Indian Sociologists

Indian Sociologists


What are the specificities of Indian culture and society, and how do they affect the pattern of change ?

Specificies of Indian Culture and society and way of their affecting the pattern of change :

(i) D.P. Mukerji felt that the crucial distingushed feature India was its social system. The decisive aspect of the Indian context was the social aspect, hisory, politics and economics. According to him in India these three aspects were less developed in dimension comparing with the west. But the social dimession comparisonth the west. But the social of India are over developed.

(ii) The second feature of Indian culture and society is that these are not individualistic in the western sense but they are having group pattern. The Indian social system is basically oriented towards group, set or caste - action not voluntaristic individual action.

(iii) Indian culture and society is a living tradition according to him that the root meaning of the word tradition is to transmit. Its Sanskrit equivalents are either parampara, that is, succession, or aithiya, which come from the same root as itihas or history. Traditions are thus strongly rooted in a past that is kept alive through the repeated recalling and retelling of stories and myths.

(iv) Adaptability : D.P. Mukerji believes that Indian society and culture does not favour only to have like with the past but it favours and beliefs in the process of adaption. Internal and external sources of change are always present in every society. The most commonly cited internal source of change in western societies is the economy, but this source has not been as effective in India.

(v) Dynamic Indian Sociology : Class conflict, D.P. believed, had been “smoothed and covered by caste tradition' in the Indian context, where new class relations had not yet emerged very sharply. Based on this understanding, he concluded that one of the first tasks for a dynamic Indian sociology would be to provide an account of the internal, non-economic causes of change.

(vi) It recognises three things – Shruti, Smriti and Annubhava : D.P. Mukerji believed in Indian tradition, namely, shruti, smriti and annubhava of these the last annubhava or personal experince is the revolutionary principle. However, in the Indian context personal experience soon flowered into collective experience. This meant that the most important principle of change in Indian society was generalised anubhava, or the collective experience of groups.

(vii) The high traditions were centred in smriti and sruti, but they were periodically challenged by the collective experience of groups and sects, as for example in the bhakti movement.D.P. emphasised that this was true not only of Hindu but also of Muslim culture in India. In Indian Islam, the Sufis have stressed love and experience rather than holy texts, and have been important in bringing about chage.

(viii) Experience and love are superior agents of change : According to D.P. Mukerji the Indian context is not one where discursive reason (buddhi-vichar) is the dominant force for change, anubhava and prem(experience and love) have been historically superior as agents of change.

(ix) Conflict and rebellion in the Indian context have tended to work through collective experience. But the resilence of tradition ensures that the pressure of conflict produces change in the tradition without breaking it. So we have repeated cycles of dominant orthodoxy being challenged by popular revolts which succeed in transforming orthodoxy, but are eventually reabsorbed into this transformed tradition. This process of change–of rebellion contained within the limits of an overarching tradition-is typical of a caste socity where the formation of classes and class consciousness has been inhibited.

(x) Tradition should neither be worshipped nor should be ignorde : D.P. Mukerji’s views on tradition and change led him to criticise all instances of unthinking borrowing from western intellectual traditions, including in such contexts as developing planning. Tradition was neither to be worshipped nor ignored, just as modernity was need but not to be blindly adopted. D.P. was simultaneously a prudent but critical inheritor of tradition as well as an admiring critic of the modernity that he acknowledge as having shaped his own intellecltual perspective.

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