How to Prepare Hindi Literature Optional for UPSC Mains Exam

How to Prepare Hindi Literature Optional for UPSC Mains Exam

Choosing the correct optional for UPSC examination can be a game-changer for a candidate. Congratulations to the candidate those who have chosen Hindi literature as an Optional Subject in IAS Mains Examination as they can score good marks in Hindi Literature Optional with proper guidance and hard work. In this article, we will try to elaborate on the strategy for Hindi literature optional for IAS Mains, which will help the students to understand how to prepare this optional and maximize their score as well.

Hindi Literature Optional Syllabus

Hindi Literature Paper-1 Syllabus

  • Section-A: 

History of Hindi Language and Nagari Lipi

    1. Grammatical and applied forms of Apbhransh, Awahatta & Arambhik Hindi.
    2. Development of Braj and Awadhi as a literary language during the medieval period.
    3. Early form of Khari-boli in Siddha-Nath Sahitya, Khusero, Sant Sahitaya, Rahim etc. and Dakhni Hindi.
    4. Development of Khari-boli and Nagari Lipi during 19th Century.
    5. Standardisation of Hindi Bhasha & Nagari Lipi.
    6. Development of Hindi as national Language during freedom movement.
    7. The development of Hindi as a National Language of Union of India.
    8. Scientific & Technical development of Hindi Language.
    9. Prominent dialects of Hindi and their inter-relationship.
    10. Salient features of Nagari Lipi and the efforts for its reform & Standard form of Hindi.
    11. Grammatical structure of Standard Hindi.
  •  Section-B: 

History of Hindi Literature

    1. The relevance and importance of Hindi literature and tradition of writing History of Hindi Literature.
    2. Literary trends of the following four periods of history of Hindi Literature.
      1. Adikal- Sidh, Nath and Raso Sahitya. Prominent poets- Chandvardai, Khusaro, Hemchandra, Vidyapati.
      2. Bhaktikal- Sant Kavyadhara, Sufi Kavyadhara, Krishna Bhaktidhara and Ram Bhaktidhara. Prominent Poets- Kabir, Jayasi, Sur and Tulsi.
      3. Ritikal- Ritikavya, Ritibaddhakavya and Riti Mukta Kavya. Prominent Poets- Keshav, Bihari, Padmakar and Ghananand.
      4. Adhunik Kal-
        1. Renaissance, the development of Prose, Bharatendu Mandal.
        2. Prominent Writers- Bharatendu, Bal Krishna Bhatt & Pratap Narain Mishra.
        3. Prominent trends of modern Hindi Poetry- Chhayavad, Pragativad, Prayogvad, Nai Kavita, Navgeet and Contemporary poetry and Janvadi Kavita.
          Prominent Poets- Maithili Sharan Gupta, Prasad, Nirala, Mahadevi, Dinkar, Agyeya, Muktibodh, Nagarjun.
    3.  Katha Sahitya
      1. Upanyas & Realism.
      2. The origin and development of Hindi Novels.
      3. Prominent Novelists- Premchand, Jainendra, Yashpal, Renu and Bhism Sahani.
      4. The origin and development of Hindi short story.
      5. Prominent Short Story Writers- Premchand, Prasad, Agyeya, Mohan Rakesh & Krishna Sobti.
    4. Drama & Theatre
      1. The origin & Development of Hindi Drama.
      2. Prominent Dramatists : Bharatendu, Prasad, Jagdish Chandra Mathur, Ram Kumar Verma, Mohan Rakesh.
      3. The development of Hindi Theatre.
    5. Criticism
      1. The origin and development of Hindi criticism- Saiddhantik, Vyavharik, Pragativadi, Manovishleshanvadi & Nai Alochana.
      2. Prominent critics- Ramchandra Shukla, Hajari Prasad Dwivedi, Ram Vilas Sharma & Nagendra.
    6. The other forms of Hindi prose- Lalit Nibandh, Rekhachitra, Sansmaran, Yatra-vrittant.


Hindi Literature Paper-2 Syllabus 

This examination paper will require first-hand reading of prescribed texts and will test the critical ability of the candidates.

