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MSO-004: Sociology in India

MSO-004: Sociology in India

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2023-24

If you are looking for MSO-004 IGNOU Solved Assignment solution for the subject Sociology in India, you have come to the right place. MSO-004 solution on this page applies to 2023-24 session students studying in MSO courses of IGNOU.

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Assignment Code: MSO-004/AST/TMA/2023-24

Course Code: MSO-004

Assignment Name: Sociology in India

Year: 2023-2024

Verification Status: Verified by Professor

Answer any five questions selecting at least two from each Section. Your answer should be in about 500 words each.


Q1) Describe the heritage of social thought in India which led to the emergence of sociology.

Ans) The emergence of sociology as an academic discipline in India was influenced by a rich heritage of social thought and intellectual traditions. India's ancient civilization has a history of profound philosophical, ethical, and social reflection. Here, we trace the heritage of social thought in India that laid the foundation for the development of sociology as a discipline.

a) Ancient Indian Philosophy and Ethics:

1) Vedas and Upanishads: The Vedas and Upanishads, dating back to around 1500-600 BCE, contain philosophical discussions on the nature of reality, the self, and the cosmos. These texts offer early reflections on human existence and society.

2) Dharma and Karma: Concepts of dharma (duty/righteousness) and karma (action and its consequences) are central to Indian thought. These concepts have played a significant role in shaping moral and ethical discussions about social conduct.

b) Indian Political Thought:

1) Arthashastra: Kautilya's "Arthashastra" is an ancient treatise on statecraft, economic policy, and military strategy. It provides insights into governance, law, and administration in ancient India.

2) Chanakya's Neeti: Chanakya's political and economic ideas, as outlined in texts like "Chanakya Neeti," have contributed to the understanding of statecraft and governance.

c) Dharmashastras and Social Norms:

1) Manusmriti: The "Laws of Manu" (Manusmriti) is an ancient text that outlines social and ethical rules for the varna (caste) system and society's organization.

2) Yajnavalkya Smriti: The "Smriti" texts, including Yajnavalkya Smriti, provide guidelines for social conduct, family, and property law, reflecting the societal norms of the time.

d) Bhakti and Sufi Movements:

1) Bhakti and Sufi Saints: The Bhakti and Sufi movements, which emerged in medieval India, emphasized personal devotion and spiritual experience. These movements challenged conventional social norms, hierarchies, and religious orthodoxy.

e) Colonial Influence:

1) Colonial Rule: The British colonial period (from the mid-18th century to 1947) significantly influenced Indian social thought. British administration, education, and policies brought new ideas and institutions, including the study of social sciences, to India.

f) Modern Social Reformers:

1) Raja Ram Mohan Roy: Raja Ram Mohan Roy was a key figure in the 19th-century social reform movement. He advocated for the abolition of practices like sati and promoted education and social justice.

2) Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar: Vidyasagar, a reformer, and educator, worked to improve the status of women and promote education, particularly for girls.

3) Jyotirao Phule: Phule challenged caste-based discrimination and advocated for social equality and education for Dalits and women.

4) B.R. Ambedkar: Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, one of the architects of the Indian Constitution, addressed issues of caste discrimination, social justice, and political representation for marginalized communities.

g) Emergence of Sociology:

1) D.N. Majumdar and G.S. Ghurye: In the early 20th century, scholars like D.N. Majumdar and G.S. Ghurye began to explore sociological themes in the Indian context. Ghurye, in particular, played a crucial role in institutionalizing the study of sociology in India.

2) Influence of Western Sociology: Western sociological ideas and methodologies, introduced during the colonial period and through academic exchange, had a significant impact on the development of sociology in India.

h) Post-Independence Developments:

1) Indian Sociological Society: The Indian Sociological Society was founded in 1951, further institutionalizing the study of sociology in India.

2) Influential Sociologists: Scholars like M.N. Srinivas, Andre Béteille, and Yogendra Singh have made significant contributions to the field, studying issues such as caste, religion, family, and social change in India.

3) Interdisciplinary Approach: Indian sociology often adopts an interdisciplinary approach, drawing from history, anthropology, political science, and economics to examine complex social issues.

i) Focus on Social Diversity:

1) Caste System: The study of the caste system, its evolution, and its contemporary manifestations has been a central theme in Indian sociology.

