Nitin Singhania Test: Indian Literature - 1

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Consider the following statements about Didactic Text.

1. The writer intends to enhance and sustain the interest and inquisitiveness of the readers about the topic

2. It is the most common type of prose and is used mostly in story writing and novels

Which of these statements are correct?

  • Narrative Text: This text gives all the essential information about the topic so that whatever is discussed in the narration is explained or makes sense to the reader. The writer intends to enhance and sustain the interest and inquisitiveness of the readers about the topic. It is the most common type of prose and is used mostly in story writing and novels.

  • Didactic Text: This is also known as Directive texts as it tries to influence the reasoning, thinking and conduct of the reader. The writer intends to persuade, coax and compel the reader into thinking a particular way. It is usually used for writing about political or moral issues; specifically in sermons, and religious treatises.


Consider the following statements about Vedas:

1. They are written in a highly stylised poetic style

2. The language is without symbols and myths

3. They were compiled around 1500 BC - 1000 BC

Which of these statements are correct?



  • The word 'Veda' signifies knowledge and the texts are actually about providing humans about knowledge to conduct their entire life on earth and beyond.

  • It is written in highly stylised poetic style and the language is full of symbols and myths. The Vedas were initially handed down orally by generations of Brahmin families, but historians estimated that they were compiled around 1500 BC-1000 BC.

  • In the Hindu tradition, they are considered sacred because they are the divine revelations determined by gods to guide humans eternally.

  • They also have larger implications on our lives as they treat the universe and its inhabitants as one big family and preach Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam.

  • There are four major Vedas: Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda and Atharva Veda. Vedic seers and poets mostly wrote these called the rishis who envisioned the cosmic mysteries and wrote them in Sanskrit poetry. All the Vedas give prominence to yajna (sacrifice). The Brahmanas, the Upanishads and the Aranyakas accompany each Veda.


Consider the following statements about Sama Veda.

1. The focus of this Veda is on worldly prosperity and natural beauty

2. It has also been called the book of Chants

Which of these statements are correct?


Sama Veda:

  • Sama Veda has been named after 'Saman' (melody), concentrating on melody or songs.

  • While the entire text has 1875 hymns, historians argue that 75 are original and the rest have been taken from the Sakala branch of the Rig Veda.

  • It consists of hymns, detached verses and 16,000 ragas (musical notes) and raginis. Because of the lyrical nature of the text, it has also been called the book of chants'. It also shows us how Indian music has developed in the Vedic period.


Consider the following statements about Brahmanas.

1. They are part of the Hindu sruti literature

2. Each Veda has a Brahmana attached to it

3. Tandya mahabrahmana accompanies Yajur Veda

Which of these statements are correct?




    The Brahmanas are part of the Hindu sruti (revealed knowledge) literature. Each Veda has Brahmana attached to it, essentially a collection of texts with commentaries the particular Veda.


    They are usually a mixture of legends, facts, philosophy and detailed explanations of Vedic rituals. They also consist of instructions as to how to conduct rituals and enunciate the science of sacrifice properly.


    They also explain the symbolic significance of the sacred words used in the rituals. Although historians disagree on the Brahmanas' dating, it is usually pegged to be composed and compiled between 900-700 BC.


    As mentioned above, each Veda has its accompanying Brahmana.





Consider the following statements about Upnishads.

1. There are generally the first part of the Vedas

2. They are also called the Vedangas

Which of these statements are correct?



  • These are treatises written in Sanskrit and account for the Vedas in predominantly monastic and mystical terms. As they are generally the last part of the Vedas, they are also known as Vedanta or 'end (anta) of the Veda'.

  • The Upanishads are said to have the truth' about human life and show the way towards human salvation or moksha.

  • They continue to talk about humankind's abstract and philosophical problems, especially about the origin of this universe, the supposed origin of the humankind, life and death cycle, and the material and spiritual quests of man.


In the context of Ramayana, which of the following are correctly matched?

1. Dharma - religion or righteousness

2. Kama - achievements in the worldly sphere

3. Moksha - liberation from the worldly desires

Choose from the following options.

