at the society, thus it is natural to base values on social norms. For example, polygamy is not considered right in most societies.
  • Also, norms are universal where for example, stealing is not considered right in any society, whereas respect and gratitude are always welcomed.
  • Norms nudge people towards right behaviour like teaching respect for elders, charity, being polite etc. are a part of societal norms and thus a perception based on these will guide right behaviour and values in people.

But at the same time, it is not always necessary to for personal values to be in line with societal norms as there may be a conflict between the two. This can be understood from the following points –

  • Personal values are desirable to an individual and represent what is important to someone. The same value in different people can elicit different behaviours, e.g. if someone values success one person may work very hard to gain success in their career whereas someone else may take advantage of others to climb the career ladder.
  • Many kinds of social evils were once considered norms where Evils like Sati, child marriage, polygamy etc. were once considered right by the society, however a person having humanitarian and compassionate values will hold these tragic.
  • Social norms take time to evolve and change. Slavery was once considered right as per the social conditions of medieval times, but increasing advent of technology and human rights made people change their outlook towards it, which changed their values in these aspects.
  • Many social norms also gave no space for individuality- LGBT had to struggle for their rights despite being a part of the society, just because they were different from the generally acceptable norms.

It is pertinent to note that social norms by nature can be changed through the right conditions if they are not in sync with the times. Here, popular movements and social influence play a key role to bring behavioural changes which leads to changes in norms which can help in solving the huge crisis faced by humanity like climate change, Solid waste management, etc. 


Society plays a great role in development of personal values where correct conditioning can ensure harmonious societal life. However, the personal values should not be entirely based on the prevalent social norms and should have space for logical thinking in case the social values are against the human values which would also make new ideas prosper.

4. Time and place change the moral yardsticks. Do you agree? Illustrate with the help of suitable examples.


Students are expected to write about the moral yardsticks shortly and highlight on whether time and place change the moral yardsticks with the suitable example. 


Ethics focuses not only on human action but also on its morality. Once we decide that an action is human, then that action becomes subject matter for ethics. It is an important function of ethics to figure out whether particular human actions are moral or not. Morality involves the examination of human action to decide if it is good, bad or indifferent to figure out if it is right or wrong, good or bad.


Moral yardsticks:

  • Moral yardsticks are set of principles guiding us to evaluate, measure and to do assessment what is right or wrong. They are the standards of good and evil, which govern an individual’s behaviour and choices.
  • Moral yardsticks involves a set of values, norms, rules and objectives that hold a person responsible towards any deviant behaviour or for any rebellious decision-making.

Basis of moral yardsticks differ from culture to culture or place to place or time to time for example Slavery was a widely prevalent system, but it was removed because we realised the ills that it had with change in time.

Let us analyse more how time and place change the moral yardsticks:

  • Moral understanding is not the only thing that changes as people mature. People’s values tend to change over time as well which sets a different moral compass. For example Moral yardsticks that suited you as a child changes as you become a young adult, form relationships and make your way in the world. What makes sense to you as a single person no longer makes sense when you are married, or have children. What makes sense to you as a parent no longer makes sense to you when you retire.
  • People of different ages, genders, personalities, and political beliefs employ moralities to different degrees. For example People on the political right, for instance, are more likely to endorse the moralities of purity, authority and in-group loyalty. Those on the left rely more on the morality of harm and fairness. Women tend to endorse harm-based morality more than men.
  • Earlier, women were bound to the household and denied several legal rights that men enjoyed such as voting rights. For example purdah system in India. But eventually, as a consequence of social movements, the position of women has risen, and it is recognised they should have the same rights that men do.
  • It follows initially traditions but it moves the bar with the times. For example, the Victorian morality with British commonwealth has a law that regard gay sex as unnatural sex and therefore a criminal activity. Basis of this law being The Bible and Britain being a Christian nation, had enacted laws that were based on Biblical principles. 
  • However, with the gay movement gaining recognition, the premise of this statement is questioned and some nations have started to make changes to such laws according to the times. In this regard, the yardsticks of righteousness and therefore notion of “sin”, which is the “definition” of wrong-doing, changes as well. For example from Naz foundation case 2009 to Navtej Johar case 2018 Constitutionalism and the Decriminalisation of Homosexuality in India.
  • Different societies have different moral yardsticks. Moral yardsticks based on the idea of the subjectivity of moral codes, focusing on the variation that comes in it in one culture as compared to another with different places. For example Eskimos have elements of marriage and sexual practices that include polygamy, adultery, and no serious commitment to a particular marriage. While to us this might seem unacceptable, in their society it is something that is fairly usual.
  • Within India cultural relativism with respect to different region sets different moral yardsticks. For example in many part of India, effigies of Ravana, Kumbhkaran and Meghnada are burnt on dusherra. However, there are few tribal places in the country where people worship Ravana not Rama on the occasion of Dussehra. In some places Rama’s moral righteousness is lauded and in some place it is not.
  • It essentially argues the moral yardsticks a conceptions of right and wrong  largely depends on the culture we belong to, and what is ‘normal’ for us might become shocking to other people.


