Integral Humanism

Integral Humanism was given by Deen Dayal Upadhyaya. He proposed this concept to give independent India an ideological basis on which nation-building into One India can be done. Integral humanism, coined by Deendayal Upadhyaya, means that the human being is at the core position of the social, political, and economic model.
  • It is opposed to both Western liberalism and Marxian socialism which it views as materialistic ideologies incapable of dealing with native problems. According to Upadhyaya, the four ingredients of an individual are the body, mind, intelligence, and soul. All of them were integrated. These four corresponded to the four universal objectives of dharma (moral duties), Artha (wealth), kama (desire or satisfaction), and moksha (total liberation or 'salvation').
  • He pointed out that the confusion that had arisen in the West was because the Westerners had treated each of the ingredients of human beings separately and without any relation to the rest. While the parameters for material success and development emerged in the background of the industrial and technological revolutions, they laid an undue emphasis on evaluating the world in a segmental outside-in manner. An integral understanding of life is, instead, holistic. For example, a medical model of health may be restricted to its biological needs, while an integrated understanding of human life comprises of body, mind, intellect, and soul. The practice of yoga is an example of going back to this integrated view.UPSC Prelims 2024 dynamic test series
  • Upadhyaya rejected social systems in which individualism 'reigned supreme'. He also rejected communism in which individualism was 'crushed' as part of a 'large heartless machine'. Society, according to Upadhyaya, rather than arising from a social contract between individuals, was fully born at its inception itself as a natural living organism with a definitive 'national soul' or 'ethos' and its needs of the social organism paralleled those of the individual.
  • The principles of Integral Humanism offer a non-dualistic prism for perceiving the world we live in and acting upon the fundamental unity of humankind — an outlook that offers powerful solutions for political, social, and economic cooperation across the world. Such relevance can be seen as follows:

Relevance in contemporary times:

  • Climate issues: Integral Humanism proposes harmony between man, nature, and spirit. This is reflected in SDG Goal 13 on climate action. Integral Ecology takes us back to the age-old wisdom of interdependence with nature. Rejecting the difference between human, animal, and plant forms, an integral framework treats the environment as a global good, making environmental protection the shared responsibility of all humanity. "Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam", a Sanskrit shloka meaning the entire world is my family, reiterates the Advaita thought on how each one of us across the globe is intrinsically connected both in our challenges and opportunities.
  • Harmony: The concept of Satya and Purushartha encourages actions while unattached to fruits. It encourages brotherhood and discourages enmity among people, nations, and sub-national units. Such principles are significant in ideas like peace, justice and strong institutions (SDG Goal 16), cooperative federalism and panchsheel. The idea of oneness amongst people of all races, castes, creeds, geographies, and genders is fundamental to the interpretation of integral frameworks in the international context. Perfectly compliant with the modern notions of democracy and the UN, the integral doctrine is perhaps the oldest framework for human rights.
  • Culture: According to these ideas, suppression of natural desires will make humans pervert. Natural food, music, paintings, and other arts are necessary to carry forward civilization. These are crucial today to preserve and propagate the diversity of cultures in a more connected world.
  • Governance: A middle path is suggested in the concept of Artha which encourages neither too harsh policies nor too soft on violators. These can form the basis for good governance, economic reforms, corporate governance, and security doctrines in India.
Fighting against corruption: According to integral humanism, honesty is not a matter of policy, but principle. This is a need of the hour to make governance more transparent, our leaders and bureaucrats more accountable and usher in significant electoral reforms.
  • Global order: In the context of international relations, this doctrine is not "utilitarian", nor does it promote the progress of one nation at the cost of another. In this worldview, identifying with both one's nation and the rest of humanity becomes the basis of peaceful co-existence. Most importantly, this idea of collectivity is not antagonistic to "nation first" thinking. Integral Internationalism is the perfect balance between the need to defend your nation against violent threats while simultaneously contributing to international security.
  • Reducing inequality: Wealth must be created and redistributed. These concepts are implemented through taxation, MGNREGA, and other social schemes for vulnerable sections of society. Integral Humanism accords equal rights to all by the intrinsic unity in life forms. This template is not only democratic but goes a step further in promoting the case for social justice and equal opportunity for even the last man standing, namely, "Antyodaya".
Integral humanism builds on organic thought, where it imagines an Indian nation, which is guided by common principles of moral order. A nation, where all citizens identify themselves as a part of the same Indian ethos, where we modernize but do not Westernise, where we have individual economic liberty but that which is coupled with a social safety net, and lastly, where we transcend group consciousness as members of different religious and social communities to develop a common national consciousness.

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