Flash Card

LAKSHYA-75 [Day-1] Static Flash Cards for IAS Prelims 2020

Gram Panchayat; Manuscripts and Inscriptions; Why hunter-gatherers move from place to place? Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Microlith and Neolithic; Magadha & Vajji; Six Schools of Indian Philosophy; Continents; Physical Division of India; Vegetation of India; River Landforms
By IASToppers
March 06, 2020




What is ox-bow lake? How does it form?

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Ox-bow lake

  • In the lower course of a river, a meander becomes very much more pronounced. Due to continuous erosion and deposition along the sides of the meander, the ends of the meander loop come closer and closer.
  • As the time goes the meander loop cuts off from the river and forms a cut-off lake called an ox-bow lake.
  • The outside bend of the river bank is so rapidly eroded that the river becomes almost a complete circle.
  • Simultaneously the river cuts through the narrow neck of the loop, abandoning an ox-bow lake or ‘mortlake’. The river then flows straight.
  • The ox-bow lake will later degenerate into a swamp through subsequent floods that may silt up the lake become marshy and will eventually dried up.

Enrich Your Learning:

River Landforms


  • As the river enters the plain it twists and turns forming large bends known as meanders. The term is derived from the winding River Meanderes in Turkey.
  • Very deep and wide meanders can also be found out in hard rocks. Such meanders are called incised or entrenched meanders.


  • Potholes are cylindrical holes drilled into the bed of a river that vary in depth and diameter from a few centimeters to several meters.
  • They’re found in the upper course of a river where it has enough potential energy to erode vertically and its flow is turbulent.
  • In the upper course of a river, when flowing water encounters bedload, it is forced over it and downcuts behind the bedload in swirling eddie currents. These create small depressions in it.

V-Shaped Valleys

  • V-Shaped valleys are found in the upper course of the river and are a result of both erosion and weathering.
  • V-Shaped valleys are deep river valleys with steep sides that look like a letter V when a cross section of them is taken.
  • As the channel and valley deepens the sides of the valley are exposed and become susceptible to weathering.
  • The valley’s sides also undergo mass movements resulting in large volumes of material falling into the river’s channel, adding to its erosive power and causing the valley sides to take up a V shape.


  • Waterfalls develop when a change of lithology (rock type) takes place along the river’s course resulting in differential erosion.
  • When the river tumbles at steep angle over very hard rocks or down a steep valley side it forms a waterfall.
  • When the rock type of the river’s channel changes from a resistant rock to a less resistant one, the river erodes the less resistant rock faster producing a sudden drop in the gradient of the river with the resistant rock being higher up than the less resistant rock.


  • Rapids are sections of a river where the gradient of the river bed is relatively steep resulting in an increase in the river’s turbulence and velocity.
  • They form where the gradient of the river is steep and the bed is composed mainly of hard rocks.

Braided Channels

  • A braided channel is a type of channel that is divided into smaller sub-channels by small, temporary islands called eyots.
  • Braided channels develop in rivers with a lot of sedimentary load, a steep gradient and where the discharge of the river changes regularly.
  • When the volume of load exceeds the river’s capacity, the river is forced to deposit its load in the channel and islands of sediment form.


  • Floodplains are large, flat expanses of land that form on either side of a river.
  • The floodplain is the area that a river floods onto when it’s experiencing high discharge. The load is deposited across the floodplain as alluvium.
  • Floodplains are often used as farmland because alluvium is very fertile.


  • Levees form during times of flood. As the river leaves its channel there is a sudden loss of energy, resulting in the river depositing much of its load immediately next to the main channel.
  • Overtime this deposition builds up creating a natural embankment called a levee.


  • Deltas are depositional landforms found at the mouth of a river where the river meets a body of water with a lower velocity than the river.
  • For a delta to develop, the body of water needs to be relatively quiet with a low tidal range so that deposited sediment isn’t washed away and has time to accumulate.




The vegetation of India can be mainly categorized into which types?

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Vegetation of India can be divided into five types – Tropical evergreen forest, Tropical deciduous forest, Thorny bushes, Mountain vegetation and Mangrove forests.

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Vegetation of India

Tropical Rain Forest

  • Tropical Rain Forests occur in the areas which receive heavy rainfall. They are so dense that sunlight doesn’t reach the ground.
  • Many species of trees are found in these forests, which shed their leaves at different times of the year. Therefore, they always appear green and are called evergreen forest.
  • Important trees found in these forests are mahogany, ebony and rosewood.
  • Andaman and Nicobar Islands, parts of North-Eastern states and a narrow strip of the Western slope of the Western Ghats are home of these forests.

Tropical Deciduous Forests

  • This type of forest is found in large part of India. These forests are also called monsoon forests.
  • They are less dense. They shed their leaves at a particular time of the year.
  • Important trees of these forests are sal, teak, peepal, neem and shisham.
  • They are found in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, and in parts of Maharashtra.

