The Union Public Service Commission’s (UPSC) Civil Services Examination (CSE) is conducted in three phases: the Prelims, Mains, and Interview. During the Mains exam, candidates must choose an optional subject, which greatly impacts their ranking in the CSE. The UPSC allows Urdu literature as an optional subject for the Civil Services Main Examination. Literature subjects have seen an increase in success rates in recent years.

Urdu is one of the 22 official languages in India recognized in the Constitution’s 8th schedule. It boasts a rich literary tradition and was widely used as a common language in much of the country until recently. It continues to be used in northern India and Hyderabad. In this article, one can find a comprehensive UPSC syllabus for Urdu Literature as an optional subject.

As a language-based subject, candidates proficient in Urdu who has studied it in their curriculum or learned it as their mother tongue are ideal candidates for this optional. The UPSC Urdu exam consists of two papers, Paper-I and Paper-II, during the Civil Services Main Examination. Each paper is worth 250 marks, for a total of 500 marks.

Urdu Optional Paper 1


Answer must be written in Urdu

Section A

Development of Urdu Language
(a) Development of Indo-Aryan
(i) Old Indo-Aryan
(ii) Middle Indo-Aryan
(iii) New Indo-Aryan.

(b) Western Hindi and its dialects Brij Bhasha Khadi Boli, Haryanavi, Kannauji, Bundeli— Theories about the origin of Urdu language.

(c) Dakhani Urdu—origin and development, its significant linguistic features.

(d) Social and Cultural roots of Urdu language— and its distinctive features. Script, Phonology, Morphology, Vocabulary.

Section B

(a) Genres and their development :
(i) Poetry: Ghazal, Masnavi, Qasida, Marsia, Rubai Jadid Nazm.
(ii) Prose : Novel, Short Story, Dastan, Drama, Inshaiya, Khutoot, Biography.

(b) Significant feaures of : (i) Deccani, Delhi and Lucknow schools, (ii) Sir Syed movement, Romantic movement, Progressive movement, Modernism.

(c) Literary Criticism and its development with reference to Hali, Shibli, Kaleemuddin Ahmad, Ehtisham Hussain, Ale-Ahmad Suroor.

(d) Essay writing (covering literary and imaginative topics).

Urdu Optional Paper 2

Answer must be written in Urdu

This paper will require first hand reading of the texts prescribed and will be designed to test the candidate’s critical ability.

Section A

1. Mir Amman Bagho-Babar
2. Ghalib Intikhab-e-Khutoot-e Ghalib
3. Mohd. Husain Azad Nairang-e-Khayal
4. Prem Chand Godan
5. Rajendra Singh Bedi Apne Dukh Mujhe Dedo
6. Abul Kalam Azad Ghubar-e-Khatir

Section B

1. Mir Intikhab-e-Kalam-e-Mir (Ed. Abdul Haq.)
2. Mir Hasan Sahrul Bayan
3. Ghalib Diwan-e-Ghalib
4. Iqbal Bal-e-Jibrail
5. Firaq Gul-e-Naghma
6. Faiz Dast-e-Saba
7. Akhtruliman Bint-e-Lamhat

UPSC Urdu Optional Syllabus PDF