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CBSE Syllabus for Class 12 History 2019-20

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CBSE Syllabus for Class 12 History 2019-20 in PDF format for free download is now available in myCBSEguide mobile app. History is one of the most important disciplines in school education. It is the study of the past, which helps us to understand our present and shape our future. It promotes the acquisition and understanding of historical knowledge in breath and in-depth across cultures. The curriculum for March 2020 exams is designed by CBSE, New Delhi as per NCERT textbooks for the session 2019-20.

CBSE Syllabus for class 12 History 2019-20

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CBSE Syllabus Class 12 History – Download in PDF


Theory: 80 Marks
Time: 3 Hours

Themes in Indian History Part-I(Units 1 – 4)5524
Unit 1: The Story of the First Cities: Harappan Archaeology13
Unit 2: Political and Economic History: How Inscriptions tell a story14
Unit 3: Social Histories: using the Mahabharata14
Unit 4: A History of Buddhism: Sanchi Stupa14
Themes in Indian History Part-II (Units 5 – 9)6525
Unit 5: Medieval Society through Travellers’ Accounts13
Unit 6: Religious Histories: The Bhakti-Sufi Tradition13
Unit 7: New Architecture: Hampi13
Unit 8: Agrarian Relations: The Ain-i-Akbari13
Unit 9: The Mughal Court: Reconstructing Histories through Chronicles13
Themes in Indian History Part-III (Units 10 – 15)8025
Unit 10: Colonialism and Rural Society: Evidence from Official Reports13
Unit 11: Representations of 185713
Unit 12: Colonialism and Indian Towns: Town Plans and Municipal Reports13
Unit 13: Mahatma Gandhi through Contemporary Eyes13
Unit 14: Partition through Oral Sources14
Unit 15: The Making of the Constitution14
Map Work1006
Project work (Internal Assessment)1020



  1. The Story of the First Cities: Harappan Archaeology.
    Broad overview:
     Early urban centres
    Story of discovery: Harappan civilization
    Excerpt: Archaeological report on a major site
    Discussion: How it has been utilized by archaeologists/historians.
  2. Political and Economic History: How Inscriptions tell a story.
    Broad overview:
     Political and economic history from the Mauryan to the Gupta period.
    Story of discovery: Inscriptions and the decipherment of the script. Shifts in the understanding of political and economic history.
    Excerpt: Asokan inscription and Gupta period land grant
    Discussion: Interpretation of inscriptions by historians.
  3. Social Histories: Using the Mahabharata
    Broad overview:
     Issues in social history, including caste, class, kinship and gender
    Story of discovery: Transmission and publications of the Mahabharata
    Excerpt: from the Mahabharata, illustrating how it has been used by historians.
    Discussion: Other sources for reconstructing social history.
  4. A History of Buddhism: Sanchi Stupa Broad overview:
    1. A brief review of religious histories of Vedic religion, Jainism, Vaishnavism, Shaivism (Puranic Hinduism).
    2. Focus on Buddhism.
      Story of discovery: Sanchi stupa.
      Excerpt: Reproduction of sculptures from Sanchi.
      Discussion: Ways in which sculpture has been interpreted by historians, other sources for reconstructing the history of Buddhism.


  1. Medieval Society through Travellers’ Accounts
    Broad overview:
    Outline of social and cultural life as they appear in travellers’ accounts.
    Story of their writings: A discussion of where they travelled, why they travelled, what they wrote, and for whom they wrote.
    Excerpts: from AlBiruni, Ibn Battuta, Francois Bernier
    Discussion: What these travel accounts can tell us and how they have been interpreted by historians.
  2. Religious Histories: The Bhakti-Sufi Tradition
    Broad overview:

    1. Outline of religious developments during this period
    2. Ideas and practices of the Bhakti-Sufi saints.
      Story of Transmission: How Bhakti-Sufi compositions have been preserved.
      Excerpt: Extracts from selected Bhakti-Sufi works
      Discussion: Ways in which these have been interpreted by historians.
  3.  New Architecture: HampI
    Broad overview:

    1. Outline of new buildings during Vijayanagar period-temples, forts, irrigation facilities.
    2. Relationship between architecture and the political system.
      Story of Discovery: Account of how Hampi was found.
      Excerpt: Visuals of buildings at Hampi
      Discussion: Ways in which historians have analyzed and interpreted these structures.
  4. Agrarian Relations: The Ain-i-Akbari
    Broad overview:

    1. Structure of agrarian relations in the 16th and 17th centuries.Patterns of change over the period.
      Story of Discovery: Account of the compilation and translation of Ain-i-Akbari
      Excerpt: from the Ain-i-Akbar
      Discussion: Ways in which historians have used the text to reconstruct history.
  5. The Mughal Court: Reconstructing Histories through Chronicles
    Broad overview:

    1. Outline of political history 15th-17th centuries
    2. Discussion of the Mughal courtand politics.
      Story of Discovery: Account of the production of court chronicles, and their subsequent translation and transmission.
      Excerpts: from the Akbarnama and Padshahnama
      Discussion: Ways in which historians have used the texts to reconstruct political histories.


  1. Colonialism and Rural Society: Evidence from Official Reports
    Broad overview:

    1. Life of zamindars, peasants and artisans in the late 18th century
    2. East India Company, revenue settlements in various regions of India and surveys
    3. Changes over the nineteenth century
      Story of official records: An account of why official investigations into rural societies were undertaken and the types of records and reports produced.
      Excerpts: From Fifth Report, Accounts of Frances Buchanan-Hamilton, and Deccan Riots Report.
      Discussion: What the official records tell and do not tell, and how they have been used by historians.
  2. Representations of 1857
    Broad overview:

    1. The events of 1857-58
    2. Vision of Unity
    3. How these events were recorded and narrated.
      Focus: Lucknow
      Excerpts: Pictures of 1857. Extracts from contemporary accounts
      Discussion: How the pictures of 1857 shaped British opinion of what had happened.
  3. Colonialism and Indian Towns: Town Plans and Municipal Reports
    Broad overview:
     History of towns in India, colonization and cities, hill stations, town planning of Madras, Calcutta and Bombay.
    Excerpts: Photographs and paintings. Plans of cities. Extract from town plan reports.
    Focus on Calcutta town planning
    Discussion: How the above sources can be used to reconstruct the history of towns. What these sources do not reveal.
  4. Mahatma Gandhi through Contemporary Eyes
    Broad overview:

    1. The Nationalist Movement 1918-48.
    2. The nature of Gandhian politics and leadership.
      Focus: Mahatma Gandhi and the three movements and his last days as “finest hours”
      Excerpts: Reports from English and Indian language newspapers and other contemporary writings.
      Discussion: How newspapers can be a source of history.
  5. Partition through Oral Sources
    Broad overview:

    1. The history of the 1940s
    2. Nationalism, Communalism and Partition.
      Focus: Punjab and Bengal
      Excerpts: Oral testimonies of those who experienced partition.
      Discussion: Ways in which these have been analyzed to reconstruct the history of the event.
  6. The Making of the Constitution
    Broad overview

    1. Independence and the new nation-state.
    2. The making of the Constitution
      Focus: The Constitutional Assembly debates
      Excerpts: from the debates
      Discussion: What such debates reveal and how they can be analyzed.

Map Work on Units 1-15



History is one of the most important disciplines in school education. It is the study of the past, which helps us to understand our present and shape our future. It promotes the acquisition and understanding of historical knowledge in breath and in-depth across cultures.
The course of history in senior secondary classes is to enable students to know that history is a critical discipline, a process of enquiry, a way of knowing about the past rather than just a collection of facts. The syllabus helps them to understand the process, through which a historian collects, chooses, scrutinizes and assembles different types of evidences to write history.


Project work will help students:

  • To develop skill to gather data from a variety of sources, investigate diverse viewpoints and arrive at logical deductions.
  • To develop skill to comprehend, analyze, interpret, evaluate historical evidence and understand the limitation of historical evidence.
  • To develop 21st century managerial skills of co-ordination, self-direction and time management.
  • To learn to work on diverse cultures, races, religions and lifestyles.
  • To learn through constructivism-a theory based on observation and scientific study.
  • To inculcate a spirit of inquiry and research.
  • To communicate data in the most appropriate form using a variety of techniques.
  • To provide greater opportunity for interaction and exploration.
  • To understand contemporary issues in context to our past.
  • To develop a global perspective and an international outlook.
  • To grow into caring, sensitive individuals capable of making informed, intelligent and independent choices.
  • To develop lasting interest in history discipline.


