Lala Lajpat Rai’s Classification of Nationalism: Can It Help Us to Understand Contemporary Nationalist Movements?

Sophia 57 (3):363-374 (2018)

Jay Garfield
Smith College
Nalini Bhushan
Smith College
India has been independent for 70 years now, and it is a good time to reflect on the political philosophy that underwrote the movement that gained that independence. When we do so, we discover the origins of a political vocabulary that is still in use today, although sadly not used with the same rigor and precision with which it was used then. We also find that those who recur to Indian political thought from the pre-independence period tend to return to a single strand of that thought—the theorization of ahimsa by Mohandas K. Gandhi, as for instance in the recent essay on Indian political thought in The New York Times by Gopalkrishna Gandhi. In this discussion, we hope to draw attention to some of the less well-known resources offered by pre-independence Indian philosophy and in particular the political thought of the Arya samaji Congressman, philosopher and political activist, Lajpat Rai. His political philosophy is important for understanding the theorization of and debates within the Indian independence movement; we think that it also suggests ways to think about contemporary political and revolutionary movements and merits consideration in current debates in political philosophy.
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DOI 10.1007/s11841-018-0672-7
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