Ranade was born at Nasik on 18th January, 1842 in the Chitpavan Brahman community in an orthodox family. After receiving his early education at Kolhapuf he was sent to Elphinstone College at Bombay from where he passed his B. A. examination in First Division. In 1854, Ranade married when he was hardly 12 years of age. His first wife died in 1873 and against his wishes he was forced to marry a virgin girl of 11 when he himself was about 30. It is said that this marriage was simply to please his parents. In 186S, he passed his MA., in history. A year later in 1866 he passed his LL.B. and became fellow of Bombay University. As a student he was very brilliant. It is said that his papers were sent to England as model ones for University students over there. At the age of 20, he became a teacher. In 1862, he started Anglo- Marathi weekly Indu Prakash. In 1868 he was appointed as Professor of English and History at Elphinstone College, Bombay. At the age of 29, he was appointed as a Judge of Bombay High Court. In 1885, he was nominated Law Member of Bombay Legislative Council and this post he again held in 1893.
In 1870, Ranade started Poona Sarvjaaik Sabha. He subsequently became a very active participant of Paramhans Mandli which became the basis of Prarthana Samaj working more or less on the pattern of the Brahmo Samaj. Ranade was also a member of Widow Re-marriage Association. He was the Chief Organiser and a moving force behind Indian Social Conference which was to stimulate and strengthen in every sphere the forces of reform. It also aimed at bringing together representatives of various associations and movements scattered all over India and aimed at eradicating social evils. About the objects of this conference James Kellock writes, "A great deal of good and hopeful work in the way of social reform was being done here and there throughout the country. The conference brought such work to a focus and made the inspiration and example of it available for others. It strengthened the hand of local society, formulated methods and guided the reforming aspirations. This unifying of social movement in India was an achievement of great importance. It brought the ideas of social reform home to a much larger public and it gave powerful re-inforcement to the scattered reformers in their struggle
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with inertia and reaction". Delivering address as the President of the First Bombay Provincial Social Conference Ranade said, 'You cannot have a good social system when you find yourself low in the scale of political science nor you can befit to exercise the political rights and privileges unless your social system is based on reasons and justice. You cannot have a good economic system when your social arrangements are imperfect. If your religious ideas are low and grovelling you cannot succeed in social, economic or political spheres. This interdependence is not an incident but is law of your nature."
Ranade wrote Essays on Indian Economics and Rise of the Maratha Power. Through these works he gave basic principles of his political philosophy.
Support to Freedom
Ranade's political thought w«s one of the chief exponents of the political philosophy subsequently followed by Indian National Congress. He was the moving force behind the political ideas of A. O. Hume, founder of Indian National Congress. Gopal Krishna Gokhale used to call Ranade as his political Guru. Ranade believed that British rule in India was a blessing and that it was through it alone that the people of India could progress. He had great love for human liberty. He believed that there should be proper opportunity for the exposition of human personality without any fear or favour. He had a judicial concept which did not mean the negation of restraints but demanded that all that was unjustified should be removed. He was bold enough to criticise what was wrong in the British policy. He openly criticised the British system of administration which was highly centralised and in which the people could be easily harassed. He felt that there should be sufficient opportunities through which the people could make representations to the rulers. He pleaded that Indians should be given due representation even in the British Parliament. He desired that local self-government institutions should be strengthened and more and more powers should be given to them, The people should be given a share not only in selecting their representatives but in levying taxes and also other essential matters. In 1893, Ranade said, "Freedom means making laws levying taxes, imposing punishment and appointing officials. The true difference between a free country and a not free one is that in the former before punishment is given a law must have been made; before taxes are levied, consent must have been secured; before making a law opinions must have been taken."
Nature of State. As an educated and enlightened thinker Ranade was deeply concerned and connected with state activities. He thought it desirable to give his ideas about nature and functions of state activities. To him the state was an institution which represented "the highest and the most disinterested wisdom of the times, working to give effect to the other tendencies concentrating and popularising them." State was an organic unit and as such it should aim at the development of the individuals.
