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Political Science & International Relations

Before opting for Political Science and the level of Mains, firstly, you should go for a systematic evaluation of your area of interest. For instance, if you are an updated personality (which you should be) and have interest in polity, constitution and comparative governance and feel at home with the dynamics of unfolding international events, you have got natural inclination for Political Science. And secondly, if Political Science is your primary subject, please do not think twice before taking the big plunge. Study it again with fresh and aggressive fashion. Take note on each and every turning point especially in the International relations paper. Thirdly, this subject has always been the best choice for the best choice for those who wants to in tough with current happening in the society in general and at the political fronts particular.

The modification in both the papers of Mains may be characterized at the levels of form and the content. Not only the form and volume have been redone, but also a mild re-engineering may be noticed in the spirit of syllabus. Interestingly, in cople of political theory topics, an ideological paradigm shift is self-evident. For example, the topic on Indian nationalism has excluded Raja Rammohan Roy, A Aurobindo, Gokhale, M.A. Jinnah and Iqbal. Instead, Savarkar, Subhash Chandra Bose, Jaya Prakash Narayan and Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia have been taken in. Critics and leftist intellectuals would like to interpret it as the build up for an ideological counterbalancing against the traditional secular socialist train of ideas. While Savarkar has been accused of nursing communal, right-wing Hindu Ideology, Lohia and J.P. Were seen by these critics as solely responsible for weaving anti-Congress coalitions involving the “Communal” RSS and BJP during mid-sixties and mid-seventies. A helpful tip for the students, therefore, would be to play safe while answering political theory questions.

Why Political Science & International Relations is Most Popular optional subjects among Students

  1. It helps candidates in updating their knowledge of the current events and provides a fresh perspective on the burning domestic and foreign policy issue.
  2. About half of the General Studies paper is vitally related to the two papers of Political Science for the mains examination.
  3. This is the best subject to ensure a sound sleep during the interview days simply because you have readymade answer for virtually all the questions being asked by the board members.
  4. This subject is helpful in all respects, whether Prelims (G.S.), Mains (G.S.) & Essay. Also in interview.
  5. Political Science Optional is a highly scoring subject.
  6. The rate of success is going higher and higher.
  7. Political Science is an electric discipline in nature. Its contains not only political thought and theory but also political sociology, Indian Political system & Indian Constitution.

Syllabus

PAPER- I

Section—A

Political Theory and Indian Politics :

  1. Political Theory: meaning and approaches.
  2. Theories of state : Liberal, Neo-liberal, Marxist, Pluiralist, post-colonial and Feminist.
  3. Justice : Conceptions of justice with special reference to Rawl’s theory of justice and its communitarian critiques.
  4. Equality : Social, political and economic; relationship between equality and freedom; Affirmative action.
  5. Rights : Meaning and theories; different kinds of rights; Concept of Human Rights.
  6. Democracy : Classical and contemporary theories; different models of democracy—representative, participatory and deliberative.
  7. Concept of power : hegemony, ideology and legitimacy.
  8. Political Ideologies : Liberalism, Socialism, Marxism, Fascism, Gandhism and Feminism.
  9. Indian Political Thought: Dharamshastra, Arthashastra and Buddhist Traditions; Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Sri Aurobindo, M. K. Gandhi, B. R. Ambedkar, M. N. Roy.
  10. Western Political Thought : Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, John S. Mill, Marx, Gramsci, Hannah Arendt.

Section—B

Indian Government and Politics

  1. Indian Nationalism :

      (a) Political Strategies of India’s Freedom Struggle : Constitutionalism to mass Satyagraha, Noncooperation, Civil Disobedience; Militant and Revolutionary Movements, Peasant and Workers Movements.

      (b)  Perspectives on Indian National Movement; Liberal, Socialist and Marxist; Radical Humanist and Dalit.

  1. Making of the Indian Constitution : Legacies of the British rule; different social and political perspectives.
  2. Salient Features of the Indian Constitution : The Preamble, Fundamental Rights and Duties, Directive Principles; Parliamentary System and Amendment Procedures; Judicial Review and Basic Structure doctrine.
  3. (a) Principal Organs of the Union Government : Envisaged role and actual working of the Executive, Legislature and Supreme Court.

