Metaphysics – The What Aspect

Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A(Socio, Phil) B.Se. M. Ed, Ph.D

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee, India

“Dubito ergo cogito; cogito ergo sum.”

( I doubt, therefore I think; I think therefore I am )

Rene Descartes

French Mathematician, Philosopher and Scientist

Philosophy is the systematic inquiry into the principles and presuppositions of any field of study.  From a psychological point of view, philosophy is an attitude, an approach, or a calling to answer or to ask, or even to comment upon certain peculiar problems.  Philosophy is a persistent attempt to gain insight into the nature of the world and of ourselves by means of systematic reflection.

Philosophy starts with bewilderment, astonishment, amazement about the world, life, and ourselves. Philosophy arises from the workings of an inquisitive mind which is bewildered by seemingly common things or by those that appear to be entirely impractical. It emerges out of readiness to follow the call of human intellectual curiosity beyond common sense acquaintanceship with the world

Philosophy does not stay by pure bewilderment and amazement. Philosophers articulate their initial amazement by formulating questions (mostly what- and why-questions and what ought to be) that guide their curiosity toward comprehension of the problem.

“The great virtue of philosophy is that it teaches not what to think, but how to think. It is the study of meaning, of the principles underlying conduct, thought and knowledge. The skills  are the ability to analyze, to question orthodoxies and to express things clearly

When we speak of philosophy we use a term which may be viewed in two senses. The first of  these is that of  the word itself which literally means  “ love of wisdom” .But to love wisdom does not necessarily make one a philosopher .Today, we think of philosophy in a more limited sense as man’s attempt to give meaning to his existence through the continued search for a comprehensive and consistent answer to basic problems .It is this second sense of the word which makes the philosopher an active person; one who seeks answers, rather than one who simply sits around engaging in idle and frivolous speculation. Nowadays, most philosophers are actively concerned with life. THEY SEEK ANSWERS TO BASIC PROBLEMS. Thus we find that philosophers are doing as well as thinking, and it is their thinking which guides their doing .What they do is rooted in the search for answers to certain types of problems and the tentative answers they have formulated.

Philosophy is a persistent attempt to gain insight into the nature of the world and of ourselves by means of systematic reflection. The three great problems of philosophy are the problems of reality, knowledge, and value-Philosophy deals with these in three aspects. The three great problems of philosophy are the problems of reality, knowledge, and value-

This way philosophy deals with three basic areas

  1. .Area related with what aspect ,it is METAPHYSICS
  2. .Area related with how aspect ,it is EPISTOMOLOGY
  3. Area related with what ought to be aspect, it is AXIOLOGY


Metaphysics: The Study of Reality

Metaphysics (derived from the Greek words “ta meta ta physika biblia”) – meaning ‘the book that follows the physics book’. Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that goes beyond the realms of science and is    concerned with the study of “first principles” and “being” . Meta means above; this is the study of the nature of things above physics.(What comes after Physics) Metaphysics covers the kinds of things most people probably think of if asked what philosophy covers

Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that goes beyond the realms of science. It is concerned with answering the questions about identity and the world. The name is derived from the Greek words, Meta which means beyond or after, and Physika which means physics. Aristotle, one of the most well-known philosophers, acknowledged Thales as the first known meta physician. The main branches of metaphysics are ontology, natural theology and universal science.

In popular parlance, metaphysics has become the label for the study of things which transcend the natural world — that is, things which supposedly exist separately from nature and which have a more intrinsic reality than our natural existence. As a result, the popular sense of metaphysics has been the study of any question about reality which cannot be answered by scientific observation and experimentation.

The branch of philosophy which deals with the problem of reality what is the nature of the universe in which we live? Or in the last analysis, what is real? Is termed as Metaphysics Metaphysics as a disicpline was a central part of academic inquiry and scholarly education even before the age of Aristotle, who considered it “the Queen of Sciences.” Its issues were considered no less important than the other main formal subjects of physical science, medicine, mathematics, poetics and music. Since the beginning of modern philosophy during the seventeenth century, problems that were not originally considered within the bounds of metaphysics have been added to its purview, while other problems considered metaphysical for centuries are now typically subjects of their own separate regions in philosophy,.

In popular parlance, metaphysics has become the label for the study of things which transcend the natural world — that is, things which supposedly exist separately from nature and which have a more intrinsic reality than our natural existence. This assigns a sense to the Greek prefix meta which it did not originally have, but words do change over time. As a result, the popular sense of metaphysics has been the study of any question about reality which cannot be answered by scientific observation and experimentation.

Questions Asked in Metaphysics:

  • Do abstract concepts (like numbers) really exist?
  • Does Free Will exist?
  • Is there such a process as cause and effect?
  • What is out there?
  • What is reality?

Branches of Metaphysics:

Metaphysics covers  those ‘big questions’, such as, is there God, why are we here, what is the ultimate nature of the universe, and so on. Another important area of metaphysics is the nature of substance, that is, what is the universe really made of,

Aristotle’s book on metaphysics was divided into three sections: ontology, theology, and universal science.

Theology, of course, is the study of gods — does a god exist, what a god is, what a god wants, etc.

“Universal science” is a bit harder to understand, but it involves the search for “first principles” — things like the origin of the universe, fundamental laws of logic and reasoning, etc.


Because of this, these are the three traditional branches of metaphysical inquiry there, what are its properties, etc.


The word is derived from the Greek terms on, which means “reality” and logos, which means “study of.”

Ontology deals with the study of the nature of reality: what is it, how many “realities” are. Ontology is the branch of philosophy which deals with the study of the nature of reality: what is it, how many “realities” are there, what are its properties, etc. The word is derived from the Greek terms on, which means “reality” and logos, which means “study of.” Atheists generally believe that there is a single reality which is material and natural in nature.

Ontology features in the Samkhya school of Hindu philosophy from the first millennium BCE. The concept of guṇa which describes the three properties (sattva, rajas and tamas) present in differing proportions in all existing things, is a notable concept of this school.

It is the theory of reality, the inquiry into what is real as opposed to what is appearance, either conceived as that which the methods of science presuppose, or that with which the methods of science are concerned; the inquiry into the first principles of nature; the study of the most fundamental generalizations as to what exists, and the meaning of existence as such. and the questions relating,

  • Space-time or Nature as identical with existence.  to explain reality in terms of  matter or physical energy. (e.g., naturalism and physical realism).
  • Explanation regarding Spirit or God as identical with existence. To explain Existence in terms of Mind or Spirit, or to be dependent upon Mind or Spirit. (Especially true of idealism.)
  • To evaluate Existence as a category and its  validity. As held by those, especially the pragmatists, who insist that everything is flux or change and there is nothing which fits into the category of existence in any ultimate sense.

Types of Ontology

Philosophers can classify ontologies in various ways, using criteria such as the degree of abstraction and field of application:

  • Domain ontology: concepts relevant to a particular topic, domain of discourse, or area of interest, for example, to information technology or to computer languages, or to particular branches of science
  • Interface ontology: concepts relevant to the juncture of two disciplines
  • Process ontology: inputs, outputs, constraints, sequencing information, involved in business or engineering processes
  • Upper ontology: concepts supporting development of an ontology, meta-ontology


The word “theology” comes from two Greek words that combined mean “the study of God.” Theology is derived from the Greek theologia (θεολογία), which derived from Τheos (Θεός), meaning “God“, and -logia (-λογία),[4][5]meaning “utterances, sayings, or oracles” (a word related to logos [λόγος], meaning “word, discourse, account, or reasoning“) which had passed into Latin as theologia and into French as théologie. The English equivalent “theology” (Theologie, Teologye) had evolved by 1362.[6] The sense the word has in English depends in large part on the sense the Latin and Greek equivalents had acquired in patristic and medieval Christian usage, although the English term has now spread beyond Christian contexts.

Augustine of Hippo defined the Latin equivalent, theologia, as “reasoning or discussion concerning the Deity”;[7] Richard Hooker defined “theology” in English as “the science of things divine.

Theology is the study of deities or their scriptures in order to discover what they have revealed about themselves. Theology, of course, is the study of gods — does a god exist, what a god is, what a god wants, etc. Every religion has its own theology because its study of gods, if it includes any gods, will proceed from specific doctrines and traditions which vary from one religion to the next. Since atheists don’t accept the existence of any gods, they don’t accept that theology is the study of anything real. At most, it might be the study of what people think is real and atheist involvement in theology proceeds more from the perspective of a critical outsider rather than an involved member.

search for “first principles” — things like the origin of the universe, fundamental laws of logic and reasoning, etc. For theists, the answer to this is almost always “god” and, moreover, they tend to argue that there can be no other possible answer. Some even go far as to argue that the existence of things like logic and the universe constitute evidence of the existence of their god.

Universal science-

niversal science (GermanUniversalwissenschaft; Latinscientia generalis, scientia universalis) is a branch of metaphysics. In the work of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, the universal science is the true logic. Plato‘s system of idealism, formulated using the teachings of Socrates, is a predecessor to the concept of universal science. It emphasizes on the first principles which appear to be the reasoning behind everything, emerging and being in state with everything.

The branch of “universal science” is a bit harder to understand, but it involves the search for “first principles” — things like the origin of the universe, fundamental laws of logic and reasoning, etc. For theists, the answer to this is almost always “god” and, moreover, they tend to argue that there can be no other possible answer. Some even go far as to argue that the existence of things like logic and the universe constitute evidence of the existence of their god

Originally, the idea of Universal Science came from Plato’s system of idealism, formulated using the teachings of Socrates.  it -  moves beyond the compartmentalization of standard science, and seeks to provide a bigger picture, even a complete picture, of the cosmos and all it’s component realities.  As such Unified Science tends towards grand theories of metaphysics, and estoteric world- views.  It would however be simplistic and incorrect to call theories of universal science ” esoteric” and conventional science ” exoteric”.  Rather universal paradigms of science are more strongly intuitive based, and in many cases are science-inspired systems of metaphysics.

Theories of Metaphysics-

Theories of the nature of reality-

( Cosmology )

Theories of the nature of the cosmos and explanations of its origin and development. It deals with the origin and structure of the universe. It accepts the principles of science and attempts to find the principles of existence, in whatever form they may take.

Some considerations in cosmology are:


a . Causality.

The nature of cause and effect relationship,  the nature of time and the nature of space. Causality (also referred to as causation, or cause and effect) is what connects one process (the cause) with another process or state (the effect),[ where the first is partly responsible for the second, and the second is partly dependent on the first. In general, a process has many causes,[2] which are said to be causal factors for it, and all lie in its past. An effect can in turn be a cause of, or causal factor for, many other effects, which all lie in its future. Multiple philosophers have believed that causality is metaphysically prior to notions of time and space.

Causality is an abstraction that indicates how the world progresses, so basic a concept that it is more apt as an explanation of other concepts of progression than as something to be explained by others more basic.

b Evolutionism

Universe evolved by itself.  ”Evolutionism” means different things to different people. Evolutionism describes the belief in the evolution of organisms. Its exact meaning has changed over time as the study of evolution has progressed. In the 19th century, it was used to describe the belief that organisms deliberately improved themselves through progressive inherited change.

c .Creationism. The universe came to be as the result of the working of a creative cause or Personality. A doctrine or theory holding that matter, the various forms of life, and the world were created by God out of nothing and usually in the way described in Genesis.

Theories of nature of man as one important aspect of Reality.

The problem of essential nature of the self. There are no particular terms but there are divergent answers which can be identified with general viewpoints.

  1. The self is a soul, a spiritual being. A principle of idealism and spiritual realism
  2. The self is essentially the same as the body. A principle of naturalism and physical realism
  1. The self is a social-vocal phenomenon. A principle held especially by experimentalists

Theories of Problem of the Relation of Body and Mind



Mind and body are 2 different kind of reality, each of which can affect the other. Interactionism or interactionist dualism is the theory in the philosophy of mind which holds that matter and mind are two distinct and independent substances that exert causal effects on one another. Interactionism is a dualist position in the philosophy of mind which argues that

(1) mind and body are separate, but that

(2) there is causal interaction between the two. Cartesian dualism, the position of René Descartes is the most famous example of interactionism.


Mind and body are two different kinds of reality which do not and cannot affect each other. But in some unknown way, every mental event is paralleled by a corresponding physical event. parallelism (or simply parallelism) is the theory that mental and bodily events are perfectly coordinated, without any causal interaction between them. Parallelism, or psychophysical parallelism (meaning that mind and body are parallel) is a form of dualism which denies any interaction between mind and body.

Parallelism is a difficult position to hold, since it does little to account for the fact that the brain and mind seem to regularly interact, and that changes in one appear to affect the other. If the two are separate substances in a dualist view, then the idea that there is no causality between them, yet obvious changes in both simultaneously, seems counter-intuitive. For this reason it is not a commmonly held belief, but merely a presentation of the third possibility, the others being two-way interaction (as in interactionism) and one-way interaction, as in most forms of physicalism.


Mind is merely a function of the brain, an overtone accompanying bodily activity. It is an onlooker at events, never influencing them.  Epiphenomenalism is a position in the philosophy of mind according to which mental states or events are caused by physical states or events in the brain but do not themselves cause anything. Epiphenomenalism is a theory concerning the relation between the mental and physical realms, regarded as radically different in nature. The theory holds that only physical states have causal power, and that mental states are completely dependent on them. The mental realm, for epiphenomenalists, is nothing more than a series of conscious states which signify the occurrence of states of the nervous system, but which play no causal role.

Double Aspect Theory.

Double-aspect theory, also called dual-aspect theory, type of mind-body monism. According to double-aspect theory, the mental and the material are different aspects or attributes of a unitary reality, which itself is neither mental nor material. Mind and body are two aspects of a fundamental reality whose nature is unknown. In the philosophy of mind, double-aspect theory is the view that the mental and the physical are two aspects of, or perspectives on, the same substance.

Emergence Theory.

Mind is something new which has been produced by Nature in the evolutionary process, neither identical with body, parallel to it, nor wholly dependent upon it. The basic idea of emergence is that there are properties – perhaps even “laws” – at the upper hierarchical levels of nature that are not derivable from or reducible to the properties and laws of the lower levels. The most central concept in this new emergentism is irreducibility. The idea is that although mental properties depend on physical properties and supervene on them, they can never be reduced to them.


Spiritualism is a philosophy that attempts to understand people, their physical, intellectual, moral, and spiritual being. As Spirit is the moving force of the Universe, so Spiritualist philosophy embraces the whole realm of nature.   (A definition common to most idealists and spiritual realists.) Mind is more fundamental than body. The relation of body and mind is better described as body depending upon mind, as compared to the common-sense description according to which mind depends upon body. Spiritualism. Spiritualism, in philosophy, a characteristic of any system of thought that affirms the existence of immaterial reality imperceptible to the senses.

Theories of problem of freedom


Man is not free. All of his actions are determined by forces greater than he is. Determinism, in philosophy, theory that all events, including moral choices, are completely determined by previously existing causes.  The theory holds that the universe is utterly rational because complete knowledge of any given situation assures that unerring knowledge of its future is also possible.

Free Will.

Man has the power of choice and is capable of genuine initiative.  Free will is the ability to choose between different possible courses of action unimpeded. Free will is closely linked to the concepts of responsibility, praise, guilt, sin, and other judgements which apply only to actions that are freely chosen. It is also connected with the concepts of advice, persuasion, deliberation, and prohibition. Traditionally, only actions that are freely willed are seen as deserving credit or blame. There are numerous different concerns about threats to the possibility of free will, varying by how exactly it is conceived, which is a matter of some debate.

Third alternative

There is a third alternative proposed especially by the experimentalists, for which there is no name. Man is neither free nor determined; but he can and does delay some of his responses long enough to reconstruct a total response, not completely automatic but not free, which does give a new direction to subsequent activity. n any conflict, the 1st Alternative is my way, and the 2nd Alternative is your way. The usual outcomes are either a war or a compromise. Compromise stops the fight — but without breaking through to amazing new results. A 3rd Alternative is that kind of breakthrough.

3rd Alternative thinking doesn’t just resolve a conflict, it transforms the conflict. It’s not about putting Band-Aids on the old reality, it’s about creating a new reality. With a compromise we all lose something, but with a 3rd Alternative we all win.

Theories  Regarding Conception of God


B. Atheism. There is no ultimate reality in or behind the cosmos which is Person or Spirit. Atheism is, in the broadest sense, the absence of belief in the existence of deities. Less broadly, atheism is the rejection of belief that any deities exist. … Atheism is contrasted with theism, which, in its most general form, is the belief that at least one deity exists.

G. Deism. God exists quite apart from, and is disinterested in, the physical universe and human beings. But He created both and is the Author of all natural and moral law. Deism is the belief in a supreme being, who remains unknowable and untouchable. God is viewed as merely the “first cause” and underlying principle of rationality in the universe. Deists believe in a god of nature — a noninterventionist creator — who permits the universe to run itself according to natural laws.

C. Pantheism.  a doctrine which identifies God with the universe, or regards the universe as a manifestation of God.

the worship or tolerance of many gods. All is God and God is all. The cosmos and God are identical. Pantheism, the doctrine that the universe conceived of as a whole is God and, conversely, that there is no God but the combined substance, forces, and laws that are manifested in the existing universe. The cognate doctrine of panentheism asserts that God includes the universe as a part though not the whole of his being.

A. The conception of God as emerging, for which there is no common name. God is evolving with the cosmos; He is the end toward which it is moving, instead of the beginning from which it came. God is affected by the pain of creatures, is genuinely responsive to their calls, acquires experiences as a result of these interactions that were not present beforehand — all ideas familiar to readers of process theology.

D. Polytheism. Spiritual reality is plural rather than a unity. There is more than one God. Polytheism is the worship of many gods.  Polytheism (from the Greek: polus, many, and theos, god) refers to belief in, or worship of, multiple gods or deities. This mode of belief is an extremely common form of religious expression. Most ancient religions involved belief in pantheons of deities ruling over various aspects of life. Further, these polytheistic beliefs remain a vital part of HinduismShintoism and many other religious traditions into the present day.

The term “polytheism” is sometimes applied to a wide variety of religious traditions with a range of divergent theological stance

E. Theism.  The term theism (from the Greek theos, or “god”) commonly refers to belief in God, the view that all finite things are dependent in some way on one supreme, self-existent reality who is typically spoken of as having personal identity Ultimate reality is a personal God who is more than the cosmos but within whom and through the cosmos exists. Theism, the view that all limited or finite things are dependent in some way on one supreme or ultimate reality of which one may also speak in personal terms.

F. Teleology.  Philosophies holding that there has been purpose in the universe from its beginning, and /or purpose can be discerned in history, are teleological philosophies. Considerations as to whether or not there is purpose in the universe. Teleology or finality is a reason or explanation for something in function of its end, purpose, or goal. It is derived from two Greek words: telos and logos. A purpose that is imposed by a human use, such as that of a fork, is called extrinsic.Philosophies holding that the world is what it is because of chance, accident, or blind mechanism are no teleological.

Theoretical  Considerations relating to the constancy, or lack of it, in reality.


Fundamental reality is constant, unchanging, fixed, and dependable


Reality is a changing thing. So called realities are always relative to something or other.

Theories Related with Problems of quantity. Consideration of the number of ultimate realities, apart from qualitative aspects.



A theory or doctrine that denies the existence of a distinction or duality in a particular sphere, such as that between matter and mind, or God and the world.The doctrine that only one supreme being exists.

Reality is unified. It is one. It is mind, or matter, or energy, or will but only one of these.


Dualism in Metaphysics is the belief that there are two kinds of reality: material (physical) and immaterial (spiritual). In Philosophy of Mind, Dualism is the position that mind and body are in some categorical way separate from each other, and that mental phenomena are, in some respects, non-physical in nature. Reality is two. Usually these realities are antithetical, as spirit and matter, good and evil. Commonly, the antithesis is weighted, so that one of the two is considered more important and more enduring than the other.

Pluralism. Pluralism is a term used in philosophy, meaning “doctrine of multiplicity”, often used in opposition to monism (“doctrine of unity”) and dualism (“doctrine of duality”). The term has different meanings in metaphysics, ontology, epistemology and logic Reality is many. minds, things, materials, energies, laws, processes, etc., all may be considered equally real and to some degree independent of each other.



  • Butler, J.Donald, Four Philosophies and Their Practice in Education and Religion. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1957
  • Cotter, A.C. ABC of Scholastic Philosophy. Weston, Massachusetts: Weston College Press, 1949
  • Maritain, Jacques,” Thomist views on Education,” Modern Philosophies of Education. National Society for the Study of Education, Fifty-Fourth yearbook, Part I. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1955.
  • Weber, Christian O., Basic Philosophies of Education. New York : Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc., 1960. This book, especially in chapters 11-
  • Broudy, Harry S., Building a Philosophy of Education. Englewood Cliffs, N.J. Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1961..
  • Frank Thilly, “A History of philosophy”, Central Publishing House, Allahabad.
  • Rusk, R.R., “Philosophical Basis of Education” p-68, footnote, London, University of London Press, 1956.


Mrs. Manjul Agarwal for being scribe for this article.



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Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A(Socio, Phil) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph.D.

