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Reading Comprehension: English Reading Comprehension Exercises with Answers, Sample Passages for Reading Comprehension Test for GRE, CAT, IELTS preparation

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English Reading Comprehension Test Questions and Answers. Improve your ability to read and comprehend English Passages

Q91. > Right through history, imperial powers have clung to their > possessions to death. Why, then, did Britain in 1947 give up the jewel > in its crown, India? For many reasons. The independence struggle > exposed the hollowness of the white man’s burden. Provincial self-rule > since 1935 paved the way for full self-rule. Churchill resisted > independence, but the Labour Government of Atlee was anti-imperialist > by ideology. Finally, the Royal Indian Navy Mutiny in 1946 raised > fears of a second Sepoy Mutiny and convinced British waverers that it > was safer to withdraw gracefully. But politico-military explanations > are not enough. The basis of the empire was always money. The end of > the empire had much to do with the fact that British imperialism had > ceased to be profitable. World War II left Britain victorious but > deeply indebted, needing Marshall Aid and loans from the World Bank. > This constituted a strong financial case for ending the > no-longer-profitable empire. Empire building is expensive. > > > The US is spending one billion dollars a day in operations in Iraq > that fall well short of full-scale imperialism. Through the centuries, > empire building was costly, yet constantly undertaken because it > promised high returns. The investment was in armies and conquest. The > returns came through plunder and taxes from the conquered. No > immorality was attached to imperial loot and plunder. The biggest > conquerors were typically revered (hence titles like Alexander the > Great, Akbar the Great, and Peter the Great). The bigger and richer > the empire, the more the plunderer was admired. This mindset gradually > changed with the rise of new ideas about equality and governing for > the public good, ideas that culminated in the French and the American > Revolutions. Robert Clive was impeached for making a little money on > the side, and so was Warren Hastings. The white man’s burden came up > as a new moral rationale for conquest. It was supposedly for The > Princeton Review CAT sample paper 12 good of the conquered. This led > to much-muddled hypocrisy. On the one hand, the empire needed to be > profitable. On the other hand, the white man’s burden made brazen loot > impossible. > > An additional factor deterring loot was the 1857 Sepoy Mutiny. Though > crushed, it reminded the British vividly that they were a tiny ethnic > group who could not rule a gigantic subcontinent without the support > of important locals. After 1857, the British stopped annexing one > princely state after another, and instead treated the princes as > allies. Land revenue was fixed in absolute terms, partly to prevent > local unrest and partly to promote the notion of the white man’s > burden. The empire proclaimed itself to be a protector of the Indian > peasant against exploitation by Indian elites. This was denounced as > hypocrisy by nationalists like Dadabhai Naoroji in the 19th century, > who complained that land taxes led to an enormous drain from India to > Britain. Objective calculations by historians like Angus Maddison > suggest a drain of perhaps 1.6 percent of Indian Gross National > Product in the 19th century. > > But land revenue was more or less fixed by the Raj in absolute terms, > and so its real value diminished rapidly with inflation in the 20th > century. By World War II, India had ceased to be a profit centre for > the British Empire. Historically, conquered nations paid taxes to > finance fresh wars of the conqueror. India itself was asked to pay a > large sum at the end of World War I to help repair Britain’s finances. > But, as shown by historian Indivar Kamtekar, the independence movement > led by Gandhiji changed the political landscape, and made > mass-taxation of India increasingly difficult. By World War II, this > had become politically impossible. Far from taxing India to pay for > World War II, Britain actually began paying India for its contribution > of men and goods. Troops from white dominions like Australia, Canada, > and New Zealand were paid for entirely by these countries, but Indian > costs were shared by the British government. Britain paid in the form > of non-convertible sterling balances, which mounted swiftly. The > conqueror was paying the conquered, undercutting the profitability on > which all empire is founded. Churchill opposed this, and wanted to tax > India rather than owe it money. But he was overruled by Indian hands, > who said India would resist payment, and paralyze the war effort. Leo > Amery, Secretary of Sta te for India, said that when you are driving > in a taxi to the station to catch a life-or-death train, you do not > loudly announce that you have doubts whether to pay the fare. Thus, > World War II converted India from a debtor to a creditor with over one > billion pounds in sterling balances. > > Britain, meanwhile, became the biggest debtor in the world. It’s not > worth ruling over people who are afraid to tax. Which of the following best expresses the main purpose of the author?