      (b) Principal Organs of the State Government : Envisaged role and actual working of the Executive, Legislature and High Courts.

  1. Grassroots Democracy : Panchayati Raj and Municipal Government; Significance of 73rd and 74th Amendments; Grassroot movements.
  2. Statutory Institutions/Commissions : Election Commission, Comptroller and Auditor General, Finance Commission, Union Public Service Commission, National Commission for Scheduled Castes, National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, National Commission for Women; National Human Rights Commission, National Commission for Minorities, National Backward Classes Commission.
  3. Federalism : Constitutional provisions; changing nature of centre-state relations; integrationist tendencies and regional aspirations; inter-state disputes.
  4. Planning and Economic development : Nehruvian and Gandhian perspectives; Role of planning and public sector; Green Revolution, land reforms and agrarian relations; liberalization and economic reforms.
  5. Caste, Religion and Ethnicity in Indian Politics.
  6. Party System : National and regional political parties, ideological and social bases of parties; Patterns of coalition politics; Pressure groups, trends in electoral behaviour; changing socio-economic profile of Legislators.
  7. Social Movement : Civil liberties and human rights movements; women’s movements; environmentalist movements.

PAPER-II

Comparative Politics and International Relations

Section—A

Comparative Political Analysis and International Politics :

  1. Comparative Politics : Nature and major approaches; Political economy and political sociology perspectives; Limitations of the comparative method.
  2. State in Comparative Perspective : Characteristics and changing nature of the State in capitalist and socialist economies, and advanced industrial and developing societies.
  3. Politics of Representation and Participation : Political parties, pressure groups and social movements in advanced industrial and developing societies.
  4. Globalisation : Responses from developed and developing societies.
  5. Approaches to the Study of International Relations : Idealist, Realist, Marxist, Functionalist and Systems theory.
  6. Key Concepts in International Relations : National interest, security and power; Balance of power and deterrence; Transational actors and collective security; World capitalist economy and globalisation.
  7. Changing International Political Order :

       (a) Rise of super powers; Strategic and ideological Bipolarity, arms race and cold war; Nuclear threat;

      (b) Non-aligned Movement : Aims and achievements.

      (c) Collapse of the Soviet Union; Unipolarity and American hegemony; Relevance of non-alignment in the contemporary world.

  1. Evolution of the International Economic System : From Brettonwoods to WTO; Socialist economies and the CMEA (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance); Third World demand for new international economic order; Globalisation of the world economy.
  2. United Nations : Envisaged role and actual record; Specialized UN agencies—aims and functioning; need for UN reforms.
  3. Regionalisation of World Politics : EU, ASEAN, APEC, AARC, NAFTA.
  4. Contemporary Global Concerns : Democracy, human rights, environment, gender justice terrorism, nuclear proliferation.

Section—B

India and the World

  1. Indian Foreign Policy : Determinants of foreign policy; the institutions of policy-making; Continuity and change.
  2. India’s Contribution to the Non-Alignment Movement Different phases; Current role.
  3. India and South Asia :

      (a) Regional Co-operation : SAARC-past performance and future prospects.

      (b) South Asia as a Free Trade Area.

      (c) India’s “Look East” policy.

      (d) Impediments to regional co-operation : River water disputes; illegal cross border migration; Ethnic conflicts and insurgencies; Border disputes.

  1. India and the Global South : Relations with Africa and Latin America; Leadership role in the demand for NIEO and WTO negotiations.
  2. India and the Global Centres of Power : USA, EU, Japan, China and Russia.
  3. India and the UN System: Role in UN Peace-keeping; Demand for Permanent Seat in the Security Council.
  4. India and the Nuclear Question : Changing perceptions and policy.
  5. Recent developments in Indian Foreign Policy : India’s position on the recent crises in Afghanistan, Iraq and West Asia, growing relations with US and Isreal; Vision of a new world order.

