History: Pre-historic times Quick Revision Notes

The following Revision Notes will help in preparation for General Awareness paper of competitive exams held in India

Ancient geographers referred to Himalayas, as also their less elevated off­shoot—the Patkai, Lushai and Chittagong hills in the east and the Sulaiman and Kirthar ranges in the west— as Himavat.

Jambu-dvipa was considered to be the inner­most of seven concentric island-continents into which the earth, as per Hindu cos­mographers, was supposed to have been divided. The Indian sub-continent is said to part of Jambu-dvipa.

Sapta sindhavah is the name of the country of the Aryans in the Vedas.

In the ancient litera­ture, there are references of India being divided into five divisions. In the centre of the Indo-Gangetic plains was the Madhya-desh, stretching from river Saraswati, which flowed past Thanesar and Pehowa (present-day Haryana) to Allahabad and Varanasi. The western part of this area was known as Brahamrishi-desh, and the entire region was roughly equivalent to Aryavrata as described in the grammar of Patanjali. To the north of Madhya-desh lay Uttarap­atha and to its west Aparan­ta (Western India), to its south Dakshinapath or Dec­can and to its east Purva­desh. The term Dakshinapath was in some ancient works restricted to the upper Dec­can, north of river Krishna and far south was termed as Tamilakam or the Tamil country.

The Negritos were the first human inhabitants of India. Originally, they came from Africa through Arabia, Iran and Baluchistan. They have practically disappeared from the soil of India, except in Andaman Islands.

The Munda languages belong to the Austro-Asiatic family and are to be found at present in the eastern half of Central India, southern bor­der of the Himalayas and Kashmir and the territory east of Nepal.

Prakit was the single language of Indian sub-con­tinent in third century B.C. Sanskrit came into being a few centuries later.

The term Paleolithic is derived from two Greek words meaning Old Stone. This name is applied to the earliest people as the only evidence of their existence is furnished by a number of rude stone implements.

Paleolithic men in India are also known as Quartzite men from the fact that majority of chipped stones found in different parts of India are made of hard rock called quartzite.

Paleolithic paintings have been found in caverns at Singanpur near Raigarh in Madhya Pradesh, as also in Kaimur ranges and some places in Mirzapur district.

With the advent of age of metals, in Northern India, copper replaced stone as ordinary material for tools and weapons. And, it took several centuries for iron to replace copper. In Southern India, however, the Iron Age immediately succeeded the Stone Age.

The Indus civiliza­tion existed in the same peri­od as those of Egypt, Assyria and Babylonia.

Mohenjodaro was discovered by R.D. Banerjee in 1922 and Harappa by R.B. Dayaram Sahni. Later on, the work was taken over by Sir John Marshall, Director-General of Archeology.

The fertile surround­ing region of Mohenjodaro is called Nakhlistan or the Garden of Sind.

It is presumed that Iron was not known to the Indus Valley civilisation as not a single scrap of iron has been found in the excava­tions at various sites.

Developed city-life, use of potter’s wheel, kiln-burnt bricks, and vessels made of copper and bronze are some common and dis­tinctive features of all the civilizations of the pre-his­toric period.

The use of mud mor­tar was common during Indus Valley civilisation. Gypsum and mud were used for plaster. In case of drains, gypsum and lime mortar was used.

The most important feature of houses of Mohen­jodaro is the presence in them of one or more bath­rooms, the floors of which were fully laid and connect­ed by means of drainage channels with the main street.

More than 500 seals have been discovered at var­ious places inhabited by peo­ple of Indus Valley civiliza­tions. These were made of terra-cota.

The seals and paint­ed pottery of the Indus Val­ley show the figures of Pipal and Acacia trees. They were regarded as celestial plants and were supposed to be inhabited by divine spirits.

The people of Indus Valley also practiced the worship of Lings and Yoni symbols. The likelihood that both Shiva and Ling worship have been inherited by Hindus from the Indus Valley is rein­forced by the prevalence of the bull (the vehicle of Shiva) or bull-like animals amongst the seal-symbols.

The pottery of Indus Valley was generally wheel-made and was painted red and black.

The Dravadians are thought to have come to India from eastern Mediter­ranean. At one time the Dravadian culture was spread throughout India.

Puja ceremonies along with flowers, leaves, fruits and water were per­formed by Dravadians.

Aryans were accustomed to Homa rites or sacrificial fire. In fact, the word puja has been derived from a Drava­dian root called Puru, which means “to smear”.

The Dravadian lan­guage is still spoken by the Brahui people of Baluchis­tan.