  1. Section-A : 

Padhya Sahitya

    1. Kabir- Kabir Granthawali, Ed. Shyam Sundar Das (First hundred Sakhis)
    2. Surdas- Bhramar Geetsar, Ed. Ramchandra Shukla (First hundred Padas)
    3. Tulsidas- Ramchrit Manas (Sundar Kand) Kavitawali (Uttar Kand)
    4. Jayasi- Padmawat Ed. Shyam Sundar Das (Sinhal Dwip Khand & Nagmativiyog Khand)
    5. Bihari- Bihari Ratnakar Ed. Jagannath Prasad Ratnakar (First 100 Dohas)
    6. Maithili Sharan Gupta- Bharat Bharati
    7. Prasad- Kamayani (Chinta and Shraddha Sarg)
    8. Nirala- Rag-Virag, Ed. Ram Vilas Sharma (Ram Ki Shakti Puja & Kukurmutta)
    9. Dinkar- Kurukshetra
    10. Agyeya- Angan Ke Par Dwar (Asadhya Vina)
    11. Muktiboth- Brahma Rakshas
    12. Nagarjun- Badal Ko Ghirte Dekha Hai, Akal Ke Bad, Harijan Gatha
 2. Section- B : 

Gadhya Sahitya

    1. Bharatendu- Bharat Durdasha
    2. Mohan Rakesh- Ashadh Ka Ek Din
    3. Ramchandra Shukla- Chintamani (Part I), (Kavita Kya Hai, Shraddha-Bhakti)
    4. Nibandh Nilaya- Dr. Satyendra, Bal Krishna Bhatt, Premchand, Gulab Rai, Hajari Prasad Dwivedi, Ram Vilas Sharma, Agyeya, Kuber Nath Rai
    5. Premchand- Godan, ‘Premchand’ ki Sarvashreshtha Kahaniyan (Ed. Amrit Rai)
    6. Prasad- Skandgupta
    7. Yashpal- Divya
    8. Phaniswar Nath Renu- Maila Anchal
    9. Mannu Bhandari- Mahabhoj
    10. Rajendra Yadav- Ek Dunia Samanantar (All Stories)

Booklist/Sources for Hindi Literature Optional

Apart from the standard books mentioned above in the syllabus, the following sources are also recommended-

  1. NCERT Class 11- Sahitya Saashtra Parichay
  2. Hindi Sahitya ka Sanshipt Etihaas- Dr Viswanath Tripathi
  3. Hindi Sahitya ka Ethihaas- Dr Nagendra
  4. Hindi bhasa- Dr Hardev Bahri
  5. Chayavaad- Dr Namvar Singh
  6. Kabeer- Hazari Prasad Dwivedi
  7. Kavita kae naye pratimaan- Dr Namvar Singh
  8. Hindi Sahitya aur Samvedna ka Vikas- Dr Ramswarup Chaturvedi
  9. Previous year question papers of UPSC, BPSC, MPSC, UPPSC
  10. ANY GOOD COACHING NOTES (originals can be obtained from respective institutes) or IGNOU notes 

How to prepare for Hindi Literature Optional

Let us first discuss some general observations about the Hindi literature Optional. The general questions which arise in the mind of an aspirant are; who can opt for Hindi literature optional?  how to start the subject? how much time is required for it? Is it scoring? Will my answers be good enough for Hindi Literature? can it be prepared on one’s own? how much time will be required for revision? etc etc. So in this article, we will try to cover the maximum possible dimensions to quench the dilemma of a candidate collectively. 

Who can choose Hindi Literature Optional?

The first and very most condition for this is you should have an interest in it, you enjoy reading poems in Hindi, you appreciate the Hindi Literature; then go for it. Many a time, the person may have done schooling in English medium but they love reading Hindi, and the result from Hindi Literature optional is full of such examples. Most of the time the obvious sentence a candidate says after choosing Hindi literature as an optional is; I love this subject, I love reading Hindi literature, but when it comes to the writing part, I do make a lot of mistakes. Have patience, we will be coming back to that shortly. Do not fear the subject, your love for the subject can win over your fears.

