Part of a series on
Hindu politics

Major parties

Bharatiya Janata Party
Shiv Sena

Defunct parties

Hindu Mahasabha
Bharatiya Jana Sangh
Ram Rajya Parishad


Integral humanism
Hindu nationalism
Uniform civil code

Major figures

Bal Gangadhar Tilak
Vinayak Damodar Savarkar
Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar
Syama Prasad Mookerjee
Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Lal Krishna Advani
Bal Thackeray
Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya

Related authors

Vishal Agarwal
B.C. Chattopadhyay
Koenraad Elst
Francois Gautier
Sita Ram Goel
K.S. Lal
Harsh Narain
Yvette Rosser
Arun Shourie
Ram Swarup

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Integral humanism is the political philosophy practised by the Bharatiya Janata Party and the former Bharatiya Jana Sangh of India. It was first propounded by Deendayal Upadhyaya. It is used by most Hindutva organizations.[1]

Concept, in the 1960s

In their book The Brotherhood in Saffron: The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Hindu Revivalism, authors Walter K. Andersen and Shridhar D. Damle suggest that integral humanism as a concept was forged in the early 1960s, when the Jana Sangh had electoral understandings with other parties and the leadership of the party "was under some pressure to formulate a set of principles that would distinguish the Jana Sangh from other political parties."

Andersen and Damle argue that the Jana Sangh's senior party leaders met in the late 1950s, with the goal of considering an ideological statement. But, finally, as it emerged, the party remained without such a statement until Deendayal Upadhyaya set out his own views on Integral Humanism.

"Pre-occupation with materialism"

Upadhyaya has argued that Western political philosophies are not acceptable as a blueprint for society because of their "preoccupation" with materialism, and their overall over-looking of the social well-being of the individual. He saw both capitalism and socialism as essentially flawed—stimulating as they do greed, class antagonisms, exploitation and social anarchy.

His proposal was an "integral" approach that attempts to create a harmonious society. This could be done, he argued, by satisfying the needs of the body (hunger, shelter), the mind (traditions), intelligence (reforms), and the soul (common aspirations of a people that shape their unique culture).

Upadhyaya said that each nation creates institutions to satisfy needs, and these much be reshaped so that the group solidarity could be sustained and maintained under changing circumstances. He argues that Indian tradition builds on the social nature of people and obliges them to create institutions meant to enhance social solidarity. Advaita vedanta, or the principle of recongnising ourselves in all life, is seen as the philosophic underpinning of this view.


Template:Humanism A critique of integral humanism calls it a theory penned in an "ambiguous tone" which lacks clear definitions of the terms used, and lacking to "clearly defining terms". It has also been criticised for using the "common defence (of) evasion", and "sidestepping the main problems facing the author of a new philosophy", apart from not clearing "the air about fundamental questions". This theory quotes passages from the Indian religious text, The Ramayana, The Mahabharata and the Vedas. This critique also says that examples have been "lifted out of context" to claim the "stamp of authority of the sacred texts".

Pledge for party members

According to the membership form of the Bharatiya Janata Party (2003-2008), anyone seeking primary membership of the party has to pledge that he or she "believe in Integral Humanism which is the basic philosophy of the [[Bharatiya Janata Party," apart from also pledging commitment to nationalism, national integration, democracy, Gandhian Socialism, positive secularism (Sarva Dharma Sama Bhava), value-based politics, among other issues.

Changes, during the BJP era

Around 1980, the then newly-formed Bharatiya Janata Party adopted Gandhian Socialism rather than the Deendayal Upadhyaya-crafted principles of Integral Humanism, as the party's statement of first principles. But the BJP gave a honoured place to Upadhyaya's ideological statement as well.

At its July 1985 national executive session however, Integral Humanism once again replaced Gandhian Socialism as the Bharatiya Janata Party's philosophy. But the BJP's economic policy remained the same substantially.

Parallels elsewhere

Jacques Maritain, the French Catholic philosopher and author of over 60 books, has also advocated what he called "Integral Humanism". He argued that secular forms of humanism were inevitably anti-human in that they refused to recognize the whole person. Once the spiritual dimension of human nature is rejected, Maritain has argued that we no longer have an integral, but merely partial, humanism, one which rejects a fundamental aspect of the human person. Accordingly, in Integral Humanism he explores the prospects for a new Christendom, rooted in his philosophical pluralism, in order to find ways Christianity could inform political discourse and policy in a pluralistic age. In this account he develops a theory of cooperation, to show how people of different intellectual positions can nevertheless cooperate to achieve common practical aims. Maritain's political theory was extremely influential, and was a primary source behind the Christian Democratic movement.



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