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee, India

Aryabhatta and Varaha Mitra, not only adopted the Greek zodiac and its divisions, but made use of the Greek names slightly orientalised. There were many routes by which this intercom- munication of ideas, religious, artistic, and social, could have taken place. There was the well-known route by the Persian Gulf through Palmyra, a city which became so renowned that Aurelian, jealous of its wealth and power, razed it to the ground in 273 A.D., and carried off its Queen Zenobia. Arab mariners also sailed from India and the further East, keeping close to the coast till they reached Berenice in the Red Sea, whence the goods were transported to Coptos, thence down the Nile to Alexandria. Under such emperors as the cruel and dissipated Corn- modus, the plundering barbarian Caracalla, and the infamous Eleogabalus, the wealth that came from the East through Alexandria to the imperial city of Rome passed away to Constantinople, founded in 320 A.D., and to the rising cities along the Medi- terranean.
So the trade between the East and the West grew and flourished till suddenly a new power arose, claiming for itself the temporal and spiritual supre- macy over the whole known world.
From the deserts of Arabia came forth the haughty message to Christendom, that Muhammad had pro- claimed himself as the only Prophet of the One True God. To all idolaters he gave the choice between accepting his mission and teachings, and of being put to the sword ; while all Christians and Jews were to be subdued and made to pay tribute to his followers, who now came swarming from their tents, drunk with a new religious fanaticism, eager to seek fresh homes in the stately palaces of the lands they were soon to overrun.
Within the space of eight years Bostra, Damascus, Heliopolis, Jerusalem, Aleppo and Antioch fell before the Crescent, and Syria passed for the next three hundred years under the sway of the followers of Muhammad, Persia falling in 636 A.D., after the battle of Kadesia. In 640 Amru marched into Egypt and took possession of Alexandria, leaving the Arabian conquerors in command of the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf, the two great trade routes from the East. One route alone remained by which Eastern pro- duce could reach the cities of the Mediterranean free from the prohibitory dues exacted by the Muham- madan conquerors : that by the Indus along the ancient route by the banks of the Oxus, across to the Caspian, thence to the Black Sea, Constantinople, and the Mediterranean. To gain possession of this route, and to avoid the duties enforced at Alexandria, amounting to one-third the value of all produce exported, Venice, founded in 452 A.D., on the islets of the Adriatic by fugitives from North Italy, strove incessantly, knowing well that alone by a command of the Eastern trade could she rise to be mistress of the seas. To the pilgrims of the Fourth Crusade she agreed to give shipping if they would but for a time forget their holy mission and aid in reducing her rival Constantinople. The compact was made. In 1204 Constantinople fell, the rich homes of its peace- ful citizens being given over to rapine and flames, its art treasures, the finest and most prized that the world has ever known, being broken in pieces and trampled underfoot by the marauding crusaders and hired mercenaries of the merchants of Venice. Count Baldwin of Flanders was enthroned Emperor of the East, the Venetians holding the forts to gain command over the Eastern trade. Of these advantages on the Black Sea Venice was, however, soon deprived by Genoa, Pisa, and Florence — cities now eager to enter into the competition for the monopoly of the gems, spices, and silks of India sent to the further West in exchange for Easterling or sterling silver. Pisa gave up the struggle after her defeat at Meloria in 1284, and in 1406 fell subject to Florence, which, under the Medici, had become the city of bankers for all nations. Genoa fought on down to the fifteenth century when Venice again became supreme, selling the valued products of India to the Flemish mer- chants who sailed with them to Sluys, then the seaport town of Bruges, to Bergen in Norway,
Novgorod in Russia, to the many associated towns of the Hanseatic League, and also to their steel- yard or warehouse on the Thames.
In these Western cities it was known that the costly goods they so prized came from the East, but the way there was unknown. In Portugal Prince Henry the Navigator spent his life in endeavouring to discover how his ships might reach the Indies by sailing round Africa. In i486 Bartholomew Diaz went south with three ships, and discovered what he called ” The Cape of Tempests,” renamed in joy ” The Cape of Good Hope ” by King John II.
In 1492 Columbus, a Genoese, after offering his services in vain to Genoa, Portugal, and England, sailed away to the West, hoping thus to reach India, and discovered America.
When Emmanuel succeeded John II. as King of Portugal, he resolved to send a gentleman of his household, Vasco da Gama, to find out if land lay beyond the wild southern seas.
On the 8th of July, 1497, Vasco da Gama sailed from the Tagus with three small ships, the Sam Gabriel the Sam Rafael, and the Sam Miguel each of some 100 to 120 tons burden, having crews amounting in all to 170 men.
By the time Vasco da Gama rounded the Cape of Good Hope the pilots and sailors were so wearied from the incessant labour of working the pumps to keep the frail ships afloat, and so terrified by the heavy seas, that they mutinied and demanded that their leader should turn back and no further seek to brave the unknown perils of a trackless ocean. Vasco da Gama at once placed the pilots in irons, threw all the charts and instruments of navigation overboard, declaring that God would guide him, and other aid he required not ; if that aid failed, neither he nor any of the crews would ever again see Portugal. So the ships had to toil on, many of the sailors dying of scurvy, a disease now heard of for the first time in history. Their labours were at length rewarded. Eleven months after they had left home they sighted the west coast of India, and cast anchor near the city of the Zamorin, or Ruler of the Seas, whence many people came crowding to the beach, wondering greatly at the Portuguese ships.
The Zamorin and his Indian subjects were willing to open up a friendly intercourse with Vasco da Gama and his sailors, but the Arab mariners, or Moors, as they were called, who for many centuries had held in their own hands the trade between the west coast of India and the Persian Gulf, or Red Sea, were unwilling to see any rivals in their lucrative business. Having succeeded in inducing Vasco da Gama to come on shore, they carried him off on various pretexts through the malarious lagoons bor- dering the coast, hoping that he might resent their treatment and so give them some excuse to slay him and drive away his ships. By quiet patience he eluded all the plots laid against him, until his ships were laden with such scanty stores of pepper, cinnamon, and spices as his captains were able to purchase. Vasco da Gama at length obtained his release, and departed from Calicut, vowing to come back and wage a war of extermination against the Moors — a vow which he and his successors ever afterwards barbarously and ruthlessly endeavoured to fulfil. From Calicut he sailed back towards Cannanore, where we hear, as recorded by Gaspar Correa l in his account of Vasco da Gama’s voyages, of one of the many strange prophecies told in the East. It is there recorded, ” In this country of India they are much addicted to soothsayers and diviners. . . . According to what was known later, there had been in this country of Canna- nore a diviner so diabolical in whom they believed so much that they wrote down all that he said, and preserved it like prophecies that would come to pass. They held a legend from him in which it was said that the whole of India would be taken and ruled over by a very distant king, who had white people, who would do great harm to those who were not their friends ; and this was to happen a long time later, and he left signs of when it would be. In consequence of the great disturbance caused by the sight of these ships, the King was very desirous of knowing what they were ; and he spoke to his diviners, asking them to tell him what ships were those and whence they came. The diviners conversed with their devils, and told him that the ships belonged to a great king, and came from very far, and according to what they found written, these were the people who were to seize India by war and peace, as they had already told him many times, because the period which had been written down was concluded.”
The king and his counsellors were so assured of the truth of this prophecy, that they received the Portuguese with great honour and friendship, pressing on them more presents and goods than could be stored away in the ships, which were soon able to sail away with ample cargoes of pepper, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, mace, and nutmegs.
Such was the commencement of the modern history of commerce between the East and the West. Vasco da Gama reached Portugal in 1499 to the great delight of the king, who immediately assumed the title of ” Lord of the Conquest, Navigation, and Commerce of Ethiopia, Arabia, Persia, and China,” a title confirmed in 1502 by a Bull from Pope Alexander VI.
The profits of the voyage being found to be sixty times the expenses incurred, King Emmanuel deter- mined to send to the East ” another large fleet of great and strong ships which could stow much cargo, and which, if they returned in safety, would bring him untold riches.”
Vasco da Gama never forgave the Moors for their treatment of him on his first arrival at Calicut. When he visited the coast again, in 1 502, he captured two ships and sixteen small vessels, and having cut off the hands and ears and noses of eight hundred unfortunate Moors, who formed the crews, he broke their teeth with staves, placed them all in a small ship which he set on fire and allowed to drift ashore, so that the Zamorin might judge of the fierce wrath of the Portuguese sailors. No wonder the Portuguese historian writes, as recorded in the Introduction to the Hakluyt Society’s account by Correa, ” The con- quest of India is repugnant to us, and strikes us with horror, on account of the injustice and barbarity of the conquerors, their frauds, extortions and san- guinary hatreds ; whole cities ravaged and given to the flames ; amid the glare of conflagrations and the horrid lightning of artillery, soldiers converted into executioners after victory.”
The native princes were determined not to sur- render without one final struggle. Against Cochin, where Duarte Pacheco, a Portuguese captain, had been left in command of a little over one hundred Portuguese soldiers and three hundred Malabar native troops, the Zamorin of Calicut advanced at the head of an immense army of fifty thousand troops and numerous cannon, aided by a sea-force of some three hundred ships.
For five months he strove to drive the handful of Portuguese from India. Time after time his troops were defeated, ten thousand of them being slain, and all his ships sunk save four. He at length retreated, finding that his undisciplined native troops could not avail against European soldiers, and Duarte Pacheco was left victorious, the first to show to the West the possibility of founding an empire in India, and the first of the long line of heroes whose services to their country were repaid by neglect or insult, poverty or death.
Before the trade from the East finally passed to the Atlantic the Portuguese had to fight one more fight. The Sultan of Egypt, seeing that the course of commerce, through his dominions to the Medi- terranean ports, was passing to the new route round the Cape of Good Hope, resolved to gather together a great fleet and send it to India to destroy the Portuguese ships now trading at Cochin, Cannanore, and Ouilon. Dom Lourenco de Almeida, aged eighteen, son of Dom Francisco de Almeida, the first great Portuguese Viceroy of India, met the Egyptian and an allied native fleet off Chaul, where, after two days’ fighting, the Portuguese were defeated and forced to retreat.
Dom Lourenco’s ship was surrounded, and he him- self wounded. Disdaining to yield, he fell fighting amid a brave band of heroes.
With fierce wrath the Viceroy hastened to avenge the death of his son. He ravaged and burned the hostile city of Dabhol, scattered the Egyptian and allied native fleet of two hundred ships, plundering and burning them all with the exception of four, and slaying three thousand of the Moors, thus establishing the supremacy of the Portuguese in the Eastern seas. The same sad fate, allotted to so many who strove to knit together the East and the West, followed the footsteps of the first great Viceroy of India. De- prived, by orders from home, of his command, he departed from India in proud anger to meet with an ignominious death in a petty fray with some Kaffir savages at Saldanha Bay in Africa — perhaps a happy release from the slow, cankering life of neglect and contumely meted out to Pacheco, La Bourdonnais, Dupleix, Lally, Clive, Hastings, and many others who lived to be judged by their fellow- countrymen, whose fight they had fought and won.
For a century the Portuguese held the ” Gorgeous East in fee,” trading unmolested from the Cape of Good Hope to the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf, to the Spice Islands and China, their possessions along the Atlantic, in Africa and Brazil, filling up the full measure of a mighty empire destined to fall to pieces and sink to decay when the trade from the East passed from its hands.
Francisco de Almeida, the first Viceroy, saw clearly that Portugal could never establish a great colonising empire in India, that territorial possessions would prove too heavy a drain on her population and resources. His constant admonition to King Em- manuel was that the trade with India would ulti- mately fall to the nation whose forces ruled the seas.
His successors, brave and wise men as many of them were, saw but the immediate present ; they possessed not the divine gift, granted but to few of India’s early administrators, such as Almeida, Dupleix, Clive, and Hastings, of viewing all events that passed before them as mere phases in the world’s history, directed and moulded by the irresistible principles which govern the destiny of nations, and not as springing from the irresponsible actions of men or chance decision of battles.
Alfonso de Albuquerque, the next Viceroy, deemed that by the prowess and valour of his European soldiers he could establish a lasting empire for his people in the East. In 1510 he captured Goa, which soon grew to be the wealthiest and most powerful city in the East ; he reduced Ormuz, thus closing the Persian Gulf to the Arab traders ; he built a fortress at Socotra to command the Red Sea, and left the coast from the Cape of Good Hope to China in the hands of his successors.
Portugal held the commerce of the East, sending its goods north to Bruges, Antwerp, Amsterdam, Nuremberg, and Augsburg, until she became united with Spain in 1580, when the Dutch, who, under William of Orange, had in 1572 shaken off the Spanish yoke, could no longer trade with Lisbon. It was then that the Dutch, determining not to be de- prived of their share in the Eastern trade, sent their navigators to the north-east, hoping to discover some new route to India and learn something of its com- merce.
The defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 left the seas free for the Dutch and English to sail south round the Cape of Good Hope and take part in the commerce of the Eastern world, independent of Portugal.
In 1595 one Jan Huygen van Linschoten, a West Friesland burgher, who had travelled to India with the Archbishop of Goa, returned home after thirteen years’ residence in the East and published a celebrated book, in which he gave a full account of the route to India as well as of the commerce carried on there by the Portuguese. In 1595 the Dutch de- spatched four ships under Cornelius Houtman to sail round the Cape of Good Hope ; in 1602 trading factories were set up in Ceylon and along the west coast of India, and in the farther East from Batavia in Java to Japan and China.
By this time news had also reached England of the wealth of India. Thomas Stevens, the first English- man who ever visited India, had sailed from Lisbon to Goa in 1579 and had become Rector of the Jesuit College at Salsette. From there, in a series of letters written to his father, he aroused the interest of the English people in the East by the vivid account he gave of the trade of the Portuguese and the fertility of the land.
In 1583 three English merchants, Ralph Fitch, James Newberry, and William Leedes, started over- land for India. They were made prisoners by the Portuguese at Ormuz, to the despair of Newberry, who wrote : ” It may be that they will cut our throtes or keepe us long in prison, God’s will be done.” They were, however, spared, and sent on to Goa where they saw Thomas Stevens and the celebrated Jan van Linschoten. Escaping, after many adventures, from Goa, they travelled through a great part of India, giving in letters home an interesting account of the country and the customs of the people, all strange and wonderful to these first English travellers. From Bijapur, Fitch writes that there ” they bee great idolaters, and they have their idols standing in the woods which they call Pagodes. Some bee like a Cowe, some like a Monkie, some like Buffles, some like peacockes, and some like the devill.” Golconda is described as ” a very faire towne, pleasant, with faire houses of bricke and timber.” Fitch then made his way to Masulipatam, on the east coast, ” whether come many shippes out of India, Pegu and Sumatra very richly laden with pepper, spices and other commodities.” Agra is described as ” a very great citie and populous, built with stone, having faire and large streetes.” ” Fatepore Sikri and Agra are two very great cities, either of them much greater than London and very Populous. Between Agra and Fatepore are twelve miles and all the way is a market of victualls and other things as full as though a man were still in a towne.” ” Hither,” we are further told, ” is a great resort of merchants from Persia and out of India, and very much merchandise of silke and clothe and of precious stones, both Rubies, Diamonds and Perales.”
John Newberry departed from Agra for home, journeying through Persia ; William Leedes took service as jeweller with the Emperor Akbar, and Ralph Fitch continued his travels, proceeding towards Bengal, noting the power and influence of the Brahman priests, who, he says, are ” a kind of craftie people worse than the Jewes.” The myriad temples, the bathing ghats, and sacred wells of Benares call forth his wonder.Travelling from Benares towards Patna he found that the road was infested with bands of robbers ; nevertheless he managed to reach Bhutan in safety, returning, to ” Hugeli, which is the place where the Portugals keepe in the country of Bengala,” and thence sailing for home he arrived at Ceylon, where the king was very powerful, ” his guard are a thousand thousand men, and often he commeth to Columbo, which is the place where the Portugals have their fort, with an hundred thousand men and many elephants. But they be naked people all of them, yet many of them be good with their pieces which be muskets.”
Fitch reached home in 1591, after an absence of eight years from his native country, where, in the meantime, more certain and accurate knowledge of the route to India and the Portuguese commerce had been gained.
In the year 1587 a large Portuguese ship named the San Filippe had been captured by Sir Francis Drake off the Azores on its way from Goa to Lisbon, and amid great rejoicing towed into Plymouth, where its papers were examined and its cargo of Eastern produce found to be of .£108,049 value.
A few years later another great ship, the largest in the Portuguese navy, the Madre di Dios, was also cap- tured off the Azores on ks way home from India, brought into Dartmouth, and her cargo of jewels, spices, nutmegs, silks, and cottons sold for .£150,000; the papers found in her giving a full account of the trade and settlements of the Portuguese in the Eastern seas.
In 1591 three ships, the Penelope, the Merchant Royal, and the Edward Bonadventure, sailed under command of George Raymond and James Lan- caster, on the first voyage to India from England. By the time they reached the Cape of Good Hope scurvy had so weakened the sailors, and the tem- pestuous seas and storms so damaged the ships, that the Merchant Royal had to be sent home with fifty of the crews. Six days after, on ” the 14th of September, we were encountered,” witnesses James Lancaster in his account as recorded by Hakluyt, ” with a mighty storme and extreeme gusts of winde, wherein we lost our general’s companie, and could never heare of him nor his ship any more.” So Lancaster had to sail on, the Bonadventure alone being left out of the three ships to encounter more sore perils and trials, for ” foure dayes after this uncomfortable separation in the morning toward ten of the clocke we had a terrible clap of thunder, which slew foure of our men outright, their necks being wrung in sonder without speaking any word, and of 94 men there was not one untouched, whereof some were stricken blind, others were bruised in the legs and armes and others in their brests, others were drawen out at length as though they had been racked. But (God be thanked) they all recovered saving only the foure which were slaine out right.”
Lancaster reached India, cruised about for some time in the Eastern seas, pillaging such Portuguese vessels as he captured, and then sailed for home, passed the Cape, reached the West Indies and the Bermudas, where he and nearly all his remaining sailors landed on a desert island, ” but in the night time, about twelve of the clocke, our ship did drive away with five men and a boy onely in it ; our carpenter secretly cut their own cable, leaving nineteen of us on land without boate or anything, to our great discomfort.”
From this position Lancaster and the few survivors of the ill-fated expedition were rescued by a French ship, and arrived at Dieppe on the 24th of May, 1594, having “spent in this voyage three yeeres, five weekes and two dayes, which the Portugals performe in halfe the time.”
In 1596 a second effort was made to reach India, Captain Benjamin Wood sailing in charge of the Bear, the Bears Whelp, and Benjamin, but neither he nor his ships were ever heard of again. Renewed and more vigorous efforts were now necessary, for the Dutch, were gradually monopolising the trade with the East. In 1599, they raised the price of pepper in the English market from 3s. to 8s. per pound, and the Lord Mayor of London imme- diately called together a meeting of the principal City merchants to consider what course should be pursued. On the 22nd of September, Sir Stephen Soame, the Lord Mayor, sundry aldermen, and others of less dignity, such as grocers, drapers, vintners, leather- sellers, skinners, and haberdashers, met together at Founders’ Hall, Lothbury, and there agreed —  with their own hands to venter in the pretended voyage to the EastIndies, the which it may please the Lord to prosper.”
One year after the merchants of London had first assembled together they received the announcement that it was Her Majesty’s pleasure ” that they should proceed in their purpose,” the Lords of the Council shortly after admonishing them “that you should therein use all expedition and possible seeded to advance the same, knowing that otherwise you may much prejudice yourselves by your staggering and delaies.”
Four ships, the Malice Scourge, of 600 tons, the Hector, of 300 tons, the Ascension, of 260, the Susan, of 240, and a small pinnacle were accordingly purchased and made ready for sailing when a difficulty arose. The Lord Treasurer strove to place Sir Edward Michelborne, a Court favorite, in charge of the expedition — a proposal which the City merchants objected to, giving as their reason that ” they purpose not to employ antigen in any place of charge or commandant in the said voyage,” their intention being ”to sort their business with men of their own quality.” The Malice Scourge, rechristened the Red Dragon, was placed in charge of James Lancaster, with a crew of 202 men, Captain John Davis, the famous North- West navigator, being pilot; John Middleton was made commander of the Hector, with 108 men ; William Brand commander of the Ascension, with 82 men ; and John Heywood commander of the Susan, with 88 men ; the Guest, a small vessel of 1 30 tons, being purchased to accompany the fleet as a victualled.
On the 31st of December, 1600, the merchants received ” The Charter of Incorporation of the East India Company by the name of the Governor and Company of Merchants of London trading into the East Indies,” with power to export ^”30,000 in bullion out of the country, the same to be returned at the end of the voyage, the Charter being granted for a term of fifteen years.
On the 2nd of April, 1601, the four ships started on their memorable voyage, having on board the sum of .£28,742 in bullion, and £6,860 worth of British staples, such as cutlery, glass, and hides, wherewith they hoped to open up a trade in the Eastern seas. This laudable enterprise they commenced, after the fashion of the times, by capturing, on the 21st of June, a Portuguese ship bound from Lisbon to the East Indies, and taking from her 146 butts of wine, much oil and other goods, ” which was a great helpe to us in the whole voyage after.” By the time the ships reached Saldanha Bay, now known as Table Bay, the crews of three of the ships were so weakened by scurvy, from which disease 105 in all died, that they had not strength left even to let go their anchors, the crew of the Dragon alone escaping, as they abstained as much as possible from eating salt meat and drank freely of lemon juice. James Lancaster went ashore to ” seeks some refreshing for our sicken and weaken men, where he met with certain of the Country people and gave them divers trifles, as knives and pieces of old iron and such like, and made signs to them to bring him down Sheep and Oxen. For he spoke to them in the chattels Language, which was never changed at the Confusion of Babell, which was Mouth for oxen and kina, and Baa for Sheep, which language the people understood very well without any interpreter.”
Recovering their health and strength they sailed
and on the 5th of June anchored off Achin. Here a treaty of peace was drawn up between James Lancaster and the King, who took more interest in cock-fighting than in listening to the letters from Queen Elizabeth to ” her loving brother, the great and mighty King of Achem.” Seeing that he could obtain but small store of goods or pepper, on account of failure in the previous year’s harvests, ” the generally daily grew full of thought how to lade his shippers to save his own credit, the merchants’ estimation that set him awoke, and the reputation of his country: considering what a fouled blot it would be to them all in regard to the nations about us, seeing there were enough merchandise to be bought in the Indies, yet he should be likely to return home with empty ships.” Sailing away to the Straits of Malacca a Portuguese ship of 1,900 tons was sighted, on the 3rd of October, and, as told in the journals of the voyage, transcribed in ” Purchas his Pilgrims,” published in 1625, “within five or six daies we had unladen her of 950 packs of Calicoes and Pintados, besides many packets of merchandise: she had in her much rice and other goods whereof we made small account.” In the simple narrative we are further told that ” the General was very glad of this good hap, and very thankful to God for it, and as he told me he was much bound to God that had eased him of a very heavy care, and that he could not be thankful enough to Him for this blessing given him. For, saith he, He hath not only supplied my neces- sities, to lade these ships I have ; but hath given me as much as will lade as many more shippers as I have, if I had them to lade.’
Delighted at their good fortune they sailed on to Bantam, in Java, where ” wee traded here very peace- ably, although the Javians be reckoned among the greatest Pickers and Thieves in the world.”
The ships returned to England in the summer of 1603, the Court Minutes of the Company stating that on the 1 6th of June of that year the Ascension appeared in the river with a cargo of 210,000 lbs. of pepper, 1,100 lbs. of cloves, 6,030 lbs. of cinnamon, and 4,080 lbs. of gum lacquer. The Lord High Admiral demanded one-tenth of the value of the prizes taken at sea, and a further sum of £917 had to be paid for Customs dues; nevertheless, the voyage was successful enough to encourage the East India Company to subscribe together a sum of ^60,450 for a second expedition which sailed in 1604 in charge of Henry Middleton.
Reaching Bantam, two of the four ships which formed the fleet were laden with pepper and the other two sailed on to Amboyna. The Portuguese and Dutch were here found to be engaged in a fierce war. Each was determined to gain the mono- poly of the trade in the Moluccas, but both were equally determined to combine against a new com- petitor. Middleton, finding himself unable either to open up factories, or enter into friendly negotiations with the natives, was obliged to depart with his ships unladen. Although one of the ships was lost at sea, the Company, on casting up their accounts, found they had made a profit of 95 per cent, on the entire capital subscribed for their two first ventures.
This lucrative source of wealth soon brought forth competitors eager to share in its profits. In 1604 James I., in direct contravention of the Company’s exclusive right of trading with the East, gave permis- sion to Sir Edward Michelborne, whom the London merchants had refused to place in charge of their first expedition, to sail on a voyage of discovery to China, Japan, Corea, and Cathay. Starting with the Tiger, a ship of 240 tons, and a small pinnace, the Tiger’s Whelp, Sir Edward Michelborne sailed east, where he captured and pillaged some Chinese vessels. The voyage is memorable for the fact that the simple-souled John Davis, the North-West navigator, who accompanied the expedition, was treacherously slain by some Japanese pirates whom he allowed to come on board his ship under the belief that they were peaceable traders bringing some useful information.
Notwithstanding the interference of these private traders or ” interlopers ” the Company continued to send their ships to the East. In 1606 three ships went to Bantam for pepper and to Amboyna for cloves ; the latter sold in England for .£36,287, the original cost being £2,947 J 5 S – The two ships sent out on the fourth voyage in 1607 were lost, nevertheless the Company made on its third and fifth voyages a net profit of 234^ per cent.
By degrees trade was opened up at Surat and Cambay, where cloths and calicoes were purchased and carried to Bantam and the Moluccas to be ex- changed for the more valued spices and pepper. The Charter, as renewed by James I. in 1609, granted the Company not only the exclusive right in perpetuity of trading to the East Indies but also the right of holding and alienating land — concessions which inspired so much confidence that the subscriptions for the sixth voyage reached the sum of .£82,000. The sixth voyage is memorable for the fact that the largest merchant ship then in England, the Trades Increase, of 1,100 tons, was sent out to the East.
The Portuguese made strenuous efforts to pre- vent the adventurers trading at Surat, whereon the English commander, Sir Henry Middleton, captured one of their ships laden with Indian goods, so that the profits of the voyage amounted to £121 13s. 4d. per cent. The Trades Increase, however, struck on a rock and subsequently capsized — a calamity which so affected Sir Henry Middleton that he died of grief.
The power and trade of the Portuguese had rapidly waned from 1580, when they were united with Spain under Philip II.; but in the East they still strove to hold their once opulent settlements. In 161 2 four Portuguese galleons and twenty-five frigates attacked the English fleet under Captain Best at Swally, off Surat, and were driven off with heavy loss. In 161 5 they made one final effort to drive from the vicinity of Goa and Surat the English, whom they describe in a letter to the King as “thieves, disturbers of States, and a people not to be permitted in a commonwealth.” Eight galleons, three lesser ships, and sixty frigates came up with the New Year’s Gift, the Hector, the Merchant’s Hope, and the Solomon, off Swally, the natives anxiously looking on to see the contest between the two great European powers. Three of the Portuguese ships drew alongside
the Merchant’s Hope, which was boarded, but after an obstinate fight they were driven off with a loss of some five hundred men, the three ships set on fire and allowed to drift ashore, the rest of the fleet retreating during the night after a severe cannonade.
For many reasons it was impossible that Portugal could ever have established a permanent empire in India. The union with Spain, the smallness of her population, the deterioration of her soldiers from habits of pampered luxury and intermarriage with native women, added to their heavy losses in war, are facts lying on the surface. Recent researches have brought to light graver reasons why the native powers themselves were nothing loth to be relieved from the contamination of a so-called civilization introduced by foreigners who had lived amongst them and grown wealthy for a period of over one hundred years. The Portuguese historians tell how the tomb of the great Portuguese Viceroy, Don Francisco de Almeida, was. for many years after his death, visited both by Muhammadans and Hindus, who prayed that he might rise up and defend them from the barbarities, cruelties, and greed of his successors. From 1 560 the tortures and the burnings at the stake of supposed witches, sorcerers, and Christians suspected of heresy, native and European alike, not only made every per- son within its jurisdiction fearful for his honour, life, and liberty, but also sent a shudder of horror through Europe when the full tale of its iniquities was made known. The whole history is summed up by the Portuguese editor of Correa’s history: “Perfidy pre- siding over almost all compacts and negotiations conversions to Christianity serving as a transparent veil to covetousness: these are the fearful pictures from which we would desire to turn away our eyes. … It was, therefore, to this moral leprosy, to these internal cankers, that Gaspar Correa chiefly alluded, and to which Diogo do Conto attributed the loss of India, saying that it had been won with much truth, fidelity, valour, and perseverance, and that it was lost through the absence of those virtues.”
From their settlements and fortresses in the Eastern seas the Portuguese were rapidly driven out by the English and Dutch. In 1622 Ormuz, at the entrance of the Persian Gulf, was captured by the English fleet, assisted by a Persian army under Shah Abbas, the Portuguese population of over two thousand souls being transported to Muscat. The prize-money due to the Company from this conquest was estimated at ,£100,000 and 240,000 rials of eight, of which James I. claimed ;£ 10,000, his share as King, and the Duke of Buckingham ^10,000, his share as Lord High Admiral, the Company not being permitted to send any ships from England until they consented to pay these amounts.
A few years later, in 1629, the Emperor Shah Jahan captured the Portuguese settlement at Hugh’, carried off some four thousand men, women, and children, slew over one thousand of the garrison, and took three hundred ships of the fleet. From all sides disaster soon followed. Goa was blockaded by the Dutch, who gradually gained entire control over the
trade in the Spice Islands, Java, Ceylon, and on the mainland, leaving Portugal by the middle of the seven- teenth century stripped of her wealth and deprived of her commerce.
As the trade in the East gradually fell from the hands of the effete and degenerate descendants of the early Portuguese adventurers the struggle commenced between the Dutch and English, each eager to seize this source of wealth, the true value of which was yearly becoming more apparent. In the nine voyages made by the Company up to 161 2, the average profit on each share held by the London merchants had been 171 percent. From 161 3 to 161 6 four voyages were made, the subscriptions being united as an in- vestment for the joint benefit of all the proprietors. Owing to the opposition shown by the Dutch to the English trade in the Spice Islands the profits made on each of these four voyages fell to ^89 10s. per share of .£100. In spite of this the subscriptions increased to.£1,600,000, subsequently expended in three voyages on a second joint stock account.
In 1621 the subject of the Eastern trade excited so much controversy in England that Thomas Nun issued his celebrated tract as a counterblast to the growing contention that ” it were a happier thing for Christendom (say many men) that the navigation of the East Indies, by way of the Cape of Good Hope, had never been found out.” He pleaded that, as a result of the discovery of the route to India by the Cape, ” the Kingdom is purged of desperate and unruly people who, kept in awe by the good discipline at sea, doe often change their former course of life and so advance their fortunes.” He then asserts that the new trade with the East “is a means to bring more treasure into the Real me than all the other trades of the Kingdom (as they are now managed) being put together.”
Respecting the ships which had been employed in the Eastern seas he gave the following succinct information : ” Since the beginning of the trade until the month of July last, anno 1620, there have been sent thither 79 ships in several voyages, whereof 34 are already come home in safety richly laden, four have been worn out by long service from port to port in the Indies, two were overwhelmed in the trimming thereof, six have been cast away by the perils of the Sea, twelve have been taken and surprised by the Dutch, whereof divers will be wasted and little worth before they be restored, and 2 1 good ships doe still remayne in the Indies.”
The profit made by the voyages is summed up as follows: ” First there hath been lost ,£31,079 in the six Shipps which are cast away, and in the 34 shapes which are returned in safety there have been brought home £356,288 in divers’ sorts of wares which hath produced here in England towards the general stock thereof £1,914,000.  So there ought to re- main in the Indies to be speedily returned hither £484,088.” Elsewhere he shows in detail how pepper, mace, nutmegs, indigo, and raw silk, which would have cost £1,465,000 if purchased at the old rates, could now be purchased in the East Indies for about £511,458.
The opposition of the Dutch to English enterprise  in the East yearly became more openly aggressive until finally, in 1623, the Massacre of Amboyna sowed the seeds of that bitter animosity which sprang up between the two nations, leading to a long series of conflicts for the supremacy of the seas.
At Amboyna, in the Moluccas, Captain Towerson and his English factors, eighteen in number, occupied a house in the town, the Dutch holding a strong fort garrisoned by two hundred of their soldiers. Suddenly Captain Towerson and his assistants were seized on a charge of conspiring to surprise the Dutch strong- hold. It was in vain that the prisoners protested their innocence; the torture of the rack, according to the barbarous custom of the day, was applied until they were forced, in their agony, to admit the truth of the accusation. Captain Towerson, nine English sailors, nine natives of Japan, and one Portuguese were be- headed, praying forgiveness from each other for having in their torment confessed to the false accusation. The indignation excited in England on receipt of news of this outrage was carefully heightened by the Directors of the East India Company who widely distributed a picture depicting, in all the exaggerated extravagance capable of being conjured up by the imagination of the time, the tortures inflicted on the English factors, coupled with the statement that the Dutch had sued the London Company for the ex- penses of a black pall wherewith the body of Captain Towerson had been covered.
The oppression of the Dutch, however, continued, the English trade gradually decreasing until by 1628-9 the Company had incurred debts to the amount of .£300,000, shares of £100 falling down to j£8o, although previously shares of £60 had been sold ” by the candle ” for as much as .£130.
To add to the depression permission was given, in 1635, to a rival Company under Sir William Courten to trade with the East. In 1640 the King, as usual in grievous want of money, forced the old Company to sell him on credit all the pepper they had in store for the sum of ^63,283 lis. id., which the King imme- diately sold for ,£50,626 17s. id., ready cash ; it does not appear that the Company ever received any com- pensation, beyond some .£13,000 owing for Custom dues.
The Company, driven by the Dutch from the Eastern Archipelago gradually commenced to estab- lish factories and settlements along the coast of India. In 1632 a factory was reopened at Masulipatam under an order known as the ” Golden Firman,” obtained from the Muhammadan King of Golconda. This settlement soon became the chief place of trade in India, its affairs being regulated by a Council. The Chief of the Council, Mr. Francis Day, made a visit to the Portuguese settlement at St. Thome, the supposed place of martyrdom of St. Thomas the Apostle, and founded there in 1640 a new factory and center of trade known as Madras town. A more important concession was obtained in 1636 by Mr. Gabriel Boughton, surgeon of the Hopewell. He was sum- moned to attend the Emperor’s daughter who, through her clothes catching fire, had been badly burned. De- lighted with the rapid recovery of his daughter, under the hands of the skillful English surgeon, the Emperor Shah Jahan, at Mr. Boughton’s request, granted the Company permission to establish a factory at Hugh’ and to make a settlement lower down the coast at Balasor where a fort was built which soon became the strong- est position held by the Company on the east coast.
Bombay, given by the Portuguese to Charles II. on his marriage with Catherine of Braganza, as part of her dower, was leased by the King in 1669 to the Company on a rent of ^10 per annum — a possession which from 1685 grew to be the chief port of trade on the west coast.
While the London merchants were thus establish- ing centres of trade abroad, efforts were being made by the home Government to undermine the growing enterprise of the Dutch who, in 1622-3, had founded New Amsterdam, now New York, in America, and in 1650 commenced the colonization of the Cape of Good Hope. By the Navigation Act, passed in 165 1, Cromwell not only prepared the way for the future extension of English shipping and commerce, but struck a decisive blow at the prosperity of the Dutch, then the carriers of the world’s sea-borne trade. By this Act no goods from the East, from Africa or from America, were allowed to be imported into Great Britain unless carried in ships belonging to England and her colonies.
In the war which ensued the Dutch had much to lose ; attacks could be made on their rich merchant ships and their supplies cut off. England, on the other hand, had but little carrying trade to defend and was secure in her own agricultural resources. The Dutch fleet, under Martin Tromp, was defeated by
Blake off Dover in 1652 — a defeat retrieved by the end of the year when Tromp won a decisive victory, afterwards sailing down the Channel with a broom flying at his masthead to show that he had swept the P2nglish from the seas. In March, 1653, Blake and Monk defeated Tromp and De Ruyter in the three days’ fight off Beachy Head. In August Tromp was killed in the engagement off the Texel peace being afterwards concluded between the rival powers, neither able to gain much advantage by continuing the conflict.
France was now commencing her struggle for participation in the commerce of the world. As early as 1604 French companies had been formed and ships sent out to the East, but no serious efforts had been made to interfere with the Dutch and English. It was not until the year 1664 that Colbert, successor to the celebrated Minister Mazarin, suc- ceeded in arousing the interest of Louis XIV. in a scheme for enriching France by a fostering of her resources and development of her commerce. The exclusive right of trading to the East was granted to a powerful Company, formed with a capital of fifteen million francs, while as a basis for naval operations in the narrow seas, Louis XIV., in 1662, purchased from Charles II. the fortress of Dunkirk taken by England in 1658 from the Spanish Nether- lands.
In 1664 France laid claim to the whole of the Spanish Netherlands — a claim which, if enforced, would have enabled her to open up the Scheldt to navigation and divert the commerce from the Dutch at Amsterdam to Antwerp, whence the trade had drifted after its sack in 1576 by the Spaniards. The whole history of the next fifty years centres round this policy of Louis XIV., which by its failure left the trade to the East and the supremacy of the seas in the undisputed possession of England.
At first France met with a short but brilliant suc- cess, typical of all her subsequent enterprises to gain an Eastern Empire. Colbert fixed on an adventurer, Francois Caron, formerly cook and chief steward on a Dutch man-of-war, who by his erratic versatility had risen to be Member of Council of the Dutch settle- ment at Batavia, to inaugurate the new policy, and dispatched him to India, in 1667, as Director-General of French commerce. Caron succeeded in establish- ing factories at Surat and Masulipatam, earning for himself the order of St. Michel from Louis XIV. as a reward for the rich cargoes he sent home. Em- boldened by his success he seized the Dutch settle- ment at Trinkamali in Ceylon, and took St. Thome from the Portuguese, only to find his adventurous career cut short by his recall on the news reaching Colbert that the Dutch had recaptured Trinkamali and ignominiously driven the French out of Ceylon. Caron, on his way home, heard that his failure had sealed his fate ; in endeavoring to escape, the ship in which he sailed foundered and he was drowned, thus escaping the ignominious fate of his successors La Bourdonnais and Dupleix who strove with all the power of their imaginative genius to accomplish a task foredoomed to failure — the foundation of French supremacy in India. It was not in the East but in
Europe that the real struggle took place between the Western nations for maritime supremacy on which command over the destinies of India could alone be based.
In England the policy of weakening the commercial prosperity of the Dutch continued incessantly with a fixedness of purpose which seemed inevitably to work towards its result, success. Charles II. continued the commercial policy of Cromwell, enacting by his Navi- gation Act, which ruled the importation of goods into England down to 1 849, that no goods of Turkey or Russia should be carried into England unless borne by British ships, while a long list of scheduled goods were absolutely forbidden, under any conditions, to be imported from Germany, Holland, or the Nether- lands.
The commercial rivalries soon led to open hostilities, culminating, early in 1665, in a declaration of war between England and Holland. The English fleet beat the Dutch off Lowestoft, only to meet with a disastrous reverse in the famous four days’ fight off Dover — a reverse retrieved by the defeat of the Dutch off the North Forelands and the burning of the Dutch ships in their harbours. Content with this suc- cess Charles II. neglected his navy, allowing many of his best ships to be paid off. The day of awakening, however, came when De Ruyter appeared at Graves- end and in the Medway, burned the English ships at Chatham and seized Sheerness.
The Plague and the Great Fire had already broken the spirit of the English nation ; the fires from the burning ships in the river completed the disasters.
Peace was restored by the Treaty of Breda in 1667, England gaining New York and New Jersey, the Dutch once more consenting to salute the English flag on the high seas.
Holland too was glad to be at peace. Not only was her maritime power threatened but her very existence as a nation was at stake. Louis XIV. had finally rejected the statesmanlike policy of Colbert — a policy pressed on him by Leibnitz who, with prophetic insight, pointed out how the trade from the East would be held by the nation wise enough to com- mand the immediate and ancient route by way of the Persian Gulf and Red Sea — a route England is obliged to hold to-day in order to safeguard her own commercial supremacy. ” The possession of Egypt,” wrote Leibnitz, ” opens the way to con- quests worthy of Alexander ; the extreme weakness of the Orientals is no longer a secret. Whoever has Egypt will have all the coasts and islands of the Indian Ocean. It is in Egypt that Holland will be conquered ; it is there she will be despoiled of what alone renders her prosperous, the Treasures of the East.”
England remained the supreme maritime power to pursue her career and gain, without chance of failure, the monopoly of the commerce of the East. Holland was crippled ; the subsequent efforts made by France are merely interesting as historical facts, for without a command of the seas she was powerless to compete with England in the East. In India itself the Com- pany had but little to fear. The Mughal Empire was falling to pieces, the people separated from each other by differences of race, religion, language, customs, and local tradition, lacked the essential elements where- with to combine in a national sentiment of opposition to the invasion of a foreign power whose resources and strength were secured on the seas. In 1693 the Old English Company had lost its Charter, notwithstanding the fact that it had ex- pended ^90,000 in efforts to bribe the Privy Council, for a new Company, known as the London Company, had lent the Government two millions sterling at 8 per cent, and in return had been granted the exclusive right of trading to the East. In 1702 a compro- mise was effected by the exertions of Godolphin, the two Companies being amalgamated under the title of the United Company of Merchants trading to the East Indies — a Company better known as “The Honourable maintained down to the Mutiny when the Crown assumed direct control


1 ” Lendas da India,” translated by the Hon. E. J. Stanley for the Hakluyt Society.
East India Company,” under whose rule the British Empire was established in India and 2.  OLD EAST INDIA HOUSE. (From “Gentleman’s Magazine,” 17S4.)

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ROBERT CLIVE.- The Architect of British Empire in India

Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A(Socio, Phil) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph.D

.Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee, India

Clive was born on the 29th of September, 1725, near Market Drayton in Shropshire. Wayward and reckless as a schoolboy, he early showed signs of those talents which he afterwards so conspicuously exercised. Legend loves to tell how he climbed the high steeple of Market Drayton, and there, to terrify the townspeople, seated himself on the edge of a projecting stone. The story is also well known how he levied blackmail on the shopkeepers, threatening to break their windows unless they submitted to his demands and those of his schoolfellows.
In the year 1744 he landed at Madras as a writer in the service of the East India Company. There he listened in gloomy silence to the empty talk of his brother writers whose lives were wasted in idle folly and reckless dissipation. In bitter grief he wrote home, ” I have not enjoyed one happy day since I left my native land.” At length his proud spirit, finding no relief from its surging thoughts, sought refuge from inaction in death. The pistol, well loaded and primed, was twice pointed at his head, twice it missed fire ; a moment aftenvards a friend entered the room, and seeing Clive sitting morose and silent, raised the pistol and discharged it from the window at the first touch of the trigger. From that day Clive woke to life. He was well assured in his own mind that he had been spared for some great purpose, to take some great part in the history of his people — a part he afterwards played with a recklessness which can only be accounted for on the supposition that he believed he bore a charmed life. In Malcolm’s ” Life of Clive ” it is told how, during a duel with an officer whom he had accused of cheating at cards, he missed his antagonist, who thereupon advanced, and holding his pistol to Clive’s head threatened to fire unless an apology was at once made. ” Fire and be d d,” said Clive ; ” I said you cheated, and I say so still.”
During the siege of Pondicherry, having obtained a temporary commission as ensign, he greatly distin- guished himself, but on the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle had to return to the uncongenial employment of measuring cloth and checking office accounts. A welcome relief soon came. The native ruler of Tanjore, Raja Sahuji, being deposed, appealed to the English to reinstate him. As a reward for this service he offered to bear all the expenses of the war and on reinstatement to surrender to the Company the fort and lands around Devikota. The English failed in their efforts to restore Sahuji ; still, they determined to have their promised reward. Major Lawrence, with six ships, fifteen hundred native troops and eight hundred Europeans, sailed up the Coleroon and having breached the fort directed Clive, who had again obtained a temporary commission as lieutenant, to advance with the native troops and thirty-four Europeans across a deep rivulet to storm the breach and capture the fort. Clive charged at the head of his troops ; the sepoys held back, and of the Europeans twenty-six were cut to pieces by the enemy’s horse- men. Clive, however, escaped, having, in the words of Lawrence, behaved with ” a cool courage and a presence of mind which never left him in the greatest danger. Born a soldier, for without a military education of any sort or much conversing with any of the profession, from his judgment and good sense, he led an army like an experienced officer and brave soldier.” The fort was afterwards taken and with the sur- rounding lands, which brought in a revenue of 36,000 rupees, given over to the Company. TR1CHIN0P0LL
Clive was next directed to proceed from Madras with one hundred English and fifty sepoys, to the relief of the force at Trichinopoli where Muhammad All, was hemmed in by the French and the army of Chanda Sahib. For this duty Clive was nominated by the Governor, Mr. Saunders, the order in Council stating, ” We will give him (Mr. Robert Clive) a brevet to entitle him to the rank of Captain, as he was an officer at the siege of Pondicherry and almost the whole time of the war distinguished himself on many occasions, it is conceived that this officer may be of some service.”
The genius of Clive shone ever brightest in times of extreme danger and in situations where others might well deem all was lost, when by a clear and quick perception of all surrounding facts he rapidly evolved plans for safety or victory which his calm courage and inflexible determination sooner or later enabled him to carry into execution. He saw that the situation at Trichinopoli was hopeless, but he noticed that Chanda Sahib, in over-eagerness to crush the English, had summoned all the troops from the capital at Arcot, leaving its weak fortifications de- fended by only 1,100 sepoys. Clive at once deter- mined to make a bold dash for the capture of Arcot, intending to hold it until Chanda Sahib and the French should be compelled to come to its rescue and raise the siege of Trichinopoli. Hurrying back to Madras, he persuaded the Governor to place at his disposal all the available troops, two hundred English and three hundred sepoys, with whom and three small guns he set out on his heroic enterprise.

At Arcot, sixty-nine miles from Madras, consternation reigned. Travelers brought in word that Clive and the English soldiers were advancing ; that they had been seen marching unconcerned through a fearful storm of thunder, rain, and lightning. On receipt of the news the garrison fled, leaving the fort to Clive and his small band of Europeans and sepoys. For fifty days Clive held out against the allied troops sent against him. He repelled assault after assault ; he led charges to drive the enemy from their advanced entrenchments; he even marched out to protect some new guns coming to his aid from Madras. The sepoys, in this memorable de- fence of the fort of Arcot, stood side by side with the English soldiers to whom they gave their scanty portion of boiled rice, saying that they could live on the water in which it had been boiled.
The brilliant stratagem conceived by the master- mind of Clive succeeded : Chanda Sahib and his French allies were obliged to send troops to aid in the siege of Arcot, thereby weakening the forces before Trichinopoli and infusing fresh courage into Muhammad All and his dispirited supporters. The fort was breached, by aid of the newly arrived troops, and Clive was left with but eighty Europeans and one hundred and thirty sepoys to defend the dis- mantled walls one mile in circumference.
On November 14th the enemy, intoxicated with bhang and drunk with the fury of their religious fanaticism, advanced in four divisions ; two divisions headed by elephants with iron plates on their fore- heads to break in the gates, two divisions to mount the breaches. Clive and his handful of heroes fought for their lives along the crumbling walls. From post to post they hurried, driving back the swarming foe, Clive, with his own hands working the guns, at one shot clearing seventy men off a raft on which they strove to cross the moat. After an hour’s fight the besiegers were driven back, having lost four hundred killed and wounded in their attack, while of the defenders only four Europeans and two sepoys fell. Clive was reinforced from Fort St. David with two hundred Europeans and seven hundred sepoys, and at once marched out from behind his ramparts, captured the fort of Timeri, joined a band of one thousand Marathas under Morari Rao, and fought his first decisive battle against the French and their allies, beating a force double his own in numbers at Ami, seventeen miles south of Arcot. He then drove the French from Conjeveram, reinforced Arcot, and returned victorious to Fort St. David to receive the congratulations of the Governor and Council.
The French and their allies followed, raiding the country up to St. Thomas’ Mount, but when Clive sallied forth against them from Madras at the head of 380 Europeans and 1,000 sepoys, with three field- pieces, they retreated to Kaveripak, a village lying ten miles east of Arcot. There they concealed their artillery^ and cavalry in a dense grove of mango-trees by the side of the main road, along which they knew Clive must advance, and in a deep. channel on the other side they hid away their infantry. As Clive and his troops marched leisurely down the road, in easy confidence, they were suddenly met by a fire from a battery of nine guns, which swept their ranks at not more than 250 yards’ distance.
Clive, undoubtedly, over and over again led his troops with reckless carelessness into positions such as this, from which nothing but his own genius, which seemed to draw inspiration from the very presence of danger, could have ever extricated them. It is easy to cavil at his conduct and tell the tale of disaster that might have followed if he had failed ; but fail he never did, for with a charmed life he faced his enemies amid the smoke and hurry of battle with the same cool determination with which he afterwards faced his opponents in the Council Chamber.
It was late in the afternoon when Clive and his troops marched into the midst of their enemies at Kaveripak, and little time remained for action. With a small body of infantry and two guns he held back the enemy’s cavalry, directing the rest of his troops to seek shelter from the guns in the water-channel by the roadside, and thence keep up a fire on the French infantry.
For two hours the artillery fire continued, the cavalry repeatedly charging Clive’s guns and baggage. At length it was discovered that the French had neglected to defend the back of the grove where their guns were posted. Clive secretly dispatched two hundred Europeans and four hundred sepoys to within thirty yards of the French battery, whence they poured in a volley among the gunners, who fled, leaving their guns behind them. The victory, though decisive, was dearly won ; forty of Clive’s European troops and thirty sepoys lay dead. The newly won prestige of the French in the south had, however, been shattered. Clive, before he returned to Madras razed to the ground a city Dupleix had founded and called after his own name, overturning the triumphal column therein erected, on which was emblazoned in many languages a full record of the French victories
From Trichinopoli the French, heedless of the remonstrances of Dupleix, retreated to the neigh- bouring island of Sn’rangam, leaving Chanda Sahib to his fate. To cut off their retreat and to prevent reinforcements reaching them, Clive took up a posi- tion in the village of Samiaveram, eleven miles north of the island, where now the French were practically isolated.

