UPSC SOCIOLOGY Syllabus – Paper 2 – Chapter 1 – Introducing Indian Society
(a) Indology (GS. Ghurye).
(b) Structural functionalism (M N Srinivas).
(c) Marxist sociology ( A R Desai).
- Pioneered structural functionalism in India.
- His major contribution was to challenge the then prevailing dominant paradigm that focused on understanding Indian society from a purely textural point of view.
- He used to structural functionalism of brown and anthropological field view of Evans Pritchard.
- He studied the smaller constituents of society like villagers as functional wholes.
- Used the method of direct observation to study Coorg society.
- He studied Indian society in terms of patterns of relations, social institutions and their working in society in a holistic manner.
- Emphasised upon understanding cultural changes leading to a change in Indian society.
VIEWS ON VILLAGES
- Villages are the focal points of understanding Indian society.
- He studied villages through field studies and historical analysis.
- Did not agree that village was a self sufficient unit.
- Ethnographic account of villages was necessary to study the village dynamics and the process of change.
CONCEPT OF DOMINANT CASTE
- Srinivas developed the concept in his study of Rampura village which is a little away from Mysore city in Karnataka state.
- A caste is dominant when wields economic or political power and occupies a fairly high position in hierarchy (even in the traditional system of a caste which acquired economic and political power did succeed in improving its ritual status).
- For instance, in Mysore villages, Lingayat and Okkaliga; in Andhra Pradesh, Reddy and Kamma; in Tamilnadu, Gounder, Padayachi and Mudaliar; in Kerala, Nayar; in Maharashtra, Maratha; in Gujarat, Pati- dar; and in northern India, Rajput, Jat, Giyar and Ahir are dominant castes.
- Traditionally, numerically small castes owning land in rural areas or wielding political power or inheriting a literary tradition were able to dominate the villages.
- Earlier, numerical strength of a caste was not much important. But with the coming of adult suffrage and the reservation given to scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, numerical strength has assumed importance.
- “The process by which a low caste or tribe or other group takes over the customs, rituals, beliefs, ideology and style of life of a high and in particular a twice born caste.
- It is an endogenous source of social change.
- It describes the process of cultural and social mobility in the traditional social structure of Indian society.
- The influence of sanskritisation can be seen ine language, literature, ideology, music, dance, drama, style of life and ritual.
- Eg: In sanskritization, the lower castes imitates Brahmins in matters of dress, food and rituals to reach higher positions in the local social order.
- It only leads to improving position of caste in the local caste hierarchy and does not lead to a change in the macro Varna framework.
- Srinivas defines westernization as the changes brought about in Indian society and culture as a result of over 150 years of British rule, the term subsuming changes occurring at different levels, technology, institutions, ideology and values.
- It depicts a cultural change and not a structural change.
- Primary westernization refers to the emergence of westernized subcultural pattern through a minority section of Indians who first came in contact with the western culture.
- Secondary westernization refers to the process in which a section of population came in direct contact with the primary beneficiaries of westernization.
- Tertiary westernization refers to the general spread of western cultural habits such as the use of new technology, dress, food and changes in the habits and styles of people in general.
- Srinivas considers westernization as a prelude to sanskritization.
- 1942, Marriage and Family in Mysore
- 1952, Religion and Society among Coorgs of South India
- 1955, India’s villages
- 1962, Caste in Modern India and Other Essays
- 1966, Social Change in Modern India
- 1976, the Remembered Village
- Srinivas occupies an eminent place among the first-generation sociologists of India.
- His focus on ‘field view’ over the ‘book view’ is a remarkable step in understanding the reality of Indian society.
- In his endeavour for promoting sanskritization, he has marginalized and alienated religious minorities.
- His traditions are Hinduized traditions and in no sense secular ones.
- What Srinivas characterized as sanskritization in the idiom of sociology currently fashionable, had been described by the proto-sociologists Lyall and Risley as ‘Aryanization’ and ‘Brahminization’.