(Syllabus) National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) | Class XII Syllabus - History

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National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) | Class XII Syllabus - History

Senior Secondary Course (Syllabus)

History is the scientific study of human beings and the evolution of human society in point of time and in different ages. As such it occupies all important place in the school curriculum. It is, therefore, taught as a general subject forming a part of Social Science both at the Middle and the Secondary Stages. At the Middle Stage, entire Indian History is covered, while at the Secondary Stage, the land marks in the development of human society are taught. At the Senior Secondary Stage, History becomes an elective subject. Its main thrust is to bridge the gap between the presence of change-oriented technologies of today and the continuity of our cultural tradition so as to ensure that the coming generation will represent the fine synthesis between change and continuity. It is, therefore, deemed essential to take up the entire Indian History from the Ancient to the Modem period for Senior Secondary Stage. The rationale for taking up the teaching of History at this stage is :

  1. to promote an understanding of the major stages in the evolution of Indian society through the ages.
  2. to develop an understanding of the historical forces responsible for the evolution of Indian society in the Ancient, Medieval and Modem times.
  3. to develop an appreciation of
    (i) the diverse cultural and social systems of the people living indifferent parts of the country.
    (ii) the richness, variety and composite nature of Indian culture.
    (iii) the growth of various components of Indian culture, legitimate pride in the achievement of Indian people in. different parts of the country.
    (iv) the process of change which evolved as a result of interaction with other cultures.
  4. to identify the fissiparous trends which hampered the growth of the Indian nation in different periods.
  5. to recognize that the Indian culture has not remained and developed in isolation, rather was a result of a synthesis of different cultures and to understand the contemporary process of change, continuity and development.
  6. to remove from the minds of the younger generation prejudices and complexes transmitted from the biased interpretation of History, the social environment and the accident of birth.
  7. to develop an appreciation of the contribution made by the people from all parts of the country in the making of the national heritage.
  8. to foster proper understanding of the contemporary problems of India in historical perspective so as to develop an enlightened citizenship for active participation in the establishment of a just social order.
  9. to inculcate scientific temper and objectivity to the study of India’s past in order to relate to the present.
    The study of History at this stage is intended to initiate and introduce students to the ‘Elements of Historical Methodology’ as also how the historian thinks and works. For this, he should be acquainted with the various types of sources which form the basis of history and develop the competence to evaluate the reliability of the sources.

Keeping in view the implications of the National Policy on Education (May, 1986, PP. 3,4) providing access to education of a comparable quality for all students, irrespective of caste, creed, location or sex and the Programmes of Action (August, 1986, P. 144) emphasizing the immediate need for introducing the curricular change in the content of history essential to nurture national identity, protect, preserve and promote our common cultural heritage, the approach to the teaching-learning of History at the +2 Stage (Senior Secondary) will highlight the following:

  1. The new focus will be on the socio-economic and cultural development of man in society. The political developments and dynastic treatment, which has been hitherto the main thrust in the teaching-learning process, will no longer be given undue emphasis.
  2. The emphasis at this stage will be laid on the development of a composite culture and national integration by highlighting the contribution of the people from all parts of the country through the ages. The development of the components of composite culture has assumed different forms in different periods of Indian History. In Ancient and Medieval India, the cultural identity and unity formed the main basis whereas in Modern India, the political unification during the British rule constituted the main plank of the composite culture which was strengthened further with the integration of the Princely States with the India Union.
  3. It is necessary to highlight the role, the suffering and sacrifice of the people in the struggle for freedom against the British rule irrespective of religion and region.
  4. Other important areas include the removal of social evils and emancipation of women in modern India. The study of History at this stage will not remain confined to the reading material alone. The whole process will be activity oriented with more emphasis on the self-learning activities of the learners. To create further interest in the study of History frequent use will be made of audio-visual aids (T.V.-CCTV), maps, charts, time-line, genealogical tables and the learner will be required to study historical geography of India and undertake field trips wherever feasible. The development of the entire process of learning History will take place with the close co-operation and active participation of the learner during the contact programmes. Each module of the course (Unit and Sub-Unit) has been divided into two parts-the General Foundation Units and the Certification Units. The General Foundation Units provide a comprehensive view of Indian History in chronological sequence for proper understanding of the main events of Indian History in self-contained units. The Certification Units are to be studied in reasonable depth including interpretation critical thinIdng and balanced views for eItemal examination at the Senior Secondary level.


