SOCIAL AND POLITICAL THOUGHT IN MODERN INDIA
MPSE 4 Free Solved Assignment
MPSE 4 Free Solved Assignment Jan 2022
Q1. Discuss the nature of state and sovereignty in medieval India.
Ans. Islam in India and the organisation of the Muslim political authority noticed the beginning of a direct distinct phase in the Indian political thought.
In contrast to the Vedantic philosophy, the Muslims consider Koran as the only and final authority. Before the coming of Islam, the political structure in India was not based on the philosophy and belief of a single text.
Rather various religious traditions contributed towards the development of political traditions in ancient India.
In Islamic thought the Shariat based on the Koran is considered as the final authority and the purpose of the state is to serve the Sahriat.
In matters of governance, the Muslim elite were influenced by political ideas in Islam. Based on two authoritative texts written during the Muslim rule in India–Fatwa-iJahandari and Ain-i-Akbari dealing with the nuances of governance–we can formulate our idea about the dominant trend of the political thought of medieval India.
Fatwa-i-Jahandari was written by Khwaja Ziauddin Barani. In this book Barani recapitulates and further elaborates the political philosophy of the Sultanate on the basis on his earlier narrative, Tarikh-i-Firozeshari. MPSE 4 Free Solved Assignment
Some scholars are of opinion that Barani’s ideas carry a sense of religious fanaticism. Keeping in mind the fact the Barani belonged to a period when Islam was just making its ground in India, we may overlook this limitation in Barani’s ideas.
Apart from this limitation, Barani’s ideas related to kingship in medieval period are of immense importance. In the following passage, we find Barani’s suggestions to the king as to how to discharge his functions as the head of the state.
According to AI Barani, “It is the duty of the Sultans before they have made up their minds about an enterprise or policy and published it among the people, to reflect carefully on the likelihood of its success and failure as well as effects on their position, on the religion and the state, and on the army.
In Barani’s opinion the king should devote himself to governance of his state in such a way that helps him in reaching nearer to God.MPSE 4 Free Solved Assignment
Welfare of the religion and the state should be the ideal of a good state. He talks about the necessity of hierarchy in administration and points out the composition, classification, nature and relation of bureaucracy with the Sultan and the people of the state.
He is emphatically against the promotion of low-born men. He writes that ‘The noble born men in the king’s court will bring him honour, but if he favours low-born men they will disgrace him in both the worlds’.
He says that kingship is based on two pillars–administration and conquest and it is on the army that both the pillars depend. He also emphasises on the king’s concern regarding internal security and foreign relations.
Implementation of law and obedience to law should be the primary concern of a king. Barani refers to four sources of law–
(a) the Koran
(b) the Hadish (traditions of prophet)MPSE 4 Free Solved Assignment
(c) the Ijma (opinions and rulings of the majority of Muslim theologians and
(d) Qiyas (speculative method of deduction).
To this he added Zwabit or state law as an important source of law in administering the state.
With the changing complexion of society and the growing complexities of administration in addition to the accepted principles of traditional Islamic law, Barani advocated for Zawabit or the state laws whose foundation is non-religious.
State laws cannot be contradictory to the state laws whose foundation is non-religious. State laws cannot be contradictory to the orders of the Shariat and its primary objective is to regulate the works of various governmental departments and to foster loyalty.
Barani also talks about the recognition of individual rights, i.e. the rights of wife, children, old servants, slaves, etc. and he considers the recognition of people’s rights as the basis of the state.
Punishment was considered as an essential means to maintain discipline in the State. Barani refer to various circumstances of the punishments, particularly the death punishment to be awarded by the king. MPSE 4 Free Solved Assignment
The real importance of Fatwa-i-Jahandari lies in the fact that it shows in what the original Islamic theory of kingship went through changes over the years in the India context.
The other valuable text on statecraft explaining the dominant trend of political ideas during the Mughal rule in India is Abul Fazl’s Ain-i-Akbari.
