IAS History Optional Paper- 1 with solution (2015 )

IAS History Optional Paper- 1 with solution (2015 )

For Paper 2, Click Here


Q.1 Identify the following places marked on the map supplied to you and write a short note of about 30 words on each of them. Locational hints for each of the places marked on the map are given below:

(1) A Neolithic site
(2) A Neolithic site
(3) A Harappan site
(4) A Megalithic site
(5) A Harappan site
(6) A painted-Grey-ware site
(7) An inscriptional site
(8) An important ancient city
(9) An ancient port
(10) A site of ancient cave-painting
(11) A Buddhist site
(12) An educational centre
(13) Brahmadeya Village
(14) An ancient capital
(15) An ancient capital
(16) A temple site
(17) An ancient capital
(18) An ancient sea-port
(19) An archaeological temple site
(20) A Harappan site

2015 History Optional Map

(a) How far can the ancient Indian Sruti literature be used as historical sources? (15 marks)

(b) The decline of Harappan civilization was caused by ecological degradation rather than external invasion. Discuss. (15 marks)

(c) “Archaeology knows of no Aryans; only literature knows of Aryans.” Examine critically. (10 marks)

(a) How far is it correct to say that changes in the post-Vedic economy gave birth to new religious movements in India? (15 marks)

(b) Delineate the nature and impact of India’s contact with Western Asia and the Mediterranean world during the Mauryan period. (15 marks)

(c) “Not only does ancient Tamil literature furnish an accurate picture of widely disparate classes; it also describes the social condition of Tamil country as it was.” Discuss. (10 marks)

(a) Trace the role of guilds and trade organizations in the development of early Indian economy. (15 marks)

(b) Kailasa Temple built at Ellora marks the culmination of rock-cut architecture in India. Elucidate. (15 marks)

(c) How could the local self-government under the Cholas adjust with their centralized administration structure? (10 marks)


Answer the following questions in about 150 words each.

(a) Give a brief account of the early medieval temple architecture of Kashmir. (10 marks)

(b) Why is Mamallapuram famous? (10 marks)

(c) Mention the salient features of the polity of Vijayanagara Empire under Krishnadevaraya. (10 marks)

(d) What measures did Balban adopt to combat the Mongol menance? (10 marks)

(e) How does Tuzuk-i-Babri testify that Babar had been a cultured man? (10 marks)

(a) Do the evidences of land ownership at our disposal support the theory of the prevalence of feudalism in early medieval India? (15 marks)

(b) Discuss in brief the land-revenue system and judicial administration of the Delhi Sultanate. (15 marks)

(c) “Sufis and medieval mystic saints failed to modify either the religious ideas and practices or the outward structure of Islamic/Hindu societies to any appreciable extent.” Comment for/against. (10 marks)

(a) Make an estimate of Rana Kumbha as a patron of literature and art. (15 marks)

(b) Why should the sixteenth century be regarded as the period of Indian Renaissance? (15 marks)

(c) “Tantrism, if not in practice, at last on conception level challenged patriarchy.” Examine Tantrism specially keeping in mind the above context. (10 marks)

(a) “In medieval Indian history Akbar was unique for his religio-political ideas and policies.” Analyse this statement. (15 marks)

(b) Will it not be correct to say that the rural economy in Mughal India was relatively self-sufficient? (15 marks)

(c) Compare the Peshwas’ bureaucratic management with that of the Imperial Mughal administration. (10 marks)


21 thoughts on “IAS History Optional Paper- 1 with solution (2015 )”

      1. Studying hard under your guidance 🙂 Please arrange the question paper topic wise. It will be very helpful .you are doing a great job hat’s off

    1. Not everything can be remembered, particularly factual parts. Whatever points you remember, just arrange it in order, preferably in points. And I am giving longer answers, so that even if one doesnt remember everything, one can write about 150-200 words.

      1. Hmm OK . paji checked satish Chandra both volumes rana khumba ji is nowhere mentioned and not even in ignou material so please guide in respect of material also ( ab konsi pustak padhu ) ?

      2. Hmm OK. Paji just checked satish chandra both volumes rana khumba ji is nowhere mentioned not even in ignou material so please guide in matter of material also ( @b kaunsi pustak padhu ) ?

