UPSC History Syllabus 2024, Optional Syllabus PDF Download

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UPSC History Syllabus 2024

The UPSC history syllabus 2024 covers ancient, medieval and modern Indian history from Harappan culture to the present. Key topics include major dynasties, socio-economic formations, art and architecture, philosophy and literature. Aspirants should focus on understanding chronological events, causes and effects of major developments and their impact. Developing conceptual clarity and practicing answer writing citing examples and substantiating with facts is crucial.

You can download the UPSC CSE History Optional paper Syllabus from the direct link given below.

UPSC History Syllabus 2024 Overview

There is a list of optional subjects for mains in which there are 48 subjects, from which candidates can choose according to their choice. History is one of the optional subjects for the Civil Services Exam conducted by UPSC. The optional paper is conducted for 250 marks. The UPSC CSE optional subject History Syllabus 2024 has two papers, Paper 1 and Paper 2.

Optional History Syllabus for UPSC CSE 2024

The UPSC History syllabus evaluates an aspirant’s grasp of techniques used to study the past and their conceptual understanding of chronological events. In the mains stage, aspects of history fall under General Studies Paper 1 as well. History is a preferred optional subject for many. Key areas include archaeology, archaeological sources, historical architecture, culture and heritage.

If you opt for history optional in UPSC mains, prepare it thoroughly. Go through the UPSC CSE Syllabus and previous years’ History papers. Also study relevant History books for UPSC preparation.

UPSC CSE History Syllabus 2024 Paper 1

1. Sources of History:

  • Archaeological sources:
    • Exploration, excavation, epigraphy, numismatics, monuments.
  • Literary sources:
    • Indigenous: Primary and secondary; poetry, scientific literature, regional languages, religious literature.
    • Foreign accounts: Greek, Chinese, and Arab writers.

2. Pre-history and Proto-history:

  • Geographical factors
  • Paleolithic and Mesolithic: Hunting and gathering
  • Neolithic and Chalcolithic: Beginning of agriculture

3. Indus Valley Civilization:

  • Origin, date, extent, characteristics
  • Decline, survival, and significance
  • Art and architecture

4. Megalithic Cultures:

  • Distribution of pastoral and farming cultures
  • Development of community life, settlements
  • Agriculture, crafts, pottery, iron industry

5. Aryans and Vedic Period:

  • Expansions of Aryans in India
  • Vedic Period: Religious and philosophic literature
  • Transformation from Rig Vedic period to later Vedic period
  • Political, social, and economical life
  • Significance of the Vedic Age
  • Evolution of Monarchy and Varna system

6. Period of Mahajanapadas:

  • Formation of States (Mahajanapada)
  • Republics and monarchies
  • Rise of urban centers, trade routes
  • Economic growth, introduction of coinage
  • Spread of Jainism and Buddhism
  • Impact of Iranian and Macedonian invasions

7. Mauryan Empire:

  • Foundation, Chandragupta, Kautilya, and Arthashastra
  • Ashoka, concept of Dharma, edicts
  • Polity, administration, economy
  • Art, architecture, sculpture
  • External contacts, spread of religion, literature
  • Disintegration of the empire; Sungas and Kanvas

8. Post-Mauryan Period:

  • Contact with outside world
  • Growth of urban centers, economy, coinage
  • Development of religions, Mahayana
  • Social conditions, art, architecture, culture, literature, science

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, urban centers
  • Buddhist centers, 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 centers, Indian feudalism
  • Caste system, position of women, education
  • Nalanda, Vikramshila, Vallabhi
  • Literature, art, architecture, scientific literature

11. Regional States during Gupta Era:

  • Polity, administration, trade guilds
  • Growth of Vaishnava and Saiva religions
  • Tamil Bhakti movement, Shankaracharya, Vedanta
  • Institutions of temple and temple architecture
  • Polity and administration of various dynasties
  • Growth of art, architecture, religious sects
  • Arab conquest of Sind, cultural aspects

