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BPSC-112: Indian Political Thought-I

BPSC-112: Indian Political Thought-I

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2022-23

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Assignment Code: BPSC-112/ASST/TMA/2022-23

Course Code: BPSC-112

Assignment Name: Indian Political Thought - I

Year: 2022-2023

Verification Status: Verified by Professor

Assignment - I


Answer the following in about 500 words each.


Q1) Trace the basic concepts of the Brahmanic tradition. 20

Ans) The basic concepts of the Brahmanic tradition are as follows:


Vedas as Source of Knowledge

The Vedas have been portrayed as the greatest repository of knowledge in the Buddhist tradition. Vedas were regarded as one of the four sources for resolving legal disputes since they were seen as authoritative literature on Dharma. Other sources included Vyavhr, which stands for evidence, Charit/Samsth, which stands for history and behaviour of reputable people, and rjshana, which stands for royal decrees.



The Brhamaic tradition, which dates back to Vedic times, saw human nature as a wonderful synthesis of the body and the soul, with the body denoting a person's physical abilities and the spirit or soul denoting his or her spiritual abilities. As a result, it was stressed that because man is fundamentally divine, he possesses a spark or ray of divinity that is obscured by the deafening influence of ignorance.



Kshatra, which Keith interpreted as sovereignty, has also been linked to absolute authority. The Brhmanas associated Kshatriyas with Kshtra strength. While the latter could achieve spiritual worth, the former could gain Kshatra power.


Man (Vyakti)

The sacred nature of the unique human personality is highlighted by Buddhist tradition. The spiritual character of man is the central issue of Indian philosophical inquiry. Man is fundamentally kind and benevolent because he is fundamentally divine. The core tenet is that all social and political allures and anxieties must be overcome in order to realise the human spirit, which is fundamental.


Four Pursuits of Life

  1. Dharma: The word "dharma" means "a way of life." It alludes to the idea or material that can support an object. It combined socio-ethico-religious concepts and involved morality and righteousness.

  2. Artha: The idea of artha emphasises the harmony between the four purushrthas and is similar to riches in the narrow sense and to all the resources required for the establishment and maintenance of an all-Indian imperial system in the broader sense.

  3. Kma: According to the Upanishads, after a seeker has realised the ultimate truth, he or she must abandon their desire for money, children, and glory.

  4. Moksha: According to Indian tradition, every person is an organic member of society who is continually working to achieve "Moksha," which is the salvation or release from the cycle of rebirth.



The word "Varna" comes from the Sanskrit root "Vri," which signifies the choice/adoption of tasks/obligations and the performance of those tasks/obligations in accordance with one's virtues and talents.



The word "shrama" denotes both a location where one can exert themselves and the act of doing so.


Duties & Rights

The mutuality principle is the source of obligations. The Brahmanical tradition also acknowledged the conflict between the demands of the individual and those of society at large. According to Buddhist philosophy, obligations take precedence over rights. As a person, you are a part of numerous voluntary associations in addition to the community and the state.



With roots in the word "vritti," "vrt" refers to a living or career that includes farming, raising cattle, and trade. Because both treasure (associated to Vrt) and punishment (Danda) are required for the rule of one's own kingdom and that of one's foes, Kautilya's dandadhara assists Vrt.



In the Manusmriti, the word "danda" denotes the kingly power and connotes harsh punishments as a guarantee of the upkeep of peace and order. Danda, or force, is not the core of politics and should never be used to advance the interests of the powerful; rather, it is a crucial ally in the fulfilment of a cooperative and organic social existence under the direction of the monarch.

Q2) Examine the limitations of the Sramanic tradition. 20

Ans) It has been challenging to come to an agreement on the periodization and historicity of texts during the long growth of the ramanic tradition. Buddhist academics disagree on the precise publication date of the Tripitaka work. These works have been dated to the fourth century B.C. through the fourth century A.D. The royal missionary Mahinda (Mahendra) travelled to Ceylon in the middle of the third century B.C., under Asoka's rule, according to the Jtaka Stories. It was challenging to identify and interpret primary texts and historical secondary commentary with political significance because these Jtaka Stories were translated from Pli into Singhalese in the fifth century A.D.


Indigenous ramanic literature are unwelcoming to political science academics due to the problem of non-English vocabulary for political words. For instance, to understand the political implications of Pali terms like "n" (Command), "Khattiya" (Lord of Fields), "Adhipacca" (Lordship), "Issariya" (imposing sovereignty), and "two wheels" of "Dhammacakka" (wheel of law/Vinaya) and "ncakka" (wheel of command), one must have a basic understanding of both Pali and Sanskrit.


Consequently, the tradition was invariably treated as a school of metaphysics and failed to attract the attention of western and oriental scholars of Political Science, in spite of relevant content and milieu, because it treated the various branches of knowledge as branches of the same roots and because there was no specific single text dealing with polity and Political Science in a holistic manner (like Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Locke, etc.).


