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"Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it." -George Santayana

Optional paper has the capacity to help a candidate secure maximum marks leading to a higher rank and thus increase the odds of getting selected. In other words, if you fail to score well in other papers like General Studies, this paper can pull you out of your despair. Thus, picking the right optional based on your interest and that which brings out the best of your abilities is a must for scoring well. However, UPSC aspirants are often faced with the dilemma of choosing the right optional subject. So, this article is aimed at helping candidates who intend to choose History as their Optional Subject.

About History Optional

History is not only the study of the past but also an analysis of how things took place and what could have been. History as an academic discipline uses a narrative to describe, evaluate, question, and analyze past events and understand the cause and effect relation.

History is one of the most popular subjects for UPSC aspirants due to its utility in both Prelims and Mains. A UPSC aspirant has to study history whether or not it is their optional subject. Thus, most of the candidates find it as one of the most suitable subjects as an optional paper for UPSC Mains.

Things to Keep In Mind While Choosing History As Optional

  1. Interest – Interest in a particular subject should be given top priority while deciding an optional subject. So, one should go through the syllabus and previous year question papers. This will give ample ideas as to what books need to be covered and what should be read from those books because not everything that is present in the books is important from the exam point of view. Always remember that interest in the subject is very important. This allows for the utmost learning and retention. So, if you have an interest in learning and exploring History, then you can go for it.
  2. Background- Aspirants do not require a bachelor's degree in History to choose it as an Optional. The subject can easily be studied and mastered with proper strategy and guidance, which becomes essential for people with different backgrounds.
  3. Resources- The availability of resources play an important role in deciding which optional subject one should take. In History optional, enough study material is available in the market as well as online and offline classes . Although, you are not required to read all of them. Even though there is a specific list of books that many people will list down, one is not required to read everything it contains. Experts at Chahal IAS Academy will guide you on how and what to read from the exam point of view.
  4. Cost-Benefit Analysis- History forms a part of the General studies paper I. Even if you do not choose it as an optional subject, you would anyways have to read History for Prelims and Mains. History as an optional will only boost your studies for both all the papers. So, the input will almost remain the same, but the output will be large.

Reasons to Opt History As Optional

  1. Availability of study materials – The amount of study material available to study History has no limits. Candidates can easily find material in shops, online (books/videos), and even notes (paid as well as unpaid ones). Choosing History as their optional subject would have no dearth of study material and this is what saves time. Most of the time is spent on finding the right and enough books. With easy access to material, students save time and can start with early preparation.
  2. Overlapping with other papers- History also forms a part of the GS Paper I and to a great extent, Essay Paper as well. Also, it forms one of the major portions of Prelims as well. So, studying History for optional may be fruitful for other papers as well.
  3. Static Subject- History is a static subject and does not contain much of the dynamic topics unlike other optional subjects like Sociology , PSIR, etc. where a candidate not only has to prepare for current affairs but also keep on updating notes. History books have been filled with the same information for years and once you prepare notes out of these books, you are good till the last day of your exam or even for your next attempt, if any. This is the most important benefit because once a candidate prepares for History, it is not going to change and will help subsequent attempts.
  4. Interesting and Easy Subject- A lot of candidates find history an interesting subject, as most of the topics are easy to comprehend and there are no complex theories, concepts, or core ideas to analyze. Many students say that History is story of the past and it is interesting because it feels like people who had lived once upon a time. Sounds interesting. Doesn't it?? We all love watching movies, reading books. History can be made easy in a similar way. Moreover, studying history would also help a candidate in improving reading habits and gaining knowledge. Also, History will help to understand the present - this is one of the biggest profits of reading history.
  5. Helps in Interview-In the UPSC- Civil Services interview, questions related to the history, art and culture, heritage, etc. are common. When you read History from your Optional paper point of view, you have to dig deeper and read from a more specialist angle. With deeper knowledge, you will be able to put forward a well-blended answer.

Is History A Scoring Subject

Many candidates opt for History as their optional based on the success ratio of the subject. Many candidates have been able to score 300+ in History and many have managed to bag top ranks. However, UPSC does not biased among the optional subjects but one must choose their optional wisely based on their strengths and weaknesses.
Marks of Some Toppers in History Optional:

Name of the Candidate Year of Passing Total Marks (500) History Paper I (250 Marks) History Paper II (250 Marks)
Hardeep Singh CSE-2015 257 107 140
Aparajita Singh CSE-2017 287 138 149
Ishwar Kumar Kandoo CSE-2017 316 160 156
Nidhi Siwach CSE-2018 290 150 140
Chitra Mishra CSE-2018 300 139 161

Why One Should Join Chahal Academy For History?

