History of India

The General Studies paper of Civil services preliminary exam comprises of Polity, Geography, Economy, History, General Science and Current Affairs. Both Indian History and culture are correlated and vast subjects. The Indian History and culture are considered as the significant part of both the Civil Services Preliminary Exam and the Main Examination 2020. A substantial segment of the total questions asked in General Studies Paper I for IAS exam come from Indian History that blended with culture. A judicious assortment of hard work and the right strategy will ease the history preparation. Here we are sharing the best study book for indian history for UPSC and State PSC Exams

The history is divided into three parts. They are:

  1. Ancient India
  2. Medieval India
  3. Modern India

The three segments carry a substantial amount of weightage in both UPSC prelim and mains examination. Along with these segments culture also plays a prominent role. It has been attaining a lot of mileage nowadays.


“History of Ancient India”: A Complete Study Material

1. Stone Age

       1.1 The Palaeolithic Age     
       1.2 The Mesolithic Age
       1.3 The Neolithic Age 
       1.4 The Chalcolithic Culture

2. Vedic and Later Vedic Age

       2.1 Advent of Aryans 
       2.2 Advent of Aryans in India
       2.3 Economic and Social life of Aryans
       2.4 Economic and Social Life in “Later Vedic Period”
       2.5 Material and Social Life of Aryans in India
       2.6 Later Vedic Age (1000-600 B.C.)
       2.7 List of Archaeological Sites of Indus Valley Civilisation
       2.8 List of Vedic Literature | Sacred Hindu Scriptures
       2.9 List of Rig Vedic Gods & Goddesses
       2.10 List of Archaeological Finding & Evidences Prehistoric & Indus Valley Civilisation
       2.11 Summary of Indus Valley Civilization (Harappa Civilization)
       2.12 Vedic Age: Polity | Society |Position of Women

3. Pre Mauryans Age

       3.1 Sources of Mauryan History
       3.2 The Mahajanapadas
       3.3 The Age of Satavahanas
       3.4 Foreign Invasions during Pre Mauryan Age
       3.5 Magadhan Empire
       3.6 Janapadas and Mahajanapadas

4. Age of Mauryas

       4.1 Ashoka the Great
       4.2 Mauryan Dynasty
       4.3 Economy, Social Life, Art and Architecture in Mauryan Age
       4.4 The Mauryan Empire: Administration
       4.5 Mauryan Empire: Its Decline and Significance

5. Contemporary and Post-Mauryan Rulers

       5.1 Kanishka: The Kushan Dynasty
       5.2 Palas, Pratiharas and Rashtrakutas
       5.3 Sunga, Kanva and Chedi Dynasty
       5.4 Impact of Central Asian Contacts (During Shaka-Kushan age)

6. Gupta Empire

       6.1 Gupta Dynasty: Important Rulers
       6.2 List of the Titles adopted by Gupta Kings
       6.3 List of Taxes levied during the Gupta Period
       6.4 The Gupta Empire: A Detailed Summary

7. Post Gupta’s Era

       7.1 Chola Kingdom: Administration, Art and Architecture
       7.2 Chola, Chera and Pandya Dynasties
       7.3 Delhi Sultanate: Balban (Slave Dynasty)
       7.4 Delhi Sultanate: Slave Dynasty
       7.5 Chola Empire (9th-century AD-12th century AD): Medieval Cholas
       7.6 Gupta Empire: Trade, Art & Architecture and Literature
       7.7 Gupta Empire: Administration
       7.8 Economy, Social life and Temple Architecture in Post Gupta Era
       7.9 Chola Empire (f9th century AD-12th century AD): Later Cholas
       7.10 Tripartite Struggle for Kannauj
       7.11 Post Gupta Dynasties in Indian Peninsula
       7.12 List of the Ancient Indian Scholars and their Patrons
       7.13 List of Ancient Historical monuments in India and their builders
       7.14 List of the Poets in the Courts of the Kings in Ancient India
       7.15 Important Facts of Ancient India: Science & Technology
       7.16 Summary on the Dynasties of Sangam Age
       7.17 Summary of Ancient Indian Dynasties and their contributions

