Home » POLITICAL SCIENCE Syllabus Classes XI-XII


At the higher secondary level students who opt under the Social Sciences/Humanities stream are given an opportunity to get introduced to the diverse concerns of a Political Scientist. At this level course also need to enable students to engage with political process that surrounds them and provide them with an understanding of the historical context that has shaped the present. The different courses introduce the students to the various streams of the discipline
of political science: political theory, Indian politics and international politics. Concerns of the other two streams — comparative politics and public administration — are accommodated at different places in these courses. In introducing these streams, special care has been taken not to burden the students with the current jargon of the discipline. The basic idea here is to lay the foundations for a serious engagement with the discipline at the BA stage rather than anticipate the BA syllabus.


The specific objectives of the course are indicated in the preamble to the syllabus for each year.

Course I Class XI: Indian Constitution at Work
Course Rationale
This course seeks to deepen the understanding of the provisions and the working of the Constitution of India for students who have opted for Political Science. Deepening of understanding may require in some cases providing more detailed information about the articles and clauses of the Constitution; but in most parts the course will avoid overemphasis on legal technicalities and seek to focus instead on explaining the rationale and the real life consequences of the constitutional provision. At this stage the student should be initiated into thinking of the Constitution as a political document that reflects the values of a society at a given point of time. The institutional
structure that emanates from the Constitution should be seen as one possible political arrangement that has real life political consequences. The students should also be encouraged to think of the Constitution as a living document that has constantly evolved and is still in the process of further refinement. Accordingly, the course has grouped the constitutional provision under a few themes.
Each thematic follows a pattern:
• It takes up the rationale or the underlying philosophy behind that part of Constitution.
• It spells out the constitutional provisions in relevant details (mostly avoiding legal matters of technical interest or the wording and number of the articles and clauses of the Constitution); and
• Discusses how the provisions have actually played out in real life.
• For deepening the understanding of the Constitution and its working, it is proposed to illustrate each course with one example (case law, event or political dispute) from the working of the Constitution in India, and
• An example from outside India to illustrate how the institutional mechanism could have been different from what it is.
This course leads to the course on Politics in India since Independence in Class XII.

Learning Objectives

• Enable students to understand historical processes and circumstances in which the Constitution was drafted.
• Provide opportunity for students to be familiar with the diverse visions that guided the makers of the Indian Constitution.
• Enables students to identify the certain key features of the Constitution and compare these to other constitutions in the world.
• Analyse the ways in which the provisions of the Constitution have worked in real political life.

Course Content

1. Making of the Constitution: Why do we need a constitution? What does a constitution do? Who made our Constitution? How did the country’s partition affect the working of the Constituent Assembly? What were the sources of the Constitution?
2. Fundamental Rights: Why do we need for bill of rights in a Constitution? What are the fundamental rights provided by the Constitution? Why was the right to property removed from Fundamental Rights? How have the interpretations by the courts influenced Fundamental Rights? How has provision of Fundamental Rights provided the basis for civil liberties movement in India? What are the Fundamental Duties?
3. System of representational democracy: What are the different methods of elections? How do these
methods affect parties and politics? Why was the first past the post system chosen in India? What have been the effects of this system? Why is there a system of reserved seats? What are the provisions to ensure free and fair elections? What does the Election Commission do?
4. Executive in a parliamentary system: Why was the parliamentary system chosen over other forms of government? Why does the parliamentary system need a constitutional head? How are the Prime Minister and the Chief Ministers elected? What are the formal and real powers of the President of India? What are the powers of the Prime Minster or the Chief Minister and the Council of Ministers? What are the powers of the Governor?
5. Legislature at the central and state level: Why does the Parliament of India have two Houses? How are the Parliament and the State Assemblies constituted? What are the powers of the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha? How are the laws passed? How is the executive made accountable? What are the constitutional means to prevent defection?
6. Judiciary: What is Rule of law? Why do we need an independent judiciary? What are the provisions that ensure the independence of judiciary in India? How are judges appointed? What are the powers of the Supreme and the High Courts? How do they use their powers for public interest?
7. Federalism: What is federalism? How does federalism ensure accommodation of diversities? In which ways is the Indian Constitution federal? In which ways does the Constitution strengthen the centre? Why are there special provisions for some states and areas?
8. Local government: Why do we need decentralisation of power? What has been the status of local government in the Constitution? What are the basic features of rural and urban local governments? What has been the effect of giving constitutional status to local governments?
9. Political philosophy underlying the Constitution: What are the core provisions of the Constitution? What are the visions underlying these core provisions? How are these visions shaped by modern Indian political thought?
10. Constitution as a living document: How has the Constitution changed since its inception? What further changes are being debated? What has the working of democracy done to the constitution?