  1. Detailed coverage of both History paper I & II for UPSC mains exam - We make sure that you are taught from zero level so don't worry about being able to grasp everything in the class. We believe in steady progress rather than a fast pace because we want you to retain all that you learn. If things are done in a haste, they are easily forgotten.
  2. Updated Current Affairs teaching for the dynamic section of History - We make sure that your dynamic portion is covered equally well because you will have to produce holistic answers.
  3. Explanation of the interlinks between History and GS papers - As a beginner, you might not know how to write in order to gain marks in the UPSC Mains exam. This paper is very different from your school or college exams. You have to include any aspect that can possibly be linked to any of the subjects that exist. We will explain how to analyze and link relevant topics.
  4. Availability of topic-wise module with coverage of each topic - We provide modules so you can refer to these modules while you study after the class lectures. You will find tons of examples to help you understand and retain better.
  5. Special lecture series on Answer writing practice - The most important part of your Optional paper is answer writing. We provide extensive guidance on 'How to write the perfect answer' for the perfect score. You will be able to master this art with the help of our lecture series and mock tests.
  6. 150+ hours of Offline/online lectures by Delhi based faculty members - Our finest faculty team will guide you through the basics of History to decoding the concepts of great thinkers.

History Optional Course Fee:

Inclusions Fee
Online Video lectures for Optional Paper 1&2 + Study Material in Soft Copy + Test Series Rs. 30,000/-
Only Online Video lectures for Optional Paper 1&2 Rs. 20,000/-

Reasons to Join Online Coaching For History By Chahal Academy

Reasons to Join Online Coaching For History By Chahal Academy
  • Super Affordable fees:
    Reasons to Join Online Coaching For History By Chahal Academy
  • Your time, Your Place:
    While offline IAS coaching has a fixed schedule, online coaching is flexible. Aspirants can save time because the cost and time of travel is zero. Also, the best part of online coaching is that you can access the best lecturers anytime and anywhere.
  • Rescheduling:
    One of the biggest advantages of online History optional coaching is that no lecture or topic will be missed. This is possible because you can record your lectures and watch it only when you have space and time.
  • Experienced Faculty for History Optional course:
    Our highly accomplished faculty is lauded for redefining the approach to see optional subjects as an easy one if one plays with the justify strategy. You don't have to worry about your optional once you join us. We will guide you all along your preparation journey and mold you for your optional. Once you join us, you become our responsibility!

Chahal Academy's Specialized Online Course for History Optional Subject
This course has been specially designed for those who -
  • Are interested in opting History as optional with or without an academic background in History. We start with the basics and gradually increase the level.
  • Are facing problems in correlating and connecting theories and concepts. Our classes are based on the concept of reading texts in a related manner.
  • Studied the subject on their own but are facing problems in writing standard answers. We will make your basics clear so you can write lucid answers to the best of your abilities. We polish what you already have in you.
  • Are facing challenges in unfolding their knowledge to clear basic notions and theories - Our expert faculty team will clear all your doubts with one on one sessions as well. You will always find somebody to help and guide you and answer all your queries regarding History.

Answer Writing Tips for History:
  • The purpose of the History optional paper is for you to gain a deeper and better knowledge of the history of India and the world. So, your answers should reflect a more well-informed and subject-specialist approach. In other words, your answer should look different from the other GS papers because GS papers test your general understanding of the subject whereas you have to showcase your specialty here.
  • You may add scholarly views, facts & data from surveys in your optional subject to score well. This will show that you have read relevant authors and thinkers. Also, adding historical jargon provide variety in your answer that helps your answer stand out amongst the entire lot.
  • Use of Maps: Questions from maps are a regular phenomenon in Mains. A candidate should start practicing maps, this will also help in other papers as well. You must remember important cities, ports, historical events which took place in which regions, etc. You can buy maps from a local store and practice one or two daily. This will also help you make your answer stand out n case you do not have much content to write about a given topic. Remember, a lot of people will be writing what you write. Your aim should be to write differently and show how you can explain the same thing in a better way. This is called smart answer writing.
  • To add value to the answers and to score well try to interlink the subject with contemporary polity and economy. The importance of interlinking subjects cannot be stressed enough. UPSC doesn't want you to study History as a subject only. Its purpose lies in the fact that everything in this world is interrelated and that should reflect in the answers of the candidates. Your knowledge of Polity/ Economy or even Geography can be used to frame answers for History. The examiner analyzes as to whether your answer is inclusive of the scenarios affected by the historical narrative.
  • You must practice from previous year question papers of at least 10 years and develop a habit of writing answers daily. Many of these have been repeated and practicing them makes it easier for a candidate to understand the syllabus and important topics better. Also, when you start answer writing, you will 100% fail to include all the relevant points in one go. This is because you haven't done it before. So, do not beat yourself up about it. You can only master the art of answer writing for History Optional with continuous practice and revisions.

