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STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY

A Textbook for Class XII
(Semester III)

Author Amit Kumar Sharma Editor Swapan Kumar Bhattacharyya

First Edition February 2003 Phalgun

ISBN 81-7450-183-5

1924

Reprinted February 2003 Magha 1926 PD 75T SPA
© National Council of Educational Research and Training, 2003
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The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has been preparing and publishing school textbooks and other educational material for children and teachers. These publications are regularly revised on the basis of feedback from students, teachers, parents, and teacher educators. Research done by the NCERT also forms the basis for updating and revision. This book is based on the National Curriculum Framework for School Education – 2000 and the syllabi prepared in accordance with it. The Executive Committee of the NCERT, in its meeting held on 19 July 2004, discussed all aspects related to the quality of textbooks and decided that the textbooks of all subjects should undergo a quick review. In pursuance of this decision, the NCERT constituted 23 Quick Review Committees to examine all the textbooks. These committees identified various errors of conceptual, factual and linguistic nature. The review process also took note of the evaluation of textbooks undertaken earlier. The exercise has now been completed and the errors identified have been corrected. We hope that this revised edition will serve as an effective medium of teaching and learning. We look forward to your suggestions to enable us to further improve the quality of this book.

New Delhi January 2005

SECRETARY National Council of Educational Research and Training

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS .

as the case may be. . (d) to defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so. to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women. rivers. linguistic and regional or sectional diversities. the National Flag and the National Anthem. unity and integrity of India. humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform.CONSTITUTION OF INDIA Part IV A (Article 51 A) Fundamental Duties Fundamental Duties – It shall be the duty of every citizen of India — (a) to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions. (f) to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture. ward between the age of six and fourteen years. (b) to cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom. (k) who is a parent or guardian. to provide opportunities for education to his child or. (h) to develop the scientific temper. (j) to strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity so that the nation constantly rises to higher levels of endeavour and achievement. (g) to protect and improve the natural environment including forests. (i) to safeguard public property and to abjure violence. wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures. lakes. (e) to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious. (c) to uphold and protect the sovereignty.

CONTENTS PUBLISHER’S NOTE 1. Unity in Diversity Social Demography Rural-Urban Divides and Linkages Caste. Class and Tribe in India Marriage. 6. 4. Deprived Groups 11. Approaches to the Study of Indian Society . 8. 7. 5. 2. 9. 3. Family and Kinship in India Religion in India Education in India Culture in India Politics in India iii 1 13 24 35 46 70 86 96 107 119 134 10.

Cultural and Educational Rights • for protection of interests of minorities to conserve their language. script and culture. Right to Constitutional Remedies • by issuance of directions or orders or writs by the Supreme Court and High Courts for enforcement of these Fundamental Rights. race. Right against Exploitation • for prohibition of traffic in human beings and forced labour.CONSTITUTION OF INDIA Part III (Articles 12 – 35) (Subject to certain conditions. • of protection against arrest and detention in certain cases. • freedom to manage religious affairs. • of certain protections in respect of conviction for offences. practice and propagation of religion. • for minorities to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice. • for prohibition of employment of children in hazardous jobs. assembly. • of opportunity in public employment. some exceptions and reasonable restrictions) guarantees these Fundamental Rights Right to Equality • before law and equal protection of laws. • irrespective of religion. Right to Freedom • of expression. . caste. movement. sex or place of birth. • of free and compulsory education for children between the age of six and fourteen years. association. • by abolition of untouchability and titles. Right to Freedom of Religion • freedom of conscience and free profession. • freedom as to payment of taxes for promotion of any particular religion. • freedom as to attendance at religious instruction or religious worship in educational institutions wholly maintained by the State. residence and profession. • of protection of life and personal liberty.

Indian unity is the product of certain historical factors that are present in various fields of Indian social life. the underlying unity is remarkable. Pakistan. the primary basis of unity belongs to a nation. In terms of social institutions like the family. in fact. the acceptance of cultural pluralism does not detract us from the idea of promoting economic. The underlying cultural unity was strengthened further with the administrative unity brought about during the British rule and with the construction of India as a modern independent nation after the independence. Nevertheless. However. has been civilisational. but this South Asian civilisation is divided today into many nations like India. and Kutchh in the west to Arunachal in the east are woven together into a beautiful tapestry. language and customs of this vast country. There are very few countries which have such an enormous cultural diversity that India has to offer. According to many Indian sociologists. From north to south. Indian society has acquired a culture characterised by stable patterns of pluralism. caste and lifestyles . This overworked cliché has become a part of India’s self-identity. going back to ancient times and continuing to the present day. there has been an underlying continuity in identity. however. It appears as if the inhabitants from the Himalayas in the north to Kanyakumari in the south. Sri Lanka and Nepal. at the civilisational level there is unity in South Asia. The idea of unity is traced back by scholars to ancient times. Beneath the bewildering diversity of religion. people from diverse backgrounds have mixed and cultures have intermingled over centuries. unity in India and the whole of South Asia. Bangladesh. Thus. Thus. political and social integration. European Sociology conceptualises unity in a society in terms of linguistic nationality or in terms of political sovereignty.CHAPTER 1 Unity in Diversity Introduction One feature that is most often noticed about India is its unity in diversity. India is a country of subcontinental proportions. The enduring nature of Indian unity has always been fascinating. In the process of its evolution. east to west.

Geographical and Demographic Factors The first striking feature about India is its diversity because of India’s geographical environment and numerous population. Sociologists have identified the role of traders. fairs and festivals provide yet another link for cultural unity. for example potters. musicians. the social structure and economy forged linkages of reciprocity and interaction between regions. Indian civilisation gave enough freedom for the practice of any way of life although different customary ways were ranked in a hierarchy. India is clearly marked out to be a geographical entity. Shut off from the rest of Asia by the inaccessible barriers of the mighty Himalayas and with the seas and the ocean on all other sides. However. groups and cultural traditions.2 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY there is a fundamental unity in the different societies and nations of South Asia. but nature has generously placed within her . The institutions of pilgrimage. dancers in traditional India. Accommodation is a social process by which different elements of a society are integrated without losing their separate identity. THE FACTORS OF UNITY IN DIVERSITY We can discuss the following five factors of unity in diversity of India: 1. height and figure. This created inequality and integration as well . Not only are her territories thus sharply demarcated from the rest of the world. storytellers. Accommodation without assimilation has been the characteristic of Indian civilisation. It is nearly fourteen times as large as Great Britain and over ten times the size of the entire British Isles. the tropical and the polar climates are found in India. The temperate. skin colour. In addition to these agencies. crafts-people and artists. additions of new components have not meant the discarding of old ones. It is difficult to imagine the vast territory that stretches from north to south and east to west as one continuous territory. Order and stability was maintained not primarily by the state but through social. there is a diversity in appearance. In Indian history and culture. Assimilation on the other hand is a type of integration where the earlier identity of the elements is dissolved. The accommodation of diversity has been the underlying ideology and numerous social and cultural factors have contributed to the enduring nature of Indian unity. An important source of unity in traditional India was rooted in the processes of cultural communication and interaction. moral and technological values and institutions of Indian civilisation. The temperature varies from extreme heat to extreme cold. geography seems to have played an important role in engendering Indian unity and the sense of Indianness. eye colour. cultural. In terms of physical features of the population. in building common cultural traditions.

Attempts either to divide the country or to expand it beyond its natural frontiers have mostly failed. Religious Factors India is a multi-religious country. which in India we refer to as communal harmony. Within a homogeneous society. The Christians (about 2. Islam. the Zoroastrians or Parsis and the Animists (about 0. the multitude of monuments associated with different religious communities which have adorned the land influence the geographical consciousness of a large number of people. however.40 per cent) and others the Jews. Caste or caste like status groups are found in Hinduism.94 per cent). religion plays a highly integrative role but by the same token in a multi-religious society religion can become an issue of contention and lead to conflicts. There are two major aspects to any religion. The Muslims constitute the second largest religious group (about 12.UNITY IN DIVERSITY 3 boundaries all resources that human beings need for developing a rich and creative life. The primacy of agricultural economy led to the development of common characteristics and a common outlook. Christianity and Sikhism. The great variety in landscape. the Buddhists (about 0. The visit to holy places as an imperative religious duty has made travelling a habit for Indians. about 82 per cent.76 per cent). the vast spaces offered room for slow infiltration by newcomers and allowed each locality unhampered scope of development along its own lines.44 per cent) may not be numerically big. The geographical unity of India is easily missed in her vastness and variety. . The geographical unity of the country has had its effects on the economic life of the people. but their contribution to India is as significant as the other bigger groups. In recent years. harmony between religious groups. The vastness of the land influenced the mind of Indians in two ways. The fact that India has continually developed and maintained an agricultural economy for almost four or five thousand years explains in part the depth and tenacity of her culture and traditions. 2. A permanent and characteristically Indian expression of unity is found in the network of shrines and sacred places spread throughout the country.12 per cent). The Hindus constitute the majority of Indian population. There are seven major religious groups in India according to 1991 census. different religious groups have lived in India in more or less peaceful coexistence. Religion is both a factor of unity and diversity in Indian society. the Sikhs (about 1. has been under strain.34 per cent). Traditionally. Indian geography has facilitated unity and continuity of her history as a country. climate and conditions of life prepared in the mind a readiness to accept differences. Besides. the Jains (about 0. the spiritual and the temporal. Similarly. The size of the country and quality of the land permitted gradual increase in population and expansion of cultivation. Thus. All religious groups are differentiated internally.

which breeds hatred and violence against other religions. a Muslim pilgrimage place. Some religious festivals like Diwali. at least in a limited way. different religious groups differ from each other. In every religion an emphasis is placed on the moral conduct and transcendence of the selfish ego. some religious festivals are celebrated. however. Cultural Factors The story of Indian culture is one of continuity. At the temporal level. Hindus took purdah from Muslims. Kabir. Religion. ritualistic and cultural. the temporal aspect of religion is always related with the group identity and solidarity is maintained by religious rituals and community’s beliefs.4 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY The spiritual aspect of religion is quite similar in all religions. . Ujjain. Tirupati and Ajmer Sharif are some such religious centres. Poets and religious teachers — Ramanand and Kabir — tried to combine the best and condemn the worst in Hinduism and Islam alike. Even after partition the communal problem raised its head from time to time. synthesis and enrichment. Vaishno Devi. Christmas and Id-ul-fitr are also celebrated at many places by different religious communities. which drew on the courtly traditions of Rajasthan and Persia. Bodhgaya. by many religious communities. in love and in food. It is a product of ignorance as well as deliberate mischief by vested interests to gain political power and economic benefits by exploiting religious sentiments of the faithful people and dividing them along communal lines. Fundamentalism is an attitude of some religious people who emphasise the letter of religious dogmas over the underlying spirit. Similarly. In the same way. In India. Amritsar. At the courts of Oudh and Hyderabad there grew aesthetic standards in painting. Persian Sufism took a new shade of colour in India. is the result of fundamentalism. In the field of bhakti and devotion the Hindu Saints and Muslim Sufis had many similarities and commonalities. a large number of Hindus also visit Ajmer Sharif. the economy of these religious centres often involves shopkeepers and service providers from other religions. While this aspect of religion is a matter of personal devotion. Also. Places like Varanasi. For instance. primarily on religious and communal lines. Akbar. Dushehera and Holi have two aspects. is also a factor of diversity and animosity. there has not been only a great degree of religious tolerance among the different religious communities. The ritualistic aspect is restricted to Hindus but the cultural aspect is more or less celebrated by all the communities. The country was partitioned into India and Pakistan. but some religious places have acquired a character and popularity that goes beyond a single religious community. 3. Muslims borrowed caste from Hindus. Mathura. in poetry. Dara Shikoh and Mahatma Gandhi have been instrumental in developing common ethos among the different religious communities in India. Communalism.

which was demographically and otherwise dominant seek to eliminate the beliefs and practices. Samudragupta and Harshvardhana had put this idea into practice. Although Islam was the politically dominant religion in large parts of the country for several centuries it did not absorb Hinduism. In a sense. The role played by Indian religion. It was with this purpose that the kings of ancient India proclaimed the idea of ‘Chakravarti’. Many sociologists have recorded in detail the immense variety in the habits. sub-castes. India has never been a well-organised political unit under the government of a single state. The distribution of material traits such as dress.UNITY IN DIVERSITY 5 Culture is also a source of unity as well as diversity like religion. are typically Indian. endless variety of races. The socio-political contributions of some Muslim rulers such as Akbar and Jehangir were also highly commendable. 4. Akbar’s Din-e-elahi and Jehangir’s emphasis on justice deserve special mention in this regard. clans. Ashoka. Over the time Indian society has come to be divided into innumerable tribes. characteristic of other religions. Likewise. habitation. Inspite of their distinctiveness the coexistence of cultures is celebrated. philosophy. Political Factors It is generally believed that India’s continuity as a civilisation was social and cultural rather than political. castes. Nor did Hinduism. leaving much diversity intact. Kings like Chandragupta Maurya. The celebration of festivals is observed all over India in much the same manner. which are found throughout the length and breadth of the country. Muslims and Christians alike. Order and stability were maintained not by means of the state but through culture and society. Even . Social institutions like the caste system and the joint family. The vastness of the country’s extreme diversity of physical features. similarities in art and culture engraved on the temple and palace walls all over India have generated the feeling of oneness. arts and crafts. sects and communities each of which seek to maintain their own style of life and code of conduct. creeds and languages and dialects have made it difficult to establish an allIndian empire. practices and customs of the people in different geographical regions. endless variety of food and their preparation. Various beliefs and practices are pursued and maintained by Hindus. the idea of bringing the whole country under one central authority has always been on the minds of great kings and statesmen of India. However. This also accounts for the fact that political unity is not the normal characteristic of ancient and medieval Indian history. or disturb the Hindu social structure. makes India a living example of regional diversity. Powerful kingdoms and empires such as the Mauryas and the Guptas did not aggressively intervene in social and cultural matters. art and literature in bringing about unity is conspicuous. castes.

Pahari. politics is both a factor of unity and diversity. Eighteen languages are recognised by Indian Constitution. Arabic and Persian played the role of official and court languages replacing Sanskrit and Pali. Malwi and several other dialects. After independence. Magadhi. foreign policy and certain economic matters within the whole of India. prosperous elite and the masses who speak the Indian vernacular languages or dialects is quite pronounced. Bundeli. Therefore. They have different script but many similarities. During the medieval period Persian. In the post independence period. The British tried to establish political unification under a paramount power with regard to the defence. Telugu. large and small but separate and independent as autonomous entities. Linguistic Factors India is a multilingual country. After the independence India was united politically and administratively but it was already divided between India and Pakistan. Brij. and their dialects. The importance given to English in Independent India has also had an impact on Indian languages and literature. however. All major languages have regional and dialectical variations. as well as on social structure and divisions in Indian society. Hindi has Awadhi. etc. The situation is further complicated since 179 languages and 544 dialects are recognised in India. which was split up into about 600 states. These languages and dialects are divided into three linguistic families — Indo-Aryan. English has also remained the language of higher education and research in India after 1835. Indo-Aryan family of languages includes Sanskrit and other North Indian languages such as Hindi. Urdu. Arabic and Urdu became popular languages. Such attempts. Hindi was made the national language but English remained the language of the central government and of the courts. . Bengali. English replaced Urdu as the official and court language. Oriya. The Mundari group of languages and dialects are found among the tribal communities of India. external relations. Marathi. Gujarati. Kannada and Malaylam. Urdu developed in India with Hindi around the same period as Hindustani language.6 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY British India was a part of India and did not comprehend the whole of it. Punjabi. The Dravidian family of languages includes Tamil. Language is another source of cultural diversity as well as unity. The social and economic distinction between an English speaking. 5. After the independence the unity of India is expressed in the institution of the nation. It is the product of the freedom movement as well as the constitutional legacy of the British rule. Bhojpuri. It contributes to collective identities and even to conflicts. There is political and administrative unity today but there are different political parties and diverse political ideologies. for example. Dravidian and Mundari. were not uncommon in earlier periods.

and 3. Linguistic separatism has a strong emotional appeal. nor linguistic antagonism flows naturally out of linguistic diversities. Earlier. status and glamour as well. In 1965. There is unity also at the level of grammatical structures. The spirit of accommodation. Sanskrit has deeply influenced most languages of India with its vocabulary. The elements of all-India structure include the following: (1) India is characterised by numerous local level traditions or folk traditions as well as what could be deemed as the greater classical tradition.UNITY IN DIVERSITY 7 Linguistic diversity has posed administrative and political problems. The major regional languages are used in their own provinces and recognised as other “national” languages through their incorporation into the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution. These political mobilisations and antagonisms are the product of modern historical circumstances. this transition period was supposed to last for fifteen years. The status of minority languages within reorganised states. a series of inter -linkages and much commonality between different regions of India. After much deliberations. fundamental unity is found in the ideas and themes expressed in these languages. Arabic and English words too have become part of the Indian languages and dialects today. But language too has an underlying role in the unity in diversity of Indian culture. The official languages issue. Language is also a factor of diversity and separatism. it is important to note that neither political mobilisation. Political mobilisations and conflicts have arisen between different linguistic groups. English was given the status of an “associate additional official language” of the union and of inter -provincial communication. The latter would be more widely spread over the country but also confined to certain dominant sections of society. which united different ethnic groups into one social system. Hindi was made the official language of India but English was retained at least for a transition period. Dravidian languages also have a number of Sanskrit words today. Elements of Unity in Traditional India Due to cultural and economic interaction and geographical mobility there has emerged an all-India style. Persian. The demands for the linguistic reorganisation of the provinces of India whose boundaries during the British rule did not conform to linguistic division. Although there is bewildering diversity in the languages and dialects of India. However. 2. also expresses itself in the literatures of India. . Hindi is the official language of the country but the “associate additional official language” English has retained its power. After independence linguistic problems of India were centred around three issues: 1.

shastric schools of learning. Common to each linguistic region are specific agriculture castes which form the core of rural communities. Most Indians believe in the ideas of heaven and hell and cherish the idea of moksha . class and other social taboos were almost absent at pilgrimage centres during several cultural occasions. Cultural identity is maintained by a common metaphysical base. crafts persons and castes such as brahmans and kayasthas . except in Kerala and Bengal. death and marriage. and akharas of devotional sects. peethas. Elements of Unity during the Medieval India In the middle ages when the world witnessed the most intensely fought religious wars in Europe and the Middle East. These were involved in a jajman – service provider relation-ship. Rameshwaram. along with their complementary artisan and service castes. Traditional personal laws and social customs of the Hindus were applicable in different regions. This concept of moksha or nirvana is linked with the perception of the one ultimate Brahma. rinas (obligations). India stood out as a country where many religions . such as the idea of ethical compensation (Karmphal) and the idea of transcendence. Samskara (sacraments) at birth. Pilgrimage centres have also led to a type of unity at the all India level. The dayabhaga system of inheritance was popular in Bengal whereas the mitakshara prevailed over the rest of the country. People from different regions were able to interact at the pilgrim centres with each other leading to the establishment of cultural bonds. castes of banias ( traders ). Dwarka. salvation or nirvana liberation from the cycle of life and death. Haridwar. Gaya. There were also ‘schools’ of medicine. are found in all regions. In the urban areas there were predominantly. Cosmopolitan recruitment also took place due to traditional cultural institutions such as gharanas of music and dancing.8 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY (2) (3) (4) (5) The Sanskrit — Brahmi at one end and Persian script at another for Indian and other subcontinental languages and literature. Variants of all India epics and mythology. vrata (the ritual to earn merit) and prayaschita (penance or expiation). Examples are purusharth (achievement ideals). dana (sharing). Barriers of caste. similarly Amritsar and Ajmer Sharif also become pilgrimage (6) (7) (8) (9) centre during medieval period. which emphasise certain values and goals. Trans-sectarian pilgrim sites include Kashi. In the institutions of administration and defence both social and spatial mobility existed. Badrinath.

Now. while Hindu philosophy seems to have strengthened the mystical spiritual strain in Muslim religious thought. For example. Both languages have common roots. the general pattern of Buddhist viharas or of the rathas of Mahablipuram. In music and arts.UNITY IN DIVERSITY 9 co-existed in relative social harmony. Radha and the gopis have provided the staple theme for many of the compositions sung by Hindu and Muslim masters alike. in spite of its Muslim arches and domes. Elements of Unity in the Modern India During the colonial rule different factors led to significant changes in the structure of Indian society. the Hindus and the Muslims had come together. In the same way. The freedom movement (1857-1947) created new sources of unity in Indian society. common vocabulary but these are written in different scripts — Devanagari and Persian respectively. The traditional framework of unity in Indian civilisation came under tremendous stress. Akbar founded an academy of painting at his court where Indian and Persian artists worked together. In Jehangir’s time the Hindu influence seems to have had increased. In architecture the process of blending Hindu and Muslim elements was perfected during the medieval period. North Indian (Hindustani) music was nurtured at the king’s courts and in the Hindu temples. During the rule of Akbar. Islam seems to have strengthened the de-ritualising and egalitarian trends in Medieval Hinduism. The Mughal architecture acquired new qualities which neither the Persian nor the old Indian styles had ever possessed. Hindus sang at the Muslim courts and Muslims have sung bhajans at Hindu temples. The tomb of Akbar at Sikandra shows. the mystic and devotional aspect of Islam was strengthened in the philosophical milieu of Hinduism. Nanak and Dara Shikoh played a significant role in the spread of mutual understanding among the Hindu and the Muslim masses. a synthesis of the Turko-Persian conceptions with Indian style was attempted. Kabir. Ramanand. nationalism replaced . Modern education introduced by the colonial rulers initiated a process of cultural westernisation. music and the arts was developed during the medieval period. Hindi and Urdu are the product of this unified Hindustani culture of medieval India. Krishna. The role of the ruler like Akbar was also very important in this context. Painting also developed a new style during this period through the blending of the Turko-Iranian with the old Indian style. the Bhakti movement initiated by the Nayanar Saints of South India found strength in the context of Islam and Muslim dominance in North India. and during his time Mughal painting reached its zenith. A unified culture in language. Jehangir was not only a patron of art but was himself an artist. Jain influence is found on the mosque of Fathehpur Sikri and Mount Abu.

The constitution built on the pre. print media. way of life and language. urbanisation and other economic factors have led to the creation of the capitalist and the middle classes and have also created mobility of labour and services throughout the country. earthquakes. the experience of freedom movement is still the foundation of Indian unity in modern India. (3) The Government of India is formally headed by the President who rules on the advice of a council of ministers headed by the Prime Minister.existing unity of India has strengthened it still further by emphasising the values of equality. It works as the custodian of the Indian Constitution. (5) The bureaucracy. After the independence the nation and its different organs have become the pillars of unity in India. culturally or socially. as also during national calamities like floods. The military services deserve special mention in view of the wars. post offices. scientists. gives rise to ethnicity and ethnic groups. Modern means of communication. The judiciary is an autonomous body at the local. fraternity. maintaining law and order and in carrying out various development projects and schemes of the government. the network of railways. the police and other educated professionals such as engineers. In contemporary India the pillars of unity include the following: (1) The Indian Constitution is the most fundamental source of unity in India today.10 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY religion and culture as the cementing force within Indian society. custom. doctors. regional and central levels. civil aviation. economically. cyclones etc. A caste group. Ethnic conflicts and ethnic self-consciousness result invariably from perceived or real experiences of domination or subordination of one group by another either politically. telephones. tribe. Industrialisation. religious or cultural . Representatives are elected by the people and every adult citizen (above 18 years) of India has a right to vote. etc. Despite the partition in 1947. radio and television have played important roles in maintaining and strengthening the national ethos and creating a “we” feeling among Indians. (4) The Judiciary is the legal guardian of Indian people. Indians believe in the basic framework of the Constitution. (2) Indian Parliament is the national legislative organ of the Indian nation. linguistic. secularism and justice. telegraph. Problems of Nation–Building and National Integration The formation of consciousness of identity in terms of culture. academics and journalists have (6) (7) played an important role in governing the country. This represents the people’s will in general. insurgency and the interborder tensions experienced during the last few decades. surface transport.

usually because of living near them for a long time. An increase in the size of a society as a result of the addition of a new outside group. scheduled castes. economic and political development based on principles of civic culture and judicial. unemployment and underemployment. and (b) a broad national policy of social.. customs.UNITY IN DIVERSITY 11 group may also act as an ethnic group in its competitive quest for access to resources.The process whereby one group of people becomes more like another group of people — without loosing their own identity — in behaviour. scheduled tribes and other backward classes in the Indian Constitution itself. But whether the media encourages a critical or passive attitude generally? GLOSSARY ACCRETION. There was also a demand for linguistic reorganisation of regional states. The Constitution offers two types of policies for nation building in India. overpopulation and regional imbalances in development. etc. type. globalisation is opening up new opportunities for the educated and the well-off who have the education. the North-East. Gorkhaland. we have list of channels focussing on religious themes and on the other hand. skills and financial resources to compete in the national and global marketplace. economic polarisation. administrative and institutional modernisation. a large number of rural and urban youth and families continue to languish in poverty. composition etc. Punjab and other places. (a) positive discrimination in favour of the traditionally deprived and exploited sections of society. The issue is not just of west ern or non -western sources of culture. ACCULTURATION. The biggest challenge to effective nation-building and national integration comes from containing poverty. we have western serials dubbed in Indian languages. . Attempts were made to reconcile some of the ethnic demands of minority religious groups. ethnic assertions in Kashmir. The impact at the cultural level is diverse. A large part of ethnic demands can be resolved following a strategy of constructive reconciliation. Variety in kind. DIVERSITY. On the one hand. form. On the one hand. There have been the Dravidian movement. On the other hand. There were and there are many ethnic demands in post-independence India.

Har -Anand Publications. PILGRIMAGE. etc. cultural and religious groups. 1993. 1946. Gore. 4. Jaipur. PLURALISM. Imtiaz. S.. The social process by which different units of a society are integrated viz. Pluralism and Equality : Values in Indian Society and Politics.. Kabir. New Delhi. M. Humayun. Yogendra. Sharma. C. 2. 6. 2000. language. undertaken in order to gain a greater sense of closeness to the religion. 3. To bring different elements within a society to form a single unit or whole. 5. Sage Publication. K. The existence within a society of a variety of ethnic. New Delhi. 3. culture. P. etc. Ahmad.. Simla. S. Understanding Indian Civilisation : A Framework of Enquiry. How is language a source of unity? Discuss the elements of unity in traditional India. forming a state or inhabiting a territory. T. Mumbai. H. Social Change in India. What are the policy measures taken by the Government of India to promote national integration? SUGGESTED READINGS 1. history.. A journey to a shrine or other holy places. Singh. S. Explain the religious factors of unity. New Delhi. Ghosh. . 4. Discuss the elements of unity in modern India. and Reifeld. EXERCISES 1. ed. 2.. brought together to form a whole. or to a place celebrated or made special by its associations. 6.. and Oommen. Unity in Diversity : The Indian Experience in Nation-Building. ed. UNITY. Our Heritage. S. National Information and Publications Ltd. 1975. A community of people of mainly common descent. Rawat Publication. 5.12 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY INTEGRATION . 2000. 2002.. NATION. Orient Longman. Nation and National Identity in South Asia. Explain the geographical factors of unity in India. Malik. L. Indian Institute of Advanced Study.

such as social. On the above lines. marriage. Population studies is commonly taken to mean a study of population variables. Thus. migration. Etymologically speaking. is taken to mean a mathematical and statistical study of size. Demography is the study of statistics of births. and (2) demography. Thus. biological. demography means a science of the logical and systematic study of people and various related aspects. Similarly. on the other hand. composition. These two roots combined together refer to a systematic.CHAPTER 2 Social Demography MEANING OF SOCIAL DEMOGRAPHY The study of human population is known by two terms: (1) population studies. marriage and divorce. But the latter term has become more popular than the former. The demographic processes consist mainly of fertility. Demography consists of two roots — ‘demos’ and ‘graphy’. The first root refers to ‘people’ while the other refers to ‘descriptive science’. etc. as illustrating the demographic conditions of population of communities. on the one hand. economic. demographic structures consist mainly of age composition of population. descriptive and scientific study of the people. rural-urban structures of population etc. genetic. male-female composition. geographical and the like. territorial or regional composition and social composition of population. political. mortality and migration. however. death.. Demography. and movement of people. Both the terms are. demography is commonly classified as formal demography and social (or substantive) demography. It is a discipline concerned with the study of ‘demographic processes’. age. two basic sub-divisions of demography are: demographic processes and demographic structures. death. and relationships between population changes and other variables. the term ‘demography’ was first used in 1885 by Guillard. such as birth. and ‘demographic structures’ of population on the other. deaths. Social demography refers . size of population. used interchangeably as synonyms by various population analysts. distribution of human population and changes therein. Formal demography simply refers to a mathematical study of such vital events as birth. migration.

(1) demographic processes (2) demographic structures (3) social processes. family. directly or indirectly affect demographic variables and are.. This premise highlights the relevance of sociology in demographic studies. in turn. social processes and social structures). In the context of social demography. For example. etc. it is the family that provides the social context to the process of birth of children. let us now briefly examine some of the salient features of demographic trends in India.14 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY to a study of relationship between demographic phenomena on the one hand and social and economic phenomena on the other. Social processes and social structures include a number of variables such as socialisation. in which sociologists are interested. customs.. The shift in demography has made this science more relevant and meaningful because demographic changes can be explained not only from the demographic angle but also from socio-economic and cultural viewpoints. values. class. mobility. affected by them. structure. occupations. Thus. social determinants need to be identified and examined. communication. All these processual and structural components. beliefs. its structures. Social demography is based on the premise that social processes and social structures regulate demographic processes and demographic structures. the relationship between demographic and sociological variables becomes reciprocal. The subject matter of social demography embraces not only two sub-divisions of demography (viz. kinship. economic. Since demographic trends are socially conditioned. viz. forms of marriage. education. social and cultural factors. demographic processes and demographic structures) but also the two sub-divisions of sociology (viz. The family. and (4) social structures. such as.. for a newly born child. caste. The recent developments in the field of demography have marked a shift from formal demography to social or substantive demography which takes into account not only the demographic components but also non-demographic components. cultural transformation. This reciprocity and interdependence among them become the central focus of social demography. Thus. A student equipped with sociological knowledge tries to examine how demographic variables are regulated and determined by social factors. Social demography as a new branch of knowledge exists at the margin of demography and sociology. India is the second most populous country in . ethnicity. its cultural ethos and its normative order regulate the birth of the child and the fertility rate. Socio-demographic Profile of India We have seen that social demography is a complex subject because it combines a number of demographic and social factors. social demography comprises four sub-divisions.

14 1. But China has almost attained demographic stability. Note : Figures of all the tables have been rounded off to the nearest number. 2001. Whereas during 1995-2000. The tables given below indicate the trends of population in India in terms of selected demographic indicators: Table 1: Demographic Characteristics of India’s Population Year CBR CDR IMR Migration (% istribution of migrants) 30 31 27 28 Table 3: Age Composition of Population in India Year 1971 1981 1991 2001 0-14 (%) 42 40 36 35 15 –59 (%) 53 54 58 59 60 and above (%) 5 6 6 7 Table 4: Male-Female Composition of Population in India (in million) Year 1971 1981 1991 2001 Male 284 353 438 531 Female 264 331 406 496 Table 5: Rural–Urban Composition of Population in India Year 1971 1981 1991 2001 Rural 80 78 74 72 Urban 20 22 26 28 Table 6: Level of Literacy in India Year 1971 1981 1991 2001 Size of educated population (total population as the base) 34 44 52 65 1971 1981 1991 2001 37 34 20 18 13 10 9 8 129 110 85 71 CBR – Crude Birth Rate per thousand population CDR – Crude Death Rate per thousand population IMR – Infant Mortality Rate per thousand live births.22 2. the total fertility rate in India was 5. the total fertility rate was 3.4 per woman during 1970-75. which has not yet been achieved in India.20 2. prepared by UNDP.93 Table 7: Gender Composition of India’s Population Year 1971 1981 1991 2001 Source : Census of India. India’s population is roughly around 16% of the total population of the world while China’s population is about 22%. Gender Ratio (F/M) 930 934 927 933 1971 1981 1991 2001 . According to the Human Development Report 2002.3 per woman. because the fertility rate has not stabilised significantly in the country. Table 2 : India’s Population and its Growth Rate Year Total Population 548 683 846 1027 Decadal Average Growth Annual Growth Rate (%) Rate (%) 25 25 24 21 2.SOCIAL DEMOGRAPHY 15 the world.