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The individual enjoys rights only in the society. The institution of private property, is most essential for the development of human personality. In his 'Essay on Indian Economies' "Modem thought is veering to the conclusion that the individual and his interest are not the centre round which the theory should revolve, that true centre is body politic of which that individual is a member, and that collective defence and well-being social education and discipline and the duties, and not merely the interests of men must be taken into account if the theory is not to be merely Utopian." Ranade believed that State is a national organ which is to take into consideration national needs and necessities. He said "The state is now more and more recognised as the national organ for taking care of national needs in all matters in which individual and cooperative efforts are not likely to be so effective and economical as nation effort. This is the correct view to take all the pure junctions of a state. To relegate them to the simple duty of maintaining peace and order is in reality to deprive the community of many of the advantages of the social unions." Hindu-Muslim Unity
According to Ranade India could only progress when there was Hindu-Muslim unity. Hindus and Muslims were two great communities of India. For centuries together they have been living together. It was unfortunate that after Emperor Akbar, no serious attempt was made by the great Mughal Emperors to unify these two great communities of India. While discussing the subject at the Indian Social Conference at Lucknow in the year 1900. Ranade said "If the lessons of the past have any value, one thing is quite clear that in this vast country no progres* is possible unless both Hindus and Mohammedans join hands together jnd determine to follow the lead of the men who flourished in Akbar's time and were his chief advisers and counsellors and seduousfy avoided the mistakes which were committed by his great grandson, Aurangzeb. Join again from a sense of common interest and a common desire to bring about the fusion of thoughts and feelings of men so as to tolerate small differences and bring about concord. These were the chief aims kept in view by Akbar and formed a principle of new divine faith formulated in the Din-i- Ilahi." The people of India should be receptive. They should not discard anything simply on religious or cultural grounds. The Hindus should not think that their culture and civilisation alone was the best in the world. They should realise the significance of others' cultures. As Muslims have come to stay in India all endeavours should be made to see that both communities go together. The Mohammedan rule in India has given many things good to India. Ranade said, "Beside this source of strength, there can be no doubt that in a hundred other ways the Mohammedan domination helped to refine the tastes and manners of the Hindus. The art of Government was betterunderstood by the Mohammedans than by the old Hindu sovereigns. The arts were also singularly defective till the Mohammedans came." In the words of Babar, "The taught ingenuity and making invention in a
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number of handicraft arts, the more the nomenclature of which being made' above non-Hindu words show their foreign origin. They introduced candles, papers, glass and household furniture and saddlery. They improved the knowledge of people in music, instrumental and vocal, medicine and astronomy, and their example was followed by the Hindus in the perversions of both these science, astrology and alchemy, geography and history were first made possible departments of knowledge and literature by their example. They made roads, aquaducts, canals, caravan serais and the post offices and introduced the best specimens of architectures and improved our gardening and acquainted us with the tastes of new fruits and flowers."
Form of Government
According to Ranade only democratic constitutional type of Government was the ideal one. An institution which promoted local self-government was most healthy. These institutions should be given the power of borrowing from the public at low rate of interest. These institutions should also be given an opportunity to perform more and more functions so that these develop a sense of handling their subjects with self-confidence. A system of government which did not give opportunity to local self-government institutions to develop was in no way better than a despotic rule.
British Rule in India
According to Ranade British rule in India was a blessing. Though an evil in itself, each foreign rule had certain blessings in disguise and so was the case with the British rule in India Britishers were far more superior in culture and civilisation, in the modern sense of the term, than the Indians themselves. The people of India should try to get what is best in British way of living and thinking. In the words of D. M. Brown, "Indeed, he was convinced that the association of Britain and India was a fortunate one of both peoples and he was certain that increase in knowledge and understanding of the mutual problems of Indian and British would inevitably remove the worst sources of evils and frictions."
