UNSC Reforms

UNSC Reforms

This article deals with ‘UNSC Reforms – UPSC.’ This is part of our series on ‘International Relations’ which is important pillar of GS-2 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here


UN  reform  is  a  long  drawn  process  which  encompasses  five  key  issues:

  1. Categories  of  membership
  2. Question of  the veto  held  by  the  five  Permanent  Members
  3. Regional  representation
  4. Size  of  an  enlarged  Council  and  its working  methods
  5. Security  Council-General  Assembly  relationship. 

Inclusion  of  new  members  is  part  of this reform  process.


Any  reform  of the  Security  Council would  require

        • Agreement of at  least  2/3 of  UN member  states
        • Agreement of  all the  Permanent  Members of  the UNSC  enjoying  the  veto  right.



Why UNSC Reforms are needed?

  • UNSC represents  post WWII realities . After 7 decades, the realities of world dynamics have changed a lot


  • In economic sphere , bodies like NDB , AIIB etc came up as Bretton Woods organisations (WB & IMF)   representing post WWII realities failed to accommodate legitimate interests of new economic powers eg India, Brazil, China etc.  If similar thing happened in case of UN , that will be detrimental to world peace. 


  • UNSC isn’t  representative enough
        • No permanent member from Africa despite 75% of UN work focusses on Africa
        • No islamic nation


  • Not responsive to new issues that are emerging like terrorism & climate change .


  • Also parties are going to alternate forums or try to adjust other powers than P5 to reach at consensus. Eg to deal with Iran P5+1 platform was made


  • It has failed to tackle the recent crisis of Syria, Gaza and Ukraine. Need to make it efficient, effective, and credible and a legitimate body.


  • Numbers of members since formation of UN has increased from 51 to 193 but that is not reflected in UNSC .


Various Proposals for UNSC Reforms

  • Economically strong states along with one from Africa should get permanent seats
  • This proposal has support of many nations

Dealt in detail below.


African Union
  • Increasing the number of both permanent & non-permanent members where 2 permanent & 5 non-permanent members from Africa should be included


United for Consensus (UfC)
  • Aka Coffee Club
  • Mainly created to counter the proposals of G-4 .
  • 40 members like Italy (against Germany) , Pakistan (against India), Columbia(against Brazil) , S Korea (Japan) , Nigeria & Egypt (against SA)  etc
  • They propose
        • Enhancement of non permanent members to be increased from 10 to 20 members.
        • Later they proposed idea of regional representation rather than national representation. This has benefit of giving representation to bigger body (but not all the regions have strong regional organisations eg Asia .


Other suggestions

  • Member states that have demonstrated credibility and capacity to shoulder the responsibilities of the principal UN organ should have a presence in form of “semi-permanent” seats with term of  six-eight years 


  • Veto Reforms:  There shouldn’t be any Veto power.


Variants of the veto provision have been suggested, such as the requirement of double veto, i.e. at least two permanent members must exercise veto for it to be valid.

G4 and its issues

  • Comprises of  Brazil, Germany, India & Japan . These 4 countries support each other’s bids for permanent seats on UNSC
  • The G4’s primary aim is the permanent member seats on the Security Council.


Claims of different nations of G4

  • 3rd largest contributor to UN funding
  • Several times elected to Security Council
  • Biggest economy in Europe
  • UK & France support Germany’s claim
  • But Italy & Spain which are part of UfC oppose Germany
  • Largest country in Latin America in terms of population, territory & economy
  • It has been elected to Security Council many times
  • 10th largest contributor to UN funding
  • UK, Russia & France support
  • But Mexico & Argentina oppose due to regional dynamics
  • 2nd largest contributor to UN budget
  • One of the largest contributor to Official Development Assistance
  • Many times elected to Security Council
  • US, UK , France & Russia supports
  • China (having veto) opposed to it

India & Permanent  Membership ?

India’s Claim

  • Biggest  democracy  in the  world  &  represent 1/6th of humanity
  • Second-largest and one of the largest constant contributors of troops to United Nations peacekeeping
  • It   frequently  serves  as  a  non-permanent  (rotational)  member (7 times till now )
  • It  has  the support  of  some  major  players  (France,  Russia,  United  Kingdom,  and  United  States )
  • It is also the world’s7th largest economy by nominal GDP and third largest by purchasing power parity.
  • India maintains the world’s third largest active armed force and is a nuclear weapon state but at the same time known for her peaceful credentials
  • It  is  part  of  an  otherwise  underrepresented  region,  with  large  unrepresented  religions  (Hinduism  and Islam).



  • Would be very difficult to make P5 members to share their power with others . They would like to maintain status quo .
  • Very difficult to garner support of 2/3rd members
  • United for Consensus bitterly oppose these reforms
  • India’s position on the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and its border “disputes” with Pakistan and China
  • Asia already has representation in form of China but Africa is not represented by any nation. Along with that G-4 has two Asian nations which if accepted will take Asian number to 3 .



Latest Development : India is in favour of expansion of Permanent Members without Veto Powers since Permanent Members don’t want to share Veto Power with any other power



SAARC and India

SAARC and India

This article deals with ‘SAARC and India Relations- UPSC.’ This is part of our series on ‘International Relations’ which is important pillar of GS-2 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here

SAARC and India


1980 The idea of regional political and economical cooperation in South Asia was first raised in 1980
8 Dec 1985 first summit was held in Dhaka
Last Summit Kathmandu (Nepal) – 18th Summit in 2014


  • Promote welfare economics
  • Collective self-reliance among the countries of South Asia
  • Accelerate socio-cultural development in the region.


  • House 21 per cent of the global population.
  • South Asian nations together also make an integrated “condominium” of common rivers, a mountain system, an ocean and a conjoint ecological system

Indian importance in it

  • 5 of them have common borders with India but not each other
  • constitutes 70 per cent or more of SAARC’s area and population.


  • India constitutes 70 per cent or more of SAARC’s area and population, and has political conflicts with all her neighbours. Hence, India have the special responsibility to go the extra mile to make SAARC work
  • Yet to develop into a conflict-mediating or conflict-resolving institution both on multilateral and bilateral issues.
  • Organisation of countries not of equal stature-economically, geographically & politically
  • Chinese increasing influence on SAARC nations like SL,NEPAL

Critical evaluation:

It was formed to promote regional development and improve ties among nations . But SAARC has not been able to generate the benefits of cooperation :

Political reasons Boundary dispute between India and Pakistan has overshadowed functioning of SAARC  
Economic reasons GDP of SAARC nations except India is small , hampering the effective economic relations among them
– Other nations fear , Competition would lead to injury to the industry of other members  
Historical reasons In past , different nations have fought wars and past differences hamper cooperation in present times  
Geographical reasons – Poor infrastructure
– Economic Connectivity is low due to poor road transport 

CHINA  factor in SAARC

  • Holds an observer status in the group
  • All SAARC Nations except India and Bhutan are part of OBOR 
  • Pakistan, China’s all weather friend, also  demanded a more participatory role for China
  • Write about projects of China in OBOR nations


  • China is Constructing dam on the Brahmaputra without taking Indian and Bangladeshi concerns onboard.
  • Behaviour of China in other engagements is not so pleasant.  For instance it almost shook ASEAN by bringing in Cambodia  which did not even make a final statement now a days.