On the night of April 14, 1752, Clive, wearied from a long day’s operations he had carried out in order to prevent a relieving force from Pondicherry break- ing through the English and joining the French, lay- down to sleep in a rest-house near the entrance gateway of the village temple. The camp was quiet : the English soldiers, Maratha troopers, and allied sepoys were sleeping uneasily in and near the temple, while close at hand the sentinels, but half awake, paced to and fro. In the dead of night seven hundred of the enemy’s sepoys and eighty Euro- peans stole silently towards the camp, guided by a band of deserters from the English. The drowsy inquiries of the sentinels were answered by whispers that the force was a relief sent from Lawrence. Silently making their way to the front of the temple gate, the enemy first gave notice of their presence by pouring volley after volley amid the sleeping soldiers. In an instant the camp awoke in startled surprise. Moans from the dying and confused cries from the awakened soldiers were mingled with the clatter of arms and heavy boom of the enemy’s muskets. Through the shed where Clive lay sleeping, the bullets flew ; a soldier by his side was shot dead, and a box at the foot of his cot was shattered to fragments. Deeming that the firing close at hand came from his own troops, blindly repelling some imaginary attack, Clive rushed forward and beat down the guns with his hands, commanding the firing to cease. He was attacked by six Frenchmen, seriously* wounded, and summoned to surrender. Wounded and faint though he was, he grasped the situation in a moment. Raising himself, he cried out to the French soldiers that they were surrounded, and
ordered them to surrender. His tone and manner carried instant conviction ; the six Frenchmen in the confusion gave up their arms. The native troops broke away to fly from the vengeance of the fierce Marathas, who were afterwards heard to declare that not a single sepoy who entered the camp that night escaped with his life. The remaining French soldiers with the European deserters sought refuge in the temple where, as it was found impossible to dislodge them, they were shut in till dawn. In the morning the temple was stormed, and after the French had lost twelve men, Clive, weak and faint from his wound, was led to the temple gate by two sergeants who stood by his side supporting him. As he stood swaying to and fro offering terms one of the deserters fired ; the shot missed Clive, slaying the two ser- geants who were standing slightly in front. Horrified by the treacherous act the French threw down their arms and capitulated.
Shortly after the entire French troops under Captain Law surrendered to Lawrence, and the re- lieving force under d’Auteuil to Clive, who, now completely broken down by the arduous campaign, returned home in 1753.
Dupleix remained still striving to re-establish the French influence with the native rulers of the south. But the French Company realised not the value of his *■ acquisitions, and knew not the meaning of his policy. Traders they were, and their profits were now falling fast. Acquisition of territory or bearing of Eastern titles by their Governors in the East had for them no interest. In vain Dupleix pleaded for time  in vain,


in order to carry out his designs, he expended the wealth he had accumulated by private trade or gained from foreign princes ; he was ignominiously recalled, and his successor Godeheu, who arrived in 1754, re- signed the exclusive right over the rich and fertile Northern Circars which Dupleix had succeeded in gaining for the French, and gave up all claim to the sounding titles so eagerly sought after by his predecessor. Insulted and laughed at at home as an impostor when he pressed his claims for the return of the money he had spent in the service of his country, Dupleix sank deeper and deeper into poverty and dejection, until at length, three days before his death, he wrote in the bitterness of despair, ” My services are treated as fables, my demand is denounced as ridiculous ; I am treated as the vilest of mankind ; I am in the most deplorable indigence.”
Clive, on the other hand, had been feasted and toasted by the Court of Directors, and presented with a diamond-jilted sword, ” as a token of their esteem and of their sense of his singular services,” which he refused to receive until his old friend and commander, Major Lawrence, was also likewise honored.
Clive soon grew tired of an inactive life in England. The excitement of a contested election led to nothing but loss of time, patience, and money, so in 1755 he sailed again for India, having accepted a commission of lieutenant-colonel in the British Army, the appointment of Governor of Fort St. David and the succession to the Governorship of Madras. He reached Fort St. David on the 20th of June, 1756. the day of the dire tragedy of the Black Hole of Calcutta.
Siraj-ud-Daulah, Viceroy of Bengal, Behar, and Orissa, had long watched, with growing distrust and haughty anger, the dominant position gradually acquired by the English and French traders in his dominions. Forts had been built, fortifications raised, refuge given to those flying from his wrath or cupidity, while round Calcutta the famed Maratha ditch had been laboriously dug, though never completed, to keep out the Marathas, who levied chauth from all villages in reach of their flying cohorts.

Not satisfied with the assurances given him by the Governor of Calcutta that the new fortifications had not been raised against the native powers, but in view of the coming war between France and England, Siraj-ud-Daulah first captured the English factory at Kasimbazar, and then marched for Calcutta at the head of his forces, followed by the robber-bands in the neighborhood to the number of some forty thousand, all eager to share in the sack of the rich city of the English traders. Of riches there were but little at Calcutta, and of defenses virtually none. There were obsolete shells and fuses, dismantled guns, walls too weak to support cannon, and warehouses built in the line of fire to the south. The garrison consisted of one hundred and eighty men, of whom only one-third were Europeans. Gallantly the handful of English- men set to work to erect outlying batteries, and dig trenches, they were even reduced to seek ammunition and help from the French and Dutch factories — an aid, however, withheld. The women and children took refuge in the ships lying in the river, two Members of Council, officers of militia earning un- dying infamy, and subsequent dismissal for desertion, by volunteering to accompany the fugitives and re- fusing to return even when taunted for their cowardice. The Commandant, Captain Minchin, likewise fled, accompanied by the Governor, Mr. Drake, who unluckily escaped the parting shots fired after him by his comrades, with whom he lacked courage to re- main as they slowly turned to meet the foe. Well might it be imagined that history could never hand down a tale of fouler shame and infamy. So might the garrison have thought were it not for the fact that as they turned, with despair in their hearts, to meet their swarming foes, they saw the last of the ships sail out of sight, Captain Young of the Dodolay finding courage sufficient to declare that it would be dangerous to wait near or even to send a boat to take off his countrymen. Prayed to return and bear away the wounded, he refused ; prayed to send a boat with ammunition, for that in the fort was all but exhausted, he refused ; prayed to throw a cable to the Prince George, which had stranded in endeavouring to return, he refused, saying he needed all he had for the safety of his own ship. For five days the garrison, headed by the famed civilian, Mr. Holwell, held out until out of one hundred and seventy men fifty were wounded and twenty-five killed. At length Holwell had to sur- render, delivering up his sword to Siraj-ud-Daulah on a promise that no harm should befall his followers. To those who have not lived in the burning plains of India during the long months, when the brazen rays of the sun pass away towards the close of evening, and the blasts of the hot winds cease, only to be succeeded by the dead, stifling heat when even the birds fall to the ground gasping with open beaks for breath, no pen can ever convey an idea of the suffer- ings of those who died in agony on that night of the 20th of June, when Calcutta was surrendered to Siraj-ud-Daulah.

As the night approached the prisoners, one hundred and forty-six in number, all wearied and many wounded, were gathered together in the fort. In the guard-room a space of eighteen feet square had been walled in to form a prison cell. It had but two small iron-barred windows, opening into a low verandah. Into this cell, known to history as ” The Black Hole of Calcutta,” the prisoners were driven at the point of the bayonet.
It is possible that Siraj-ud-Daulah may have known nothing of the events that transpired during the night, but when details of the slaughter were brought to him in the morning he displayed neither emotion nor regret, venting his rage at finding but ^”5,000 in the Treasury by ordering that Holwell and the European survivors should at once quit Calcutta under pain of having their noses and ears cut off.

On news of the disaster reaching Madras Clive was directed to hasten with all available troops to Bengal, accompanied by the English fleet under Admiral Watson. It was not until the end of the year that the ships sailed up the Hugh’ and landed Clive and his troops at Maiapur. After a weary march of fifteen hours over swampy land the force arrived late at night within one mile and a half of the fort of Baj-baj, twelve miles from Calcutta, where, weary and tired, they lay down to rest in the bed of a dried-up lake, intending to attack the fort in the morning. They were here surrounded by the enemy, who, as soon as all were sleeping in the camp, opened fire and seized the guns, which had been left unpro- tected and unguarded. Clive had again, with careless indifference, marched straight into the midst of the enemy, but again his presence of mind saved him. Advancing his soldiers the guns were recovered, the foe driven off with heavy slaughter, and in his own words, ” the skirmish in all lasted about half an hour, in which time … 9 private men were killed and 8 wounded.” In the meantime the guns from Admiral Watson’s fleet breached the fort, and a body of sailors landed to co-operate with Clive. One of the sailors, named Strahan, being intoxicated, lost his way, and stumbled about until he reached the fort, which he entered through one of the breaches. Finding him- self alone in the midst of the garrison he fired his pistol, and cut right and left with his cutlass, crying lustily that he had captured the fort. The sepoys, deeming they had been surprised, seized their arms, fired random shots in all directions, and then fled. The English troops, hearing the strange commotion, came to the rescue and took possession of the fort. So the night of strange accidents closed, and, on Strahan being ordered up for punishment in the morning, he indignantly swore that if he was flogged, he would never again so long as he lived, take another fort by himself.
The fort at Hugh’ was captured by Captain Eyre Coote with a loss of two Europeans and ten sepoys, after which the avenging force raided the surrounding country, returning to Calcutta with a booty of some ;£ 1 50,000.
Siraj-ud-Daulah, raging at the insult offered to his power, at once collected together troops to the number of 40,000, and marched again towards Calcutta, his course being marked by the smoke and flames from the villages his followers burned and plundered. Clive collected together all his troops — 650 European soldiers, 600 sailors from Watson’s fleet, 14 field- pieces, with 1 50 European artillery, and 800 sepoys — and started on February 4th, at three o’clock in the morning to drive Siraj-ud-Daulah’s immense army from before Calcutta. In a dense fog he marched on, his troops pausing now and then to fire, they knew not where, to their right and left. A rocket from the enemy’s outposts exploded the ammunition in the cartouche-box of one of Clive’s sepoys, and was followed by explosions from the ammunition of other sepoys close by. Still they pressed on, the guns in the rear mowing down their own troops in front, none recognising friend or foe in the dense mist. The cavalry of Siraj-ud-Daulah, riding close up to Clive’s troops, broke back when met by a volley fired at random in the direction of the charging horses. In the early morning, on the fog rising, Clive retired and reached Calcutta towards noon, having lost two field-pieces, twenty Europeans, and one hundred sepoys in his daring assault.
The enemy was thoroughly cowed. Siraj-ud-Daulah withdrew his troops and sued for peace, for not only did he fear the next move of Clive, but from the north came the dreaded news that the Afghans, under Ahmad Shah Durani, had invaded the land and captured the imperial city of Delhi.
Clive was nothing loth to enter into a truce. War had been declared between Great Britain and France, and he was anxious to obtain the aid and consent of Siraj-ud-Daulah to an attack on the French settlement at Chandranagar. A treaty of alliance, offensive and defensive, against all common foes, was accordingly entered into. Siraj-ud-Daulah agreed to give up all the factories and property he had taken. The Company was granted permission to fortify Calcutta, to coin money at their own mint, and to carry their merchandise through native territory without payment of tolls.

Admiral Watson was, however, not to be thus trifled with. He at once demanded that Siraj-ud- With or without the consent or aid of the Viceroy it was at length decided that Chandranagar should be attacked before Bussy could come to the rescue.

At Chandranagar the French had but a feeble garrison of 146 Europeans and 300 sepoys, supplemented by 300 civilians and sailors hastily armed. Against these Admiral Watson brought up his fleet — The Kent, of 64 guns ; The Tiger, of 60 guns ; and The Salisbury, of 50 guns — while Clive advanced by land with 700 Europeans, 1,500 sepoys and artillery. Defence was not long possible ; treachery showed Watson a safe passage for his ships, the bastions were swept of their defenders, 100 of the garrison were slain, and on the 23rd of March, 1757, the fort surrendered.
This success of the English so roused the fear and anger of Siraj-ud-Daulah, that he wrote to Bussy, praying him to march from the Deccan to his aid. The letters fell into the hands of Clive, who summed up the situation by declaring ” the Nawab is a villain and cannot be trusted ; he must be overset or we must fall.”
Mir Jafar, the Commander of Siraj-ud-Daulah’s force, was bribed with the promise of being made Viceroy if he could succeed in bringing over his troops to the side of the English and aid in deposing Siraj-ud-Daulah.
The contemplated treachery of Mir Jafar was known to many, but the secret was well kept, Amin- chand, a wealthy Hindu banker, being the chief agent in carrying out the negotiations. At the last moment Clive found his carefully laid plans likely to fail, for Aminchand suddenly declared that he would reveal the plot to Siraj-ud-Daulah unless he received a promise that his share of the spoil should be 5 per cent, on all the treasures at Murshidabad, or a sum of 30 lakhs of rupees, more than .£300,000. Clive bought the silence of Aminchand, promising to give him all he desired, and to sign a deed to that effect. To Watts, Resident at the Viceroy’s Court, and chief agent in the revolution, Clive wrote : ”Omichund is the greatest villain upon earth . . . to counter-plot the scoundrel and at the same time to give him no room to suspect our intentions enclosed you will receive two forms of agreement, the one real to be strictly kept by us, the other fictitious.” The real treaty, signed by all the allies, was on white paper, the fictitious treaty was on red paper, similarly signed, with the exception of the signature of Admiral Watson, which was forged when he bluntly refused to have anything to do with the intrigue. Clive, when afterwards asked before the House of Commons to defend his action, haughtily replied that he thought ” it warrant able in such a case, and would do it again one hundred times.” The announcement of the forgery was, after the battle, made in the following words : ” Omichund, the red paper is a trick ; you are to have nothing.”
In after years, when the Duke of Wellington traced out on the field of Plassey the lines on which was fought the first great battle, establishing the supremacy of the English in India, his admiration for the genius of Clive must have been mingled with feelings of sorrow that the fame of the great General would ever be tarnished by that one act of calculated deceit.
At Plassey Clive stood with nine small guns and a band of 3,000 men, of whom 2,100 were native troops, surrounded by 35,000 infantry, 15,000 cavalry of fierce and warlike Pathans, 53 pieces of artillery, and a body of Frenchmen forty to fifty in number. Clive paused long before venturing to attack, for he knew that if Mir Jafar again turned traitor and joined his forces to those of the Viceroy none among the British troops would escape to tell the tale.
The danger of the situation is seen from the fact that Clive for the first time called together a council of his officers, to whom he proposed the question, ” Whether, in our present position, without assistance, and on our own bottom, it would be prudent to attack, or whether we should wait till joined by some native power ? ”
Clive ‘s own name heads the list of those who voted for no further advance, Eyre Coote’s name heads the list of those who voted for immediate attack. When the Council broke up Clive wandered apart by him- self, and after some hours spent in solitary meditation beneath the shade of the trees by the river bank he returned to tell his officers to prepare their men to cross the river on the following morning, for he had determined to risk all in one great effort to establish the supremacy of the English in India

On the 23 rd of June, 1757, as the first rays of the hot morning sun blazed across the wide field of Plassey, Clive ascended to the roof of a small hunting hut in which he had lain without sleep during the night. To his right were the troops of the wavering traitor, Mir Jafar, now biding his time to cast in his lot with the side likely to win. Should Clive be defeated, Mir Jafar’s cavalry were ready to sweep down on his rear and pillage his baggage ; should the hosts of Siraj- ud-Daulah fall back, the troops of his trusted Com- mander-in-Chief would range themselves beside those of Clive. From where stood the camp of Mir Jafar, 38,000 of the enemy, with the French and their guns in the centre, stretched in a semicircle round the soldiers of Clive, still sleepmg quietly in a large mango grove guarded by a ditch and strong mud banks. As Clive watched the scene in front of him the first shot from the French guns woke the English and laid low two of their number. Soon the heavy artillery of the enemy was in full play, answered back by Clive’s six light guns. Eagerly the serried masses of Siraj-ud-Daulah pressed forward to drive the handful of English into the deep Bhagi’rathi, but Clive’s soldiers lay safe behind the shelter of the mud banks, and the shells and shot sang harmlessly over- head amid the branches of the mango-trees. By noon the rain came down in torrents, and the enemy’s ammunition, soaked through and through, was ren- dered useless, so that their fire gradually slackened, while Clive’s guns and ammunition had been covered up and kept dry.
Mir Madan, chief of the native cavalry, loved and trusted by Siraj-ud-Daulah, determined in one brave effort to silence the English gunners, but as he charged at the head of his cavalry he fell dead before the flying grape-shot With frantic haste Siraj-ud- Daulah gave orders for the troops to fall back. He called Mir Jafar to his side, told him of his loss, and casting his turban at the traitor’s feet, prayed him to fight against the foreign foe. Mir Jafar, vow- ing that he would bring up his troops and defend his chief, hastened away to send word to Clive to advance and win the day. The English charged from their entrenchments, taking care to fire now and then on the treacherous troops of Mir Jafar to make them keep their distance. By five o’clock the whole army of Siraj-ud-Daulah was in full retreat, the brave band of Frenchmen in the centre standing firm until Clive drove them from their position and captured their guns. The Viceroy fled, leaving behind his wealth, baggage, cattle, elephants, and artillery, and five hundred of his troops dead and wounded on the field.
After the battle of Plassey, in which the English lost seven Europeans and sixteen sepoys, Mir Jafar presented himself to receive the reward of his treachery. As the English soldiers presented arms he started back in alarm at the rattle of the muskets, but his coward heart took courage when Clive advanced and saluted him as Viceroy of Bengal, Behar, and Orissa.
At Murshidabad, the capital of the Viceroy, the rich merchants and bankers came forward and bowed down in lowly supplication before their conquerors, praying that their city might be spared the horrors of rapine and plunder. To the right and left of Clive was stored up the long-accumulated wealth of the richest provinces of India. In the treasure-house of Siraj-ud-Daulah gold and silver were heaped high. The custodians came forward and crowned Clive’s head with jewels. In after years, when he was charged before the House of Commons with over-greed, he boldly exclaimed, ” By God, Mr. Chairman, at this moment I stand astonished at my own moderation ! ”
For the Company he claimed the right to hold all the lands south of Calcutta, 882 square miles, on payment of the usual rent. He claimed a sum of 10,000,000 rupees as compensation for previous losses and for the expenses of the campaign. For those who had suffered during the capture of Calcutta by Siraj-ud-Daulah he claimed 8,000,000 rupees. For the army 2,500,000 rupees, for the navy 2,500,000 rupees, and other large sums for the Governor and Select Committee at Calcutta. For himself he demanded besides 280,000 rupees as Member of the Committee, 200,000 rupees as Commander-in-Chief, and 1,600,000 rupees as a private donation — in all, 2,080,000 rupees. Be it remembered that at the time when these awards were made the rupee was worth two shillings and sixpence.
Mir Jafar, wh’o had put Siraj-ud-Daulah cruelly to death, was left to raise these sums from his subjects as best he could. The result was a rebellion, to quell which Clive was called on for aid, and in return received further rights for the Company. It was not long before the new Viceroy had again to plead for the assistance of the Company’s troops in repelling a threatened invasion of his dominions by the son of the Emperor of Delhi and the Nawab Wazi’r of Oudh. In return Clive was granted a right to retain in his own hands the rent of the lands south of Calcutta which, according to the agreement after Plassey, had been annually paid by the English to the Viceroy. By this agreement Clive virtually became landlord to the East India Company. The amount, some ^30,000 yearly, was paid to him from 1765 until his death in 1774, when the right to collect and keep the rent passed to the Company.


The supremacy of the Company firmly established in Bengal, the richest province in India, needed but to be maintained and supported by the care- ful husbanding of the resources and revenues of the newly-acquired lands, so that it might finally grow powerful enough to triumph over all rivals. The Dutch still had their settlement at Chinsurah, twenty miles above Calcutta, and in the Deccan the French under Bussy supported the Nizam, or Viceroy, Salabat Jang, the revenues of the ” Northern Circars,” or districts of Ganjam, Vizagapatam, Godavari, and Kistna, some seventeen thousand square miles in extent, having been assigned to them for the main- tenance of their troops.
On Bussy being summoned south for the purpose of joining in a French attack on Madras, Clive entered into an alliance with the local Raja of Vizianagram, and sent a force under Colonel Forde, to the Northern Circars. Masulipatam fell, position after position was speedily captured, and the French  driven out of the Northern Circars and deprived of their main source of revenue.
The Dutch at Chinsurah, finding Give’s forces weakened by the absence of Forde and his troops, demanded that their ships should be allowed to pass Calcutta without being searched and placed under the charge of an English pilot as was the custom, and that the trade in saltpetre, then kept exclusively in the hands of the English Company, should be thrown open. Receiving no satisfactory reply to their demands, the Dutch openly declared war by capturing some English ships in the river. Clive at once collected together a body of armed volunteers, hastily recalled Forde from the Northern Circars, while Admiral Cornish, with three men-of-war, sailed up the river, and destroyed six of the Dutch ships, the last of the squadron being captured at the mouth of the river. As soon as Colonel Forde reached Calcutta he marched out with 320 Europeans, 800 sepoys, and 50 European volunteers. At Biderra, near Chinsurah, he found himself opposed by a Dutch force of 700 Europeans and 800 Malays. Seeing the force assembled against him he wrote to Clive for advice. Clive, who was playing whist, sent back a hurried message in pencil, ” Dear Forde, fight them immediately, I will send you the order in Council to- morrow.” Forde fought on November 25, 1759, only 50 Dutch and 250 Malays escaped, and the struggle by the Dutch for supremacy in India was ended.
The French were now alone left to struggle for a short time longer against the growing power of the English,

Through all these contests Clive had the sea-power of England to support him. With unerring insight he had turned from the south, where no advance into the heart of India was possible, and firmly established the British power in the rich, alluvial tracts of Bengal amid a tame and law-abiding populace, where the Company might in peace consolidate its strength, make surer its foothold, and slowly, at its own chosen time, advance further and further, each step being secured before the next was attempted, until finally their power had crept all over the land, up the Ganges to Benares, further on to the Himalayas, gaining wealth, power, and strength, to raise armies to subdue the south and west, plant the British standard by the Indus, sweep in the garnered wealth of Oudh, and then hand over the dominions and trade its servants had won and fostered to the safe-keeping of the Queen-Empress.
On the 25th of February, 1760, at the age of thirty- five, Give sailed for England, where he received from George III. an Irish Peerage as Lord Give, Baron Plassey, as a reward for the services he had rendered to his country, for, in the words of Earl Stanhope, ” Whatever gratitude Spain owes to her Cortes, or Portugal to her Albuquerque, this — and in its results more than this — is due from England to Give. Had he never been born, I do not believe that we should — at least in that generation — have conquered Hindoo - stan ; had he lived longer, I doubt if we should — at least in that generation — have lost North America.”
Give remained in England, and the Government of Bengal passed into the hands of Mr. Vansittart. The French were still fighting in the south. The sums Mir Jafar had agreed to pay after the battle of Plassey had not been fully paid, and the money was wanted. English writers on £5 a year, factors on £15 a year, junior and senior merchants on .£30 and £\o a year, a president on ^300 a year, his coun- sellors on from .£40 to .£100, were engaged in trade, all determined, more or less, to make a speedy fortune and return to England, while the army was growing, and the pay of the soldiers in arrears. Some method to meet the growing expenses had to be found. Accordingly Mr. Vansittart wrote to the Court of Proprietors that in consequence of ” the general confusion and disaffection of the country, and the very low state of the Company’s treasury, one or other of these resolutions was immediately necessary — either to drop our connexions with the country Government and withdraw our assistance : or to insist on more ample as well as more certain provision for the support of the Company’s expense.”
The Viceroy was old, said to be debauched and indolent, while his son-in-law, Mir Muhammed Kasim bid high for the post. In the dead of night, Mir Jafar was removed and Mir Kasim installed on condition that he should pay the arrears due to the Company, grant the revenues of Bardwan, Midnapur, and Chittagong, and 50 lakhs of rupees towards the expenses of the war in the south. The Governor, Mr. Vansittart, was to receive .£30,000, Mr. Holwell, £27,000, others sums of £25,000, £20,000, and £13,000. The revenues of the whole of Bengal were now in the hands of the servants of the Company. Having the right of free passage, without payment of tax or toll, for the inland produce, in which they traded, they commenced for a consideration to smuggle the goods of native traders ; they even forced the villagers to buy and sell at prices fixed by themselves.
The new Viceroy daily became more alarmed Unable to obtain redress, and unwilling to allow the power to pass from his hands without a struggle, he commenced to prepare for war, now inevitable, by
organising his troops under two soldiers of fortune, Reinhardt an Alsatian, and Markar an Armenian. When two ships from Calcutta appeared at Mungi’r carrying arms for the English troops at Patna, he detained the ships and placed the officers in charge under guard. Mr. Ellis, the English Governor, re- torted by seizing the city. The Viceroy’s troops under Reinhardt and Markar came to the rescue. Ellis and his followers were hemmed in, cap- tured and placed in imprisonment. War was at once proclaimed. Mir Kasim’s forces were defeated by Major John Adams at Katwa and Gheria, forty thousand of them being driven back with fearful slaughter from the fortress at the gorge of Undwa Nala. Mir Kasim, incensed at the success of the Company, gave orders that Mr. Ellis and the prisoners should be instantly executed. On the 5th of October, 1763, Walter Reinhardt, sur- named Sambre by his companions, and Samru by the natives, forced two companies of his sepoys to carry out the order, and Ellis, with two hundred unarmed men, women, and children, were foully massacred. Patna was soon afterwards cap- tured by Major Adams ; but Mir Kasim escaping, under the escort of Samru, sought protection in Allahabad with Shuja-ud-Daula, Nawab Wazir of Oudh, where the Emperor, Shah Alam, driven from Delhi by the Afghans, had also taken refuge. Between the three, an alliance offensive and de- fensive against the English was entered into, and with fifty thousand followers they advanced to Baksar near Patna. From here Mir Kasim was driven forth by his allies, weary of his cowardice and inability to raise the funds he had promised towards the expenses of the war. He  died soon afterwards in abject poverty.
Hector Munro, having with prompt and unrelent- ing severity quelled the first Sepoy Mutiny in India by blowing from the guns twenty-four of his mutinous troops, advanced against the allied forces whom he defeated with terrible slaughter in the decisive battle of Baksar on the 23rd of October, 1764.
Benares immediately surrendered, and Allahabad capitulated to Sir Robert Fletcher, leaving the Nawab Wazir of Oudh, deserted by Samru, no alternative but to sue for peace on terms to be dictated by the English. The result of this decisive victory, second only to Plassey,was fully recognised by Clive, who wrote to Pitt, in 1766, “It is scarcely hyperbole to say, to- morrow the whole Mogul Empire is in our power.” Mir Jafar, again installed as viceroy, died soon after- wards, and left a legacy of 5 lakhs of rupees to Clive, who handed the amount over to the treasury at Calcutta to form a fund for the relief of officers and soldiers invalided or disabled during service, as well as for widows of officers and soldiers dying on service — a fund known for over a century as ” Lord Clive’s Fund,” which reverted to the heirs of Clive when India was transferred from the East India Company to the Crown.
On the death of the Viceroy, Mr. Vansittart and his Council, in direct contravention of a recent order from the Court of Directors prohibiting their servants from receiving any presents, installed the illegitimate son of Mir Kasim on receiving a sum of 10 lakhs of rupees to be divided among them as they should elect.
The Court of Directors in London was now thoroughly alarmed at these arbitrary proceedings of the Calcutta Council, as well as at the rapacity and private trade of their servants which threatened financial ruin to the Company’s own affairsThis determination was  conveyed to the Council at Bengal in the following words : — ” The General Court of Proprietors having, on account of the critical situation of the Company’s affairs in Bengal, requested Lord Clive to take upon him the station of President, and the Command of the Company’s Military forces there, his Lordship has been appointed President and Governor accordingly.”
Clive landed at Calcutta on the 3rd of May, 1765, having full power to act with a Select Committee of four members independent of the Bengal Council. When one member of the old Council, Mr. Johnstone, ventured to ask some questions respecting the new power of the committee, Clive, as he himself writes, haughtily asked him ” if he would dare to dispute our authority ? Mr. Johnstone replied, that he never had the least intention of doing such a thing ; upon which there was an appearance of very long and pale countenances, and not one of the Council uttered another syllable.”
Within two days of Clive’s arrival every act of the Council, especially their indecent haste in installing a new Viceroy, and their reception of presents, had been censured by Clive, who sums up his judgment on their procedure by writing, “Alas! how is the English name sunk ! I could not avoid paying the tribute of a few tears to the departed and lost fame of the British Nation (irrecoverably so, I fear).”
Clive landed on Tuesday ; the following Monday the Select Committee directed that a covenant not to take bribes or presents for the future should be signed by all Members of Council, and by all the Company’s servants, who, as Clive writes, ” after many idle and evasive arguments, and being given to understand that they must either sign or be suspended the service, executed the covenants upon the spot.” Soon after Clive was able to write respecting the future of the Company’s affairs in India, and his words are as applicable to-day as they were then : ” I am persuaded that nothing can prove fatal, but a renewal of licentiousness among your servants here, or intestine divisions among yourselves at home.”
How far the general corruption and laxity had spread during his absence may be judged from one of his letters home, in which he declares, ” I fear the Military as well as Civil are so far gone in luxury and debauchery, that it will require the utmost exertion of our united Committee to save the Company from destruction.”
Noteworthy are his words as he viewed with alarm the position which he was sent out to face : ” If ideas of conquest were to be the rule of our conduct, I foresee that we should by necessity be led from acquisition to acquisition until we had the whole Empire up in arms against us.” He dwells carefully on the great danger that may arise if once the natives throw off their ” natural indolence,” combined to carry on a ” war against us in a much more soldierly manner than they ever thought of.”
Having placed the internal affairs of the Company on a firm basis, Clive proceeded to conclude peace with the Nawab Wazi’r of Oudh, for, at that period, he conceived it essential, as he wrote, ” to conciliate the affections of the country powers, to remove any jealousy they may entertain of our unbounded ambition, and to convince them that we aim not at conquest and dominion, but security in carrying on a free trade.”
The territories of the Nawab Wazi’r of Oudh were restored on his paying half a million sterling for the expenses of the war. Allahabad and Kora, yielding a revenue of 2,800,000 rupees yearly, were retained and given to the Emperor Shah Alam in exchange for the perpetual right, or Diwanship, over the entire revenues of Bengal, Behar, Orissa, and the Northern Circars, the Emperor receiving in exchange an annual tribute of ^260,000, and the new Viceroy an annual allowance of £600,000 wherewith to pay his dancing girls. The collection of the revenues in these districts was left in the hands of the native agents, for, as the Directors wrote, they were aware ” how unfit an Englishman is to conduct the collection of revenues and to follow the subtle native thought, all his art is to conceal the real value of his country, to perplex and elude the payment.” By this arrange- ment Bengal, Behar, and Orissa virtually became the property of the Company — a property likely, in the opinion of Clive, to yield a yearly revenue of two millions sterling. The acquisition, in fact, exceeded everything that could have been conceived by the wildest imagination of Dupleix and in the words of Clive, ” To go further is, in my opinion, a scheme so extravagantly ambitious, that no Governor and Council in their senses can accept it unless the whole system of the Company’s interests be first entirely new remodelled.”
As a barrier between the limits of the Company’s territories and the north of India, the puppet sovereign of Oudh was left in power, while the Emperor held the strong fortress of Allahabad, to keep in check all Maratha and Pathan invaders. Nothing remained for the Company but to consolidate their position, secure themselves in their own pos- sessions, conciliate the natives, train, discipline, and augment their army, hoard their resources, and be prepared for what the future might bring forth.

In order to carry out the policy of the Directors, Clive reorganised the entire system of the inland trade.
Clive remained in India one year and a half, during which time, in the words of Macaulay, he ” effected one of the most extensive, difficult and salutary reforms that ever was accomplished by any statesman.”
His health breaking down he determined to return home, notwithstanding that the Directors urged him to remain, for as they wrote : ” The general voice of the Proprietors, indeed, we may say, of every man, will be to join in our request, that your Lordship will continue another year in India,” their opinion being : ” Your own example has been the principal means of restraining the general rapaciousness and corrup- tion which had brought our affairs so near the brink of ruin.”
Clive, however, could not be induced to remain. He left India finally on the 29th of January, 1767.
By 1773 the Company were virtually bankrupt. An application to the Government for a loan of ;£ 1,000,000 to enable them to carry on their business led to an inquiry into the whole affairs of the Com- pany, and an impeachment of Give’s administration, particularly his dealings with Siraj-ud-Daula and Mir Jafar.
As a result it was ruled by the Commons that all the acquisitions made by military force in India, or acquired by treaty with foreign powers, did by right belong to the State, while, with regard to Clive, contenting themselves with passing a resolution that ” Robert, Lord Clive, did render great and meritorious services to his country ” — a resolution which did little to soothe the worn-out spirit of the victor of Plassey, who died by his own hand, after great physical suffering, at his house in Berkeley Square in 1774.

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Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A(Socio, Phil) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph.D

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee, India

FOR long the Dutch, French, and English trading Companies had been content to restrict themselves to commerce; their interests not travelling outside the  limits of their settlements along the sea coast. Their servants were merchants engaged in trade, drawing  but a poor salary. The English president of a factory such as Surat received ^500 a year, the head  merchants £40 a year after they had first served for five years as writers on a yearly salary of £10, and  then for three years as factors on ^”20 a year.

These merchants were for the most part unnoticed by the Mughal Emperors, though they were sometimes harassed by the native governors who ruled over the territories in the vicinity of their settlements. Neither the English nor Dutch ever dreamed of interfering in the internal politics of the country, or even of acquiring land more than sufficient for the defence and pro- tection of their trading stations.

The English settlement started at Madras in 1639, on land granted by the ruler at Chandragiri, gradually extended itself five miles along the coast and one mile inland. North and south of Madras from the river Kistna to Cape Comorin, the land was known as the Karnatik ruled by a native Governor or Nawab, subordinate to a Viceroy or Nizam of the south, who held his office direct from the Emperor at Delhi. Tanjore and Trichinopoli were under the charge of their native Rajas, or Chieftains, who were accountable to the Nawab.

In 1672 when the last native ruler of Bi’japur, Sher Khan Lodi, found himself in want of money, he borrowed it from the French, and, according to Oriental custom, gave them in return the right to collect the revenues arising from the district around Pondicherry. Here Francis Martin fortified his position, making it secure against the raids of wandering Marathas who in 1677 swept past Madras and pillaed the interven- ing villages.

In 1740 these Marathas to the number of ten thousand came swarming down on the south and slew the Nawab of the Karnatik. Safdar All, his successor, deemed it wise in the disturbed state of affairs to send his mother and family to the safe keeping of the French at Pondicherry — a precaution also adopted by Chanda Sahib, Raja of Trichinopoli, who sent there his wife and property.

The next year the Marathas, on their annual raid, carried off Chanda Sahib to their northern fortress of Satara, leaving one of their own leaders, Morari Rao, with fourteen thousand picked troops in charge of his territories. The Viceroy of the south, Nizam-ul-Mulk, drove out Morari Rao, and in place of Safdar All who had been assassinated, nominated in 1743, one Anwar-ud-Din, a soldier of fortune, to the governor- ship of the Karnatik.

When England became involved in war with France, on the death of Charles VI. of Austria, respecting the succession of Maria Theresa, the English ships appeared in 1745 off Pondicherry, then held by its new Governor, Joseph Francois Dupleix. Anwar-ud-Din, remembering the services rendered by the French to the former Governor of the Karnatik, and to Chanda Sahib, in protecting their families from the Marathas, at once came to the rescue and threatened vengence against the English unless their ships departed from before the factory of his friends and allies. The English ships sailed away, and on returning the next year found that the French Admiral La Bourdonnais had arrived from Madagascar with a fleet of nine ships having on board 3,342 men, including 720 blacks. After a fight at long range, lasting from four in the afternoon until seven in the evening, the English admiral deemed it advisable to retire to Ceylon, leaving the French fleet to sail for Madras, then held by some three hundred men, including two hundred so-called soldiers. The chief of Madras, Governor Morse, applied in vain to the native Governor of the Karnatik for protection. Forgetting the Eastern maxim that those seeking favours should not appear before kings or rulers with empty hands, his envoys carried no presents with them, nor did they bring, like the French, any record of services rendered in the past, so they returned to Madras with their mission unaccomplished. On September 18th the French batteries and ships opened fire, and Fort St. George sur- rendered on the 2 ist after having lost five men.


Dupleix had promised the Governor of the Karnatik to hand over to him Madras when taken. Unfortu- nately the French Admiral La Bourdonnais had agreed to restore Madras to the English for the sum of .£421,666, payable in Europe in six months, and, as it was afterwards alleged, for a personal present of .£40,000 — a false charge of which he was acquitted by his own Government.

The quarrel between the French admiral and French general waged fierce and long, Dupleix striving with all the tenacity, skill, and finesse of which he was so perfect a master, to oppose La Bourdonnais and prevent Madras being restored to the English. In the midst of their disputes the annual monsoon storm burst, on the night of October 1 3th, and of the admiral’s eight ships four foundered, two were virtually destroyed, and two rendered un- seaworthy, while over twelve hundred of his men perished in the seas.

The plans of La Bourdonnais were wrecked. He hastened home to add his name to the long list of those whose fame and life have been sacrificed in their efforts to found their countries’ fortunes in the East. He was cast into the Bastile, where he lay for three years in solitary confinement, dying shortly after his release of a broken heart.

Dupleix was left with Madras to sell or to destroy. He tore the treaty of La Bourdonnais in pieces, and sent the English garrison in captivity to Pondicherry, a few daring spirits escaping to find a refuge in Fort St. David — a weak fortress twelve miles south of Pondicherry — garrisoned by a handful of soldiers, one hundred Europeans, and one hundred sepoys.


The Governor of the Karnatik was, however, determine:! that the French should not hold Madras. He advanced at the head of six thousand horse and three thousand foot to compel Dupleix to keep his promise, certain that the host he commanded was sufficient to drive all foes out of his territories.

