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BSOC-104: Sociology of India - II

BSOC-104: Sociology of India - II

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2022-23

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Assignment Code: BSOC-104/ASST/TMA/2022-23

Course Code: BSOC-104

Assignment Name: Sociology of India-II

Year: 2022-2023

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. 2×20


1. Describe the tradition of plurality and the culture of accommodation in Indian society.

Ans) We frequently come across a variety of ideals, pictures, and realities of India as we attempt to form an impression of the country. To depict the socio-political and geographical dynamics of India, we have a vast geography with a long history of civilization, rich religious and philosophical traditions, complex cultural frameworks, and strong economic foundations. Significantly, Indian society has always maintained a diversity of these ideas, representations, and realities.


Facets of Pluralism and Unity in India

People are the basis of society. We locate individuals with distinctive physical characteristics in India. India's population had been divided into seven different racial groups by Herbert Risley. These include Indo-Aryan, Dravidian, Scytho-Dravidian, Aryo-Dravidian, Mongoloid, and Turko-Iranian.


There are 1652 languages spoken as mother tongues in India, according to the 1971 census. 179 languages and 544 dialects were recorded by the renowned linguist Grierson. India has around 720 dialects, 22 official languages, and 13 distinct scripts. India is a religiously diverse country. Even while Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and several tribal religions have their roots in India, every major religion—including Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, and Bahaism—has a sizable population there. Hinduism makes up 72.8% of the population, Islam makes up 14.2%, Christianity makes up 2.3%, Sikhism makes up 1.7%, Buddhism makes up 0.7%, Jainism makes up 0.4%, and other religions make up 0.7% of the population. Within the majority of these religious communities, there are also caste-related or caste-like differences.


However, despite its many diverse regions, India has strong geopolitical linkages that are symbolised by the Himalayas in the north and the oceans on the other sides. India is a democratic, secular, and independent state on the political front. Every aspect of it is governed by the same Constitution and the same Parliament. The values of democracy, secularism, and social justice define our shared political culture.


The Eternal Syncretic Tradition in Hindu Spiritualism

Indian culture's syncretic history creates a space for tolerance, accommodation, and bonding that fosters a sense of oneness in variety. Even though Hinduism predominates in India, the custom of accommodation is ingrained in the faith because it is a part of Indian culture. Philosophically, it has upheld the Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam tradition, which holds that the entire world is a single family. The Maha Upanishad, a text from the Vedas, is where the idea first appears. Additionally, it states: "Only tiny, minded man discriminate saying: One is a relative; the other is a stranger. Ayam/ Nijah Paroveti ganana laghuchetasam udaracharitanam tu vasudhaiva kutumbakam. Magnanimous people view the entire world as their extended family. It is regarded as being an essential component of Hindu philosophy.


The Historical Trajectories of India

Hinduism has always been described as a way of life as opposed to a single, unified religion. Its trajectory as a way of life has continued to be connected to various societal customs. The Indus Valley Civilization, also known as the Harappan Civilization, had a 5,000-year history in India. While tracing the history of India, we note its roots in Vedic society and its interactions with other cultures, as well as the emergence of Jainism and Buddhism, mediaeval dynastic rules, Persian, and Greek attacks; repeated Muslim attacks and the establishment of the Muslim Sultanate; the spread of Bhakti movements; the emergence of Sikhism; the strengthening of the Vijayanagar Empire in south India; the formation and expansion of the Mughal, Maratha, Sikh, and other empire India has maintained a culture of diversity and accommodation throughout these stages of historical upheaval, difficulties, and interactions with outside powers.


2. What do you understand by social change and modernization in India? Discuss

Ans) According to Yogendra Singh, societal change is an "ideology." Yogendra Singh explores two different trends of social change in contemporary India in his book "Social Change in India: Crisis and Resilience." "First, a significant shift in the social structure has occurred without causing a corresponding change in the society's structure. Tensions occur, and societal crises frequently develop as a result. Second, there has been a fundamental shift in people's perceptions of social change, or their subjective domain.


According to Yogendra Singh, the following theoretical perspectives can be used to analyse social change in India:


  1. It is important to look both within and outside of the social system or tradition for the causes of social change. We believe Redfield and Singer's notions, which distinguish between heterogeneous or external and orthogeneic or endogenous causes of change, to be particularly helpful in this regard.

  2. To draw attention to the necessity of tracking changes at the level of these two relatively independent substantive domains, a difference between cultural structure and social structure is also made. Cultural structure has once more been further separated into the categories of the little tradition and the big tradition, following Redfield. Similar to how the social structure is split into micro- and macro-structure categories.

  3. These distinctions result from the necessity to concentrate on the contexts that allow for the evaluation of change processes in terms of their spread and depth.

  4. The direction of change is finally shown as an evolutionary line moving from "traditionalization" to "modernization." Traditionalization refers to the full spectrum of adjustments made to social and cultural systems under the control of orthogenetic patterns. Similar to modernization, heterogeneous contacts result in a net balance of changes.