Course II Class XI: Political Theory
Course Rationale

This is a beginner’s course in normative political philosophy that seeks to:
• equip the student with skills of developing a rigorous political argument on ethical issues;
• encourage them to analyse any unexamined prejudices they may have inherited;
• inculcate a respect for some of the stated and implicit constitutional values;
• develop an interest in political theory and a capacity for abstraction. The course focuses on some of the key constitutional values or concerns implicit in our democratic political system. Some of these issues are not related to constitutional values in a direct way but these relate to the larger ethical frame implicit in our democracy. Instead of
‘teaching’ these values in a didactic manner by invoking the authority of constitution or major thinkers, the course seeks to encourage the students to arrive at these positions through critical reasoning. The main objective here is to give the student the skills and the confidence that they can and should think on their own and take positions on some of the big questions of our time. The course is organised around some key concepts. Thus each chapter will include:
• Analysis of the key concept and its related concepts;
• Reference to the constitutional values that underlie the concept;
• Discussion of some key intellectual resources (thinkers, isms, document etc.) associated with the concept; and
• Detailed discussion of one or more real life examples of debates involving that concept. It should be ensured in writing the textbook and in class room teaching that the emphasis should be on the reasoning skills over and above the factual/information content of the examples. Instead of handing down all the nuances of the concept to the student, the textbook and the teacher should encourage the student to develop and use the concept on their own. The students should be discouraged from using quotations and rhetorical flourishes; their argument must stand on its own legs. The success of a course like this is critically dependent on innovative ways of examination.

Learning Objectives

• Develop the skills for logical reasoning and abstraction.
• Inculcate attention to and respect for viewpoints other than one’s own.
• Introduce students to the different political thinkers in relation to a concept and in everyday social life.
• Enable students to meaningfully participate in a concern of current political life that surrounds them.
• Encourage the students to analyse any unexamined prejudices that one may have inherited.

Course Content

1. Introduction to Political Theory
What is politics? Do we find politics in seemingly non-political domains? Can political arguments be resolved through reasoning? Why do we need political theory?
2. Freedom
What is freedom? What are reasonable constrains on individual liberty? How are the limits defined?
3. Equality
Do all differences involve inequality? Does equality imply sameness? What are the major forms of inequality? How can equality be realized?
4. Social Justice
Is justice all about fairness? What is the relationship between justice and equality? What are the different forms of  injustice? In which ways can justice be secured?
5. Rights
How is a right different from any claim? What are the major kinds of right claims? How do we resolve a conflict between individual and community rights? How does the state enable and obstruct rights?
6. Citizenship
Who is a citizen? What are relevant grounds for inclusion and exclusion? How are new claims to citizenship negotiated? Can we have a global citizenship?
7. Nationalism
How are the boundaries of a nation defined? Must every nation have a state? What demands can a nation make on its citizens? What is the basis of the right to self-determination?
8. Secularism
What is secularism? Which domains of life does it relate to? What is a secular state? Why do we need secular state in modern times? Is secularism suitable for India?
9. Peace
What is peace? Does peace always require non-violence? Under what conditions is war justified? Can armament promote global peace?
10. Development
What is development? Is there a universally accepted model of development? How to balance the claims of present generation with claims of future generations?

Course III Class XII: Politics in India Since Independence
Course Rationale
It is a common experience that the younger generation of citizens does not know very much about the first and formative fifty years in the history of independent India. They often know more about India of 1920s or 1940s than they do about any decade in post- independence period including even the 1990s. This course seeks to fill this lacuna with a view to providing the students with information and perspective that would help them in their further study of Political Science and their role as a citizen. That is why there is a focus on political history; other dimensions are brought in only to the extent they impinge on political history. In doing so, the course seeks to incorporate the lessons learnt from the discipline of history: that history must not become a mere chronicle of dates and events, that it should be integrated into an analytical narrative, that the history of politics must not become a narrow history of national political events and personalities and that history writing must not take place from a narrow partisan angle. The syllabus has to be illustrative rather than comprehensive: the idea is to identify some major developments in any period and then illustrate it with some events and personalities at the national level as well as in a select state or
region. It is suggested that some of the recent political developments should be handled in general terms avoiding reference to persons active in today’s politics.

Learning Objectives

• Enable students to be familiar with some of the key political events and figures in the post- independence period.
• Develop skills of political analysis through events and processes of recent history.
• Develop their capacity to link macro processes with micro situations and their own life.
• Encourage the students to take a historical perspective of making sense of the contemporary India.