Thorny Bushes

  • This type of vegetation is found in dry areas of the country. The leaves are in the form of spines to reduce the loss of water.
  • Cactus, khair, babool, keekar are important and are found in the states of Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Eastern slopes of Western Ghats and Gujarat.

Mountain Vegetation

  • A wide range of species is found in the mountains according to the variation in height.
  • With increase in height, the temperature falls. At a height between 1500 metres and 2500 metres most of the trees are conical in shape.
  • These trees are called coniferous trees. Chir, Pine and Deodar are important trees of these forests.

Mangrove Forests

  • These forests can survive in saline water. They are found mainly in Sunderbans in West Bengal and in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • Sundari is a well-known species of trees in mangrove forests after which Sunderbans have been named.




To the south of northern plains in India, there lies the Peninsular plateau. This plateau is bordered by which two mountain ranges?

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The Western Ghats or Sahyadris border the plateau in the west and the Eastern Ghats provide the eastern boundary.

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Physical Division of India

  • India is marked by a diversity of physical features such as mountains, plateaus, plains, coasts and islands.
  • The north is guarded by the lofty snow-capped Himalayas. Himlalaya mean ‘the abode of snow’.
  • The Himalayan mountains are divided into three main parallel ranges. The northernmost is the Great Himalaya or Himadri. The world’s highest peaks are located in this range.
  • Middle Himalaya or Himachal lies to the south of Himadri. Many popular hill stations are situated here. The Shiwalik is the southernmost range.
  • The Northern Indian plains lie to the south of the Himalayas. They are generally level and flat. These are formed by the alluvial deposits laid down by the rivers– the Indus, the Ganga, the Brahmaputra and their tributaries.
  • These river plains provide fertile land for cultivation. That is the reason for high concentration of population in these plains.
  • In the western part of India lies the Great Indian desert. It is a dry, hot and sandy stretch of land. It has very little vegetation.
  • To the south of northern plains lies the Peninsular plateau. It is triangular in shape. The relief is highly uneven. This is a region with numerous hill ranges and valleys. The plateau is rich in minerals like coal and iron-ore.
  • Aravali hills, one of the oldest ranges of the world, border it on the north-west side. The Vindhyas and the Satpuras are the important ranges.
  • The rivers Narmada and Tapi flow through these ranges. These are west-flowing rivers that drain into the Arabian Sea.
  • While the Western Ghats are almost continuous, the Eastern Ghats are broken and uneven.
  • To the West of the Western Ghats and the East of Eastern Ghats lie the Coastal plains. The western coastal plains are very narrow while the eastern Coastal plains are much broader.
  • There are a number of east flowing rivers. The rivers Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna and Kaveri drain into the Bay of Bengal. These rivers have formed fertile deltas at their mouth.
  • The Sunderban delta is formed where the Ganga and Brahmaputra flow into the Bay of Bengal.
  • Two groups of islands also form part of India. Lakshadweep Islands are located in the Arabian Sea. These are coral islands located off the coast of Kerala.
  • The Andaman and the Nicobar Islands lie to the southeast of the Indian mainland in the Bay of Bengal.




Which is the only continent in the world through which all three important parallels of latitudes pass?

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Africa is the only continent through which the all three important parallels of latitudes (Tropic of Cancer, the Equator and the Tropic of Capricorn) pass.

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  • There are seven major continents separated by large water bodies.
  • These continents are – Asia, Europe, Africa, North America, South America, Australia and Antarctica. The greater part of the land mass lies in the Northern Hemisphere.


  • Asia is the largest continent. It covers about one-third of the total land area of the earth.
  • The continent lies in the Eastern Hemisphere. The Tropic of Cancer passes through this continent.
  • Asia is separated from Europe by the Ural Mountains on the west.
  • The combined landmass of Europe and Asia is called the Eurasia (Europe + Asia).


  • Europe is much smaller than Asia. The continent lies to the west of Asia.
  • The Arctic Circle passes through it. It is bound by water bodies on three sides.


  • Africa is the second largest continent after Asia. The Equator or 00 latitude runs almost through the middle of the continent.
  • A large part of Africa lies in the Northern Hemisphere. It is the only continent through which the Tropic of Cancer, the Equator and the Tropic of Capricorn pass.
  • The Sahara Desert, the world’s largest hot desert, is located in Africa. The continent is bound on all sides by oceans and seas.
  • The world’s longest river the Nile, flows through Africa.

North America

  • North America is the third largest continent of the world. It is linked to South America by a very narrow strip of land called the Isthmus of Panama.
  • The continent lies completely in the Northern and Western Hemisphere. Three oceans surround this continent– Arctic, Pacific and Atlantic.

