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BSOE-142: Indian Sociological Traditions

BSOE-142: Indian Sociological Traditions

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2022-23

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Assignment Code: BSOE-142/TMA/2022-2023

Course Code: BSOE-142

Assignment Name: Indian Sociological Traditions

Year: 2022-2023

Verification Status: Verified by Professor


Assignment I


Answer the following Descriptive Category Questions in about 500 words each. Each question carries 20 marks. 2 × 20 = 40


1. Describe the contribution of Ghurye to Indian sociology.

Ans) S. Ghurye or Govind Sadashiv Ghurye was born on 12 December 1893 in Malwan, a town in Maharashtra and was a professor of sociology. He completed his schooling at Aryan Education Society’s High School, Gurgaon in Mumbai and then from Bahadur Khanji High School, Junagadh in Gujarat. He completed his Graduation and Masters in Sanskrit from Elphinstone College, Mumbai. He received the Bhau Daji prize and the Chancellor’s gold medal with his bachelor’s and master’s degree, respectively.


Apart from this, he received a scholarship on the basis of which he moved to England and pursued his Ph.D. from Cambridge University in 1922. W.H. Rivers (William Halse Rivers Rivers) was an English anthropologist, neurologist, ethnologist, and psychiatrist and was revered for his contribution in the treatment of the First World War officers who suffered from shell shock. Ghurye was deeply influenced by William’s ideologies and was also his Ph.D. guide. However, Rivers died in 1922, and then on Ghurye completed his thesis under A. C. Haddon who was also an anthropologist and ethnologist.


The Department of Sociology at Mumbai University had appointed Ghurye as the Head of the Department in 1924. He retired from them in 1959. It was Patrick Geddes who founded it and Ghurye had taken over when it was about to close. But from the time it came under his supervision, it revived again and thus he was regarded as it’s the founder. It was from then on that he “shaped” the study of sociology.


He was the head and founder of the Indian Sociological Society and its newsletter; Sociological Bulletin. The Bombay Anthropological Society was also headed by him. He wrote a number of papers, 32 books and conducted 80 research papers. Two theses were also written on him later. Many social reformers and intellectuals like  A. R. Desai, De. Uttamrao K Jadhav, M. N. Srinivas, and others studied under him.


His works include Caste and race in India; The aborigines-“so-called” – and their future; Indian costume Bharatiya vesabhusa; Race relations in Negro Africa; Sexual Behaviour of the American Female and others. However, Caste and race in India is his most notable work.


According to him, caste was a derivative of race. He had strong beliefs towards caste. And these facts about the relation between race and caste resonated with the Sanskrit scriptures. He also made the use of the “Aryan” theory in his portrayal of opinions on caste. In this book of his, he tells how the Vedic religion and the Brahmanic variety entered in Indian along and because of the Indo- Aryans in 2500 B. C. And this, later on, resulted in the development of the caste system in India. He talks about racial interpretations. The idea of Varna and “dasas” introduced by the Aryans were very discriminative. Ghurye also concluded that “Brahmanic practice of endogamy must have been developed in Hindustan and thence conveyed as a cultural trait to the other areas without a large influx of the physical type of the Hindustan Brahmins” .


All said and done, there’s no doubt that Ghurye made his intellectual impression as an incisive social thinker who was equally at ease with the Vedic and contemporary India’s practices. Ghurye’s contribution in the flourishing of sociology and other interconnected sciences was enormously multi-faceted. A most notable fact is that Ghurye not only contributed to Indian Sociology Literature but also of foreign. Thus, he played a key role in the professionalization of Sociology.


2. ‘Radhakamal Mukerjee’s theory of society sought to explain the values of a universal civilisation’. Discuss.

Ans) Mukerjee attempted to describe the principles of a global civilization in his broad theory of society. He used the word "civilization" in a broad meaning, including culture. He suggested that three interconnected layers should be used to study human civilization. Which are:


Biological Evolution

The rise and development of civilization have been made possible by the biological evolution of humans. As active agents, they have the power to alter the environment. Animals can only adapt to their environment; but humans can shape it in a variety of ways. As a biological species, humans are capable of overcoming rivalry and conflict and achieving collaboration.