For one hundred years the foreigners had been overlooked by the native rulers. As traders they had come and gone peacefully. If they dared to transgress the will of the Emperor or disobey the dictates of his Viceroy in the south, there were ten thousand native soldiers, foot and horse, for every foreign soldier then in India.

The rude awakening was now to come. Four hundred of the French garrison sallied out with two small field-pieces to meet the charge of the native cavalry. Slowly the French force opened out, and seventy of the foremost native troopers fell before the rapid fire of the French guns. The Nawab and his army turned and fled, leaving the French masters of the field without the loss of a single man.

The weakness of native troops, when not under the discipline and firm rule of European officers, had been shown by the Portuguese in 1 504, when Pacheco, with a little over one hundred Europeans and a few hundred native soldiers of the King of Cannanore, defeated the Zamorin of Calicut, driving back an army of fifty thousand with heavy loss. It was pointed out by Leibnitz to Louis XIV. ; it was known to Dupleix ;

it was afterward recognised by De Boigne when he counselled Scindia’s invincible Maratha infantry never to dare face the Company’s troops ; it was seen later by Baron Hiigel, who told Ranji’t Singh that the Sikhs would inevitably fall back defeated before the English battalions.

While the army of the Nawab halted on the banks of the Adyar river, wondering over its defeat, the brave but ill-fated Mons. Paradis marched forth against it from Pondicherry with two hundred and thirty Europeans and seven hundred sepoys. The French were now without guns, yet, rushing through the river, they drove the terror-stricken army before them, the pursuit continuing through the streets of St. Thome. Fresh troops from Madras appeared on the scene and completed the rout. Those left of the Nawab’s forces found refuge behind the walls of Arcot, whence they spread the tidings far and wide of the newly discovered power of the foreign traders.

There was none now to stay the advancing tide of French supremacy. The English entrenched at Fort St. David were but a few hundred in number, sup- ported by some hastily armed peons or servants.

There they held out, although the French advanced against them four times, until Rear- Admiral the Hon. E. Boscawen, who had arrived from England with fourteen hundred regular troops, joined the fleet of Admiral Griffin, and came to the rescue with thirty ships, of which thirteen were ships of war. The English were now in turn able to lay siege to Pondicherry ; but after an investment, lasting from September 6th to October 17th, during which they lost one thousand and sixty-five men, and the French but two hundred Europeans and fifty natives, the mon- soon storm burst and the fleet had to sail away, leaving Pondicherry safe in the hands of the French. By the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle peace was restored, and, to the mortification of Dupleix, Madras was given back to the English in exchange for Cape St.Breton.

In 1748 the Viceroy of the south died, leaving the succession to his son Nasir Jang — a succession disputed by Muzaffar Jang, a grandson of Nizam-ul-Mulk. Dupleix again played his game with consummate skill. Throwing in his lot with Muzaffar Jang, who had been joined by the Marathas and Chanda Sahib, freed from his imprisonment at Satara, the combined army advanced against Anwar-ud-Din, Governor of the Karnatik.

At Ambur Anwar-ud-Din was shot through the head by a stray bullet, his army scattered, his son, Muhammad Ali’, escaping to Trichinopoli to seek the protection of the English. Chanda Sahib was immediately proclaimed at Arcot as Governor of the Karnatik, and the French were given as a reward for their aid eighty-one villages near Pondicherry.

Dupleix had succeeded at length in gaining political influence over the internal affairs of the south, standing forth as the friend and ally of the Viceroy, Muzaffar Jang, and the Nawab Chanda Sahib. The English, on the other hand, had cast in their lot with the two defeated candidates, Nasir Jang and Muhammad Ali Whichever side, French or English, would now succeed in successfully supporting their rival claimants might ultimately hope to reign supreme over the whole political affairs of the south of India.

The French quickly followed up their success by capturing, in the night-time, with the loss of but twentymen, the fortress of Gingi, a stronghold of Nasi’r Jang, always held to be impregnable — a success whichenabled them to induce most of the native troops to forsake the cause of Nasi’r Jang, who soon afterwardswas shot through the heart by one of his own allies.

Muzaffar Jang and Chanda Sahib were at once, amid a scene of Oriental pomp, respectively installed Vice-roy of the South, and Governor of the Karnatik, Dupleix receiving in return the title of Commanderof Seven Hundred Horse and the right to coin money current all over the south.The French were now dictators over the affairs of the Karnatik, ruling in the name of Chanda Sahib.

As the new Viceroy Muzaffar Jang was being escorted by Mons. Bussy and three hundred Frenchsoldiers to his capital at Aurangabad he was attacked by some opposing native forces and slain, piercedby a javelin in the forehead. The position was at once retrieved by Bussy. Salabat Jang, a son ofNizam-ul-Mulk, was proclaimed Viceroy, Bussy remaining with his troops at Aurangabad to supportthe new administration.

The policy of Dupleix had succeeded beyond expectation ; the English were left without allies,their only friend, Muhammad All, aided by six hundred Englishmen, was closely besieged at Tri-chinopoli by nine hundred Frenchmen and the army of Chanda Sahib. The position seemedhopeless. There was, however, one Englishman forthcoming who, by his reckless daring, doggedtenacity, and stubborn perseverance, not only succeeded in thwarting the diplomatic ingenuity bywhich Dupleix had made the French influence supreme in the native states but in establishing, forthe first time, the prestige of the English in India. This man was the ill-fated Robert Clive.



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Ganesh – India’s God of Good Fortune

Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A(Socio, Phil) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph.D

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee, India



Ganesh, is one of the most popular and loved Gods in Hindu culture. Etymologically, ‘Ga’ symbolizes intellect (Buddhi),while ‘Na’ symbolizes wisdom (Vijanana), in addition to the fact that, in some parts of India, his consorts were Buddhi, Riddi (prosperity), and Siddhi (attainment), showed that he was the Master of Wisdom and Intellect. The Hindu title of respect Shri (Sanskrit: श्री;  śrī; also spelled Sri or Shree) is often added before his name.

The name Ganesha is a Sanskrit compound, joining the words Ganna (gaṇa), meaning a group, multitude, or categorical system and isha (īśa), meaning lord or master. The word gaṇa when associated with Ganesha is often taken to refer to the gaṇas, a troop of semi-divine beings that form part of the retinue of Shiva, Ganesha’s father.

Ganesh  is the Lord of Good Fortune who provides prosperity, fortune and success.  He is the Lord of Beginnings and the Remover of Obstacles of both material and spiritual kinds.  Interestingly, he also places obstacles in the path of those who need to be checked.


Born as the son of Shiva the Destroyer and his consort Parvati, there are numerous stories in the Puranas (3rdth Century AD), which tell different stories of Ganesh’s birth.He is said to be created by both Shiva and Parvati, but there are stories where he may have been created by only Shiva, or by Parvati, or may have just been discovered by Shiva and Parvati.

Ganesha also has another brother called Skanda or Kartikeya, who is worshipped in South India as the older brother as the manifestation of courage, poise, and determination to do right. His lack of popularity in North India puts him down, literally, as the younger brother of Ganesha.

Ganesha’s marital status, the subject of considerable scholarly review, varies widely in mythological stories but the popularly held belief is that he was married just like the other prominent Gods of Hinduism. One lesser-known and unpopular pattern of myths identifies Ganesha as an unmarried Brahamchari. This view is common in southern India and parts of northern India.] Another  pattern associates him with his consorts named Buddhi (intellect), Siddhi (spiritual power), and Riddhi (prosperity); essentially, qualities personified as goddesses, and are Ganesha’s wives. He also may be shown with a single consort or a nameless servant (Sanskrit: daşi).

Another pattern connects Ganesha with the goddess of culture and the arts, Saraswati (corsort of Brahma) or Śarda (particularly in Maharashtra). He is also associated with the goddess of luck and prosperity, Lakshmi. Another pattern, mainly prevalent in the BBengalregion, links Ganesha with the banana tree, Kala Bo.

The Shiva puran says that Ganesha had begotten two sons: Kşema (prosperity) and Lābha (profit). In northern Indian variants of this story, the sons are often said to be Śubha(auspiciouness) and Lābha.] Ganesha married to Riddhi and Siddhi and having a daughter named Santoshi Ma the goddess of satisfaction


There exist a large number of legends, myths and stories relating to Ganesh and his appearance.   It is said that the goddess Parvati, wishing to bathe, created a boy and assigned him the task of guarding the entrance to her bathroom.  When her husband Shiva returned from one his interminable battles, he was denied access by Ganesh and killed the boy in a fit of petulant rage, striking his head off with his sword. Parvati was understandably upset and so to soothe her Shiva sent out his warriors to fetch the head of the first dead creature they found, which happened to be that of an elephant. The head was attached to the body of the boy and he was brought back to life  And because of his role as his mother’s doorkeeper, he is often placed facing doorways to keep out the unworthy.

One popular story about his broken tusk is that he broke it off himself in order to write down the  Aahabharat one of the world’s longest epic , as it was dictated to him by the sage Vyasa.  In the process of writing, Ganesh’s pen failed and so he snapped off his tusk as a replacement in order that the transcription not be interrupted.  Another version of the broken-tusk story is that his father Shiva decided to take a nap and asked Ganesh to guard him.  A proud Brahmin warrior named Parashuram came to visit Shiva but was stopped from waking him by Ganesh.  Parashuram was furious and fought with him, finally throwing his ax at his head. Ganesh stopped the ax with his tusk which broke, giving him the nickname Eka-danta, or “One Toothed.”

Another common icon associated with Ganesh is that of the snake.   Ganesha simply wrapped the serpent king Vasuki around his neck. Ganesh may also be portrayed using the snake as a sacred thread, aloft in both hands, coiled at his ankles or as a throne.  However, the best known story of all concerns Ganesh wrapping the snake around his stomach as a belt.  Ganesh went from house to house accepting offerings of sweet puddings.  Out on the road his mount the mouse stumbles, having seen a snake and become frightened, with the result that Ganesh tumbles off. His stomach bursts open and all the sweet puddings fall out.  Unwilling to leave them on the ground for all to see , Ganesh stuffs them back into his stomach and, catching hold of the snake, ties it around his belly.  The moon in the sky, on seeing this, has a hearty laugh at his expense. Annoyed, Ganesh pulls off one of his tusks and hurls it at the moon.  Once again, the symbology behind the mouse, snake, Ganesh’s belly and its relationship to the moon on his birthday is highly significant, his belly representing as it does the entire cosmos which is held together by the cosmic energy of the snake kundalini.

Upon Ganesha’s forehead may be a third eye  or the sectarian mark ( TILAKA), which consists of three horizontal lines.The Ganesha Purana prescribes a tilaka mark as well as a crescent moon on the forehead. A distinct form of Ganesha called Bhalachandra (bhālacandra; “Moon on the Forehead”) includes that iconographic element.

Ganesha uses a mouse (shrew) in five of them, a lion in his incarnation as Vakratunda, a peacock in his incarnation as Vikata, and Shesha, the divine serpent, in his incarnation as VighnarajaMohotkata uses a lion, Mayūreśvara uses a peacock, Dhumraketu uses a horse, and Gajananauses a mouse, in the four incarnations of Ganesha listed in the Ganesha Purana. Jain depictions of Ganesha show his vahana variously as a mouse, elephant, tortoise, ram, or peacock.[

Ganesha is often shown riding on or attended by a mouse, shrew or rat. The rat began to appear as the principal vehicle in sculptures of Ganesha in central and western India during the 7th century; the rat was always placed close to his feet.

The mouse is interpreted in several ways.  "Many interpret Gaṇapati's mouse,  negatively; it symbolizes tamogunaas well as desire". it symbolizes those who wish to overcome desires and be less selfish. The rat is destructive and a menace to crops. The Sanskrit word mūṣaka (mouse) is derived from the root mūṣ(stealing, robbing). It was essential to subdue the rat as a destructive pest, a type of vighna (impediment) that needed to be overcome. According to this theory, showing Ganesha as master of the rat demonstrates his function as Vigneshvara (Lord of Obstacles) and gives evidence of his possible role as a folk grāma-devatā (village deity) who later rose to greater prominence. Rat is a symbol suggesting that Ganesha, like the rat, penetrates even the most secret places

In South India and some parts of North India, Ganesha is known to be Brahmacharin, however, he still has his three consorts – Buddhi, Siddhi, and Riddhi in some myths.

The panchatyatana puja are known to represent the five aspects of God – the five elementsof Earth, Air, water, Fire and Ether. Ganesha is supposed to represent water, which is why is he associated with creation, according to Ganapatya belief and Hindu cosmology.

Since he is the ‘Lord of Beginnings’, every Hindu prayer and Tantric worship starts with a dedication to Ganesha, to please him into blessing and providing an easy path to glory. Ganeshais the Lord of all Creatures, the Lord of Success, and the Lord of Education, Knowledge and Wisdom. He has a rat as his vehicle, which, as legend goes, was actually a demon that Ganesha defeated by stomping upon him and transforming into a rat. Additionally, Ganesha is also the God of Intellect and Wisdom, the Destroyer of Selfishness and Pride. It is said that he is the personification of the elemental universe in all of its different forms and figures.

A patron of Letters and the Arts, he is often depicted as a dancing figure, surrounded by musicians to please and entertain his parents. He is also associated with the first chakra, the Muladhara Chakra, representing preservation, survival and health.

Ganesha was a non-Vedic, Dravidian God. Although a few references were made in the Rigveda (1500BC – 1000BC), to Ganesha’s character, to describe the power of Indra (and his being addressed to as Ganapati), healing nature of Indra’s friend Brahmanaspati and the fierce destructive nature of the Maruts, Ganesha himself wasn’t specifically named until the Puranas (3rd - 16th century AD), which is what allows us to tracback the extent of his popularity to early times. The confusion  between the different references to Brahmanspati and Ganesa is what led to the wisdom trait of Brahmanaspati to transfer onto the Ganesha we know now.

Those who go by this train of thought also firmly believe that Ganesha was originally amalevolent deity who later became benevolent as he became more prominent and his cult grew. Scholars also believe that Ganesha was a Non-Aryan God, who was originally a demon – he was even known as Vinayaka which means evil spirit – because of his constant associations with demons and other evil spirits like Sala,Katamkata, and Devayajana and other spirits mentioned in theYajnavalkya Smrti and Manava Grhyasutra

Ganesha additionally has four  evil types of spiritual representations of himself also known as Vinayakas, who are said to possess peopleand and bring bad luck, as mentioned in the Manava Grhyasutr Originally,Ganesha’s traits were portrayed as primitive and non-Aryan, but as time progressed, he was granted a few aspects of Krishna in the  Brahmavaivartta Purana (10th CenturyAD) to bring him up to the level of the other Gods.

Ganesha’s varied names prove him to be the head of Vinayakas (evil spirits) and Ganas. His references in the Puranas also show that Ganesha was originallya malevolent demon himself. His appointed role of the placer and remover of obstacles means that he puts problems in front of enemies of the gods, and remove them on behalf of the gods, to prevent over crowding in the heavens. Appointed byParvati, he is believed to create desires for wealth in people to divert them from the path of pilgrimage to heavens.

Known for his elephant head, Ganesha’s many names all correspond to what he is known for. While the name is used in North India, South India prefers to call him Ganapati, which means ‘Lord of the Hosts’ as he is the appointed head of Shiva’s regime of Ganas.

His other names Ekadanta or Pillaiyar  are derivedfrom his appearance of having only one tusk (both Danta and Pella mean tooth and tusk), having removed one of his tusks to write the epic Mahabharata (400 BCE - 400AD).

His other name Vignaharta is in reference to his Puranic title as the ‘Remover of Obstacles,’ although, originally, he was a malevolent deity known as Vignakarta asthe ‘Lord of the Obstacles’ as he was appointed by the Gods in the heavens to create hurdles for the people so that the heavens wouldn’t be over crowded. Ganesha, in this case, was originally a negative character around the 4th Century BCE, who soon turned good in the Puranic times (1st Century AD - 18th Century). Ganesha’s dual role of being the ‘Lord’ and ‘Remover’ of Obstacles shows the transformative nature of the deities’ different portrayal in different texts.

While there are myths saying that Shiva’s spirit gave birth to Ganesh, in the Vamana Purana(450–900 AD) and Matsya Purana (250–500 AD), Ganesh is Parvati’s creation. Whereas, a completely different school of belief is the popular Vaishnavite belief is that Ganesha is said to be Krishna’s incarnation.

As the times progressed, different medieval icons of Ganesha were developed. In the Ganapati Upanishad , Ganesha is called the ‘Supreme Self’, and 32different icons arose, to which different people pray to different icons according to what aspect they consider to have the most significance. The 32 forms of Ganesha are

  1. ,Dhvija Ganapati,
  2. Bala Ganapati,
  3. Bhakti Ganapati,
  4. Dhundi Ganapati,
  5. Durga Ganapati
  6. DvimukhaGanapati,
  7. Ekadanta Ganapati,
  8. Ekakshara Ganapati,
  9. Haridra Ganapati,
  10. 10.Heramba Ganapati,
  11. Kshipara Prasada Ganapati,
  12. KshipraGanapati,
  13. Lakshmi Ganapati,
  14. Maha Ganapati,
  15. Nritya Ganapati,
  16. Rinamochana Ganapati,
  17. Sankatahara Ganapati.
  18. Shakti Ganapati
  19. Siddhi Ganapati,
  20. Sinha Ganapati,
  21. .SrishtiGanapati,
  22. Taruna Ganapati,
  23. .Trimukha Ganapati,
  24. TryaksharaGanapati,
  25. .Ucchista Ganapati,
  26. Uddandta Ganapati,
  27. Urdhva Ganapati,
  28. Varada Ganapati,
  29. Vighna Ganapati,
  30. Vijaya Ganapati,
  31. .Vira Ganapati,
  32. Yoga Ganapati,


Out of these 32 forms, certain specific icons gained more popularity than the rest, based on what they depicted, provided and represented. Theyrose to such great extents that the 6 most popular icons of Ganesha lead to thedevelopment of six different sects in the Ganesha cult who each worshipped the 6different aspects of Maha, Haridra, Ucchista, Laxmi, Shakti and Heramba.

An interesting thing to note would be that a female form of Ganesha exists which is known as Vinayaki or Ganeshvari, an elephant headed Hindu goddess.Despite her mythology and iconography being undefined, she is a definite Matrika goddess, as a Brahmanical consort of Ganesha because of her elephant headed appearance.

Iconographically, Ganesha’s representations have changed drastically over the collective time. As mentioned before, the depictions of Ganesha have developed from a simple elephant in early depictions, to elephant headed figures in the Puranictimes, to the current Ganesha with his potbellied figure, four arms, and characteristic elephant head.

Shown in ornamental Brahmanical attire, Ganesha’s hair in put up in Kirit Mukuta, in a gold crown to show his divinity.

In most sculptures and paintings, he is portrayed as standing in Samapada posture or seated, although there are depictions of him dancing to show him in the act of entertaining his parents. Generally,he is depicted with four arms, each holding his characteristic attributes – his broken tusk in his lower right hand, a noose in the upper left hand, a bowl of modaks (a Maharashtrian sweet) in his lower left hand, and an axe or goad in the upper righthand.

In some modern depictions, the lower right hand doesn’t hold the tusk, but is in Abhay Mudra, providing protection to the devotee.

Each item has its own symbolic significance, however Ganesha’s attributes could change to include a water lily, rosary,or a spear.

Furthermore, each attribute of Ganesha has its own significant symbolism,which provides explanations to why and what Ganesha is known for. The noose indicates bondage of passions (which is also symbolized by his belt of a snake over his belly), and how he captures all the obstacles to remove them, while the axe represent  destruction and war.

If a goad replaces the axe, it represents control over one’s own emotions, and specifically to Ganesha – creates obstacles.

The broken tusk is a symbol of sacrifice and proves his patronage of arts and letters, because he had to purposely break off his own tusk to write the epic Mahabharata because it was dedicated to him by the sage Vyasa.

The bowl of modaks, or sometimes laddoos,shows how he has the ability to bestow prosperity upon his devotees.

His trunk is usually turned to his left, towards the bowl of sweets, showing his childish greed toadd a relatable and human touch to his name.

A popular belief of the Ganesh cult is that the four arms collectively show how Lord Ganesha is omnipresent in all directions, and the right side symbolizes reason while the left side symbolizes emotion, showing how he has control over mind and heart, together.

Another belief states that the four arms represent the mind, ego, intellect and conscience – attributes originalassociated with Brahma, whose title of the Creator is passed onto Ganesha for the Ganesha cult followers.

In the Ganapati Upanishad  (Mid-17th Century), Ganesha’s head symbolizes the soul (Atman), which is the most supreme of all of man’s reality, while his human body (Maya) symbolizes the earthly materialistic living of humans.   "The elephant head also symbolizes wisdom and understanding, traits commonly associated with elephants, while the human body shows that he feels human kindnessand compassion for others. According to the folktales, Ganesha’s big ears are supposedto advise people to listen more, small mouth is to talk less, and small eyes are to focus on small details. His fat belly, which gives rise to his name

Lambodara, signifies how man should be able to digest all the good and bad things in life.

Even the colour of the red/yellow attire worn by Ganesha holds meaning – Red symbolizing worldly activity and chaos, while yellow symbolizes peace, happiness and truth. In addition to representing control over passions, the snake around his belly also represents hisrestraint over all forms of energy.

The extent of his popularity has boosted him to be included in the Hindu pantheon, the Panchayatana Puja, consisted of the five main cults:

The Vishnu cult,

The Shiva cult,

The Shakti cult,

The Surya cult and

The Ganesha cult which started spreading in 6th Century AD and reached its peak prominence in the 9th Century AD.

The first and most popular sect of the Ganesha cult worshipped ‘the Great’Maha Ganesha, a red skinned, three eyed, ten armed figure carrying his broken tusk, a pomegranate, a club, Kama’s sugarcane bow, noose, blue lotus, a jewel box, a paddysprig, discus and a mace, which can all be seen in the picture above

, depicting this specific aspect. Accompanied by a white ‘Shakti’ on his left, he is the representation ofGanesha as the Supreme Being, and stands for happiness, prosperity and brilliance.

The Maha Ganapatyas believe that he existed before the Universe, created it, and willcontinue to live even after it has been destroyed.   "?

The second sect of the Ganapatyas are the Haridra Ganapatyas whoworship Haridra Ganapati (also known as Ratri Ganapati), whose picture can be seenabove

. Golden in color, dressed in yellow clothing, and sitting on an ornamentalgolden throne, the four armed and three eyed Haridra Ganapati, holds his tusk, amodak, a noose to bring his devotees forward and a goad to push them on.

Sanagala, Naveen.

Haridra Ganapati

The third sect is the Ucchista Ganapatyas who follow the deity of ‘Blessed Offerings’ and the ‘Tantric Guardian of Culture’, as pictured above.

Six armed and blue complexioned, he holds a vina, pomegranate, a paddy sprig, a blue lotus and arosary.

Accompanied by his consort, Ganesha has his trunk on her lap, and is oftenseen as an erotic form because of her often nude appearance. This particular aspect isworshipped when the devotee is in the sacrilegious state (Ucchista) state to get what isdesired.

The fourth sect is the Lakshmi Ganapatya sect which worships the Lakshmi Ganapati for his Intelligence and Accomplishment, as pictured above.

Commonly seen in pure white, in varada mudra – symbolizing boon giving, he holds agreen parrot – sign of intelligence, a sword, pomegranatae, noose, vase, goad, a creeper

and a jewel box in his eight arms. On his two sides, he is seen embracing his twoconsorts Buddhi and Siddi (Intelligence and Achievement).The fifth sect is the Heramba Ganapatya which worships the Herambaaspect for protecting the weak. This sect is particularly popular in Nepal, where theTantric worship of Ganesha is most popular. As seen above, he is depicted with fivefaces – four facing the four directions and one raised to the top, looking upwards - inwhite, riding a big lion to protect the weak.

His hands are in varada and abhay mudrato show protection and boon giving, while holding a rosary, noose, his tusk, a modak, a battle-axe and mallet. He is worshipped with Devi or Shakti as his consort, which arereincarnations of his mother Parvati.

Lastly, the sixth most popular sect of the Ganesha cult is the ShaktiGanapatyas which worship the aspect which combines the Maha, Urdhava, Ucchista,Lakshmi and Pingala aspects into one Tantric form

Eight armed and white, the Shakti Ganapati holds a parrot, a pomegranate, a lotus, a water vessel, a goldset with rubies, goad, noose. He embraces his consort Sakti on his left knee, and isknown for guarding the household. His right hand is in abhay mudra representing protection and hence, the Ganapatyas worship this aspect to bring peace and safety totheir households.

In terms of power, Ganesha was speculated to be the sole leader of the animal cult, because of his rat vahana’s possible nature of being an emblem of different Dravidian tribes, and because scholars see elephants as ‘determinants’ below anthropomorphic symbols of godly potential.

In some cases, he is also seen as the combined embodiment of Shiva and Vishnu, to symbolize the camaraderie between the two sects. In the Kusana age (140BC – 1BC), Vaishnavites and Shaivites believed thatthe two Gods were in Ganesha, as hypothesized by Shiva holding Vishnu’s emblem ona Kusanic coin. In the Mahabharata, Shiva is referred to as Ganesa, while Vishnu is called Ganesvara, which could suggest Shiva and Vishnu being alike, acting as inspirations for Ganesha’s creation.

The earliest representation of Ganesha was the sculpture elephant headedyakshas in ancient Mathura art, which are suspected to be prototypes of later Ganeshaiconographical representations in later periods.

Trying to trace the historical origins of this god, scholars believe that have traced the inception of the Ganesha cult to harvest season. The different attributes of Ganesha were critically analysed to search for meaning and connection to farming – the fast multiplying nature of his rat vahana symbolizes the fertility and fecundity of the lands, the name ‘Ekadanta’ representing ploughshare, the yellow colour of Ganesha which is characteristic to a corncob whichsignifies good harvest,

Ganesha being the ‘Mother of the Lands’ Ambika’s son in theTalavakara Upanishads (1200 – 500 BCE),  and Ganesha being in control of his ‘rat’vehicle, which is considered a pest in farming, all portray Ganesha as the Lord of the Harvest, which is logical as he was originally worshipped by the lower castes whoworked in such areas

In the Manusmriti (5th century BCE), the collective Ganesha cult was initially a Shudra cult because of the popularity among the lower castes and relevanceof the deity to their livelihood. The Ganapatyas, who mostly developed in the state ofMaharashtra. The main festival celebrated all around India to honour Ganesha isknown as Ganesh Chaturti, which is mainly celebrated in Andra Pradesh, Gujarat  Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. As the times changed and India got more and moreurbanized, the ‘Shudra’ majority of the Ganesha cult began to decrease, and more andmore people of higher power began to follow Ganesha, which is precisely the reasonwhy there are more temples dedicated to Ganesha than any other deity in India.

Essentially, the sculpture, now seen in the Mathura Museum, is divided into three horizontal sections: the first section has a fenced design, while the second section has five worshippers under six arches over their heads, while the five headed yakshas are below the worshippers in the most damaged third section. Varanasi, however, is a religious place filled with different Ganesha sculptural representations. The most popular sculptural representation is the Panch-Ganesha sculpture depicting 4Vinayakas and 1 elephant right in the middle. The 4 Vinayakas are replicas of each other, all seated in Lalitasana and carrying the typical Ganesha attributes of modaks, a battle-axe, etc., while the central elephant figure is standing.

This particular sculpture of Panca Ganesa is seen in many places – in carvings of the red sandstone shine replicain Laksmi Kunda, dated to around 900 AD, and in a Shiva temple at Jamaroli, Jaipur,dated to around 11th Century, and the Somesvara temple at Kirandu, around the sametime. Varanasi itself has at least four sculptures of the same variety, with two similarsculptures in Khadwaha in Madhya Pradesh. The four Vinayaks are said to representthe four directions (Diskshas), whereas collectively, the middle figure could also beseen as the ‘Lord of the Vinayakas’ because of its central and standing position.   "Outside India, the most famous Ganesha sculpture was in a Buddhist stupain Sri Lanka, dated to the 1st Century BC. Scholars theorize that it’s possibly due to thecontact between the Sri Lankan Buddhists and the Amaravati Buddhists in AndraPradesh. Ganesh became the Indian commercial traders’ primary deity, as he was theGod of New Beginnings. Hence, the more they travelled and more Indians migratedaway, the word of Ganesha spread to other parts of the world. In Afghanistan, theGanesh cult was easily embraced, as elephants were already considered sacred. We know from sculptures dated back to 531 AD, in Tibet and China, Ganesha was to beworshipped by Buddhists, who later brought it to the Japanese, where it was embraced by the Japanese Shingon School of Buddhism which developed a popular cult around two elephant headed figures in embrace.

Even though there is no specific area in which the Ganesha cult is most concentrated, since the deity’s popularity is said to have originated from Maharashtra, one of the most important places of Ganesha worship are the eight religious sites around Pune called the Ashtavinayaks (ashta (eight) and vinayaks (Vinayaka)). The eight temples are:

  • Ø BallaleshwarTemple,
  • Ø Chintamani Temple,
  • Ø Girijatmaj Temple,
  • Ø Mahaganapati Temple.
  • Ø Moreshwar Temple,
  • Ø Siddhivinayak Temple,
  • Ø Varadavinayak Temple,
  • Ø VighnaharTemple

In all eight temples, there are sculptures of Ganesha made out of a single rock, and are hence, said to be self manifested.

The most famous temple is the Moreshwar temple, closely followed by the Siddhivinayak Temple in Mumbai.

These eight Ganesha temples, arranged together to form a circle around Pune, making Pune the direct center of the circle, which meant that in the 10th Century BC, when the Ganesha cult rose to prominence, Pune was the centre for Shastra and Sanskrit education because the eight temples guarded Pune’s spiritual and material power. Hence, Ganesha became the town’s deity –Gramadaivata itself.

In addition to places of worship, the festivals of worship are important as well. The most important festival of the Ganesha cult is the celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi

, which is also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi, celebrating the birth ofGanesha. It’s observed between mid August to mid September, in the month of‘Bhadra’ and is celebrated for 10 days straight with lights, elaborate decorations,dancing, and then the final immersion of a giant statue of Ganesha on AnantaChaturdashi to symbolize the departing of the deity to go to his home of heavens.

Hymns from the Rig Veda (1500 BCE), and Ganapati Atharva Shirsha Upanishad  (mid 17th Century) are chanted, while final offerings of coconuts and flowers are made to the deity for his blessings.

An interesting tradition to note about Ganesh Chaturthi is the superstition to not look at the moon. As the myth goes, one day, at night, Lord Ganesha was on his way back from a feast and was quite full. Suddenly, his rat vehicle stumbled over a snake, so Ganesha fell down and his stomach burst open and all the food spilled out. Ganesh dusted himself off, collected everything, put it back into himself, and used the snake as a belt to keep his stomach together, hoping no one saw. Unfortunately, the Moon, Chandra had seen everything from the sky and was laughing at the God.Ganesha got angry put a curse on her that she would no longer shine. A few days later, upset at the disrupted balance of light, the other Gods went to negotiate the terms ofGanesha’s curse on Chandra so that she may go back to normal, so Ganesha modifiedhis curse and allowed her to wax and wane. Therefore, all because of Chandra’s  laughter at Ganesha, people think it is inauspicious to look at the moon on Ganesh’s birthday, so that he remains on their side and brings them luck and good fortune.

In contrast to the Brahma cult which has now declined completely, the Ganesha cult is still going strong. One of the main reasons why the cult is still prominent is because its rise coincided with the escalation of tantric worship in other parts of India, in the post Gupta period, which further influenced each other in the worship.

The Ganapatyas worship Ganesha as the ultimate God, following the Ganapati Upanishad  (mid 17th Century) where Ganesha is praised as the creator, preserver, and destroyer of the worlds. They believe that Ganesha is the Lord of the Five Elements, and that chanting ‘Om’ will please and placate him to provide them with blessings.

As mentioned earlier, the earliest representation of Ganesha was seen inancient Mathura art where a 5 headed elephant sculpture was discovered, dating backto around 4th Century AD. The damaged quality of the sculpture prevents us from knowing if it was a sculpture of the forms of Vinayakas or Gajasirsa Yakshas ,however, the elephant shaped heads are clearly in reference to Ganesha worship.

The symbol of ‘Om’, associated with Ganesha, is said to have been the inspiration for the creation of Ganesha as Parvati pictured two elephants mating when she saw the symbol, from which Ganesha was created. Since every mantra begins with ‘Om’ which is considered to be the seed of the universe, Ganesha is the rebirth of the entire cosmic universe.

However. apart from Vinayaki, Ganapatyas individually worship all other forms of Ganesha, focussing on some specific forms like the Ucchista Ganesha or the Urdhava Ganesha or the Lakshmi Ganesha, depending on what sort of blessing they hope to get. By following the tantric way of living, the Ganapatyas worship Ganesha asthe Supreme Lord, to ask for his help to purify things, rectify mistakes, sacrificethemselves or get his blessings before starting something new.

The canonical literature of Jainism does not mention the worship of Ganesha. However, Ganesha is worshipped by most Jains, for whom he appears to have taken over certain functions of the god of wealth, Kubera Jain ties with the trading community support the idea that Jainism took up Ganesha worship as a result of commercial connections. The earliest known Jain Ganesha statue dates to about the 9th century.[ A 15th-century Jain text lists procedures for the installation of Ganapati images. Images of Ganesha appear in the Jain temples of Rajasthan and Gujarat.

The development of Ganesha is said to have originated from the worship of the elephant in the Kabul Valley in 4th Century BC ,while there is evidence that the elephant was even worshipped by the Vedic Aryans .The Ganesha cult developed comparatively late, some time in the post Gupta age (500-750 AD).

The Japanese form of Ganesha – Kangiten, late 18th-early 19th-century painting by Shorokuan Ekicho

Hindus migrated to Maritime Southeast Asia and took their culture, including Ganesha, with them. Statues of Ganesha are found throughout the region, often beside Shiva sanctuaries. The forms of Ganesha found in the Hindu art of JavaBali, and Borneo show specific regional influences.] The spread of Hindu culture throughout Southeast Asia established Ganesha worship in modified forms in Burma, Cambodia, and Thailand. In Indochina, Hinduism and Buddhism were practiced side by side, and mutual influences can be seen in the iconography of Ganesha in the region. In Thailand, Cambodia, and among the Hindu classes of the Chams in Vietnam, Ganesha was mainly thought of as a remover of obstacles. Today in Buddhist Thailand, Ganesha is regarded as a remover of obstacles, the god of success.

Before the arrival of Islam, Afghanistan had close cultural ties with India, and the adoration of both Hindu and Buddhist deities was practiced. Examples of sculptures from the 5th to the 7th centuries have survived, suggesting that the worship of Ganesha.

Ganesha appears in Mahayana Buddhism, not only in the form of the Buddhist god Vināyaka, but also as a Hindu demon form with the same name. His image appears in Buddhist sculptures during the late Gupta period. As the Buddhist god Vināyaka, he is often shown dancing. This form, called Nṛtta Ganapati, was popular in northern India, later adopted in Nepal, and then in Tibet In Nepal, the Hindu form of Ganesha, known as Heramba, is popular; he has five heads and rides a lion. Tibetan representations of Ganesha show ambivalent views of him A Tibetan rendering of Ganapati is tshogs bdag. In one Tibetan form, he is shown being trodden under foot by Mahakal,(Shiva) a popular Tibetan deity. Other depictions show him as the Destroyer of Obstacles, and sometimes dancing. Ganesha appears in China and Japan in forms that show distinct regional character. In northern China, the earliest known stone statue of Ganesha carries an inscription dated to 531. In Japan, where Ganesha is known as Kangiten, the Ganesha cult was first mentioned in 806.

In Indonesia, Ganesha was portrayed as almost demonic because it was heavily influenced by the Javanese Tantricism.

There is also evidence of an elephant headed god in Mexico, and sculptures dating back to early Aryan period, in Oxonian excavations in the United Kingdom.

In Cambodia and Vietnam, Ganesha is usually independently worshipped in his classical ‘Ganesha’ form, but if seen with Shiva, is referred to as Vinayaka.Central Asian Buddhists preferred to worship Ganesha by his Vinayaka form, while South East Asians followed the Hindu form. Essentially, Ganesha is the only Go far that has spread so far and has so many versions of itself related to other religionslike Hindus, Buddhists and Jains.

