6 Must have Books To Clear IAS Mains General Studies – 1

Hope you have gone through the syllabus of civil services mains examinations, now looking for the books and study materials. At this point, we are assuming that you are acquainted the Civil Services Prelims Books because those will also be helpful for the mains.

GS  1 – (Mains)


There are 11 topics under (GS – 1) Indian Heritage and Culture, History and Geography of the World and Society. We have tried our best to cover all these topics and accordingly selected the books. It is to be noted that only books will not help you to cover the entire syllabus. So apart from books, we have also suggested other resources cover up the syllabus.

Let’s start with the 1st point of the syllabus

Indian Culture

It states that “Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times”  now to cover up this portion you have to follow the given resources.

  • Indian Art & Culture – This book is also recommended for the prelims, it will help you to cover the Indian Art, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times. This is the latest edition, so you will get the updated information.
  • Ccrtindia website –  It’s a good website with authentic information, here you can gather information about Visual arts, Performing Arts and Literary Arts. It’s a place to keep you updated with latest happenings. Don’t forget to bookmark this site.
  • NCERT Book on fine arts class 11 – If you will thoroughly follow the above-mentioned resources than there is no need to go through this book. It’s up to you.

Indian History 1750 to present  (Covering 2nd & 3rd Points of Syllabus)

The 2nd point of syllabus states that you have to cover “Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues”.

That means you have to cover the significant events & Issues from 1750 to present, so apart from history, you have also go through Important current developments. To cover up this following books will be immensely  helpful

  • A New Look at Modern Indian History: From 1707 To The Modern Times – Written by B.L Grover, it’s an old book, and covering the important events from 1707 to 1998. So basically this book will cover 80% of the syllabus. For remaining, 20% do follow the current affairs.
  • According to the 3rd point of the syllabus, you have to cover “Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country”. This means you need to cover the events between (1857 – 1947), following books will be immensely helpful. The Rajiv Ahir book is small in size, whereas Bipin Chandra book is quite bulky.


  • India’s Struggle for Independence – This book for an in-depth and detailed overview of Indian independence movement, Book contains 39 chapters in the narrative style by different authors. The first chapter starts with the Revolt of 1857.

Post-Independence India & World History (Covering 4th point of syllabus)

As per the 4th point of syllabus you have to cover “Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country & History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redraw of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.- their forms and effect on the society.

Let’s look at the books and study materials which will be helpful in covering Post – Independence India.


  • India Since Independence by Bipan Chandra – One of the most popular and recommended books for understanding the events of post-Independence India. The book also sheds light on the foreign policy and economic reforms that were introduced in 1991. Not just the economic aspect, the book also covers in details the sociological problems faced in modern times, like the prevalence of untouchability and the caste issues and others. It also dissects and discusses in detail the Punjab crisis as well as the party politics played out both at the Centre and the States.
  • The Politics of India Since Independence (South Asian Edition) (The New Cambridge History of India) – The book is divided into three parts. The first part studies Political Change, the second part looks at Pluralism and National Integration, and the third section discusses Political Economy. Through all these different perspectives the book does an analysis of the country’s history in the last few decades.


  • Battles Half Won: India’s Improbable Democracy – It’s a very good book to read about contemporary socioeconomic issues that have been persistent challenges for the country. It also examines concerns ranging from federalism and Hindu nationalism to caste conflict and civil society, the north-south economic divide and politics of economic reforms.

Now let’s find out useful books for covering world history

As per the syllabus, you need to start the preparing for world history from 18th century i.e. 1700 to present time,  following books will be helpful


  • History Of The Modern World by Jain and Mathur – It’s an average guide to the book which had covered all important events from 1500 AD to 2000 AD.
  • History of the World by Arjun Dev and Indira Arjun Dev – This book has effectively covered the events between (1890 -2009 ) late nineteenth to early twenty-first century. It is similar to old 12th class NCERT book of world history. The book is very concise and covers the important factors contributed to world wars in a lucid and simple language.


  • Mastering Modern World History by Norman Lowe – The book expands on the events that occurred in the early 20th century starting from the catastrophic events of the First World War across the modern advancements in technologies towards the end of the century. Although it’s a good book but does not cover the events between 18th and 19th century.

