Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Syllabus and Book list: History Main Exam

History optional is one of the popular optional and also a scoring subject. Because syllabus is  minutely defined, it seems that it is very vast subject. Even if we accept it as vast, it is very safe subject and well directed preparation will always fetch good marks. Lot of material is available in market because of which  confusion regarding study material is not uncommon as far as this subject is concerned. Following is the syllabus and material concerned for each topic.
 1. Sources: Archaeological sources: Exploration, excavation, epigraphy numismatics, monuments. Literary sources: Indigenous: Primary and secondary ; poetry, scientific literature, literature , literature in regional languages, religious literature. Foreign accounts: Greek, Chinese and Arab writers. IGNOU Notes of Ancient India.

 2. Pre-history and Proto-history: Geographical factors ; hunting and gathering (paleol i thic and mesol i thic) ; Beginning of agriculture (neolithic and chalcolithic). Romila Thapar: Ancient India.
3. Indus Valley Civilization: Origin, date, extent, characteristics, decline, survival and significance, art and architecture. IGNOU Notes of Ancient India.
 4. Megalithic Cultures: Distribution of pastoral and farming cultures outside the Indus, Development of community life, Settlements, Development of agriculture, Crafts, Pottery, and Iron industry. IGNOU Notes of Ancient India.
 5.Aryans and Vedic Period: Expansions of Aryans in India. Vedic Period: Religious and philosophic literature; Transformation from Rig Vedic period to the later Vedic period; Political, social and economical life; Significance of the Vedic Age; Evolution of Monarchy and Varna system. Romila Thapar: Ancient India and D.N. JHA Ancient India:In Historical Outline.
 6. Period of Mahajanapadas: Formation of States (Mahajanapada) : Republics and monarchies; Rise of urban centres; Trade routes; Economic growth; Introduction of coinage; Spread of Jainism and Buddhism; Rise of Magadha and Nandas. Iranian and Macedonian invasions and their impact.Romila Thapar: Ancient India.
7. Mauryan Empire: Foundation of the Mauryan Empire , Chandragupta, Kautilya and Arthashastra; Ashoka; Concept of Dharma; Edicts; Polity, Administration; Economy; Art, architecture and sculpture; External contacts; Religion; Spread of religion; Literature. Disintegration of the empire; Sungas and Kanvas.Romila Thapar: Ancient India.
 8. Post - Mauryan Period (Indo-Greeks, Sakas, Kushanas, Western Kshatrapas): Contact with outside world; growth of urban centres, economy, coinage, development of religions, Mahayana, social conditions, art, architecture, culture, literature and science.Romila Thapar: Ancient India.
9. Early State and Society in Eastern India, Deccan and South India: Kharavela, The Satavahanas, Tamil States of the Sangam Age; Administration , economy, land grants, coinage, t rade guilds and urban centres; Buddhist centres; Sangam literature and culture; Art and architecture.Romila Thapar: Ancient India.
 10. Guptas, Vakatakas and Vardhanas: Polity and administration , Economic conditions, Coinage of the Guptas, Land grants, Decline of urban centres, Indian feudalism, Caste system, Position of women , Education and educational inst i tut ions; Nalanda, Vikramshi la and Vallabhi, Literature, scientific literature, art and architecture.Romila Thapar: Ancient India.
11. Regional States during Gupta Era: The Kadambas, Pallavas, Chalukyas of Badami; Polity and Administration, Trade guilds, Literature; growth of Vaishnava and Saiva religions. Tamil Bhakti movement, Shankaracharya; Vedanta; Institutions of temple and temple architecture; Palas, Senas, Rashtrakutas, Paramaras, Polity and administration; Cultural aspects. Arab conquest of Sind; Alberuni, The Chalukyas of Kalyana, Cholas, Hoysalas, Pandyas; Polity and Administration; local Government ; Growth of ar t and archi tecture, religious sects, Institution of temple and Mathas, Agraharas, education and literature, economy and society.Romila Thapar: Ancient India.
12. Themes in Early Indian Cultural History: Languages and texts, major stages in the evolution of art and architecture, major philosophical thinkers and schools, ideas in Science and Mathematics.Romila Thapar: Ancient India.
 13. Early Medieval India, 750-1200: - Polity: Major political developments in Northern India and the Peninsula, origin and the rise of Rajputs - The Cholas: administ rat ion, vi l lage economy and society - “Indian Feudalism” - Agrarian economy and urban settlements - Trade and commerce - Society: the status of the Brahman and the new social order - Condition of women - Indian science and technologyRomila Thapar: Ancient India.