S.No. Module Marks
1 Ancient Indian History 08
2 Climax of Ancient India 10
3 Legacy of Ancient India 12
4 Rise and Fan of the Delhi Sultanate 08
5 The Mughal Empire 10
6 Contribution of Medieval India 12
7 Renascent India 08
8 India’s Struggle for Independence 22
9 Maps 10

The General Foundation units form the base for understanding the Certification-units. All units should therefore be studied. However the examination will be based only on the units marked Certification. The erstwhile Module 9 India Since Independence has now been incorporated as Unit 65 India Since Independence in Module 8.


Study Time : 25 hrs. Marks : 08

Approach : This module is designed to highlight the continuity and change in the socio-religious life of the Harappan and Vedic cultures followed by the interaction of Brahamanism, Jainism, Buddhism, the impact of Persian and Greek culture and the growth of political unity under Magadh.

Pre-requisite : Knowledge of the historical geography of ancient India.

Knowledge :
A proper perspective of the Dravidian Civilisation.
Knowledge of the beginning of the Age of Metals—use of copper and bronze which produced the earliest urban civilisation in India.


  • Unit 1 Prehistoric India
    General Foundation 1.1 Pre-historic India
    — Impact of geography on Indian History
    — Unity in Diversity
    — Ancient people of India
    — Pre-historic Cultures
    — Palaeolithic Culture
    — Neolithic Culture
    — Chalcolithic Culture
  • Unit 2 The Harappan Civilisation
    General Foundation 2.1 Salient features of the Harappan Civilisation
    — Sites, Extent and Period
    — Town Planning
    — Social Life
    — Crafts and Trade
    — Pottery
    — Seals
    — Terra-cotta figurines
    — Religion
    — Script
    — Weights and Measures
    — Disappearance
    Certification 2.2 Its Significance
    - Legacy of the Harappan Civilization
    - Harappan Civilisation and West Asia
    - Harappans Aryans and the Vedic
  • Unit 3 The Vedic Age
    General Foundation 3.1 The Rig-Vedic Age
    - The Aryan Advent
    - Political Organisation
    - Early Aryan Society
    - Economic Life
    - Rig Vedic Gods
    General Foundation 3.2 The Later Vedic Age
    - Expansion
    - Political Changes
    - Material Life
    - Social Development
    - The Epic Age
    - Religion
    Certification 3.3 Importance of Vedas
    - Schools of Vedic Philosophy
    - Vedic Literature : Samhitas, Brahmanas, Aranyakas
    - The Upanishads and the Puranas
    - Concept of Dharma: Four ends of Life
    - Evolution of the Caste System- The Dharmashastras
    - Varnashrama System (Four Stages of Life)
  • Unit 4 Ancient Indian Religions
    General Foundation 4.1 Jainism
    - Vardhaman Mahavira
    - Doctrine of Jainism
    - Spread of Jainism
    - Rise of Sects
    General Foundation 4.2 Buddhism
    - Life of Gautama Buddha
    - Doctrines of Buddhism
    - Spread of Buddhism
    - Rise of Sects
    - Decline of Buddhism
    Certification 4.3 Contribution of Jainism and Buddhism
    - Importance of Jainism
    - Influence of Buddhism
    - Comparison of Jainism with Buddhism
  • Unit 5 Growth of Political Unity
    General Foundation 5.1 Rise of Magadh
    - Concept of Political Unity
    - Sixteen Mahajanapadas
    - Magadhan Supremacy
    - The Nandas
    General Foundation 5.2 Persian and Greek Invasions
    - Persian Conquest
    - Alexander’s Invasion
    - Extinction of Greek rule in Northwest India
    Certification 5.3 Importance of Magadhan Supremacy and Foreign Invasions
    - Importance of the first Magadhan Empire
    - Results of the Persian Impact
    - Effects of Alexander’s Invasion
    Suggested Activities for
    Extended Learning Prepare a time line showing:
    (1) the period of Harappan Civilisation
    (2) the Rig-Vedic Age
    (3) the Epic Period
    (4) the Jaina-Buddhist period.
    (5) the rise of first Magadhan Empire
    (6) the invasion of Alexander
    - Draw a list of important Vedic, Jaina and Buddhist literature relating to this period.
    - List important archaeological materials of the Harappan civilisation.
    - On a given outline map of India show the following:
    (1) Harappa, Mohenjodaro, Lothal and Kalibangan
    (2) Areas of Mahajanapadas of
    (a) Avanti (b) Gandhara (c) Kosala (d) Magadh
    (e) Vatsa (f) Matsya
    (3) Route of Alexander’s invasion
    (4) Extent of Magadhan Empire under Mahapadma Nanda,
    (5) Kausambi, Mathura, Pataliputra, Rajagriha, Sravasti, Inraprastha, Texila, Ujjain, Vaishali, Viratnagar.
    - A visit to a nearby museum, if there is one, to see the archaeological remains of ancient Indian bricks, pottery, seals, implements, ornaments, toys and idols. Collect available picture postcards relating to the art, sculpture and architecture of ancient Indian Published by the Archaeological Survey of India, New Delhi
    - Read about the social and political conditions as reflected in the ‘Epics’ (Ramayan and Mahabharata).