  • Dharma - Religion or righteousness Artha -(monetary) Achievements in the worldly sphere the Kama - Fulfilling worldly desires Moksha - Liberation from these desires


Mahabharat consists of:



  • The Mahabharata has several versions, but Ved Vyas pens the most popular one, It was written in Sanskrit and initially had 8,800 verses. This version was called Jaya' or the story of victory'.

  • After that, several stories were compiled and added to this collection. The number of verses increased to 24,000, and it was renamed as 'Bharata' after the earliest Vedic tribes.

  • The current form consists of 1,00,000 verses and is divided into 10 parvas (chapters) with insets in the texts called Itihas Purana (mythical history). The story is based on the conflict between the Kauravas and the Pandavas over the right to claim the throne of Hastinapur.

  • The sutradhar of the story is Lord Krishna. The Mahabharata also consists of an important didactical text of Hindus, i.e., the Bhagwat Gita.

  • This text is like a concise guide to Hindu religions' philosophical dilemmas and even acts as a guide to humankind in living a righteous life. Most of the text is a dialogue between Lord Krishna and the Pandava prince Arjuna about a man, warrior, and prince's duties.


Consider the following statements.

1. Hitopadesh is written by Vishnu Sharma

2. Fable, unlike the parable, features the human character

Which of these statements are correct?

  • Parable - Short stories that in prose or verse, illustrates a spiritual, moral or religious lesson. It usually features a human character.

  • Fable: Short stories in prose or verse illustrate a 'moral' through a pithy maxim or clever story.

  • It features animals, inanimate objects, mythical creatures, plants which are given human-like qualities. All of us have at some point of time, heard a story from the Panchtantra written by Vishnu Sharma. This didactic fable comprises several stories with morals and knowledge about the world through animals. Another well-known work from the same genre is Hitopadesha, written by Narayan Pandit.


Vamsa is associated with:


Sarga -The creation of the universe

Pratisarga - The periodic cycle of destruction and recreation

Manvantra -The periods of Manu's lifetime

Vamsa -Genealogies of solar and lunar dynasties of Gods and sages Vamshanucharita -Dynastic histories of kings.


Which of the following dramas were written by Harshavardhan?

1. Ratnavali

2. Nagananda

3. Priyadarsika

Choose from the following options.

  • Ratnavali (about the love story of princess Ratnavali, daughter of the king of Ceylon and king Udayana. We find here, the mention of the celebration of Holi for the first time).

  • Nagananda (story of how prince Jimutavahana gives up his own body to stop serpents' sacrifice to the divine Garuda one unique character in this drama is an invocation to Lord Buddha in the Nandi verse).

  • Priyadarsika (union of Udayana and Priyadarshika, daughter of King Dridhavarman)


Which of the following are correctly matched?

1. Dharmasutras - it defines the role of man and women in a society

2. Manusmriti - these were the basis of laws governing the subjects of most Hindu kingdoms

3. Kautilya's Arthashastra - concentrate on the economic and social conditions of the Mauryan Empire

Choose from the following options.

  • There were several books written about the sciences and state governance in Sanskrit to benefit the learned men.

  • Historians argue that between 500 and 200 BC, several major books on law were written and compiled, which are called the Dharmasutras.

  • These were compiled alongside the smritis that are known as Dharmashastras. These are the basis of the laws governing the subjects of most Hindu kingdoms.

  • These not only elucidate the rules according to which property could be held, sold or transferred but also elaborated on the punishments for offences ranging from fraud to murder.

  • Another major text is Manusmriti (Laws of Manu), which defines man and woman's role in society, their interaction at a social plane, and the code of conduct they were supposed to follow.

  • The text is written as a discourse given by Manu, the ancestor of humankind. The Manusmriti might have been written and compiled during 200 BC and 200 AD.

  • One of the most famous texts about statecraft from the Mauryan period is Kautilya's Arthashastra. It concentrates on the economic and social conditions of the Mauryan empire.

  • The due focus was given to the military strategy, which should be employed by the state. The text mentions that 'Kautilya' or 'Vishnugupta' wrote it.

  • Historians argue that both these names were an alias for Chanakya, a learned scholar at Emperor Chandragupta Maurya's court.


Which of the following works are associated with Kashmir?