 14. Cultural Traditions in India, 750-1200: - Philosophy: Skankaracharya and Vedanta, Ramanuja and Vishishtadvaita, Madhva and Brahma-Mimansa - Religion: Forms and features of religion, Tamil devotional cult, growth of Bhakti, Islam and its arrival in India, Sufism - Literature: Literature in Sanskrit, growth of Tamil literature, literature in the newly developing languages, Kalhan’s Rajtarangini, Alberuni’s India - Art and Architecture: Temple architecture, sculpture, paintingRomila Thapar: Ancient India.
 15. The Thirteenth Century: - Establishment of the Delhi Sultanate: The Ghurian invasions – factors behind Ghurian success - Economic, social and cultural consequences - Foundation of Delhi Sultanate and early Turkish Sultans. - Consolidation: The rule of Iltutmish and Balban. Medieval India by Satish Chandra VOL I
16. The Fourteenth Century: - “The Khalji Revolution” - Alauddin Khalji: Conquests and territorial expansion, agrarian and economic measures - Muhammad Tughluq: Major projects, agrar ian measures, bureaucracy of Muhammad Tughluq. - Fi ruz Tughluq: Agrar ian measures, achievements in civil engineering and public works, decline of the Sultanate, foreign contacts and Ibn Battuta’s account.Medieval India by Satish Chandra VOL I 
17. Society, Culture and Economy in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries: - Society: composition of rural society, ruling classes, town dwellers, women, religious classes, caste and slavery under the Sultanate, Bhakti movement, Sufi movement. - Culture: Persian literature, literature in the regional languages of North India, literature in the languages of South India, Sultanate architecture and new structural forms, painting, evolution of a composite culture. - Economy: Agricultural production, rise of urban economy and non-agricultural production, trade and commerce.Medieval India by Satish Chandra VOL I 
18. The Fifteenth and Early Sixteenth Century – Political Developments and Economy: - Rise of Provincial Dynasties: Bengal, Kashmir(Zainul Abedin), Gujarat , Malwa, Bahmanids. - The Vijayanagra Empire. - Lodis. - Mughal Empire, First phase: Babur and Humayun. - The Sur Empire: Sher Shah’s administration. - Portuguese Colonial enterprise. - Bhakti and Sufi Movements.Medieval India by Satish Chandra VOL II and Medieval India by J.L. Mehta VOL III .
 19. The Fifteenth and early Sixteenth Century – Society and Culture: - Regional cultural specificities. - Literary traditions. - Provincial architecture. - Society, culture, literature and the arts. in Vijayanagara Empire.Medieval India by Satish Chandra VOL II 
20.Akbar: - Conquests and consolidation of the Empire. - Establishment of Jagir and Mansab systems. - Rajput policy. - Evolution of religious and social outlook, theory of Sulh-i-kul and religious policy. - Court patronage of art and technology.Medieval India by Satish Chandra VOL II 
21. Mughal Empire in the Seventeenth Century: - Major administrative policies of Jahangir, Shahjahan and Aurangzeb. - The Empire and the Zamindars. - Religious policies of Jahangir , Shahjahan and Aurangzeb. - Nature of the Mughal State. - Late Seventeenth century crisis and the revolts. - The Ahom Kingdom. - Shivaji and the early Maratha Kingdom.Medieval India by Satish Chandra VOL II 
22. Economy and Society in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries: - Population, agricultural production, craft production. - Towns, commerce with Europe through Dutch, English and French companies : a trade revolution. - Indian mercantile classes, banking, insurance and credit systems. - Condi t ion of peasants, condi t ion of women. - Evolution of the Sikh community and the Khalsa Panth.Medieval India by Satish Chandra VOL II 
23. Culture in the Mughal Empire: - Persian histories and other literature. - Hindi and other religious literature. - Mughal architecture. - Mughal painting. - Provincial architecture and painting. - Classical music. - Science and technology. NBT Publication Book on Medieval India.
 24. The Eighteenth Century: - Factors for the decline of the Mughal Empire. - The regional principalities: Nizam’s Deccan, Bengal, Awadh. - Maratha ascendancy under the Peshwas. - The Maratha fiscal and financial system. - Emergence of Afghan Power, Battle of Panipat:1761. - State of politics, culture and economy on the eve of the British conquest.Modern India Grover and Grover.

