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TOWARD FREEDOM THE ATUTOBIOGRAPHY OF JAWAHARLAL NEHRU. Publication date PublisherTHE JOHN DAY COMPANY. 92 N Mehru WPL8 Toward freedojj^ the autobiography of Jawaharlal Nehru ** 92 M J>6-lUtl8 Nehru Toward freedom^ the autobiography of. In one of his last letters he did me the honor to suggest that I write a preface for this first American edition of his autobiography. This. I am glad to do, not only to.
Unity in diversity uniquely becomes a possibility within the Christian theological framework precisely because the God that is worshipped illustrates that reality. A more fundamental reason for why Sanskrit and Pali tolerate contradictory doctrines pertains to dharmic religions being structurally different from Semitic religions. Log In Sign Up. After all, only an object of worship has the power to shape our personal and social realities. By Luca Ozzano and Alberta Giorgi.
Autonomy and Community Beyond afirming freedom of conscience as an essential part of what it means to be human, we would need to explore an equally pivotal question of how freedoms are understood and appropriated within UN Declaration. Accessed February 27, Intervarsity Press, , It is of great value to pursue different senses of freedoms nurtured within cultures.
In what follows, I shall explicate two distinct paradigms for envisioning freedoms according to how self is viewed, where human identity is conceived either autonomously or communally. While this is too simplistic a division, it nevertheless captures the polarities that exist between starkly different visions pertaining to the human self. Surfacing the polarity is particularly helpful to understand cultures caught in the shift from a pre-modern vision of the self to one that is inluenced by the modern enlightenment.
Both visions could be seen as shaped by distinct and corresponding background cultures that can legitimately be commended and critiqued.
Behind the correlations between background cultures and their corresponding moral visions, are core beliefs about origins, meaning, morality and purpose that shape both the background culture and its moral vision.
It is of course possible to see that both individual freedoms and communitarian interests are at once upheld. Although in practice the perfect balance will always elude societies, it at least helps to sympathetically recognise where a culture stands on the spectrum between these polarities, which in turn helps provide a critique of cultures toward balancing the polarities.
Autonomy, Authenticity and Freedom The Western cultures are commonly identiied with conferring greater autonomies to individuals. In The Ethics of Authenticity, Charles Taylor describes the contemporary West as, A world where people have a right to choose for themselves their own pattern of life, to decide in conscience what convictions to espouse, to determine the shape of their Even where religious beliefs are not directly identiied as being logically prior to cultural practices, such correlations could establish that a belief supports a cultural practice or that a cultural practice reinforces a belief.
And these rights are generally defended by our legal systems. In principle, people are no longer sacriiced to the demands of supposedly sacred orders that transcend them. Following Romanticism, the move towards individualism could be seen as a correction to the excesses of community centeredness of the earlier times. However, as cultures correct the errors of a previous generation, they naturally tend to overcorrect.
Overcorrections characteristically have the tendency to degenerate quicker than the errors they seek to ix. In reaching its apotheosis, the autonomous nature of identity formation becomes the zeitgeist, the deining spirit of the age. Taylor argues that in the contemporary culture, autonomy is actualised by an appeal to authenticity, where self-actualisation takes an ethical turn. Superseding the external authority of either the community or the tradition, or a god, one seizes Charles Taylor, The Ethics of Authenticity Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, , 2.
Disenchanting the world of transcendence evacuates God and the moral order and thus shifts the centre of fulillment to the individual. Hong and Edna H. Hong eds. Princeton University Press, , See page As Taylor writes, This kind of entrenchment process can help explain the slide in the culture of authenticity.
The self-centred forms are deviant. They tend to centre fulilment on the individual, making his or her afiliations purely instrumental; they push, in other words, to a social atomism.
And they tend to see fulilment as just of the self, neglecting or delegitimating the demands that come from beyond our own desires or aspirations, be they from history, tradition, society, nature, or God; they foster, in other words, a radical anthropocentrism. According to Alexis De Tocqueville, this is a natural outcome of democratic equality.
Trans and Bruce Frohnen ed. Regnery Publishing, Originally published in , Religion and Ethics employs C. Individuality must be posited as principes, and the totality, conceived only on the basis of or through individuality, as subordinate to it. But as post-Christian societies, such appropriation of autonomy in the West inds itself without a balance of cohesion that religion earlier provided in societies.
Even beyond the West, democratic societies are teleologically directed towards personal autonomies. Liberal democratic societies tend to adopt moral reasoning that prioritises individual autonomy, to do whatever one wishes with oneself so long as it does not overtly affect others or society at large. Thus, whether it is legalisation of See C. Hobbes to Locke Oxford: Oxford University Press, Miller ed. Doing More with Life: Baylor University Press, , However unrestrained personal freedoms tend to leave societies bankrupt by depleting it of the communitarian calculus and its moral capital.
