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BSOC-104: Sociology of India - II

BSOC-104: Sociology of India - II

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2021-22

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Assignment Code: BSOC-104/ASST/TMA/2021-22

Course Code: BSOC-104

Assignment Name: Sociology Of India- II

Year: 2021-2022

Verification Status: Verified by Professor

There are three Sections in the Assignment. You have to answer all questions in the Sections.

Assignment - I

Answer the following in about 500 words each.

1. Explain Mahatma Gandhi’s view on nationalism in India. 20

Ans) For Gandhi, Nationalism meant self-rule in which the whole community and not just the elite would be free and active; in which soul force and not brute force is the basis of public order and in which national interest is the supreme ethical criterion of state action. He rejects the proposition that a government by national elite is beneficial simply because it is a government by the national elite as evident from his virulent criticism of the Indian princes whose tyranny is worse than that of the British. Reminding the Reader in the Hind Swaraj, he points out “you will admit that the people under several Indian princes are being ground down. The latter mercilessly crush them. Their tyranny is greater than that of the English”.

In defining a nation, Gandhi advances the real meaning of swaraj as mental condition and an external condition. As mental condition it means: (1) inner liberation from the temptations of greed and power which modern civilisation offers; (2) freedom from hatred towards the national ‘enemy’, the British and (3) of active love for the Indian masses.

Swaraj as external condition is (1) political independence from alien domination and (2) of life-long dedication to the task of improving the material conditions of poverty and caste oppression of the Indian people.

Swaraj is not replacing the English sahibs with Indian ‘brown’ sahibs as that is tantamount to ‘English rule without the Englishman; of wanting the tiger’s nature but not the tiger; of making India English and when that happens it will be called not Hindustan but Englishstan’. He reminds of Mazzini’s vision of freedom which involves the whole of Italian people different from that of Garibaldi and his associates of merely driving the Austrians by force of arms. Gandhi says “I am sure you do not wish to reproduce such a condition in India…. I believe that you want the millions of Indians to be happy, not that you want the reins of Government in your hands”. Gandhi’s ideal with the village as the basis of swaraj underlines the message of self-reliance and self-sufficiency. The ideal village should produce its own food and cloth; should have reserve for its cattle, playgrounds for adults and children, its own theatre, school, and water works. Each activity in it will be carried on cooperative basis. “Independence must begin at the bottom. Thus, every village will be a republic or Panchayat having full powers… self-sustained and capable of managing its affairs even to the extent of defending itself against the whole world”.

Gandhi's nationalism seems simple and straightforward: he wanted an independent Indian nation state and freedom from British colonial rule. But his nationalism rested on complex and sophisticated moral philosophy. His Indian state and nation were based on no shallow ethnic or religious communalism, despite his claim to be Hindu to his very core but were grounded on his concept of swaraj - enlightened self-control and self-development leading to harmony and tolerance among all communities in the new India. He aimed at moral regeneration, not just the ending of colonial rule. She follows his often-tortuous path, as a principal spiritual and political leader of the Indian Congress, through his famous campaigns of non-violent resistance and negotiations with the Government of India leading to Independence and, sadly for Gandhi, the Partition in 1947.

2. Write a sociological note on ethnographic image of India. 20

Ans) The “definition” of the Indian peoples took place before there was much in the way of either theory or practice of anthropological study. The project of identification and description filled hundreds of volumes. It was made manifest in the census (and accompanying reports) that began in the early 1870s. It formed a substantial part of a series of gazetteers (generally, one volume for each district) and the administrative manuals to various areas. As British officials with an interest in ethnography began to collect and compile accounts, the project of classifying India’s people took the form of a series of “Castes and Tribes” books for different regions. These were hefty multi-volume works. In terms of such publications, the project could be said to start with Edward Balfour’s 1858 Cyclopaedia of India and close with the 1928 four-volume set Mysore Tribes and Castes.

The ‘People of India' project, launched by British India to examine society, culture, caste, tribe, and Indian folklore, has the earliest record of anthropological image of India. Between 1868 and 1875, two capable British East India Company employees, John Forbes Watson, and John William Kaye, compiled an eight-volume study entitled The People of India, featuring 468 annotated pictures of India's native castes and tribes. The project began with the desire of Lord Canning, the then-Governor-General of India, who envisioned a collection of images for his and his wife's private edification. The entire point of this initiative was to gain a better knowledge of the cultures and beliefs of the people they would be in charge of strategically. As a result, it was a visual record of “typical” physical characteristics, clothing, and other aspects of native life, together with brief annotations on what were deemed to be the “essential characteristics” of each group.

In 1908, Herbert Risley, the Census Commissioner for the 1901 Census of India, continued the endeavour by publishing ‘The People of India,' a volume with 25 illustrations on Indian races, castes, and tribes. Many members of the Indian intelligentsia were disappointed by the overall tone of the film, as well as the fact that their people were harshly and dispassionately depicted. J. H. Hutton's Caste in India, published in 1944, was the final such study by British ethnographers and administrators. The contributions of anthropologists from various national traditions, whether American, Indian, French, or British, as well as the internal diversity of national traditions, have resulted in multidirectional impacts on India's ethnographic image.

