A.P.S.C question paper on General English

Question Paper on General English for Combined Competitive (Main) Examination,2006 of Assam Public Service Commission


Full Marks:300
Time: 3 hours

The figures in the margin indicate full marks for the questions

1.Write a precis of the following passage and add a suitable title to it: 50

Ancient India was an advanced knowledge society. Invasions and colonial rule destroyed its institutions and robbed it of its core competence. Its people have been systematically degraded to lower levels of existence. By the time the British left, our youth had lowered their aims and were satisfied earning an ordinary livelihood. India is essentially a land of knowledge and it must rediscover itself in this aspect. Once this rediscovery is done, it will not require much struggle to achieve the quality of life, strength and sovereignty of a developed nation.
Knowledge has many forms and it is available at many places. It is acquired through education, information, intelligence and experience. It is available in academic institutions, with taechers, in libraries, in research papers, seminar proceedings and in various organisations, and workplaces with workers, managers, in drawings, in process sheets and on the shop floors. Knowledge, though closely linked to education, comes equally from learning skills such as those possessed by our artists, craftsmen, hakims, vaidyas, philosophers and saints, as also our housewives. Knowledge plays a very important role in their perfomance and output too.Our heritage and history, the rituals, epics and traditions that form part of our consciousness are also vast resources of knowledge as are our libraries and universities. There is an abundance of unorthodox, earthy wisdom in our villages.There are hidden treasures of knowledge in our environment, in the oceans, bioreserves and deserts, in the plant and animal life. Every State in our country has a unique core competence for a knowledge society.
Knowledge has always been the prime mover of prosperity and power. The acquisition of knowledge has therefore been the thrust area throughout the world. Additionally, in India, there has been a culture of sharing it, not only through the tradition of Guru- Shishya but also by its spread to neighbouring countries through travellers who came to Nalanda and other universities drawn by their reputation as centres of learning. India is endowed with natural and competitive advantages as also certain distinctive competencies.But these are scattered in isolated pockets and the awareness of these is inadequate.During the last century the world has changed from being an agricultural society, in which manual labour was the critical factor, to an industrial society where the management of technology, capital and labour provide the competitive advantage.In the 21st century, a new society is emerging where knowledge is the primary production resource instead of capital and labour. Efficient utilization of this existing knowledge base can create wealth for us in the form of better health, education and other indicators of progress.The ability to create and maintain the knowledge infrastructure, to enhance skills and increase productivity through the exploitation of advances in varoius fields will be the key factors in deciding the prosperity of this society.Whether a nation qualifies as a knowledge society is judged by how efficiently it deals with knowledge creation and knowledge deployment.
The knowledge society has two very important components driven by societal transformation and wealth generation. The societal transformation is in respect of education, health care, agriculture and governance. These will lead to employment generation, high productivity and rural prosperity.

2.Write an essay on any one of the following topics: 100

(a) The Role of Media in Indian Democratic polity
(b) Regional literature and cultural integration in India
(c) Whither Indian agriculture?
(d) Global terrorism and what it means to India
(e) Politics and personal character

3. Read the following passage and answer the questions that follow:

What sort of a thing is historical thinking and how does it differ from other sorts of thinking------ thinking in the natural sciences, for example? Probably the best way of approaching the question is to ask what it is the historian is seeking to investigate and what he hopes to discover. The first answer that occurs is the obvious one that he aims at an intelligent reconstruction of the past. And it might be thought that in itself work serve to mark off history as a separate branch og knowledge.

The natural sciences, it is easy to suppose, are concerned with the world around us; they rely on sense perception for their data.History, by way of contrast, is concerned with the past, and memory impressions must hence form an indispensable part of its raw material. But, in fact, the contrast between history and the natural sciences is not so sharp as that. In the first plan, it is not true that the scientist is concerned with the present to the exclusion of the past. Quite apart from the fact that memory knowledge enters into all present perceptual judgements about objects, it is necessary to remember the existence of such studies as geology and palaeontology to see that threre are branches of scientific enquiry which study the past rather than the present. And again, it cannot be held that history is, without qualification, a study of the past. There are large portions of the past of which history as normally understood takes no cognizance whatever----- for instance, all those ages which preceded the evolution of man to something like the sort of creature he is now.
To define history as the study of the past, and to ground its autonomy as a form of knowledge on that point cannot thus be defended. But, of course, history is, in some sense, a study of the past. What past? The answer is the past of human beings. History begins to be intersted in the past when human beings first appear in it. Its essential concern is with human experiences and actions. It is true, of course, that history records not merely what human beings did and suffered, but also a considerable number of natural events in the past------ earthquakes, floods, droughts and the like. The historian is not concerned, at any point of his work, with nature for its own sake; only with nature as a background to human activities. If he mentions natuaral events, it is because these events had effects on the lives of men and women whose experience he is describing. Had thy no such effects, he would not have mentioned them.

That this is not mere dogmatism the reader can see for himself by reflecting on actual historical writings. A history of the world does not normally begin with speculations about the origins of the universe, nor does it include an account of the mutations of plant and animal species once life had appeared on this planet. Its effective range is very much shorter; it concentrates on the activities of man as known over a comparatively brief space of time.

And in case anyone thinks that this is mere shortsightedness on the past of historians, reflecting the anti-scientific bent of their education, an dpoints out that Mr. H.G.Wells in his Outline of History has offered something much more comprehensive, it may be relevant here to mention that even Mr. Wells is primarily concerned in his work with the activities of human beings, and that his early chapters, whatever their ostensible purpose, are, in fact, inserted because he thinks they throw light on human nature. What stress to lay on the natural background to man's actions, and how far to connect those actions with man's animal nature, are points which individual historians must decide for themselves. Mr. Wells has chosen to go a long way back, but has not changed the nature of history is doing so, therefore, it can be said that human past is the primary object of the historian's study.

(a) Write, in your own words, a summary of the above passage. 40
(b) How does historical thinking differ from other kinds of thinking? 4
(c) In what sense is history the study of the past and how does it perform its task? 4
(d) What does a reader learn about history from reflecting on historical writings? 4
(e) What is considered 'a mere shortsightedness on the past of the historians;? 4
(f) What is the author's definition of history and how does he justify it? 4

4. Amplify the ideas contained in any two of the following: 30*2=60

(a) A bird in hand is worth in the bush.
(b) Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of mankind.
(c) Necessity knows no law.
(d) Peace hath her victories
No less renowned than war.
(e) One man's meat is another man's poison.

5. Write the antonyms of any five of the following: 2*5=10

(a) Attract
(b) Absolute
(c) Brutal
(d) Calm
(e) Chaos
(f) Condemn
(g) Disclose
(h) Persisit
(i) Spiteful
(j) Rash

6.Frame sentences with any five of the following words as directed: 2*5=10

(a) shy (as verb)
(b) root (as verb)
(c) still (as adjective)
(d) only (as adverb)
(e) much (as noun)
(f) down (as verb)
(g) as (as pronoun)
(h) long (as adverb)

7. Rewrite the following sentences as directed (any five): 2*5=10

(a) Tell him to come at once. (change into passive voice)
(b) He always repays whatever he borrows. (Make it negative)
(c) We shall combine the three Departments into one. (Correct the sentence)
(d) This rake is as good it not better than the old one. (Correct the sentence)
(e) She picked the flowers, then she arranged them beautifully for her guests. (Make it a simple sentence)
(f) When I met him (work) in the factory for ten years. (Use the correct tense of the verb)
(g) An amendment was sought to be introduced. (Change it into active voice)



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