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Integral Humanism — a Response to Neo - Liberalism

Author: IPF      Date: 26 Sep 2014 08:44:55

India Policy Foundation (IPF) organized a National Seminar on September 25, 2014, on Integral Humanism a Response to neo-Liberalism at the India International Centre (IIC). The seminar was held to commemorate 98th birth anniversary of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya, one of the renowned Indian thinker and a late member of the erstwhile Bharatiya Jan Sangh.

Deendayal Upadhyaya is known for his holistic philosophy of Integral Humanism. Inaugural session of the National Seminar began with the lighting of the traditional lamp following by rendering of devotional songs by students. Inaugural session was coordinated by Dr. Sheila Rai, Professor, University of Rajasthan and Dr. Subramanian Swamy was the Chief Guest of the inaugural session. The Keynote address was delivered by Prof. Rakesh Sinha, Honorary Director, IPF. In the session the reprint of late Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya’s novel Samrat Chandrgupt was released by the Chief Guest Dr. Swamy and other dignitaries.

Prof. Rakesh Sinha in his keynote address throws light on the purpose of the seminar, said that it was much more than mere commemoration of Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya’s birth anniversary. Ideologies like individualism, liberalism, capitalism and communism, which emanated from the West but still held sway over the colonized Indian minds, resulting in the vast majority of people being excluded from any meaningful discourse. There is an urgent need to expand the process of debate and discourse to make it more inclusive. Neo-liberalism, born out of liberalism and capitalism was like a “baby born with pregnancy”, said Prof. Rakesh Sinha, explaining that Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya’s holistic vision of integral humanism contained India’s ancient wisdom that contained answers to many burning issues of the present age.

Dr. Gautam Sen

Dr. Gautam Sen, a distinguished scholar of the London School of Economics and presently to the Government of India, explained Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya’s ideology of integral humanism as belonging to the hallowed tradition of the great seers of India like Adi Shankaracharya and Swami Vivekananda. He said that Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya recognized the power of India’s ancient wisdom, and his vision of Integral Humanism was a powerful rationale for return to Indic values. However, his was not a mere call for escapism into the past, but revival of Hindu traditions and knowledge while being firmly rooted in modern realities and developments.

Dr.Subramanian Swamy

Veteran BJP leader, former Professor of Economics and renowned nationalist crusader Dr. Subramanian Swamy, holding forth on the Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya’s contribution to political thought, stressed on the need to create an alternative socio-political ecosystem, as all Western ideologies, rooted in materialism, have failed in addressing the growing crisis of humanity. Indian ethos and traditions are fundamentally different and Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya was among those who recognized the fact that it contains solutions to problems the unbridled materialism of the West has given birth to. Dr. Swamy forcefully called for the de-Nehrufication of society, economy and the polity.

Shri. Punya Prasoon Bajpai

The seminar’s second session was chaired by noted historian Prof.Saradindu Mukherji. Well-known TV journalist and Executive Editor of Hindi news channel Aaj Tak, Sh.Punya Prasun Bajpai, said that successive governments have failed to create any ecosystem that can address even the basic needs of common citizens. On the other hand, the domination of the political class had been broken after the 1991 liberalization, only to be replaced by their becoming slaves to the power of corporations, which are globally networked and recognize only the power of money and are driven by profits and consumerism. He said that Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya’s integral humanism did provide answers to many problems, but the failure of governments to live up to their basic duties is increasingly worrying.

Prof. Ashok Modak

Prof. Ashok Modak, renowned academician and Ex-Professor in Mumbai University, while deliberating upon Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya’s vision, stressed the need to reconsider the entire paradigm of development from a nationalist perspective. Sh. Ramesh Patange, writer, thinker and former editor of Marathi weekly Vivek, stressed the point that nationalism ought to be synonymous with social justice and social harmony, something which Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya alluded to in his ideology. Prof. Raj Kumar Bhatia, president of the National Democratic Teachers Federation and former president of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad said that adequate justice had not been done to the visionary contribution of Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, and requested the India Policy Foundation to take the initiative in the publication of his works.

Prof. N.N. Sharma

In the third session of the seminar, Prof. N.N. Sharma, Chairperson, India centre for Public Policy, said that Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya’s ideology was truly holistic, going beyond the confines of sectarianism. Prof. Sharma further said that the categorization of politics into Left and Right is largely a construct of the West, particularly 19th century Europe and has little relevance in India. Eminent thinker and educationist Pushpesh Pant cautioned against making the subject of integral humanism a mandatory part of any academic syllabus, as that would be the surest way to ensure its demise. He said Indian society ought to free itself of colonial and dominated mindsets, if it has to attain success in making integral humanism a reality.

Prof. Pushpesh Pant


Shri. Prafulla Ketkar

Sh. Prafulla Ketkar, editor of the national weekly Organiser argued on the relevance of the concept of left and right in the nation in particular and society in general. Western and European thought rests on certain divisive premises, which have also divided India. India’s thought is integrationist, which is well articulated by Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya’s Integral Humanism.

Shri. Gopal Agrawal

Economic thinker and IPF trustee Sh.Gopal Agrawal delivered a brief exposition of Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya’s ideology, and mentioned that Western ideologies like capitalism and free markets, which the West has tried to impose upon the world, have themselves facing the global economic crisis that hit the world markets and the economies of almost every country. This has forced them to dilute their own ideological dogmas. An integrated and holistic approach is today’s need, which integral humanism elucidates clearly. Former IAS officer and BJP member from Kerala, Sh.K.J. Alphons, noted for his fearlessness in taking on the high and mighty in his drive to implement corruption-free governance, commended the IPF for this seminar on integral humanism, and said that the challenge of the day was to convert Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya’s ideology into actual practice.

Prof. Kapil Kapoor

In the valedictory session, Prof. Kapil Kapoor, former pro-VC of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), said that liberalism began as a British tool to escape the upheaval the French Revolution. Prof. Kapoor emphasized the impact of Western colonialism upon Indians which was first propagated by Indian thinkers like Raja Rammohan Roy and its legacy was continued by Jawaharlal Nehru, had to be demolished if India was to make progress rooted in its own ethos, which is the message of Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya’s integral humanism.

Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi

Veteran BJP leader, former HRD minister, thinker and writer Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi, in his valedictory address briefly outline the Western philosophical origins of present-day science and scientific thought. The compartmentalized approach of Western society to science, society and family, Dr. Joshi said, was responsible for the present crises confronting the world, which range from breakdown of the family, climate change, economic crisis and terrorism. It is Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya’s integral humanism, firmly rooted in India’s holistic and inclusive tradition of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (the entire world is a family), which can show a path out of the crises the world is faced with, which threaten humanity’s very existence.

Around 500 people from different walks of life attended the seminar.

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