Indian Sociologists

Indian Sociologists

Question

What does D.P. Mukerji mean by a “living tradition” ? Why did he insist that Indian sociologist be rooted in this tradition ?

Answer
I. Meaning of ‘living trdition’ according to D.P. Mukerji : D.P. Mukerji believed that Indian tradition was a living tradition, present and thus evolving over time.

II. Definition : According to D.P. Mukerji, this is a tradition which mainains links with the past by retaining something from it, and at the same time incorporates new things. A living tradition thus includes some old elements but also some new ones.

III. Causes responsible to insist by D.P. Mukerji that Indian sociologist be rooted in living tradition :

(i) D. P. Mukerji insisted that Indian sociologists should be rooted in living tradition to get a better and more concrete sense of what this means. If they would try to find out from different generation of people in their neighbourhoods or family about what is changed and what is unchanged about specific practices. For example, the Indian sociologists can know better the following subjects:

Games played by children of your age group (boys/girls)

Ways in which a popular festival is celebrated Typical dress/clothing worn by women and men.

....Plus other such subjects of your choice.

(ii) To fulfil to own their duty : Given the centrality of society in India. It became the first duty of an Indian sociologist to study and to know the social traditions of India. For D.P. this’ study of tradition was not oriented only towards the past, but also included sensitivity to change. Thus, traditions was a living tradition, maintaining its links with the past, but also adapting to the present and thus evolving over time.

(iii) To know and share the folk-culture and tradition etc ; D. P. Murkerji has written that it is not enough for the Indian sociologist. He must be an Indian first, that is he is to share in the folk-ways to mores, customs and traditions, for the purpose of understanding his social system and what lies beneath it and beyond it.” In keeping with this view, he believed that sociologists should learn and be familiar with both ‘high1 and ‘low’ languages and cultures - not only Sanskrit. Persian or Arabic, but also local dialects.

(iv) To understand true nature of Indian culture which in having cultural group patterns and hardly deviates from it : D.P. argued that Indian culture and society are not individualistic in the western sense. The average Indian indidual’s pattern of desires is more or less rigidly fixed by his socio-cultural group pattern and he hardly socia deviates from it. Thus, the Indian social system is basically oriented towards group, sect or caste-action, not ‘Voluntaristic’ individual action. Although ‘voluntarism’ was beginning to influence the urban middle classes, its appearance ought to be itself an interesting subject to study for the Indian sociologist.

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