8. The Harshavardhana Era

       8.1 Ancient Philosophies of India
       8.2 The Harshavardhana Era

9. Religions of Ancient India

       9.1 The Buddha
       9.2 Buddhist Literature
       9.3 Buddhist Councils
       9.4 Buddhist Scholars
       9.5 Hinayana and Mahayana
       9.6 Bodhisattvas
       9.7 List of Jain Tirthankaras
       9.8 Buddhism and Jainism

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History of Medieval India: Complete Study Material

1. Early Medieval India

    1.1 Prithvi Raj Chauhan
    1.2 Social and Cultural Development during Rajput Dynasty
    1.3 The Rashtrakutas
    1.4 The Palas
    1.5 Kannauj after Harsha
    1.6 The Senas of Bengal
    1.7 The Gahadavals of Kannauj
    1.8 Chahamans or Chauhanas of Shakambhari
    1.9 The Kalachuri’s of Tripuri
    1.10 Chandellas of Bundelkhand
    1.11 Karkota Dynasty
    1.12 Utpala Dynasty
    1.13 Kingdoms of Kashmir after Utpalas
    1.14 Ride of Lohara Dynasty
    1.15 Arab conquest of Sindh

2. The Rise of Rajput

    2.1 The Chandela of Bundelkhand
    2.2 The Origin of Rajputs

3. Emergence of Provincial kingdoms

    3.1 Architecture and Literature during Vijayanagara Empire
    3.2 The Bahmani Kingdom

4. Delhi Sultanate

    4.1 Mahmud Ghaznavi: Why he attacked 17 times on India?
    4.2 Delhi Sultanate: Jalal ud din Khilji and Alauddin Khilji (Khilji Dynasty)
    4.3 Economic Policy and Administration under Khilji Dynasty
    4.4 Razia Sultan:The First Women Ruler of India
    4.5 Bahlul Lodhi
    4.6 Causes of the Downfall of Lodhi Dynasty
    4.7 Administration in Delhi Sultanate
    4.8 Firoz Shah Tuglaq
    4.9 Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq:The First Emperor of Tughlaq Dynasty
    4.10 Qutb-ud-Din Mubarak Shah Khilji
    4.11 Muhammad Bin Tughlaq: Key Facts and Refroms
    4.12 Smaller Kingdoms during Sultanate Era
    4.13 Sayyid Dynasty: List of Rulers
    4.14 Sikandar Lodi: Administration and Achievements
    4.15 Economic Conditions during Delhi Sultanate
    4.16 Ibn Battuta’s Memoir on Tughlaq Dynasty
    4.17 Invasion of Timur on India: Causes and Consequences
    4.18 Sufi Movement in India: A Detailed Summary

5. Mughal Empire

     5.1 Akbar the Great
     5.2 Nasin al Din Muḥammad (Humayun)
     5.3 Ibrahim Lodi
     5.4 Jehangir
     5.5 Shahabuddin Muhammad Shah Jahan
     5.6 Aurangzeb -Emperor of Mughal India
     5.7 Babur (Zahir-ud-din Muhammad)
     5.8 Cultural Development during Mughal Era
     5.9 The Sur Empire
     5.10 Mughal Administration: Key Features & Structure
     5.11 Mughal Empire: Contribution in Arts and Architecture
     5.12 List of the Great Mughal Emperors of India

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History of Modern India Complete Study Material

1. Modern History: Decline of Mughal and Maratha Empire

    1.1 Successors of Mughal: Detailed Overview
    1.2 Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj: History |Biography| Administration
    1.3  The Successors of Shivaji
    1.4  Maratha Administration
    1.5  Peshwas under Maratha Empire: Detailed Overview

2. Modern History: Rise of the Regional States and European Power

    2.1 History of the Punjab | Sikh Warrior
    2.2 History of Rajputs: Rajput Provinces of India
    2.3 History of Mysore State
    2.4 The Awadh | Historic Region of Northern India
    2.5 Independent Rulers of Bengal during 17th Century
    2.6 History of Hyderabad State & Nizams of Hyderabad
    2.7 History of Jats State during 17th Century
    2.8 Establishment of the Portugal Dominion
    2.9 Establishment of the Dutch Dominion
    2.10 Arrival of the French and establishment of French East India Company
    2.11 Arrival of the British & Establishment of British East India Company