Abul Fazl was one of the most important thinkers of the sixteenth century in India. Being a great scholar having sound knowledge of different fields of learning in the Muslim and Hindu traditions, he had contributed in formulating many of Akbar’s political ideas.
Abul Fazl was influenced by the idea of the divine nature of royal power. He made a distinction between a true king and a selfish ruler.
A true king should not be concerned much about himself and power, rather people’s well being should be his prime concern.
To him, an ideal sovereign is like a father who rules for the common welfare and is guided by the law of God. MPSE 4 Free Solved Assignment
Though Abul Fazl believed in ‘the divine light of royalty’, he did not envisage any role for the intermediaries to communicate the divine order.
Abul Fazl says, ‘Royalty is a light emanating from God, and a ray from the sun. Modern language calls this light Farri Izidi (the divine light), and the tongue of antiquity called it Kiyan Khwarah (the sublime halo).
It is communicated by God to kings without the intermediate assistance of any one’. The Ulemas and the Mujtahids, like the Brahmins in Hinduism, acted as authority and interpreter of customary laws to the king.
But in Abul Fazl’s formulation, the intermediaries are not required to interpret religious and holy laws and the king himself is expected to judge and interpret holy law.
Abul Fazl writes that ‘when the time of reflection comes, and men shake off the prejudices of their education, the thread of the web of religious blindness break and the eye sees the glory of harmoniousness. MPSE 4 Free Solved Assignment
Although some are enlightened many would observe silence from the fear of fanatics who lust for blood, but look like men.
The people will naturally look to their king and expect him to be their spiritual leader as well, for a king possesses, independent of men, the ray of divine wisdom, which banishes from his heart everything that is conflicting.
Q2. Write an essay on nationalism and colonial modernity.
Ans. It is not within the scope of an assessment of the entire body of work produced under the rubric of Subaltern Studies.
What we are concerned with here mainly is the later body of work–what Sumit Sarkar has called the ‘late Subaltern Studies’. For it is there that the concern with Orientalism and colonial discourse acquires most articulate expression.
It is there that the most sustained and thorough-going examination of both colonial discourse and the peculiar features of what Partha Chatterjee has called “our modernity” has been carried out. MPSE 4 Free Solved Assignment
Much of the later work of Bernard Cohn himself and his students like Nicholas Dirks and Gyan Prakash too can be said to fall broadly within the same body of work.
The Subaltern Studies scholars was concerned with the search for subaltern autonomy; that is, of trying to understand forms of subaltern consciousness and their divergences from those of nationalist political elites, even when they participate in movements led by the latter.
This concern naturally led to explorations of how elite consciousness too is/was formed in a context of colonial subjugation.
It led to an exploration of nationalist discourse, its structure and assumptions, as well as to explorations, of forms of subaltern consciousness.
Two things started becoming apparent in the course of these explorations. First, that nationalism was not simply one monolithic ideological formation that every modern society must have.
The situation was complicated by the fact that societies like India’s were inserted into modernity by the agency of colonialism. MPSE 4 Free Solved Assignment
The desire to be modern here was, therefore, enmeshed with the desire to be free and self-governing; that is be ‘Indian’.
Early nationalist elite were forced to articulate their politics in a condition of subjugation where they simultaneously aspired to the principles of universal equality and liberty embodied by modern thought, and had to mark their difference from the West.
Second, as a consequence, it was also becoming apparent that nationalism therefore, also involved a formidable and creative intellectual intervention, formulating and defending its main postulates in the battlefield of politics, as Partha Chatterjee put it.
With the publication in early 1983, of Benedict Anderson’s now classic Imagined Communities, the possibilities had opened out for a more sustained investigation of how nations are invented.
With the publication of this immensely insightful book, the idea that there is anything natural or eternal about nations was laid at rest.