A relatively faster rate of decline in mortality has obviously resulted in increase in life expectancy of the people of India. There are numerous socio-economic and cultural factors which are responsible for the declining yet constantly high birth-rate in India. Another significant change noticeable in India’s population is that the size of elderly population has increased. 4. Yet the size is quite significant as compared with more developed countries because of the progressive impact of high fertility (Table 3). The increase in the size of population in India can be attributed to a relatively faster rate of decline in mortality than fertility.16 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY These social and demographic characteristics of India’s population indicate the following: 1. The age composition indicates an important change in India’s population. All the above . but the size of total population in India has increased. The growth rate of population has declined over the years. The birth rate. 7. it has also resulted in an increase in the size of the population. 2. which has a number of socio-economic implications. 3. The composition of literate population in India indicates an increase in the size of literate population but there is no significant decadal change in this regard. and continuing preponderance of rural population in India’s total population. the death rate and the infant mortality rates of population in India have declined but they are still quite high as compared to developed countries. 5. marked 6. India has crossed a population of more than one billion now (see Tables 1 and 2). The age composition of the population indicates that the size of the population at lower agegroups has become smaller because of decline in mortality and fertility. that is. Increases in the size of working population and in the size of adult population too have certain policy implications for the government. Simultaneously. increase in the size of the working population. The gender composition and rural-urban distributions of population (Tables 4 and 5) indicate a relatively smaller proportion of female population. This raises a question mark against the satisfactory progress of formal education in India. These two characteristics are related with the decline in the gender ratio and slower process of migration and urbanisation. economic and health related implications. The lower gender ratio (Table 7) and high infant mortality rate (Table 1) indicate comparatively lower status of women and poor health condition of India‘s population. This has got a number of social. 9. 8.

migration is the cause and the consequence of a number of social. To them. therefore. however. cultural and economic factors. which consists mainly of those seasonal migrants who live at the place of destination with an intent to work for a while and come back to the place of origin after a short duration. They may be classified into four broad categories: . Like the process of ‘fertility’ and ‘mortality’. Since the size of population has gone beyond the available resources. 10. does not cause change in the usual place of residence of movers. Major Theoretical Approaches to the Study of Population in India If we look at the trends of population growth in India. are not considered ‘migrants’. population has to be controlled at the earliest. such persons. The problems of over -population and of under development have been examined from varying perspectives.SOCIAL DEMOGRAPHY 17 characteristics point towards a poor quality of life in general. this problem is closely related with the problem of underdevelopment. It brings about changes in the size and structure of population. Since migration causes change in the place of residence. Since. It is because of this reason that the National Population Policy (2000) aims at stabilising population at a level consistent with the requirements of the national economy. The most important among them is. A person who moves with the intention to change her or his place of usual residence on a permanent or semi-permanent basis is regarded as ‘migrant’ in Indian census. The ‘spatial mobility’ at local level is mostly a process of ‘short-term migration’. Such a movement. which may be local . scholars are concerned to view the problems of overpopulation from different perspectives. and (2) long-term migration. however. regional. it is termed as ‘spatial mobility’. this process is considered an important component of social demography. such as the movement of seasonal workers or of students going out for study or of a person going out to a hill resort. national or even international. There are two major streams of migration: (1) Shortterm migration. Therefore. The dominant view is that population growth in India is adversely affecting development and. a longterm rural to urban migration because it brings about significant socio-cultural and economic changes in the life of migrants. which consists of those who cover a longdistance in search of work with an intent to change their place of work on a permanent or semipermanent basis. in a real sense. we find that the rate of growth is still quite high. migration is another demographic process. Both these streams form a part of ‘internal migration’.

has limited capacity for producing subsistence. poverty. delayed marriage and other methods of birth control. The former has the potential to increase faster than the latter (subsistence). Malthus has suggested measures of solving problems resulting from continuing population growth and means of subsistence. it increases in a ‘geometric ratio’. The preventive checks include moral restraint like celibacy. The main features of this perspective are the following : Population has a natural tendency to increase which is faster than the level of subsistence because: (i) Mankind has an inherent tendency to reproduce. If the population keeps on increasing nature itself imposes positive checks such as war. mainly the land. The disparity or gap between the two gives rise to shortage of food and other necessities of life. (c) (d) Food production tends to increase in an ‘arithmetic’ ratio due to diminishing return from the sources of production. misery. plague and famine which tend to shorten the human life. There is an antagonism between the ‘power of population’ and the ‘power of the earth’. They are: (i) Positive checks. (ii) The means of production. If unchecked. and (ii) Preventive checks. surplus labour etc. mainly land. 2. 2. vices. In the light of this finding. Demographic Perspective: This perspective is concerned mainly with the ideas of Malthus and NewMalthusian thinkers. Economic Perspective: Marxian approach as a Politico-economic perspective on population is perhaps the most important. This fact leads to the gap between the growth of population on the one hand and the food production on the other. This perspective is based on the empirical work conducted by Malthus and others mainly in European countries. 4.18 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY 1. Those conditions are created by the capitalist mode of production. Malthus developed his principles of population growth as given below: (a) Population tends to increase faster than food production. unemployment. epidemic. Karl Marx (1818-1883) and the Marxist writers do not support the Malthusian perspective on the ground that certain economic conditions create the problem of overpopulation. Such a process of capital accumulation creates different forms of . which lack a rational distribution of wages and resources and effective use of human productivity. 3. Thomas Robert Malthus(1766-1834) was an economist who looked at the problems of population from the demographic point of view. These are two unequal powers. Demographic perspective Economic perspective Sociological perspective Historical perspective (b) 1.

the productive capacity of land increases through the application of science and technology. In order to achieve optimum size of population and reduce population growth. 5. They are inversely correlated and population declines as development takes place. mainly the ‘land’. Therefore. The main features of this perspective are the following: 1. For example. Growth of population is determined by economic conditions of living. The demographic processes and structures are conditioned by a number of sociocultural factors and forces. 3. The economic perspective does not support the notion of ‘diminishing return’ from any factor. any change in the family structure is likely to generate corresponding change in the fertility behaviour and composition of population. social reorganisation or collectivisation of economy and the rational distribution of resources and the expansion of infrastructural facilities are needed. The main features of this perspective are as follows: 1. Thus.SOCIAL DEMOGRAPHY 19 surplus population and increases poverty and underdevelopment. According to this perspective. 3. 2. This perspective lays special emphasis on social determinism. If there is any law. This suggests that social institutions and social processes determine demographic processes. The sociological approach has shown the limitations of Malthusian and Marxist perspectives. development is regarded as the best contraceptive. It is a holistic approach because it takes into account the problem of population in its totality in which a number of socio-economic and cultural factors interact with demographic factors. According to this perspective the problem of over-population is also linked with the traditional norms in favour of high fertility and large family size. Sociological Perspective: Under this perspective various demographic processes and structures are viewed as integral parts of the larger social system. 4. This perspective does not single out any factor as the most important or determining factor. Development and over-population are relative terms. 4. 3. certain institutional patterns become responsible for high or low growth rate of population. The sociological perspective provides a promising framework of analyses because it does not ignore the role of demographic and economic factors while giving greater emphasis on socio- . it is historically determined in accordance with the changes in the mode of production but it is not determined by the so-called ‘unequal powers’ of population and land. over-population is a consequence of capitalist economy. In this perspective. 2. There is no universal law of population and food production.

it may not be useful for logical and precise generalisations relevant for Indian conditions. Therefore. India is the second largest country in terms of size of population. If we combine Africa with India and China. If we examine the cultural ethos of Indian society. Such a traditional consideration continues to influence the cultural basis of the large family size in India. To realise such changes. It takes an integrated and holistic view of human population. 2. the historical perspective makes generalisation on the basis of limited empirical facts and this evolutionary historical model of demographic changes is based on the western experiences to a large extent. In spite of a consistent effort to control population growth. India’s population has crossed more than one billon mark (1012. family planning programmes gained momentum in 1966 when a separate department of family planning was established. The realization of the adverse impact of population growth in India on her resources has given rise to continuous efforts to control population. Historical Perspective: This perspective is also known as the threestage model of demographic transition. The sociological perspective seems to be more appropriate for understanding the Indian situation. Children are regarded as social and cultural assets. POPULATION POLICY OF INDIA We have seen earlier that the population of India and China is quite large.5 million in March 2016. Appropriate changes in our socio–cultural system may facilitate the acceptance of small family norm.9 million in March 2011 and 1263.20 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY cultural factors. It signifies a clear sequence of evolutionary socio-economic and demographic changes. However. The main features of this perspective are as follows: 1. These three stages indicate an evolutionary sequence of changes from simple to complex and from a high to a low fertility-mortality rate. 4. fast economic development is recommended by the proponents of this approach. However. It was at this stage that the programmes became a combined package of child . The changes follow an identical pattern of change from simple to complex and from high to low fertility-mortality rate. The projection of population shows that India’s population may reach 1178. The initial efforts were made in India in the first five-year plan to limit population growth. This perspective gives a generalised explanation of socio-demographic changes passing through three well defined stages of transition from ‘ancient’ to ‘medieval’ to the ‘modern’ stage. a semi-traditional society where socio-cultural factors have deep roots in the organic structure of Indian society. we find that the half of the total population of the world resides in these three regions. India is. March 2001).4 million. by and large. it seems that the people of this country have always been in favour of a large family size.

To reduce crude birth rate. In pursuance of this long-term objective. growth of population and achieving economic. in 1983 the emphasis was given in the family welfare programmes on securing the small family norm. The idea of small family norm has also been emphasised in the National Population Policy-2000. The National Population Policy-1976 proposed a comprehensive coverage of all these aspects of life. 2. Thereafter. social development and environmental protection. population growth could not be reduced drastically in India. . Therefore. To make school education compulsory upto the age of 14 years all over the country with greater emphasis on the expansion of population education. The National Council of Educational Research and T raining (NCERT) was given the responsibility to formulate. 4. and expand the programme of population education at the school level. a number of medium-term and short– term objectives were also formulated in the Population Policy 2000. 5. It aims at stabilising population growth at a level consistent with the requirement of the national economy. The realisation of the limitation of family planning programmes gave rise to necessary changes in the scope of the programme. The Population Policy-2000 proposed to take a holistic view of population growth. an explicit National Population Policy was formulated during the year 1975-76 consisting of rules aiming at a proper implementation of the targets for reducing the birth rate. To integrate reproductive and child health care services into the Indian system of medicine. To achieve universal access to information. To enhance the age at marriage and more scrupulously enforce the Child Marriage Restraint Act. Inspite of all these efforts. The following are the main objectives: 1. 1976. crude death rate and infant mortality rate as well as maternal mortality rate to the sustainable level of development. 6. 8. counselling and services related to measures for fertility reduction. nutritional status of the child and social welfare services. and in the light of KAP (Knowledge. To achieve the target of universal immunisation programme for children. 7. In pursuance of this. total fertility rate. it was proposed that a programme of introducing population education should be started in order to create awareness of the problem of population in India among young learners.SOCIAL DEMOGRAPHY 21 health. 3. which includes all the principal areas of human welfare. Attitudes and Practices) surveys. It reiterates the earlier decision that population must stabilise. To provide basic reproductive and child health care services. To control the spread of Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and to prevent and control various other communicable diseases. Thus the programme was renamed as family welfare programme. social and other demographic goals.

8. DEPENDENCY GEOMETRIC PROGRESSION. Attitude and practice) started by Indian Governmant during the period of 1960 –1970 to make family welfare programme successful. EXPECTANCY.. To promote the idea of people centered programme of population and make it an integral part of the overall process of social development and transformation. . 1. KNOWLEDGE.4. TOTAL FERTILITY RATE. the 1992 revision).. Indeed.etc.. Number of females per thousand males. Number of dependent population over working population. ATTITUDE AND PRACTICE. Number of deaths in a year per thousand population. overall socioeconomic progress of the masses is considered an integral aspect of the programme of population stabilisation. In earlier programmes related to the growth of population. World Population Prospects.2. 2.3.22 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY 9. greater emphasis was given to control fertility but in the measures suggested by the NPP-2000. The total fertility rate is the number of children that would be born to a woman who lives to the end of her child-bearing years and who bears children at each age in accordance with prevailing age-specific fertility rates (United Nations.. Number of deaths of mothers at the time of delivery per thousand live births. CRUDE CRUDE BIRTH RATE. Number of deaths of children within one year per thousand live births. there is a definite shift to a more integrated approach that includes removal of poverty. It has been realised that social development is the basic necessity to be achieved in order to stabilise population growth in consonance with the level of subsistence.5.32. INFANT LIFE MORTALITY RATE . To vigorously promote the idea of small family norm to achieve the replacement levels of Total Fertility Rate (TFR). DEATH RATE. A campaign tilted KAP (knowledge..4.g. RATIO. MALE-FEMALE MATERNAL MORTALITY RATE. 10.16.. etc.g. Number of births in a year per thousand population. and provision of adequate facilities for economic and social upliftment. RATIO. A programme of numbers with a constant ratio between each number and the one before e. GLOSSARY ARITHMETIC PROGRESSION. A sequence of numbers in which each differs from the preceding one by a constant quality e. Average years of life expected at any given age...

D. 3. 6. 1974. 1972. J. New Delhi. Monthly Review Press. . Mandelbaum.. Sage Publication. 1947. Ashish. London. 2. Victor S. 10.SOCIAL DEMOGRAPHY 23 EXERCISES 1. Studies in Social Demography . Social Structure and Population Growth. M. II No. Journal of Social Change. New York. 4.. 384. Russal and Russel. M. Vol. 9.. ed.G. (d) Infant Mortality Rate. (b) Total Fertility Rate.D. Changing Institutional Pattern and Fertility Decline in India. Population in India’s Development (1947-2000) . 1985. 1981 5.. 8. Ehsanul. 2. What is migration? Explain the type and streams of migration. Mamdani. 3. New Delhi.. (c) Maternal Mortality Rate. 4. Publications. 7. Davis. Haq. K. 6. The Myth of Population Control. 5. Human Fertility in India. Economic Development. SUGGESTED READINGS 1. Berkeley University Press. Bose. What do you understand by demography? Explain the concepts of formal and informal demography. The Population of India and Pakistan . 1952.P. Singh. New Delhi. 7. D’Souza. 1998. Why the dependency ratio is still high in our country? What are the characteristics of Malthusian perspective to population? What are the main characteristics of Marxian perspective of population? What are the main features of sociological perspective on population? What are the main features of historical perspective to population? What are the salient features of National Population Policy-2000? Explain the following terms: (a) Male-Female Ratio. Vikas Publications.

where usually the city is considered superior than village. having a certain degree of community sentiment and a relatively autonomous organisation. These towns have distinct administrative bodies like municipality. Ideas of community begin with neighbourhood and then extend to a social group with some degree of ‘we–feeling’. A community is characterised by a sense of social completeness and territorial proximity. on the other hand. The Western point of view emphasises differences between city and countryside. . an American anthropologist. inferior in skills and expertise and mostly dependent on cities. was the first to make a systematic study of communities. They have been produced by population momentum. were relatively strong. one of the great distinctions is between rural and urban region. with relatively high population density.CHAPTER 3 Rural–Urban Divides and Linkages Introduction Every individual belongs not only to a family but also to a community. Villages in pre-British India. The rural community is a kind of enlarged primary group characterised by intimate face-to-face interaction. In India. Urban life is the product of complex social forces. boom of trade centres and influences of industrialisation. urban centres are notified by different state governments using different criterias. In modern society. Village habitations have been an enduring feature of all human societies from the very dawn of human civilisation. and possessing a relatively high degree of inter-communication. The urban community is a loose organisation of people living in a limited area. autonomous and full of skilled individuals in many fields. the simplest and the most complex occupying the two polar points. He opined that societies could be arranged on a continuum based on their increasing or decreasing complexity. notified area committee or corporation. development of transportation and communication. In Western societies traditionally villages were always economically weak. These are known as statutory towns and have administrative implications in terms of grants by central government’s Urban Development Ministry. immigration of rural people. Robert Redfield.

000 population. (b) A town should have a population of 5. It has retained some of its individual features despite the passage of time. It has preserved Indian culture and has its own social. Agriculture is not only a mode of production. as distinct from urban communities and centres. (iii) A density of population of at least four hundred persons per square kilometre. This is an academic classification without legal or administrative implications. Indian census classifies Indian territories into two broader groups—Rural and Urban centres. census authorities have developed their own criteria to declare non-statutory or census towns.00. (ii) At least 75 per cent of all adult male working population engaged in non-agricultural pursuits. In addition. Features of a Rural Community Rural communities in India have their own salient features. occupational structure and pattern of administrative arrangement. Joint Family: One of the most remarkable features of village life in India is the existence of joint 2.000 or more. The criteria used to include a settlement in the urban category are size. Agricultural economy is the main basis of village economy. . economic and political importance. Rural Communities The idea of the village has occupied an important place in India. The census accepts all statutory towns notified by the directorate of the state governments.RURAL-URBAN DIVIDES AND LINKAGES 25 In addition to statutory towns. Types of Settlements The Census of India distinguishes three types of settlements based on the size and density of population — city. These criterias are: (i) A minimum population of 5000 or above. but also a way of life. town and village. while villages are settlements with less than 5. The city and the town are grouped together under the category of urban and the rest are designated as rural. there are census towns also. Agriculture: It is the dominant mode of occupation. their occupations are indirectly connected with agriculture. density. Although a small section of the people earn their livelihood from non-agricultural occupations. (c) The local self-government system of a city is called corporation — that of a town is called municipality and a village has a panchayat. It influences the entire gamut of relationships in rural setting. (a) A settlement with a population of 1. The special features of villages in India include the following: 1. cultural. It has been one of the core categories through which India has been imagined and imaged in modern times.000 or more is called a city.

Despite a number of government schemes and rural development efforts. misconduct etc. ritual performance. Each village was divided into two broader groups — jajmans and service provider castes. direct. Patels . their importance as a social and cultural institution is greater in village communities. Although joint families are also found in urban areas. and other things are affected to a large extent by caste norms. As a result. Kumhar. Uneconomic land holdings. poverty persists in rural areas and productivity of agriculture and other economic 7. Tamoli. since the relationship among the members is face-to-face. barren and fragmented lands result in poor productivity. It is the main form of social stratification in village life even today. their socio-cultural and religious life. Jajmani System: It refers to a system of social. cultural and economic ties between different caste families. Dhobi etc. They are not much affected by the glamour of urban communities and lead a simple life. Community Sentiment: This is usually very strong among the members of a village. Sonar. This relation of jajmani ties was supposed to bind various caste families into a hereditary and permanent relationship. folkways etc. They are godfearing and tradition bound.26 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY families. Marathas . Nayars etc. intimate and personal. are minimal as there is close contact among the villagers. Simplicity of Living: It is an important feature of village life. Basic civic amenities. . which are intimately linked with 6. Caste System: It has always been the foundation of Indian village community. Reddys. The English calendar may be kept in addition to the traditional calendars but it is rarely used in daily life. Poverty and Illiteracy: These coexist in rural India since long. 5. Calendar: In most villages people organise their time according to traditional Indian calendars. murder. Social interaction. 3. occupations. a large percentage of villagers live below the poverty line and lack even basic amenities. Crimes and deviant behaviour like theft. transport and communication facilities are remotely available. Rajputs. while the service provider castes came from middle and lower level castes like Nais. medical facilities. Lohar. 4. Barhi. The service providers were usually paid in kind and/or cash. Lingayats. Their behaviour and activities are strictly governed by rural customs. 8. Patnaiks . Land owning jajmans came from upper castes like Brahmans. mores. Extra remuneration was customarily paid on auspicious occasions and festivals.

believes that Pocock has over. He also says that in the Indian context. Whereas traditional Indian cities are an aspect of Indian civilisation. The central square. Less Intensity in Mobility and Social Change: It is a striking feature of most village communities in India. religion etc. The main factors which led to the expansion of cities are population increase and migration of outsiders from other poorer countries. colonial Indian cities are vehicles of Western or modern influence. and any such deviation is severely criticised and punished by the people through their village Panchayats. was sometimes enclosed within a second inner wall. while the commoners lived towards the edges of the city. The dwellings of the ruling class or elite tended to be concentrated in or near the centre. which usually contained a market. often including a large public space. Despite the variation of size certain features are commonly found in most traditional urban communities. Change of occupation is not easily possible. the processes of social mobility and social change in rural India have been rather slow. M. for example.A. mosques. palaces and courts.S. 10. orthodox in their beliefs. David Pocock has asserted that in India there is no dichotomy between the village and the traditional city. where ceremonial gatherings took place. There is a lot of difference. Rigidity of Social Control thin: The primary institutions e.. between the traditional Indian city and the colonial Indian cities. most villagers are not quick to accept change or reform. Thus. on the other hand. Traditional cities were usually walled. churches. Rao. play a significant role in exercising informal social control. The central area. and the walls emphasised the separation of the urban community from the countryside. urbanisation is not equal to westernisation. 9. Urban Communities and Centres There are different types of urban communities and centres. There are structural and functional differences between institutions of villages and . accommodated the majority of the citizens. values and traditions. The main buildings were nearly always religious or political such as temples. Both types of cities may coexist as two parts of the same urban locality. family.. Observance of these informal rules becomes obligatory for members. He systematically counters the presumptions made by some sociologists that urbanisation in India means breakdown of caste and joint family. old Delhi and New Delhi.simplified the similarity between the village and the traditional city in India. Both are elements of the same civilisation.RURAL-URBAN DIVIDES AND LINKAGES 27 activities in villages continues to be low. however. which is very strong and direct.g. There is little chance of any violation. caste. Being conservative in nature.

it is necessary to emphasise that colonialism introduced a different kind of urbanism and urbanisation. Thirdly. Secondary associations operate as legal entities and pressure groups. Secondly. however. Individualism : The secondary and voluntary character of urban association. As a result of this interaction between the two types of urbanism. The competitiveness of the city life 4. Social Heterogeneity: The concentration of a large population in a small area leads to social heterogeneity. and has not only tolerated but rewarded individual differences. There are differences. Density maximises the competition for space and for comparative advantage and thus forces specialisation. associations and behaviour patterns have come into existence. the following: 1. the greater becomes the problem of control and more complex the agencies of secondary regulation. Features of an Urban Community and Centre The salient features of urban communities and centres in contemporary India are. There are different types and degrees of interactions between towns and villages. in terms of property relations and interpersonal behaviour patterns within the joint families in the urban contexts. there are significant organisational differences. diversity and easy contact. 3. new forms of institutions. Social Control : In city individuals are free from close social control. although caste and kinship are common to villages and traditional Indian cities. it is the mahajan or ‘guild’ organisation that is prominent in traditional cities or towns. there may be continuity of joint family organisation in the rural and urban contexts. The larger the city. the multiplicity of opportunities and the social mobility all force the individual to make her or his own decisions and to plan her or his life as a career. . In the urban space nearly every kind of group acquires a voluntary character. Voluntary Association: The size of the urban population. 2. The city usually promotes the sense of alienation and loneliness. associations and semiautonomous neighbourhoods. The city has always been “the melting pot” of a variety of people and cultures.28 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY traditional cities. makes it the perfect setting for voluntary associations. It has brought together people from different corners of the world. among others. while the jajmani (hereditary services) relations are pronounced in villages. This new colonial and modern urbanisation had an impact first on traditional urbanism. For instance. its close proximity. For instance. There are a variety of clubs. In such groups membership does not depend on kinship or other ascribed identities.

Thirdly. important difficulty is that there is no way to demarcate where a village ends and a city begins. Rural–urban differences have been summarised by Sorokin and Zimmerman in the following table: 6. Social Mobility : City characterises and promotes great social mobility. The competition for status becomes a perpetual preoccupation for city dwellers. big depart-mental stores. are also found in the central parts of the city. The elaborate division of labour found in the city coincides with a system of stratification. . The centre of the urban area is monopolised by functions of basic importance to the whole city. rather than ascribed status. The first. big hotels. the very concept of village changes from one country to another. various transformative factors have been at work in both villages and cities. such as finance and government. a certain tolerance is found regarding opinion and interest. quality jewellery shops are located in the centre. Secondly. efficiency and novelty rather than birth. for example. Urban slums and elite clubs are notable examples of greater inequality in urban communities. self-interest and individualism tends to grow in urban communities. Urban structure is managed by recruiting a heterogeneous population on the basis of competence. which is based on achievement. It promotes an open stratification system characterised by class inequality. banks. the difference between village and city is one of degree rather than of kind. In urban spaces there is existence of both extreme poverty and affluence. The perception of a village in Asian regions may be entirely different from that in Western regions. Commercial centres that cater to expensive tastes. theatres. Fourthly. Spatial Segregation: The competition for space in the heterogeneous and dynamic city leads to a characteristic segregation of groups and functions visible in the city’s spatial pattern. 7.RURAL-URBAN DIVIDES AND LINKAGES 29 gives very little scope for the family care and commitments that are found in traditional communities. Rural–Urban Divides and Linkages A comparative analysis of rural and urban communities is essential before discussing contrasts between the two. But the rural-urban comparison is not so easy. As a result. legal offices. High-priced professional services such as diagnostic clinics. etc. Greater Inequality: Given the diversity of its population and the impersonality of its contacts. 5. City demands a certain amount of external conformity on grounds of decency and convenience. The urban person can raise or lower her or his status to a remarkable degree during her or his lifetime.

) Urbanity and heterogeneity are positively correlated. rural communities are more homogeneous in racial and psychological traits (Negative correlation with heterogeneity). Normally the migration current carries more individuals from the country to the city. Size of community Density of population In the same country and at the Greater than in rural same period the density is lower communities. Mobility Territorial. Urbanity and mobility are positively correlated. professions. commerce.Differentiation and stratification Differentiation and stratification tiation and are less in rural areas. Predominance of human-made Direct relationship to nature. governing and other non-agricultural occupations. Only in the periods of social catastrophe the migration from the city to the country is greater than from the country to the city. Open farms or small communities. Environment Predominance of nature over Greater isolation from nature. mechanical pursuits. show positive correlation with stratification urbanity. the size of urban community is much larger than the rural community. density are positively correlated. More intensive. Urban World Totality of people engaged principally in manufacturing. anthro-social environment.30 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY Rural World Occupation Totality of cultivators and their families. Urbanity and than in urban community. . trade. In other words. environment over natural. In the rural community there are usually a few representatives of several nonagricultural pursuits. Compared to urban populations. “agriculturalism” and size of community are negatively correlated. More heterogeneous than rural communities (in the same country and at the same time. Heterogeneity and homogeneity of the population Social differen. As a rule in the same country and at the same period. occupational and other forms of social mobility of the population are comparatively less intensive. urbanity and size of community are positively correlated. Generally density and rurality are negatively correlated.

manifoldedness. Person is interacted as a “number” and “address. This. self-interest and competitiveness of a mechanical kind. In urban society. In urban life.RURAL-URBAN DIVIDES AND LINKAGES 31 System of interaction Less numerous contacts per person. Greater complexity. Social Mobility Occupational and social mobility in villages is governed by the rigidity of the caste system. The kinship networks may be used in political or economic spheres but in the private lives of the members the family bond is usually weak. More prominent part is occupied by primary contacts. Modern ideas of choice in matter of marriage may be increasingly present among some sections. individual relationships are mostly formal and impersonal. on the other hand. superficiality and standardised formality of relations. Competition is less intense as they are fearful and complacent about fate. Predominance of impersonal casual and shortlived relations. Community force is weak and there is great individual freedom. In cities. “Individual is interacted as a person. 2. the members of a joint family usually prefer nuclear households. Predominance of personal and relatively durable relations. is not the case in urban centres. Wider areas of interaction per individual and per aggregate. In most urban areas. 3. Predominance of secondary contacts. social ranking is based on caste. informal and permanent. At the same time the practice of honour killing of young boys and girls getting into marriage outside the community also exist in contemporay India. Social Organisation In villages the joint family usually corresponds with the joint household. In rural life. however. people are often not concerned with their next-door neighbour. community sen- timent and “we” feeling. relationships are governed by primary groups. They are personal.” The main features of rural-urban divides in Indian context can be discussed under the following headings: 1. Social Relationship and Interaction In rural society. Both the ideas of marriage as sacrament and as a contract prevail among different groups in the country. castes may co-exist but it is the class differentiation that is pre-dominant. . Comparative simplicity and sincerity of relations.” More numerous contacts. There is lack of co-operation and sympathy due to rise of individualism. In rural society ‘neighbourhood’ is based on mutual help. Narrower areas of interaction is found among its members and the whole aggregate.

on the other hand. In urban society. It also includes agro-based cottage industries and cattle breeding. norms. Cash crops. the average consumption level of people is quite low on account of low level of income and frugal life style. Economic Life Agriculture is the predominant mode of occupation in rural areas. individualistic. informal forces and moral mechanisms cannot ensure order. mere public opinion. Social control in urban life is restorative more than preventive. Cultural life is heterogeneous. social control is exercised through informal means like folkways. specialisation and division of labour. But it has to be . integrated by law courts and enforced by police. In the urban society. Social Control In rural society. Indian villages are agents of In- dian culture and units of Indian civilisation. Thus. Even today. innovations. taboos. Status is determined more by class rather than by birth. Urban Society is so complex that social control is devised by specialists. adaptations and imitations are more due to wide exposure and opportunities. 7. there is little innovation due to lack of opportunities and specialisation. among other factors. influenced further by the forces of westernisation and modernisation has promoted a culture in India which measures the worth of a person on the basis of her or his income and lifestyle with little regard to the sources of income. The urban emphasis on techno-material aspects. Deviance is checked by threat of caste panchayats or village panchayat. foodprocessing and artisanal products also generate occupations and income in rural India.32 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY Urban society emphasises achievement rather than ascription of status. ridicule etc. has generated pockets of black economy in urban centres. Greater vertical and horizontal mobility promotes alternative opportunities within the urban structures. 4. In urban society. rituals. flexible and dynamic. Common values and group norms are reinforced through festivals. There is better scope of employment as there is literacy. 5. They still operate with the traditional Indian calendar. They are engaged more often in the industrial and service sectors. technological developments are the catalysts of change. age-old customs and traditions. In urban centers. 6. enacted by legislators. cultural patterns have undergone a qualitative change. Urbanites have often more than one source of income. it is clear that there are many differences between the rural and urban communities. mores. Such changes are promoted by the government structures and sustained by urban institutions. However. mobility. Cultural Life There is cultural unity in villages. Social Change In villages. This.

. If the village has been an arena of cooperation. If traditional villages and traditional towns and cities were complementary units of Indian civilisation now contemporary villages and urban centres are complementary units of the Indian state. labourers and raw materials to urban centres. there are some occupations that are ‘open’. S. INDIVIDUALISM. Recognised as a unit of development. and gurudwaras. It refers to a collectivity of people who occupied a geographical area. It has an identity. There is continuity as well as contrast between the rural and urban communities. new caste associations have emerged in larger cities. Towns were instrumental organs to support. and others are of an all-India character. mosques. Any set of ideas emphasising the importance of the individual and the individual’s interests is called individualism. GLOSSARY COMMUNITY. Some of these caste associations are regional. they can be taken up by any one irrespective of her or his jati. i. villages are the suppliers of food.. It may also have temples. In the process of change. villages are better connected now with each other and with urban areas. There are regular economic. The village represented the perfection of Indian culture and the towns were either administrative units or religious centres or commercial transaction points.C. This. it also has an ancient tradition of urban centres.RURAL-URBAN DIVIDES AND LINKAGES 33 remembered that they cannot be put into watertight compartments. Both had different functions. Political parties have their agents in both the villages as well as in towns.e. In the traditional Indian civilisation towns or cities were not superior centres in comparison to village communities.Dubey has tried to present the rural-urban divides and linkages in contemporary India. Most jatis have some craft or occupation linked to them. who essentially constituted a self-governing social unit with some common values and sentiments. ritual. the village now has several formal statutory institutions like the cities. is not the case with contemporary Indian villages. fixed limits (revenue and forests) and shared resources like wells and tanks. In addition. While India is known as a land of villages. political and social transactions between villagers and townspeople. supply and maintain the needs of Indian culture perfected in the villages. Market relations have replaced Jajmani relations in urban centres. The village like the town is not a corporate group. Examples are rural and urban communities. churches. it has also witnessed conflicts. however. Now. But all members of the caste need not follow that craft or occupation. While jati panchayats do not exist in urban areas as they do in village communities.

notified area committee or corporation. These towns have district administrative bodies like municipality. 5. These include a highly specialised division of labour. New Delhi. URBANISM. 5. growth of individiualism in social relations.. 1978. Rao. 2. 1955.S. EXERCISES 1. 3. A. often capital cities. Give the features of Rural Community. Shah. Polity Press. Dubey.34 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY MEGALOPOLIS.. Oxford University Press.A. 1995. 6. Desai. Giddens. Sociology. Rural Sociology in India. Compare and contrast “Rural–Urban Divides and Linkages”. ed. London. S. ed. 1993. Alien Concepts and South Asian Reality.M. A. 4. 2. Indian Village. Popular Prakashan. etc. Anthony. These are known as statutory towns and have administrative implications in terms of grants by central government’s urban development ministry. S TATUTORY TOWN . The movement between different positions within the system of social stratification in any society is called social mobility. Mumbai.. Highlight the features of an Urban Community. 2002. Routledge and Kegan Paul. Hyderabad.. In India urban centres are notified by different state governments using different criteria.C. SOCIAL MOBILITY. It refers to patterns of social life — typical of urban population. Exploring India’s Rural Past: A Gujarat Village in the Early Nineteenth Century. What do you understand by jajmani system? How is “town” different from “city” ? What is the difference between “municipality” and “corporation”? SUGGESTED READINGS 1. METROPOLIS. It denotes large urban centres and surrounding suburbs. functionally interconnected system of cities and suburbs. . growth of voluntary associations. London. 4. 6. T. It refers to a great metropolis growing uncontrollably and now to denote a very large. Oommen. New Delhi.. M. Orient Longman. 1974. Sage Publications. 3. Urban Sociology in India.K.R.

education and ascribed position. class and tribe in detail. Therefore. This. it is a form of social organisation or social formation. occupation. India is one of the most stratified societies. T ribe is not a for m of social stratification like caste and class. Class and Tribe in India Introduction In every society some form of inequality and differentiation exists. and this status is more or less permanent. Both of them result in social and economic inequality and are. Social. however. kinship. which has been suffered by the tribal people. Caste represents primarily social differentiation while class represents primarily economic differentiation. Of course. has brought them into an area of social stratification. Caste and var na in Sociology represent two different orders of reality. sex. which is derived from the Portuguese word ‘casta’ which means a group. Rather. does not mean that caste is devoid of the economic dimension or class is without social aspects. In the Indian context. economic and cultural differentiation in India is represented by the institutions of caste. Caste is primarily a social institution whereas class is primarily an economic institution. Varna may be described as an abstract . therefore. Initially.CHAPTER 4 Caste. Most sociologists today translate caste as jati and not as varna. Let us look at caste. etc. territorial proximity. class and tribe. membership of which is determined by birth. Social stratification in sociology denotes the placement of individuals and groups in different layers or strata on the basis of social differences in income. An individual is born into a caste. a tribe represents the whole society. tribal and non-tribal contexts denote cultural differentiations. CASTE SYSTEM Caste is an English term. Instead of representing a stratum. It is. Castes are ascriptive groups. European scholars used caste as a synonym for the Indian concept. systems of stratification. only a question of primacy. etc. tribe is primarily a linguistic and cultural group. Social differentiation separates people into distinctive categories on the basis of age. the deprivation of various opportunities. Varna. but later on it was also used for other terms like jati and up-jati.

the membership of which is based on birth.Ghurye in each linguistic area there are about 300 castes which can be graded and arranged into a hierarchy on the basis of their social precedence. though the feature of untouchability proved a baneful aspect of the caste system.36 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY classification of people on the basis of mythical origin. Every member of the caste identifies herself/himself with her/his caste. Mobility from one caste to another is severely restricted. castes are supposed to be based on the basis of superiority and inferiority and involve gradation on the accepted scale of value and prestige of the caste hierarchy.N. food habits. Further. . Restrictions on Commensality and Social Intercourse: There are certain rules regarding eating. Mutual obligation. In between there are the intermediate castes. Segmental Division of Society: Society is divided into general social groups called castes. In the varna order there was the scope for social mobility. each of which has got a life of its own and stood in a relationship of higher or lower status to other castes. became a Brahman through achievements or purushartha. There is hardly any such possibility for social mobility of individual from one caste to another in the caste system. At the top of this hierarchy is the Brahman caste and at the bottom is the untouchable caste (shudra). drinking and social interaction which are to be followed by all castes in order to avoid defilement or pollution and to uphold rules of purity. Caste. The segmental division of society refers to its division into a number of groups. Each of these castes is a well developed social group. Each caste has its own organisation known as jati panchayat or ‘caste council’.S. commensal taboos. Vishwamitra. 3. occupational rigidity and even village politics operate at the jati level. is a concrete empirical grouping based on social. 2.M.Srinivas says that varna has been the model to which the observed differences of jatis are sought to be fitted in. the varna model had no room for the concept of Untouchability. Marriage rules. ritual and occupational criteria. manners of dialogue and interaction differ from caste to caste. help and co-operation of the members of a caste in their day-to-day activities make each caste a social world by itself. The behavioural pattern. by contrast. Caste or jati is a concrete. endogamous group with characteristics of its own such as its hereditary occupation. a Kshatriya by birth. Features of the Caste System The salient features of the traditional caste system in India include the following: 1. These rules are powerfully enforced by the caste panchayats. Hierarchy : According to G. Thus. and generally.