1. Rajatrangani

2. Katha Sarit Sagar

Choose from the following options.

  • Although literature in Sanskrit was not as predominant in the medieval period, some excellent works were composed in Rajasthan and Kashmir.

  • Two of the most notable works from medieval Kashmir are Kalhan's Rajatarangani which gives a detailed account of Kashmir and Somadeva's kings Katha-Sarit-Sagar is a poetic work. Shriharsha's Naishadhiya Charithram.


Consider the following statements.

1. The Jatakas form the basis of Jain Canonical literature

2. Angas and upangas are written in Pali

Which of these statements are correct?

  • The Jatakas are the best example of Buddhist non-canonical literature. These are a compilation of the stories from the previous births of Buddha.

  • The stories of the Bodhisattva or the (future) would-be Buddha are also discussed in these Jatakas. Although these stories propagate Buddhist religious doctrines, they are available in Sanskrit and Pali. Each story of the birth of the Buddha is equivalent to a Jataka tale.

  • It was believed that Buddha passed through 550 births before he was born as Gautama. These tales combine the popular tales, ancient mythology, and socio-political conditions in North India between 600 BC and 200 BC.

  • The great epic Buddhacharita by Aswaghosha (78 A.D.) is another example of Buddhist literature in Sanskrit. Another major religion, Jainism, produced texts in Prakrit. They form the basis of the Jain canonical literature.

  • Some of the Jain texts were also written in Sanskrit like the Upamitibhava Prapancha Katha of Siddharasi (906 A.D.). The most important Jain texts written in Prakrit are the Angas, the Upangas and the Parikramas. Apart from these, the Chhedab Sutra and the Malasutra are also considered sacred by the Jains.


Consider the following statements about Bodhi Vamsa

1. It is also called 'chronicle of the Island'

2. vasubandhu wrote it

Which of these statements are not correct?

  • Dipavamsa: It was probably written in 3rd-4th centuries BCE in Anuradhapura (Sri Lanka), during King Dhatusena. It literally means "Chronicle of the Island''. It mentions the visit of Buddha to Sri Lanka and the relics of Buddha.

  • Milinda Panha: It contains a dialogue between King Meander (or Milinda) and Buddhist monk Nagasena. It means "Questions of Milinda". These are one of the highest philosophical enquiries.

  • Bodhi Vamsa: It was prose-poem, written in the 10th century in Sri Lanka. It was translated from a Sinhalese version. It was written by Upatissa and is written in Pali. Udanavarga: It is a compilation which contains utterances of Buddha and his disciples. It is written in Sanskrit.

  • Mahavibhasa Shastra: It is said to be written around 150CE. It contains discussions about other non-Buddhist philosophies also. It is essentially a Mahayana text.

  • Abhidharma Moksha: It is written by Vasubandhu and is a widely respected text. It is written in Sanskrit. It contains a discussion on Abhidharma.

  • Visuddhimagga: Buddhagosha wrote it in the 5th century. It is a text of Theravada doctrine. It contains discussions on various teachings of Buddha.


Consider the following statements about Jain Agamas.

1. They are said to be originally compiled by the Gandharas

2. This text is important for Digambaras

Which of these statements are not correct?

  • Jain Agamas: They are the sacred texts and are said to be Jain Tirthankaras' teachings. They are said to be originally compiled by the Gandharas who were immediate disciples of Mahavira. These texts are important for Svetambaras. They were written in Ardha-Magadhi Prakrit language. The Angas teac all forms of life, strict codes of vegetarianism, asceticism, compassion and nonviolence.


Which of the following works are associated with Jainism?

1. Kalpasutra

2. Niyamsara

3. Silappadikaram

Choose from the following options.

  • Some other important Jain works and authors are: Bhadrabahu (3rd century BC) is one of the greatest Jain monks and was Chandragupta Maurya's teacher.

  • He wrote the sacred Uvasaggaharam Stotra, Kalpa Sutra (Biographies of Jain Tirthankars). He was the pioneer of the Digambara sect.

  • Acharya Kundkund's Samayasara and Niyamasara discusses the Jain philosophy. Samanta Bhadra's Ratna Karanda Sravakachara (Life of a Jaina householder) and Aptamimansa was written around 2nd century AD.

