History is a major part of General Studies Paper (Paper 1 for 200 marks) in Civil Services Exam Prelims. This paper will include questions from Indian Culture, History of India and Indian National Movement. A good understanding of Ancient and Medieval India plus an in-depth knowledge about Modern India and Indian Freedom Struggle is necessary to score high in History questions of Paper 1 (General Studies). Links are provided to buy the important Indian History books helpful in a prelims perspective.
Recommended IAS Books for History – Civil Services Preliminary Exam
- India’s Ancient Past – R.S. Sharma. (Ancient History)
- History Of Medieval India – Satish Chandra. (Medieval History)
- History Of Modern India – Bipan Chandra. (Modern History)
- India’s Struggle For Independence – Bipan Chandra. (Modern History)
- Indian Art and Culture – Nitin Singhania. (Culture)
Note: If you are running short of time to finish the syllabus before exam, you may better focus on concise books instead of bulky ones. You can use Modern India by Spectrum (Rajiv Ahir IPS) then, which is a small book which covers almost all major points given in Modern India by Bipan Chandra. Similarly, you may just focus on Indian art and culture by Nithin Singhania IAS, for culture topics.
Additional books for reference : Civil Services Preliminary Exam History
- A Brief History of Modern India – Spectrum (Point wise notes for faster reading).
- Facets of Indian Culture – Spectrum.
- The Wonder That Was India – A.L. Bhasham. (Culture)
- From Plassey to Partition : A History of Modern India.
Must Read Books for History in IAS Exam Prelims:
Indian History and Culture
History and Culture are very related topics, particularly with respect to ancient and medieval India. Asoka and Buddhism are deeply bonded, the same way we cannot study Shah Jahan without commenting on Taj Mahal. So your approach to study Indian History should never be limited to Political History where we study the names and wars of Kings, but should be very broad to cover other aspects like Social and Economic History too.