CAT 2019 - Slot 1 - Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension
- British colonial policy went through two policy phases, or at least there were two strategies

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British colonial policy . . . went through two policy phases, or at least there were two strategies between which its policies actually oscillated, sometimes to its great advantage. At first, the new colonial apparatus exercised caution, and occupied India by a mix of military power and subtle diplomacy, the high ground in the middle of the circle of circles. This, however, pushed them into contradictions. For, whatever their sense of the strangeness of the country and the thinness of colonial presence, the British colonial state represented the great conquering discourse of Enlightenment rationalism, entering India precisely at the moment of its greatest unchecked arrogance. As inheritors and representatives of this discourse, which carried everything before it, this colonial state could hardly adopt for long such a self-denying attitude. It had restructured everything in Europe—the productive system, the political regimes, the moral and cognitive orders—and would do the same in India, particularly as some empirically inclined theorists of that generation considered the colonies a massive laboratory of utilitarian or other theoretical experiments. Consequently, the colonial state could not settle simply for eminence at the cost of its marginality; it began to take initiatives to introduce the logic of modernity into Indian society. But this modernity did not enter a passive society. Sometimes, its initiatives were resisted by pre-existing structural forms. At times, there was a more direct form of collective resistance. Therefore the map of continuity and discontinuity that this state left behind at the time of independence was rather complex and has to be traced with care. Most significantly, of course, initiatives for . . . modernity came to assume an external character. The acceptance of modernity came to be connected, ineradicably, with subjection. This again points to two different problems, one theoretical, the other political. Theoretically, because modernity was externally introduced, it is explanatorily unhelpful to apply the logical format of the ‘transition process’ to this pattern of change. Such a logical format would be wrong on two counts. First, however subtly, it would imply that what was proposed to be built was something like European capitalism. (And, in any case, historians have forcefully argued that what it was to replace was not like feudalism, with or without modificatory adjectives.) But, more fundamentally, the logical structure of endogenous change does not apply here. Here transformation agendas attack as an external force. This externality is not something that can be casually mentioned and forgotten. It is inscribed on every move, every object, every proposal, every legislative act, each line of causality. It comes to be marked on the epoch itself. This repetitive emphasis on externality should not be seen as a nationalist initiative that is so well rehearsed in Indian social science. . . . Quite apart from the externality of the entire historical proposal of modernity, some of its contents were remarkable. Economic reforms, or rather alterations did not foreshadow the construction of a classical capitalist economy, with its necessary emphasis on extractive and transport sectors. What happened was the creation of a degenerate version of capitalism —what early dependency theorists called the ‘development of underdevelopment’.

Q. 1: All of the following statements, if true, could be seen as supporting the arguments in the passage, EXCEPT:
1. the introduction of capitalism in India was not through the transformation of feudalism, as happened in Europe.
2. the change in British colonial policy was induced by resistance to modernity in Indian society.
3. throughout the history of colonial conquest, natives have often been experimented on by the colonisers.
4. modernity was imposed upon India by the British and, therefore, led to underdevelopment. 

This is a scholarly passage written in a didactic tone which can be found in an academic journal or text book. The author traces the history of British colonialism in India and divides into two distinct phases. The British colonial state represented the great conquering discourse of Enlightenment rationalism but this modernity did not enter a passive society. Sometimes, its initiatives were resisted by pre-existing structural forms. At times, there was a more direct form of collective resistance.

Since modernity came from the British it assumed an external character and this acceptance of modernity came to be connected, ineradicably, with subjection. Due to this, economic reforms, or rather alterations . . . did not foreshadow the construction of a classical capitalist economy, with its necessary emphasis on extractive and transport sectors. What happened was the creation of a degenerate version of capitalism —what early dependency theorists called the ‘development of underdevelopment’ in India.

Option 1 is true; refer to the following extract from paragraph 2; “Theoretically, because modernity was externally introduced, it is explanatorily unhelpful to apply the logical format of the ‘transition process’ to this pattern of change. Such a logical format would be wrong on two counts. First, however subtly, it would imply that what was proposed to be built was something like European capitalism. (And, in any case, historians have forcefully argued that what it was to replace was not like feudalism, with or without modificatory adjectives.)” In this extract the author implies that it would be incorrect to imply that there was a transition process from feudalism to capitalism and certainly there is no mention of any transformation of the feudal structure. Thus, option 1 is eliminated.

Option 3 is true, refer to the following extract from paragraph 2; “…particularly as some empirically inclined theorists of that generation considered the colonies a massive laboratory of utilitarian or other theoretical experiments.” Thus, option 3 is eliminated. Option 4 is also true. Refer to paragraph 3; “Quite apart from the externality of the entire historical proposal of modernity, some of its contents were remarkable. . . . Economic reforms, or rather alterations . . . did not foreshadow the construction of a classical capitalist economy, with its necessary emphasis on extractive and transport sectors. What happened was the creation of a degenerate version of capitalism —what early dependency theorists called the ‘development of underdevelopment.’”

