Swami Dayanand, the founder of Arya Samaj, was not only a great Vedic Scholar and social reformer but also an original political thinker. Ile is rightly acclaimed as torchbearer of modern India. Ile showed the way of progress in all walks of life--religious, social and .mlitical. lie was the first to give the ideas Of `Swarajya' (self-government) and 'Swadeshi'. (use of goods made in one's own country) to the people of this country. Ile has influenced many modern political thinkers and leaders of India.
Dayanand put forth political ideas which were kir ahead of his times. India of Swami Dayanand's time (1824-83) was under the British rule, having no self-governing institutions. Democracy was unknown in India, and it was in its preliminary stages even in Europe. At such a time Dayanand gave to his countrymen the clear vision of complete. Independence, political as well as cultural.
Swami Dayanand propounded these ideas on the basis of his study and interpretation of the Vedas. Modern researches into the ancient Indian polity simply unfold the historic polity of ancient India. whereas Dayanand lays down the norms for allure polity on the basis of his interpretation of the Vedas. Ills political ideas are found mostly in the purport of his commentaries on the Rigveda and the Yajurveda. In this respect, Dayanand ranks with the Indian political thinkers like Manu, Shukra, Chanakya and Kamandaka etc. This hook provides a clear perception of political thought of Swami Dayanand.
Daughter of Pt. Bhim Sen Vidyalankar, Freedom Fighter, Journalist, Author and Social Activist, Dr. Shanta Malhotra was born on 23" June, 1939 in Lahore. First class graduate with Honours from Punjab University, she passed M.A. in Political Science from the same University in 1959. In the same year, she joined as Lecturer in the Political Science Department of • Arya Girls College, Ambala Cantt. And since 1962, till her retirement on 30th June, 1999, she remained Principal and Head of Postgraduate Department of Political Science of the same Multi-Faculty Postgraduate Institution, teaching Political Science to the MA classes as well. She earned her Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1978. She had been associated with Administrative and Academic bodies of Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra like Academic Council, College Development Council, and Board of Postgraduate Studies in the Political Science, Vice-President Sports Committee, Member of University Court and Vice-Chancellor's Nominee on the Selection Committees for the selection of Lecturers and Principals in various colleges. She was nominated by the Governor of Haryana as Member, Executive Council of Maharishi Dayanand University, Rohtak and as Member, Juvenile Welfare Board Ambala and had been President of Self Employment Women Association (SEWA) Haryana. She further, participated in the "Orientation Programme on Implementation of High9r Secondary Education" organized by the National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA) New Delhi, Government of India. She has authored:
1. Political Thought of Swami Dayanand
2. Shrey marg ke Pathik, Pt. Bhim Sen Vidyalankar (Biography of a Freedom Fighter, journalist, author and social activist)
She has written following papers for the Directorate of Correspondence Courses, Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra :
1. Political Thought of Chanakya
2. Political Thought of Karl Marx
3. Idealism - Hegel and Green
Swami Dayanand, the founder of Arya Samaj, was not only a great Vedic Scholar and social reformer but also an original political thinker. He is rightly acclaimed as torchbearer of modem India. He showed the way of progress in all walks of life-religious, social and political. He was the first to give the ideas of `Swarajya' (self-government) and `Swadeshi' (use of goods made in one's own country) to the people of this country. He has influenced many modem political thinkers and leaders of India, yet the importance of his political philosophy has not yet been realized. A number of research works and books have been written about social and religious ideas of Swami Dayanand, but the study of his political thought has remained comparatively neglected. In this book, I have tried to fill this gap.
Dayanand put forth political ideas which were far ahead of his times. India of Swami Dayanand's time (1824-83) was under the British rule, having no self-governing institutions. Democracy was unknown in India, and it was in its preliminary stages even in Europe. At such a time Dayanand gave to his countrymen the clear vision of complete independence, political as well as cultural. Further, he gave the idea of `government by assemblies' headed by an elected president. For Dayanand, the ruler is always a Nirvachit Sabhapati' (elected president of the assembly) chosen an account of his sterling qualities and still not free to rule autocratically, i.e., without the consent of assemblies. In his own words it is in the interest of the people themselves that their government should be run by the assemblies and their president. They should never entrust the ruler with absolute authority since =counselled one man is seldom capable of coming to right decision as to what is good or bad for many in the course of changing circumstances (Yaju.XVI. 24).
At a time when common man was not at all associated with the work of governing the country, Dayanand says that ordinary people especially the toiling masses are the real sovereign, i.e., they are the real power behind the ruler. He says: "It is correct to say that the farmers and labourers are the kings of the king and the king is only their protector. There can be no ruler without the ruled." Further he says : " The people who check the ruler from doing injustice and from following wrong path, they attain happiness ".
