Integral humanism (India)

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Integral humanism is the political philosophy practised by the Bharatiya Janata Party and the former Bharatiya Jana Sangh of India. It was first propounded by Deendayal Upadhyaya in a brief volume entitled Integral Humanism in 1965, attempting to find a "third path" rejecting both communism and capitalism, centred on "swadeshi and decentralization".[1]

Concept in the 1960s[edit]

It was first presented by Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya in the form of four lectures delivered in Bombay on April 22-25, 1965. It distinguishes Indian systems from other prevalent systems like communism and capitalism.

"Pre-occupation with materialism"[edit]

Upadhyaya has argued that Western political philosophies are not acceptable as a blueprint for society because of their "preoccupation" with materialism, and their overlooking of the social wellbeing of the individual. He saw both capitalism and socialism as essentially flawed – stimulating, greed, class antagonism, exploitation and social anarchy.

His proposal was an "integral" approach that attempts to create a harmonious society. This could be done, he argued, by satisfying the needs of the body (hunger, shelter), the mind (traditions), intelligence (reforms), and the soul (common aspirations of a people that shape their unique culture).

Upadhyaya said that each nation creates institutions to satisfy needs, and these must be reshaped so that group solidarity can be sustained and maintained under changing circumstances. He argues that Indian tradition builds on the social nature of people and obliges them to create institutions meant to enhance social solidarity. Advaita Vedanta, or the principle of recognising ourselves in all life, is seen as the philosophic underpinning of this view.

As per Gandhi's view on integral humanism, he believed that religion must be at the center of humanity's work. Gandhi stated a list of sins which can be said to indicate the fundamentals of integral humanism:[2]

List of Sins:[2]

  • Politics without Principles.
  • Wealth without work.
  • Commerce without Morality.
  • Knowledge without Character.
  • Pleasure without Conscience.
  • Science without humanity.
  • Worship without sacrifice.

Pledge for party members[edit]

According to the membership form of the Bharatiya Janata Party (2003–2008), anyone seeking primary membership of the party has to pledge that he or she does "believe in Integral Humanism which is the basic philosophy of [the party]", apart from also pledging a commitment to nationalism, national integration, democracy, Gandhian Socialism, positive secularism and value-based politics, among other issues.

Changes during the BJP era[edit]

Around 1980, the then newly formed Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) adopted Gandhian socialism rather than the Deendayal Upadhyaya-crafted principles of integral humanism, as the party's statement of first principles. But the BJP gave an honoured place to Upadhyaya's ideological statement as well.

At its July 1985 national executive session however, integral humanism once again replaced Gandhian socialism as the BJP's philosophy. But the party's economic policy remained the same substantially.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Martin E. Marty, F. Scott Appleby, R. Scott Appleby, Fundamentalisms and the state: remaking polities, economies, and militance, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, University of Chicago Press, 1996, ISBN 978-0-226-50884-9, pp. 418 ff.
  2. ^ a b "20th WCP: The Integral Humanism of Mahatma". Retrieved 2012-12-14. 

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