Within India itself, it is said that the Ganesha cult evolved from Maharashtra. In Maharashtra, the growth and development of the Ganesha cult hadthree booms of popularity which lead to the current widespread nature of the cult. Thefirst boom was the appropriation of Ganesha by the ruling classes. Hence, when the Peshwa clan overthrew the Marathi kings, they appropriated Ganesha to be their family emblem to promote themselves. By using Ganesha as their kuldaivata, they built numerous temples and built several traditions for Ganesha’s worship to bring significance to their name and to gain political power. Even currently, the traditions are still upheld in the Ashtavinayak sites in the name of Ganesha, as the Peshwas had almost made Ganesha the national deity of Maharashtra.

Originally, a non-brahmanical God, he was worshipped as a rural deity in Maharashtra, by the lower castes since he was an idol of the masses, representing what was exclusive to the lower castes He is also said to be one of the main reasons how and why animal worship popularized in India because of his therianthropomorphic appearance.

The second boom was when freedom fighter, Lokmanya Tilak was  released from prison and began using Ganesha to round up support. In 1893, helaunched the first ever Ganesh festival. There, in order to find some sortof support against the British, Tilak discovered relentless support in promotingGanesha to a higher stance. Not only did he achieve his goal of elevating Ganesha’s importance to the public, but the festival also constructed the present day taste in Marathi theatre. Other individuals also contributed in increasing the popularity of  Ganesha. Famous poet Ramadasa dedicated many of his poems and songs to Ganesha,which helped spread the word about Ganesha, in the 1600s.

The third and final boom was in 1990, when Pune’s political party leade rdecided to appropriate the festival of Ganesha Utsava to ‘Ganesha festival’ in anattempt to shape his career. While the locals had strong opinions about the change taking away the traditions and portraying the age old festival as something unnecessarily new and exotic, the globalizing effect of the modern world soon raised the popularity of Ganesh through word of mouth.

From here, the glory of Ganesha soon grew to other parts of India and then later spread to other Asian countries. Indian shrines dedicated to Ganesha exist everywhere – from Kanchipuram to Trichy, from Nagapattinam to Varanasi, from Mayurapuram to Tiruvanthapuram. Scholars have speculated that such shrines only exist in places where there could be a danger to life. Places with steep slopes, dense forests and deep rivers often have hundreds of pilgrims travelling to show their determination to worship the deity and prove their worth. Even in temples dedicated to other deities, a sculpture of Ganesha is placed outside as the protector of the entrance. The three most important pilgrimage sites in India are the Ganesh temple below the Hariparbat Hill near Srinagar, the Ganeshghati temple on a cliff along the Kishenganga river and the temple over the Lidar Lake in Ganeshbal.


As far as the reference of  Ganesh in Vedic and epic literature,the title “Leader of the group” (Sanskrit: gaṇapati) occurs twice in the Rig Veda. Equally clearly, the second passage refers to Indra, who is given the epithet ‘gaṇapati‘, translated “Lord of the companies (of the Maruts).” Ganapatya literature often quotes the Rigvedic verses to give Vedic respectability to Ganesha.

Two verses in texts belonging to , Maitrāyaṇīya Saṃhitā (2.9.1) and Taittirīya Āraṇyaka (10.1), appeal to a deity as “the tusked one” (Dantiḥ), “elephant-faced” (Hastimukha), and “with a curved trunk” (Vakratuṇḍa). These names are suggestive of Ganesha, and the 14th century commentator Savna explicitly establishes this identification. The description of Dantin, possessing a twisted trunk (vakratuṇḍa) and holding a corn-sheaf, a sugar cane, and a club, is so characteristic of the Puranic Ganapati that Heras says “we cannot resist to accept his full identification with this Vedic Dantin”.

Ganesha does not appear in the  literature that is dated to the Vedic period. A late interpolation to the epic  Mahabharata says that the sage Vyāsa asked Ganesha to serve as his scribe to transcribe the poem as he dictated it to him.Story of Ganesha acting as the scribe occurs in 37 of the 59 manuscripts consulted during preparation of the critical edition. Ganesha’s association with mental agility and learning is one reason he is shown as scribe for Vyāsa‘s dictation of the Mahabharata in this interpolation.  The term vināyaka is found in some recensions of the Śāntiparva and Anuśāsanaparva that are regarded as interpolations.A reference to Vighnakartṛīṇām (“Creator of Obstacles”) in Vanaparva is also believed to be an interpolation and does not appear in the critical edition.

In Puranic period Stories about Ganesha often occur in the Puranic corpus references to Ganesha in the earlier Puranas, such as the Vayu and Brahmanda Puranas, are later interpolations made during the 7th to 10th centuries.

Ganesha’s rise to prominence was codified in the 9th century when he was formally included as one of the five primary deities of  Smartism. The 9th-century philosopher AdiShankar popularized the “worship of the five forms”  system among orthodox Brahmins of the Smarta tradition.] This worship practice invokes the five deities Ganesha, Vishnu, Shiva, Devi, and Surya.Adi Shankara instituted the tradition primarily to unite the principal deities of these five major sects on an equal status. This formalized the role of Ganesha as a complementary deity.

In Scriptures Ganesha was accepted as one of the five principal deities of Brahmanism, some Brahmins chose Ganesha as their principal deity. They developed the Ganapatya tradition, as seen in the Ganesha Purana and the Mudgala Purana.

The date of composition for the Ganesha Purana and the Mudgala Purana—and their dating relative to one another—has sparked academic debate. Both works were developed over time and contain age-layered strata. Anita Thapan reviews comment about dating and provide her own judgment. “It seems likely that the core of the Ganesha Purana appeared around the twelfth and thirteenth centuries”, she says, “but was later interpolated.”] Lawrence W. Preston considers the most reasonable date for the Ganesha Purana to be between 1100 and 1400, which coincides with the apparent age of the sacred sites mentioned by the text.

Ganesh Sahastranamais part of the Puranic literature, and is a litany of a thousand names and attributes of Ganesha. Each name in the sahasranama conveys a different meaning and symbolises a different aspect of Ganesha. Versions of the Ganesha Sahasranama are found in the Ganesh purana.

One of the most important Sanskrit texts, that enjoys authority in Ganapatya tradition states John Grimes, is the Ganapati Atharvashirsa

In conclusion, as humble were the beginnings of this half human – half animal deity, it was the same humble beginnings that lead to the rise of such a massive following in current times, as without appealing to the lower parts of society, there would have been no way the Ganesha cult would have gotten to where it is today as one fifth of the Panchayatana Puja, affecting so many people all across the world

Collection of Ganesh Mantra

Vakratunda Ganesh Mantra

One of the most important and also one of the most common Ganpati Mantras, this is the Ganesh mantra for wealth, and is dedicated to Lord Ganesha, Goddess Riddhi (Hindu Goddess of Prosperity) and Goddess Siddhi (Hindu Goddess of spiritual enlightenment).

“Vakratunda Maha-Kaaya Surya-Kotti Samaprabha
Nirvighnam Kuru Me Deva Sarva-Kaaryeshu Sarvadaa ||”

Meaning :

Vakra – means one that is not straight.
Vakratunda – means curved trunk.
Mahakaya – means large body, if we see that in a more divine sense it means most powerful.
Suryakoti – means ‘Surya’ or sun and koti means crore.
Samprabha – means ‘prabha – aura, grandeur’ , ‘sama- like’.
Suryakoti samprabha – means whose aura is like light of crores of sun put together.
Nirvgnam – obstacle free.
Kurume – give me.
Deva – means God.
Sarva – means all.
Karyeshu -work.
Sarvada -always.

Full meaning : “Oh god with curved trunk, large body whose aura is like light of crores of sun, Please make my entire work obstacle free, forever.”

Ganesh Gayatri Mantra

In a fight with Guru Parashuram, he threw an axe at Lord Gajanan which was a gift to him by his father. So to honor this gift, Ganesha chose to bear the axe’s blow instead of destroying it. Ganesha thus lost one his tusk, but gained humility and modesty.

“Aum Ekadantaya Viddhamahe, Vakratundaya Dhimahi,
Tanno Danti Prachodayat

Meaning :

Ekadantaya – The one with the single tusked elephant tooth.
Viddhamahe – who is omnipresent.
Vakratundaya – Curved trunk.
Dhimahi – We meditate upon and pray for greater intellect.
Tanno Danti – We bow before the one with the single tusked elephant tooth.
Prachodayat – Illuminate our minds with wisdom.

Full meaning : “We pray to the one with the single-tusked elephant tooth who is omnipresent. We meditate upon and pray for greater intellect to the Lord with the curved, elephant-shaped trunk. We bow before the one with the single-tusked elephant tooth to illuminate our minds with wisdom.”

Ekadanta referring to one tusk in the elephant face means that God broke the duality and made us to have a complete one-pointed mind.

Ganesh Mool Mantra

The Ganesha Mool Mantra is also known as the Ganesha Beeja mantra or the Bija mantra. In Hindi, ‘Beej’ means seed – the source of everything in the universe. This powerful mantra combines several of the Ganpathi beeja mantras, especially the beeja or the seed sonic vibration associated with Lord Ganpati –Gam’.

“Om Shreem Hreem Kleem Glaum Gam Ganapataye Vara Varad Sarvajan janmay Vashamanaye Swaha Tatpurushaye Vidmahe Vakratundaye Dhimahi Tanno Danti Prachodyat Om Shantih Shantih Shantihi”

Meaning : The Ganesh Mool mantra is the most succinct and powerful Lord Ganesha mantra of all. This mantra celebrates the unique and divine form of God Ganpati (Ganesha) and his powers. The Ganesha Mool (root) Mantra, beginning with the incantation of ‘Om’ evokes positivity, purity, energy and the presence of Lord Ganpati in one’s life.

Basic Ganpati Mantra

“Om Gam Ganpataye Namah”

Meaning : It means bowing down to the Almighty Ganpati with all our existence and accepting all his great qualities in our self being.

Namavali Mantras

Lord Ganesha is known by his many names. All his names signify the meaning or qualities associated with him.

i. “Om Ganadhyakhsaya Namah”

Meaning : Ganadhyaksay – Gana means ‘a group’ and ‘Adhyaksh’ means ‘one who is leader of the group’.

ii. “Om Gajananaya Namah”

Meaning : Gajanan here means One who carries the elephant head. In Sanskrit, gaj means elephant. This Mantra says that if God can carry the elephant’s head to survive and fulfill his duties, even we should put aside our ego and live our lives dutifully.

iii. ”Om Vignanaashnay Namah”

Meaning : Ganpati is also worshiped to remove obstacles from one’s life. Here vigna means obstacles and nashnay means One who removes obstacles.

iv. “Om Lambodaraya Namah”

Meaning : Ganesha is known to love his food, and has a big, round belly. ‘Lambodar’ thus refers to him as a God who has a big belly.

v. “Om Sumukhaya Namah”

Meaning : Sumukh means ‘One with a pleasing face’. Lord Ganesha lost his head, and replaced it with that of an elephant’s. However, his good spirit and pure soul shone through even on his elephant face, and this made him look beautiful and calm.

vi. “Om Gajkarnikaya Namah”

Meaning : Gaj means Elephant and Karnikay means ears. With the elephant’s head and elephant ears, Ganesh was unable to listen to everything from all sources.

vii. “Om Vikataya Namah”

Meaning : Here ‘Vikat’ means ‘difficult’.

viii. ”Om Vinayakaya Namah”

Meaning : ‘Vinayaka’ is the name of Ganesha in the golden age. Vinayaka means ‘something under control’ and also means ‘the Lord of resolving problems’.


More Ganpati Stotra

The Rinn Harta Mantra

“Om Ganesh Rinnam Chhindhi Varenyam Hoong Namaah Phutt”

Meaning : ‘Rinn Harta’ is another name for Lord Ganesha and the English meaning of which is ‘The giver of wealth’. In Hindi, the meaning of Rinn harta or Rhinaharta is derived from the words ‘Rinn’ or ‘Rinnam’ meaning ‘debt’ and ‘harta’ meaning ‘remover’.

Siddhi Vinayak Mantra

The Siddhi Vinayak mantra is also one of the most important Ganesh mantras.

“Om Namo Siddhi Vinayakaya Sarva kaarya kartrey Sarva vighna prashamnay Sarvarjaya Vashyakarnaya Sarvajan Sarvastree Purush Aakarshanaya Shreeng Om Swaha.”

Meaning : The word ‘Siddhi Vinayak’ in Hindi means ‘the God of Achievement and Enlightenment’. The Mantra in English, therefore, means – “O Lord of Wisdom and Happiness, only you make every endeavor and everything possible; You are the remover of all obstacles and you have enchanted every being in the Universe, you are the Lord of all women and all men, amen.”

The Shaktivinayak Mantra

“Om Hreeng Greeng Hreeng”

Meaning : In Hindi, Shakti means power and Vinayak means ‘the Supreme master’.


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An Avatar – God Manifestation , as an incarnated being


Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A(Socio, Phil) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph.D

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee, India



The term avatar refers to a soul who has been freed from maya (delusion) and is sent by the will of God back into manifested existence to help others, like the founders of major world religions like Jesus Christ, Buddha, and Krishna.   Actually an avtar is born not to show us how great he was, but to give us hope that the state of consciousness he had attained, we too can attain. An avatar (from the Sanskrit avatāra: meaning “downcoming”) refers to a “descent” of the divine into the realm of material existence, usually for the purpose of protecting or restoring dharma (cosmic order, righteousness). .

.An Avatar is also called a Savior, that is a person who saves or rescues mankind from the danger of deterioration. When a savior appears on this Earth all are saved through his grace.In this aspect God manifests himself upon earth as an incarnated being. He lives amidst people, undergoes the same experiences as the earthly beings, distinguishes himself by his deeds and words and interacts with them as one of their own kind. Although an incarnated being lives amidst people and acts like them, he is not subject to the law of karma, nor bound by the limitations of nature. He may disguise his powers willingly, but not subject to the laws of Prakriti either. Through his actions and words, he personifies the highest ideals of mankind and serves as a role model for his devotees to follow

The term Avatara also mean  one who was descended. Avatar means those who descended to Earth from the Spiritual world for the establishment of Dharma, preservation of the human race. Avatar means the person who descends, as a fully or partially empowered incarnation of Divine Mother Adhiparasakthi, from the spiritual realm for a particular mission

An Avatar is also called a Messenger of Divine Mother because an Avatar transmits pure unselfish Divine Love from the Divine Mother to man and gives a taste of the unadulterated nectar of heavenly bliss to the arid souls scorched by the fire of worldliness. Avataris a fully freed soul incarnating directly from God on this physical planet or elsewhere. An Avatar fulfills a highly spiritual task in the name of God and returns to God after accomplishing his task. His Love for God and his creation is beyond description and imagination, his faith in God absolute as there is no difference between an Avatar and God.

Traditional Hindus believe an avatar to be a direct manifestation of God, rather than a re-incarnation or re-appearance on earth of a soul that has been liberated. This is somewhat analogous to the understanding that many Christians have of Jesus Christ, who they consider as having never been in human form before he was Jesus Christ. Avatar, is not that Divine Consciousness, which has never known imperfection, appears in human form to show us a reality completely alien to our own. Krishna, Jesus Christ, and all other avatars are not only manifestations of Spirit. They are descents also in the sense of knowing, from experience, what it is to be human beings who attained oneness with the Divine. Their example shows us our own divine potential.Krishna, who some Hindus consider to be a full incarnation (purna avatar) of Vishnu, stated to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita that “You and I, Arjuna, have passed through many births. I know them all, even if you do not.” (Thus Krishna himself declared that he had incarnated previously.

The standard list of the Dasavatars bears striking resemblances to the modern scientific theory of Evolution. Matsya, the fish, represents life in water, and Kurma, the tortoise, represents the next stage, amphibianism (although technically, a tortoise is a reptile, not anamphibian). The third animal, the boar Varaha, marks the development of life upon land. Narasimha, the Man-Lion, represents the further development of mammals. Vamana, the dwarf, symbolizes the incomplete development of human beings, while Parashurama, the forest-dwelling hermit armed with an ax, connotes completion of the basic development of humankind, perhaps in the form of barbarism. Rama indicates humanity’s ability to effectively govern nations, while Krishna, allegedly an expert in the sixty-four fields of science and art, indicates advancement in culture and civilization. Buddha represents the further intellectual advancement of man, culminating in the realization of even greater spiritual truths.

Thus, the avatars represent the evolution of life and society with each epoch from Krita Yuga to Kali Yuga. This progression of animal life from the sea creature to the intellectually enlightened human is not incongruent with modern evolutionary theory. This connection gets particularly interesting when taking into considerations descriptions of Kalkin, who has sometimes been described as being a yantra-manava, or a “machine-man,” which could be interpreted to suggest the future development some sort of technologically enhanced human being which is as of yet unknown.

Many religions speak of a coming leader who will consummate the fulfillment of the divine will on earth. He will manifest in his person the righteousness and compassion of God. The Hebrew title Messiah – ‘Christ’ in Greek means ‘anointed one,’ that person who will be specially chosen by God for this mission and empowered to accomplish it . Religions call him by various names: Jews long for the promised Messiah; for Christians the Messiah is Jesus of Nazareth, who has already come and ascended to heaven but will reappear (perhaps in a new guise) at his Second Coming. Muslims also expect the second advent of Jesus, who will come as a Muslim Imam, and among Shiite Muslims there are variousexpectations of a future Imam Mahdi. Buddhist sutras prophesy the coming of the Maitreya Buddha; Vaishnavite Hindu scriptures prophesy the future descent of an avatar named Kalki; Zoroastrian scriptures prophesy the coming of the Saoshyant; and some Confucian texts speak of a future True Man who will finally bring peace to the world by perfectly instituting the Way of Confucius.”

For Hindus, the concept of avatar is associated mostly with Vishnu, who represents the aspect of God as preserver in the Hindu trimurti. The other two aspects of trimurti are Brahma as the creator and Shiva as the destroyer, or dissolver of creation. There are also avatars of other Hindu deities in the Puranas, including avatars of Shiva, Devi (or Divine Mother), and Ganesha. The Linga Purana describes twenty-eight avatars of Shiva. The Devi Bhagavata Purana tells of the avatars of Devi, and the Ganesha Purana describes the avatars of Ganesha.

As per the doctrines of our ancient Rishis of yore, there are sixteen rays or sixteen digits or sixteen planes of manifestation or sixteen expanding Kalas emanating from Adhiparasakthi, the Supreme Brahman. One ray is needed to maintain the animal kingdom. Two rays maintain the animal kingdom and five to eight rays are required for human beings. One can rise from savage to a higher spiritual status only according to the number of rays. For Avatars, nine to sixteen rays emanate from the Supreme Mother. Avatars are classified according to the number of rays. The different kinds of Avatars are as follows:

Purna Avatar
Amsa Avatar
Lila Avatar

Purna Avatar means full Avatar, in whom all sixteen rays are present. Lord Krishna was a Purna Avatar. There are also Amsa Avatars with partial incarnations. Sri Sankaracharya was an Amsa Avatar. Lord Rama was a Lila Avatar with fourteen rays. Ancient Rishis, modern philosophers, and theosophists mention seven rays, twelve rays and so on when they describe the stage of spiritual development of their Gurus, Spiritual Masters and Adepts.There is a decline of righteousness from the Satya Yuga, or Golden Age, to Treta Age, Dvapara Age and Kali Age respectively. In the Satya Age, Dharma, or righteousness, flourishes. In Treta Age the decline begins and becomes rapid in Dvapara Age. In Kali Age, the most evil of the ages, unrighteousness or Adharma prevails. In this age the God,  manifests Herself for the establishment of righteousness.

Types of incarnation/Avatars

The Hindu  Vishnuites classify the incarnations of God variously as direct and indirect, or major and minor or primary and secondary incarnations. In the former God descends into our plane either fully or partially, described as purnavataras and amsavataras respectively For the purpose of clarity and understanding, his main incarnations are called Vibhavas and his minor incarnations vibhavantaras. The major incarnations are ten in number and known as the ten incarnations (dasavataras) of Vishnu.

They are:

1. Matsyavatara.

In this incarnation In Hindu mythology, Matsya saved Manu Vaisvasta, the eventual creator of the human species, by rescuing him from tempestuous waters during a great flood which ravaged the primordial earth  by carrying his boat to the top of a mountain.

2. Kurmavatara.

In this incarnation, Vishnu assumed the form of a tortoise, the kurma. Kurma offered his broad shell so the mighty churning stick could be firmly set upon it. and held the Mandhara mountain from beneath as the gods and demons used it to churn the oceans for the sake of amrit, the elixir of life.

3. Varahavatara.

In this incarnation He assumed the form of a boar and slew a demon named Hiranyaksha Varaha  battled and defeated the demon Hiranyaksa beneath the cosmic ocean, then proceeded to rescue the earth goddess Prthivi from a watery grave by placing her on his tusk and swimming to the surface. when he carried away the goddess earth to the nether worlds.

4. Narasimhavatara.

In this incarnation He helped his young devotee Prahlada when he was tortured by his demon father, Hiranyakasipu for his intense devotion. Listening to the calls of his young devotee, He sprang out of the pillar of a building as Man¬Lion (Nara-Simha) and slew the demon.Narasimha used his status as neither fully human nor fully beast to defeat Hiranyaksipu, another oppressive demon who was invulnerable to both human beings and animals.

5. Vamanavatara.

In this incarnation Vishnu took birth as a dwarf to sl ay the demon Bali and restore the heavenly kingdom of Indra back to him. Vamana asked Bali for all the territory he could encompass in three strides. Bali gladly agreed,. Vamana assume his cosmic form as Vishnuand traverse the entire universe with his three steps. With one step he covered the whole earth. With another he covered the whole empyrean and with his third he pushed Bali’s head deep into the world.

6. Parashuramavatara.

In this incarnation He assumed the birth of a priestly warrior to exterminate the Kshatriyas who grew wicked and tyrannical and neglected their duties in upholding the dharma and protecting the people.. In a number of battles, Parashurama defeated the Kshatriyas, and restored the priority of the priestly caste, the Brahmins, who had been oppressed by their traditional underlings, the warriors.

7. Sri Ramavatara.

In this incarnation He took birth as the prince of Ayodhya to kill the demon Ravana who became invincible by virtue of the boons he got from Lord Siva and became a menace to the three worlds and their inhabitants. Rama, defeated Ravana and thereby freed the world from the demon’s clutches, instituting a reign of virtue and prosperity. This kingdom would serve as an ideal societal structure for rulers in every generation that followed.

8. Sri Krishnavatara.

The eighth incarnation, Krishna (meaning “dark colored” or “all attractive”), is the only avatar to have appeared in the Dwapara Yuga. During his appearance on earth, Krishna defeated the oppressive demon Kamsa while aiding the Pandava brothers to victory over their malevolent cousins, the Kauravas. This battle is recorded in the great Hindu epic, the Mahabharata, which is best known for a poem included within it, the Bhagavadgita, wherein Krishna elucidates the path of righteousness for Arjuna, a Pandava warrior.

9. Buddhavatara.

The identity of the ninth avatar is disputed. Normally, the Buddha is listed as the ninth avatar but sometimes Krishna’s brother Balaramais listed instead. For instance, the Bhagavata Purana claims that Balarama was the ninth incarnation.[2] However, traditionally it is the Buddha who fulfills this role as the ninth avatar, albeit it should also be noted that Buddhists do not accept this doctrine and deny that the Buddha was an avatar of Vishnu. Some scholars suggest that the absorption of the Buddha into the Vaisnavite theological framework was a polemic effort to mitigate the appeal of Buddhism among the Hindu masses.

10. Kalkyavatara

The tenth avatar, Kalkin (“Eternity” or “The Destroyer of foulness”) has set to arrive at the end of the Kali Yuga,. Due to his pending arrival, Kalki is the most mysterious of the avatars, though he is described as a rider upon a white horse wielding a comet-like sword. It is said that Kalki will bring the world to its end, rewarding the virtuous, while punishing the wicked.


the Minor Incarnations are partial or minor incarnations of God in which He imparted His knowledge, powers or qualities to several advanced Jivas, either directly or indirectly, for the benefit of the mankind. The list of minor incarnations of Vishnu is exhaustive. The following contains some of his most important vyuhantaras.

  • Dattatreya
  • Dhanvantari
  • Gopi¬Krishna
  • Hayagriva
  • Kapila
  • Mohini
  • Nara¬Narayana
  • Prsnigarbha
  • Rishabha.
  • Sri Varadaraja
  • Trivikrama
  • Visvakshena
  • Vyasa
  • Yajna

The Avatars of the Puranas

The Puranas list twenty-five avatars of Vishnu in total. In addition to the ten listed above, these avatars include the Catursana, the four sons of Brahma who are together considered one incarnation;

Narada, the traveling sage; Yajna, an incarnation within whom Vishnu temporarily assumed the role of Indra; Nara-Narayana, twin brothers; Kapila, the philosopher; Dattatreya, the combined avatar of theTrimurti);

  • Balarama, Krishna’s elder brother.
  • Dhanvantari, father of ayurveda;
  • Hamsa, the swan;
  • Hayagriva, a horse;
  • Mohini, a beautiful woman;
  • Prithu, monarch of the solar pantheon who introduced agriculture to humankind;
  • Prsnigarbha, creator of the planet known as Dhruvaloka;
  • Ramachandra, the king of Ayodhya;
  • Rishabha, father of King Bharata;
  • Vyasa, writer of the Vedas, and

In current times, the famous south Indian guru, Sathya Sai Baba (c. 1926-present), is believed by his devotees to be an avatar of Shiva,Shakti, and Krishna.

Some Hindus with an inclusivist outlook perceive the central figures of various non-Hindu religions to be avatars. Some of these religious figures include: Jesus (4 B.C.E.-c. 33 C.E.), the founder of Christianity, Zoroaster (a.k.a. Zarathustra), the founding prophet of Zoroastrianism, Mahavira (599-527 B.C.E.), promulgator of the tenets of Jainism, , as well as Bahá’u’lláh (1817–1892 C.E.) the founder-prophet of the Bahá’í Faith, who is believed to be Avatar.





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Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A(Socio, Phil) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph.D

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee, India

Before the birth of the National Congress, a number of organisations were formed, but most of them had limited objectives .In order to draw the attention of the British public opinion towards the welfare of the Indians in 1866, Dadabhai Naroji established East Indian Association in London. Mahadeva Govinda Ranade formed the Madras Mahajana Sabha in 1881 and also the Poona Sarvajanik Sabha in 1867 for social reforms and national awakening. In 1885, the Bombay Presidency Association was formed under the leadership of persons like Feroz Shah Mehta, Badruddin Tayabji etc. with the aim of awakening national consciousness.

However, among all these organisations, the Indian Association established under the leadership of Surendra Nath Banerjee and Anand Mohan Bose, actively attempted to form a strong public opinion against the unjust policies of the British Government. It organised a number of peasant demonstrations demanding reduction of the rate of revenue. With a view of bringing representatives from all over India to a common platform, the Indian Association organised All-India National Conferences twice in 1883 and 1885. But the Indian public opinion could be organised and articulated only with the formation of Indian National Congress as a national forum.

A.O. Hume’s name shines like a star. His greatest contribution was his founding the Indian National Congress. Hume, the son of Joseph Hume, a prominent Scottish member of the House of Commons, was a brilliant civil service officer of the British Government, was loyal to his motherland and his government, but was equally sympathetic with the miserable predicament of Indians under the British regime. Hume was appointed Home Secretary  in 1870. Though the administration was taken over from the East India Company by the Queen herself, the situation  was moving from bad to worse. More taxations, more police atrocities, and the people continued to live in abject poverty and slavery. This was too much for A.O. Hume and in protest against the government’s administrative policies, he resigned from service and entered into a life of peace, But he had already entered into an endeavour towards the formation of a national organization for forming a bridge between the rulers and the ruled.

Some of the Indian national leaders such as Dadabhai Naoroji, C. S. Subrahmoniya Iyer, Surendranath Banerjea, Dewan Bahadur Raghunatha Rao and others held a meeting in Madras and discussed the possibility of forming a national organization. This culminated in the birth of the Indian National Congress.

Allan Octavian Hume, was instrumental in the formation of Indian National Congress. The first session of the All India Congress began on 28th December 1885 at Gokuldas Tejpal Sanskrit College. Eminent barrister of Calcutta, Mr. Woomesh Chandra Banerjee presided over it. Seventy two invited delegates from different parts of India assembled in this first session. Mr. Hume was elected as the first general secretary of the Indian National Congress.

In reality Indian National Congress was an English Product. It is an undisputed historical fact, that the idea of the Indian National Congress was a product of Lord Dufferin’s brain; that he suggested it to Mr. Hume to form an association which might function on the model of the opposition party of Britain, and that the latter undertook to work it out. Lord Dufferin welcomed the proposal as showing the desire of the Congress to work in complete harmony with the Government, but he saw many difficulties in accepting the proposal, and so the idea was abandoned. “None the less the first Congress was opened with the friendly sympathy of the highest authorities.”

Hume, a Lover of Liberty

It is obvious that when Lord Dufferin expected a political organisation to represent the best Indian opinion, it was far from his mind to suggest an organisation that would demand parliamentary government for India, or self-government even on colonial lines. What he evidently aimed at was a sort of an innocuous association which should serve more as a “safety valve” than as a genuine Nationalist organisation for national purposes. Mr. Hume may have meant more. He was a lover of liberty and wanted political liberty for India under the cages of the British crown. He was an English patriot and as such he wanted the continuance of British connection with India. He saw danger to British rule in discontent going underground, and one of his objects in establishing the Congress was to save British rule in Indiafrom an impending calamity of the gravest kind which he thought was threatening it at that time. In his reply to Sir Auckland Colvin,( Sir Auckland Colvin was the Lieutenant Governor of the then North Western Provinces (now the United Province of Agra and Oudh). he admitted that “a safety valve for the escape of great and growing forces generated by” British “connection, was urgently needed, and no more efficacious safety valve than” the “Congress movement could possibly be devised.” This correspondence between Sir Auckland Colvin, then Lieutenant Governor of the United Provinces, and Mr. Hume, reveals the whole genesis of the Congress movement, and is so clear and illuminating that no student of Indian politics can afford to neglect it.

It leaves no doubt whatsoever that the immediate motive which underlay the idea of starting the Congress was to save the Empire from “the danger” that loomed ahead “tremendous in the immediate future,” “the misery of the masses acted on by the bitter resentment of individuals among the educated class.” In the words of Mr. Hume, “no choice was left to those who gave the primary impetus to the movement. The ferment, the creation of Western ideas, education, invention, and appliances, was at work with a rapidly increasing intensity, and it became of paramount importance to find for its products an overt and constitutional channel for discharge, instead of leaving them to fester as they had already commenced to do, under the surface.” Mr. Hume further adds that though “ in certain provinces and from certain points of view the movement was premature, yet from the most important point of view, the future maintenance of the integrity of the British Empire, the real question when the Congress started, was, not is it premature, but is it too late? will the country now accept it?” Indeed, by that test, the events have proved that the Indian National Congress has been a great success, and that either Mr. Hume’s reading of the political situation was exaggerated, or that his remedy has been amply justified.

Congress to Save British Empire from Danger

But one thing is clear, that the Congress was started more with the object of saving the British Empire from danger than with that of winning political liberty for India. The interests of the British Empire were primary and those of India only secondary, and no one can say that the Congress has not been true to that ideal. It might be said with justice and reason that the founders of the Indian National Congress considered the maintenance of British rule in India of vital importance to India herself, and therefore were anxious to do everything in their power, not only to save that rule from any danger that threatened it, but even to strengthen it ; that with them the redress of political grievances and the political advance of India was only a by-product and of secondary importance. If so, the Congress has been true to its ideal, and no one can find fault with it.

On the strength of an illuminating memorandum found among his papers, Hume’s biographer has stated the nature of the evidence that “convinced” Mr. Hume at the time (i. e. about 15 months before Lord Lytton left India) that the British were “in immediate danger of a terrible outbreak.” We will give it in Mr. Hume’s own words.

“I was shown seven large volumes (corresponding to a certain mode of dividing the country, excluding Burma, Assam, and some minor tracts) containing a vast number of entries; English abstracts or translations — longer or shorter — of vernacular reports or communications of one kind or another, all arranged according to districts (not identical with ours), sub-districts, sub-divisions, and the cities, towns and villages included in these. The number of these entries was enormous; there were said, at the time, to be communications from over thirty thousand different reporters. I did not count them, they seemed countless; but in regard to the towns and villages of one district of the Northwest Provinces with which I possess a peculiarly intimate acquaintance — a troublesome part of the country, no doubt — there were nearly three hundred entries, a good number of which I could partially verify, as to the names of the people, etc. “He mentions that he had the volumes in his possession only for about a week; into six of them he only dipped; but he closely examined one covering the greater portion of the Northwest Provinces, Oudh, Behar, parts of Bundelkund and parts of the Punjab; and so far as possible verified the entries referring to those districts with which he had special personal acquaintance. Many of the entries reported conversations between men of the lowest classes,( The quotations from Hume are taken out of W. Wedderburn’s Allan Octavian Hume, the parts enclosed in parenthesis are Wedderburn’s )  “ all going to show that these poor men were pervaded with a sense of the hopelessness of the existing state of affairs; that they were convinced that they would starve and die, and that they wanted to do something, and stand by each other, and that something meant violence,” (for innumerable entries referred to the secretion of old swords, spears and matchlocks, which would be ready when required. It was not supposed that the immediate result, in its initial stages, would be a revolt against the Government, or a revolt at all in the proper sense of the word. What was predicted was a sudden violent outbreak of sporadic crimes, murders of obnoxious persons, robbery of bankers, looting of bazaars). “ In the existing state of the lowest half-starving classes, it was considered that the first few crimes would be the signal for hundreds of similar ones, and for a general development of lawlessness, paralysing the authorities and the respectable classes. It was considered also, that everywhere the small bands would begin to coalesce into large ones, like drops of water on a leaf; that all the bad characters in the country would join, and that very soon after the bands obtained formidable proportions, a certain small number of the educated classes, at the time desperately, perhaps, unreasonably, bitter against the Government, would join the movement, assume here and there the lead, give the outbreak cohesion, and direct it as a national revolt.”

To this, Sir William Wedderburn adds further from his own personal knowledge : ‘ The forecast of trouble throughout India was in exact accordance with what actually occurred, under my own observation, in the Bombay Presidency, in connection with the Agrarian rising known as the Deccan riots. These began with sporadic gang robberies and attacks on the money lenders, until the bands of dacoits, combining together, became too strong for the police; and the whole military force at Poona, horse, foot, and artillery, had to take the field against them. Roaming through the jungle tracts of the Western Ghauts, these bands dispersed in the presence of military forces, only to reunite immediately at some convenient point ; and from the hill stations of Mahableshwar and Matheran we could at night see the light of their campfires in all directions. A leader from the more instructed class was found, calling himself Sivaji, the Second, who addressed challenges to the Government, offered a reward of 500 rupees for the head of H. E. Sir Richard Temple (then Governor of Bombay), and claimed to lead a national revolt upon the lines on which the Mahratta power had originally been founded.”

So in the words of these two leaders, the immediate motive of the Congress was to save the British Empire from this danger.

There is no doubt that the Congress was founded out of fear of a political out- break and only in the nature of a safety valve, we will quote the whole of it (or at least as much of it as is given in Mr. Hume’s biography). Addressing the graduates of the university, Mr. Hume said : ” Constituting, as you do, a large body of the most highly educated Indians, you should, in the natural order of things, constitute also the most important source of all mental, moral, social, and political progress in India. Whether in the individual or the nation, all vital progress must spring from within, and it is to you, her most cultured and enlightened minds, her most favoured sons, that your country must look for the initiative. In vain may aliens, like myself, love India and her children, as well as the most loving of these; in vain may they, for her and their good, give time and trouble, money and thought; in vain may they struggle and sacrifice; they may assist with advice and suggestions; they may place their experience, abilities and knowledge at the disposal of the workers, but they lack the essential of nationality, and the real work must ever be done by the people of the country themselves.” “Scattered individuals, however capable and however well meaning, are powerless singly. What is needed is union, organisation and a well defined line of action ; and to secure these an association is required, armed and organised with unusual care, having for its object to promote the mental, moral, social and political regeneration of the people of India. Our little army must be sui generis in discipline and equipment, and the question simply is, how many of you will prove to possess, in addition to your high scholastic attainments, the unselfishness, moral courage, self-control, and active spirit of benevolence which are essential in all who should enlist?”

