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  • Saturday, May 14, 2005

    Syllabus of History for Prelims

    1. Prehistoric cultures in India
    2. Indus Civilization. Origins. The Mature Phase: extent, society, economy and culture. Contacts with other cultures.Problems of decline.
    3. Geographical distribution and characteristics of pastoral and farming communities outside the Indus region, from the neolithic to early iron phases.
    4. Vedic society. The Vedic texts; changefrom Rigvedic to later Vedic phases. Religion; Upanishadic thought. Political and social organisation; evolutuion of monarchy and varna system.
    5. State formation and urbanization, from the mahajanapadas to the Nandas. Jainism and Buddhism. Factors for the spread of Buddhism.
    6. The Mauryan Empire. Chandragupta; Megasthenes. Asoka and his inscriptions; his dhamma, administration, culture and art. The Arthasastra.
    7. 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.
    8. The Guptas and their successors (to c. 750 AD). Changes in political organisation of empire. Economy and society. Literature and science. Arts.

    9. Early Medieval India. Major dynasties; the Chola Empire. Agrarian and political structures. The Rajaputras. Extent of social mobility. Postition of women. The Arabs in Sind and the Ghaznavides.
    10. Cultural trends, 750-1200, Religious conditions : importance of temples and monastic institutions; Sankaracharya; Islam; Sufism. Literature and Science. Alberuni’s "India". Art and architecture.
    11-12. Thirteenth and fourteenth Centuries: Ghorian invasions causes and consequences. Delhi Sultanate under the "Slave" Rulers. Alauddin Khalji : Conquests; administrative, agrarian and economic measures. Muhammad Tughlug'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.
    13. The fifteenth and early 16th Century : major Provinicial dynasties; Vijaya-nagara Empire. The Lodis, First phase of the Mughal Empire: Babur, Humayun. The Sur empire and administration. The Portuguese.
    Montheistic movements: Kabir; Guru Nanak and Sikhism; Bhakti. Growth of regional literatures. Art and Culture.
    14-15. 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.
    16. Decline of 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.

    17. British expansion : The Carnatic Wars, Conquest of Bengal. Mysore and its resitance to British expansion: The three Anglo-Maratha Wars. Early structure of British raj: Regulating and Pitt's India Acts.
    18. 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.
    19. 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: rise of modern literature in Indian languages. Social reforms measures before 1857.
    20. Resistance to British rule : Early uprisings; The 1857 Revolt- causes, nature, course and consequences.
    21. Indian Freedom struggle-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.
    22. Gandhi and his thought; Gandhian techniques of mas 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.
    23. Separatist Trends in Indian nationalist politics- the Muslim League and the Hindu Mahasabha; The post -1945 developments; Partition and Independence.
    24. India independent to 1964. A parliamentary, secular, dmocratic republic the 1950 Constitution). Jawahalal Nehru's vision of a developed, socialist society. Planning and state-controlled industrialization. Agrarian reforms. Foreign policy of Non-alignment. Border conflict with China, and Chinese aggression.

    General Write up:

    A visit to the following link can be useful for the details of the syllabus:

    There are 120 questions in History as elective option. The questions appear in Hindi and English language only. The Hindi questions on usually on the right hand side and English questions are on the left hand side.
    As per general trend, up to 90 correct answer along with 100 correct answers in General Studies can get you entry into Mains examination.
    The question paper of 120 questions carry 300 marks. Each question carry 2.5 marks.
    There is no negative marking at all.
    Another general trend is that every year you find 5 to 7 questions about which you do not know the answers at all. Even the experts sometimes look out for their answers.
    On the whole you can attempt nearly 110 correct answers.
    Another feature is that if you are well prepared, you will learn that you are able to complete your paper within 90 minutes. You are left with lot of time in elective subject like history. Therefore, when you receive the paper, do not panic. Go in a relax manner.
    It is a general suggestion that you read one whole page at a time. There are generally 8 to 9 questions. Suppose you know the correct answers to all those questions. Put some mark against the correct on the question paper. Before moving to next page, mark the answer on the OMR (answer sheet). If you do not know the answer to any of the question, make some bold mark against the question number on the on the question paper and move on.
    If you have any doubt about the correct option then it is better to leave it for the time being. Move on to the next sheet and continue.
    Repeat the process and continue till the end of the question paper.

    Then restart the process. This time look only at those questions which you have not attempted or left only because there was some confusion.
    At this stage, you must be particular at the time of marking answers on the OMR answer sheet. It happens that sometime you have to mark answer on 15 question but you put mark on question 45. Be careful. There are mostly 30 answer columns. They are shaded in bunch of five.
    It helps if you look at the number of answer columns and number of questions in each column. Remember there are space for 150 answers and your required answers are only for 120 questions.

    There are three sections viz Section A, B, and C.
    Section A corresponds to Ancient History of India.

    Section B corresponds to Medieval history of India.
    Section C corresponds to Modern History of India.

    A general distribution over 120 questions means that each section should get 40 questions each. However, if you make a survey of last years papers, you find that it is never equally distributed in such a manner. Modern India or Ancient History have received more than 40 questions on them.
    On the other hand, it is easy to prepare Ancient History. The Modern History is important because you find three questions upto 75 marks question in General Studies Mains question paper. Similarly, in General studies, you may find nearly ten to fifteen questions which can be classified as questions on Modern History.
    Modern History on whole is very vast. But it can be easily managed by adopting one or two good books as basic books. From basic books, it is meant that you would have read one good book on Modern period thoroughly.
    Books will be discussed separately. Some suggestion has already been given on this blog and ugc blog which can be accessed from My profile section on this blog.
    In addition to the books written there, I have recently added to my notes from A New History of Ancient India by V. C. Pandey and Anup Pandey (himself a civil servant), and India and World Civilization by D. P. Singhal. (you may read and keep copy of Pandey book but buy Singhal's book only if you are student of history or book lover. It is worth keeping especially for the ancient history section. However, this book will be referred to in many questions and question banks which will continue to appear here.)
    However, one Refresher type book must be kept along with basic books. These refresher books have a good bank of question papers. Complete Guide Indian History by V. K. Aghnihotri is still the best.
    In addition to above books suggested elsewhere, IGNOU notes are unsurpassable.

    (Next Article will be on How to write answers for HIstory option for Mains)

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