Syllabus for History

PAPER - I

  1. Sources:
    • Archaeological sources: Exploration, excavation, epigraphy, numismatics, monuments.
    • Literary sources: Indigenous: Primary and secondary; poetry, scientific literature, literature, literature in regional languages, religious literature.
    • Foreign account: Greek, Chinese and Arab writers.
  2. Pre-History and Proto-history:
    • Geographical factors; Hunting and gathering (paleolithic and mesolithic); Beginning of agriculture (neolithic and chalcolithic)
  3. Indus Valley Civilization:
    • Origin, date, extent, characteristics-decline, survival and significance, art, and architecture.
  4. Megalithic Cultures:
    • Distribution of pastoral and farming cultures outside the Indus, Development of community life, Settlements, Development of agriculture, Crafts, Pottery, and Iron industry.
  5. Aryans and Vedic Period:
    • Expansions of Aryans in India: Vedic Period: Religious and philosophic literature; Transformation from Rig Vedic period to the 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 Buddism; Rise of Magadha and Nandas. Iranian and Macedonian invasions and their impact.
  7. Mauryan Empire:
    • Foundation of the Mauryan Empire, Chandragupta, Kautilya, and Arthashastra; Ashoka; Concept of Dharma; Edicts; Polity, Administration, Economy; Art, architecture, and sculpture; External contacts; Religion; Spread of religion; Literature. The disintegration of the empire; sungas and Kanvas.
  8. Post-Mauryan Period (Indo-Greeks, Sakas, Kushanas, Western Kshatrapas) :
    • Contact with the outside world; growth of urban centers, economy, coinage, development of religions, Mahayana, social conditions, art, architecture, culture, literature, and science.
  9. Early State and Society in Eastern India, Deccan, and South India:
    • Kharavela, The Satavahanas, the Tamil States of the Sangam Age; Administration, Economy, land grants, coinage, trade guilds, and 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 and educational institutions; Nalanda, Vikramshila and Vallabhi, Literature, scientific literature, art, and architecture.
  11. The regional States during the Gupta Era:
    • The Kadambas, Pallavas, Chalukyas of Badami; Polity and Administration, Trade guilds, Literature; growth of Vaishnava and Saiva religions. Tamil Bhakti movement, Shankaracharya; Vedanta; Institutions of temple and temple architecture; Palas, Senas, Rashtrakutas, Paramaras, Polity, and administration; Cultural aspects. Arab conquest of Sind; Alberuni, The Chaluky as of Kalyana, Cholas, Hoysalas, Pandyas; Polity and Administration; Local Government; Growth of art and architecture, religious sects, Institution of temple and Mathas, Agraharas, education and literature, economy and society.
  12. Themes in Early Indian Cultural History:
    • Languages and texts, major stages in the evolution of art and arch., major thinkers and schools, ideas in Science and Mathematics.
  13. Early Medieval India, 750-1200:
    • Polity: Major political developments in Northern India and the peninsula, origin, and the rise of Rajputs.
    • The Cholas: Village economy, and society “Indian Feudalism”.
    • Urban settlements.
    • Trade and commerce.
    • Society: The status of the Brahman and the new social order.
    • Condition of women.
    • Indian science and technology
  14. Cultural Traditions in India, 750-1200:
    • Philosophy: Skankaracharya and Vedanta, Ramanuja and Vishishtadvaita, Madhva, and Brahma-Mimansa.
    • Religion: Forms and features of religion, Tamil devotional cult, growth of Bhakti, Islam, and its arrival in India, Sufism.
    • Literature: Literature in Sanskrit, growth of Tamil literature, literature in the newly developing languages, Kalhan's Rajtarangini, Alberuni's India.
    • Art and Architecture: Temple, sculpture, painting.
  15. The 13th Century:
    • Establishment of the Delhi Sultanate.
    • The Ghurian invasions - factors behind Ghurian success.
    • Economic, Social, and cultural aspects
    • Foundation of Delhi Sultanate and early Turkish Sultans.
    • The rule of Iltutmish and Balban.
  16. The 14th Century:
    • “The Khalji Revolution”.
    • Conquests, Agrarian and economic policies of Alauddin Khalji, Muhammad Tughluq and Firuz Tugluq. Also, their measures, victories, decline, Ibn Battuta's account, etc.
  17. Society, Culture, and Economy in the 13th and 14th Centuries:
    • Society: composition of rural society, ruling classes, town dwellers, women, religious classes, caste and slavery under the Sultanate, Bhakti movement, Sufi movement.
    • Culture: Persian literature, literature in the regional languages of North India, literature in the languages of South India, Sultanate architecture and new structural forms, painting, the evolution of a composite culture.
    • Economy: Agricultural Production, the rise of urban economy and non-agricultural production, trade, and commerce.
  18. The 15th and Early 16th century - Political Developments and Economy:
    • Rise of Provincial Dynasties: Bengal, Kashmir (Zainul Abedin), 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 15th and Early 16th Century- Society and culture:
    • Regional cultures specificities.
    • Literary traditions.
    • Provincial architectural.
    • Society, culture, literature, and the arts in the Vijayanagara Empire.
  20. Akbar
    • Conquests and consolidation of empire.
    • Establishment of jagir and mansab systems.
    • Rajput policy, religious outlook, court, art, society, etc.
  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 Dutch, English, and French companies: a trade revolution.
    • Indian mercantile classes. Banking, insurance, and credit systems.
    • Conditions of peasants, Condition of Women.
    • Evolution of the Sikh community and the Khalsa Panth.
  23. Culture during Mughal Empire:
    • Persian histories and other literature.
    • Hindi and religious literature.
    • Mughal architecture.
    • Mughal painting.
    • Provincial architecture and painting.
    • Classical music.
    • Science and technology.
  24. The Eighteenth Century:
    • Factors for the decline of the Mughal Empire.
    • The regional principalities: Nizam’s Deccan, Bengal, Awadh.
    • Maratha ascendancy under the Peshwas.
    • The Maratha fiscal and financial system.
    • The emergence of Afghan power Battle of Panipat, 1761.
    • State of, political, cultural, and economic, on eve of the British conquest.

