Important Terms in Ancient, Medieval & Modern Indian History for UPSC Prelims

history terms mindmap for upsc prelims
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UPSC has recently been giving more focus on historical terms for preliminary examinations. At first, there were only terms from Ancient and Medieval Indian history. But now, UPSC has even included Modern Indian history terms as well. So you must give more focus on this portion as you can get sure-shot marks (around 12 marks as per 2020 paper).

In this mindmap, you can get all chapter-wise terms so that you can get the idea about a particular historical term prevalent in which period. If this mindmap is useful, give a thumbs-up in the comment section at the bottom and we’ll come up with more value-added notes in the future. All the very best!

History Terms Mindmap:

History terms in previous years UPSC prelims questions:

Ancient India:

The “dharma” and “rita” depict a central idea of ancient Vedic civilization of India, In this context, consider the following statements:(2011)

  1. Dharma was a conception of obligations and of the discharge of one’s duties to oneself and to others.
  2. Rita was the fundamental moral law governing the functioning of the universe and all it contained.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  • (a.) 1 only
  • (b.) 2 only
  • (c.) Both 1 and 2
  • (d.) Neither 1 nor 2

Solution (c)


Lord Buddha’s image is sometimes shown with the hand gesture called ‘Bhumisparsha Mudra’. It symbolizes(2012)

  • (a) Buddha’s calling of the Earth to watch over Mara and to prevent Mara from disturbing his meditation
  • (b) Buddha’s calling of the Earth to witness his purity and chastity despite the temptations of Mara
  • (c) Buddha’s reminder to his followers that they all arise from the Earth and finally dissolve into the Earth, and thus this life is transitory
  • (d) Both the statements (a) and (b) are correct in this context

Solution (b)


With reference to the guilds (Shreni) of ancient India that played a very important role in the country’s economy, which of the following statements is /are correct?(2012)

  1. Every guild was registered with the central authority of the State and the king was the chief administrative authority on them.
  2. The wages, rules of work, standards and prices were fixed by the guild.
  3. The guild had judicial powers over its own members.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below :

  • (a) 1 and 2 only
  • (b) 3 only
  • (c) 2 and 3 only
  • (d) 1, 2 and 3

Solution (d)


Some Buddhist rock-cut caves are called Chaityas, while the others are called Viharas. What is the difference between the two? (2013)

  • (a) Vihara is a place of worship, while Chaitya is the dwelling place of the monks
  • (b)Chaitya is a place of worship, while Vihara is the dwelling place of the monks
  • (c) Chaitya is the stupa at the far end of the cave, while Vihara is the hall axial to it
  • (d) There is no material difference between the two

Solution (b)


Which one of the following describes best the concept of Nirvana in Buddhism? (2013)

  • (a) The extinction of the flame of desire
  • (b) The complete annihilation of self
  • (c) A state of bliss and rest
  • (d) A mental stage beyond all comprehension

Solution (a)


The Tolkappiyam is the name of: (2015)

  • (a) a step-well of Western India
  • (b) the book on Tamil grammar
  • (c) a collection of Tamil bhakti poems
  • (d) a collection of Kannada poems

Solution (b)


With reference to the religious history of India, consider the following statements : (2016)
1. The concept of Bodhisattva is central to Hinayana sect of Buddhism.
2. Bodhisattva is a compassionate one on his way to enlightenment.
3. Bodhisattva delays achieving his own salvation to help all sentient beings on their path to it.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 2 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Solution (b)


With reference to the cultural history of India, the memorizing of chronicles, dynastic histories and Epictales was the profession of who of the following? (2016)
(a) Shramana
(b) Parivraaj
(c) Agrahaarika
(d) Maagadha

Solution (d)


With reference to the religious history of India, consider the following statements: (2017)
1. Sautrantika and Sammitiya were the sects of Jainism.
2. Sarvastivadin held that the constituents of phenomena were not wholly momentary, but existed forever in a latent form.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Solution (b)


With reference to the religious practices in India, the “Sthanakvasi” sect belongs to (2018)

  • (a) Buddhism
  • (b) Jainism
  • (c) Vaishnavism
  • (d) Shaivism

Solution (b)


With reference to Indian history, who among the following is a future Buddha, yet to come to save the world? (2018)

  1. Avalokiteshvara
  2. Lokesvara
  3. Maitreya
  4. Padmapani

Solution (c)


