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Updated: March 29, 2013 13:16 IST

‘Ranade backed equality to bolster democracy’

Staff Correspondent
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Professor Valerian Rodrigues speaks at a conference in Mangalore University on Thursday. Photo: H.S. Manjunath
Professor Valerian Rodrigues speaks at a conference in Mangalore University on Thursday. Photo: H.S. Manjunath

Rodrigues says Ranade distanced from Advaita, Buddhism

For scholar and social reformer Mahadev Govind Ranade, Bhakthi movement was an important signpost of the idea of nation in India, said Valerian Rodrigues, Professor, Centre for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Delivering a lecture on ‘Bhakthi and Idea of Indian Nation in Ranade’ on Thursday, Mr. Rodrigues said Ranade saw in Bhakthi movement the residual strength of civilisation, primarily Brahminical, which had suffered several ups and downs.

Through his writings, Ranade showed his opposition to those who sought political power without preparing the nation to exercise that power. Ranade distanced himself from Advaita and Buddhism.

Ranade advanced the concept of equality that flourished democracy. However, Mr. Rodrigues said he had some problems with Ranade’s writings such as his failure to address untouchability. His writings understate the extent of participation of untouchables. Much of Ranade’s argument for social reform eventually boils down to reforming upper castes, he said.

Speaking on ‘Bhakthi Movement or Bhakthi Network’, John Stratton Hawley, Professor, the Department of Religion, Columbia University, expressed the need to consider Bhakthi a network rather than a movement. Giving details of the process by the means of which the idea of pan-Indian Bhakthi Movement came to be accepted, Mr. Hawley said there were questions over the belief that the movement came from the South to the North of India.

Deepak Sarma, Professor, the Department of Religious Studies, Case Western Reserve University, spoke about the role of Madhva Vedanta played in invention, and maintenance of a pan-Indian Bhakthi community. The presentations were a part of the four-day meet on ‘Rethinking Bhakthi’ organised by the Kanakadasa Adhyayana Peetha and the Kanakadasa Research Centre.

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