This year a question paper at postgraduate level of Punjab University Chandigarh contains a set of questions which are highly useful and significant for History Option of the Civil Services Mains examination. A general survey of last year papers can easily show that they are such questions which have appeared again and again in the Mains examination.
If one adopts the strategy of doing only one Long question (60 marks) from section B of Paper A of History option, then the question paper provides all such questions which could be adopted for selective and extensive study approach. All those question qualify for being asked in the Civil Service Mains paper.
Just Add following question:
Discuss the Mansabdari System of Mughals.
Discuss the society of Mughal period.
The addition of above question gives a set of ten questions.
It is an opinion of one senior lecturer of an affiliated college of Punjab University Chandigarh that the paper was set by Prof. Surinder Singh who is presently the Chairman of history department of that university. Prof. Surinder Singh is known to have guided a score of successful candidates. Some of them have made it IAS, IRS and IPS cadre. Well, there may not be truth in it that he had made this question paper but the set is so comprehensive if any aspiring candidate concentrate on them, then his preparation for Section B of Paper A can be considered complete. It can be claimed that this set is complete for that portion. One can be sure of getting a question from this set and as suggested above, it can be easily verified by making a bank of last five years papers.
As for the books for preparation of above notes are concerned or in other words, if I have to prepare these questions, then I will adopt the following set of books.
Advanced Study in the History of Medieval India by J. L. Mehta, published by Sterling Publishers Private Limited, ISBN 81 207 10150 as the base book or the main book.
The Agrarian System of Mughal India by Irfan Habib. Only for relevant questions.
The Crisis of Empire in the Mughal North India by Muzaffar Alam, OUP. Only of V and VIII question which are as follows:
Examine the nature of Mughal state.
Discuss the theories of modern historians of medieval Indian history for the Decline of Mughal empire.
Some relevant points can also be picked from Ishrat Haq Glimpses of Mughal Culture and Society.
For Mughal Administrative structure:
Mughal Administration by J. N. Sarkar. This book, a very small one, is out of print now. It is believed that it can be obtained from any good library if they have not shifted it to rare book section. It can be easily photostate because it contains hardly 130 pages.
J. L Mehta is complete in its contents, but, A. L. Srivastva book, ( a new reprint in now available). The different system of land revenue is nicely presented and a good note on various modes of land revenue can be made out of it.
Similarly, on nature of Sultan period administration, Wonder that Was India by Rizzvi (not the Basham one) published by Rupa Publication can also be consulted.
Volume VI and Volume VII of R. C. Majumdar should also be read and used at relevant portions.
I am bit infatuated by the notes of IGNOU, they may also be included.
With the set of above nine books, a useful and effective effort can be made. Only one book, that is by J. N. Sarkar, is not available in the market. However, all the above suggested books are available in most of the libraries.
It is repeated here, that the set of question as they appeared are enough for section B. Do not argue about discussing about the political activities of the various Delhi Sultans or Mughals. Such questions are prepared by most of the candidates and they can not get you more than 25 marks in any case. A good presentation covering most of the aspects of the questions involved can easily get more than 30 marks.
No doubt, if you remain confine to those questions, you will be leaving Shivaji, Vijaynagar Empire and Bahamani Kingdom. Well, you have set of ten questions. If you are fearful, you can pick one more topic which is being left out.
As far as cultural aspects are concerned, like art, literature and music of Mughal period, I feel constraint to avoid comment because I am well conversant with them. I accept that question on these aspects are appearing regularly but at present I can not say anything on those topics.
The answers to the questions will appear on this blog.
The set of the questions as they appeared in the annual examination.
I. Examine the nature of state under the Sultans of Delhi.
II. Discuss Alauddin Khalji’s agrarian reforms.
III. What do you understand about Iqta system? Explain.
IV. Critically examine Afghan theory of kingship.
V. Examine the nature of Mughal state.
VI. Critically examine Afghan theory of kingship.
VII. Discuss the land revenue system of the Mughals.
VIII. Discuss the theories of modern historians of medieval Indian history for the Decline of Mughal empire.