Introduction to Modern Indian Political Thought


Prof. Mithilesh Kumar Jha

IIT Guwahati

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Modern Indian political thought is one of the fascinating areas of scholarly debates and discussions in contemporary India. It also signifies a shift away from excessive reliance upon Eurocentric views, methods and concepts to study and interpret Indian society and its politics. The major objective of this course is to introduce the students to some of the key modern Indian thinkers and their ideas which helped in shaping the society and politics of modern India.


UG and PG students of Humanities and Social Sciences, Sciences and Engineering


Dr. Mithilesh Kumar Jha teaches Political Science in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati. His research interests are – political thought in comparative perspective particularly Indian and Western political thought, political theory, Indian politics especially language and related issues of state formations in modern India. His important publications are Language Politics and Public Sphere in North India: Making of the Maithili Movement, Oxford University Press, New Delhi (2018); Glimpses of Mithila and Maithili: The Correspondence of George Abraham Grierson, Kalyani Foundation: Darbhanga (2013).

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Course Details

Week 1:  Introduction to the course: general outline & methods
Week 2:  Raja Rammohan Roy: religious reforms, modern education & freedom of press
Week 3:  Rabindranath Tagore: nationalism and cosmopolitanism, idea of man
Week 4:  Aurobindo Ghosh: self, community and religion
Week 5:  Vivekananda: revitalisation of Indian life
Week 6:  M. K. Gandhi: Hind swaraj and the critique of modern civilisation, India of his dreams
Week 7:  Muhammad Iqbal: community, religion and nation
Week 8  :  Savarkar: Hinduism and Hindutva
Week 9:  Jawahar Lal Nehru: Discovery of India, secularism and Internationalism
Week 10:  B. R. Ambedkar: caste, liberal democracy and constitutional morality
Week 11:  Pt. Ramabai: gender and caste
Week 12:  Lohiya: caste & class, and views on Indian languages

Books and References

1. Guha, Ramchandra, Makers of Modern India, Penguin: Delhi, 2010.
2. Pantham, Thomas and K. L. Deutsch eds., Political Thought in Modern India, Sage: Delhi, 1986.
3. Singh, M. P. and Himanshu Roy eds., Indian Political Thought: Themes and Thinkers, Pearson: Delhi, 2011.
4. Verma, V. P., Modern Indian Political Thought, Lakshmi Narayan Agarwal: Agra, 2005.
5. Datta, P. K. and Sanjay Palshikar eds., Indian Political Thought, ICSSR & Oxford University Press: New Delhi, 2013.
6. Mcdermott, Rachel Fell et. al., Sources of Indian Traditions, Penguin: Gurgaon, 2014.
7. Mehta, V. R., Foundations of Indian Political Thought, Manohar: Delhi, 2013.
8. Singh, Aakash and Silika Mohapatra eds., Indian Political Thought: A Reader, Routledge: London & New York, 2012.
9. Vajpeyi, Ananya, Righteous Republic: The Political Foundations of Modern India, Harvard University Press: Cambridge, 2012


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