Even truer and nobler are the sentiments in the final appeal which ended this letter and which runs thus: “ As I said before, you are the salt of the land. And if amongst even you, the elite, fifty men can not be found with sufficient power of self-sacrifice, sufficient love for and pride in their country, sufficient genuine and unselfish heartfelt patriotism to take the initiative, and if needs be, devote the rest of their lives to the cause, then there is no hope for India. Her sons must and will remain mere humble and helpless instruments in the hands of foreign rulers, for ‘they who would be free, themselves must strike the blow.’ And if even the leaders of thought are all either such poor creatures, or so selfishly wedded to personal concerns, that they dare not or will not strike a blow for their country’s sake, then justly and rightly are they kept down and trampled on, for they deserve nothing better. Every nation secures precisely as good a government as it merits. If you, the picked men, the most highly educated of the nation, can not, scorning personal ease and selfish ends, make a resolute struggle to secure freedom for yourselves and your country, a more impartial administration, a larger share in the management of your own affairs, then we, your friends, are wrong, and our adversaries right ; then are Lord Ripon’s aspirations for your good, fruitless and visionary ; then, at present, at any rate, all hopes of progress are at an end, and India truly neither lacks nor deserves any  better government than she now enjoys. Only, if this be so, let us hear no more factious, peevish complaints that you are kept in leading strings, and treated like children, for you will have proved yourselves such. Men know how to act. Let there be no more complaints of Englishmen being preferred to you in all important offices, for if you lack that public spirit, that highest form of altruistic devotion that leads men to subordinate private ease to the public weal, that true patriotism that has made Englishmen what they are, then rightly are these preferred to you, and rightly and inevitably have they become your rulers. And rulers and taskmasters they must continue, let the yoke gall your shoulders ever so sorely, until you realize and stand prepared to act upon the eternal truth, whether in the case of individuals or nations, self-sacrifice and unselfishness are the only unfailing guides to freedom and happiness.”

Mr. Hume was too noble not to mean what he said, and the present writer has no doubt but that Mr. Hume was absolutely sincere in what he said. He had a passion for liberty. His heart bled at the sight of so much misery and poverty as prevailed in India, and which according to him was preventable by good government. He burned with indignation at the “cowardly” behavior of his countrymen towards Indians, and he could not help feeling ashamed at the way in which pledges given and  promises made were being ignored. He was an ardent student of history and knew full well that no government, whether national or foreign, had conceded to popular demands without pressure from below. In the case of an alien government, the chances were even still more meagre. He therefore wanted the Indians “to strike” for their liberty if they wanted it. The first step was to organise. So he advised organisation.

We  believe that men like Ranade, Tilak, Naoroji, W. C. Bonnerjea, Ajudhia Nath, and Tyabji, were only tools in the hands of the Britishers. No,  they were all true and good patriots. They loved their country and they started the Congress with the best of motives. It is possible that with some British sympathizers, the interests of the British Empire were primary, and they sided with the Congress because they believed that thereby they could best secure the Empire; but the writer of this book knows from personal experience how deeply the love of humanity and liberty is embedded in the hearts of some Britishers, and he is compelled to believe that at least some of those who showed their sympathy with the Congress were of that kind.

The Imperialist Junker and Jingo calls such men “Little Englanders,” but the truth is that their hearts are too big to be imperial. They believe in humanity, and in liberty being the birthright of every human being. In their eyes a tyrant, one who robs others of their liberty, one who bases his greatness on the exploitation of others, or deprives them of their rights by might or clever diplomacy, does not cease to be so by the fact of his being their countryman. They are patriots themselves and will shed the last drop of their blood in the defense of their liberty, and in the defense of their country’s liberty and independence, but their patriotism does not extend to the point of applauding their country’s robbing others of theirs. Yes, there are Britons who are sincere friends of the cause of liberty all over the globe. They deplore that their country should be ruling India at all, and if it were in their power, they would at once withdraw from India. Some of these sympathies with the Indian Nationalists in all sincerity, and have done so ever since the Indian National Congress was started, or even from before that time. It is no fault of theirs, if the Indian Nationalist Movement has not been such a success as they would have wished it to be, and if it has not been able to achieve anything very tangible. The fault is purely that of the Indians, and of the Indians alone, or of the circumstances.

First, political agitation did not start with the Congress. It had been started before and no attempt to suppress it had succeeded. Second, the distrust of political agitation in India was not greater in those days than it is now and has been during the life of the Congress. But if it be true that the movement could not have been started by an Indian or by the combined efforts of many Indians, all we can say is that that itself would be proof of its having been started before time and on wrong foundations.

The Indian leaders of the Congress have never fully realised the absolute truth of these principles and the result is the comparatively poor record of the Congress. In his original manifesto issued in 1883, Mr. Hume wanted fifty Indians “with sufficient power of self sacrifice, sufficient love for and pride in their country, sufficient genuine and unselfish heartfelt patriotism to take the initiative and if needs be to devote the rest of their lives to the cause.”

Of course there were many times fifty men of that kind in the country, even then, who were devoting their lives to the service of their country, but not in the political line. It took the Congress and the country, by working on Congress lines, more than twenty years to produce fifty, many times fifty, such men to devote their lives to the political cause. But unfortunately these are neither in the Congress, nor of the Congress. Barring Mr. Dadabhai Naoroji and the late Mr. Gokhale, can be said to have devoted their lives, in the way Mr. Hume wanted them to do, to the Congress cause?. But very few of them have ever been active in the Congress or for the Congress. Within the same period many Indians have given away many hundreds of thousands of rupees, some the whole earnings of a lifetime, in aid of education or for other public or charitable purposes; but the Congress work has always languished for want of funds. The British Committee of the Indian National Congress, located in London, have never had sufficient money to do their work decently. The expenses of the British Committee have largely fallen on Sir William Wedderburn. He and Mr. Hume between them spent quite a fortune on the movement. No single Indian is said to have spent even a fraction of that. The question naturally arises,— why has it been so ? The answer is obvious. The movement did not appeal to the nation. The leaders lacked that faith which alone makes it possible to make great sacrifices for it.

In the early years of the Congress there was a great deal of enthusiasm for it among the English educated Indians. So long as no attempts were made to reach the masses and carry on the propaganda among the people, the officials expressed their sympathy with the movement. Lord Dufferin even invited the members as “distinguished visitors” to a garden party at Government House, Calcutta, when the Congress held its second session in that city in 1886. In 1887 the Governor of Madras paid a similar compliment to them at Madras,( These compliments have been renewed of late. The Congress held at Madras in 1914 was attended by the British Governor of the Presidency

The Congress Lacked Essentials of a National Movement

Ever since then the Congress has cared more for the opinion of the Government and the officials than for truth or for the interests of the country. Again the question arises, why ? And the reply is, because the leaders had neither sufficient political consciousness nor faith. They had certain political opinions, but not beliefs for which they were willing to suffer. They were prepared to urge the desirability of certain reforms in the government of the country, even at the risk of a certain amount of official displeasure, but they were not prepared to bear persecutions, or suffer for their cause. Either they did not know they had a cause, or they were wanting in that earnestness which makes men suffer for a cause. Or, to be charitable, they thought that the country was not prepared for an intense movement and considered it better to have something than nothing. They perhaps wanted to educate the country in political methods and bring about a political consolidation of all the national forces, before undertaking an intensified movement. But with the greatest possible respect for the founders of the Indian National Congress, or for those who a few years ago took up the control of the movement, we cannot help remarking that by their own conduct they showed that their movement lacked the essentials of a national movement.

A movement does not become national by the mere desire of its founders to make it so. It is a mistake to start a national political movement unless those who start it are prepared to make great sacrifices for it. A halting, half-hearted political movement depending on the sympathy and good will of the very class against whom it is directed, consulting their wishes at every step, with its founders or leaders trembling for their safety and keeping their purse strings tight, only doing as much as the authorities would allow and as would not interfere in any way with , their own personal interests and comforts and incomes, is from its very nature detrimental to real national interests. A political movement is mischievous in its effects if its leaders do not put a sufficient amount of earnestness into it to evoke great enthusiasm among their followers.

It is a fact that the English friends of the movement showed more earnestness than many of the Indian leaders. They spent their own money over it and they incurred the displeasure of their countrymen and the odium of being called traitors to their own country. Mr. Hume was “ in deadly earnest.” He started the movement with the good will of the authorities and waited for results for two years. When, however, he found that “ the platonic expressions of sympathy by the authorities were a mockery,” that nothing was done to lessen the “ misery of the masses” and to relieve their sufferings and redress their grievances, he decided to put more intensity into the movement. He undertook to instruct the Indian nation and rouse them to a sense of their right and to a sense of the wrong that was being done to them. In his opinion, “ the case was one of extreme urgency, for the deaths by famine and pestilence were counted not by tens of thousands or by hundreds of thousands, but by millions.” ( Mr. Hume’s biography by Sir William Wedderburn, p. 62. ) He concluded that “ in order to constrain the Government to move, the leaders of the Indian people must adopt measures of exceptional vigour, following the drastic methods pursued in England by Bright and Cobden in their great campaign on behalf of the people’s food.” So, like Cobden, Hume decided that since the attempt of the Congress leaders to instruct the Government had failed and since the Government had refused to be instructed by them, the next step was “ to instruct the nations, the great English nation in its island home, and also the far greater nation of this vast Indian continent, so that every Indian that breathes upon the sacred soil of this our motherland, shall become our comrade and coadjutor, our supporter and if need be our soldier, in the great war that we, like Cobden and his noble band, will wage for justice, for our liberties and our rights.” ( Mr. Hume’s biography by Sir W. W., p. 63.)

Hume’s Political Movement

Now these were noble words, pointing out the only political weapon that ever succeeds against autocratic governments. We are told by Mr. Hume’s biographer that “ in pursuance of such a propaganda in India, Mr. Hume set to work with his wonted energy, appealing for funds to all classes of the Indian community, distributing tracts, leaflets and pamphlets, sending out lecturers and calling meetings both in large towns and in country districts. Throughout the country over one thousand meetings were held, at many of which over five thousand persons were present, and arrangements were made for the distribution of half a million pamphlets, translations into twelve Indian languages being circulated of two remarkable pamphlets, showing by a parable the necessary evils of absentee state landlordism, however benevolent the intention.” ( Biography, p. 63.)

That was true political work, done with a real political insight. If it had been persevered in, the history of the Congress would have been different and perhaps the revolutionary party would never have been born or would have been born earlier. In either case the country would have been farther ahead in politics than it is now. What, however, actually happened was that the Government was at once moved to hostility. Lord Dufferin spoke of the Congress in terms of contempt “as the infinitesimal minority,” at a Calcutta dinner. Sir Auckland Colvin stirred up the Mohammedans, organised an Anti-Congress Association and denounced the Congress in no measured terms, as mischievous, disloyal, and much before the time.

Congress Overawed

Mr. Hume started to explain in an apologetic tone. It was at this time that he came out with the “safety valve” theory. The propaganda was at once abandoned, never to be resumed in the history of the movement. The movement in England failed for want of funds. The movement in India collapsed for want of perseverance, vigour and earnestness. Here again we are disposed to think that Mr. Hume’s subsequent conduct was influenced more by the fears and half heartedness of the Indian leaders than by his own judgment. If the Indian leaders had stuck to their guns and pushed on their propaganda, the country would have supplied funds and would have rallied round them. Perhaps there might have been a few riots and a few prosecutions. But that would have drawn the attention of the British public to Indian conditions more effectively than their twenty-eight years of half-hearted propaganda in England did. The political education of the people would have been more rapid and the movement would have gained such a strength as to make itself irresistible. It is possible, nay, probable, that the Government would have suppressed the movement. But that itself would have been a victory and a decided and effective step in the political education of the people.

No nation and no political party can ever be strong enough to make their voice effective, unless and until they put forward a sufficient amount of earnestness (not bluff) to convince their opponents that in case their demands are trifled with, the consequences might be serious to both parties. No political agitation need be started unless those who are engaged in it are prepared to back it by the power of the purse and the power of conviction.

Congress Agitation in England

The Congress overawed in 1888 and 1889, failed in both respects. So far as the first is concerned, why, that has been a theme of lamentation, appeals, and wailings from year to year. Friends in England, whether in or outside the British Committee, have lamented it in pathetic terms. The Congress agitation in England has never been effective. The Congress has had precious little influence on English public opinion, and although the British Committee of the Congress have had an office and an organ in London for the last 25 years or more, their influence in English politics has been almost nil. But for the generosity of Mr. Hume and Sir William Wedderburn, the Congress office in London might have been long ago closed. The leaders of the Congress have talked very much of their implicit faith in the English nation; they have held out hopes of our getting a redress of our wrongs if we could only inform the British people of the condition of things prevalent in India; yet the efforts they have put forward to achieve that end have been puerile and paltry. There is a party of Indian politicians who do not believe in agitation in England, but the leaders of the Congress and those who have controlled the organisation in the last 30 years do not profess to belong to that party. We shall now try to explain why this has been so.

Causes of Failure of the Congress

( 1 ) The movement was neither inspired by the people nor devised or planned by them. It was a movement not from within. No section of the Indian people identified themselves with it so completely as to feel that their existence as honourable men depended on its successful management. The movement was started by an Englishman, at the suggestion of an English pro-consul. The Indians, who professed to lead it, were either actually in government service or in professions allied to government service and created by the Government.They were patriotic enough to give a part of their time and energy to the movement, so long as it did not clash with their own interests, so long as they were not required to mar their careers for it, or so long as it did not demand heavy sacrifices from them.

(2). The movement lacked the essentials of a popular movement. The leaders were not in touch with the people. Perhaps they did not even want to come in touch with them. Their propaganda was confined to a few English-educated persons, was carried on in English and was meant for the ears of the authorities rather than for the people. The leaders always felt shy of the masses, made no efforts to reach them, and systematically discouraged the younger men from doing the same. Some of them have openly opposed efforts in this direction.

(3). The leaders failed to inspire enthusiasm among the people, either by their own failure to make sacrifices, or by the triviality of their sacrifices. Their ordinary life, their income, their prosperity, and their luxuries were in no way affected by the movement. There were only two exceptions to this, viz., Dadabhai Naoroji and Gokhale.

(4). The movement was neither confined to a select few, nor open to all. While the people were expected to add to the spectacular side of the show by their presence in large numbers, by crowded meetings, by cheers and applause, they were never given a hand in the movement. Differences of opinion were always discouraged and free discussion was never allowed.

(5). A national movement, demanding only a few concessions and not speaking of the liberties of the nation and of its ideals, is never an effective movement. It is at best an opportunist movement. It is mischievous in so far as it diverts attention from substantial nation building and character making. It brings fame without sacrifice. It opens opportunities for treacheries and hypocrisies. It enables some people to trade in the name of patriotism.

So this is the genesis of the Congress, and this alone is sufficient to condemn it in the eyes of the advanced Nationalists. There is no parallel to this in the history of the world. Who has ever heard of a movement for political liberty being initiated by a despotic government, which is foreign in its agency and foreign in its methods?





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Moslem Architecture in India- Mixture of Afghan style and Mogul style

Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A. (Socio, Phil) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph.D.

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee, India

India’s architectural heritage constituted ‘the greatest galaxy monuments in the world

Dr. Ernest Binfield Havell (1861-1934)

Dr. Ernest Binfield Havell, insisted that the Islamic architecture in India was influenced by the Hindus. ” Albiruni, the Arab historian, expressed his astonishment at and admiration for the work of Hindu builders. “Our people, he said, “when they see them, wonder at them and are unable to describe them, much less to construct anything like them.”

As the first Islamic monarchy in India, the Slave Dynasty (1206-1290), and all of its successors, the Khalji (1290-1320), the Tughluq (1320-1413), the Sayyid (1414-51), and the Lodi (1451-1526), consistently fixed Delhi as the capital.

The Islamic rule in India saw the introduction of many new elements in the building style also. Art of Delhi Sultanate was the process of absorption and Indianization of the techniques of art and architecture.  This was very much distinct from the already prevailing building style adopted in the construction of temples and other secular architecture. The main elements in the Islamic architecture is the introduction of arches and beams, and it is the arcuate style of construction while the traditional Indian building style is tabulate, using pillars and beams and lintels.

Qutb al-Din Aybak , who had subjugated northern India as the general of Muhammad of Gori in Afghanistan, established the first Islamic political regime of the Delhi Sultanate, the Slave Dynasty. He took the fortified town of Qila Rai Pithora, which had been constructed by the Hindu king, Prithvi Raj, settling it as his capital. Aybak dismantled twenty-seven Hindu and Jain temples of to erect the Friday Mosque at the site of a Vishnu temple, reusing their components. The Qutab Mosque in Mehrauli district, which was at the starting point of development, was constructed from the components of dismantled Hindu and Jain temples using Indian traditional methods.

The mosque, later referred to as  Quwwat-al-Islam Mosque (meaning Might of Islam), had a narrow oblong worship room with five domes in a row and a large longitudinal courtyard surrounded by cloisters. The succeeding Sultan, Shams al-Din Iltutmish, enlarged it on the left and right sides, to four times its total extent, in 1230. Then, Khalji Sultan, Alah al-Din , enlarged it further to the right and on the opposite side of Kibla to the extent of ten times of the earliest stage.

What is peculiar in this mosque is that an enormous Screen of arches was later erected in front of the worship hall, the existing part of which reaches an impressive height of 15m with a thickness of 2.6m.  However, Indian masons did not know the structural system of true arches and domes and constructed the mosque with the pseudo manner of corbelled domes. As a result, a line of twenty domes, which added up to 225m, all collapsed in later years and were carried away as materials for new buildings. One of the earliest mausoleums, Iltutmish Tomb , has also lost its corbelled dome.

Beside the mosque stands a colossal intact Minaret called  Qutb Minar, the lower part of which was constructed by Aybak and the upper part by Iltutmish. It was part of a mosque begun at Old Delhi by Kutbu-d Din Aibak; it commemorated the victories of that bloody Sultan over the Hindus, and twenty-seven Hindu temples were dismembered to provide material for the mosque and the tower.  It remains the highest tower in India till this day, and its relief-carvings of foliage patterns and Arabic calligraphy are as excellent as those of the Iltutmish Tomb and the Screen of arches.

Ala al-Din commenced constructing the   Alai Minar on a twofold scale of the former Minaret in the largest courtyard in the course of the second expansion, but it was not completed, only leaving its basal part. At the new gate erected on this occasion, Alai Darwaza, Indian masons succeeded in erecting a true dome for the first time.

In the oldest courtyard stands an iron pillar 7.5m long (6.8m above ground), which is thought to have been produced by the king of Gupta Dynasty, Chandragupta II, in the 4th century. It was a Stambha (monumental pillar) dedicated to a Vishnu temple according to its inscription, and it seems to have been brought here before the Islamic conquest. This wrought iron pillar, with a Gupta-style capital on the top, is so highly refined that it has not suffered rust at all in spite of its exposure to the elements for 1,600 years.

The mosques from the Khalji onward, having acquired the techniques of Islamic architecture, were fundamentally of the arabian type with the plan of hypostyle oblong hall.  Mosques came to be surmounted symbolically with Persian-style domes as the main fashion, and it became the definitive form to arrange three domes continuously on a oblong worship hall, though still in an unrefined manner, such as with the Moth-ki Masjid from the Lodi Dynasty.In general the Sultans of Delhi were too busy with killing to have much time for architecture, and such buildings as they have left us are mostly the tombs that they raised during their own lifetime as reminders that even they would die. The best example of these is the mausoleum of Sher Shah at Sasseram, in Bihar.

It is true that the “Afghan” dynasty used Hindu artisans, copied Hindu themes, and even appropriated the pillars of Hindu temples, for their architectural purposes, and that many mosques were merely Hindu temples rebuilt for Moslem prayer; but this natural imitation passed quickly into a style.

The different religious beliefs are also reflected in the mode of construction and architectural styles. The Islamic style also incorporated many elements from the traditional Indian style and a compound style emanated. The introduction of decorative brackets, balconies, pendentive decorations, etc in the architecture is an example in this regard. The other distinguishing features of Indo-Islamic architecture are the utilisation of kiosks (chhatris), tall towers (minars) and half-domed double portals. As human worship and its representation are not allowed in Islam, the buildings and other edifices are generally decorated richly in geometrical and arabesque designs. These designs were carved on stone in low relief, cut on plaster, painted or inlaid. The use of lime as mortar was also a major element distinct from the traditional building style.

The final triumph of Indian architecture came under the Moguls. The tendency to unite the Mohammedan and the Hindu styles was fostered by the eclectic impartiality of Akbar; and the masterpieces that his artisans built for him wove Indian and Persian methods and motifs into an exquisite harmony symbolizing the frail merger of native and Moslem creeds in Akbar’s synthetic faith.

Islamic architecture was one of rapid capitulation to the superior indigenous art of India. Akbar was not the exception but the classic example. His wholesale adoption of Hindu styles and his patronage of Indian craftsmen marked the end of a brief experiment with non-Indian forms (Tughlak’s tomb for example), and the beginning of one of the greatest periods of purely Indian building.

The first monument of his reign, the tomb erected by him near Delhi for his father The Mausoleum of his father,  Humayun, was the first full-blown piece of Mughal architecture, which would determine the splendid style afterward, combining red sandstone and white marble. Its formation is such that in the center of a huge ‘Charbagh’ (four quartered garden) a large square platform is built, on which a mausoleum with identical facades for its four sides stands symbolically and is capped with a large dome of white marble. It was in India among the vast Islamic areas that this form of tomb architecture was especially loved and made great developments, there is a reason for that.

There is also evidence that the building known as Humayun’s Tomb is none other than a captured Lakshmi Temple. Abul Fazal says Humayun is buried in Sirhind. French writer G. Le Bon has published in his book The World of Ancient India (Publisher: Editions Minerva – Spain Date of Publication: 1974) a photo of marble footprints found in the building. He describes them as the footprints of Lord Vishnu. This is typical of a Vedic temple, to have the footprints of the main Divinity of the shrine. In this case, it is the husband of Lakshmi, Lord Vishnu.

As a reflection of this, for buildings in Fatehpur Sikri that he constructed as a new capital and his own mausoleum at Sikandra he seldom used arches and domes and deliberately used traditional posts and beams in spite of being Islamic architecture. A pavilion in Fatehpur Sikri protruding even stone slab eaves protecting against the rainy season looks as it were wooden structure. . A flight of steps leads up to an imposing portal in red sandstone, through whose lordly arch one passes into an enclosure filled with chef-d’oeuvres. The major building is a mosque, but the loveliest of the structures are the three pavilions for the Emperor’s favorite wives, and the marble tomb of his friend, Salim Chisti the sage; here the artists of India began to show that skill in embroidering stone. Historian Vincent Smith in his book Akbar the Great Moghul, says:

” It is surprising to find unmistakable Hindu features in the architecture of the tomb of a most zealous Musalman saint, but the whole structure suggests Hindu feeling and nobody can mistake the Hindu origin of the column and struts of the porch.”

He aggrandized the capital Agra, constructing the   Lal Qila (Red Fort) with red sandstone. He also promoted the union of Hindus and Muslims for the stabilization of the empire and applied this principle to architecture too.

As for Akbar’s mausoleum at Sikandra, it became an unprecedented unique Islamic building, posts and beams which were stacked up like a four-storied junglegym as ‘Framework architecture’ on a high-rise platform. Its components are ‘Chatri’ (its etymology is ‘Chatra’ meaning an umbrella in Sanskrit); a turret with an apparently heavy roof supported with four columns. This came to be used as an ornamental element for all sorts of buildings.

Jehangir contributed little to the architectural history of his people.Shah Jehan made his name almost as bright as Akbar’s by his passion for beautiful building. He scattered money as lavishly among his artists.. Like the kings of northern Europe, he imported the surplus artists of Italy, and had them instruct his own carvers in that art of pietra dura (i.e., of inlaying marble with a mosaic of precious stones) which became one of the char- acteristic elements of Indian adornment during his reign.

Shah  Jehan was not a very religious soul, but two of the fairest mosques in India rose under his patronage: the Juma Masjid or Friday Mosque at Delhi, and the Moti Masj id or Pearl Mosque at Agra. Both at Delhi and at Agra Jehan built “forts” i.e., groups of royal edifices surrounded by a protective wall.

At Delhi he tore down with superior disdain the pink palaces of Akbar, and replaced them with structures which at their worst are a kind of marble confectionery, and at their best are the purest architectural beauty on the globe. Here is the luxurious Hall of Public Audience, with panels of Florentine mosaic on a black marble ground, and with ceilings, columns and arches carved into stone lacery of frail but incredible beauty. Here, too, is the Hall of Private Audience, whose ceiling is of silver and gold, whose columns are of filigree marble, whose arches are a pointed semicircle composed of smaller flowerlike semicircles, whose Peacock Throne became a legend for the world, and whose wall still bears in precious inlay the proud words of the Moslem poet: “If anywhere on earth there is a Paradise, it is here, it is here, it is here.”  The Delhi Fort originally contained fifty-two palaces, but only twenty-seven remain.

The Fort at Agra is in ruins, and we can only guess at its original magnificence. Here, amid many gardens, were the Pearl Mosque, the Gem Mosque, the halls of Public and Private Audience, the Throne Palace, the King’s Baths, the Hall of Mirrors, the palaces of Jehangir and of Shah Jehan, the Jasmine Palace of Nur Jehan, and that Jasmine Tower from which the captive emperor, Shah Jehan, looked over the Jumna upon the tomb that he had built for his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal.

All the world knows that tomb by her shortened name as the Taj Mahal. Many an architect has rated it as the most perfect of all buildings standing on the earth today.It is said that three artists designed it: a Persian, Ustad Isa; an Italian, Gieronimo Veroneo; and a Frenchman, Austin dc Bordeaux.

The building is a complex figure of twelve sides, four of which are portals; a slender minaret rises at each corner, and the roof is a massive spired dome. The main entrance, once guarded with solid silver gates, is a maze of marble embroidery; inlaid in the wall in jeweled script are quotations from the Koran, one of which invites the “pure in heart” to enter “the gardens of Paradise.” The interior is simple; and perhaps it is just as well that native and European thieves cooperated in despoiling the tomb of its superabundant jewels, and of the golden railing, encrusted with precious stones, that once enclosed the sarcophagi of Jehan and his Queen. For Aurangzeb replaced the railing with an octagonal screen of almost transparent marble, carved into a miracle of alabaster lace; and it has seemed to some visitors that of all the minor and partial products of human art nothing has ever surpassed the beauty of this screen.

It was a sad error of Shah Jehan’s to make a fortress of these lovely palaces. When the British besieged Agra (1803) they inevitably turned their guns upon the Fort. Seeing the cannon-balls strike the Khass Mahal, or Hall of Private Audience, the Indians  surrendered, thinking beauty more precious than victory. A little later Warren Hastings tore up the bath of the palace to present it to George IV; and other portions of the structure were sold by Lord William Bcntinck to help the revenues of India.

Lord William Bentinck, one of the kindliest of the British governoxs of India, once thought of selling the Taj for $150,000 to a Hindu contractor, who believed that better use could be made of the material.  Since Lord Curzon’s administration the British Government of India has taken excellent care of these Mogul monuments. just as well that native and European thieves cooperated in despoiling the tomb of its superabundant jewels, and of the golden railing, encrusted with precious stones, that once enclosed the sarcophagi of Jehan and his Queen. For Aurangzeb replaced the railing with an octagonal screen of almost transparent marble, carved into a miracle of alabaster lace; and it has seemed to some visitors that of all the minor and partial products of human art nothing has ever surpassed the beauty of this screen.

The sixth emperor Aurangzeb was a misfortune for Mogul and Indian art. Dedicated fanatically to an exclusive religion, he saw in art nothing but idolatry and vanity. Already Shah Jehan had prohibited the erection of Hindu temples;”  Aurangzeb not only continued the ban, but gave so economical a support to Moslem building that it, too, languished under his reign. Indian art followed him to the grave.

Aurangzeb  did not like pomp; therefore his tomb  in Khurdabad is extremely simple without even a roof. The mighty  Badshahi Mosque(1674) in Lahore is the last one among the four great mosques of the Mughals. The mausoleum of Aurangzeb wife, Bibi-ka-Maqbara (1678), was modelled on the Taj Mahal but it can be seen that its size, proportion, and volition for ornamentation were diminishing.

After that, both state power and its art declined; there remains merely the mausoleum of Safdarjang in Delhi , and it would be gradually encroached upon by British colonial culture.

Hindu and Moslem architecture- A comparison

To evaluate Indian architecture in summary and retrospect we find in it two themes, masculine and feminine, Hindu and Mohammedan, about which the structural symphony revolves. As, in the most famous of symphonies, the startling hammer-strokes of the opening bars are shortly followed by a strain of infinite delicacy, so in Indian architecture the over- powering monuments of the Hindu genius at Bodh-Gaya, Bhuvaneshwara, Madura and Tanjore are followed by the grace and melody of the Mogul style at Fathpur-Sikri, Delhi and Agra; and the two themes mingle in a confused elaboration to the end.

It was said of the Moguls that they built like giants and finished liked jewellers; but this epigram might better have been applied to Indian architecture in general: the Hindus built like giants, and the Moguls ended like jewellers.

Hindu architecture impresses us in its mass, Mohammedan architecture in its detail; the first had the sublimity of strength, the other had the perfection of beauty; the Hindus had passion and fertility, the  Mohammedan had taste and self-restraint.

The Hindu covered his buildings with such exuberant statuary that one hesitates whether to class them as building or as sculpture; the Mohammedan abominated images, and confined himself to floral or geometrical decoration.

The Hindus were the Gothic sculptor-architects of India’s Middle Ages; the Moslems were the expatriated artists of the exotic Renaissance. All in all, the Hindu style reached greater heights, in proportion as sublimity excels loveliness; on second thought we perceive that Delhi Fort and the Taj Mahal, beside Angkor and Borobudur, are beautiful lyrics beside profound Dramas. One art is the graceful and partial expression of fortunate individuals, the other is the complete and powerful expression of a race.

Hence this little survey must conclude as it began, by confessing that none but a Hindu can quite appreciate the art of India, or write about it forgivably. To a European this popular art of profuse ornament and wild complexity will seem at times almost primitive and barbarous. Only a native believer can feel the majesty of the Hindu temples, for these were built to give not merely a form to beauty but a stimulus to piety and a pedestal to faith.

It is in these terms all Indian civilization as the expression of a “medieval” people to whom religion is profounder than science. In this piety lie the weakness and the strength of the Hindu: his superstition and his gentleness, his introversion and his insight, his backwardness and his depth, his weakness in war and his achievement in art. Doubtless his climate affected his religion, and cooperated with it to enfeeble him; therefore he yielded with fatalistic resignation to the Aryans, the Huns, the Moslems and the Europeans. History punished him for neglecting science. The old civilization of India is finished. It began to die when the British came.


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Plato- A Poet and Mystic, as well as a Philosopher


Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A. (Socio, Phil) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph.D.

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee, India

Plato (Platon, “the broad shouldered”) was a philosopher in Classical Greece and the founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. He is widely considered the pivotal figure in the development of Western philosophy.

Born: May 7, 427 BC, Classical Athens. The son of noble parents. According to report, he first studied music, poetry, painting, and philosophy with other masters and became a pupil of Socrates in 407, remaining with him until the latter’s death (399)  when he accompanied the sorrowing Socratics to Megara. His death occurred in 347 B.C. Plato was a poet and mystic, as well as a philosopher and dialectician combining, in a rare degree, great powers of logical analysis and abstract thought with wonderful poetic imagination and deep mystical feeling. His character was noble ; he was an aristocrat by birth and by temperament, an uncompromising idealist, hostile to everything base and vulgar.

It is practically uncertain that all Plato’s genuine works have come down to us. The lost works ascribed to him, such as the “Divisions” and the “Unwritten Doctrines”, are certainly not genuine. Of the thirty-six dialogues, some — the “Phaedrus”, “Protagoras”, “Phaedo”, “The Republic”, “The Banquet”, etc. — are undoubtedly genuine; others — e.g. the “Minos”, — may with equal certaintybe considered spurious; while still a third group — the “Ion”, “Greater Hippias”, and “First Alcibiades” — is of doubtful authenticity. In all his writings, Plato uses the dialogue with a skill never since equalled. That form permitted him to develop the Socratic method of question and answer.

Although Plato did not explicitly divide philosophy into logic, metaphysics (physics), and ethics (practical philosophy, including politics), he makes use of such a division in his works. Plato developed such a system

Division of philosophy

The different parts of philosophy are not distinguished by Plato with the same formal precision found in Aristotelean, and post-Aristotelean systems. We may, however, for convenience, distinguish:

  • Dialectic, the science of the Idea in itself; [including theory of knowledge],
  • Physics, the knowledge of the Idea as incorporated or incarnated in the world of phenomena, and
  • Ethics and Theory of the State, or the science of the Idea embodied in human conduct and human society.

The starting-point

Thirty-six dialogues and thirteen letters have traditionally been ascribed to Plato, though modern scholarship doubts the authenticity of at least some of these. No one knows the exact order Plato’s dialogues were written in, nor the extent to which some might have been later revised and rewritten.

The immediate starting-point of Plato’s philosophical speculation was the Socratic teaching. In his attempt to define the conditions of knowledge so as to refute sophistic scepticism, Socrates had taught that the only true knowledge is a knowledge by means of concepts. The concept, he said, represents all the reality of a thing. As used by Socrates, this was merely a principle of knowledge. It was taken up by Plato as a principle of Being. If the concept represents all the reality of things, the reality must be something in the ideal order, not necessarily in the things themselves, but rather above them, in a world by itself. For the concept, therefore, Plato substitutes the Idea. He completes the work of Socrates by teaching that the objectively real Ideas are the foundation and justification of scientific knowledge.. The Platonic theory of Ideas is an attempt to solve this crucial question by a metaphysical compromise. The Eleatics, Plato said, are right in maintaining that reality does not change; for the ideas are immutable. Still, there is, as Heraclitus contended, change in the world of our experience, or, as Plato terms it, the world of phenomena. Plato, then, supposes a world of Ideas apart from the world of our experience, and immeasurably superior to it. He imagines that all human souls dwelt at one time in that higher world. When, therefore, we behold in the shadow-world around us a phenomenon or appearance of anything, the mind is moved to a remembrance of the Idea (of that same phenomenal thing) which it formerly contemplated. In its delight it wonders at the contrast, and by wonder is led to recall as perfectly as possible the intuition it enjoyed in a previous existence. This is the task of philosophy. Philosophy, therefore, consists in the effort to rise from the knowledge of phenomena, or appearances, to the noumena, or realities. Of all the ideas, however, the Idea of the beautiful shines out through the phenomenal veil more clearly than any other; hence the beginning of all philosophical activity is the love and admiration of the Beautiful.


The Idea, incorporated, so to speak, in the phenomenon is less real than the Idea in its own world, or than the Idea embodied in human conduct and human society. Physics, i.e., the knowledge of the Idea in phenomena, is, therefore, inferior in dignity and importance to Dialectic and Ethics. In fact, the world of phenomena has no scientific interest for Plato. The knowledge of it is not true knowledge, nor the source, but only the occasion of true knowledge. The phenomena stimulate our minds to a recollection of the intuition of Ideas, and with that intuition scientific knowledge begins. Moreover, Plato’s interest in nature is dominated by a teleological view of the world as animated with a World-Soul, which, conscious of its process, does all things for a useful purpose, or, rather, for “the best”, morally, intellectually, and aesthetically. This conviction is apparent especially in the Platonic account of the origin of the universe, contained in the “Timaeus”, although the details regarding the activity of the demiurgos and the created gods should not, perhaps, be taken seriously. Similarly, the account of the origin of the soul, in the same dialogue, is a combination of philosophy and myth, in which it is not easy to distinguish the one from the other. It is clear, however, that Plato holds the spiritual nature of the soul as against the materialistic Atomists, and that he believes the soul to have existed before its union with the body. The whole theory of Ideas, in so far, at least, as it is applied to human knowledge, presupposes the doctrine of pre-existence. “All knowledge is recollection” has no meaning except in the hypothesis of the soul’s pre-natal intuition of Ideas. It is equally incontrovertible that Plato held the soul to be immortal. His conviction on this point was as unshaken as Socrates’s. His attempt to ground that conviction on unassailable premises is, indeed, open to criticism, because his arguments rest either on the hypothesis of previous existence or on his general theory of Ideas. Nevertheless, the considerations which he offers in favour of immortality, in the “Phaedo”, have helped to strengthen all subsequent generations in the belief in a future life. His description of the future state of the soul is dominated by the Pythagorean doctrine of transmigration. Here, again, the details are not to be taken as seriously as the main fact, and we can well imagine that the account of the soul condemned to return in the body of a fox or a wolf is introduced chiefly because it accentuates the doctrine of rewards and punishments, which is part of Plato’s ethical system. Before passing to his ethical doctrines it is necessary to indicate one other point of his psychology. The soul, Plato teaches, consists of three parts: the rational soul, which resides in the head; the irascible soul, the seat of courage, which resides in the heart; and the appetitive soul, the seat of desire, which resides in the abdomen. These are not three faculties of one soul, but three parts really distinct.