Study Time: 25 hrs. Max. Marks: 10

Approach :This module is designed to highlight the cultural aspects of life in the Maurya, Gupta and Vardhana empires and also the development of culture in Eastern and Southern India.

  • Rise of Mahajanapadas and transition from Republic to the centralised monarchy.
  • Spread of Indian religions: Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.
  • Cultural impact of the Persian and the Greek Invasions.


  • Unit 1 The Age of Mauryas
    General Foundation - Chandra Gupta Maurya
    - Imperial organisation
    - Ashoka; Impact of the Kalinga War
    - Dharma and spread of Buddhism
    - Edicts
    - Cause of Downfall of the Mauryan Empire
  • Unit 2 Kanishka and Satavahanas
    General Foundation 2.1 The Indo-Greeks
    - The Sakas
    - The Parthians
    - The Kushans – Kanishka-Achievements of
    2.2 The Satavahanas
    - Political Developments
    - Foreign Trade and Settlements
    - Pattern of Social Life
    - Religious Life
  • Unit 3 The Gupta Empire and Harsha
    General Foundation 3.1 The Gupta Empire
    - Rise and expansion of the Gupta Empire
    - Chandragupta I
    - Samudragupta
    - Chandragupta II
    - Decline of the Gupta Empire-Invasions of the Hunas
    Certification 3.2 Life in the Gupta Age
    - Administration
    - Social development-Status of women
    - Economic life
    - Religious life
    - Account of Fa-hsien
    Certification 3.3 Harsha
    - Main events
    - The Assembly at Kanauj,
    - Account of Hsuan Tsang
    - Nalanda University
  • Unit 4 Development in Eastern and Southern India
    General Foundation 4.1 Development of Culture in
    - Assam
    - Bengal
    - Kalinga
    General Foundation 4.2 Early Kingdoms of the South
    - Early Cholas, The Cheras and Pandyas
    - The Chalukyas
    - The Rashtrakutas
    - The Pallavas
    - The Cholas
  • Unit 5 Life under the Maurya and The Gupta Empire
    Certification - Asoka’s place in History
    - Contacts with Central Asian Countries
    - Growth of Brahmanism and Buddhism
    - Development of Art, Architecture, Painting,
    Literature under the Guptas
    — Science and Technology under the Guptas
    Suggested Activities for — Visiting nearby museum to prepare list of archaeological remains
    Extended Learning and pieces of the Mauryan, Kushan and Gupta Age
    — Identifying sea-ports of India on a map of India.
    — Studying the contributions of Aryabhatta to the development
    of Science.

To download zip file of the syllabus, click on the following button

National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) | Class XII Syllabus - History

Senior Secondary Course (Syllabus)


Study Time : 25 Max. Marks : 12
Approach :This module is designed to highlight the development of Indian painting, sculpture and different styles of architecture, schools of philosophy and development of science in ancient India. It also reflects a wonderful resource in men and money possessed by the rulers and the changes in spiritual ideals and ideas. Art in ancient India was a true reflex of national mind. Modern India is indebted to the important cultural contributions of ancient India.

Pre-requisite : A proper understanding of different phases of evolution of Indian

Knowledge :

  • Religions.
  • Indian colonial and cultural expansion in Asia,
  • Appreciation of the cultural contributions of the Maurya,

Kushan, Gupta and Vardhana Empires.