Traditionally a caste is usually associated with an occupation. It has. had been reinforced through it. On the other hand. dharma and purity and pollution have figured prominently in both religious and legal thought relating to the caste system. Different castes depend on each other for fulfilment of various social and economic needs. Restrictions on Marriage: Endogamous marriages are an essential feature of the caste system. 5. The importance of above functions traditionally performed by caste has no doubt declined today. Lack of Unrestricted Choice of Occupation: Membership in a caste is hereditary and choice of occupation is not supposed to be free. It has made the system closed. force an individual to carry on the traditional occupation against her or his will and capacity. Caste hinders horizontal and vertical social mobility and may. Untouchability is the cancer of society. Performance of rites and rituals promoted cooperation of the members of the caste and among different castes. CLASS AND TRIBE IN INDIA 37 The notions of karma. Interdependence: Each caste is dependent on other castes within the jajmani system at the village level. Functions of the Caste System The caste system is credited to ensure the continuity of the traditional social organisation of India. Brahmans . the superior position of the higher castes. This is a great hindrance to the industrial development. thus. It opposes national consciousness by imposing social restrictions and ideas of purity and pollution. helped the preservation of culture and ensured productivity. 6. There are many taboos regarding the acceptance of kachcha (boiled) and pakka (fried) food by one caste from another. A person has to marry within one’s own caste. Dysfunctions of the Caste System The caste system creates obstacles to the unity of the country. cultural and religious. Thus. through jajmani relationships. for example. the system has an organic character.CASTE. Their dependence is not only economic but also social. This may also retard the development of human . thus. In recent times caste has proved to be an effective vehicle for political mobilisation of the vast rural masses for participation in the electoral process sustaining Indian democracy. Simultaneously it has led to interdependent interaction between different castes following different occupations in a village or cluster of villages. 4. It succeeded in accommodating multiple communities by ensuring each of them a monopoly of a specific means of livelihood. The notions of Karma and Dharma sustained through the caste system enforced traditional socioreligious control. The caste system has handed down the knowledge and skills of the hereditary occupation of a caste from one generation to another.

urbanisation and constitutional legislation. particularly in the urban places. There are different social processes at work. Even in villages jajmani relationships are maintained only at the ritual level. which she/he bears for life. however. Classes are related to one another in terms of inequality or hierarchy. Caste sanctions have also become weak and do not operate with the same force in all sections of Indian society. CLASS SYSTEM Social class is a type of social stratification which is most evident in industrial societies. Caste dominance no longer depends on ritual status. Endogamy is still the dominant mode in contemporary India but inter-caste marriages are also acceptable today in some sections of Indian society. Caste in Contemporary India Being a member of a caste or sub-caste does not have the same meaning in contemporary India. The most important of such processes include Sanskritisation. It permits an individual to strive for and attain a change in her or his status. economic strength. a thing of the past.38 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY personality in some instances since efficiency and motivation is throttled by the rigidity of the caste system. There are no formal restrictions on inter-marriage between people from different classes. Westernisation. classes are neither defined by law nor sanctioned by religion. occupation and factors like education. Caste system is making adequate adjustment with the changing times. The structures and functions of caste system have weakened. income. The caste system usually does not provide opportunity to enhance the status of women in the public sphere. The political use of the caste is increasing day-by-day in every region of India. significant continuity in the realm of marriage. Social class is generally defined as a stratum of people occupying similar social position in terms of wealth. The boundaries between classes are never rigid. Membership of a class is not inherited as in the case of the caste system. Social status in the caste system is ascribed to a person at the moment of her or his birth. It has retained its relevance by becoming more resilient and accommodative. The ritual injuctions and interdictions relating to food and physical contact have almost vanished. Class is a system of stratification in which a person’s social status depends upon her or his achievement. political network and internal cohesion within the class also determines the dominance of a caste in the village today. It encourages individuals to select their occupations. more or less. The association between caste and occupation is. industrialisation. Unlike the other types of strata. education. But classes are found in non-industrial societies also. The relations of jajmani have been fully replaced by market relationships in urban areas. Social mobility — . There is. Factors like numerical strength.

suggested that there can be more than two classes on the basis of social status and political power in society. therefore. the ‘landlord’ or ‘owner cultivator’ had to pay fixed amount of money to the state or British Government irrespective of . The Mahalwari settlement of land revenue was made by the government with landlords or heads of families who collectively claimed to be landlords of the village or the estate (mahal). Max Weber had. First. Under all these settlements. Zamindari settlement. All this led to the emergence of a new class structure. Social class constitutes an important segment of social structure in modern India. there was little differentiation among the village population leading to clearly formed classes. Secondly. to the lifechances available for the group. The social classes as we see them today in India had their origin during the British rule. The Zamindari system gave rise to the new class of Zamindars who came to enjoy hereditary ownership of very large tracts of land. There were also the classes of administrative officers of various ranks of merchants.. CLASS AND TRIBE IN INDIA 39 upward and downward movement within hierarchy or startification – is much more common in the class system than in other forms of stratification such as caste system or caste. However. In the Raiyatwari system the cultivator was recognised as the owner of his land.. the bourgeoisie and proletariat. however. Further. viz. There was hardly any surplus and. the individual may not achieve upward social mobility in the class system at ease under all the circumstances. subject to the payment of the land revenue directly to the British government. it was overshadowed by the caste and jajmani system. It created raiyat landlords and raiyat peasants. Karl Marx talked about two classes in the capitalist society on the basis of the ownership or lack of ownership of means of production. the self-sufficient village communities produced only that much which the villagers needed. understood in a broad sense. the Raiyatwari settlement. The British rule in India introduced new types of land revenue settlements.CASTE. Indian economy was subordinated to British commercial interests. of course. even when there was a differentiation along the dimension of class. whereas dispersed inequality is the characteristic of the class system. In preBritish India division of the people into classes did not get crystallised for two reasons. The class division. Cumulative inequality is the characteristic of caste. a social class is also a cultural group sharing a particular way of life. The interdependence of agriculture and village industries and of the people engaged in them was destroyed. existed there between the ruler and the ruled. It is related. Classes in Rural India The British colonial rule in India shattered the traditional rural economy. artisans and specialists of different kinds. and the Mahalwari settlement. viz.

40

STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY

crops produced. They in turn extracted this money from the common tillers of the land. A new class of ‘moneylenders’ arose. The peasantry was crushed under the triple burden of the government, the zamindar, and the moneylender. Apart from the landlords who were tax-gatherers and noncultivating owners of land, there were now the ‘tenants’ who were the real cultivators but did not have security of land tenure. The third stratum or class, viz., ‘agricultural labourers’, suffered most in the new system. Further the landlords sublet their rights to collect land revenue to others on profitable terms. These in turn further sublet their rights to others. Thus developed a chain of ‘rent-receiving’ ‘intermediaries’ between the state and the actual cultivators. This complicated agrarian class structure continued, though in a modified form, even after the departure of the British. Rural industries and artisans were hard hit under the British system. The British destroyed indigenous village industries and crafts in order to secure a market for the goods imported from Britain. Also, the domestic goods made with simple techniques on a small scale could not compete with British goods. For example, cotton spinners and weavers of the villages were almost wiped out as a result of the supply of mill-made cloth from England. The other village artisans too were badly affected by imports from England. Thus scores of artisans became labourers seeking work in agriculture in their

village or jobs outside the villages. After the independence various land reform measures were introduced to change agrarian structure in favour of equality and equity and for encouraging productivity in agriculture. The first step was the abolition of the Zamindari system. Its objective was to bring the cultivators into direct relation with state by eliminating the intermediaries who were allowed to retain land for their personal cultivation only. Secondly, the ‘tenancy reform’ measures were taken by the state to provide security of tenure and reduction of rent for the owner cultivators and to facilitate acquisition of ownership rights by them. Thirdly, ‘ceilings’ were imposed on the existing family holding as well as on future acquisitions. The state would acquire surplus land from the big landowners and distribute the same among the small peasants, marginal peasants and agricultural labourers. The overall impact of land reforms has not, however, been satisfactory. Smaller tenants received much less protection and suffered more than the bigger ones. The dominance of the landlords continues in a veiled form. The intermediate class of peasants have, however, benefited replacing the older zamindars in political-economic matters. The process of green revolution and mechanical innovations in agriculture has led to the growth of a new class of progressive farmers who now cultivate

CASTE, CLASS AND TRIBE IN INDIA

41

their land under personal supervision. They do not lease it to their tenants. In addition, they lease in land from the poor peasants who cannot afford costly inputs required for cultivation. A gap has been created between progressive farmers who are owners and managers of very large holdings and marginal and small cultivators who are unable to obtain higher output because of their small landholdings and their inability to bear the cost of modern farming practices. Majority of the small peasants and agricultural labourers are still steeped in poverty, unemployment and underemployment. Tension, therefore, continues in different parts of the countryside. Classes in Urban India During the British rule there was a sudden and quick collapse of the urban handicrafts for which India was famous all over the world. The severity of oppression and exploitation compelled the urban craftspeople to abandon their ancestral professions and occupations. Also, Indian handicrafts could not compete with machine-made cheap goods from England. Modern industries began in India under the British. But they were controlled by the foreign capital. A new class of ‘capitalists’ comprising industrial, commercial and financial capitalists emerged. They exploited the ‘working class’ to maximise their profits. Dominant capitalists in colonial India were of British origin. But Indian capitalists gradually gained considerable share in various enterprises.

The traditional Indian business communities initially thrived as traders dependent on the British. They also operated as moneylenders. Gradually, they started investing their accumulated capital in the developing indigenous industries, e.g., textile and sugar mills. This industrial class survived and flourished in Independent India. There were two more classes in urban areas. One of these was the class of ‘petty traders’ and ‘shopkeepers’ who were bound up with modern capitalist economy. Then, as a result of the new system of education and administration, an educated ‘middle class’ had emerged. It consisted of professionals such as lawyers, doctors, engineers, technologists, professors and teachers, journalists, clerks, and other white-collar workers. These classes have flourished in Independent India. The urban working class is divided into (a) workers in the ‘organised sector’ and (b) workers in the ‘unorganised sector’. Large scale operation in terms of capital and wage labour, modern technology, public and private ownership and regulated and protected markets for labourers and output, skilled labour, etc., are features of the organised sector. Small-scale operation, private or small ownership, labour -intensive and backward technology, unskilled or semi-skilled labour, unregulated market and unprotected labour characterise the unorganised sector. The conditions of the workers in the unorganised sector are far worse than those of the workers in the organised sector.

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STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY

The most important feature of the class structure in modern India is that all the classes have now come to live as integral parts of a single national economy and under a single state regime. The relative isolation of village artisans no longer exists. The same is true with the handicrafts people in town. Further, the new middle classes of urban India are increasingly recruiting new members from the better off sections of the villages. They constitute the ‘elites’ of today’s India. The caste division among the workers has also weakened. But there is hardly any articulation of class-consciousness among the workers. Every one seems to aspire a position in the middle class which is getting more and more diversified. Caste and Class They represent two main forms of social stratification. There is hierarchy both in caste and class. Caste system is based on a person’s birth, while class does not depend on birth. An individual in the class system remains either at the higher or lower place of stratification according to her or his wealth, income and position in a society. This is not possible in the caste system. In terms of mobility, class is more open. One changes one’s class position by dint of one’s occupation, power and wealth. The caste system is usually considered closed. But M.N.Srinivas thinks that movement is always possible through the process of Sanskritisation and Westernisation.

Andre Beteille has also noted some scope of mobility in the caste system. In class structure, one chooses one’s own occupation suitable to one’s ability, temperament and efficiency. In caste system, occupation of its members is not so freely available for adoption. TRIBE The tribal population of India represents a distinctive feature in the mosaic of Indian civilisation and culture. It should be noted at the same time that in the Indian context, unlike the situation of tribes in Australia and North America, there have been contact and interaction between the tribals and the non-tribals. Interestingly enough, in India this contact and interaction has not resulted in the loss and submergence of tribal identity or in the physical elimination of tribes as it happened elsewhere. Tribes in India are called Janjati, Vanyajati, Vanavasi, Adimjati, Adivasi etc. According to D.N.Majumdar, a tribe is a collection of families or groups of families bearing common name, members of which occupy the same territory, speak the same language and observe certain taboos regarding marriage, profession or occupation and have developed a well established system of reciprocity and mutuality of obligations. Distinctive Features of Tribes in India Some of the distinctive features of tribes in India are:

5. while a caste is a social group. A tribe like the Bhumis has been converted into a caste. 2. tribals do not engage in trading or financial transactions. Common territory: T ribes generally occupy common geographical areas. 7. Common language: Members of one tribe speak the same language or dialect of a language. production and consumption are household-based and unlike peasants they are not usually a part of the wider economic. and quite a few tribal groups are engaged in agriculture and artisans. 8. economic production and consumption among the tribal people. generally kinship is the principal unit of social organisation. Among the tribes. They have a common descent and are related to one another by blood relations. A tribe never imposes restrictions on its members regarding the choice of occupation but a caste usually promotes hereditary occupations and the principle of birth. Inter-personal relations: Members of a tribe have strong feeling of unity. political and social network. however. . In the social life of the tribals. it takes the form of a caste. Closeness to nature: Traditionally tribal societies had a close symbiotic relationship with nature. 6. 9. Due to isolation and negligible contacts with their more developed neighbours. however. every tribe does not share all of the above features. pastoral. When a tribe loses its territorial character. There are. Usually each tribe has its own language but it is not the case with a caste. Most of the tribes are engaged in one or the other type of agriculture. 4. In the subsistence economy very few tribal groups are still hunters and gatherers but many of them are shifting cultivators (Jhum). mining and industrial development and many tribals became wage labourers. 3. Political organisation: All tribes have their own political organisation which includes council of elders. tribals are comparatively less developed and less integrated in the national mainstream than the castes. Traditionally. A tribal society is largely homogeneous with little sense of hierarchy and subordination. However. Kinship determines the pattern of landownership.CASTE. Economy: They follow ancient occupations such as gleaning. Endogamy: Each tribe has the practice of marrying members within their own tribe. Religion: Most tribes in India are traditionally nature or totem worshippers. CLASS AND TRIBE IN INDIA 43 1. Common name: Each tribe has a distinct name of its own. Tribe and Caste Conceptually a tribe is a territorial group. nomads. At the turn of the nineteenth century large chunks of tribal territories came under plantations. borderline cases of ‘tribal castes’ also. hunting and gathering of forest products.

In tribal view human beings. Caste and tribe emphasise and perpetuate collective identities in strikingly similar ways. Individualism and inequality have crept into the tribal life also. Many of these movements put emphasis on revitalisation of their traditional cultures which seemed to be threatened by the outsiders. Equality or inequality varies from one tribe to another. Once the tribals were exposed to the wider world. Politically tribal societies are relatively simple and egalitarian. egalitarian system and are not mutually inter-dependent like the castes which show a system of stratification and organic solidarity. The tribals became vulnerable to various forms of social. but modifying its animistic practices. These reasons involved exploitation of forest and mineral resources as well as regular supply of cheap labour.44 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY preserving its original name and many of its characteristic customs. In today’s India the tribals suffer the adverse effects of imbalanced development. Lineage. they had traumatic experience of losing their land and right to forest and getting forcibly incorporated into a system about which they knew little. The new groups of tribal elites tend to monopolise them. In independent India also they agitate to protect themselves against deprivation of jobs. clan and kinship tend to overlap with their political organisations. cosmos and the supernatural beings are not separate entities. A caste or tribe may change its name and also its mode of livelihood and yet retain its collective identity. . The constitutional guarantees for the Scheduled Tribes do not reach to the countless tribals. It will have to be matched by a positive concern and effective steps for reaching the benefits of the modernisation and economic development to the poor tribal masses. alienation of their rights to land and other resources due to the influx of the non-tribal in the tribal territories. Equal distribution of the benefits of modernisation and development is a positive remedy against the grievances of the tribals. They assert their ethnic identity to earn a greater share of political power to protect their cultural and economic interests. The tribes have segmentary. training facilities. According to Max Weber. Members of a tribe have usually an equal access to land and other resources of the community. tribe becomes caste with the loss of its territorial attachment. The tribals started different movements during the British regime against alienation of their land and forest as well as threats to their culture. Tribes in Contemporary India The tribals had maintained an autonomous existence till their territories were opened up by the British for strategic reasons. economic and cultural exploitation. The tribals fought sporadically the colonial forces of the British to protect their autonomy.

Social Stratification and Change in India. The People of India. paratha.. ed. Risley. Oriental Book Reprint Corporation. 1950. Vikas Publications. Tribe. Ghurye. 3. New Delhi. . Louis. An often repeated pattern of behaviour which is performed at appropriate times in all religious communities. 4. New Delhi. National Series (Volumes on Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes). EXERCISES 1. Yogendra. K.S. New Delhi.CASTE. Manohar Publications. Define caste. 3. Macmillan. Herbert. Popular Prakashan. Caste and Class in India. What is the role of caste in contemporary India? Bring out the main features of class system in India. 6. 2. Romesh. New Delhi. G. Oxford University Press. Caste and Religion. Distinguish between caste and class. List the main features of the caste system. Fried food like poori. The People of India. 5. 2. 1999. 5. PAKKA FOOD. 1970. Mumbai. 1993. New Delhi. Homo Hierarchicus: The Caste System and its Implications. Define tribe. CLASS AND TRIBE IN INDIA 45 GLOSSARY KACHCHA FOOD.S. 6. 1925/1969. What are the features of tribes in India? 7. 1977. Differentiate between caste and class as two major forms of social stratification.. Thapar. Singh. How is tribe different from caste? SUGGESTED READINGS 1. Boiled food especially rice and chapati etc. 4. Singh. Dumont. R ITUAL .

THE MARRIAGE Marriage is one of the most fundamental and ancient social institutions. sociologists have found a lot of commonality at all India level irrespective of ethnic divisions about marriage and kinship. wher eas. The ties of family and marriage give rise to kinship. Marriage is a “relation of one or more men to one or more women. husband and wife are affines. which determines. it refers to a set of rules and regulations. Therefore. Empirically India has diverse forms of family structure. Indian society is divided into many religious and cultural groups. However a dominant view is that the norm of the Indian family is the joint family. According to Edward Westermarck. The term kinship is often used as a shorthand for “kinship and marriage”. Marriage is the foundation of family and the family is the foundation of social life. Marriage and kinship are aspects of regional cultures. family and kinship are perhaps the most studied institutions in sociology. From times immemorial. family and kinship in India in some detail. Sociologists have studied usually marriage and kinship life in India around the four broader ethnic groups of Hindus. Family and Kinship in India Introduction Marriage. Muslims. it has been maintaining order and discipline in human society. Therefore.” In its essence.CHAPTER 5 Marriage. At the level of family organisation. it is not possible to talk of marriage and kinship in India at the level of all India generality. nature and process vary from society to society. family and kinship in India. Irrespective of these differences this institution has several universally common elements and functions. parents and children are consanguineous kins. which is recognised by custom or law and involves certain rights and duties both in case of parties entering the union and in case of the children born of it. Every religious group has its own customs and procedures of marriage. Thus. It is usual to distinguish between consanguinity (relationship by blood) from affinity (relationship by marriage). there is a lot of diversity in matters of marriage. however. . Its form. Let us discuss marriage. Christians and Tribals.

it has a religious and divine aspect.Prabhu the primary object of marriage is the continuity of the family life. What is more important in Hindu marriage is that it is a sacred bond. (1) As a sacrament Hindu marriage aims to fulfil certain religious obligations. FAMILY AND KINSHIP IN INDIA 47 who will marry whom. Its aim is not only to secure physical pleasure for the individuals but also to advance their spiritual development. During the course of marriage the wife and the husband take an oath to live together. Aims of Hindu Marriage Sociologists and Indologists have discussed about the following aims of Hindu marriage in India.” According to P. Marriage binds the wife and the husband into an indissoluble bond which lasts beyond death. Let us see some of the most notable forms: Hindu Marriage in India A distinction has to be made of the book view and field view of marriage. Hindu marriage is not merely a union between a female and a male which is sanctioned by society. At the commencemnt of each such Ashrama . norms and customs of marriage. one becomes purified in body and mind.M. what will be the rights and duties of the persons entering into such union and finally how the union will be dissolved.MARRIAGE. psychological and spiritual aims and objectives of both the wife and the husband. Sociologists have noted the relative stability of marriage relationship in India. A traditional Hindu passes through four Ashramas or stages of life called Brahamacharya (student life). It fulfils the physical. Marriage gives social and legal recognition to woman and man as wife and husband and their relationship. As a result of this. Marriage is a socially recognised and normatively prescribed relationship between at least two persons — one female and other male — that defines and estabilishes sexual. In India different socio-religious and cultural groups have their own traditional concepts.H. social. (family life). Grihastha . Vanaprastha (r etired life) and Sannyasa (renunciation). procreation. . how the marriage union will be established under what conditions and when marriage will take place. The marriage system of Hindu community has a uniqueness of its own which makes it distinct from other communities. Kapadia says that— “Hindu marriage is a socially approved union of man and woman aiming at dharma. Alongwith the social sanction. a religious sacrament. K. The children born out of marital relationship are recognised as legitimate children in society. sexual pleasure and observance of certain obligations. economic and other rights and duties which each owes to the other. Marriage is a gateway to Grihastha Ashrama. a Hindu undergoes a sacrament and takes a vow.

‘jati’ and ‘kula’ norms. the gift was respectfully returned to the sage.48 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY (2) It is very essential for a Hindu to be married for the fulfilment of religious duties like dhar ma (practice of religion). which has been officiated by him. They used to gift a pair of cow and a bull to the father of a girl of their choice. Prajapatya Vivah: This is a modified. a man cannot perform these duties. In this form of marriage the father of the bride invites for marriage the most suitable groom. These are Pitri Rina. Asura Vivah: In this form of . Role of a wife is essential for the completion of Grihastha Dhar ma and perform religious rites. 5. giving some portion of food to different creatures. The wife among the Hindus is called Ardhangini . Otherwise. These days it is called samajik vivah or Kanyadaan vivah as well. Daiva Vivah: The father of the bride offeres his daughter in the hand of the priest as Dakshina and Yajna. Marriage is essential for repaying Pitri rina and the individual repays it by being the father of a son. in terms of learning capacity and character for his daughter who is given to the groom in kanyadaan. Bhut Yajna . praja (procreation) and rati (sexual pleasure). 3. Which are as follows: 1. (5) Hindus believe in a concept of three religious debts or Rinas . and Pitriyajna by daily chanting vedic mantras. 2. In case the father of the girl was in favour of this marriage proposal he accepted the gift and marriage was arranged. It was considered as an ideal form of marriage in ancient times but has become irrelevant today. (4) A Hindu Grihastha is expected to perform daily fire sacrifies such as Deva Yajna . in case they wanted to lead a family life. Forms of Hindu Marriage Hindu scriptures discribed eight forms of marriage. 4. It is doubly essential for a woman because marriage is the only significant samskara for her. The main difference lies in the rules of sapinda exogamy. less elaborate form of Brahma vivah. offering ghee or clarified butter in fire. Daiv Rina and Guru Rina . Arsha Vivah: This was the sanctioned procedure of marriage for sages or renunciators. (3) The Hindus consider vivah or marriage as one of the Sarir Samskara or sacraments sanctifying the body. The foremost purpose of Hindu marriage is to practise dhar ma in accordance with ‘varna’. Without the active participation of his wife. Bramha Vivah: This is the most ideal and the most sought after marriage among the Hindus. extending hospitality to guests and by performing shraddha or offering of pinda or rice balls to ancestors respectively.

These laws are based on two principles i. Recognising this form of union as marriage was an attempt to protect the rights of the cheated woman. For example.e. has no other alternative but to marry him. The man cheats the girl and thereby forces her to marry him.. a person has to choose from her or his own sub-caste and/or caste. It was a sanctioned form of marriage in exceptional circumstances and among certain classes but it was not considered as an ideal in the tradition. The woman. Each such unit is an endogamous group. Kanyakubj.MARRIAGE. Marriage by exchange is also permitted within this marriage. FAMILY AND KINSHIP IN INDIA 49 marriage. It also gave legitimacy to the children born of such unions. in Hindu society both these rules are practised . having lost her chastity. This type of marriage was widely prevalent during the ancient age among the kings as the prizes of war or the machanism to improve relations with the defeated people. (i) Caste Endogamy: This rule prescribes marriage within one’s own caste and prohibits the members of a caste to marry outside their own caste. Rules of Mate Selection To maintain the purity and distinctive identity of groups in society. It was sanctioned but not an ideal form of marriage. Though endogamy and exogamy seem to be two contradictory rules. directing its members to choose their mates only from that sub-caste. 8. Gaur. Rakshasa Vivah: This is that form of marriage which is known marriage by capture among the tribals. 7. All these groups are endogamous groups. (a) Endogamy While selecting a mate. (b) Exogamy In exogamy a person is supposed to marry outside one’s own group. etc. Gandharva Vivah: It was the traditional form of contemporary love marriage. the members of which have feelings of superiority over the others. (ii) Sub-caste Endogamy: Each caste is sub-divided into many small groups. the endogamic rule and the exogamic rules. 6. the bridegroom pays bride price to bride’s father or her kinsmen and marries the bride. the Hindu law-givers have laid down detailed rules and regulations regarding the choice of a partner for the marriage union. Brahmanas are also having some sub-castes like Saraswat. Paisacha Vivah: This is the least acceptable form of marriage. The violation of this rule would result into severe social and economic punishments by the ‘caste council’ or ‘panchayat ’ amounting to isolation and denial of all sorts of social help and co-operation.

does not allow marriage within five generations on father’s side and three generations on mother’s side. Other Rules of Marriage (i) Hypergamy or Anuloma : Hypergamy is that form of marriage in which the ritual status of a man is higher than that of his prospective wife. and (2) People who are united by offering pinda or balls to the same dead ancestor. According to the custom such marriages are not preferred. It is believed that sagotras or persons with the same gotra have originated from the same ancestor and are. Though the Hindu Marriage Act. therefore. a weaver that is known as an inter -caste marriage. by five generations from the mother’s side and seven generations from the father’s side. although in the urban areas this custom is not strictly followed. The Hindu law-givers differ in their definitions of sagotra. But. Hindu Marriage Laws (Amendment) Act 1976 etc. this rule has been made legally ineffective by the Hindu Marriage Act. been legalised by legislations such as Special Marriage Act 1954. of course. Sapinda exogamy indicates the prohibition placed on inter marriage of sapindas. Inter-Caste Marriage It means the marriage between a woman and a man who belong to two different castes. Hindu Marriage Act 1955. say. Muslim Marriage in India The Muslim marriage is called Nikah. (ii) Sapinda Exogamy: Sapindas are supposed to be blood relatives. related by blood. it allows this in the form of crosscousin marriages as a peculiar custom of the South India. The inter -caste marriages have however. 1955. The Hindu marriage act. For example.50 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY simultaneously. 1955 prohibits Sapinda marriage in general. Conceptually. The term sapinda (saman pind) means (1) Those who share the particles of the same body. at different levels. Sapinda represents the relationship between the living member and dead ancestors. however. when a woman of Brahman caste marries a man from the caste of. One cannot select life partner from one’s own Sapindas . the members of which are forbidden to marry each other. There are two types of exogamous rules in Hindu society: (i) Sagotra Exogamy: Gotra (sagotra or same gotra) is a clan or family group. Muslim marriage is a . Sapindas are those who are related to one another in ascending or descending order. (ii) Hypogamy or Pratiloma : Hypogamy is that form of marriage in which the ritual status of a woman is higher than that of her prospective husband.

It has got a religious aspect but it is primarily a social institution among the Indian Christians. According to the Muslim Personal Law marriage is valid when four persons are present as witnesses. (2) Fifth marriage of a man with four existing wives. In India. The Muslim marriage can be terminated by divorce. For example. The marriage rite usually takes place at the bride’s place in both among the Hindus and the Muslims in India. marriage among Muslims is also a religious affair. the Christians also believe that marriage takes place because of the divine will. There are many customs which are commonly shared by the Hindus and the Muslims in a particular region. (4) Difference of religion between wife and husband. There are two types of Muslim marriages — regular (Nikah) and irregular (Fasid). however. The marriage partners are selected either by parents or by children . The marriage as a relatively permanent bond between a woman and a man seems to be the common heritage of Indian culture and Muslim marriages in India are reported to be more stable than in Arab world and other places. It is. Further.MARRIAGE. FAMILY AND KINSHIP IN INDIA 51 social contract or civil contract. There are differences between rituals of different sects but the defining features of all Muslim marriages (nikah) are the same. There are two main sects among the Muslim community in India — the Shias and the Sunnis . Irregular marriage (Mutah) can be converted into regular (Nikah) marriage. The duration of iddat is three months for divorcee and four months and ten days for widow to assure that the woman is not pregnant. (3) Marriage of a woman during the period when she is undergoing iddat. among the Mopala Muslims of Kerala. the Hindu rite of Kalyanam is a necessary component of traditional Nikah. This contract includes the amount of Mehr or bride-wealth which the groom has to give to the bride as part of the contract at the time of the marriage or later as agreed upon. however. not a religious duty as among the Hindus. Like the Hindus. Parallel cousin marriage — marriage of one with the daughter/son of one’s father’s brother — has been the preferred marriage among Muslims. It is called Nikahnama. widow-remarriage is not a problem among Muslims. These four persons are: (1) The groom (2) The bride (3) The kazi (4) Witnesses (two male or four female witnesses). Irregular marriages occur in case of (1) Absence of witnesses at the time of making and accepting the proposal. If they agree ‘voluntarily’ their marriage contract is sanctioned. The bride and the groom are formally asked by the kazi — in the presence of the local community and the chosen witnesses — about their voluntary consent to their marriage. Christian Marriage in India Christian Marriage in India has great similarity with Hindu marriage.

the Andamanese. But. Prescriptions and Preferences in the choice of mates in tribal societies are based on very elaborate rules. we find the existence of strict marriage rules. three weeks before the due date of marriage. Marriage rules among the Christians and Hindus are quite similar. and (d) The marriage ring — the second ring. education. In fact. Gonds and Khasis prefer a cross-cousin marriage. physical fitness etc. Christians do not permit polygamy. marriage date is fixed.52 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY themselves. of the boy and the girl. These preferential marriages may be viewed as a device to avoid bride – price and to keep the property of the household intact. For instance. Even among the most primitive tribes like the Toda. The Church like the Hindu tradition does not permit divorce. Remarriage of widows and divorcee is not only accepted but also encouraged. and giving importance to social status of the family. perhaps under the Hindu influence. Marital fidelity is found to be enforced in most of the tribes. The ritual of marriage takes place in the church. (c) The church priest then invites objections against the proposed marriage and when no objection is received. this does not mean that the tribes have no marriage rules. (b) Submitting an application for marriage in the church. Preference in Mate Selection The tribes of India are different from each other on the basis of mate selection. different from engagement ring — is exchanged in the Church and the couple declares that they take each other as wedded partner in the presence of two witnesses and in the name of Lord Christ. According to the Church customs neither bride-wealth (Mehr) nor Dahej is permissible in Christian marriage but practice of dowry is on the rise. the Gonds call it Dudh Lautav (returning the milk) implying thereby that the bride – price a person pays for his wife will be returned when his daughter marries her mother’s brother’s son. most of the tribes are strictly monogamous except on some festive occasions when there is a laxity in sex morals. character. While selecting partners the focus is on avoiding close relations. among christians divorce does occur. After the engagement ceremony the marriage custom includes the following steps: (a) Producing a certificate of character. the Chenchu. Christians in India are guided by the Church customs as well as by the rules of Indian Constitution. however. In . Proscriptions. Most of the tribes of India prefer to select mates in their own kin. Tribal Marriage in India In India. there are some tribes which allow pre-marital and extra-marital sex relations on festive occasions. the Kadar. A community feast is organised after marriage among the Christians as among all other Indian communities irrespective of religious identity.

