Thursday, December 19, 2013

Telugu Literature for UPSC Civil Service Mains Exam- Preparation Tips

Though I could score only 313 marks in my first attempt, I've scored consistently good marks in Telugu literature since 2008-
my marks 365 in 2008, 339 in 2009 and finally 364 in 2010.

With my experience I suggest -

Reading all the original text books or portions in the syllabus at least once is mandatory.

Though one may have confidence in studying for the examination oneself, taking advice of reputed teaches will be immensely helpful in Telugu Literature preparation. This is mainly due to the reason - writing style matters a lot in scoring above average marks. As per my experience, content will fetch decent 300 in Telugu Literature, but scoring each mark above 300 needs a very good writing style that suits optionals like Literature. Good vocabulary and error free script will be advantageous.

Dr. P. Nagaraj sir is one of the top teachers available for Telugu Literature optional  in Hyderabad. His classes along with notes will form a strong foundation for getting average marks in the examination. However, the efforts of aspirant in practice sessions, enriching the content by reading extra books and literary columns of news papers will fetch marks beyond 350 +.

For paper 1 -

 For content enrichment the following books are suggested..

1. Telugu Sahitya Sameeksha by Dr. G. Nagayya  in two volumes are very much useful.

2. Reading material prepared by Shri GV Subrahmanyam and others for Hyderabad Study Circle is also very much useful.

For Paper 2 - 

1. One need to write quotations from the original text books in this paper. Lot of variance will be there among the answers of different people.  

2. The more poetic and enriched with beautiful fresh thoughts your answers are, the more marks you will be getting.

3. Practice sessions will be of immense help.

4. For this paper, questions are being asked too indirectly having a lot of scope for writing one's own opinions.
the paper pattern is also very dynamic. hence preparation should be thorough with many practice sessions preferably corrected by a senior faculty or any experienced person.

Syllabus of Telugu Literature Optional in UPSC CSE Mains

Answers must be written in Telugu.
1. Place of Telugu among Dravidian languages and its antiquity-Etymological history of Telugu, Tenugu and Andhra.
2. Major linguistic changes in phonological, morphological, grammatical and syntactical levels, from Proto-Dravidian to old Telugu and from old Telugu to Modern Telugu.
3. Evolution of spoken Telugu when compared to classical Telugu-Formal and functional view of Telugu language.
4. Influence of other languages and its impact on Telugu.
5. Modernization of Telugu language.
(a) Linguistic and literary movements and their role in modernization of Telugu.
(b) Role of media in modernization of Telugu (Newspapers, Radio, TV etc.)
(c) Problems of terminology and mechanisms in coining new terms in Telugu in various discourses including scientific and technical.
6. Dialects of Telugu-Regional and social variations and problems of standardization.
7. Syntax-Major divisions of Telugu sentences-simple, complex and compound sentences-Noun and verb predications-Processes of nominlization and relativization-Direct and indirect reporting-conversion processes.
8. Translation-Problems of translation, cultural, social and idiomatic-Methods of translation-Approaches to translation-Literary and other kinds of translation-various uses of translation.
1. Literature in Pre-Nannaya Period-Marga and Desi poetry.
2. Nannaya Period-Historical and literary background of Andhra Mahabharata.
3. Saiva poets and their contribution-Dwipada, Sataka, Ragada, Udaharana.
4. Tikkana and his place in Telugu literature.
5. Errana and his literary works-Nachana Somana and his new approach to poetry.
6. Srinatha and Potana-Their woks and contribution.
7. Bhakti poets in Telugu literature-Tallapaka Annamayya, Ramadasu, Tyagayya.
8. Evolution of prabandhas-Kavya and prabandha.
9. Southern school of Telugu literature-Raghunatha Nayaka, Chemakura Vankatakavi and women poets-Literary forms like yakshagana, prose and padakavita.
10. Modern Telugu Literature and literary forms-Novel, Short Story, Drama, Playlet and poetic forms.
11. Literary Movements : Reformation, Nationalism, Neo-classicism, Romanticism and Progressive, Revolutionary movements.
12. Digambarakavulu, Feminist and Dalit Literature.
13. Main divisions of folk literature-Performing folk arts.