All nations, Anderson argued, are imagined communities. One common misconception is here. When Anderson suggests that nations are imagined communities, he does not suggest that nations are therefore ‘unreal’ or ‘fictitious’. MPSE 4 Free Solved Assignment
On the contrary, he claims, they are real and call forth such passion that people are ready to die and kill for it, precisely because they are brought into existence as a consequence of collective imagination.
Nationalism as ‘Difference’–The features of nationalism and colonial modernity as the work of scholars mentioned above. Attaining the nationhood and self-governance, the nationalists understood, was the only way to be modern.
That was they way the world they discovered, actually was. The great intellectual question that the nineteenth century intelligentsia had posed to itself was “Why did India become a subject nation?
How did a small island nation called Britain attain mastery over this huge landmass?” Their answer, we now know, was that this was because India, on the eve of colonial subjugation, was internally divided.
That there were hundreds of different principalities and quarrels, deep internal divisions like those of caste and it was these that made it impossible for the country to resist colonization. MPSE 4 Free Solved Assignment
In the modern world, these could not continue. If we have to become free we had to overcome the deep internal divisions and usher in a form of self-government that will recognize all its people as free citizens.
Anxieties about the Nation’s Women – The concern with women is evident in both, Nandy’s exploration of Sati and Chakravarty’s explorations of domesticity.
It is the Women’s Question’ therefore, argues Partha Chatterjee, that becomes the site for a major nationalist intervention.
Chatterjee explores what he calls that nationalist resolution of the women’s question to suggest that the way in which nationalism sought to mark out its difference was by demarcating a sphere of inner sovereignty.
What is the nationalist resolution of the women’s question? Chatterjee notices that in the last years of the 19th century,
with the appearance of nationalism, all the important questions of social reform centred on the status of women, (like widow remarriage, education of women, against child marriage etc), disappear from public discourse. MPSE 4 Free Solved Assignment
This happens, he contends, because nationalism starts its journey by demarcating an ‘inner’ and an ‘outer’ sphere and declaring itself sovereign in the inner, cultural sphere.
In the outer sphere its subjugation is a given fact, but in the inner domain of culture it claims complete sovereignty. It refuses to make the question of women a matter of negotiation with the colonial state.
Cultural Split and Liberal Ideas–Sudipta Kaviraj introduces three more interesting aspects in the delineation of the features of colonial modernity.
First, he argues, modern colonial education introduced a split in the Indian cultural life, by bringing into being two “rather exclusive spheres of English and Vernacular discourses.”
The concerns that animated these different spheres were very different. While the English-speaking world was more concerned with ideas of individual liberty, those working in the Vernacular world were far less concerned with democracy as a form of government.
The vernacular nationalist intelligentsia was more concerned with the problem of “collective freedom of the Indian people from British rule” rather than with that of individual freedom.
Indian nationalist elite encountered the great liberal ideas of equality, freedom and autonomy in a contest of subjugation and were therefore, more immediately concerned with issues of national sovereignty. MPSE 4 Free Solved Assignment
They, therefore, chose to transfer these ideas into their own concerns.
Here, we see the second feature: Liberal ideas, Kaviraj contends, did have “a deep and profound influence in Indian political argument” but this influence was not in terms of implanting liberal ideas but nationalist ones.
This is not a minor or trivial difference but in a sense crucial, for as Kaviraj points out, the idea of equality between nations or societies can be completely blind to the idea of internal equality within the national community.
Hence, even somebody like Gandhi could easily justify the caste system while claiming national equality and freedom from the British.
Q3. Examine the modes of reformist thought in early 19th century India.
Ans:- Bhikhu Parekh has suggested that the arguments of these Hindu reformers relied on one or more of the following four modes of arguments derived from tradition but deployed with a distinct newness to meet the demands of changing times.
First, they appealed to scriptures that seemed to them to be more hospitable to their concerns. Vidyasagar for instance relied on the Parasharasmriti, while Ram Mohan Roy invoked the Upanishads. MPSE 4 Free Solved Assignment
Second, they invoked what they called sadharandharama, which they interpreted to mean the universal principles of morality.
