History -UPSC Optional Subjects
History – UPSC Optional Subject For Civil Services (Main) Examination
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.
2. Pre-history and Proto-history:
Geographical factors; hunting and gathering (Paleolithic and Mesolithic); Beginning of
agriculture (Neolithic and chalcolithic).
3. Indus Valley Civilization:
Origin, date, extent, characteristics, decline, survival and significance, art and
4. Megalithic Cultures:
Distribution of pastoral and farming cultures outside the Indus, Development of
community life, Settlements, Development of agriculture, Crafts, Pottery, and Iron
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
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
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.
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
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, trade guilds and urban centres; Buddhist centres;
Sangam literature and culture; Art and architecture.
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 institutions; Nalanda, Vikramshila and Vallabhi, Literature,
scientific literature, art and architecture.
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 Govern-ment; Growth of art and architecture, religious sects,
Institution of temple and Mathas, Agraharas, education and literature, economy and
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.
13. Early Medieval India, 750-1200: – Polity:
Major political developments in Northern India and the Peninsula, origin and the rise of
Rajputs – The Cholas: administration, village 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 technology
14. Cultural Traditions in India, 750- 1200: –
Philosophy: Skankaracharya and Vedanta, Ramanuja and Vishishtadvaita, Madhva and
BrahmaMimansa – 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,
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
16. The Fourteenth Century: –
“The Khalji Revolution” – Alauddin Khalji: Conquests and territorial expansion,
agrarian and economic measures – Muhammad Tughluq: Major projects, agrarian
measures, bureaucracy of Muhammad Tughluq – Firuz Tughluq: Agrarian measures,
achievements in civil engineering and public works, decline of the Sultanate, foreign
contacts and Ibn Battuta’s account.: 09235390698
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
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
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.
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-ikul and religious policy – Court patronage of art and technology
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.
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 – Condition of peasants, condition of
women – Evolution of the Sikh community and the Khalsa Panth
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
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
1. European Penetration into India:
The Early European Settlements; 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.
2. British Expansion in India: Bengal : –
Mir Jafar and Mir Kasim; The Battle of Buxar; Mysore; The Marathas; The three AngloMaratha Wars; The Punjab.
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 British colonial rule; The English utilitarian and India.
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 tele-graph and postal services; Famine and poverty in
the rural interior; European business enterprise and its limitations.
5. Social and Cultural Developments:
The state of indigenous education, its dislocation; Orientalist-Anglicist controversy, The
introduction of western education in India; The rise of press, literature and public
opinion; The rise of modern vernacular literature; Progress of science; Christian
missionary activities in India.
6. Social and Religious Reform movements in Bengal and Other Areas:
Ram Mohan Roy, The Brahmo Movement; Devendranath Tagore; Iswarchandra
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.
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 Rebellion (1859-60), Deccan Uprising (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 uprisings in the post-1857
period; the peasant movements of the 1920s and 1930s.
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.
9. Rise of Gandhi; Character of Gandhian nationalism; Gandhi’s popular appeal; Rowlatt
Satyagraha; the Khilafat Movement; the Non-cooperation 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
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.
12.Politics of Separatism; the Muslim League; the Hindu Mahasabha; Communalism and the
politics of partition; Transfer of power; Independence.
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
14. Caste and Ethnicity after 1947; Backward castes and tribes in post-colonial electoral
politics; Dalit movements.
15. Economic development and political change; Land reforms; the politics of planning and
rural reconstruction; Ecology and environmental policy in post – colonial India; Progress
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) British Democratic
Politics, 1815- 1850; Parliamentary Reformers, Free Traders, Chartists..: 09235390698
18.Industrialization: (i) English Industrial Revolution: Causes and Impact on Society (ii)
Industrialization in other countries: USA, Germany, Russia, Japan (iii) Industrialization
19. Nation-State System: (i) Rise of Nationalism in 19th century (ii) Nationalism:
statebuilding in Germany and Italy (iii) Disintegration of Empires in the face of the
emergence of nationalities across the world.
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.
21.Revolution and CounterRevolution: (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
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
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.
24.Liberation from Colonial Rule: (i) Latin America-Bolivar (ii) Arab World-Egypt (iii)
Africa-Apartheid to Democracy (iv) South-East Asia-Vietnam
25.Decolonization and Underdevelopment: (i) Factors constraining development: Latin
26.Unification of Europe: (i) Post War Foundations: NATO and European Community (ii)
Consolidation and Expansion of European Community (iii) European Union.
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.