  1.  To present the various reasons that can lead to the collapse of an empire and the granting of independence to the subjects of an empire.
  2.  To point out the critical role played by the ‘white man’s burden’ in making a colonizing power give up its claims to native possessions.
  3.  To highlight the contradictory impulse underpinning empire building which is a costly business but very attractive at the same time.
  4.  To illustrate how the erosion of the financial basis of an empire supports the granting of independence to an empire’s constituents.
  5.  None of these

Solution : To illustrate how the erosion of the financial basis of an empire supports the granting of independence to an empire’s constituents.
Q92. > Right through history, imperial powers have clung to their possessions > to death. Why, then, did Britain in 1947 give up the jewel in its > crown, India? For many reasons. The independence struggle exposed the > hollowness of the white man’s burden. Provincial self-rule since 1935 > paved the way for full self-rule. Churchill resisted independence, but > the Labour Government of Atlee was anti-imperialist by ideology. > Finally, the Royal Indian Navy Mutiny in 1946 raised fears of a second > Sepoy Mutiny and convinced British waverers that it was safer to > withdraw gracefully. But politico-military explanations are not > enough. The basis of the empire was always money. The end of the > empire had much to do with the fact that British imperialism had > ceased to be profitable. World War II left Britain victorious but > deeply indebted, needing Marshall Aid and loans from the World Bank. > This constituted a strong financial case for ending the > no-longer-profitable empire. Empire building is expensive. > > > The US is spending one billion dollars a day in operations in Iraq > that fall well short of full-scale imperialism. Through the centuries, > empire building was costly, yet constantly undertaken because it > promised high returns. The investment was in armies and conquest. The > returns came through plunder and taxes from the conquered. No > immorality was attached to imperial loot and plunder. The biggest > conquerors were typically revered (hence titles like Alexander the > Great, Akbar the Great, and Peter the Great). The bigger and richer > the empire, the more the plunderer was admired. This mindset gradually > changed with the rise of new ideas about equality and governing for > the public good, ideas that culminated in the French and the American > Revolutions. Robert Clive was impeached for making a little money on > the side, and so was Warren Hastings. The white man’s burden came up > as a new moral rationale for conquest. It was supposedly for The > Princeton Review CAT sample paper 12 good of the conquered. This led > to much-muddled hypocrisy. On the one hand, the empire needed to be > profitable. On the other hand, the white man’s burden made brazen loot > impossible. > > An additional factor deterring loot was the 1857 Sepoy Mutiny. Though > crushed, it reminded the British vividly that they were a tiny ethnic > group who could not rule a gigantic subcontinent without the support > of important locals. After 1857, the British stopped annexing one > princely state after another, and instead treated the princes as > allies. Land revenue was fixed in absolute terms, partly to prevent > local unrest and partly to promote the notion of the white man’s > burden. The empire proclaimed itself to be a protector of the Indian > peasant against exploitation by Indian elites. This was denounced as > hypocrisy by nationalists like Dadabhai Naoroji in the 19th century, > who complained that land taxes led to an enormous drain from India to > Britain. Objective calculations by historians like Angus Maddison > suggest a drain of perhaps 1.6 percent of Indian Gross National > Product in the 19th century. > > But land revenue was more or less fixed by the Raj in absolute terms, > and so its real value diminished rapidly with inflation in the 20th > century. By World War II, India had ceased to be a profit centre for > the British Empire. Historically, conquered nations paid taxes to > finance fresh wars of the conqueror. India itself was asked to pay a > large sum at the end of World War I to help repair Britain’s finances. > But, as shown by historian Indivar Kamtekar, the independence movement > led by Gandhiji changed the political landscape, and made > mass-taxation of India increasingly difficult. By World War II, this > had become politically impossible. Far from taxing India to pay for > World War II, Britain actually began paying India for its contribution > of men and goods. Troops from white dominions like Australia, Canada, > and New Zealand were paid for entirely by these countries, but Indian > costs were shared by the British government. Britain paid in the form > of non-convertible sterling balances, which mounted swiftly. The > conqueror was paying the conquered, undercutting the profitability on > which all empire is founded. Churchill opposed this, and wanted to tax > India rather than owe it money. But he was overruled by Indian hands, > who said India would resist payment, and paralyze the war effort. Leo > Amery, Secretary of Sta te for India, said that when you are driving > in a taxi to the station to catch a life-or-death train, you do not > loudly announce that you have doubts whether to pay the fare. Thus, > World War II converted India from a debtor to a creditor with over one > billion pounds in sterling balances. > > Britain, meanwhile, became the biggest debtor in the world. It’s not > worth ruling over people who are afraid to tax. What was the main lesson the British learned from the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857?