Indian Initiatives for SAARC

  • Satellite (SAARC satellite)
  • SAARC Disaster Management Centre in New Delhi
  • Immediate medical visa for entire region. Both for patient and one attendant.
  • E-connectivity – online courses and E-libraries

Alternatives of SAARC

  • SAARC is not going anywhere. All decisions in SAARC is taken by consensus and Pakistan blocks all the initiatives taken by India. Hence, Indian Policymakers have started to look for alternatives that excludes Pakistan .
  • Alternatives are suggested for SAARC and most important among them is BIMSTEC

Revolt of 1857

Revolt of 1857

This article deals with ‘ Revolt of 1857 – UPSC.’ This is part of our series on ‘Modern History’ which is important pillar of GS-1 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here



General Survey of Revolt of 1857

  • Series of local risings & civil disturbances was not a rare occurrence in British India . Novelty of this mutiny lay in the wide extent of area covered & its military potentiality . Revolts of 1857 in parts of central & northern India resulted in the nearly collapse of British rule in these regions until the spring of 1858
  • Revolt witnessed extraordinary amount of violence unleashed on both sides
British Counter insurgency measures Public Execution of rebels – blowing them off from cannons & indiscriminately burning of their villages
Rebels Rebels massacred white civilians – women & children included . Bibighar Massacre in Kanpur was the most notorious among all
  • Revolt ended the rule of the East India Company  in 1858 by an act of the Parliament . India was taken over by British crown
  • Revolt for long was mistaken to be mere mutiny of the Indian Sepoys in Bengal army , was indeed joined by an aggrieved rural society of the North India


Causes of Revolt


1.1 Composition of the Army

  • Company while raising a standing army since mid 18th century respected traditions and customs of the indigenous communities . High caste identity of the army was deliberately encouraged . All sepoys were from Brahmin, Rajput & Bhumihar caste &  their caste rule, dietary & travel restrictions were respected under instructions from Warren Hastings
  • But from 1820s , things began to change . Army reforms were initiated to make it more universalised & from 1830s army begun to  curtail some of the caste privileges & pecuniary benefits


1.2 Bengal Regiment & Revolt

  • Mutiny mainly affected Bengal army , Madras & Bombay regiments remained quiet while Punjabi & Gurkhas soldier actually helped to suppress the rebellion (but half of the total army was in Bengal regiment ) . If we want to know why revolt happened, we have to concentrate here.


  • Composition of the Bengal Army was to be blamed for
  • High caste background of the sepoys mainly recruited from Awadh gave it a homogenous character
  • They were nurturing for a long time number of grievances : their religious beliefs had lately come in conflict with new service conditions .
          • They were refused to wear their caste marks
          • Forced to cross seas which was forbidden in their religion &
          • In distant campaigns forced to eat whatever necessary for survival which led to their boycott from society
  • Their salary levels dropped & they suffered discrimination in matters of promotion & pension
  • In 1856 , new service rules  abolished their extra allowance for service outside their own regions  


1.3 White soldiers vs Sepoys

  • By the 1850s, there were other reasons for their discontent. The relationship of the sepoys with their superior white officers underwent a significant change in the years preceding the uprising of 1857.
  • In the 1820s, white officers made it a point to maintain friendly relations with the sepoys. They would take part in their leisure activities – they wrestled with them, fenced with them and went out hawking with them. Many of them were fluent in Hindustani and were familiar with the customs and culture of the country. These officers were disciplinarian and father figure rolled into one.
  • In the 1840s, this began to change. The officers developed a sense of superiority and started treating the Sepoys as their racial inferiors, riding roughshod over their sensibilities. Abuse and physical violence became common and thus the distance between sepoys and officers grew. Trust was replaced by suspicion. The episode of the greased cartridges was a classic example of this.


1.4 Christian missionaries in Army

  • There was constant fear among the Indian sepoys that British are determined to convert them into Christianity
  • Presence of missionaries , rumours about mixing cow & pig bone dust in flour & finally controversy about the cartridge of enfield rifles , all fitted well in this conspiracy theory


1.5 Other Religious beliefs shattered

  • In 1856, Act was passed under which  new recruits had to give an undertaking to serve overseas, if required. Conservative beliefs of the sepoys were thus shaken & they sometimes reacted strongly.
  • This issue of crossing sea was sensitive & earlier in 1824, the 47th Regiment of sepoys at Barrackpore refused to go to Burma by sea-route because their religion forbade


1.6 Annexation of Awadh

  • Annexation of Awadh in 1856 had special adverse effect on the morale of Bengal army as 75% of it was recruited from this region
  • Governor General was earlier warned that  every agricultural family in Awadh perhaps without exception sends one of its member into British army . Annexation of Awadh shook the loyalty of Sepoys & for them it was the proof of untrustworthiness of  British


1.7 Sepoys = Peasants in uniform

  • Sepoys were peasants in uniform & they were anxious about the declining conditions of the peasants due to summary settlements in Awadh
  • Revolt was preceded by about 14,000 petitions from sepoys about hardships relating to revenue system


1.8 Introduction of greased Cartridge 

  • Late Jan 1857: rumours started to circulate among sepoys in Dum Dum near Calcutta that the cartridges of new Enfield Rifle introduced to replace old Brown Bess musket has been greased with cow & pig fat
  • This confirmed the sepoys old suspicion about the conspiracy to destroy their religion & caste and convert them to Christianity . Although the production of these cartridges stopped immediately but trust that was breached was never restored


It is much more difficult to explain the civilian revolt that accompanied the mutiny.

  • Regions and people who were beneficiaries of colonial rule did not revolt.
  • Bengal and Punjab remained peaceful; the entire south India remained unaffected too.
  • On the other hand, those who revolted had two elements among them-the feudal elements and the big landlords on the one end and the peasantry on the other.


2. Exploitation of the peasants

  • To extract as much money as possible Company’s Administration devised new systems of land settlements – Permanent, Ryotwari and Mahalwari -each more oppressive than the other. Proprietary rights of the peasants were taken from them . This affected their social position to great extent . They were now mere tenants & owners of the land were zamindars
  • Peasants had to pay beyond their means & any adverse natural shifts like droughts or flood compelled them to go for loans to the money lenders who charged exorbitant interest. This made them heavily indebted to moneylenders  & forced them to sell their lands
  • Peasantry was also oppressed by petty officials in administration who extracted money on the slightest pretexts. If the peasants went to the law court to seek redress of their grievances, they were bound to be totally ruined.
  • This nexus between the lower officials, law courts and money lenders created a vicious circle which made the peasantry desparate and ready to welcome any opportunity for change of regime.


3. Alienation of the Middle & Upper strata of Indians

  • During Mughals or even in administration of local princes & chieftains , Indians served at all the positions – both upper & lower but british administration deprived the Indians of higher posts which were taken mainly by British &  Indians served only at subordinate positions.
  • In Military services, the highest post attainable by an Indian was that of a Subedar on a salary of ₹ 70 & in Civil Services that of Sadr Amin on a salary of ₹500 per month.
  • The cultural personnel like poets, dramatists, writers , musicians etc who were earlier employed by native states were now thrown out
  • Religious Pandits & Maulvis also lost their former power & prestige


4. Annexation of Princely States

Major grievances were

  • Annexations under Doctrine of Lapse : Satara, Nagpur, Sambhalpur , Bhagat, Jhansi & Udaipur were taken like this in quick succession . This amounted to British interference in traditional system of inheritance & created a group of disgruntled feudal lords . Their right to succession wasn’t recognised .
  • Annexation of Awadh in 1856 : Awadh was annexed on excuse of mismanagement & king was deported to Calcutta.  This annexation didn’t affected nawab & his family but entire aristocracy
  • The Muslim feelings were hurt.  Bahadur Shah II , the Mughal Emperor was an old man who might die any moment. Britishers recognised the succession of Prince Faqir ud Din but imposed many restrictions on him. Fakir died in 1856 & Lord Canning announced that the Prince next in succession would have to renounce the regal title & ancestral Mughal palaces in additions to renunciations agreed upon by Fakir. These acts greatly unnerved the Indian muslims who thought English wanted to humble the House of Timur
  • Absentee Sovereignty-Ship of British Rule in India was also important reason. Earlier rulers like Mughals or Afghans after conquering India had settled here & became Indians. The revenue  collected from the people were spent in India only but in case of Britishers they were ruling from England & draining India of her wealth.
  • Hence, various rulers took arms against Britishers
Nana Sahib
  • Leader at Kanpur
  • Adopted son of Peshwa Baji Rao II , who wasn’t recognised as next Peshwa
Begum Hazrat Mahal
  • Took control over Lucknow
Khan Bahadur Khan
  • Rohilkhand
Rani Jhansi
  • Took control at Jhansi
  • Although she was earlier prepared to accept British paramountcy if her adopted son was recognised as legitimate heir to the throne