12. Themes in Early Indian Cultural History:

  • Languages and texts
  • 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
  • The Cholas: administration, village economy, society
  • Agrarian economy, urban settlements
  • Trade, commerce
  • Society: status of Brahman, new social order
  • Condition of women
  • Indian science and technology

14. Cultural Traditions in India, 750-1200:

  • Philosophy: Shankaracharya, Ramanuja, Madhva
  • Religion: Forms and features, Tamil devotional cult, Bhakti, Islam
  • Literature: Sanskrit, Tamil, regional languages, Kalhan’s Rajtarangini, Alberuni’s India
  • Art and Architecture: Temple architecture, sculpture, painting

15. The Thirteenth Century:

  • Establishment of the Delhi Sultanate: Factors behind Ghurian invasions and their success.
  • Economic, social, and cultural consequences.
  • Foundation of Delhi Sultanate and early Turkish Sultans.
  • Consolidation under the rule of Iltutmish and Balban.

16. The Fourteenth Century:

  • “The Khalji Revolution”.
  • Alauddin Khalji: Conquests, territorial expansion, agrarian and economic measures.
  • Muhammad Tughluq: Major projects, agrarian measures, bureaucracy.
  • Firuz Tughluq: Agrarian measures, achievements in civil engineering, decline of the Sultanate, foreign contacts.

17. Society, Culture, and Economy in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries:

  • Society composition: Rural society, ruling classes, town dwellers, women, religious classes, caste, and slavery under the Sultanate.
  • Bhakti movement, Sufi movement.
  • Cultural evolution: Persian literature, regional languages, Sultanate architecture, painting.
  • Economic aspects: Agricultural production, rise of urban economy, trade, and commerce.

18. The Fifteenth and Early Sixteenth Century: Political Developments and Economy:

  • Rise of Provincial Dynasties: Bengal, Kashmir, Gujarat.
  • Malwa, Bahmanids.
  • The Vijayanagara Empire.
  • Lodis, Mughal Empire (First phase: Babur, 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 specifics.
  • Literary traditions.
  • Provincial architectural styles.
  • Society, culture, literature, and the arts in the Vijayanagara Empire.

20. Akbar:

  • Conquests and consolidation of the empire.
  • Establishment of jagir and mansab systems.
  • Rajput policy.
  • Evolution of religious and social outlook: Sulh-i-kul 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 16th and 17th Centuries:

  • Population, agricultural, and craft production.
  • Towns, commerce with Europe through European companies.
  • Indian mercantile classes, banking, insurance, and credit systems.
  • Conditions of peasants, women.
  • Evolution of the Sikh community and the Khalsa Panth.

23. Culture during the Mughal Empire:

  • Persian histories and other literature.
  • Hindi and religious literatures.
  • Mughal architecture and painting.
  • Provincial architecture and painting.
  • Classical music.
  • Science and technology.

24. The Eighteenth Century:

  • Factors for the decline of the Mughal Empire.
  • 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).
  • Political, cultural, and economic state on the eve of British conquest.

UPSC CSE History Syllabus 2024 Paper 2

1. European Penetration into India:

  • Early European Settlements.
  • Portuguese and Dutch in India.
  • English and French East India Companies.
  • Carnatic Wars.
  • Conflict in Bengal: English vs. Nawabs, Battle of Plassey, Significance of Plassey.

2. British Expansion in India:

  • Bengal: Mir Jafar and Mir Kasim, Battle of Buxar.
  • Mysore.
  • Marathas: Three Anglo-Maratha Wars.
  • The Punjab.

3. Early Structure of the British Raj:

  • Administrative structure.
  • Transition from diarchy to direct control.
  • Acts: Regulating Act (1773), Pitt’s India Act (1784), Charter Act (1833).
  • Voice of free trade and its impact.
  • English utilitarianism in India.

4. Economic Impact of British Colonial Rule:

  • Land revenue settlements: Permanent, Ryotwari, Mahalwari.
  • Commercialization of agriculture.
  • Rise of landless agrarian laborers.
  • De-industrialization.
  • Drain of wealth.
  • Railroad and communication network.
  • Famine and poverty.
  • European business enterprise.

