India: Mother of Democracy

The book titled “India: Mother of Democracy” was released by Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan recently.

About the book

  • The book “India: the mother of democracy” aims to showcase the democratic ethos of India since the ancient times.
  • It was released by the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR).
  • This academic book has 30 articles written by 30 different authors.
  • It traces the democratic history of India from the times of Harappan civilization.
  • It has 6 parts:
  1. Archaeology, literature, numismatics and epigraphy
  2. Gana, Mahajanapada, Rajya: a legacy of ‘Loktantra’
  3. Bhakti and sampraday: visualising democratic traditions
  4. The blossoming of democratic ‘Ism’s: Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism
  5. The idea of ‘Loka’: Janjati and Khap
  6. Tracing the ethos of democracy: humanity and colonialism
  • The authors of this book include the renowned archaeologist Vasant Shinde, Professor Rajiv Lochan of Panjab University, Professor Jigar Mohammad of Jammu University and Professor Veenu Pant of Sikkim University.
  • The book begins with the article on the Harappan civilisation, the first to have a democratic system in the world.
  • It also includes sections on janjati and khaps to remove misconceptions about their democratic traditions. The Khaps, representing clans, became infamous in the recent years because of their orthodoxy and patriarchy.
  • The themes of other chapters are “temple establishment functioning in democratic way”, “democratic tradition among the tribes of North East India”, and principles of democracy in ancient Sanskrit scriptures based on Śruti, Smṛti, Itihasa and Mahakavya.
  • The book illustrated the role of temples as banks, granaries and places of discourse. Therefore, these places of worship functioned in a proper democratic way.

Concept Note on “India: Mother of Democracy”

The University Grants Commission and the ICHR have shared the concept note on “India: the mother of democracy” with all universities and directed them to organize lectures on the same theme on the occasion of Constitution Day (November 26). This concept note became controversial as it was seen to be advocating for the negation of constitutional requirement of democratic consultation with the elected state governments and creating a Hindu supremacist narrative.

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