Liberalism in India is not an alien concept. However, the major focus of much of Indian philosophy has been on the life before and after the one on earth, thereby creating the concept of Karma. But many thinkers like Charvak brought in earthly enjoyments and material aspects to articulate a philosophy of living this life – The Materialistic Philosophy. Their focus on the good and virtuous life to be lived on this earth could be seen as the first stage of liberalism in India. Then came Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Bramho Samaj and others who with their thinking and actions launched a systemic attack on anti-life social practices like sati and ban on widow remarriage. Jyotiba Phule, Fatima Sheikh also led the way for girl education. The Indian Independence struggle can also be viewed as political liberal movement. After Independence when the country moved towards socialism, economic liberalism was led by Professor B R Shenoy’s, he led the challenge to planning and the loss of economic freedom. A D Shroff with the help of M R Pai started the Forum of Free Enterprise to educate the public about the vices of planning and virtues of private markets. Minoo Masani, one of the founders of the Swatantra Party (the first liberal party in India), launched Freedom First, a journal, which continues to beacon liberal principles and policies.
New liberal organisations came up in the 1990s to bolster the efforts of the earlier ones. The Association of Youth for a Better India (AYBI), Mumbai, Loksatta in Hyderabad, Liberty Institute, New Delhi, Indian Liberal Group (ILG), Mumbai, and Centre for Civil Society (CCS), New Delhi are the few organisation. But with the exception of political liberal movement during independence struggle, the social as well as economic liberalism never became associated with masses. These were confined to intellectuals, the talking and writing ones, and elites who talked about the masses with glass of wines in their hands in urban surrounding. Over a period the Liberals got disassociated with masses, and that is when leftist in universities who talked more about socialism were considered and treated as Liberals albeit wrongly.
Liberalism is a concept that is often brandished around in close door meetings over a glass of scotch but primarily remains away from the masses. Often people are unable to grasp the concepts of Liberalism. Different people have different views about Liberalism. It is something which has evolved and developed over a period of time. And this evolution has been brought in by an exchange of thoughts. With this very idea in mind, to further the exchange of thoughts and to take the concept of Liberalism out if the drawing rooms into the lap of the masses, a group was formed on Facebook……The Indian Liberals
The Indian Liberals is an concept created with the motive of bringing Liberalism to masses and focus on the primacy of the individual in all spheres of human life-political, economic, and social so that there is no conflict between pursuit of self-interest and social good. Subsequently, a Facebook page was created so that serious issue, articles, news can be highlighted and brought to the notice of people.
Now this website aims at further reaching out to more people and make it interactive. Feel free to Contact Us Here.