Decay of Indian philosophy -|- Educational Philosophy Theory

Decay of Indian philosophy

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The advent of colonialism had the effect of throwing back the development of Indian philosophy. On the whole, the progress of philosophy in the 18th and 19th centuries was not noteworthy, and lagged behind the development of social and political awareness, linked to the national awakening and the commencement of the struggle for national liberation. The dominant influence in the newly founded universities was, naturally, the empiricist, utilitarian, and agnostic philosophies imported from England, along with other shoddy products of Victorian Britain. The Indian intellectual was fed on the thin gruel of John Stuart Mill, Jeremy Bentham, and Herbert Spencer in order to addle their brains and ensure they did not read more subversive material. There were reactions against, usually of a conservative-mystical character like the Brahmo (Brahma) Samaj movement founded by Rammohan Ray and, toward the later decades of the century, the great saint Ramakrishna Paramahamsa of Calcutta. This reflected mere impotence in the face of Western domination, nothing more. Others played with Kant and Hegel, but without any substantial result. Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore made noises that sometimes sounded vaguely philosophical, but the degenerate Indian bourgeoisie was no more capable of producing independent thought than it was of leading a fight for genuine independence from British imperialism.

At the present day, more than fifty years after the declaration of Independence, India and Pakistan are more enslaved to imperialism than in the days of the Raj. The domination of imperialism is not nowadays realised through direct military-bureaucratic rule, but through the mechanism of the world market and the terms of trade, whereby more labour is exchanged for less. The enslavement is none the less for that. Fifty years later, the Indian and Pakistan bourgeoisies stand condemned before history. They have not realised a single one of the tasks of the bourgeois-democratic revolution. They have not solved the agrarian problem. They have not modernised society. They have not solved the national problem. The Indian bourgeoisie has not even been capable of abolishing that atrocious relic of barbarism, the caste system. Above all, they have not got real independence at all.

And now society must pay the price for the rottenness and incapacity of the bourgeoisie. What an irony! Gandhi, Nehru, and the other leaders of Congress regarded themselves as secular, even socialists. Now, fifty years later, the monstrous head of Hindu chauvinism and communalism is being raised in India. This is the revenge of history, its final verdict on decades of rule by Congress. And a similar situation exists in Pakistan, where the dark forces of Islamic fundamentalism are threatening to tear apart the fabric of society. These reactionaries, in claiming the unique right to "defend" their own religion and culture, in fact do irreparable damage to both. Yet a study of the history of Islam shows that its greatest achievements were attained in periods of religious tolerance and freedom, whereas the so-called fundamentalists have caused nothing but harm to the Islamic world.

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