Ideology can either be explained as a set of beliefs, concepts and axioms which provide a framework for the interpretation of man’s place in the society, the world and the universe or a set of practices intended to maintain the continuance of a society through phases of social and cultural changes. A particular epoch has its dominant ideology created and maintained by the dominant class in power and may subserve the ends of that particular power structure and men in power. In Upanishadic age knowledge was equated with power and ideology emerged as a result of an educational system which maintained its autonomy and was less often interrupted by the power structure. As such Upanishadic ideology had its independence and autonomy protected against political intervention. In contemporary civilisation educational systems still play a very vital role in the continuation of ideological practices that help maintain a social system being controlled by the political power structures. So the creation and continuation of an ideology is determined by the political infrastructure which serves as the base and the foundation. A change in political infrastructure leads to a change in ideology since education is often controlled by the state even when it seems to be an enterprise of the private sector. So ideology in the contemporary civilisation is a superstructure to the political base and therefore, has a clear character. Mainly it interpolates individuals as subjects to the state, and the state forges all ideological apparatus.
Contemporary civilisation is a battleground for diverse ideologies because political structure differs from state to state. Instead of subserving certain humanitarian ends, ideology is being harnessed for the benefit of the class holding power and exercising it. Education has lost its freedom and its autonomy is threatened, whenever education becomes a site for the creation of rival ideologies that may not be a good sign for the maintenance of the status quo of a political group. In such educational systems, the individual is subordinated to the political hegemony of the group as subjects. He is no longer considered as an end in himself. So present day educational ideologies are not appropriately tuned to the demand of the individual and preserve his dignity. Even liberal education of the British and American type is not free from political intervention or the interference of the people who invest in education. The economic infrastructure determines educational ideology and controls the systems. There is need of autonomy for the educational system if at all it is to subserve the purpose of the individuals being indoctrinated within the system.
Upanishadic ideology illustrates the boundless freedom of an educational system that enjoyed complete autonomy. The teachers set down the curriculum and their freedom of thought was guaranteed by their economic independence. In an age of monarchy they could maintain the autonomy of their system because they did not depend on state aid. This ideal autonomy cannot be maintained in the modern age since education as an institution demands huge investment.