PAPER - II

  1. European Penetration into India:
    The Early European Settlements; The Portuguese and the Dutch; The English and the French East India Companies; Their struggle for supremacy; Carnatic Wars; Bengal-The conflict between the English and the Nawabs of Bengal; Siraj and the English; The Battle of Plassey; Significance of Plassey.
  2. British Expansion in India:
    Bengal-Mir Jafar and Mir Kasim; The Battle of Buxar; Mysore; The Marathas; The three Anglo-Maratha Wars; Punjab.
  3. Early Structure of the British Raj:
    The Early administrative structure; From diarchy to direct control; The Regulating Act (1773); The Pitt's India Act (1784); The Charter Act (1833); The Voice of free trade and the changing character of British colonial rule; The English utilitarian and India.
  4. Economic Impact of British Colonial Rule:
    a. Land revenue settlements in British India; Commercialization of agriculture; Rise of landless agrarian laborers; State of rural society
    b. Dislocation of traditional trade and commerce; De-industrialization; Decline of traditional crafts; Drain of wealth; Economic transformation of India; Railroad and network including telegraph and postal services; Famine and poverty in the rural interior; European business enterprise and its limitations.
  5. Social and Cultural Developments:
    The state of indigenous education, its dislocation; Orientalist-Anglicist controversy, The introduction of western education in India; The rise of press, literature, and public opinion; The rise of modern vernacular literature; Progress of science; Christian missionary activities in India.
  6. Social and Religious Reform Movements in Bengal and Other Areas:
    Ram Mohan Roy, The Brahmo Movement; Devendranath Tagore; Iswarchandra Vidyasagar; The Young Bengal Movement; Dayananda Saraswati; The social reform movements in India including Sati, widow remarriage, child marriage, etc.; The contribution of Indian renaissance to the growth of modern India; Islamic revivalism-the Feraizi and Wahabi Movements.
  7. Indian Response to British Rule:
    Peasant movement and tribal uprisings in the 18th and 19th centuries including the Rangpur Dhing (1783), the Kol Rebellion (1832), the Mopla Rebellion in Malabar (1841-1920), the Santal Hul (1855), Indigo Rebellion (1859-60), Deccan Uprising (1875) and the Munda Ulgulan (1899-1900); The Great Revolt of 1857 —Origin, character, causes of failure, the consequences; The shift in the character of peasant uprisings in the post-1857 period; the peasant movements of the 1920s and 1930s.
  8. Factors leading to the birth of Indian Nationalism:
    Politics of Association; The Foundation of the Indian National Congress; The Safety-valve thesis relating to the birth of the Congress; Programme and objectives of Early Congress; the social composition of early Congress leadership; the Moderates and Extremists; The Partition of Bengal (1905); The Swadeshi Movement in Bengal; the economic and political aspects of Swadeshi Movement; The beginning of revolutionary extremism in India.
  9. Rise of Gandhi
    Character of Gandhian nationalism; Gandhi's popular appeal; Rowlatt Satyagraha; the Khilafat Movement; the Non-cooperation Movement; National politics from the end of the Non-cooperation movement to the beginning of the Civil Disobedience Movement; the two phases of the Civil Disobedience Movement; Simon Commission; The Nehru Report; the Round Table Conferences; Nationalism and the Peasant Movements; Nationalism and Working-class movements; Women and Indian youth and students in Indian politics (1885-1947); the election of 1937 and the formation of ministries; Cripps Mission; the Quit India Movement; the Wavell Plan; The Cabinet Mission.
