Why Anthropology?

Why should I take anthropology?

Because Anthropology has the following advantages,

  • Scoring subject
  • Interesting subject
  • Easy to grasp even for a non science student
  • Short syllabus
  • Repeating questions and hence predictability of the questions
  • Questions are mostly direct and hence can be approached with prepared answers
  • Less competition
  • Liberal correction (as few take anthropology in UPSC unlike literature, geography, Public administration, political science, sociology etc)
  • Anyone can master the subject- 1stRank and 3rdRank (2018)- Engineering background
  • Consistency in scoring- reliable
  • Overlapping with GS- Society, Social issues, Tribal issues, Governance, Essay and Ethics

Is it true that only science students should take Anthropology?

NO!!!!! As you can see in the syllabus only a fraction of the it (about 25%) contains science related topics and that too the Basics of Human evolution and genetics. These are school level and can be handled by any non science background student with ease. Further this makes the subject interesting as it brings in variety in your preparation. These questions need to be answered in points and hence makes it more easy to approach.

So what are the things that we need to study in Anthropology?

There are 2 papers in Anthropology: So lets try to understand the content of these 2 papers.

Paper 1 of Anthropology can be divided into 2 parts-

  • In part 1 we will have to study about human culture and society. ie Way of life of group of people across the world and also the theories to explain reason behind it (ie anthropological thoughts). Here we study, evolution of culture, variation in human cultural practices (Here we study the different aspects of human culture like Marriage, Religion, Economy etc), methods to study them, and various anthropological research towards understanding them.   
  • In part 2, we study physical (or Biological) anthropology- In this, we have to study Human physical evolution and variation in human population

In paper 2 we mainly study about 2 things. One, about Indian culture (or tradition), its different dimensions along with  various concept to explain them along with anthropological study of Indian society.  The second aspect of paper 2 deals with Indian tribes and their issues (land alienation, poverty, indebtedness, health and education, forest rights, tribal administration etc).

Detailed syllabus: Click here

How many days do I need to prepare Anthropology?

Ah!!!! There lies its advantage. With the right kind of guidance and materials roughly about 150-180 hours (80 classes) we can master Anthropology. This should be followed by couple of revisions and answer writing practice, and you are all set for Mains. 

Can we self prepare for Anthropology?

Yes!!!! Topics in Anthropology is very simple and hence can be self studied and mastered. There could be some topics student might find difficult to understand. For this, take help of seniors or you can mail us, we will be happy to help you. Our website provides you the link to important books, sources, and a detailed guide to prepare for anthropology. Click here to know more. 

How much can I score in Anthropology?

Anthropology is considered very safe subject. The average score has always been >60%. With a little extra practice one can be at the top of all the optionals.

OK! So where do I start now?

There are 2 approaches to mains optional

  1. Along with prelims preparation – so that u can complete syllabus once before prelims. And post prelims can be kept for revision and GS mains preparation
  2. After prelims exam – Anthro is most suitable at this time for those who didn’t find time before prelims.  Since, anthropology takes little time to prepare, you can master this even in the short duration between prelims and mains.

It’s advisable to start anthro preparation as early as possible and with focussed, systematic study one can complete the subject by 3 months.

Where can I get coaching for Anthropology?

You are lucky.. Mentors4ias team, its  founder Dr Arjun Bopanna has been conducting classes for Anthropology for more than 7 years (@Bangalore IAS Academy).  Having himself cleared civil services examinations with anthropology and appeared for UPSC and state PSC interviews 4 times with anthropology optional, he is the best guide for anthropology in India. He conducts regular classes and test series for Anthropology. More than a dozen of his students have also cleared the exam under his mentorship. Here is the detail of the classes. He has also recently authored a book on Biological anthropology (Click here)

Duration: 3 Months Anthropology class Programme
Venue 1: Bangalore IAS academy, near Hebbal Police station, Hebbal, Bangalore
Venue 2: Bangalore IAS Academy, Near Athiguppe metro station, Vijayanagar, Bangalore
Batches: June (Mains Batch) October (Prelims + Mains Batch) 
For more details Contact: 9886151564/9886777417/ 080-42103963

What books should I refer?

You can refer the following books

Primary source:

Paper 1:

  • An introduction to social anthropology by D.N Majumar: Click here
  • Socio-cultural anthropology Dr A Ashok and Dr. P.V Lakshmaiah (Telegu Akademi): Click here
  • History of anthropological thought by Upadhaya and Pandey: Click here
  • Biological Anthropology by Dr Arjun Bopanna: Click here
  • Physical anthropology by P.Nath: Click here
  • Anthropology by Dr A Ashok and Dr. P.V Lakshmaiah (Telegu Akademi): Click here
  • IGNOU material: Click here


Paper 2:

  • Indian Anthropology by Nadeem Hasnain: Click here
  • IGNOU material: Click here
  • Tribal India by Nadeem Hasnain: Click here
  • Xaxa report: Click here
  • MoTribal annual report: Click here


Secondary source:

    • An introduction to anthropological thought by Makhan Jha: Click here
    • Outline of Physical anthropology by B.M Das: Click here
    • Anthropology by Ember and Ember: Click here

* Please note- the above list is what we believe is best for the exam. Individual discretion and research is recommended before you buy these books.