UPSC Mains Daily Answer Writing - 26 September (GS 1)


  1. How did the colonial rule affect the tribals in India, and what was the response to the colonial oppression?
  2. Comment on the resource potential of the long coastline of India and highlight the status of natural hazard preparedness in  these areas.

Model Solutions

1. How did the colonial rule affect the tribals in India, and what was the response to the colonial oppression? (15)

Model structure

  • Colonial rule in India brought about significant socio-economic and political changes that deeply affected various sections of society, including the tribal communities. The British, driven by economic interests, ventured into tribal territories, disrupting these communities' traditional way of life.

Main Body
Effects of Colonial Rule on Tribals in India

  • Land Alienation and Forest Acts:
    • The introduction of the Permanent Settlement Act, the Forest Acts, and other land revenue systems alienated tribals from their ancestral lands. Forests, essential for the tribal way of life, became government property, restricting their access.
    • Example: The Madras Forest Act of 1882 restricted the shifting cultivation practised by many tribal communities, disrupting their traditional agricultural practices.
  • Forced Labor and Exploitation:
    • The British, with their expansion of railways and plantations, often used tribals as a cheap source of labour, subjecting them to exploitation.
    • Example: The coolie trade saw many tribals from the Chotanagpur plateau region being sent to tea plantations in Assam under exploitative conditions.
  • Cultural Erosion
    • Missionary activities, providing education and healthcare, often led to a loss of traditional tribal culture and practices.
    • In the Northeastern regions, particularly Nagaland and Meghalaya, large sections of the tribal population converted to Christianity, leading to significant cultural shifts.
  • Introduction of Money Economy:
    • The British introduced a money-based economy, pulling tribals into a vortex of debt and dependence. Traditional barter systems were replaced by monetary transactions.
    • Moneylenders and traders, often non-tribals, exploited the Santhals and other tribes of the Chotanagpur region, leading them into cycles of debt.

Tribal Response to Colonial Oppression:

  • Rebellions and Revolts:
    • Tribals rose in arms against the British and their oppressive policies multiple times during colonial rule.
    • The Santhal Rebellion of 1855-56 was a massive uprising against moneylenders, landlords, and the colonial administration. The Santhals, facing severe economic distress, revolted under the leadership of Sidhu and Kanhu Murmu.
  • Formation of Socio-Religious Movements:
    • Some tribals responded by forming movements that sought to rejuvenate tribal culture and identity.
    • The Tana Bhagat Movement among the Oraon tribe in Bihar was a socio-religious movement that opposed taxes and forced labour and stressed the return to traditional tribal practices.
  • Political Mobilization and Assertion:
    • In the 20th century, especially post-1920, tribal leaders began to mobilise their communities against colonial oppression politically.
    • Jaipal Singh, a Munda tribal leader, emerged as an important voice for tribal rights, championing their cause in various political platforms, including the Constituent Assembly.
  • Adoption and Adaptation:
    • Some tribal communities adopted certain beneficial aspects of the changes brought by the British, such as education, while retaining their cultural essence.
    • The Khasi community in Meghalaya embraced education brought by Christian missionaries but managed to integrate it with their traditional values and customs.


  • The colonial period was a time of upheaval for the tribals of India, marked by socio-economic changes, exploitation, and cultural shifts.
  • However, the tribal communities were not merely passive recipients of colonial oppression; they actively resisted, adapted, and asserted their rights, leaving a legacy of resilience and defiance.

2. Comment on the resource potential of the long coastline of India and highlight the status of natural hazard preparedness in these areas. (15)

Model Structure

  • The Indian coastline is 7516.6 km long and touches 13 states and Union Territories with the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal on either side. OR
  • The 7516.6 km long Indian coastline affects local communities frequently as it is prone to hazards like tropical cyclones, landslides, coastal flooding, tsunamis etc.

Main body
The resource potential of the long coastline of India includes

  • Mining natural resources like oil and gas in KG basin, Gujarat coast, Bombay High etc. Manganese nodules, red clay from deep sea, are extracted for resource security.
  • Power generation in the form of wind andOTEC.
  • Maritime trade as India lies near many international shipping routes.
  • Tourism potential in form of beaches, cruise, adventure sports etc
  • Food resources like fishing, common salt, edible seaweeds and other resources for food fortification.
  • Resource in the form of biodiversity.

But due to climate change and other factors, there are many natural hazards associated with coastal areas. In this context, the status of natural hazard preparedness includes-

  • Early warning systems by INCOIS and the IMD.
  • Infrastructure resilience and formation of CDRI for it.
  • Mangrove conservation.
  • Interagency coordination.
  • Research and technology like use of doppler radars.
  • Cyclone shelters.
  • Community awareness.


  • Even though substantial steps are taken to mitigate the impact of natural hazards, continuous efforts to adapt and build resilience remain crucial in the face of ongoing and future challenges. OR
  • To mitigate the risks, the basics of adaptation, risk reduction, and disaster preparedness must be adhered to especially in the vulnerable regions.

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