During the second half of the nineteenth century visual imagery came to play an increasingly important role in ethnographic research into human history and identity. Photographs, illustrations, and three-dimensional models were all used as mediums through which ethnographic research was visualised for both a scientific and public audience. Drawing on key examples of all three of these forms of visual culture, this paper will address the use of ‘ethnographic imagery’ in specific regard to the study of the tribal populations of India. Using these visual works as reference points, this paper will explore the dual nodes of scientific and public ethnographic imagery and question if and how such images disseminated ethnographical constructs of difference across Victorian society.

The following areas of emphasis were shared by both the western and Indian ethnographic images of India:

  1. Unity in Diversity

  2. Village India

  3. Caste

  4. Tribes

  5. Religion

  6. Little and Great Traditions

Assignment - II

Answer the following questions in about 250 words each.

3. Identify the feature of great and little traditions of India. 10

Ans) Milton Singer and Robert Redfield developed the twin concept of Little Tradition and Great Tradition while studying the orthogenesis of Indian civilization in Madras city, now known as Chennai. Tradition means handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth be way of examples from one generation to another. In other words, tradition is the inherited practices or opinion and conventions associated with a social group for a particular period. This also includes the attitudes of the people, durable interactional patterns, and socio-cultural institutions.

Great tradition is associated with the elites, literate and reflective few who are capable of analysing, interpreting, and reflecting cultural knowledge. Great tradition is a body of knowledge which functions as the beacon light of knowledge. In contradiction to this little tradition comprises the belief pattern, the institutions, knowledge including proverbs, riddles, anecdotes, folk tales, legends, myths, and the whole body of folklore of the folk and /or the unlettered peasants who imbibe cultural knowledge from the great tradition. The unity of Indian civilization is reflected in the perpetuation of the unity of worldview of both the folk /peasant and the elites or the literati through cultural performance and their cultural products. Cultural performance is institutionalized around the structure of both great traditions and little traditions.

There are several centres of the great tradition in India and there is a network of socio-cultural relationship. This relationship is based on cultural knowledge and ideology. There is a difference in cultural performances of great tradition and little traditions. The domain of great tradition represents the textual or the Shastriya nuances, whereas the universes of little traditions are folk/peasant and local versions of textual knowledge and cultural performance. Great tradition stands for persisting important arrangements of various roles and statuses appearing in such corporate bodies, like caste, sects, teachers, reciters, ritual leaders, priests, cultural performers, religious preachers etc. all of whom are engaged in inculcation and regular dissemination of cultural knowledge. The body of knowledge which they include is from various religious texts, such as mythology and epics.

4. Discuss the significance of the Directive Principle of State policy of Indian Constitute. 10

Ans) Under Part IV of the constitution, Directive Principles of State Policy are stated from Article 36 to Article 51, borrowed from the Irish Constitution. This objective is to embody the concept of ‘welfare state’ is the objective of these Directive Principles. Basically, these are the directions or ideals for the State and law-making bodies to keep in mind while framing policies and laws. They deal with the social, economic, and cultural rights and are not justifiable in the court of law. They are aspirational in nature and play an advisory role for the government.

For example:

  1. Articles 38 and 39 say Equal distribution of wealth and material resources among all classes of people to prevent its concentration in a few hands.

  2. Article 43 says Provision of adequate means of livelihood to all the citizens.

  3. Article 39 says Equal pay for equal/similar work for both men and women.

  4. Article 41 says Right to work, education and public assistance.

As we have mentioned above, while Fundamental Rights are justiciable, the Directive Principles are non-justiciable and are more in the nature of aspirations than rights. This became a site for contestation within the Constituent Assembly. B.N. Rao, A. K. Ayyar, B.R. Ambedkar, K.M. Munshi, and K.T. Shah who shared a liberal socialist outlook were in favour of making the Directive Principles justiciable. Within the prevailing social and economic structures, they felt that a large segment of the Indian population was poor and illiterate, and this weaker section of population might not be able to access the Fundamental Rights if the larger issues of land reforms, re-distribution of wealth, and eradication of illiteracy were not addressed first. Therefore, for them, the issues of social, cultural, and economic rights were far more essential to ensure an egalitarian political Constitutional democracy to usher in a new egalitarian social order. However, the suggestion to make Part IV justiciable was rejected by the larger committee. But judiciary has stepped in certain cases and has incorporated some of the Directive Principles of State Policy into the domain of Fundamental Rights by expanding the notion of the Right to Life and Liberty Article 21 of the Constitution in cases ranging on issues regarding minimum wages to Right to livelihood, etc.

