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4) Modern Indian History – Previous Year Questions UPSC Prelims (1995-2023)

Modern Indian History Previous Year Questions – Topic Wise

Sr. No.Topic NamePrevious Year Questions
A)Establishment of British Rule (1750-1857)Click Here
B)The Revolt of 1857Click Here
C)Events from 1857 to 1885 (Prelims PYQs)Click Here
D)Establishment of Congress to Split of Congress (1885-1907) (Prelims PYQs)Click Here
E)Freedom Struggle Before Gandhi (1908-1917) (Prelims PYQs)Click Here
F)Early Phase of Gandhian Freedom Struggle (1917-1925) (Prelims PYQs)Click Here
G)Civil Disobedience Movement and Other Events (1926-1932) (Prelims PYQs)Click Here
H)Events from 1933 to 1939 (Prelims PYQs)Click Here
I)Last Phase of British Rule (1940-1950) (Prelims PYQs)Click Here
J)Social Reforms and Reformers in Modern India (Prelims PYQs)Click Here
K)Literature in Modern Indian History (Prelims PYQs)Click Here
L)Revolutionaries and Revolutionary Movement in Modern India (Prelims PYQs)Click Here
M)Development of Modern Education System in Modern India (Prelims PYQs)Click Here
N)Tribal and Peasant Movements in Modern Indian History (Prelims PYQs)Click Here
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Topic Wise Analysis of Modern Indian History PYQs

The topic wise weightage in Modern Indian History is as illustrated below. As you can see, certain periods in Modern Indian History are more significant than the others. This is highly important to understand from study perspective.

Also study the table given below the diagram to understand exact no. of questions asked on each topic.

3. Modern Indian HistoryNo. of Questions (2011-2023)No. of Questions (1995-2023)% Weightage (2011-2023)% Weightage (1995-2023)
A) Establishment of British Rule (1757-1857)104311%14%
B) The Revolt of 1857060%2%
C) Events from 1857-1885102011%7%
D) Establishment to Split of Congress (1885-1907)93110%10%
E) Freedom Struggle Before Gandhi (1907-1917)171%2%
F) Early Phase of Gandhian Struggle (1918-1925)124113%13%
G) Civil Dis. Mov. and Other Events (1926-1932)103111%10%
H) Events from 1933 to 19395165%5%
I) Last Phase of British Rule (1940-1950)125313%17%
J) Social Reforms and Reformers595%3%
K) Literature6217%7%
L) Revolutionaries and Revl. Movement3123%4%
M) Development of Education System5105%3%
N) Tribal and Peasant Revolts / Movements474%2%

About Modern Indian History PYQs

The subject-wise analysis of previous year prelims papers suggests that around 7-10 questions are asked from Modern Indian History every year. Considering the static nature of subject, this is one of the important areas of preparation. Although sometimes UPSC may ask 1-2 questions too deep in the subject, it should not throw you off. We would advice not to worry about such questions and study the subject from standard sources.

Further, there are very peculiar periods in Modern History where maximum number of questions are asked from. This will become clear as you study the previous year questions on Modern Indian History given here.

Modern History-Detailed Topic Wise Syllabus Based on PYQs

Modern Indian History begins with the Battle of Plassey (1757) and ends with Indian Independence (1947). The questions in this subject usually consist of:

A) Establishment of British Rule in India (1757-1857)

The decline of Mughal empire, rise and fall of regional empires e.g. Bengal, Hyderabad, Mysore, Marathas, etc., Establishment of the British East India Company and its administration.  

B) The Revolt of 1857

The revolt, major centres, leaders of the revolt, suppression of revolt etc.

C) Events from 1857 to 1885

Transfer of rule from EIC to the British crown, important laws, political developments and organizations in this period 

D) From Establishment of Congress to its Split (1885-1907)

Important events in the early freedom struggle, establishment of Congress, role of moderates and extremists, Bengal partition, swadeshi movement & boycott, Surat split of Congress, British policies during this period 

E) Freedom Struggle Before Gandhi (1908-1917)

Home Rule movement, the role of Tilak and Annie Besant, the Komagata Maru incident, Gandhi’s arrival in India, Congress sessions during this period, the British Act of 1909 & British administration

F) Early Phase of Gandhian Struggle (1918-1925)

GOI Act of 1919, early Gandhian movements, Rowlatt Act, Jalionwala Bagh massacre, Khilafat movement, the Non-Cooperation Movement and its withdrawal, Congress sessions, important political events and British policies

G) Civil Disobedience Movements and Other Developments (1926-1932)

Dandi March, Civil Disobedience Movement, Gandhi Irwin Pact, Poona Pact, Round Table conferences, Congress sessions, Nehru report, British administration and other important events in the period

H) Events from 1933 to 1939

GOI Act 1935, Congress Socialist Party, 1937 provincial elections and 1939 Congress resignations, other important political events

I) Last Phase of British Rule (1940-1950)

2nd World War, Quit India Movement, various British missions/proposals for independent India, RIN mutiny, the role of Subhash Chandra Bose, constituent assembly, Indian independence, partition, early developments in independent India

J) Social Reforms and Reformers in Modern India

Arya Samaj, Bramho Samaj, Raja Rammohan Roy, Swami Dayanand Saraswati, Ambedkar, Jyotiba Phule, E.V. Ramaswami etc.

K) Literature in Modern Indian History

Literature, novels, journals and other periodicals, newspapers, translations etc. 

L) Revolutionary Movement

Chittagong raid, Abhinav Bharat movement, Anushilan Samiti, Ghadar movement, Kakori conspiracy, activities of Bhagat Singh and associates, other revolutionaries and their contributions to the freedom struggle

M) Evolution of the Education System in Modern India

Various British missions, laws, reports etc. for education, the establishment of colleges/schools and other efforts for education by Britishers and Indians

N) Tribal and Peasant Movement in Modern India

Tribal and peasant issues, important movements, agitations and revolts and responses to these

UPSC Prelims PYQ Book
  • Collection of more than 3200 Previous Year Questions (1995-2023)
  • All questions divided into 10 Subjects
  • Subject further sub-divided into more than 75 topics
  • All answers according to official answer key
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Its very helpful


Thank you Anjali. Best wishes!