As per the theory propagated by late Bal Gangadhar Tilak the original home of Aryans was the Arc­tic region. However, the most widely accepted view is that the Aryans originated from Central Asia. The view which is accepted in West is that original home of Aryans was in South-East Europe.

In the early vedic period river Ravi was known as Parushni, river Jhelum as Vitasta, Chenab as Asikni, Beas as Vipas and Sutlej as Sutudri.

The word Veda comes from the root vid, to know. It means knowledge in general. It is specially applied to branch of litera­ture which has been handed down by verbal transmis­sion and is declared to be sacred knowledge or Sruti.

Hindus consider the Vedas to be revealed books and give them the titles of Apaurusheya (not made by man) and nitya (Eternal).

According to Kau­tilya, “The three Vedas, Sama, Rig and Yajus consti­tute the triple Vedas. These together with Atharvaveda and the Itihasa Veda are known as the Vedas.” The ordinary definition of the Veda does not include Itihasa.

The Veda consists of four different classes of liter­ary compositions: (a) the Mantra constitutes the old­est division of Vedic litera­ture and is distributed in four Samhitas or collections known as the Rik, Sama, Yajus and the Atharva; (b) Brahmanas are the second class of Vedic works. They are mainly prose texts con­taining observations on sac­rifice; (c) Aranyakas or forest texts are books of instruction to be given in the forest or writings meant for wood-dwelling hermits; (d) Lastly there are the Upnishads which are either imbedded in the Aranyakas or form their supplements. The above named literary works are classed as Sruti, or reve­lation, and constitute the Vedic literature proper.

The Brahamanas are the first specimens of praise in the world. They mark the transition from the Vedic to later Brahmanical social order.

The Vedangas are class of compositions that are regarded less authorita­tive than Sruti and are styled Smriti. The Vedangas are six in number: Siksha (phonet­ics), Kalpa (ritual), Vyakaran (grammar), Nirukt (etymolo­gy), Chhand (metrics) and Jyotish (astronomy).

In Vyakarana, Nirukt and Chhand we have the great work of Panini, Yask and Pingal.

The Nyaya Darsana was written by Gautam. According to it, Tarka or log­ic is the basis of all studies. Knowledge can be acquired by four methods: Pratyaksha or intuition, Anumana or inference, Upma or compari­son and sadba or verbal testi­mony.

The basis of the political and social organisa­tion of the Rig Vedic people was patriarchal family. The successive higher units were styled gram, vis and jan.

The Purus and the Tritsus were two of the most famous Rig-Vedic clans. The names of their prominent rulers are recorded in Rik-Samhita.

In the Rig-Vedic period the foot soldiers were called Patti and warriors who fought from chariots were called Rathins.

The foundation of the political and social struc­ture in the Rig-Vedic age was the family.

Visvavara, Ghosha and Apala were some lead­ing women seers of Rig-Vedic times.

Agriculture was the principal occupation of the villagers in Rig-Vedic times.

The standard unit of value in Vedic period was a cow, but necklets of gold (nishka) also served as a means of exchange.

Rik Samgita is a col­lection of lyrics from early vedic age which consists of hymns in praise of different gods. These are grouped into books termed as ashtakas or mandalas.

Rig Vedic people did not possess the art of writing and early literature of Aryans was known to be transmitted orally.

The early Vedic reli­gion has been designated by the name of henotheism or kathenotheism (a belief in single gods, each standing out as the highest). Father Dyaus, the shinning god of heaven, and mother Prithvi, the earth goddess, are among the old­est of the vedic deities.

The worship of Varuna, the encompassing sky, in the early Vedic age is one of the first roots of the later doctrine of Bhakti.

An important char­acteristic of Vedic mythology is the pre-dominance of the male element. Thus, Vedic civilisation presents a con­trast to the prehistoric cul­ture of Indus Valley, where the mother goddess is co­equal with her male partner.

Sacrifices occupied a prominent place in Vedic rit­uals. These included offer­ings of milk, grain, ghee and juice of the Soma plant.

Before the close of the later Vedic period, the Aryans had thoroughly sub­dued the fertile plains of Yamuna, upper Ganga and the Gandak. The centre of the Aryan world was the areas stretching from Saraswati to the Gangetic plains and occupied by Kurus, the Pan­chals and some adjoining tribes. It was from this region that Brahmanical civilisation spread to the out­er provinces, to the land of the Kosalas and the Kasis drained by the Sarayu and the Varnavati, to the swamps of east of Gandak colonised by the Videhas, and to the valley of Wardha occupied by the Vidarbhas.

