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BPSC-114: Indian Political Thought-II

BPSC-114: Indian Political Thought-II

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2023-24

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Assignment Code: BPSC-114/ASST/TMA/2023-24

Course Code: BPSC-114

Assignment Name: Indian Political Thought –II

Year: 2023-2024

Verification Status: Verified by Professor

Assignment - I


Answer the following in about 500 words each.

Q1) Enumerate and describe the salient features of Modern Indian Political Thought.

Ans) Contemporary Indian political thinking can be characterised by a number of distinct philosophical and ideological currents that evolved as a consequence of colonialism, nationalism, social reform, and the struggle for independence. These currents are what define modern Indian political philosophy.


Salient features include

a)    Nationalism and Anti-Colonialism:

Modern Indian Political Thought emerged under British colonial rule, fostering nationalist sentiments and anti-colonial resistance. Thinkers like Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay and Bal Gangadhar Tilak advocated cultural nationalism, emphasizing India's rich heritage and inspiring patriotism among the masses.

b)   Social Reform and Renaissance:

Prominent reformers like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, and Jyotirao Phule spearheaded social reform movements, advocating for societal transformation. They addressed issues such as women's rights, caste inequalities, education, and religious reform, advocating for social equality and justice.

c)    Liberal Thought and Constitutionalism:

Influenced by Western liberalism, thinkers like Dadabhai Naoroji and Gopal Krishna Gokhale advocated constitutional reforms and political representation within the British framework. They emphasized the need for civil liberties, representative governance, and responsible government.

d)   Revival of Indian Philosophy and Spirituality:

Swami Vivekananda and Sri Aurobindo revitalized Indian philosophical thought, promoting Vedantic ideals and spirituality. They propagated a synthesis of Eastern spirituality with Western ideas, envisioning India's role as a spiritual leader in the world.

e)    Gandhian Philosophy of Non-Violence and Satyagraha:

Mahatma Gandhi's political thought centered on non-violence (Ahimsa) and truth (Satyagraha). His approach to resistance against oppression and colonial rule through non-cooperation and civil disobedience became a significant ideological force in India's freedom struggle.

f)     Ambedkar's Advocacy for Social Justice and Dalit Empowerment:

B.R. Ambedkar, a key architect of the Indian Constitution, championed social justice and Dalit rights. His thought focused on annihilating caste-based discrimination and advocating for the empowerment and upliftment of marginalized communities.

g)   Nehruvian Vision of Secularism and Socialism:

Jawaharlal Nehru envisioned a secular and socialist India, advocating for a mixed economy with state intervention in economic development. His ideas emphasized secularism, scientific temper, and industrialization for India's progress.

h)    Regional and Linguistic Diversity:

Indian political thought reflects diverse regional and linguistic perspectives. Thinkers like Periyar E.V. Ramasamy in Tamil Nadu, EMS Namboodiripad in Kerala, and other regional leaders contributed to political thought with a focus on regional autonomy and linguistic diversity.

i)     Feminist and Gender Perspectives:

Additionally, feminist views that advocate for women's rights are included in the realm of modern Indian political thought. These voices are headed by individuals such as Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay, Sarojini Naidu, and individuals like them. Women's suffrage, education, and gender equality were some of the problems that they brought to awareness.

j)     Pluralism and Multiculturalism:

It was during this time that the concept of India as a pluralistic society arose, which acknowledged the country's extensive religious, linguistic, and cultural variety. Many philosophers, including Rabindranath Tagore, placed an emphasis on the celebration of plurality and the concept of unity in difference.


There is a rich tapestry of ideas that are reflected in modern Indian political thought. These ideas include indigenous philosophies, Western political theories, social reform movements, and the pursuit of self-determination. These ideas have made a significant contribution to the socio-political landscape of India.


Q2) Discuss Raja Rammohan Roy’s reformist efforts in the religious reform.

Ans) Raja Ram Mohan Roy, often hailed as the "Father of the Indian Renaissance," played a pivotal role in initiating religious reforms in 19th-century India. His reformist efforts were marked by a commitment to rationalism, social justice, and a critique of orthodox Hindu practices. Here is an exploration of Raja Ram Mohan Roy's significant contributions to religious reform:


a)    Advocacy for Monotheism and Rationalism:

Raja Ram Mohan Roy challenged the prevalent polytheistic and idolatrous practices in Hinduism. He advocated for the worship of the formless, monotheistic God, drawing inspiration from the Upanishads. His rationalistic approach aimed to move away from superstitions and rituals.

b)   Campaign Against Sati:

One of Ram Mohan Roy's landmark efforts was his relentless campaign against the practice of Sati (widow burning). He vehemently condemned Sati as a social evil and successfully petitioned for its abolition. His efforts culminated in Lord William Bentinck's Regulation XVII in 1829, banning Sati in British India.

c)    Promotion of Women’s Education:

Recognizing the importance of education in bringing about social reform, Roy advocated for the education of women. He established schools for girls, challenging the prevailing norms that restricted women's access to education.

d)   Critique of Caste System:

Raja Ram Mohan Roy was a vocal critic of the caste system, which he considered a social injustice. He denounced untouchability and worked towards the upliftment of the lower castes. His efforts laid the foundation for later social reform movements that sought to eradicate caste-based discrimination.

e)    Founding the Brahmo Samaj:

In 1828, Raja Ram Mohan Roy co-founded the Brahmo Samaj, a socio-religious reform movement. The Brahmo Samaj aimed to promote monotheism, reason, and social reform. It rejected idol worship, rituals, and caste distinctions, emphasizing ethical principles and a rational approach to religion.

f)     Translation of Religious Texts:

Ram Mohan Roy translated several religious texts, making them accessible to a wider audience. Notably, he translated the Vedas and the Upanishads into Bengali and English, contributing to the dissemination of Vedic philosophy.

g)   Interfaith Dialogue:

Ram Mohan Roy engaged in dialogues with leaders of different religious communities. His interactions with Christian missionaries, in particular, influenced his ideas on monotheism and ethics. He aimed to find commonalities among religions and foster mutual understanding.

h)    Advocacy for Freedom of Speech and Press:

Ram Mohan Roy recognized the importance of freedom of speech and the press in bringing about social change. He utilized newspapers like "Sambad Kaumudi" to disseminate his ideas, criticize social injustices, and advocate for reforms.

i)     Influence on Socio-Political Thought:

Raja Ram Mohan Roy's reformist ideas had a profound impact on the socio-political thought of the time. His emphasis on reason, social justice, and monotheism influenced subsequent reformers and laid the groundwork for broader social and religious reform movements in India.

j)     Legacy and Continued Relevance:

Raja Ram Mohan Roy's legacy endures as a beacon of progressive thought in India. His contributions to religious reform, gender equality, and social justice remain integral to the ongoing discourse on modernity and tradition in the country.


Raja Ram Mohan Roy's reformist endeavours were instrumental in challenging regressive practices and laying the foundation for a more inclusive and rational approach to religion and society in India.


Assignment - II


Answer the following questions in about 250 words each.

Q1) Write a note on Pandita Ramabai’s encounter with Christianity.

Ans) Pandita Ramabai, a prominent social reformer and advocate for women's rights in 19th-century India, had a significant encounter with Christianity that profoundly influenced her life and reformist endeavours.


Encounter with Christianity

a)    Conversion to Christianity:

Ramabai was exposed to Christianity during her visit to England in the 1880s. Deeply moved by the humanitarian and egalitarian aspects of Christian teachings, she embraced Christianity and was baptized, adopting the name Mary.

b)   Impact on Social and Religious Outlook:

The encounter with Christianity transformed Ramabai's perspective on social issues and religious practices prevalent in India. She admired Christianity's emphasis on equality, education, and humanitarianism, which resonated with her reformist vision.

c)    Christian Missionary Work:

After her conversion, Ramabai engaged in missionary work and social service, establishing the "Mukti Mission" in Pune, dedicated to empowering and educating widows and vulnerable women. The mission aimed to provide shelter, education, and vocational training to marginalized women, incorporating Christian values into its programs.

d)   Influence on Reformist Activities:

Ramabai's encounter with Christianity inspired her to advocate for women's education, widow remarriage, and social upliftment. She incorporated Christian principles of compassion, service, and empowerment into her efforts, aligning them with her reformist goals in India.

e)    Critique of Orthodox Hinduism:

While embracing Christianity, Ramabai remained critical of orthodox Hindu practices, particularly those that oppressed women. She challenged regressive customs such as child marriage, the mistreatment of widows, and gender-based discrimination prevalent in Indian society.


Pandita Ramabai's encounter with Christianity significantly shaped her vision for social reform and women's empowerment in India. While embracing Christian ideals of equality and social justice, she merged them with her indigenous cultural background, aiming to uplift marginalized women and transform societal norms. Her work reflected a synthesis of Christian principles and her commitment to addressing social inequalities in India.


Q2) Trace the influences on Swami Vivekananda.

Ans) Swami Vivekananda, a key figure in India's spiritual and cultural renaissance, was influenced by various factors that shaped his philosophical and spiritual outlook:


a)    Influence of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa:

Vivekananda's foremost influence was his guru, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. He became deeply immersed in Ramakrishna's teachings, imbibing the essence of Advaita Vedanta, and experiencing spiritual awakening under his guidance.

b)   Education and Exposure to Western Philosophy:

Vivekananda's education at Calcutta University exposed him to Western philosophy and science. He studied works of philosophers like Herbert Spencer and John Stuart Mill, which broadened his intellectual horizons and enabled him to bridge Eastern and Western philosophies.

c)    Nationalist Sentiments and Colonial Impact:

Growing up during British colonial rule, Vivekananda witnessed the socio-political challenges faced by India. He developed nationalist sentiments and a strong desire to uplift the masses spiritually and socially, aiming for India's resurgence.

d)   Spiritual Quest and Wanderings:

Vivekananda's spiritual quest led him to travel extensively across India as a wandering monk. His interactions with people from diverse backgrounds enriched his understanding of India's cultural diversity and spiritual heritage.

e)    Social Concerns and Reform Movements:

Vivekananda was deeply concerned about the plight of the masses, especially the poor and oppressed. He was influenced by the social reform movements of his time, such as the Brahmo Samaj and Arya Samaj, advocating for social reforms and uplifting the marginalized.

f)     Philosophy of Vedanta and Advaita:

Vivekananda's exposure to Vedanta philosophy, particularly Advaita Vedanta, profoundly influenced his spiritual outlook. He assimilated the teachings of Vedanta, emphasizing the unity of existence and the divinity within every individual.

g)   Interfaith Dialogue and Universal Brotherhood:

Vivekananda's interactions with people of different faiths and cultures during his travels, including the Parliament of Religions in Chicago, reinforced his belief in the universality of religions. He propagated the idea of harmony among religions and advocated for a universal brotherhood.


Swami Vivekananda's multifaceted influences, ranging from his spiritual mentor to his exposure to diverse philosophies and his nationalist fervour, converged to shape his inclusive and transformative vision for India's spiritual and social resurgence. His teachings continue to inspire and resonate globally, advocating for the spiritual upliftment and welfare of humanity.


Q3) Compare and contrast Gandhi with Marx.

Ans) Comparison Between Mahatma Gandhi and Karl Marx are as follows:

Assignment - III


Answer the following questions in about 100 words each.

Q1) Ambedkar on reason and rights

Ans) Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, a prominent Indian jurist and social reformer, emphasized the significance of reason and rationality in shaping society and governance. He advocated for the application of reason in lawmaking and policymaking, believing that reason should guide the establishment of rights and laws to ensure justice and equality for all individuals, especially marginalized communities. Ambedkar's views highlighted the need for rational, evidence-based decision-making to create a just and equitable society, ensuring that rights were not arbitrary but grounded in logic, fairness, and the principles of social justice. His emphasis on reason formed the foundation for his advocacy for fundamental rights and social reforms in India.


Q2) Tagore’s disillusionment with Nationalism

Ans) Rabindranath Tagore, a renowned poet and philosopher, initially supported nationalism but gradually became disillusioned with its rigid and divisive aspects. His disillusionment stemmed from witnessing the negative consequences of narrow nationalism, which often led to intolerance, jingoism, and the division of humanity. Tagore believed that excessive patriotism could breed hostility and hinder genuine human connections. He emphasized the importance of transcending narrow boundaries, advocating for a broader, more inclusive universalism that celebrated cultural diversity while fostering a sense of global unity. Tagore's disillusionment with narrow nationalism inspired his vision for a world where cultural exchange and humanism prevailed over divisive ideologies.


Q3) Lohiya on ‘Sapta Kranti’

Ans) Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia, a prominent socialist thinker in India, proposed the concept of 'Sapta Kranti' or the 'Seven Revolutions.' This framework outlined seven key areas that required transformation for societal progress. Lohia's 'Sapta Kranti' included revolutions in education, society, economics, agriculture, technology, politics, and religion. He believed that reforms in these domains were imperative for achieving comprehensive societal development. Lohia advocated for education that empowered the masses, economic policies that prioritized social welfare, agrarian reforms, technological advancements for the common good, inclusive political structures, and a reformation in religious practices to foster social harmony and equality. His 'Sapta Kranti' aimed at addressing various facets of society to bring about holistic progress.


Q4) What did Iqbal have to say about modernity? Elaborate

Ans) Allama Iqbal, a revered poet and philosopher, expressed mixed views on modernity. While acknowledging the progress and advancements brought by modernity, he also highlighted its potential pitfalls. Iqbal praised modernity's scientific and technological achievements but criticized its materialism and excessive focus on individualism, which he believed led to moral decay and spiritual emptiness. He advocated for a synthesis of modernity and traditional Islamic values, emphasizing the importance of spiritual revival and moral consciousness within the framework of modern progress. Iqbal sought to reconcile modern advancements with the ethical and spiritual values ingrained in Islamic teachings, envisioning a balanced and enlightened society.


Q5) M.N. Roy on Patyless Democracy

Ans) M.N. Roy, a prominent Indian nationalist and communist, advocated for a form of "partyless democracy" in which the dominance of political parties would diminish. He believed that political parties often led to divisive politics and hindered genuine democratic representation. Roy envisioned a system where individuals were elected based on their merit, expertise, and commitment to public welfare, rather than party affiliations. His concept aimed to prioritize the selection of capable and accountable individuals directly by the electorate, reducing the influence of party politics and fostering a more efficient and transparent democratic process centered on individual merit and responsibility.

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