Philosophy of Religion
Ranade was a religious man. He believed in the kindness of God. Each man has a conscience of his own and should try to purify his heart according to the dictates of his conscience. Under the influence of Maharashtra saints Ranade believed that prayers made in right direction were bound to bear fruit, fie was born in an orthodox family and as such this influence lasted on him till his last. He believed in the philosophy of Moksha which not absolute merger in God. But only transcendence of bodily lusts. If one was to get salvation the best way out was to love mankind and fellow beings and show sympathies to the weak and downtrodden. In his own words, "When favoured souls in all times and countries are bom inspired with a prophet's vision, a poet fire, or a great preacher eloquence, a philosopher wisdom, or a martyr's self-surrender then the vision
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and the fire and the eloquence and the wisdom and the heroism are Divine, £«, special gifts of God and what these favoured men see, feel and teach and their whole life are a special sort of a higher and truer vision in the only tenable sense of the word. All other book revelations are now mere reflections, and being as a matter of course, local and temporary their value is only relative and provisional." Social Reforms
Ranade was a social reformer. From his very childhood he participated in social institutions and organisations. He sponsored many such associations. According to him, society was a complex organism and social problems could only be solved in a congenial political system. His receptive mind accepted many changes and he came to the conclusion that there should be gradual evolution in the society.
Support ofWidow Re-marriage. As a member of Widow Re-marriage Association, Ranade took up the cause of widow remarriage and said, "The advocates of re-marriage have never maintained that a woman after her husband's death should not live a life of single devotion to her deceased husband They fairly allow that such heroic, self-sacrifice to a sentiment is peculiarly meritorious. But a woman who cannot leave these species of life, a woman who is widowed when a girl, before she knew who her husband was, before she knew what her duties as wife were—surely such o woman cannot practise such a devotion."
Against Child Marriage. Ranade raised a voice against child marriage. According to him no girl should be married below the age of 18 and a boy below 25. Similarly, Ranade also raised a voice against many other social evils which had degenerated our society. According to him unless these evils are removed, society cannot progress.
3. Against Casteism. Ranade felt that in order to improve Hindu
society it was essential that the society should have contacts with the
external world and there should not be any caste arrogance. Ranade
wanted to eliminate submission to external authority and passive acquies-
cence. In 1907 at the social conference in Amravati he said, "Now what
have been the inward forms or ideas which have been hastening our decline
during the past three thousand years ? These ideas may be briefly set forth
isolation, subordination to outward force or power more than to the voice of the inward conscience, perception of fictitious differences between "•en and women due to heredity and birth, passive acquiescence in evil or wrong doing and a general indifference to secular well-being almost bordering upon fatalism. These have been the root ideas of our ancient social system."
Relationship between Social and Political Systems
According to Ranade there is very close relationship between economic, social and political systems. These go hand in hand. It was futile to expect a progressive society in the face of unhealthy laws. Laws
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were the product of society and social systems. Political institutions were-also product of social institutions. If both go along with each other one can expect harmony and good administration. In Ranade's words, "You cannot have a good social system when you find yourself low in the scale of political rigttts, nor can you be fit to exercise political rights and privileges unless your social system is based on reason and justice- You cannot have a good economical system when your social arrangements are imperfect. If your religious ideas are low and grovelling you cannot succeed in social, economic or political spheres. This inter-dependence is not an accident but is the law of nature."