The Aryan culture was taken to South India by Agastya.

Most important tribe of Rigvedic period was the Bharatas, after whom India has been named in the Con­stitution. The two most important rulers of Bharatas were Divodas and Sudas. Sudas is famous for his victo­ry in the Battle of Ten Kings.

The most distin­guished among the tribes of later Vedic period were the Kurus and Panchals, with their capitals at Asandivat and Kampila, respectively.

Balhika-Pratipiya, Parikshit and Janamejaya were powerful Kuru kings who figure prominently in early epic legends.

The reign of Pan­chals was home to several theologians and philoso­phers like king Pravahana-Jaivali and sages like Aruni and Svetaketu.

The fame of the land of the Panchals as centre of Brahmanical learning was eclipsed by the Videhas, whose king Janak won the title of Samrat. The Videhan monarchy fell shortly before the rise of Buddhism. Its overthrow was followed by the rise of the Vajjian Con­federacy.

The kings of several regions gave themselves var­ious titles. While the kings of middle country were called raja, the eastern kings were titled Samrat, the southern Bhoj, those in the west Svarat, and the rulers of the northern realms were called Virat.

The taxes collected from people in the later Vedic age were referred to as bali and sulka.

During late Vedic period, Vratyas and the Nishads were two important bodies of men outside the regular castes. The Vratyas were Aryans outside the pale of Brahminism. They appear to have had some special connection with the people of Magadha and the cult of Shiv. The Nishads were non-Aryan people who lived in their own villages and had their own rulers. They were probably identi­cal with modern Bhils.

Shortly before the rise of Buddhism there were sixteen great nations that occupied the territory from Kabul valley to the banks of Godavari. These were: Anga (East Bihar), Magadha (South Bihar), Kasi (Benaras), Kosala (Oudh), Vriji (North Bihar), Malla (Gorakhpur district), Chedi (between Yamuna and Nar­mada), Vatsa (Allahabad region), Kuru (Thanesar, Delhi and Meerut districts), Panchal (Bareilly, Buduan and Farrukhabad districts), Matsya (Jaipur), Surasena (Mathura), Asmak (on the Godavari), Avanti (in Mal­wa), Gandhara (Peshawar and Rawalpindi districts) and Kamboj (South-west Kashmir and parts of Kafiristan).

The Vriji people were regarded by the Bra­haman law-givers as Vratyas or degraded Ksha­triyas. The Vrijis had no monarch, but a popular assembly of elders who car­ried on the business of the State. This type of polity was known as Gana or republic. The Mallas also had a simi­lar constitution.

The four kingdoms of later Vedic age who grew most powerful were: Avanti, Vatsa, Kosala and Magadha.

The kingdom of Avanti had its capital at Ujjain in modern Malwa.

One prominent ruler of Vatsa territory was Udayana, a scion of the Bharat race.

Kosala had its capi­tal at Ayodhya and was ruled by a dynasty that claimed descent from illus­trious Ishvaku, famed in Vedic and epic traditions.

The Kosalas extend­ed their boundaries in sever­al directions, including Nepalese Tarai, but their ambitious designs were frus­trated by Magadha power.

Gargi and Maitreyi were two prominent intellec­tual women of late Vedic period.

Magadha and Anga were two kingdoms which the Aryans could not Brah­manise thoroughly and came to possess a mixed population. Kikatas were prominent non-Aryans who lived in Magadha. They were known for their wealth. There was a dislike for Mag­adha in the Rigveda and the same dislike was continued even during the period of later Vedic civilisation.

In the sixth and fifth century B.C. the throne of Magadha was occupied by a line of kings styled Saisuna­gas in the Purans, an appella­tion derived from Sisunaga, the first king of the line in the Puranic list.

The Buddhist writ­ers, however, put Sisunaga much lower in the list of Magadha kings and split the line into two distinct groups. To the earlier of the two groups they give the name Haryanka, whose most remarkable king was Sreni­ka or Bimbisara.

The Ashtadhyayi of Panini is a book on Sanskrit grammar.

Khari, Patra, Vista, Satamana, Adhaka, Achita, Purusha and Dishta were different kinds of weights and measures used in later Vedic age.

Taxila or Tak­shashila was a great centre of learning in late Vedic peri­od. It was famous for the teaching of medicine, law and military science.

India and Persia have very ancient relations. There are many common gods in the Rig Veda and the Zinda Avesta. The Iranian gods Mithra, Yima and Vere­traghna have their counter­part in the Indian Mitra, Yama and Indra Vritrahan.

