CAT 2019 VARC section was a true nightmare. It was the most taxing section of the three. With some of its questions requiring critical reasoning, demanded even the avid of the readers to read and reread the passages before landing on an answer. We've tried our best to present these actual questions from CAT 2019 VARC section in their least intimidating from (at least in the font), with detailed solutions in a student friendly format to test yourself and understand the importance of reading for VARC section of the CAT exam. For a curated reading list head out here: Bharath’s Reading List. If you are planning to take CAT 2019 paper as a full fledged mock, it would help if you go back to : CAT Question Bank and solve questions that are not from actual CAT Question papers.
Around the world, capital cities are disgorging bureaucrats. In the post-colonial fervour of the 20th century, coastal capitals picked by trade-focused empires were spurned for “regionally neutral” new ones . . . . But decamping wholesale is costly and unpopular; governments these days prefer piecemeal dispersal. The trend reflects how the world has changed. In past eras, when information travelled at a snail’s pace, civil servants had to cluster together. But now desk-workers can ping emails and video-chat around the world. Travel for face-to-face meetings may be unavoidable, but transport links, too, have improved. . . .
Proponents of moving civil servants around promise countless benefits. It disperses the risk that a terrorist attack or natural disaster will cripple an entire government. Wonks in the sticks will be inspired by new ideas that walled-off capitals cannot conjure up. Autonomous regulators perform best far from the pressure and lobbying of the big city. Some even hail a cure for ascendant cynicism and populism. The unloved bureaucrats of faraway capitals will become as popular as firefighters once they mix with regular folk.
Beyond these sunny visions, dispersing central-government functions usually has three specific aims: to improve the lives of both civil servants and those living in clogged capitals; to save money; and to redress regional imbalances. The trouble is that these goals are not always realised.
The first aim—improving living conditions—has a long pedigree. After the second world war Britain moved thousands of civil servants to “agreeable English country towns” as London was rebuilt. But swapping the capital for somewhere smaller is not always agreeable. Attrition rates can exceed 80%. . . . The second reason to pack bureaucrats off is to save money. Office space costs far more in capitals. . . . Agencies that are moved elsewhere can often recruit better workers on lower salaries than in capitals, where well-paying multinationals mop up talent.
The third reason to shift is to rebalance regional inequality. . . . Norway treats federal jobs as a resource every region deserves to enjoy, like profits from oil. Where government jobs go, private ones follow. . . . Sometimes the aim is to fulfil the potential of a country’s second-tier cities. Unlike poor, remote places, bigger cities can make the most of relocated government agencies, linking them to local universities and businesses and supplying a better-educated workforce. The decision in 1946 to set up America’s Centres for Disease Control in Atlanta rather than Washington, D.C., has transformed the city into a hub for health-sector research and business.
The dilemma is obvious. Pick small, poor towns, and areas of high unemployment get new jobs, but it is hard to attract the most qualified workers; opt for larger cities with infrastructure and better-qualified residents, and the country’s most deprived areas see little benefit. . . .
Others contend that decentralisation begets corruption by making government agencies less accountable. . . . A study in America found that state-government corruption is worse when the state capital is isolated—journalists, who tend to live in the bigger cities, become less watchful of those in power.
According to the passage, colonial powers located their capitals:
The “dilemma” mentioned in the passage refers to:
People who support decentralising central government functions are LEAST likely to cite which of the following reasons for their view?
The “long pedigree” of the aim to shift civil servants to improve their living standards implies that this move:
According to the author, relocating government agencies has not always been a success for all of the following reasons EXCEPT:
War, natural disasters and climate change are destroying some of the world's most precious cultural sites. Google is trying to help preserve these archaeological wonders by allowing users access to 3D images of these treasures through its site.
But the project is raising questions about Google's motivations and about who should own the digital copyrights. Some critics call it a form of "digital colonialism."
When it comes to archaeological treasures, the losses have been mounting. ISIS blew up parts of the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria and an earthquake hit Bagan, an ancient city in Myanmar, damaging dozens of temples, in 2016. In the past, all archaeologists and historians had for restoration and research were photos, drawings, remnants and intuition.
