UPSC History optional can be a very scoring subject for UPSC if you are able to memorize well. Since it is so scoring and easy to study for anyone with a good memory, it is one of the most popular optional subjects in UPSC exams. Understanding the pros and cons of UPSC History optional is essential before putting it down as your option in the application form. It has synergy with General Studies. 50 marks question from modern India get covered in optional history. It is also useful in writing essays.
Since at least one socio-cultural issue comes as a topic, historic vision gives depth to the arguments. If you are interested in the subject you can feel history is just like sitting in a time machine and visiting our wonderful past. There is another advantage of history, as it makes a very good pair with many subjects, such as- Hindi, Philosophy, Public Administration, Anthropology, Political Science, Geography, etc. However, a proper understanding of the subject can’t be developed without interest.
ADVANTAGES OF CHOOSING HISTORY Optional IN UPSC
- It is a part of general studies: History makes up one-third of the UPSC general studies, as well as major portion of UPSC preliminary examination. One simply cannot conquer the Civil Services Examination without conquering history as a subject first.
- History makes a major contribution to General Studies. Along with history and culture, even world history forms part of General Studies paper. Furthermore, one interesting aspect of History is that although even some other optional subjects have made a contribution to General Studies it is for the first time that the contemporary history of India and world history also have become the major parts of General Studies
- The syllabus of history is definitely lucid and clear. In its syllabus, every topic has been defined very clearly along with the major topic. Even the minor topics have been mentioned clearly.
- In History the topics of the syllabus have been mentioned clearly and even the study materials on each topic is clearly available in the market.
- Furthermore, in history candidates need only four to five books to cover the whole syllabus in contrast to other optional subjects for the standard preparation of which every one or two topics need a separate text.
Talking about history, it is mainly divided in two parts, i.e, Indian History and World History
Let’s talk about it in a little detail as to what all topics are included in the study of history.
Ancient India can be studied under the topics: Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic and Chalcolithic period.
The highlights are as presented below:
Palaeolithic Period (2 million BC 10,000 BC)
The Palaeolithic age is the way of life in the very beginning. Some historians call this age the Old Stone Age. The characteristics of this age include the following:
- Tools were made up from lime stone
- This is also the era of the Ostrich Eggs
- The following are important Palaeolithic sites: Bhimbetka (M.P), Hunsgi, Kurnool Caves, Narmada Valley (Hathnora, M.P), Kaladgi Basin
Mesolithic Period (10,000 BC 8,000 BC)
The major happenings at this period include:
- A major Climatic Change happened during this period.
- The domestication of animals which were not known before (the early settlers were farmers) began. Cattle rearing began during this period.
- The discovery of Microliths at Brahmagiri (Mysore), Narmada, Vindya, Gujarat.
Neolithic Period (8000 BC 4,000 BC)
- The advent of agriculture.
- This age also marked the discovery of the wheel.
- The important Neolithic Sites at this point in time include: Burzahom(Kashmir), Gufkral(Kashmir), Mehrgarh(Pakistan), Chirand(Bihar), Daojali.
History of Medieval India UPSC
- The period of AD 800- 1200 is the period of the tripartite struggle
- In AD 712 Medieval India was attacked by Muhammed Bin Kassim
- This period also witnessed the rise of Islam and Sufism
- AD 1000-1027 was the period of Mohammed Ghazni
- AD 1175-1206 is the time of Mohammed Ghori
The following dynasties flourished during this period:
- Slave Dynasty
- Khilji Dynasty
- Tughlaq Dynasty
- Sayyid Dynasty
- Lodi Dynasty
- The first War of Indian Independence dates back to 1857
- The Indian National Congress was formed in the year 1885
- 1906 was the year that the Muslim league was formed
- The Non-Co-operation Movement was given birth to in 1920
- Civil Disobedience Movement was witnessed in the year 1930
- There was the popular Quit India Movement in 1942
- The nation was Partitioned in the year 1947
- It was the turn of the Constitutional Development of India from the period 1946 1950
- There was the Economic Development of India during this period.
- There were notable Wars India-Pak Formation of Bangladesh; India- China
- The New Economic Policy for India was enacted in 1991
- This period also witnessed Nuclear, Space and Defence Development.
Next, moving on to World History, the history of the world that we are referring to here includes events such as:
- Things that you see today in mechanized form were once done in a manual way until the advent of the industrial revolution; this is a key part of world history.
- What are the causes of the two world wars? How the battle won and lost? You will get to know in world history.
- There is the concept of the redrawal of national boundaries.
- Many independent nations of the world were once under colonial rule. How colonialism prevailed?
- There was a time that the evil of colonialism dawned on the world and decolonization became the order of the day.
- There is a place in world history for political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism, etc, their forms and effect on the society.
Furthermore, other topics that can be covered under history for UPSC are:
- The American Revolution.
- The French Revolution.
- Facts surrounding the Unification of Italy.
- The Unification of Germany.
- The concept of Imperialism.
- Nazism as it was then.
- The face of Fascism.
- The Russian Revolution.
- The Bi-Polar World and Cold War.
- The story behind the Disintegration of the USSR.
On a whole, taking up history as an optional for UPSC is advantageous because most of the General Studies topic gets covered through it, and also the topics that are included in the History syllabus are easy to remember because we all have been reading about most of India’s past since we started taking education from school. So, in the back of our mind we have some brief knowledge about what we need to study further and what all main topics we need to cover.