South America

  • South America lies mostly in the Southern Hemisphere. Two oceans surround it, Atlantic on the east and Pacific on the west.
  • The Andes, world’s longest mountain range, runs through its length from north to south. South America has the world’s largest river, the Amazon.


  • Australia is the smallest continent that lies entirely in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • It is surrounded on all sides by the oceans and seas. It is called an island continent.


  • Antarctica lies completely in the Southern Hemisphere, is a huge continent.
  • The South Pole lies almost at the center of this continent. As it is located in the South Polar Region, it is permanently covered with thick ice sheets. There are no permanent human settlements.
  • Many countries have research stations in Antarctica. India also has research stations there. These are named as Maitri and Dakshin Gangotri.




Among the Six Schools of Indian Philosophy, Samkhya was founded by whom?

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Samkhya– one of the Six Schools of Indian Philosophy was founded by sage Kapila.

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Six Schools of Indian Philosophy

  • Over centuries, India’s intellectual exploration of truth has come to be represented by six systems of philosophy.
  • These are known as:
    • Vaishesika founded by sage Konada
    • Nyaya founded by sage Gotama
    • Samkhya founded by sage Kapila
    • Yoga founded by sage Patanjali
    • Purva Mimansa founded by sage Jaimini
    • Vedanta or Uttara Mimansa founded by sage Vyasa
  • These philosophies guide scholarly discourse in the country.
  • German-born British Indologist, Friedrich Max Muller, has observed that the six systems of philosophy were developed over many generations with contributions made by individual thinkers.
  • Although they seem distinct from each other, an underlying harmony in their understanding of truth is found.




Magadha and Vajji were under a different form of governments. Which were they?

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Magadha became a powerful kingdom called Mahajanapada while Vajji was under a different form of government, known as gana or sangha.

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  • Magadha became the most important mahajanapada in about two hundred years.
  • Many rivers such as the Ganga and Son flowed through This was important for transport, water supplies, making the land fertile.
  • Parts of Magadha were forested in which elephants were lived. They could be captured and trained for the army.
  • Forests also provided wood for building houses, carts and chariots. Besides, there were iron ore mines in the region that could be tapped to make strong tools and weapons.
  • Magadha had two very powerful rulers, Bimbisara and Ajatasattu, who used all possible means to conquer other janapadas.
  • Mahapadma Nanda was another important ruler. He extended his control up to the north-west part of the subcontinent.
  • Rajagriha (Rajgir) in Bihar was the capital of Magadha for several years. Later the capital was shifted to Pataliputra (Patna).
  • It is believed that the rulers of Magadha had vast armies of foot soldiers, chariots and elephants.


  • Vajji, with its capital at Vaishali (Bihar), was under a different form of government, known as gana or sangha.
  • In a gana or a sangha there were not one, but many rulers. Sometimes, even when thousands of men ruled together, each one was known as a raja.
  • These rajas performed rituals together. They also met in assemblies, and decided what had to be done and how, through discussion and debate.
  • For example, if they were attacked by an enemy, they met to discuss what should be done to meet the threat. However, women, dasas and kammakaras could not participate in these assemblies.
  • Both the Buddha and Mahavira belonged to ganas or sanghas. Some of the most vivid descriptions of life in the sanghas can be found in Buddhist books.
  • Sanghas were lasted for a very long time, till about 1500 years ago, when the last of the ganas or sanghas were conquered by the Gupta rulers.




From which place in India large quantities of ostrich egg shells of Palaeolithic period were found?

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From Patne in Maharashtra, large quantities of ostrich egg shells of Palaeolithic period were found.

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  • Palaeolithic is the earliest period. This comes from two Greek words, ‘palaeo’, meaning old, and ‘lithos’, meaning stone.
  • The name points to the importance of finds of stone tools. The Palaeolithic period extends from 2 million years ago to about 12,000 years ago. This long stretch of time is divided into the Lower, Middle and Upper Palaeolithic.
  • This long span of time covers 99% of human history.

Mesolithic, Microlith and Neolithic

  • The period when we find environmental changes, beginning about 12,000 years ago till about 10,000 years ago is called the Mesolithic (middle stone).
  • Stone tools found during this period are generally tiny, and are called microliths.
  • Microliths were probably stuck on to handles of bone or wood to make tools such as saws and sickles. At the same time, older varieties of tools continued to be in use.
  • The next stage, from about 10,000 years ago, is known as the

Ostriches in India

  • Ostriches were found in India during the Palaeolithic period.
  • Large quantities of ostrich egg shells were found at Patne in Maharashtra. Designs were engraved on some pieces, while beads were also made out of them.




The hunter-gatherers move from place to place in search of the basic need such as food and water. For hunting they used stone tolls which were made mainly by which two techniques?

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The hunter-gatherers move from place to place in search of the basic need such as food and water. For hunting they used stone tolls which were made mainly by two techniques.