3. Modern History: British Paramountcy and Acts

    3.1 Battle of Buxar: Its Causes and Consequences
    3.2 Key Points on Subsidiary Alliance
    3.3 Doctrine of Lapse: Meaning, Objective & its Impact
    3.4 The Regulating Act, 1773: Key Features
    3.5 Key features of Pitt’s India Act of 1784
    3.6 Charter Act of 1793: Importance & its key Features
    3.7 Features of the Charter Act of 1813
    3.8 Main features of The Charter Act of 1833
    3.9 Charter Act of 1853: Main features
    3.10 Government of India Act 1858: Key Features
    3.11 Indian Council Act of 1861
    3.12 Main Features of Indian Council Act 1892
    3.13 Indian council act 1909 | Minto-Morley Reforms: Main Features
    3.14 Government of India Act 1935: Main Features
    3.15 Government of India Act, 1919 | Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms: Main Features of the Act

4. Modern History: 18th Century Revolts and Reform

    4.1 Ramakrishna Mission and Vivekananda: Contribution in Social Reform
    4.2 Ishwar Chandra Vidhya Sagar: Ideas and Teachings
    4.3 Vivian Derozio | Young Bengal Movement: Ideas, Objectives and Teaching
    4.4 Ram Mohan Roy| Brahmo Samaj:  Significance & Objectives
    4.5 The Revolt of 1857: Causes, Nature, Importance and Outcomes
    4.6 Social Legislation under British Rule
    4.7 Reform Movements in Southern India
    4.8 Reform Movements in Western India
    4.9 Syed Ahmad Khan | Aligarh Movement: Consequences & Objectives
    4.10 Muslim Socio-Religious Movements in India
    4.11 Theosophical Society: Roles and Features of the movement in India

5. Modern History: Indian National Movement

    5.1 Development of Education during British Period in India
    5.2 Development of Indian Press during British Rule in India
    5.3 Indian National Congress: Sessions, Contributions & Resolutions
    5.4 Jallianwala Bagh Massacre: Causes & its Impact
    5.5 The Moderate: Meaning and their Works
    5.6 The Extremist and Partition of Bengal
    5.7 Formation of Muslim League and its Objectives
    5.8 Anti-Rowlatt Satyagraha
    5.9 Swadeshi Movement and its impact on India
    5.10 The Anarchical and Revolutionary Crime Act, 1919
    5.11 Non-Cooperation Movement |Khilafat Movement: Causes & Results
    5.12 Aims of Swaraj Party and its Work
    5.13 Muddinman Committee (1924)
    5.14 Butler Committee
    5.15 The Simon Commission: Report & Recommendations
    5.16 Key Features of Nehru Report
    5.17 Jinnah’s ’14 Points’
    5.18 Civil Disobedience Movement
    5.19 Gandhi-Irwin Pact
    5.20 Communal Awards & Poona Pact
    5.21 August Offer
    5.22 Individual Satyagraha
    5.23 Cripps Mission
    5.24 Quit India movement
    5.25 Subhas Chandra Bose and INA (Azad Hind Fauz)
    5.26 Rajagopalachari Formula (1944 AD)
    5.27 Desai – Liaquat Proposals (AD 1945)
    5.28 Wavell Plan and Shimla Conference
    5.29 Cabinet Mission Plan: Impact & Purpose
    5.30 Interim Government: First Government of Independent India
    5.31 The Constituent Assembly of India: Features & its Committees
    5.32 Indian Independence Act 1947|Lord Mountbatten Plan: Main Features

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Modern History of India Study Notes With MCQ

Ancient History of India
Medieval History
Modern History of India

Indian History Practice Question Bank

Q.1    Bhimbetka caves show the continuity of human evolution from the Lower Palaeolithic Period to the Mesolithic period to the chalcolithic period. Why?

1.       It contains evidence of the use of tools and implements from all these periods.

2.       There are a large number of Shanka Lipi inscriptions in the Bhimbetka cluster of rock shelters. Which of the above is/are correct?

(a)      1 only

(b)      2 only

(c)      Both 1 and 2

(d)      None

Solution: (a)

Statement 1: In the caves, the continuity of human evolution from the Lower Palaeolithic Period is noticed by the smaller size of stone tools in the following Middle Palaeolithic Period besides new tools like scrapers. During the Upper Palaeolithic Period newer tool types like: blades, borers and burins had also emerged.

