(Download) ICSE: Class X Syllabus - 2013 "History, Civics & Geography"

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ICSE (Class X)
Syllabus (2013)

Subject: History, Civics & Geography


  1. To provide an understanding of the working of the Indian government necessary for the student to grow into a responsible, enlightened citizen in a Secular democracy.
  2. To enrich the understanding of those aspects of Indian historical development which are crucial to the understanding of contemporary India.
  3. To awaken a desirable understanding in pupils of the various streams which have contributed to the development and growth of the Indian nation and its civilisation and culture.
  4. To develop a world historical perspective of the contributions made by various cultures to the total heritage of mankind.


There will be one paper of two hours duration carrying 80 marks and an Internal Assessment of 20 marks.

The paper will be divided into two parts, Part I and Part II.

Part I (30 marks) will contain short answer questions set from the entire syllabus.

Candidates will be required to answer all questions.

Part II (50 marks) will consist of Section A and Section B. Candidates will be required to answer two out of three questions from Section A and three out of five questions from Section B. The sections will correspond to the sections indicated in the syllabus.


An elementary study is required of this section without verbatim study of the Constitutional Articles in detail.

1. Our Constitution

(a) Meaning; a brief study of the formation of the Constituent Assembly of India.
Definition of Constitution. Framing of the Constitution. Formation of the Constituent Assembly in 1946. Composition of Constituent Assembly representing all major regions, sections and communities in India. Time taken to complete the Constitution. Date of adoption and enactments, date of commencement / implementation of the new Constitution.

(b) The Preamble.
Meaning. Contents. Explain the meaning of each of the terms including the amendments i.e. Secular and Socialistic Importance and significance of a Preamble in a written Constitution.

(c) Basic Features of the Constitution.
Features – A written and lengthy constitution, Parliamentary / Cabinet system of government, Quasi – Federal government, Single Citizenship Universal Adult Franchise, Fundamental Rights and Duties, Directive Principles of State Policy, Welfare State – a brief study and knowledge of these features.

(d) Fundamental Rights and Duties.
Fundamental Rights: Meaning of the term, specific reasons for its inclusion in the Constitution – Important characteristic features of Rights. Classification of Rights and Writs. Check on arbitrary actions of the State. Three common restrictions on Fundamental Rights. Suspension of Rights. Deletion of the Right to property (44th Amendment) - as a Fundamental Right - changed to a Legal Right. Fundamental Duties – importance, different

(e) Directive Principles of State Policy.
Meaning: classification, implementation, importance. Difference between Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles.

2. Elections

(a) The need for elections and kinds of elections (direct and indirect).
Meaning and importance of elections; kinds of elections: Direct elections: e.g. election of M.L.A’s and M.P.’s (of Lok Sabha). Indirect election – election of public officials such as President, Vice-President and members of Rajya Sabha (to be briefly explained – no details required) by directly elected representatives. Meaning of General election, Mid-term election and By-election.

(b) Constituency – demarcation and types of constituencies.
Meaning of constituency – Types of constituencies. Single member and reserve constituencies.

(c) Composition and functions of the Election Commission of India.
The composition of the election commission and appointment of election commissioners: term of office; independence of the election commission. Powers and functions of the election commission, preparation of electoral rolls and photo identity cards, recognition of political parties, allotment of election symbols, delimitation of constituency, conduct of elections – ensuring free and fair elections.

3. Political Parties

(a) Meaning of Political Party – Objectives of Political Parties (in general).
Why are political parties formed – a brief discussion on their role in a democracy.

(b) Difference between National / All India parties and Regional parties.
Criteria for designating a political party as “Regional” or “National” as per the Election Commission should be discussed.

4. Local Self Government

(a) Meaning; difference between local government and local self-government. The need and importance of local government.
Identifying the need to have locally elected representatives managing local affairs through local self-governments. Differentiate between the role of local government and local selfgovernment.

(b) Urban and rural local self governments - composition, functions, sources of income.
Three tier system of Panchayati Raj.

  1. Rural – Village Parchayats in the past. Balwant Rai Mehta Committee – Three-tier system of Panchayati Raj – Village Panchayat, Panchayat Samiti, Zila Parishad – their composition, functions and sources of income.

