The History trend and analysis
– History is an essential part of UPSC and numerous questions are asked from this subject.
– History portions are present in the UPSC prelims exam as well as the UPSC mains exam. In the mains exam, it is part of the General Studies Paper 1.
History divided into many parts:
– While some candidates relish reading history, others simply dislike it.
– History is an important subject as it connects the ancient past to the present.
– It helps us understand why the world is as it is today.
– It helps us explore who we are.
– With the right approach, history can be one of the most interesting subjects there are.
First, we will discuss the UPSC syllabus of history…
History syllabus for UPSC
For Preliminary perspective
* Prehistoric cultures in India
* Indus Civilization. Origins. The Mature Phase: extent, society, economy and culture. Contacts with other cultures.Problems of decline.
* Geographical distribution and characteristics of pastoral and farming communities outside the Indus region, from the neolithic to early iron phases.
* Vedic society. The Vedic texts; change from Rigvedic to later Vedic phases. Religion; Upanishadic thought. Political and social organisation; the evolution of monarchy and varna system.
* State formation and urbanization, from the Mahajanapadas to the Nandas. Jainism and Buddhism. Factors for the spread of Buddhism.
* The Mauryan Empire. Chandragupta; Megasthenes. Asoka and his inscriptions; his dhamma, administration, culture and art. The Arthasastra.
* Post-Mauryan India, BC 200- AD 300. Society: Evolution of jatis. The Satavahanas and state formation in Peninsula. Sangam texts and society. Indo-Greeks, Sakas, Parthians, Kushanas; Kanishka. Contacts with the outside world. Religion: Saivism, Bhagavatism, Hinayana and Mahayana Buddhism; Jainism; Culture and art.
* The Guptas and their successors (to c. 750 AD). Changes in the political organisation of empires. Economy and society. Literature and science. Arts.
* Early Medieval India. Major dynasties; the Chola Empire. Agrarian and political structures. The Rajaputras. The extent of social mobility. Position of women. The Arabs in Sind and the Ghaznavids.
* Cultural trends, 750-1200, Religious conditions: the importance of temples and monastic institutions; Sankaracharya; Islam; Sufism. Literature and Science. Alberuni’s “India”. Art and architecture.
* Thirteenth and fourteenth Centuries: Ghorian invasions causes and consequences. Delhi Sultanate under the “Slave” Rulers. Alauddin Khalji: Conquests; administrative, agrarian and economic measures. Muhammad Tughlaq’s innovations. Firuz Tughluq and the decline of the Delhi Sultanate. Growth of commerce and urbanization. Mystic movements in Hinduism and Islam. Literature. Architecture, Technological changes.
* The fifteenth and early 16th Century: major Provincial dynasties; Vijayanagara Empire. The Lodis, First phase of the Mughal Empire: Babur, Humayun. The Sur empire and administration. The Portuguese. Monotheistic movements: Kabir; Guru Nanak and Sikhism; Bhakti. Growth of regional. Art and Culture.
* The Mughal Empire, 1556-1707. Akbar: conquests, administrative measures, jagir and mansab systems; policy of sulh-i-kul. Jahangir, Shahjahan and Aurangzeb: expansion in the Deccan; religious policies. Shivaji. Culture: Persian and regional literatures. Religious thought: Abul Fazl; Maharashtra dharma. Painting. Architecture. Economy: conditions of peasants and artisans, growth in trade; commerce with Europe. Social stratification and status of women.
* The decline of the Mughal Empire, 1707-61. Causes behind decline. Maratha power under the Peshwas. Regional states. The Afghans. Major elements of composite culture. Sawai Jai Singh, astronomer. Rise of Urdu language
* British expansion: The Carnatic Wars, Conquest of Bengal. Mysore and its resistance to British expansion: The three Anglo-Maratha Wars. Early structure of British raj: Regulating and Pitt’s India Acts.
* Economic Impact of the British Raj: Drain of Wealth (Tribute); land revenue settlements (zamindari, ryotwari, mahalwari); Deindustrialisation; Railways and commercialisation of agriculture; Growth of landless labour.
* Cultural encounter and social changes: Introduction of western education and modern ideas. Indian Renaissance, social and religious reform movements; growth of Indian middle class; The press and its impact: the rise of modern literature in Indian languages. Social reforms measures before 1857.
* Resistance to British rule: Early uprisings; The 1857 Revolt- causes, nature, course and consequences.
* Indian Freedom struggle-the the first phase: Growth of national consciousness; Formation of Associations; Establishment of the Indian National Congress and its Moderate phase;- Economic Nationalism; Swadeshi Movement; The growth of “Extremism” and the 1907 split in Congress; The Act of 1909 – the policy of Divide and Rule; Congress-League Pact of 1916.
* Gandhi and his thought; Gandhian techniques of mass mobilisation- Khilafat and Non-Cooperation Movement, Civil Disobedience and Quit India Movement; Other strands in the National Movement-Revolutionaries, the Left, Subhas Chandra Bose and the Indian National Army.
* Separatist Trends in Indian nationalist politics- the Muslim League and the Hindu Mahasabha; The post -1945 developments; Partition and Independence.
* Indian independence to 1964. A parliamentary, secular, democratic (republic the 1950 Constitution). Jawaharlal Nehru’s vision of a developed, socialist society. Planning and state-controlled industrialization. Agrarian reforms. The foreign policy of Non-alignment. Border conflict with China and Chinese aggression.
For Mains perspective
GS I History Syllabus
(Indian Heritage and Culture, History)
– Indian Culture: Salient features of Literature, Art Forms, and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
– Modern Indian History: Significant events, personalities and issues during the middle of the eighteenth century until the present.
– Indian Freedom Struggle: Stages, important contributors and contributions from different parts of the country.
– Post-independence consolidation and reorganization in the country.
– History of the World: Events, forms and effect on the society from 18th century like world wars, the industrial revolution, colonization, redraw of national boundaries, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism, etc.
Trend and analysis of the history–
As per the recent trend, at least 15-20% weightage given to History.
– The key here is to work smart with a tailored strategy for all the categories.
– total of 45-50% asked from modern history syllabus.
✓ 20% of History Questions in Easy category. Meaning, the difficulty level has increased.
✓ Asked 2 Qs from Vishti and Iqta.
✓ Continued that ‘Tokenism’ by asking about Kalyaana Mandapas of Vijaynagar empire.
✓ Relatively easy question on Mahayan Buddhism.
✓ Asked undebatable question about Harappan site.
✓ Asked about the general secretary of the Communist Party of India.
✓ Sudden Affection for relatively less known Saint reappears in the heart of UPSC examiner by asking about Saint Nimbarka.
✓ 2019: 9/15 = 60% of History questions contained two statements or more. Takes more time and mental effort compared to just 1 question with 4 direct options.
✓ 3 MCQ from Nitin’s book, 5 MCQ from Spectrum. So, they’ve continued to be a reliable source of preparation.
✓ UPSC has tightened the quality of paper-setting. Only 1 MCQ could be solved using Guessmastergiri.