Method of Social Changes
According to Ranade social changes could be brought about by various methods of which the most important is to mobile and consolidate ideas, and form a particular forum so that the masses or those interested in bringing about a social change could express their views till their purpose was achieved. Ranade founded Indian National Social Conference which aimed at stimulating and strengthening the reforms by bringing together every sphere in mutual consultation with the representatives of various associations. While discussing the objects of this conference Ranade said, "The object of social conference was to stimulate and to strengthen the fortes of reform by bringing together every sphere in mutual consultation representatives of various associations and movements which, scattered all over India were struggling with social evils— the conference brought such work to a focus and made the inspiration and example of it available for others." Ranade felt that a social reform could be brought about by adopting legislative measures, meaning thereby enacting laws which have the force of Government behind them or by rebellious methods. Each individual has a soul within it which speaks and warns him when he does some anti-social activity. It was therefore, the duty of each individual to listen to that and see that the voice of conscience which is the voice of God was honoured. Similarly legislative measures can be used only when all attempts for bringing a social change by informal methods have failed. Laws have coercive power and cannot be treated as a permanent method for bringing about a social change. Ranade was not in favour of adopting rebellious methods which meant a complete break away from the past. Being a religious man he believed in the theory of hereditary influences and wished that one should adhere to the past.
Ranade favoured the ideals of state interference for bringing about social change. In peculiar circumstances the authority of state was needed the society to get rid of some chronic social evils. First of all voluntary associations and organisations should take up this responsibility. The conscience of the people should be touched and other methods should be adopted but when all these have failed, the state should be brought in for collective social betterment.
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Ranade and Tilak
Tilak did not agree with Ranade that at any stage State should be invited to interfere in social fabic. According to him, if state is allowed to interfere in social life, people will lose their ancient culture and civilization. India preserved its glorious past simply because the then custodians of ancient culture and civilization did not allow any invader to play with established social institutions. According to Tilak, Britishers have no intention to make India ther homeland and if they are allowed to intervene in our social set up they hall definitely do more harm than good to our society.
In so far as the question of state intervention in social affairs was concerned, Ranade and Tilak were quite opposed to each other. However, both agreed on various problems of society. Both had a faith in glorious past of India. Both had deep faith in religion and religious institutions. Both did not wish to blindly import everything from the West simply because it was western and thus superior. Both wanted to reform the society through various social institutions and organisation and in their own way— Ranade through Indian National Social Conference and Tilak by organising festivals.
Ranade had the opportunity of studying the classical theory of British economists like that of Adam Smith. He came to the conclusion that it was most in appropriate in so far as Indian conditions were concerned. He studied in all its aspects the theory of laissez faire or free trade as it is in operation in European countries including England. He arrived at the conclusion that it also could not be operated in India. In so far as economic theories were concerned, he was, influenced by the ideas of August Compte and John Stuart Mill. He came to the conclusion that India's poverty was not due to one but many reasons and as such no single reason could be attributed to this poverty. One of the main reasons was that the Indians depended solely on agriculture which was not yielding to the required extent. The Britishers had adopted a policy of introducing machine goods instead of handicrafts with the result that Indian indigenous industries have completely been ruined and those engaged in them have gone out of employment. The investment in industries was very limited and Indian capital was very shy in coming to the market. Credit facilities were very limited and there was no encouragement to the creditors for coming in the market. The people of India, particularly those having adequate finances, were not ready to take bold steps and make new experiments in the field of industrialisation thereby providing employment to many. In his address to the Industrial Conference at Poona in 1890 Ranade said, "There are some people who think, that, as long as we have a heavy tribute to pay to England which takes away nearly 20 crores of our surplus exports, we are doomed and can do nothing to help ourselves. This is, however, hardly a fair or manly position to take
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up. A portion of burden represents interest on money advanced to, or invested in, our country and so far from complaining we have reason to be thankful that we have a creditor who supplies our needs at a low rate of interest. Another portion represents the value of stores supplied to us, the like of which we cannot produce here. The remainder is alleged to be more or less necessary for the purposes of administration, defence and payment of pensions and though there is good cause for complaint that it is not all necessary we should not forget the fact that we are unable by reason of this British connection to levy an equivalent tribute by China by our opium monopoly, I would not, therefore, desire you to divert and waste your energies in the fruitless discussion on this question of tribute, which had better be left to our politicians."
