CLAT 2023 Question Paper

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  1. I grew up in a small town not far from Kalimpong. In pre-liberalization India, everything arrived late: not just material things but also ideas. Magazines — old copies of Reader’s Digest and National Geographic — arrived late too, after the news had become stale by months or, often, years. This temporal gap turned journalism into literature, news into legend, and historical events into something akin to plotless stories. But like those who knew no other life, we accepted this as the norm. The dearth of reading material in towns and villages in socialist India is hard to imagine, and it produced two categories of people: those who stopped reading after school or college, and those — including children — who read anything they could find. I read road signs with the enthusiasm that attaches to reading thrillers. When the iterant kabadiwala, collector of papers, magazines, and rejected things, visited our neighbourhood, I rushed to the house where he was doing business. He bought things at unimaginably low prices from those who’d stopped having any use for them, and I rummaged through his sacks of old magazines. Sometimes, on days when business was good, he allowed me a couple of copies of Sportsworld magazine for free. I’d run home and, ignoring my mother’s scolding, plunge right in — consuming news about India’s victory in the Benson and Hedges Cup….

Two takeaways from these experiences have marked my understanding of the provincial reader’s life: the sense of belatedness, of everything coming late, and the desire for pleasure in language              Speaking of belatedness, the awareness of having been born at the wrong time in history, of inventing things that had already been discovered elsewhere, far away, without our knowledge or cooperation, is a moment of epiphany and deep sadness. I remember a professor’s choked voice, narrating to me how all the arguments he’d made in his doctoral dissertation, written over many, many years of hard work (for there indeed was a time when PhDs were written over decades), had suddenly come to naught after he’d discovered the work of C.W.E. Bigsby. This, I realised as I grew older, was one of the characteristics of provincial life: that they (usually males) were saying trite things with the confidence of someone declaring them for the first time. I, therefore, grew up surrounded by would-be Newtons who claimed to have discovered gravity (again). There’s a deep sense of tragedy attending this sort of thing — the sad embarrassment of always arriving after the party is over. And there’s a harsh word for that sense of belatedness: “dated.” What rescues it is the unpredictability of these anachronistic “discoveries” — the randomness and haphazardness involved in mapping connections among thoughts and ideas, in a way that hasn’t yet been professionalised.

[Extracted, with edits and revisions, from “The Provincial Reader”, by Sumana Roy, Los Angeles Review of Books]
  1. What use was the kabadiwala (wastepicker) to the author?

(A)         The kabadiwala bought up all her magazines.

(B)         The kabadiwala’s stock of books and magazines were of interest to the author.

(C)         The kabadiwala was about to steal the author’s magazines.

(D)         The author ordered books online which the kabadiwala delivered.

  1. What according to the author is essential about the experience of being a ‘provincial reader’?

(A)         Belatedness in the sense of coming late for everything.

(B)         Over-eagerness.

(C)         Accepting a temporal gap between what was current in the wider world and the time at which these arrived in the provincial location.

(D)         None of the above

  1. Why did the author feel a sense of epiphany and deep sadness?

(A)         Because the things that felt special and unique to the author, were already established and accepted thought in the wider world.

(B)         Because the author was less well-read than others.

(C)         Because the author missed being in a big city.

(D)         All the above

  1. What does the word ‘anachronistic’ as used in the passage, mean?

(A)         Rooted in a non-urban setting

(B)         Related to a mofussil area

(C)         Connected with another time

(D)         Opposed to prevailing sensibilities

  1. Which of the following options captures the meaning of the last sentence best?

(A)         Though the author feels provincial, she pretends to be from the metropolis.

(B)         Though the author feels dated in her access to intellectual ideas, her lack of metropolitan sophistication lets her engage with the ideas with some originality.

(C)         Though the author is aware of the limitedness of her knowledge, she is confident and can hold her own in a crowd. She also proud of her roots in the small town.

