Reading Comprehension [IAS (Admin.) IAS Mains Compulsory-English]: Questions 10 - 18 of 52

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Passage

Read carefully the passage given below and write your answers to the questions that follow in clear, correct and concise language:

The thought of Young Bengal (Pearychand Mitra, one of the circle, called it in 1877 ‘Young Calcutta’ ) flowed through the fourth decade of the 19th century, arising in the late twenties and ebbing away after the mid-forties. Its inspirer was Derozio (1809 - 31) , competent scholar, gifted writer, radical thinker, and the most famous of our teachers in the new education. It will be unusual to link with Young Bengal a second name, that of David Hare (1775 - 1841) who seems so different from Derozio in so many ways, Hare was indeed no professional instructor or intellectual, no man of letters or of academic learning. He had neither the brilliance nor the waywardness of his contemporary; unlike him he had become in diet and habits almost a half- Hindu. Yet between the two may be detected an underlying resemblance which furnishes a key to a proper estimation of Young Bengal.

Common to both was the passionate conviction that for India nothing was more essential than “a dissemination of European learning and science among her people.” Both encouraged freedom of thinking and discussion and inspired a courage and personal integrity in their followers “to throw off the fetters of that antiquated bigotry which still clung to their countrymen.” And unlike other leaders around them, both were ‘godless’ secularists with little faith in denominations or religious instruction, and yet staunch idealists. Nor can one forget that in the hour of trial Hare tried to stand by Derozio and his maligned pupils about whom he declared – “your countrymen look upon you as – their reformers and instructors.” While the Derozians were the first to honour Hare publicly, and after his death they were in the forefront in the endeavor to perpetuate his memory, in the unique First of june anniversaries for 25 years without a break.

Henry Louis Vivian Derozio was a Calcutta Eurasian of Portuguese – Indian ancestry, the son of an officer in an English mercantile firm. (In the Hindu College Records of 1831, the name is occasionally spelt as De Rozio; Max Muller wrote D. Rozario) . He was educated in one of the pioneer English - teaching private schools of the early 19th century, run by the Scotsman Drummond in the Dharmatala area. Drummond was a scholar-poet, and as a notorious free-thinker an exile from his native land. It may safely be conjectured that Derozio derived from Drummond his taste in literature and philosophy, his love of Burns, his faith in the French Revolution and English Radicalism.

Derozio՚s youthful critique on Kant was considered as something which “would not disgrace even gifted philosophers” ; his translation of a French essay on Moral philosophy was printed posthumously. The fame already won secured him an appointment as teacher to the senior classes in the Hindu College before he had ended his ‘teens’ .

Derozio՚s personality brought “a new era in the annals of the College” ; the youthful teacher drawing the senior boys “like a magnet” round him. According to his biographer “neither before, nor since his day has any teacher, within the walls of any native educational establishment in India ever exercised such an influence over his pupils.” Not alone in the classrooms. But outside the hours as well, he strove with success “to broaden and deepen the knowledge of his pupils” in Western thought and literature, the new fountain which emancipated and intoxicated. The College students clustered round him and very many of them carried down to their last days the deep impress stamped on them by their Master. This was the cementing link which held together the Young Bengal group, the memory which made a close-knit fellowship of affection and friendship even in later life.

Unlike most teacher. Derozio encouraged his students to debate freely and question authority. He urged them to think for themselves. ″ to be in no way influenced by any of the idols mentioned by Bacon-to live and die for truth. One of his pupils. Radhanath Sikdar, said of him ″ he has been the cause and the sole cause of that spirit of enquiry after truth, and that contempt of vice which cannot but be beneficial to India. ″ Another, Ramgopal Ghosh. , held up the notto. ″ He who will not reason is a bigot; he who cannot is a fool, and he who does not is a slave. ″

Question 10 (5 of 5 Based on Passage)

Reading Comprehension
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Appeared in Year: 2016

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“He has been the cause and the sole cause of the spirit of enquiry after truth” . Explain the significance of the statement by Radhanath Sikdar.

Passage

Read carefully the passage given below and write your answers to the questions that follow in clear, correct and concise language.

A desert is a barren area of land where little precipitation occurs and consequently living conditions are threatening for plant and animal Life. The lack of vegetation exposes the vulnerable surface of the ground to the processes of denudation. About one-third of the land surface of the world is arid or semi-arid. Deserts are usually hot and barren places; yet they are also beautiful. A few plants, rocks and dusty red-brown soil make up the ingredients of most North American deserts where there is sufficient food and water for certain animals to survive. Deserts cover more than one-fifth of the Earth՚s land and they are found on every continent. A place that receives less than 10 inches of rain per year is normally considered a desert. They are part of a wider classification of regions called “dry land” . These areas exist under a moisture deficit, which means they repeatedly lose more moisture through evaporation than they receive from annual precipitation.

Deserts are biologically rich habitats with a vast array of animals and plants that have adapted to harsh conditions there. Some deserts are among the planet՚s last remaining areas of total wilderness. Yet more than one billion people, one-sixth of the Earth՚s population, actually live in the desert regions.

Despite the common notion of deserts as dry and hot, there are cold deserts as well. One famous dry and hot place in the world with no visible rock or plant and barely any water is the Sahara desert. It is the largest hot desert in the world that reaches temperatures of up to 122 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. Some deserts are very cold, like the Gobi desert in Asia and the desert on the continent of Antarctica. Only about 10 percent of deserts are covered by sand dunes. The driest deserts get less than half an inch of precipitation each year and that is from condensed fog.

Desert animals have adapted ways to help them keep cool and use less water. Camels, for example, can go for days without food and water. The hump stores fat, which can be used as both a food and a water source for the animal when the going gets tough. Camels also have thick hair in their ears for keeping out sand; they also sport closable nostrils, an eye membrane, and wide feet that act like snow-shoes in the land.