However, it is in the Mesolithic Period that there is a clear change in the materials and tool typology.

Earlier, the tools were largely made of quartzite and sandstone, whereas the tools being made in the Mesolithic Period were most often of chalcedony.

The Mesolithic culture at Bhimbetka continued much longer as understood by the presence of Chalcolithic potteries in otherwise Mesolithic contexts.

By the Early Historic times it appears that interaction with the surrounding cultures became more pronounced. This is evidenced by the presence of rock-cut beds in a rock shelter on the top portion of an Inselbergs like outcrop not far from the later built temple at this site.

Shankhalipi or “shell-script” is a term used by scholars to describe ornate spiral Brahmi characters that resemble conch shells (or shankhas). They are found in inscriptions across various parts of India except the far south and date to between the 4th and 8th centuries CE.

Q.2    The metal central to this age finds frequent mention in the Vedas and the age itself follows after the Chalcolithic age. It can be

(a)      Palaeolithic Age

(b)      Iron Age

(c)      Copper-stone

(d)      Later Stone Age

Solution: (b)

The Chalcolithic age is followed by Iron Age. Iron is frequently referred to in the Vedas.

The Iron Age of the southern peninsula is often related to Megalithic Burials. Megalith means Large Stone. The burial pits were covered with these stones. Such graves are extensively found in South India.

The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. The adoption of these materials coincided with other changes in society, including differing agricultural practices, religious beliefs and artistic styles.

Q.3    Consider the following major archaeological sites ranging from the Mesolithic age to the iron age in the Indian subcontinent. Match them with their respective regions in present day India:

1.       Koldihwa: Madhya Pradesh

2.       Mehrgarh: Haryana

3.       Paiyampalli: Tamil Nadu

Select the correct answer using the codes below.

(a)      1 and 2 only

(b)      3 only

(c)      2 and 3 only

(d)      1 only

Solution: (b)

Statement 1: Located in present day UP, this site represents three occupational levels: the Neolithic, Chalcolithic, and Iron Age phases.

Statement 2: Mehrgarh is located near the Bolan Pass, to the west of the Indus River valley and between the now Pakistani cities of Quetta, Kalat and Sibi.

Mehrgarh is supposedly the most sophisticated, ingenuous and best planned ancient farm villages of ancient India. Statement 3: It is known for the excavation remains of neolithic and megalithic periods.

Q.4    Palaeolithic or Old Stone Age sites are widely found in various parts of the Indian subcontinent. These sites are generally located near

(a)      Water sources

(b)      Deserts

(c)      Major urban centres

(d)      Mines

Solution: (a)

Several rock shelters and caves used by the Paleolithic people are scattered across the subcontinent. Some of the famous sites of Old Stone Age in India are:

The Soan valley and Potwar Plateau on the northwest India.

The Siwalik hills on the north India. Bhimpetka in Madhya Pradesh.

Adamgarh hill in Narmada valley. Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh and Attirampakkam near Chennai.

If you notice, most of these sites are near water sources, for e.g. Soan valley, Siwalik hills (starting from Indus), Adamgarh hill in Narmada valley.

A reason can be that water formed a subsistence base for Palaeolithic civilization, which is why major art works are found near these water sources.

Q.5    The Neolithic period is followed by Chalcolithic period. In the chalcolithic period, the use of which of the following started?

1.       Copper and bronze

2.       Technology of smelting metal ore

3.       Crafting metal artifacts

Select the correct answer using the codes below.

(a)      1 only

(b)      2 and 3 only

(c)      3 only

(d)      1, 2 and 3

Solution: (d)

Despite the use of copper and bronze, the use of stone tools was not given up. Some of the micro- lithic tools continued to be essential items.

People began to travel for a long distance to obtain metal ores.

This led to a network of Chalcolithic cultures and the Chalcolithic cultures were found in many parts of India.

Q.6    Which of these are the chief difference(s) between Mesolithic and Neolithic cultures?

1.       Hunting-gathering pattern of life began not before the Neolithic period.

2.       Mesolithic cultures did not practice domestication of animals unlike Neolithic people.

3.       The use of bow and arrow cannot be found in Mesolithic culture, unlike Neolithic culture.

4.       Evidence of pottery is absent from the Neolithic culture but is markedly found in Mesolithic culture. Select the correct answer using the codes below.