  2. Urban – 74th Constitutional Amendment Act. Municipal committees and municipal corporations - composition, obligatory optional functions and sources of revenue. Town Area Committee, Cantonment Boards, Port Trust, Improvement Trust – a brief idea of these local bodies.

(c) Limitations in efficient working of local selfgovernments.
Unethical means adopted in elections; low literacy rate, communal trends in voting.


1. Reconstructing the Past: Sources and tools of historical reconstruction. The variety and scope of sources.

Note: Every topic needs to be understood in conjunction with a source relevant to that topic. This is to emphasize that History is a subject which is based on the interpretation of evidence/sources found.

A broad overview of the range of archaeological and literary/documentary sources with a specific focus on the ways in which historians use them to reconstruct aspects of the past. Archaeological sources would include artefacts and features retrieved from explorations and excavations (stone tools, pottery, plant and animal remains, architectural features), monuments, inscriptions and coins. Literary/documentary sources would include court chronicles, religious texts, memoirs, travelogues, archival documents and literature.

2. The Harappan Civilization
Origin, extent, urban planning, trade, arts and crafts, religion. Decline. Sources: Great Bath, Citadel, seals, bearded man, dancing girl, etc.

The meaning of the term 'civilization' should be explained. Cities and other kinds of settlements, trade, social stratification as examples of monumental architecture in Mesopotamia and the presence of civic amenities (wells, tanks, roads, drainage systems) for citizens in the Harappan civilization. Decline of the Harappan Civilization.

3. Emergence of Vedic India - the birth of new religious sects.
(a) Society, Polity, economy and religion as prevailing in 1500 B.C. to 500 B.C. (a brief understanding only) Sources, any two vedic hymns to understand the link between rituals and real life. The focus should be on the evolution and changes in Vedic period. Differences between the Rig Vedic and later Vedic period.

(b) Jainism and Buddhism: a very brief political background, founders, main belief, impact on religion, art, architecture and literature.

Sources: Stories from Jataka Tales, Sanchi Stupa, Gandhara School of Art; Shravan Belgola as a Jain pilgrimage site. Causes for the rise of Jainism and Buddism in the 6th century B.C. Doctrines and impact of Jainism. Doctrines and impact of Buddhism. Difference between Jain Digambaras and Swetambaras and difference between Hinayana and Mahayana Buddhism. Buddist and Jain cave temples – brief descriptions of caves; difference between a Chaitya and a Vihara, frescoes and their themes, the sites of Ashoka pillars and Sanchi Stupa with essential features. Details of measurements or intricate descriptions are not required.

4. Emergence of Empires
(a) The Mauryas: a brief political history; administration and character of the empire. Source: Any two major Rock Edicts out of the 14 inscribed by Ashoka related to nonviolence / restricting killing of animals. Ashokan Pillar at Lauriya Nandan Garh. The Pan-Indian character of the Mauryan empire beginning with Chandragupta and culminating in the empire of Ashoka; the nature of Mauryan administration as reflected in the Arthasastra of Kautilya and in the inscriptions of Ashoka; Critical analysis.

(b) India from Guptas to Harsha: political and cultural developments.

Source: Excerpts from the literary accounts of Fa-hein and Hiuen Tsang, Allahabad Pillar inscription of Samudra Gupta, Gupta sculptures of Buddha. The purpose of this segment is to provide a link between the ancient Mauryan empire and medieval India. An overview of the Gupta empire and its contemporaries. Post-Gupta polities – Harshavardhana, Pallavas and Chalukyas. Survey of cultural developments (300 A.D. – 750 A.D.): Sanskrit and Tamil literature, technical and scientific treatises, cave architecture and temples, sculpture, painting. Details of exact measurements and intricate features are not required.

5. The Medieval World
(a) Birth and advent of Islam. Birth and consolidation of Islam with special reference to the Caliphate state. Spread of Islam with reference to India.

(b) Medieval India: South India and the Cholas. The Delhi Sultanate. A broad overview of the chronology and the character of key medieval political systems / organization in India. (Details of conquests and administration of individual rulers are not required). The Cholas in the south and the Delhi Sultanate in the north.

(c) India: The Age of the Mughals: Brief chronological background and their decline.