Desert plants may have to go without fresh water for years at a time. Some plants have adapted to the arid climate by growing long roots that tap water from deep underground. Other plants, such as cacti, have special means of storing and conserving water. Many desert plants can live to be hundreds of years old.

Some of the world՚s semi-arid regions are turning into deserts at an alarming rate. This process, known as “desertification” , is not caused by drought, but usually arises from the demands of human population that settles on the semi-arid lands to grow crops and graze animals. The pounding of the soil by the hooves of livestock may degrade the soil and encourage erosion by wind and water. Global warming also threatens to change the ecology of deserts. Higher temperature may produce an increasing number of wildfires that alter desert Landscape by eliminating slow-growing trees and shrubs and replacing them with fast-growing grasses.

Question 11 (1 of 5 Based on Passage)

Reading Comprehension
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Appeared in Year: 2015

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What are the camel՚s two most visible features that make it perfect for deserts?

Question 12 (2 of 5 Based on Passage)

Reading Comprehension
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Appeared in Year: 2015

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Describe the process of desertification.

Question 13 (3 of 5 Based on Passage)

Reading Comprehension
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Appeared in Year: 2015

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What do you understand by rich habitats?

Question 14 (4 of 5 Based on Passage)

Reading Comprehension
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Appeared in Year: 2015

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Explain what you understand by ‘barren and dry land’ .

Question 15 (5 of 5 Based on Passage)

Reading Comprehension
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Appeared in Year: 2015

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How have desert animals and plants in arid climate adapted themselves to the use of less water?

Passage

A complete reading program, therefore, should include four factors: at least one good book each week, a newspaper or news magazine, magazines of comment and interpretation, and book reviews. If you keep feeding your intelligence with these four foods, you can be sure that your brain cells will be properly nourished. To this must be added the digestive process that comes from your own thinking and from discussion with individuals or groups.

It is often desirable to make books that you own personally part of your mind by underlining or by marking in the margin the more important statements. This will help to understand the book as you first read it, because out of the mass of details you must have selected the essential ideas. It will help you to remember better the gist of the book, since the physical act of underlining, with your eyes on the page, tends to put the thought more firmly into your brain cells. It will save time whenever you need to refer to the book.

Above all, never forget that creative intelligence is correlation of facts and ideas, not more memorizing. What counts is what you can do with your knowledge, by linking it with other things you have studied or observed. If you read Plutarch՚s life of Julius Caesar, think how his rise to political power paralleled the technique of Adolf Hitler, or that of your local political boss. If you read a play by Shakespeare, think how his portrayal of the characters helps you to understand someone you know. In everything you read, keep at the back of your mind what it means to your life and now, how it supports or challenges the things you were taught in school, in church and at home, and how the wisdom you get from books can guide you in your thinking, in your career, in your voting as a citizen and in your personal morals.

Question 16 (1 of 1 Based on Passage)

Reading Comprehension
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Appeared in Year: 2014

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What are the four things required for a complete reading program and why?

Passage

Read carefully the passage given below and write your answer to the question that follow in clear, correct, and concise language of your own.

In barely one generation, we՚ve moved from exulting in the time-saving devices that have so expanded our lives, to trying to get away from them- often, in order to make more time. The more ways we have to connect, the more many of us seem desperate to unplug. Like a teenager, we appear to have gone from knowing nothing about the world to knowing too much, all but overnight.

The average person spends at least eight and a half hours a day in front of the screen. The average teenager spends or receives 75 text messages a day. Since luxury, as any economist will tell you, is a function of scarcity, the children of tomorrow will crave nothing more than freedom, if only for a short while, from all the blinking machines, streaming videos and scrolling headlines that leave them feeling empty, and too full all at once. The urgency of slowing down — to find the time and space to think — is nothing new, of course, and wiser souls have always reminded us that the more attention we pay to the moment, the less time and energy we have to place it in some larger context. Even half a century ago, Marshall McLuhan warned, “When things come at you very fast, naturally you lose touch with yourself.”

Yet few of those voices can be heard these days, precisely because ‘breaking news’ is coming through perpetually on the news channels, and Meena is posting images of her summer vacation and the phone is ringing. We barely have enough time to see how little time we have. And the more that floods in on us, the less of ourselves we have to give to every snippet.

We have more and more ways to communicate, as Thoreau noted, but less and less to say. Partly because we are so busy communicating. And — as he might also have said — we are rushing to meet so many deadlines that we hardly register that what we need most are lifelines. So what to do? The central paradox of the machines that have made our lives so much brighter, quicker, longer and healthier is that they cannot teach us how to make the best use of them; the information revolution came without an instruction manual. All the data in the world cannot teach us how to sift through data; images don՚t show us how to process images. The only way to do justice to our onscreen lives is by summoning exactly the emotional and moral clarity that cannot be found on any screen. Maybe that is why more and more people, even if they have no religious commitment, seem to be turning to yoga or meditation, or tai chi; these are not New Age fads so much as ways to connect with what could be called the wisdom of old age. A series of tests in recent years has shown that after spending time in a quiet rural setting, subjects “exhibit greater attentiveness, stronger memory and generally improved cognition. Their brains become both calmer and sharper.” More than that, empathy, as well as deep thought, depends on neural processes that are “inherently slow” . The very ones our high-speed lives have little time for.

Question 17 (1 of 5 Based on Passage)

Reading Comprehension
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Appeared in Year: 2013

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According to the author, what is likely to become a scarcity in the future?

Question 18 (2 of 5 Based on Passage)

Reading Comprehension
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Appeared in Year: 2013

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Why are people taking an active interest in old-age fads?