 1. European Penetration into India: The Ear ly European Set t lements; The Portuguese and the Dutch; The English and the French East India Companies; Their struggle for supremacy; Carnatic Wars; Bengal -The conflict between the English and the Nawabs of Bengal; Siraj and the English; The Battle of Plassey; Significance of Plassey.Modern India Grover and Grover.
 2. British Expansion in India: Bengal – Mir Jafar and Mir Kasim; The Battle of Buxar; Mysore; The Marathas; The three Anglo-Maratha Wars; The Punjab.Modern India Grover and Grover.
 3. Early Structure of the British Raj: The early administrative structure; From diarchy to direct control; The Regulating Act (1773); The Pitt’s India Act (1784); The Charter Act (1833); The voice of free trade and the changing character of Br i t ish colonial rule; The English utilitarian and India.Modern India Grover and Grover.
 4. Economic Impact of British Colonial Rule: (a) Land revenue settlements in British India; The Permanent Settlement; Ryotwari Settlement ; Mahalwari Settlement ; Economic impact of the revenue arrangements ; Commercialization of agriculture ; Rise of landless agrarian labourers; Impoverishment of the rural society. (b) Dislocation of traditional trade and commerce; De-industrialisation; Decline of traditional crafts; Drain of wealth; Economic Transformation of india ; Railroad and communication network including telegraph and postal services; Famine and poverty in the rural interior; European business enterprise and its limitations.Modern India Grover and Grover. And Modern India by Sumit Sarkar.
5. Social and Cultural Developments: The state of indigenous education, its dislocation; Orientalist-Anglicist Controversy, the Introduction of western educat ion in India; The r ise of press, literature and public opinion; The rise of modern vernacular literature; Progress of science; Christian missionary activities in India.Modern India Grover and Grover.
6 . Social and Religious Reform movements in Bengal and Other Areas: Ram Mohan Roy, The Brahmo Movement; Devendranath Tagore; Is War Chandra Vidyasagar; The Young Bengal Movement; Dayanada Saraswati; The social reform movements in India including Sati, widow Remarriage, child marriage etc.; The contribution of Indian renaissance to the growth of modern India; Islamic revivalism – the Feraizi and Wahabi Movements.Modern India Grover and Grover.
7. Indian Response to British Rule: Peasant movements and tribal uprisings in the 18th and 19th centuries including the Rangpur Dhing (1783), the Kol Rebellion (1832), the Mopla Rebellion in Malabar (1841-1920), the Santal Hul (1855), Indigo Rebel l ion (1859-60) , Deccan Upr ising (1875) and the Munda Ulgulan (1899- 1900); The Great Revolt of 1857 - Origin, Character, Causes of failure the consequences; The shift in the character of peasant upr isings in the post -1857 period; the peasant movements of the 1920s and 1930s.Modern India Grover and Grover. And Modern India by Sumit Sarkar.
8. Factors leading to the birth of Indian Nationalism; Politics of Association; The Foundation of the Indian National Congress; The Safety-valve thesis relating to the birth of the Congress; Programme and objectives of Early Congress; the social composition of early Congress leadership; The Moderates and Extremists; the Partition of Bengal (1905); The Swadeshi Movement in Bengal; the economic and political aspects of Swadeshi Movement; The beginning of revolutionary extremism in India.India's Struggle for Independence by Bipin Chandra.
9. Rise of Gandhi; Character of Gandhian nat ional ism; Gandhi ’s popular appeal ; Rowlatt Satyagraha ; the Khilafat Movement; the Non-co operation Movement; National politics from the end of the Non-cooperation movement to the beginning of the Civil Disobedience movement; the two phases of the Civil Disobedience Movement ; Simon Commission ; The Nehru Report; the Round Table Conferences; Nationalism and the Peasant Movements; Nationalism and Working class movements; Women and Indian youth and students in Indian politics (1885-1947); the election of 1937 and the formation of ministries; Cripps Mission; the Quit India Movement; the Wavell Plan; The Cabinet Mission.i>India's Struggle for Independence by Bipin Chandra.
 10. Constitutional Developments in the Colonial India between 1858 and 1935.
 11. Other strands in the National Movement The Revolutionaries: Bengal, the Punjab, Maharashtra, U.P, the Madras Presidency, Outside India. The Left; The Left within the Congress: Jawaharlal Nehru, Subhas Chandra Bose, the Congress Socialist Party ; the Communist Party of India, other left parties.i>India's Struggle for Independence by Bipin Chandra.
 12. Politics of Separatism; the Muslim League; the Hindu Mahasabha ; Communalism and the politics of partition; Transfer of power; Independence.i>India's Struggle for Independence by Bipin Chandra.
 13. Consolidation as a Nation; Nehru’s Foreign Policy; India and her neighbours (1947-1964); The linguistic reorganisation of States (1935-1947); Regionalism and regional inequality; Integration of Princely States; Princes in electoral politics; the Question of National Language.India after Independance by Bipin Chandra.
14. Caste and Ethnicity after 1947; Backward castes and tribes in post - colonial electoral politics; Dalit movements.i>India's Struggle for Independence by Bipin Chandra.
 15. Economic development and political change; Land reforms ; the politics of planning and rural reconstruction; Ecology and environmental policy in post - colonial India; Progress of science.i>India's Struggle for Independence by Bipin Chandra.
 16. Enlightenment and Modern ideas: (i) Major ideas of Enlightenment: Kant, Rousseau. (ii) Spread of Enlightenment in the colonies. (iii) Rise of socialist ideas (up to Marx); spread of Marxian Socialism.
17. Origins of Modern Politics: (i) European States System. (ii) American Revolution and the Constitution. (iii) French revolution and aftermath, 1789- 1815. (iv) American Civil War with reference to Abraham Lincoln and the abolition of slavery. (v) Br i t ish Democrat ic Pol i t ics, 1815- 1850; Parliamentary Reformers, Free Traders, Chartists.World History by J.N.Mathur (Guide).
 18. Industrialization: (i) English Industrial Revolution : Causes and Impact on Society (ii) Industrialization in other countries: USA, Germany, Russia, Japan (iii) Industrialization and Globalization.World History by J.N.Mathur (Guide).
 19. Nation-State System: (i) Rise of Nationalism in 19th century (ii) Nationalism: state-building in Germany and Italy (iii) Disintegration of Empires in the face of the emergence of nationalities across the world.World History by J.N.Mathur (Guide).
 20. Imperialism and Colonialism: (i) South and South-East Asia (ii) Latin America and South Africa (iii) Australia (iv) Imperialism and free trade: Rise of neo-imperialism.World History by J.N.Mathur (Guide). 21. Revolution and Counter-Revolution: (i) 19th Century European revolutions (ii) The Russian Revolution of 1917- 1921 (iii) Fascist Counter-Revolution, Italy and Germany. (iv) The Chinese Revolution of 1949.World History by J.N.Mathur (Guide).
 22. World Wars: (i) 1st and 2nd World Wars as Total Wars: Societal implications (ii) World War I: Causes and consequences (iii) World War II: Causes and consequence.World History by J.N.Mathur (Guide). 23. The World after World War II: (i) Emergence of two power blocs (ii) Emergence of Third World and non-alignment (iii) UNO and the global disputes.World History by J.N.Mathur (Guide).
24. Liberation from Colonial Rule: (i) Latin America-Bolivar (ii) Arab World-Egypt (iii) Africa-Apartheid to Democracy (iv) South-East Asia-Vietnam. World History by J.N.Mathur (Guide).
25. Decolonization and Underdevelopment: (i) Factors const raining development: Latin America, Africa. World History by J.N.Mathur (Guide).
 26. Unification of Europe: (i) Post War Foundations: NATO and European Community (ii) Consolidation and Expansion of European Community (iii) European Union. World History by J.N.Mathur (Guide).
 27. Disintegration of Soviet Union and the Rise of the Unipolar World: (i) Factors leading to the collapse of Soviet communism and the Soviet Union, 1985-1991 (ii) Political Changes in Eastern Europe 1989-2001. (iii) End of the cold war and US ascendancy in the World as the lone superpower. World History by J.N.Mathur (Guide).


