About Tamil Language: –

.Tamil language, member of the Dravidian language family, spoken primarily in India. It is the official language of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and the union territory of Puducherry (Pondicherry). In 2004 Tamil was declared a classical language of India, meaning that it met three criteria: its origins are ancient; it has an independent tradition; and it possesses a considerable body of ancient literature.

Tamil Syllabus Subject For UPSC

Tamil is the language provided as a Literature Optional which focuses on the candidates’ understanding of the basic concepts of literature. Candidates who have studied the Tamil literature can opt for it as an optional subject in the IAS (UPSC CSE) Mains Exam. Analytical and unconventional questions are appearing in previous papers so while preparing students should keep IAS Mains Tamil Syllabus and previous papers for reference. The aspirants who are well versed with the Tamil language and are familiar with the grammatical aspects can easily score high marks in this optional. 

Tamil Syllabus Exam Pattern: –

The Tamil language is one of the optional subjects offered for the 2 optional papers in the IAS (UPSC CSE) Main Exam. Each Tamil optional paper consists of 250 marks. Duration for each Tamil mains paper is 3 hours. With well-planned strategies, you can easily score well in the Tamil literature. Interest should be the prime criteria for choosing any optional. The aspirants have to answer the questions from both the papers in Tamil language.

Advantages of choosing Tamil  

· Well defined syllabus and Less subjectivity

  • Direct and straightforward questions
  • Ample scope to score marks with diagrams
  • The inquiries in this subject are immediate and crucial.
  • Room for interpretation in the written answers
  • Quality of answers as there is no limitation to different kinds of answers.
  • Updation in the syllabus is rare

Disadvantages of choosing Tamil

  • Subjective Nature of the answers can lead to less scoring at times if your views do not match with the evaluator.
  • Lack of resources
  • No syllabus overlaps with GS papers
  • Essay writing and interviews won’t pose much of a problem as the amount of reading will help with these.

IAS (UPSC CSE) Mains Tamil Paper 1

(Answers must be written in Tamil)

Section A

Part: 1

History of Tamil Language Major Indian Language Families- The place of Tamil among Indian languages in general and Dravidian in particular- Enumeration and Distribution of Dravidian languages.

The language of Sangam literature-The language of medieval Tamil: Pallava period only-Historical study of Nouns, Verbs, adjectives, adverbs Tense markers, and case markers in Tamil.

Borrowing of words from other languages into Tamil-Regional and social dialects difference between literary and spoken Tamil.

Part: 2

History of Tamil Literature Tolkappiyam-Sangam Literature-The division of Akam and Puram-The secular characteristics of Sangam Literature-The Employment News 31 May – 6 June 2014 www.employmentnews.gov.in 41 development of Ethical literature- Silappadikaram and Manimekalai.

Part: 3

Devotional literature (Alwars and Nayanmars) The bridal mysticism in Alwar hymns-Minor literary forms (Tutu, Ula, Parani, Kuravanji) Social factors for the development of Modern Tamil literature: Novel, Short story and New Poetry-The impact of various political ideologies on modern writings.

Section B


Recent trends in Tamil Studies Approaches to criticism: Social, psychological, historical and moralistic-the use of criticism-the various techniques in literature: Ullurai, Iraicchi, Thonmam (Myth) Otturuvagam (allegory), Angadam (Satire), Meyppadu, Padimam(image), Kuriyeedu (Symbol), Irunmai (ambiguity)- The concept of the comparative literature-the principle of comparative literature.

Part: 2

Folk literature in Tamil: Ballads, Songs, proverbs and riddles-Sociological study of Tamil folklore. Uses of translation- Translation of Tamil works into other languages-Development of journalism in Tamil.

Part: 3

Cultural Heritage of the Tamils Concept of Love and War-Concept of Aram-the ethical codes adopted by the ancient Tamils in their warfare-customs, beliefs, rituals, modes of worship in the five Thinais. The cultural changes as revealed in post-Sangam literature-cultural fusion in the medieval period (Jainism & Buddhism). The development of arts and architecture through the ages (Pallavas, later Cholas, and Nayaks). The impact of various political, social, religious, and cultural movements on Tamil Society. The role of mass media in the cultural change of contemporary Tamil society.

IAS Mains Tamil Paper 2

(Answers must be written in Tamil)

Section A

Part 1: Ancient Literature

  1. Kuruntokai (1-25 poems)
  2. Purananurui (182-200 poems)
  3. Tirukkural Porutpal: Arasiyalum Amaichiyalum (from Iraimatchi to Avaianjamai)

Part 2: Epic Literature

  1. Silappadikaram: Madhurai Kandam only.
  2. Kambaramayanam: Kumbakarunan Vadhai Padalam

Part 3: Devotional Literature

  1. Tiruvasagam: Neetthal Vinnappam
  2. Tiruppavai: (Full Text)

Section B

Modern Literature

Part:1 Poetry

  1. Bharathiar: Kannan Pattu
  2. Bharathidasan: Kudumba Vilakku
  3. Kamarasan: Karuppu Malarkal


  1. Varadharajanar. Aramum Arasiyalum
  2. C N Annadurai: Ye! Thazhntha Tamilagame.

Part 2: Novel, Short story and Drama

  1. Akilon: Chittirappavai
  2. Jayakanthan: Gurupeedam
  3. Cho: Yarukkum Vetkamillai

Part 3: Folk Literature

  1. Muthuppattan Kathai Edited by Na. Vanamamalai, (Publication: Madurai Kamaraj University)
  2. Malaiyaruvi, Edited by Ki. Va Jagannathan (Publication: Saraswathi, Mahal, Thanjavur).