Psycho-social Dimension

A psycho-social component exists. People are frequently portrayed in social psychology within the context of their race, ethnicity, or nation. Humans are perceived as beings held captive by tiny self or egos with parochial or ethnocentric attitudes. Humans, on the other hand, have the capacity to transcend limited emotions and achieve universalization—that is, to associate oneself with a broader group, such as one's country or even the entire cosmos.


Common values aid in this process by elevating universal values above particularistic values. Mukerjee contends that ethical relativism, which holds that values differ from civilization to society, is not beneficial in the modern era and that ethical universalism, which asserts the oneness of humanity, is necessary. According to the new viewpoint, men and women are free moral agents capable of recognising the threads that unite humanity. They are no longer governed by relativism or division.


Spiritual Dimension

According to Mukerjee, there is a spiritual aspect to civilization. Transcendental heights are being gradually attained by humans. In other words, they are climbing the spiritually ladder by transcending the restrictions of the biogenic and existential levels, or the physical and material ones. Art, myth, and religion offer the "impulsion" or drive to advance in this endeavour. The social sciences are unable to offer a spiritual perspective since they have up until now disregarded these cultural elements.


By coincidence, German sociologist Karl Mannheim, who wrote about the sociology of culture, made a similar observation. Mannheim remarked that the stringent positivist or structural functionalist codes had forced the Western social sciences to ignore cultural aspects. This led to a skewed perception of social reality. According to Mukerjee, the spirituality of civilization is highlighted by humankind's quest for harmony, wholeness, and transcendence. He praised the Indian and Chinese civilisations in this regard for their stability since the sixth century B.C. Their enduring stories and beliefs, which encourage spiritual exploration, are the source of their power.


The quest for higher education was expressed in the United Nations Organizations' Declaration of Human Rights in the twentieth century, Mukerjee observed with satisfaction. These rights protected people's freedom and dignity regardless of where they may be living. The importance Mukerjee placed on spirituality was not a pipe fantasy. He asserted that obvious inequalities in income and power between nations had to be narrowed if human development was to be achieved. Furthering the integral evolution of humans was not a realistic goal as long as poverty or political tyranny existed. The ongoing human knowledge of suffering in the globe had sparked the pursuit of universal principles and standards.

Assignment II

Answer the following Middle Category Questions in about 250 words each. Each question carries 10 marks. 3 × 10 = 30


3. Explain D P Mukerji’s view on role of tradition in Indian society.

Ans) D. P. Mukerji graduated from Bengal's Bangbasi College. He first studied history, which at the time included economics, before pursuing a degree in the subject. He was a Bengali man of letters who also produced some fiction, but he didn't stick with it for very long. He was not constrained by the restrictions of any one discipline. He may have chosen to specialise in sociology because it is the most extensive branch of social science for this reason. As a sociologist, he achieved not just national but also international recognition.


Marxism, in D. P. Mukerji's opinion, made it easier to comprehend historical trends but was unable to provide adequate solutions to problems affecting people now. The regeneration and reinterpretation of India's national culture held the key to that answer. He disagreed with current social sciences' positivism, which divided people into biological or psychological entities. Individuals had become self-seeking actors as a result of the industrial culture of the West, and society there had adopted an ethnocentric perspective. The social foundations of mankind had been destroyed by positivism's emphasis on individuation.


Role of Tradition in Indian Society

Tradition, according to Mukerji, is the foundation of culture. The custom provided the people with sustenance. They kept their sense of direction and goals. However, tradition has frequently become useless, as in India. Additionally, they idealised and worshipped it by turning it into a fetish. Due to the populace's lack of critical thinking, cultural stagnation was inevitable. Therefore, it's equally important to promote individuality. By giving it fresh life, the people may reinvent culture. The person must not be completely free or not free at all. In order for a healthy personality to develop, individuation and sociation must coexist in harmony. The link between an individual and society is known as sociation. Individual freedom must be a creative expression of tradition rather than chaos.