But that's changing. Before the earthquake at Bagan, many of the temples on the site were scanned. . . . [These] scans . . . are on Google's Arts & Culture site. The digital renditions allow viewers to virtually wander the halls of the temple, look up-close at paintings and turn the building over, to look up at its chambers. . . . [Google Arts & Culture] works with museums and other nonprofits . . . to put high-quality images online.
The images of the temples in Bagan are part of a collaboration with CyArk, a nonprofit that creates the 3D scanning of historic sites. . . . Google . . . says [it] doesn't make money off this website, but it fits in with Google's mission to make the world's information available and useful.
Critics say the collaboration could be an attempt by a large corporation to wrap itself in the sheen of culture. Ethan Watrall, an archaeologist, professor at Michigan State University and a member of the Society for American Archaeology, says he's not comfortable with the arrangement between CyArk and Google. . . . Watrall says this project is just a way for Google to promote Google. "They want to make this material accessible so people will browse it and be filled with wonder by it," he says. "But at its core, it's all about advertisements and driving traffic." Watrall says these images belong on the site of a museum or educational institution, where there is serious scholarship and a very different mission. . . .
[There's] another issue for some archaeologists and art historians. CyArk owns the copyrights of the scans — not the countries where these sites are located. That means the countries need CyArk's permission to use these images for commercial purposes.
Erin Thompson, a professor of art crime at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, says it's the latest example of a Western nation appropriating a foreign culture, a centuries-long battle. . . . CyArk says it copyrights the scans so no one can use them in an inappropriate way. The company says it works closely with authorities during the process, even training local people to help. But critics like Thompson are not persuaded. . . . She would prefer the scans to be owned by the countries and people where these sites are located.
Based on his views mentioned in the passage, one could best characterise Dr. Watrall as being:
By “digital colonialism”, critics of the CyArk–Google project are referring to the fact that:
Which of the following, if true, would most strongly invalidate Dr. Watrall’s objections?
In Dr. Thompson’s view, CyArk owning the copyright of its digital scans of archaeological sites is akin to:
Of the following arguments, which one is LEAST likely to be used by the companies that digitally scan cultural sites?
The magic of squatter cities is that they are improved steadily and gradually by their residents. To a planner’s eye, these cities look chaotic. I trained as a biologist and to my eye, they look organic. Squatter cities are also unexpectedly green. They have maximum density—1 million people per square mile in some areas of Mumbai—and have minimum energy and material use. People get around by foot, bicycle, rickshaw, or the universal shared taxi.
Not everything is efficient in the slums, though. In the Brazilian favelas where electricity is stolen and therefore free, people leave their lights on all day. But in most slums recycling is literally a way of life. The Dharavi slum in Mumbai has 400 recycling units and 30,000 ragpickers. Six thousand tons of rubbish are sorted every day. In 2007, the Economist reported that in Vietnam and Mozambique, “Waves of gleaners sift the sweepings of Hanoi’s streets, just as Mozambiquan children pick over the rubbish of Maputo’s main tip. Every city in Asia and Latin America has an industry based on gathering up old cardboard boxes.” . . .
In his 1985 article, Calthorpe made a statement that still jars with most people: “The city is the most environmentally benign form of human settlement. Each city dweller consumes less land, less energy, less water, and produces less pollution than his counterpart in settlements of lower densities.” “Green Manhattan” was the inflammatory title of a 2004 New Yorker article by David Owen. “By the most significant measures,” he wrote, “New York is the greenest community in the United States, and one of the greenest cities in the world . . . The key to New York’s relative environmental benignity is its extreme compactness. . . . Placing one and a half million people on a twenty-three-square-mile island sharply reduces their opportunities to be wasteful.” He went on to note that this very compactness forces people to live in the world’s most energy-efficient apartment buildings. . . .
Urban density allows half of humanity to live on 2.8 per cent of the land. . . . Consider just the infrastructure efficiencies. According to a 2004 UN report: “The concentration of population and enterprises in urban areas greatly reduces the unit cost of piped water, sewers, drains, roads, electricity, garbage collection, transport, health care, and schools.” . . .
