Hindu Political Philosophy

Dennis Dalton

in The Oxford Handbook of the History of Political Philosophy

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780199238804
Published online September 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

Hindu Political Philosophy

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The long tradition of Hindu philosophy in India had several distinct peaks of systematic thought. The apogee of its political theory developed during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as a response to the British imperial authority, commonly known as the Raj. This article describes modern Hindu political philosophy's admixture of its classical tradition with contemporary Indian nationalism as it encountered British theories of freedom, equality, power, and social or political change. The result was an original and cogent system of ideas that at once responded to the British intellectual challenge and reconstituted key elements of the classical Indian philosophical tradition. The leading formulators of this formidable project were four major Hindu theorists: Swami Vivekananda, Aurobindo Ghose, Rabindranath Tagore, and Mohandas K. Gandhi. These four are intricately connected by a logical nexus of concepts derived from their common religion, their interpretative intellectual project of reforming Hinduism in the face of British colonialism, and their significant commitment to the cause of Indian independence.

Keywords: India; Hinduism; political philosophy; nationalism; Swami Vivekananda; Aurobindo Ghose; Rabindranath Tagore; Mohandas K. Gandhi; freedom; equality

Article.  8814 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; History of Western Philosophy ; Social and Political Philosophy

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