Suggested Political Science Books for IAS Mains
Political Science is opted by many IAS aspirants as Pol Science is a popular subject at the undergrad and post-graduate level. No wonder I receive so many requests to share the most useful political science books for IAS Mains. In case you need the Political Science syllabus you can get it here.
Political Science Books for Paper 1
Unlike other subjects political science paper 1 focuses on Indian aspects of the subject.
History of Political Thought – Plato to Marx
Before starting out with any subject you should first get a grasp of its fundamentals and its no different with Political Science. History of Political Thought by Mukherjee and Ramaswamy explores the concept of Political Theory in detail including the different perspectives like political theory as a history of political thought, as a technique of analysis, etc. It then explores the key theoretical concepts in political theory before proceeding to discuss key concepts like Positivism and Behaviouralism. And this is just the first chapter.
The core of History of Political Thought explores the views of different political thinkers like Plato, Aristotle, Locke, Rousseau, Karl Marx and others. This covers Section A syllabus in different measure like political theory, theories of the state, and political ideologies. The language of this book for political science is straight forward and easy to grasp without too many high sounding terminologies. A recommended read.
Political Theory by O.P Gauba
Books of every Mains subject like Public Administration, Sociology or Geography have one or two definitive books by a renowned author that you just cannot afford to skip if you wish to score well in your chosen subject. The same holds true for Pol Science.
Dr O.P Gauba is a highly respected author and authority figure in Political Science. In Political Theory Gauba discusses the concepts of State, Sovereignty, Law, Power, Citizenship and other core concepts of Political Science in detail. O.P Gauba’s language is very reader friendly and he breaks down seemingly difficult concepts to levels that beginners to Political Science can easily grasp.
But Political Theory is not just limited to concepts rather it goes much beyond. It discusses Marxist and Democratic theories, ponders over current issues like globalization, and elaborates on Gandhian concepts of sustainable development. An added bonus is that O.P Gauba has provided maps, flow charts and illustrations to put his point across. This will be all the more useful for IAS aspirants. A must read book for Political Science.
Indian Political Thought: Themes and Thinkers
If you glance through the Political Science syllabus you will realize that Indian Political Thought is a separate topic in Paper 1. Thankfully, Indian Political Thought by Mahendra Prasad and Himanshu Roy seems to be written with the civil services exam in view. This book covers all the major schools of Indian political thought from the time of Kautilya and Manu.
Indian Political Thought then elaborates prominent political thinkers like B.R Ambedkar, Gandhi and others in detail. Another recommended book for political science for IAS mains.
Our Constitution or Introduction to the Constitution of India
One advantage of taking political science as an optional for IAS mains is that it covers a significant portion of GS paper as well. This is also means that some GS books are very relevant as political science books as well. One of these important books is Our Constitution by Subhash Kashyap. I have already it GS Books for IAS Mains. Still, elaborating it from the Political Science books perspective Our Constitution these areas of paper 1: Salient Features of the Indian Constitution, Landmarks in Constitutional Development, the Executive System, and Supreme Court and High Courts.
The other popular book for covering these topics in Introduction to the Constitution of India by D.D Basu, but I don’t recommend it for reasons mentioned in the post on GS mains books for IAS. Rather you should go with Our Constitution as it is very easy to grasp for beginners as well as experienced IAS aspirants.
Our Parliament by Subhash Kashyap
One of the topics is paper 1 is on Indian Parliament and the various parliamentary committees. To understand these very important topics not just for Political Science but GS Mains as well you should go through Our Parliament authored by Subhash Kashyap. This book for political science discusses the role, responsibilities and functioning of the Indian Parliament. It also discusses the system of Parliamentary Committees which is important for Pub Ad as well apart from Pol Science and GS. All this makes Our Parliament an important read.
Politics in India by Rajni Kothari
The last book for political science I recommend for paper 1 is Politics in India by eminent political scientist Rajni Kothari. This book traces the evolution of the party system in India, coalition politics, social base and ideologies that influence and impact politics in India. Politics in India also touches upon the aspects of caste and class in Indian politics which is also part of the paper 1 syllabus.
Political Science Paper 2 Books
Political Science books for paper 2 will be very useful for GS and Essay papers as well. After all paper 2 deals with International Relations and International Organisations which are important topics in GS paper 2 as well. So covering this part will take care of an important portion of GS paper as well.
Foreign Policy of India
Gupta and Shukla have authored a very useful book on Indian Foreign Policy. This book traces the evolution of Indian Foreign policy from the British period and its gradual development and evolution during the freedom struggle. The impact of Nehruvian and Gandhian thoughts on India’s foreign policy.
Foreign Policy of India explains all the doctrines and core principles of India’s foreign policy like Non-Alignment, Nuclear Non-proliferation, Peace co-existence etc in a very lucid manner. Civil Services aspirants will find Foreign Policy of India useful not just for political science but GS as well.
India’s Foreign Policy in the 21st Century
Political Science paper 2 syllabus contains various topics on India’s relations with its neighbours and major world powers. India’s Foreign Policy in the 21st Century analyses India’s relations with China, Pakistan, Nepal, Russia, South Asia, Africa and Middle East. This book also delves into the contemporary issues affecting these regions from an Indian perspective.
United Nations by Rumki Basu
The final book I will suggest for paper 2 is United Nations by Rumki Basu. Basu is an eminent author of books on Political Science and Public Administration. In this book Basu discusses the evolution, role and functioning of UN and its organizations. United Nations is thus an important book for Political Science as well as GS.
If you feel there are too many books to go through, remember many of these books will also be useful for GS paper 2 apart from Essay and Interview. So get going with these useful books for political science.
Recommended Reference Books for Prelims
Recommended Topic Books for Prelims