INDIAN IDEA OF FREEDOM
Political Thought of Swami Vivekananda, Aurobindo Ghose, Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore
Prof. Dennis Gilmore Dalton
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© Dennis Gilmore Dalton 1982
This eBook is concerned with the development of the idea of freedom in modern India, particularly in the political and social thought of four major Indian writers, Swami Vivekananda, Aurobindo Ghose, Gandhi, and Rabindranath Tagore. Three major areas of discussion may be distinguished here.
First, there is a consideration of the common ground on which these four thinkers stand. It is argued that they comprise a "school" of modern Indian thought, both because of the purpose that they share, and the fundamental principles on which they all agree. Chief among these principles is that concerning the nature of freedom. Two broad forms of freedom are distinguished: "external" (political and social), and "internal" (moral and spiritual). These two forms are seen as complementary; as corresponding qualities which must both be achieved for freedom to be wholly realised.
Second, the background of the school's thought is briefly discussed. Certain key themes in the writings of prominent nineteenth-century Indian figures are examined, to suggest the nature of the climate of opinion out of which Vivekananda's conception of freedom emerged.
Finally, the greater part of the eBook is devoted to an analysis of precisely what these four men thought about freedom, and how one of them, Gandhi, carried on experiments with his ideas in Indian society and politics. It is argued that while all the members of this school agree on fundamental issues, each made a distinctive contribution to the development of the idea of freedom. Vivekananda's contribution arises in the synthesis that he created of various strands of nineteenth-century Indian thought, and which he used in his formulation of a particular conception of freedom. The major aspects of this conception were developed by the other thinkers, each adding new dimensions.
Professor Dennis Dalton – Professor of Political Science at Barnard College, Columbia University; Education: Ph.D., University of London, 1965, Dissertation: "The Idea of Freedom in the Political Thought of Vivekananda, Aurobindo and Tagore."; M.A., University of Chicago, 1962; B.A., Rutgers University, 1960
Senior Fulbright Scholarship for Research and Teaching in Nepal, 1994-95
Ann Whitney Olin Senior Award for Teaching and Research, 1989-94
Emily Gregory Award for Distinguished Teaching, Barnard College, 1978
American Council of Learned Societies grant for research in South Africa, August 1975
American Philosophical Institute grant for research in India, January-July 1975
American Council of Learned Societies grant for research at the India Office Library, London, England, June-August 1972