March 20th, 2019       Civil Services Preparation, UPSC

History is a very ‘vast’ subject. It can be divided into 4 parts- ancient, medieval, modern and art and culture. Apart from its vastness, aspirants face difficulties regarding what to read?.. From where to read?How to read?..How to retain?..Further, syllabus is so vast that aspirants need to prioritize what to focus on, to increase rate on investment. Another important aspect here is that most of the history questions are either black or white, meaning that either you know them or you don’t..you can’t deduce an answer.

NEARLY 15-20% OF THE PRELIMS PAPERS OF THE LAST 5 YEARS HAVE QUESTIONS RELATED TO THESE TOPICS.

The article aims to chart a COHERENT STRATEGY for the aspirants so that they do not find themselves going off the tangent….

Trend analysis:

A. Modern History ( Number of questions asked and difficulty level)

Modern History Trend Analysis

B. Medieval India ( Number of questions asked and difficulty level)

Medieval India Trend Analysis

C. Ancient India ( Number of questions asked and difficulty level)

Ancient India Trend Analysis

D. Art and Culture ( Number of questions asked and difficulty level)

Art and Culture Trend Analysis

Decoding the sources:

Decoding Sources

Approach:

THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND…

1. LIMIT YOUR RESOURCES…REMEMBER RETURN ON INVESTMENT
2. PRIORITIZE YOUR FOCUS AREAS…KEEP A TAB ON PIB/ IMPORTANT DATES/COMMEMORATIONS
3. REVISE, RECALL AND REVISE AGAIN
4. PRACTISE PREVIOUSLY ASKED QUESTIONS: history section has many questions repeated from previous years..do them thoroughly!!

Previous Year Question

Similarly, a question on Buddhism which came in 2014 was repeated in 2015!!!

FOCUS AREAS: Aspirant should prepare every topic by focusing on certain key ‘themes’ as mentioned below…

Modern history:

a. Emergence of Europeans. Modern History
b. Regional Kingdoms.
c. Social-Religious movements- Ideological base, who started these movements, what was the objective and emphasis of these movements, how these movements were important in building a sense of nationalism among Indians, Social reforms that had an impact on education, Status of Women, Caste system of the society.
d. Governor-Generals and their reign.
e. British administration, Economic policies- Type of administrations: significance and impact, Similarities and Differences between the Mughal and the British Administration, Consolidation of the British rule in India– through enactment of various Acts/Laws, Political-Administrative organization, Policies of the British India, Social, Economic setup like Agrarian Systems.
f. Important Reports, Sessions, Acts, Committees setup during the British period.
g. Revolts/movements/agitations- Purpose, Reasons, Consequences, people who participated/Famous Personalities involved and their contribution, role of Press and Literature, note down the ‘chronology’.
h. Famous Personalities- contributions – literature, organization of movements and their role in India’s Freedom Struggle.

To bring clarity consider the Governor Generals…So the themes covered will be:

a. chronological order of events
b. important policies/decisions/committees/events/legislations

Question asked on above themes…

Medieval India:

Medieval India

a. Terminologies-Favorite of the UPSC in last couple of years!!!
b. Religious movements- Sufi and Bhakti Movements and Saints, their doctrines and practices, Impact of these movements.
c. Rulers’-Political, Social, Economic organization during different rulers, Art and Architecture during different rulers, rise and decline of different dynasties and causes, work like Chandragupta Maurya and Sudarshan lake work, Important travelers who visited during their rule and their kingdom, Literary works, their autobiography and biography, Development of Science , art in their reign, Important battles they fought.

Question on above themes….

2014 Prelims Questions Paper: In medieval India, the designations ‘Mahattara’ and ‘Pattakila’ were used for

1. military officers
2. village headmen
3. specialists in Vedic rituals
4. chiefs of craft guilds

Ancient India:

Ancient India

a. Terminologies-Favorite of the UPSC in last couple of years!!!
b. Prehistoric Period–On what basis is the Prehistoric period classified, mode of living of people like hunting, domestication.
c. Indus Valley Civilization- lifestyle/Social, Economic, religious and cultural features, Important Harappan sites and its significance, Script and language, Art and Crafts, Causes of decline.
d. Vedic Period- people and their lifestyle: family, marriage, status of women, caste system or social divisions, Economic Life and Political Organisation, Culture and Religion, Literature and Six systems of Philosophy, Differences between Early and Later Vedic.
e. Buddhism and Jainism-Reasons for the growth, Buddha and Mahavira -their belief, contributions, teachings, philosophy, literature, important events during their life (Enlightenment), Councils, types of Buddhism and Sects of Jainism, differences between Jainism and Buddhism, causes of decline of Buddhism and Janism.
f. Kingdoms/Empires- rise: causes, impact, important rulers and their contribution to the society, art and culture, economic and social conditions during the rule, art and architecture, literature, development of Science and technology, causes of decline, foreign travellers and their works.