Answers must be written in Telugu.

This paper will require first hand reading of the prescribed texts and will be designed to test the candidate's critical ability, which will be in relation to the following approaches.
i) Aesthetic approach-Rasa, Dhwani, Vakroti and Auchitya-Formal and Structural-Imagery and Symbolism.
ii) Sociological, Historical, Ideological, Psychological approaches.
1. Nannaya-Dushyanta Charitra (Adiparva 4th Canto verses 5-109)
2. Tikkana-Sri Krishna Rayabaramu (Udyoga parva -3rd Canto verses 1-144)
3. Srinatha-Guna Nidhi Katha (Kasi-khandam, 4th Canto, verses 76-133)
4. Pingali Surana-Sugatri Salinulakatha (Kalapurnodayamu 4 Canto verses, 60-142)
5. Molla-Ramayanamu (Balakanda including avatarika)
6. Kasula Purushothama Kavi-Andhra Nayaka Satakamu
7. Gurajada Appa Rao-Animutyalu (Short stories)
8. Viswanatha Satyanarayana-Andhra prasasti
9. Devulapalli Krishna Sastry-Krishnapaksham (excluding Urvasi and Pravasam)
10. Sri Sri-Maha prastanam.
11. Jashuva-Gabbilam (Part I)
12. C. Narayana Reddy-Karpuravasanta rayalu.
13. Kanuparti Varalakshmamma-Sarada lekhalu (Part I)
14. Atreya-N.G.O.
15. Racha konda Visswanatha Sastry-Alpajaeevi.

Comprehensive Strategy for getting 350+ score in Telugu Literature in UPSC Civil Services Exam with reasonable efforts

Finally, I am sharing strategy for getting good score of 350+ with reasonable efforts –
I apologize for using English script for writing this post.. i could not write in Telugu script as the editing takes a considerable time..

first I'll deal with analysis of recent changes in Telugu Literature exam and their pros and cons

please check the 2011 question paper in UPSC website at the following links –

the main change in the examination pattern is that the earlier essay questions of 60 marks each were split up in to 2 x 30 marks sub-questions. In brief one has to write 6 essay questions(even though smaller when compared to earlier essays) instead of earlier 3 essay questions. It can be observed that the two sub-questions of 30 marks each  in each essay question are from different chapters. So for attempting one full question, you should be thorough with both the chapters. In effect, it reduces the choice available to the student and thereby selective study cannot be fetching good marks any more.
Unfortunately, you might be knowing one sub-question each in every essay question, but your overall score will be less as you might not be able to write the other sub-question.

The other principle change in the exam pattern is –  
Scrapping of choice in short answer questions.
You can observe that the number of short answer questions was increased to  4 in each compulsory question instead of earlier 3 out of 4 short answer questions in each compulsory question in paper -1. This demands much more rigorous time planning and speed.

Thankfully, the number of short answer questions to be written was not increased in paper-2. But here also choice was scrapped. One has to write all the given short answer questions.

There should not be any surprise if the number of short answer questions is increased to 4 in each compulsory question in paper 2 as well in 2012 exam. One should be preparing for this surprise.

The moral of the story is –

However, one noticeable advantage of the changed pattern is –
You have to toil hard for short answer questions, as you need to study entire syllabus for this,
What you will get as a bonus is that the depth of analysis expected in essay questions will be obviously less.. therefore it is advantageous to average and above average students. Exceptionally talented  students also need not worry as their score will be boosted by atleast 10 marks in total. ( the logic here is that examiners will be liberal enough to give  18 out of 30 marks in new pattern where as they hardly gave 35+ marks earlier, i.e, examiners generally do not give ½ mark rather they may round if off to higher figure 

Now, I will deal with some frequently asked queries regarding the Telugu Literature paper

1. How to write answers close to  the manner expected by examiners?
Ans: One of the important aspect examiners look into the answers is the reading of original text books and understanding of the same, rather than copy-paste of some material or notes available in the market.
       I suppose that with vast experience they can distinguish between the original answers and copy-paste. Here, one point to be noted is that one can get the inspiration and ideas from various materials available in market. However, attempt to write ditto of some famous material can be easily noticeable and accordingly scores will suffer, if the candidate could not maintain same level of quality throughout the paper.
So, smooth flow of language and uniformity in the writing style are expected from a serious aspirant.

