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Indian Philosophy in EnglishFrom Renaissance to Independence$
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Nalini Bhushan and Jay L. Garfield

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199769261

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199769261.001.0001

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Lajpat Rai, “Reform or Revival?” (1904)

Lajpat Rai, “Reform or Revival?” (1904)

(p.75) 5 Lajpat Rai, “Reform or Revival?” (1904)
Indian Philosophy in English

Nalini Bhushan

Jay L. Garfield

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents an excerpt from Lajpat Rai's 1904 essay, “Reform or Revival?,” in which he asks whether India's emergence into modernity requires a reform of Indian culture or a revival of its classical form. Rai was a major figure in the struggle for independence. Born in the Punjab, he was a leader of the Arya Samaj, a founder of the Young India movement and active in the Indian National Congress. His book Young India (1917) was (and still is) banned in the UK as seditious. Most of his writing is explicitly political, but nonetheless philosophical, providing astute analyses in Young India of the varieties of nationalism. Rai died as a result of injuries sustained protesting the appointment of the Simon Commission on Indian governance. In his essay, Rai likens the quarrel over “reform or revival” between the reformers to the wordy polemics between the Pandits. He analyzes the respective programs of reformers and the revivalists, arguing that the social reform program begins with the question of early marriage. He also considers the great evil of the present divisions and sub-divisions of caste.

Keywords:   caste, Lajpat Rai, India, modernity, reform, culture, revival, nationalism, Pandits, marriage

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