Indian Political Thought-II

By Dr. Homen Thangjam   |   Dept. of Political Science & Human Rights, Indira Gandhi National Tribal University – Regional Campus Manipur
Learners enrolled: 699
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 yoke 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.  

Course Status : Completed
Course Type : Core
Duration : 12 weeks
Category :
  • Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit Points : 5
Level : Undergraduate
Start Date : 04 Jul 2022
End Date : 31 Oct 2022
Enrollment Ends : 15 Sep 2022
Exam Date :

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Course layout

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

Books and references

1. Appadorai, A., Political Thought in India, 400 B.C.–1980, Delhi: Khama Publishers, 2018.
2. Prasad, Beni, The Theory of Government in Ancient India, Allahabad: The Indian Press. 1927.
3. Pantham, Thomas and Deutsch, Kenneth L. (eds.), Political Thought in Modern India, New Delhi: Sage      Publications, 1986.
4. Guha, Ramachandra, Makers of Modern India, New York & London: Penguin Viking, 2010.
5. Jha, Mitra Nandan, Modern Indian Political Thought: Ram Mohan Roy to Present Day, Meerut:      Meenakshi Prakashan, 1975.
6. Chakrabarty, Bidyut and Rajendra Kumar Pandey, Modern Indian Political Thought: Text and Context,      New Delhi: Sage, 2020.
7. Chatterjee, Partha, Nationalist Thought and the Colonial World: A Derivative Discourse. New Delhi:      Oxford University Press, 1986.
8.     Singh, Aakash and Mohapatra, Silika (eds.), Indian Political Thought: A Reader, New York: Routledge,      2010.

Instructor bio

Dr. Homen Thangjam

Dept. of Political Science & Human Rights, Indira Gandhi National Tribal University – Regional Campus Manipur
Dr. Homen Thangjam is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science & Human Rights in Indira Gandhi National Tribal University – Regional Campus Manipur University. He completed his PhD. in 2005 from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi in Political Sociology. He has contributed academic papers in many national and international journals. He had worked with various multinational companies in project scoping and research for agro-related projects. 

Course certificate

30% for in course Assessment & 70% of end-term Proctored Exam

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