(D)         All the above

  1. Until the Keeladi site was discovered, archaeologists by and large believed that the Gangetic plains in the north urbanised significantly earlier than Tamil Nadu. Historians have often claimed that large scale town life in India first developed in the Greater Magadha region of the Gangetic basin. This was during the ‘second urbanisation’ phase. The ‘first urbanisation phase’ refers to the rise of the Harappan or Indus Valley Civilisation. Tamil Nadu was thought to have urbanised at this scale only by the third century BCE. The findings at Keeladi push that date back significantly. … Based on linguistics and continuity in cultural legacies, connections between the Indus Valley Civilisation, or IVC, and old Tamil traditions have long been suggested, but concrete archaeological evidence remained absent. Evidence indicated similarities between graffiti found in Keeladi and symbols associated with the IVC. It bolstered the arguments of dissidents from the dominant North Indian imagination, who have argued for years that their ancestors existed contemporaneously with the IVC. … All the archaeologists I spoke to said it was too soon to make definitive links between the Keeladi site and the IVC. There is no doubt, however, that the discovery at Keeladi has changed the paradigm. In recent years, the results of any new research on early India have invited keen political interest, because proponents of Hindu nationalism support the notion of Vedic culture as fundamental to the origins of Indian civilisation. … The Keeladi excavations further challenge the idea of a single fountainhead of Indian life. They indicate the possibility that the earliest identity that can recognisably be considered ‘Indian’ might not have originated in North India. That wasn’t all. In subsequent seasons of the Keeladi dig, archaeologists discovered that Tamili, a variant of the Brahmi script used for writing inscriptions in the early iterations of the Tamil language, could be dated back to the sixth century BCE, likely a hundred years before previously thought. So not only had urban life thrived in the tamil lands, but people who lived there had developed their own script. ‘The evolution of writing is attributed to Ashoka’s edicts, but 2600 years ago writing was prevalent in Keeladi,” Mathan Karuppiah, a proud Madurai local, told me. ‘A farmer could write his own name on a pot he owned. the fight going on here is ‘You are not the one to teach me to write, I have learnt it myself.’ ”
[Excerpted from “The Dig”, by Sowmiya Ashok, Fifty-Two]
  1. What was the assumption about the origin of urban life in India before the Keeladi dig?

(A)         The origins lay in the northern Gangetic plains, which urbanised earlier than the south.

(B)         The Indus Valley Civilization was the first urban civilization of India.

(C)         The second urbanization was known to be in the Magadha empire.

(D)         Both (A) and (B)

  1. “The Keeladi excavations further challenge the idea of a single fountainhead of Indian life.” — in elaboration of this sentence, which of these options follows?

(A)         Dominant theories of how urban and modern life came about in ancient India were proved wrong by the Keeladi archaeological dig.

(B)         Neither the Indus Valley Civilization, nor the ancient urban civilization of Magadha are clear explanations of how urban life emerged in the Keeladi region of Southern India in the third century BCE.

(C)         The Keeladi archaeological dig proved that Indian urban and modern life emerged independently in several historical periods and geographies, and no one theory is enough to explain it.

(D)         None of the above

  1. Language, including a script similar to the Brahmi script, emerged in Keeladi in the sixth century BCE. Which of the following is the most convincing conclusion from this statement?

(A)         Keeladi is a centre of culture and learning far superior to any others in ancient India.

(B)         People of Keeladi were illiterate and could not use language to inscribe on their pots and pans.

(C)         Ancient urban history of India, as we know it today, could significantly be altered by the findings of the advances achieved by the Keeladi civilization.

(D)         All the above

  1. BCE is the acronym for:

(A)         Before the Common Era

(B)         Before Colloquial Era

(C)         Before Chapel Eternal

(D)         Behind Christ Era

  1. “A farmer could write his own name on a pot he owned. The fight going on here is ‘You are not the one to teach me to write, I have learnt it myself.’ ” — these sentences imply:

(A)         That the Keeladi civilization was an inegalitarian one.

(B)         That the Keeladi civilization did not conserve the access to education and literacy only for the elite.

(C)         That the farmers of the Keeladi civilization were also potters.

(D)         All the above

III.          The call of self-expression turned the village of the internet into a city, which expanded at time-lapse speed, social connections bristling like neurons in every direction. At twelve, I was writing five hundred words a day on a public LiveJournal. By twenty-five, my job was to write things that would attract, ideally, a hundred thousand strangers per post. Now I’m thirty, and most of my life is inextricable from the internet, and its mazes of incessant forced connection—this feverish, electric, unliveable hell.

The curdling of the social internet happened slowly and then all at once. The tipping point, I’d guess, was around 2012. People were losing excitement about the internet, starting to articulate a set of new truisms. Facebook had become tedious, trivial, exhausting. Instagram seemed better, but would soon reveal its underlying function as a three-ring circus of happiness and popularity and success. Twitter, for all its discursive promise, was where everyone tweeted complaints at airlines and moaned about articles that had been commissioned to make people moan. The dream of a better, truer self on the internet was slipping away. Where we had once been free to be ourselves online, we were now chained to ourselves online, and this made us self-conscious. Platforms that promised connection began inducing mass alienation. The freedom promised by the internet started to seem like something whose greatest potential lay in the realm of misuse.