  • Ilango Adigal's Silappadhikaram considered one of Tamil literature's greatest epics written in 2nd century AD, is a moralistic discourse. It revolves around Kannagi.


Which of the following text are associated with Zoroastrian literature?

1. Denkard

2. Bundahisn

3. Udana

Choose from the following options.

  • Zoroastrian literature: The most important text is called Avesta, a collection of various texts written and compiled over a period of time dealing with religious beliefs, practices and instruction.

  • It was written in the Avestan language which is now extinct. It is similar to Sanskrit. It was compiled in its final form during the Sasanian rule of Iran, probably in 4th century CE. In the Avesta, Yasna collects texts and has 72 chapters and is of great importance.

  • Among them, the five chapters Gathas" containing 17 hymns are the most revered ones, supposed to be written by Zoroaster himself. Yasna is the most important ceremony of the faith.

  • Other parts of the Avesta are Visperad, Yashts, Siroza, Nyayeshes, etc. Some other important texts other than Avesta are:

  • Denkard: It is a collection of books and contains various aspects of the faith. It is regarded as the Encyclopedia of the Zoroastrianism. It does not have a divine status. It was written in 10'' century.

  • Bundahishn: It literally means "Primal Creations" It gives details about the theory of creation in the religion. It contains astronomical ideas and theories. The battles of 'Ahura Mazda and Angra Mainyu are also mentioned. Most of the chapters were written in the 8th and 9th centuries: Mainog-l-Khirad, Sad-Dar (A Hundred doors).


Consider the following statements about Guru Granth Sahib.

1. It is written in Devanagri script

2. It is regarded as the Eleventh and final spiritual authority of the Sikhs

Which of these statements are not correct?

  • The important literary works related to Sikhism are Adi Granth: Bhai Gurdas was compiled under the fifth guru, Guru Arjan Dev in 1604. It is written in Gurumukhi script. It is a predecessor to Guru Granth Sahib.

  • The book contains the teachings of the Sikh Gurus and fifteen Bhagats of Bhakti and Sufi traditions. Guru Granth Sahib: Adi Granth was further expanded in 1678 under the tenth guru Guru Gobind Singh. It is of great regard to the Sikhs.

  • It is regarded as the Eleventh and final spiritual authority of the Sikhs. It is written in Gurumukhi script and is in a language called 'Sant Bhasa". Sant Bhasa contains words from various languages like Punjabi, Apabhramsa, Hindi, Braj Bhasa, Sanskrit, Khadiboli and Persian.


Which of the following is known as the father of Malayalam literature?


Malayalam Literature:

  • This language is usually spoken in Kerala and surrounding areas.

  • Although linguists argue that the language originated in the 11th century, it had developed a corpus of literature rich enough to call it an independent language within a span of four hundred years.

  • Two of the medieval period's major Malayalam works are Kokasandisan and Bhasa Kautilya, which is a commentary on Arthashastra.

  • Another major literary work in Malayalam is Ramacharitam, an epic poem written by Cheeraman in the 13th century.

  • Ezhuthachan, a strong proponent of Bhakti movement, is known as the father of Malayalam literature.


Which of the following is also known as the 'father of Kannada'?

  • The Kannada language has many great scholars, but the 'ratnatraya' or 'the three gems' were unparalleled. The ratnatraya consisted of three poets called • Pampa • Ponna and • Ranna.

  • In the tenth century, Pampa, better known as the 'father of Kannada', wrote two of his greatest poetic works, Adipurana and Vikramarjuna Vijaya.

  • Pampa, renowned for his mastery over the rasa involved in the poetic compositions, was attached to Chalukya Arikesari.

  • The second gem or Ponna has written a famous treatise, titled Shanti Purana and the third gem, Ranna has authored Ajitanatha Purano. These two poets were attached to the court of the Rashtrakuta king Krishna III.


Sanskrit language can be found to be written in which of these languages in various manuscripts found in India?

1. Oriya script

2. Grantha script

3. Bengali script

4. Telugu script

Select the correct answer using the codes below.