All the brothers in a family have the same woman as their wife. In simultaneous sororate. if they adjust with each other. the man marries the younger sister of his wife. they marry. It is further divided into two types: (i) Polygyny: A man is eligible to marry more than one woman. a man is allowed to live with the woman at her parent’s house for a particular period of time. if not. born of this marriage is determined by a social festival. after the death of wife.MARRIAGE. This is again sub-divided into two types: (a) Fraternal Polyandry: It is the marriage of one woman with several brothers of a family. (ii) Polyandry : One woman marries more than one man. the Toda. Marriage by Probation: In this type of marriage. who are not brothers. If the . then any one of the husbands is chosen as her or his father by a special ceremony. the Gond. They belong to different families and are not related by brotherly relations. Polygamy: In this form. There are mainly eight ways of acquiring mates: 1. his wife marries the younger brother of her dead husband. It prevails among the Naga. It is accepted among many Indian tribes. the husband marries the sister of his dead wife. or one man can marry two or more women. one woman can marry two or more men. Ways of Acquiring Mates among the Tribal Communities Tribal marriage is a social contract for sexual pleasure. they separate and the man has to pay some money to the parents of the woman as compensation. When a child is born. (b) Non-fraternal Polyandry: In this marriage one woman marries more than one man. During the period of probation. production of children and mutual co-operation. Khasas of Jaunsar Bawar. It is pronounced among the matrilineal tribes of Khasis and Garos of North-East India. FAMILY AND KINSHIP IN INDIA 53 addition to cross-cousin marriage other types of preferential marriages are: (a) Levirate: In this type. Types of Marriage 1. after the death of one’s wife. after the death of husband. 2. It is not a religious sacrament like the Hindu marriage. the Baiga. Monogamy: It is the ideal form of marriage. The paternity of children. It is especially found among the Todas of South India. In restricted sororate. the younger sister of one’s wife automatically becomes his wife. neither spouse can marry again. (b) Sororate: In this type. The union of one woman with one man is called monogamy. During the lifetime. It is found among the Todas of India.

the so-called bride-price is only a contribution from the bridegroom’s family towards the expenses of the marriage feast on which it is usually spent. the parents of bridegroom pay something in cash or kind to the bride’s parents. 3. Marriage by Service: Certain tribal families observe this custom. Besides. Ho. Women dance very near to the tree or pole and men dance around the circle of the dancing women. It is found among the Kuki tribe of Manipur. After the expiry of this period. A Garo man cannot get a bride if bride-price is not paid. Muria Gond. Any man from the group has the right to reach the tree or pole. Bhil. This money or material is known as the bride-price. if the father-in-law is satisfied with the work of the man. Among the Bhils. The bride-price is said to be the compensation to the bride’s parents which is generally fixed by the tribal customs and traditions. Marriage by Trial: In some of the tribes of India. Women beat that man venturing to perform the feat with bamboo sticks and tear his clothes. Badaga and Saora etc. Excessive bride-price is the main factor responsible for this type of marriage. A coconut with some gur is tied to the top of the tree or pole. men and women perform a folk dance around a tree or a pole during Holi festival. Ceremonial capture is found among the Santhal tribes. the Juangs and some of the tribes of Central India. that man has the right to marry any one of the girls who have participated in the trial. This is found among many tribes including the Bhils of India. Marriage by capture is of two types: (i) In physical capture a man adopts a procedure whereby he carries away the woman by force and marries her. 2. According to this custom. . Marriage by Purchase: In this form of tribal marriage. simply goes to his prospective father-in-laws’ house and serves there as a servant for a particular period of time. Marriage by Capture: It is a type of marriage in which without the consent of a woman. In spite of all resistance. The system prevails among the Nagas. 4.54 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY woman becomes pregnant during this probation period then that man must marry that woman. 5. a man is required to prove his prowess and courage by braving the obstacles thrown in his way before procuring his wife. a man marries her forcibly. Physical capture is found among the Naga. (ii) In ceremonial capture a man adopts a procedure whereby he surprises the woman by marking her forehead with Vermilion. the bridegroom before marriage. if he reaches the tree and breaks the coconut and eats gur.

particularly where her natal family is . Marriage by Exchange: According to this practice. Marriage by Elopement: It takes place when a woman and a man love each other and want to marry. During the period of service. ill-treated and beaten by the parents of the man. Sometimes. the woman herself takes the initiative and enters his hut and occupies her place in one of its corners. she wins and the man is compelled by his neighbours to marry her. Marriage by Intrusion: When a man has intimate relations with a woman and promises to marry her but always postpones the marriage ceremony. etc. If the woman withstands all this. she is much harassed. 6. dowry is increasing among Muslim and Christian families and some of the tribal groups as well. Dowry is spreading even among those communities which did not practice dowry earlier. 8. The traditional system of Dahej was a voluntary form of gift giving. instead. practice this. Baiga. Marriage in Contemporary India Marriage in India today is primarily of monogamous type. both of them escape from the village. they come back to the village and then they are recognised as wife and husband. Most marriages are settled by the parents but the interests and opinions of the concerned children are being taken into account increasingly.MARRIAGE. The tribes of India differ from one another regarding the modalities or the duration of service. is negotiated and demanded either in cash or in kind or both given by the bride’s family to the groom’s family. The custom of dowry represents the declining role of ‘community’ and ‘collective ideals’ and increasing emphasis on individual and family interests in the short term. the Muria Gonds and Baiga of Bastar and the Koya and the Saora of Andhra Pradesh practice this. After some period. FAMILY AND KINSHIP IN INDIA 55 he gives his daughter’s hand to him. the man cannot establish sexual relations with the woman. The Uralis of Kerala. The prevalence of dowry system seriously affects the bond of love and affection between the bride and her in-laws. Inter-caste and inter -community marriages are somewhat increasing in urban areas. It is known as Raji Khushi marriage among the Ho tribe of Jharkhand. two families exchange their daughter and son so that neither side is required to pay the bride-price. If he is dissatisfied then the man is banished from the house. The modern practice of dowry. For example. 7. Among the Oraons it is known as Nirbolok and among the Ho as Anadar. but their parents refuse their matrimonial relation. The age at marriage is increasing among all the socio-religious communities. In such cases. The members of many tribes of India such as the Gond. Marriage by exchange is very common in Indian tribes.

In comparison to other societies. It is not uncommon for husband to take part in the domestic work. In modern industrial societies. Sociologists also talk about patrilineal and matrilineal families. However. the family is dominated by principles of kinship organisation and ties of filiations or blood relationships. Family property is primarily transmitted from father to son. After marriage the daughter goes to live with her husband and the spouse of the male child comes to live with her husband’s family. integration and development of social life. THE FAMILY Family is a basic and universal unit of human society. cultural. If parents live with their mature children and their spouses. A . It is called nuclear or conjugal family. In traditional societies. It creates endless sufferings for the bride whose parents are unable to meet the greed of the groom’s family. the family performs primarily the functions of reproduction. The rate of divorce and separation is also increasing. socialisation and provision of emotional satisfaction. and (ii) to an analytical concept. The empirical type of family varies from community to community and region to region. In most traditional societies family has been the unit of social. religious. family is a universal institution. it is called joint family.56 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY forced to spend enormously on dowry. It is upon the conjugal relation that the solidarity of elementary family depends. As a result conjugal relationship is being redefined in tune with the democratic ethos. Economic self-sufficiency of women and their sense of dignity as well as enlightenment of the prospective grooms is expected to minimise dowry. especially when the wife is also working. It performs functions that are necessary for the continuity. however. Family as an analytical concept is primarily concerned with legitimate mating and sanctioned procreation in all human societies. A patrilineal family is constituted by the children of the ‘father’ and children are known by the name of the father. usually unmarried — children. In modern industrial and urban societies family provides the chief principle of kin-group formation. It refers (i) to an empirical entity of a specific type. it is called nuclear or elementary family. The solidarity of joint family depends primarily on the mutual trust among family members. economic and political activities and organisations. The group formed around the primacy of marriage is composed of spouses and dependent children. the conjugal bond is increasingly under stress. however. stability of marriage as an institution is still intact in Indian society. If parents live with their immature — economically and emotionally dependent. As an analytical concept. Legislation against dowry has been passed. It refers to groups composed of parents and children. wives are gradually becoming aware of their rights and they have become relatively assertive. Even in stable marriage contexts. Sociologists talk about family in two senses.

After marriage the husband may go to live with his wife and her family or. Iravati Karve says that the joint family is a group of people who generally live under one roof. Functional Joint Family: When two families having blood relationship are living separately but function under one common authority. 4. This cycle is usually completed within thirty years times and a new cycle begins after that. T raditional Joint Family: It consists of three or more generations of people living together in one household. In both modern and traditional India nuclear households did exist. husband and their unmarried children. own property commonly and participate in the family rituals. it is called functional joint family. The family property is transmitted from the mother to the daughter but it is usually managed by the mother’s br other. in some societies. Joint and nuclear households and the cultural norm of joint family have .MARRIAGE. 2. co-residence and common kitchen are not as important elements of the joint family as intra-family relationships.Desai.Desai the concept of family as nuclear family is still not the Indian concept. Nuclear Family: The smallest family which consists of wife. 5. According to I. stay with his sister. This is linked with the natural process of death of the older generation and birth of the new generation. eat the food cooked at one hearth. The management right is transferred from the mother’s brother to the sister’s son. Contemporary sociologists have reported from different regions of India that nuclear family or household is merely a stage in the developmental cycle of the joint family. Shah have differentiated between joint family and a residential household.P. hold property in common. He has suggested that there are five types of family life in India: 1.M. participate in common family worship and are related to each other as some particular type of kindred. The Family In India According to I. Functional and Substantial Joint Family: When a functional joint family is also joint in terms of property it is called functional and substantial joint family. To the Indian the family is that which is the joint family in English. Joint family remained for most Indians the ideal pattern of family life. Sociologists like A. Marginal Joint Family: When two generations of family members live together functionally and substantially it is called marginal joint family. Patrilineal families may be either nuclear or joint but matrilineal families are mostly joint. FAMILY AND KINSHIP IN INDIA 57 matrilineal family is constituted by the descendents of the ‘mother’ and children are known by the name of the mother.P. Households in India develop into joint and nuclear structures in a cyclical order. 3.

e. Structural Features of Joint Households 1. uncles. Functional Elements of Joint Household in India 1. the wife of the head of the house or an elderly woman remains in charge of the common kitchen. Mutual Obligations: Members of the joint family are bound together by mutual obligations. Role of the Karta: In the household. reciprocal relationships and cooperative spirit.58 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY existed side by side in India. Common Residence and Kitchen: The members live under one roof. cousins and so on. The individual’s interests are sub- . 2. Common Property: The property of the family is held in common.. Wealth and goods of joint family are produced and consumed collectively. All the earning members keep their earnings with him and the entire property is kept under his control. the family diety is known as kul devta. The entire residence is divided into many small rooms for the use of different brothers and their families. Generally. aunts. Large Size: It consists of a number of people. 2. The common God they worship i. This brings unity and integration to the family. The head of the family. Family ceremonies and celebrations are held under his guidance and direction. known as the ‘karta’ remains in charge of it. Both movable and immovable property are owned jointly. It may even consist of people of three or more generations including at least grandparents. grandchildren. No one works against the interests of the others. There is a single kitchen for the whole household. love. 3. This common pattern of worship is inherited from generation to generation. Changes are now taking place both in the structure of households and the degree of sentiment of jointness. In nutshell. Jointness in living fosters a common bond among the different members of the family. These bonds and relation-ships are said to be the sustaining force of the joint family. the Karta is the trustee of the family and enjoys unquestionable authority. 3. Every male member is legally a co-owner of the family property. Everyone works according to one’s efficiency and earnings are pooled together in a common fund. All members are responsible for each other and are bound by mutual understanding. He also settles the disputes within the household. the authority to take decisions and maintain peace and discipline in the family lies in the hands of the Karta. Common Rituals and Ceremonies: Every joint family has its own rites and rituals in accordance with the caste norms and religious obligations.

The joint family organisation is well adapted to provide the maximum degree of . In the process of growing as an adult it emphasises among its members inculcation of traditional norms associated with general roles as a female or male. It helps one to grow into a mature. Functions of the Joint Family The Indian joint family system is considered the backbone of Indian social organisation. The young are always under constant guidance and discipline. It acts as an informal means of social control. The family is greatly concerned about children’s education. employment and marriage. responsible full-fledged social being. 4. Everyone works for the welfare of the family as a whole. sacrifice and sympathy to its members. The responsibility of child raising is shared with the wider kin group. follows that this ancient institution has performed some beneficial functions for the society. Each member contributes according to her or his capacity and gets according to her or his needs. Socialisation Following from the family’s role as the site of reproduction. Some positive functions of the joint family are the following: Reproduction The family functions as the usual legitimate site of reproduction. Agency of Social Control The joint family is a self-regulating administrative unit. The elder members in a joint family check the indiscipline and anti-social tendencies of its young.MARRIAGE. Consequently. Socialist System: It is a functional unit based on socialistic norms. The rights and privileges are distributed equally among the members. It involves the young in the care of elders. and the aged. The family ensures that its members grow up as well behaved and disciplined people. It. the family is the first and primary agency of socialisation. It takes special care of the infant and the pregnant or lactating mother. co-operation. numerous offsprings are viewed as a positive asset to the group. The family imparts the values of tolerance. the sick. Human fertility and procreation are determined to a large extent by the family. providing security to the parents in their old age. the handicapped. FAMILY AND KINSHIP IN INDIA 59 ordinate to the interests of the family as a whole. operating under the guidance of the Karta whose authority is questioned only in terms of exceptional use of power. and it plays a crucial role in the social placement of the younger generation. evidently. As a system of social organisation it has been prevalent for many centuries till today. Welfare A major function of the family is that of care and nurture of the young.

Differences and bitterness lead to internal contradictions and thus prepare the way for dissolution of the household. The joint family is a single unit of consumption. The women usually take charge of the domestic and reproductive sphere. Since the family-head makes important decisions. The old people strictly abide by the traditional norms and beliefs and do not accept new cultural limits and trends. there is less scope for taking into consideration limitations of individual members or their likes and dislikes. especially so in the times of distress.60 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY security to its members. there are also dysfunctions and pathological aspects of the joint residential pattern of the family in India. while non-consumable commodities are shared among the large number of family members. The joint family stands in the way of development of the individual’s autonomous personality. unjust behaviour and emphasise on individualism. Some of these. most of the time of young married women may be spent on catering to the needs of all the members. Distribution Consumption and Crucial to the familial organisation of production is the sexual division of labour. Since the joint family has both old and young members. They may also contribute to home-based industrial activities. there is an intergenerational conflict. are as follows: The joint household is a centre of conflict with respect to petty issues. both within the household itself and outside. This implies an economically efficient arrangement as large amounts of consumable commodities are purchased at low prices. It also provides opportunities for recreation and participation in cultural functions. this sexual division of labour has come under criticism in recent times. independent thinking is restrained and creative potential of members is not fully tapped or expanded. thus. Production. This sometimes creates problems and disrupts peace in the family. Thus. Sometimes there is psychological dissatisfaction and misunderstanding as intimacy fails to develop between newly married couples. However. There is . The joint family. creates a conducive and friendly social environment for its members. The young oppose supposedly authoritarian. unfair. The members pool in their earnings and expenses are made depending on the needs of the whole family. Dysfunctions of the Joint Family Despite the numerous advantages. Under the joint family system. There is often lack of adjustments. This sometimes leaves them with little free time or opportunities to enjoy and sometimes even to look after their health properly. noted by sociologists. accommodation and assimilation between the members. The men are employed in the public domain and contribute to the family’s earnings.

Parent-Children Relations: In the traditional family. Changes in the Joint Family The following changes in the joint family or household have been observed by sociologists: Structural Changes The facts and values which nurtured. (3) lack of state organised system of social security for old women and men. Today. in most joint households all members are part of decisionmaking. (2) the readiness of the economically viable members to stand by those other members of the joint family who lack in the capacity to support themselves and their spouses and children economically. Relations between Daughter-inlaw and Parents–in-law: A significant change has come about in their relationship. The factors which are now leading to the breaking-up of the joint household are: 1. The mother-in-law is not a powerful figure but she remains a respected kin like the father-in-law. this is not the case in the contemporary household. FAMILY AND KINSHIP IN INDIA 61 difference in attitudes to social customs. 4.MARRIAGE. Functional Changes These can be examined at three levels: 1. which are leading to nuclearisation of the joint household. and (4) a material incentive for organising the size of the land and the capital and the labour required to utilise the same profitably. stabilised and sustained the joint family organisation are: (1) filial devotion of sons. 2. 3. Growth of individualism. occupation and marriage of children in the family. . 2. the wife plays a more active role. Disinclination of sons and their wives to share the joint responsibilities of the household. often at par with her husband. especially among the young and the westernised sections of society. It requires mutual adjustment between the wife and the husband as well as between work and home. But in the contemporary household. generating tensions in the household. The educated bahu does not observe purdah from her father-in-law. while power and authority was totally vested in the Karta and he was virtually allpowerful in decision-making about education. Differential earnings of brothers. the wife had a sub-ordinate voice in decisionmaking. Wife-Husband Relations: In the traditional household. The relationship between the bahu and the motherin-law is often less strained now. 3. The growing importance of the service sector in the economy and external earning opportunities.

. A. This situation has changed now since medical facilities and other factors have significantly raised the average life expectancy. These factors have not led to the demise of the joint family in the structural sense. one section of urban society. however. industrialisation. Shah says that while the average size of household in urban areas has been lower than in rural areas.M. The age at marriage in this class is high and usually sons and daughters-in-law have jobs in places away from the parents’ place of residence. since 1951. It has been under the maximum impact of the ideology of individualism. life expectancy was so low in the past that it reduced the chances of forming a joint household and preserving it for a long time. nuclear households have existed since earlier times at the empirical level. however. migration. spread of western education and the process of westernisation have led to the development of a new type of household and family in India. For various reasons. This section has developed a liberal attitude towards daughters. where the institution of nuclear family and household is gaining popular acceptance. Demographic factors. (2) Sense of individual responsibility is greater in such households in comparison to the joint households. this class has usually followed the one or two child norm. During the modern period different factors like urbanisation. The middle class professionals have accepted the small family norm. particularly in metropolitan cities. whereby the absence of a son does not create over-anxiety. This is the middle and professional classes and westernised upper caste sections in metropolitan cities. it has been steadily increasing in both. have strengthened the institution of joint family and joint households. nuclear households have become economically more viable for the prosperous middle classes. Census data and ethnographic studies have shown that it is the older people rather than children who have contributed to an increase in the average size of the Indian household. The children after marriage may not live necessarily in a joint household with their parents. Consequently. To some extent nuclear families have even emerged as an alternative cultural norm. but have certainly strengthened the existing nuclear households and families. They may continue to uphold the norm of the joint family but do not live together as an integrated household unit for long. This is a modern and rapidly growing section of Indian society. (3) In the urban context. Among the nuclear households the following features are reported: (1) Small size of the household facilitates greater freedom and independence to the members. The modern media has played a significant role in the spread of the new cultural norm of the nuclear family.62 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY The Family in Contemporary India Although the cultural norm of family in most socio-religious-cultural groups in India has been joint. There is.

KINSHIP In societies of almost all varieties. kinship provides the framework of social relationship. Modern facilities like insurance. In many instances this leads to emotional strain and emotionally vulnerable personalities. however.MARRIAGE. under strain. or ideas about ‘relatedness’ or relationship through birth and through marriage. children feel a lot of loneliness and anxiety. Therefore. Outside her or his nuclear family she or he has secondary relatives and tertiary relatives. The Indian parliament has passed various Acts to safeguard the interests of female members in the family. banking and medical clinics have made the traditional security and care offered by joint households less attractive to the prosperous professional classes. house-keepers. the popular media such as cinema and television programmes have often dealt with the changing joint family and households in the modern context. family decisions are mostly the result of negotiated procedures. On the whole. Duncan Mitchel. sometimes. playschools and other formal childcare agencies. Each individual has primary relatives in the nuclear family to which she or he belongs. the institution of joint family and household is undergoing adaptive changes. (5) From children’s point of view. As a reflection of these changes. FAMILY AND KINSHIP IN INDIA 63 (4) Nuclear households are supposed to promote more adaptability to cope with crisis situations in the contemporary context. A large number of Indians even today live in joint households and the norm of joint family is more or less intact. The cultural ethos of jointness and the emotional bond between the members is. “when we use the term kinship we are referring to people who are related by consanguinity and affinity”. They have to rely on servants. nuclear households have both negative and positive aspects. According to G. As a result. The role of grandparents and other senior relatives in child development is well recognised by psychologists and social scientists. however. Education has also empowered women and children. in the last two decades. Consanguinity is a relationship based on . Instead. Kinship is that part of culture which deals with notions of. In nuclear households. although in most cases children learn to cope and develop an attitude of independence and individualism. both the parents are working outside. joint family norms and customs are changing rapidly. The moral authority of the family head or Karta has been undermined. The kinship organisation refers to a set of persons recognised as relatives either by virtue of blood relationship or by virtue of marriage relationship. The joint households are adapting to the changing norms and customs. Resilience of Indian society and culture is reflected in the institution of the family even today.

64 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY supposedly common blood relationship. Females in a patrilineal descent trace their descent through the line of their father’s as male members do. A consanguine is a relative who was born in the family as well as one who was adopted in the family concerned. Lineage . who has descended from whom. Here descent is traced through all progenitors. For example.. Descent is traced separately through female and through male lines for different purposes. There are several ways of tracing descents. Descent concerns the tracing of relationships through succeeding generations. Kinship also indicates the expectations. through both the mother and the father. An affine is a relative by marriage. many tribes such as Santhals or Mundas have the patrilineal system. and it regulates the social behaviour relating to birth. 2. It is important to remember that ego or the person calculating descent may be either female or male. (i) it provides a way of transmitting status and property from one generation to the next. 3. Matrilineal or Uterine Descent is a form of descent traced through females only.g. The Nayars of Kerala are a good example of matrilineal descent. Of the two. i. physical union of woman and man and death. Kinship is the product of two related institutions.. family and marriage. Patrilineal or Agnatic Descent is a form of unilineal descent traced through males only. father–son relationship is consanguineous relationship whereas wife–husband relationship is affinal relationship. Unilineal Descent or ‘one-line’ descent is that form of descent in which a relationship is emphasised through one sex or line. Patrilineal descent is more prevalent in North India. female and male. rights and duties that kinsmen have to one another. Unilineal descent groups often take the form of lineages and clans. It is of two types: 1. There is also the form of Double or Duo lineal or Bilineal Descent. Both females and males trace their descent in this way. In most societies where kinship connections are important. Tribes such as the Khasis and Garos of North-East have the matrilineal descent system. inheritance of immovable property through one line and inheritance of movable property through the other. Kinship serves two important and related purposes. Among the tribals. patrilineal descent system is more common. It is a form of unilineal descent which combines both patrilines and matrilines. Cognatic or Bilateral Descent is non unilineal descent. and (ii) in some societies it serves to establish and maintain effective social groups. Interestingly the polyandrous Todas too have a patrilineal system. the rules of descent affiliate individuals with different sets of kin.e. e. In India we generally find the patrilineal and matrilineal descent systems.

the famous anthropologist. Radcliffe Brown. exogamous descent groups — particularly in North India. bhatiji — one’s brother’s daughter and bhanji — one’s sister’s daughter. Thus. pointed out that kinship terms provides the context and idiom for our social relationships. In the South Indian kinship terminology there . father’s brother as chacha etc. Marriage is usually not allowed between the members of a lineage. Rules of inheritance tend to coordinate with reckoning of descent in most societies. Morgan. Thus. In order to emphasise the patrilineal descent.. both terms — descriptive and classificatory — are used. L. He talked of two systems of kinship terminologies : (i) Classificatory. In most parts of India till very recent times immovable property such as land and housing has been inherited only by sons and in their absence by the nearest male relatives. the distinction between crosscousin and parallel-cousin may be noted. classification of ego’s rights and duties. In most contemporary societies. ‘mother’. Recent legislation has. the parallel-cousins of ego are her or his father’s brother’s (chacha’s) child and mother’s sister’s (mausi’s) child. whose members trace their descent from a common ancestor through known links. The members of a unilineal descent group may often come together for ritual and ceremonial celebrations. the cross-cousins of ego are her or his father’s sister’s (phuphi’s) child and mother’s brother’s (mama’s) child. Within the nuclear family only descriptive terms ‘father’. Here. are used. FAMILY AND KINSHIP IN INDIA 65 is a set of kin. The Descriptive System refers to a kinship system in which a single term refers to a particular relative and a specific kind of relationship of the ego — the person from whom the relationship is calculated with her or him. e. and (ii) Descriptive. for example. Persons who are respective children of brother and his sister are cross-cousins. Here the same term is used for different kin. A clan is often composed of related lineages. has observed that kinship terms indicate. For example. established right of the daughter to her paternal property. The gotras of Indian society are.H.g. A clan is a set of kins who believe that they have descended from a common ancestor but cannot specify the genealogical links with her or him. Prior to him. The North Indian kinship terminology is comparatively descriptive in the sense that it describes elementary relationships starting from the ego. Parallel-cousins are persons who are respective children of same-gender siblings.MARRIAGE. the terms in the system make a clear-cut distinction between parallel and cross-cousins.R. The Classificatory System uses kinship terms that merge or equate relatives who are genealogically distinct from one another. etc. however. Marriage is not permitted also within the clan. among other things. Kinship Terminology A. mother’s brother is referred to as mama.

There are other types of joking relationships as well. however. It indicates equality and mutual reciprocity between the two kin participating in it. Similarly. Iravati Karve has talked about four regions (North. for example. bhabhi may be married to devar. Joking relationship is an example of it. This practice exists in North India among some agricultural caste groups. only after the birth of a child by whose name she or he is addressed. It is not possible to talk of kinship in India at the level of all India generality. Bhainsur or Bhasur is a combination of the Sanskrit word bhratri (brother) and shvasur (father-in-law). South. in which she or he is married. Kinship System in India Kinship in India represents the diversities of marriage customs and practices. Teknonymy is a very common practice. This is particularly true of the joking relationship between a man and his wife’s younger sister (jija-sali in the Indian context) or a woman and her husband’s younger brother (bhabhidevar in the Indian Context). the inter-marrying groups are of comparable status. with one or the other or both of the cross cousins but never parallel cousins or even with the elder sister’s daughter. father’s sister’s husband and wife’s father. One reason for this may be that a person becomes a full member of the family. in particular. and is. The North Indian and the South Indian Kinship systems are also known as Aryan and Dravidian kinship systems. Teknonymy In many rural communities in India. It denotes the custom of naming the parent from the name of the child. some communities have joking relationships between grandparents and grandchildren as well.66 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY is relative stress on classificatory terminology. Kinship Systems of North India and South India In the Southern Zone one usually finds a preference for a marriage with certain categories of close kin. The term for husband’s father is shvasur and for husband’s elder brother is Bhainsur. talk about two systems of kinship in India: the North Indian and the South Indian. Here the same term mama includes mother’s brother. which have social sanction and convention are considered necessary for keeping order and decorum in the society. she has to avoid her husband’s elder brother. Kinship as an organisation in India is mostly an aspect of the regional cultures. After the premature death of a husband. For instance. East and West) of kinship in India. As a contrast to the joking relationship is the behaviour or relationship of avoidance between a woman and her husband’s father. Many others. On the whole. therefore like father-in-law. Kinship Terms and Usages Signifying Social Behaviour Some of the usages. The marriage . the mother of Ramu (Ramu ki maa) or father of Sita (Sita ke Pitaji).

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will involve groups which are geographically quite proximate – even from the same village – and the bride will already be familiar with her in-laws. In South India, the existing bonds between kin groups are strengthened by the new marriage relationship. The circle of kinship does not widen. In North India, by contrast crosscousin marriages are not permitted. In fact, in this region marriages are not encouraged between those who are already closely related. A rule of village exogamy also operates in most places. As a result brides are given to and taken from villages or towns, often at a considerable distance. Here the emphasis is on extending the circles or boundaries of ‘kinships’ and not so much on intensification of the existing bonds. The bride in North Indian kinship system comes to her husband’s family as a stranger. She may sometimes become vulnerable to various types of unkind treatment from her in-laws. In North India it is also often the case that marriages unite groups whose social status is already unequal, the bride-givers being of inferior status than the bridetakers (hypergamy). The marriage transaction commonly takes place in

the form of dowry payment which may create problems for the bride. Kinship in Contemporary India Kinship ties are still important for majority of Indians. In times of crisis majority of Indians rely primarily on their kinship networks. When a kin dies, all kinsmen and women rally to support the aggrieved family. When a person migrates to another place, she or he contacts the relatives by birth or by marriage. When she or he requires a job, she or he is given all the possible help by her or his relatives. In a new place she or he stays initially with her or his kin or relatives. When she or he is to be married, the marriage proposal comes by the mediation of the kinship networks. In the same way, when marriage takes place in a family, the members of the kinship group are obliged to give gifts to the bride or the groom they are related to. In the life of the majority of Indians, kinship still provides the framework of social and cultural life. Caste, class, club and neighbourhood are also important but the role of kinship are perhaps more decisive than any one of these.

GLOSSARY
AFFINITY. A social relationship based on marriage gives rise to affinity or affinal relationship. For example, a man and his wife’s brothers or sisters are affines.

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INTRA-GENERATIONAL CONFLICT. The conflict within the same generation is called intra-generational conflict. For example, the conflict between brothers and sisters. FRATERNAL. It refers to a brother, real or classificatory. KINSHIP
BEHAVIOUR. The performance of duty or obligation by kin members for each other is called kinship behaviour. For example, gift given and taken by kin members on ritual occasions.

SAMSKARA. Samskara or sacrament is a cultural religious device of socialisation among the Hindus.

EXERCISES
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. What is marriage? Discuss its various types. Discuss the salient features of marriage among the Hindus. Muslim Marriage is a contract. Explain this statement. Write an essay on Christian Marriage in India. What do you understand by the family? What are the functions of joint family? What are the dysfunctions of joint family? Write down a short note on changes in the joint family. What is Kinship? Discuss the functions of kinship in Indian society. What is kinship behaviour? What are the social implications of kinship behaviour? 11. Explain the following terms: (a) Affinity (b) Cognatic descent (c) Joking relationship (d) Teknonymy 12. Explain cross-cousin and parallel-cousin marriage in India.

SUGGESTED READINGS
1. 2. Jain, Shobhita, Bharat Mein Parivar, Vivah aur Natedari (in Hindi) Rawat Publications, Jaipur, 1996. Karve, Iravati, Kinship Organisation in India , Asia Publishing House, Mumbai, 1968.

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3. 4. 5.

Shah, A.M., The Household Dimension of the Family in India, Orient Longman, New Delhi, 1974. Shah, A.M., The Family in India : Critical Essays, Orient Longman, New Delhi, 1998. Uberoi, Patricia, ed., Family, Kinship And Marriage in India, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 1994.

a need that is fulfilled by religion. Human being’s capacity to control and affect the conditions of her or his life is inherently limited. expectations. It. there are 82 per cent Hindus.CHAPTER 6 Religion in India Introduction Religion is a very important institution of society. failure. In other words.40 per cent Jains. Human beings live in conditions of perpetual uncertainties. Many sociologists also emphasise another aspect of religion: It serves as a mechanism to help people solve the problem of meaning of life. a source of public order and inner individual peace. 0. generally designated as sacred and profane. as normally understood. religion presupposes a classification of all things into two classes or opposed groups. “A religion is a unified set of beliefs and practices related to sacred things.94 per cent Sikhs. and 0. Beliefs deal with the sources as well as the patterns of faith. beliefs. success. India is a multi-religious country. death. It is the regulation of social life by norms of conduct. 1. A religion has three aspects — rituals. happiness etc.12 per cent Muslims. Dharma is the orientation of the human action towards its fruits. dharma has implications that go beyond religion.3 per cent Christians. provides an overall sense of direction and meaning to human life. thus. illness. In Indic practices. 0. the connotations and meanings are not exactly the same.44 per cent others. beliefs and practices which unite into one single moral community called a church to all those who adhere to them”. dharma denotes social duties and the normative order of the cosmos. For Emile Durkheim. 12. Although religion and dharma are normally used interchangeably. status and role of the members concerned. Rituals deal with religious behaviour. The last category of others include Parsis or . It is considered a bulwark of morality. This generates a need to enter into a relationship with the supra empirical aspects of reality. and organisation. things set apart and forbidden.76 per cent Buddhists. 2. that is to say. Organisation deals with the mechanism by which religions manage the behaviour. Whereas ‘religion’ denotes beliefs and rituals. According to 1991 census of India.

The individual quest is considered spirituality. customs and practices related with family. and Sikhism. No village or town in India is devoid of a religious monument—temple. India is a multi-religious state in which various faiths are entitled to the protection of their religious laws to an extent. primarily. These are rooted in the long religious tradition of India. 2. There are no beliefs or rituals which are common to all Hindus. It gives equal importance to all religions and this accords well with the traditions of pluralism in India. morality and health. The Indian Constitution respects the religious laws of different communities under the rubric of personal law. and which . associated with communities rather than with individuals. ‘Personal law’ refers to the system of religious rules. The Indian Constitution as well as the Indian traditions recognise the place of individual beliefs and individual attempts to search for the divine. practice and propagate one’s religion. marriage and succession. Hindu communities do not believe in one God. Religions of Indic Origin: Hinduism. Article 25(1) of the Indian Constitution grants the right to freely profess.RELIGION IN INDIA 71 Zoroastrians. Religion. Hinduism as a way of life is very accommodative regarding beliefs and rituals. Law and the State in India Indian tolerance of beliefs and acceptance of diversity are proverbial. but its overall effect is often described as ‘secular’. These are rooted in the prophetic tradition of Adam and Abraham. It is guaranteed to all persons subject to considerations of public order. Religion as a Way of Community Life in India In Indian society religion is. Jainism. THE HINDU COMMUNITY IN INDIA A notable dimension of Hinduism is the belief that God is pervasive and easily accessible to the people in one form or the other. Semitic Religions: Judaism. Christianity and Islam. mosque. In other words. the individual aspect and the collective aspect. There are two aspects of religion in India. It is the latter aspect which is emphasised in India. for different religious groups. Traditionally all the groups have lived together respecting the other’s beliefs and practices. Jews and Animists groups of tribal origins. The Indian Constitution does not refer to religious pluralism as such. almost every major religious group is represented in India. Let us look at the major religious groups in India in brief. The different religions practised in India can be broadly classified into the following two groups: 1. Buddhism. whereas religion is conceptualised as a collective affair to lead a moral life. church and Gurudwara etc.