Even as we became increasingly sad and ugly on the internet, the mirage of the better online self continued to glimmer. As a medium, the internet is defined by a built-in performance incentive. In real life, you can walk around living life and be visible to other people. But on the internet—for anyone to see you, you have to act. You have to communicate in order to maintain an internet presence. And, because the internet’s central platforms are built around personal profiles, it can seem—first at a mechanical level, and later on as an encoded instinct—like the main purpose of this communication is to make yourself look good. Online reward mechanisms beg to substitute for offline ones, and then overtake them. This is why everyone tries to look so hot and well-travelled on Instagram; why everyone seems so smug and triumphant on Facebook; and why, on Twitter, making a righteous political statement has come to seem, for many people, like a political good in itself. The everyday madness perpetuated by the internet is the madness of this architecture, which positions personal identity as the centre of the universe. It’s as if we’ve been placed on a lookout that oversees the entire world and given a pair of binoculars that makes everything look like our own reflection.

[Extracted, with edits and revisions, from Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion, by Jia Tolentino, Random House, 2019.]
  1. Which of the following statements can be inferred from the above passage?

(A)         The internet expanded very slowly

(B)         the internet can be used to cause harm

(C)         The internet is addictive

(D)         the main purpose of social media platforms is to dissuade people from showing off

  1. All the following statements are ‘truisms’, except:

(A)         The internet has changed the way the world works.

(B)         A preference for cat videos can reveal a lot about your personality.

(C)         Like with any tool, digital technology has both advantages and disadvantages.

(D)         Only time can tell what the future holds.

  1. Which of the following comes closest to the underlined sentence in the passage?

(A)         The way we use the internet says a lot about who we are.

(B)         The internet has reduced the distance between people living across the world.

(C)         The internet has the ability to customise what we access based on our identity.

(D)         The internet only shows us what we don’t want to see.

  1. Which of the following is a metaphor?

(A)         the village of the internet

(B)         this feverish, electric, unliveable hell

(C)         three-ring circus of happiness and popularity and success

(D)         all the above

  1. Which of the following categories best describes this piece of writing?

(A)         Non-fiction essay

(B)         Fiction

(C)         Academic paper

(D)         Poem

  1. Down by the sandy banks of the Yamuna River, the men must work quickly. At a little past 12 a.m. one humid night in May, they pull back the black plastic tarp covering three boreholes sunk deep in the ground. They then drag thick hoses toward a queue of 20-odd tanker trucks idling quietly with their headlights turned off. The men work in a team: While one man fits a hose’s mouth over a borehole, another clambers atop a truck at the front of the line and shoves the tube’s opposite end into the empty steel cistern attached to the vehicle’s creaky frame. ‘On kar!’ someone shouts in Hinglish; almost instantly, his orders to ‘switch it on’ are obeyed. Diesel generators, housed in nearby sheds, begin to thrum. Submersible pumps, installed in the borehole’s shafts, drone as they disgorge thousands of gallons of groundwater from deep in the earth. The liquid gushes through the hoses and into the trucks’ tanks. The full trucks don’t wait around. As the hose team continues its work, drivers nose down a rutted dirt path until they reach a nearby highway. There, they turn on their lights and pick up speed, rushing to sell their bounty to factories and hospitals, malls and hotels, apartments and hutments across this city of 25 million. Everything about this business is illegal: the boreholes dug without permission, the trucks operating without permits, the water sold without testing or treatment. ‘Water work is night work,’ says a middle-aged neighbour who lives near the covert pumping station and requested anonymity. ‘Bosses arrange buyers, labour fills tankers, the police look the other way, and the muscle makes sure that no one says nothing to nobody.’ Teams like this one are ubiquitous in Delhi, where the official water supply falls short of the city’s needs. A quarter of Delhi’s households live without a piped-water connection; most of the rest receive water for only a few hours each day. So residents have come to rely on private truck owners—the most visible strands of a dispersed web of city councillors, farmers, real estate agents, and fixers who source millions of gallons of water each day from illicit boreholes, and sell the liquid for profit. The entrenched system has a local moniker: the water-tanker mafia. A 2013 audit found that the city loses 60 percent of its water supply to leakages, theft, and a failure to collect revenue. The mafia defends its work as a community service, but there is a much darker picture of Delhi’s subversive water industry: one of a thriving black market populated by small-time freelance agents who are exploiting a fast-depleting common resource and in turn threatening India’s long-term water security.
[Extracted, with edits and revisions, from: “At the Mercy of the Water Mafia”, by Aman Sethi, Foreign Policy]
  1. Which of the following can be inferred from the passage?

(A)         The water tanker mafia’s operations, though illegal, are justified given the vital service they provide to the people of Delhi.

(B)         The water supplied by the water tanker mafia is potentially contaminated.

(C)         Private truck owners play the most important role in the operations of the water tanker mafia.

(D)         The water supplied by the water tank mafia is meant primarily for residential use.

  1. Which of the following, used in the passage, suggests that the illegal supply of groundwater is not a recent phenomenon?

(A)         Entrenched

(B)         Ubiquitous

(C)         Long-term water security

(D)         Fast-depleting common resource

  1. Which of the following seems to be the author’s main concern in the passage?

(A)         Delhi’s water supply infrastructure does not adequately cater to all its residents.

