Fact-check: Is Islamic Studies an optional subject for UPSC exam? – Alt News

A user named Kanak Singhi posted a picture on the Facebook group ‘देश का DNA‘ (Desh Ka DNA). In the accompanying caption, she suggested that one could become an IAS officer by opting for Islamic Studies in the civil service examinations. It read, “If someone can become an IAS officer with Islamic Studies as their subject, then the Vedas, the Ramayana, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Upanishads should also be included as subjects in the UPSC exam. What is this hate for Sanatan Dharma faiths?” The post has amassed more than 16,000 likes.

Several others also alleged that the UPSC was offering Islamic Studies as an optional subject and Sanatan Dharma faiths are not taken seriously. A Facebook page named ‘सनातन परिवार‘ (Sanatan Parivar) has also shared one such post.
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We noticed that this claim has been circulating online since 2019. The same year, Alok Bhatt alleged that Arab Culture and Islamic Studies were being offered as optional subjects for the civil service examinations. Bhatt’s Twitter followers include a number of senior BJP leaders, including PM Modi. He wrote that as an Indian citizen, he was uncomfortable with the idea that the officers governing India were recruited in the Indian Administrative Service based on their knowledge of Urdu Literature or Arabic/Islamic Studies.
No concrete information is available using the link shared by Alok Bhatt, as it redirects to a few different links on different sites.
Next, Alt News checked the official UPSC website and found that the claim being made on social media is completely false. We checked the UPSC exam notification which was released in March 2021 and could not find Islamic Studies listed as an optional subject.
The UPSC examination is conducted in three phases – Prelims, Mains and the Interview. Only candidates who clear the first two stages are eligible for the final stage, which is the interview.
The subjects included as part of the Prelims syllabus are General Awareness, History, Economic and Social Development, Climate Change, Logical Reasoning, Indian Polity and Governance Constitution, General Science, Reading Comprehension, and Geography. These account for two papers each worth 200 marks and with a duration of two hours.
Source: UPSC
There are a total of seven subjects included in the Mains syllabus. Out of these, five are compulsory for all candidates, whereas the sixth and seventh can be of their choosing. Even in these optional subjects, there is no mention of Islamic Studies. This can be seen clearly in the picture below.
Source: UPSC
Therefore, the claim being made on social media about candidates becoming IAS officers by opting for Islamic Studies in their civil service examinations is completely false.
IAS officer Somesh Upadhyay mocked such claims in a 2020 tweet. He wrote that such claims were only being made in the parallel universe of WhatsApp.
There is a parallel universe where UPSC offers Islamic Studies as optional subject. It’s called WhatsApp Universe.
— Somesh Upadhyay (@Somesh_IAS) August 28, 2020

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Priyanka Jha specialises in monitoring and researching mis/disinformation at Alt News. She also manages the Alt News Hindi portal.
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