Course Contents
1. Era of One-Party Dominance : First three general elections, nature of Congress dominance at the national level, uneven dominance at the state level, coalitional nature of Congress. Major opposition parties.
2. Nation-Building and Its Problems : Nehru’s approach to nation-building: Legacy of partition: challenge of ‘refugee’ resettlement, the Kashmir problem. Organisation and reorganisation of states; Political conflicts over language.
3. Politics of Planned Development: Five year plans, expansion of state sector and the rise of new economic interests. Famine and suspension of five year plans. Green revolution and its political fallouts.
4. India’s External Relations : Nehru’s foreign policy. Sino-Indian war of 1962, Indo-Pak war of 1965 and 1971. India’s nuclear programme and shifting alliances in world politics.
5. Challenge to and Restoration of Congress System: Political succession after Nehru. Non-Congressism and electoral upset of 1967, Congress split and reconstitution, Congress’ victory in 1971 elections, politics of ‘garibi hatao’.
6. Crisis of the Constitutional Order: Search for ‘committed’ bureaucracy and judiciary. Navnirman movement in Gujarat and the Bihar movement. Emergency: context, constitutional and extra- constitutional dimensions, resistance to emergency. 1977 elections and the formation of Janata Party. Rise of civil liberties organisations.
7. Regional Aspirations and Conflicts: Rise of regional parties. Punjab crisis and the anti-Sikh riots of 1984. The Kashmir situation. Challenges and responses in the North East.
8. Rise of New Social Movements: Farmers’ movements, Women’s movement, Environment and Development-affected people’s movements. Implementation of Mandal Commission report and its aftermath.
9. Democratic Upsurge and Coalition Politics: Participatory upsurge in 1990s. Rise of the JD and the BJP. Increasing role of regional parties and coalition politics. UF and NDA governments. Elections 2004 and UPA government.
10. Recent Issues and Challenges: Challenge of and responses to globalization: new economic policy and its opposition. Rise of OBCs in North Indian politics. Dalit politics in electoral and non- electoral arena. Challenge of communalism: Ayodhya dispute, Gujarat riots.

Course IV Class XII: Contemporary World Politics
Course Rationale
The political map of the world has undergone a dramatic change after the end of the cold war. The present course is an introduction to this new world of politics that we live in. It aims at encouraging and equipping the student to think about India’s place in this new world. It seeks to impart relevant information and develop a perspective so as to initiate the student in the discipline of international relations and, to a limited extent, comparative politics. The course moves away from the conventional focus of introductory courses on world politics in many ways. Its focus is clearly on the post-1990 world, with a brief introduction to cold war and bipolar world to serve as a background. The emphasis here is not only on relations among nations; the course also seeks to introduce the students to post-democratisation political systems across the world and to processes of globalization in internal and external relations of the nations. While paying attention to the role of big powers, it gives careful attention to alternative centres of power and the global South. It seeks to shift the focus away from a formal description of the UN and its organs, to new institutions of global governance. Given its emphasis on locating India in contemporary world politics, the course does not limit the discussion on India to a chapter on India’s foreign policy. Instead, it seeks to situate India in the context of each of the themes and regions discussed in the course, while paying special attention to India’s relations with its neighbours. An extensive use of maps is strongly recommended for this course.

Learning Objectives

• Enable the students to expand their horizon beyond India and make sense of the political map of contemporary world.
• Familiarise the students with some of the key political events and processes in the post cold war era.
• Equip student to be conscious of the way in which global events and processes shape our everyday lives.
• Strengthen their capacity for political analysis by thinking of contemporary developments in a historical perspective.

Course Content

1. Cold War Era in World Politics : Emergence of two power blocs after the second world war. Arenas of the cold war. Challenges to Bipolarity: Non Aligned Movement, quest for new international economic order. India and the cold war.
2. Disintegration of the ‘Second World’ and the Collapse of Bipolarity : New entities in world politics:
Russia, Balkan states and, Central Asian states, Introduction of democratic politics and capitalism in post-communist regimes. India’s relations with Russia and other post-communist countries.
3. US Dominance in World Politics : Growth of unilateralism: Afghanistan, first Gulf War, response to 9/11 and attack on Iraq. Dominance and challenge to the US in economy and ideology. India’s renegotiation of its relationship with the USA.
4. Alternative Centres of Economic and Political Power : Rise of China as an economic power in post- Mao era, creation and expansion of European Union, ASEAN. India’s changing relations with China.
5. South Asia in the Post-Cold War Era : Democratisation and its reversals in Pakistan and Nepal. Ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. Impact of economic globalization on the region. Conflicts and efforts for peace in South Asia. India’s relations with its neighbours.
6. International Organisations in a Unipolar World : Restructuring and the future of the UN. India’s position in the restructured UN. Rise of new international actors: new international economic organisations, NGOs. How democratic and accountable are the new institutions of global governance?
7. Security in Contemporary World : Traditional concerns of security and politics of disarmament. Non-traditional or human security: global poverty, health and education. Issues of human rights and migration.
8. Environment and Natural Resources in Global Politics : Environment movement and evolution of global environmental norms. Conflicts over traditional and common property resources. Rights of indigenous people. India’s stand in global environmental debates.
9. Globalisation and Its Critics : Economic, cultural and political manifestations. Debates on the nature of consequences of globalisation. Anti-globalisation movements. India as an arena of globalization and struggles against it.