This post is a compilation of our most viewed notes on Indian History, which we think our readers should not miss.
Readers can download each of the notes as PDF for free using the ‘print-pdf’ option.
Check Indian History notes category, if you want to read the complete archives.
Learn Indian History: Must Read Articles
- Indian History: Ancient India to Modern India Chronology
- Indus Valley Civilization
- Important Indus Valley Sites and Archaeological Discoveries
- Ancient India: Customs and Practices (NCERT)
- Ancient India: Early Cities and Republics (NCERT)
- Ancient India: Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism (NCERT)
- Ancient India: Maurya and Post-Maurya Rulers (NCERT)
- Ancient India: Gupta and Post-Gupta (NCERT)
- Medieval India: Tripartite Struggle and Cholas (NCERT)
- Medieval India: Delhi Sultanate (NCERT)
- Medieval India: Mughal Dynasty (NCERT)
- Mansabdari System – Explained in Layman’s Terms
- Medieval India: Rulers and Buildings (NCERT)
- Medieval India: Towns, Traders, and Craftspersons (NCERT)
- Medieval India: Tribes, Nomads, and Settled Communities (NCERT)
- Medieval India: Bhaktism, Sufism, and Sikhism (NCERT)
- Medieval India: Regional Cultures (NCERT)
- Medieval India: 18th Century Political Formations (NCERT)
- How to Study Modern Indian History for UPSC?
- India in 1750 – Decline of the Mughal Empire, Rule of Later Mughals, and Emergence of Successor States
- The British Expansion in India – East India Company, Presidencies, Governor-generals, and Battles
- The Changes introduced by the British in India
- Popular Uprisings and Revolts against the British
- Land Revenue Systems in British India: Zamindari, Ryotwari, and Mahalwari
- Historical Background of Indian Constitution
- Trade Unions – The history of labour unions in India
- Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel – Biography, Facts, Life, and Contributions to Modern India
- Kashmir Issue – Understand the multiple dimensions
India Since Independence
- The Prime Ministers of India and their tenure
- Crossroads 1945-1960: Learn History by Inter-Linking
- Crossroads 1960-1970: Learn History by Inter-Linking
- Prehistoric Era Art – Rock Paintings (Indian Culture Series – NCERT)
- Arts of Indus Valley Civilization (Indian Culture Series – NCERT)
- Arts of the Mauryan Period (Indian Culture Series – NCERT)
- Post-Mauryan Trends in Indian Art and Architecture (Indian Culture Series – NCERT)
- Later Mural Traditions (Indian Culture Series – NCERT)
- Temple Architecture and Sculpture – Hindu, Buddhist and Jain (Indian Culture Series – NCERT)
- Indian Bronze Sculpture (Indian Culture Series – NCERT)
- Indo-Islamic Architecture (Indian Culture Series – NCERT)
- Indian Philosophy: Orthodox and Heterodox Schools
- Bodhisattva: Enlightened beings who delay entering paradise to help others
- Buddhist Councils: Everything you need to know!
- Hindu Temple Architecture: Pallava
- Hindu Temple Architecture: Cholas
- Hindu Temple Architecture: Chalukyas
- Hindu Temple Architecture: Hoysala
- Classical Dances of India: Everything you need to know about
- Coinage of India: Coins used in Ancient India
Tip: Every note published in ClearIAS.com has a print-pdf button attached at the post-bottom and at the left-margin. Alternatively, you can use the website ‘printfriendly.com’ to enter the URL of any posts in ClearIAS.com to download a clean, reader-friendly PDF.
Books to learn Indian History and Culture
- Indian Art and Culture – by Nitin Singhania (Click to buy from Amazon)
- Ancient and Medieval India – by Poonam Dalal Dahiya (Click to buy from Amazon)
- Modern Indian History – by Sonali Bansal and Snehil Tripathi (Click to buy from Amazon)
Additional Reference Books
- Ancient India: India’s Ancient Past by R.S. Sharma (Click to buy)
- Ancient India: History of Ancient and Early Medieval India by Upinder Singh (Click to buy)
- Medieval India: History Of Medieval India by Satish Chandra (Click to buy)
- Modern India: History Of Modern India by Bipan Chandra. (Click to buy)
- Modern India: India’s Struggle For Independence by Bipan Chandra (Click to buy)
- Ancient India and Culture: The Wonder That Was India by A.L. Bhasham (Click to buy)
- Modern India: A Brief History of Modern India by Rajiv Ahir (Click to buy)
NB: World History is a topic only for IAS Mains. For Mains topics like Ancient India and Medieval India are not explicitly mentioned in the syllabus, but culture is included (which covers many aspects of ancient and medieval periods).
Indian History in brief: Topics to Cover
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 our approach to studying 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 of Social and Economic History too.
Listing out some important topics to study from Ancient, Medieval and Modern India. Priority areas from culture are also identified.
- Prehistoric India, Historic India, Indus Valley Civilization, Vedic India, Mahajanapadas, Mauryan Period, Gupta Period.
- The Classical Age, Pala Empire, Rashtrakuta Empire, Islam in India, Delhi Sultanate, Vijayanagara Empire, Guru Nanak, Mughals, Arrival of Europeans.
- First War of Independence, Formation of Indian National Congress, Moderates and Extremists, Muslim League, Gandhian Phase, Non-Co-operation Movement, Civil Disobedience Movement, Quit India Movement, Cripps Mission, Cabinet Mission, Mount Batten Plan, Partition of India and Indian Constitution.
- PS: Also never miss topics like Peasants movements, Tribal movements, Trade-unions, militant movements etc. related to Indian History which are often side-lined by Nationalist Historians.
Visual Arts (Paintings, Architecture, Sculpture), Performing Arts (Music, Dance, Drama etc), Religions (Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism), Society etc.
How to learn Indian History fast: The study plan
Indian History, as almost all aspirants know, is an important area from which a major share of questions come in UPSC prelims and mains.
Indian History is a very vast subject, and it is important to prioritize certain areas for UPSC Civil Services Prelims and Mains.
This article is written with a view of providing an overall guidance/study plan for Indian History for IAS exam. We have also listed some important sub-topics inside Ancient India, Medieval India and Modern India. Also, don’t forget to check out the recommended books for Indian History for Preliminary and Mains Exam.
Be it for Prelims or Mains, it is important to identify the topics of priority for IAS Exam. Analyzing previous years questions papers, one can reach a conclusion that UPSC asks a major chunk of questions from Modern India, followed by Ancient India. Questions from Medieval India are limited. Even if they come, they mostly touch areas of culture like Mughal art/architecture.
No, we are not advising to leave any particular section from Indian History. Never leave any topic completely. But you just need to prioritize things. That’s all. And it that priority list, Modern India should rank first.
Back to the study plan: Indian History being very vast, the first thing every serious aspirant should try to build is a basic understanding of the chronology of events related to Indian History.
We suggest our previous post, “Indian History: Ancient India to Modern India Chronology“, as a starting point for your preparation.
Once you build a foundation, the next strategy should be identifying the main topics of importance; for this, you can use good textbooks in the market. And there is no dearth of materials for Indian History today 🙂