4. Discuss N K Bose’s method and approach to the study of society.

Ans) Fieldwork was emphasised heavily by Bose. Every notion should, in his opinion, be put to the test through observation and practical application. Nothing pertaining to human civilization should be predetermined or accepted at face value. Bose travelled widely around the entire nation, regularly connecting with people and exchanging experiences. He believed that an anthropologist needed to look beyond the practical side of anthropology in order to comprehend Hindu civilization.


Bose has created his own method for examining social phenomena and cultural characteristics in particular situational circumstances. He believed that there couldn't be a predetermined method for conducting actual fieldwork. The researcher should be guided by the nature of the task at hand when deciding what tools of investigation to use or even how to approach the topic at hand. He always highlighted the value of attentive and thorough observation.


Bose believed that Indian civilization had a limitless capacity for absorbing and transforming ideas and experiences from every imaginable source. He investigated the relationships between tribal and non-tribal populations from a wider social and cultural perspective while researching the lives of tribal people in India. Bose had a good understanding that the tribal people in India were not all the same and did not relate to the larger society in the same way. Bose illustrates the characteristics of the tribal populations in Orissa and Chota Nagpur and their interactions with the larger society using ethnographic data. He employs two related criteria to categorise the tribal communities in India: their technological sophistication and the extent of their social and geographic isolation.


5. Discuss Elwin’s contribution towards the issue of tribal identity.

Ans) It is well known that Elwin holds a contentious stance among Indian intellectuals and political activists. Some of them harshly criticised his writings and point of view regarding the tribal issue in relation to identity. Elwin was able to amass a large following of enthusiasts for his creations, with Jawaharlal Nehru—the nation's first prime minister after independence—standing out among them. In 1954, Nehru suggested that he be sent as the Indian government's tribal affairs advisor to the north-eastern region.


Elwin kept creating policy documents in an effort to safeguard the interests of the indigenous groups. Elwin's two publications, "A philosophy for NEFA" and "A new deal for tribal India," gained a lot of attention from readers while he was living in the north-east. In terms of argument and content, Nehru's renowned "tribal panchsheel" carries Verrier Elwin's stamp. It will be helpful to place the idea of identity and identity-based movements for political and cultural autonomy inside the tribal discourse in order to comprehend Elwin's involvement in the debates over tribal identity and the problem of national integration in post-Independent India.


Manor shows how several sorts of identities have developed in India with reference to ethnic and tribal identification as well as people's propensity to prioritise one degree of identity over another depending on changing social and political circumstances. Language, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual preferences, caste, tribe, race, and many more characteristics are among these markers.


As a result, identity-based political articulations are linked to a set of fundamental characteristics that all members of a group share. These core markers are distinct from associational markers, such as those of workers and labourers, who are defined more by their shared interests than by specific, mostly attributable group identity traits. The identification of group members based on the possession of shared characteristics—based on all or some of the characteristics—such as language, gender, religion, caste, ethnicity, etc., supports the existence or construction of identity.


Assignment III


Answer the following Short Category Questions in about 100 words each. Each question carries 6 marks. 5 × 6 = 30


6. Outline the way caste influences kinship organization with reference to the view of Irawati Karve.

Ans) Karve focused primarily on two issues when discussing caste: the origin of caste and the unit of analysis, and secondly, the idea that the smallest endogamous unit, or jati, was a result of a larger group disintegrating due to occupational diversification. Karve disagrees with Ghurye, who claimed that caste in India is an Indo-Aryan cultural by product that has diffused to other regions of India. Karve, on the other hand, gathered anthropometric evidence—such as blood samples and eye colour—to support his claim that the Maharashtrian Brahman sub-caste, as opposed to the larger group, should be referred to as a "caste-cluster."