Option 2 is not true. There were two distinct phases in British colonialism in India; the first a mix of military power and diplomacy to gain territory and second, the introduction of enlightened rationalism or modernity to India and Indians. Option 2 states that the change in British colonial policy was induced by resistance to modernity in Indian society, which is not the same as the explanation given above as there was only a change from military power and diplomacy to modernity.

Hence, the correct answer is option 2.

 
Q. 2: All of the following statements about British colonialism can be inferred from the first paragraph, EXCEPT that it:
1. was at least partly an outcome of Enlightenment rationalism.
2. was at least partly shaped by the project of European modernity.
3. allowed the treatment of colonies as experimental sites.
4. faced resistance from existing structural forms of Indian modernity. 

Options 1,2 and 3 have been mentioned in the first paragraph as facets of British colonialism.

Option 4 has not been mentioned in paragraph 1. British modernity and rationalism faced resistance not from existing forms of Indian modernity but from a pre-existing feudal structure.

Hence, the correct answer is option 4.

 

Q. 3: “Consequently, the colonial state could not settle simply for eminence at the cost of its marginality; it began to take initiatives to introduce the logic of modernity into Indian society.” Which of the following best captures the sense of this statement?
1. The colonial state’s eminence was unsettled by its marginal position; therefore, it developed Indian society by modernising it.
2. The colonial enterprise was a costly one; so to justify the cost it began to take initiatives to introduce the logic of modernity into Indian society.
3. The cost of the colonial state’s eminence was not settled; therefore, it took the initiative of introducing modernity into Indian society.
4. The colonial state felt marginalised from Indian society because of its own modernity; therefore, it sought to address that marginalisation by bringing its modernity to change Indian society. 

The following extract from paragraph 1 is self-explanatory – “As inheritors and representatives of this discourse, which carried everything before it, this colonial state could hardly adopt for long such a self-denying attitude. It had restructured everything in Europe—the productive system, the political regimes, the moral and cognitive orders—and would do the same in India, particularly as some empirically inclined theorists of that generation considered the colonies a massive laboratory of utilitarian or other theoretical experiments. Consequently, the colonial state could not settle simply for eminence at the cost of its marginality; it began to take initiatives to introduce the logic of modernity into Indian society.” By “marginality”, it is meant that the British colonial state felt marginalized from Indian society because of its own modernity and therefore it tried to address that marginalization by introducing modernity to Indian society. This explanation points to option 4 as being the correct answer. Option 1 is an incorrect explanation. The colonial state’s eminence was not marginalized, rather it felt marginalized because of its own modernity. Refer explanation given above. “Costs” of maintaining the empire has not been discussed at all in the passage. Eliminate options 2 and 3.

Hence, the correct answer is option 4.

 

Q. 4: Which of the following observations is a valid conclusion to draw from the author’s statement that “the logical structure of endogenous change does not apply here. Here transformation agendas attack as an external force”?
1. Colonised societies cannot be changed through logic; they need to be transformed with external force.
2. The transformation of Indian society did not happen organically, but was forced by colonial agendas.
3. Indian society is not endogamous; it is more accurately characterised as aggressively exogamous.
4. The endogenous logic of colonialism can only bring change if it attacks and transforms external forces.

“Endogenous” means to be caused by factors inside the system. The passage clearly mentions the fact that the British introduced enlightened rationalism into Indian society and this was to some extent resisted by the indigenous people. Therefore, it would be correct to infer that the transformation of Indian society did not happen from within the system but was forced by colonial agendas. This viewpoint is in complete conformity with option 1.

Option 2 is incorrect. It should have read “organic forces” and not “external forces.”

The structure of society is not being contested or discussed here, but rather the method deployed by the British to change it. Eliminate option 3.

Option 4 does not directly address the author’s statement. It can also be eliminated.

Hence, the correct answer is option 1.

 

Q. 5: Which one of the following 5-word sequences best captures the flow of the arguments in the passage?
1. The transformation of Indian society did not happen organically, but was forced by colonial agendas.
2. The endogenous logic of colonialism can only bring change if it attacks and transforms external forces.
3. Indian society is not endogamous; it is more accurately characterised as aggressively exogamous.
4. Colonised societies cannot be changed through logic; they need to be transformed with external force.

 

The passage begins with British colonial policy and continues with the enlightened rationalism that it tried to bring about. Since this modern rationalism was external it was viewed by its subjects with suspicion and even some resistance as modernity came to be viewed as subjection. The passage ends with “degenerate capitalism” or the “development of underdevelopment” in its colonies such as India.

Thus, the sequence in the passage is: Colonial policy, Enlightenment, External modernity, Subjection and underdevelopment. This sequence of events is in conformity with option 3.

Option 1 is incorrect because military power (and subtle diplomacy) followed colonialism. Secondly, there is no mention of modernity and the term “capitalism” mentioned in the option should actually read underdevelopment.

Option 2 is incorrect because of the term “independence” which is not mentioned in the passage with respect to British colonialism. Secondly, the final term in the flow of arguments is not development but underdevelopment.

In option 4, enlightened rationalism has been replaced by “arrogance”. Eliminate option 4.

Hence, the correct answer is option 3.

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