  1.  That the local princes were allies, not foes.
  2.  That the land revenue from India would decline dramatically.
  3.  That the British were a small ethnic group.
  4.  That India would be increasingly difficult to rule. The Princeton Review CAT sample paper 13
  5.  None of these

Solution : That the British were a small ethnic group.

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Q93. > Right through history, imperial powers have clung to their possessions > to death. Why, then, did Britain in 1947 give up the jewel in its > crown, India? For many reasons. The independence struggle exposed the > hollowness of the white man’s burden. Provincial self-rule since 1935 > paved the way for full self-rule. Churchill resisted independence, but > the Labour Government of Atlee was anti-imperialist by ideology. > Finally, the Royal Indian Navy Mutiny in 1946 raised fears of a second > Sepoy Mutiny and convinced British waverers that it was safer to > withdraw gracefully. But politico-military explanations are not > enough. The basis of the empire was always money. The end of the > empire had much to do with the fact that British imperialism had > ceased to be profitable. World War II left Britain victorious but > deeply indebted, needing Marshall Aid and loans from the World Bank. > This constituted a strong financial case for ending the > no-longer-profitable empire. Empire building is expensive. > > > The US is spending one billion dollars a day in operations in Iraq > that fall well short of full-scale imperialism. Through the centuries, > empire building was costly, yet constantly undertaken because it > promised high returns. The investment was in armies and conquest. The > returns came through plunder and taxes from the conquered. No > immorality was attached to imperial loot and plunder. The biggest > conquerors were typically revered (hence titles like Alexander the > Great, Akbar the Great, and Peter the Great). The bigger and richer > the empire, the more the plunderer was admired. This mindset gradually > changed with the rise of new ideas about equality and governing for > the public good, ideas that culminated in the French and the American > Revolutions. Robert Clive was impeached for making a little money on > the side, and so was Warren Hastings. The white man’s burden came up > as a new moral rationale for conquest. It was supposedly for The > Princeton Review CAT sample paper 12 good of the conquered. This led > to much-muddled hypocrisy. On the one hand, the empire needed to be > profitable. On the other hand, the white man’s burden made brazen loot > impossible. > > An additional factor deterring loot was the 1857 Sepoy Mutiny. Though > crushed, it reminded the British vividly that they were a tiny ethnic > group who could not rule a gigantic subcontinent without the support > of important locals. After 1857, the British stopped annexing one > princely state after another, and instead treated the princes as > allies. Land revenue was fixed in absolute terms, partly to prevent > local unrest and partly to promote the notion of the white man’s > burden. The empire proclaimed itself to be a protector of the Indian > peasant against exploitation by Indian elites. This was denounced as > hypocrisy by nationalists like Dadabhai Naoroji in the 19th century, > who complained that land taxes led to an enormous drain from India to > Britain. Objective calculations by historians like Angus Maddison > suggest a drain of perhaps 1.6 percent of Indian Gross National > Product in the 19th century. > > But land revenue was more or less fixed by the Raj in absolute terms, > and so its real value diminished rapidly with inflation in the 20th > century. By World War II, India had ceased to be a profit centre for > the British Empire. Historically, conquered nations paid taxes to > finance fresh wars of the conqueror. India itself was asked to pay a > large sum at the end of World War I to help repair Britain’s finances. > But, as shown by historian Indivar Kamtekar, the independence movement > led by Gandhiji changed the political landscape, and made > mass-taxation of India increasingly difficult. By World War II, this > had become politically impossible. Far from taxing India to pay for > World War II, Britain actually began paying India for its contribution > of men and goods. Troops from white dominions like Australia, Canada, > and New Zealand were paid for entirely by these countries, but Indian > costs were shared by the British government. Britain paid in the form > of non-convertible sterling balances, which mounted swiftly. The > conqueror was paying the conquered, undercutting the profitability on > which all empire is founded. Churchill opposed this, and wanted to tax > India rather than owe it money. But he was overruled by Indian hands, > who said India would resist payment, and paralyze the war effort. Leo > Amery, Secretary of Sta te for India, said that when you are driving > in a taxi to the station to catch a life-or-death train, you do not > loudly announce that you have doubts whether to pay the fare. Thus, > World War II converted India from a debtor to a creditor with over one > billion pounds in sterling balances. > > Britain, meanwhile, became the biggest debtor in the world. It’s not > worth ruling over people who are afraid to tax. Which of the following best captures the meaning of the ‘white man’s burden’, as it is used by the author?