Undoubtedly, a democratic society would have to uphold individual freedoms simply because the very idea of democracy is undergirded by a strong notion of individual freedom.
That is, if there are no personal freedoms, there is no democracy. But the human propensity towards excessive autonomy results in problems for and beyond the individual.
The predictable self-centred narcissism of the autonomous self results in social bankruptcy of moral virtue and love for the other. Cultures in which individual narcissism becomes the norm entails a depletion of moral capital leaving the society with mere laws and legislations without a spirit that honours what those laws presuppose.
In short, personal freedoms, however valuable it may be, when absolutised cannot yield benevolent and caring societies especially when the spirit of freedom is not moderated by the moral compulsions of neighbour-love. Bereft of a spirit of love, a society, however sophisticated, withers as a lower, when it is deprived of the moral substance that sustains its life. This leads to social tensions in communities that seek to preserve their communal identity. Expressions of personal autonomy are often viewed as violations against the culture or tradition, which results in communities employing repressive imposition to correct the calculus of autonomy.
Religion and Ethics the calculus of community and individual autonomy is a reality. There was immense common motivation to bring him back into line. Communitarian Identity and the Abolition of the Individual In contrast to the autonomous self-identity is the other polarity that prioritises the communitarian thinking.
The repressive impositions that are imposed to safeguard traditional values in conservative societies caught within the cross-pressure with the advent of the calculus of individual autonomy could be seen as overcorrections caused by the cultural shifts.
Thus, group mobilisations to demand for caste based reservations or whipping up of mob passions using rumours of beef consumption or attacks on churches and hapless Christian believers falsely accusing them of forceful conversions, while being disruptive are also mechanisms towards protectionism. It often engages in protectionist thinking by exponentially amplifying an alleged insult by allocating offence as directed against a collective group, a whole culture and its interests, and the communitarian way of thinking.
See, my paper titled: Cultural Exegesis as the Calling of an Asian Theologian: Harvard University Press, , The Illusion of Destiny New Delhi: Penguin Books, , One may however, justiiably assert that most parts of the Indian society ind itself caught in the process of the shift away from communitarian thinking to the calculus of individual autonomy. The ever-increasing intolerance of any form of dissent within the current political disposition and orchestration of communal identity that demonises minority groups may be seen as a manifestation albeit, an extreme version of the communitarian calculus.
Cases in point are the sedition charge levelled against the student leader, Kanhaiya Kumar. Likewise, in August the founder-president of Andhashraddha Nirmoolan Samiti an organisation that works to eradicate superstitions , Narendra Dhabholkar was murdered.
Sen provides two reasons for why individual freedom of conscience can co-exist with communitarian thinking—both of which I shall look at briely in what follows. Inluence is not the same thing as complete determination, and choices do remain despite the existence—and importance—of cultural inluences. The choices that Sen refers to that remain are often still circumscribed by what tradition deems as possible.
In short, Sen undermines the determinative power of, say, the dharmic way of thinking that prescribes a predetermined course pertaining to roles, functions, and social mores circumscribed by caste calculus, all of which compromises the real possibility of individual choices. Madan ed. Oxford University Press, ]. True to the scope covered by the term, it is obvious that dharma refers to an elaborate set of individual and social functions and responsibilities.
Dharma is also presented as obligatory set of rules of life. Often, it is the complete determinative power of cultural beliefs that ensures social cohesion. As I have argued elsewhere, where, [C]ultural and social conformity is seen as a virtue, cultures develop mechanisms to penalize non-conformity with social ostracisms.
In order to prevent the dishonour to the family within the larger village community that is dictated by shame calculus as a result of children marrying outside their caste conines, often the family members themselves undertake honour-killings of their own children.
Dharma has the potential to become a spectrum of things that can be used, legitimately or otherwise, as an instrument to regulate social conformity. In short, the dharmic self, for it to correct itself from the excesses of communitarian thinking, would have to emerge on the far end of deliberations about the unassailable value assigned to every human being and personal freedom of the individual.
Pickwick, , However, it would be quite unproductive or even erroneous to leave it unqualiied. First, one needs to factor how dominant traditions tend to largely dictate terms among all the available internal variations.
Any cursory survey of caste-based treatment of people groups illustrates this point. Intolerance of dissent within the political, religious, and educational spheres has reached a high point as never before ever since the Bharatiya Janata Party BJP came to power in However, such an argument tends to remain disconnected from reality. Sen understates the controlling tendencies of the dominant traditions by merely pointing to the availability of variant internal theological doctrines.
