How to prepare Medieval Indian History for IAS

Medieval Indian History for Civil Services Examination

Official Syllabus


  • Mains: General Studies - I (Paper 2)

Indian Culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times. Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present - significant event, personalities, issues. The Freedom Struggle - its various stages and important contributions/contributors from different parts of the country. Post-independence consolidation and reorganisation within the country.

History of the Word will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, re-drawal  of national boundaries, colonisation, decolonisation, political philosophers like communism, capitalism, socialism etc. - their forms and effect in on the society.

  • Modern History
  • Medieval Indian History (Things to prepare this part are common) - mainly related to Culture topics (Art, Architecture and Literature).
  • Ancient Indian History (Things to read are common)
  • World History (only in mains)

What type of question asked in Medieval Indian History?


From Prelims and Mains point of view:

  • Related to Literature and Philosophical Development (Bhakti Movement, Sufi Movement, development of languages like - Urdu, Bengali etc).
  • Art (Music, Dance etc).
  • Architecture (Key architecture style and their evolution in East, West, North, South and Central India).

See the last 3 years pre and 5 years GS paper related to History and Medieval period in particular. Well, Medieval India is NOT so much important for Prelims and as well as for Mains compared to Ancient and Modern India but it can't be ignored - as we can't predict UPSC.

Sources to prepare Medieval Indian History


Refer to old NCERT books, however Tamil Nadu Board textbooks are also good for prelims.

  • Facets of Indian Culture' by Spectrum (especially for Mains):

    • Religion and Philosophy
    • Architecture, Art and Craft
  • Selective Essays of 'A Cultural History of India' by AL Basham (for mains).
    Recommended essays to read from this book are:
    • Medieval Hindu Devotionalism
    • Sikhism
    • Islam in Medieval India
    • Medieval Indian Literature

What to read for Medieval Indian History?


Give importance to such topics:

  • Sultanate period Society-Culture, Art and Architecture (what new things were brought by Islamic rulers).
  • Contours of Vijayanagar Empire (Contribution to art, architecture, language, society).
  • Key wars (like Battles of Panipat, Battle of Talikota etc - from the point of historical implications).
  • Bhakti Ideology and  Sufi Ideology - development and evolution.
  • Mughal Art, Architecture, Music, Society and Literature - evolution through generations and their offshore in term of Rajpoot School of Art and Pahari School of Art.
  • Contribution of Akbar and important Mughal emperors.
  • Fall of Mughal Empire, struggle between French and British forces.

What NOT to Read?


  • Petty wars, Political wars, conspiracies, succession wars etc.
  • Small region empires and their details, facts such as names of small Kings/small wars.

Search Exam Books


Civil Services Prelims Study Materials

Test Series for Civil Services Prelims

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