Therefore, Ranade came to the conclusion that if India wanted to improve her conditions, it was essential that handicrafts should be revived and indigenous industries should be encouraged. Every effort should be made to industrialise economy and capital should be brought in for investment no matter whether from Indian or from outside resources. There was no harm if Cooperative Credit Associations were set up which invited credit for industrialisation of industries. India should not be conservative in inviting foreign capital. Agriculture had been one of the main industries of India and provided meals to majority of Indian population. Hence maximum stress should be laid on agricultural economy. This could be done by way of improving the conditions of cultivators. The Government should take bold steps so that the cultivators may improve their economic pad social conditions. Most of the cultivators were in debt and as such all possible steps should be taken by the Government to relieve them from indebtedness. This could be done by providing them credit at low rate of interest. The Government should not take India as a land for taking out raw material and in turn supplying finished goods at arbitrarily fixed high prices not suited to Indian pockets thereby exploiting the natives. The Government should try to industrialise India and should also take effective steps in that direction. The policy of laissez faire or free trade could not improve the economic conditions of the people of India. This policy should be abandoned forthwith in so far as India was concerned.
As a True Patriot Ranade was clear in his mind that industrialisation was the only effective solution to end poverty. He realised that once the nation was industrialised people would get more and more employment and their living standard will rise. He argued that with industrialisation capital would gradually flow. There is no dearth of wealth in India but the people are not willing to put that money into circulation because they are not ready to take the risks involved in that. Rut once the process of industrialisation sets in everything will follow in due course. Ranade suggested that one way out for industrialisation and encouragement of Indian industry was advancement of loan by the Government at very low rates of interest. Such a step on the part of Government was bound
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to attract more finances. The Government should either in itself set finance banks or help boldly in setting up such banks which advanced loans to people at low rates and to recover it conveniently. In 1890 at Poona Industrial Conference Ranade said, "Each district might thus have a fund to develop its resources in its own way and several districts might combine together to start a strong undertaking for common advantage. If the powers of these boards are thus enlarged, there would be no risk of loss to Government and the boards might make considerable profits by use of the money and thus relieving the burden of local taxation. Of course, the Government through his officers would have a potent voice in the proper disbursement of the borrowed money and with judicious supervision the whole face of the country might be changed in the course of few years."
Ranade and Dadabhai Naoroji. Both these had an eye on the poverty of India and were very much struck by pitiable conditions of half-naked, half-nourished people of India with miserably low living standard. Both these found that there was no comparison between the living standard of the people of India and of free England. Both were bent upon solving this problem and also showed concerned about it. Both of them wanted that attention of the Government should be drawn in this direction and the Government should be forced to take adequate steps in the right direction so that the living standard of the masses in India rises. Both felt that in India there was considerable scope for improvement and this could be accomplished only with the assistance of Government. Both felt that poverty of India was due to wrong policies of the Government which were being followed in India. Both agreed that the policy of laissez faire or free trade was bound to ruin Indian economy and as such what was true and desirable for England was not practicable for India.
But while for Ranade poverty of India was mainly because India was not industrialised and there was no capital for industrialising India. For him the solution for the poverty of India was industrialisation of country and bringing forth sufficient finances both from Indian and foreign resources by which country could be industrialised. Dadabhai Naoroji developed his theory of drain by which he tried to establish that India's poverty was only because there was heavy drain on the economic resources of India which was being exercised only by the Government. Every year crores of rupees were being drained out of the India either in the form of salaries to the British officers or payment of pensions or maintenance of India Office and so on. If this drain is sealed, India's poverty will not be so alarming as it is today. Thus whereas for Ranade industrialisation was the solution to the problem for Dadabhai Naoroji checking drain on Indian economic resources was the only solution to this vexed problem. However, both realised that industrialisation and checking of drain were essential to remove poverty from India and as such it was the question to laying stress on an aspect only.