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

(a) Describe the economic conditions of the Later Vedic Period. How was it different from Rig Vedic life?

Answer: The Later Vedic Period (1000 BCE - 600 BCE) was marked by significant changes in the economic conditions in the Indian subcontinent. It was a time when the Vedic civilization was evolving and transitioning from the early Rig Vedic Period. Here are some of the key features of the economic conditions during the Later Vedic Period:

1. Agriculture: Agriculture continued to be the mainstay of the economy during this period. However, there was a significant improvement in agricultural techniques and tools, which led to better yields. The Later Vedic people practiced plow agriculture, which involved using iron-tipped plows pulled by oxen. This technique made it easier to cultivate the land and led to the cultivation of more crops.

2. Trade and Commerce: The Later Vedic period saw an increase in trade and commerce. There was a growth in urban centers, which led to an increase in trade and commerce. The Later Vedic people traded in goods such as textiles, metals, and other commodities. The Aryans also started using coins for transactions during this period.

3. Social and Economic Changes: There were significant changes in the social and economic structures during the Later Vedic Period. The society was divided into four varnas, and the varna system became the dominant social structure. The Brahmins were at the top of the hierarchy, followed by the Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, and Shudras. This led to a significant change in the economic conditions, as each varna had a specific role to play in society.

4. Iron Age: The Later Vedic Period is also known as the Iron Age in India. The discovery of iron and the development of iron tools and weapons led to significant changes in the economy. The use of iron tools made agriculture easier and led to the cultivation of more crops. Iron weapons also played a significant role in warfare, which led to the rise of powerful kingdoms and empires.

In summary, the economic conditions during the Later Vedic Period were marked by significant changes in agricultural techniques, trade and commerce, social and economic structures, and the discovery of iron. These changes were different from the early Rig Vedic Period, which was marked by pastoralism, a simpler social structure, and a lack of urban centers.

(b) Discuss the similarities and differences between the basic tenets of Buddhism and Jainism.

Answer- Buddhism and Jainism are two ancient religions that originated in India and share some similarities as well as differences in their basic tenets.


1. Non-violence: Both Buddhism and Jainism emphasize non-violence and promote a lifestyle of non-harming to all living beings.

2. Karma: Both religions believe in the concept of karma, where actions have consequences that affect a person's future life.

3. Reincarnation: Both religions hold the belief in reincarnation or rebirth, where a person's actions in their present life determine their status in the next life.

4. Meditation: Both religions promote the practice of meditation as a means of achieving spiritual growth and enlightenment.


1. God: Buddhism does not have a concept of God or a supreme being, whereas Jainism recognizes a supreme being or entity called "Paramatma."

2. Soul: Buddhism rejects the existence of an eternal soul or self, whereas Jainism recognizes the existence of a soul or "jiva" that is separate from the physical body.

3. Attachment: Buddhism views attachment as the root cause of suffering and advocates detachment from material possessions, whereas Jainism views attachment as a result of karma and focuses on detachment from negative emotions.

4. Ethics: While both religions emphasize non-violence and compassion, Jainism has a stricter ethical code, including strict dietary restrictions and emphasis on asceticism, which are not as prevalent in Buddhism.

In conclusion, both Buddhism and Jainism share many fundamental principles, such as non-violence, karma, reincarnation, and meditation, but differ in their views on God, the soul, attachment, and ethical codes.

(c) Trace the evolution of Temple architecture in South India.

Answer- The evolution of temple architecture in South India spans several centuries and is characterized by various styles and influences. Here is a brief overview of the different periods and styles of temple architecture in South India:

1. Pallava period (4th - 9th century CE): The Pallavas were the earliest dynasty to leave a lasting impact on the architecture of South India. They were known for their rock-cut temples and monolithic rathas (chariots) at Mahabalipuram. The Shore Temple at Mahabalipuram is a classic example of Pallava architecture, which features a pyramidal tower with a sanctum and a mandapa (pillared hall).

2. Chola period (9th - 13th century CE): The Cholas were great temple builders and their architecture was characterized by elaborate gopurams (gateway towers), vimanas (pyramidal towers over the sanctum), and mandapas (pillared halls). The Brihadeeswara Temple at Thanjavur, built by Rajaraja Chola I, is considered one of the finest examples of Chola architecture. Other notable Chola temples include the Airavatesvara Temple at Darasuram and the Gangaikonda Cholapuram Temple.

3. Hoysala period (11th - 14th century CE): The Hoysalas were known for their intricate and ornate temple architecture, featuring elaborate carvings of gods, goddesses, and mythical creatures. Their temples were characterized by a star-shaped ground plan and a distinctively styled shikhara (tower over the sanctum). The Chennakesava Temple at Belur and the Hoysaleswara Temple at Halebid are considered the finest examples of Hoysala architecture.

4. Vijayanagara period (14th - 16th century CE): The Vijayanagara Empire was known for its grand temple architecture, characterized by towering gopurams and large courtyards. The Virupaksha Temple at Hampi and the Vittala Temple at Hampi are some of the most magnificent examples of Vijayanagara architecture.

5. Nayaka period (16th - 18th century CE): The Nayaka dynasty continued the tradition of temple building in South India, but their architecture was characterized by a fusion of Dravidian and Islamic styles. The Meenakshi Amman Temple at Madurai, built by Tirumalai Nayak, is considered one of the finest examples of Nayaka architecture.

Overall, the evolution of temple architecture in South India is a fascinating journey through different styles and influences, each leaving a lasting impact on the region's architectural heritage.