General Foundation

  • Unit 1 Indian Culture Abroad
    — Spread of Indian Culture in West Asia, Tibet, China and South East Asia
    — Colonial Settlement Abroad
    — Development of Trade and Commerce
    — Art and Architecture—Angkor Vat and Borobudur
  • Unit 2 Our Cultural Heritage
    Contributions of Ancient India :
    — Aryan—non-Aryan Synthesis
    — Agrarian Economy
    — Rise of Landed class
    - Changes in the Vama System
    - Hindu-Jain-Buddhist Interaction
    - The Coming of Christianity
    - Mathematics and Medicine
    - Literature and Philosophy: The Tamil Hertiage
    - Sculpture, Painting and Architecture: Brief Outlines of Schools of Art; Gandhara and Mathura: Contributions of the Pallavas and the Cholas; Mahabalipuram, Tanjore and Halebid
    Suggested Activities - Visiting important historical places e.g. Bodhgaya, Sarnath, Sanchi, Mount Abu, Mahabalipuram, Kanchipuram, Tanjore and Halebid, Ajanta and Ellora.
    - Collecting picture postcards of important sculptures of the period.
    - Locating important cultural sites on a map of India.


Study Time: 20 hrs. Marks: 08

Approach :This module is designed to highlight the foundation, expansion and disintegration of the Delhi Sultanate, Vijaynagar and Bahmani Kingdoms and also the invasion of the Mongols and the advent of the Portuguese in India.

  • The state of affairs under different dynasties of Rajputs, their internal conflicts.
  • Temptation of invaders for Indian wealth.

General Foundation

  • Unit 1 Establishment of the Delhi Sultanate
    1.1 Advent of Islam in India
    - Coming of Arab traders
    - Conquest of Sind (712 A.D.)
    General Foundation 1.2 Indian invasion of Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni (996-1030 A.D.)
    - The emergence of Rajput states and the struggle for supremacy.
    - Advent of Muhammed Ghuri (1173-1205 A.D.) and the Battles of Tarain
    - The Mamluk Sultans, Iltutmish, Raziya and Balban
    - The Mongol invasions
    - Conquest of Northern India by the Mamluk Sultans
    Certification 1.3 A comparative estimate of the achievements of Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni and Muhammad Ghuri.
    - Effects of Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni’s invasion of India.
    - Causes of success of Turkish conquest of Northern
    India and the failure of Rajput resistance.
    - Achievements of Iltutmish and Balban.
  • Unit 2 Alauddin Khalji and Muhammad Bin Tughlaq
    General Foundation 2.1 The Khaljis (1210-1320)
    - Jalaluddin Firuz Khalji (1210-96)
    - Alauddin Khalji (1296-1316)
    - Expansion of Delhi Sultanate: Devgiri, Rajputana and Malwa
    - Deccan Expedition of Malik Kafur (1307)
    - Mongol Invasions
    General Foundation 2.2 The Tughlaqs (1320-1412 A.D.)
    - Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq (1320-24 A.D.)
    - Territorial expansion and suppression of revolts
    - Fall of Warangal
    - Accession of Muhammad Tughlaq
    - Expansion in the South: Kampili and Hoysala
    Certification 2.3 Reforms of Alauddin Khalji
    - Military Organisation
    - Agrarian Reforms
    - Market Regulations
    - Assessment of Reforms
    Certification 2.4 Experiments of Muhammad-Bin-Tughlaq (1325-1351 A.D.)
    - Transfer of Capital
    - Taxation in the Doab
    - Introduction of Token Currency
    - Invasion of Khurasan
    - Ibn Batuta
    - Appraisal of the Experiments
  • Unit 3 Disintegration of the Delhi Sultanate
    General Foundation 3.1 Firuz Tughlaq and his Successors
    - Invasion of Timur (1398)
    — Rise of Provincial Dynasties : Jaunpur, Gujarat, Malwa, Bengal, Kashmir
    — The Saiyids and the Lodi Sultans
    Certification 3.2 Impact of Reforms of Firuz Tughlaq
    — Effects of Timur’s invasion of India
    — Estimate of Zainul Abidin of Kashmir
    — Achievements of Sikander Lodi
  • Unit 4 Rise and fall of the Vijaynagar and Bahmani Kingdoms
    General Foundation 4.1 Foundation of the Vijaynagar Kingdom
    — Rise and expansion of the Bahamani Kingdom and conflict
    with Vijaynagar
    — Advent of the Portuguese
    — Bread-up of the Bahmani Kingdom
    — Battle of Talikota and Distintegration of the Vijaynagar Kingdom.
    Certification 4.2. Climax of Vijaynagar : Deva Raya II, Krishna Deva Raya III
    — Evaluation of the Achievements of Mahmud Gawan
    — Causes of the break-up of the Bahmani Kingdom
    — Causes of the downfall of the Vijaynagar Kingdom
    Suggested Activities for Extended Learning
    — Visit to a nearby museum of any place historical importance related to the Delhi Sultanate
    — Collection of the extract from account of foreign travellers visiting Vijaynagar Kingdom.
    — Study the extent of the territories under the provincial dynasties of Jaunpur, Gujarat, Malwa, Mewar and Kashmir.
    — Study the strength and weaknesses of Pataliputra, Kanauj, Daulatabad and Calcutta (until 1911) as capitals of India.


