Acharya Narendra Deva also Dev or Deo (30 October 1889 – 19 February 1956) was one of the leading theorists of the Congress Socialist Party in India. His democratic socialism renounced violent means as a matter of principle and embraced the satyagraha as a revolutionary tactic.
Acharya Narendra Dev early life
His schooling took place in Faizabad and higher education in Allahabad and Banaras. He obtained his law degree from Allahabad University and practiced law for some time. He was a serious scholar of history, archeology, religion, philosophy and culture.
Narendra Dev teaching and Philosophy
As a teacher he became interested in Marxism and Buddhism. He was active in the Hindi language movement. Narendra Dev advocated the abolition of poverty and exploitation not just through the Marxist materialist dialectic but especially on moral and humanistic grounds. He insisted that "without social democracy political democracy was a sham". His own life was very austere and he used to help the poor students financially.
He emphasized that education without values was meaningless. It is the nation's duty to establish educational institutions anew and incorporate high social and spiritual values in students. If education is unable to meet the expectations of the society, then such education is polluted. We complain about lack of discipline in the students, but indiscipline is prevalent in our society itself. If teachers' have rich character then only we can build character and incorporate discipline among students.
Narendra Dev Cultural, moral and Religious view
He made a serious study of Buddhism and its philosophy. The greatest significance of Acharya Narendra Deva’s ideas is to enhance the moral values of a person with the revolutionary process of social change. His emphasis on the ethical side of social change is related to Indian view, whereas the scientific analysis of the social forces is related to the Marxist view. Acharya, like Gandhi, considered ethics as the criterion for both life and politics. We, in India are embroiled in issues of religion, caste and other conflicts. This means we have not adopted nationalism. All kind of people were involved in our struggle for freedom. The people in the lower strata of the society had expected prosperity after independence, but we have slept over the independence; we have achieved the attitude of sitting over our laurels which impedes forward movement. The meanings of freedom are either reform or deform the nation.
Human values are nurtured in a society, therefore, serving humankind leads to progress of humans. Selfless service and constructivism provide happiness to man. If we do not understand the necessity of our time and do not work to bring unity in our social life, then struggle among caste and creed will become the order of the day. After the Mughals, the question of Sikhs, Hindus, Brahmins, Non-Brahmins arise. Communalism is the path to death and not a path to life. At present we have pettiness. We have not yet adopted the Grand India. We should also have knowledge about other civilizations of the world. A false sense of pride in our own culture is harmful. We do not understand our ancient civilization - whose soul lives in the Upanishad and in the saying of saints, who preached liberal religion and paved the path of salvation of the down-trodden. We do not recognize this liberal religion today. We should articulate on this and move ahead. We should also view our culture in the light of western civilization and create new history.
Narendra Dev Political activities
Dev was first drawn to nationalism around 1915 under the influence of B G Tilak and Aurobindo Ghosh. He was a key leader of the Congress Socialist Party from its founding in 1934 and was imprisoned several times during the freedom struggle. Dev was active in the peasant movement and served as president of the All-India Kisan Congress. He remained associated with the Socialist Party and its successor, the Praja Socialist Party, until his death in 1956. During World War II and Quit India Movement, he remained in jail from 1940 to 1945.
The role and reputation of Acharya in Indian politics was of a political philosopher at the national level. He was not a stereotypical or orthodox communist. This is to say that in the name of the proletariat, a dictatorial attitude of a person or a group within the communist party was unacceptable to his democratic mind. He favored the connection between the agricultural revolution and the socialist revolution. We are not used to democracy, therefore there is a need to inculcate democratic values in our society which believes in caste, creed etc. Values like development, right to social justice etc. needs to be nurtured.