(B)         The illegal operations of the water tank mafia do not depend on the complicity of a range of actors, including the police and city councillors.

(C)         The petty profiteering of a few actors comes at the immense cost of India’s sustainable access to water.

(D)         All the above

  1. All of the following are sounds you can hear as the water tankers are filled, except:

(A)         Creaking

(B)         Thrumming

(C)         Droning

(D)         Gushing

  1. Which of the following words from the passage means ‘hidden’?

(A)         Illicit

(B)         Idling

(C)         Subversive

(D)         Covert

  1. English encodes class in India. It does so by sliding into the DNA of social division: income, caste, gender, religion or place of belonging. The threat it poses to social cohesion has worried public commentators across the political spectrum. in an address delivered as independent india’s Parliament dilly-dallied over the suggestion to replace English with regional languages as the medium of instruction for higher education, Gandhi said, ‘This blighting imposition of a foreign medium upon the youth of the country will be counted by history as one of the greatest tragedies. Our boys think, and rightly in the present circumstances, that without English they cannot get government service. Girls are taught English as a passport to marriage.’

A hundred years later, the language continues to be seen as a tool of exclusion. The problem now is about inequality of access. ‘To be denied English is harmful to the individual as well as our society,’ writes Chetan Bhagat, self-appointed leader of a class war set off by unequal access to English.

Bhagat, an engineer-turned-investment banker, wrote his first college romance in English in 2004. Then only a certain kind of person—someone who grew up reading, writing and speaking the language—wrote books in English—big words, long sentences, literary pretension, heavy with orientalism. In the ten years since Bhagat put the popular in ‘popular’ English fiction, he has written six other novels and sold millions of copies all told. With every new book, all written in deliberately simple English, Bhagat has recruited thousands of new soldiers in his crusade against what he calls the ‘caste system around the language’. Bhagat even has a term for Indians who ‘have’ English: E1. ‘These people had parents who spoke English, had access to good English-medium schools—typically in big cities, and gained early proficiency, which enabled them to consume English products such as newspapers, books and films. English is so instinctive to them that even some of their thought patterns are in English. These people are much in demand.’ The people E1 presumably control, through a nexus of privilege built on ownership of English, are E2: ‘probably ten times the E 1s. They are technically familiar with the language. [But] if they sit in an interview conducted by E1s, they will come across as incompetent, even though they may be equally intelligent, creative or hard¬working.’

The situation may not be so comically stark. The haves and have-nots may not exactly fit into Bhagat’s stereotypes of urban, sophisticated rich people and provincial, uncultured poor. His argument does not factor in many other walls around English in India. You are more likely to learn English if you are born a man rather than a woman, high caste rather than low caste, south Indian rather than north Indian. There is more than one kind of E1 and more than one kind of E2. And there is more than one way E2s can overthrow E1s. One is to speak it like they know it.

[Extracted, with edits and revisions, from Dreamers: How Young Indians Are Changing the World, by Snigdha Poonam, Penguin Viking, 2018.]
  1. Which of the following can be inferred about the author’s views on English in contemporary India?

(A)         The ability to speak English in India depends on place and social identity.

(B)         English is not an Indian language.

(C)         English language fluency does not necessarily imply competence.

(D)         People’s views on English are divided along political lines.

  1. Who among the following would defy Chetan Bhagat’s neat categorisation of Indian English-speakers into E1 and E2?

(A)         Savitha, an above-average student in an English medium school in Mumbai, belongs to an upper-middle class family. Public speaking makes her extremely nervous and she fumbles through all her interviews.

(B)         Moin, once a milkman in Ranchi, learns English at the age of 17. After a lot of hard work, he becomes an instructor of spoken English at a thriving institute.

(C)         both (A) and (B)

(D)         Neither (A) nor (B)

  1. Which of the following best describes the author’s response to Bhagat’s views on English?

(A)         The author dismisses his views as a self-appointed expert.

(B)         The author completely agrees with his views.

(C)         The author neither agrees nor disagrees with his views.

(D)         The author considers his views and finds that they lack nuance.

  1. Which of the following can be inferred from Gandhi’s views with respect to English in post-independence India?

(A)         English should not be taught as a subject in Indian universities.

(B)         English proficiency is vital in order to gain entry into the bureaucracy.

(C)         Indian women cannot get rich if they do not know English.

(D)         None of the above

  1. All the following pairs of words are synonyms, except:

(A)         Stark, sharp

(B)         Sophisticated, spoilt

(C)         Crusade, campaign

(D)         Cohesion, unity

Download Complete Past Year Papers of CLAT

We have compiled complete CLAT papers (2008 - 2023) with solutions into one neat, beautifully formatted bundle for you to download, view offline or print. You can download it by clicking below

Download CLAT Question Papers and Solutions