Ashrama is the complementary institution of varna. a person enjoys the fruit of her or his Karma within this life. and (iv) sanyasa or renunciation of the world and transcending the limits of human life. priests. recruitment to Hinduism is by birth into one of the many Hindu castes. Kshatriyas are symbolic equivalents of kings. karma and moksha. In case death intervenes in between. Vaishyas are symbolic equivalents of entrepreneurs. What makes the classification of varna unique is the requisites — professional and other — required to perform dharma of the concerned varna. traders and merchants. these are not confined to Hindus alone. It is believed that an ideal Hindu must give equal importance to dharma (duties). This concept divides life into four parts (i) brahmacharya or student life. Fate can be modified to some extent by the present Karma. artha (sources of . Even in present life one can attain liberation from worldly attachment and achieve mental peace. In the course of centuries. Vaishyas and Shudras . Moksha is liberation from karmic bondage — the cessation of cycles of births and deaths. If varna tried to present an ideal principle of social organisation. This is called fate or Prarabda. administrators. It is an ideal framework of a moral community and has functioned as the reference point from the time of Rig Veda. (ii) grihastha or family life. There is no escape from Karma. While the caste system and joint family are fundamental to Hinduism. In this way the present conduct holds a key to future existence. astrologers and vaidyas. By and large. Such classifications are found in many traditions and societies. The Brahmana varna is a symbolic equivalent of intellectual professions — teachers. Arya Samaj and other modern sects.72 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY mark them off from others. she or he is bound to take rebirth just to enjoy the fruit of her or his previous Karma. are exceptions. ashrama tried to present an ideal principle of the organisation of an individual’s life. Although there is much diversity in Hindu Dharma the three central tenets of textual Hinduism at the philosophical level are dharma. Karma is a theory which believes that every action of human being bears a definite fruit and a person has to enjoy the fruit — good or bad — depending upon the action performed. Varnashrama-dharma is the most popular example of Hindu social organisation. The importance of ashrama is dependent on the concept of Purushartha. and managers. Dharma is the basic moral force that holds the universe together. They convert new members into their own variety of Hinduism. other groups who came to India often assumed the character of castes and entered the Hindu fold gradually. Mostly. Kshatriyas. however. It presents a functional division of Hindu society into four categories — Brahmanas. Shudras are the service provider groups. (iii) vanaprastha or life of gradual withdrawl as well as social service.

take dip in the sacred rivers. (c) Annual festivals—Hindus celebrate annual festivals like Diwali. Teej and Karva Chauth (performed by wives for husbands). Most Hindus give donations and gifts to the needy as well as to the virtuous. Shringeri. sacred thread is usually given to the male members of the Dwija or so-called twice-born castes only. There have been inter -linkages among these religious groups and the wider Hindu society. are some sacred places of the Hindus. In other words. Pilgrimage is also a defining feature of community life in India. Tirupathi. Jains and Hindu Baniyas have very close social and cultural links. Initiation sacrament (wearing the sacred thread). Madurai. marriage ritual. Buddhism made compassion to all living entities — human beings. However. Buddhism and Jainism were the early religious orders (Sampraday) of India which devalued priestly power and the constraints of caste and hierarchy. Most Hindus visit temples situated all over India. 2. These sects propagated a liberalism which freed people from rituals and social inhibitions and made them all equal .RELIGION IN INDIA 73 livelihood). The Religious Groups and Sects of Indic Origin Hinduism is divided into many sects. Subsequently. Haridwar. (b) Domestic rituals like Raksha Bandhan or Bhai Duj (performed by sisters for brothers). Hindus believe that both material and spiritual aspects are important for a balanced life. and moksha (liberation from all types of bondage and attachment). Dushehara. Onam. Shaivism. Badri. Jitia (performed by mothers for sons). and some others. Charity that is publicly given or advertised is usually looked down upon. Marriage sacrament. Kabirpanthis. Holi. Puri. Varanasi. pay homage to their ancestors in sacred places. Vaishnavism. the bhakti (devotional) sects emerged in South India during sixth to eleventh century AD. Makar-Sankranti. kama (desire of sex). The classical texts mention sixteen samskaras for an ideal Hindu but only three sacraments are popular: 1.Kedarnath. Vaishnodevi and Kam arupaKamakhya etc. Shaktism. animals and plants — religiously significant. Lingayats. and 3. Sikhs and some Hindu castes in Punjab were intermarrying among each other until recently. death ritual etc. Usually Hindus do not bury the dead body of adults. Death sacrament. Jainism believes in Ahimsa (non-violence). and in North India during fourteenth to seventeenth century AD. There are three types of rituals which are performed in Hindu families: (a) Life-cycle rituals like initiation ritual. they believe that philanthropy or charity is virtuous only when it is given secretly. Ravidaspanthis are among the most notable sects within Hinduism. Baisakhi etc. Out of even these three life-cycle rituals. Prayag. Buddhists and Hindus also have marital relationships.. Dwarka.

Nanak Panth . are divided into two major sects. Arya Samaj. first as traders then as conquerors or as Sufi Saints. THE MUSLIM COMMUNITY IN INDIA Islam first came to India in the late seventh century AD when some Arab traders migrated to the Malabar coast. The Ahmadiyas. ranging from the Namaz to Roza to making the Haj pilgrimage. Islam in India is thirteen centuries old. called Allah in Arabic. There are caste-like groups in Indian Muslims. Those who came from outside. settled down. as elsewhere. Sunnis and Shias. Islam says that there is one God and submission to Him results in peace. are some other denominations of Muslim Community in India. were far less in number than those Indians who converted to Islam. among others. The Islamic religion is composed of diverse schools and interpretations that are deeply rooted and united in the principles of the Islamic revelation. All Muslims agree that the Qur’an is the verbatim revelation of God and they agree about its text and content. the Dawoodi Bohras. new reformist trends emerged in Indian society. The Sunni Caliphs and the Shiite Imams have never accepted each other’s authority. Between eleventh and eighteenth centuries. In comparison to Shias. Bhoodan movement and Swadhyay movement have given new dimensions to reform within the Hindu society. The reformist movements included Brahmo Samaj.74 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY before God. Kabir Panth . Islam simply means surrender to the will of one God. The first testimony asserts the unity of the divine principle and the second testimony establishes Mohammad as the final prophet of the supreme God. are some of the famous devotional sects of Indic origin. To become a Muslim. Muslims in India. In the wake of colonial rule.g. and Ramakrishna Mission . e. Mughals and Persians. In more recent times. Sheikh. Thus. Khan. Malik and Ansari etc. India has the third biggest Muslim population in the world today. Afghans. The Muslims from West Asia came as conquerors. Syed. got attuned to native ways and ruled India for seven centuries. the Ismali Khoja etc. They are united in the main rituals performed. India faced waves of invasions by Turks.. These two sects separated from each other upon the death of the Prophet on the question of succession. These become more significant during matrimonial match making. The Muslim conquest of Sindh in eighth century AD led to the beginning of conversion of Hindu castes and tribes into Islam. the Anuvrat Andolan . Muslims also believe in the reality of the afterlife. Ravidas Panth . it is sufficient to bear testimony and accept by heart before two Muslim witnesses that there is no God except Allah and Mohammad is the messenger of Allah. One of the key concepts in Islam is that of the ummah or the totality of the . Sunnis are in majority in India. Lingayat Sampraday etc.

The God revealed Qur’anic words to Prophet Mohammad through the angel Gabriel. The Hadith is the third important foundation of Islam. affecting both those who follow the Shariat and those who walk upon the spiritual path — the Tariquat . efforts and creations take place or should take place. the Hadith . Islam asserts that nothing can be legitimate outside the realm of religion. the best interpreter of the God’s message as well as its faithful transmitter. the Prophet. Islamic religion is a total way of life. Haj is the supreme pilgrimage of Islam and is made to the sacred building of Kaba at Mecca. It is supposed to contain the revealed words of the God. It represents the inner dimension of Islam. The Tariquat or the spiritual path is the fifth important foundation of Islam. and not on the messenger. The Hadith is the indispensable guide for the understanding of God’s word as contained in the Qur’an. and the like. the love of the Prophet lies at the heart of the Islamic piety. The root of the Shariat is found in the Qur’an. Rather. The life of a Muslim from the cradle to the grave is governed by the Shariat . The text of Qur’an is considered divine not only in meaning but also in structure. The Qur’an. politics. The Shariat or the Divine Law of Islam is the fourth important foundation of Islam. Muslims believe that the God forgives a human being’s sin if she or he performs the haj with devotion and sincerity. The Qur’an is the central foundation of Islam. In the Islamic perspective. . it is the matrix and worldview within which these and all other human activities. thought. yet. commerce. Islam is based on the Absolute Allah. The love of the Prophet embraces all the dimensions of Islam. the perfect creation of the God. Islam does not accept the dichotomy between sacred and profane or spiritual and secular. The Tariquat or the spiritual path was perfected by the Sufi orders in the Sunni sect as well as by the Shia sect. He is the most perfect human being. The Shariat is sanctioned path that women and men must follow in this life. racial and cultural group. Muslims consider the Shariat to contain concrete embodiment of the will of the God. social interaction. and the God is considered as the ultimate legislator. Ummah creates an Islamic brotherhood that goes beyond a single ethnic. Prophet Mohammad is the second foundation of Islam.RELIGION IN INDIA 75 people who are Muslims and compose the Islamic world. The Hadith deals with nearly every question from details of legal significance to the most exalted moral and spiritual teachings. religion is not seen as a part of life or a special kind of activity along with art. of which he is the founder and guide. The Hadith is a book of sayings dictated by the Prophet himself as well as recordings of his sayings by his companions and followers. the Shariat and the Tariquat are the foundations of Islam.

and (iii) Love to neighbour. Every Muslim is supposed to perform namaz five times a day. According to the Syrian Christian tradition. In early years the Old Testament or the Hebrew Bible or the Torah was their only scripture. began in the 1250s. a Roman Catholic phase of India’s Christian history. the New Testament as the revealed book and the Church as the religious organisation are the foundation stones of Christianity. weddings and celebrations. and used for charitable and religious purpose. Muslims’ other important festivals are Eid-ul-azha. one of Jesus’ original twelve disciples. with the arrival of the first missionaries of the Franciscan and Dominican orders. Men go to the Eidgah for congregational prayers after which people visit and embrace one another. The third phase of Christian history in India began in July 1706 with the arrival of the first Protestant missionaries from Germany. Apostle Thomas. the ninth month is the holiest of all the months. following the Portuguese occupation of parts of Western India. The namaz must be performed in the direction of the Kaba in Mecca in Saudi Arabia. Ramazan. the Canonical prayers (Namaz). . the festival of Eid-ul-fitr is celebrated. The second. fasting (Roza). (ii) Active service. THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY IN INDIA Jesus Christ as the “Prophet”. Moharram. There was a Christian church in India perhaps as early as the end of the second century. From dawn to dusk. Christianity and Islam are rooted in the Jewish or Hebrew tradition and affirm the revelation of Moses contained in the Old Testament. women and men fast during the hours of daylight as a means of self-purification. for one month. The Muslim new year starts with the month of Moharram. Obligatory offerings are made annually under Islamic law on certain kinds of property. Muslim festivals come from the life of Mohammad and the history of Islam.76 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY Islamic Practices and Institutions The basic rites of Islam include worship of only one God (Toheed). which are celebrated in India. The three constituents of Christians’ religious life include (i) Faith in Jesus Christ as the son of God. the obligatry offering for charity (Zakat) and pilgrimage ( haj ). Shab-e-Barat etc. On the twenty-ninth or twenty-eighth day of Ramazan when the new moon is sighted in the evening. After 1500 AD . there was fresh infusion of missionaries. Christianity came to India in different phases. The lunar Hijra calendar is followed by the Muslims for all religious matters. The New Testament in the present form was accepted in the church around the fifth century AD. ‘Thomas’ or ‘Syrian’ Christians have never shown any great desire to expand beyond their own natural frontiers. Jesus and his early disciples were all Jews. came to the vicinity of Cochin in 52 AD.

and American Christians like Stanley Jones and Katherine Mayo were influential during this phase. The Indian Census merges Christians into a single group. the Roman Catholic church in India was liberated from many of its earlier restrictions. tried to Indianise Christianity at the organisational level. such as the Syrian Christians. areca nut and rice. the boundaries between the Kerala Syrians and Hindus are blurred. but they belong to different denominations. 7 per cent are the Orthodox Christians (eastern orthodox church) and 3 per cent belong to indigenous sects. During the British rule after 1833 there were two dimensions of Christian activity — (i) it was very active in and around colleges and universities at Kolkata. It comprised fourteen dioceses and about a million members spread over four language areas. nearly 50 per cent of the total population. Many experiments were made to Hinduise the church’s liturgy by the introduction of elements from the temple and bhakti traditions. During 1920s the fifth phase of Christian activity began in India. Most notably it did not involve the Roman Catholics or the Lutherans. The Church of South India was founded in 1947. The Church of North India. particularly in the use of ritual substances such as sandalwood paste. Another 40 per cent are Protestants. The English Baptist missionary William Carey arrived in India in 1793. flowers. (ii) it was also active in rural and tribal areas especially among the weaker sections. Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA). as in the rituals of house building or astrology. founded in 1970. Protestantism includes many distinct persuasions and churches.RELIGION IN INDIA 77 The fourth phase of Christian expansion started during the British Rule in India. Pilgrimage: Whereas Protestant Christians. milk. even today. In Tamil Nadu and Goa. The ceremonies of marriage and birth among the Syrian Christians also manifest many similarities with Hindu custom. Between 1757 and 1813 the East India Company was against Christian missionaries but later its policy changed in favour of the Christian missionaries. The sixth phase of Christian activity began after 1947. Catholics form the largest group. Christianity is embedded in the indigenous socioritual order. Catholics and the orthodox visit places of pilgrimage on the occasion of . Following the second Vatican Council in the mid of 1960s. Orthodox groups. At one point. Mumbai and Chennai. with the exception of the Anglicans. are affiliated to the orthodox churches of Eastern Europe or West Asia or to the churches dependent on these. The American organisation. do not go on pilgrimages. Catholics are organised according to a well-defined hierarchy and they consider the Pope as the supreme head in all religious affairs. He inaugurated the most concentrated phase of Protestant Christian activity in India.

It is a form of Sanatan Dharma. has jiva (life force). The Jain community is divided into two important sects. Right conduct includes non-violence. Mahavir is supposed to be senior contemporary of Gautam Buddha. Kerala and Tamil Nadu and cities like Chennai. animate or inanimate. She or he is taught the main tenets and obligations of the Christian faith for several months by the priest. Owing to their greater Christian population places like Goa. Baptism — the ritual process of becoming/making a Christian — is performed when a child is a few days old. more similarities with Buddhism. and Digambar (unclothed). The Digambaras think that tirthankaras should be represented in images without robes or clothes. Another lesser known sect is called Sthanakvasi . however. After this instruction one is ready to be confirmed by the bishop. The word ‘Jain’ is derived from Jin. The Svetambaras think that tirthankaras should be represented in images with white robes. The Christian masses have castes or caste like groups. which means the conqueror. right knowledge and right conduct. one at Mumbai and the other at Ernakulam. The Jains share some doctrines. rituals and general religious beliefs with early Buddhists and Hindus but they have a religious system of their own. JAINISM Jainism is one of the oldest religions in India. There are over 120 bishops in India. There are thirtyfive religious orders of Christian priests in India. Mumbai and Kolkata have many places of pilgrimage. theory of karma. The goal of human endeavour should be to exhaust karma and the way of deliverance is in the three gems or rules of behaviour: right faith. the cycle of birth and death like the Hindus. The Roman Catholics in India regard the Pope — the bishop of Rome — as their supreme religious leader. Indian Catholics are guided by two cardinals. adherance to truth. chastity and the renunciation of worldly possession. Mahavir (599-527 BC ) said that everything. Jainism has. It has 24 tirthankaras . The Sthanakvasis think that tirthankaras need not be represented in images. Janism alongwith Buddhism belongs to the .78 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY festivals. Ceremonies: Seven sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church have to be administered by a priest or bishop. Confirmation is performed when a child is seven years old among Catholics and fifteen years old among Protestants. Svetambar (white clothed). Marriage rites have to be solemnised by a priest in church. The first tirthankar was Risabhdev and the twenty-fourth tirthankar was Mahavir. They do not have a distinct style of life (except AngloIndians) and are usually absorbed into the local regional linguistic communities. He was a great system builder. Jains believe in soul. Joint family is a dominant institution.

The Jains are among the richest community in India. sexual purity and indifference to material gain is not for personal virtue alone but also aims at the social good. The first three meanings are found in Hinduism as well but the fourth meaning is specific to Buddhism. The third noble truth says that the cause of suffering can be removed. Their quest is directed at achieving emancipation from worldly existence and the cycle of birth and death. honesty. The fourth great truth supplies a detailed blueprint to remove the cause of suffering. Jain festivals are meant for the spiritual development of the self through the practice of austerities. The first noble truth preached by the Buddha is that there is suffering. fasting and austerity are considered essential for selfpurification. The five fold discipline of nonviolence.RELIGION IN INDIA 79 sharamanic forms of sanatan dharma. right speech. Emancipation (Kaivalya) and renunciation (vairagya or sanyasa ) are the two themes addressed principally. They lay stress on mental disciplines to obtain self-control. The teaching of Mahavir is that altruism in individual life can be the source of positive social welfare. and (4) the ultimate constituent of experience. right livelihood. right action. right aspiration. The second noble truth says that there is cause of suffering (desire). For all Jains. The shramanic traditions as a whole emphasises the renunciation of worldly belongings and pleasures. The Buddhists believe in the four noble truths preached by the Buddha. concentration in contemplation and purity of thought. or the ‘Three Jewels’—the Buddha . right effort. Dhamma has four meanings (1) the absolute truth. the Dhamma a n d t h e Sangha . One formally becomes a Buddhist by r eciting the T riple Refuge three times—“I go for refuge to the Buddha . It was founded around the teachings of Gautam Buddha. Jainism also stresses that personal spiritual development achieved through penance should be for the benefit of the community. BUDDHISM Buddhism was one of the new religious movements that arose in India around the sixth century B C. The Buddhist profession of faith is known as the ‘Triple Refuge’. Mahavir Jayanti is the most well known festival of Jains. . (2) right conduct. The Dhamma is the doctrine given by the Buddha and the Sangha is the community of believers in the doctrine taught by the Buddha . It is rooted in the traditional Indian religion called Sanatan Dharma . I go for refuge to the Dhamma . The majority of Jains are engaged in trade and commercial activities. The Eightfold Path consists of right view. truth. T h e Buddha is the enlightened teacher or the prophet. I go for refuge to the Sangha ”. (3) doctrine.

the tenth guru converted the Sikhs into a militant community called the khalsa (the pure). He sang his hymns wherever he went. Nanak travelled all over India. There are four major forms of Buddhism: (i) Theravad (ii) Mahayan. which means disciple. among other admonitions. Kangha. The central object of worship in the gurudwara is the Granth Sahib. and to Sri Lanka. The term Sikh has originated from the Sanskrit word shishya. a bangle and a kirpan (dagger). The most important festival of the Buddhists in India is the Buddh Purnima. Mecca and Medina. Guru Arjun Dev infused great vigour into Sikhism. He made Amritsar his headquarters where he built a gurudwara (temple of the guru ). He gave the Sikhs a distinct individuality in 1699 by initiating five of his followers. Vinay Pitak (Book of Discipline). Holi and Makar-Sankranti are also celebrated by many Buddhist families. spreading his message of love. The Guru Granth contains hymns composed by the devotional saints as well as the writings of the Sikh gurus. purity and universal brotherhood. SIKHISM Sikhism emerged as a devotional sect within the Indic religion around the teachings of Guru Nanak (1469– 539). Kachha. Arjun was the fifth guru who compiled the Guru Granth Sahib (holy book of the Sikhs). Govind Singh (1675 – 1708). From the time of sixth guru Sikhism gradually became a militant organisation. There are ten gurus (religious teachers) of Sikhs.80 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY right mindfulness and right meditation. Different forms are predominant in different countries or geographical areas. These are called five ‘K’s — Kesha . rather they consider themselves as an offshoot of a broadly defined ‘Hinduism’. never to cut their hair. It separated Sikhism from the broader rubric of Hinduism. It claims to represent ‘true’ Sikhism. There are other festivals which are celebrated by different sects and denominations. The Sanatani Sikhs do not stress the separate religious identity of Sikhs. and (iv) Zen. a pair of short drawers. He enjoined them. The Eightfold Path leads to Nirvan. They -+ . The Khalsa Sikhs or Tat Khalsa is based on the radical interpretation of the teachings of Guru Govind Singh. stripped of the popular customs of Hinduism. Some Hindu festivals like Diwali. Nanak was the first guru and Govind Singh was the tenth guru. and (ii) The Khalsa Sikhs. (iii) Vajrayan or Tantra. Kada and Kirpan. which involves the cessation of all sufferings. The Sikhs are primarily divided into two broader groups (i) The Sanatani Sikhs. The Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path are meant to serve as provisional teaching. The Sikh community life is centred around gurudwara (gateway or temple of the guru). Sutta Pitak (Book of Sermons) and Abhidhamm Pitak (Book of Doctrine) are the basic scriptures of Buddhism. The Sanatani Sikhs are the followers of Guru Nanak and his son Srichand. to protect religion. always to wear a comb.

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emphasised that Sikhism is an independent new religion based on three foundations — Guru, Granth and Gurudwara. In 1925 the Gurudwara Act was passed. It led to the emergence of Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) as the supreme body of Sikhs in Punjab. It manages the religious affairs of Sikhs and the Gurudwaras. Sikhs still participate in some of the festivals celebrated by the Hindus like Basant Panchami, Holi and Diwali . Their own festivals include Baisakhi and the birthdays of Sikh Gurus like Nanak and Govind Singh and the martyrdom of Guru Arjun, Guru Teg Bahadur and the two sons of Govind Singh. They also celebrate the founding of the Khalsa and Hola Mohalla. Sikhs, too, are a prosperous community in India. They are engaged in diverse professions in both villages and cities. Although Sikhism does not believe in caste, there are caste like groups among the Sikhs as well. OTHER RELIGIOUS GROUPS ZOROASTRIANS OR THE PARSIS The word Parsi means Persians and refers to those Persians who migrated to India from Iran in the tenth century AD. They had migrated to India from their Iranian (Persian) homeland. The Parsi community recognises Zoroaster or Zarathustra as their Prophet. Therefore, they are also known as Zoroastrians.

Zoroastrianism is one of the oldest Prophetic religions of the world. Zoroaster lived in the North-east of Iran on the Asian steppes around 6,000 BC. He inherited much of the Indo-Iranian tradition so that Zoroastrianism and Hinduism have something of a common parentage. This results in a number of similarities between the two, such as the place of fire in ancient texts — the Vedas of Hindus and the Avesta of the Parsis — and certain purity laws and attitudes toward the priests. The Prophet’s teachings are preserved in hymn form in Gathic Avestan language which has strong links with Vedic Sanskrit. Zoroastrianism was the state religion of Iran until the Muslim Arab invasion of the seventh century AD. By the ninth century, the persecution of Zoroas-trians in Iran became unbearable which compalled them to migrate at different places in India and other countries. Most Parsis in India are city dwellers. They are settled in Mumbai and different places in Gujarat. They are one of the most prosperous communities of India. Among the minority communities they are also one of the most integrated communities to the mainstream of modern India. Dadabhoy Naoroji, Pherozeshah Mehta and the family of Tatas have played significant roles in the building of modern India. They have been pioneers in modern trades and industrial enterprises. They have also played important roles in building various institutions of Mumbai. Parsis usually spend little time in theological study. To most Parsis, theirs

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religion is tied up with their identity. Their identity is maintained by the performance of life-cycle rituals and observances of moral practices in daily life. The ideas of purity and pollution are very important among the Parsis. Their daily prayer is called navjote. There are only two religious duties for Parsis, the daily prayers and the observance of the seasonal festivals, the gahambars. Zoroastrianism was originally a religion of Nature Worship. Natural objects like fire, air, the sun, and water were considered sacred. Today they are primarily fire worshippers. At Udwada, the centre of pilgrimage for Parsis, there is one ‘permanently burning fire’ shrine. There are two types of fire temples which are distinguished from each other by the grade of fire which burns within them, one is called the ‘Royal Bahram’ or victorious fire and the other is called the ‘Dar -i- Mihr’ or the ordinary fire. The Parsis are known for their philanthrophy. The many sided philanthrophy of the Parsis has established through their Panchayat, a remarkable social security system for the community. Its members make their contributions to the local anjuman fund or community chest which constitutes the foundation of the system. The community has many trusts and foundations, benefiting non-Parsis as well. The Parsis have laid claim to no territory and to no special right for themselves. They emphasise the moral and civic sense and philanthropy over philosophical doctrines.

JUDAISM The Jews or the followers of Judaism are perhaps the smallest religious community in India. According to Indian Census of 1991 there were about 5,000 Jews in India. They were classified by census authorities of India along with Zoroastrians and Animist tribals as part of a miscellaneous category called other religious groups. The Jews in India comprise three main communities—the Bene – Israel, Kerala Jews and Baghdadi Jews. Some Jews came to India before the beginning of the Christian era. The oldest communities have been the Bene-Israel who are settled mainly in the Coastal areas of Maharashtra. The other groups settled in Kerala near Cochin. The third group came from the Middle East (Baghdad) and settled in Mumbai, Kolkata, Pune, Surat and Chennai. A large number of them have migrated from India to Israel in 1948. Judaism is the original Hebrew or Semitic religion. It is based on the revelation of Moses. The Hebrew Bible or the Torah is their sacred religious text. Their temple is known as Synagogue. Led by Abraham, they settled in Israel, originally called Canaan and later Palestine. In 63 BC Palestine came under Roman Rule and between 70 AD to 1948 the Jews lived in different places as scattered groups. In 1948 they re-established Israel as their holy nation-state and Jews came back to their homeland in large numbers from different countries.

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Jews in India began to integrate themselves increasingly with their surroundings. They adopted the customs, dress, characteristics and dayto-day practices of the people of the region. They are a very homogeneous group and strictly adhere to their religious beliefs. Unlike Christianity and Islam, Judaism is not open for non-Jews. They do not convert. ANIMISM Most tribals who have not converted to Hinduism, Islam or Christianity are classified by sociologists as Animists or Nature worshippers. There are striking similarities between Animist tribals and followers of Folk Hinduism. Therefore, Indian census authorities have always encountered difficulties. In 1991 census, Animist tribals are classified in the category of ‘Other Religious Groups’ but some other tribals have been classified as Hindus. There is always ambiguity in the classification of Hindu tribals and Animist tribals. There are different types of nature worshippers both among the Hindus as well as among the tribals. One thing is common among all Animists that they do not have written texts. They usually believe that every animate object of this world is inhabited by spirits and they venerate all these. Functions and Dysfunctions of Religion Religion is interconnected with the other elements of society and culture in complex ways. It plays the following positive functions vis-à-vis society and

individuals: (1) It provides support, consolation and reconciliation to individuals in the times of uncertainty, disappointment and conflict of goals or norms. (2) Religion offers a relationship to the ‘other world’ through priests and the ceremonies of worship. (3) Religion provides divinity to the norms and values of the society. (4) Religion provides standards of values in terms of which social norms may be critically examined. (5) Religion involves the performance of priestly functions by participation in religious ritual and worship. Religion also plays corresponding dysfunctions: (1) Religion may inhibit protest and act as a force for social changes, which might prove detrimental to the welfare of society and its members. (2) Religion can lend authority to certain rigid ideas and provincial attitudes, which may be detrimental to the development of knowledge, in general, and science and technology, in particular. (3) Religious identification may prove divisive in a multi-religious society. (4) Religion often develops among its adherents, dependence upon religious institutions rather than helping them to become mature and wise.

houshold etc. RENUNCIATION. D. Renunciation is a formal. It is an organisation which is mid-way between the Sect and the Church. The religious ceremony of initiating someone into Christian faith or group is called baptism. The standard form of service in a church is called liturgy. Explain the salient features of Christian Community life in India. MONOTHEISM. 4. 6. PANTHEISM. HENOTHEISM. LITURGY. Write an essay with examples to show distinctions between the Semitic and Indic religious groups. 3. 1999.84 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY GLOSSARY BAPTISM. New Delhi. Oxford University Press. DENOMINATION. ritual process of self denial. WORLDLY–ASCETICISM. What is Dharma? 5. Religion. . Transcending the lust for selfish interest without taking the formal renunciation. Explain the concept of varnashram dharma. Monastic means belonging to monasteries. 9. monks or nuns. 8. What do you understand by Purushartha? 7. What are the three constituents of the Christian spiritual life? SUGGESTED READINGS 1. Explain the salient features of Hindu Community in India. It is a belief in a single. Explain the salient features of Muslim Community life in India. abstaining from physical pleasure. group. The monastic system or way of life is called monasticism. becoming a formal ascetic. It is belief that God dwells in the world and human beings and nature are aspects of an all inclusive divinity. Monastery is the home of a community of monks or nuns. transcendental God. leaving the world of the householder. The belief in one particular God out of several. Write down the names of various religious groups of India.. MONASTICISM . in a specific belief system as the God of the particular tribe. 10. Derrett. What is religion? 2. EXERCISES 1. Law and the State in India.

Allahabad. New Delhi. Text and Context.. 1998. 4.RELIGION IN INDIA 85 2. 5. 1990. 3. The Society of Pilgrimage Studies. Lallanji and Dubey. Media Promoters and Publishers. New Delhi. . D. Gyan Publishing House. P. Mumbai. Srinivas. 1992. Oxford University Press. 1962/1985. ed. Pilgrimage Studies. ed. Venugopal.N. Madan. Gopal. Caste in Modern India and Other Essays.. Religion and Indian Society: A Sociological Perspective. Religion in India . C. T.. N. .N. M.

the rulers sponsored education mainly of a theological kind in the form of Maktabs and Madrasas (educational institution). there was a distinctive spiritual thrust associated with education. (ii) Technical and Vocational Skills and Knowledge : ayurveda (medicine). S pirituality. they did not interfere in the Hindu system of education. Education was meant to help the individual for the realisation of the ultimate and the absolute reality. Indian culture is known for the guru-shishya tradition of learning. meditation etc. Moral Values and Religions : yoga. In traditional India. Socialisation is a primary and informal process whereby an individual shapes her or his own behaviour in accordance with the social expectations of others. agriculture. Puri in Orissa and Madurai and Kanchi in Tamil Nadu. values and cultural heritage of a society. The Muslim kings liberally endowed such institutions with grants but for most of the time. it inculcates among new members the norms. literature. grammar. The traditional pattern of education prevailed in India for many centuries. etc. pottery etc. It socialises her or him to play adult roles in society and provides the necessary knowledge and skills for an individual to be a responsible citizen and member of the society. In areas that came under Muslim rule from the eleventh century onwards. logic. carpentry. (iii) Inner Discipline. ethics. In Indian society there have been well-developed educational institutions right from ancient times. Primary Education in Pre-British India We have a systematic account of the indigenous system of education during the eighteenth and the nineteenth .CHAPTER 7 Educamtion in India Introduction Education is a process that develops the personality and inherent capabilities of a child. As part of the socialisation process. It involved the following areas and disciplines: (i) Critical Enquiry : philosophy. Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. Great universities like Nalanda and Taxila were situated in ancient India. vaastushastra (architecture). During the eighteenth century there were places of learning like Navadweep in Bengal. mathematics.