Sources: Abul Fazal’s Ain-i-Akbari, Movements of Fatehpur Sikri in the process of development of Indo-Islamic art. Brief introduction of the chronology of the Mughal dynasty between 1526 – 1707. Details of conquests and administration of individual rulers and the reasons for the decline of the Mughal dynasty.

(d) Impact of Islam on culture, art, architecture, and literature.

Contribution to Indo-Islamic culture, contribution to Architecture – monuments built by Akbar and Shahjahan – Agra Fort, Red Fort, Fatehpur Sikri, Jama Masjid, Taj Mahal (Exact details of monuments etc. not required)  Doctrines and impact of Sufism and the Bhakti movement (Kabir, Nanak and Mira).

6. The Beginning of the Modern Age in Europe
(a) The Renaissance: age of discovery, impact on art, literature and science. Sources: Michelangelo’s works as representing the spirit of Renaissance, 95 theses of Martin Luther.

Causes of Renaissance.

The impact of Renaissance with reference to examples and in various fields *art, literature, science, geography) together with the overall impact on all aspects of learning and life.

(b) The Reformation: Martin Luther. Impact on Europe (rise of nation states).

Causes: Religious, social, political & economic impact of the reformation and counter – reformation.

(c) Industrial Revolution: Age of machines cotton and iron industries in England. Impact of the industrial revolution - urbanization, socialism (as a reaction to the evils of capitalism), capitalism.

Sources : Factory Act of 1802 in England. Self-explanatory.


Any one project/assignment from the prescribed syllabus.

Suggested Assignments

  • Make a graphic study of the Harappan Civilisation and record the artifacts found in the excavations.
  • Draw conclusions about the administration and religious policy of Ashoka, based on a study of his edicts.
  • Visit a local panchayat and find out how it works. Imagine you are a worker in a factory in the Industrial Revolution period. Write an account of your life.
  • Make a comparative study of Buddhism and Jainism.
  • Make a comparative study of women Bhakti poets: try to analyse why the Bhakti movement attracted women.
  • Make a comparative study of the sources of history, showing how they help us to get a picture of the past.


There will be one paper of two hours duration carrying 80 marks and an Internal Assessment of 20 marks.

The paper will be divided into two parts, Part I and Part II.

Part I (30 marks) will contain short answer questions set from the entire syllabus.

Candidates will be required to answer all questions. Part II (50 marks) will consist of Section A and Section B. Candidates will be required to answer two out of three questions from Section A and three out of five questions from Section B. The sections will correspond to the sections indicated in the syllabus.


1. The Legislature
(a) The Union Parliament: the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha. The Union Parliament - definition of Parliament. It must be clearly explained as an important aspect of a federal setup in India. A brief idea of two levels of authority (Central and State Levels).

i) Lok Sabha - term, composition, qualification for membership, disqualification of membership. Parliamentary procedures: a brief idea of sessions, quorum, question hour, motions – adjournment and no-confidence motion. Speaker – A brief idea of his selection, role, functions.

ii) Rajya Sabha – composition, qualification for membership, disqualification of membership, election, term, parliamentary procedures, presiding officer.

Powers and functions of (a) Rajya Sabha (b) Lok Sabha - legislative, financial control over executive, judicial, elective, constituent. Relationship between the two Houses – differences. Anti–defection law.

(b) The State Legislatures: the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council. The State Legislature: The Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council

(i) State Legislative Assembly (Vidhan Sabha) - composition, qualifications, election, term, powers and functions. Speaker – functions and powers in brief (similarities with the Speaker of the Lok Sabha.

(ii) State Legislative council (Vidhan Parishad) – composition, qualification, term, powers and position.

(iii) Difference between unicameral and bicameral.

2. The Executive

(a) The President: election, term of office, powers.

Qualifications for election, the procedure for election (only composition of electoral college). Reason for indirect election, term of office, procedure for impeachment. Powers – executive, legislative, financial, judicial, discretionary and emergency. Actual position of the President in a Parliamentary setup (Procedure for election of President to be studied only for the purpose of acquiring knowledge and not for examination purpose.)

(b) The Vice-President: election, term of office, functions. Qualifications for election, term of office and powers.

(c) The Cabinet: formation, appointment; terms, powers and functions. Position and powers of the Prime Minister. Collective and individual responsibility of the members of the cabinet. Distinction between council of Ministers and Cabinet.

