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Mains Answer Writing

6-December-2023

1.  Buddha’s teachings can help in understanding and resolving the problems of today’s society. Do you agree? Justify your answer.

ANSWER

Gautam Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, lived over two and a half thousand years ago in ancient India. The Buddha’s teachings are centred on the Four Noble Truths, which describe the nature of suffering, its cause, its cessation, and the path leading to its cessation.

Despite the passage of time, Buddha’s teachings continue to have relevance for understanding and resolving the problems of today’s society in the following ways:

  1. Extremism and War: Buddha’s middle path evades extremist and fundamentalist approach. It is applicable for not only religion and personal aspects but wider social and international issues. E.g., Russia-Ukraine conflict, radicalisation, terrorism etc.
  2. Social Inequality: The Buddha’s teachings on the interdependence of all beings offer a powerful antidote to rising social inequality in modern society. Interconnectedness entails that we treat others through fair and just means.
  3. Mental health issues:
  4. a) The First Noble Truth states that suffering is a part of life. Understanding that suffering is an intrinsic part of the human experience can help us accept and deal with difficult emotions.
  5. b) The Fourth Noble Truth outlines the path to the cessation of suffering. By following the Eightfold Path, we can cultivate mindfulness and compassion to reduce our suffering.
  6. Environmental Challenges: Buddha’s teachings emphasize moderation and mindful consumption. In a consumer-driven society facing environmental challenges, these teachings encourage individuals to reflect on their consumption patterns, reduce waste, and make choices that promote environmental sustainability.
  7. Happiness: Buddha taught that true happiness comes from inner peace and contentment. Reducing our attachment to material things such as obsession with GDP growth can direct us towards aspects of inner growth for a happier world. While Buddha’s teachings are of immense value, they may not be applicable to all modern-day problems as discussed below:
  8. Buddha’s teachings were developed in a specific historical and cultural context. E.g., the concept of non-attachment is not practical for all, especially in the developing world as people need a drive to pursue even development goals like improving living standards.
  9. Buddha’s teachings may not be sufficient to address complex social issues such as malnutrition and gender-inequality.
  10. Buddhist societies are not immune to social and political problems. E.g., countries like Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand etc. suffer from widespread issues of corruption, authoritarianism, and human rights violations.

In conclusion we can say that Buddha’s teachings offer valuable insights for personal as well as social wellbeing. The timeless principles can induce moderation in modern approaches towards inner and outer world, reduce violence and salvage intergenerational equity.

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2. How has the recent Mizoram Assembly elections, where more than one woman was elected for the first time in almost 40 years, highlighted the evolving landscape of women’s inclusion in Indian politics, and what implications does this hold for broader political representation?

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3. What are the key challenges and considerations for India in endorsing the Global Renewables and Energy Efficiency Pledge, given its commitment to tripling renewable energy capacity by 2030 and the significant role of coal-fired plants in the country’s greenhouse gas emissions?

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4. How does neo-liberalism affect the participation of Dalits and Adivasis in the market economy, and what measures, in line with Ambedkar’s social justice principles, can ensure their inclusive integration?

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