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Indian Statistical Service_ Indian Economic Service (ISS IES) 2021 General Studies-2, Question-1

(a) Discuss the significant advances made in the field of science of astronomy, mathematics, and medicine during the Gupta period.

Answer- The Gupta period, which spanned from the 4th to the 6th century CE in India, was a time of great progress in the fields of astronomy, mathematics, and medicine. Here are some significant advances made during this period:


  • Aryabhata, a famous astronomer, and mathematician wrote the Aryabhatiya, which contains significant contributions to the field of astronomy. He proposed a heliocentric model of the solar system, calculated the value of pi to four decimal places, and accurately calculated the length of a year.

  • Varahamihira, another notable astronomer, wrote the Panchasiddhantika, which synthesizes the five main astronomical systems of the time. He also accurately calculated the length of a day and a year and proposed that the moon has a gravitational effect on the tides.


  • The decimal system, including the concept of zero, was developed during this period. This system revolutionized mathematics and paved the way for modern mathematics.

  • Aryabhata also made significant contributions to mathematics, including the calculation of square roots and the use of algebraic expressions.


  • Susruta, a renowned physician, wrote the Susruta Samhita, which is one of the earliest known texts on surgery. He described hundreds of surgical procedures, including plastic surgery, and emphasized the importance of cleanliness and sanitation during medical procedures.

  • Charaka, another prominent physician, wrote the Charaka Samhita, which is a comprehensive text on Ayurvedic medicine. This text provides detailed descriptions of diseases, their causes, and treatments, as well as recommendations for healthy living.

Overall, the Gupta period was a time of great progress in the fields of astronomy, mathematics, and medicine. These advancements laid the foundation for future scientific discoveries and greatly impacted the development of science and technology in India and around the world.

(b) Assess the cultural and artistic achievements of the Vijayanagar empire.

Answer- The Vijayanagar Empire, which existed from the 14th to the 17th century in South India, was a period of great cultural and artistic achievements. Here are some of the most notable accomplishments of the Vijayanagar Empire:


  • The empire was known for its grand and ornate architecture, particularly in the construction of temples. The most famous example is the Virupaksha Temple in Hampi, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Other notable temples include the Vittala Temple and the Hazara Rama Temple.

  • The empire also constructed impressive waterworks and irrigation systems, which enabled the cultivation of crops in arid regions.


  • The Vijayanagar Empire was a patron of literature and poetry in the Kannada and Telugu languages. The empire produced numerous literary works, including the Kannada epic, the Kaveri Purana.

  • The court of the empire was home to many prominent poets and writers, such as the Telugu poet Srinatha.

Music and Dance:

  • The empire was a patron of classical Indian music and dance. The Vijayanagar style of music and dance, known as the Karnataka style, is still popular today.

  • The empire also had a strong tradition of devotional music, particularly in the form of bhajans, which are still sung in temples and homes across India.

Overall, the Vijayanagar Empire was a period of great cultural and artistic achievements. The empire's legacy can still be seen today in the magnificent temples, music, and literature that it produced.

(c) Discuss the contribution of Sufis to Indian society and culture.

Answer- Sufism is a mystical branch of Islam that emphasizes personal experience with the divine. Sufism has had a profound impact on Indian society and culture, particularly during the medieval period. Here are some of the contributions of Sufis to Indian society and culture:

Religious Tolerance:

  • Sufis were known for their message of tolerance and love for all humanity, regardless of religion or social status. They often preached a message of unity and emphasized the commonalities between different religions.

  • This message of religious tolerance helped to bridge the gap between different communities in India and fostered a spirit of communal harmony.

Literature and Poetry:

  • Sufis were prolific writers and poets, and their works have had a lasting impact on Indian literature and poetry. The poetry of Sufi saints such as Kabir, Amir Khusro, and Bulleh Shah is still widely read and celebrated today.

  • Sufi poetry often used metaphorical language and allegory to convey spiritual truths and was accessible to people of all backgrounds and education levels.

Music and Dance:

  • Sufis were also known for their contribution to Indian music and dance. They developed a unique style of devotional music, known as qawwali, which combines elements of Indian and Persian music. Qawwali is still popular today, particularly in Sufi shrines and festivals.

  • Sufi dance, known as the Sama, is a form of devotional dance that emphasizes spiritual ecstasy and union with the divine. The Sama has had a profound impact on Indian dance forms, particularly Kathak and Bharatanatyam.

Overall, Sufis have made a significant contribution to Indian society and culture. Their message of religious tolerance and love has helped to foster communal harmony, while their literature, music, and dance have enriched the cultural landscape of India.

(d) Evaluate the role of the Indian National Army (INA) in the freedom struggle of India.

Answer- The Indian National Army (INA) was a military force that was formed during World War II with the aim of liberating India from British colonial rule. Here is an evaluation of the role of INA in the freedom struggle of India:

Contribution to the Freedom Struggle:

  • The INA played an important role in the Indian independence movement, particularly in the latter stages of the struggle. Its leader, Subhas Chandra Bose, sought support from Germany and Japan to create an armed force to fight against the British.

  • The INA's contribution to the freedom struggle was primarily symbolic, as its military efforts were limited and ultimately unsuccessful. However, its existence inspired a sense of national pride and solidarity among Indians and helped to galvanize the independence movement.