Swami Dayanand propounded these ideas on the basis of his study and interpretation of the Vedas. Modern researches into the ancient Indian polity simply unfold the historic polity of ancient India, whereas Dayanand lays down the norms for future polity on the basis of his interpretation of the Vedas. His political ideas are found mostly in the purport of his commentaries on the Rigveda and the Yajurveda. In this respect, Dayanand ranks with the Indian political thinkers like Manu, Shukra, Chanakya and Kamandaka etc. His contribution to the Indian political thought assumes greater importance due to the fact that we find no original political thought prior to Dayanand in modern and medieval India. All original thought relating to Rajaniti or Arthashastra belongs to the period prior to the 7`11 century A.D. Swami Dayanand has put forth some original political ideas after a lapse of twelve centuries and these ideas were not in any way influenced by the theories offered by the European scholars of ancient and modern times.
Swami Dayanand's main concern is with good government and for that he has put great stress on the quality of rulers. According to him the character of rulers influences the character of the ruled and the crisis of character is the cause of all ills of the State. To him the purpose of the government is to promote all-round welfare of the people. His ideas have great relevance today. The rulers of today can take inspiration from his ideas and can rule the country in such a manner that the true purpose of the state is realised and welfare of the people is promoted in the truest sense.
I am grateful to my preceptor, Dr. Satyaketu Vidyalankar, ex Vice-Chancellor, Gurukul Kangri University, under whose guidance I have written this book. Whatever I have been able to do, have been possible because of his inspiring and encouraging guidance.
Swami Dayanand occupies a unique position in the history of Indian thought. He is, in fact, a smritikara of modem India. He is the first Indian thinker in modern times who has propounded original ideas on political, administrative, social, economic and religious problems of his age, though while doing so, he has taken his inspiration from the Vedas which he believed to be the fountain-head of all true knowledge.
His social ideas regarding caste system, untouchability, child marriage, widow remarriage, education of women, equal rights for men and women, have been generally accepted.
His economic thought is based on the principle of compulsory education for all; equal opportunity to all children for getting education and to get work according to their Varna (capacity to work), his concept of changing heirs and sons which implies the concept of trusteeship in property.
On the basis of his ideas on philosophy, religion and metaphysics he is acclaimed to be a great seer and religious leader and the reformist movement of Hinduism (Arya Samaj) founded by him has assumed great importance. He propounded the theory of Traitawad in Metaphysics which holds that Ishwar (God), Atma (Soul) and Prakriti (Matter) are the three etemals. This theory was an answer to the criticism heaped on the philosophy of Vedanta which did not recognise the existence of soul apart from Brahma. He led a crusade against all unvedic religions in order to establish the superiority of the true Vedic dharma.
He is recognised as the pioneer of Indian national movement as he was the first to put forth the ideals of nationalism, Swarajya and Swadeshi. But the supreme importance of Swami Dayanand's political philosophy has not yet been realised even by his followers.
A careful study of his works like Rigvedadibhashya Bhoomika, Yajurvedabhashya and Rigvedabhashya clearly reveals that besides being a social reformer and religious leader, Swami Dayanand was a political thinker also and his contribution in this field is really important and original. In fact, he can be placed with thinkers like Manu, Shukra, Chanakya and Kamandaka as far as Indian Polity is concerned. He has put forth some original political ideas after a lapse of about twelve centuries. We find no original political thought prior to Dayanand in modem and medieval India.
In ancient times, sages of India gave attention not only to the development of philosophical, metaphysical and religious thought, but also developed sciences related to worldly prosperity and materialistic welfare of the people. Such sciences were known as Arthashastra, Dandaniti, Rajadharma and Nitishastra. In Arthashastra by Chanakya (about 350 B.C.), we find mention of several names of the propounders of these sciences, such as Bharadwaj, Vishalaksha, Parashar, Pishun, Kaunapadant, Vatavyadhi, Bahudantiputra, Katyayan, etc. But unfortunately their works are not available today. The important works on political thought and art of administration that are available now are Arthashastra by Chanakya, Shukranitisara by Shukracharya 1 , Shanti Parva of Mahabharata and Manusmriti by Manu. Yajnavalkyasmriti by Yajnavalkya and Nitisara by Kamandaka.
But the remarkable fact is that all original works 'realting to Rajaniti or Arthashastra belong to the period prior to 7th Century A.D. In medieval India, i.e., after Harsha Vardhan no work concerning Rajaniti comparable in originality to Arthashastra was produced.
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