5. Elaborate relations between education and social mobility. 10

Ans) The impetus on achievement and qualifications as determinants of one’s merit has resulted in the increasing emphasis on education and training to obtain them. Education has attained a key role in facilitating mobility especially in the industrial societies. The increasing specialization and division of labour presuppose the existence of qualified personnel who can handle specialised tasks. These specialists whether in the field of industry, law, or medicine are trained and educated in specialised branches of knowledge. These educational and training facilities are open to all in the industrial societies. In the traditional set up, it was imparted to a very small number of people in the guilds which then restricted mobility. Education has been used as a route to attain upward mobility. Educational attainment is a major determinant of career mobility and deeply affects the patterns of inter-generational and intra-generational mobility.

Very often it is expressed that classes in India are a result of social mobility induced by British rule in India. This statement is far from true because classes did exist in pre-British times too. However, it cannot be denied that in the traditional set up caste system was a more predominant system of stratification. In the present set up, classes and castes have co-existed as dynamic systems and have interacted to create a complex and multidimensional empirical reality. It is only for analytical purposes that the following different class strata are being identified. In the traditional set up, gold could be bought or sold and was a source of great prestige. During the British rule, land became a saleable commodity and it had serious repercussion on the nature of agrarian relations and on social mobility.

Assignment - III

Answer the following questions in about 100 words each.

6. What do you understand by ethnicity? 6

Ans) Ghosh defines Ethnicity as "the process of formation and reformation of consciousness of identity (real or supposed) in terms of one or more social cultural- political symbols of domination/subjugation of a group(s) or community by another that emerge out of the processes of assimilation, acculturation, interaction, competition and conflict”. T.K. Oommen opines that the ethnic group is a group of people who share a common history, tradition, language, and lifestyle, but are uprooted from and/or unattached to a homeland. Ethnicity is a process which creates a sense of ethnic consciousness among the members of an ethnic group and mobilizes the members of same caste, language, and religion to articulate their economic and political interest.

7. Explain the concept of peasant. 6

Ans) Social scientists have broadly underlined the subordinated, marginalized and underdog position of the peasantry in human society. In the sociological and the anthropological literature peasants have widely been described as culturally ‘unsystematic, concrete tradition of many, unreflective, unsophisticated and the non-literati constituting the mosaic of the “little tradition”, ‘incomplete’ and a ‘part society with part cultures. Politically they are found to occupy an ‘underdog position and are subjected to the domination by outsiders, unorganized and deprived of the knowledge required for organized collective action. In economic terms, they are identified to be small producers for their own consumption, subsistence cultivators who produce predominantly for the need of the family rather than to make a profit. Historically, peasants have always borne the brunt of the extreme forms of subordination and oppression in society. However, the specific socio-economic conditions of their existence have largely shaped the roles of the peasantry in social change and transformation.

8. What is Sanskritization. 6

Ans) M.N. Srinivas defined Sanskritization as a process by which “a low or middle Hindu caste, or tribal or other group, changes its customs, ritual ideology, and way of life in the direction of a high and frequently twice-born caste. Kumar writes that Dalit leaders followed the process of ’Sanskritization’ to elevate themselves to the higher position in caste hierarchy. They adopted Brahman manners, including vegetarianism, putting sandalwood paste on forehead, wearing sacred thread, etc. Thus, Dalit leaders and others tried to adopt established cultural norms and practices of the higher castes. Imitation of the high caste manners by Dalits was an assertion of their right to equality.

9. Elaborate the consent of secularism in India. 6

Ans) The understanding of secularism in India is different from the west. Gandhi understood secularism in a modern way, and he was strongly against religious based politics. Gandhi wanted India to be the homeland for every religion. He imagined that kind of nation which guarantees and respects all religious beliefs, and all socio-cultural aspects of life. According to him, religion should be separate from politics, economy, education, and other areas of socio-cultural life. He believed that in a multi-religious society and a secular state all sections of people need to be cherished and respected publicly as well as privately. The most important idea was that no single religion should be permitted to dominate the others. Secularism has emerged as a uniting force of Indian people against colonialism and meant an opposition to communalism. Varma holds that Gandhi wanted India to be a truly spiritual nation which valued truth, peace, nonviolence, and fearlessness more than force and power, and charity more than love of self.

10. Explain the concept of non-violence.

Ans) Non-violence is the highest moral principle, and an alternative to the dominant forms of violence in modern society. It was not a new phenomenon but historically it was widely practiced in ancient India and formed the basis of its social structure. The principle of non-violence was central in his nationalist mobilization against the British. Gandhi refers to non-violence as a “law of life” and as a means of socio-political action. Non-violence and Satyagraha have a great significance in the life and teachings of Gandhi. They were two socio-political weapons he used in achieving his various goals. Nonviolence and Satyagraha were not new ideals, but they are the eternal principles of life preached for thousands of years. But Gandhi’s great intellectual imagination reinterpreted and restated these fundamental principles of human behaviour in new ways and showed their importance, relevance, applicability, and universality. The initiative of Satyagraha constitutes the heart and soul of Gandhi’s belief in non-violence

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