Third, they appealed to the idea of a yugadharma, or the principles that accord with the needs of the prevailing yuga or epoch.
Fourthly, they invoked the idea of loksangraha, and “argued that the practice in question had such grave consequences that unless eradicated, it would destroy the cohesion viability of the Hindu social order.”
As instances, he mentions that Vidyasagar argued that unmarried widows were turning to prostitution or corrupting their families; K.C.
Sen contended that child marriages were endangering the survival of the Hindu jati; Dayananda Saraswati believed that image worship was leading to internal sectarian quarrels.
V.R. Mehta has suggested that there are at least two important theoretical issues involved in these intellectual initiatives of the reformers. MPSE 4 Free Solved Assignment
First, they worked strenuously to change the attitude towards fate and other-worldliness and assert the importance of action in this world.
While they continued to assert the importance of the soul and spirituality as a distinctive feature of Hindu/Indian thought, they shifted the emphasis to underline the significance of ‘enterprise in the service of the community.”
In that sense, they asserted the significance of secular, this-worldly concerns, in the face of the challenges of the modern world.
Secondly, the main focus of their enquiry however, remained not the individual but society, community and humanity as a whole.
They do not see society as aggregate of individuals in pursuit of their self interests but as an organic whole.
He suggests that this was so for two reasons Firstly, there was already a strong tradition in India that emphasised the wholeness or oneness of being.
Secondly, the individualist society was already under attack in much of the nineteenth century thinking in Europe itself. MPSE 4 Free Solved Assignment
There is a third feature that he also mentions in relation to later social reform thought – the concern with the welfare of the people and the attraction that ideas such as ‘socialism’ and ‘equality’ held for thinkers like Vivekananda and Bankimchandra.
Mehta also locates three broadly identifiable sources of the elements that went into the constitution of Renaissance thought.
The first, the “culture and Temperament of European renaissance and the Reformation”, and more particularly the ideas of Bentham, Mill, Carlyle and Coleridge through which came a sense of democracy and rule of law and private enterprise.
These ideas became available to the indigenous elite through the advent of English education.
The second was the influence of the ideas of German philosophers like Schelling, Fichte, and Herder.
This is a current however, that influenced the later-day nationalists more than the early reformer with their sharp emphasis on the ideas of “volk”, community, duty and nation that were more immediately the concern of nationalists like Bankimchandra, Vivekananda, Bipin Chandra Pal and Aurobindo Ghosh. MPSE 4 Free Solved Assignment
The third source identified by Mehta is Indian traditional thought.
Here the work of great Orientalist scholars like William Jones and Max Mueller, who had brought ancient Indian culture and learning to light, became the basis for a renewed appeal to the greatness of that past.
Q6. a) Swami Vivekananda on social change
Ans:- Vivekananda wanted an overall development of India and the eradication of poverty and degeneration of the people. He was an opponent of aristocracy and feudalism. He pleaded for bridging the gap between the rich and the poor.
For that purpose, he wanted to awaken the toiling masses of the country. He was of the view that in future, the Shudras or those who were toiling hard would become the rulers of the country.
The socialist and anarchist movements in the Western countries indicated this. Vivekananda developed his own theory of social change to explain this.
Vivekananda’s theory of social change was based on the Indian concept of history.
It was a theory of political cycle that visualized periodic and circular changes in the regimes on the basis of the law of change, with the help of historical evidences from the history of Greece, Rome and India.MPSE 4 Free Solved Assignment
He held that every individual, there prevailed, three qualities of Sattva (Knowledge) Rajas (Valour) and Tamas (ignorance) and in every society and in every civilization, there existed four classes of the people.
All societies which had developed division of labour had four classes of Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras. According to Swami Vivekananda, on the basis of historical examples and law of nature, each of this class in every society governed the country, one after another in succession.