The Boghaz-Koi inscriptions of about 1400 B.C. refer to certain contracts made between the King of the Hittites (in Persia) and the King of Mitani. In those inscriptions same gods are mentioned as the protectors of these contracts.

The continuance of strong influence of Persia upon India in the Vedic age is indicated by prevalence of the Kharoshti script, a vari­ety of Aramaic, in the provinces near the Frontier, by the long continued use of the Persian title Satrap, by the form of the Ashoka inscriptions and by the architecture.

Sanskrit is a branch of a linguistic tree known as Indo-European. The trunk of the tree was a common tongue probably spoken in the region north-west of the Black Sea about 2500 B.C.

The Upanishads probe into the nature of universe and the human soul, and the relation of each to the other. They make no absolute state­ments of right and wrong, of creation, the gods or man; instead, they specu­late, seeking always to find truth, as opposed to stating it, and offering a wide range of possibilities.

A rudimentary administrative system was prevalent during the Vedic period. The tribal kingdom (rashtra) contained tribes (jana), tribal units (vish) and villages (grama). The nucle­us was the family (kula), with the eldest male member as its head (kulapa).

Other Revision Notes


Geography Quick Revision Notes

Civil Services Exam Geography Notes

The Civil Services Exam geography notes are also useful in preparing for general awareness paper of other competitive exams.