2) Religion and Secularism: Sociologists in India have examined the role of religion in society, as well as issues related to secularism and religious diversity.

3) Gender and Women's Studies: The status and role of women in Indian society have been extensively studied within the discipline.

Q2) Describe the changing values and life-style amongst the middle-class women.

Ans) The values and lifestyles of middle-class women have evolved significantly over the years, reflecting broader societal changes, economic shifts, and cultural transformations. These changes have influenced various aspects of their lives, including education, career aspirations, family roles, and personal choices. Here, we explore the changing values and lifestyles of middle-class women.

a) Education and Career:

1) Historical Perspective: In the past, women from middle-class backgrounds often received limited education, with their primary role seen as homemakers. Access to higher education and career opportunities was restricted.

2) Contemporary Shift: Today, middle-class women prioritize education and career development. They pursue a wide range of professions and are increasingly breaking barriers in traditionally male-dominated fields. They view education and financial independence as essential aspects of their lives.

b) Economic Independence:

1) Historical Perspective: In the past, middle-class women's economic roles were primarily confined to managing household finances. Their access to personal income and financial decision-making was limited.

2) Contemporary Shift: Modern middle-class women prioritize economic independence. Many women have their careers, contribute to household income, and engage in financial planning. They often make significant financial decisions independently.

c) Family and Relationships:

1) Historical Perspective: Traditionally, middle-class women were expected to prioritize marriage, motherhood, and family responsibilities. They were encouraged to conform to gender roles and maintain a supportive and nurturing presence in the home.

2) Contemporary Shift: While family remains important, middle-class women today have more autonomy in making relationship choices. They often seek egalitarian partnerships, where responsibilities and decision-making are shared with their partners. Some women choose to delay or forgo marriage and motherhood to focus on personal and professional growth.

d) Work-Life Balance:

1) Historical Perspective: Balancing work and family life was primarily the responsibility of women. They often had to make significant sacrifices in their careers to fulfil traditional family roles.

2) Contemporary Shift: Modern middle-class women seek a better work-life balance. They expect workplaces to offer family-friendly policies, such as flexible working hours, maternity leave, and childcare support. They aim to excel in their careers without compromising their family life.

e) Gender Equality and Feminism:

Historical Perspective: The women's movement in the mid-20th century laid the groundwork for changing gender norms and expectations. Middle-class women gradually became more aware of gender inequalities.

Contemporary Shift: Many middle-class women identify with feminist values and principles. They advocate for gender equality, challenging stereotypes, and supporting women's rights. They actively participate in discussions and initiatives related to gender justice.

f) Health and Well-being:

1) Historical Perspective: Health and well-being were often overlooked or deprioritized in Favor of family and career responsibilities.

2) Contemporary Shift: Middle-class women today prioritize physical and mental health. They engage in fitness activities, self-care, and mindfulness practices to maintain well-being. Mental health is given more attention, and women are open about seeking support when needed.

g) Personal Choices and Lifestyle:

1) Historical Perspective: Middle-class women's personal choices were often influenced by societal expectations and family pressures.

2) Contemporary Shift: Modern middle-class women value personal agency and individual choices. They make decisions regarding their education, careers, relationships, and lifestyle based on personal aspirations and interests.

h) Technology and Social Media:

1) Contemporary Influence: The digital age has introduced new dimensions to the lives of middle-class women. They use technology and social media for networking, self-expression, and activism. These platforms offer opportunities for empowerment and amplifying their voices.


Q1) What are the major agrarian classes in India? Discuss with reference to the contributions of different Sociologists.

Ans) The agrarian structure in India is complex and consists of various classes and groups. Sociologists have studied these agrarian classes to understand the dynamics of rural society, landownership, and power relationships. Here, we discuss the major agrarian classes in India and the contributions of different sociologists in this field.

a) Landowners or Landlords:

Landowners or landlords are those who own significant agricultural land. They often have economic and political power in rural areas. Sociologists have studied the role of landlords in rural power structures and the impact of land reforms on their influence.