Formation, appointment, comparisons between Council of Ministers and Cabinet. . Function of the Cabinet – Policy making, administrative, legislative, financial, emergency. The powers and position of the Prime Minister.

(d) Governor: the head of a State; appointment, term of office, powers.

Qualifications and appointment. Powers - executive, legislative, financial, judicial and discretionary.

(e) Council of Ministers in a State. Position of Chief Minister.

Formation & composition of Council of Ministers and the Cabinet. Collective and individual responsibility of the members of the Cabinet. Relationship with the Chief Minister. Powers and position of the Chief Minister.

3. The Judiciary
(a) The Supreme Court: composition, jurisdiction and functions.

  • Composition, qualification of judges, appointment, independence of judiciary from control of executive and legislature.
  • Powers of the Supreme Court.
  • Jurisdiction: original and appellate (meaning only)
  • Functions: settlement of disputes, (original and on appeals) enforcement of fundamental Rights, advisory, revisory judicial review and court of record.

(b) The High Courts: composition and functions.

  • Composition, qualifications of judges, appointment, conditions of service.
  • Powers of the High Court.
  • Jurisdiction - original and appellate (meaning only).
  • Functions: settlement of disputes (original and on appeal) enforcement of Fundamental Rights, (power to issue writs), advisory, revisory, judicial review, court of record.

(c) Subordinate Courts: Structure and composition only.

Self explanatory.

(d) A brief study of Lok Adalats: Meaning and advantages.

Self explanatory.


1. The Indian National Movement (1857 – 1914)

(a) The First War of Independence, 1857 – causes and consequences. Only the causes (political, social, religious, economic and military) and consequences will be tested. The events, however need to be mentioned in order to maintain continuity and for a more comprehensive understanding.

(b) Factors promoting growth of Nationalism, foundation of the Indian National Congress - immediate objectives.

All the factors promoting the growth of Nationalism.

All the factors promoting the growth of Nationalism need to be clearly understood. The precursors to the Congress need to be briefly mentioned. Only the Indian National Association (Surendranath Banerjee) and the East India Association (Dadabhai Naoroji) should be highlighted. Other than the first two sessions and the Surat session, the other sessions and their presidents should be mentioned only for the sake of interest – not learning.

(c) Programme and achievements of the Moderates; contribution of Dadabhai Naoroji, Surendranath Banerjee and Gopal Krishna Gokhale.

The basic beliefs, objectives, programme, methods of struggle and achievements of the moderates in general and any two contributions in particular of each of the three moderate leaders (with reference to their role in the freedom struggle.) Details of life history to be mentioned only for the sake of interest.

(d) Causes of the rise of radical nationalism; contribution of Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Bipin Chandra Pal and Lala Lajpat Rai. Causes of the rise of radical nationalism. The basic beliefs, objectives, programme, methods of struggle and achievements of the radical nationalists in general and any two contributions particularly of each of the three nationalist leaders (with reference to their role in the freedom struggle.)

(e) The partition of Bengal and its impact - the anti-partition, Swadeshi and Boycott Movements. Impact/significance of the Movements. Reasons behind the partition of Bengal (1905). Anti-partition movement including Swadeshi and Boycott movements, Surat split of 1907, spread of the movement and its achievements.

(f) Factors promoting and events leading to the formation of the Muslim League. Objectives of the League.



(a) Lucknow Pact (significance and impact); Home Rule League and August Declaration, 1917.

Importance of Home Rule Movement, clauses of the Lucknow Pact and August Declaration to be emphasized.

(b) Mahatma Gandhi: his methods and the direction given by him to the National Movement: the Khilafat and Non-Cooperation Movement; the Civil Disobedience Movement till 1934; the Quit India Movement (the cause and impact of the above movements to be stressed); formation of the INA and the contribution of Subhash Chandra Bose towards the freedom struggle.

Life of Gandhi to be discussed for interest value; the doctrine of Satyagraha and swadeshi have to be clearly understood; the circumstances leading to the Non-Cooperation movement – its significance. Swarajists. Simon Commission. Boycott of and agitation against the Commission. Nehru Report (Details not required). Demand for dominion status, Lahore Session of 1929. Declaration of Poorna Swaraj as the Congress objective. Circumstances leading to the Civil Disobedience Movement (1930–1934).

