KNOW YOUR OPTIONAL POLITICAL SCIENCE AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

KNOW YOUR OPTIONAL
POLITICAL SCIENCE AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS


Political Science and International Relations is one of the popular optional subjects for the Civil Services examination. It is assumed that the subject is too vast to prepare from the UPSC examination’s perspective, but it is a misconception. The fact lies that strategically Political Science is one of the safest optional subjects for the said examination. The subject covers a wide gamut of areas such as- Indian Constitution and its Political System; International Institutions and foreign policy of India which prove to be very useful in the General Studies also. It also covers a wide gamut of aspects like globalization, liberalization, environmental issues, human rights, International Monetary Institutions (IMF, World Bank, WTO) which are important aspects of the General Studies paper in the contemporary times. International Institutions like United Nations and its organs and agencies, regional organizations like the European Union, SAARC, NAFTA, and African Union which find a place in the syllabus of Political Science form an essential ingredient of the General Studies sections. Thus a candidate opting for Political Science and International Relations in the main examination will not have to study separately these sections as part of his preparation. Apart from this, the candidate’s perspective and approach will be definitely different from others and will help them in their Essay paper and also in the personality test.

The million dollar question is – how to prepare for the optional? What will be the best strategy so that we will get more marks in this optional paper? A glance on the syllabus of Political Science and International Relations and the analysis of the questions asked during the last ten years will help us to answer these questions and develop a good strategy for the said examination.

The Mains syllabus is divided into 2 papers.

Paper- I

Section A- Political Theory and Thought: The broader areas
· Concepts and theories
· Indian Political Thought
· Western Political Thought

Section B- Indian Government and Politics: The broader areas
· Indian Nationalist Movement
· Indian Constitution
· Organs of Government and their actual working
· Functioning and challenges to the Indian Democracy

In the examination, eight questions are asked from this paper. Questions 1 and 5 are compulsory and the candidate has to answer three out of the rest six questions. The aim of the candidate will be to answer three long questions (600 words each) and six short questions. In section A, In question number1, out of four short questions, the candidate has to answer three. Most of the questions are in the form of statements which needs comments of the candidates. An analysis of the question papers of last ten years presents before us a trend that most of the questions asked are from the units dealing with Thinkers (both Indian as well as western), Theories of State and Ideologies. Out of questions 3, 4 and 5, the candidate has the choice of answering one or two questions. In these questions also there is a definite trend and at least two questions are asked from the thinkers (Indian as well as western). Thus, based on the scientific analysis of the questions asked in the last ten years, the best strategy for the mains examination for answering section A is to concentrate on the units of Indian and Western Political thinkers, Theories of State and ideologies.

For the preparation of this section, the candidates may refer to the following books:

· Political Thought by C.L.Wayper
· A History of Political Theory by George Sabine.
· Politics by Andrew Heywood
· Foundations of Indian Political Thought by V.R.Mehta
· Indian Political Thought by V.P.Verma
· Political Theory: Ideas and Concepts by Sushila Ramaswamy
· Political Science by DR. Kumud Ranjan Singh (Arihant Publications)
· Political Theory by O.P.Gauba

In section B, In question number5, out of four short questions, the candidate has to answer three. An analysis of the question papers of last ten years presents before us a trend that one question is asked from Indian Freedom Movement section and the rest three from the Indian Constitution. Out of questions 6, 7 and 8, the candidate has the choice of answering one or two questions. In these questions also there is a definite trend and at least two questions are asked from the Indian Constitution and the working of Indian democracy, e.g., Judicial Activism, Panchayati Raj institutions, decline of Parliament, tension areas in Centre- State Relations etc. Thus, based on the scientific analysis of the questions asked in the last ten years, the best strategy for the mains examination for answering section B is to concentrate on the units of Indian Freedom Movement, Indian Constitution and its working. For the preparation of this section, the candidates may refer to the following books, magazines and newspapers:

· Our Constitution by Subhash Kashyap
· Constitution of India by P.M. Bakshi
· Modern India by Bipin Chandra
· Indian Constitutional Law by M.P.Jain
· Indian Polity and Constitutional Issues by DR. Kumud Ranjan Singh (Arihant Publications)
· Indian Political System edited by M.P.Singh and Himanshu Roy
· Frontline
· India Today
· Any leading national newspaper.

Paper- II

Section A- Comparative Analysis and International Politics : The broader areas
· Comparative Governments
· Theoretical Aspects of International Politics
· International and Regional Organizations
· Global Concerns like gender justice, environment, human rights, terrorism, democracy etc.

Section B- India and the World : The broader areas
· India’s relations with the neighbouring countries
· India and the Super powers
· India’s relations with Latin America and Africa
· India’s Nuclear Policy

Like paper I, eight questions are asked from this paper also. Questions 1 and 5 are compulsory and the candidate has to answer three out of the rest six questions. The aim of the candidate will be to answer three long questions (600 words each) and six short questions. In section A, In question number1, out of four short questions, the candidate has to answer three. An analysis of the question papers of last ten years presents before us a trend that one question is asked from Approaches to Comparative Government and Politics section and the rest three from the theories of International Politics, concepts and issues in international politics. Out of questions 3, 4 and 5, the candidate has the choice of answering one or two questions. In these questions also there is a definite trend and at least one question is asked from the theories of international politics or concepts, one from the international organizations(like the U.N. and its agencies) and one from the dynamics of international politics e.g., the emerging global order, relevance of NAM, globalization etc. Thus, based on the scientific analysis of the questions asked in the last ten years, the best strategy for the mains examination for answering the questions in this section is to concentrate on the units of Approaches to the study of comparative government and politics, Concepts of International politics, Theories of International Politics, Globalization and International and Regional Organizations. For the preparation of this section, the candidates may refer to the following books:

· Comparative Government and Politics by J.C.Johari
· Theoretical Aspect of International Politics by Mahendra Kumar
· International Politics by Prakash Chandra
· Comparative Government and Politics by Ronald H.Chilcote
· Political Science by Arihant Publications
· Comparative Government and Politics: An Introduction by Rod Hague, Martin Harrop and Shaun Breslin

In section B, In question number 5, out of four short questions, the candidate has to answer three. Out of questions 6, 7 and 8, the candidate has the choice of answering one or two questions. In these questions also there is a definite trend and at least one question is asked on India’s relations with neighbors, one question on India’s relation with a Superpower. Thus, based on the scientific analysis of the questions asked in the last ten years, the best strategy for the mains examination for answering section B is to concentrate on the units of India and its Neighbours, India and Superpowers, and dynamics of India’s foreign policy. As this is a dynamic paper, the candidates must be aware of the recent developments in international arena. The candidates will have to rely mostly on journals, magazines and newspapers to prepare for this part. The candidates may refer

· World Focus (Monthly journal)
· India’s Foreign Policy: Retrospect and Prospect by Sumit Ganguly (ed.)
· Indian Foreign Policy by V.P.Dutt
· Indian Foreign Policy by Arihant Publications
· Frontline
· Any leading national newspaper.

By now, the candidates must have become acquainted with the types of questions asked in the Civil Services (Main) examination in the Political Science and International Relations subject. . The most important thing that a candidate should keep in mind is that Civil Services examination does not need scholastic dynamism but a right approach. Remember Smart Work is the key to success and knowing what to study and what not to study is smart work. So, follow the strategy discussed above and come out with flying colours.