Sunday 19 February 2017

Origin and Development of Political Science

Origin and Development of Political Science
Some reputed scholars dealt with the premises of political science long before the pristine period of Greek Civilization. Greek thinkers, however, made a substantial contribution in the development of this subject on scientific basis. Socrates, an eminent Greek philosopher, discussed issues of politics in philosophic manner. Plato, a disciple of Socrates, in his book “Republic” developed political precepts comprehensively and laid the foundations of a peculiar mode of thinking in politics. But the science of politics could not attain the status of an independent science in the writings of both the philosophers. The major cause was the unique lifestyle that flourished in the contemporary Greek Civilization.

    Origin Of Political Science

    Greek city states were not merely political entities, rather all symbolized a complete way of life. In other words, the state was regarded as a socio-cultural and religious institution as welt. This pattern of life found its full manifestation in ancient Greek thought in which all sciences that dealt with different aspects of social existence, were inter-mingled. Consequently, the science of politics in
    Platonic thought, was developed as a part of metaphysics.

     Aristotle discussed at length, various aspects of politics and, no doubt, made a substantial contribution in the development of this discipline as an independent and full-fledged science. Most of the later political theorists remained under the strong influence of either of these two philosophers. It is worth noting that the Greek thinkers did not clearly recognize any difference between state and government, state and society, mainly due to the impact of their contemporary political environment. The science of politics, therefore, remained confined primarily to a discussion on the civic life only. Expansion in the territoriality of the boundaries of city state later, paved the way for the advent of concrete and comprehensive concept of state and government and its science gradually assumed the status of a developed science.

    Development in Modem Period

    Political science, however, remained inseparable from philosophy till nineteenth century. Most of its premises and branches later became the concern of history and law, when both these subjects got separated and emerged as independent sciences. With the emergence of a powerful state apparatus in the modem period, the science of state and government grew in importance. Scientific methods of enquiry and research were developed in this discipline by academicians and researchers. The impact of politics on the individual and social life was widely appraised, making its science a popular subject in academic life.

    At present, political science has been established as a full-fledged and integrated science, having its own objects, research methodology and clear dimensions. The researchers and scholars of political science have made full utilization of the advancements made in the allied sciences and developed its new dimensions distinct, of course, from the conventional lines. Projecting a liberal outlook and a flexible attitude, the new science of politics has withdrawn its claim to certain conventional sub-divisions in favor of other disciplines, and opted a dynamic approach, especially with the help of sociological and psychological methods. The researchers of political science have now become more scientific in their approach and methods of study.

    Islamic Legacy

    Certain Muslim theorists discussed different aspects of Islamic polity in a systematic manner. It is, however, imperative to keep into consideration, while appraising their precepts, their contemporary environments, along with the impact of Islamic legacy on the pattern of political culture. Some Muslim thinkers, of course, used philosophic method under the influence of Greek philosophy; they did not, however, discarded Islamic tradition in their intellectual pursuits.

    Muslim Theorist’s approach to political issues generally remained distinct from the Greek tradition. Some of the reputed scholars, having deep imprints on the Muslim political thought, are: Imam lbn Tamya, lbn Qayam, al-Mawardi, lbn Khaldun, al-Ghazali, Nizam-ul-Mulk Tusk Kurd All, Rashid Rida, Muhammad Abduh, Jamal ud Din Afghan Hassan a! Bana, Allama Muhammad Iqbal, Abu! Ala Maudoodi, Dr. A/i Shariat Syed Qutb, Imam Khomeini.

    Islam, being a complete code of life, has given fundamental principles in the light of which every generation can develop a framework for the conduct of political processes of life. Thus a science of politics, dealing with Muslim societies, can be developed having full potentialities to meet the needs of a modem democratic age; while remaining strictly adhered to the basic tenets of Islam. It is, however, essential to maintain a suitable balance between modernism and traditionalism in all such intellectual endeavors. It is the duty of the Muslim scholars to develop a science of politics on distinct lines, characterized with its own methodology, direction and peculiar objectives.  Moderation and modesty in intellectual pursuits, require a blend of empiricism, pragmatism and traditionalism.

    Keeping in view the aforesaid objectives, every effort is made in the present work to discuss different political concepts with reference to Islamic teachings as well. Contemporary democratic norms, values, structures and processes of politics, are mainly the products of modern civilization which is basically Western-oriented. Most of the present political values have been developed under the strong influence of Western Liberalism, as the Muslim World for the last two centuries remained under the hegemony of Western imperialism, making its life stagnant. it would, therefore, be unrealistic and inappropriate to undermine the importance of the Western concepts and political institutions.

    Hence the nature of modern polity, the sphere of its activity, its structure and processes and political dynamics, can be well apprehended with reference to the viewpoint of Western scholars. It will be advisable for Muslim scholars to utilize the advancements made in the field of social sciences and develop a science of politics that can suit to their genesis and help in the realization of ideological goals.

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