2. What is the difference between writing styles of paper 1 and paper 2?

Ans: As many of the aspirants already know, paper 1 needs more content and paper 2 needs more analysis.
In paper 1, your answer points will be almost same with the ones other aspirants write, since the source material available is mostly common. However, one can make a difference by writing good introductions and conclusions, these can have your own points and comments like contemporary relevance of the issue.

    For example, the points often written by most of the candidates about the  topic "తెలుగు భాష పై ఇతర భాషల ప్రభావం" are common.
However, a sensible candidate can comment about the undesired influence of English language on Telugu now a days and the unreasonable passion of the people about showing their knowledge of English and simultaneously neglecting mother tongue and how it makes our language listed in endangered languages list. This approach will not only makes the examiner clear that you are a sensible student of Telugu, but also fetches good marks.
Like this you can write sensible and RELEVANT  additional matter of your own.

For paper 2, the expected answers should have proper analysis of the portions in the syllabus. Very often, questions are coming from contemporary interpretations of the old as well as modern poetry. For this paper, aspirants should write innovative points WELL WITH IN BOUNDARY OF LOGICALLY ACCEPTABLE/ REASONABLE analysis. i.e., usually the interpreters and critics analyse the literature in a particular way, we should be constrain our answers to this well accepted notions, if you write anything on your own, it should be based on sound logic and reasoning. The language in this paper should be more poetic and literary. Use of famous quotations esp. from Sanskrit will be added flavour to your answers. You may link your interpretations to famous comments/expressions of well known writers. But, it should not be looking like forced inclusion. It should be like a natural parallel example etc.

For paper 2, one's creativity in writing will be very much useful. People who have some experience in scribbling some poetry or other forms or even avid readers of poetry and literature beyond syllabus will have a definite advantage. However, aspirants keeping eye on examination need not worry, they can get reasonably good score with sufficient effort in writing practice.

3. How to write quotations in the answers?
Ans: This is the most important query of the beginners.
I presume the aspirants of having no prior literature study experience keeping the fact that most of the aspirants choose literature for its better scoring ability vis-a-vis other optionals. In view of this, I will try to simplify this problem.

The very purpose of writing quotations is to communicate the examiner that we have read the original text books.

Firstly, I would like to clarify that we need to write quotations for both the papers. However, we need them in paper2 essentially.

One more query often beginners have in mind that whether full poem need to be quoted or not.  Some senior students mislead beginners about this point. It is neither practicable nor more advantageous to write full length poems.
If anyone tries to write full length poems  also, he/she will certainly realise soon that it is very difficult to find the points of breaking of lines in the stanzas of poem.
So, my advice is- stop mugging up of the entire poems. Using relevant phrases or lines from poems is sufficient. It should be naturally woven into your answer, rather than forceful inclusion just to write some quotation.

One more tip to memorize and write quotations with ease is – first choose the portions of stanzas you find attractive to you in the entire chapter and those you  feel easy to remember.. for example, you may choose the portions like proverbs etc. Write the essence of the chapter on a paper with inclusion of these phrases or cut portions of the stanzas. Now, these few pages will be your own synopsis of the chapter used for revision.

After finishing this synopsis, record it on your mobile phone or voice recorder. As I found it, each chapter synopsis will take 10 to 15 minutes of time. Now listen this recording as many times as you can. You may have listen this recording when u take a break in usual study or taking an afternoon nap.
Slowly, you will get all these quotations ringing in your ears and your flow will be tremendously increased. ( thanks to my friend Lakshmi Narayana from whom i learnt the idea of recording and developed further for effective revision)

The above method is a must for paper 2.
For paper 1, read Telugu Sahitya Sameeksha two volumes by shri  G. Nagayya and collect your own quotations. You may take the best of both reading material available in the market and G. Nagayya's book. Your answer will be little bit different to the routine answers and the chances of getting good marks will be increased.  