Syllabus Analysis

Political Theory and India Politics

The first paper of the Political Science in the Main have two Sections (i) Political Theories, and the Indian Politics and (ii) Indian Government and Politics. The old syllabus had six topics in the theory section and four topics relating to the Indian government and politics. The revised syllabus, in contrast has 10 topics in the first section and 13 in the second. The major additions in Section (A) include : Theories of Political Culture, Theories of Political Economy, Theories of Power and Hegemony and separate topic on Indian Political Thought. In the old syllabus, Manu and Kautilya were the part of exhaustive topic on Political Thought that included several political thinkers. The first topic of India and Western Political Thought has ben bifurcated and reordered as the last topic in the theory paper. The number of western political philosophers has also been reduced from 17 to 10, but with one addition of Rosa Luxembourg, whose thought was considered instrumental in redefining the communist philosophy in the specific context of Europe.

Section (B) too, has significant additions. The nature of Indian freedom struggle including constitutionalism, mass Satyagraha, revolutionary movements, non-cooperation, civil disobedience and Quit India, India naval uprising, Indian National Army and Role of women in the independence movement require a special focus on the history of Indian nationalism. The events following the birth of the Indian National Congress in 1885 should be attached special importance by the candidates. Other topics added include socio-economic dimensions of the nationalist movement relating to the communal questions, the demand for partition and the backward class movement. The topic on planning and economic development primarily addresses the issue of economic reforms and the implication of liberalization for the planned development. For the topic on grassroots democracy special focus should be laid on two rounds of elections since the adoption of 73rd and 74th constitutional amendment, and an evaluation of women’s empowerment in the changed political context.

Paper-I, therefore, seems to be wholistic description of political thought and theories in the one hand and Indian political system on the other. In this, this paper covers a lot of discussion from theories to empirical situations involved in the socio-political structure in general and in India in particular.

Comparative Politics and International Relations

Paper-II has been rechristened as Comparative Politics and International Relations simply because the topic on comparative politics from the previous syllabus have been added to the International Relations. This is a kind of fine-turning and a balancing act. The idea is to make the candidates view the foreign policy and related developments in totality by linking it to the existing structure of governance in a particular country.

The primary idea behind the revision has been to attune the candidates in view of the changing global political scenario. The world has gone unipolar with the demise of USSR and much has changed in South Asian region with India and Pakistan becoming new actors in the nuclear theatre. While China is fast emerging a global power, the liberalization has emerged as the new watchword of economic growth. However, it remains a judicious mix of tradition and modernity. For this paper aspirants should be especially careful in remaining updated.

Section (A) of Paper II have a long list of additions in the modified syllabus. The new themes on strategies of development, concepts of international politics, nature of the post-cold war global order, major issues of world politics including major issues of world politics including Afghan Civil War, Gulf war and Yugoslav crisis, NAM in post cold war era and contemporary global concerns are the major additions that require special attention of the candidates.

Section (B) has been redone to lay bold emphasis on the foreign policy issues in the context of India. The new title of this section India and the World corresponds to an important topic with the same name in the General Studies paper. Issues taken into this section are more or less the same but now read the same in relation to India. For example : India and the NAM, India and Africa and Latin America, India and the UN systems, India and the emerging international economic order, and India and the question of nuclear weapons. Also, issues like IPKE in Sri Lanka, India as a military nuclear power and major foundations of India’s foreign policy are significant areas of focus in the revised syllabus.

In this sense, Paper-II has done justice to the students of political science because it covers a wholistic perspectives at both the macro and micro level of politics with special reference to the world in general and in India in particular. However, it also related to the different approaches of comparative policies.

Tips to success and how to got maximum marks in this optional

  • Read newspaper-editorials and edit page articles written by experts and commentators regularly.
  • Develop interest in the political-economic organisations, both national and international, with a structural-functional perspective.
  • Read periodicals with critical viewpoints, even ideologically loaded ones, and make note of the significant commentaries for future reference.
  • Be flexible in your political approach. Your answers should not be subjective and balanced. “Positive flexibility” should be the core theme for all the answers in this part.
  • Develop the habit of news clipping on weekly basis. Maintain a list of excerpts on foreign policy and security issues. Make best use of their views in the examination hall.
  • Concentrate on current situation with special emphasis on different perspective and viewpoints an make sure about the target oriented approach.
  • Read politically oriented magazines and give discussion and debate on various national and international issues and make some points on both the positive and negative viewpoints.