Vivekananda was of the opinion that in the first stage of human development, in almost all ancient civilisations of the world, the power was in the hands of the Brahmin or a priest. He ruled with the help of magic.
His power was overthrown by the Kshatriyas or warriors who formed monarchical or oligarchic governments.
But the power of this class was overthrown by the Vaishyas or traders. In most of the modern nations, such as England, the power of controlling society was in the hands of Vaishyas, who amassed wealth by carrying out commerce and trade.
They became powerful only in the 18th and 19th centuries. Many a kingly crown had to kiss the ground due to the growing power of commercial classes.
Now, the Vaishyas had enormous power in their hands. Therefore, the conquest of India was not the conquest by Christianity but it was conquest by the commercial classes, whose flag was a factory chimney, MPSE 4 Free Solved Assignment
whose warriors were merchant men and whose battlefields were the market places of the world. It was the opinion of Vivekananda that the power of the Vaishyas would be overthrown by the Shudras.
b) Sri Aurobindo on passive resistance
Ans. Passive Resistance Sri Aurobindo’s theory of Passive resistance can be properly construed if distinction between aggressive or active and passive resistance is explained, as pointed by Aurobindo.
The method of the aggressive resistance implies abstaining from doing something by which he would be helping the Government,
whereas the method of the passive resistance implies abstaining from doing something by which he would be helping the Government, such as purchasing foreign goods, sending children to schools controlled or aided by government, making use of the courts and seeking the help, advice, or protection of the administration.
Social boycott of such people who co-operate with the government in the above matters is to be undertaken by the passive resistance, MPSE 4 Free Solved Assignment
the evil example if unpunished, may be disastrous and eat fatally into the enthusiastic passion and serried unity indispensable to such a movement”.
Aurobindo lays down certain canons of passive resistance–
(i) A passive resister is to disobey unjust coercive law.
(ii) He is to defy unjust executive orders and quietly endure the penalty prescribed for their violation.
(iii) The refusal to pay taxes is the strongest and final form of passive resistance.
(iv) Social ex-communication may be restored to, against those who act treacherously and impede the activities of freedom fighters.
Aurobindo explained the aim of passive resistance as to make British administration impossible by an organized refusal to do anything which shall help the growth of British trade and commerce, resulting in the exploitation of the country.”
However such passive resistance may assume violent form in case despotic rulers go to the extreme in crushing the passive resistance In his words,
“So long as the action of the executive is peaceful and within the rules of the fight, the passive resister scrupulously maintains his attitude of passivity but he is not bound to do so a moment beyond. MPSE 4 Free Solved Assignment
To submit to illegal or violent methods of coercion, to accept outrage and hooliganism as the legal procedure of the country is to be guilty of cowardice and dwarfing national manhood, to sin against the divinity within ourselves and the divinity in our motherland…”
Mahatma Gandhi also believed in passive resistance but his passive resistance was based on non-violence whereas that of Aurobindo on expediency since the latter allowed the passive resister to resort to violence also in case expediency so necessitated.
According to Aurobindo, passive resistance could build a strong nation only when it was masculine, bold and ardent in spirit and was in a position to supplement itself with active resistance at a moment’s notice.
Q8. a) Maulana Maududi’s views on nationalism
Ans:- There appears some shift in Maulana Maududi’s world-view as regards the Muslims being a part of the territorial nationalism or distinct from it.
We have already discussed the point that in the early years Maulana Maududi strongly believed in the composite territorial nationalism but from this time onwards he seemed to have undergone ideological transformation.MPSE 4 Free Solved Assignment
He started arguing that Islamic ‘nationhood’ was more rational than the territorial nationalism.
It had the capacity to absorb all, therefore capable of absorbing all and lay the foundation of cultural unity.
He argued that Islamic ‘nationhood’ could not coexist with other ‘nationalities’ of race, language and country.