[T]he nationally subsidised city of Manaus in northern Brazil “answers the question” of how to stop deforestation: give people decent jobs. Then they can afford houses, and gain security. One hundred thousand people who would otherwise be deforesting the jungle around Manaus are now prospering in town making such things as mobile phones and televisions. . . .
Of course, fast-growing cities are far from an unmitigated good. They concentrate crime, pollution, disease and injustice as much as business, innovation, education and entertainment. . . . But if they are overall a net good for those who move there, it is because cities offer more than just jobs. They are transformative: in the slums, as well as the office towers and leafy suburbs, the progress is from hick to metropolitan to cosmopolitan . . .
Which one of the following statements would undermine the author’s stand regarding the greenness of cities?
According to the passage, squatter cities are environment-friendly for all of the following reasons EXCEPT:
We can infer that Calthorpe’s statement “still jars” with most people because most people:
In the context of the passage, the author refers to Manaus in order to:
From the passage it can be inferred that cities are good places to live in for all of the following reasons EXCEPT that they:
For two years, I tracked down dozens of . . . Chinese in Upper Egypt [who were] selling lingerie. In a deeply conservative region, where Egyptian families rarely allow women to work or own businesses, the Chinese flourished because of their status as outsiders. They didn’t gossip, and they kept their opinions to themselves. In a New Yorker article entitled “Learning to Speak Lingerie,” I described the Chinese use of Arabic as another non-threatening characteristic. I wrote, “Unlike Mandarin, Arabic is inflected for gender, and Chinese dealers, who learn the language strictly by ear, often pick up speech patterns from female customers. I’ve come to think of it as the lingerie dialect, and there’s something disarming about these Chinese men speaking in the feminine voice.” . . .
When I wrote about the Chinese in the New Yorker, most readers seemed to appreciate the unusual perspective. But as I often find with topics that involve the Middle East, some people had trouble getting past the black-and-white quality of a byline. “This piece is so orientalist I don’t know what to do,” Aisha Gani, a reporter who worked at The Guardian, tweeted. Another colleague at the British paper, Iman Amrani, agreed: “I wouldn’t have minded an article on the subject written by an Egyptian woman—probably would have had better insight.” . . .
As an MOL (man of language), I also take issue with this kind of essentialism. Empathy and understanding are not inherited traits, and they are not strictly tied to gender and race. An individual who wrestles with a difficult language can learn to be more sympathetic to outsiders and open to different experiences of the world. This learning process—the embarrassments, the frustrations, the gradual sense of understanding and connection—is invariably transformative. In Upper Egypt, the Chinese experience of struggling to learn Arabic and local culture had made them much more thoughtful. In the same way, I was interested in their lives not because of some kind of voyeurism, but because I had also experienced Egypt and Arabic as an outsider. And both the Chinese and the Egyptians welcomed me because I spoke their languages. My identity as a white male was far less important than my ability to communicate.
And that easily lobbed word—“Orientalist”—hardly captures the complexity of our interactions. What exactly is the dynamic when a man from Missouri observes a Zhejiang native selling lingerie to an Upper Egyptian woman? . . . If all of us now stand beside the same river, speaking in ways we all understand, who’s looking east and who’s looking west? Which way is Oriental?
For all of our current interest in identity politics, there’s no corresponding sense of identity linguistics. You are what you speak—the words that run throughout your mind are at least as fundamental to your selfhood as is your ethnicity or your gender. And sometimes it’s healthy to consider human characteristics that are not inborn, rigid, and outwardly defined. After all, you can always learn another language and change who you are.
Which of the following can be inferred from the author’s claim, “Which way is Oriental?”
A French ethnographer decides to study the culture of a Nigerian tribe. Which of the following is most likely to be the view of the author of the passage?
The author’s critics would argue that:
According to the passage, which of the following is not responsible for language’s ability to change us?