Acid precipitation (Acid Rainfall): is now regarded as a serious problem in some European and Asian countries, the main cause and source of which is emissions of sulphur oxides and nitrogen oxides from thermal power plants and burn­ing of fossil fuels. These oxides dissolve in atmospheric water vapour and fall back on earth as acid rainfall. Acid rainfall can cause destruction of crops and trees; destruction of fish; and damage to buildings.
Agronomy: Soil manage­ment and production of field crops is known as Agronomy.
Aleurone layer: is that part of the grain in cereals where much of the protein lies.
Alluvial soil: is the richest and most fertile soil of India spread over large areas in north­ern plains of India.
Arakan Yoma: is the exten­sion of the Himalayas located in Myanmar.
Asthamudi Lake: is locat­ed in Kerala State.
Bailadila: in Bastar district of Madhya Pradesh, is known for its wealth of Manganese.
Barhara (Tribes): The Barhara tribes mentioned in the Mahabharata who had settled in the north-western regions of India, are associated with—(1) Ambashthas (a mixed Mongolian Aryan race); (2) Gandharas (Afghans); (3) Pavas.
Bhabhar region: in south of the Shivaliks, is an example of Piedmont situation i.e., belong­ing to or related to the foot of a mountain.
Bushmen (Tribes): They live in the Kalahari desert. They are probably the descendants of the earliest inhabitants of Africa. They rank among the most uncivilized and backward peo­ples in the world. Their food consists almost entirely of meat, often raw or decomposed, and in times of scarcity they will eat insects, snakes etc.
Cardamom: Karnataka is the largest producer of car­damom. India is the largest exporter of cardamom in the world.
Chinook: Warm, dry wind experienced along the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains in Canada and the USA.
Climograph: is a graphical representation of the differentia­tion between various types of climate. It reveals the type of cli­mate at a glance—a climograph showing wet bulb temperatures and relative humidities which are high, for instance, depicts a constantly hot damp climate.
Coastline of India, Length of: The length of India’s coast­line is 7,516 km and its territory includes 1,256 islands. Gujarat (1600 km) has the longest coastline in India.
Cosmic year: One cosmic year is equal to the time taken by the sun to complete one orbit around the galactic centre.
Cotopaxi: is the highest volcano in the world. It is situat­ed in Ecuador.
Date Line, International: International Date Line is an internationally agreed line drawn parallel to the 180° meridian. It divides the Pacific Ocean into two equal parts. A crossing of the International Date Line entails repeating one day when travelling westwards.
Detroit of India: Pithampur in Madhya Pradesh, where a large number of auto­mobile industries have been set up, is called the “Detroit of India”.
Doldrums Belt: is a zone of the tropics where the calm last­ing for some weeks prevails, broken at times by erratic squalls and baffling winds. It is an area of low pressure. The wind system in the Equatorial areas is known as doldrums.
Dust Devil: is a dusty whirlwind normally a few feet in diameter and about 100 feet tall, sometimes also wider and higher.
Earth mass: The mass of the earth is about 81 times that of the moon.
Earth’s core: is mainly composed of iron and nickel. Lithosphere is the outer-most layer of the earth.
El Nino: is the weather phenomenon brewing in the tropical Pacific Ocean. It is the largest climate event of the 20th century setting off more global disasters than ever before. El Nino is warming of the waters off Equatorial South America which causes climate abnor­malities around the world. The impact can be flooding drought in California, Brazil, Africa and Australia, severe storms in the Central Pacific and a decline in hurricanes hitting the south-eastern United States.
Exfoliation: This type of weathering is common both in the cold as well as in the hot cli­mate regions.
Fertilizer plant, First: The first fertilizer plant in India was set up at Sindri (Bihar).
Garo (Tribes): Garos are the tribe of Garo Hills in Meghalaya.
Glacial lake—example in India: Dal Lake in Srinagar.
Great Circle: A circle on the earth’s surface whose plane passes through its centre, and bisects it into two hemispheres. Two opposing meridians together form a Great Circle. The shortest distance between any two points on the earth’s surface is the arc of the Great Circle which passes through them. 0° latitude forms a Great Circle. (The latitude or longi­tude 75°W should be combined with 75°E to obtain the Great Circle).
Horse Latitudes: Sub-trop­ical belts of high atmospheric pressure over the oceans situat­ed in both hemispheres. These are called Belts of Calm between regions of the Trade Winds and Westerlies of higher latitudes.
Hydroponics: means culti­vation of the plants without use of soil.
Hyetology: is the study of rainfall.
Indira Point: in Andaman and Nicobar Islands is the southern-most tip of India.
Irrigated area, Indian State having largest: The Indian State with the largest irrigated area is Uttar Pradesh.
Jhum: It is a slash and burn method of shifting cultivation (called jhum) practised on rain­fall-bed slopes of forest hills and dales in Arunachal Pradesh.
Kandla: is a sea port situat­ed at the head of the Gulf of Kuch in Gujarat State. It was the first port to be developed after independence. It has a free trade zone.
Khonds (Tribes): were primitive tribes living in Orissa.
Kikuyu (Tribes): are a race of Bantu negroes who live to the north of Mount Kenya. These people combine agriculture with pastoralism.
Kirghiz (Tribes): of Central Asia are an example of people adapted to a grassland environment. The Kirghiz are pastoral nomads who move from pasture to pasture with the flocks and herds of horses, camels, oxen, sheep and goats. Meat forms only a small portion of their food. The Kirghiz are fearless horsemen, and even their children are expert riders
Lambadies (Tribes): are concentrated in Karnataka.
Lapse Rate: is the rate of change in temperature with increase of altitude.
Laterite soils: Laterite soils are formed by the weathering of laterite rocks. These can be dis­tinguished from other soils by their acidity. Laterite soils are generally poor on the higher levels and cannot retain mois­ture. In the plains, however, they consist of heavy loams and clay and can retain moisture. Laterite soils occur in Madhya Pradesh, Assam and along the eastern and western Ghats. Tea plantation require acidity which is there in the laterite soil. It is, therefore, common in these areas.
Loams (loamy soil): Amix­ture of sand, clay and silt is known as loamy soil. Loams are formed where the soils have equal proportion of sand, silt and clay.
Local winds and their areas: Khamsin—Egypt; Zonda—Argentina; Santa Ana—California; Simoon—Iran.
Lushais (Tribes): are tribes of Mizoram.
Mansarover Lake: is in Tibet. Near it, the rivers having their source are the Brahamputra, the Sutlej and the Indus.
Maoris (Tribes): are the original inhabitants of New Zealand.
Masai (Tribes): of the East African plateau are the example of pastoral peoples. They are a tall, strong, warlike race, partly negroid in type. They treat their cattle with great respect and affection and do not kill them for food or for sale as meat.
Monsoon in India: is relat­ed to differential heating and cooling of the huge landmass of Asia and the Indian Ocean and the origin of cyclones in the Bay of Bengal. The term Monsoon was introduced by the Arabs.
Munda (Tribes): are most­ly located in Madhya Pradesh.
Negritos (Tribes): are the ancient tribes of Andamans.
Nutrification: is the process of conversion by action of bacteria, of nitrates in the soil.
Onges: are tribes of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Oraon (Tribes): are aborig­inal people of the Chhota Nagpur region in the State of Bihar. They call themselves Kurukh and speak a Dravidian language.
Pangong Tso: is one of the world’s highest and brackish lakes in Jammu & Kashmir.
Pressure zones on earth: are created due to differential heating of the earth’s surface by the sun.
Proxima Centauri: is a star nearest to the earth.
Rare earths (Or Lignite and Monazite): are found on the beaches of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Monazite is an ore of tho­rium.
Roaring Forties: are west­erly winds.
Saddle peak: is the highest peak of Andaman and Nicobar islands, located in Great Nicobar.
Savannas: are found between latitudes 5° and 20° North and South of Equator. These are tropical grasslands bordering the equatorial forests in each hemisphere. The Llanos and Pampas of South America are chief examples of Savannas but extensive Savannas are in Africa. Savanna grasslands are also found in Australia. The three-tier growth of vegetation is found in these regions. The natural vegetation of Savannas consists of tall grass.
Selvas: The rain forest of Amazon basin is called Selvas. These are rainy tropical forests..
Semangs (Tribes): are trib­al people living in Malaysia.
Spring Tides: are caused when the sun and the moon are in a straight line. The tide on its maximum height is known as Spring Tide.
Taiga Belt: lies between the Tibet-type climate and the Tundras.
Telegu Ganga Project: in Tamil Nadu envisages optimal use of surplus water of the Krishna river. It is a joint ven­ture of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
Time Zone: A zone on the terrestrial globe that is 15° longi­tude wide and extends from pole to pole and within which a uniform clock time is used. Time zones are the functional basis of standard time. The world is divided into 24 time zones.
Tsunamis: are huge sea waves caused by earthquakes.
Willy Willy: is a tropical cyclone of the north-west Australia.
Other Revision Notes


