UPSC Mains Daily Answer Writing (12-12-2022) - GS 1


Q1. The cultural traditions from various regions of India get reflected in regional music. Discuss the statement along with examples. (150 words)  10 marks

Q2. Bring out the evolution of mural traditions in South India. Also, elaborate on their significant characteristics.(250 words)   15 marks

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Model Solutions

Q1. The cultural traditions from various regions of India get reflected in regional music. Discuss the statement along with examples. (150 words) 10 marks

Model structure

  • Regional music forms an indispensable component of the regional culture and people’s daily lives.
  • There are songs associated with various occasions like weddings, engagements, and births and also with planting and harvesting.

Main Body:

  • Each region in India with unique cultural tradition has its own particular style of music:
    • Rasiya Geet: The rich tradition of singing Rasiya Geet in the Braj region is closely woven into the very fabric of daily life and day to day chores of its people.
    • Pankhida, Rajasthan: Performed while working in the fields, the peasants of Rajasthan sing and speak while playing algoza and manjira.
    • Sohar, Uttar Pradesh: North India has a strong tradition of singing ‘Sohar’ songs when a son is born in a family.
      • This has influenced the Muslim culture and a form of ‘Sohar’ song gained popularity in the Muslim families living in some regions of Uttar Pradesh.
      • Hence, ‘Sohar’ songs highlight the mingling of two cultures.
    • Basanti/ Basant Geet, Garhwal: Basant or spring season is welcomed in a unique manner in Garhwal.
    • Ghasiyari Geet, Garhwal: Young women of mountains go to the forest dancing and singing in groups.
      • Emphasis is also laid on the importance of labour in the Ghasyari Geet.
    • Mando, Goa: Mando is a slow verse and refrain composition dealing with love, tragedy and both social injustice and political resistance.
    • Bhuta song, Kerala: Some communities of Kerala do Bhuta rituals to send away the evil ghost and spirits.
      • This ritual is accompanied with vigorous dancing and the music has a piercing and eerie character.
    • Saikuti Zai (songs of Saikuti), Mizoram: Saikuti, a poetess of Mizoram composed songs in praise of warriors, brave hunters, young men aspiring to be great warriors and hunters etc.
    • Sukar ke Biah, Bhojpuri Song: Through this song, the story of Shukra and Brihaspat is sung even today.
      • The song recalls how Shukra forgets the wedding ornament and comes back to take it, where he finds his mother drinking rice water, which is considered poor man’s food.
    • Ammanaivari, Tamil Nadu: Ammanaivari are songs sung in praise of the Chola monarch.
      • Ammanai is a wooden ball and the women folk sing appropriate songs while playing the ball.


  • Hence, the cultural traditions from various regions of the country get reflected in the rich diversity of regional music of India.

Q2. Bring out the evolution of mural traditions in South India. Also, elaborate on their significant characteristics.(250 words) 15 marks

Model Structure

  • There are more than 20 known locations in India containing murals, mainly natural caves and rock-cut chambers; with the oldest known Indian murals dating to around 2nd century BC.
  • The most well known are Ajanta caves, Sittanavasal cave, Armamalai cave, Ravan Chhaya rock shelter, Kailasa temple in Ellora caves etc.

Main Body:
Its evolution in South India can be traced through the following findings:

  • Badami caves: Paintings in this cave depict palace scenes. One shows Kirtvarman, the son of Pulakesin-I watching a dance with his feudatories.
    • Characteristics: It represents an extension of the tradition of mural painting from Ajanta to Badami in South India.
  • Murals under the Pallavas:
    • Characteristics: Faces are round and large. Lines are rhythmic with increased ornamentation when compared with the paintings of an earlier period.
  • Murals under the Pandyas: Thirumalapuram caves and Jaina caves at Sittanavasal are surviving examples.
    • Characteristics: The contours of figures are firmly drawn and painted in vermilion red on a lighter background. The body is rendered in yellow with subtle modeling.
  • Murals under the Cholas:
    • Characteristics: The paintings were executed on the walls of the narrow passage surrounding the shrine. They show narrations and aspects related to Lord Shiva.
  • Vijayanagara murals:
    • Characteristics: Vijayanagara painters evolved a pictorial language wherein the faces are shown in profile and figures and objects two-dimensionally.
    • Lines become still but fluid, compositions appear in rectilinear compartments. These stylistic conventions of the preceding centuries were adopted by artists in various centres in South India.
  • Nayaka murals:
    • Characteristics: Nayaka paintings were more or less an extension of the Vijayanagara style with minor regional modifications and incorporations. The figures, mostly in profile, are set against a flat background.
    • Male figures are shown slim waisted but with less heavy abdomen as compared to those in Vijayanagara.
  • Kerala murals:
    • Characteristics: The painters evolved a language taking cues from contemporary traditions, like Kathakali and kalam ezhuthu (ritual floor painting of Kerala), using vibrant and luminous colours, representing human figures in three-dimensionality.


  • Mural paintings are inherently different from all other forms of pictorial art in that it is originally connected with architecture. The use of colour, design and thematic treatment can radically alter the sensation of spatial proportions of the buildings.
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