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Conservatism in India refers to the political philosophy which seeks to promote preservation of certain traditional values that are cherished and have developed in the subcontinent of India.


A number of political parties with conservative ideologies existed in India prior to independence. These included the Congress Nationalist Party,[1] the Punjab Unionist Party[2][failed verification] the Hindu Mahasabha and the Akali Dal.

In addition, a number of figures within the Indian National Congress, such as Sardar Vallabhai Patel were conservative.[3]

In contrast to secular parties, such as the Punjab Unionist Party, Islamic conservatism was used by the All India Muslim League to pursue their objective of a separate Islamic state.[4] (see Conservatism in Pakistan)

Post Independence

Main article: Swatantra Party

The first conservative party to espouse liberal economic ideals in India since independence was the Swatantra Party. It is a Classical Liberal party as its principles are based on individual freedom, market-based economy and limited government. It existed from 1959 to 1974. It was founded by C. Rajagopalachari in reaction to what he felt was the Jawaharlal Nehru-dominated Indian National Congress's increasingly socialist and statist outlook. Swatantra (Freedom) stood for a market-based economy with the "Licence Raj" dismantled, although it opposed laissez faire policies. The party was thus favored by some traders and industrialists, but at the state-level its leadership was dominated by the traditional privileged classes such as zamindars (feudal landlords) and erstwhile princes.[5][6]

List of current conservative parties

See also


  1. ^ Beck, Sanderson. South Asia 1800-1950.
  2. ^ Hardy (1972). The Muslims of British India. CUP Archive. ISBN 978-0-521-09783-3.
  3. ^ McLeod, John (2015). The History of India (2nd ed.). Santa Barbara, California: Greenwood. p. 139. ISBN 978-1-61069-765-1.
  4. ^ Ali, Imran (1976). "Relations between the Muslim league and the Panjab national unionist party 1935–47". South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies. 6: 51–65. doi:10.1080/00856407608730709.
  5. ^ The 21 Principles of the Swatantra Party. 1959.
  6. ^ Erdman, 1963–64