5. Eroding feeling of British Invincibility

British rule’s invincibility was eroding  now . British suffered reverses in wars

  1. First Afghan war of 1838-41
  2. Punjab wars of 1846-49
  3. Crimean / Ukraine wars of 1854-56
  4. Santhal  Rebellion


6. Administrative  Causes

  • The administrative machinery of East India Company was insufficient & inefficient . The land revenue policy was very unpopular. Many districts of newly acquired states were in state of permanent revolt & military had to be sent to collect the land revenue . In the district of Panipat, there were 136 horsemen for collection of land revenue but only 22 for performance of police duties.
  • They eliminated the middlemen by directly establishing contact with peasants . But the tax charged was exorbitant . They alienated Taluqdars as well as peasants .
  • Confiscation of estates on large scale was done. The Inam Commission appointed in 1852 in Bombay confiscated as many as 20,000 estates . Hence, aristocracy was driven into poverty making them their staunch opponents .


7. Social & Religious  Causes

  • Like all conquering people the English rulers of India were rude & arrogant towards the subjects . However, the English were infected with a spirit of racialism. The European officers in India were very exacting & over bearing in social behaviour. The Indian was spoken as nigger & addressed as a suar or pig . It may be easy to withstand physical & political injustices but religious persecution touches tender conscience & forms complexes that are not easy to eradicate .


  • That one of the aims of English was to convert Indians into christianity was made clear by Directors of East India Company in House of Commons . Sepoys were promised promotions if they accepted the True Faith. The missionaries were given ample facilities & American Missionary Society at Agra had setup an extensive printing press .


  • Religious Disabilities Act ,1850 (Lex Loci Act) modified Hindu customs, a change in religion didn’t debar son from inheriting the property . Strange rumours were current in India that Lord Canning had been specially selected with the duty of converting the Indians to Christianity . In this surcharged atmosphere even the railways & telegraph & steamships began to be looked upon as indirect instruments for changing their faith.


8. Role of Rumours and Prophecies

According to Britishers, Rumours and Prophecies had most important role in this

  • That bullets of Enfield Rifle were greased with cow and pig fat which will defile the religion of Hindus and Muslims
  • Cow & Pig bone dust in atta
  • British conspiracy to convert Military into Christianity
  • Battle of Plassey happened on  23 June 1757. They said there is prophecy that British rule will come to end after century ie 23 June 1857. Response to the call for action was reinforced by the prophecy


Discussion is not whether those rumours were representing truth or not. But why people believed those rumours

  • Rumours circulate only when they resonate with the deeper fears and suspicions of people. The rumours in 1857 begin to make sense when seen in the context of the policies the British pursued  (as mentioned above)


Events in military  mutiny

29 March
  • In Barrackpore near Calcutta , Sepoy by name of Mangal Pandey (of 34th Native Infantry) fired at European officer & his comrades refused to arrest him when ordered by European superiors
  • They were soon apprehended, court martialed & hanged in early April
  • Incidents of disobedience & arson were reported from army cantonments in Ambala , Lucknow & Meerut
9 May
  • In Meerut sepoys rescued  their arrested comrades who previously refused to accept new cartridge , killed their European officers & proceeded to Delhi
12 May
  • Killed all the Company’s officers in Red fort of Delhi (Simon Fraser was first to be killed)
  • Proclaimed Bahadur Shah as Emperor of Hindustan
  • From Delhi uprising soon spread to other army centres in North West provinces & Awadh & soon took shape of civil rebellion


Leaders in the Revolt of 1857

Who were the leaders

  • To fight the British, leadership and organisation were required. For these the rebels sometimes turned to those who had been leaders before the British conquest ie Kings, Zamindars, Rajas etc
  • Along with that, at some places religious leaders especially Maulvis also emerged as leaders. Maulvi Ahmadullah was the most famous such leader
  • Elsewhere, local leaders emerged, urging peasants  and tribals to revolt. Shah Mal mobilized the villagers of pargana Barout in Uttar Pradesh; Gonoo, a tribal cultivator of Singhbhum , became a rebel leader of the Kol tribals .




Whether leaders especially Kings were joining the revolt on their own ?

  • One of the first acts of the sepoys of Meerut was to rush to Delhi and appeal to the old Mughal emperor to accept the leadership of the revolt. This acceptance of leadership took its time in coming. Bahadur Shah’s first reaction was one of horror and rejection. It was only when some sepoys had moved into the Mughal court within the Red Fort, in defiance of normal court etiquette, that the old emperor, realising he had very few options, agreed to be  nominal leader of  rebellion.
  • Elsewhere, similar scenes were enacted although on a minor scale. In Kanpur, the sepoys and the people of the town gave Nana Sahib, the successor to Peshwa Baji Rao II, no choice save to join the revolt as their leader. So was Kunwar Singh, a local zamindar in Arrah in Bihar.
  • In Awadh, where the displacement of the popular Nawab Wajid Ali Shah and the annexation of the state were still very fresh in the memory of the people, the populace in Lucknow celebrated the fall of British rule by hailing Birjis Qadr, the young son of the Nawab, as their leader.


  • Soldiers proclaimed Bahadur Shah as leader but real authority lied with soldiers
  • 3rd July : General Bakht Khan reached Delhi to lead the soldiers
  • Formed a Court of soldiers consisting of both Hindus & muslims who took all decisions on the name of emperor
  • Fall to British on 20 Sept 1858 – Emperor taken as prisoner & his sons were butchered
  • Dealt by : John Nicholson ( from Punjab)


  • General Bakht khan led the troops to Delhi after defeating local British army
  • In Delhi ,  troops proclaimed Bahadur Shah Zafar as leader of the movement
  • After Bakht khan ,movement was led by Khan Bahadur


  • Begum Hazrat Mahal led the revolt after her adopted son Bijris Qadir was refused to continue to rule
  • Dealt by Colin Campbell


  • Nana Sahib / Dhondu Pant – adopted son of last Peshwa Baji Rao II
  • Nana Sahib’s political propaganda in England was carried by Azimullah which was stopped by the British
  • Tantia Tope (Full name – Ram Chandra Pandu Ram Tope ) who was Guerrilla warfare expert was appointed as commander in chief and General of Nana Saheb but was betrayed by Man Singh
  • Siege of Kanpur took place leading to BIBIGHAR MASSACRE or Sati Chaura Ghar Massacre in which British entered into a promise with Nana Saheb & declared the area to be safe for British. But later he declared that he was with rebels  . 200 Europeans including women & children were killed in Kanpur
  • Dealt by : Colin Campbell


  • Led by Liyakat Ali
  • Dealt by Colonel Neil


  • Kunwar Singh who was zamindar of Jagdishpur (Bihar Arrah district) in his 70s
  • Led the revolt after British acquired his land
  • Most formidable challenge was posed by him to British Authority
  • Dealt by VINCENT EYRE


Faizabad Maulvi Ahamadullah, native of Madras led the revolt


  • Rani Lakshmi Bai
  • Damodar Rao , her adopted son  was refused as successor after demise of his husband  Gangadhar Rao
  • Original name – Manu
  • Father – Moropant Pandey
  • Met Tantiya Tope at Kalpi, place between Jhansi and Kanpur
  • General Hugh Rose – here lay the woman who was only man among the rebels
  • Indian National Army’s    first female unit was named after her
  • Dealt by : Hugh Rose




