Reading Comprehension [IAS (Admin.) IAS Mains Compulsory-English]: Questions 33 - 38 of 52

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Passage

Water is the basis of all life. Every animal and every plant contains a substantial proportion of free or combined water in its body, and no kind of physiological activity is possible in which the fluid does not play an essential part. Water is, of course, necessary for animal life. While moisture in the soil is equally imperative for the life and growth of plants and trees. Though the quantity necessary varies enormously with the species. The conservation and utilisation of water is thus fundamental for human welfare. Apart from artesian water the ultimate source in all cases is rain or snowfall. Much of Indian Agriculture depends on seasonal rainfall and is therefore very sensitive to any failure or irregularity of the same. It is clear that the adoption of techniques preventing soil erosion would also help to conserve and keep the water where it is wanted. In other words, on and in the soil, and such techniques therefore serve a double purpose. Its is evident, however that in a country having only a seasonal rainfall an immense quantity of rain-water must be necessarily run off the ground. The collection and utilization of water is therefore of vital importance. Much of it flows down into the streams and rivers and ultimately finds its way to the sea. The harnessing of our rivers. the waters of which now mostly run to waste is a great national problem which must be considered and dealt with on national lines. Closely connected with the conservation of water supplies is the problem of afforestation. The systematic planning of suitable trees in every possible or even in impossible areas and the development of what one can call civilized forests as distinguished from wild and untamed jungle is one the most urgent needs of India. Such plantation would directly and indirectly prove a source of untold wealth to the country. They would check soil erosion and conserve the rainfall of the country from flowing away to waste and would provide the necessary supplies of cheap fuel and thus stop unnecessary waste of farmyard manure.

Question 33 (1 of 5 Based on Passage)

Reading Comprehension
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Appeared in Year: 2011

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What is fundamental for human Welfare?

Question 34 (2 of 5 Based on Passage)

Reading Comprehension
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Appeared in Year: 2011

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What are the benefits of afforestation?

Question 35 (3 of 5 Based on Passage)

Reading Comprehension
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Appeared in Year: 2011

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What is the national problem relating to our rivers?

Question 36 (4 of 5 Based on Passage)

Reading Comprehension
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Appeared in Year: 2011

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Where does the world get water from?

Question 37 (5 of 5 Based on Passage)

Reading Comprehension
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Appeared in Year: 2011

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What are the advantages of preventing soil erosion?

Question 38

Reading Comprehension
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Appeared in Year: 2010

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Essay▾

Make a precise of the following passage in about 210 – 230 words.

Failure to write within the stipulated word limit may result in deduction of marks. The precise must be written on the separate precise sheets provided which must be then fastened securely inside the answer book.

In many respects “sakuntala” is comparable to the more idyllic comedies of Shakespeare, and Kanva՚s hermitage is surely not far from the Forest of Arden. The plot of the play, like many of Shakespeare՚s plots, depends much on happy chances and on the super natural, which, of course, was quite acceptable to the audience for which Kalidasa wrote. Its characters, even to the minor ones, are happily delineated individuals. Kalidasa makes no pretence to realism, but his dialogue is fresh and vigorous. In fact the dialogue of the better Sanskrit plays generally seems based on vernacular, and is full of idiomatic expressions. Indian playgoers did not demand the conflict of feelings and emotions which is the chief substance of serious European drama, but Kalidasa was quite capable of portraying such conflict effectively. His beauties and merits are tarnished by any translation, but few who can read him in the original would doubt that, both as poet and dramatist, he was one of the great men of the world.

There were many other dramatists. Sudraka, probably Kalidasa՚s approximate contemporary, has left only one play “The Little Clay Cart” (Mrcchakatika) . This is the most realistic of Indian dramas, unravelling a complicated story, rich in humour and pathos and crowded with action, of the love of u poor brahman, Carudatta, for the virtuous courtezan Vasantasena; this story is interwoven with one of political intrigue, leading up to the overthrow of the wicked king Palaka, and the play contains a vivid trial scene, after which the hero is saved from execution at the last moment. It is notable for its realistic depiction of city life, and for its host of minor characters, all of whom are drawn with skill and individuality. It has more than once been performed in translation on the European stage, and, to a Western audience is certainly the most easily appreciated of Indian plays.

Visakhadatta (? 6th century) was the dramatist of politics. His only complete surviving play, “The Minister՚s Signet Ring” (Mudraraksasa) , deals with the schemes of the wily Canakya to foil the plots of Raksasa, the minister of the last of the Nandas, and to place Candragupta Maurya firmly on the throne. The plot is exceedingly complicated, but is worked out with great skill, and the play is beautifully constructed to lead up, like “The Little Clay Cart” , to a pathetic scene where one of the chief characters is saved from death by impalement at the last moment.

Second only to Kalidasa in the esteem of the critics was Bhavabhuti, who lived at Kanyakubja in the early 8th century. Three of his plays survive — “Malati and Madhava” , “The Deeds of the Great Hero” (Mahaviracarita) , and “The Later Deeds of Rama” (Uttararamacarita) . The first is a love story with a pseudo-realistic background, full of incident of an exciting or horrific type, in which the heroine is more than once rescued from death, while the two latter plays tell the story of Rama. By Western standards as a dramatist Bhavabhuti falls short of those we have mentioned earlier. His plots are weakly constructed and his characters lack individuality. His greatness rests on his deep understanding of sorrow; in his treatment of the pathetic and the terrible he perhaps excels Kalidasa.

Explanation

Though the plots of Kalidasa are identical to those of Shakespeare and Kanva, even his minor characters are happily delineated individuals. Devoid of pretention to reality, his dialogue is fresh and vigorous. Even though Indian playgoers doesn՚t demand conflict of feeling and emotions, the chief substance of European serious plays, Kalidasa portray…

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