The tradition of political thought in India is very long and rich. Since time immemorial, sages and seers have not only grappled with abstruse metaphysical issues, they have been equally concerned about the temporal matters. Elaborate treatise have been written on theoretical and organisational aspects of socio-political life, and a galaxy of thinkers like Manu, Sukra, Bhisma, Kautilya and Kamandaka have pondered over the intricate issues relating to the political order.
But political thought in India represents both continuity and discontinuity. The political thought of the 19th century is representative more of discontinuity as we find a long and living tradition suddenly growing thin and new and alien winds blowing the Indian firmament. However, there is re-assertion of the ancient ideals as well. Tilak and Aurobindo give superb exposition of Indian theory of politics. Vivekananda is a leading example and most powerful exponent of `preservation by reconstruction'.
Thinkers like Nehru, Subhas Bose, Narendra Dev, Ram Manohar Lohia and Jaya Prakash Narayan were busy fashioning an Indian brand of socialism. Besides, thinkers like Jyotirao Phule, B. R. Ambedkar, Ramaswamy Naicker raised issues regarding the Indian social system and vehemently attacked the Varna system. The general trend in the Indian universities is to go by the secondary sources and the students are particularly tempted to this approach. This trend is not just unfortunate but scandalous.
Original texts take us to the intellectual mansion of a philosopher, making visible and intelligible every nook and corner, and we come to understand how the various parts of the edifice are structured and related, and what they are intended to serve. It takes up some important texts of a thinker and provides a backdrop to his thinking. The present book is a humble effort to check the trend and restore the dignity and prestige of the tradition of political thought in India.