  • It wasn’t easy for the Britishers to put down revolt.
  • Before sending out troops, large number of laws were passed and whole of North India was placed under Martial Law. Even military officers were given power to try and rebels only had one punishment – death
  • They, like the rebels, recognised the symbolic value of Delhi. The British thus mounted a two-pronged attack. One force moved from Calcutta into North India and the other from the Punjab – which was largely peaceful – to reconquer Delhi. British attempts to recover Delhi began in earnest in early June 1857 but it was only in late September that the city was finally captured. The fighting and losses on both sides were heavy. One reason for this was the fact that rebels from all over North India had come to Delhi to defend the capital.
  • In the Gangetic plain too the progress of British reconquest was slow.  As soon as they began their counter-insurgency operations, the British realised that they were not dealing with a mere mutiny but an uprising that had huge popular support.
  • Military wasn’t the only thing they used. They tried to break away leaders from the rebels because they knew that rebels without leaders can be easily suppressed. In Awadh, many Taluqdars were promised their old estates to be given back to them. Rights of the rulers were promised to be recognised. Hence , they were able to break unity with diplomacy


Nature of Revolt of 1857

Various historians have given various interpretations at different point of times. Some of them are discarded now .

Primarily a Mutiny of the sepoys , civilian participation being secondary phenomenon

  • The movement began as military mutiny which led to collapse of administration & law , other elements which had their own grievances also jumped into it
  • What began as a military mutiny ended in certain areas as outbreak of civil population 


SEPOY MUTINY confined to army only

  • British historians like Kaye, Trevelyan , Lawrence, Holmes have painted it as mutiny confined to the army which didn’t command the support of the people at large
  • Similar view was held by many contemporary Indians like Munshi Jiwan Lal, Moinuddin (both eye witnesses at Delhi) , Durgadas Bandyopadhyaya (eye witness at Bareilly) & Sir Syed Ahmed Khan (Sadr Amin at Bijnor in 1857)


Revolution jointly organised & carried on by both the Hindus & Muslims

  • Some writers view it as Hindu-Muslim conspiracy to replace British Government by national one
  • The great rebellion was outcome of Mohammedan conspiracy making out capital of the Hindu grievances
  • Bahadur Shah’s indifference in the beginning was a political trick which he wanted to play upon the English through which he wanted to trap them

Not accepted by historians now.


Religious war against Christians

  • Not accepted by Historians
  • One of the cause of the revolt was certainly religious
  • But they revolted not to uproot the Christianity but to defend their religion & afterwards rebels forgot their religious motive


A Revolt started by Discontented rulers

  • Some historians opine that it was revolt against the British only by those discontented  native rulers whose territory, jagirs , pensions & allowances had been taken away
  • But those scholars who don’t subscribe to this view say that neither all discontented feudal elements nor all rulers had taken part in this revolt eg Jagirdars in Punjab who has lost their land didn’t participate in it


Racial struggle for supremacy

  • According to some of the English historians it was racial struggle for supremacy between the Black & White
  • But this view is not accepted . Certainly all whites were on one side but all blacks were not on other side


Conflict between Civilisation &’Barbarism 

  • Wrong view
  • The atrocities were committed both by the English & Indians against each other during this period of revolt


War of Indian Independence

  • Vir Savarkar , Ashok Mehta & JL Nehru hold this view
  • First given by VD Savarkar in 1909 in his book Indian war of Independence . Although his claim was vigorously denied by many & said it was not war of independence but it can be certainly said to be first combined attempt by many classes of people to challenge a foreign power.



Later Historiography, though accepting the popular character of the Revolt, laid emphasis on its backward -looking character. Bipin Chandra has stressed this point:  “The entire movement lacked a unified and forward looking programme to be implemented after the capture of power”


It was something more than a sepoy mutiny but something less than a national revolt

  • It was not national because the popular character of the revolt was limited to North India alone while regions & groups who were benefitted from colonial rule remained loyal & infact helped in crushing the revolt
  • There was no consensus or national cause for which they were fighting for . Everybody was fighting for his/her petty gains & even if Britishers accepted their terms, they were ready to join them
  • RC Majumdar – It was neither first nor national not war of independence


Its importance was indirect and posterior . As it is said that Julius Caesar dead was more powerful than when he was alive. The same thing can be said about the Mutiny of 1857. Whatever might have been its original character, it soon became a symbol of challenge to the mighty British power in India . It remained a shining example before the nascent nationalism in India in its struggle for independence from British yoke.


Was Revolt of 1857 organised , planned revolt or spontaneous ?

  • No reliable account left hence it is difficult  to ascertain
  • Our study of history is based on British record of revolt of 1857 . Rebels did not leave any record . British suppressed any favourable mention of the revolt
  • If one look at the Chronology of events , it looks like the start of Revolt was spontaneous without any planning of mass uprising at same time . After it started , there was some communication between Sepoys of different regiments, Leaders of different places & some elements of organisation and planning was also present . But element of planning and organisation can’t be overemphasised.



Arguments for Spontaneous Start

  • Bahadur Shah vacillated at the thought of becoming the Shahenshah-e-Hindustan to lead the revolt. If it was fully planned , then this wouldn’t have happened.
  • All the rebellious troops didn’t rise simultaneously
  • If one observes the dates of mutiny it would appear that as the news of the mutiny in one town travelled to the next , the sepoys took up arms.



Elements of Organised Revolt later on

  • Bahadur Shah, after initial vacillation, wrote letters to all the chiefs and rulers of India urging them to organize a confederacy of Indian states to fight and replace the British regime (as shown in Azamgarh Proclamation)
  • Tantya Tope , commander of Nana Sahib later faught with Lakshmi Bai suggesting correspondance between different leaders and mobilisation of resources in each other’s help
  • It is clear that there was communication between the sepoy lines of various cantonments.
  • Sepoys or their emissaries moved from one station to another to join revolt . People were thus planning and speaking about the rebellion
  • Charles Ball noted that nightly Panchayat of Sepoy leaders gathered in the Kanpur sepoy lines to decide on further actions. What this suggests is that some of the decisions were taken collectively.


Earlier there were theories that Message was  conveyed to common public by circulation of chapattis,  lotus flowers , propaganda by sanyasis , faqirs and mandarins. But this is uncertain and highly unlikely.




Causes of failure of Revolt of 1857

  • Revolt lacked universal support – various sections remained alienated – princes, merchants, intelligentsia
  • Lack of unity among Indians
        • Soldiers of Punjab & South India didn’t revolt & even helped to suppress mutiny
        • Possibility of revival of Mughals created fear among Sikhs who had faced much of oppression from Mughals earlier
        • Rajput Chieftains & Nizam of Hyderabad was suspicious of Maratha power
        • Zamindars in Bengal were creation of British & they supported them
  • Revolt lacked central & effective leadership. Strength & energy of insurgents couldn’t be channelised in absence of effective leaders . Although Indians had Rani Lakshmi bai, Tantya Tope etc but they were no match to professionals like Havelock etc
  • Revolt was poorly organised & no unity of action & coordination . Many a time resurgent acted like unruly mob
  • Revolt was retrogressive in character . Leaders were devoid of modern outlook . They wanted to go to old order & hence intelligentsia not only remained aloof but helped in suppressing the revolt
  • Leaders were suspicious & jealous of each other . Begum of Awadh quarrelled with Maulwi  Ahmadullah + Ahmadullah vs Mughal Nawab
  • British had superior arms & backed by industrialised nation who can keep the war machinery running for long time & on other side rebels were short of ammunition .
  • Luckily for the Britishers, Crimean & Chinese wars were concluded in 1856 & as a result soldiers numbering 1,10,000 poured into India from all parts of the world to suppress revolt.
  • Railways, post & telegraph helped in fast movement of troops + facilitated exchange of info to coordinate their operations


British attitude after Revolt

Transfer of Power
  • Power to govern passed from East India Company to British Crown through Act of 1858
  • Reason was political opinion in England which held that Company’s economic & administrative policies were responsible for widespread discontent among different segments of Indian society  erupting in form of Revolt of 1857.
  • Now Secretary of State for India aided by a Council was to be responsible for governance of India . Earlier this power was with Directors of Company


Change in Military Organisation
  • Number of European soldiers was increased and fixed at one European to two Indian soldiers in Bengal Army and two to five in Bombay and Madras armies
  • European troops were kept in key geographical and military positions. The crucial branches of the army like artillery were put exclusively in European hands.
  • Organisation of the Indian section of the army was now based on the policy of “divide and rule”. Regiments were created on the basis of caste , community and region to prevent the development of any nationalistic feeling among the soldiers .


