Modern Indian Thought M. N. Roy Political Science YouTube Lecture Handouts

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M.N. Roy: Political Philosophy, New Humanism, Freedom, Critique, Radical Democracy|Political Science

Title: Modern Indian Thought M. N. Roy


M. N. Roy was a twentieth century Indian philosopher. He began his career as a militant political activist and left India in 1915 in search of arms for organizing an insurrection against British rule in India.

M N Roy

22 March 1887 - 25 January 1954

Political Philosophy of Roy

There were three phases of his thinking which evolution of his political thought

  • Militant Nationalism Phase
  • Marxist Phase
  • Humanism Phase

New Humanism of Roy

  • New Humanism, as presented in the Twenty-Two Theses, has both a critical and a constructive aspect.
  • The critical aspect consists of describing the inadequacies of communism (including the economic interpretation of history) , and of formal parliamentary democracy.
  • The constructive aspect, on the other hand, consists of giving highest value to the freedom of individual, presenting a humanist interpretation of history, and outlining a picture of radical or organized democracy along with the way for achieving the ideal of radical democracy.

Ideas of Freedom and Justice

  • According to Roy, the central idea of the Twenty-Two Theses is that political philosophy must start from the basic idea that the individual is prior to society, and freedom can be enjoyed only by individuals.
  • Quest for freedom and search for truth, according to Roy, constitute the basic urge of human progress. The purpose of all-rational human endeavor, individual as well as collective, is attainment of freedom in ever-increasing measure. The amount of freedom available to the individuals is the measure of social progress.

Critique to Marxism

  • The Marxian doctrine of state, according to which the state is an instrument of exploitation of one class by another, is clearly rejected by Roy.
  • According to Roy, the state is “the political organization of society” and “its withering away under communism is a utopia which has been exploded by experience” .

Radical Democracy

  • Roy՚s ideal of radical democracy, consists of a highly decentralized democracy based on a network of people՚s committee՚s through which citizens wield a standing democratic control over the state.
  • He has not ignored the economic aspect of his ideal of radical democracy. He argued that progressive satisfaction of the material necessities is the pre-condition for the individual members of society unfolding their intellectual and other finer human potentialities.

Important Highlights

  • His interpretation of materialism.
  • Critique to Marxism
  • Critique of representative democracy
  • Relationship between the philosophy and science


Given below are two statements, one labelled as Assertion (A) and other as Reason (R) :

Select the correct answer from the code given below:

Assertion (A) : M. N. Roy did not accept Marx՚s materialistic interpretation of history.

Reason (R) : It had an element of determinism and idealism.


(1) Both (A) and (R) are true and (R) is the correct explanation of (A) .

(2) Both (A) and (R) are true, but (R) is not the correct explanation of (A) .

(3) (A) is true, but (R) is false.

(4) (A) is false, but (R) is true.

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