Have you started your UPSC Preparation for the Mains exam yet? Are you apprehensive about the syllabus of Political Science and second-guessing your choice for the Optional? Have you found the right resources to study for the exam?  Have you been depending on self-study or are you opting for coaching classes? Did you consider taking up classes online for the Preparation?

If you have been strugglings with answers to the questions above, you come to the right place. In this article, you will find all the answers to your Anthropology Optional preparation woes. You will also find a list of books that can be helpful for your preparation in Paper 1 and Paper 2, and a strategy for your Mains preparation. Read on to know more.

UPSC Political Science Optional Books

Here is a list of books and resources for Political Science Optional divided into different categories of the syllabus that can be useful for your preparation.

Paper 1

The exam covers topics that come under two main categories namely Political Theory,  Indian Politics and Government. The paper includes concepts like political theory, theories of the state, justice, equality, rights, democracy, power, hegemony, ideology, legitimacy, political ideologies, Indian political thought and western political thought in detail. Some of the important books include-

  • Fifty Major Political Thinkers by Ian Adams and RW Dyson
  • An introduction to Political Theory by O.P Gauba
  • Foundations of Indian Political Thought by VR Mehta
  • A New Look at Modern Indian history by BL Grover and Alka Mehta
  • An Introduction to the Constitution by DD Basu
  • An Oxford Companion to Politics in India by Niraja Gopal Jayal and Pratap Bhanu Mehra
  • Indian Government and Politics by B L Fadia
  • India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipin Chandra

Paper 2

The exam covers topics that come under two main categories namely Comparative Politics & International Politics, and International Relations. The paper consists of topics such as the making of the Indian constitution, features of the Indian constitution, principal organs of the union and state government, grassroots democracy, statutory institutions, federalism, planning and economic development, party systems, social movements, and caste, religion, and ethnicity in Indian Politics in detail. Some of the important books for the paper include-

  • MPS-004 Comparative Politics: Issues and Trends by IGNOU
  • Challenge and Strategy: Rethinking India’s Foreign Policy by Rajiv Sikri
  • Does the Elephant Dance? Contemporary Indian Foreign Policy by David M. Malone
  • Global Politics by Andrew Haywood
  • International Organizations by Spectrum
  • India’s Foreign Policy by V P Dutt
  • International Relations by V N Khanna

Additional Sources

Apart from the books mentioned above, you can also refer the following resources for your note-making-

  • Makers of Modern India by Ramchandra Guha
  • Panchayati Raj: Oxford India Short Introductions by Kuldeep Mathur
  • Yojana Magazines
  • Kurukshetra Magazines
  • Modern Indian Political Thought by Bidyut Chakraborty
  • Pax Indica by Shashi Tharoor
  • NCERT Books
  • MA Political Science Notes from IGNOU
  • Indian Polity by M. Laxminath

Also Read: How to Make Notes from NCERT for UPSC?

Why Choose Political Science as your Optional for UPSC? How to Find a Preparation Strategy?

Political Science is one of the most preferred subjects for UPSC Optional. It is one of the easiest non-technical subjects that doesn’t require much effort to learn or understand the important concepts. If you follow the current events for UPSC, you can always connect the news to the concepts of the subject for a better understanding. If you have good writing skills, then you can ace the subject easily. The syllabus can easily be connected to other General Science subjects which aids your preparation for the Prelims as well. Most importantly, the subject is theoretical and factual so you don’t have to worry about any complex problem-solving.

Preparation Strategy for Political Science Optional

For your Political Science preparation, you can follow the strategy as compiled with the help of previous years’ toppers.

  • You can start your preparation by reading the important concepts from NCERT books and the government magazines mentioned above. This will help you gather factual information and understand the basic concepts.
  • You can refer to the books mentioned for Paper 1 about Indian politics and western ideologies.
  • Don’t forget to cover concepts like Marxism, Fascism, Capitalism, Nazism as well as important Indian thinkers like Buddha, since these are recurring topics for the exam.
  • You can cover books on modern Indian political thoughts, Indian constitution, independence, social justice and development, and magazines like Yojana and Kurukshetra.
  • Take out time to follow news from newspapers like The Hindu, and Indian Express.
  • Practice previous years’ question papers and mock papers to get familiar with the paper pattern and to form an analysis of the topics covered.

Also Read: The Difference between Sociology and Political Science


Now that you are familiar with the books and resources available for the exam, do not overburden yourself about reading them word-to-word. You can instead find out the important concepts and then refer to the relevant books for authentic information. If the syllabus seems overwhelming for you, you can always sign up for online classes and get personalised mentors to guide you through the preparation.

Also Read : Books for Public Administration Optional: Tips to Score High in UPSC Optional

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Political Science Optional Books: UPSC Mains 2021 Preparation Strategy
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Political Science Optional Books: UPSC Mains 2021 Preparation Strategy
Preparing for Political Science Optional for UPSC Mains 2021? Need to find the right resources for preparation? Find a list of important books and online sources here.
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UPSC Pathshala
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