The Government of India Act and achievement of Ministries are not required. The Cripps Mission and Wavell Plan. (Only reasons for and reaction to them to be studied) Circumstances leading to the Quit India Movement. Impact/ Significance. The rift with Gandhi and formation of the Forward Bloc.

(c) Partition of India: Cabinet Mission proposals; conflict between Congress and Muslim League; Mountbatten Plan and the Indian Independence Act of 1947. Clauses of the Cabinet Mission proposals, Mountbatten Plan and the Indian Independence Act of 1947.

2. The Contemporary World

(a) The First World War and the Treaty of Versailles.

Causes (long term and immediate) of the first World War – Results of the War leading to formation of the League of Nations. Objectives (only) of the League of Nations. Terms of the treaty of Versailles.

(b) The rise of Fascism and Nazism and the Second World War – reasons only. Causes for the rise of Fascism in Italy and the rise of Nazism in Germany can be linked, showing the similarity of the aims. Hitler's foreign policy – main aims and events in his foreign policy. Treatment of Jews needs to be discussed briefly for a comprehensive understanding of Hitler’s foreign policy but not for the purpose of testing. Long term as well as immediate causes of World War II to be briefly stated. Events of the War need not be highlighted except the bombing of Hiroshima.

(c) United Nations

  1. Origin and purpose; functions of the General Assembly, Security Council and the International Court of Justice. The milestones in the formation of the U.N. can be briefly mentioned – only for information and not for examination purpose. The purpose, objective and principles of the U.N. can be addressed simultaneously. Membership - the Big Five and India, the names of other members is not required except for the sake of information. Along with the functions, the composition of the General  Assembly, Security Council, and the International Court of Justice is also necessary.

  2. Major agencies of the United Nations: UNICEF, WHO and UNESCO - functions only.


(d) Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Importance of Human Rights and any three organizations fighting for Human Rights. (One International Organisation, one National Organisation and one NGO) The importance of Human Rights and names of three organizations involved. Meaning of violation of Human Rights.

(e) Cold War – causes and consequences. Meaning of the Cold War – causes and origin of the Cold War; division of the World into two power blocs; Truman Doctrine, Marshall Plan, Berlin Blockade, Division of Germany (FRG and GDR). Formation of military alliances. NATO and WARSAW PACT only. Impact: armament race, mutual suspicion and distrust, proxy wars (name only). Iron curtain, collapse of Communism in the Soviet Union. End of Cold War.

Reunification of Germany to be studied only for the purpose of understanding.

(f) Non Aligned Movement. Brief meaning; factors responsible; objectives; role of Jawaharlal Nehru. Names of the Architects of NAM.


Any one project/assignment from the prescribed syllabus.

Suggested Assignments

  • Make an illustrative study of the life and work of any three national leaders, between 1857 and 1914 and describe their contributions to the Nation.
  • Trace the evolution of any two non-violent revolutionaries of the Indian National Movement and identify their contributions to the Nation.
  • Analyse the role of the Muslim League in the national movement and its impact on the future course of India and Pakistan.
  • Make a graphic study and illustrate the role of Mahatma Gandhi in the Indian National Movement for Independence.
  • Make a comparative study of any three leaders who had non-violence as their motivation for gaining India’s independence and contrast their role with three leaders who used any other ideology for gaining independence.
  • Make an analytical study of any three ideologies pertaining to governments of nations that prevailed in the world prior to 1947.
  • Make an illustrative study of the life and work of Subhash Chandra Bose.
  • Develop an illustrative study of the contributions to world peace of the United Nations or any of its agencies.
  • Illustrate the evolution of the United Nations as a world body and its evolving role.


The assignments/project work is to be evaluated by the subject teacher and by an External Examiner. (The External Examiner may be a teacher nominated by the Head of the School, who could be from the faculty, but not teaching the subject in the section/class. For example, a teacher of History of Class VIII may be deputed to be an External Examiner for Class X, History projects.) The Internal Examiner and the External Examiner will assess the assignments independently.

Award of marks (20 Marks)

Subject Teacher (Internal Examiner) 10 marks External Examiner 10 marks The total marks obtained out of 20 are to be sent to the Council by the Head of the School.

The Head of the school will be responsible for the entry of marks on the mark sheets provided by the Council.

Courtesy: cisce.org

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