The limitations of the Sramanic tradition are as follows:


Being that metaphysics and ethics are the main ideas in the Ramanic tradition, identifying and acknowledging political philosophy has some significant flaws.


Buddhism and Jainism were unable to totally separate themselves from the Buddhist heritage. The Buddhist tradition recognised the significance of divine favour but did not discount the power of Karma, whose repercussions one had to deal with on their own. The Vedic principle of "Neti" (this is not it) or the Upanishadic relativity principles were comparable to the Jain principle of many-sided knowledge. As a result, Jainism was unable to set itself apart from other religions. Forms of devotion, mantras, and tantra gradually made their way into Jainism. Jainism valued individual initiative while still acknowledging the intracosmic Gods. It evolved mantra, tantra, and cosmology concepts that were almost identical to those of the Brahmanic tradition between the seventh and the twelfth centuries. They set the stage for the struggle between a householder's existence and that of a monarch and a person dedicated to emancipation.


Some of these doctrine's elements were harsh and one-sided, which drew criticism from Shankaracharya. Buddhism vanished from the country where it was born because Jainism updated its viewpoint but did not.


Buddhist tradition relied on Dhamma-based Vinaya to build order in society, but Dhamma alone was insufficient to protect against a corrupt leader in the absence of constitutional checks and balances against the arbitrary use of authority.


By the middle of the fifth century, after the passing of Buddha, republics had mostly disintegrated due to internal conflicts among republican nobles and elders, but some of this was also a result of kingdoms' aggressiveness. Uncontrolled individualism, moral laziness, egotism, and a lack of discipline were the defining characteristics of the times.



Assignment - II


Answer the following questions in about 250 words each.


Q1) Write a note on the Islamic traditions in Indian thought. 10

Ans) The flexibility of Indo-Islamic political ideology to adapt to Indian contexts is perhaps its most impressive quality. Islam was developing its roots in India at this time. Although the populace was hostile to it, it was the religion of the new rulers. The time frame also saw ongoing conflicts over dominance and opposition to various indigenous religions, particularly Brahmanism. Barani was discovered to be very active in these discussions. Islam had a strong dislike towards indigenous religions. Philosophical support was necessary to maintain and combat. Barani supplied the ground for a just governance by offering a reasoned justification.


Major currents in Indo-Islamic political philosophy showed both a break with and a continuation of traditional Indian ways. Islamic conquests brought with them a foreign legacy of political beliefs and Western Asian structures. Indigenous traditions shown a propensity for adjusting foreign ideas and institutions to Indian surroundings despite the obvious absence of social and cultural predominance.


Islamic political thinking supported the pre-existing, increasingly un-Islamic political systems and essential moral tenets of political life when striving for the construction of an Islamic state in India. Since there was nothing to replace it during the initial stage, Islamic governance made use of the pre-existing institutions of government in its foundation and lower structure. The Muslim rulers realised the new method of governance that politics and government are one thing and the rules and decrees of canon law are another as a result of the inclusion of Hindus in the civil and military sectors of the state, which formed the groundwork for the Indo-Islamic state.

Q2) Trace the impact of the Bhakti tradition. 10

Ans) The impact of the Bhakti tradition is as follows:


  1. The proponents of Bhakti spoke out strongly against many immoral behaviours including infanticide and sati and promoted the ban on alcohol, tobacco, and toddy. Additionally discouraged were sodomy and adultery. They sought to establish a good social structure that upheld high moral standards.

  2. A further noteworthy result was the fostering of harmony between the Muslim and Hindu populations. The campaign aimed to close the gap and lessen the two sides' escalating animosity.

  3. The main idea of this movement was bhakti, or devotion to the Almighty.

  4. Another lasting effect of the Bhakti saints' philosophy of tolerance, coexistence, and respect for one another is the birth of a new religion that is worshipped by both Muslims and Hindus.

  5. The Bhakti movement encouraged the development of regional vernacular literature and languages. Kabir, Nanak, and Chaitanya all delivered sermons in their native tongues—Hindi for Kabir, Gurmukhi for Nanak, and Bengali for Chaitanya. Thus, later Bhakti literatures were written in various languages, and numerous Muslim authors also rendered Sanskrit works into local tongues.

  6. Due to Shri Chaitanya's mediaeval Vaishnavism and the Bhakti movement in Orissa, a new tendency in Oriya literature was established.

  7. Sufis, saints, and Sikhism all worked to combat casteism that was based on birth rather than descent during the mediaeval era.

  8. Reformers like Rammohun Roy, Vivekananda, Dayananda Saraswati, and others carried on the reformist and modification-based claims of the Bhakti tradition in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, respectively. These leaders included Jotirao Phule, Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar, and others.


Q3) Elaborate upon Ved Vyas and ‘Mahabharat’. 10

Ans) The Upanishads, the Smritis, and the Vedas are examples of early Indian political thought. The classic epic Mahabharata contains a wide range of intricate political concepts. The author, Vyasa, is a fictitious character whose identity is unknown. Composer or arranger is what Vyasa signifies. Although many ancient authors were given this designation, the name is most frequently used to refer to the Vedic compiler, who was also the author of the Mahabharata. The Puranas describe 28 Vyasas who gathered knowledge at various times, much as we find a succession of fourteen different Manus. The Mahabharata was arranged by Krishna Dwapayan Vyasa, and it was a dispute between the descendants of his two sons, Dhritrastra and Pandu.