Society and Diversity of India (Covering 5th point of the syllabus)

As per the 5th point of the UPSC Mains GS 1 syllabus, you need to cover Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.

It’s a broad topic so along with books we are also going to suggest you relevant study materials

  • Indian Society And Diversity by Dr Alka Chowdhary – This book is specially crafted for this topic of General Studies 1. It’s to the point and had covered all important issues in detail.
  • Newspaper & Magazine – Be aware of the social happenings, new bills related to the society etc. Yojana and Kurukshetra will also be helpful.


Role of Women and Social Problems in India covering (sixth point of syllabus)

 As per the syllabus, you have to cover the topics like  Role of women and women’s organisation, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanisation, their problems and their remedies. Let’s look at the available books study materials to cover these topics

  • Social Problems In India by Ram Ahuja – It is one of the popular and leading books of sociology but not updated since 1997. The book has covered all important topics such as poverty, unemployment, population explosions, urbanization, backward classes, tribes etc.… This book will help you to understand the social problems in India, but as already mentioned it’s an outdated book so here you need to follow the current affairs and the internet to update these data.
  • Role of Women and women’s organization – Well there is the scarcity of books and standard materials for this topic. You can google the topic or take help of the newspaper.

Effects of globalisation on Indian society covering the 7th point of the syllabus

You can get thousands of articles on globalisation but there is limited quality content for its impact on Indian society. Following books and resources will help you to cover up this topic.

  • Newspaper – Yes the newspaper can become a valuable source to cover-up this topic, all you need to do is to follow the editorials on day to day basis. Whenever you find a good article related to this topic just cut it out or save it as e-notes.
  •  Contemporary Issues in Globalization by Soumyen Sikdar – The books are in essay format and in this text, critical issues relating to globalisation are presented in a compact yet rigorous manner using the basic principles of environmental studies, international trade theory, industrial organisation, and public economics.


  • Indians in a Globalizing World by Dilip Hiro – In this book Dilip has focused upon the issues that have shaped the last two decades of the country due to globalisation. The problem of farmers, Adivasis migrants and slum dwellers is also covered up.

Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism covering the 8th point of the syllabus

There is the scarcity of materials on this topic, however, we have found following resources which will be helpful for the preparation.

Let’s look at the resources for Social Empowerment

For covering the Social empowerment the website of Ministry of Social justice & Empowerment is highly recommend. There you will find a tab Annual Report under this download the latest version. In this post, we are the attaching the latest version of this report clicks here to download. It is not necessary to read each and every point from this book, read selectively.

Books & Resources for covering Communalism and Secularism

While searching for the materials we came across this 14 pages IGNOU study materials which are excellent and highly recommended to cover this topic.

Apart from that, we have also found some books which might be helpful if you want to dig deeper.

Books for covering the topic of regionalism in India

As of now, we have not found authentic study materials for this topic. You may google for this topic use the following book which is 75 pages and will give you an idea about this topic.

Apart from following the above resources, it is also necessary to follow the newspaper on this topic.

Salient features of World’s Physical Geography covering the 9th point of the syllabus

For this section, you can follow the books which we have already suggested for the prelims, just for convenience we are going to share these books again

  • Certificate of P & M Geo – It’s an outdated book, with useful information. The reason for recommending this books for IAS Prelims is the foundation which it will provide. It’s up to you that how you are going to use it because information is both factual and conceptual.
  • NCERT Books – Old NCERT(8 TO 12th ) + New Ncert (11 & 12th)

Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian subcontinent); factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India) – Covering 10th point of syllabus

Here you need to cover some topics from internet and Wikipedia but the majority of topics can be completed from the following book.

Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location- changes in critical geographical features (including water bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes (Covering 11th point of syllabus)

Again same books and resources as mentioned above

Apart from that www.eoearth.org website will be helpful in covering the topic of impact on flora – fauna

Hope this compilation was helpful, let’s sum up all important books mentioned above for GS – 1 (Mains)

So 4 books are already mentioned in Prelims list, apart from that, you required 6 additional books to cover the topics of General Studies 1.

If time permits you can go through followings books to further enhance your notes

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