Integral humanism is a doctrine developed by Deendayal Upadhyaya and adopted by the Jana Sangh in 1965 as its official doctrine.It is also the official philosophy of the Bharatiya Janata Party.It aims to appeal to broad sections of Indian society by presenting an indigenous economic model that puts the human being at center stage.
According to Upadhyaya, the primary concern in India must be to develop an indigenous economic model that puts the human being at center stage.
- It is opposed to both western capitalist individualism and Marxist socialism, though welcoming to western science.
- It seeks a middle ground between capitalism and socialism, evaluating both systems on their respective merits, while being critical of their excesses and alienness.
Four objectives of humankind
Humankind, according to Upadhyaya, had four hierarchically organized attributes of body, mind, intellect and soul which corresponded to four universal objectives,
- kama (desire or satisfaction),
- artha (wealth),
- dharma (moral duties),
- moksha (total liberation or ‘salvation’).
While none could be ignored, dharma is the ‘basic’, and moksha the ‘ultimate’ objective of humankind and society.
Why did he reject other ideologies ?
He claimed that the problem with both capitalist and socialist ideologies is that they only consider the needs of body and mind, and were hence based on the materialist objectives of desire and wealth.
Rejection of individualism
(First what is individualism …..Individualism is a social theory favouring freedom of action for individuals over collective or state control.)
- Upadhyaya rejected social systems in which individualism ‘reigned supreme’.
- He also rejected communism in which individualism was ‘crushed’ as part of a ‘large heartless machine’.
- Society, according to Upadhyaya, rather than arising from a social contract between individuals, was fully born at its inception itself as a natural living organism with a definitive ‘national soul’ or ‘ethos’ and its needs of the social organism paralleled those of the individual.
Source of Integral Humanism
- Upadhyaya claimed that Integral Humanism followed the tradition of advaita developed by Adi Sankara.
- Non-dualism represented the unifying principle of every object in the universe, and of which humankind was a part.
- This, claimed Upadhyaya, was the essence and contribution of Indian culture.
(In case u don’t know what Non Dualism or Advaita is ? Advaita means nondual or “not two.” This oneness is a fundamental quality of everything. Everything is a part of and made of one nondual conciousness. Often the question arises, “If it is all one thing, why don’t I experience it that way?” This is confusing oneness for the appearance of sameness. Things can appear different without being separate. Just look at your hand for a moment. Your fingers are all different from each other, but are they separate? They all arise from the same hand. Similarly, the objects, animals, plants and people in the world are all definitely different in their appearance and functioning. But they are all connected at their source—they come from the same source. This one Being that is behind all life has an infinite number of different expressions that we experience as different objects. )
Integral Humanism and Gandhian Philosophy
Integral humanism is almost an exact paraphrase of Gandhi’s vision of a future India.
- Both seek a distinctive path for India,
- both reject the materialism of socialism and capitalism alike,
- both reject the individualism of modern society in favor of a holistic, varna-dharma based community,
- both insist upon an infusion of religious and moral values in politics,
- both seek a culturally authentic mode of modernization that preserves Hindu values.
Integral humanism contains visions organized around two themes: morality in politics and swadeshi, and small-scale industrialization in economies, all Gandhian in their general thematic but distinctly Hindu nationalist. These notions revolve around the basic themes of harmony, primacy of cultural-national values, and discipline.
Rejection of Nehruvian Economic polices
- Upadhyaya rejects Nehruvian economic policies and industrialization on the grounds that they were borrowed uncritically from the West, in disregard of the cultural and spiritual heritage of the country.
- There is a need, according to Upadhyaya, to strike a balance between the Indian and Western thinking in view of the dynamic nature of the society and the cultural heritage of the country.
- The Nehruvian model of economic development, emphasizing the increase of material wealth through rapid industrialization, promoted consumerism in Indian society.
- Not only has this ideology of development created social disparities and regional imbalances in economic growth, but it has failed to alleviate poverty in the country.
- The philosophy of Integral Humanism, like Gandhism, opposes unbridled consumerism, since such an ideology is alien to Indian culture.
- This traditional culture stresses putting restraints on one’s desires and advocates contentment rather than ruthless pursuit of material wealth.