5. Social and Cultural Developments:

  • Indigenous education and its dislocation.
  • Orientalist-Anglicist controversy.
  • Introduction of Western education.
  • Rise of press, literature, and public opinion.
  • Modern vernacular literature.
  • Progress of science.
  • Christian missionary activities.

6. Social and Religious Reform Movements:

  • Bengal: Ram Mohan Roy, Brahmo Movement.
  • Iswarchandra Vidyasagar.
  • Young Bengal Movement.
  • Islamic revivalism: Feraizi and Wahabi Movements.

7. Indian Response to British Rule:

  • Peasant movements and tribal uprisings.
  • The Great Revolt of 1857.
  • Birth of Indian Nationalism.
  • Indian National Congress.
  • Partition of Bengal.
  • Swadeshi Movement.
  • Rise of revolutionary extremism.

8. Rise of Gandhi and Gandhian Nationalism:

  • Rowlatt Satyagraha.
  • Khilafat Movement.
  • Non-cooperation Movement.
  • Civil Disobedience Movement.
  • Simon Commission.
  • Quit India Movement.

9. Constitutional Developments in Colonial India (1858-1935).

10. Other Strands in the National Movement:

  • Revolutionaries.
  • The Left.

11. Politics of Separatism:

  • Muslim League.
  • Hindu Mahasabha.
  • Communalism and partition.

12. Consolidation as a Nation:

  • Nehru’s Foreign Policy.
  • Linguistic reorganization of States.
  • Integration of Princely States.
  • Regionalism and regional inequality.

13. Caste and Ethnicity after 1947:

  • Backward Castes and Tribes.
  • Dalit movements.

14. Economic Development and Political Change:

  • Land reforms.
  • Politics of planning and rural reconstruction.
  • Ecology and environmental policy.
  • Progress of Science.

15. Enlightenment and Modern Ideas:

  • Major ideas of Enlightenment.
  • Spread of Enlightenment in colonies.
  • Rise of socialist ideas.

16. Origins of Modern Politics:

  • European States System.
  • American, French, and British politics.

17. Industrialization:

  • English Industrial Revolution.
  • Industrialization in other countries.
  • Industrialization and Globalization.

18. Nation-State System:

  • Rise of Nationalism.
  • Nationalism in Germany and Italy.
  • Disintegration of Empires.

19. Imperialism and Colonialism:

  • Impact on various regions.

20. Revolution and Counter-Revolution:

  • European revolutions.
  • Russian Revolution.
  • Fascist Counter-Revolution.
  • Chinese Revolution.

21. World Wars:

  • Societal implications.
  • Causes and consequences of World War I and II.

22. The World after World War II:

  • Emergence of power blocs.
  • Emergence of Third World.
  • Role of UNO.

23. Liberation from Colonial Rule:

  • Various regions’ independence movements.

24. Decolonization and Underdevelopment:

  • Factors constraining development.

25. Unification of Europe:

  • Post-war foundations.
  • Consolidation and expansion of European Community.

26. Disintegration of Soviet Union and the Rise of the Unipolar World:

  • Factors leading to collapse.
  • Political changes in East Europe.

Regular revision of notes, relating events to their geographical backdrop and honing analytical skills to derive insights from past events is highly recommended. The emphasis is on testing holistic understanding rather than factual knowledge alone. Students should focus on comprehending events in their proper context, analyzing causes and effects, relating developments to geographical settings, and honing analytical skills to derive insights.

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UPSC CSE History Syllabus 2024 FAQs

1. What is the syllabus of History for UPSC CSE?

The UPSC history syllabus 2024 covers ancient, medieval and modern Indian history from Harappan culture to the present. Key topics include major dynasties, socio-economic formations, art and architecture, philosophy and literature. Aspirants should focus on understanding chronological events, causes and effects of major developments and their impact. Developing conceptual clarity and practicing answer writing citing examples and substantiating with facts is crucial.
Get syllabus PDF here: UPSC CSE History Syllabus

2. How much marks is allotted for UPSC Mains Optional subject History?

There is 250 marks is for one optional paper.


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