  1.  The British claim to a civilizing mission directed at ensuring the good of the natives.
  2.  The inspiration for the French and the American Revolutions.
  3.  The resource drain that had to be borne by the home country’s white population.
  4.  An imperative that made open looting of resources impossible.
  5.  None of these

Solution : The British claim to a civilizing mission directed at ensuring the good of the natives.
Q94. > Right through history, imperial powers have clung to their > possessions to death. Why, then, did Britain in 1947 give up the jewel > in its crown, India? For many reasons. The independence struggle > exposed the hollowness of the white man’s burden. Provincial self-rule > since 1935 paved the way for full self-rule. Churchill resisted > independence, but the Labour Government of Atlee was anti-imperialist > by ideology. Finally, the Royal Indian Navy Mutiny in 1946 raised > fears of a second Sepoy Mutiny and convinced British waverers that it > was safer to withdraw gracefully. But politico-military explanations > are not enough. The basis of the empire was always money. The end of > the empire had much to do with the fact that British imperialism had > ceased to be profitable. World War II left Britain victorious but > deeply indebted, needing Marshall Aid and loans from the World Bank. > This constituted a strong financial case for ending the > no-longer-profitable empire. Empire building is expensive. > > > The US is spending one billion dollars a day in operations in Iraq > that fall well short of full-scale imperialism. Through the centuries, > empire building was costly, yet constantly undertaken because it > promised high returns. The investment was in armies and conquest. The > returns came through plunder and taxes from the conquered. No > immorality was attached to imperial loot and plunder. The biggest > conquerors were typically revered (hence titles like Alexander the > Great, Akbar the Great, and Peter the Great). The bigger and richer > the empire, the more the plunderer was admired. This mindset gradually > changed with the rise of new ideas about equality and governing for > the public good, ideas that culminated in the French and the American > Revolutions. Robert Clive was impeached for making a little money on > the side, and so was Warren Hastings. The white man’s burden came up > as a new moral rationale for conquest. It was supposedly for The > Princeton Review CAT sample paper 12 good of the conquered. This led > to much-muddled hypocrisy. On the one hand, the empire needed to be > profitable. On the other hand, the white man’s burden made brazen loot > impossible. > > An additional factor deterring loot was the 1857 Sepoy Mutiny. Though > crushed, it reminded the British vividly that they were a tiny ethnic > group who could not rule a gigantic subcontinent without the support > of important locals. After 1857, the British stopped annexing one > princely state after another, and instead treated the princes as > allies. Land revenue was fixed in absolute terms, partly to prevent > local unrest and partly to promote the notion of the white man’s > burden. The empire proclaimed itself to be a protector of the Indian > peasant against exploitation by Indian elites. This was denounced as > hypocrisy by nationalists like Dadabhai Naoroji in the 19th century, > who complained that land taxes led to an enormous drain from India to > Britain. Objective calculations by historians like Angus Maddison > suggest a drain of perhaps 1.6 percent of Indian Gross National > Product in the 19th century. > > But land revenue was more or less fixed by the Raj in absolute terms, > and so its real value diminished rapidly with inflation in the 20th > century. By World War II, India had ceased to be a profit centre for > the British Empire. Historically, conquered nations paid taxes to > finance fresh wars of the conqueror. India itself was asked to pay a > large sum at the end of World War I to help repair Britain’s finances. > But, as shown by historian Indivar Kamtekar, the independence movement > led by Gandhiji changed the political landscape, and made > mass-taxation of India increasingly difficult. By World War II, this > had become politically impossible. Far from taxing India to pay for > World War II, Britain actually began paying India for its contribution > of men and goods. Troops from white dominions like Australia, Canada, > and New Zealand were paid for entirely by these countries, but Indian > costs were shared by the British government. Britain paid in the form > of non-convertible sterling balances, which mounted swiftly. The > conqueror was paying the conquered, undercutting the profitability on > which all empire is founded. Churchill opposed this, and wanted to tax > India rather than owe it money. But he was overruled by Indian hands, > who said India would resist payment, and paralyze the war effort. Leo > Amery, Secretary of Sta te for India, said that when you are driving > in a taxi to the station to catch a life-or-death train, you do not > loudly announce that you have doubts whether to pay the fare. Thus, > World War II converted India from a debtor to a creditor with over one > billion pounds in sterling balances. > > Britain, meanwhile, became the biggest debtor in the world. It’s not > worth ruling over people who are afraid to tax. Why didn’t Britain tax India to finance its World War II efforts?