  1. Thank You Very Much for your help.

    However, I have one query regarding reading material for Ancient India. I read Romila Thapar's "Ancient India" as well as A. L. Basham's "A Wonder That Was India". I found Basham's book easy to understand and more structured. Is Basham a better alternative for Romila Thapar?

    1. Apurva as you rightly said A.L.Basham is easy to understand and more structured and hence a better alternative for Romila Thapar. But many aspirant find A.L.Basham very difficult and more time consuming. So if you find Wonder that was India east to understand is really a good thing.
      The suggestions given are more general and thus should be taken with pinch of salt and aspirant should choose books based on self judgement.

  2. sir one of my optional subjects for mains exam are marathi medium so please can you suggest me useful books for history in marathi

    1. All these books which are suggested in this blog post are available in Marathi and published by Ksagar publications and you can use them for your preparations.

  3. Sir, For History Optional, Mains, is it advisable to use Prnted Ready made Notes of any coaching Institute, since these notes are well Organized & grouped under Proper titles, as mentioned in the Syllabus ? if So , Which classes Notes we should go for ? Thank You !

    1. As far as possible printed class notes should be avoided and emphasis must be be given on text books. Thus I will not recommend any printed notes of any class for history optional preparation.

  4. Sir, for ancient india, romila thapar's between Ancient India and Early India, which do you think should I get?
    For medieval india, what do you think about A Comprehensive History of Medieval India by Salma Ahmed Farooqui?
    And for Modern India, what do you think of From Plassey to Partition by Sekhar Bandyopadhyay?
    Sir hoping for a prompt reply.

  5. Is it worth to start prepartion of IAS from my final year of B.E. or after my graduation?

  6. If i give UPSC exam in marathi, will it affect my performance on result of exam? Taking UPSC in marathi means what? tell me in brief.
    Is it mean to give all the subjects in marathi language?

  7. HI SIR. In History mains 2013 paper, 10, 15 ,25 marker questions were also asked. So now is it necessary to cover whole syllabus of History ? Please guide. Thanking You, Sir. - Bhushan Landge (Pune)

  8. Truly
    It is a nice service

  9. good service