4. Time management during preparation and during the exam?

The above mentioned method of audio recording will save lot of your time and energy during preparation. The time saved can be utilized well for writing practice.

Time management during the exam –
In telugu literature papers, questions can be expected up to 80 to 90% accuracy. What I mean to say is not which exam question will be coming which year. I mean, the way of questions being asked can be predicted. For example, the trend of recent questions in paper 2 poetry is application of the four varieties of Vyakhyanas to essays as well. i.e, manastatva,  charitraka , taatvika drukpathalu etc. If you see the old question papers, examiners have ansked about the portrayal of characters in the chapters. Just they will add some adjectives like maanava swabhaavam etc. Other wise, the questions are being asked about the modern phylosophies applied to the old poetry etc.

You can make a list of possible questions and prepare the skeleton structure of answers. Prepare nice introductions and conclusions on your own or borrow from some material. But you should be pretty clear about how to start  and conclude the answer if a question from your list comes. Most of the times, even if a new question which is not in your list comes, your preparation for other questions will be very useful for writing answer to the question asked making some minor modifications.
Revise these structures as many times as possible. You may use recording method for this also.

Please understand that I am not suggesting to mug up answers. Just be prepared about how to start, conclude and what are the components you would like to have in your answer.

5. How can I  enrich my answers?
Ans: Be open for various enrichment sources like literary pages in telugu news papers and magazines etc. Be clear about the syllabus and think a while before reading some literary article whether it is relevant to any of the topics in the syllabus, if yes make a small note of important points and try to update your answer. You should be pretty clear about how to insert the newly found material in to your answer for enriching the same.

Try to check various Telugu Academy monographs on the topics relevant for our syllabus.
For example, i came across a title called " ఆధునిక కవిత్వంలో ప్రక్రియలు, ధోరణులు"
Which is very relevant to our syllabus.

Try to get any good book on sankrit quotes as well, this may enrich your language and style.
I've read – Telugu Academy's "సంస్కృత సూక్తి సౌరభం"

Plz, note that these materials are meant for giving extra edge to your answers. These are suggested for those who wish to score higher marks.  
6. Essential tips and things not to do in writing answers.

Ans: I gave few tips in my above answers.
Now, I will tell about the things not to do.
Spelling mistakes are not at all tolerable. Ideally, there should be no spelling mistakes in your answers. However, very few unintentional minor mistakes may not cause any harm, because examiner knows that you are writing a time bound exam.

Poor Vocabulary: Better do not repeat words many times in your answers even those are very good in general. It indicates that you lack words to express your ideas. Better try to compile good synonyms for those words and try to use them alternately in your writing practice. This is a continuous process and you better try to write some good expressions when u read some books and news papers etc. Caution:- many expressions in news papers are negative in nature, even though they are good in language.
For good vocabulary, philosophical and bhakti columns in news papers etc. will be useful.

   I think, I've mostly covered the important points I would like to convey.
Before I conclude, I would like to thank all my teachers, friends and authors of the books from whom I've learnt something in the process of learning.

Wish you all Good Luck.. 


  1. Hi Sadhu.. Your posts on this blog are comprehensive, informative and are useful all aspirants of civil/state services as well as to general readers. I like them a lot and have nominated your blog for a Liebster award.

    You can visit the link to complete the procedure.

  2. Thanku sir...for useful information....

  3. i want to know books required for telugu literature for civils service exam

  4. dear sadhu sir my name is babu from vijayawada,my optional is telugu literature,and i could not efford for coaching due to financial and family responsisbilites,and i am big follower of ekelavya,i dont need coaching at all,but i just need your help,only the help i need is sample telugu literature answer sheets ,so that i can compare my answers and correct my mistakes,i googling from the last two days,but i couldn't,so please please if any one from our group like jagadeesh anna (this year ranker) willing to share their answer sheets,please post them or send to my mail id i wanna be a topper and proud telugu boy and one among 2018 telugu rankers success meet at any cost,i will meet you once i got the rank ,

  5. Sir can you please upload mains answer sheets Telugu option