There was no school for the education of girls. Higher education was primarily restricted to the upper castes. Vikramshila and Mithila. There was no regular period of admission. the traditional system of education became unsustainable and gradually disintegrated. there existed a large number of village schools. For example. like Sanskrit. there was a network of village schools. These schools were known as Pathshalas and Madrasas. In the higher classes students were also taught technical and vocational skills. mathematics. There were no printed books and only the locally made slates and chalks were the equipment the pupils needed. traditional sciences and literature were among the subjects taught. during 1812-13. These examples indicate that over large parts of India. according to Thomas Munro. particularly in Bengal and Bihar around this time. Madurai. writing and arithmetic was local languages. came from all classes. Tirhut. like their students. These schools emphasised moral wisdom and attempted to build the character of students. The teachers were paid either in cash or in kind. Education in these traditional institutions was practical as well as holistic. Higher Education in Pre-British India The traditional elementary as well as higher education had always emphasised the classical and the spiritual aspects. grammar.EDUCATION IN INDIA 87 century India. according to the William Adams Report. 1835. though the rich people used to educate their young girl children at home. These were conducted by learned pandits. including the lower classes. . The course of studies extended for many years and the hours of study were long and severe. These institutions in fact were custodians of the culture of traditional communities in India. Kashi. Puri. The classical languages. The teachers for these schools. But during the period of British rule. Similarly. The education system also dealt with literary. Kanchi and Trivandrum. philosophical and religious aspects. each village had at least one school. In the Bombay Presidency also around 1820. logic. Such schools were held sometimes in the home of a teacher or a patron or a temple or a mosque. A pupil could join the school at any time and leave it when he desired. philosophy. Pali. Tamil. Tanjore. These schools had shown wonderful adaptability to the local environment and existed for centuries through a variety of economic conditions. There were also larger centres of higher education in various religious places like Navadweep. The medium of imparting knowledge for reading. codes of law. every village under the Madras Presidency had at least one school. The scriptures. The hours of instruction and the days of working were adjusted to local requirements. The students often stayed with the guru or teacher during the years of learning. as Adam’s analysis of castes shows. Arabic and Persian were used for instruction in higher education.

grammar. brought far reaching changes in Indian society. This gave a new lease of life to traditional classical learning in India although the traditional elementary education was crumbling down in the absence of the British patronage. technical and managerial skills. These institutions were the higher seminaries of learning meant for the training of experts. another group of British intellectuals who were not admirers of oriental learning and Indian culture. Besides the scriptures and law. He also encouraged scholars like Charles Wilkins to publish Indian classics written in Sanskrit and Persian. Between 1824 and 1830. A decision was taken to stop the use of government funds for the . Hindus could also attend these seminaries meant primarily for the Muslims. There was. This group led by Raja Rammohan Roy strengthened the hands of Bentick and Macaulay and a new education policy was announced in 1835. William Jones founded the Asiatic Society of Bengal in 1784. philosophy and arithmetic. Wilkins and Wilson were great admirers of the classical traditions of India and under their influence the East India Company became a patron of oriental learning. promoted the classical study of Indian culture and institutions. instruction was given in literature. Patna and Jaunpur. The Muslim seats of higher learning were located at places like Jaipur.88 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY who were liberally patronised by the rulers and the aristocracy. During the period 1790 to 1835. During the modern period — both the British and the post-Independence period — education has been concerned primarily with the secular. Education in British India The entry of East India Company in the early seventeenth century. The British rule in India laid the foundation of modern education in India. rhetoric. there was a heated debate between the Indians and the British about the education policy of the British East India Company. A group of middle class Indians was also in favour of European education through English language. The British had established institutions of oriental as well as modern European learning. Jones. however. Delhi and Varanasi. The aim was to discover. He was instrumental in attracting reputed scholars of Islamic theology. scientific. The British established the Calcutta madrasa in 1781. They. the teaching of English had already been initiated in oriental institutions at Kolkata. Lucknow. the Governor General of Bengal. logic. Some of the Britishers like Hastings. edit and publish rare Sanskrit manuscripts. law. under the leadership of Charles Grant. The British were initially attracted to the classical aspect of Indian culture and education. James Mill and Macaulay were able to plead the case of European education through English language in place of Indian education and culture. mathematics and grammar to this madrasa. These were meant chiefly for the training of religion and law. Warren Hastings.

some prominent Indians also started two types of educational institutions: (i) Traditional institutions like Deoband and Lucknow seminaries. English education was primarily helpful in acquiring government jobs. Mumbai. however. Bombay. This education initially led to the westernisation of Indian society but later on it also became instrumental in spreading modern nationalist thoughts and activities. Gurukul Kangari. also played a significant role in the making of modern India. It weakened the economic institutions and destroyed the social balance of traditional India. During the British rule. New universities at Kolkata. supported by the British. The AMU and the BHU are some of the examples of this school. the Aligarh and Ahmadia movements. Ramakrishna Mission. It did not promote mass education but provided an entry into an exclusive elite club to middle class Indians. It also led to various socio-religious reform efforts. 3. streams of thought and cultures. Their principal objective was to make education nationalistic and more relevant to Indian conditions. Examples of such institutions were the universities of Calcutta. mainstream Indian education was gradually transformed to suit the interests of the British and the emerging middle class. was not against modern learning of foreign origin. After 1835 new educational institutions were established by the British. The second school of thought. It. Rabindranath Tagore criticised the system of education under the British Raj in 1893 and pleaded for Bengali as the medium of instruction. 2.EDUCATION IN INDIA 89 promotion of oriental education and instead promote European literature and science through English education. often contradictory. aimed at indigenisation of education. Banaras Hindu University (BHU). Gujarat Vidyapeeth and Jamia Milia Islamia. It represented different. The nationalist and revivalist school which rejected everything that was foreign and not enshrined in the ancient heritage of India. reflecting their own educational aspirations during the British rule. Chennai and Delhi became the centres of modern learning. Thus. such as Brahmo Samaj. Arya Samaj. Madras and Delhi. Education in Independent India Mahatma Gandhi disliked the inherent elitism and the irrelevance of English . Kashi Vidyapeeth. In Pre-Independence India. focused on setting up educational institutions of the British model. The third school of thought. and (ii) Modern institutions like Aligarh Muslim University (AMU). education during British rule was a complex phenomenon. three schools of thought pertaining to education were visible: 1. Vishva-Bharti at Shantiniketan etc. The Bengal National College was established in 1906. During this period.

He felt that English education was hampering integral development of the child and it had created a cleavage between the culture of the Englisheducated few and the uneducated many. called Nai Talim or Basic education. science and technology. scientific and democratic development. It gave greater emphasis on higher education.’ Gandhiji formulated a new blueprint for education in the independent India. He wanted to make education in free India a potent vehicle for industrial. its remoteness from the rhythm of everyday life. pottery. mother-tongue as the medium of instruction. It deals with all the levels of education and examines their roles in national development. The Commission aimed at philosophical. He wanted the ‘lessons’ to be rooted in the learner’s vocation. Instead he pleaded for a child-centred holistic education patterned on the ancient gurukuls. It had made one a stranger in one’s own land.supporting education. Its alien character. Kothari. He set up the Radhakrishnan Commission on education. . The emphasis here was on practical ways of acquiring knowledge. in order to augment productivity. He wanted free/compulsory education for seven years. technological.90 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY education within the Indian context. Tagore was also critical of colonial education. Unlike Gandhi and Tagore. scientific and technical dimensions of development. Gandhiji condemned this education as ‘intellectual dissipation. It is known as Education and National Development in India or Kothari Commission (1964-66). animal husbandry to the students. as well as the country as a whole to be self-sufficient and self-reliant. education centred around some form of manual/ productive work and a self. India’s first Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru was in favour of modern education. It stressed the need of scientific education for modern India. For him. handicraft was the medium that would enable the learner to relate ideas to practice as well as arouse student’s curiosity and enthusiasm in learning. and attempts to operationalise this model of education have not been successful as yet. Through Nai Talim Gandhiji wanted to impart socially and economically productive skills such as spinning. weaving. Basic Education was needed because Gandhiji wanted each village. the Gandhian agenda did not succeed. To achieve the values enshrined in the Constitution. carpentry. The Central concern of this Commission (1948) was to formulate ways and means to achieve the objectives of the Constitution through education. However. community. this Commission put great emphasis on democratic values. The Government set up another Commission under the chairmanship of D.S. and English as the medium of instruction were not acceptable to him. The idea of a school as a ‘factory’ was not appealing to him. It also recommended setting up rural universities to meet the needs of rural reconstruction.

However. 1986 stressed that education can and must bring about the fine synthesis between change-oriented tendencies represented by modern technologies and the country’s continuity of cultural tradition. It also emphasised the importance of computer education.30. The Kothari Commission recommended that (i) science should be taught in such a way that it enables the learner to understand its basic principles.31. This is critical for education and significant for the making of citizens. education in Independent India is primarily oriented towards science and technology. in nearly 40 per cent of our districts. Elementary Education Education is recognised as a fundamental right of all citizens of India.6 per cent of its GNP (Gross National Product) on education. Out of the children joining schools. the female literacy among the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes is less than 10 per cent. 94 per cent of the count ry’s rural population have schooling facilities located within a distance of one kilometer. At the Primary Stage. In the post-Independence years. The National Education Policy. The participation of scheduled castes and tribes as well as women in education has increased significantly. more than one-third drop out before completing . According to the 83 rd Amendment of the Indian Constitution (1997). The attempt has been to combine the best of all traditions in that educational system in order to have a virbrant democratic and plural society.000 in 1950-51 to 9. which is much lower than many countries. the high drop-out rate of children is still a matter of great concern. and (iii) it should promote the spirit of enquiry and experimentation. Nevertheless. The number of schools in the country has increased four times from 2. Thus. Indian education has tried to promote an attitude which is receptive to both Western modernity and Indian culture tradition. India spends 3. The other significant aspect of education in contemporary India includes preservation. the female literacy is less than 30 per cent. promotion and dissemination of Indian culture. The National Education Policy.EDUCATION IN INDIA 91 self-sufficiency. (ii) to develop problemsolving analytical skills and the ability to apply scientific principles to the problems of the material environment and social living. teachers and students in elementary education.000 in 1998-99. there has been an enormous increase in the number of institutions. elementary education is a fundamental right of all children between 6-14 years. In nearly one in four districts. economic growth and to generate opportunities for employment. At present. 1986 stressed the necessity of promoting technical and management education for the growth of the industry and the economy.

Even today. Municipalities and other local bodies 3. the Scheduled Castes and Tribes. the state shall attempt to ‘make effective provision for securing the right to education’. The Directive Principles of Indian Constitution lay down that ‘within the limits of its economic capacity’. the Indian elite has developed a vested interest in influencing government decisions about higher education. Therefore. Government departments 2. Our literacy rate has increased from about 18. whether based on religion or language. local knowledge and the use of hands. The government sponsors a fifth of the . education was the exclusive responsibility of states. we are still far from the goal of universal literacy. Schools in India are funded from three sources: 1. half of them ‘barely’ attain the educational standards expected of them. Before 1976. Thus.92 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY eight years of elementary education. Students from elite private schools occupy the majority of seats in institutes of higher learning. Private enterprise.33 per cent in 1951 to 65. primary education is free in government schools and schools run by local bodies in all parts of the country. 1992 envisage free and compulsory education of good quality for all children upto the age of 14 years. the system of rewards and employment opportunities is based on formal book knowledge and not primarily on applied skills. 1986 and the Programme of Action. Many children do not attend school regularly. The inability or reluctance to upgrade technical education and open more vocational institutes is also related with the system of rewards and employment prospects. despite government commitments and efforts in the last few decades. Article 30 declares that all minorities. Among those who remain in school. State supported schools cater to the needs of the masses while elite private schools cater to the needs of the upper and upper middle classes. Since then. The government spends less money on school education than on higher education. Article 46 says that the state shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections.38 per cent in 2001. education became a joint responsibility of the Centre and the States. The National Policy on Education. Accordingly. The government has failed to sufficiently vocationalise higher education. and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation. Article 45 of the Constitution of India provides that the state shall endeavour to provide free and compulsory education for all children until the age of 14 years. should have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice. Education and Social Inequality in Independent India Educational institutions are highly stratified in India.

4. However. Teacher education to provide quality training to secondary school teachers to update their professional skills. almost 90 per cent of the private schools receive government aid and have to abide by some regulations on the appointment of teachers. This policy emphasised that the government will try to eradicate illiteracy. Free and compulsory education to all children up to 14 years of age. National Education Policy. 2. caste. 3. Indira Gandhi National Open University and the National Open School have come up to take care of non-formal and flexible forms of education. Autonomous colleges (mostly private) and autonomous departments within universities on a selective basis.1986 The National Policy on Education. scheduled castes. the handicapped and certain minority groups. Vocational education as a distinct stream to prepare students for identified occupations spanning several areas of activity. scheduled tribes. 11. an attempt is being made to delink degrees from jobs in the era of liberalisation and globalisation. This has been tried with mixed success. creed or gender. Application of available communication technologies to promote school education at all levels and in all areas.EDUCATION IN INDIA 93 country’s schools. 7. the number of teaching hours. the Anglo-Indian schools (mission and convent schools) and others run by big trusts and local elites. special schools under the name of Navodaya Vidyalay were opened in different parts of the country. The document also underlined the need to link adult education with national goals of development. 6. Gradually. 8. types of extra and co-curricular activities and so on. The new thrust in national education after 1986 has been on: 1. The Total Literacy Campaign is the principal strategy adopted for eradication of illiteracy in the country. particularly in the 15-35 year age group. Private participation in education has resulted in a variety of English medium institutions such as the elite public schools. Universal enrolment upto 14 years with improved quality of education. 1986 provides scope for equal access to education to all irrespective of class. 5. It also sought to remove disparities by catering to the needs of women. the structure of fees. The National Literacy Mission to achieve total literacy in the age group of 15 to 35 years . It envisages a common educational structure like 10+2+3 and a common core curriculum throughout the country. 9. 10. To provide quality education. Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan to provide useful and relevant education for . the local bodies a little less than half and private initiative accounts for one third of schools at all levels.

By 2007 and 2010 all children are expected to complete respectively 5 and 8 years of elementary schooling. while education has contributed to the building of modern India. Traditional Hindu centre of holistic education. What are the basic features of the National Education Policy 1986 of India? . customs and traditions. Education in contemporary India is a source of modernisation. It is one of the factors of change in traditional values. social change and national development. GURUKUL. PATHSHALA. From the cultural point of view contemporary education is oriented to promoting values of an urban. physical and social instructions to a child for her or his allround development. MAKTAB. What are the salient features of the system of education in Independent India? 4. Give an account of the educational pattern in Pre-British India. Centre of Islamic education. Thus. secular. 5. it has also been a significant factor in the perpetuation of the elite. What are the problems of the system of education in Independent India? 6. What were the salient features of the education system in British India? 3. Traditional Muslim centre of higher education. beliefs. the pervasive inequality in Indian society and in the alienation of the elite from the masses. we have a small group of professionals. Write a brief note on the elementary system of education in India. technologist and managers who have achieved international standards in their chosen field but who are not much interested in the welfare of the nation or the masses. moral. As a result. democratic consumer society. From the economic point of view education is useful in promoting life enhancing skills among young people. The formal process of giving intellectual. MADRASA/MAKTAB. we have an education system which creates literate degreeholders devoid of sufficient technical skill and productive power on the one stream and on the other. MADRASA. Traditional Muslim centre of primary education.94 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY all children in the age group of 6 to 14 years by 2010. industrial. EXERCISES 1. GLOSSARY EDUCATION. 2. Traditional Hindu centre of primary education.

Andre. 17571986. Rainbow Publications. Oxford University Press. Political Agenda of Education. Equality and Inequality. Orient Longman. 1991. New Delhi. Krishan. Education. 4. 1995. Rawat Publications. 2. Ghosh. Social Implications of Schooling. New Delhi. 3. . Haq. Sage Publications. 6. New Delhi.EDUCATION IN INDIA 95 SUGGESTED READINGS 1. Pathak. Kumar. Ehsanul. Shukla. Suresh Chandra. Avijit. The History of Education in Modern India. Rekha. 1995. ed. 1984. Suresh Chandra and Kaul. 5. School. Development and Underdevelopment. New Delhi. Sage Publications. Jaipur. Beteille. 1998. 2002. Family & Media. ed. New Delhi.

myths. modes of production. beliefs. literature. Culture is the product of such an organisation and expresses itself through language and art. The material and non-material aspects of any culture are usually interdependent on each other. household design and architecture. philosophy. the material aspects of culture. higher achievements of group life (art. material culture may change quickly but the non-material may take longer time to change. Patterns and modes of behaviour. Indian culture stands not only for a traditional social code but also for a spiritual foundation of life. Basic postures. all the achievements of group life are collectively called culture. instruments. music. It also expresses itself through social habits. however. The latter includes norms. political and economic organisation. economic organisations and political institutions. In popular parlance. however. material goods. values. consumer goods. literature. and (ii) non-material. culture is that which is created by women and men be it material or non-material. music. beliefs. . patterns of social. education. Sometimes. philosophy and religion. legends. customs. trade. values. Thus. social organisation. According to Indologists. religion and science). In sociology. Culture has two types: (i) material. Techniques and technologies for production. 3. 2. art forms and other intellectual-literary activities. The first includes technologies. ritual. commerce. health and other services. Culture is a comprehensive term and it includes the following: 1. Culture consists of the ways in which we think and act as members of a society. worldviews that are represented in art. welfare and other social activities. philosophy and religion.CHAPTER 8 Culture in India Introduction Culture refers to the patterns of thought and behaviour of people. rules of conduct. institutions for the promotion of the arts and the sciences. It includes values. such as scientific and technological achievements are seen as distinct from culture which is left with the non-material. beliefs. These are passed on from one generation to the next by formal as well as informal processes. literature.

Jyotishshastra (astronomy and astrology). This applies equally to the arts as well as to the various branches of knowledge. This tradition has been variously referred to as the Shastric. The classical elements of Indian culture show remarkable creativity in various directions. This. the Great. This classification provides only workable conceptual tools through which ideal and typical characteristics of Indian culture could be delineated and studied. Any of these cultural elements are not represented in their pure form in Indian society. This tradition is mostly oral and does not depend directly on books. languages and the arts. or the elite. Folk culture and tribal culture share many common elements. is primarily a conceptual classification. It does not depict any empirical cultural classification of Indian society. It also includes an uncanny deftness in adapting and integrating within itself the elements derived from the folk and the tribal traditions. Neetishastra (ethics). Cultural tradition of a tribe is usually a self-contained whole. Ayurved (medicine). and (iii) Tribal. however. The Folk / Little Tradition The majority of Indian population has been the bearer of the folk tradition. whereas . the integration of widely divergent religious beliefs and rituals into a harmonious whole. however. Darshanashastra (philosophy).CULTURE IN INDIA 97 Broadly speaking we can talk about three major elements of Indian culture (i) Classical. Proficiency in any aspect of the classical culture requires special training and practice over a long period. There are. In the same way. The notable attribute of the classical culture is the high degree of sophistication and systematisation. or Great tradition. (ii) Folk or little tradition. significant differences as well. This process was facilitated by a high degree of tolerance found in the Indian culture. This allowed. tribal and folk elements are mostly similar and sometimes it is rather difficult to say where one ends and the other begins. for example. There have been innumerable cultural variations in different regions and historical epochs. Natyashastra (dramatics). For example. Vaastu and Shilp (architecture). The Classical/Elite/Great Tradition The classical tradition of Indian culture embraces within its fold the various disciplines. Vyakaranashastra (grammar). The Folk and the Classical elements often exist in closer proximity and mostly these elements are complementary to each other. This is called sadhana or riyaz. The tradition has evolved over time but on the whole its continuity has been maintained. Indian culture usually imposed some norms of ideal behaviour but it also allowed a lot of freedom in matters of belief. Dharmashastra (metaphysics). Sangeetshastra (music). This accounts to a large extent for the continuity of classical tradition in Indian culture.

epic poems. The bearers of the folk and the classical cultural traditions may live in close proximity. . specialised training and practice. on the other hand. sometimes within the same family. For example. There are linguistic differences but the substance remains more or less the same. which have evolved over a long period of time. The major difference between the two traditions lies in the degree of sophistication. many folk melodies have been reworked and included among the classical ragas. abstracted and systematised. the linguistic expressions are varied. In folk culture there is great variation of dialect/language. however. the spirit and the basic form in most aspects of culture is ‘fundamentally’ the same. Similarly. however. Folk literature. such as the songs or dances. the serpent God (Nag) and the Goddess of small pox (Shitala) are worshipped in villages throughout India but their proper names may differ. Thus. For example. It is neither confined to small area nor is it parochial in nature. tales. the folk version of mythology of different regions usually has similar patterns of narration. but there is. each village seems to have its own Gods. Classical traditions. themes and values. proverbs. The folk does not form a community either small or isolated. are learnt as specialised training under the professional guidance of a well-known expert. The underlying principles in these folk forms are. systematisation. Thus. riddles and magical formula have very wide popularity cutting across many linguistic regions. Regional variations are found not only in folk culture but also in classical culture. There is a circular movement from classical to folk and folk to classical in India and each borrows elements from the other. This does not mean. The borrowed elements are reworked and refined before integration. but these are based on the same fundamental values and subscribe to common metaphysical ideas. For example. folk songs. the folk tradition has had a very wide coverage. fundamental unity of ideas. but the systems of beliefs and rituals are basically the same almost throughout India. Although. Both the traditions share a common worldview. crafts and techniques of folk culture are usually learnt in the ordinary course of life through participation in the ongoing events and day-to-day activities. The folk forms. that folk ideas or artistic expressions are raw products. have traditional patterns. Sometimes the same individual is a carrier of both the traditions.98 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY the folk tradition is complementary to the classical tradition within the overall civilisation. The folk arts. the folk culture too has a wider universalistic aspect. however. In the towns also people are generally the bearers of the folk tradition. not always clearly perceived. expression and form. The folk culture is a part of civilisation. The folk culture is not confined to villages even though the bulk of the villagers are bearers of the folk tradition.

Historically. nevertheless. there has not been any conflict between the tribal and the nontribal cultures in India. folk and tribal represent three types of cultural streams. A. During the medieval period Akbar was a promoter of communal amity and common cultural understanding. folk and tribal streams of culture have been present within the major religious groups in India. A tribal culture may have borrowed from other cultures but this borrowing is occasional and incidental. Different tribes show great diversity in the economic. The tribal culture may or may not share the mainstream beliefs and values. The specialised pursuit of knowledge and arts is usually not found among the tribes. Buddhists. Parsis and Jews alongwith the various sects within these religions have lived together peacefully. institutional and religious patterns. Hindus. sacred complexes and far-flung monastries. Buddha and Jain traditions were complementary to each other. Sometimes. . under exceptional circumstances. India has sheltered not only different religions but also different sects within these religions. There are many tribal cultures in India. Tribal communities have four characteristics: (i) small in size. Tribal cultures have many characteristics of little communities.CULTURE IN INDIA 99 Tribal Cultural Tradition Tribal cultures are relatively insulated and autonomous. The classical. Sikhs. Not only the rulers but also the common people accommodated religious diversity without feeling any loss of freedom. there has hardly been a clash of fundamental interests between these different streams of Indian culture. A community is characterised by common territory and shared sentiments. of the classical traditions. In India Hindu. Christians. tribal cultures are qualitatively different from the folk and classical cultures. technological. (ii) homogeneity. This accommodation and tolerance are discernible in the gathering at holy rivers. and (iv) an all-pervasive self-sufficiency. They modified the meanings of original texts in order to develop a more pragmatic outlook. Tribes are scattered all around the vast land of India and many of them do not have much cultural give and take with each other. The spirit of accommodation is still widespread in India in spite of political aberrations. The classical. It becomes a part of the folk or. Muslims.K. Jains.Coomarswamy has claimed that the pattern of interaction between the classical and the folk is more or less the same in all religious traditions in India. Different sects expressed different viewpoints while sharing a common heritage. which have co-existed in India for a long period of time. a tribal culture may come so close to the classical or the folk culture that it becomes dependent on it. Therefore. They gave rise to different patterns of reform in Indian society. (iii) distinctiveness. Religion and Culture in India Indian culture has been very tolerant of diversities.

In language and literature. in music and painting. wellbalanced and harmonious pattern. The Sufi cult devoted itself to the realisation of self and God and their union in mystic ecstasy. in dance and drama. a co-existence and understanding exists between different communities. ethnic groups and religious groups and sects are as follows: A Cosmic Vision The framework of Indian culture places human beings within a conception of the universe as a divine creation. striking similarities have marked the architecture and sculpture of different temples. folk. nature and God into one integral whole. Vedanta and Yoga. The Bhakti cult emphasised the fundamental equality of all religions and the unity of God. Dara Shikoh was a great promoter of Indian philosophy and literature. According to Coomaraswamy. It preached simple devotion and faith as the means of salvation and opposed excessive ritualism and social rigidities. This vision thus. monuments and courts. multi-cultural and multi-religious society. synthesises human beings. Ananda Coomaraswamy has noted that in the sphere of art. tribal and different religious ways of life blended into a functional. as manifestations of the divine. Indian art is a symbolic form centred around sacred themes and broad ideals. It came to India from Iran and was greatly influenced by Buddhism.100 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY Shivaji had Muslim bodyguards and some of his commanders were also Muslims. both living and non-living. in economic and political life. in art and architecture. It represents a synthesis of classical. the outcome of centuries of fusion and synthesis between its various elements. Sense of Harmony Indian philosophy and culture tries to achieve an innate harmony and order and this is extended to the entire . it has been a multi-ethnic. Salient Features of Traditional Indian Culture Traditional Indian culture. the art belonging to Hindu. Thus. This is reflected in the idea of satyamshivam-sundaram. it respects God’s design and promotes the ideal of co-existence. It is not anthropo-centric (human-centric) only and considers all elements of creation. The cross-fertilisation of Islam and Hinduism led to the Bhakti and Sufi movements. promotes moral values and the attitudes of generosity. Contemporary Indian culture is a complex phenomenon. Some of the striking features of Indian culture that pervade its numerous castes. Muhammad Ghori had issued gold coins that bore the image of the Hindu Goddess Lakshmi. simplicity and frugality. through the whole of India’s history. tribes. in its overall thrust towards the spiritual. in social habits and customs. Muslim and Christian traditions in India are rooted in similar sacred sources and have shared transcendental meanings. Therefore.

behaviours. the Western type of individualism is rare in Indian culture. Change within Continuity Indian culture has always favoured change within continuity. The family is the defining feature of Indian culture. Indian culture emphasises dharma or moral duty. It does not try to suppress diversity in favour of uniformity. Indian culture balances and seeks to synthesise the material and the spiritual. At the level of family. Sages. It also emphasises the complementariness between one’s own duty and other’s rights. For example. Tolerance Indian culture accepts the manifoldness of reality and assimilates plurality of viewpoints. It is in favour of gradual change or reform. however. The martyr has nearly always been preferred over kings and merchants as the cultural hero. the ideal or norm of joint family is upheld by almost every Indian. customs and institutions. most changes in thought have come in the form of commentaries and interpretation and not in the form of original systems of thought. Emphasis on Duty As against rights. In matters of behaviour also synthesis of old and new is preferred over replacement of old by the new. Sacrifice and Altruism Indian culture respects those who sacrifice their personal interests for the well-being of others. Indian culture promotes interdependence rather than Independence and autonomy of the individual. Every person may not live in a joint household but the ideal of joint family is still favoured. there is striking similarity. The motto of Indian culture is both unity in diversity as well as diversity in unity. One has to bear the fruit of one’s action. Although Indians differentiate between individual identity and family identity. Thus. saints and renunciators have always been considered superior to kings and merchants. External order and beauty will naturally follow from inner harmony. Therefore. It does not favour abrupt or instant change. through the emphasis on community or family obligations. The Ideal of Joint Family At the level of marriage. Indian culture assumes that natural cosmic order inherent in nature is the foundation of moral and social order. there is a lot of plurality in India. .CULTURE IN INDIA 101 cosmos. Inner harmony is supposed to be the foundation of outer harmony. Theory of Karma Most Indians believe that one cannot escape from one’s karma. It is believed that performance of one’s duty is more important than asserting one’s right. It is generally believed that destiny is linked with past karma. as aptly illustrated by the concept of purushartha.

sadhus. munis . monks. guild masters and other prosperous groups. In ancient India the classical tradition was linked not only to Sanskrit but there were also streams of the classical tradition associated with Pali and Tamil. The middle class has a world view and outlook that is radically different from the bearers of the folk tradition. the relationship between the classical represented by English and the vernacular folk traditions has broken down. They try to modernise and westernise all the elements and streams of Indian culture. These modernising and secularising forces. ideas. In the urban centres a new middle class has been growing and assuming the role of the bearer of the classical tradition. of thought and customs. priests. During the medieval period the relationship between the classical and the folk was not disturbed. With the impact of modern social forces the relationship between the classical and the folk traditions has been disturbed. have not yet cut off contemporary Indian culture from the traditional and cultural roots . The classical traditions in traditional India had always accepted the importance as well as given space to the folk and the tribal cultures. outlook and institutions. Sanskrit was the bearer of the Hindu classical tradition and the Mahayana Buddhist tradition and some of the Jain science traditions as well. industrialisation. globalisation and democratisation are influencing various aspects of Indian culture today. During the modern period. however. They are mostly the bearers of Western cultural values. urbanisation. Pali was the vehicle of the Thervadi Buddhist tradition and Tamil was the bearer of the South Indian classical tradition. the folk and the tribal traditions have remained relatively unaffected by changes in political structures. barbaric and superstitious in comparison to the modern culture. The processes of westernisation. and English has become their dominant language. norms. custom. They usually brand the traditional culture as primitive. tradition and mode of worship can lead us to realisation of self and God. Traditional equilibrium has been affected by different factors and processes of modernisation.102 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY Diversity and Plurality In Indian culture. scholars. diversity or plurality is accepted as the natural way of life. way. have on occasions shown less tolerance towards the folk and the tribal traditions. on the other hand. The importance of classical traditions has been changing from time to time with changes in political power structure but the folk and the tribal traditions have remained consistently vibrant. Throughout history. Indian Culture during the Modern and Contemporary Period The social structural affiliation of the classical in the traditional Indian culture had been broadly linked with princes. The bearers of modern Western classical cultural tradition. Most Indians believe that every path.

The rhymes of the Rigveda and the Samveda are the earliest examples of words set to music. nritta signifies pure dance. Nritya and Nritta. Films. ASPECTS OF INDIAN CULTURE Art and Architecture: Indian art is inspired by religion and centres around sacred themes. but also some aspects of it have also been incorporated in novel ways into an emerging popular and classical culture. More specific schools of classical music are associated with particular gharanas. . T raditional Indian scriptures contain many references to nritta (music) and nata (drama). India has a rich tradition of folklores. film songs and music have had an important role to play in the further popularisation of music among the masses in modern times. Dance: Classical Indian dance is a beautiful and significant symbol of the spiritual and artistic approach of the Indian mind. Kuchipudi (Andhra Pradesh). which included dance as well as vocal instrumental music. Music: The popular term for music throughout India is Sangit . North Indian Hindustani classical music and South Indian Karnatak music are the two major forms of classical music in India. Fairs. The eternal diversity of life and nature and the human element are all reflected in Indian art forms. Natya corresponds to drama. legends and myths. Kathak (Uttar Pradesh) and Chchau (Orissa. Theatre: While classical dance in India is linked to its ‘divine origins’. Odissi (Orissa). where the body movements do not express any mood ( bhava ) nor convey any meaning. There is a rich variety of classical and folk dances in India. Kathakali (Kerala). The traditional cultural media not only continue to survive today. West Bengal and Jharkhand) are some of the most notable dance forms in India. the origin of Indian theatre lies with the people. marriages. The art of architecture and sculpture was well developed during the Indus valley period. which combine with songs and dances into composite art forms.CULTURE IN INDIA 103 of Indian culture. Mohiniattam (Kerala). On the other hand. festivals and other celebrations are not complete without them. The oldest detailed exposition of Indian musical theory is found in Natyashastra. there is nothing ascetic or self-denying about it. Song and dance has always been a part of social gatherings and get- togethers in India. attributed to the sage Bharata who lived at the beginning of the Christian era. This is one aspect of Indian culture that has achieved worldwide recognition. Nritya is interpretative dance performed to the words sung in a musical melody. Besides. However. One classification divides Indian dancing into three aspects — Natya. Manipuri (Manipur). Bharatnatyam (Tamil Nadu). Dance and music are present at every stage of domestic life in India. India has the largest collections of folk and tribal artefacts.

the main sponsors of art and refined cultural pursuits are the institutions of the state and the market. The commercial activities related to trade and patronage of the rulers greatly influenced literary and cultural activities . This theatre remained confined to courts and temples and displayed a refined. It is staged in open-air theatres. newspapers. Kashi. Trade facilitated the movement of persons and helped create a market for cultural products and activities. state formation and culture in India.) have also been important commercial centres. etc. Theatre in India is usually staged in the post-harvest season when actors as well as spectators have free time. The Department/ministry of Culture is a nodal agency that oversees the functioning of the various cultural institutions. is enacted through dance. In traditional times and to a lesser extent now-a-days. There is a close interaction between the market. Ujjain. however. carefully trained sensibility. ‘Traditional Indian theatre’ includes distinct streams. Artistic patronage has always inspired honour and respect. Sangeet Natak Academy. Market and Culture in India After Independence. television. music. mimetic gesture and stylised choreography.104 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY Bharat’s Natyashastra is still the most complete guide to traditional Indian theatre. films. It is strongly influenced by conventions and trends of European theatre. the state has played a significant role in the domain of culture. National Gallery of Modern Art etc. Culture and the Mass Media Modern means of communications — radio. The State. to promote and patronise arts. Radio has played the most important role in recent times in promoting Indian culture at an all India level. In the second popular stream the spoken languages and dialects of different localities and regions were used. Increasingly. The state has set up numerous institutions such as the Sahitya Academy. In contemporary period. The most important traditional temple towns in India (Kanchipuram. The narrative. ‘Modern Indian theatre’ of recent times originated in three colonial cities— Kolkata. Corporations and market forces have become particularly important in this regard in the era of globalisation. the private sector too has emerged as an important supporter and sponsor of art and culture. however. Mumbai and Chennai. Broadcasting started in India in 1927 and the All India Radio was . Lalit Kala Academy. often a myth already known to the audience. literature and culture. temple managements also play the role of such sponsors and facilitators of art. in recent times. magazines and journals have given new forms and modes of expression to the various themes and ideas of Indian culture. Providing support to an aspiring or established artist is also considered sufficient to bring merit to the benefactor.

It is another term for folk or regional culture. In the last few years. All India Radio. what is included within the classical music today had its birth in the music meant for entertainment of folk audiences. GREAT TRADITION. symbolic aspect whereas civilisation refers to instrumental and material aspects. The first feature film was made in India way back in 1913. . TV and films have led to a revival of classical music as well. Classical music discs and cassettes have a good market. Indian films are considered one of the most authentic representations of Indian cultural life with all its strengths and weaknesses. emerging from an older folk music. On the other hand. Today India produces the largest number of feature films in the world. It has almost become the folk music of modern India. LOK OR LITTLE TRADITION. Culture and civilisation are used together as complementary terms.CULTURE IN INDIA 105 constituted in 1936. More than a hundred films are made every year in nearly a dozen languages. What is culture? Discuss it. This huge network is. GLOSSARY CIVILISATION. have created an audience throughout the country for Indian classical music. The most important impact of films in India is on music. The Indian television network today is one of the largest terrestrial networks in the world. It has also been crucial to the promotion of film and popular music. and private channels in recent years. Culture refers to the non-material. Its impact on the vast hinterlands has been minimal. which may nevertheless appeal to the wider public. On the other hand. Classical concerts have a much larger attendance today than two decades ago and the audience is predominantly young. 2. radio. Write a note on the types of Culture. on the one hand. Dish antennas and cable TV have linked most urban and rural houses to a large number of television channels today. through the link of television programmes with market forces and advertisement revenue. Today. EXERCISES 1. an important means of the dissemination and popularisation of almost every form of art and culture today. However. film music has emerged as the most popular form of music in India. It refers to classical tradition in art and culture in Indian traditions. for instance. it sometimes promotes programmes with little cultural or educational value. Film music is a spontaneous exuberant growth. cinema has remained basically an urban medium.