This section provides some basic guidelines for the teachers to take up projects in History. It is very necessary to interact, support, guide, facilitate and encourage students while assigning projects to them.

  • The teachers must ensure that the project work assigned to the students individually/ In-groups and discussed at different stages right from assigning topic, draft review to finalization.
  • Students should be facilitated in terms of providing relevant materials, suggesting websites, obtaining of required permission for archives, historical sites, etc.
  • One Project should be given to the students in the month of April/May before the summer vacation and assessment of the project to be completed by September.
  • The teachers must ensure that the students submit original work.
  • Project report should be hand written only.
  • Eco-friendly materials can be used by students.

The following steps are suggested:

  1. Teacher should design and prepare a list of 15-20 projects and should give an option to a student to choose a project as per his/her interest.
  2. The project must be done individually / In-groups.
  3. The topic should be assigned after discussion with the students in the class to avoid repetition and should then be discussed at every stage of submission of the draft/final project work.
  4. The teacher should play the role of a facilitator and should closely supervise the process of project completion, and should guide the children by providing necessary inputs, resources etc. so as to enrich the subject content.
  5. The project work(one per year) can culminate in the form of PowerPoint Presentation/Exhibition/Skit/albums/files/song and dance or culture show /storytelling/debate/panel discussion, paper presentation and so on. Any of these activities which are suitable to visually impaired candidates can be performed as per the choice of the student.
  6. Students can use primary sources available in city archives, Primary sources can also include newspaper cuttings, photographs, film footage and recorded written/speeches. Secondary sources may also be used after proper authentication.


Allocation of Marks (20)

The marks will be allocated under the following heads:

1Project Synopsis2 Marks
2Timeline/explanation and interpretation /Map work5 Marks
3Visual/overall presentation4 Marks
4Analysis/ Data/Statistical analysis4 Marks
5Bibliography1 Mark
6Viva4 Marks
Total20 Marks

Note: The project reports are to be preserved by the school till the final results are declared, for scrutiny by CBSE.


  1. The mysteries behind the mound of dead–Mohenjo-Daro
  2. An In-depth study to understand Spiritual Archaeology in the Sub-Continent
  3. Buddha’s Path to Enlightenment
  4. Insight and Reflection of Bernier’s notions of The Mughal Empire
  5. An exploratory study to know the women who created history
  6. “Mahatma Gandhi” – A legendary soul
  7. To reconstruct the History of Vijayanagar through the Archaeology of Hampi
  8. The emerald city of Colonial Era –BOMBAY
  9. Vision of unity behind the first war of Independence
  10. Divine Apostle of Guru Nanak Dev
  11. Help, Humanity and Sacrifices during Partition
  12. Glimpses inside Mughals Imperials Household
  13. The process behind the framing of the Indian Constitution
  14. The ‘BrahmNirupam’ of Kabir – A journey to Ultimate Reality

Note: Please refer Circular No. Acad.16/2013 dated 17.04.2013 for complete guidelines.


Time: 3 Hours
Max. Marks: 80

S No.Typology of QuestionsObjective questions type (1 Marks)Short Answer (SA) (3 Marks)Source-Based (6 Marks)Long Answer (LA) (8 Marks)Map Work – (6 Marks)Marks% Weightage
1Remembering- (Knowledge-based simple recall questions, to know specific facts, terms, concepts, principles, or theories; Identify, define, or list/ state the information)9112025%
2Understanding- (Comprehension –to be familiar with meaning and to understand conceptually, interpret, compare, discuss, contrast, explain, clarify, paraphrase information)51112228%
3Application- (Use abstract information in concrete situation, to apply knowledge to new situations; Use given content to interpret a situation, provide an example, or solve a problem)3111215%
4High Order Thinking Skills- (Analysis & Synthesis Classify, Apply, solve, compare, contrast, or differentiate between different pieces of information; Organize and/or integrate unique pieces of information from a variety of sources)1111012%
5Evaluation- (Appraise, Argue, judge, support, critique, and/or justify the value or worth of a decision or outcome, or to predict outcomes) (Appraise, Argue, judge, support, critique, and/or justify the value or worth of a decision or outcome, or to predict outcomes)211012%
6Map skill based question -Identification, location, significance.1*x3=3 Identification 1×3=3 locating45%