Strategy for Hindi Literature Optional for IAS

So, the next question is how to give it a start. Start the subject by reading some of the novels from the syllabus. 'Godan' can be a good choice due to its structure and simple but powerful language. This will also make a candidate understand how the simple language used by the writer 'Munshi  Premchandra' made him the greatest author of Hindi literature. For writing the answers, one need not be a working dictionary of Hindi. Yes, you have to keep a Hindi-Hindi or Hindi-English dictionary with you, that doesn't mean that you have to remember all the words by heart. Whenever you encounter a difficult word, just look for its meaning in the dictionary and pen it down in a separate notebook, let's name it "Star notebook". This ‘Star notebook’ is going to be very helpful in the future. Ok, coming back to the novel: A warning, we would like to give is, "do not start with 'Divya' novel (while reading this novel, be ready with a dictionary for the first 5 pages; believe me it's tough for everyone. After that general flow can be maintained). 

Now, when you have gone through some of the novels and poems (just read them), we will broadly divide the syllabus into 4 parts: 



Part A-  Hindi bhasha and Nagari lipi

Part C- Padhya  Sahitya

Part B-  Hindi sahitya ka etihas

Part D-  Gadhya Sahitya

We would now suggest doing 'Part A' at the end. ‘Part B’, ‘Part C’ and ‘Part D’ has to be done in a coherent form. Always keep the syllabus, question bank and dictionary handy. ‘Part B- Hindi Sahitya ka etihas' (history of Hindi literature), this part consists of many writers and poets whose books or compositions can be found in ‘Part C’ and ‘Part D’. These things have to be done in a combined manner. One can start from any topic of ‘Part B’ and later relate it to ‘Part C’ and ‘Part D’.  

Before starting any topic, go through the question bank and find out the questions related to that topic; you will find that some of the questions are similar or related, group them together, rate them 1-5, according to their frequency of occurrence (some question can get even 0.5, do not run after such questions). Note down these questions topic wise in the 'Star notebook'. Read these questions according to their rating, i.e., the questions with 1 rating to be read 2 times, the questions with 4 ratings to be read 8 times, and so on.  

Now start reading the notes and books of the topic. After finishing a topic, try answering some of the previous year questions, don’t be disheartened if your answer is not up to the mark. Read the answer sheets of toppers. Remember this is just a starting point, have faith, after finishing the syllabus, your answers will evolve eventually. While answering, support your answers with different 'dohas' or ‘lines from the poem’. The trick to remember 'dohas' is; write down the important dohas in ‘Star notebook’ and read them daily once, no need to learn them by heart, just read it once and it will come to you naturally. Always keep your answers within the word limit, according to the marks. And do not write the answers in bullet points. 

Many candidates also encounter the problem of spelling mistakes. For that, get your answers checked by a person who knows Hindi well (may not be so good in Hindi literature), just get it checked for the sake of spelling. Write the words in a different part of ‘Star notebook’. The general number of words used in writing a language can go from 3000 to 5000 words, so the number of words in which one makes mistakes can be 300 to 600. Write 20 words daily 20 times (this school time method really helps). So in a month, one can finish 600 words but don't stop there, keep writing them in the loop of 20 words and keep adding new words. Slowly the rate of addition of new words will decrease. 

How much time is required for Hindi Literature preparation?

Well, the answer may vary depending on your reading speed. 4-6 months would be enough to finish the full syllabus along with answer writing giving 4-5 hours daily. If your speed is slow, increase it to 6 hours daily. Do compulsory revision on Sundays. The ‘Part-A’ of the syllabus is more of factual nature but one must remember that this part is very scoring. Once the syllabus is completed, it is very easy to do the revision. ‘Part-A’ has to be read again and again and regular answer writing has to be done from ‘Part-B, C and D’. 

How scoring is Hindi Literature Optional 

Scoring 280-290 is not a Hercules task. People have scored 311,344  marks in the recent past in Hindi literature optional. Try watching some information about the writers online and just to enrich your knowledge and interest. Keep a note in ‘Star notebook’ of the source from where a certain topic has been studied, otherwise at the end, it would become a mess to find the correct notes.

Can it be prepared on one's own? 

Yes, absolutely, it can be prepared on one's own but if there is not enough time; joining a good classroom coaching would be a good decision. We would highly recommend joining any good test series at the time of Mains irrespective of whether you have joined any classroom coaching or not. 

So, keep enjoying whatever you read. Remember "When the going gets tough, the tough gets going.'' 

Best of luck. Exercise regularly. Be positive.

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