Question on above themes….

2012 Prelims Questions Paper: With reference to the history of ancient India, which of the following was/were common to both Buddhism and Jainism?

1. Avoidance of extremities of penance and enjoyment
2. Indifference to the authority of the Vedas
3. Denial of efficacy of rituals

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Art and culture:

Art and culture

1. Visual Arts

a. Indus Valley Civilization architecture, town planning and various sites and their significance and location, sculptures, pottery.
b. Buddhist Architecture, why were they built, sculptures and significance of different postures
c. Architecture- Famous Temples constructed during the reign of different empires, location, different styles, specific features of temples, Gupta Era–Caves, religious aspects of these caves, temple Architecture in South India, Sculpture– Chola- Nataraja etc.
d. Other school of arts like Pala etc- their religious themes.
e. Indo-Islamic Architecture– features and difference with ancient architecture.
f. Post Mauryan Art- school of Art, difference and similarities among them, features associated with each School.
g. Paintings- prehistoric Paintings, rock/wall/cave paintings, themes, features, location, Miniature Painting, Western Indian Paintings ( Rajasthan, Gujrat and Malwa), Mughal School of Painting, Deccan School of Painting (Tanjore, Ahemadnagar, Bijapur etc), Pahari School of Paintings (Basholi, Kangra and Guler etc), features/styles associated with different paintings, similarities and differences, location, Modern Painting- Bengal School of Painting, Shanti niketan school, specific personalities like Raja Ravi Verma, Rabindranath Tagore and their works etc.

Question on above themes….

2013 Prelims Questions Paper: Consider the following historical places:

1. Ajanta Caves
2. Lepakshi Temple
3. Sanchi Stupa

Which of the above places is / are also known for mural paintings?

(a) 1 only
(b) 1 and 2 only
(c) 1, 2 and 3
(d) None

2. Performing Arts

a. Indian Dance- classical Dance forms, features, similarities and dissimilarities.
b. Music- Hindustani and Classical Music- styles, differences etc, other forms of Music- Ghazal, Khayal etc.
c. Martial Arts – Kalaripayattu, Gatka, Mardani khel, Silambam, Sqay, hang-Ta – their styles or weapons used and region famous for.
d. Famous Tribal and Folk Arts- Folk music and Communities associated, handicrafts and crafts of specific region.
e. Theatre Forms and Puppetry forms.

Question on above themes….

2014 Prelims Questions Paper: With reference to the famous Sattriya dance, consider the following statements:
1. Sattriya is a combination of music, dance and drama.
2. It is a centuries-old living tradition of Vaishnavites of Assam.
3. It is based on classical Ragas and Talas of devotional songs composed by Tulsidas, Kabir and Mirabai.

Which of the statements given above is /are correct?
A. 1 only
B. 1 and 2 only
C. 2 and 3 only
D. 1, 2 and 3

3. Literature

a. Ancient Literatures like Veda, Upanishada, Shruti and Smriti etc.
b. Buddhist and Jains literature– Features, Vinaya Pitaka and Tri Pitaka, Scholars associated, purpose of these literatures.
c. Sanskrit Literature , Sangam Literature and famous scholars- Aryabhatta and Kalidas etc.
d. Important writers Poets and their works – Kabir, Meera, Surdas etc Questions on ‘Specific terms’ from culture

4. Few examples from current events: Taken from The Hindu

Question asked on above theme…

Samsara’ is associated with which of the following?

1. Buddhism
2. Jainism
3. Hinduism

Select the correct option
(a) Only 1
(b) 1 and 2
(c) 1,2 and 3
(d) 2 and 3

FOR THIS SECTION OF THE EXAM REVISION AND RE-REVISION IS ESSENTIAL PART OF LEARNING. ASPIRANTS SHOULD MAKE SHORT NOTES WHICH WILL HELP THEM DURING LAST MINUTE REVISION…

HAPPY LEARNING!!!

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