programme

Political Thought in Contemporary India

Home/ Political Thought in Contemporary India
Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation ElectiveSUS1PO7324

Semester and Year Offered: Fourth and Monsoon Semetser

Course Coordinator and Team: Dr Priyanka Jha

Email of course coordinator: priyankajha@aud.ac.in

Pre-requisites: None

Aim: The course introduces a variety of thinkers and themes that defines the modernity of Indian political thought and aims to critically examine some of its characteristic features. It seeks to familiarize students with some of the key themes like nation, caste, socialism, secularism and popular democracy which will be explored through the seminal works of Gandhi, Nehru, Tagore, Ambedkar, M.N.Roy, Lohia, JP and other contemporary political thinkers. This is an introductory course meant for undergraduate students in the second and third year of their study. This course intends to stimulate and promote the serious study of modern Indian political thought. The course introduces a wide span of thinkers and themes that defines the modernity of Indian political thought and also aims to examine critically some of the distinctive features of Indian tradition of political thought. This course will lay a founding stone for students aspiring to study political theory/thought/philosophy, sociology and development studies, as their academic specialization in future.

Course Outcomes:

  1. To introduce the students with Key themes and Political Ideas that are central to the nation and its normativity
  2. Undertake a history of ideas and the evolving nature by engaging them with key Political thinkers and their works.
  3. The Students would be equipped to understand the indigenity of thought and theory and its contribution in shaping the imagination of India.

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

1. Understanding Modern Indian Political Thought

This module intends to understand and explain history of ideas in the context of India and South Asia. Attempts to locate nature of Indian Political thought and its evolution over a period of time. The attempt is to not only emphasize the thinkers and their ideas but also to understand the larger socio-historical contexts to which ideas and theories responded navigating the changes that the ideas and theories were intended to bring about. It largely deals with process of renaissance, reform and revivalism in India and the critique of west-centred paradigms of politics.

2. What kind of a Nation?

As a contested category, This module attempts to understand the category of Nation and nation state. Ideas and debates on the theme on nation and nationalism shall be explored through the writings of thinkers like Gandhi, Nehru & Tagore and pitching it against the Right wing understanding as presented in the writings of Golwalkar and Savarkar

3. The Question of Caste:

This module intends to provide a comprehensive understanding on the issue of caste inequality in India. It aims to understand anti-caste movement in India through the seminal works of Phule, Ambedkar and Phule. This module also attempts to bring in the voices of Iconic women thinker like Savitri phule and Pandita Ramabai and their gendered understanding.

4.Socialism and Distribution of Wealth

Some kind of a vague socialist thinking was already a part of the political process right from the early twenties in India. Marxian theory was increasingly influencing many individuals since then. This module attempts to understand the ideological evolution of socialism and communist movement in India through the writings of Nehru, M.N.Roy, Ram Manohar Lohia, J P Narayan

5.Secularism and its Critique

Secularization of Indian society has important place in contemporary Indian values. Secularism is one of the most debated issues in contemporary Indian political thought. This module focuses on Gandhi, Savarkar and Jinnah’s thought on religion as well as contemporary debates on secularism by Romila Thapar, T.N. Madan & Rajeev Bhargava.

6.Understanding Popular Democracy

Despite the disillusionment and contradiction of Indian democracy, India has forged a truly democratic future for itself. This module aims to explore the evolution of democracy in India through the writings of Kothari, Kaviraj, Khilnani & Chatterjee.

Assessment Details with weights:

  • Mid Semester Assessment : 30 % (According to AES Calendar)
  • Assessment in the nature of Class Text: 30% ( Mid Oct)
  • End Semester: 40% ( Acc to AES Calendar)

Reading List:

  • Parel, Anthony J. (ed.) (2002) ‘Introduction’, in Gandhi, Freedom and Self Rule, Delhi: Vistaar Publication
  • Pantham, Thomas (1986), Beyond Liberal Democracy: Thinking With Mahatma Gandhi, in Pantham, Thomas & Deutsch, Kenneth L. (ed.) Political Thought in Modern India, Sage Publications
  • Chakrabarti, Radharaman (1986), Tagore: Politics and Beyond in Pantham, Thomas & Deutsch, Kenneth L. (ed.) Political Thought in Modern India, Sage Publications, pp. 177-191
  • Nandy, Ashish (199, Rabindranath Tagore & Politics of Self, in Illegitimacy of Nationalism, Oxford University Press, pp. 1-50
  • Pillai, R.C. (1986) Political Thought of Jawahar Lal Nehru in Pantham, Thomas & Deutsch, Kenneth L. (ed.) Political Thought in Modern India, Sage Publications, pp. 260-274
  • Zelliot, Eleanor, (198, The Social and Political Thought of B.R. Ambedkar in Pantham, Thomas & Deutsch, Kenneth L. (ed.) Political Thought in Modern India, Sage Publications
  • Thorat, Sukhdeo and Aryama (eds) (200 Ambedkar in Retrospect – Essays on Economics, Politics and Society, Rawat Publications
  • Mehta, V.R. (2005) ‘Renaissance and the beginnings of modern thought’, In Foundations of Indian political thought. Manohar publication
  • Mohanty, Manoranjan (1986), Ideology and Strategy of the Communist Movement in India in Pantham, Thomas & Deutsch, Kenneth L. (ed.) Political Thought in Modern India, Sage Publications

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  • Mohanty, Manoranjan (2000), Contemporary Indian Political Theory, Samskriti
  • Sinha, Sachidananda, (2010), Lohia’s Socialism : An underdog’s perspective, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. XLV, No. 40, October 02-08, pp 51-55
  • Collins, Michael (2008) Rabindranath Tagore and Nationalism: An Interpretation, Working Paper No. 42, Heidelberg Papers in South Asian and Comparative Politics
  • Thapar, Romila (2010) Is secularism alien to Indian Civilization? In Singh, Aakash & Mohapatra, Silika (ed) Indian Political Thought: A Reader, Routledge
  • Madan, T.N. (2010) Secularism revisited: doctrine of destiny or political ideology, in Singh, Aakash & Mohapatra, Silika (ed) Indian Political Thought: A Reader, Routledge
  • Bhargava, Rajeev (2010) The distinctiveness of Indian secularism, in Singh, Aakash & Mohapatra, Silika (ed) Indian Political Thought: A Reader, Routledge
  • Kothari, Rajni (2005) Democracy: In Search of a Theory, in Rethinking Democracy, pp. 1-17, Orient Longman

ADDITIONAL REFERENCE:

  • Khilnani, Sunil (2008), India’s Democratic Career, in John Dunn (eds.) Democracy: The Unfinished Journey, pp. 189-206, Oxford University Press
  • Kaviraj, Sudipta (2000), Modernity and Politics in India, Daedalus, vol. 129, No.1, pp. 137-162
  • Chatterjee, Partha (2008), Democracy and Economic Transformation in India, Economic and Political weekly, Vol.43, No.16, April 19-25, pp.53-62