Many have interpreted Plato as stating—even having been the first to write—that knowledge is justified true belief, an influential view that informed future developments in epistemology. Plato argues that knowledge is distinguished from mere true belief by the knower having an “account” of the object of her or his true belief. Plato himself also identified problems with the justified true belief definition in the Theaetetus, concluding that justification (or an “account”) would require knowledge of differentiates, meaning that the definition of knowledge is circular .

Plato’s view that knowledge in this latter sense is acquired by recollection.

In several of Plato’s dialogues, the idea that knowledge is a matter of recollection, and not of learning, observation, or study. He maintains this view somewhat at his own expense, knowledge is not empirical, and that it comes from divine insight.

Plato is not content, however, with telling how true concepts and judgments may be obtained ; his chief object is to obtain them, to know reality in all its phases, physical, mental, and moral, to comprehend it in its unity and completeness. Indeed, it is plain to him that the knowledge-problem itself cannot be solved without an understanding of the nature of the world. To this end he develops a universal system, in the spirit of the teachings of the great thinker who became his ideal.

We shall, therefore, follow this order, in a general way, in our exposition of his thought, and begin with logic, or dialectics. Plato clearly understood the great importance of the problem of knowledge in the philosophy of his day. A thinker’s conception of the nature and origin of knowledge largely Dialectics ,  determined his attitude toward the engrossing questions of the age. If our propositions are derived from sense-perception and opinion, Plato argued, then the Sophists are quite right in their contention that there can be no genuine knowledge. Sense-perception does not reveal the true reality of things, but gives us mere appearance. Opinion may be true or false; as mere opinion it has no value whatever ; it is not knowledge, but rests on persuasion or feeling ; it does not know whether it is true or false, it cannot justify itself. Genuine knowledge is knowledge based on reasons, knowledge that knows itself as knowledge, knowledge that can authenticate itself. The great majority of men think without knowing why they think as they do, without having any grounds for their views. Ordinary virtue is no better off: it, too, rests on sense-perception and opinion; it is not conscious of its principles. Men do not know why they act as they do; they act instinctively, according to custom or habit, like ants, bees, and wasps; they act selfishly, for pleasure and profit, hence the masses are a great unconscious Sophist. The Sophist is wrong because he confuses appearance and reality, the pleasant and the good.

We must advance from sense-perception and opinion to genuine knowledge. This we cannot do unless we have a desire, or love of truth, the Eros, which is aroused by the contemplation of beautiful ideas: we pass from the contemplation of beauty to the contemplation of truth. The love of truth impels us to dialectics; it impels us to rise beyond sense-perception to the idea, to conceptual knowledge, from the particular to the universal. The dialectical method consists, first, in the comprehension of scattered particulars in one idea, and second, in the division of the idea into species, that is, in the processes of generalization and classification. In this way alone can there be clear and consistent thinking; we pass from concept to concept, upward and downward, generalizing and particularizing, combining and dividing, synthesizing and analyzing, carving out concepts as a sculptor carves a beautiful figure out of a block of marble. Judgment expresses the relation of concepts to one another, articulates concept with concept, while the syllogism links judgment with judgment, in the process of reasoning. Dialectics is this art of thinking in concepts; concepts, and not sensations or images, constitute the essential object of thought. We cannot, for example, call a man just or unjust unless we have a notion, or concept, of justice, unless we know what justice is; when we know that, we can judge why a man is just or unjust.

Experience, then, is not the source of our notions; there is nothing in experience, in the world of sense, exactly corresponding to them, to the notions of truth, beauty, goodness, for example; no particular object is absolutely beautiful or good. We approach the sense-world with ideals or standards of the true, the beautiful, and the good. In addition to these notions, Plato came to regard mathematical concepts and certain logical notions, or categories, such as being and non-being, identity and difference, unity and plurality, as inborn, or a priori.

Conceptual knowledge, then, is the only genuine knowledge: that was the teaching of Socrates. Knowledge is the correspondence of thought and reality, or being: it must have an object. Hence, if the idea or notion is to have any value as knowledge, something real must correspond to it, there must, for instance, be pure, absolute beauty as such, realities must exist corresponding to our universal ideas. In other words, such ideas cannot be mere passing thoughts in men’s heads; the truths of mathematics, the ideals of beauty, truth, and goodness, must be real, must have independent existence. If the objects of our ideas were not real, our knowledge would not be knowledge; hence they must be real.

Plato found it necessary, in short, to appeal to metaphysics, to his world-view, for the proof of the validity of knowledge. Sense-knowledge, the kind the Sophist believed in, presents to us the passing, changing, particular, and accidental; hence it cannot be genuine knowledge: it does not tell the truth or get at the heart of reality. Conceptual knowledge reveals the universal, changeless, and essential element in things and is, therefore, true knowledge. Philosophy has for its aim knowledge of the universal, unchangeable, and eternal.

Doctrine of ideas: [Plato’s most original philosophical achievement.]

According to Plato, universals exist. Corresponding to the concept of horse, as example, there is a universal or ideal entity; it is the idea that is known in conceptual knowledge, reason

The variety of ideas or forms is endless: there are ideas of things, relations, qualities, actions and values…[these are some classes of ideas]: of tables and chairs; of smallness, greatness, likeness; of colors and tones; of health, rest and motion; of beauty, truth and goodness…The ideas or archetypes constitute a well-ordered world or rational cosmos; arranged in a connected, organic unity, a logical order subsumed under the highest idea: the Good

The Good, the supreme idea, the logos or cosmic purpose, the unity of pluralities, the source of all ideas…is also the truly real. The function of philosophy, by exercise of reason, is to understand this inner, interconnected order of the universe and to conceive its essence by logical thought

Outline of the doctrine:

[1] The forms, or ideas defined as objects corresponding to abstract concepts are real entities. The Platonic form is the reification or entificiation of the Socratic concept;

[2] There are a variety of forms;

[3] They belong to a realm of abstract entities, a “heaven of ideas”, separate from their concrete exemplification in time and space [the Platonic dualism];

[4] Form is archetype, particular: copy; form is superior: forms are real, particulars mere appearances;

[5]  Forms are neither mental – they exist independently of any knowing mind, even God’s – nor physical: yet real;

(6)[forms are non-temporal and non-spatial: eternal and immutable];

[7] They are logically connected in a “communicative” hierarchy in which the supreme form is the Good;

[8] Forms are apprehended by reason, not sense;

[9] The relation between a particular and a form which it exemplifies is “participation”; all particulars with a common predicate participate in the corresponding form; a particular may participate simultaneously in a plurality of forms or successively [in change] in a succession of forms

The Theory of Forms (or Theory of Ideas) typically refers to the belief that the material world as it seems to us is not the real world, but only an “image” or “copy” of the real world. In some of Plato’s dialogues, this is expressed by Socrates, who spoke of forms in formulating a solution to the problem of universals. The forms, ,are archetypes or abstract representations of the many types of things, and properties we feel and see around us, that can only be perceived by reason .In other words, Socrates was able to recognize two worlds: the apparent world, which constantly changes, and an unchanging and unseen world of forms, which may be the cause of what is apparent.

There are, then, two principles; we should say, mind and matter, of which mind is the true reality, the thing of most worth, that to which everything owes its form and essence, the principle of law and order in the universe; while the other element, matter, is secondary, a dull, irrational, recalcitrant force, the unwilling slave of mind, which somehow, but imperfectly, takes on the impress of mind. Form is the active cause, matter is the cooperative cause. It is both friend and foe, an auxiliary and an obstruction, the ground of physical and moral evil, of change and imperfection.

According to Plato the ideas or forms  are not mere thoughts in the minds of men or even in the mind of God  ; he conceives them as existing in and for themselves, they have the character of substantiality, they are substances ,real or substantial forms: the original, eternal transcendent archetypes of things, existing prior to things and apart from them ,independent of them, uninfluenced by the changes to which they are subject. The particular objects which we perceive are imperfect copies or reflections of these eternal patterns; particulars may come and particulars may go, but the idea or form goes on forever. Men may come and men may go, but the man-type, the human race, goes on forever. There are many objects or copies, but there is always only one idea of a class of things. There are numberless such independent forms, or ideas, nothing being too lowly or insignificant to have its idea: ideas of things, relations, qualities, actions ; ideas of tables and beds and chairs, of colour and tone ; of health, rest, and motion; of smallness, greatness, likeness; of beauty, truth, and goodness.

These ideas or archetypes, though numberless, are not disordered, like chaos; they constitute a well-ordered world, or rational cosmos .The ideal order forms an interrelated, connected organic unity, the ideas being arranged in logical order, and subsumed under the highest idea, the idea of the Good, which is the source of all the rest. This idea is supreme; beyond it there is no other. The truly real and the truly good are identical; the idea of the Good is the logos, the cosmic purpose. Unity, therefore, includes plurality; in the intelligible or ideal world there is no unity without plurality, and no plurality without unity.. The universe is conceived by Plato as a logical system of ideas: it forms an organic spiritual unity, governed by a universal purpose, the idea of the Good, and is, therefore, a rational moral whole. Its meaning cannot be grasped by the senses, which perceive only its imperfect and fleeting reflections and never rise to a vision of the perfect and abiding whole. It is the business of philosophy to understand its inner order and connection, to conceive its essence by logical thought.

The principle, of the Platonic ” matter,” forms the basis of the phenomenal world; as such it is the raw material upon which the forms are somehow impressed. It is perishable and unreal, imperfect, non-being whatever reality, form, or beauty the perceived world has, it owes to ideas. Some interpreters of Plato conceive this Platonic ‘ ‘ matter ‘ ‘ as space ; others as a formless, space-filling mass. Plato needs something besides the idea to account for our world of sense, or nature, which is not a mere illusion of the senses, but an order of lower rank than the changeless ideal realm. This substratum, untouched by the ideal principle, must be conceived as devoid of all qualities, formless, indefinable, and imperceptible. Nature owes its existence to the influence of the ideal world on non-being or matter: as a ray of light, passed through a prism, is broken into many rays, so the idea is broken into many objects by matter. The form- less something is non-being, not in the sense of being non-existent, but in the sense of having a lower order of existence: the term non-being expresses a judgment of value. The sensible world partakes of a measure of reality or being, in so far as it takes on form. Plato does not define more precisely the nature of the relation between the two realms ; but it is plain that the ideas are somehow responsible for all the reality things possess: they owe their being to the presence of ideas, to the participation of the latter in them. At the same time, non-being, the sub- stratum, is responsible for the diversity and imperfection of the many different objects bearing the same name.

In the Timaeus, Plato locates the parts of the soul within the human body: Reason is located in the head, spirit in the top third of the torso, and the appetite in the middle third of the torso, down to the navel.

Doctrine of immortality

Plato advocates a belief in the immortality of the soul, In the early transitional dialogue, the Meno, Plato has introduce the Orphic and Pythagorean idea that souls are immortal and existed before our births. All knowledge, he explains, is actually recollected from this prior existence. In perhaps the most famous passage in this dialogue, Socrates elicits recollection about geometry from one of Meno’s slaves

The part of the individual, which “knows” sense impression and opinion, is the body; the soul knows or has genuine knowledge or science. Because the soul possesses apprehension of ideas prior to its contact with the world: all knowledge is reminiscence and all learning is awakening.

The soul has contemplated eternal ideas and only like can know like .

it cannot be produced by composition or destroyed by disintegration,

As the source of its own motion, the soul is eternal [a survival of atomistic conceptions] [first cause argument, perhaps]…and various other metaphysical arguments.

From the superiority and dignity of the soul: it must survive the body; a variation: everything is destroyed by its “connatural” evil; the evils of the soul its worst vices: injustice, etc. do not destroy the soul – hence its indestructibility.

The theory of knowledge has shown us that there are three kinds of knowledge, sense-perception, opinion, and genuine knowledge or Science. This division influences Plato’s psychology. In sensation  and opinion the soul is dependent on the body; in so far as it beholds the pure world of ideas, it is pure reason. The bodily part is, therefore, an impediment to knowledge, from which the soul must free itself in order to behold truth in its purity. The copies of the pure ideas, as they exist in the phenomenal world, merely incite the rational soul to think; sensation provokes ideas, it does not produce them. Hence, the soul must somehow possess ideas prior to its contact with the world of experience. Plato teaches that the soul has viewed such ideas before, but has forgotten them ; the imperfect copies of ideas in the world of sense bring back its past, remind it, as it were, of what it has seen before: all knowledge is reminiscence and all learning a reawakening. Hence, the soul must have existed before its union with a body.

In the early dialogues, Plato’s Socrates is an intellectualist—that is, he claims that people always act in the way they believe is best for them .Hence, all wrongdoing reflects some cognitive error. But in the middle period, Plato conceives of the soul as having three parts:

1.            A rational part (the part that loves truth, which should rule over the other parts of the soul through the use of reason),

2.            A spirited part (which loves honour and victory), and

3.            An appetitive part (which desires food, drink, and sex),

Justice will be that condition of the soul in which each of these three parts “does its own work,” and does not interfere in the workings of the other parts . When these three inward principles are in tune, each doing its proper work, the man is just. The just and honorable course is that which a man pursues in this frame of mind ; he has the ethical attitude when he is wise and brave and temperate, when he has harmonized his soul. Such a man would not repudiate a deposit, commit sacrilege or theft, be false to friends, be a traitor to his country, or commit similar misdeeds.

The human soul, then, is, in part, pure reason , and this rational part is its characteristic phase. It enters a body, and there is added to it a mortal and irrational part, which fits it for existence in the sense-world.The union with the body is a hindrance to the intellectual aspirations of the soul, to knowledge ; the presence of impulses and desires is a hindrance to the ethical supremacy of reason, which reason itself must seek to overcome, as Plato shows in his ethics. A soul that has contemplated the pure eternal ideas must, in part at least, be like these ideas, pure and eternal; for only like can know like. The doctrine of reminiscence proves the pre-existence and continued existence of the soul. Other proofs of immortality are: the simplicity of the soul: whatever is simple cannot be decomposed ; and its life or spontaneity : such a principle of activity cannot be destroyed; life cannot become death .

The pure rational soul, which was created by the Demiurge, once inhabited a star. But it became possessed with a desire for the world of sense and was in closed in a material body as in a prison. In case it succeeds in overcoming the lower side of its nature, it will return to its star, otherwise it will sink lower and lower, passing through the bodies of different animals (transmigration of souls). If the soul had resisted desire in its celestial life, it would have continued to occupy itself, in a transcendent existence, with the contemplation of ideas. As it is, it is condemned to pass through a stage of purification.

The doctrine of the “Eros.

An important phase of Plato’s psychology is the doctrine of the “Eros. Just as sense-perception arouses in the soul the remembrance of pure ideas, or Truth, so the perception of sensuous beauty, which arouses sense-love, also arouses in the soul the memory of ideal Beauty contemplated in its former existence. This recollection arouses yearning for the higher life, the world of pure ideas. Sensuous love and the yearning for the beautiful and the good are one and the same impulse ; in yearning for eternal values, the soul yearns for immortality. The sensuous impulse seeks the continued existence of the species; the higher forms of the impulse are the craving for fame, the impulse to create science, art, and human institutions. These impulses are another evidence of the immortality of the soul, for what the soul desires must be attainable.

The universe is, at bottom, a rational universe: a spiritual system. Objects of sense, the material phenomena around us, are mere fleeting shadows of eternal and never-changing ideas; they cannot endure and have no worth. Only that which endures is real and has value: reason alone has absolute worth and is the highest good. Hence, the rational part of man is the true part, and his ideal must be to cultivate reason, the immortal side of his soul. The body and the senses are not the true part; indeed, the body is the prison-house of the soul, a fetter, deliverance from which is the final goal of the spirit. ” There- fore we ought to fly away from earth as quickly as we can, and to fly away is to become like God.” The release of the soul from the body and the contemplation of the beautiful world of ideas, that is the ultimate end of life.

In the meanwhile the soul, with its reason, its spirited part, and its appetites, is enclosed in its dungeon and has its problems to solve. The rational part is wise and has to exercise fore- thought on behalf of the entire soul : hence, its essential function is to command. The Individual is wise in whom reason rules over the other impulses of the soul,

The ideal, therefore, is a well-ordered soul, one in which the higher functions rule the lower, one which exercises the virtues of wisdom ,courage . self-control ,and justice . A life of reason, which means a life of virtue, is the highest good. Happiness attends such a life ; the just man is after all the happy man. Pleasure, however, is not an end in itself, it is not the highest factor in the life of the soul, but the lowest.

The God/ Demiurge

Plato attempts to explain the origin of nature in his Timaus, a work that reminds one of the early Pre-Socratic philosophies. Like a human artist or workman, the Demiurge or Creator fashions the world after the pattern of the ideal world; guided by the idea of the Good, he forms as perfect a universe as it is possible for him to form, hampered, as he is, by the principle of matter.

The Demiurge or Creator [more an architect than a creator] fashions the world out of matter in the patterns of the ideal world…The four factors in creation enumerated in Timmaeus are

[1] the Demiurge or God: the active principle or dynamic cause of the world;

[2] the pattern as archetype of the world;

[3] the receptacle: the locus and matrix of creation; matter; brute fact; source of indeterminacy and evil; and

[4] the form of the Good

Plato’s cosmology, garbed in myth: an attempt to identify the causes in [and creation of] the actual world [interpretation]

The influence of Plato’s doctrine of ideas, and cosmology is enormous – upon Aristotle: the four causes of Aristotle are the four factors in Plato’s cosmology.

The Demiurge is not really a creator, but an architect ; the two principles, mind and matter, are already in existence: a being is needed who will bring them together. In order to realize his purpose, he endows the world, which is composed of the four material elements, earth, air, fire, water, with soul and life. This world-soul he compounds of the indivisible and divisible, of identity and change, of mind and matter (the four elements), in order that it may know the ideal and perceive the corporeal. It has its own original motion, which is the cause of all motion; in moving itself it also moves bodies; it is diffused throughout the world and is the cause of the beauty, order, and harmony in the world: this is the image of God, a visible God. The world-soul is the intermediary between the world of ideas and the world of phenomena. It is the cause of all law, mathematical relations, harmony, order, uniformity, life, mind, and knowledge: it moves according to fixed laws of its nature, causing the distribution of matter in the heavenly spheres, as well as their motion. Besides the world-soul, the Creator created souls or gods for the planets (which he arranged according to the Pythagorean system of harmony) and rational human souls, leaving it to the lower gods to create animals and the irrational part of the human soul. Everything has been made for man, plants to nourish him, and animal-bodies to serve as habitations for fallen souls.

Therefore, in Plato’s cosmology many gods, to none of whom he definitely ascribes personality, perhaps because he took this for granted, conceiving them in analogy with the human soul: the Idea of the Good, the total world of ideas, the Demiurge, the world-soul, the planetary souls, and the gods of the popular religion.

In these dialogues, we also find Socrates represented as holding certain religious beliefs, such as:

The gods are completely wise and good .Ever since his childhood Socrates has experienced a certain “divine something” which consists in a “voice” ,or “sign” that opposes him when he is about to do something wrong

Various forms of divination can allow human beings to come to recognize the will of the gods .Poets and rhapsodies are able to write and do the wonderful things they write and do, not from knowledge or expertise, but from some kind of divine inspiration. The same can be said of diviners and seers, although they do seem to have some kind of expertise—perhaps only some technique by which to put them in a state of appropriate receptivity to the divine

No one really knows what happens after death, but it is reasonable to think that death is not an evil; there may be an afterlife, in which the souls of the good are rewarded, and the souls of the wicked are punished

Plato on Gender Discrimination and Family

Plato fought against the discrimination of women. At that time women in Greece were not considered the same as men so they were not given education since they were staying home caring for children. For him, women had to be given the same education as men. He believed that differences between sexes are not relevant in constructing a society. He thought that females and males have got the same right of receiving education from the state since the interest of the state is paramount and the kind of education which will produce good men will also produce good women. . He was totally against gender and religious discrimination and proposed that education should be provided to all without any discrimination i.e. without considering race, sex or religion.

Following the mistreatment of women in Greece, education for women raised questions; but to overcome this problem Plato says, “natural gifts are to be found in both sexes …”. So, women and children were supposed to be sent to school for education and not just to stay home.

Moreover, to support this issue Plato asked: are dogs divided into hes and shes, or do they both share equally in hunting and in keeping watch and in the other duties of dogs? Or do we entrust to the males the entire and exclusive care of the flock, while we leave the females at home, under the idea that the bearing and suckling the puppies is labor enough for them? “No” he said, “they share alike; the only difference between them is that the males are stronger and the females weaker”.

So, women have got the same duties as men, and in order to fulfill their duties they must have the same nurture and education.

Plato believed that women are equal to men and that, although some women are physically smaller or weak, some women are physically equal to men therefore those women who are physically strong should be allowed to learn the same skills that men do. In his book Republic Plato describes how male and female receive the same education and be given the same duties in society as given to the male member. These people are the ones who will be in charge his republic which would be an ideal society, where philosophers are kings. In other words, who know what is good for the people and for the mankind and take their decisions based on that knowledge.

The only difference noted between men and women is physical function, i.e. one begets, the other bears children. Apart from physical function, all can perform the same functions. Therefore, in order to perform all these duties, education was necessary for them so that society could get best values from both men and women. But this idea was revolutionary to Greek women, since in Greece they were staying home and took care of babies.

However, Plato recognized also some differences in intelligence and talents; so it was suggested to have different schools for those who have got special talents, i.e. he advocated an educational system, which would distinguish and identify rulers, soldiers and the populace.

Plato does not suggest separate curriculum for women. Women should also be educated in music and gymnastics as well as the art of war. He says that women and girls should undergo the same gymnastic and military exercises as men and boys.

Plato also emphases on women education, he consider the same kind of education for women. Women should the same physical and educational training; they should know the art of war. The main aim of Plato was that each member of the society should undertake his work and responsibilities.

The ideal society is a family:

  • Plato opposes monogamy,
  • private property,
  • recommends for the two upper castes – who are to be supported by workers – communism and common possession of wives and children…

Plato recommends:

  • eugenic supervision of marriages and births,
  • exposure of weak children,
  • compulsory state education, education of women for war and government,
  • censorship

Plato: Stages of Education

The state is an educational institution, the instrument of civilization; its foundation must be the highest kind of knowledge which is philosophy. The education of the children of higher classes will follow a definite plan:

  • identical for the sexes during the first twenty years:
  • myths selected for ethical, gymnastics for body and spirit;
  • poetry, music –harmony, beauty, proportion and philosophical thought;
  • reading, writing; mathematics which tends to draw the mind from the concrete and sensuous to the abstract and real.

At 20, superior young men will be selected and shall integrate their learning.

At 30, those who show greatest ability in studies, military officers, etc., will study dialectic for five years. Then they will be put to test as soldiers, militias and in subordinate civic offices. Starting at the age of fifty, the demonstrably worthy will study philosophy until their turns come to administer the offices for their country’s sake

Plato’s model of education

Plato’s model of education can be called “functionalist”: a model designed to produce competent adults to meet the needs of the state.

First stage:

Plato believed that education began from the age of seven and before this child should stay with their mothers for moral education and genders should be allowed to plays with each other.

Plato was of the opinion that for the first 10 years, there should be predominantly physical education. In other words, every school must have a gymnasium and a playground in order to develop the physique and health of children and make them resistant to any disease.

Apart from this physical education, Plato also recommended music to bring about certain refinement in their character and lent grace and health to the soul and the body. Plato also prescribed subjects such as mathematics, history and science.

Second stage

This stage is till the age of seventeen. The content of education comprises Gymnastics, literature, music elementary mathematics. Gymnastics is essential for the physical and mental growth. Music is chosen as the medium of education, an avenue for the spiritual growth,  and ideas are the contents of education for this stage. After the age of six years both girls and boys should be separated and boys should play with boys and girls with girls and they should be taught the use of different arms to both sexes. This stage goes up to the age of seventeen years

Third stage

This stage is till the age of twenty. This stage is meant for cadet ship and is related to physical and military training. The youth are bought into the stage of battle in this age. After the age of seventeen years the youth should be brought to battle filed to learn real life experiences.

Fourth stage

The four stages start at the age of twenty-five to thirty years and in this age,  they get the training of Mathematical calculation and last for another ten years, after the completion the selected one’s are admitted in the study of dialect. Here students undergo mathematical training preparatory to dialectic

Plato has highlighted the qualities needed for an individual to enter higher education. He proclaimed that preference should be given to the surest, bravest, fairest and those who have the natural gifts to facilitate their education.

Fifth stage

This age is from ages thirty to thirty-five. Plato restricted the study of dialectic to this age because he felt that an individual should be mature enough to carry on the study in dialectic, especially about ultimate principles of reality.

Six stage

This age is from thirty five to fifty years, when according to Plato, an individual is ready as a philosopher or ruler, to return to practical life to take command in war and hold such offices of state as befits him. After reaching 50 one should spend the life in contemplation of “the Good” their chief pursuit should be philosophy and should participate in politics, and rule for the good of the people as a matter of their duty.

Plato Concept of Education

Plato gave immense importance to education. In his treatise ”The republic”, Plato has dealt with education in details.

According to Plato- Education the initial acquisition of virtue by the child, when the feelings of pleasure and affection, pain and hatred, that well up in his soul are channeled in the right courses before he can understand the reason why… education, then is a matter of correctly disciplined feelings of pleasure and pain .

Apart from this definition, Plato sees education as “… to ensure that the habit and aspirations of the old generation are transmitted to the younger- and then presumably to the next one after that”.

However, according to Plato, education is a matter of conversion. i.e. a complete turn around from the world of appearances to the world of the reality. ‘The conversion of the souls’, says Plato, ‘is not to put the power of sight in the soul’s eye, which already has it, but to insure that, instead of looking in the wrong direction, it is turned the way it ought to be’ .

Plato’s philosophy of education aims at preparing learners for future life. The objective of education is to turn the soul towards light. Plato once stated that the main function of education is not to put knowledge into the soul, but to bring out the latent talents in the soul by directing it towards the right objects. This explanation of Plato on education highlights his object of education and guides the readers in proper direction to unfold the ramifications of his theory of education.

In “Laws’ he says repeatedly:
“Education is the first and the fairest thing that the best of men can ever have”.
According to Plato the aim of education is the welfare of both the safety of the society and the food of individual. He was of the opinion that education should develop the sense of ideas in people in whom the ability is there, and should purpose and direct each one through the guidance of philosophers for the performance of those works which fits them naturally to perform

Plato presented his philosophy of education in his Republic. The basic theme of education is inquiry is justice. The basic question around which the dialog revolves is , ” what is the meaning of justice.” Socrates defines justice through establishing an analogy between society and individual.

The highest goal of education, Plato believed, is the knowledge of Good; to nurture a man to a better human being it is not merely an awareness of particular benefits and pleasures,

Plato discussed the selection of students together with examinations of the student. According to Plato, a child must take an examination that would determine whether or not to pursue higher education at the age of 20. Those who failed in the examination were asked to take up activities in communities such as businessmen, clerks, workers, farmers and the like.

These selections were in accordance with the age and stage to which these students were admitted. In Greece, pupils were being accepted in the first level at the age of six. Plato emphasized that education must start early. In Greece, boys and girls were being separated. As Plato says, “ when the boys and girls have reached the age of six, the sexes should be separated; boys should spend their days with boys and girls with girls.”. Boys and girls were being taught the same things separately, but the spirit in which they were taught, differed because boys were destined to be soldiers, while girls would become mothers of families, they would only be called upon in an emergency to defend the state.

In the learning process, both Plato wished practical work to be included. For example Plato insisted that those who want to be good builders or good husbandman should learn practically their work. Plato emphasised this point in this way:

…I insist that a man who intends to be good at a particular occupation must practice it from childhood: both at work and at play he must be surrounded by the special ‘tools of the trade’. For instance a man who intends to be a good farmer must play at farming, and the man who is to be a builder must spend his play time building toy houses. Plato considered the role of tradition in learning. it is through tradition that one learns or knows about the history of his/her society.

In the case of formal education Plato emphasised the role of teachers. Plato thought that the role or the function of teachers is to communicate a subject matter to the pupils. Teachers are those who know the subject matter. He emphasised that teachers should have enthusiasm, they should have a spirit of helping students, and good behaviour, treat students with equality and friendship.He  believed that students learn many things from their teachers, not only what teachers teach, but also social behaviour through the example shown by their teachers.

In another place he writes “Do not then train youths by force and harshness, but direct them to it by what amuses their minds so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.”

The Platonic approach to education comprises the following aspects: sciences and arts, which were to be communicated by teachers to their pupils; moral virtue, necessary to teacher and students, and finally political institutions, which were connected with the learning process.

Plato prescribed a general type of curriculum prevailing in Greece at that time. The curriculum for the early training, that occupied first seventeen years of life, was comprised of music and gymnastics. The word music was used in a much broader sense than we use it today. It included poetry, drama, history, oratory and music in its more limited sense.

Plato ,  define different stages for the organization and curriculum; named three stages of education: reading and writing as the first stage; second stage: physical education; and the third stage: secondary or literary education.

Plato’s   Method  of Instruction- The Dialectical Method

Plato is in favor of education in a free atmosphere without any compulsion or check. Plato doesn’t write treatises, but writes in an indirect way, encouraging the reader to ask questions and think for himself. But, like his teacher Socrates, Plato is often happy to play role of observer rather than a preacher. Plato says all elements of instruction should be presented to the mind in childhood, nor how ever, under any notion of forcing . He says that , ” it is better for a learner to be a free man and not to a slave in the acquisition of knowledge.” According to Plato knowledge which is acquired under compulsion detains no hold on the minds of the bearers. Plato believed that there was no compulsion in teaching and it should be more of an amusement.

The teacher must know his or her subject, but as a true philosopher he or she also knows that the limits of their knowledge. It is here that we see the power of dialogue – the joint exploration of a subject – ‘knowledge will not come from teaching but from questioning’.

In this method, the philosopher collects all of the instances of some generic category that seem to have common characteristics, and then divides them into specific kinds until they cannot be further subdivided.

Dialectics is this art of thinking in concepts; concepts, and not sensations or images, constitute the essential object of thought. We cannot, for example, call a man just or unjust unless we have a notion, or concept, of justice, unless we know what justice is; when we know that, we can judge why a man is just or unjust’

This method was introduced probably either late in the middle period or in the transition to the late period, but was increasingly important in the late period. In the early period dialogues, as we have said, the mode of philosophizing was refutative question-and-answer (called the “Socratic method”). Although the middle period dialogues continue to show Socrates asking questions, the questioning in these dialogues becomes much more overtly leading and didactic. In this method, the philosopher collects all of the instances of some generic category that seem to have common characteristics, and then divides them into specific kinds until they cannot be further subdivided.

This is to be understood as synonymous not with logic but with metaphysics. It signifies the science of the Idea, the science of reality, science in the only true sense of the word. For the ideas are the only realities in the world. We observe, for instance, just actions, and we know that some men are just. But both in the actions and in the persons designated as just there exist many imperfections; they are only partly just. In the world above us there exits justice, absolute, perfect, unmixed with injustice, eternal, unchangeable, immortal. This is the Idea of justice. Similarly, in that world above us there exist the Ideas of greatness, goodness, beauty, wisdom, etc. and not only these, but also the Ideas of concrete material objects such as the Idea of man, the idea of horse, the Idea of trees, etc. In a word, the world of Ideas is a counterpart of the world of our experience, or rather, the latter is a feeble imitation of the former. The ideas are the prototypes, the phenomena are typeset. In the allegory of the cave (Republic, VII, 514 d) a race of men are described as chained in a fixed position in a cavern, able to look only at the wall in front of them. When an animal, e.g. a horse, passes in front of the cave, they, beholding the shadow on the wall, imagine it to be a reality, and while in prison they know of no other reality. When they are released and go into the light they are dazzled, but when they succeed in distinguishing a horse among the objects around them, their first impulse is to take that for a shadow of the being which they saw on the wall. The prisoners are “like ourselves”, says Plato. The world of our experience, which we take to be real, is only a shadow world. The real world is the world of Ideas, which we reach, not by sense-knowledge, but by intuitive contemplation. The Ideas are participated by the phenomena; but how this participation takes place, and in what sense the phenomena are imitations of the Ideas, Plato does not fully explain; at most he invokes a negative principle, sometimes called “Platonic Matter”, to account for the falling-off of the phenomena from the perfection of the Idea. The limitating principle is the cause of all defects, decay, and change in the world around us. The just man, for instance, falls short of absolute justice (the Idea of Justice), because in men the Idea of justice is fragmented, debased, and reduced by the principle of limitation. Towards the end of his life, Plato leaned more and more towards the Pythagorean number-theory, and, in the “Timaeus” especially, he is inclined to interpret the Ideas in terms of mathematics

The role of dialectic in Plato’s thought is contested but there are two main interpretations; a type of reasoning and a method of intuition.  Simon Blackburn adopts the first, saying that Plato’s dialectic is “the process of eliciting the truth by means of questions aimed at opening out what is already implicitly known, or at exposing the contradictions and muddles of an opponent’s position.” Karl Popper, claims that dialectic is the art of intuition for “visualizing the divine originals, the Forms or Ideas, of unveiling the Great Mystery behind the common man’s everyday world of appearances.”

The dialectical method consists, first, in the comprehension of scattered particulars in one idea, and second, in the division of the idea into species, that is, in the processes of generalization and classification. In this way alone can there be clear and consistent thinking; we pass from concept to concept, upward and downward, generalizing and particularizing, combining and dividing, synthesizing and analyzing, carving out concepts as a sculptor carves a beautiful figure out of a block of marble. Judgment expresses the relation of concepts to one another, articulates concept with concept, while the syllogism links judgment with judgment, in the process of reasoning.

Theory of the State

Plato’s Republic is an ideal of a perfect state, the dream of a kingdom of God on earth. It is frequently spoken of as Utopian.

Plato’s theory of the State, which is given in the Republic, is based on his ethics .

Plato took for granted that the highest good of man, subjectively considered, is happiness (eudaimonia). Objectively, the highest good of man is the absolutely highest good in general, Goodness itself, or God. The means by which this highest good is to be attained is the practice of virtue and the acquisition of wisdom. So far as the body hinders these pursuits it should be brought into subjection. Here, however, asceticism should be moderated in the interests of harmony and symmetry — Plato never went the length of condemning matter and the human body in particular, as the source of all evil — for wealth, health, art, and innocent pleasures are means of attaining happiness, though not indispensable, as virtue is. Virtue is order, harmony, the health of the soul; vice is disorder, discord, disease. The State is, for Plato, the highest embodiment of the Idea. It should have for its aim the establishment and cultivation of virtue. The reason of this is that man, even in the savage condition, could, indeed, attain virtue. In order, however, that virtue may be established systematically and cease to be a matter of chance or haphazard, education is necessary, and without a social organization education is impossible. In his “Republic” he sketches an ideal state, a polity which should exist if rulers and subjects would devote themselves, as they ought, to the cultivation of wisdom. The ideal state is modeled on the individual soul. It consists of three orders: rulers (corresponding to the reasonable soul), producers (corresponding to desire), and warriors (corresponding to courage). The characteristic virtue of the producers is thrift, that of the soldiers bravery, and that of the rulers wisdom. Since philosophy is the love of wisdom, it is to be the dominant power in the state: “Unless philosophers become rulers or rulers become true and thorough students of philosophy, there shall be no end to the troubles of states and of humanity” which is only another way of saying that those who govern should be distinguished by qualities which are distinctly intellectual. Plato is an advocate of State absolutism, such as existed in his time in Sparta. The State, he maintains, exercises unlimited power. Neither private property nor family institutions have any place in the Platonic state. The children belong to the state as soon as they are born, and should be taken in charge by the State from the beginning, for the purpose of education. They should be educated by officials appointed by the State, and, according to the measure of ability, which they exhibit, they are to be assigned by the State to the order of producers, to that of warriors, or to the governing class.

Plato’s philosophical views had many societal implications, especially on the idea of an ideal state or government. Plato, through the words of Socrates, asserts that societies have a tripartite class structure corresponding to the appetite/spirit/reason structure of the individual soul. The appetite/spirit/reason are analogous to the castes of society.

•             Productive (Workers) — the labourers, carpenters, plumbers, masons, merchants, farmers, ranchers, etc. These correspond to the “appetite” part of the soul.