  10. Constitutional Developments in Colonial India between 1858 and 1935.
  11. Other strands in the National Movement.
    The Revolutionaries: Bengal, the Punjab, Maharashtra, U.P. the Madras Presidency, Outside India. The Left; The Left within the Congress: Jawaharlal Nehru, Subhas Chandra Bose, the Congress Socialist Party; the Communist Party of India, other left parties.
  12. Politics of Separatism
    The Muslim League; the Hindu Mahasabha; Communalism and the politics of partition; Transfer of power; Independence.
  13. Consolidation as a Nation;
    Nehru's Foreign Policy; India and her neighbors (1947-1964); The linguistic reorganization of States (1935-1947); Regionalism and regional inequality; Integration of Princely States; Princes in electoral politics; the Question of National Language.
  14. Caste and Ethnicity after 1947
    Backward Castes and Tribes in post-colonial electoral politics; Dalit movements.
  15. Economic development and political change
    Land reforms; the politics of planning and rural reconstruction; Ecology and environmental policy in post-colonial India; Progress of Science.
  16. Enlightenment and Modern ideas:
    • Major Ideas of Enlightenment: Kant, Rousseau.
    • Spread of Enlightenment in the colonies.
    • Rise of socialist ideas (up to Marx); spread of Marxian Socialism.
  17. Origins of Modern Politics :
    • European States System.
    • American Revolution and the Constitution.
    • French Revolution and Aftermath, 1789-1815.
    • American Civil War with reference to Abraham Lincoln and the abolition of slavery.
    • British Democratic politics, 1815-1850: Parliamentary Reformers, Free Traders, Chartists.
  18. Industrialization:
  19. Nation-State System :
    • Rise of Nationalism in the 19th century in Germany and Italy
    • The disintegration of Empires in the face of the emergence of nationalities across the World.
  20. Imperialism and Colonialism :
    • South and South-East Asia.
    • Latin America and South Africa.
    • Australia
    • Imperialism and free trade: Rise of neo-imperialism.
  21. Revolution and Counter-Revolution :
    • 19th Century European revolutions. • The Russian Revolution of 1917-1921. • Fascist Counter-Revolution, Italy, and Germany. • The Chinese Revolution of 1949.
  22. World Wars:
    • 1st and 2nd World Wars as Total Wars: Societal implications.
    • World War I: Causes and Consequences.
    • World War II: Causes and Consequences.
  23. The World after World War II:
    • The emergence of Two power blocs.
    • The emergence of the Third World and non-alignment.
    • UNO and global disputes.
  24. Liberation from Colonial Rule :
    • Latin America-Bolivar.
    • Arab World-Egypt.
    • Africa-Apartheid to Democracy.
    • South-East Asia-Vietnam.
  25. Decolonization and Underdevelopment :
  26. Unification of Europe :
  27. The disintegration of the Soviet Union and the Rise of the Unipolar World :
    • Factors leading to the collapse of Soviet Communism and the Soviet Union, 1985-1991.
    • Political Changes in East Europe 1989-2001.
    • End of the Cold War and US Ascendancy in the World as the lone superpower.