  1. Stone on stone technique
  2. Pressure flaking technique

Enrich Your Learning:

Why hunter-gatherers move from place to place?

Here are the main reasons why hunter-gatherers moved from place to place.

  • If they had stayed at one place for a long time, they would have eaten up all the available plant and animal resources. Therefore, they would have had to go elsewhere in search of food.
  • Animals move from place to place either in search of smaller prey, or, in the case of deer and wild cattle, in search of grass and leaves. That is why those who hunted them had to follow their movements.
  • Plants and trees bear fruit in different seasons. So, people may have moved from season to season in search of different kinds of plants.
  • Water is the basic need for survival of man, plants and animals and it is found in lakes, streams and rivers. While many rivers and lakes are perennial, others are seasonal. People living on their banks would have had to go in search of water during the dry seasons (winter and summer).
  • Besides, people may have travelled to meet their friends and relatives.

How do we know about these people?

  • Archaeologists have found some of the things hunter-gatherers made and used.
  • It is likely that people made and used tools of stone, wood and bone, of which stone tools have survived best.
  • Some of these stone tools were used to cut meat and bone, scrape bark (from trees) and hides (animal skins), chop fruit and roots.
  • Some may have been attached to handles of bone or wood, to make spears and arrows for hunting.
  • Other tools were used to chop wood for firewood. Wood was also used to make huts and tools.
  • Stone tools may also have been used for digging the ground to collect edible roots and stitching clothes made out of animal skin.

Making stone tools

Stone tools were probably made using two different techniques:

  • The first is called stone on stone. In which the pebble from which the tool was to be made (also called the core) was held in one hand. Another stone, which was used as a hammer was held in the other hand. The second stone was used to strike off flakes from the first, till the required shape was obtained.
  • Pressure flaking: The core was placed on a firm surface. The hammer stone was used on a piece of bone or stone that was placed on the core, to remove flakes that could be shaped into tools.




Is there any difference between Manuscripts and Inscriptions?

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Although both Manuscripts and Inscriptions provides us information about the past, they were different as the manuscripts are those which were written by hand on palm leaf, while the inscription are writings on hard surfaces like stone or metal.

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Manuscripts and Inscriptions

  • There are several ways of finding out about the past. One is to search for and read books that were written long ago.
  • These are called manuscripts, because they were written by hand (this comes from the Latin word ‘manu’, meaning hand). These were usually written on palm leaf, or on the specially prepared bark of a tree known as the birch, which grows in the Himalayas.
  • Over the years, many manuscripts were eaten away by insects, some were destroyed, but many have preserved in temples and monasteries.
  • These books dealt with all kinds of subjects: religious beliefs and practices, the lives of kings, medicine and science. Besides, there were epics, poems, plays.
  • Many of these were written in Sanskrit, others were in Prakrit and Tamil.
  • The other way is inscriptions. These are writings on relatively hard surfaces such as stone or metal. Sometimes, kings got their orders inscribed so that people could see, read and obey them.
  • There are other kinds of inscriptions as well, where men and women (including kings and queens) recorded what they did. For example, kings often kept records of victories in battle.



Enlist the sources from where the Panchayat get their fund.

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Sources of funds for the Panchayat:

  • Collection of taxes on houses, market places
  • Government scheme funds received through various departments of the government – through the Janpad and Zila Panchayats.
  • Donations for community works etc.

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The Gram Panchayat

  • The Gram Panchayat meets regularly and one of its main tasks is to implement development programmes for all villages that come under it.
  • The work of the Gram Panchayat has to be approved by the Gram Sabha.
  • In some states, Gram Sabhas form committees like construction and development committees. These committees include some members of the Gram Sabha and some from the Gram Panchayat who work together to carry out specific tasks.
  • The work of a Gram Panchayat includes:
    • The construction and maintenance of water sources, roads, drainage, school buildings and other common property resources.
    • Levying and collecting local taxes.
    • Executing government schemes related to generating employment in the village.

Position of Panchayats in three levels of government

  • The Panchayati Raj System is a process through which people participate in their own government.
  • The Panchayati Raj system is the first tier or level of democratic government.
  • The Panchs and the Gram Panchayat are answerable to the Gram Sabha because it is the members of the Gram Sabha who elected them.
  • This idea of people’s participation in the Panchayati Raj system extends to two other levels.
  • One is the Block level, which is called the Janpad Panchayat or the Panchayat Samiti which has many Gram Panchayats under it.
  • Above the Panchayat Samiti is the District Panchayat or the Zila Parishad. The Zila Parishad actually makes developmental plans at the district level.
  • With the help of Panchayat Samitis, it also regulates the money distribution among all the Gram Panchayats.
  • Within the guidelines given in the Constitution each state in the country has its own laws with regard to Panchayats. The idea is to provide more and more space for people to participate and raise their voices.
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