Study Time : 30 hrs. Max. Marks : 10

Approach :This module is designed to highlight the efforts of the Mughals towards political integration of India and development of a composite culture. It also identifies the forces which contributed to the disintegration of the Mughal Empire and the emergence of independent provincial states.

  • Recognizing the factors which led to the rapid changes of dynasties during (the Delhi Sultanate)
  • Understanding the political condition of India in the fifteenth century.
  • Knowledge of the results of Timur’s invasion of India.
  • Knowledge of the weaknesses of the Lodi dynasty which helped Babur to establish Mughal rule in India.


  • Unit 1 Establishment of the Mughal Empire
    General Foundation 1.1 Establishment of the Mughal Empire
    - India at the opening of the sixteenth century
    - Babur and the foundation of the Mughal Empire.
    - Humayun’s struggle with Bahadur Shah and Sher Shah
    - End of Sur Dynasty and return of Humayun
    Certification 1.2 Significance of Babur’s advent into India
    - Administration of Sher Shah
  • Unit 2 Consolidation of the Mughal Empire
    General Foundation 2.1 Accession of Akbar and expansion of the Mughal Empire
    - Jahangir and Shah Jahan
    - Foreign Policy of the Mughals: North Western
    Frontier and Central Asia.
    Certitication 2.2 Achievements of Akbar: Efforts towards Integration
    - Assessment of the achievements of Jahangir and Shah Jahan
  • Unit 3 Decline of the Mughal Empire
    General Foundation 3.1 Aurangzeb and War of Succession
    - Relations with Assam and Bengal
    - Popular Revolts : Jats, Satnamis, Bundelkhand
    Certification 3.2 Role of Aurangzeb
    - Causes of Aurangzeb’s success in the War of Succession
    - Significance of Popular Revolts
  • Unit 4 Mughal Relations with Rajputs and Sikhs
    General Foundation 4.1 Babur and the Rajputs
    - Akbar’s Rajput policy: Conquest of Chittor, Ranthambhor
    - Rana Pratap and war with Akbar
    - Surrender of Mewar (1614)
    - Aurangzeb’s relations with the Sikh Gurus: Guru Amar Das and Guru Ram Das
    - Jahangir and Sikh Gurus: Guru Arjun Das and Guru Hargovind
    - Aurangzeb and Sikh Gurus: Tegh Bahadur and Gobind Singh
    Certification 4.2 Evaluation of Rajput policy of the Mughals
    - Assessment of the Mughal Policy towards the Sikhs.
  • Unit 5 Mughal Empire and the Deccan
    General Foundation 5.1 Mughal Policy towards the Deccan under Akbar
    - Conquest of Berar, Ahmadnagar and Khandesh
    - Shah Jahan and the Deccan
    - Viceroyalty of Aurangzeb
    - Annexation of Bijapur and Golconda by Aurangzeb
    Certification 5.2 Assessment of the Mughal policy towards the Deccan
    - Akbar
    - Aurangzeb
  • Unit 6 Rise of the Marathas
    General Foundation 6.1 Rise of Shivaji
    - Aurangzeb’s relations with Shivaji
    - Aurangzeb’s war with the Marathas after Shivaji
    (1680-1707)-Shambhaji, Raja Ram and Tara Bai
    Certification 6.2 Shivaji’s Administration
    - Estimate of Shivaji
    - Assessment of Aurangzeb
    - Aurangzeb’s responsibility for the decline of the Mughal Empire.
    - Collect picture post cards of important Mughal
    Monuments from Tourist Departments of Delhi and U.P.
    - Visit to a nearby historical place relating to the Mughal
    Forts, Palaces and gardens.
    - Prepare a flow chart of
    (1) the administrative system of Akbar
    (2) the administrative system of Shivaji
    Suggested Activities for
    Extended Learning


To download zip file of the syllabus, click on the following button

National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) | Class XII Syllabus - History

Senior Secondary Course (Syllabus)


Study Time : 25 hrs. Marks : 12

Approach :This module is designed to highlight the salient features of the social, economic, religious and cultural life of the people is medieval India so as to develop appreciation of the efforts towards the development of a composite culture. The richness and variety of our art and style of architecture reflect the synthesis of various cultures.