He asserted that Muslims must sever all links with the land of birth. In Maududi’s perception,
Islamic and geographical nationalism were two mutually exclusive entities, therefore he was apprehensive that geographical nationalism among Muslims would undermine Islamic ‘nationhood’ and unity.
He thought that Indian leaders were mistaken in their belief that in order to fight the British, they must create a common nationality.
He disagreed with Husain Ahmad Madani’s contention that in the Indian context a religious community did not constitute a nation unto itself.
On the contrary, all religious communities must politically merge together in order to emerge as a distinct nation on territorial basis. MPSE 4 Free Solved Assignment
However while Husain Ahmed Madani was making these arguments on behalf of the Jamiat-ul-Ulema-i-Hind, he was also conscious of the fact that while Muslims were willing to join the process of the making of a nation, they must retain their distinct religio-cultural identity.
Maududi’s notion of Islamic ‘nationality’ reached an incomprehensible length when he argued that all those who were struggling against the British should be aware that if the British were to transfer power to non-Muslims then the very participation of a Muslim in this process would not be valid from the point of view of religion.
He further argued that if the Muslims truly want to fight for the freedom from the British then they should have one clear objective in mind that they would strive to make India Dar-al Islam where it would be possible for Muslims to organize their life according to the principles of Islam.
Around 1937-38 Maulana Maududi proposed some kind of state within a state where the Muslims would enjoy freedom to organize their life according to the Sharia and preserve their ‘national life’. MPSE 4 Free Solved Assignment
Maulana Maududi’s conception of the Muslims constituting some kind of transcendental nation was so strong that he neither endorsed the Congress’ approach to bring the whole of India under popular sovereignty of all its people, nor did he endorse the Muslim League’s claim that Indian Muslims were a nation unto themselves in order to justify their demand for the partition of India and the making of Pakistan.
According to Maulana Maududi, the Muslim League notion of nationalism too was self limiting.
In order to propagate religious and political philosophy of Maulana maududi, a party was established under his leadership was also drawn up where the emphasis was more on religious matters than political.
b) Jaipal Singh as a champion of Adivasi identity
Ans:- The dominant view in the Assembly reflected a patronizing attitude towards the tribals. As a member of the Constituent Assembly Jaipal played a key role in raising the issue of Adivasi identity.
The discontentment in the tribal areas existed due to their exclusion from the mainstream development pattern. It was believed that an industry-led model of development would be a panacea for all ills in the tribal areas. MPSE 4 Free Solved Assignment
The emphasis was on the ‘civilising mission’ and assimilation of tribals into the national mainstream.
Jaipal Singh countered this dominant view. Participating in the debates on the Draft Constitution, on 24 August 1949, Jaipal Singh delivered an important speech on Adivasi identity.
He raised the existence of a tribal community in Jharkhand. He emphasised that the tribal people were the true and original inhabitants of India, and as such had a claim to the whole of India.
Yet, he emphasised that reservation of seats for tribals in the legislatures was necessary. He also made an effort to divorce the case of Schduled Tribes from that of the Scheduled Castes.
Jaipal argued that Adivasi Society always emphasised on equality and democracy. As he stated: “Adivasi society was the most democratic element in this country.
Can the rest of India say the same thing? In Adivasi society all are equal, rich or poor.
Everyone has equal opportunity and I do not wish that people should get away with the idea that by writing this constitution and operating it, we are trying to put a new idea into the Adivasi society. MPSE 4 Free Solved Assignment
What we are actually doing is learning and taking something… Non-Adivasi society has learnt a good deal.
Asserting an Adivasi identity and advocating a key role for the community in the national politics, he observed: “What is necessary is that the backward groups in our country should be enabled to stand on their own legs so that they can assert themselves.
It is not the intention of this Constitution, nor do I desire it, that the advanced community should be carrying my people in their arms for the rest of eternity.
All that we plead is that the wherewithal should be provided so that we will be able to stand on our own legs and regain the lost nerves and be useful citizens of India.
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