  • Prakrit language is rooted in Sanskrit but not necessarily from classical Sanskrit. Examples include numerous modem languages of North Indian Subcontinent such as Hindi, Nepali, Punjabi and Marathi. Brahmi evolved into a multiplicity of Brahmanic scripts.

  • Sanskrit was written using many brahmi scripts, roughly contemporary with the brahmi, kharoshti used northwest of the subcontinent. The gupta script which was derived from brahmi script became prevalent in between fourth and eighth century.

  • Sarada script developed from thew gupta script in around eighth century. Thereafter devnagri replaced it in the 11th or 12,h century. With a sectioned siddham script, whereas, in the eastern india odia and Bengali alphabets were used.

  • In the south, where Dravidian languages were in majority, Sanskrit's scripts included the kannada, telugu, malayalam, and grantha alphabets.


Which of these ancient scripts generally writes in the left to right direction?

  • Brahmi: It is one of the oldest writing systems used in South and Central Asia from the first millennium BC.

  • Most of the modern Indian scripts have developed from the Brahmi script over hundreds of years.

  • Harappan: Iravatham Mahadevan established that the Harappan script is from right to left.

  • Kharosthi: It is an ancient script used in ancient Gandhara (primarily modern-day Afghanistan and Pakistan) to write the Gandhari Prakrit and Sanskrit.


How was the Kharosthi script written?

1. Right to left

2. Left to right

3. Upside down

4. In capital

Select the correct answer using the codes below.

Solution: Kharosthi is a syllabic alphabet each letter has an inherent vowel/a/. Other vowels are indicated using diacritics.

Kharosthi was written from right to left in horizontal lines.


Which of the following statements are correct concerning the writings of Harappan people?

1. The Harappans used ideograms, i.e., a graphic symbol or character to convey the idea directly.

2. Some inscriptions are thought to have followed the boustrophedonic style.

3. The inscriptions are thought to have been mostly written from left to right.

Select from the codes given below.

  • The inscriptions are thought to have been mostly written from right to left, but sometimes follow boustrophedonic style.

  • A written pictographic language also existed as is evidenced by the Indus scripts written on clay seals. We see rectangular Harappan seals in the Indus region, round Harappan seals in Bahrain and one combination Harappan script/Akkadian illustration cylinder seal in Mesopotamia, further evidence of intercultural contact.

  • The scripts appeared as early as c. 3300-2800 BC in the Ravi Phase at Harappa. We can assume with some degree of confidence that these were used in trade to mark ownership.

  • However, the Indus seals are not extensive; there is no Rosetta stone-like object, different from any other known language.

  • Recent studies suggest that the Harappan script consists of about 400 signs and written from right to left.

  • However, the script has not been deciphered as yet. We do not know the language they spoke, though scholars believe that they spoke 'Brahui', a dialect used by Baluchi people in Pakistan.

  • However, further research alone can unveil the mystery and enable us to know more about the Harappan script.


The Vedic literature is broadly divided into two categories, viz., Shruti and Smriti. What is the difference between them?

1. Shruti is considered eternal, whereas Smriti is subject to change.

2. Smriti philosophy stands in direct opposition or contrast to Shruti philosophy.

Which of the above is/are correct?

  • Shruti describes the sacred texts comprising the central canon of Hinduism, viz., Vedas, Brahmanas, Aranyakas, and Upanishads.

  • Smriti literally means 'which is remembered', and it is the entire body of the post-Vedic era.

  • Classical Sanskrit literature comprises Vedanga, Shad Darshana, Puranas, Itihasa, Upveda, Tantras, Agamas and Upangs. There is another post-Vedic class of Sanskrit literature called Epics, which includes the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.

  • Shruti means 'which has been heard' and is canonical, consisting of revelation and unquestionable truth, and eternal. It refers mainly to the Vedas themselves.

  • Smriti means 'which has been remembered' supplementary and may change over time. It is authoritative only to the extent that it conforms to the bedrock of Shruti.

  • However, there is not a distinct divide between Shruti and Smriti. Both Shruti and Smriti can be represented as a continuum, with some texts more canonical than others.


The basic material or mantra text of each of the Vedas is called

  • Samhita literally means 'put together, joined, union', 'collection' and 'a methodically, rule- a based combination of text or verses'.