With reference to forced labour (Vishti) in India during the Gupta period, which one of the following statements is correct? (2019)
(a) It was considered a source of income for the State, a sort of tax paid by the people.
(b) It was totally absent in the Madhya Pradesh and Kathiawar regions of the Gupta Empire.
(c) The forced labourer as entitled to weekly wages.
(d) The eldest son of the labourer was sent as the forced labourer

Solution (a)


Consider the following : (2019)
1. Deification of the Buddha
2. Treading the path of Bodhisattvas
3. Image worship and rituals
Which of the above is/ are the feature/ features of Mahayana Buddhism?
(a) 1 only
(b) 1 and 2 only
(c) 2 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Solution (d)


With reference to the history of India, the terms “kulyavapa” and “dronavapa” denote (2020)

[a) measurement of land

[b) coins of different monetary value

[c) classification of urban land

[d) religious rituals

Solution (a)


With reference to the religious history of India, consider the following statements: (2020)

  1. Sthaviravadins belong to Mahayana Buddhism.
  2. Lokottaravadin sect was an offshoot of the Mahasanghika sect of Buddhism.
  3. The deification of Buddha by Mahasanghikas fostered Mahayana Buddhism.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

  • [a) 1 and 2 only
  • [b) 2 and 3 only
  • [c) 3 only
  • [d) 1, 2 and 3

Solution (b)


With reference to cultural history of India consider the following pairs : (2020)

  1. Parivrajaka – Renunciant and Wanderer
  2. Shramana – Priest with a high status
  3. Upasaka – Lay follower of buddhism

Which of the pairs given above are correctly matched ?

  • (a) 1 and 2 only
  • (b) 1 and 3 only
  • (c) 2 and 3 only
  • (d) 1, 2 and 3

Solution (b)


With reference to the cultural history of India, which one of the following is the correct description of the term ‘paramitas’? (2020)

[a) The earliest Dharmashastra texts written in aphoristic (sutra) style.

[b) Philosophical schools that did not accept the authority of Vedas.

[c) Perfections whose attainment led to the Bodhisattva path

[d) Powerful merchant guilds of early medieval south India.

Solution (c)


Medieval India:

In medieval India, the designations ‘Mahattara’ and ‘Pattakila’ were used for (2014)

  1. military officers
  2. village headmen
  3. specialists in Vedic rituals
  4. chiefs of craft guilds

Solution (b)


Consider the following statements: (2014)

  1. Bijak’ is a composition of the teachings of Saint Dadu Dayal.
  2. The Philosophy of Pushti Marg was propounded by Madhvacharya.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Solution (d)


Banjaras during the medieval period of Indian history were generally (2016)
(a) agriculturists
(b) warriors
(c) weavers
(d) traders

Solution (d)


With reference to the economic history of medieval India, the term ‘Araghatta’ refers to (2016)
(a) bonded labour
(b) land grants made to military officers
(c) waterwheel used in the irrigation of land
(d) wasteland converted to cultivated land

Solution (c)


With reference to the cultural history of medieval India, consider the following statements : (2016)
1. Siddhas (Sittars) of Tamil region were monotheistic and condemned idolatry.
2. Lingayats of Kannada region questioned the theory of rebirth and rejected the caste hierarchy.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Solution (c)


In the context of the history of India, consider the following pairs: (2017)

TermDescription
(1) EripattiLand revenue from which was set apart for the maintenance of the village tank
(2) TaniyursVillages donated to a single Brahmin or a group of Brahmins
(3) GhatikasColleges generally attached to the temples

Which of the pairs given above is/are correctly matched?
(a) 1 and 2
(b) 3 only
(c) 2 and 3
(d) 1 and 3

Solution (d)


Consider the following statements : (2019)
1. In the revenue administration of Delhi Sultanate, the in-charge of revenue collection was known as ‘Amil’.
2. The Iqta system of Sultans of Delhi was an ancient indigenous institution.
3. The office of’ Mir Bakshi’ came into existence during the reign of Khalji Sultans of Delhi.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 1 and 2 only
(c) 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Solution (a)


Building ‘Kalyaana Mandapas’ was a notable feature in the temple construction in the kingdom of (2019)
(a) Chalukya
(b) Chandela
(c) Rashtrakuta
(d) Vijayanagara

Solution (d)


