How to Prepare Art & Culture for UPSC prelims and Mains

How to Prepare Art & Culture for UPSC prelims and Mains

This article describes How to Prepare Art & Culture for UPSC prelims and Mains?. Most asked questions have been answered here in this article.

What is Art & Culture?

Culture can be defined as a way an individual and especially a group – live, think, feel and organize themselves, celebrate and share life. It is made up of traditions, beliefs, way of life, from the most spiritual to the most material. It gives us meaning, a way of leading our lives. In a deeper sense, it is the culture that produces the kind of literature, music, dance, sculpture, architecture and various other art forms- as well as – the many organizations and structures that make the functioning of the society smooth and well-ordered.

How to Prepare Art & Culture for UPSC prelims and Mains?

Also, such a cultural development has been a historical process, which has continued with an amazing progress till date. Have you ever wondered how all this has been possible? This happened because, we did not have to make a fresh beginning each time, but were able to make use of and build on the work of past generations. One has never had to bother about having to make your own script or creating a new language for yourself. Hence, there arises a need to be fully aware, so that we can build on the past achievements by making our contribution or addition which further becomes an asset for the coming generations.

Why in Examination?

It is hardly any surprise that ‘Culture’ is such an integral part of the examination syllabus through all the 3 stages – Prelims, Mains and Interview. Within all the cultural diversities, there is an underlying unity; which helps us understand as to how India has been a progressive success story despite such diversity. A good understanding of Culture will not only help civil servants better understand the underlying reasons of the past and current happenings around them, but also ensure that the government’s objectives are more effectively achieved, in tune with the elements of continuity and change our cultural environment is composed of.

How to Prepare Art & Culture for UPSC prelims and Mains?

Thus, the following need to be kept in mind while studying the topic of Culture:

  1. To enable ourselves to observe and interpret culture, through all the ages.
  2. To appreciate such diversity in the Indian context, which is essential for the co-existence of multiple cultures.

The Examination Perspective

Discussing the ‘Culture’ section from an examination perspective by looking at the syllabus of Prelims and Mains in detail, along with the past few years’ papers, one gets a fair bit of idea on what and how to prepare for the exam. The following books can be read in the prescribed manner.

Overview Reading:

Class X NCERT (old) – The Story of Civilization , Part 2, by Arjun Dev: Ch. 14 – The Heritage of India

NIOS – Secondary Course : Indian Culture and Heritage

Essential Reading:

Class XI NCERT: An Introduction to Indian Art 1

Online portalCentre for Cultural Resources and Training

• Notes by Pramesh eLib

• A visit to National Museum, Delhi

Further References:

· Spectrum – The Facets of Indian Culture

· Al Basham – The Wonder that India was

· India’s Ancient Past by R. S. Sharma

A reading of the ‘Overview’ sources gives a broad framework of the topics to be covered while preparing the
syllabus on Culture. As such, it is important to realize the critical elements, viz. the basic building blocks and have
a conceptual understanding of the same. This can be achieved by reading through the ‘Essential’ sources. The
rest of the minute detailing can be taken up from the ‘Further References’, as per one’s time, energy and

It also needs to be mentioned here that culture can best be understood by having a first-hand look at the various
forms available to us through historical sites (monuments, etc.), museums, dance and music shows. It facilitates
a more active learning, understanding, interpretation and recovery in exam time. Being in Delhi, you must
definitely visit the National Museum (despite time constraints) to put things in perspective and bring analysis to
a seemingly factual and often boring content.

Keeping the Focus Right

One important thing that one must go through the syllabus along
with the questions asked in Mains, before and after completing each section. This will help in ensuring that
based on your understanding; you pick up the most relevant aspects from the examination perspective. This will
also help in building confidence that you would be able to answer the questions, UPSC has asked from those
sections. If you could answer the present set of questions, there is no reason why you will not be able to answer
the questions that would be asked in the future. Just one more important thing – you also need to practice
answer writing and hone your presentation skills. This is where we will help you to overcome the initial inertia,
and put you in a disciplined routine of regularly answering in the classroom program.

How to Prepare Art & Culture for UPSC prelims and Mains?

To put things in total, Culture forms an important component of Interview stage as well. All candidates are asked
to prepare the cultural aspects related to their names and places of association. Therefore, it should not be
ignored; rather it should be assimilated in one’s personality and intellect.

Another note of caution is that there needs to be a limit drawn as to the amount of finer details of this subject. It
is essential to understand the salient features – features which make one culture unique, in concept.
Since the questions are largely factual, identifying threads of similarity and difference can help better integrate
the facts into a logical presentable analysis.

Related Topics (Must Read):

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How to Prepare Art & Culture for UPSC Prelims and Mains, How to Prepare Art & Culture for UPSC Prelims and Mains, How to Prepare Art & Culture for UPSC Prelims and Mains 

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