Constitution Quick Revision Notes

Indian Constitution Notes for General Knowledge Questions

Following are Quick Revision notes for General Knowledge questions asked in competitive exams – Bank PO, Civil Services Exams, CLAT, CSAT

  • Idea for a Constituent Assembly for drafting a con­stitution for India was first provided by Bal Gangadhar Tilak in 1895.
  • The elections for the  first Constituent Assembly were held in July 1946. Ini­tially it had 389 members, but later the reformed Assembly had 324 members.
  • The State of Hyderabad did not participate in elections to the Constituent Assembly.
  • The first meeting of Constituent Assembly was held on December 9, 1946— its president was Dr Sacchidanand Sinha.
  • The second meeting was held on December 11, 1946. Its president was Dr Rajendra Prasad.
  • The Objectives Reso­lution was passed under chairmanship of J.L. Nehru.
  • The Draft of Indian Constitution was presented in October 1947. President of the Drafting Committee was Bhim Rao Ambedkar.
  • The Flag Committee worked under J.B. Kripalani.
  • The total time con­sumed to prepare the draft was 2 years, 11 months, 18 days. Total 11 meetings were held for this.
  • The Indian Constitu­tion was enacted on Novem­ber 26, 1946 and put into force on January 26, 1950.
  • The Constitution today has 444 Articles and 12 schedules. Originally there were 395 Articles and 8 schedules.
  • SOCIALIST, SECU­LAR, INTEGRITY—these words were added to the Preamble later, through the 42nd Amendment, 1976.
  • The Preamble con­tains aims and objectives of our Constitution.
  • Fundamental Rights are contained in Part III— called “Magna Carta” of the Constitution. The idea was borrowed from USA. Initial­ly there were 7 fundamental rights, now there are only 6. (The Right to Property was deleted by the 44th amend­ment in 1978. It is now a judicial right—it has been moved to Article 300(A).)
  • The Supreme Court judgement in Keshwanand Bharti vs Kerala case provid­ed that Fundamental Rights can be altered by the Parlia­ment as long as the basic structure of the Constitution remains intact.
  • The Minerva Mills case ruling of the Supreme Court, however, ruled that Fundamental rights are basic part of the Constitution. The power to alter them was snatched away.
  • Fundamental Right of Equality provides for:
    —Equality in govern­ment jobs (Article 16).
    —No discriminations (Article 15).
    —No untouchability (Article 17).
    —Abolition of titles (Article 18).
  • The important free­doms granted are:
    —Against exploitation (Article 23).
    —Against child labour (Article 24).
  • The Right to Consti­tutional Remedies is provid­ed under Article 32.
  • The Constitution provides that High Courts and the Supreme Court can issue various writs (written orders) to safeguard free­dom of an individual. There are five types of writs:
    Habeas Corpus—”may I have the body”—it orders to present reasons as well as physical presence of a body in court, within 24 hours of arrest.
    Mandamus—issued to person, office or court—to enforce duties—also called “Param Aadesh”.
    Prohibition—issued to inferior courts, by superior courts—it prohibits (stops) action of acts outside their jurisdiction.
    Quo Warranto—it asks how one has gained unau­thorised office.
    Certiorari —Higher Court takes over case from lower courts.
  • Dr Ambedkar has called this article as “soul” of the Constitution.
  • Directive Principles of State Policy act as guide­lines or morals for the gov­ernment. They are contained in Part IV of the Constitu­tion. They were borrowed from Ireland. Some impor­tant directive principles are:
    —Gram Panchayats (Article 40).
    —Uniform civil code (Article 44).
    —Free and compulsory education (Article 45).
  • Fundamental duties are contained in part IV(A). There are ten fundamental duties listed in the Constitu­tion. This idea was borrowed from Russia.
  • The Vice President is the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. However, he is not a member of any House.
  • If a member is found sitting in another House of Parliament, of which he is not a member, he has to pay a fine of Rs 5000.
  • Rajya Sabha has 250 members—238 elected and 12 nominated by the Presi­dent. Uttar Pradesh elects maximum number of mem­bers for the Rajya Sabha (34), followed by Bihar (22) and Maharashtra (19).
  • In one year time, the President must hold at least two meetings of the Rajya Sabha.
  • If a state of Emer­gency is declared, the Lok Sabha is dissolved, but not the Rajya Sabha (It is a per­manent House).
  • Lok Sabha has 547 members—545 elected and 2 nominated from the Anglo-Indian Community.
  • During a state of emergency, the tenure of Lok Sabha can be extended by a maximum of one year.
  • Maximum number of members of Lok Sabha are elected from Uttar Pradesh (80 members), followed by Bihar (54) and Maharashtra (48).
  • Minimum age for becoming member of Lok Sabha is 25 years and Rajya Sabha is 30 years.
  • Minimum age to be eligible for the post of the President is 35 years.
  • The President is elected by members of both Houses of Parliament and State Legislative Assemblies.
  • The Vice President is elected by all members of the Parliament.
  • To discuss an impor­tant topic, the normal proce­dure of the Parliament is stopped under the Adjourn­ment motion.
  • Decision about whe­ther a Bill is a Money Bill or not is taken by the Lok Sabha Speaker.