With reference to Mughal India, what is/are the difference/differences between Jagirdar and Zamindar? (2019)
1. Jagirdars were holders of land assignments in lieu of judicial and police duties, whereas Zamindars were holders of revenue rights without obligation to perform any duty other than revenue collection.
2. Land assignments to Jagirdars were hereditary and revenue rights of Zamindars were not hereditary.
Select the correct answer using the code given below.
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Solution (d)


Which of the following phrases defines the nature of the ‘Hundi’ generally referred to in the sources of the post-Harsha period? (2020)

  • [a) An advisory issued by the king to his subordinates
  • [b) A diary to be maintained for daily accounts
  • [c) A bill of exchange
  • [d) An order from the feudal lord to his subordinates

Solution (c)


Modern India:

With reference to the period of colonial rule in India, “Home Charges” formed an important part of drain of wealth from India. Which of the following funds constituted “Home Charges”?(2011)

  1. Funds used to support the India Office in London.
  2. Funds used to pay salaries and pensions of British personnel engaged in India.
  3. Funds used for waging wars outside India by the British.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

(a.) 1 only

(b.) 1 and 2 only

(c.) 2 and 3 only

(d.) 1, 2 and 3

Solution (b)


The Ghadr (Ghadar) was a   (2014)

  1. Revolutionary association of Indians with headquarters at San Francisco.
  2. nationalist organization operating from Singapore
  3. militant organization with headquarters at Berlin
  4. communist movement for India’s freedom with head-quarters at Tashkent

Solution (a)


The `Swadeshi’ and ‘Boycott’ were adopted as methods of struggle for the first time during the (2016)
(a) agitation against the Partition of Bengal
(b) Home Rule Movement
(c) Non-Cooperation Movement
(d) visit of the Simon Commission to India

Solution (a)


Who among the following was/were associated with the introduction of Ryotwari Settlement in India during the British rule? (2017)
1. Lord Cornwallis
2. Alexander Reed
3. Thomas Munro
Select the correct answer using the code given below:
(a) 1 only
(b) 1 and 3 only
(c) 2 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Solution (c)


In the context of Indian history, the principle of “Dyarchy (diarchy)” refers to (2017)
(a) Division of the central legislature into two houses.
(b) Introduction of double government i.e., Central and State governments.
(c) Having two sets of rulers; one in London and another in Delhi.
(d) Division of the subjects delegated to the provinces into two categories.

Solution (d)


Which one of the following statements does not apply to the system of Subsidiary Alliance introduced by Lord Wellesley?  (2018)

  1. To maintain a large standing army at other’s expense
  2. To keep India safe from Napoleonic danger
  3. To secure a fixed income for the Company
  4. To establish British paramountcy over the Indian States

Solution (c)


Regarding Wood’s Dispatch, which of the following statements are true? (2018)

  1. Grants-in-Aid system was introduced.
  2. Establishment of universities was recommended.
  3. English as a medium of instruction at all levels of education was recommended.

Select the correct answer using the code given below :

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Solution (a)


With reference to the history of India, consider the following pairs: (2020)

  1. Aurang: In-charge of treasury of the State
  2. Banian: Indian agent of the East India Company
  3. Mirasidar: Designated revenue payer to the State

Which of the pairs given above is/are correctly matched ?

  • [a) 1 and 2 only
  • [b) 2 and 3 only
  • [c) 3 only
  • [d) 1, 2 and 3

Solution (b)


With reference to the history of India, “Ulgulan” or the Great Tumult is the description of which of the following events? (2020)

  • [a) The Revolt of 1857
  • [b) The Mappila rebellion of 1921
  • [c) The Indigo revolt of 1859 – 60
  • [d) Birsa Munda’s revolt of 1899-1900

Solution (d)

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vikram gosavi
vikram gosavi
6 months ago

very helpful

NITESH
NITESH
5 months ago

please post medieval and modern imp. terms

saurabh
saurabh
5 months ago

Thanks a lot for this…. Very very helpful..
i myself was thinking to make it by my own ( but the task is very time consuming & eye straining)

thanks a lot

saurabh
saurabh
5 months ago

Hey, thanks for this helpful initiative-
i have noticed one pattern – UPSC asking terms directly from last 10/15 years MCQ choices. ( please see if ypu can incorporate all those too. )

  1. for example – Maitreya has often repeated previously.
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