#69 What is the Preferred Syllabus and Booklist for Bengali Literature for UPSC CSE Mains?

Bengali language is widely spoken in the state of West Bengal .It is one of the 22 languages included in the eighth schedule of the constitution of India. Your interest and knowledge is the deciding factor to choose bengali literature as your optional.

One of the advantages of Bengali literature is it has less competition. The syllabus is quite comprehensive and involves the study of books written by authors and their Literary Criticism.

The subject works as therapy for those of you who are tired of reading for the GS papers.

Given below is the syllabus and booklist for the optional.


History of Language and Literature.


Topics from the History of Bangla language

1. The chronological track from Proto Indo-European to Bangla (Family tree with branches and approximate dates)

2. Historical stages of Bangla (Old, Middle, New) and their linguistic features.

3. Dialects of Bangla and their distinguishing characteristics.

4. Elements of Bangla Vocabulary.

5. Forms of Bangla Literary Prose-Sadhu and Chalit.

6. Processes of language change relevant for Bangla :

Apinihiti (Anaptyxis), Abhishruti (umlaut), Murdhanya Bhavan (cerebralization), Nasikyibhavan (Nasalization), Samibhavan (Assimilation), Sadrishya (Analogy), Svaragama (Vowel insertion)-Adi Svaragama, Madhya Svaragama or Svarabhakti, Antya Svaragama, Svarasangati (Vowel harmony), y-shruti and w-shruti.

7. Problems of standardization and reform of alphabet and spelling, and those of transliteration and Romanization.

Phonology, Morphology, and Syntax of Modern Bangla.

(Sounds of Modern Bangla, Conjuncts; word formations, compounds; basic sentence patterns.)


Topics from the History of Bangla Literature.

1.Periodization of Bangla Literature: Old Bangla and Middle Bangla.

Points of difference between modern and pre-modern Bangla Literature.

Roots and reasons behind the emergence of modernity in Bangla Literature.

Evolution of various Middle Bangla forms: Mangal kavya’s, Vaishnava lyrics, Adapted narratives (Ramayana,

Mahabharata, Bhagavata) and religious biographies.

Secular forms in middle Bangla literature.

Narrative and lyric trends in the nineteenth century Bangla poetry.

Development of prose.

Bangla dramatic literature (nineteenth century, Tagore, Post-1944 Bangla drama).

Tagore and post-Tagoreans.

Fiction, major authors :

(Bankimchandra, Tagore, Saratchandra, Bibhutibusan, Tarasankar, Manik). 11. Women and Bangla literature: creators and created.


Answers must be written in Bengali.


1.Vaishnava Padavali (Calcutta University)

 Poems of Vidyapati, Chandidas, Jnanadas, Govindadas and Balaramdas

2.Chandimangal Kalketu episode by Mukunda (Sahitya Akademi).

 3.Chaitanya Charitamrita Madya Lila, by Krishnadas Kaviraj (Sahitya Akademi).

 4.Meghnadbadh Kavya by Madhusudan Dutta.

 5.Kapalkundala by Bankimchandra Chattarjee.

 6.Samya and Bangadesher Krishak by Bankimchandra Chatterjee.

 7.Sonar Tari by Rabindranath Tagore.

 8.Chhinnapatravali by Rabindranath Tagore.


9.Raktakarabi by Rabindranath Tagore.

 10. Nabajatak by Rabindranath Tagore.

 11. Grihadaha by Saratchandra Chatterjee.

 12. Prabandha Samgraha Vol. 1, by Pramatha Choudhuri.

 13. Aranyak by Bibhutibhusan Banerjee

 14. Short stories by Manik Bandyopadhyay : Atashi Mami, Pragaitihasik, Holud-Pora, Sarisrip, Haraner Natjamai, Chhoto-Bokulpurer Jatri, Kustharogir Bou, Jakey Ghush Ditey Hoy.

 15. Shrestha Kavita by Jibanananda Das.

 16. Jagori by Satinath Bhaduri.

 17. Ebam Indrajit by Badal Sircar.


  1. The Oxford India Anthology of Bengali Literature (1941-1991) – Volume 2 (1941-1991) by Kalpana Bardhan
  2. Bangla Sahityer Sankshipta Itihas By Bhudeb Chaudhuri
  3. Bangla Nataker Itihash By Ajit Kumar Ghosh
  4. The Bengalis: A Portrait of a Community by Sudeep Chakravarti
  5. The Epic City: The World on the Streets of Calcutta Paperback by Kushanava Choudhuri
  6. Bengali Prose Style: 1800-1857 by Dinesh Chandra Sen
  7. Types of Early Bengali Prose by Mitra

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