Pre-requisite :

  • Contribution of the important rulers of medieval India.
  • Difference in State policy between the Sultanate and the Mughal Empire.


  • Unit 1 Administrative system and Military organization
    General Foundation
    1.1 Administrative System : Nature of the Delhi Sultans and the Caliphate
    — Secularism under Akbar
    — Central Administration
    — Provincial Administration
    — Local Administration
    General Foundation 1.2 Military Organisation : Military System during the Sultanate period
    — The mansbdari system of the Mughals.
  • Unit 2 Social and Economic Conditions
    Certification 2.1 Social Conditions : Feudal Society : The Sultans; the Nobles
    and the Slaves
    — The Mughal nobility, middle class and masses
    — Growing disparity in life-style
    — Social customs, manners and education
    — Social decline
    Certification 2.2 Economic Conditions : General prosperity
    — Prices and Wages
    — Land revenue system
    — Trade and Commerce
  • Unit 3 Religious policy
    General Foundation 3.1 Religious policy of Delhi Sultante
    — Interaction of Islam and Hinduism
    — The Bhakti Movement - Vaishanavites
    — The Sufism
    — Contribution of Amir Khusrau
    Certification 3.2 Religious Policy of the Mughals
    — Akbar and Din-i-illahi
    — Towards cultural synthesis
    — Aurangzeb and alienation of Rajputs, Sikhs and Maradhas,
  • Unit 4 Development of Culture
    Certification — Architecture under the Sultanate
    — Architecture under the Mughals
    — Development of languages and literature
    — Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Urdu and Regional Languages : Tamil,
    Hindi, Bengali and Marathi.
    — Mughal painting; Music and Dance ; other arts, Gardening,
    Pottery, Metal-works, Jewellery and Textiles.
    Suggested Activities
    — Visiting any local medieval forts, palaces, gardens, museums.
    for Extended Learning
    — Locating cultural centres on a map of India.
    — Listing architectural specimens of the Mughal period.
    — Study of the literary developments in the regional languages.
    — A select study of the composition of the Sufi and the Bhakti saints.
    — Study the different styles of architecture during the period.
    — Study the different schools of painting during the Mughal period.
    — Collection of printed paintings of Mughal period published by the Publication Division, Patiala House, New Delhi - 1.


Study Time : 20 hrs. Marks : 08

Approach :This module is designed to promote a critical look at the British policy which transformed a trading company into a sovereign power and to study the impact of modern western ideas on the Indian society which contributed to the social awakening the religious reform movements.

  • Knowledge of the advent of European tradingcompanies in India-the Portugueses, the Dutch, the French and the English East India company.
  • Knowledge of social conditions of Indian in the 19th century.
  • Understanding of the growth of religious orthodoxy and intellectual decline of India in the eighteenth century.


  • Unit 1 Establishment of British Rule in India
    General Foundation 1.1 Advent of the European Trading Nations
    - New trade routes to India and advent of European trading companies.
    - Growth of the English East India Company
    - Causes of Success of the English East India Company.
    General Foundation 1.2 Territorial expansion of the East India Company
    - Bengal, Avadh, Mysore and Sind
    - The fall of the Marathas
    - British policy towards Nepal, Burma and Afghanistan
    General Foundation 1.3 Economic Impact of British Rule
    - Land Revenue Policy-The Permanent Settlement, the Ryotwari, the Mahalwari system
    - Economic exploitation of India
    - Development of modern industries and export policy
  • Unit 2 Assessment of the British Rule
    Certification - Dual System of Company’s administration in Bengal
    - System of Subsidiary Alliance
    - Doctrine of Lapse
    - Assessment of agricultural and industrial policies.
    - Ruin of Handicrafts
    - Darinof wealth
    - A Balancesheet of British Rule in India
  • Unit 3 English Education in India
    General Foundation - Early Missionary efforts and private enterprise
    - Contributions of to the growth of English education in India.
    (i) Raja Rammohan Roy
    (ii) Macaulay
    (iii) William Bentinck
    (iv) M.G. Ranade
    - Establishment of three Universities and downward filtration theory of education.
    - Deccan Education Society
    - Development of education in the 20th century
    - Growth of professional education
    - Move towards universalisation of elementary education and equal educational opportunity.
  • Unit 4 Religious Reform Movements
    Certification - The Brahmo Samaj and Raja Rammohan Roy
    - The Prarthana Samaj and Mahadev Govind Ranade
    - Arya Samaj and Swami Dayanand Saraswati
    - The Ram Krishna Mission and Swami Vivekanand
    - The Theosophical Society and Annie Besant
    - The Aligarh Movement and Sayyid Ahmed Khan
  • Unit 5 Social Reforms
    Certification - Abolition of Sati and Female Infanticide
    - Widow remarriage and education of women
    - Removal of untouchability and emphasis on social equality:
    - Role of (i) Jyotiba Phule (ii) B.R. Ambedkar, (iii) Mahatma Gandhi
    - Social legislation
    - Servants of India Society
    * Compare the boundaries of British territories in India in 1757 and 1857
    * Study the historical importance of (i) Sultan Siraj-ud-daulah (ii) Mir Qasim (iii) Tipu Sultan
    * Prepare a time line showing the birth of Brahmo Samaj, Prarthana Samaj, Arya Samaj, Theosophical society, Aligarh movement, Ram Krishna Mission.
    * Read the biographies of Raja Rammohan Roy, Mahadev Govind
    Ranade, Swami Dayanand, Sayyid Ahmed and Vivekanand and collect their views.
    * Visit a local Arya Samaj centre or Ram Krishna Mission and assess its activities.
    * Visit a nearby social welfare organisation and study its activities relating to promotion of education among women and deprived sections of Indian population and removal of untouchability.
    Suggested Reading
    Activities for
    Extended Learning