A deeper investigation into ideas of PANDIT DEEN DAYAL UPADHYAY’s on various aspects
Analysing Deen Dayal on his views on West
- While Deendayal Upadhyaya did not advocate a return to some golden age before the Islamic invasions, since so much had changed in the intervening period, he was conscious that British rule subtly induced self-doubt and distaste for Bharat’s own culture and identity in the educated elite. Yet he sought to differentiate between Western science and Western ‘way of life’ (the signature tune of the English language media today). Like the leaders of the 1868 Meiji restoration in Japan, he advocated adoption of the former rather than the latter, but rejected a narrow nationalism, a conception in accord with that of Swami Vivekananda.
Deendayal Upadhyaya offers a critique of Western economic and political and doctrines and questions their suitability for Bharata i.e. India. He rightly acknowledges the critical advance of democracy alongside nationalism and socialism and provides a brief sketch of socialist protest against exploitation and the huge impact of Karl Marx. His principal difficulty with Western doctrines was the historically demonstrated contradictions and inconsistencies between their various aspirational components.
For example, he is conscious that democracy does not overcome either class conflict or resolve the problem of inequality under capitalism. Recent work by Thomas Piketty has posed a significant query about the propensity of capitalist markets to habitually create major economic divides.
Richness in his ideas of SITUATION ( Systems Approach as we call in PubAD)
Deendayal Upadhyaya also argues that the values of the West are somewhat specific to their circumstances and history and they too, he points out, have abandoned some certainties. In the case of the insuperable difficulties faced by Marxism he is prophetic. He sensibly avows about way forward ideas:
“ones that originated in our midst have to be clarified and adapted to changed times and those that we take from other societies have to be adapted to our conditions.”
His ideas on GOVERNANCE
- On governance, he considers undue accumulation of political and economic power as contrary to Dharma, implicitly criticizing communist regimes and could be regarded as querying the impulses of state-dominated, democratic socialism as well.
- In general, Upadhyaya associates the preponderance of power, including economic monopolies, as a source of corrupt and adharmic misconduct.
His ideas on what is Dharma
- Dharma, according to Upadhyaya, is not confined to places of worship nor is it synonymous with religion.
- He argues it is much broader, the basis for sustaining society and the universe itself, varying in time and place, depending on circumstances and need.
His ideas on Federalism
- Deendayal Upadhyaya is critical of India’s federal constitution and the enshrining of special privileges based on attributes like caste, religion, language and province.
- In his opinion, they are contrary to the principles of Dharma, which enjoin the essential equality and unity of all citizens.
- He favours a unitary Constitution though with the devolution of executive and decision-making authority to lower levels of societal organisation, from regional states to village panchayats.
His ideas on Indian Constitution
- The Indian Constitution adopted a Westminster style parliamentary system that has conspired to articulate every active and dormant social, political, linguistic, religious and supposed ethnic fissure and division in India and magnify them manifold.
- A Presidential system of governance, with appropriate safeguards and decentralisation, would have mitigated these dangers
His ideas on Religious Freedom and Secularism
- On the specific issue of religious freedom in the rule of Dharma Upadhyaya affirms it must be circumscribed when it encroaches on the freedom of others not of that particular faith.
- The implications for exclusivist monotheisms are clear and the imperative for decisive action against their aggressive encroachment.
- He points out secularism in India was defined in opposition to theocracy and Dharma wrongly assimilated to the latter.
- Of course it has descended into complete intellectual banality and political absurdity, merely an instrument for justifying monotheistic aggression.
“There is some misunderstanding arising out of this. Religion was equated with Dharma and then secular state was meant to be a state without Dharma. Some said ours is a state (without Dharma), whereas others trying to find a better sounding word, called it Dharmanikshepa (indifferent to Dharma state).”
- As he has argued elsewhere, Dharma is the essential guide to both personal conduct and governance by the state, without which neither is able to function effectively or with moral purpose.
“State can only be Dharma Rajya (rule of Dharma) nothing else. Any other definition will conflict with the reason of its very existence.”
Prof (Dr) Ratnesh Dwivedi is an Award Winning Academic by Russian Communication Association,Journalist , NASA Certified Educator with Seven Certifications,Interdisciplinary Scientist,Award winning Sec,Intel & Def Expert by OSI Intelligence and Foundation,Israel,USA and Peace Prize Winner by Center for Peace Studies,Colombo. He writes for Russian International Affairs Council,Moscow and Global Ethics Network,Carnegie Council,Washington and is serving as Registrar, & Dean-Academics,Yesbud University,Zambia