British colonial policy . . . went through two policy phases, or at least there were two strategies between which its policies actually oscillated, sometimes to its great advantage. At first, the new colonial apparatus exercised caution, and occupied India by a mix of military power and subtle diplomacy, the high ground in the middle of the circle of circles. This, however, pushed them into contradictions. For, whatever their sense of the strangeness of the country and the thinness of colonial presence, the British colonial state represented the great conquering discourse of Enlightenment rationalism, entering India precisely at the moment of its greatest unchecked arrogance. As inheritors and representatives of this discourse, which carried everything before it, this colonial state could hardly adopt for long such a self-denying attitude. It had restructured everything in Europe—the productive system, the political regimes, the moral and cognitive orders—and would do the same in India, particularly as some empirically inclined theorists of that generation considered the colonies a massive laboratory of utilitarian or other theoretical experiments. Consequently, the colonial state could not settle simply for eminence at the cost of its marginality; it began to take initiatives to introduce the logic of modernity into Indian society. But this modernity did not enter a passive society. Sometimes, its initiatives were resisted by pre-existing structural forms. At times, there was a more direct form of collective resistance. Therefore the map of continuity and discontinuity that this state left behind at the time of independence was rather complex and has to be traced with care.
Most significantly, of course, initiatives for . . . modernity came to assume an external character. The acceptance of modernity came to be connected, ineradicably, with subjection. This again points to two different problems, one theoretical, the other political. Theoretically, because modernity was externally introduced, it is explanatorily unhelpful to apply the logical format of the ‘transition process’ to this pattern of change. Such a logical format would be wrong on two counts. First, however subtly, it would imply that what was proposed to be built was something like European capitalism. (And, in any case, historians have forcefully argued that what it was to replace was not like feudalism, with or without modificatory adjectives.) But, more fundamentally, the logical structure of endogenous change does not apply here. Here transformation agendas attack as an external force. This externality is not something that can be casually mentioned and forgotten. It is inscribed on every move, every object, every proposal, every legislative act, each line of causality. It comes to be marked on the epoch itself. This repetitive emphasis on externality should not be seen as a nationalist initiative that is so well rehearsed in Indian social science. . . .
Quite apart from the externality of the entire historical proposal of modernity, some of its contents were remarkable. . . . Economic reforms, or rather alterations . . . did not foreshadow the construction of a classical capitalist economy, with its necessary emphasis on extractive and transport sectors. What happened was the creation of a degenerate version of capitalism—what early dependency theorists called the ‘development of underdevelopment’.
All of the following statements about British colonialism can be inferred from the first paragraph, EXCEPT that it:
All of the following statements, if true, could be seen as supporting the arguments in the passage, EXCEPT:
“Consequently, the colonial state could not settle simply for eminence at the cost of its marginality; it began to take initiatives to introduce the logic of modernity into Indian society.” Which of the following best captures the sense of this statement?
Which one of the following 5-word sequences best captures the flow of the arguments in the passage?
Which of the following observations is a valid conclusion to draw from the author’s statement that “the logical structure of endogenous change does not apply here. Here transformation agendas attack as an external force”?
The four sentences (labelled 1, 2, 3, 4) given below, when properly sequenced would yield a coherent paragraph. Decide on the proper sequence of the order of the sentences and key in the sequence of the four numbers as your answer.
1. Conceptualisations of ‘women’s time’ as contrary to clock-time and clock-time as synonymous with economic rationalism are two of the deleterious results of this representation.
2. While dichotomies of ‘men’s time’, ‘women’s time’, clock-time, and caring time can be analytically useful, this article argues that everyday caring practices incorporate a multiplicity of times; and both men and women can engage in these multiple-times
3. When the everyday practices of working sole fathers and working sole mothers are carefully examined to explore conceptualisations of gendered time, it is found that caring time is often more focused on the clock than generally theorised.
4. Clock-time has been consistently represented in feminist literature as a masculine artefact representative of a ‘time is money’ perspective.
1. Living things—animals and plants—typically exhibit correlational structure.
2. Adaptive behaviour depends on cognitive economy, treating objects as equivalent.
3. The information we receive from our senses, from the world, typically has structure and order, and is not arbitrary.
4. To categorize an object means to consider it equivalent to other things in that category, and different—along some salient dimension—from things that are not.
