1. Technical Requirements
  2. Where to send the article?
  3. Topic Requirements:
  4. Language Requirements:
  5. Good Faith
  6. About the World History books
    1. Jain and Mathur: A History of the Modern World
    2. Norman Lowe: Mastering Modern World History
    3. Arjun Dev: History of the World
  7. FAQ

After the grand success of September competition, here goes the round for October Month: Write an exam-oriented, revision-friendly article for me and get a chance to win three books on World History (for UPSC General Studies Mains Paper 1).

  1. Jain and Mathur: A History of the Modern World
  2. Norman Lowe: Mastering Modern World History
  3. Arjun Dev: History of the World

Anyways, books are mere excuse, the secret agenda is:

  1. You’re helping the community because all good articles will be zipped and shared with the community. It’ll collectively save hundreds of manhours, bandwidth and electricity in digging the same topics.
  2. You’re helping yourself, because by writing for others, you’re indirectly improving your own command over that topic.

Technical Requirements

  1. Article must be Minimum 3 pages long article in Times new roman size12 font
  2. Last date to submit: 25th October 2013, midnight
  3. Result will be announced on 1st November 2013. Along with a Zip file that’ll contain all submissions received- including those who don’t win the prizes. That way, all aspirants can utilize this Notes-collection for their own preparations.
  4. Must be in MS Word (.doc) format. Don’t send PDF format.
  5. At the bottom of your article, you must include following
    1. List of reference websites URLs and books you used to prepare the article.
    2. Your full name, Postal-address, email id and contact number. (don’t worry, personal information will be removed before the articles are put on public domain.)
    3. Your “preference” for the book if your article is chosen among top-3 winner. e.g. Jain>Norman>Arjun or Norman>Arjun>Jain etc.

Where to send the article?

  1. On my g-mail id
  2. In Email subject, just write “article submission” (that way my gmail automatically filters and puts them under a separate folder and helps me process it fast.)

Topic Requirements:

  1. Must be relevant to the new syllabus of Mains General Studies. Click me to see the syllabus in excel format.
  2. Avoid topics that are already covered under Mrunal.org OR submitted in the previous months’ competition– UNLESS you’ve lot of new information to add.
  3. Avoid generic essay topics such as Women empowerment, poverty removal, corruption removal etc. UNLESS you’re making a super-duper comprehensive article with 12th FYP, government schemes, policies, current affairs etc.
  4. Avoid clichéd topics from current affairs e.g. FDI in Multibrand retail, Need for CBI autonomy etc.
  5. Avoid static topics that are already well-explained in the standard reference books e.g.
    1. Causes of 1857 mutiny, Gandhi-Irwin Pact, Cabinet Mission plan etc. in Bipin Chandra and Spectrum’s books
    2. Fundamental rights, various constitutional bodies etc. in the great M.Laxmikanth.
  6. Avoid lifting content from any competitive magazines, coaching-class material, blogs/sites for competitive exams.
  7. Avoid Wikipedia.
  8. You may use the content from newspaper websites, government sites, and official websites of international bodies. But don’t just copy paste paragraphs from there, try to summarize and condense the wisdom given in such article/report.
  9. If you have doubt in topic selection, don’t hesitate from sending me a mail.

Language Requirements:

  1. Must be revision friendly.
  2. I’m not looking for scholarly essays or academic research papers. It must be Exam-Oriented+ Revision Friendly article.
  3. Must be in English, but doesn’t need to be in formal English and chaste grammar. You can put things in any way you want, to keep it revision friendly. Avoid SMS-language bcz its 2tuf 2read.
  4. Minimum use of passive voice. Minimum use of Sentence connectors (whereas, which,….) Because they slow down the pace of reading and revision.
  5. Avoid writing in big paragraphs. Try to put things under headings, subheadings, bullets-numbering.
  6. Avoid filler lines. Avoid writing the obvious. (e.g. like how Mohan gives speech…Naxalism is the great threat India faces today. India needs to reduce its current account deficit and dependence on crude oil import. Food inflation must be curbed. Sustainable development is essential…and so on) Instead of such filler lines, try to list decent points that can be readily used for a 12-15 marker descriptive question or hardcore facts that can be asked in Prelims MCQs.
  7. Avoid mentioning exact dates and exact money. “On 12th Sep 2013, Government allotted 12593 crore rupees on xyz thing.” Nobody is going to ask / remember dates. Such details only break the flow of reading a revision friendly article.
  8. In short, avoid mentioning things that are irrelevant from a descriptive paper/ interview/MCQ point of view.

Good Faith

This competition runs on good faith:

  1. That you’ll not lift content from any competitive magazines, coaching material, similar blogs/sites associated with competitive exams. (Obviously I don’t read each and every coaching class material or competitive magazine, so there is no way for me to manually verify plagiarism for each and every case.)
  2. You understand that once your article is released in public domain, there is good chance some xyz spam site will copy paste it or some Xerox-center of Delhi might sell its printouts. I cannot prevent such things or protect your copyright.
  3. That you’ll not submit multiple articles under different usernames just to raise your winning chances. You can submit multiple articles under a single username, but only the one best entry will be considered for award.
  4. I cannot manually explain to each and every contender why his article did not win prize.