Recommended Sources

Ancient India
Sources:
Books: UPINDER SINGH, BALYAN SIR NOTES

Literary sources
  • Prominent travelers and their travel books (upindersingh)
  • Focus on Vedic and post-Vedic library works (Upindersingh)
  • Secular literature(Balyan sir notes)
  • The tradition of Historical writing in India(Balyan sir notes)
Indus Valley Civilization
Books: UPINDER SINGH, BALYAN SIR NOTES, and NCERT
Areas to be focused: Economic, Social, Religious and cultural life, Various theories related to rise and fall
Vedic Civilization
Books: UPINDER SINGH, BALYAN SIR NOTES
Areas to be focused: The main emphasis needs to be given on transition from rig Vedic to later Vedic period
Mahajan pada era:
Books: R S SHARMA, BALYAN SIR NOTES
Areas to be focused: The main emphasis on the topic of Jainism and Buddhism, Rise of Magadha.
Mauryan Era
Books: BALYAN SIR NOTES AND IGNOU B.A HISTORY NOTES
Areas to be focused: Rise and fall of Mauryan Empire, Administration, Arthashastra, Foreign policy
Gupta Era & Post-Gupta Era:
Books: Balyan sir notes, R S Sharma, Upinder Singh, IGNOU BA
Medieval India
  • Dr. A.L.shrivastava’s: for Delhi Sultanate & Mughal Empire.
  • Satish Chandra-History of Medieval India
Modern India :
Reference of books and materials:
Modern India (from 1707–1857)
Books: B L GROVER, BIPIN CHANDRA, SHEKHAR BANDOADHYAY, BALYAN NOTES
The following topics need to be prepared from the above books
  1. The disintegration of Mughal India
  2. Rise of Provincial states like Maratha, Mysore, Bengal, Hyderabad
  3. Socio-economic-political condition of India before the British rule
  4. Anglo-French rivalry, Duplex, carnations wars
  5. Battle of Plassey, Buxar: causes and significance
  6. British rule up to 1857: phases, reforms
Modern India (from 1857-1905)
  1. British policy: land, police, revenue, education
  2. 1857 revolt: Bipan Chandra and Balyan sir notes. Remember the causes, significance, and nature of the revolt. Read the views of various Historians about the nature and significance of this revolt.
  3. Peasant and Tribal uprisings phase: Bipan Chandra, Balyan sir notes
  4. Colonial rule and reforms: B L Grover and Balyan sir notes
  5. Foundation of Congress and early phase of congress: Balyan sir's notes.
  6. Economic critique: Balyan sir notes, B L Grover
  7. Socio-religious reform movement: Shekhar Bandoadhyay, B L Grover, and Balyan sir notes.
Modern India (from 1905–47)
Books: Bipin Chandra- post Independence, Balyan Sir notes, and Shekhar Bandoadhyay.
Topic to be referred:
  1. Phases of National movement: Moderate, Extremist, Gandhian, and socialist): causes, nature, objectives, and leaders of these phases.
  2. Various movements: very important) Swadeshi, NCM, CDM, and Quit India Movement. Read about the distinctive features, causes, and significance of these movements.
  3. Tribal and Farmer movements.
  4. Labour, women, and Dalit movements.
  5. British rule and reforms like the Government of India Act 1935, Round table sessions, etc.
  6. Important personalities
Modern India (1947–64)
Books: Bipin Chandra- post-Independence and Balyan Sir notes
Topic to be referred:
  1. Partition and India till 1950: challenges and opportunities.
  2. The accession of Princely states
  3. Nehru policies.
  4. Labour, women, and Dalit movements.
  5. Tribal, environmental, and women movements after Independence.
  6. Important personalities
Modern India (from 1905–47)
  • Old NCERTs- Arjun Dev
  • Mastering Modern World History-Norman Lowe
  • Modern Europe and the World- L. Mukherjee

Although you can study History as an optional all by yourself, a proper guidance pays off when you have to sit for the exam. Experts who have been teaching History almost all their life will teach you in a way that will open doors to understanding new concepts. Many toppers took up History Optional course and they were able to score really high. You can visit our centre and check the type and quality of teaching we impart. You can also attend our mock classes to be sure before enrolling. Also, it really depends on your hard work and dedication towards the subject that makes you score well. Whether or not the subject is scoring, is a totally different argument.

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