Discuss the features of Indian culture in modern period. Mukherjee. 6. New Delhi.. Allied Publications. Discuss different aspects of Indian culture. Rawat Publications. Jaipur. Explain the salient features of traditional Indian culture.. ed. Discuss the relationship between religion and culture in India. Religion and Society in Eastern India. Explain the impact of mass-media on Indian culture. G. New Delhi. Books and Books. What are the elements of Indian Culture? Discuss. 4. 1965. Oxford University Press. New Delhi. C. 9. . 2. 4. P. Culture Change in India: Identity and Globalisation.106 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY 3. SUGGESTED READINGS 1. 3. Contemporary India: Essays on the Uses of Tradition. Rawat Publications. Foundations of Indian Culture. 2000. Hermann. 8. Radhakamal. 6. Carla M.1948/1979. 7. and Kulke. Differentiate between material and non-material culture. Manohar Publications. Govind Chandra. ed. 5. The Cosmic Art of India. 1989. Mumbai. Sociology of Indian Culture . Pandey. Mukerji. 1994. Jaipur. 1984. Yogendra. Borden. D. 5. Tripathi. Singh.

CHAPTER 9 Politics in India Introduction Political institutions are mechanisms or agencies relating to the exercise of power for maintaining peace and order within a society. It is known as ‘Zero-sum’ or ‘constant-sum’ concept of power. society is usually divided into two broad groups: the power holding ruling class. The view of Lynd and Weber is that those who hold power do so at the expense of the other. Institutions of the modern state always have the purpose of ordering. This suggests that there is a fixed amount of power in society. the society itself works on the basis of generally recognised and wellunderstood rules of tradition. Power is the capacity to mobilise the resources of the society for the attainment of social goals. Rules of governance ensuing from political institutions. As against this. Parsons observes that power is a societal resource held in trust and directed by those in authority for the benefit of all. and (ii) that of Talcott Parsons. What is Power Power is an aspect of relationships between social units (persons or groups). According to the Marxists. There are. therefore. Max Weber has defined power as “chance of a man or a number of men to realise their own will in a communal action even against the resistance of others who are participating in the action”. controlling and providing guidelines for the behaviour of people who live within the state. They say that the power of the dominant group refers to their overall access to economic. there is a complementary relationship between the institutions of state and society in India. shape social behaviour and are influenced in turn by rules of common social behaviour. An individual or group holds power in relation to another. This view is different from the Marxian view. The exercise of power then usually means that . At the same time. In efficient societies collective efforts to realise common goals generate additional power. Thus. and the powerless working class. privileges and benefits which are collectively shared. broadly. two different views in Sociology regarding the nature of power in society: (i) that of Robert S. Lynd who follows Max Weber and seems to partially agree with Karl Marx. political and cultural resources in society.

. so grants of power generate benefits for the electorate. The state grows out of a particular historical process in response to the issue of legitimation of power and integration of power arrangements. power resides ultimately with members of the society as a whole. population. power in society can increase or decrease. political support is deposited in political leaders in the same way in which money is deposited in a bank. This forms a basis for the co-operation and reciprocity.108 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY everybody wins. Sub-ordinates accept the power of those in authority because they accept their control as justified and proper. the weilders of power seek to translate it into authority. naked power is hardly accepted by those who are subjected to it. whose functions are carried out by means of law backed ultimately by physical force. territory. According to Parsons. In the analysis of politics and political institutions. (ii) Dispersion of power in the whole society regulated by kinship rules and customs. Max Weber has defined the state as ‘a human community which successfully claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory’. people have to be . power is centralised in the institution of state and dispersed among its citizens. the state is one of the important agencies of social control. In traditional societies both forms of power distribution are found. however. Power is applied through the use of force or coercion. The legitimate power or authority in a society may be centralised in a person or a class or an institution or it may be dispersed in the whole society. A state is characterised by four elements. Therefore. In this way. Just as money generates interest for the depositor. The electorate can withdraw its grant of power from political leaders at the next election. The Nature of Authority Indeed. State in Modern Society In modern industrial societies. which are essential for the maintenance and wellbeing of society. The subjects have a feeling that those who exercise authority do not use it for serving their own interests to those over whom this authority is exercised. Max Weber’s concept of authority reflects a reconciliation of the two apparently contradictory notions of power. Power is thus a ‘variable-sum’ or ‘positive-sum’ phenomenon. A state also requires international recognition. But. both concepts of power are used by different social scientists. In this sense. Thus. viz. which are given below: (i) A kingship or an aristocratic class or religious chief exercising overarching power. Authority is the power legitimised and institutionalised in a society. government and sovereignty. To maintain an orderly system of social relations.

the police. Independent India has chosen the form of parliamentary democracy. bureaucracy. and guarantee certain rights to the people and which together constitute the organic law of the land. the state of Independent India is sovereign i. EVOLUTION OF THE STATE AND DEMOCRATIC POLITY IN INDIA 1. and is committed to the transformation of some of these colonial structures in the interests of the common people. army or judiciary. It is a republic where the head of the Government is a President elected by the people. A Constitution contains the fundamental principles of a state. It became effective from January 26. It may come as a result of voluntary acceptance of the norms and values of the society or the constitution of the state by the people themselves. It ensures the people’s control over the government (the Council of Ministers) by making it responsible to the popularly elected legislature and by ensuring periodic elections to the House of the People at the centre and legislative assemblies in the ‘provincial . the independent India is also the product of a great national movement. The independent state is trying to decolonise the nature and functions of the political institutions inherited by it from the British Raj by making them responsive to the needs and aspirations of India and rendering them accountable to the people. which determine the powers and duties of the Gover nment. At the same time. on 26 November 1949. The Transformation of the Colonial Legacy The independent Indian state. Sovereign. Though the British introduced certain liberal elements like the rule of law and a relatively independent judiciary. The Preamble to the Constitution lags out its spirit and broad objectives.e. the administrative rules and their distance from the common people were obviously the consequences of this legacy. it has supreme power to decide its own course of action relating to the people and territory of India. inherited two rather contradictory legacies. there is definitely a moral aspect. The discipline in an ordered society or state need not always come from an external agency like the police. which is binding on the people concerned which often takes the form of rules and laws. Some of its institutions were shaped by the needs of colonial rule. 1950. The structures of the army.. Democratic Republic of India India adopted its new Constitution after Independence. Secular. It is a democratic state where power is exercised by the representatives of the people who are directly or indirectly chosen by them. the political institutions created by them were gover ned by the principles prompted by the demands of colonial power. 2. which emerged from the freedom movement. According to it. In every political institution.POLITICS IN INDIA 109 subjected to some degree of discipline. Socialist.

the council of ministers as well as the bureaucracy. This political process was controlled by the parliament. race. democratisation and economic development. (3) Right against Exploitation. Holding of public offices and employment in government services do not depend on the religious affiliation of an individual (Articles 15 & 16). which means that the state will have no official religion of its own and it will not favour or interfere with any religion. (2) Right to Freedom. implements the policies framed by selected representatives of the people. Politics in India is not confined to a small aristocracy. race. The colonial power divided India on the basis of religion and severe communal riots accompanied partition. (4) Right to Freedom of Religion. They are : (1) Right to Equality. Justice. Liberty and Equality The Constitution secures social and economic justice through the guarantee of fundamental rights. The guarantee of these rights by the Constitution is a bold attempt by the state of Independent India to remove the inequalities and disabilities of caste. India is today the largest democracy and one of the most intensely political societies of the world. constitutes another attempt of the Indian polity towards democratic nation-building. caste. The success of Indian democracy was facilitated by a political process which aimed at modernisation.110 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY states’ on the basis of adult suffrage. creed. religion. (5) Cultural and Educational Rights. in order to curb or reduce inequalities. No person shall be denied the right to vote in these elections on grounds of religion. An independent judiciary protects these rights and freedoms. Part III of the Constitution secures six groups of rights for the individuals. region or race. therefore. serious economic disparities and gender inequalities. (6) Right to Constitutional Remedies. the path of Secularism . religion or gender but on the basis of impersonal laid down rules. members of which are recruited through open competitive public examinations. The Constitution had also guaranteed the Right to Property which has been modified through later amendments in response to the demands for social and economic justice. From the very beginning the independent state in India has shown equal respect for all religions. gender. Mass participation in politics of modern India increases the legitimacy of the political system and strengthens its effectiveness. The adoption of socialist ideals of society. These provisions of the Constitution (Articles 325 and 326) have brought far reaching changes in a society which has been traditionally marked by caste hierarchy. caste and sex. suffered traditionally by . The members of this bureaucracy are chosen not on the basis of birth. The bureaucracy. Independent India chose.

In deference to the linguistic. By ensuring the liberties of the individual. The Federal Structure Soon after Independence. The Humanistic and democratic idealism expressed in the Preamble to the Indian Constitution is further strengthened in the directive principles of the state policy in Part IV of the Constitution. There is a division of powers between the Union Gover nment at the centre and governments of different regional units called States in the Indian Constitution. thus. there were other long standing problems like poverty. dissatisfied with the amount of power and autonomy granted to them. The Supreme court functions as the custodian of the autonomy of the states in India. Although no citizen can move the court to compel the state to enforce the rights promised in the directive principles. and the children who are usually far less privileged than the other sections of the society.’ The political leaders faced the problem of integration of the princely states with the rest of India. The judiciary increasingly functions as the custodian of the people’s rights enshrined in the Constitution. women. the rehabilitation of refugees who had migrated from Pakistan. They exhort the state to ensure the equitable distribution of ownership of the means of production. Of course. and protection of the health and the strength of certain specific groups and individuals viz.POLITICS IN INDIA 111 different sections of the people of India in various situations. It is not unexpected in a country like India which is the home of many diverse groups of people with differing cultural identities and . The Constitution has abolished. The All-India Services ensure uniformity in administration throughout the country. The national movement played a pivotal role in welding India together politically and emotionally into a nation and integrating it into ‘a common framework of political identity and loyalty. workers. however. Many States and regions are. cultural and regional diversities and the need for integration. including the territorial and administrative integration of the princely states. the Constitution seeks to curb the exercise of arbitrary power by any individual within the government or outside it. the communal riots that accompanied partition. Besides. to prevent the fissiparous tendencies and to preserve the unity of the nation. the Constitution made provisions for a federal structure with a strong centre as well as a great deal of autonomy for the States or Units. and insurgency. for example. nevertheless these principles provide a means for evaluating the performance of the Government in promoting welfare of the people. They offer elaborate agenda of what the state should do to promote the welfare of the people and secure a just social order for them.. the Union Government has been given a large amount of power. the scourge of untouchability. guarantees ‘the dignity of the individual’ which is the hallmark of the modern society. It. India faced a number of problems.

The three-tier Panchayati Raj System aimed at ensuring people’s participation in the decision-making and implementation of developmental programmes. Democratic Decentralisation and Panchayati Raj To make democracy responsive to the needs of the people at the grassroots. Differences in socioeconomic positions and cultural identities give rise to various demands that are both the strength and challenge of a vibrant democracy. authority. the initiation of planned economic development and rapid expansion of the public sector. Democratic decentralisation aims at widening the area of the people’s participation. and autonomy through dispersion or devolution of powers to people’s representative organisations from the top levels to the lowest levels. It has been in response to the emphasis laid by Mahatma Gandhi on local self-government. respectively. Gandhiji and other leaders of the National Movement stressed the need for democratic decentralisation. The Indian nation state is striving hard to meet the challenges by balancing the competing demands of different segments constituting the Indian polity. decentralisation of power and building up of self-reliance of village communities. creation of leadership at all levels. The Indian constitution has recognised the right to the freedom of speech and the freedom of forming associations and . Political Parties and Indian Democracy Political parties are indispensable for the working of a democratic gover nment. such as the Community Development Programme and Panchayati Raj were introduced in 1952 and 1959. Women were given 33 per cent reservation in the Panchayati Raj legislation. from top to bottom. Very important measures in this respect were those of land reforms. The seventy-third and the seventy-fourth Amendments have given more powers to the Panchayats in rural areas and municipalities in urban areas and made the holding of regular elections to them mandatory. In India democratic decentralisation — popularly known as Panchayati Raj — was introduced in 1959 and was linked with the major programme for rural development such as the community development programme which was introduced in 1952. Major programmes for rural development. the Constitution directed the state to organise village Panchayats and endow them with such powers and authorities as may be necessary to enable them to function as units of self-government (Art. seek to obtain control of the gover nment in order to implement the programme and policy which they profess. The years from 1951 to 1964 were the beginning of the massive reconstruction of the polity and the economy. 40).112 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY different concerns. acting as political units. They are organised groups of citizens who have common views on public issues and.

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also guaranteed periodic elections of their representatives by the people to the legislatures on the basis of Universal adult franchise. India has adopted a multiparty system. The multiparty system offers enough political choice and interaction, especially for minorities and marginal groups. However, the predominance of all-India parties in India indicates the extent to which political unity is firmly established. In the contemporary political scenario, the growth of regional political parties and the experiment of coalition government reflect the articulation of regional and sectional interests. From 1947 to 1977, Congress was the only ruling party at the all-India level. After 1977, the Congress has been replaced by successful coalitions between different political parties both at the national and state levels. Today we have two broad coalitions of political parties — one led by the BJP and the other led by the Congress. At one time, the Janata Party held the centrestage. Today, the leftist parties and many regional parties also claim all-India status. In the subsequent decades after Independence, the political parties were dominated by professional groups such as lawyers. This dominance is declining and their place is being taken over by farmers and agriculturists.
The Party System, Politics of Caste and Voting Behaviour in India

Initially, the Indian polity was characterised by one party dominance. By virtue of its presence over a long

duration and through sustained organisational penetration, the Congress had given a unified leadership to the whole nation. Histori-cally the Congress had developed as a movement for social regeneration and national Independence. The real contribution of the party system to political development lies in its role of being a catalyst of government performance at various levels. These parties represent people’s interests and compete for power. They are the pivots of the political process and provides the base for both the government and opposition. To achieve power, political parties often exploit elements like caste and religion, which have a bearing on human sentiments. Rajni Kothari points out that by drawing the caste system into their web of organisation, po litical parties find scope for mobilisation of mass support. In making politics its sphere of activity, a caste asserts its identity and strives for positions of power. Politicians mobilise caste groupings and identities in order to consolidate their power. The democratic polity based on elections has led to the involvement of the traditional structure of the caste system in politics. The voting behaviour over the years has shown the linkages between the traditional structure of caste and the modern polity in India. The nature of democratic state in India is different from the states in other democracies. India has tried to accommodate the logic of modern democratic state with

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the other institutions of Indian society. For example, the caste system and the processes of democratic participation in politics have successfully accommodated each other. Caste has responded to the constraints and opportunities offered by modern electoral politics. It has given rise to unexpected forms of caste mobilisation. Political mobilisations around caste, region and communities (i,e., casteism, regionalism and communalism), remain the greatest obstacles in the realisation of political goals enshrined in Indian Constitution. The politics of caste is also related with the longterm logic of the policy of protective discrimination, popularly known as the reservation policy, which has given an opportunity to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes and the religious minorities to gain an advantage from the resources of the state directed economic system. Political changes in the caste based society have been caused by deliberate and intended direction of state policies. In rural India, the patterns of loyalties and interests and the power structures which prevail at the village or neighbourhood level are often the most important elements of political action. In urban areas, the role of class factor has been found to be more important in voting behaviour. Studies of voting behaviour reveal that debate over issues of public policy plays a negligible role in election campaigns and presumably in affecting

the ways in which individuals vote. To a large extent, Indian voters are still oriented towards particular ties or their specific interests rather than to policy or ideological issues. It is possible for parties and candidates to make emotional and irrational appeals to voters on the basis of primordial attachments to caste and religion. Reports from the rural areas suggest that neither the large landowners nor the landless labourers play a decisive role in the outcome of the elections, the former because their power has been limited by recent legislation and the latter because they are often economically dependent upon others. The class of owner cultivators (middle level castes) have a keen and decisive interest in the elections. However, even voters belonging to low caste and economically backward sections cannot be ignored if only because their numbers are high. Public Sector Units, Interest Groups, Lobbies and Trade Unions The Independent state of India has taken the initiative for economic development in agriculture and industry as well as for equal distribution of resources. The public sector undertakings in the industry sought to strengthen the economic foundation of Indian democracy. The Planning Commission and the National Development Council have been very effective in ensuring it. Two processes of nation building have been operating in India after

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independence: one, the administrative – governmental process aiming at coordination and uniformity in planned development efforts; two, the processes involving various types of political group activity by the people. Increasingly there is a political orientation of social interests in contemporary India. Thus, the political system has become, perhaps, the most important instrument of social structure in India. There is politicisation of a fragmented social structure through a penetration of political forms, values and ideologies. In any economic system, the state can play three kinds of roles: 1. As a producer of goods and services. 2. As a supplier of ‘Public goods’ or ‘Social goods’ like education, health, drinking water etc. 3. As a regulator of the system. In Indian democracy during the initial stages, the first two roles of the state, have been important. But, with liberalisation, these two roles have declined and the third role has become more important, although the regulation is exercised, in some instances, through independent authorities. In the era of liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation, the role of the state has declined further and some of the erstwhile functions of state have now been taken over by the private sector, Non-governmental and civil society organisations. Instead of direct control of the state, the market forces now play a greater role, although in certain sectors independent regulatory

authorities are being set up to regulate market forces. Role of the NGOs The NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisations) in the voluntary sector, through the last five decades, have worked with communities in every corner of India to bridge the distance between the promises and the reality of development. The important role of NGOs in reaching development schemes to the poor communities has been increasingly recognised by the Indian government. ‘Center for science and Environment’ (CSE), ‘Lokayan’, ‘ Sathin’ , ‘Self Employed Women Association’ (SEWA) and ‘Sulabh Inter national’ are some of the significant NGOs which are making appreciable contribution to the process of development in the country. Interest groups have performed an important function in influencing the economic and other kinds of the decisions of the state. Interest groups may be based on economic, ethnic, linguistic, religious, regional and other organisations. Sometimes, they influence the members of the government (ruling party) or the party in opposition to pressurise the government to concede to their demands. An interest group may thus act as a Pressure group. The Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), the All-India Chamber of Commerce and Industry, etc., (AIMA) are examples of Interest Groups which may act as pressure groups. The farmers also

Social Movements and the State Indian tradition provides many examples of socio-religious movements bringing about change in social and religious systems of the country. It adopts different measures. Many social legislations passed after independence in favour of the workers are examples of this. They have succeeded in influencing the decisions of the government for protecting the interests of the workers. The Press The Constitution of India has guaranteed the freedom of expression.116 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY have their lobby in the parliament and state legislatures. The democratic polity of independent India also provides an environment for peaceful movements. ideology. at least initially. ranging from dialogue and negotiation with the leaders of those movements which do not challenge the power structure of the state to repression of those movements which challenge the power of the state. The state which holds the sovereign power looks at social and political movements as a challenge to its legitimacy of governance. especially what the government does or does not do for them. other forms of mass-media alongwith the Press enable the citizens to know what is really happening in the country. The Press had also played a very significant role during the freedom movement. A social movement may be defined as the collective effort either to promote or to resist social change. Whenever a gover nment takes an arbitrary decision. The objective. Ecology has become a major . Two elements are necessary for a movement to be categorised as social movement: spontaneity and sustainability. Women’s Movements have been organised in Independent India. This tradition has been strengthened during the independence movement. programmes. These movements have succeeded in changing the laws in favour of the peasants. Peasant Movements. Press has proved to be the watchdog of the people for controlling arbitrary acts of the government. it is mostly softer in dealing with those movements which have reformist or welfareoriented demands than those which question the interests of the powerful or seek to bring about more radical social structural changes. The press is the important medium for the free expression of opinion in the democratic polity of India. T rade Unions represent the worker’s. leadership and organisation are important components of social movements. interests in Indian democracy. Today. workers and women. newspapers and magazines function as the vehicle of social checks and balances on the government. The democratic polity of India has not indulged in repression of different types of social movements. Rather. These components are interdependent and influence each other. Labour Movements.

GREEN REVOLUTION . A type of environmental movement in Uttaranchal (Tehri Garhwal). PRIVATISATION. while in others it may be less obvious. and the procedures and tasks involved in a particular system of administration. A group of people with common interests and brotherly feeling. DOMINATION. A process of economic reforms where a particular sector monopolised earlier by the government is opened for private enterprise.POLITICS IN INDIA 117 issue linked to many contemporary social movements. A process of economic reforms which removes government’s restrictions in the economy. RULING CLASS. It refers to that form of power which rests on force and manipulation rather than social sanction. LIBERTY. FRATERNITY. forest. The land under the control of a ruler. GLOSSARY AUTHORITY. They involve specific natural resources like land. Supreme and independent political power or authority of a politically independent state. In some societies this control may be overt. LIBERALISATION. What are the elements necessary for state? . What is power? 3. A particular type of technical change in Third World agricultural practices. government or state. and industries. It refers to that form of power which is considered legitimate by those over which it is exercised. air and sea and the question of people’s access to them and also the problems suffered by the common people because of disturbances in ecology created by the developments of dams. Freedom to act and think as one pleases. What is meant by political institution? 2. BUREAUCRACY. A social class that controls a society through whatever political institutions available. Forest based struggles like the Chipko Struggle in the Himalayan region and the Appiko movement in the Western Ghats provide important examples. TERRITORY. water. SOVEREIGNTY. CHIPKO MOVEMENT. EXERCISES 1. A body of administrative officials.

2002. Oommen. What is meant by politicisation of caste? 5. 4..118 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY 4. Sage Publications. Sage Publication. K. . Orient Longman. F. Dipankar. 1982. 1990. ed. 6. 5. SUGGESTED READINGS 1. Protest and Change: Studies in Social Movements. et al. The Politics of India since Independence . Transforming India. Social Movements and the State. 2002. R. Ghanshyam. Brass. Frankel. New Delhi. New Delhi. Sudipta. New Delhi. 2002. Politics in India. Oxford University Press. Gupta. Shah. New Delhi. Politics in India. 7. 3. Oxford University Press. Rajni. New Delhi. 2. Cambridge University Press. T. 1990. Paul. New Delhi. Orient Longman. Kaviraj. ed. Cambridge. 1996. Elaborate on the role of state in Indian society. Political Sociology in India: Contemporary Trends. Kothari.

CHAPTER 10 Deprived Groups Introduction Historically in every society there are certain groups who are weak or deprived from socio-political-economic or educational points of view. This policy has succeeded . The Constitution also confers certain rights specifically on minority groups. more equitable distribution of power and resources etc. are regarded weak or deprived groups. the Other Backward Classes and women. Scheduled Tribes. women and minorities. In its scope and reach. evenhandedness etc.). Scheduled Tribes (STs). which are justified on the following grounds: 1. compensatory discrimination has received considerable attention from the legislators. the right to conserve a minority group’s distinct language. 2. Religious minorities in Independent India are also considered weak from the point of view of economic and political empowerment. especially from these groups. India’s system of preferential treatment for disadvantaged sections of the population is popularly known as a policy of compensatory discrimination. It seeks to mitigate the systematic and cumulative deprivations suffered by deprived groups in the past. the educational and economic interests of the backward citizens and in particular of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Such policies entail systematic departures from norms of equality (such as merit. the courts and the executive. use of neglected talent. The beneficial results that they will presumably promote social integration. Preferential treatment may be viewed as a guarantee against the persistence of discrimination in subtle and indirect forms. In Indian society the Scheduled Castes. Independent India has firmly and explicitly embraced the protective discrimination policy in favour of Scheduled Castes (SCs). script. Article 46 of the Indian Constitution requires the state to promote with special care. 3. or culture and the right to establish and administer educational institutions of the group’s choice (Articles 29 and 30). Other Backward Classes (OBCs).

In Post-Independent India. This led to their residential segregation in villages and towns. Scheduled Tribes and other backward classes.48 per cent of the country’s total population. Jyotiba Phule. BACKWARD CLASSES The term ‘Backward Classes’ is used to describe all the weaker sections of the society. The institutionalised inequality in the caste system manifests its extreme form in the growth of completely segregated set of castes called ‘Scheduled Castes’.120 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY to some extent in taking care of the special needs of the deprived groups. Problems of the Scheduled Castes A majority of Dalits are poor. compensatory discrimination may be described as a way of reducing social disparities by creating special opportunities for some in addition to equal opportunities created for all. Harijan or son of God. there is a tension between the two principles (equal opportunities for all and special opportunities for some) and success in realising the larger objective of reducing disparities will depend on the care with which a balance is struck between the two. the term ‘Scheduled Caste’ was adopted by the Constitution for the purpose of providing them some special privileges under compensatory discrimination policy. Now we discuss these groups in details. deprived of basic needs. Dr. the population of Scheduled Castes is 13. Gandhiji had given them a new name. but the radical elements among Scheduled Castes call themselves Dalits. Dalit is a Marathi word which generally means ‘broken to pieces’. Sociologically speaking. The empowerment of the socially disadvantaged groups is high on the government agenda. The word Dalit encompasses the communities known as untouchables who are officially termed as Scheduled Castes. They constitute 16. ‘Scheduled Caste’ is a politicolegal ter m coined by the Simon Commission and then by the Government of India Act. It includes Scheduled Castes. Ambedkar and the Dalit Panther Movement in the seventies have popularised this term. also created some tension and confrontation between social groups who have received the benefits of reservation and those who have not. The Scheduled Castes come at the bottom of the caste hierarchy on the basis of ritual impurity. and socially backward.82 crores. It has. There is a provision of special central assistance for the welfare of the Scheduled Castes. Their occupations were held to be the lowest in the normative hierarchy. 1935. . They are technically outside the four fold varna scheme. however. The term ‘Scheduled Caste’ (SC) can be understood in the context of caste as an all pervasive feature of the Indian society. Obviously. These castes were imputed with maximum degree of ritual and social impurity. SCHEDULED CASTES According to 1991 census.

They were subjected to various types of social disabilities and several restrictions were imposed on them. 5. 9. They are considered as ritually defiled. 7. shops. Though traditional occupations are gradually dissolving. Giving them preferential treatment in admission to educational institutions. 8. tanks. Practices of untouchability and exclusion are still continuing in some areas regardless of constitutional guarantees and official decrees. and his annual report is placed before the Parliament. Compensatory provisions for recruitment and promotion in government services. Removal of restrictions on access to wells. Protection from social injustice and various forms of exploitation. As a result. they continue to suffer. After 52 years of commencement of the Constitution and after nearly 50 years of planning. The important measures taken by the Indian government for Scheduled Castes include: 1. Giving them other benefits and grants for pursuing education. geographical spread and ritual status. Setting up separate departments and advisory councils to promote . Abolition of untouchability. 6. But together they are segregated from other castes on the criteria of untouchability. caste inequalities continue to be among the most important factors affecting their access to education. Scheduled Castes as a group are not homogeneous. 2. caste violence has witnessed a dramatic increase over the last couple of years. The government appoints a commissioner for Scheduled Castes to look into their grievances. class and gender.DEPRIVED GROUPS 121 Many do not have access to sufficient amount of food. It has also strengthened them. 3. The majority of the Scheduled Castes in villages continue to suffer because they work under the control of the dominant castes and the landlords. Moreover. healthcare. They continue to be economically dependent on the landowning castes and are exploited in different ways. numerical strength. Modernisation has done much to weaken traditional caste occupations and practices. Moreover. They are internally differentiated in terms of occupation. restaurants.Vidhan Sabha and Punchayti Raj. Giving them special representation in Lok Sabha. 4. Dalits generally continue to be concentrated in occupations that render little social status or possibility for social mobility. Untouchability still persists to an extent in some pockets in rural India. roads. etc. Constitutional Provisions for the Scheduled Castes The Constitution provides the Scheduled Castes many safeguards and special privileges. To keep open religious institutions to all irrespective of caste. housing and clothing. several remedial measures have been tried to improve the conditions of the Scheduled Castes in India.

Nearly 88 per cent Scheduled T ribes are engaged in agriculture. 10.122 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY their welfare and safeguard their interests. and degree of their isolation and the pattern of livelihood. Present Status The Scheduled Castes are still not fully integrated to the mainstream of Indian society. Maharashtra. They have however. tribals have great . the tribal population in India is more than 6. Making special provision for the administration and control of the scheduled areas. loss of tribal rights over land and forests as well as poor and primitive mode of agriculture etc. In fact. Social differentiation among the tribes is different from that of the advanced agricultural and industrial societies. religion. Jharkhand. sex and kinship. the special provisions and reservations for them over generations have led to the emergence of an elite or creamy layer within the Scheduled Castes.7 million. Land Alienation Agriculture is the primary occupation of the tribals. Punjab and Delhi have reportedly no tribal population. It has not only economic dimensions but also social and psychological dimensions. It is due to rampant poverty. Some of the major problems of Scheduled Tribes are the following: 1.28 per cent of the total Indian population. The Scheduled Tribe population is spread over the various regions of India and we find much diversity among them. Gujarat. Besides. They have been specified by the Presidential Orders issued in consultation with the Governors of the respective states. Orissa. The Constitution of India does not define the Scheduled Tribes. The Scheduled Tribes have been specified by Presidential Orders issued under the provisions of Article 341 and 342 of the Constitution. The basic disability of the Scheduled Castes stems from their low ritual and economic status whereas that of Scheduled Tribes is rooted in their physical isolation after adverse and exploitative economic conditions. Despite constitutional provisions and various developmental schemes exclusively for their welfare. Madhya Pradesh have Sheduled Tribe’s population in large number. They constitute 8. Rajasthan. 2. only a small section of the Scheduled Castes has benefited. Some of these attributes of tribes often resemble with that of the non-tribal people of a given region rather than the tribal people of another region. Some states like Goa. In India Chattisgarh. Different tribal groups can be classified on the basis of language. Haryana. gradations and inequalities based on age. SCHEDULED TRIBES According to the 1991 census. Indebtedness Indebtedness is probably the most difficult problem faced by the tribal population in India.

communication. Besides poverty. and by using the method of temptation of immediate gain. however. employment scenario is quite grim in the tribal areas. migration and depopulation. the Jawahar Rozgar Yojana for employment generation is under implementation since 1989. The other methods that the civilised people use to encroach upon the lands of the tribals are by utilising the intimidation of court. Their simplicity and ignorance only accelerate their impoverishment. creation of productive community assets and improvement of overall quality of life in rural areas. It is. The Jawahar Rozgar Yojana has provisions for preference to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes for employment. housing. 4. The main factors responsible for the depopulating trend of some tribes are radical changes in ecological conditions. a paradox that on the one hand the population of large tribes has been increasing and on the other hand a number of other tribes are moving towards total extinction. Other Problems Many of the tribal areas have been marked out by migration of people seeking to etch out their livelihood in different parts of the country. industrialisation.4 per cent in rural areas and 39. urbanisation. 1.DEPRIVED GROUPS 123 emotional attachment with their lands. The other problems which tribals of India usually face are that of illiteracy. Special provisions are made for the educational attainment of the Scheduled T ribes. the percentage of persons below the poverty line among the Scheduled Tribes was 58. In the present scenario. . Constitutional Provisions for the Scheduled Tribes The term ‘Scheduled Tribe’ is nowhere clearly defined in the Constitution. For instance there have been an acceleration of women from Jharkhand coming to cities like Delhi as domestic workers. Poverty and Unemployment Insensitive planning in tribal areas has led to chronic poverty among the tribals. The objectives of the Jawahar Rozgar Yojana are generation of additional gainful employment. In 1983-84.9 per cent among the urban population. abrupt disturbances in man-nature equilibrium and the dehumanisation of the forest policy and its cruel implementation. Article 342 empowers the President of India to specify a tribe as a ‘Scheduled T ribe’. These provisions include reservation of seats and relaxation in requirements for admission to educational institutions. Their chronic indebtedness to the shopkeepers and moneylenders becomes the primary factor in land alienation. There are two types of constitutional provisions for Scheduled T ribes: one with regard to their protection and the other for tribal development. 3.

Reservation of posts in service. but groups of communities. The Supreme Court in the Mandal Commission case held the view that the backwardness contemplated by Article 16(4) is mainly social. by their nature. There are many divisions within the overall category. 4. The Ministry of Tribal Affairs has been set up in 1999 to attend exclusively to the needs of the tribal population in the country. Andre Betteille considers peasant castes as the core of the backward classes. self-perpetuating. which are. The backward classes are not classes at all. (ii) distribution of improved agricultural instruments. OTHER BACKWARD CLASSES Other Backward Classes comprise the non-untouchable. 6. Seats are reserved for Scheduled Tribes in Lok Sabha and State Legislatures. manure and extension of agricultural facilities. The OBCs do not constitute a homogeneous category. 3. Efforts have also been made since independence to improve the condition of tribals by: (i) distribution of land to the tribals and development of land already in their possession. seeds. 7. There is much confusion regarding the composition and provisions for the OBCs. The State is enjoined upon to promote with special care the educational and economic interests of Scheduled Tribes and protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation. The significance of the category ‘Backward Classes’ lies not only in its size and extent. and (iii) the protection of tribals from moneylenders. Caste rank and occupation are the main criteria by which they are considered backward. They are a large and mixed category of persons with boundaries that are both unrelated and elastic. Thus. but also in the uniquely Indian way of defining it’s boundaries. Safeguard of tribal interest in property. The recognition of traditional tribal rights to land and legal protection against alienation of tribal land. lower and intermediary castes who were traditionally engaged in agriculture.124 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY scholarships. The President may at any time appoint a Commission to report on the administration of the scheduled areas and the welfare of the Scheduled Tribes in the State. the Other Backward Classes are a residual and highly ambiguous category. In India. 5. It need not be both social and educational. Provisions for the Other Backward Classes The OBCs constitute 51 per cent of the . The OBCs are above the so-called untouchable groups and below the twice born castes. animal husbandry and handicrafts services. ‘backward-ness’ is viewed as an attribute not of individuals but of communities. etc. 2.

