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Swayam

Indian Political Thought-II

Indira Gandhi National Tribal University and CEC via Swayam

Overview

The course on Modern Indian Political Thought is important for many critical reasons. India is considered to have contributed immensely to the field of philosophy. Ancient religious texts from diverse faiths such as Hinduism, Islam and Buddhism have had profound impact on the thought process of the thinkers. This is one fascinating fact about Modern Indian Political Thought – ability of the thinkers to challenge colonial modernity with indigenous ideas. Language and metaphors used by the thinkers were able to awaken Indians from colonial yolk as well as from the evils of orthodoxy and social practices. Nevertheless, the thinkers were also informed by enlightenment ideas that were current at that time, thereby, making a fusion of ideas from the West as well as the East to shape nationalism and the very idea of modern India.As India is diverse so is the thought process. The course introduces these myriad diversities starting with Raja Rammohan Roy who was informed by Western liberal idea to Sarvakar who championed a nationalist philosophy of Hindu Rastra. Then, there are the universalists in Vivekananda and indigenous socialist in Lohia and secularist like Nehru. Pandita Ramabai’s ideas on women’s emancipation and Ambedkar’s theory of social justice for the down trodden are unique contributions and major highlights of the course. In all these strands of thought process we find the unique place of Gandhi.Studying Modern Indian Political thought can enable the young students to understand how the discipline provides an alternative to Eurocentric ideas – be it the idea of nation, nationalism, justice, secularism, community and rights, etc. Thus, the course is expected to equip students with epistemically contentious issues while constantly looking at the relevant aspect of each philosophical juncture, thereby helping in the development of a critical mindset.

Syllabus

Week 1:
1:Legacy and influence of the past on Modern Indian Political Thought 2:Colonial Modernity and the Nationalist Response 3:Dialectical interaction between ideas and contexts: Socio-historical contexts and the socio-political changes that the ideas aimed 4:Influence on articulation of Nationalism and freedom struggle  

Week 2:
1:European Enlightenment and Raja Rammohan Roy: A Liberal Thinker 2:Brahmo Samaj and Social Reforms: Abolition of Sati and Struggle against Anti-feudal Ideas 3:Freedom of Press 4:Criticism and Conclusion  

Week 3:
1:Making of an Indian social reformer: From Arya Mahila Samaj to Mukti Mission (renamed Ramabai Mukti Mission) 2:On Woman’s Place in Religion and Society 3:On Women’s education and Emancipation 4:Criticism and Conclusion  

Week 4:
1:Swami Vivekananda: Background and the Context 2:Interpretation of the Vedanta Philosophy 3:The Real and the Apparent Man 4: On Nationalism    

Week 5:
1:Criticism and Conclusion 2:Making of the Mahatama: Background and the Context 3:On Satyagraha: Power of the Soul 4:Conceptualising Swaraj  

Week 6:
1:Characteristics of Swaraj: Complementariness of negative and positive characteristics of Swaraj in Gandhian formulation 2:Criticism and Conclusion 3: B.R. Ambedkar: From an untouchable to an eminent constitutionalist, distinguished parliamentarian, scholar and jurist, and the leader of the Depressed Classes 4: Ambedkar’s critique of the Hindu Social System  

Week 7:
1:Social Democracy as a basis of Social Justice: Centrality of Liberty, equality and fraternity 2:State Socialism as a means to achieve Social Justice 3:Criticism and Conclusion 4:Tagore: Background and the Context  

Week 8:
1:Tagore’s perception of the dual role nationalism: Spirit of the West and the Nation of the West 2:Tagore’s criticisms of the inability of European civilization to transmit its basic civilizational traits to others vis a vis colonialism 3:Criticism and Conclusion 4:Iqbal - Passion for revival of past glory and vibrancy of Islamic thought and action: Background and the Context  

Week 9:
1:Poets of Indian nationalism 2:Pan-Islamism: Abandonment of territorial nationalism, atheist socialism and secularism 3:Iqbal’s reinterpretation of the basic tenets of Islam: From a religious faith of the people to a worldview of Muslim brotherhood 4:Criticism and conclusion  

Week 10:
1:Savarkar - A Life for the Hindu Cause: Towards a theory of cultural nationalism 2:Hindutva, as a political philosophy as well as a basis for establishing India as a ‘Hindu rashtra’ 3:Political reinterpretation of Meaning of Hindu and Hinduism 4:Criticism and conclusion  

Week 11:
1:Nehru - Background and the Context: British Policy of divide and rule; Colonial policy of sowing seeds of communalism 2:India, a Plural society: Shared memory of Indian culture, and need for secularism 3:Separation of politics from religion: Need for Government structure to encourage and sustain religious diversity 4:Criticism and conclusion  

Week 12:
1:Lohia - Critique of Western Ideologies: Need for evolving an indigenous theoretical construct 2:New Socialism: Infusing the spirit of Gandhism into western understanding of socialism 3:Theory of ends–means consistency, economic system rooted in the small machine technology and the idea of political decentralisation 4: Criticism and conclusion    

Taught by

Dr. Homen Thangjam

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