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).
IDEA OF INDIAN VILLAGE
- Village in India is not merely a spatial unit, but is Indian society in miniature.
- Reflects basic values of Indian Society.
- The idea of Indian villages in pre British period is drawn from various indological sources, literary works, etc.
- Villages are micro-cos s of traditional Hindu organization and were mainly understood in cultural terms.
GENERAL VIEW ON INDIAN VILLAGES
- Metcalfe saw Indian villages as little Republic monolithic, atomistic and unchanging.
- best and brightest saw in the Indian villages,a remnant or survival from what was called the infancy of society.
- Religion was seen as an orthodox social unit.
- Caste was seen as an essential part of village life.
- Another extreme view of the nationalists glorified Indian village as an authentic model of true India and the storehouse of Indian culture and civilization.
- Gandhi recognised the centrality of villages in the development and upliftment of the society as a whole.
- Ambedkar had a dim view of the village life and said that Indian village is a sink of localism, a den of ignorance, narrow-mindedness marked by exclusion and untouchability.
- Marxists see villages as a place where few people dominate the social and economic life.
- They comprise the field studies of rural areas.
- They are a departure from Indological approach which was more of an armchair approach.
- Village studies used participant observation and ethnographical approaches as the primary investigative tools.
- Study of Indian villages began in 18th century itself with intensive survey of landholdings.
- Rejected the static view of village and corrected the colonial period stereotype.
- Village studies also meant study of caste, inequality and other social evils.
- Included the dimensions of study – structure, culture and change.
IMPORTANT INDIAN SOCIOLOGISTS ON VILLAGES
- M N SRINIVAS – villages were never self-sufficient; had been involved in various kinds of economic, social and political relationships at the regional level.
- ANDRE BETEILLE – village was a session unit is nearly a stereotype. He studied Sripuram, a village in Tanjore. He said villages was not only caste conscious but also class and gender conscious.
- A R DESAI – Indian village is isolated, at least in economic terms. Applied Marxist perspective to rural sociology.
- DIPANKAR GUPTA – agriculture is no longer the mainstay of rural economy and caste no longer the only determinant of social status.
RELEVANCE OF VILLAGE STUDIES
- Contested the dominant stereotype of Indian villages.
- Alternative to book-view constructed by indologists and orientalists from Hindu scriptures.
- Established that village is not a homogeneous entity and has a complex structure of social relations.
- Primary focus of the studies was on the social and cultural life of the village people.
- Gave an understanding of the political and economic life in rural society.
- Village life is also viewed as essentially a religious life.
- Village studies gave us concepts like sanskritization, dominant caste, segmental structures, harmonic and disharmonic systems, etc