Her justifications include the fact that Madhyandin Brahmans, Karhadas, Saraswats, Deshasthas, and Chitpavans did not intermarry and that they had separate marriage laws and ethnic backgrounds. According to Karve, a caste is a group that practises endogamy, has a specific geographic or linguistic area of distribution, may engage in one or more traditional occupations, occupies a more or less fixed or flexible position on a hierarchical scale, and exhibits traditionally prescribed behaviours toward other castes.


7. Outline Desai’s approach to the understanding of nationalism in India.

Ans) In India, nationalism served as both the foreground and background against which social sciences emerged. Desai's social research grew out of the concerns and problems that Indian society and the Indian people were facing, as well as their struggles, of which he was an essential part. He sees nationalism as a historical category, a contemporary phenomenon that emerges at a particular time in history. When the Indian people were political subjects of the British Empire, it developed in India as a result of a mix of objective and subjective reasons.


Although Indian nationalism had its earliest beginnings in the early nineteenth century, it wasn't until the latter half of the century that it truly came into its own. The new nation was not uniform; it was made up of many social classes that had developed as a result of colonial influence. Although Indian nationalism went through several stages, Gandhi's leadership during the final phase, which began in 1918, was crucial for the nationalist cause. Although some Indian capitalists had given the Indian National Congress support starting in the 1920s, the national movement at this time was characterised by a strong mass base, with numerous classes and groups taking an active role.


8. List the fundamental elements of nation-building outlined by Srinivas.

Ans) Srinivas lists the essential components of India's nation-building process, including:


  1. Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and other Backward Classes are protected against discrimination in order to ensure that those who are socially and racially disadvantaged can benefit from possibilities for advancement.

  2. Democracy is an information system that alerts those in authority to the wants and requirements of people living in various regions as well as the results of administrative action in the implementation of policies. For democracy to work effectively, there must be a free but responsible press.

  3. Decentralization and political education are important, not just in the political sphere but also in business and administration.

  4. a pluralistic approach to issues of language, culture, and religion.

  5. Sub-nationalism that unites members of hereditary groups and many of which function as pressure groups at regional and state levels enables their leaders to achieve political power and financial benefits is manifested in the form of ethnicity communalism, language consciousness, and regionalism.

  6. Secularism guarantees that, on the one hand, people of all religions are free to express, practise, and spread their beliefs and, on the other hand, that no one will face discrimination because of their religion.


9. What is the distinguishing feature of Ramkrishna Mukherjee’s book, The Rise and fall of East India Company?

Ans) When analysing historical information regarding changes in India's society and economy brought on by the East India Company's rule, Mukherjee applied the Marxist idea of primitive accumulation. The Company rose as a result of mercantile capitalism's expansion, and it fell as a result of mercantile capitalism's decline and the emergence of industrial capitalism in Britain. The entire process was connected to India's political and economic decay.


Mukherjee demonstrates how the British conquered India via the East India Company with the hidden goal of exploitation India for their own financial gain. After that, the British government seized control of the Indian government and cheated the Indians. They were deplorable liars when they claimed to be carrying the "white man's burden" to civilise India, which they depicted as a stagnant, culturally and economically backward culture. The entire process was linked to the British people's early capitalization during the period of Company rule.


10. Explain Leela Dube’s contribution to Women’s Studies.

Ans) The intersection of gender and kinship was presented in Leela Dube's work. Women's studies scholars did not consider anthropological or ethnographic materials during the 1960s and 1970s, and anthropology simply portrayed family and female roles without challenging them. It was Leela Dube who spanned these disciplines and sparked the growth of kinship and gender studies in India.


She made anthropology's theories and methods more accessible to women's studies study, as well as the other way around, alerting anthropology to the potential of women's studies scholarship. She maintained that feminists must also engage with the fundamental debates of their own major disciplines in order to avoid being ghettoised and marginalised in the early debate concerning interdisciplinary and inter-disciplinarity in women's studies.

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