Integral Humanism (Deen Dayal Upadhyay)

19/04/2024 0 By indiafreenotes

Integral Humanism is a political and philosophical doctrine formulated by Deendayal Upadhyay, a key ideologue of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, the precursor to the present-day Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in India. Introduced in the mid-1960s, Integral Humanism is based on the holistic view of the Indian cultural ethos and attempts to provide a framework for the development of India that is distinct from both Western capitalist and socialist models. This philosophy emphasizes the balanced and harmonious development of the “whole man” and the “whole society.”

Key Concepts of Integral Humanism

  1. Dharma (Moral Order):

Upadhyay placed a strong emphasis on “Dharma,” not merely as religion but as an ethical framework that governs all human actions. According to him, any political or economic system should be rooted in the local culture and ethos, which in the Indian context means adherence to Dharma. He criticized Western materialism for ignoring the spiritual development of individuals and societies.

  1. Antyodaya (Upliftment of the Poorest):

Integral Humanism advocates for the welfare of the weakest sections of society. The concept of Antyodaya or ‘rise of the last person’ is central to this philosophy, aiming at ensuring that the benefits of development reach the lowest strata of society first.

  1. Swadeshi (Indigenism) and Self-reliance:

Upadhyay promoted the idea of Swadeshi, or reliance on indigenous resources and technologies, to foster economic independence and preserve cultural identity. He argued that India must rely on its own resources and methods to achieve real and sustainable development.

  1. Decentralization and Local Self-Government:

Integral Humanism favors a decentralized polity and economy, empowering local communities and promoting self-governance. This reflects the traditional Indian village republic model, which Upadhyay believed was more congruent with the nature and culture of India.

  1. Harmony of Material and Spiritual:

Upadhyay did not reject material progress but emphasized that it should be balanced with spiritual development. He believed in an economy that serves not just the material needs of people but also nurtures the human spirit, maintaining a balance between prosperity and wellbeing.

Implementation and Impact

Integral Humanism has deeply influenced the ideological and policy directions of the Bharatiya Janata Party. It provides a conceptual framework that guides the party’s approach to issues such as economic development, social justice, and cultural nationalism. The influence of Integral Humanism is evident in various policies aimed at promoting cultural values, economic self-sufficiency, and social welfare schemes targeting the poorest segments of society.

Criticisms and Challenges

While Integral Humanism has been praised for its emphasis on cultural identity and holistic development, it has faced criticism for being vague in terms of practical implementation. Critics argue that while it calls for a synthesis of materialism and spiritualism, it lacks a clear roadmap for achieving this balance in the complex reality of global economic systems. Additionally, there are debates about its compatibility with modern, pluralistic, and secular frameworks, given its strong roots in a specific cultural and religious ethos.