For this part, to concentrate on the topics like regional organisations, latest crisis spots, and the foreign policy moves of the major powers. Please do add the “economic, socio-cultural and the Indian bilateral angle” in every question. For example, how European Union, OPEC or ASEAN can be currently effective with their economic clout, and how it affects Indian policy initiative vis-à-vis a particular region ? Regional groupings like BIMST EC, initiatives like Mekong-Ganga project, and economic combines like Shanghai-5, are good examples of new organisations on which questions may be asked as per the changes syllabus.

Routine and emotion-charged answers should be avoided. For instance-if one is writing on Test Ban Treaty, NPT, CTBT and peaceful nuclear explosions, he or she should not get ‘carried away’ by emotions. For example, while writing on the question of signing the CTBT in the context of South Asia, be practical and impartial. Always construct a fair scale to weigh the pros and cons of the problem. For this you should regularly read different political magazines lime Mainstream, Economic and Political Weekly, World Focus and Frontline.

Keep your eyes and Ears open

In fact, Political Science is less a theory than practical observations. Reading too many textbooks without understanding the practical side of it, is really not going to pay. For a chapter on Panchayati Raj institutions, it becomes imperative on the part of the candidate to grasp the essence of 73rd Constitutional Amendment by closely following the two rounds of Panchayat elections and understanding the dynamics of grassroots democracy in many states since 1993. For this, you should concentrate on the different case studies and it has been mainly discussed in Kurukshetra magazines. Therefore, one has to always conscious about the issues on different topics. Watching BBC news channels on TV and listening to the BBC news channel on TV and listening to the BBC World News Service on Radio can equip you better than an expert of international relations. Examiners go generous in marking the moment they find you well updated.

Try to attempt the questions, which cover the Indian part simply because you get variety of material on domestic topics. Always carry a political journal/magazine with you. Try to initiate discussions on the current national and international political issues rather than gossiping out on share market, movies and match fixing. Try to attend seminars and discussions on political issues. Exploring these ‘unearthed areas’ move slow but steady. The password of the strategy is : One Step Forward, Two steps Back. Move forward and get back to consolidate the gains with double concentration.

Suggested Reading List Political Theory

  1. An Introduction to Political Thought : O.P. Gauba
  2. Political Theory : Eddy Ashirvatham
  3. Western Political Theory : George Sabine
  4. Political Theory, Ideas and Institutions : Amal Roy and Mohit Bhattacharya.
  5. Modern Political Thought : *S.P. Verma.
  6. Comparative Politics : *J.C. Jauhary.

Indian Constitution and Politics

  1. Indian Constitution : M.V. Paylee
  2. An Introduction to Indian Constitution : *D.D. Basu
  3. Comparative Governments :C. Kapoor.
  4. Ancient Indian Political Theory :P. Verma
  5. Modern Indian Political Theory :P. Verma
  6. India’s Struggle for independence : Bipan Chandra.
  7. India After Independence (1947-2000) : Bipan Chandra, Mridulla Mukherjee and Aditya Mukherjee.
  8. Modern India : Sumit Sarkar

Internaitonal Politics and India Foreign Policy

  1. International Politics : *V.N. Khanna
  2. International Relations : Palmer and Perkins
  3. International Relations : Mahendra Kumar
  4. Comparative Politics and International Relations : Prem Chandra and Prakash Arroa.
  5. World Politics Since 1945 : Peter Calvocorassi.
  6. World Politics in the Twentieth Century : Paul Kennedy
  7. Politics among Nations : Hans J. Morgantheau.
  8. India’s Foreign Policy Agendra for 21st Century : Lalit Mansingh
  9. India’s Foreign Policy in a Changing World :P. Dutt

Other Important Books

  1. Caste and Politics in India : Rajni Kothari
  2. Social Movement : Ghaushyam
  3. Political Sociology :B. Bottomore
  4. NCERT (Class XI and XII)
  5. IGNOU material on Political Science.
  6. Vajirao & Reddy Institute’s Notes.

Mazagazines and Journals

  1. Frontline
  2. India Today
  3. Mainstream
  4. World Focus

Newspaper

  1. The Hindu (Editorial, National and International Affairs)
  2. Indian Express (Editorial)

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