Hindi Literature Optional for UPSC Mains - Syllabus, Strategy & Books

We all have heard about the UPSC examinations but many of us do not know what to do for its preparation. The civil service examination is conducted in three steps, the first one is Preliminary test then next comes the Main exam and the third is the Personality test / interview. As part of the main exam, candidates need to choose an optional subject. One of the popular optional subjects chosen by candidates is Hindi Literature.

A survey of IAS toppers who choose the Hindi literature optional found that many of the toppers were from a Hindi Background including professions such as Hindi assistant, Hindi Professor etc. So given their comfort with the subject, educational background and theircareer they chose Hindi literature.

Syllabus for Hindi Literature

The syllabus of Hindi literature is quite vast with two papers.The first paper covers the Hindi language:

  • The history of Hindi language and Nagari Lipi
  • What was the development of the language during the Braj and Awadhi era
  • The Khadi boli and Nagari Lipi development in the 16th century
  • How Hindi evolved as the National language during the freedom movements
  • What was the scientific and technological development in the Hindi language, what are the major parts of Hindi language
  • The next set consists of the time such as Adi Kaal, Bhakti Kaal, Reeti Kaal, Adhunik Kaal, the poems of famous poets such as Maithili Sharan Gupt, Jaishankar Prasad , Suryakant Tripathi Nirala , Mahadevi Verma, Nagarjun
  • The novels and the eminent novel writers such as Premchand, Jainendra Yashpal
  • Work, which is related to theatres such as the emergence of Hindi theatres, the eminent actors or writers such as Bharatendu Jai Shankar Prasad, Jagdish Chandra Mathur, and Mohan Rakesh Rajkumar Verma
  • The development of Hindi stage dramas, theatre and plays

The second paper consists of poems and questions/information regarding the writers. The questions would be related to the famous poets such as Kabir, Surdas, Tulsidas, Maithili Sharan Gupt, Muktibodh, and Nagarjuna. There will be some questions related to Tulsidas or Ramcharitra Manas (Sunderkand).

Books That Are Required for the Preparation of the Examination

Some of the Hindi literature books for UPSC Mains are:

  • Aadhunik Sahitya Ki Pravritiyan Namavar Sinhaas
  • Jaayasee Aakalan Ke Aayaam - Sadanand Shaahee
  • Kabeer Parmanand Srivastav
  • Kabeer Ke Sabad Dr. Sukadev Sinha
  • Khadi Boli Ka Prarambhik Swaroop Nilesh Jain
  • Mahaabhoj Mulyankan Ke Paripekshy Sadaanand Shaahee
  • Mohan Rakesh Aur Ashadh Ka Ek Din Gireesh Rastogi
  • Niraala Rachita Raam Kee Shakti PoojaBhaashy Dr. Surya Prasaad Dikshit
  • Pras da Aura kandgupta Dr. R vat ramana
  • Triveni Acharya Ramachandra Shukla
  • Hindi Bhasha Ki Parampara Aur Vikas Dr. Ramprakash
  • Hindi Bhasha - Dr. Hardev Bihari
  • Hindi Sahitya Ka Sankshipt Itihas - Dr. Vishwanath Tripathi

Apart from this, you can read Rachna Khand, which is a two-story compilation. In this, one is of Munshi Premchand and the second is Rafi Rajendra Yadav. Then, there are few novels that make an excellent read for the exam preparation.

  • Godan by Munshi Premchand
  • Maila Anchal by Phanishwar Nath Renu
  • Divya by Yashpal
  • Mahabhoj by Mannoo Bhandari

For theatres, drama, Natak, you must read:

  • Bharat Durdasha by Bhartendu Harishchandra
  • Skandagupta by Jai Shankar Prasad
  • Ashadh Ka Ek Din by Mohan Rakesh

Apart from these, there is a poetry section too for which one has to prepare. Books to refer for poetry are:

  • Kavita Ke Naye Pratiman by Dr Namvar Singh
  • Lokwadi Tulsi by Vishwanath Tripathi
  • Jayasi by Vijay Devnarayan Sahi

Hindi literature notes are useful for preparation for the subject since the syllabus includes many novels, plays etc. The notes provide a good summary of the important readings.

Why Is Hindi Literature a Good Optional Paper?

There are various optional subjects that one can choose from, but many people consider choosing Hindi literature for UPSC exam as an optional paper. The reason for choosing Hindi as an optional language can be that many aspirants consider it a scoring subject. The choice entirely depends on the aspirant but a note of advice is that choose Hindi literature as an optional subject only when you are comfortable or you are good at reading and writing Hindi. As the questions asked can be of Post Graduate or doctorate level, so if you really want to take up this subject as your optional subject you need to have more than basic knowledge and understanding of the subject.

A lot of time investment and commitment is required for the preparations. Even after completing the syllabus, many candidates are not able to clear the paper. One should try solving the previous year s papers to get an idea about what questions can be asked and how to answer those questions.

The Strategy to Prepare for Hindi Literature Subject

The strategy that one can follow to crack the UPSC examination with Hindi literature is

  • The first and foremost is to know the UPSC Hindi syllabus completely. One should have the thorough knowledge of the syllabus. If you do not have that, you will not understand where to begin.
  • The next step is to have the best reference books. If you know this syllabus and you have the best reference books with you then the task is a lot easier. As these books provide basic information along with the facts, definitions, date details etc. they are a good way to prepare.

  • Apart from the syllabus and books also important is preparing a study plan. You should make an overall study plan for the subject, monthly plan as well as weekly plan along with your daily schedule. In the monthly and weekly plan, you can decide upon how much syllabus you have to complete by a certain time and in the daily schedule, you will also be allot time for exam preparation and other everyday activities.

In this way, studying for the toughest Indian exam would be easy for you.

Now there is no such written rule as to how one should prepare for the examination. But, there are a certain set of things that we must do in order to crack the examination. Before discussing, how to score well in Hindi literature, let us know some interesting facts about it:

  1. This subject requires a shorter period to prepare which means a period of three to four months is enough for preparation of the subject.
  2. Hindi literature does not hold any complex concepts at all which makes the subject extremely easy to understand.
  3. As one has to read the stories or novels so this subject becomes highly touching and entertaining as you get a chance to relate to emotions and feelings.
  4. The best part of the subject is that it is not updated daily so the candidate can easily score well by revising the notes.
  5. The literature helps to develop a stronger point of view towards life and other things, therefore, this helps greatly during the interview.
  6. Another plus point is that all the sections of Hindi literature are correlated mutually with one another so there is no hassle during preparation.


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