Like social change, modernization is both an ideological and composite term. The models of modernization differ along with the ideologies selected. Because of its composite nature, this notion is widely used in the language of social sciences and is related to terms like "development," "growth," "evolution," and "progress." Particularly when we look at the modernization ideology in India, the fundamentally problematic notion of modernization in the Third World countries is ideological. Louis Dumont discovers the relative independence between prevailing tradition and unwavering values. The caste system, families, villages, and communities were among the pre-colonial institutions in India that still had their traditional structures. Modernization did, however, bring homogeneity to elite institutions, but the "trickle down" impact is not apparent because the social base for these elites' recruitment was small. Following reforms, these bases grew wider and the elite culture gained notoriety in urban areas.


Modernity cannot be understood in a vacuum without tradition. Therefore, it is essential to understand how contemporary values are blending with established norms and create a composite norm that will sustain the process of social transformation. As such, the "Indianization of modernity," as described by Marriott, should be viewed historically. Traditions and modernity are found in the same context, where traditional roles are giving way to current conventions while maintaining their own significance. For instance, the Islamic influence on India's cultural structure is a significant heterogenetic source of cultural synthesis and transformation, and its importance can be recognised at both the level of small and large traditions. The dominant foreign cultural influence on India after this has been westernisation, and both the small and large traditions are affected by this.


Assignment – II


Answer the following questions in about 250 words each. 3×10


3. Discuss the meaning of ethnographic image of India with a suitable example.

Ans) The People of India project, launched by British India to research Indian society, culture, caste, and folklore, has the earliest account of the country's ethnographic picture. The People of India, an eight book study with 468 annotated images of the local castes and tribes of India, was put together between 1868 and 1875 by two competent British East India Company officers who had studied anthropology. The collection of images was conceived by Lord Canning, the former Governor-General of India, for his and his wife's personal enrichment. This is where the project got its start.


The project's main goal was to gain a deeper grasp of the traditions and beliefs of the individuals they would be using as a strategic control group. As a result, it was a visual record of "typical" physical traits, clothing, and other features of local life, together with summaries of what was considered to be the "essential characteristics" of each tribe.


The Census Commissioner for the 1901 Census of India, Herbert Risley, continued the project in 1908 and published a second volume titled "The People of India," which contained 25 pictures on the races, castes, and tribes of India. The general tenor and the conclusion that their people had been portrayed unfairly and coldly left many members of the Indian elite disappointed. J. H. Hutton's 1944 book Caste in India, the final of this kind of work by British ethnographers and administrators, was released.


In addition to the intrinsic diversity of national traditions, the contributions of other national traditions—whether American, Indian, French, or British anthropologists—have had a multiplicity of influences on the ethnographic picture of India. The following themes were emphasised similarly in both the western and Indian ethnographic representations of India:

  1. Unity in Diversity.

  2. Village India.

  3. Caste.

  4. Tribes.

  5. Religion.

  6. Little and Great Traditions.


4. Describe the basic features of village in India.

Ans) In India, villages are home to around 83% of the population. Indian society places a high value on its villages. India is legitimately known as a country of villages.

  1. Faith in Religion: The majority of the villagers are devout and believe in the enigmatic abilities of the gods and goddesses. They worship a huge number of deities and think they are to blame for their happiness and misery.

  2. Self Sufficiency: Prior to the British occupation of India, each hamlet functioned independently. The introduction of the market economy during the era of British control eroded this self-sufficiency.

  3. Neighbourly Relations: The emphasis placed on neighbourly ties is another noteworthy aspect of village life. They are straightforward and sincere. The pace of life in the village is slow. They only have a few basic desires. They feel like one group. They are acquainted in person.

  4. Joint Family: The joint family system is fading away in urban areas, although it is still prevalent in rural areas. The family must work together to support the farming profession. While the women tend to household duties, the men work in the fields.

  5. Simplicity: The residents of the village lead very basic lives. They live a tranquil existence away from the commotion of the city. In the midst of nature, they reside. They have few, basic needs.

  6. Conservatism: The inhabitants are typically quite traditional. They dislike extreme change and do not prefer to adopt new practises. They are devoted to their long-standing traditions and practises. In terms of marriage and other social norms, they prefer the traditional methods and are least likely to heed the counsel of social reformers.

  7. Poverty and Illiteracy: They typically have very low incomes and are poor. They have a lot of debt and must pay the local mahajan a high interest rate. They consume coarse fare. Their holdings are insignificant and unprofitable. Education offers few chances. Any development is severely hampered by widespread illiteracy.


5. There are many tribes in India found in different regions. Discuss the nature of their occupations.

Ans) India can rightfully claim to have the world's largest "tribal" population. The majority of India's tribal people reside in mountainous or forested rural areas with sparse population and challenging communication. From high valleys close to the spine of the Himalayas to southernmost India, they are found. From West Bengal, Orissa, and Bihar on the east, to central India, to the upland regions of Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Maharashtra on the west, lies the primary tribal territories. The primary livelihoods of the tribes, who are distributed throughout India, include shifting cultivation, forestry and food collecting through hunting, established agriculture, agricultural labour, animal husbandry, and domestic industry.