(a)      3 and 4 only

(b)      2 only

(c)      1 and 3 only

(d)      None of the above

Solution: (d) Justification:

Statement 1 and 3: Hunting-gathering pattern of life was prevalent since Old Stone Age to Mesolithic and Neolithic. However, there seems to have been a shift from big animal hunting to small animal hunting and Fishing. This is how bows and arrows were used in this period. Both 1 and 3 are thus wrong.

Statement 2: Domestication of animals, horticulture and primitive cultivation started during Mesolithic period itself. However, during Neolithic period, domestication of sheep, goats and cattle was widely prevalent. Cattle were used for cultivation and for transport.

Statement 4: During Neolithic age, wheels were used to make pottery. Pottery was used for cooking as well as storage of food grains. So, 4 is wrong.

During the Neolithic phase, the cultivation of plants and domestication of animals led to the emergence of village communities based on sedentary life. There was a great improvement in technology of making tools and other equipments used by man. Stone tools were now polished. Mud brick houses were built instead of grass huts. Large urns were used as coffins for the burial of the dead. Wheat, barley, rice, millets were cultivated in different areas at different points of time. Rice cultivation was extensive in eastern India. The people of Neolithic Age used clothes made of cotton and wool.

Q.7    The beginning of agriculture can be ascribed most suitably to which of these times?

1.       2,500 years ago with the onset of Magadha Empire

2.       4,700 years ago with the appearance of the first cities on the Indus

3.       Nearly 8,000-10,000 years ago

4.       About 25,000 years ago in the first Penistone glacial period

Solution: (c)

Q.8    Consider the following matches of periods with the beginning of major activities in the history of human civilization:

1.       Building of megaliths: 3000 years ago

2.       Cotton cultivation: 2000 years ago

3.       Domestication of animals: 12000 years ago

Select the correct answer using the codes below.

(a)      1 and 2 only

(b)      1 and 3 only

(c)      2 only

(d)      1, 2 and 3

Solution: (b)

Statement 1: Beginning of cities started about 4700 years ago. Settlement at Inamgaon began between 3600 and 2700 years ago.

Statement 2: This started at Mehrgarh about 7000 years ago.

Statement 3: Domestication was a gradual process that took place in many parts of the world.

It began about 12,000 years ago. Some of the earliest plants to be domesticated were wheat and barley.

The earliest domesticated animals include sheep and goat.

Q.9    Among the earliest chalcolithic cultures in India, the Ahar or Banas culture was discovered in the

(a)      Mewar region of Rajasthan

(b)      Gwalior region of Madhya Pradesh

(c)      Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh

(d)      Kangra region of Himachal Pradesh

Solution: (a)

Nearly one hundred sites of the culture have been located along its principal axis, i.e., the valleys of river Banas and its tributaries and subtributaries in Banswara, Udaipur etc.

The technology at Ahar was based mainly on copper and very few microblades and microliths have been discovered.

Aharas were a separate culture from GJs. Located in northeast Rajasthan, the Ganeshwar-Jodhpura complex which was an early centre of agriculture and copper metallurgy in the subcontinent.

Q.10  With reference to Chalcolithic cultures in Indian subcontinent, consider the following statements.

1.       Ochre-coloured pottery sites have been usually found in the Gangetic doab of India.

2.       Anthropomorphic figures of worship have been found in the copper hoard culture. Which of the above is/are correct?

(a)      1 only

(b)      2 only

(c)      Both 1 and 2

(d)      None

Solution: (c)

Concept: The Harappan culture is generally supposed to have been followed by non-urban Chalcolithic culture characterized by the use of copper and stone. The differences between these cultures were not fundamental but were primarily confined to pottery.

Justification: Copper Hoards describe find-complexes which occur in the northern part of India.

These occur mostly in hoards large and small and are believed to date to the later 2nd millennium BCE, although very few derive from controlled and dateable excavation contexts.

A fragment of an anthropomorphic came to light in controlled excavations at Lothal and a second one at Saipai Lichchavi, Etawah district. The doabhoards are associated with the so-called Ochre Coloured Pottery (OCP) which appears to be closely associated with the Late Harappan (or Post urban) phase.

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