  1.  Australia, Canada, and New Zealand had offered to pay for the Indian troops.
  2.  India had already paid a sufficiently large sum during World War I.
  3.  It was afraid that if India refused to pay, Britain’s war efforts would be jeopardised.
  4.  The British empire was built on the premise that the conqueror pays the conquered.
  5.  None of these

Solution : It was afraid that if India refused to pay, Britain’s war efforts would be jeopardised.

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Q95. > There is nothing undesirable in science or technology. But the > question of science and ethics is complex. A few dominant groups may > take decisions affecting whole populations. Therefore, we have to > learn as quickly as possible how to manage emerging technology in a > true public- interest perspective. The best way to do this is to > encourage participatory decision making so that science and technology > policies are a natural consequence of wider democratic processes. As > most countries today are moving towards democratic forms of society, > decisions are now increasingly being taken not by experts alone, but > by the public at large. We have seen this with nuclear power stations, > hydroelectric dams, toxic-waste disposal etc. Technology assessment > and forecasting can be usefully based on the views of several > organisations including non-scientific people. Such a forecasting > system should come out with scenarios on the basis of which decisions > can be taken at the national and the global levels. > > The science-communication capability of a society, at the grass-roots > level, is of critical importance. However, we have very little > expertise in this direction. The scientific community may not be well > equipped to understand the social implications of its research. So, it > should work closely with social scientists, public interest groups, > the bureaucracy and the political system. Scientists have to inform > the end users about the developments in science and technology and > their consequences in a language which they can understand. Earlier, > we used to talk about superstitions and inculcating scientific temper > among people. Now, a new cadre of science communicators with an > entirely new orientation is needed. Also, each new science and > technology project must earmark allocations for educating the public. > Even in the case of social development problems, such as health, > malnutrition, and sanitation, the problem is essentially of delivery. > It is largely a question of involving people in the delivery system. > > Globalisation has created both concerns and opportunities for > scientific research. The cost of research is going up because it is > increasingly instrument-oriented and instruments are expensive. > Moreover, research is seen as a business investment and business looks > for heavy and quick returns. There is a tendency to closely guard > intellectual knowledge to become competitive in the market. As a > consequence, many people with good ideas are kept away from practising > science. This is a major concern for developing countries. These > countries possess the maximum number of talented and original minds, > yet the number of scientific people for research from these countries > is dwindling. Our science and technology delivery system is weak. When > a technology is developed, its efficacy depends upon the delivery > mechanism adopted, how we take results of the laboratory to the end > users. Our scientists and technologists in the West contribute greatly > to the world’s economy but the same people cannot do it here because > of the weak delivery system. The issues of technology transfer, > commercialisation and adoption need to be addressed seriously. We have > to adjust our research and development priorities and technology > development paths in view of the competitive market conditions. > Globalisation has increased the mobility of trained people. > > But it has also resulted in huge financial compensations and human > resource costs. Now, a person trained in infotech for a mere three > months may be paid far more than the highest paid scientist in the > country. This is not because of the value of the expertise, but is an > insurance in lieu of increased mobility. For us, the rapidly expanding > global market for trained human resources is a big opportunity. Out of > 20 million students in the country, even if we manage to train one > million in emerging technologies, we can soon emerge as a world leader > in this field. How can the risk involved in technology be controlled and managed?

  1.  Dominant groups, reaching out to masses must be curbed.
  2.  Public and experts are to participate equally importantly.
  3.  Science and ethics are to be alienated.
  4.  The scientific commodity has to be well equipped.
  5.  Science and technology system must be strengthened.

Solution : Public and experts are to participate equally importantly.
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Solution :

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