As Mahatma Gandhiji says, “Morality is the basis of things and truth is the substance of all morality“. Moral yardsticks is often a shifting goal-post because the dynamic and malleable nature of society it does not truly follow any static  moral yardstick it is not bound to any order except to the general well-being, “common good” and general consensus of the peoples it represents. 

5. Is the current breed of actors and cinema professionals an ideal role model for the young generation? Critically comment.

Approach- Question is asking for broader opinion on importance of role models in our life. Question can be approached citing current environment prevailing in our entertainment industry, and can be concluded by giving examples of both positive and negative side.


In today’s time we all have access to internet and we get news about everything trending on social media. Young minds too learn from trending news about celebrities from all over the world. The celebrities leave an impression on young minds too by how they portray themselves.


India is the most prolific film producer in the world and plays a pivotal source of entertainment. Films and advertisements however, are also instrumental in setting trends for fashion and life style. People in India love to talk about films, film stars, even box office revenue of films. In fact, films are the reflection of modern society and culture on one hand and they easily influence all sections of society in all possible ways on the other.

Are film celebrities an ideal role model for young generation?

  • Films and film celebrities are the reflection of modern society and culture on one hand and on the other they easily influence all sections of society in all possible ways.
  • In a survey conducted by international journal of Indian culture with young teenagers on impact of celebrities on their life, According to 37% of interviewees, following an actor/actress as role model by teenagers is neither good nor bad, while 30% think that it is bad and 32.5% believe it is good to follow film celebrities.
  • There are both the aspects, good as well as bad. Good if teenagers make those celebrities as their role model who are genuinely (or truly) involved in social works for the development of people and society and bad when they follow the negative image of the celebrities.
  • Beneficial effects include early readiness for learning, educational enrichment, opportunities to view or participate in discussions of social issues, exposure to the arts through music and performance, and entertainment.
  • Harmful effects may result from violent behaviour, exposure to subtle or explicit sexual content, promotion of unrealistic body images, presentation of poor health habits as desirable practices, and exposure to persuasive advertising targeting youngsters.
  • Every teenager has their own reason for wanting to take a look into the life of their favourite stars. The truth is that they are obsessed with celebrities.
  • Celebrities influence behaviour, attitude, culture, moral values, fashion and lifestyle of teenagers. Children often relate with celebrities more easily then to friends or neighbours.
  • In a sense, celebrities are their new gods. They like to fantasise that their life could become like celebrities – they too could be beautiful, desirable, talented and rich.
  • Looking at the environment of entertainment industry, celebrities are the influencers for young generation, but the narcotic practices of the industry, irresponsible comments by actors on social media, recent cases of depression and suicides, violence and abuse tell us all that glitters is not gold.
  • It may be toxic for young to follow her/his favourite celebrity, because underneath their glittery life lies stress, cut throat competition for fame, attraction seeking behaviour and reel life conceptions of chasing your dream.
  • Most of the misogyny and patriarchal behaviour is enforced by the behaviour of protagonist in the film. When it is considered cool to smoke, chew tobacco and drink often as shown in the film, we are on the road of destruction.
  • On the other hand there are examples of sheer hard work, professionalism, dedication and will to constantly improve oneself in actor, actresses from industry.
  • It is not about good or bad, right or wrong. It is about our choice. Role models can have both positive and negative side. What matters is our choice, where we want to look and from what we want to get inspiration from.


Celebrities are integral part of our entertainment sphere. Young mind must be aware of where to draw the line, when it comes to seek inspiration from real life and reel life. We have educate our young minds so that they become wise enough to make decision about whom to follow, when to follow and most important, why to follow. 

TLP HOT Synopsis Day 23 PDF

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