To download zip file of the syllabus, click on the following button

National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) | Class XII Syllabus - History

Senior Secondary Course (Syllabus)


Study Time : 40 hrs. Marks : 22
Approach :This module is designed to examine critically the struggle for independence in order to highlight the fact that this struggle involved people of all regions and religious communities of India. The National Movement regarded political independence as the essential prerequisites for the reconstruction of Indian society. It became a movement under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. It also exposed the British policy of divide and rule. This module also highlights the significant achievements of India since independence, inculcation of democratic values, economic resurgence, social mobility, cultural development and advances in science and technology. It also stresses India’s role in world affairs with special reference to our neighbours and contribution to world peace.


  • Impact of the British rule in India, in more ways than one, was responsible for the national struggle for independence.
  • The social and religious reform movements of the 19th century played an important role in the development of Indian nationalism.


  • Unit 1 The Revolt of 1857
    General Foundation
    1.1 Causes : remote and immediate ; course of the Revolt
    Certification 1.2 Nature, Causes of failure and Results of the Revolt.
  • Unit 2 Factor contributing to the growth of Indian Nationalism
    Certification — British policy : political and economic
    — Administrative unification of the country
    — Introduction of Western ideas and institution
    — A new awakening through Western education; rediscovery of India’s past
    — Economic exploitation
    — Racial discrimination
    — Impact of press and literature
    — Impact of social and religious reforms.
  • Unit 3 Indian National Movement (1885-1905)
    General Foundation — Early political movements
    — Establishment of the Indian National Congress
    — Policy of Indian National Congress till 1905
    — British Government’s attitude towards the Indian National Congress.
    General Foundation Unit 4 Growth of Indian National Movement (1906-1918)
    - The partition of Bengal and its consequences
    - The Swadeshi and Boycott Movements
    - Formation of the Muslim League (1906)
    - The Moderates and the Extremists: The Surat split of
    Indian National Congress (1907)
    - Inadequacy of Morley Reforms
    - The Revolutionary Activities
    - The Home Rule Movement
    - Lucknow Pact (1916)
    - Emergence of Mahatma Gandhi
    - Champaran Satyagraha
    General Foundation Unit 5 Struggle for Freedom (1919-1942)
    - The Montague-Chelmsford Reforms
    - The Rowlatt Act
    - The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre
    - The Swarajists
    - Resurgence of the masses
    - The Simon Commission
    - Hindu-Muslim Relations
    - Lahore Congress and Poorna Swaraj
    - Revival of Revolutionary Activities
    - Civil Disobedience Movement
    - Round Table Conference
    - Growth of Socialist Ideas
    - Formation of Congress Ministries
    - International Developments and the Congress
    - All India State People Movement
    - New Communal Trends.
    Certification Unit 6 Towards Poorna Swaraj 1942-1947
    - World War II and the Cripps Mission
    - Quit India Movement
    - Subhas Chandra Bose and the Indian National Army
    - Interim Government
    - Partition of India
    - Emergence of a Socialist, Secular and Democratic Republic.
    Certification Unit 7 An Over-View
    - Features of the freedom movement
    — Participation by the masses
    — Emphasis on social reforms :-
    (i) Removal of Untouchability
    (ii) Emancipation of Women
    — Economic planning and rural reconstruction
    — Secular character
    — Leaders from all regions
    Role of :
    1. Abul Kalam Azad
    2. Annie Besant
    3. Bal Gangadhar Tilak
    4. Bhagat Singh
    5. C. Rajgopalachari
    6. Gopal Krishna Gokhale
    7. Jawahar Lal Nehru
    8. Lala Lajpat Rai
    9. Mahatma Gandhi
    10. Muhammad Ali Jinnah
    11. Sardar Patel
    12. Sarojini Naidu
    13. Subhas Chandra Bose
    14. Subramania Bharati
    15. V.D. Savarkar
    Certification Unit 8 India Since Independence
    — Integration of princely states (1947-58)
    — Reorganisation of the Indian States.
    — India- A Democratic Republic
    — Democratic planning, process.
    — Social Mobility—Decline of cast rigidities and untouchability.
    — Emancipation of woman.
    — Development of science and technology.
    — Problem of national integration.
    — Principles of Indian Foreign Policy
    — Indo-Pak Relations
    — Sino-Indian Relations
    — India’s Relations with Bangladesh
    — Non-Alignment Movement.
    Suggested Activities for Extended Learning
    — Visiting a nearby school/public library and collect material about the role of national leaders in the freedom struggle as listed above.
    — Identifying important Centres of National Movement on a given map of India.
    — Studying the text of (i) the Pledge of Independence on 20th January, 1930 (ii) The Quit India Resolution of 8th August, 1942. (iii) Nehru’s address to the Constituent Assembly of 15th August 1945.
    — Prepare a list of important Indian Exports in 1946-47.
    — List the major Princely states which integrated with the Indian Union with dates.


