The University Grants Commission has asked universities and colleges to conduct lectures on topics such as the “ideal king” in Indian philosophy, khap panchayats and their “democratic traditions” to celebrate Constitution Day on November 26, The Hindu reported on Thursday.

The statutory body has provided 15 themes on which universities can hold lectures. It said that such lectures and activities would highlight how India has been a democratic country since Vedic times.

M Jagadesh Kumar, the chairperson of the commission, has written to governors to urge the universities to conduct these lectures under the umbrella theme of “India: The Mother of Democracy.”

The themes are based on a book brought out by the Indian Council of Historical Research on India: the Mother of Democracy. The book promotes the idea that India has been a democratic nation as opposed to historical data, which suggests that the country was under monarchy or the colonial rule.

The book also adds that ancient India was unique because there was no autocracy or aristocracy as there was no concentration of the prestige of birth, the influence of wealth and political office, and “Bharatiya” governance was different from ancient Rome and Greece, reported The Hindu.

“Democratic systems in Bharat have evolved over the ages since Vedic times, recent archaeological excavation at Rakhigarhi and Sanauli reveals that the roots of people’s self-governance date back to at least 5000 BCE,” Kumar said in his letter, reported Deccan Herald.

It added,Whether the existence of two kinds of states – Janapada and Rajya or the two assemblies called Sabha and Samiti forming essential features of the government – all indicate that the ancient form of governance in India was democratic, contrary to the general belief that it was monarchical.”

He added that there is more evidence in the form of archaeological, literary, numismatic, and epigraphical sources as well as the bhakti movement to emphasise the democratic traditions of Bharat.