Event Reports |
March 6, 2024

International Conference on ‘Integral Humanism: Perspectives of Deendayal Upadhyay and Jacques Maritain’

March 4-5, 2024 at Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi

India Foundation, in collaboration with Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Chair at Banaras Hindu University, and supported by the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), organised an International Conference on ‘Integral Humanism: Perspectives of Deendayal Upadhyay and Jacques Maritain’ on March 4-5, 2024. The conference provided an academic forum to discuss the Indian and Western perspectives on ‘Integral Humanism’, particularly focussing on the views of Deendayal Upadhyay and Jacques Maritain. It aimed to explore various dimensions of the concept of ‘Integral Humanism’, including its social, philosophical and political dimensions along with its economic implications.

Under the broader rubric of Integral Humanism, the Inaugural Address of the conference on March 04, 2024, was delivered by Prof. Anil Sahasrabudhe, Chairman, National Educational Technology Forum. He focused on Integral Humanism, linking it to the Indian knowledge systems and sustainable development of the society. Discussing the praxis of Integral Humanism in Indian governance, he explained the significance of National Education Policy and its blending of value-based education with holistic development of the human being.

Dr. Ram Madhav, President, India Foundation, delivered the Keynote Address in the Inaugural Session of the  Conference. He emphasized on the philosophical foundations of Integral Humanism as propounded by Pt. Deendayal Upadhyay and Jacques Maritain. He highlighted upon the idea of ‘Integral Humanism’, and delved on the convergences and divergences of both the thinkers. He explained how Pt. Deendayal Upadhyay developed the idea of ‘Integral Humanism’ from the concept of ‘Dharma’, while Jacques Maritain derived his theory of ‘Integral Humanism’ from ‘Christendom’. Despite the cultural differences, both the thinkers displayed striking similarities in their thought and raised common concerns sharing a commitment to the holistic development of human beings within the framework of a just and harmonious society.

The Inaugural Session was chaired by Prof. Arun Kumar Singh, Registrar, Banaras Hindu University. Prof. Tej Pratap Singh, Pt. Deendayal Upadhyay Chair at Banaras Hindu University, delivered the Welcome Address. The Inaugural Session of the conference brought together eminent academicians and senior scholars, thinkers and philosophers from across India and abroad to deliberate on the theory and praxis of Integral Humanism as it has evolved both in India and the West. The conference was attended by eminent faculty members, research scholars, and students of Banaras Hindu University, and eminent citizens of Varanasi.

Dr. Ram Madhav, President, India Foundation, chaired the Plenary Session on ‘Integral Humanism of Deendayal Upadhyay and Jacques Maritain: A Comparative Study’ on the first day of the conference. The session was addressed by eminent scholars including Prof. Chandrakala Padia, Former Vice Chancellor, Maharaja Ganga Singh University, Prof. Timothy Samuel Shah, Distinguished Research Scholar in Politics, University of Dallas, and Mr. Come Carpentier, Distinguished Fellow, India Foundation. The speakers elaborated on the philosophical, social and cultural roots of Integral Humanism, both in the worldview of Pt. Deendayal Upadhyay and Jacques Maritain. Through a structured comparative analysis of both the thinkers, they highlighted the overlapping spaces in their worldview, which provided promising avenues for further research on the subject, and showed the possibility of sparking a global dialogue on Integral Humanism.

The Plenary Session was followed by two parallel sessions of academic paper presentations by young scholars, budding researchers and professors, on the broad theme of Integral Humanism. Scholars from various academic institutions put forth their arguments and ideas about Integral Humanism, situating them either in a comparative analysis or by developing on the practical and theoretical aspects of Integral Humanism. The two parallel sessions were chaired by Prof. Amarnath Mohanty, Head, Department of Political Science, Banaras Hindu University (BHU), and Dr. Guru Prakash Paswan, Visiting Fellow, India Foundation.

On March 05, 2024, Day 2 of the Conference began with the Special Keynote Session on the theme of the conference. The Special Keynote Address was delivered by Prof. Santishree Pandit, Hon’ble Vice Chancellor, Jawaharlal Nehru University. The session was chaired by Prof. R C Sinha, Former Chairman, Indian Council for Philosophical Research. Prof. Pandit delved into the spiritual and cultural roots of the idea of Integral Humanism. The session was moderated by Dr. Sonu Trivedi, Distinguished Fellow, India Foundation.

The first working session on ‘Social Dimension of Integral Humanism’ was addressed by Prof. Shri Prakash Singh, Director, South Campus, University of Delhi, and Archbishop Dr. Felix Machado, Diocese of Vasai, India. The session was chaired by Prof. Tej Pratap Singh, Pt. Deendayal Upadhyay Chair at BHU. The session sought to take a deep dive into the socio-cultural framework of Integral Humanism and contextualize its tropes in the respective Indian and Christian religious frameworks.

The second working session was on the theme ‘Philosophical and Political Aspects of Integral Humanism’. The session was chaired by Prof. R. C. Sinha, Former Chairman, Indian Council for Philosophical Research. It was addressed by Prof. Claude Vishnu Spaak, Head, Philosophy and Sociology Department, Sorbonne University, and Prof. K. Jayaprasad, Dean, School of Global Studies and former Pro-Vice Chancellor of Central University of Kerala.

The third working session was themed ‘Economic Implications of Integral Humanism’. The session was addressed by Prof. Gopa Kumar, Former Vice-Chancellor, Central University of Kerala, Prof. Sanjay K. Jha, Dean, School of National Security Studies at Central University of Gujarat, and Mr. Alexis Rostand, Managing Director, Eiffel Investment Group. Prof. H. K. Singh, Dean, Faculty of Commerce, BHU, chaired the session. The economic policies of the state, the concept of Antyodaya, and the centrality of dignity of an individual in formulation of policies driven by the ideas of Integral Humanism were some of the discussion points that featured prominently in the session.

Through their analysis and critical appreciation of the works of both Pt. Deendayal Upadhyay and Jacques Maritain, the speakers in the conference explained how Integral Humanism, as a philosophical and political concept, finds expression in the works of thinkers from diverse cultural and ideological backgrounds. Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay, a key thinker of Bharatiya tradition, developed the concept of Integral Humanism in the context of post-independence India. Rooted in Indian cultural and spiritual traditions, his integral humanism emphasizes the integration of material progress with spiritual and ethical values. According to Deendayal Upadhyay, “body, mind, intelligence and the soul – these four make up an individual which are all integrated. We cannot think of each part separately.” The concept of Integral humanism as developed by Deendayal Upadhyay looks upon life as an integrated whole.

The comparative analysis of Integral Humanism as articulated by Deendayal Upadhyay and Jacques Maritain reveals the universality of certain principles despite the cultural and religious diversity of their contexts. Both thinkers offer valuable insights into the promotion of human dignity, ethical governance, and the integration of material and spiritual dimensions in the pursuit of a just society. The conference marked the initiation of a global dialogue across cultures and civilizations, inspired by the idea of Integral Humanism.

Prof. Binda D. Paranjpe, Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, BHU, chaired the Valedictory Session of the conference. The Valedictory Address was delivered by Prof. Shri Prakash Singh, Director, South Campus, University of Delhi. Prof. Singh shed light on the continuing significance of Integral Humanism for the shaping of India’s academic discourse and explained its potential to transform Indian public policy and governance. Prof. S. N. Sankhwar, Director, Institute of Medical Sciences, BHU, attended the session as the Guest of Honour. The concluding remarks were delivered by Dr. Sonu Trivedi, Distinguished Fellow, India Foundation.

Latest News

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

three × 4 =

Explide
Drag