Indian Political Thought - I

By Dr. Jhumpa Mukherjee   |   St. Xavier’s College (Autonomous), Kolkata
Learners enrolled: 786
The course aims to familiarize students with the various intellectual traditions of the Indian sub-continent prevalent from the Vedic period to the Muslim period of rule in India. The focus of the study will be to understand the core concepts of statecraft, kingship, law and order, administration, diplomacy, foreign affairs, Justice, Governance as laid down in the important literary texts. It would also bring in the contemporary relevance of the political principles enunciated centuries ago. The course will help students to develop a critical understanding of the major themes and issues such as community, state, kinship, culture religion as perceived by different thinkers. A student would be able to understand and appreciate the 4 main streams of pre-modern Indian thought which are (a) Brahmanic tradition (b) Shramanic tradition (c) Islamic tradition and (d) Syncretic tradition.
Course Status : Ongoing
Course Type : Core
Duration : 12 weeks
Start Date : 23 Jan 2023
End Date : 05 May 2023
Exam Date :
Enrollment Ends : 15 Mar 2023
Category :
  • Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit Points : 4
Level : Undergraduate

Page Visits

Course layout

Week 1  :
1. Literary Sources of Ancient Indian Political thought 
2. Nature of Hindu Political Thought 
3. Idea of dharma 
4. Idea of state and kingship

Week 2 :
5. Fundamental Concepts in Ancient Indian Political thought 
6. Brahmanic tradition: Origin and features 
7. Shramanic thought: Features 
8. Principles of Syncretism in Hinduism and Islam
Week 3 :
9. Buddhism: Concept of Dhamma 
10. Buddhist principles of statecraft   
11. Origin of the State: State of Nature  
12. Origin of the State: The Social Contract 

Week 4 :
13. Theory of Kingship in Digha Nikaya 
14. Political Philosophy in the Mahabharata 
15. The Shantiparva: origin and Nature of state 
16. Rajadharma In Shantiparva

Week 5 :
17. Dandaniti in Shantiparva 
18. Politics Ethics and Good Governance in the Mahabharata 
19. Manusmriti Introducing the text 
20. Dharma in Manusmriti

Week 6 :
21. Rajdharma in Manusmriti 
22. Principles of Government in Manusmriti 
23. Manusmriti principles of social organization 
24. Manusmriti code of laws
Week 7  :
25. Introducing Kabir 
26. Kabir’s views on Socio-religious dogmas   
27. Syncretism in Kabir’s Bijak : Universal humanism   
28. Syncretism in Kabir’s Bijak : Monotheism and religious toleration

Week 8  :
29. Syncretism in Kabir’s Bijak : Economic inequalities, livelihood and property 
30. Arthashastra:  Introducing the text 
31. Saptanga Theory  of Kautilya
32. Kautilya's Dandaniti
Week 9  :
33. Kautilya: Diplomacy and Mandala theory  
34. Kautilya: Principles of Foreign Policy
35. Arthashastra as a manual of good governance    
36. Kautilya and Machiavelli : Comparison    

Week 10 :
37. Medieval India: State, Society and Religion 
38. Features of Islamic thought
39. The State during the Delhi Sultanate 
40. Fatwa –i-Jahandari: Analysing the text
Week 11 :
41. Barani's ideas in Kingship
42. Barani: Bureaucracy, Law and Administration
43. The state during the Mughal rule   
44. Abul Fazl: Kingship and Sovereignty
45. Abul Fazl: Social Organization 

Week 12 :
46. Abul Fazl: Religion and State 
47. Akbar’s ideas on justice and toleration 
48. Abul Fazl: Administration and Governance
49. Idea of welfare State in Ancient India 
50. Financial Administration in Ancient India.

Books and references

1. V.P.Varma, Studies in Hindu Political thought and its Metaphysical Foundations, Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi, 1991.

2. D.M.Brown, The White Umbrella, Indian Political Thought-From Manu to Gandhi, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1954.

3. Charles Drekmeier, Kingship and Community in Early India, Stanford University Press, Stanford, California, 1962.

4. V.R. Mehta, Foundations of Indian Political Thought, Manohar Publishers, New Delhi, 2008.

Instructor bio

Dr. Jhumpa Mukherjee

St. Xavier’s College (Autonomous), Kolkata

Jhumpa Mukherjee (Gold Medalist), PhD is Assistant Professor of Political Science at St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata. She is the author of Conflict Resolution in Multicultural Societies: The Indian Experience (Sage Publications, New Delhi and London 2014) and The World of Human Rights (Concept Publications, New Delhi 2014). She has contributed chapters in edited books and has published articles on contemporary social and political issues in national and international journals and has participated in national and international conferences. Her areas of research interest include Indian Politics, Comparative federalism and human rights.

Course certificate


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