  • The first High Courts in India were estab­lished at Bombay, Calcutta, and Madras, in 1862. Alla­habad and Delhi were estab­lished next in 1866.
  • Maximum age to remain a High Court judge is 62 years and maximum age to remain a Supreme Court judge is 65 years.
  • The process for removal of Comptroller and Auditor General of India is same as that of judges of the Supreme Court.
  • Attorney General is the law expert to govern­ment. He can participate and speak in both Houses of Par­liament, but is not allowed to vote.
  • The idea of having a Lokpal to check corruption at the highest level has been borrowed from “Ombuds­man” of Sweden. In the States, we have the Lok Ayuk­ta.
  • There are three types of Emergencies that can be proclaimed by the President. Emergency under Article 352—due to war or internal rebellion. (Implemented three times (1962, 71, 75).)
    Emergency under Article 356—Constitutional prob­lems. (Implemented many times, in various States like J&K, Punjab, etc.)
    Emergency under Article 360—Financial Emergency. (Not implemented so far).
  • The Constitution ini­tially recognised 14 National Languages. Later, four more were added. These were: Sindhi (21st amendment), Nepali, Konkani and Manipuri (71st amendment).
  • To gain the status of a National Party, a political party must be recognised in four or more States, attaining at least 4% votes on national scale and 9% in each State.
  • The flag of the Con­gress party was accepted as the National Flag (with few changes) on July 22, 1947.
  • The new Flag Code of India gives freedom to individuals to hoist the flag on all days, but with due respect to the flag.
  • The Question hour in the Parliament is observed from 11 am  to 12 noon. The Zero hour is observed from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm.
  • Balwant Rai Mehta Committee suggested a three-tier structure for Pan­chayati Raj—Gram Pancha­yat village level, Panchayat Samiti at block level and Zila Parishad in districts.
  • First Constitutional Amendment—1951—put a ban on propagating ideas to harm friendly relations with foreign countries.
  • Planning Commis­sion is only an advisory and specialist body. Its chairman is the Prime Minister.
    National Develop­ment Council is the main body concerned with the actual planning process. Its chairman is also the Prime Minister.
  • The first leader of the Opposition was Ram Subhag Singh, in 1969.
  • The shortest Lok Sabha span was 13 days (12th Lok Sabha in 1998).
  • Although the Parlia­ment can pass impeachment motion against judges, their conduct cannot be discussed by it.
  • There are at present 18 High Courts in India.
  • Article 370 gives special status to Jammu & Kashmir.
  • The Indian Consti­tution was the first of the preceding two centuries which was not imposed by an imperial power, but was made by the people them­selves, through representa­tives in a Constituent Assembly.
  • The Preamble of the Indian Constitution is not enforceable in a court of law. It states the objects which the Constitution seeks to establish.
  • The Indian Constitu­tion endows the Judiciary with power of declaring a law as unconstitutional if it is beyond the competence of the Legislature according to the distribution of powers provided by the Constitu­tion, or if it is in contraven­tion of the fundamental rights or of any other mandatory provision, e.g. Articles 286, 299, 301 and 304.
  • As part of the inte­gration of various Indian States into the Dominion of India a three-fold process of integration, known as the Patel Scheme, was imple­mented:
    (i) 216 States were merged into the respective Provinces, geographically contiguous to them. These merged States were included in the territories of the States in Part B in the First Sche­dule of the Constitution. The process of merger started with the merger of Orissa and Chattisgarh States with the then province of Orissa, on January 1, 1948. The last instance was merger of Cooch-Behar with West Ben­gal in January 1950.
    (ii) 61 States were con­verted into Centrally-admin­istered areas and included in Part C of the First Schedule.
    (iii) The third form was consolidation of groups of States into new viable units, known as Union of States. The first Union formed was the Saurashtra Union on February 15, 1948. The last one was Union of Travan­core-Cochin on July 1, 1949. As many as 275 States were integrated into five Unions—Madhya Bharat, Patiala and East Punjab States Union, Rajasthan, Saurashtra and Travancore-Cochin. These were included in Part B of the First Sche­dule. Besides, Hyderabad, J&K and Mysore were also included in Part B.
  • At the time of acces­sion to the Dominion of India, the States had acceded only on three subjects (Defence, Foreign Affairs and Communications). Lat­er, revised Instruments of Accession were signed by which all States acceded in respect of all matters includ­ed in Union and Concurrent Lists, except only those relat­ing to taxation.
  • The process of inte­gration culminated in the Constitution (7th Amend­ment) Act, 1956, which abol­ished Part B States as a class and included all the States in Part A and B in one list.
  • Supreme Court judgements that changed the Indian Constitution:
    1960: K.M. Nanavati v State of Maharashtra: This case ended jury trials in India.1967: Golaknath vs State of Punjab: The SC ruled that Parliament cannot curtail fundamental rights guaranteed in the Constitution.