        1. Rana Kumbha is mentioned in Rise of Regional Kingdom, chapter in Satish Chandra. Though cultural part is bery brief. Even you can find it here also:

          No need to read a lot of books, solves (or at least go through briefly) last 20-30 years paper and see whats more in the syllabus, particularly those parts which is specifically mentioned in syllabus, lile: Ibn Batutta, Zainul Abedin, Al Beruni, Kalhan’s Rajatarangani, Arab’s conquest of Sindh etc are clearly mentioned in the syllabus. So, these portions should be studied comprehensively by collecting points from several sources

  1. Hi, I have to appreciate the hard work you’ve put in. Wanted the past year papers and when I googled I came across this website. Great study material. This means a lot to all the history UPSC aspirants. Cannot thank you enough. Cheers.

  2. I have recently completed my second year in B.A.. and I am preparing for upsc since first year… but I don’t get proper guidance for upsc optional history. . please tell sources should be learn by me…
    If you have any information about history optional send on my email ….

  3. 3a. How far is it correct to say changes in post vedic economy gave birth to new religious movements in India.

    The post Vedic texts clearly indicate class divisions termed Varna hierarchy. The society was divided into 4 Varnas Bramhins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Sudras based on birth. Each varna had an assigned profession. The Bramhins occupied the highest and Sudras the least positions in the varna hierarchy. Kshatriyas hated Bramhin supremacy and this was one of the main reasons for origin of new religious movements. Vardhamana Mahavira and Gautama Buddha who founded Jainism and Buddhism both were against Bramhanical supremacy

    Post Vedic economy as the cause of new religious movements:

    The real reason for the rise of new religious movements is the new agricultural economy. With the rise of urban centres more land was to be brought under agriculture. This was enabled by access to iron ores and iron ploughs. The agricultural economy based on iron plough required bullocks. However, the vedic practice of sacrificial killing of cattle indiscriminately made this impossible. The new religious movements Jainism and Buddhism are nonviolent which led to their increase in popularity.
    The Vaishyas whose main occupation was agriculture and animal husbandry based on the varna system thrived in this agricultural economy. The Vaishyas lent money because of the growing trade and commerce. The Bramhanical law books called Dharmashutras, decried those who make a living based on interest and Vaishyas were held in low esteem. Naturally they looked for a religion which would not attach any importance to existing varna system.
    The rise of economy led to an increase in social inequality. Many old fashioned people disliked the new dwellings and clothes, new luxurious systems of transport. They preferred the primitive way of living and chose an ascetic life. This also led to the increase in popularity of Jainism and Buddhism which propounded a simple, puritan and ascetic lifestyle.


  4. Hi,i’m struggling regarding map section..especially to indify the sites,,,is it okey if we mislocate very nearby (close)site n brief about it ….help me out plz

  5. 4a. Trace the role of guilds and trade organizations in the development of early Indian economy. (15 marks)

    The ancient Indians got themselves involved in various arts and crafts. The archaeological evidences indicate a wide range of crafts. Literary sources such as Milindpanha mention as many as 60 crafts which include pottery, metal works etc. The localization of crafts is evident from Jataka stories which mention villages named after the main profession of the inhabitants. Donations mentioned on inscriptions such as Sanchi, Bharut and Mathura reflect prosperity of craft persons, their social standing and their connections with burgeoning religious centres.

    Role in early Indian Economy:
    1. The period 300BCE – 300CE saw an expansion of trade activity which saw shrenis and guilds become more active and dominant
    2. Guilds acted as bankers. Several inscriptions from this period reveal people investing money with the guilds as pious endowment. The interest from which was given to charitable institutions
    3. A close relationship existed between guilds and kings as later could extract taxes from the former
    4. May individuals and workers preferred working in the guilds as it improved their social prestige and also provided for security
    5. Many guilds issuer coins of their own which were used in trade expansion
    6. Guild used to donate huge amount of money to religious and charitable institutions. Passing traders used to donate for monasteries and in return monks used to take care of their services
    7. As demand for goods increased, more and more people joined the guilds. These were paid regular wages
    8. Rules of work and quality of product was fixed by the guilds. The finished product is priced according to the quality
    9. Guilds also acted as bankers, financiers and trustee. Generally a special class of merchants are involved in these activities. Sheshtin in the north and Chettiyars in the south.

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