The Mahabharata is significant from a political perspective since it covers a wide range of traditional Indian political ideas. The Shantiparva and Rajdharmanusasana chapters, which offer a crafted and organised vision of ancient India's political philosophy. Dandniti, Rajdharma, Shasanpadhiti, Mantri Parishada, and Kar-Vyavstha talk further about the duties of the king, the structure of the government, the many agencies, and other topics in the Mahabharta Shantiparva.

The Mahabharata's Shantiparva presents the foundational ideas of Rajtantra's monarchy, and it is here that we find Bhishma's political philosophy, the focus of this chapter. The Shantiparva talks of Bhishma are his most compelling explanations of Rajadharma. At the conclusion of the Great War, Yudhishthira questioned Vyasa about the responsibilities of monarchs as well as those of the four varnas. The wise man directed him to the great intellectual and learned Bhismhma, who was well-versed in all the tasks. Rajdharma, as Yudhishthira interpreted Bhishma's fundamental principles. Similar to how the rising sun disperses sinister darkness, the Rajdharma eradicates all evil significances in this world.



Assignment - III


Answer the following questions in about 100 words each.


Q1) Describe ‘Rajdharma’. 6

Ans) Rajdharma is defined in Shantiparva as the responsibilities related to political and administrative tasks. The state must be kept in a state of peace, law, and order by its governance. People's pleasure is the government's primary concern, and another goal is to ensure that justice is done. The King is the supreme authority in the state. People in charge of the administration slept safely and confidently in good governments. The King, ministers, and other officials made up the executive. Legislative and judicial branches of the government were the other two, in addition to the executive. However, emphasis is placed mostly on the executive. King is unable to lead the government effectively without the obedient and competent ministers.


Q2) Discuss Kautilya’s views on the state. 6

Ans) According to Kautilya, the people choose Manu as their monarch in accordance with the kingship system because they desired safety and peace. Before Kautilya, the theory of the state in ancient India claimed that the state was required to defend Varnashram rules, which are social regulations based on conventions and traditions. When these laws weren't followed, the state only had a little role to play. With Arthashstra, Kautilya broke with convention and argued for the state's right to enact its own laws. In his Saptanga theory, often known as the seven organs/elements of state or seven prakriti, Kautilya outlined the structure of the state. The state is comparable to a living creature, with people serving as its organs. These people lose their essence if they are cut off from the state, and the state also suffers if any of its organs or constituent parts are injured.

Q3) Trace the idea of chakravartin and the state as an instrument of Dhamma. 6

Ans) When the state transforms into a tool for the Dhamma, the Buddhist idea of the ideal kingship appears, suggesting that the Dhamma not only manages the problems associated with state power but also controls people's conduct and behaviour. The state's ultimate goal is to create a just social structure founded on the Dhamma, and that objective alone will provide the state ethical standing. Buddhism equated politics with Dharma (Dhamma), saw the latter as lacking in the former because of Rativijja (the science of pleasure/lust, which was seen as the antithesis of all that is ethical), regarded la (modesty) and Sadchra (good conduct) as the foundation of politics, and wished for the king, as the Mahsammat (elected by the consent of all), to protect his subjects in accordance with the Dhamma. Buddhism placed a strong focus on the moral element of Dharma, and Aoka's political philosophy is a clear example of how this had an impact.


Q4) What is the theory of kingship as propounded by Zia-ul-Barni? Elaborate. 6

Ans) The Sultan must abstain from five negative traits, including injustice, changeability, dishonesty, and wrathfulness. Other qualities necessary for influencing people included strong resolve, lofty objectives, fair administration, distinction from other kings, commitment to the populace, etc. He had to uphold all the regalities of monarchy because the monarch's acts and personality had a big impact on the public. It was the king's duty to safeguard the old political families, prevent any potential usurpation of power, and make sure they weren't abandoned to live in poverty. Kingly authority was justified by their might and dignity, which allowed them to administer justice. The king should be aware of the proper times for both pardon and punishment. Barani urged that the king should waive or lower taxes and provide financial assistance from the treasury as long as it was feasible and required.


Q5) Examine Abul Fazal’s views on sovereignty and social contract. 6

Ans) In terms of politics, Abul Fazl is comparable to Barani of the Delhi Sultanate. Abu'l Fazl uses the social contract theory to argue that political authority is necessary. Without any sectarian or theological foundations, Abul Fazal found the foundation of sovereignty in the requirements of the social order. Here, he appeals to the tradition of the philosophers and scientists before following the unadulterated rules of reason. Abul Fazal asserts that sovereignty is inherently a divine light, and with this claim, he appears to reject the conventional allusion to the king as God's shadow as insufficient.

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