Divide & Rule
  • British thought that revolt was a conspiracy hatched by the Muslims & they  were severely punished and discriminations made against them in public appointments
  • Later, Policy of preferential treatment of the Muslims was adopted towards the end of the 19th century. This   contributed to the growth of communalism.


New Policy Towards the Princes
  • Earlier policy of annexation was now abandoned and the rulers of these states were now authorised to adopt heirs.
  • Authority of the Indian rulers over particular territories was completely subordinated to the authority of the British. They were converted into a Board of Privileged Dependents.


Search for new friends
  • Found in Zamindars whose existence depended on them
  • Later used Muslims & other communal forces

Administrative System post  Revolt of1857

New Administrative Setup

  • Under Act of 1858, India was to be governed directly by and in the name of the Crown through a Secretary of State in England. The Secretary of State was to be assisted by a Council of 15 members 


  • Central administration in India continued to remain in the hands of the Governor General who was given the new title of Viceroy.


  • Dual control of the President of the Board of Control  & Directors of the Company was abolished  and  all the authority was centred in the Secretary of State(very powerful –  called Grand Mughal) .


Administrative Decentralisation

  • Charter Act,1833 brought legislative centralisation in Company’s territories in India. The Government of Bombay & Madras were drastically deprived of their powers of legislation & left only with right of proposing to GG in Council projects of laws which they thought expedient.
  • Beginning in direction  of decentralisation was made by the Act of 1861 which provided for legislative powers to the Presidencies of Bombay and Madras with reservation that in certain matters Governor General’s prior approval had to be obtained
  • Lord Mayo in 1870 for the first time granted fix sums to spend it as they wished on Police, Jails, Education, Medical services.
  • By 1882 the system of giving fixed grants to  provinces was put to an end . Instead  Provinces were  asked to generate fixed income from the provincial taxes . According to these arrangements some sources of revenue were fully handed over to the provinces, some partially and some reserved for  Centre –  continued till 1902
  • In 1909 further decentralisation was done which culminated in Dyarchy in 1919 & Provincial Autonomy in the Act of 1935.



Local Bodies

  • Due to financial problems, Government  further decentralised the administration& promoted  municipalities and district boards
  • Process started in 1864.In the initial years most of the members  were nominated and the bodies were presided over by District Magistrates. They were to generate  revenue to be spent in their jurisdiction.
  • Situation improved by 1882. Now the local boards were  to be developed through out the country and not only in towns. These bodies were  assigned definite duties &  funds
  • Majorities of nominated members was replaced by elected members. Now official members were limited to one third, urban bodies were to be independent + non official members were also allowed to chair the board . But right to vote was restricted & non officials enjoyed very less power


Economic Policy

Theory of Economic Drain


Organisation of Army

  • Proportion of europeans  in the army was raised. In Bengal it was fixed in the ratio of 1: 2 and in Madras &  Bombay 2:5
  • Strength of European troops increased from 45,000 to 65,000 & Indian troops decreased from 2,38,000 to 1,40,000
  • In important branches of army like artillery  European hold was established. Later the same policy was followed in tanks and armoured corps.
  • Distinction of martial and non-martial races was made and the former were recruited in large numbers. The soldiers of Bihar,Awadh,Bengal and South India who had participated in the Revolt of 1857 were declared non-martial. While the soldiers who supported the British like, Sikhs, Gurkhas and Pathans were declared martial.
  • Various steps taken to encourage regional loyalties among the soldiers , so that they may not unite on national considerations


All this increased the expenditure on military which now accounted for 25 to 30% of total revenue


Civil Services

Inspite of Queen’s proclamation , superior posts remained out of the reach of Indians & they continued to occupy only subordinate posts because

  • The examination was held far away in London
  • Examination was heavily based on the knowledge of Latin, Greek and English
  • Maximum age was reduced from 23 in 1859 to 19 years in 1878.


Relations with Princely States

  • Indian princes like many other feudal elements in Indian society stood by British government during the Revolt of 1857 . This fact was recognised by Lord Canning too when he said , ” If the Scindia joins the Mutiny today , I shall have to pack off tomarrow.”
  • Britishers realised that the Princely States could play an important role in checking the discontent of Indian masses. Therefore, the policy of annexation of Indian states was given up and their co-operation was sought in strengthening the British imperialism. Number of powers were restored to them and they were assured that if they continued to be loyal to the British they would not be harmed.


  • Policy of Paramountcy :  Check on the states was also maintained. Now no Indian ruler was allowed to maintain relations with other countries except through the British. British interfered in day to day functioning of the states through their agents called Residents. British Residents and nominated ministers were posted in almost all the states.


  • Right to recognise the successors was also reserved with the British government. If any ruler did not fall in line, he was replaced with a person of the British choice. Likewise the rulers of Baroda in 1873 (Malhar Rao Gaekwad was accused of misrule & attempt to poison Resident , hence removed from Gaddi but in favour of other Gaekwad member)   and Manipur in 1891 were removed



BRICS and India

BRICS and India

This article deals with ‘BRICS and India – UPSC.’ This is part of our series on ‘International Relations’ which is important pillar of GS-2 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here


  • BRICS : Brazil Russia India China South Africa .
  • Term was coined by Jim O Neil, an economist at Goldman Sachs in 2001 as BRIC . Without ‘S’ .
  • BRIC was officially formed at Yekaterinburg summit in 2009. South Africa joined the bloc in 2010 and it became BRICS
  • It is Economic grouping with political motives 
  • If BRICS nations start to trade in their domestic currencies it would break the dominance of dollar 

BRICS and India

BRICS as an organisation

  • A non western economic organisation
  • Structure / institution = Multilateral
  • Purpose goals = economic, geo- political
  • Norms = Non interference in each others internal affairs ,  respects other international institutions
  • Against uni polarity , searches for multipolarity

Factors that led to creation of BRICS ( at Yekaterinburg 2009) 

BRICS is a unique organisation of countries that came together in not because of geography, history or wealth, but because of their promise as key “emerging economies”.