Note: *1 Map question of 4 marks having 4 items carrying 1 mark each.
Note: Each source-based question will have three questions with marks ranging from 1 – 3. *1 Map question of 6 marks having 6 items carrying 1 mark each.


Type of QuestionMarks per questionTotal No. of QuestionsTotal Marks
Objective Type Questions12020
Short Answer3412
Long Answer8324
Map Skills based16(Items)6

Weightage to Content

Themes in Indian History (Part I) = 24 Marks
Themes in Indian History (Part II) = 25 Marks
Themes in Indian History (Part III) = 25 Marks
Map Work = 6 Marks
Project work = 20 marks
Total = 100 Marks

Weightage to Difficulty Level

Estimated Difficulty Level: Percentage

  1. Easy (E) = 30%
  2. Average (AV) = 50%
  3. Difficult (D) = 20%

Weightage of Marks Book-wise

OTQ-1 marksSA-3 marksSource-based-6 marksLong ans.-8 marksMap skillTotal
Book I (Ancient India)7(1)3(1)6(1)8(1)24
Book II (Medieval India)8(1)3(1)6(1)8(1)25
Book III (Modern India)5(1)3(2)6(1)8(1)25
Map Work1(6)6
Project work –20


Book 1
1Page 2Mature Harappan sites:
Harappa, Banawali, Kalibangan, Balakot, Rakhigarhi, Dholavira, Nageshwar, Lothal, Mohenjodaro, Chanhudaro, KotDiji.
2Page 30Mahajanapada and cities :
Vajji, Magadha, Kosala, Kuru, Panchala, Gandhara, Avanti, Rajgir, Ujjain, Taxila, Varanasi.
3Page 33Distribution of Ashokan inscriptions:
Kushanas, Shakas, Satavahanas, Vakatakas,Guptas
Cities/towns: Mathura, Kannauj, Braghukachchha
Pillar inscriptions -Sanchi, Topra, Meerut Pillar and Kaushambi.
Kingdom of Cholas, Cheras and Pandyas.
4Page 43Important kingdoms and towns:
Kushanas, Shakas, Satavahanas, Vakatakas,Guptas.
Cities/towns: Mathura, Kanauj, Puhar, Rajgir, Vaishali, Varanasi,Vidisha.
5Page 95Major Buddhist Sites:Nagarjunakonda, Sanchi, Amaravati, Lumbini, Nasik, Bharhut, BodhGaya, Ajanta.
Book 2
1Page 174Bidar, Golconda, Bijapur, Vijayanagar, Chandragiri, Kanchipuram, Mysore, Thanjavur, Kolar
2Page 214Territories under Babur, Akbar and Aurangzeb:
Delhi, Agra, Panipat, Amber, Ajmer, Lahore, Goa.
Book 3
1Page 297Territories/cities under British Control in1857:
Punjab, Sindh, Bombay, Madras Fort St. David, Masulipatam, Berar, Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, Avadh, Surat, Calcutta, Daccan, Chitagong, Patna, Benaras, Allahabad, and Lucknow.
2Page 305Main centres of the Revolt of 1857:
Delhi, Meerut, Jhansi, Lucknow, Kanpur, Azamgarh, Calcutta, Benaras, Gwalior, Jabalpur, Agra, Avadh.
Important centres of the National Movement:
Champaran, Kheda, Ahmedabad, Benaras, Amritsar, ChauriChaura, Lahore, Bardoli, Dandi, Bombay (Quit India Resolution), Karachi.

Prescribed Books:

  1. Themes in Indian History, Part-I, Class XII, Published by NCERT
  2. Themes in Indian History Part-II, Class XII, Published by NCERT
  3. Themes in Indian History Part-III, Class XII, Published by NCERT

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