In a truly Indian style, Sen enlists every critique as an internal variation and thus subordinates it to the dominant pantheistic interpretation by subsuming the anti-thesis as a part of the Hindu narrative precluding any possibility of correction.
Thus Sen writes, Indian traditions are often taken to be intimately associated with religion, and indeed in many ways they are, and yet Sanskrit and Pali have a larger atheistic and agnostic literature than any other classical language: Greek or Roman or Hebrew or Arabic. When a doctrinal Sen, Identity and Violence, As a mark of protest against the government, which they felt was either a mute spectator or tacitly supported these acts of intolerance several artists and writers returned their awards.
A more fundamental reason for why Sanskrit and Pali tolerate contradictory doctrines pertains to dharmic religions being structurally different from Semitic religions. The essential difference lies in the fact that Semitic religions, particularly Christianity, is creedal precisely because of its focus on teachings and doctrinal purity, whereas dharmic religions as non-creedal, focus essentially on traditions and ritual purity.
This does not mean that emphasis of doctrinal teachings and rituals are mutually exclusive. Rather, it is a question of priority between doctrine and ritual practice, which can be surfaced by identifying the non-negotiable element within the dharmic and Semitic traditions.
In short, what would each tradition seek to preserve if they were to be stripped of everything else? Toleration of diverse doctrines may be better understood as a case of unintentional religious condition rather than as a deliberate celebration of diversity of beliefs.
It is a natural condition that entails the absence of creed formulation. In such contexts, social cohesion is brought about not by a uniied theological doctrine at the ideological level, but rather by imposition of social norms that take the shape of rituals and social practices at cultural level. While it is true that polytheism allows plurality at the conceptual and doctrinal level, it need not translate as acceptance of plurality at the practical level.
For greater social cohesion, the elasticity in thinking about God at the conceptual level, precisely for that reason, could Sen, Identity and Violence, Religion and Ethics compensate by imposing rigidity in religio-social expressions at the practical level.
Polytheism by its very nature cares little about what is believed but cares a great deal about what is practiced.
As Christian thinkers, how may we seek to balance the value of both the individual and the community? Does Christian theology provide a way forward in thinking through this polarity? In what follows, I shall briely argue that the Christian theological framework provides matrix in which the freedoms of the individual could be balanced with a communitarian ethos.
Christian Faith and Freedom of Conscience We have noticed that both autonomous and communitarian identities in themselves can become problematic for societies. Freedom of conscience as an essential part of what it means to be a human cannot be actualised within cultures unless religious and theological doctrines, as core-belief providers for individuals, inluence the culture.
Social structures are often derivatives of theological doctrines that are operative within a culture. In particular, it could be argued that the Trinitarian doctrine, which at once emphasises both individuality of each member of the Trinity and unity within Trinitarian community, There is a popular myth that polytheistic religions are tolerant and monotheistic religions are intolerant.
It follows a similar reasoning that Sen adopts and misunderstands presence of variant theological doctrines itself as tolerance. But irst I shall reiterate an important connection between Protestant faith and liberal democracy that has been established in the sociological research undertaken by Robert Woodberry. These innovations fostered conditions that made stable representative democracy more likely—regardless of whether many people converted to Protestantism. May Religion and Ethics Moreover, religious beliefs motivated most of these transformations.
The key factors that could be listed as necessary conditions for representative democracy, such as, sense of liberty, individual rights, tolerance, education, social and political awareness, holding governments accountable, legal protection and more seem to coexist with the practice of Christian doctrine.
This heightened sense of volition, which gives a huge emphasis to religious liberty is a pivotal part of Protestant theological imagination. Consequently, this sense of volition is also transmitted through their missionary activity, especially since conversion as an act presupposes and reinforces freedom of conscience.
This suggests that beyond merely presupposing freedom of conscience as an antecedent doctrine for religious conversion, the conversionary Protestantism sought to empower individuals with capacities for proper social relection and democratic participation.
Liturgies that Shape Sociology We ind that the way individual autonomies are actualised within liberal democratic societies has its own challenges to facilitate human lourishing, given that it tends to exclude everyone other than the self.
This preview shows page 1 - 6 out of pages. Subscribe to view the full document. I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero. University Of Chicago. LACS Nehru - Toward Freedom For foreign readers I would probably have written differently, or with a different emphasis, stressing certain aspects which have been slurred over in the narrative and passing over lightly certain other aspects which I have treated at some length.
Many of these latter aspects may not interest the non-Indian reader, and he may consider them unim portant or too obvious for discussion or debate; but I felt that in the India of today they had a certain importance, A number of references to our internal politics and personalities may also be of little interest to the outsider. The reader will, I hope, remember that the book was written during a particularly distressful period of my existence.