Today most states have divided OBCs into two groups comprising Annexure-I and Annexure-II.399 castes (about 70 per cent of India’s population) as backward. The Constitution does not define Backward Classes. However.DEPRIVED GROUPS 125 total population of the country. Singh Government announced 27 per cent reservation for the OBCs following the Mandal Commission’s report. 33. the National Backward Classes Finance and Development Corporation (NBCFDC) was set up by the Government of India in 1992. 4. Reservation in certain technical posts was not advised. real social equality in India could be achieved only by eliminating caste distinctions and social discrimination. 7. the Constitution provides for the appointment of a commission to investigate the condition of backward classes. This showed that the nation was determined to extend to them the necessary assistance for their empowerment. The Commission was of the view that the Backward Classes cannot come into their own with their unaided strength. The first Backward Classes Commission was appointed in 1953. Under Article 340. Caste was accepted as basis for identifying the beneficiaries of reservations. 2. The Kaka Kalelkar Commission identified 2. Creamy-layer was to be excluded from reservations. Annexure-I represents the creamy layer among the OBCs. As another measure of support.5 per cent in class II Services and 40 per cent in Class III and IV Services for the castes listed as backward. In the Commission’s view. It suggested several measures for their development. 3. Tribunals were to be set up by the union and state governments to examine complaints of over inclusion and under -inclusion and requests for inclusion in the list of Other Backward Classes. There were to be no reservation in promotions. 5. The Commission proposed reservations of at least 25 per cent in class I Services. Caste was taken as the key factor in making a list of Backward Classes. Pressure for incorporating more castes into the list of OBCs has been seen as a design of vote bank politics. reservation for OBCs has been seen more from the political angle than from the welfare angle. The upper limit of reservation was fixed at 50 per cent. STs and OBCs Sociologists have differentiated between the compensatory discrimi- .P. The Union Government was to specify socio-economic criteria to exclude socially advanced persons among the Backward Classes. 6. with Kaka Saheb Kalelkar as chairman. Assessment of the Policies for SCs. with the objective of providing concessional finance to members of the Backward Classes living below the poverty line. The V. for income generating activities. The Supreme Court’s verdict of 1992 on the Mandal Commission’s report has the following features: 1.

The wish to preserve distinctive features of one’s social and cultural life is an essential feature of a minority community. Policies regarding OBCs differ from state to state and different groups of people are included. race or culture it can be considered a minority group. The Indian Constitution recognises two types of minorities — the one based on language and the other based on religion. The Supreme Court and various High Courts have depended on the statistical criterion.67 per cent). religion or language. It may refer to a relatively small group of people either dominated by or capable of being dominated by a preponderant majority. MINORITIES Minority is a term. Reservations for the SCs and STs are directed basically towards the goal of greater equality in society. Hindus constitute 82. The issues of minority are really relational i. Such a group .34 per cent). The most important measures adopted or recommended for their advancement are reservations in the educational institutions.44 per cent of the total population of India. The Harijans and the adivasis have been the victims of active social discrimination through segregation in the first case and isolation in the second.126 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY nation provided to the SCs or STs and the privileges given to the OBCs.e. Any community that does not constitute more than 50 per cent in a state is. Christians (2. We can underline the following special features of compensatory discrimination in favour of OBCs: 1. especially in professional and technical colleges and government service. called a minority. which is difficult to define with any degree of precision. nationality. Other Backward Classes are usually not defined in exactly the same way in different parts of the country. If a group is discriminated on the basis of religion. The International Encyclopaedia of Social Sciences defines minority as a group of people differentiated from others in the same society by race.41 per cent of the total population followed by Muslims (11. and others constitute 0. 3. The Constitution of India uses the term minority but nowhere defines it. thus. Buddhists (0. who think of themselves as differentiated group and are thought of by others as a differentiated group with negative connotations. in terms of the location and the majority.76 per cent). If SCs and STs are by now easily recognisable groups in Indian society the same cannot be said about the OBCs. Jains (0. 2. It is now widely felt that population size is not the only feature of minority status. The same cannot be said to be true of OBCs.94 per cent). According to the 1991 census of India.40 per cent). The OBCs have a very different position in Indian society from that of the SCs and STs. Sikhs (1.

This provision gives protection not only to religious minorities but also to linguistic minorities. language and religious faith. Parsis have played significant roles in the industrialisation of the country. (2) Under Article 350(A). 3. The wish to represent their demands often gives rise to political demands by minority groups. Contribution of Minorities The minority communities have made significant contributions in practically all fields. the Constitution directs every State to provide adequate facilities for instruction in the mother tongue . Minorities have done their best in promoting national interests within their reach. Following points show their contributions in different fields: 1. But they constitute a majority in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. the State would not by law impose upon it any other culture belonging to the majority of the locality.DEPRIVED GROUPS 127 may be held together by shared descent. Indian science. customs. Urdu by itself is an excellent example. cultures. Punjab. In the political field they have occupied the posts ranging from the President of the world’s largest democracy to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India. 5. The language imbibes some of the best cultural traditions of Hinduism and Islam. journalism and sports are richer by the contribution of minority members. the Muslims in India are a minority group on the basis of their religion in comparison to the majority of Hindus. is the foremost producer of wheat and they have made Green Revolution a success. The Constitution has guaranteed them the following rights: (1) Under Article 29(1). They actively participated in India’s freedom movement. On the cultural front too minorities have made splendid contributions. 4. 2. physical characteristics. or by a combination of these. They very often organise themselves into a coherent group drawing on shared values. Many Muslims. Constitutional Provisions for the Minorities The Constitution of Independent India has guaranteed various rights to the minorities. 6. Christians and members of other minorities have richly contributed to literature in other Indian languages too. For example. a minority community needs additional support to safeguard its interests. They have also contributed to classical music. dominated by the Sikhs. languages or religions. traditions. 7. if there is a cultural minority which wants to preserve its own language and culture. dance and films etc. The rationale for this is that while the majority community by virtue of its number can guard its interest.

Despite several governmental and non-governmental efforts. there has been a provision for a special officer for linguistic minorities to investigate all matters relating to the safeguards provided for linguistic minorities under the Constitution. Under the Constitutional provision. Christians. Muslims. To evaluate the working of the various safeguards of the Constitution for the protection of religious minorities and to make recommendations to ensure effective implementation and enforcement of all the safeguards and laws. there can be no discrimination in admission into any state educational institution on grounds only of religion. Legislation and cooperation at the level of society can accelerate the process of integration of minorities in the national mainstream. whether based on religion or language. all minorities shall have the fundamental right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice. This Commission was replaced by the National Commission for Minorities in 1993. the government has also set up a National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation (NMDFC). The Corporation would provide financial aid for economic and developmental activities for the benefit of backward sections among the minorities. Buddhists and Zoroastrians as minorities at the national level. a large section of the minorities still lag behind. Industrial and technological growth and educational development are the two most effective instruments to bring about national integration. Industrial and technological growth in India needs to influence not just the majority community but also in equal measure the minorities. (3) Under Article 350(B). The Government has notified five communities namely. The 15 = point programme has been implemented for welfare of minorities. (4) Under Article 300(1). In addition. caste or language. With regard to granting aid. In 1964. Most of them are illiterate and deprived in a country of continental dimensions. It has the objective of securing life and property of minorities. the Supreme Court upheld the right of the minorities to choose the medium of instruction in their schools. race. Their property cannot be acquired by the State without paying compensation. It has also provided special consideration for minorities in public employment to ensure nondiscrimination in development programmes and grant of financial benefits.128 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY at the primary stage of education to children belonging to linguistic minority groups. a Minorities Commission was set up in 1978. Sikhs. . the state cannot discriminate against any educational institution on the ground that it is under the management of a minority. Now economic opportunities will enhance their self-confidence and generate in them a new outlook.

Married women achieve status and respect in the family and society after attaining motherhood. The reformative measures undertaken during the British rule had positive changes in the status of women. women are still one of the most powerless and marginalised sections of Indian society.e. Various social and economic indicators provide the evidence of inequalities and vulnerabilities of women in all sectors economic. It granted social and religious freedom to women. nutrition etc. Movements initiated by social reformers like Raja Ram Mohan Roy. dowry deaths. and the other outside the family. We dedicated ourselves as a nation in 1950 to build a democratic society based upon justice. The religious and social reform movements gave a sense of confidence to women. They are mostly at the receiving end. women feel subordinated to men. 1955. Hindu . especially after giving birth to sons. The legislative measures include Special Marriage Act. health. Working women are considered to be enjoying an independent and superior position in society. they face roleconflicts in all places. They have a dual identity in such families i. demographic. There is a considerable ambiguity about the nature and status of women in Indian society. Even in the neo-rich families. After Independence. Measures like the spread of education and abolition of practices like sati and ‘child marriage’ had positively influenced the status of women. Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar. Marital status and their fertility provide crucial identity to women. whereas in the public domain men were supposed to be supreme. wife beating and femalefoeticide are all indicative of the powerless position of women in family and society.DEPRIVED GROUPS 129 WOMEN India became an independent country in 1947. she is believed to represent power and evoke both fear and reverence. various legislations were passed to improve the status of women. Sometimes women are treated as ‘inferior’ members in their own families. 1954. Hindu Marriage Act. The rising incidence of crime and violence against women are indicators of the condition of society. She has two contradictory images. Increasing physical violence against women in the form of rape. But even after fifty five years of Indian independence. equality and fraternity. women were supposed to be supreme in the household domains. On the one hand. But they are not free from their family roles. As a result. On the other hand. Annie Beasant and Mahatma Gandhi also helped in bringing positive changes in the status of women. The status of women improved to some extent during the Bhakti movement. one inside the family. she is largely appreciated for her beauty and delicateness.. liberty. where their identity is defined in relation to their male members. Women’s oppression and their exploitation cuts across caste and class lines. social. In traditional India.

Gender inequality in India stems from three important sources: (i) difference in women’s and men’s economic roles and potential power. The life of an average Indian woman is one long battle against discrimination and deprivation. The Constitution of Independent India also guarantees ‘Right to Equality’ as a Fundamental Right. We shall get a comprehensive picture if we analyse various indicators of the status of women in the present society. distinction is made between ‘women’s domain of work and ‘men’s domain of work’. female foeticide and female infanticide. women still have to forego some privileges and rights that are regarded as belonging exclusively to the male domain. Being the allegedly inferior gender. consumerism. Sex ratio in India is always biased in favour of the male population. poor enforcement of legal provisions. The life of a poor Indian woman is characterised by too many illnesses and too many children. Women belonging to the educated. There are widespread regional variations in female literacy too. Article 14 of the Constitution assures equality before law and equal protection of the laws as a fundamental right. Even in respect of role allocation. (ii) cultural traditions restricting the movement and autonomy of women. urban and high-income group are the major beneficiaries of the developmental measures. from 927 per thousand in 1991 to 933 per thousand males. This increase in violence can be attributed to the low status of women in a patrilineal society. Female literacy rate has always been lagging behind male literacy and the national average. women always work longer hours than their male counterparts. There is a downward trend from 972 females per thousand males in 1901. Violence against women is on the rise. 1956 and the AntiDowry Act. Their work tends to be invisible and under-rewarded. an increase in lawlessness. In the 2001 census. economic and political justice. preference for male child. Women’s access to income and control over economic resources is even worse. Article 15 and 16 prohibit any type of discrimination on the ground of gender. Most working women remain outside the organised sector. discrimination against the female child. On the domestic front. Constitutional Women Provisions for The Constitution of India accepts the principle of equality of gender. a lot of improvement has been made in the position of women in society. 1961. Article 15 also provides that the state may make . to 930 per thousand in 1971. The Preamble of the Constitution speaks of equality of status and opportunity and of social. The Present Status of Women After Independence. and erosion of traditional values.130 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY Succession Act. The adverse sex ratio can be attributed to a number of factors such as. it shows an improvement of 6 points. and (iii) marriage and family practices.

The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act. we need to change our attitude towards women’s issues and their empowerment. It identified core development issues of women as health.DEPRIVED GROUPS 131 special provisions for women and that such provisions may not be treated as violation of right to equality. What we must understand now is that by granting the constitutional provisions and by enacting various legislations only the position of women in the society cannot be improved substantially. 1955 has made divorce an easy affair. and now to ‘empowerment’ in the 90s. 1961 aims at containing the evil of dowry. 1986 and the Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act. The Hindu Marriage Act. Under this Act. There was a shift in emphasis from ‘welfare’ in the 70s to ‘development’ in the 80s. The Dowry Prohibition Act. 1976 provides for equal pay to men and women for equal work. The Immoral T raf fic Prevention Act makes sexual exploitation of male or female. Other Provisions The State has enacted various women specific and women related legislations to safeguard the constitutional rights given to women. 1971 legalises abortion on health grounds. The Women’s Reservation Bill aims at providing women with 33 per cent representation in the legislative bodies. The Child Marriage Restraint Act. Moreover. if a girl commits suicide within seven years of her marriage and it is proved that she was subject to cruelty. Article 39 (d) asks the state to direct its policy to see that there is equal pay for equal work for both men and women. So. The Equal Remuneration Act. The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act. The Constitution imposes a fundamental duty on every citizen through article 15 (A) (e) to renounce all practices that are derogatory to the dignity of women. Article 39 (c) seeks the state to see that the health and strength of men and women workers is not abused. a cognisable offence. the husband/in-laws are liable to be punished. 1987 have been passed to protect the dignity of women and prevent their exploitation and violence against them. they must be given a participatory role in the affairs of state and society. The Directive Principles refer to women at three places. Article 112 requires the state to provide for maternity relief. . The Sixth Five Year Plan laid greater emphasis on women’s economic role. education and employment. 1976 has raised the age of marriage of a girl to 18 years and that of a boy to 21 years.

T HIRD WORLD . 9. JATI PANCHAYAT. 1977. Pluralism and Equality. PANCHAYAT. political and technological barriers for free flow of capital. Chronicles of Our Time. 5. GLOBAL PROCESS.C. India Since Independence. Ahmad. 3. Andre. FOLKWAYS. 2.. State the constitutional provisions for the Scheduled Tribes. Custom means established patterns of behaviour and belief. 2000. Penguin Books. ed. 6. 8. 2. EXERCISES 1. This refers to behaviour which infringes rules or the expectation of other. 10. Panchayat is a democratic village assembly. The village assembly which consists only of a particular caste members in a village is called Jati Panchayat. S. 4. The countries outside the industrially advanced capitalist countries and the former socialist countries are known as the third world. MORES. What do you understand by the Minorities? Explain the problems of Minorities in India. Beteille. Vikas Publications. Mores are those folkways to which the sense of group togetherness is added. New Delhi. Folkways refers to day-to-day activities within a society or community which have become established and are socially sanctioned. Dubey. Sage Publications. It is a process which denotes removal of legal. It is usually elected by the adult members of the village for 5 years. New Delhi. and which attracts disapproval or punishment. It is more difficult to break than the folkways.132 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY GLOSSARY CUSTOM. ed. . DEVIANCE. 7. Explain the term ‘Backward Classes’. Discuss the status of women in contemporary India. SUGGESTED READINGS 1. Imtiaz and others. 3. Who are the Scheduled Castes? Discuss the problems of the Scheduled Castes? State the constitutional provisions for the Scheduled Castes. It refers to a social or economic process which is trans-national in nature. Who are the Scheduled Tribes? Discuss the problems of tribes in India. goods and ideas from the country to another.

M. The People of India : National Series (Volume II) The Scheduled Castes. Delhi. . Oxford University Press. 1977. Singh. K.N. Caste: Its Twentieth Century Avatar. New Delhi. ed. Penguin. Macmilan. 2000. 5. Thapar. 1993.. Caste and Religion.. 6. Srinivas.S. 4. ed. 1996. New Delhi. Tribe. Romesh.DEPRIVED GROUPS 133 New Delhi.

When a group of scholars come to share a particular viewpoint towards the study of sociocultural and other aspects of human life. Sociologists like Comte and Durkheim wanted to apply the approach of physical and natural sciences in Sociology as well. structural approach and historical approach. Other sociologists under the influence of Dilthey were opposed to this view.CHAPTER 11 Approaches to the Study of Indian Society Introduction An approach is a way in which a person starts looking at social facts. alternative approaches for the understanding of meaning in social life. social phenomenon or social behaviours etc. According to Yogendra Singh there are four types of approaches in Indian Sociology. In all such classifications there is a certain degree of overlapping between two or more classes of approaches. There are many ways to classify sociological approaches in Indian Sociology. while the world of human activity can be observed and comprehended from the inside. These are Indological appr oach. They claimed that Indian society could be understood only through the . Dilthey claimed that the natural world can only be observed and comprehended from the outside. a particular sociological approach emerges. In this way. theory or theories. theories. Indological Approach Indology literally means a systematic study of Indian society and culture. methods and techniques for studying society. Such an approach is accompanied by appropriate concepts. The development of different approaches calls for different sets of concepts. a number of sociological approaches have developed in Western Sociology as well as in Indian Sociology. This particular approach may be criticised by others who take a different approach towards the socio-cultural phenomena. Therefore. There are other classifications of approaches in Indian Sociology as well. Sociology requires new. methods and techniques. culturological approach. Indologists claimed that uniqueness of Indian civilisation cannot be fitted into the framework of European Sociology.

K. For example. was established in 1917.M. The Bhandarkar Institute.K. Different Indian sociologists were influenced by different schools of Indology. In the same way. rituals. taboos. Indological approach in Indian Sociology is influenced by the discipline of Indology but it is not co-terminous with Indology. By 1886 the Theosophical Society at Adyar had started Indological studies of its own kind. For example. there is a synthesis between Indological perspective and the empirical Sociology of American variety. As an independent discipline. codes.Ghurye. They rely primarily on the book view. There are many schools within the discipline itself. Baroda. Indology is an independent discipline in itself as well as an approach in Indian Sociology. however. In 1891. there is a synthesis of Indological approach and the diffusionist approach propagated by W. P. when the first department of Sociology was started at Bombay University in 1919. the founding fathers of Indian Sociology were influenced by the Indological approach. Thus. All sociologists who have used Indological approach are also influenced by other sociological perspective. in the writings of Radhakamal Mukherjee. Indology is much older than Sociology in India. Pune.Kapadia. tools. manuscripts. archaeological artefacts. institutions. theories and frameworks of Indian civilisation. The mainstream of Indology.H. The first important centre of Indology was started by Sir William Jones at Kolkata in 1784 AD. Pune.R. in the writings of G. Radhakamal Mukherjee was influenced by the Indological writings of Anand K.S. Rivers. Radhakamal Mukherjee. Secondly. In both the versions Indological studies comprise investigations of language. Indology as a discipline contains a variety of approaches and methods.APPROACHES TO THE STUDY OF INDIAN SOCIETY 135 concepts.S. techniques. and symbolic expressions. Ghurye was more influenced by the writings of Indologists of the Bhandarkar Institute. was started in 1893. ideas. H. In the writings of B. works of art. B. The sources of Indological studies are primarily classical texts. K. G.Sarkar. It gives more importance to the culture of Indian society than to the empirical structure. S. the discipline called Indology was well established in India. In the same way.Sarkar was influenced by the Indological studies of the Asiatic society founded by Sir William Jones. The aim of Indological studies is to gain a deeper understan-ding of the Indian culture. Oriental Institute. the Oriental Research Institute. we have a decisive influence of Indological approach.Ghurye. Coomaraswamy. Prabhu and Iravati Karve. G. As a result. Mysore was started. beliefs. has been the creation of Western scholars. . ceremonies and other related components of the Indian culture and civilisation. than by the writings of British School of Indology founded by Sir William Jones or the German scholar Max Mueller. customs.

culture. The Indological studies have sought to develop an empathic understanding of Indian culture. In America it is primarily represented by cultural analysis. technology. Within the broader frameworks of Sociology it has enlarged our understanding of Indian family. One of the most familiar name associated with this was Max Mueller. social organisation. sophisticated and nuanced than the writings of the British school of Indology. religion.N. It is conceptualised as a system of symbols by cultural analysts like Clifford Geertz and David Schneider. kinship.P. The study of culture covers ideas and values. culturological writings on India have fruitfully utilised the insight of Indological approaches. The Indological approach within Indian Sociology is much developed.Mukerji had earlier pleaded for a synthesis of an understanding of the Indian tradition (provided by Indologists) within the Marxian analytical framework of dialectics. to exaggerate either the virtues of Indian culture or weakness of Indian culture. under the influence of Louis Dumont and Mckim Marriott. The common thread which runs through all these viewpoints is the primacy of culture as the object of study. One was the blatantly racist view that there was nothing of any worth in the culture of India. T. marriage. art. myth. Culturological Approach Culturological approach in Sociology is a non-standardised term. Even Srinivas had at times used Indological data to supplement his fieldwork. a general tendency. The Orientalists see primarily the negative elements in Indian tradition and rationalises the missionary activities as well as the British rule in India. Culturological approach is more popular in America and France than in Britain or Germany. All the major sociologists before independence were influenced by Indological approach. It is primarily concerned with person as a cultural being. among the Indologists. however. found India’s culture and civilization worthy of appreciation. For all such approaches the phenomenon of culture is primary and the phenomenon of social relation-ships and social structures is secondary manifestation of culture.Madan has pleaded recently for the synthesis of Coomaraswamy and Levi-Strauss in the creative understanding of Indian society and culture. history and religion. The other view. Within it a variety of viewpoints are included. language. however.136 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY Two trends defined the western perception of India. D. Recently. There is. language. Indologists. termed Oreintalism. mythology and civilisation. They argue that cultural . overemphasise Indian spiritualism and underemphasise the achievements in the realm of material culture and the practical wisdom of the common people of India.

Dumont treats Indology as the basis for a Sociology of India. he does not give much importance to the writings of indigenous Indologists. culturological approach is primarily represented by structuralism of Levi-Strauss. kinship. The publication of Homo Hierarchicus (1970) is regarded as an important departure for the culturological approach within Indian Sociology. Levi-Strauss applied the structural approach of linguistics in the study of kinship. great and little traditions and processes of social change. Cultural analysts are also known as advocates of culturological approach and interpretative analysis. It says that the value of the elements is dependent upon the relations which combine and oppose the elements. He says that cultural phenomena are the products of the “unconscious structure of the human mind”. It is opposed to the historical approach to social structure and pleads for an extreme form of culturological approach.APPROACHES TO THE STUDY OF INDIAN SOCIETY 137 systems must be distinguished from social systems and analysed as internally coherent wholes. The followers of this approach have produced a very substantial body of work. But. For Levi-Strauss. Schneider and Milton Singer. Cultural analysts have studied the concept of ‘Person’ in Indian culture and tradition. Structuralism aims to discover the universal elements in human society. he highlights the opposition of purity and pollution in the structure of the caste system as the key to its understanding. totemic beliefs. They have also studied family. exchange and reciprocities provided the clue to understand human culture. have developed an ‘Ethnosociology’ of India. however. The culturological approach in Indian Sociology has. In France. incest and exogamy. food. Mckim Marriott. marriage. myth. etc. He proposed that social life should be primarily conceptualised as a system of symbols or cultural constructions. Inden and Nicholas. primitive mind and other areas of social life. He also said that these symbols or cultural constructions are the manifestations of the structure of human mind. Levi-Strauss received his inspiration from structural linguistics. It is evident in the writings of Geertz. The other important variety of culturological approach has come from the method of cultural analysis and theories of culture. cultural meanings are more important than their behavioural manifestations. Marriott and his peers. Following the ideas of Levi-Strauss. Dumont’s approach to the study of the caste system in India provoked a very substantial debate. the binary opposition of the categories of nature and culture. For cultural analysts. Ethnosociology seeks to explore the meanings and symbols. many similarities with the Indological approach. codes and substances that are inherant in the texts and languages of a people’s own culture. There is a shift in culturological . Structural linguistics concentrate not so much on conscious phenomena but on their unconscious infrastructure.

To Radcliffe–Brown the social structure is an empirical reality existing at a single moment of time. Structural Approach Structural approach claims that Sociology is a universal science of society and its concepts. missing in such studies. This approach has been adopted to study village communities. Radcliffe-Brown further insists that culture can only be studied scientifically as an aspect of social structure. Social structure for him consists of the sum total of all the social relationships of all individuals at a given moment in time. It also includes enduring. This approach has developed very sophisticated methods and techniques of cultural analysis. orderly and patterned relationships between elements of a society. It gives more importance to the empirical structure in the field than to the normative framework of culture. Social structure usually.138 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY approach from the study of facts to the study of ‘people’s ideas’.R. translation. theories and assumptions can be fruitfully utilised beyond Europe for comparative analysis. Radcliffe-Brown differe-ntiates the culture of a society from its social structure. Evans Pritchard. thinking and feeling. This is a major limitation of the culturological approach. This view propagates a very rigorous and systematic fieldwork for the collection of data. does not amount to explanation. He sees the culture of a society as its standardised mode of behaviour. however. Fortes. legends and myths or from the folk traditions and other symbolic forms of culture. RadcliffeBrown who inspired M. Srinivas to adopt the structural-functional approach towards the religion and society among the Coorgs of South India. refers to any recurring pattern of social behaviour. however. They also try to discover the relationship between knowledge and reality as reflected in the people’s own model. We may briefly refer to A. . Firth and Nadel use the term social structure broadly in this sense. Different sociologists have defined social structure in different ways. Most of such studies are based on textual material either drawn from epics. The central concept within this approach is social structure. most developed and most coherent approach in Sociology after the independence. Followers of Radcliffe-Brown acknowledge the inseparability of culture and social structure.N. while the structural form is an abstraction from reality by the investigator. Radcliffe-Brown’s structural functional approach also distinguishes the forms (structures) of social relations from their effects (functions). Structural approach in Indian Sociology is the most popular. This. The element of comparison is. Their construction of social reality is based on translation of the symbols and categories of the people into the language of Sociology. and implies a period rather than a moment of time.

T. he used culturological approaches. Srinivas’s concepts such as the dominant caste.N. Although most of such studies were rooted in small empirical fields. changes in the demographic and family structure of Indian society has been studied by this approach. the structure of family ( okka ) and the structure of caste relationships by using key concepts of structuralfunctionalism. It underlines the processes of structural cleavages (discontinuities) and differentiation in societies for special attention.Dubey’s studies of Indian village and India’s changing villages were conducted by using the structural approach.C. religious structure.Srinivas’s studies of the religion and society among the Coorgs. social stratification. Rampura village and social change in moder n India were primarily an application of Radclif fe-Brown’s structural approach with some modifications. Structural approach in Indian Sociology includes a very wide spectrum of viewpoints ranging from structural-functionalism to a synthesis of Karl Marx and Max Weber.APPROACHES TO THE STUDY OF INDIAN SOCIETY 139 caste structure. M. their theoretical and conceptual schemes were useful for a broader generalisation.N. class and power in a Tanjore village and agrarian structure were based on the analytical categories derived from Max Weber and Karl Marx. Sanskritisation. In the structural approach special consideration is given to comparative study of social categories such as caste and class and their implication for the nature of the society in India. overlook the hidden contradictions and present a more consensual view of the social . The main limitations of the majority of structural studies include neglect of cultural dimensions or historical dimensions.G. political structure etc. Westernisation and his analytical distinction between varna and jati were useful in the understanding of patterns of relationship at a more general level by generations of sociologists. study of power structure. Andre Beteille’s studies of caste. Oommen’s studies of social movements in India are also rooted in structural framework of sociological enquiry.Bailey’s analysis of structural changes in India with the set of comparative categories like tribe. family structure. caste and nation is another example of structural approach. The use of more than one conceptual category and the application of comparative method are the defining features of structural approach in India.Shah studied the household dimension of Indian family by using structural approach but in the study of village life he used the historical approach. For example. A.M.Madan had studied family. F. They. Srinivas had studied the structure of village life. marriage and kinship from structuralfunctional perspective but in the study of non-renunciation and the ideology of householder in Indian culture. S. Problems of equality and inequality. kinship structure. usually.

Sociology is concerned with the dynamic interaction between human agency and social structure. class conflict and model of socialist society in his analysis of historical social processes in India. The Marxist sociologists. He did not conduct any empirical study using this frame of reference. like G. prefer the historical approach to other approaches. their composition.Ghurye and Radhakamal Mukerjee are also historical but these are classified as Indological or culturological. Historical Approach Historical approach in Sociology is most pronounced in what is known as historical Sociology. According to some sociologists Indological approach is concerned more with culture than with social structure.K. Their strength lies in their rich empirical traditions and conceptual and theoretical sophistications. He preferred to term his approach as the Marxological in comparison to the more popular term Marxist. D. 2. but as an empirical issue in world history. Historical Sociology is a particular kind of comparative study of social groups.Ghurye and R. therefore. The Marxists as well as the Weberians have adopted the historical approach. their interrelationships and the social conditions which support or undermine them. democratisation and modernisation. His analysis of the historical development of Indian culture in general and the historical emergence of the middle class in . however. important to understand that many sociologists. Mukerji tried to synthesise a particular variety of Marxist analysis with the notion of Indian tradition used by the Indologists.S. The works of G. Historical approach in Sociology is primarily concerned with the problems of social development. 3. especially the historical processes of industriali-sation. Sociology is concerned with the pattern of freedom and constraint in the life histories of individuals in social contexts. Sociology is specifically concerned with the transition to industrialism as an historical process. The historical approach gives greater emphasis to social structure and its dynamic aspects. P. not as an abstract problem. urbanisation.Mukerjee have made simultaneous use of more than one method or approach. It is. He used the categories of structure. In Indian Sociology there are varieties of historical approaches. Historical approach in Sociology or Historical Sociology has the following theoretical concerns: 1. Historical Sociology gives more importance to the historical process of development than to the synchronic structures of the social phenomena.S.140 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY structure. Historical approach in Indian Sociology is also known as Dialectical approach.

Their strength. Ramkrishna Mukherjee made systematic historical as well as empirical studies using dialectical model. Later on he modified his views about the sociological studies to be made. Beyond this the logical principles of test and verification would have to operate independently. According to Desai the polarisation of class interests especially of the bourgeoisie against those of the working class and the agricultural labourers in India is the foundation of modern Indian state and society. rural social structure. A. A sound empirical tradition of historical Sociology is yet to be institutionalised systematically. He concentrated on the economic policies of the East India Company. Daniel Thor ner and P. lies in the analysis of conflict. It does not present a unified theoretical approach. In his The Dynamics of a Rural Society. exploitation and historical dimensions of change.Joshi’s studies of the agrarian structure and land reforms are examples of the application of Marxist historical approaches in Sociology in india. urban slums. His Rise and Fall of the East India Company is a contribution to economic and social history of the institutionalisation of colonialism in India. Historical approach is a comparatively less developed branch in Indian Sociology. contradiction.Dhanagare’s study of peasant movements in India are other noted examples of historical approach in Indian Sociology.APPROACHES TO THE STUDY OF INDIAN SOCIETY 141 particular remains popular till date. process of disintegration of feudalism and the rise of new middle classes in India in his study. Kathleen Gough’s study in Tamil Nadu and D. Mukherjee studied the association between the high caste and landowning classes in rural areas and changes in their class structures. he had consistently tried to expose the contradictions and anomalies in the policies for and processes of change in Indian society. In his analysis of nationalism.R.N. The main limitations of historical approach within Indian Sociology are those of economism. Mukherjee tried to explain the connection between the social and economic changes in rural Bengal.Cohn’s studies of the Scheduled Castes family structure in eastern Uttar Pradesh in particular and his studies of Indian civilisation in historical dimensions are the major examples of non-Marxist historical studies within Indian Sociology. Desai was the only major sociologist in India who consistently used dialectical historical method in his sociological studies.S. He. however. . pleaded for an inductive Sociology in India. He said that the role of history and dialectics is useful only at the level of formulation of propositions.C. B. In his studies. structure of state and society in India. therefore. formalism and the neglect of symbolic systems of tradition.

Compare and contrast culturological approach with historical approach.142 STRUCTURE OF INDIAN SOCIETY GLOSSARY INDOLOGY. An approach which emphasises the primacy of culture over social relations and social structure. 6. An European point of view which looked at Asia or East including India negatively. Write short notes on the following: (a) Ethnosociology (b) Historical Sociology (c) Marxiology (d) Field-view . This analysis is more interested in the study of people’s ideas than the study of facts. codes and substances that inhere in the texts and languages of a people’s own culture. 2. ETHNOSOCIOLOGY. Human practices. beliefs. HISTORICAL APPROACH. CULTURAL ANALYSIS. theories and frameworks of Indian civilisation. Compare and contrast Indological approach with structural approach. EXERCISES 1. CULTUROLOGICAL. FIELD VIEW. It seeks to explore the meanings and symbols. ORIENTALISM. institutions and artefacts which are handed down from one generation to the next. An approach which gives more importance to the historical processes of social development than to the synchronic structures. 3. 5. symbolising the polar opposite of European civilisation. A systematic approach to study Indian society through the categories. What is social structure? How social structure is studied in Indian Sociology? 4. It is a popular name of structural approach in Sociology. An empirical study on the basis of survey or participant observation. What is meant by culture? Write short essay on the study of cultural phenomena in Indian Sociology. TRADITION. What do you mean by approach? Discuss some of the features of sociological approaches.

. Dharma. T. Kumar. Ramkrishna. T. Rawat Publications.. Dhanagare. 1983. 2. 4. ed. D. 1998.N. Sociology of Indian Sociology. Oommen. 6. Delhi School: Reflections on the Delhi School of Economics. 1995. Pathways: Approaches to the Study of Society in India. Themes and Perspectives in Indian Sociology.N. Mumbai. Mukherji.APPROACHES TO THE STUDY OF INDIAN SOCIETY 143 SUGGESTED READINGS 1. New Delhi. New Delhi. Popular Prakashan.N. . Mookherjee. Yogendra. 5. 1986. Oxford University Press. New Delhi. Indian Sociology: Reflections and Introspections. Madan. New Delhi. ed.K. 1993. Singh. Oxford University Press. 3 Mukherjee. Jaipur. Dilip. Chanakya Publications.. Allied Publishers. P.. Image of Man: Ideology and Theory in Indian Sociology. 1979.