  • 2008 financial crisis in the west while BRICS nations were growing at that time
  • IMF and WB with western clout have become unrepresentative institutions dominated by western economies
  • Search for multipolarity was another reason for formation of BRICS

Basic stats of BRICS

  • 40% world population
  • 20% world GDP
  • 30% world landmass
  • Forex reserve of $4.4 trillion. China alone has $3 trillion
  • Trade of $500 billion 

Importance of BRICS

  • Economic :
    • Combined  GDP,  accounts  for  roughly  20%  of  the  total  gross  world  GDP
    • BRICS Nations are the  fastest  growing  economies . 
    • BRICS nations are lucrative  investment  destinations  in  the  world  
    • Emerging  multilateral  financial  institutions  like  AIIB  and  BRICS  Bank  are alternative  to   Western  dominated  World  Bank  and  IMF.
  • Political  and  military
    • China,  Russia  and  India  are  the  most  powerful  countries in  the  world  by  military  strength  after  US  with  advance  naval  forces  
  • Demographic
    • Accounts  for  nearly  40%  of  the  world  population  with  huge  number  of  people in  working  age  group  


  • Competition : All BRICS countries want  to become regional powers & frequently their interests collide with each other
  •  Dominance of the Chinese economy makes it union of unequal members. Jim O’ Neil said that Chinese forex is bigger than all other BRICS nations combined
  • Members are too similar in some key areas. Hence, they don’t complement each other because each has same strength and weakness.
  • Too much Diversity in other areas like  starkly varying political systems, economies, and national goals, and are located in different corners of the globe. 
  • BRICS nations compete in third markets. In many areas, from clothing (China, India and Brazil), through economic influence in Africa (China, South Africa and India) etc BRICS countries compete with one another. 
  • Contradictions on Trade : Brazil and Russia are commodity exporting countries and want high commodity prices while China and India are importing countries
  • Large number of conflicting issues between members
    • India China , China Russia border disputes
    • China artificially undervalues Renminbi
    • China has ~ 30 trade disputes with BRICS
  • Diverging stands on multilateral forums
    • NSG : China stopping entry of India in NSG
    • UNSC reforms : India & South Africa want reforms while China oppose
  • Developments on the economic front have particularly been disturbing: Brazil’s economy is shrinking; the South African economy is stagnant. Russia, hit hard by a sharp fall in oil prices, sees its economic woes grow by the day. China is also facing slowdown

Way forward from BRICS

With BRICS going no where and China using it to promote its own interests, there is need to look toward formation and re-activation of alternate forums (this doesn’t mean India should abandon BRICS altogether. India should remain in the group but betting all on BRICS will be futile) . These forums can be

  • There is a need to revive the forgotten India, Brazil, South Africa (IBSA) group—perhaps enlarge it to include Turkey, Indonesia, South Korea and the like to develop alternatives to China-centric groupings.
  • India also needs to invest more in building groups that bridge the north-south divide. One such group is the G4 (Brazil, India, Germany and Japan) aspirants to the UN security council. 

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and India

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and India

This article deals with ‘Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and India- UPSC.’ This is part of our series on ‘International Relations’ which is important pillar of GS-2 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here


Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and India
  • 2001: Founded in Shanghai
  • Headquartered in Beijing
  • Mainly a Eurasian Organisation
  • Evolved from border dispute solving mechanism to regional security organisation in 2004 and now a deliberation forum on all subjects
  • It is important organisation with
    • 3 significant world powers, Russia, China and India, under its umbrella.
    • 50%  of the world’s population
    • 25%  of the world’s  GDP

Nature of SCO

  • Works on Norms of consensus(in EU and ASEAN by majority)  , voluntarism and non interference .
  • Keep  domestic and foreign policy separate
  • Evolved from border dispute solving mechanism to regional security organisation in 2004 and now a deliberation forum on all subjects

Uniting factors in SCO

  • Countering US Hegemony (US is trying to influence regimes through Colour revolutions). This is glue factor
  • Economy : To enhance economic cooperation
  • Security  : Issue of Islamic Fundamentalism , Terrorism , Secessionism /Separatism , Countering Drug Tracfficking

Conflict of Interest in SCO

  • Rising China is concern for Russia in Central asia
  • Russia created CSTO which is mutual defence alliance & also formed EEU which is Economic Union of Eurasian region
  • China is more focussed on stability of Xinjiang rather than these central asian nations or containing NATO


  • Energy security: Some of the member countries of the grouping are rich in energy resources – both hydrocarbons and uranium. India being energy deficit , need these resources 
    • Russia has mooted the idea of ‘Energy Club‘ 
  • Security :The Asian-Eurasian block can play a key role  in stabilising Afghanistan . India has invested heavily in Afghanistan (2Billion $) and India needs to protect her assets there .
  • Apart from this , SCO can  help in forming a joint platform against terrorism & controlling the menace of drug trafficking .
    • Members share a high volume of information on counter-terrorism through the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (SCO RATS) based in Tashkent. Till now, 500 terrorist attacks have been stopped by RATS.
    • Annual Military exercises, involving ground troops , aerospace & cyber threat. 
  • Economic integration: 
    • An important factor is the promotion of India’s economic integration with the Central Asian republics, which is in line with India’s Connect Central Asia Policy & also in investing heavily in INSTC and Chabahar Port development
    • Central Asian Republics provide huge possibility for Indian Automobile, Banking , IT & related sectors
  • Alternate platform for Indo-Pak & Sino-India Dialogue   
  • With Russia and China taking the lead, the SCO could even prove a guarantor for projects such as the TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) and IPI (Iran-Pakistan-India) pipelines that India has held off due to security concerns.

Some Problems India can face

  • SCO is already dominated by two UNSC Permanent Members ie China and Russia . Hence, it will not be easy for India to have a major say in such institution
  • SCO will be the second regional grouping after SAARC to have both India and Pakistan. This in itself can limit the effectiveness of SCO as has been the case with SAARC. 
  • On the issue of terrorism China and India have different attitude vis a vis Pakistan based Terrorist Organisations. Also definition of Terrorism is different for different states- eg Chinese consider Tibetan Freedom Movement as terrorists while India don’t .
  • In terms of connectivity, India has not joined China’s ambitious One Belt, One Road project and has concerns over China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). 
  • Vision of SCO shared by Russia and China involves a ‘new order’, clearly aimed at the West. As a result, the SCO has been often called the “Anti-NATO”, meant to counterbalance U.S. and Europe power structures. It would seem incongruous to reconcile this with India’s close military ties with the U.S.

India ASEAN Relations

India ASEAN Relations – UPSC

This article deals with ‘India ASEAN Relations- UPSC.’ This is part of our series on ‘International Relations’ which is important pillar of GS-2 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here


  • ASEAN = Association of South East Asian Nations
  • Formed in 1967
  • Headquartered in Jakarta
  • It consist of 10 countries
India ASEAN Relations

About India-ASEAN region

It consist of

  • 25% of world population
  • Combined GDP is more than $5 trillion
  • India’s 10% trade is with ASEAN
  • ASEAN is the biggest FDI investor in India of upto $80 billion

Timeline of India-ASEAN relations

Till 1990 ASEAN region wasn’t given much importance
1990 Start of Look East Policy => ASEAN given importance in that
2002 Starts of annual Summits  meetings with ASEAN (Start of Look East 2.0)
2009 FTA in goods signed
2015 FTA in Services and Investment signed- with ASEAN minus Philippines
2018 Leaders of the 10-members of ASEAN as Chief Guests at Republic Day , an honour India bestows on strategically important countries only.
2019 India refused to sign RCEP which consist of ASEAN & 6 countries

Importance of ASEAN for India

Strategically – ASEAN nations are strategically located  at the intersections of major land and sea routes (including Strait of Malacca)
Containing China : India can allign with partners like Vietnam , Singapore etc to counterpose China
Energy – Myanmar has rich oil reserves
– Vietnam has reserves in  South China Sea => ONGC Videsh limited has invested in that region
Economy     – Trade between India and ASEAN stood at $65 billion in 2015-16 and comprises 10% of India’s total trade
– We have signed FTA in Goods and FTA in Services and Investment
– India eyes CMLV (part of ASEAN) for “Make Outisde India” initiative  
For North East India – ASEAN is very important for development of North East India
– These states can integrate with ASEAN Supply Chains
For this , following projects going on IMT Highway and Kaladan Multimodal Transit Corridor
Security Security of Indian Ocean Region(IOR) like piracy, illegal migration, and trafficking   
People to People Buddhism and Hinduism Temples like Ankorwat Tourism

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence

This article deals with ‘Artificial Intelligence .’ This is part of our series on ‘Science and Technology’ which is important pillar of GS-3 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here

What is Artificial Intelligence?

