How to Prepare Political Science Optional for UPSC Mains: Target IAS 2018 and Beyond

Political Science is more of understanding completely and confirmedly some of the few most basic concepts like justice, equality, hegemony, rights, ideology etc. The more you get clarity on these foremost aspects of modern state (or any state or a congregation of people), the subject starts getting in your mind.

OP Gauba should be able to explain these concepts, though it is not mandatory to just confine only to this book. Any good book that can explain such basic concepts so that you are thorough with them (and can reproduce in answer) should do the job.

If there are any concepts or details about a thinker that you cannot find in any of the books, Internet is the best source. Wikipedia and many other web sources must have written and compiled extensively about all of the literature and commentaries on Political Science.


For Indian Nationalism, the books that one uses for GS should suffice. India’s Struggle for Independence, NCERT and IGNOU material are all suitable in this regard.


Similarly for the Indian Constitution and Polity, DD Basu, Subhash Kashyap’s books would do justice. Please also refer to the Polity and History sections of GS Mains in this document to get a better list of books.



Social issues should be dealt directly from the reports (annual and otherwise) of the various committees and commissions. Download and read them, make quick summary points from these reports and now you can use these points in many papers.


Comparative politics is something that is slightly puzzling, one suggestion is to go for Cosmos book-hives (volume 3) for the topic. And for international relations, there won’t be better source than the newspapers and following the current affairs, the various happenings around the world. But it is also good to get an idea of the background of the relations with the various countries.

Hence, take some books on IR (any author would do, as long as you are comfortable with the subject) and then try to use Wikipedia to read about the history of the relations as well. The same holds for the India and the World part, international institutions and summits etc.



Books by Amartya Sen also would prove useful, even for overall development of personality. Economic Development and Social Opportunity, “The Idea of Justice” etc. are some books that could be suggested.


Specifically the following topics are to be covered:

 Ancient Indian discourses – Dharmashastra and Arthashastra

 Dalit Discourse –B.R.Ambedkar and Buddhist tradition

 Islamic Discourse –Sir Syed Ahmed Khan

 Hindu Discourse-Sri Aurobindo Ghosh

 Gandhian Discourse- M.K. Gandhi

 Humanist Discourse – M.N.Roy


Suggested Reading:

 Political Theory by OP Gauba

 International Relations by VK Malhotra

 Introduction to the Constitution of India by DD Basu

 Political Thought and Theory

 Books by Shashi Tharoor (Pax Indica etc.)



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