Philosophers / Thinkers, Social Workers / Reformers (Part II)

M. K. Gandhi

  • His philosophy is know as Gandhism.
  • Gandhi's philosophy is outcome of trial and error. The journey starts from from 'God is truth' and ends at 'Truth is God'.


  • It means holding firmly to truth and  should be followed in spirit.


  • It is of two type – Personal and Civic


Why Khadi?

  • To eradicate evils of poverty and socio-economic discrimination.
  • To bring elite and lower class together.
  • To boycott British.


  • Method of exerting mental control over base desires. He believed that abstention would diminish his sensual feelings.
  • Fasting put body through hardship which would cleanse the spirit by stimulating the courage to withstand all pain.

Religion & Dharma

  • He professed the philosophy of Hindu universalism, which maintain that all religion contain truth and therfore worthy of tolerance adn respect.
  • Core of every religion is satya, ahimsa and golden rule.
  • Focus on morality and virtues.
  • Practice of 11 virtues – Non violence, Celibacy, Truth, Courage, Non-stealing, Freedom from greed, Control of palate, Manual labor, rejection of untouchability, equal respect for all religion and cultivation of swadeshi.

Economic Ideology

  • Theory of simple living.
  • Self Sufficiency
  • Agrarian Economy

Private Property and Trusteeship Principle

  • Gandhi took a middle position of capitalism and Marxism. The exercise of right to property ought not damage the welfare of all or common good.
  • Surplus should be held with the trust for the welfare of whole community.


  • Political Swaraj – Sovereign State
  • Spiritual Swaraj – Internal capacity to pursue ultimate liberation or moksha.
  • Gandhiji advocated constitutionally limited liberal state (Secular, Protection and Promotion of Human Rights, Securing Internal Order and external secularity). 
  • State Swaraj – social and economic justice and free institution of civil society.

Education – Nai Talim

  • He believed that knowledge and work are not separate.
  • Focus on life long character of education
  • Social character of education
  • It forms as a holistic process


  • Universal uplift, progress for all
  • Free India – flourishing of thousands of self sufficient small communities, economic self sufficiency at village level.
  • Ending poverty through improved agriculture and small scale cottage industries in every village.

Sarvpalli Radhakrishnan

He discussed 3 sources of Knowledge-

  1. Sensual Experience
  2. Intellectual Cognition
  3. Intusive Apprehension – Knowing by Becoming.


  1. Coordinate and synthesizes all other experiences
  2. Basis of all other experiences
  3. Result of all other experiences

For Radhakrishnan, an ethical transformation of the kind brought about by intution is akin to religious growth and heightened realization.

Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar

The core of his thinking can be contained in two of his statements-

Rights are not protected by law but by social and moral conscience of society

A democratic form of government presupposes a democratic form of society

Social Democracy

  • Political democracy cannot last unless there lies at the base of it social democracy
  • The very foundations of democracy lie in associated living in society
  • This ideology reflected in writings like 'Annihilation of caste' and 'What congress and Gandhi have done to untouchables'.

Ideological Orientation

  • An ardent votary of freedom, it is positive power and capicity, enable to make choices and no exploitation.
  • The principal of equality before law is great advance.
  • Sensitive towards notion of respect and notion of community.
  • The task of philosophy is to transform world, he argued similar to Marx and Buddha.
  • Highly critical to Brahmanical ideology that subscribe to the principle of graded inequality in social institutions.

On Gandhi and Untouchability

  • Attached Gandhian approach to the abolition of untouchablity.
  • He thought that rights and humanity cannot be left to mercy and prejudices of people.
  • Even panchayati raj will reinforce position of dominant class at local level.
  • He saw untouchability as a social institution defended by ideology of Brahmanism. 
  • Untouchable needs to strengthen themselves with education and employment then only they can fight with prevalent social institution.

On Caste or Varna System

  • Annihilation of caste is primary condition for equality based community bonding.
  • He felt that it would be difficult to renounce caste as it will create feeling of religiously ordained.
  • He promoted Buddhism as a way to move away from lower caste in Hindu Religion

On Reason and Rights

  • Reason enhance capability of humans and need of supernatural powers for explanations reduced a lot.
  • Rights are essential for equality.
  • He focus on not only individual rights but also group-rights, with emphasis on rights of minorities and weaker section.
  • Defended preferential treatment for disadvantaged communities.

On Constitutional Democracy & Rule of Law

  • He stressed on autonomy of the state based on rule of law to safeguard rights of minorities.
  • Demanded political representation for disadvantaged section not only to ensure political presence but also to undertake their pursuits of development.
  • He preferred an inclusive conception of rights rather than dependence on goodwill of majority.

On Religion

  • He believed in collective pursuit of good life.
  • Opposed Hindu religion and also critical to Christianity and Islam.
  • Developed new interpretation of Buddhism and saw it as socially engaged.
  • Buddhism privileged the poor and does not subscribe to the existence of God.
  • It uphold reason and affirms the existence of this world.

Ram Manohar Lohia

  • Rejected both Marxism and Capitalism.
  • Laid emphasis on the Gandhian ideals with the socialist thought.

Seven Resolution

He articulated his approach, known as 'Seven Resolution'

  1. Equality between Man and Women
  2. Struggle against inequality
  3. removal of equality based on traditions
  4. Fight against foreign enslavement
  5. Planned production and Removal of Capitalism
  6. Against Unjust encroachments on private life
  7. Non-proliferation of weapons and reliance on Satyagraha

New Socialism

6 basic elements of his idea of new socialism

  1. Equalitarian standards in areas of income and expenditure
  2. Growing economic interdependence
  3. World Parliament based on Adult Franchise
  4. Democratic freedom
  5. Gandhian technique of civil disobedience
  6. Dignity and rights of common man

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad

  • Grasped the wider ethical meaning of jihad away from feelings of communalism.

The basis of belief should be information and free thinking; why should it stand on imitation and inherited tradition.

Maulana Azad represented a glorious synthesis of cultures, civilizations, thoughts and philosophies.

On Education

  • He felt that education was the “ problem of problems for Asia,” and that “one of the surest ways of securing international peace is  fundamental education for the peoples of the world”.
  • He especially emphasized ‘social education.
  • He devoted himself to the training of individuals who will have the qualities of vision, courage, tolerance and integrity.
  • Education for social order which will be inspired by the ideals of social justice, co-operation, broad mindedness and rationalism. 

Vision of Education

For this purpose he emphasized four major programmes.

  • Removal of illiteracy through universalisation of elementary education
  • Equalizing educational opportunities 
  • Three language formulae 
  • Sound primary education throughout the country.

Deendayal Upadhyaya

  • Upadhyaya conceived the political philosophy Integral Humanism.

Integral Humanism

  • It is a synthesis of the material and the spiritual, the individual and the collective.
  • Advocates the simultaneous and integrated program of the body, mind and intellect and soul with four objective of Humankind – kama (desire or satisfaction), artha (wealth), dharma (moral duties) and moksha (total liberation or 'salvation')

On Development

  • India must be to develop an indigenous economic model that puts the human being at center stage.
  • He visualized for India a decentralized polity and self-reliant economy with the village as the base. 
  • India as an independent nation cannot rely upon Western concepts like individualism, democracy, socialism, communism or capitalism.
  • 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