History is one of the major subjects of the Civil Services Examination (CSE). It is a part of the preliminary and mains stages of the examination. Also, History is one of the 48 optional subjects. This subject is one of the most demanding subjects but is also slightly difficult given its syllabus.
The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) has recently released its official notification for CSE 2021 Examination. Candidates who are sitting for this year must have a copy of the latest syllabus of UPSC that will be a guiding light for the rest of their preparation. Here, we are going to discuss some most important topics from History which aspirants should make notes of. It will be helpful for them in both prelims and mains examination.
History Topics for UPSC Prelims
The UPSC does not give a comprehensive syllabus for the prelims stage. ‘History of India and Indian National Movement’ is a topic that is mentioned in the Prelims syllabus of History. Since, aspirants know that the approach towards IAS preparation is more of an integrated manner, where candidates are suggested to prepare for both prelims and mains together, hence candidates should also check mains history syllabus. This will help them have broad topics to cover.
Let’s categorize topics are per the main periods in history:
- Ancient History
- Medieval History
- Modern Indian History
We are not taking world history as it is not a part of prelims.
Now, the mains topics for each history period are mentioned in the table below:
|Ancient History||● Prehistoric Age
● Indus Valley Civilization
● Pre-Vedic and Post-Vedic Era
● Sangam Age – Poets, Places
● Magadha Empire Dynasties, Kings and their administration.
● Ashoka – His reign and rock edicts/pillars.
● Society under Mauryan Empire
● Foreign Travellers – Ibn Batuta, Hieun Tsang, Fa-Hien etc.
● Post-Mauryans – Kushans, Sakas etc.
● Society and Administration under Gupta Empire
|Medieval History||● Tripartite Struggle – Palas, Pratiharas, Rashtrakutas
● Muhammad Ghori and Muhammad Ghazni attacks
● Vijayanagar Kingdom
● Delhi Sultanate
● Mughal Empire
|Modern Indian History||● Advent of Europeans
● Carnatic Wars
● Anglo-Mysore, Anglo-Sikh, Anglo-Maratha wars, etc.
● Battle of Plassey
● Battle of Buxar
● Revolt of 1857
● Indian National Congress Sessions – Places and Presidents
● National Movements – Non-Cooperation, Civil Disobedience, Quit India Movement
● Famous Personalities of Freedom Struggle
● Governor-General and Viceroys – Administration
● Important Acts in British India
● Indian Independence
● Constituent Assembly
● India’s wars with China, Pakistan
The above-mentioned topics are a must-read for the preliminary stage of the examination. Aspirants should know that the same topics asked in IAS Prelims are also repeated in Mains where World History and Art & Culture are also a part.
History Topics for Mains
The topics remain the same as mentioned above. However, the approach towards the preparation of the mains stage is different than that of prelims. Let’s see how a candidate has to approach history for mains exam:
- The intent both on facts and writing is important.
- The questions focus more on analysis of the historic episode than on the factual data existing.
Hence, candidates should not miss on these factors. Now, let’s have a look at the important topics of world history:
World History Topics for UPSC
- First World War
- Second War
- Revolutions – America, Russia and France
- Doctrines – Imperialism, Nazism, Fascism
- Unification of Italy; and Germany
- World – Bi-Polar, Uni-Polar
- Cold War
- USSR Disintegration – Soviet Union
- World Philosophies
If a candidate focuses on these topics, and UPSC previous year question papers, he/she will be able to complete the largest chunk of history.
As the UPSC Prelims examination is a few months away, aspiring candidates can revise the given topics to be at their best on the D-Day which is 27th June 2021.