According to D.G. Mandelbaum, Indian tribes have the following characteristics: kinship serves as a vehicle for social ties. lack of formal organisations, lack of hierarchy among men and groups; The communal nature of land ownership, segmented nature, low importance placed on capital accumulation, use, and market trading, absence of separation between the form and content of religion, and a unique psychological make-up for enjoying life.


A strong sense of identity unites the tribal people. Tribal life has unique characteristics such as language, kinship, magical ceremonies and practises, pattern of residence, eating habits, and ways of living. In tribal communities, kinship rules the main spheres of social, economic, and political life. Kinship serves as the foundational link for tribal society as a whole. Dependency and subordination among males are reduced, and individual equality as kinsmen is assumed. Affinal ties play a smaller role in the core web of agnatic links. Tribal societies are compact. According to their social relationships, they have their own morals, religion, and worldview.


Assignment – III


Answer the following questions in about 100 words each. 6×5


6. Define the concept of Caste.

Ans) Indian society consists of various social systems and subsystems including the family, jati, and village, as well as the various players that play a part in them. The latter are best defined in terms of behaviour as interactions between various people and groups. Many ethnographers focused on caste because they thought that to comprehend caste was to comprehend people, and hence to comprehend India. Caste, also known as "jati" locally, is the foundation of Indian society. According to David G. Mandelbaum, the caste system features "pervasive inequality" as one of its main characteristics and is seen as an extreme kind of "stratification." Louis Dumont, in contrast, views caste as a "state of thought" rather than a visible reality. This means that caste must be primarily understood in terms of concepts and values rather than just as a specific type of social structure or social behaviour.


These jatis number in the hundreds, and each has its own unique set of laws, traditions, and political structures. The fourfold division of Hindu society into Brahmans, the priestly and scholarly elite; Kshatriyas, the warriors and rulers; Vaisyas, the farmers and merchants; and Sudras, the peasants and labourers, is referred to as Varna.

7. Why is India considered to be a ‘unity in diversity’?

Ans) India's diversity and unity have been portrayed in many ways. India is one, from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. The best example of unity in variety is found in Indian society. India is a vibrant mix of numerous cultural customs, races, ethnic groups, geographical regions, and faiths. An unlimited array of symbols and rituals were present in ancient Indian civilization. Ancient India placed a high importance on the fine arts. It is stated that India is the mother of history, the great-grandmother of tradition, the cradle of the human race, and the origin of human speech.


Humanity, tolerance, solidarity, universal brotherhood, secularism, and a close-knit social system are values held dear by Indian culture. Despite the violence of the Muslim conquistadors and the reformist fervour of the British, Portuguese, and Dutch, Indians have managed to hold onto their modesty and simplicity. Indians stand out for their humanity and calm demeanour, which are absent from their goals and principles. Indian culture has managed to remain together despite numerous differences based on caste, regions, ethnicity, languages, religious, and colour diversity.


8. What is ‘Great Tradition’ and ‘Little Tradition’?

Ans) In Madras, now known as Chennai, Milton Singer and Robert Redfield were researching the origins of Indian culture when they came up with the twin notion of Little Tradition and Great Tradition. Tradition refers to the verbal transmission of knowledge, ideologies, and practises from one generation to the next.


The elite, literate, and reflective few who are capable of analysing, interpreting, and reflecting cultural knowledge are associated with great tradition.


Little tradition is made up of the belief system, institutions, and knowledge, such as proverbs, riddles, anecdotes, folktales, stories, and myths, as well as the entire body of folklore of the people and/or the uneducated peasants who absorb cultural knowledge from the great tradition.


9. What are the basic tenets of Indian Constitution?

Ans) The Constituent Assembly approved the Indian Constitution on November 2nd, 1949. The Constitution is the longest, with 395 original articles split into 22 parts and 9 schedules. It has served as a reference point and a model for many emerging nations. The Constitution of India is the country's highest law. It outlines the essential political principles, practises, authority, obligations, and powers of the government. It imparts constitutional primacy rather than legislative supremacy because a constituent assembly established it and its voters approved it, according to a declaration in the preamble. The basic principles of the constitution of India are:

  1. Constitutional Rights.

  2. Secularism.

  3. Citizens' Sovereignty.

  4. Federalism.

  5. Socialism.

  6. Independent judges.

  7. Government by Cabinet.

  8. Principles of State Policy that are mandatory.


10. What are the major religions in India?

Ans) India's religious landscape is characterised by a wide range of religious activities and beliefs. India is a secular state, according to the preamble of its constitution. Four of the world's major religions—Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism—were developed on the Indian subcontinent. Hinduism is practised by 79.8% of India's population, followed by Islam by 14.2%, Christianity by 2.3 percent, Sikhism by 1.7 percent, Buddhism by 0.7 percent, and Jainism by 0.4 percent, according to the 2011 census. In India, Zoroastrianism, Sanamic Judaism, and other ancient religions have large populations of followers. Despite the fact that these religions originated in Persia, India has the greatest population of Zoroastrians, including Parsis, Iranis, and Bahá' Faith practitioners.


Religion has always played a significant role in shaping Indian culture. The legislation in India has made the right to freedom of religion one of the fundamental rights, establishing both religious diversity and religious tolerance in the nation.

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