1. To the uninitiated listener, atonal music can sound like chaotic, random noise.
2. Atonality is a condition of music in which the constructs of the music do not ‘live’ within the confines of a particular key signature, scale, or mode.
3. After you realize the amount of knowledge, skill, and technical expertise required to compose or perform it, your tune may change, so to speak.
4. However, atonality is one of the most important movements in 20th century music.
1. Such a belief in the harmony of nature requires a purpose presumably imposed by the goodness and wisdom of a deity.
2. These parts, all fit together into an integrated, well-ordered system that was created by design.
3. Historically, the notion of a balance of nature is part observational, part metaphysical, and not scientific in any way.
4. It is an example of an ancient belief system called teleology, the notion that what we call nature has a predetermined destiny associated with its component parts.
The passage given below is followed by four alternate summaries. Choose the option that best captures the essence of the passage.
Language is an autapomorphy found only in our lineage, and not shared with other branches of our group such as primates. We also have no definitive evidence that any species other than Homo sapiens ever had language. However, it must be noted straightaway that ‘language’ is not a monolithic entity, but rather a complex bundle of traits that must have evolved over a significant time frame.... Moreover, language crucially draws on aspects of cognition that are long established in the primate lineage, such as memory: the language faculty as a whole comprises more than just the uniquely linguistic features.
Social movement organizations often struggle to mobilize supporters from allied movements in their efforts to achieve critical mass. Organizations with hybrid identities—those whose organizational identities span the boundaries of two or more social movements, issues, or identities—are vital to mobilizing these constituencies. Studies of the post-9/11 U.S. antiwar movement show that individuals with past involvement in non-anti-war movements are more likely to join hybrid organizations than are individuals without involvement in non-anti-war movements. In addition, they show that organizations with hybrid identities occupy relatively more central positions in inter-organizational contact networks within the antiwar movement and thus recruit significantly more participants in demonstrations than do nonhybrid organizations.
Privacy-challenged office workers may find it hard to believe, but open-plan offices and cubicles were invented by architects and designers who thought that to break down the social walls that divide people, you had to break down the real walls, too. Modernist architects saw walls and rooms as downright fascist. The spaciousness and flexibility of an open plan would liberate homeowners and office dwellers from the confines of boxes. But companies took up their idea less out of a democratic ideology than a desire to pack in as many workers as they could. The typical open-plan office of the first half of the 20th century was a white-collar assembly line. Cubicles were interior designers’ attempt to put some soul back in.
Five sentences related to a topic are given below. Four of them can be put together to form a meaningful and coherent short paragraph. Identify the odd one out. Choose its number as your answer and key it in.
1. A particularly interesting example of inference occurs in many single panel comics.
2. It’s the creator’s participation and imagination that makes the single-panel comic so engaging and so rewarding.
3. Often, the humor requires you to imagine what happened in the instant immediately before or immediately after the panel you’re being shown.
4. To get the joke, you actually have to figure out what some of these missing panels must be.
5. It is as though the cartoonist devised a series of panels to tell the story and has chosen to show you only one – and typically not even the funniest.
1. Socrates told us that ‘the unexamined life is not worth living’ and that to ‘know thyself’ is the path to true wisdom
2. It suggests that you should adopt an ancient rhetorical method favored by the likes of Julius Caesar and known as ‘illeism’ – or speaking about yourself in the third person.
3. Research has shown that people who are prone to rumination also often suffer from impaired decision making under pressure and are at a substantially increased risk of depression.
4. Simple rumination – the process of churning your concerns around in your head – is not the way to achieve self-realization.
5. The idea is that this small change in perspective can clear your emotional fog, allowing you to see past your biases.
1. Ocean plastic is problematic for a number of reasons, but primarily because marine animals eat it.
2. The largest numerical proportion of ocean plastic falls in small size fractions.
3. Aside from clogging up the digestive tracts of marine life, plastic also tends to adsorb pollutants from the water column.
4. Plastic in the oceans is arguably one of the most important and pervasive environmental problems today.
5. Eating plastic has a number of negative consequences such as the retention of plastic particles in the gut for longer periods than normal food particles.
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