  • Artificial intelligence is the branch of computer science concerned with making computers behave like humans
  • It is concerned with
    • Learning from experience
    • Recognising images
    • SolveComplex Problems
    • Understand Human Language
    • Create perspectives
Artificial Intelligence

Side Topic : Machine Learning and Deep Learning

  • Machine Learning, a term coined by Artur Samuel in 1959, based on the idea that systems can learn from data, identify patterns and make decisions with minimal human intervention.
  • Deep Learning is a technique for implementing Machine Learning. It is inspired by the structure and function of the brain called artificial neural networks.


  • Driverless Cars 
  • Games playing:  AI intelligent games learn from their mistakes and are not monotonous.
  • Expert systems : programming computers to make decisions in real-life situations
  • Natural language : programming computers to understand natural human languages.  
  • Robotics : programming computers to see and hear and react to other sensory stimuli (this is what we want to achieve ultimately)

Some problems 

  • The problem of creating machines smarter than humans but lacking the ethical-moral impulses like  compassion 
  • Possibility of machines trying to dominate humans eg Terminator & I-Robot type of situation
  • Job Loss : Much of India’s advanced IT services industry might get replaced by AI
  • High levels of inequality : Society will have high levels of inequality because there will be jobs for high skilled persons only. Low skill jobs will be taken up by AI Machines
  • Ensuring data security, protection, privacy, and ethical use
  • Rigorous auditing to ensure non-contamination by human biases & prejudices

But new avenues too

  • Will create new jobs in high end technology
  • Many uses in Governance and public delivery
    • Security : Any terrorist on wanted list can be recognised by AI Computer by stream of videos coming from CCTVs
    • Analysis of Schemes and suggestions for better results 
  • Personal Assistants : Companies like Google, Amazon(Alexa) etc are coming with personal assistants . They work on AI. Hence, now everybody can have personal assistant for free
  • Better Logistics : Uber, Google Maps suggesting best way etc use AI for logistic management. 
  • Use for specially abled people

Indian Govt and AI

  • 2018: Defence ministry set up a task for on AI for national security under  N Chandrashekharan  of Tata Sons.
  • 2018-Budget  gave ₹100 crore to Department of Science & Technology for a Mission on cyber physical systems.
  • 2018 : NITI Ayog working on National Artificial Intelligence Mission (N-AIM).
  • 2019-Interim-Budget announced a National Programme & Centre & webportal on ‘Artificial Intelligence‘. 
  • Samarth Udyog Bharat 4.0 by Ministry of Heavy Industries to make manufacturing industry ready for Industry 4.0  by 2025.
  • NITI Aayog  paper highlights the potential for India to become an AI ‘garage’, or solutions provider of the world.

What India can learn from other countries?

  • US, the global leader in AI  has AI sector  driven by the private sector.
  • China has ambition of becoming world leader in AI by 2030. The top 9 universities of China have received government funding to establish AI schools.

Data Privacy Bill and BN Srikrishna Committee Report

Data Privacy Bill and BN Srikrishna Committee Report

This article deals with ‘Data Privacy Bill and BN Srikrishna Committee Report- UPSC.’ This is part of our series on ‘Science and Technology’ which is important pillar of GS-3 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here

Issues at hand

  • SC in K.S. Puttaswamy case has declared Right to Privacy as Fundamental right. 
  • Most of the data storage companies are based abroad.  They also export data to other jurisdiction making it difficult to apply Indian laws. 
  • India does not have any dedicated legal framework for data protection.
  • India does not have provisions   for data localization i.e. to store data within country .
  • Volume of data on internet is expanding exponentially 
  • Generally, the application using pre-ticked boxes on consent regarding the privacy policy and use of their personal data
  • RBI announced that the payment system providers (Visa, Mastercard, PayTM etc) need to store entire payments data in a system only in India

Data Protection Bill and Justice BN Srikrishna Committee report

Provisions of Data Protection Bill which is based upon the recommendations of Justice BN Srikrishna Report are as follows :-

  • Fiduciary relationship: Relationship between individual and service provider must be viewed as a fiduciary . Therefore, the service provider is under an obligation to use data fairly and for the authorised purposes only.
  • In case of violation, he can be punished.
  • Rights of the individual: Certain rights regarding data has been given to individual. These include:
    • right to be forgotten.
    • right to seek correction of inaccurate, incomplete, or out-of-date personal data, and
    • right to have personal data transferred to any other data fiduciary
  • Data localization: It mandates Data localization of at least one copy in India by data fiduciary
  • **Data Protection Authority: to protect interests of individuals, prevent misuse of personal data, and ensure compliance with the Bill
  • Define Sensitive personal data: It includes passwords, financial data, genetic data, caste, religious or political beliefs, or any other category of data specified by the Authority. 
  • explicit consent of the individual is required for Processing of sensitive personal data
  • Exemptions from compliance: It also gives exemptions for processing of personal data for certain purposes, such as journalistic activities, law enforcement, security of state
  • Recognises privacy as a fundamental right

Importance of Data Localisation

  • Data is the new oil fueling the 4th Industrial Revolution and Artificial Intelligence led economy
  • Increase revenue and create jobs as technology companies will be forced to open up offices in India and cant shift their profits to outside locations to avoid taxes.
  • Maintain data sovereignty and privacy of citizens
  • Important for national security as any data can be retrieved for investigation of crime

Issues with the Bill

  • Issues with data localization
    • There is no evidence that data localization leads to better privacy and security of data.
    • The industry will have to incur the additional costs given the bill proposes that companies ensure the storage, on a server or data centre located in India, of at least one copy of personal data.
    • Keeping a copy in India does not really guarantee against breach of security or privacy.
  • exemption on the ground of security of state may be too broad and may lead to surveillance and systematic access to citizens’ data by the state.
  • Protectionist measures in the law => US and European Union countries are planning to take India to WTO on these issues.

Data localisation in other countries

Russia and China Strict data localisation
EU General Data Protection Regulation 2018 (GDPR) which mandates that every EU citizen’s data be stored within the EU.

Reasons of fall of Mughal Empire

Reasons of fall of Mughal Empire

This article deals with ‘ Reasons of fall of Mughal Empire – UPSC.’ This is part of our series on ‘Modern History’ which is important pillar of GS-1 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here

Reasons of fall of Mughal Empire

1.Aurangzeb’s  policies

  • Alienation of Hindus  who constituted majority of population of India with his policy of religious bigotism . The imperialist designs & narrow religious policies of Aurangzeb turned the Rajputs , reliable supporters of the imperial dynasty into foes .
  • Expansionist military campaigns in western India against  Bijapur, Golconda & Marathas which drained wealth of empire & expanded empire beyond the point of effective control (this expedition is called Deccan Ulcer like Spanish Ulcer which caused downfall of Napoleon) 
  • But some other historians believe that the roots of Mughal decline lay in institutions and systems intrinsic to Mughal administration, rather than in personalities or specific policies .