About the World History books

So you can decide your preference:

Jain and Mathur: A History of the Modern World

Thickest out of the given three.


  1. A compilation of important terms, personalities related with world history given in the preliminary chapter. For a possible 1/2/5 marker.
  2. Significant treaties, alliances given separately in the appendix for quick reference
  3. comes with a colorful world map
  4. Elaborate chapter on industrial revolution: its origin and impact on the society: helpful for UPSC GS Mains Paper 1
  5. Elaborate chapter on Imperialism and Colonialism: helpful for UPSC GS Mains Paper 1
  6. His overall method of explaining history as: underlying cause-=>treaty/war/revolution==>consequences.
  7. Separate chapter that covers all important revolutions in one place: French, German, Italian, Chinese and Russian.
  8. 2 world wars: directly points for cause-consequences given. Without getting into minor details of all battles.
  9. Separate chapter on Decolonization. (topic is in UPSC GS1 syllabus)
  10. Available in Hindi and Marathi

Not so good

  1. First 20 pages he has given current affairs like Anna Hazare’s Movement, South Sudan, Death of Hugo Chavez etc. Useless, he could have saved those pages to reduce MRP.
  2. This book has same deficiency like Sharma-Sadana’s book on Public administration- in order to cater a large audience (UPSC aspirants + BA, MA students), topics are covered in verbose language=book has become very thick. Example American, French, Italian politics contain too much details.
  3. Lengthy coverage on cold war, soviet disintegration, Europe’s unification, NAM, While they’re good read for interview but not so important for Mains-GS. Even from IR point of view, as we have seen in past few years, the direct static questions are not coming, and you can do the same topics from NCERT + NIOS textbooks on Pol.science.
  4. Contains a colorful timeline page “Modern World Panorama” 1946-1994. I wish they had included the time before that as well i.e. rise of imperialism and colonization, 1st and 2nd world war etc.
  5. Lot of colorful photos of various personalities from World History- he could have avoided them to keep the production cost and thus the MRP lower.
  6. Should have included Mock Questions.
  7. Paper binding quality doesn’t seem powerful to hold this thick book. I’m afraid the pages will come apart after a few revisions.

Norman Lowe: Mastering Modern World History


  1. Like the “new” NCERTs, it contains many textboxes, cartoons, food for thought type questions.
  2. Separate section on Decolonization.
  3. Tries to summarize every topic/heading under 1-2 paragraphs.
  4. Chapters start with ‘summary’ of events that gives you the foundation. (although not so import if you’ve already gone through the Old NCERTs, available on Mrunal.org/history)
  5. Separate chapter on UN and its organs. Good for IR under GS2.


  1. Directly starts the book from the causes of First World War. The events before that era (industrial revolution, imperialism etc.) are not given proper coverage for UPSC.
  2. Many pages gone in USA after 1945, Cold war, fall of Russia, Vietnam War, China under Mao etc. While they’re good read but not so relevant for Mains syllabus.

Although, these are not ‘criticisms’ because Norman Lowe did not write the book for UPSC exam. He has written it for British Exams.

Arjun Dev: History of the World


  • Tries to give you an overview of the World history without boring with lot dates names and numbers.
  • The wisdom is ‘condensed’ in a few pages- similar to Mohit Bhattacharya’s book on Public Administration.
  • Thinnest among the given three books=less stress on mind.


  1. Like Norman Lowe’s book, this too hasn’t given proper coverage to pre-WW1 topics: industrial revolution, imperialism etc. from UPSC point of view.
  2. ~100 out of 275 pages are allotted to “World after 1945”= More than 1/3rd of the book is not much relevant for the GS1 syllabus, except the scattered points for Decolonization in that chapter. Besides you can get the same topics from NCERT and NIOS’s political science textbooks.
  3. Same Professor wrote the Old NCERT Class 10 world history (Story of Civilization Part II) so this one feels like Dabangg two. I liked the original better.


Why should I participate in this competition, there are only three books and probably hundreds of contenders? The probability to win a prize is very low. Why should I share my knowledge with others? I think this is a waste of time!

You haven’t really understood a topic, unless you can fluently explain it to others without boring the hell out them. So if you try to write an exam-oriented revision friendly article, you’re improving your own preparation of that topics. Besides, all good entries will be put in a zip file and shared with everyone=you’ll be getting a big pile of free notes anyways- and it’ll have more important data for exams than the three award books listed here! click me to see September month’s zip file

How can I know there will be no nepotism?

  1. I’ve asked my allies and friends not to participate in this competition. (Although that too runs on a good faith that they’ll not submit articles under fake names!)
  2. I’ll shortlist the top 10-15 entries. Show them to a few senior players of UPSC, and with their ‘jury’ service, the top-3 Winners will be decided.

Is my personal information safe?

Yes, some people hold stupid competitions to gather your personal info, then sell your email id and phone number to those tele-marketing companies, bogus MBA colleges and insurance sellers. But I assure you that I won’t do it.

Before uploading the zip file, I’ll remove your address/mail/contact number.