    1973: Kesavananda Bharati Vs State of Kerala: The SC laid down the Basic Structure Doctrine in this case. It limited the Parliament’s power to amend the Constitution.

    1976: ADM Jabalpur Vs S. Shukla: The SC declared the right to move court for protection of Equality before law, protection of arrest without cause and right to life and liberty are remain suspended during an Emergency.

    1978: Maneka Gandhi Vs Union of India: The SC ruled the fundamental rights are not mutually exclusive and are interlinked.

    1980: Minerva Mills Vs Union of India: The SC ruled that the power of Parliament to amend the Constitution cannot be exercised to grant itself an unlimited power.

    1992: Indira Sawhney Vs Union of India: The SC upheld the implementation of Mandal Commission recommendations for OBCs. It also defined the “creamy layer” criteria and put a 50% cap on quota.

    1993: Supreme Court AoR Association vs UoI: The SC creates the collegium system of appointing judges in SC and HCs.

    1994: S.R. Bommai Vs Union of India: SC laid down the guidelines in proving a majority under Article 356. The recent Arjun Munda case judgement was also passed with reference to the Bommai case.

    1994: R. Rajagopal Vs State of Tamil Nadu: The SC decided that the right to privacy was a part of right to personal liberty.

    1997: Vishaka Vs State of Rajasthan: SC defined ‘Sexual harassment’ including at workplace and issued Vishaka guidelines that remained in force till 2013.

    2003: People’s Union for Civil Liberties v. Union of India: The SC ruled candidates contesting elections must declare their assets, liabilities and criminal antecedents.

    2007: SC rules that laws placed in the ninth schedule can be struck down if they violate basic structure of the Constitution.

    2007: SC upholds expulsion of MPs in cash-for-query scam; rules that each House of Parliament has inherent power to expel its members.

    2013: Lily Thomas vs Union of India: The SC ruled all politicians sentenced to more than two years in jail on a criminal conviction will be disqualified as an elected representative.

    2013: Aruna R. Shanbaug vs UoI: The Supreme Court issued guidelines allowing passive euthanasia.

    2015: Supreme Court AoR Association vs UoI: The SC strikes down the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act.

Other Revision Notes