This volume examines the multiple forms of reasoning in Indian politics and explores a framework to understand them. In the process, it looks at a series of issues involving the relationship between politics and philosophy, including the status of political theory, political practices, identity politics, and political ontology. The book argues that in the years leading up to and soon after independence, the task of conceptualizing politics was largely in the domain of practising politicians who built theories and philosophical methods, and further took those visions into the practice of their politics. It maintains that Indian politicians since then have not been as inclined to articulate their theories or methods of politics.
This book traces the transition from philosopher politicians to politicians seeking philosophy in Indian polity in the post-independence era and its implications for current practices. It views Indian political philosophy from the standpoints of political theorists, philosophers, and practitioners. With expert and scholarly contributions, this volume will be of interest to students and researchers of Indian political thought and political philosophy, social sciences, and humanities.
Table of Contents
List of contributors. Preface. 1. On the ‘Why’ of Indian politics Narendar Pani and Anshuman Behera Part I: On Indian Political Theory 2. The Poverty of Indian Political Theory Bhikhu Parekh 3. Further Thoughts on Contemporary Indian Political Theory Bhikhu Parekh Part II: Three Philosopher Politicians 4. On the Idea of 'Mahatma': Revisiting the Poverty of Indian Political Theory A. Raghuramaraju 5. What Is Living and What Is Dead in Rammanohar Lohia? Yogendra Yadav 6. Ambedkar on Indian Democracy Arun K. Patnaik Part III: The Search for Philosophy 7. Literarization and Trans-Islamism: Life and After-life of Sayyed Sanaulla Makthi P. K. Yasser Arafth 8. From Mao to Maoism: The Indian Path Anshuman Behera Part IV: Towards an Ontology of Indian Politics 9. Ideation and the politics of legality and morality in India Narendar Pani 10. Being Dalit after Gandhi and Ambedkar: Insights from Devanoora Mahadeva Compiled, edited, and translated by Bageshree Subbanna Index
Narendar Pani is Professor at the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bengaluru, India. He has been writing on politics in both academia and the media since the 1980s. His research interests lie in his interpretation of the Gandhian method to understand current Indian and global realities. This method, as explored in his book, Inclusive Economics: Gandhian Method and Contemporary Policy (2001), seeks an alternative to ideology-centric approaches to the social sciences.
Anshuman Behera is Assistant Professor in the Conflict Resolution Programme at the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bengaluru, India. A co-author of the book Militant Groups in South Asia (2014), his research interests deal with the socio-political conflicts in India and Nepal. In addition to extensive work on Maoism, he has also written on political processes in South Asia.
‘Just how do philosophy and politics interact in India? In exploring the voyage of modern Indian politics through its early "philosopher politicians" — Gandhi, Lohia, Ambedkar and partly Nehru — to its current political leaders, who instead of philosophical grounding seek philosophical justifications for their mostly transactional politics, this book provides refreshingly new perspectives. An intellectually rewarding read!’
Ashutosh Varshney, Director, Centre for Contemporary South Asia, Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs, Brown University, USA