•             Protective (Warriors or Guardians) — those who are adventurous, strong and brave; in the armed forces. These correspond to the “spirit” part of the soul.

•             Governing (Rulers or Philosopher Kings) — those who are intelligent, rational, self-controlled, in love with wisdom, well suited to make decisions for the community. These correspond to the “reason” part of the soul and are very few.

The allegory of the cave (often said by scholars to represent Plato’s own epistemology and metaphysics) is intimately connected to his political ideology (often said to also be Plato’s own), that only people who have climbed out of the cave and cast their eyes on a vision of goodness are fit to rule. Socrates claims that the enlightened men of society must be forced from their divine contemplations and be compelled to run the city according to their lofty insights. Thus is born the idea of the “philosopher-king”, the wise person who accepts the power thrust upon him by the people who are wise enough to choose a good master. This is the main thesis of Socrates in the Republic, that the most wisdom the masses can muster is the wise choice of a ruler.

Plato describes these “philosopher kings” as “those who love the sight of truth” (Republic 475c) and supports the idea with the analogy of a captain and his ship or a doctor and his medicine. According to him, sailing and health are not things that everyone is qualified to practice by nature. A large part of the Republic then addresses how the educational system should be set up to produce these philosopher kings.

The State should be organized like the universe at large and the individual virtuous soul; that is, reason should rule in it. There are as many classes in society as there are functions of the soul, and the relations of these classes to each other should correspond to those obtaining in a healthy soul. Those who have received philosophical training represent reason and ought to be the ruling class; the warrior class represent the spirited element or will : their task is defense ; the agriculturists, and merchants represent the lower appetites, and have as function the production of material goods. Justice is reality in a State in which each class, the industrial, military, guardian, does its own work and sticks to its own business. State is temperate and brave and wise in consequence of certain affections and conditions of these same classes.

The ideal society forms a complete unity, one large family; hence, Plato opposes private property and monogamous marriage, and recommends, for the two upper castes (who are to be supported by the workers), communism and the common possession of wives and children. Among his other recommendations are supervision of marriages and births (eugenics), exposure of weak children, compulsory state education, education of women for war and government, censorship of works of art and literature.

In his later work, the Laws, Plato greatly modifies his political theory. A good State should have, besides reason or insight, freedom and friendship. All citizens should be free and have a share in the government ; they are to be landowners, while all trade and commerce should be given over to serfs and foreigners. The family is restored to its natural position. Knowledge is not everything : there are other motives of virtuous conduct, e.g., pleasure and friendship, pain and hate. Virtue, however, remains the ideal, and the education of the moral will the goal.

Wherein it concerns states and rulers, Plato has made interesting arguments. For instance he asks which is better—a bad democracy or a country reigned by a tyrant. He argues that it is better to be ruled by a bad tyrant, than be a bad democracy (since here all the people are now responsible for such actions, rather than one individual committing many bad deeds.) This is emphasized within the Republic as Plato describes the event of mutiny on board a ship. Plato suggests the ships crew to be in line with the democratic rule of many and the captain, although inhibited through ailments, the tyrant. Plato’s description of this event is parallel to that of democracy within the state and the inherent problems that arise.

There will be no end to the troubles of states, or of humanity itself, till philosophers become kings in this world, or till those we now call kings and rulers really and truly become philosophers, and political power and philosophy thus come into the same hands.-Plato


BUSSELL, The School of Plato (London, 1896);

FOUILLEE, La philosophie de Platon (Paris, 1892);

GROTE, Plato and the Other Companions of Socrates (London, 1885);

HUIT, La vie et l’oeuvre de Platon (Paris, 1893);

HUIT, Le platonisme à Byzance et en Italie à la fin du moyen-âge(Brussels, 1894); articles in Annales de philosophie chretienne, new series, XX-XXII;

JOWETT, The Dialogues of Plato (Oxford, 1871; 3rd ed., New York, 1892).

LUTOSLAWSKI, Origin and Growth of Plato’s Logic (London, 1897). For history of Platonism cf.

PATER, Plato and Platonism (London, 1893);

TAROZZI, La tradizione platonica nel medio evo (Trani Vecchi, 1892).

TURNER, History of Philosophy (Boston, 1903); 93 s.q.;

WINDEBLAND, Platon (Stuttgart, 1901);

ZELLER, Plato and the Older Academy, tr. ALLEYNE AND GOODWIN (London, 1888);


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Philosophy [fi-los-uh-fee] – Love for Wisdom

Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A(Sociology, Philosophy) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph. D

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee,

In most languages there are words that are translated into English as ‘philosophy’ — in European languages, those words often share the same Greek roots as the English word. The activities to which such words refer have a history shared with philosophy, but at some point after Kant there was a parting of the ways. The activities referred to by `philosophy’ are different in various ways from the activities referred to by words like `philosophie’, `Philosophie’, `filosofia’, etc.

The derivation of the word “philosophy” from the Greek is suggested by the following words and word-fragments.

  • philo—love of, affinity for, liking of
  • philander—to engage in love affairs frivolously
  • philanthropy—love of mankind in general
  • philately—postage stamps hobby
  • phile—(as in “anglophile”) one having a love for
  • philology—having a liking for words
  • sophos—wisdom
  • sophist—lit. one who loves knowledge
  • sophomore—wise and moros—foolish; i.e. one who thinks he knows many things
  • sophisticated—one who is knowledgeable

Defining  Philosophy

In fact, it is virtually impossible to give one universally accepted definition of philosophy. All philosophers will not agree even upon some general formal characteristics, for instance that philosophy is a discursive activity of our intellect. Widely circulated definitions of philosophy are either too general or too one-sided to be considered as anything better than useful hints about the character of philosophical thinking. In that respect philosophy is a unique discipline.

.            A suggested definition for our beginning study is as follows.

Philosophy is the systematic inquiry into the principles and presuppositions of any field of study.              From a psychological point of view, philosophy is an attitude, an approach, or a calling to answer or to ask, or even to comment upon certain peculiar problems .

There is, perhaps, no one single sense of the word “philosophy.” Eventually many writers abandon the attempt to define philosophy and, instead, turn to the kinds of things philosophers do.

Philosophy is a persistent attempt to gain insight into the nature of the world and of ourselves by means of systematic reflection.

There are certain difficulties in defining the philosophy in a universally accepted way. These may be summarized as;

History:  Philosophy changes historically both in respect to its content and its character.. Thus we cannot find a definition of philosophy that would be both essential and sensitive to its historical variety.

Subject Matter:  Philosophy does not have any specific subject matter and hence cannot be defined with regard to any particular area of investigation. It may deal with every dimension of human life and can raise questions in any field of Hence trying to tie philosophy exclusively to one or any specific sphere would be an unjustified limitation of its reach.

Questioning . Philosophy pursues questions rather than answers.. It is not an exaggeration to say that a philosopher is someone who can make a riddle out of any answer. Hence philosophy cannot be defined with recourse to some accepted tenets, beliefs and established class of propositions.

“Philosophy,”Encyclopedia Britannica (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1911) Vol. 21defines “Philosophy … has no other subject matter than the nature of the real world, as that world lies around us in everyday life, and lies open to observers on every side. But if this is so, it may be asked what function can remain for philosophy when every portion of the field is already lotted out and enclosed by specialists? Philosophy claims to be the science of the whole; but, if we get the knowledge of the parts from the different sciences, what is there left for philosophy to tell us? To this it is sufficient to answer generally that the synthesis of the parts is something more than that detailed knowledge of the parts in separation which is gained by the man of science. It is with the ultimate synthesis that philosophy concerns itself; it has to show that the subject-matter which we are all dealing with in detail really is a whole, consisting of articulated members.”.

Eastern Thought, has different forms ranging from Taoism to Zen-Buddhism and Transcendental Meditation; despite some practically oriented strains (Confucianism), it is mostly intuitive, directed toward the Self and introspection; its insights come from our inwardness that needs to be emptied from all external influences; the Self is meditative, with ready made precepts for the resolution of all life problems; this is why so many self-help books draw on this tradition; Eastern sage is balanced, poised, silent; his/her prototype is the Buddha. The findings of Eastern wisdom are not fully communicable which prevents it from being entirely discoursive and argumentative.

Despite many deserved attempts to integrate Eastern thought (primarily Indian and Chinese) into Western intellectual tradition the differences are so huge that it is advisable not to apply the same term “philosophy” (itself of Western origin) to both.

The Source of Philosophy

Philosophy starts with bewilderment, astonishment, amazement about the world, life, and ourselves. Philosophy arises from the workings of an inquisitive mind which is bewildered by seemingly common things or by those that appear to be entirely impractical. It emerges out of readiness to follow the call of human intellectual curiosity beyond common sense acquaintanceship with the world

Philosophy does not stay by pure bewilderment and amazement. Philosophers articulate their initial amazement by formulating questions (mostly what- and why-questions and what ought to be) that guide their curiosity toward comprehension of the problem. This does not mean that they seek a simple formula for all the puzzles of the world Philosophy aims at understanding and enlightenment rather than shorthand answers.

“The great virtue of philosophy is that it teaches not what to think, but how to think. It is the study of meaning, of the principles underlying conduct, thought and knowledge. The skills it hones are the ability to analyze, to question orthodoxies and to express things clearly. However arcane some philosophical texts may be … the ability to formulate questions and follow arguments is the essence of education.”

Problem Areas of Philosophy

Today, most philosophers are actively concerned with life. THEY SEEK ANSWERS TO BASIC PROBLEMS. Thus we find that philosophers are doing as well as thinking, and it is their thinking which guides their doing .What they do is rooted in the search for answers to certain types of problems and the tentative answers they have formulated.

The three great problems of philosophy are the problems of reality, knowledge, and value-

This way philosophy deals with three basic areas

.Area related with what aspect ,it is METAPHYSICS

.Area related with how aspect ,it is EPISTOMOLOGY,and

Area related with what ought to be aspect, it is AXIOLOGY.

(1)The problem  of reality is this; What is the nature of the universe in which we live? Or ,in the last analysis, what is real ? The branch of philosophy which deals with this problem is termed as METAPHYSICS

Questions Asked in Metaphysics are

What is out there?

What is reality?

Does Free Will exist?

Is there such a process as cause and effect?

Do abstract concepts (like numbers) really exist?

(2) The problem of knowledge is this; How does a man know what is real? That is to say, how do we come by our knowledge and how can we be sure it is true, not error or illusion? The area of philosophy which is devoted to solving this problem is termed as EPISTOMOLOGY.

Fundamental Problems in Epistemology are

What can we know?

How can we know it?

Why do we know some things, but not others?

How do we acquire knowledge?

Is knowledge possible?

Can knowledge be certain?

How can we differentiate truth from falsehood?

Why do we believe certain claims and not others?

(3 )The problem of value ,is this ;What are the important values which are to be desired in living? Are these values rooted in reality? And how can they be realized in our experience? The branch  of philosophy dealing with such questions are these is named AXIOLOGY . Axiology, then  is the subject area which tries to answer problems like these:

•How are values related to interest, desire, will, experience, and means-to-end?

•How do different kinds of value interrelate?

•Can the distinction between intrinsic and instrumental values be maintained?

•Are values ultimately rationally or objectively based?

•What is the difference between a matter of fact and a matter of value?

(4) Most closely related to epistemology, is another branch of philosophy which deals with the exact relating of ideas.This area of philosophy is commonly referred to as the science of LOGIC.

Metaphysics (Ontology):

(2) Metaphysics or Ontology (theory of reality): the inquiry into what is real as opposed to what is appearance, either conceived as that which the methods of science presuppose, or that with which the methods of science are concerned; the inquiry into the first principles of nature; the study of the most fundamental generalizations as to what exists. : the study of what is really real. Metaphysics deals with the so-called first principles of the natural order and “the ultimate generalizations available to the human intellect.” Specifically, ontology seeks to indentify and establish the relationships between the categories, if any, of the types of existent things

Metaphysics-Meta means above; this is the study of the nature of things above physics.(What comes after Physics) Metaphysics covers the kinds of things most people probably think of if asked what philosophy covers e.g. those ‘big questions’, such as, is there God, why are we here, what is the ultimate nature of the universe, and so on. Another important area of metaphysics is the nature of substance, that is, what is the universe really made of,

Metaphysics (derived from the Greek words “ta meta ta physika biblia”) – meaning ‘the book that follows the physics book’. It was the way students referred to a specific book in the works of Aristotle, and it was a book on First Philosophy. (The assumption that the word means “beyond physics” is misleading) Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy concerned with the study of “first principles” and “being” (ontology). In other words, Metaphysics is the study of the most general aspects of reality, such as substance, identity, the nature of the mind, and free will.

Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that goes beyond the realms of science. It is concerned with answering the questions about identity and the world. The name is derived from the Greek words, Meta which means beyond or after, and Physika which means physics. Aristotle, one of the most well-known philosophers, acknowledged Thales as the first known meta physician. The main branches of metaphysics are ontology, natural theology and universal science.

In Western philosophy, metaphysics has become the study of the fundamental nature of all reality — what is it, why is it, and how are we can understand it. Some treat metaphysics as the study of “higher” reality or the “invisible” nature behind everything, but that isn’t true. It is, instead, the study of all of reality, visible and invisible; and what constitutes reality, natural and supernatural. Because most of the debates between atheists and theists involve disagreements over the nature of reality and the existence of anything supernatural, the debates are often disagreements over metaphysics.

In popular parlance, metaphysics has become the label for the study of things which transcend the natural world — that is, things which supposedly exist separately from nature and which have a more intrinsic reality than our natural existence. This assigns a sense to the Greek prefix meta which it did not originally have, but words do change over time. As a result, the popular sense of metaphysics has been the study of any question about reality which cannot be answered by scientific observation and experimentation. For atheists, this sense of metaphysics is usually regarded as literally empty

Because atheists typically dismiss the existence of the supernatural, they may dismiss metaphysics as the pointless study of nothing. Because metaphysics is technically the study of all reality, and thus whether there is any supernatural element to it at all, in truth metaphysics is probably the most fundamental subject which irreligious atheists should focus on. Our ability to understand what reality is, what it is composed of, what “existence” means, etc., is fundamental to most of the disagreements between irreligious atheists and religious theists.

Some irreligious atheists, like logical positivists, have argued that the agenda of metaphysics is largely pointless and can’t accomplish anything. According to them, metaphysical statements cannot be either true or false — as a result, they don’t really carry any meaning and shouldn’t be given any serious consideration. There is some justification to this position, but it is unlikely to convince or impress religious theists for whom metaphysical claims constitute some of the most important parts of their lives. Thus the ability to address and critique such claims can be important.

The only thing all atheists have in common is disbelief in gods, so the only thing all atheist metaphysics will have in common is that reality doesn’t include any gods and isn’t divinely created. Despite that, most atheists in the West tend to adopt a materialistic perspective on reality. This means that they regard the nature of our reality and the universe as consisting of matter and energy. Everything is natural; nothing is supernatural. There are no supernatural beings, realms, or planes of existence. All cause and effect proceeds via natural laws.

Branches of Metaphysics:

Aristotle’s book on metaphysics was divided into three sections: ontology, theology, and universal science. Because of this, those are the three traditional branches of metaphysical inquiry.

Ontology is the branch of philosophy which deals with the study of the nature of reality: what is it, how many “realities” are there, what are its properties, etc. The word is derived from the Greek terms on, which means “reality” and logos, which means “study of.” Atheists generally believe that there is a single reality which is material and natural in nature.

Theology, of course, is the study of gods — does a god exist, what a god is, what a god wants, etc. Every religion has its own theology because its study of gods, if it includes any gods, will proceed from specific doctrines and traditions which vary from one religion to the next. Since atheists don’t accept the existence of any gods, they don’t accept that theology is the study of anything real. At most, it might be the study of what people think is real and atheist involvement in theology proceeds more from the perspective of a critical outsider rather than an involved member.

The branch of “universal science” is a bit harder to understand, but it involves the search for “first principles” — things like the origin of the universe, fundamental laws of logic and reasoning, etc. For theists, the answer to this is almost always “god” and, moreover, they tend to argue that there can be no other possible answer. Some even go far as to argue that the existence of things like logic and the universe constitute evidence of the existence of their god

Metaphysics  Theories of the nature of reality-

A .Cosmology. Theories of the nature of the cosmos and explanations of its origin and development. It deals with the origin and structure of the universe. It accepts the principles of science and attempts to find the principles of existence ,in whatever form They may take.

Some considerations in cosmology are

a . Causality.

  • The nature of cause and effect relationship ,
  • The nature of time and
  • The nature of space..

There are two distinctive views in cosmology

Evolutionism .universe evolved by itself.

b. .Creationism. The universe came to be as the result of the working of a Creative cause or Personality.

B.The nature of man as one important aspect of Reality.The problem of essential nature of the self. There are no particular terms but there are divergent answers which can be identified with general viewpoints.

a. The self is a soul, a spiritual being. A principle of idealism and spiritual realism.

b. The self is essentially the same as the body. A principle of naturalism and physical realism

c. The self is a social-vocal phenomenon. A principle held especially by experimentalists

2. The problem of the relation of body and mind.

a. Interactionism. Mind and body are 2 different kind of reality, each of which can affect the other.

B. Parallelism. Mind and body are two different kinds of reality which do not and cannot affect each other. But in some unknown way, every mental event is paralleled by a corresponding physical event.

c. Epiphenomenalism. Mind is merely a function of the brain, an overtone accompanying bodily activity. It is an onlooker at events, never influencing them.

d. Double Aspect Theory. Mind and body are two aspects of a fundamental reality whose nature is unknown.

e. Emergence Theory. Mind is something new which has been produced by Nature in the evolutionary process, neither identical with body, parallel to it, nor wholly dependent upon it.

f. Spiritualism. (A definition common to most idealists and spiritual realists.) Mind is more fundamental than body. The relation of body and mind is better described as body depending upon mind, as compared to the common-sense description according to which mind depends upon body.

3. The problem of freedom

a. Determinism. Man is not free. All of his actions are determined by forces greater than he is.

b. Free Will. Man has the power of choice and is capable of genuine initiative.

c. There is a third alternative proposed especially by the experimentalists, for which there is no name. Man is neither free nor determined; but he can and does delay some of his responses long enough to reconstruct a total response, not completely automatic but not free, which does give a new direction to subsequent activity.

C. Conception of and about God.

1.Atheism. There is no ultimate reality in or behind the cosmos which is Person or Spirit.

2.Deism. God exists quite apart from, and is disinterested in, the physical universe and human beings. But He created both and is the Author of all natural and moral law.

3.Pantheism. All is God and God is all. The cosmos and God are identical.

4.The conception of God as emerging, for which there is no common name. God is evolving with the cosmos; He is the end toward which it is moving, instead of the beginning from which it came.

5.Polytheism. Spiritual reality is plural rather than a unity. Thee is more than one God.

6.Theism. Ultimate reality is a personal God who is more than the cosmos but within whom and through the cosmos exists.

D. Teleology. Considerations as to whether or not there is purpose in the universe.

1.Philosophies holding that the world is what it is because of chance, accident, or                blind mechanism are no teleological.

2.Philosophies holding that there has been purpose in the universe from its beginning, and /or purpose can be discerned in history, are teleological philosophies.

3.It may be that a special case must be made of the experimentalists again on this particular question, as they do not find purpose inherent in the cosmos but by purposeful activity seek to impose purpose upon it.

E. Considerations relating to the constancy, or lack of it, in reality.

1.Absolutism. Fundamental reality is constant, unchanging, fixed, and dependable.

2.Relativism. Reality is a changing thing. So called realities are always relative to something or other.

F. Problems of quantity. Consideration of the number of ultimate realities, Apart from qualitative aspects.

1.Monism. Reality is unified. It is one. It is mind, or matter, or energy, or will but only one of these.

2.Dualism. Reality is two. Usually these realities are antithetical, as spirit and matter, good and evil. Commonly, the antithesis is weighted, so that one of the two is considered more important and more enduring than the other.

3.Pluralism. Reality is many. Minds, things, materials, energies, laws, processes, etc., all may be considered equally real and to some degree independent of each other.

G. Ontology. The meaning of existence as such. To exist, to have being, means what?

1.Space-time or Nature as identical with existence. To exist means to occupy time and space, to be matter or physical energy. (e.g., naturalism and physical realism).

2.Spirit or God as identical with existence. To exist means to be Mind or Spirit, or to be dependent upon Mind or Spirit. (Especially true of idealism.)

3.Existence as a category which is not valid. This is held by those, especially the pragmatists, who insist that everything is flux or change and there is nothing which fits into the category of existence in any ultimate sense.


Epistemology, from the Greek words episteme (knowledge) and logos (word/speech) is the branch of philosophy that deals with the nature, origin, and scope of knowledge.

A branch  of philosophy dealing with the nature of knowledge .theory of knowledge: the inquiry into what knowledge is, what can be known, and what lies beyond our understanding; the investigation into the origin, structure, methods, and validity of justification and knowledge; the study of the interrelation of reason, truth, and experience. Epistemology investigates the origin, structure, methods, and integrity of knowledge. The study of knowledge. In particular, epistemology is the study of the nature, scope, and limits of human knowledge

It deals with the definition of knowledge and its scope and limitations. It translates from Greek to mean ‘theory of knowledge’. It questions the meaning of knowledge, how we obtain knowledge, how much do we know and how do we have this knowledge? Some of the famous epistemologists are Descartes, Kant and Hume.

Kinds of knowledge

As Epistemology is the investigation into the grounds and nature of knowledge itself. The study of epistemology focuses on our means for acquiring knowledge and how we can differentiate between truth and falsehood. knowledge can be acquired

Priori it is possible to know things before we have had experiences — this is known as a priori knowledge because priori means before. It includes  Independent of the knowledge of experience. Belonging to the mind prior to experience. This term is usually applied to principles or judgments whose validity is independent of sense data Knowledge which is self-evident. Principles which, when once understood, are recognized to  be true and do not require proof through observation, experience, or experiment.)

Posteriori: we can only know things after we have had the relevant experience — this is labeled a posteriori knowledge because posteriori means “after.”It includes  (Inductive thinking beginning with the data of experience opposed to a priori)Knowledge which is based upon experience and observation

Experimental knowledge- It is something to be put to work in experience as a function which carries experience forward satisfactorily.

The Theories of the nature of knowledge-The theories deals with the possibility of knowledge.

Agnosticism is the doctrine that holds tha one can not know the existence of anything beyond the phenomenon of experience, it may mean no more  than the suspension of judgment on ultimate questions because of insufficient evidence, or it may constitute a rejection of traditional religious tenets. The position that conclusive knowledge of ultimate reality is an impossibility.

Skepticism- Philosophical doubting of knowledge claims in various areas ,a challenge to accepted views in science ,morals, and religion. A questioning attitude toward the possibility of having any knowledge.

The affirmation of knowledge. The position that true knowledge of ultimate reality is possible,

The affirmation of functional knowledge. The position that knowledge is always fractional, never total , and functions in a present field or situation where it is needed, and that we can appropriate such fractional and functional knowledge.

The Instruments of Knowledge

Epistemology is important because it is fundamental to how we think. Without some means of understanding how we acquire knowledge, how we rely upon our senses, and how we develop concepts in our minds, we have no coherent path for our thinking. A sound epistemology is necessary for the existence of sound thinking and reasoning — this is why so much philosophical literature can involve seemingly arcane discussions about the nature of knowledge.

Empiricism: knowledge is obtained through experience.The position, or sense-perceptual experience, is the medium through which knowledge is gained. Empiricism, , is more uniform in the sense that it denies that any form of rationalism is true or possible. Empiricists may disagree on just how we acquire knowledge through experience and in what sense our experiences give us access to outside reality; nevertheless, they all agree that knowledge about reality requires experience and interaction with reality

Rationalism: knowledge can be acquired through the use of reason.The position that reason is the chief source of knowledge. Rationalism is not a uniform position. Some rationalists will simply argue that some truths about reality can be discovered through pure reason and thought (examples include truths of mathematics, geometry and sometimes morality) while other truths do require experience. Other rationalists will go further and argue that all truths about reality must in some way be acquired through reason, normally because our sense organs are unable to directly experience outside reality at all.

Intuitionism-A position that knowledge is gained through immediate insight and awareness .Direct or immediate knowledge of self , others ,or data.An internal, personal phenomenon.

Autoritarionism-The position that much important knowledge is certified to us by an indisputable authority

Reveleation –T he position that  God presently reveals himself in the holy books or holy places. A communication of God,s will to man from some external source

Logic: Logic (from Classical Greek λόγος (logos), originally meaning the word, or what is spoken, but coming to mean thought or reason) is most often said to be the study of arguments, although the exact definition of logic is a matter of controversy amongst philosophers (see below). However the subject is grounded, the task of the logician is the same: to advance an account of valid and fallacious inference to allow one to distinguish good from bad arguments.

The study of the proper methods of thinking and reasoning. Logic languages, like Predicate Logic, promise to produce arguments which, if the premises are true, can only lead to true conclusions. Logic is slightly different than the other branches as it aims to suggest the correct ways of studying philosophy in general.

Logic is the science of exact thought. The .The systematic treatment of the relation of ideas. A study of methods distinguishing valid thinking   which is fallacious. : Among the branches of philosophy, logic is concerned with the various forms of reasoning and arriving at genuine conclusions. It includes the system of statements and arguments. It is now divided into mathematical logic and philosophical logic. It tries to avoid the imaginary or assumptions without real logical proof.
A.Induction. Reasoning from particulars to a general conclusion.

B.Deduction. Reasoning from general principle to particulars included within the scope of that principle.

C.The syllogism. A form in which to cast deductive reasoning. It is comprised of three propositions : the major premise, the minor premise, and the conclusion.

D.Experimental reasoning or problem-solving. A form of reasoning, largely inductive but using deduction as well, which begins wigh a  problem observes all the data relating to the problem, formulates hypotheses and tests them to reach a workable solution of the problem.

E.Dialectic. A method of reasoning of reasoning in which the conflict or contrast of ideas is utilized as a means of detecting the truth. In hegel’s formulation of it there are three stages: thesis, antithesis, and synthesis.

Axiology: the Study of Value: the study of value; the investigation of its nature, criteria, and metaphysical status. More often than not, the term “value theory” is used instead of “axiology” in contemporary discussions even though the term “theory of value” is used with respect to the value or price of goods and services in economics. . The general theory of value. The nature of values, the different kinds of value, specific values worthy of possession

Axiology (theory of value): the inquiry into the nature, criteria, and metaphysical status of value. Axiology, in turn, is divided into two main parts: ethics and æsthetics.

Although the term “axiology” is not widely used outside of philosophy, the problems of axiology include

(1) how values are experienced,

(2) the kinds of value,

(3) the standards of value, and

(4) in what sense values can be said to exist.

A. The nature of value.

1.The interest theory. Values depend upon the interest of the person who enjoys them. Strictly speaking, they do not exist but are supported by the interest of the value.

2.The existence theory. Values have an existence in their own right which is independent of the valuer and his interest. Values are not qualities or essences without foundation in existence; they are essence plus existence.

3.The experimentalist theory. That is of value which yields a greater sense of happiness in the present and at the same time opens the way to further goods in future experiences.

4.The part whole theory. The key to realizing and enjoying value is the effective relating of parts to wholes.

B. Realms of value.

1. Ethics. : Ethics is a general term for what is often described as the “science (study) of morality”. In philosophy, ethical behavior is that which is “good” or “right.” The Western tradition of ethics is sometimes called moral philosophy.

It is concerned with questions on morality and values and how they apply to various situations. It can be divided into the branches of meta-ethics, normative and applied ethics. Ethics seeks to understand the basis of morals, how they develop and how they are and should be followed. Famous works on ethics are by philosophers as early as Plato, Aristotle, Kant and Nietzsche.

The study of values in human behavior or the study of moral problems: e.g., (1) the rightness and wrongness of actions, (2) the kinds of things which are good or desirable, and (3) whether actions are blameworthy or praiseworthy The nature of good and evil. The problems of conduct and ultimate objectives.

a. The worth of living.

1.Optimism. Existence is good. Life is worth living. Our outlook can be hopeful.

2.Pessimism. Existence is evil. Life is not worth the struggle; we should escape it by some means.

3.Meliorism. Conclusions as to the goodness or evil of existence cannot be made final. Human effort may improve the human situation. The final end cannot be assured, but we must face life, not escape it, applying all the effort and resource we can command.

B. The highest good or summum bonum. The end, aim, or objective of living which is above all other ends. In absolutist philosophies it is the ultimate end which by its nature cannot be a means to another end.

1.Hedonism. The highest good is pleasure. Hedonist ranging from the intense pleasure of the moment to highly refined and enduring pleasure or contentment. Utilitarianism is a form of hedonism having society as its frame of reference. According to it, the greatest happiness of the greatest number is the prime objective.

2.Perfectionism. The highest good is the perfection of the self, or self-realization. Perfection of the self, or self realization. Perfectionism may also have its social frame of reference, envisioning  and ideal social order as the ultimate objective of society.

C. The criteria of conduct. From one’s conception of the highest good there follow logically certain practical principles for everyday living. Some examples are

1.Kant’s maxim: act only on those principles which you are willing should become universal moral laws.

2.Spencer’s principal: action to be right must be conducive to self-preservation.

3.Dewey’s principle: discover the probable consequences of what you consider doing, by going through an imaginative rehearsal of the possibilities.

4.The religious principle: obey the will of God; commit yourself completely to the fulfillment of God’s purpose for yourself and the world.

D. The motivation of conduct. The kind and scope of the interests which guide conduct.

1.Egoism. The interests of self should be served by an individual’s actions.

2.Altruism. The interest of other or of the social group should be served by an individual’s actions. One realizes his won fullest selfhood in seeking the best interests of others.

3.Religious Values. The kind, nature, and worth of values to be possessed in worship, religious experience, and religious service.

4.Educational Values. The kind, nature and worth of values inherent in the educative process.

5.Social Values. The kind, nature and worth of values only realized in community and in the individual’s relation to society. Some more specific kinds of social values are the political and the economic

6.Utilitarian Values. The kind, nature, and worth of values to be realized in harmonious adjustment to or efficient control of the forces of the physical environment.

There are two main subdivisions of axiology: ethics and æsthetics.. Each of these subdivisions are briefly characterized below.

Aesthetics:The philosophy of art. Concerned with questions like why do we find certain things beautiful, what makes things great art, so on. the study of value in the arts or the inquiry into feelings, judgments, or standards of beauty and related concepts. Philosophy of art is concerned with judgments of sense, taste, and emotion.

Aesthetics deals with sense, perception and appreciation of beauty. It broadly includes everything to do with appreciating of art, culture and nature. It also examines how the perception of beauty is determined by taste and aesthetic judgment. The practice of defining, criticizing and appreciating art and art forms is based on aesthetics.

Aesthetics involves the conceptual problems associated with the describing the relationships among our feelings and senses with respect to the experience of art and nature .It is the inquiry into feelings, judgments, or standards concerning the nature of beauty and related concepts such as the tragic, the sublime, or the moving—especially in the arts; the analysis of the values of sensory experience and the associated feelings or attitudes in art and nature; the theories developed in les beaux arts.

Actually Aesthetics deals with the nature of the values which  are found in the feeling aspects of experience. The conscious search for the principles governing the creation and appreciation of beautiful things.

(b) Ethics: This is probably the most self-explanatory of all the branches. Concerned with such things as what is good/evil, is there such a thing as objective morals or are they created by us, or some other being, how we should live our lives, and so on.. Ethics involves the theoretical study of the moral valuation of human action—it’s not just concerned with the study of principles of conduct .It is the inquiry into the nature and concepts of morality, including the important problems of good, right, duty, virtue, and choice; the study of the principles of living well and doing well as a human being; the moral principles implicit in mores, religion, or philosophy.

Philosophy- Indian point of view

From the Indian viewpoint,  the word ‘philosophy’ suggests “observing and surveying”  the existence. In Sanskrit, the philosophy is referred to as  ‘darshana’.  The Sanskrit word ‘darshana’ has its root in the word ‘drs’ that means ‘to see’, ‘to look’ or ‘to view’. “Seeing” or “viewing” the reality and the facts of experience forms the basis of philosophy. Senses, mind and even consciousness are involved in this ‘seeing’. “Seeing” also encompasses “contemplation”. Seeing is not simply a sensory activity. ‘Seeing’ may primarily be a perceptual observation. But it may also concern the conceptual knowledge or an intuitional flash.  Thus ‘darshana‘ suggests vision. In other words, ‘darshana’ is a whole view revealed to the inner self, what we term as the soul or the spirit or the inner being.  Philosophy or ‘darshana’ is concerned with the vision of ‘truth and reality’.

This way while  Philoosophy is considered as Goal while in Indian context  Darshan is considered as m Means

All systems of Indian philosophy are ranged  in two categories:

Astika systems, which affirm, and Nastika systems.Indian philosophy, include both orthodox (astika) systems, namely, theNyayaVaisheshikaSamkhyaYoga, Purva-Mimamsa (orMimamsa), andVedanta schools of philosophy.

Nastika systems, which were chiefly those of the Charvakas, the Buddhists, and the Jains. But, strange to say, these systems were called Nastika, heterodox and nihilist, not because they questioned or denied the existence of God ,but because they questioned, denied or ignored the authority of the Vedas.

Each of these systems differs in one way or the other in terms of its concepts, phenomena, laws and dogmas. Each system has it’s own founder as well. It is important to know that the founders of these systems of philosophy are sages of the highest order that have devoted their lives for the study and propagation of philosophy..

Each darsana explains the origin of the world, its creation and transformation.

There are three different approaches that these darsanas follow:

1- Arambha vada- holds that the universe is created.

2- Parinama vada- holds that the universe is not created or destroyed but it only transforms. Particularly, it is transformation of the manifesting form of the immutable absolute.

3- Vivarta vada- holds that the Universe as it appears is but because of the limitation of observer and it appears so, because of Maya.

It becomes difficult, sometimes, to name a single founder or a promoter of a system. However, the following are widely acknowledged as proponents of the above systems: Gautama for Nyaya, Kanada for Vaisheshika, Patanjali for Yoga, Kapila for Samkhya, Jaimini for Purva-Mimamsaand Shamkara for Uttar-Mimamsa.

Charvakism is believed to have been promoted by Charvaka. Vardhamana Mahavira is acknowledged as the founder of Jainism and GautamaBuddha as the founder of Buddhism.

The common characteristics in Indian Philosophies:

The systems of Indian philosophies, with a singular exception of Charvakism, have certain common characteristics. Charvakism remarkably differs from other systems as it promotes materialism.

Brief outline of Shad-Darshan is given below:

1. NYAYA- by Sage Gautam

Logical Quest of Supreme, Phases of Creation, Science of Logical Reasoning

2.  VAISHESIKA – by Sage Kanad

Science of Logic, Futility of Maya, Vedic Atomic Theory

3. SANKHYA -  by Sage Kapil

Eliminate Physical and Mental Pains for receiving liberations, Nontheistic Dualism

4. YOGA – by Sage Patanjali

Practice of Meditation and Samadhi for Renunciation, Self Discipline for Self Realization

5. KARMA MIMANSA -  by Sage Jaimini

Poorv Mimamsa explaining the Vedas are eternal and Divine; Elevation Through the Performance of Duty

6.VEDANTA – by Sage VedVyas

Uttar Mimansa (Brahma Sutra) explaning the divine nature of Soul, Maya and Creation; Conclusion of edic Revelation

The six Darshan Shastras are divided in the groups of two each based on their closely related texts, such as Nyaya and Vaisheshika are closely allied to each other. The next twoSankhaya and Yoga are closed to each other, and finally the Poorva Mimamsa and Uttar Mimamsa are allied to each other.


Another pre-Buddhistic system of philosophy, the Charvaka, or the Lokayata, is one of the earliest materialistic schools of philosophy.The name Charvakais traced back to one Charvaka, supposed to have been one of the great teachers of the school. The other name, Lokayata, means “the view held by the common people,” “the system which has its base in the common, profane world,” “the art of sophistry,” and also “the philosophy that denies that there is any world other than this one.” Brihaspati probably was the founder of this


Jainism, founded about the 6th century bce by Vardhamana Mahavira, the 24th in a succession of religious leaders known either as Tirthankaras(Saviours) or as Jinas (Conquerors), rejects the idea of God as the creator of the world but teaches the perfectibility of humanity, to be accomplished through the strictly moral and ascetic life.


Buddhism is a religion based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, He came to be called “the Buddha,” which means “awakened one,” after he experienced a profound realization of the nature of life, death and existence. He taught that awakening comes through one’s own direct experience, not through beliefs and dogmas.



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