Best Preparation Strategy For Art And Culture Civil Services Prelims Exam 2021

Best Preparation Strategy For Art And Culture Civil Services Prelims Exam 2021: Art and culture of India is a vast and diverse topic. It is a widespread opinion and view that the Art and Culture subjects are complicated in nature to remember and to cover the entire syllabus – because of its vast diversity. From 2014 onwards, many questions that have been asked by UPSC CSE on Art and culture of India, are very indicative.

Culture plays an important role in the development of any nation. It represents a set of shared attitudes, values, goals and practices. Culture and creativity manifest themselves in almost all economic, social and other activities. A country as diverse as India is symbolized by the plurality of its culture.
India has one of the world’s largest collections of songs, music, dance, theatre, folk traditions, performing arts, rites and rituals, paintings and writings that are known, as the ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage’ (ICH) of humanity. In order to preserve these elements, the Ministry of Culture implements a number of schemes and programmes aimed at providing financial support to individuals, groups and cultural organizations engaged in performing, visual and literary arts etc.

Must Read Books for Art and Culture UPSC Prelims 2021


Current Affairs 2021: Yearly Compilation (Art and Culture) for UPSC IAS | State PSC and other competitive exams

Indian Art, Culture, Heritage and Architecture for Civil Services Examination

Art & Culture is a very wide topic and hence it is important that you stick to the syllabus and study only the relevant portions. Here’re some of the main components of art and culture preparation for UPSC:

1. Basic Concepts of Art and Culture Syllabus for UPSC

History textbooks of Class VI and VII and XI and XII (NCERTs) cover ancient and medieval history that should be studied for building a strong foundation. Apart from that fine arts textbook of Class XI should be studied in detail for the art-forms specifically.

2. Read Standard Book for covering Art and Culture Syllabus For UPSC

Next, read Indian Art & Culture by Nitin Singhania and revise it multiple times to have the names at your fingertips. Rote learning is an important part of the preparation strategy for Art & Culture.

3. Leverage Online resources For Preparing Art and Culture For UPSC

Follow the official website of CCRT(Centre for Cultural Resources & Training) for all the important updates, pib website for information on GI tags, and other important information on recent cultural festivals and programs.

Specified under the syllabus of General Studies I for UPSC Civil Services Mains, Art & Culture is one of the important topics in the Civil Services preparation. The UPSC syllabus mentions the art and culture syllabus in just one line “Salient features of Literature, Art Forms, and Architecture from ancient to modern times”. However, after carefully analyzing the UPSC past year papers, we have listed down important micro-topics that should be studied for Art and Culture syllabus for UPSC preparation.

Resources for the Art and Culture Paper

The Art and culture of India are primarily linked with the Ancient and Medieval history of our country. And as per the latest trends, UPSC asks the question not directly but related to the ancient, the medieval history of India and current affairs related to those events. So, the first thing a candidate should do is to go through the UPSC Civil Services syllabus for Prelims and Mains exam. After doing so, they should prepare a strategy to cover every single aspect of that topic, and only then they can decide what to study and how to study.

It is essential to shortlist and gather the right study material for art and culture for the UPSC CSE IAS Exam. Just like the topic and syllabus, the availability of study materials for art and culture is also vast and diverse, which can confuse aspirants if they don’t have any professional or experienced guidance. The UPSC aspirants should choose the right books for preparation. So here are a few essential reference book list for art and culture of India for the UPSC CSE IAS Exam.

  1. NCERT- An Introduction to Indian Art
  2. Class XI NCERT- Ancient India by R.S Sharma
  3. Class XII- Medieval India by Satish Chandra
  4. Facets of Indian culture –Spectrum
  5. CCRT website
  6. NIOS materials

Areas of Focus in Indian Art and Culture

  1. Indian Architecture
  2. Indian Music
  3. Indian sculpture
  4. Indian Painting
  5. Indian Handicrafts
  6. Heritage sites in India
  7. Performing art
  8. Indian Dance forms
  9. Indian languages
  10. Religions in India
  11. Indian literature
  12. Schools of Philosophy
  13. Awards and honours
  14. Martial arts
  15. Cultural institutions
  16. Different movements
  17. Revision

Nothing can ever substitute the revision part of the exam preparation, as it gives the overview of your present state in terms of your practice. We all have heard that practice makes perfect, and it is true. For IAS Exam, one has to do a correction to retain the colossal amount of data relating concepts and areas to Art and Culture, History, Geography, Polity, and Economics, etc. Because most of the data in Indian art and culture is factual, so only a thorough analysis and a daily revision can escalate candidates retaining powers. Attending the mock tests answering previous year question papers will also help you to increase memory power.

Solving Previous Year’s Question Paper

Solving the previous year’s papers of the UPSC Civil Services Exam will help the candidate understand the pattern and the nature of the questions asked from the Art and Culture area in the UPSC Civil Services IAS exam. A perfect analysis and thorough practice are required continuously to make your UPSC Civil Services IAS Exam preparation perfect.

The best way to tackle and understand art and culture is to make it enjoyable while preparing/studying. Never try to mug up every concept at once, as it isn’t feasible and you won’t remember it anyway but try building an appreciation for various art forms, try to draw linkages with contemporary happenings if you can.

For example, in last year’s Prelims, a question on the medieval water-harvesting structure was asked, and drought was so much in the news. Similarly, if you analyse recent year trends for both Prelims and Mains, you will see how Buddhism, Jainism and ancient philosophies find favour with UPSC almost repeatedly.

Adopt a 3-Sourced Prelims Strategy for Art and Culture

  • Source 1 – Old NCERTs of Ancient and Medieval India – Refer only to those chapters relating to culture.
  • Source 2 NIOS material for culture – For new aspects like paintings, dance, music, etc.
  • Source 3 – ‘The Hindu’ newspaper. Any news or article you find that’s related to culture should be noted down. Eg. 100th anniversary of M.S. Subbalakshmi means Carnatic music becomes essential for the exam preparation.

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