Study Time : 30 hrs. Marks : 10
Approach :This module is designed to acquaint the learner with the historical geography of India from the pre-historic period to the attainment of independence so as to relate the past to the present for reinforcing the knowledge and understanding of the content areas covered under the above modules (I to IX).


  • Knowledge of important historical land-marks covered in the
  • Knowledge module I to IX.
  • Knowledge of important historical sites and geography of India.
  • Knowledge of successive changes in the political map of India through the ages.

General Foundation

  • Unit 1 Maps
    1.1 The Palaeolithic and the Neolithic settlements.
    1.2 Ancient Trade Centres.
    1.3 Empire of Kanishka.
    1.4. The Gupta Empire.
    1.5 Empire of Harsha
    1.6 India’s Contact with Asian Countries.
    1.7 India in 1210 A.D.
    1.8 India under the Tughlaqs
    1.9 India in the 15th Century
    1.10 The Mughal Empire in 1605 A.D.
    1.11 Kingdom of Shivaji 1680
    1.12 Anglo-French War-1740-1761
    1.13 Indian and European Settlements in 1705 A.D.
    1.14 Major Indian States in 1750 A.D.
    1.15 British Empire in India in 1805 A.D.
    1.16 Kingdom of Ranjit Singh
    1.17 Important Centres of the Revolt of 1857.
    1.18 Major Indian States on the Eve of Independence
    1.19 Famines in India in the 19th and 20th Centuries
    1.20 Partition of India in 1947
    Certification Unit 2 Maps
    2.1 Sites of the Harappan Culture
    2.2 Asoka’s Empire
    2.3 South India in 750 A.D.
    2.4 The Chola Empire
    2.5 The Khalji Empire 1320 A.D.
    2.6 Political conditions of India in 1525 A.D.
    2.7 The Mughal Empire in 1707 A.D.
    2.8 The Maratha Empire in India in 1760 A.D.
    2.9 The British Empire in 1856 A.D.
    2.10 Important Centres of The Freedom Movement from 1920-47.
    * Studying the content of the various units with the map listed above.
    * Practising the location/identification of the important historical places, trade routes, and centres, places related to national movements.
    * Use visual aids e.g. wall maps and historical Atlas wherever necessary to understand the appropriate textual material of the content.


S.No. Modules Marks Weightage of study hours
Foundation Certification
1 Ancient Indian History 08 10 15
2 Climax of Ancient India 10 10 15
3 Legacy of Ancient India 12 10 15
4 Rise and Fall of the Delhi Sultanate 08 10 10
5 The Mughal Empire 10 15 15
6 Contribution of Medival India 12 10 15
7 Renascent India 08 10 10
8 India’s Struggle for Independence 22 15 25
9 Maps 10 10 20
  Total 100 100 140

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Courtesy:- NIOS