  • Samhita also refers to the most ancient layer of text in the Vedas, consisting of mantras, hymns, prayers, litanies and benedictions.

  • Parts of Vedic Samhitas constitute the oldest living part of Hindu tradition.

  • Some post-Vedic texts are also known as 'Samhitas' such as Ashtavakra Gita, Bhrigu Samhita, Brahma Samhita, Deva Samhita, Garga Samhita, Kashyap Samhita, Shiva Samhita and Yogayajnavalkya Samhita.


Samaveda and Natya Shastra are both related to

  • The earliest tradition of Indian music may be traced to Sama Veda, which contained the slokas put to music.

  • Chanting of Vedic hymns with prescribed pitch and accent still form a part of religious rituals.

  • The earliest text dealing exclusively with performing arts is Bharata's Natya Shastra (compiled between second century BC and second century AD), six chapters on music.

  • Another major text is Matanga's Brihaddesi compiled between the eighth and ninth century AD. In this work, ragas were first named and discussed at great length.


Consider the following statements about Aranyakas:

1. They are the concluding portions of the several Brahmanas.

2. They mainly deal with sacrificial techniques and Karma-Kandas.

3. These were works to be read in the villages instead of 'Brahmanas' text that must be read in the forests.

4. There is no Aranyaka which belongs to the Atharvaveda.

Select the correct answer using the codes below.

  • Aranyakas are generally the concluding portions of the several Brahmanas, but on account of their distinct character, contents and language deserve to be reckoned as a distinct category of literature.

  • They are partly included in the Brahmanas themselves, but partly they are recognised as independent works.

  • Aranyaka literature is rather small as compared to the Brahmanas. Whereas the Brahmanas deal with the huge bulk of sacrificial paraphernalia which represents Karma-Kanda, the Aranyakas and Upanishads, on the other hand, chiefly deal with the philosophical and theosophical speculations which represent Jnana-Kanda.

  • The term Aranyaka is derived from the word 'Aranya' meaning 'forests'. The Aranyaka texts are so-called because 'they were works to be read in the forests' in contradiction to the regular Brahmanas, which were to be read in the village.

  • This is because Yajna and other rituals are prescribed only for those who live in homes and lead householders' lives. But it has to be understood that Vedic rituals are intended to confer material benefits and mental purity by constant discipline. Having obtained purity, one must seek the solitude of forests for further concentration and meditation.

  • Aranyakas contain explanations of the rituals and allegorical speculations meant for Vanprasthas, who renounce family life residing in the forests for tapas and other religious activities.

  • Aranyakas have been written for Rigveda, Samaveda, Shukla Yajurveda and Krishna Yajurveda only.


Consider the following statements:

1. Arunachal Pradesh finds mention in the literature of Kalika Purana and Mahabharata.

2. Bihar finds mention in the Vedas and Puranas.

3. Chhattisgarh, known as Dakshin- Kausal, finds mention in Ramayana and Mahabharata.

Select the correct answer using the codes below.

  • This place is the Prabhu Mountains of the Puranas.

  • Bihar was the main scene of activities of Buddha and 24 Jain Tirthankaras. Great rulers of the state before the Christian era were Bimbisara, Udayin, who founded Pataliputra, Chandragupta Maurya and Emperor Ashoka of Maurya dynasty, the Sungas and the Kanvas.

  • Between the 6th and 12th centuries, Sarabhpurias, Panduavanshi, Somvanshi, Kalchuri and Nagvanshi rulers dominated Chhattisgarh. Another state Arunachal Pradesh is said to be mentioned in the Aitareya Brahmana (2000 BCE).


Consider the following statements:

1. The Dharmasutras and Dhannashastras contained rules about the ideal occupations of the four vamas.

2. Manusmriti held that no one could engage in agriculture and pastoralism apart from Kshatriyas.

Which of the above is/are correct?

  • This division became the basis for caste discrimination later. Brahmanas were awarded the highest occupations, whereas the Shudras with menial jobs were socially and economically exploitative.

  • Kshatriyas were to engage in warfare, protect people and administer justice, study the Vedas, get sacrifices performed, and make gifts.

  • The Vaishyas were expected to engage in agriculture, pastoralism and trade.

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