2. Institutions of Mughal Empire

  • Mughal state was a WAR STATE in core .  It developed a centralised administrative system whose vitality depended on its military power with emperor standing at apex & Mansabdars or military aristocracy beneath
  • Appointment , promotion or dismissal of Mansabdars and jagirs allotted to them was done by emperor alone leading to personal loyalty and there was no national, ethnic or religious loyalty .  Effectiveness and the permanence of this relationship depended on the personal qualities of the emperor and the constant expansion of resources, which explains the constant drive towards territorial conquests in Mughal India. But there were no more conquests since the late years of Aurangzeb

3. Jagirdari Crisis

  • This was created because too many Mansabdars were chasing too few jagirs & many of them have to remain jagirless for years 
  • In Words of Satish Chandra :“The available social surplus was insufficient to defray the cost of administration, pay for wars of one type or another and to give the ruling class a standard of life in keeping with its expectations” . This happened because of the
    1. Unusual increase in the number of mansabdars at a time when the area to be distributed as jagir (or paibaqi) remained stagnant or even declined.
    2. Revenue collection, particularly in the south, fell far short of the estimated income, diminishing in turn the real income of the jagirdars in disturbed areas.
    3. To make matters worse, there was a continuous price rise since the late seventeenth century, as the supply of luxury goods flowed towards the European markets, putting the Mughal aristocracy in further distress.
    4. As too many mansabdars were now chasing too few jagirs, many of them had to remain jagir- less for years; and even when a jagir was assigned, there was no guarantee that they would not be transferred within a short period. The entire aristocracy, therefore, suffered from a tremendous sense of personal insecurity.
  • This jagir crisis was not, however, a new phenomenon, as there had always been gaps between collection of revenue and the estimated revenue income of a particular jagir. The crisis increased during the last years of Aurangzeb, mainly because of the Deccan wars. There was now a rise in the number of mansabdars and the political turmoil made the collection of revenue a more difficult task. Also when two kingdoms of Golconda & Bijapur were added to Mughal empire , their noblemen were absorbed in Mughal aristocracy but what Aurangzeb did wrong was he converted large chunk of land to Khalisa ie royal land to finance his campaigns leading to artificial scarcity of jagirs . After his death & during Bahadur Shah’s time this reached to crisis situation
  • This crisis played important role in decreasing loyalty of aristocracy 

4. Weak successors of Aurangzeb

  • Had no hold over administration  & mere symbolic heads
  • Nadir Shah’s attack in 1738-39 gave final blow to Mughal prestige
  • Weren’t able to stop Maratha plunders which even reached upto suburbs of Delhi in 1734

5. No Upgradation of army & weak generals

  • Military reforms were not made with changing times + no new technology & weapons introduced in the army
  • The Mughal artillery was crude and ineffective against the guerrilla tactics of  Marathas . The Maratha fortresses which mughal  armies couldn’t capture despite repeated attempts easily succumbed to the British arms.
  • Dearth of capable commanders in Mughal army but this statement challenged by some historians saying that there were capable commanders like Sayyid Brothers, Abdus Samad Khan , Zakaria Khan,  Saadat Khan but all were occupied in self aggrandisement

6. Degeneration of Mughal Nobility

  • ‘When gold rusts what will iron do’ . Following the unworthy examples of the emperors, the nobles discarded hard life of military adventure & took to luxurious living. They became ‘knights of romance’ against ‘knights at arms’
  • At a time when the emperors ceased to be impartial judges for rewarding merit, the nobles had no incentive to fight & die for the empire

7. Structure of Nobility

  • Mughal nobility was divided into three warring factions
Irani Group Led by Asad Khan & his son Julfiqar Khan
Turani Group Led by Ghazi Uddin Khan & Feroz Jung & his son Chin Qulich Khan (Nizam ul Mulk)
Hindustani Sayyid Brothers , Khan-i-Dauran & some Afghani leaders 
  • Although no factional rivalries went beyond imperial court , nor lapsed into violent confrontations . No one questioned the divine rights of the Timurids to rule but every group tried to extend their influence over the emperors to  control the distribution of patronage
  • Proximity of one to centre of power alienated others & this gradually affected personal binds of loyalty between the emperor & nobleman . Each faction tried to win the emperor to its viewpoint & poison his ear against other faction.
  • Even in face of foreign danger these hostile groups couldn’t forge a united front & intrigued with invader. The personal interests of Nizam-ul-Mulk & Burhan-ul-Mulk led them to intrigue with Nadir Shah.

8. Defective Law of Succession

  • Absence of the Law of Primogeniture among the Mughals usually meant a war of succession among the sons of dying emperor in which military leaders of the time took side . Although this system was not commendable but has inherent advantage that it provided the country with the ablest son of the dying emperor as ruler .
  • But after Aurangzeb, the new principle that worked in Mughal dynasty was survival of the weakest . The Princes of Royal Dynasty receded to the background & struggle was fought by leaders of rival factions using royal prince as nominal leaders. Powerful nobles started to act as king makers to suit their personal interests  

9. Recurring peasant revolts

  • These revolts can be interpreted in various ways. They can be por­trayed as
    • Political assertion of regional and communitarian identities against an intruding centralising power or
    • As reactions against the bigoted religious policies of Aurangzeb. The latter interpretation seems to be more unlikely, as in the later span of his reign, Aurangzeb was showing more liberalism towards the non-believers and in fact wooing many of the Hindu local chieftains in a cool calculating move to win their loyalty and solve the political problems of the empire by isolating his enemies .
  • Mughal Empire was empire imposed from above . Its increasing economic pressures was never fully accepted by rural society but the fear of Mughal Army always acted as deterrent
  • But in late 17th century , weakness of Mughal army became apparent after it faced successive debacles & at same time oppression of Mughal ruling class increased . Resistance  to imperial authority also became widespread
  • In most cases rebellions were led by Local Zamindars (who were forced to pay more taxes by Mansabdars/ Zamindars and were often failing ) & fully backed by oppressed peasantry
  • Other major reason for the open defiance of the local landlords might have been the increasing oppression of the jagirdars. The earlier emperors tried to keep them in check through a system of rotation.

10. Rise of Marathas

  • Most powerful external factor that brought collapse of Mughal empire was the rising power of the Marathas .
  • Marathas inaugurated the policy of Greater Maharashtra & popularised the ideal of Hindu-pad padshahi . The ideal of Hindu Empire could only be realised at the cost of Mughal empire. Although they didn’t succeed in making Hindu Empire but they certainly played a great part in bringing about disintegration of the Mughal empire .

11. Perspective of Periphery

  • By Revisionist historians
  • Mughal decline was due to rise of new groups into economic & political power & inability of the distant & weakened centre to control them any longer
  • Even in 18th century there were some surplus regions like Awadh, Bengal, Benaras . This made more resources at disposal of Zamindars & peasants & powerful lineages who gained distinctively greater advantage & confidence vis a vis imperial centre
  • Taking advantage of weakening central control they found more convenient to repudiate their allegiance . Although they kept on sending share of revenue but Mughal control over these territories were not there

3D Printing

3D Printing

This article deals with ‘3D Printing- UPSC.’ This is part of our series on ‘Science and Technology’ which is important pillar of GS-3 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here

What is 3D Printing?

  • 3D printing or additive manufacturing is a manufacturing technique  . It involves
    • making three dimensional objects
    • from a digital design
    • by adding one layer at a time. 
3D Printing


  • Architecture and Construction – Countries around the world are using large 3D printers to construct multi-storied houses layer by layer. 
  • Medicine Bio printing of artificial organs like Liver, Pancreas etc 
  • Manufacturing – Car and aeroplane parts are being built using 3D printing.
  • Repairing Damaged Cultural Sites : Eg Allepo in Syria is being re-created after ISIS destruction using this technology
  • Prototypes : Prototypes can be made very cheaply

Any object can be made. Just make digital design in PC , add material in the 3D Printer and it will make it


  • No Wastage : 3 D printing is additive process , in which object is manufactured by adding layers in contrast to present manufacturing techniques which are reduction processes . Hence, there will be no wastage of material and cost of production will reduce dramatically
  • Manufacturing Decentralisation   : In contrast to centralisation ie making products in centralised manufacturing units, it will usher revolution of decentralised manufacturing , creating  business opportunities
  • Customised Products : Presently companies make standard products because mould they use is same. But using 3 D Printing, customised products according to need of person can be made without any increase in cost of production
  • Breaking manufacturing Boundaries : Using 3D printing, we can manufacture things which were impossible to manufacture using ordinary manufacturing techniques . Eg Body Organs etc
  • Saves Time – 3D does the job accurately and in less time.


  • Job Losses : Single 3 D printer can make products which was earlier made by hundreds of workers
  • Security challenge : Even weapons can be made at home