1) Contributions of Sociologists:

i) D.N. Dhanagare: Dhanagare's work on agrarian power and class structure in India highlighted the dominance of landlords in rural areas. He emphasized the need for land reforms to redistribute land and reduce the power of landlords.

ii) D. Narasimha Reddy: Reddy's research focused on the political economy of landlordism in Andhra Pradesh. He examined the power relations between landlords, tenants, and laborers.

b) 2. Peasants or Cultivators:

Peasants or cultivators are individuals who work on the land either as owner-cultivators or tenants. They form a significant part of the agrarian population, and their social and economic conditions have been subjects of sociological study.

1) Contributions of Sociologists:

i) B.S. Baviskar: Baviskar's research on the agrarian structure in western India examined the impact of the Green Revolution on the socio-economic conditions of peasants. He highlighted the differentiation among peasants based on landholding and access to resources.

ii) A. R. Desai: Desai's work on rural sociology emphasized the importance of studying different types of land tenure systems, such as tenancy and sharecropping, to understand the condition of peasants.

c) Agricultural Laborers:

Agricultural laborers are individuals who work on the land but do not own or cultivate it. They often belong to marginalized and landless groups, facing economic and social vulnerabilities.

1) Contributions of Sociologists:

i) B.S. Baviskar: In addition to his work on peasants, Baviskar also studied agricultural laborers in the context of rural labor movements and class struggle.

ii) Rudra Dutt: Dutt's research focused on the exploitation and living conditions of agricultural laborers in Punjab. He highlighted the role of labor unions in addressing labor issues.

d) Agricultural Artisans:

Agricultural artisans include blacksmiths, carpenters, weavers, and other skilled workers who provide essential services to the agrarian economy. Their work and social status have been examined by sociologists.

1) Contributions of Sociologists:

i) M.N. Srinivas: Srinivas conducted research on the jajmani system in rural India, which involved the exchange of services between different castes, including artisans and landowners.

ii) Ghanshyam Shah: Shah's work on rural artisans in Gujarat explored their socio-economic conditions and challenges in the changing agrarian landscape.

e) Agribusiness and Agri-entrepreneurs:

In contemporary India, agribusiness and agri-entrepreneurs have become increasingly significant. These individuals are involved in activities such as contract farming, agricultural processing, and rural enterprises.

1) Contributions of Sociologists:

i) Vikas Rawal: Rawal's research has examined the dynamics of contract farming and the role of agri-entrepreneurs in shaping the agrarian landscape.

ii) Surinder S. Jodhka: Jodhka's work on globalization and agrarian change has explored the impact of agribusiness and market forces on rural livelihoods.

Q2) Discuss the relationship between tribe and caste in India with suitable examples.

Ans) The relationship between tribes and castes in India is a complex and multifaceted one, often influenced by historical, cultural, and social factors. Tribes and castes represent distinct social groups, each with its own identity, customs, and social organization.

Here, we will discuss the relationship between tribes and castes in India, along with suitable examples.

a) Distinct Identity: Tribes and castes are distinct social groups with their own identities. Tribes are often characterized by their indigenous origins, distinct languages, and traditional practices, while castes are traditionally associated with occupational roles and social hierarchy.

b) Socio-cultural Differences: Tribes and castes exhibit significant socio-cultural differences. For instance, tribes may have a nomadic or semi-nomadic lifestyle and engage in activities such as hunting, gathering, or subsistence agriculture. In contrast, castes often have a settled lifestyle and are associated with specific occupations, such as farming, carpentry, or weaving.

c) Geographic Distribution: Tribes are often found in hilly, forested, or remote areas, which are geographically distinct from the predominantly agrarian regions where castes are concentrated. For example, the Gond tribe is predominantly found in the forested regions of central India, while the Jat caste is concentrated in the fertile plains of northern India.

d) Traditional Practices: Tribes often have unique cultural practices, including rituals, ceremonies, and belief systems. These practices are rooted in their indigenous traditions and often differ from the rituals and customs of castes. For instance, the Santhal tribe in eastern India has its own set of traditional dances and rituals that are distinct from those of nearby castes.

e) Social Organization: Tribes typically have a more egalitarian social structure, with leadership often based on age or experience rather than hereditary positions. In contrast, castes are organized into a hierarchical system, where social status is determined by birth and occupation.

f) Interactions and Influences: While tribes and castes have traditionally been distinct, interactions and influences between these groups have occurred over time. These interactions are often driven by economic, social, or political factors. For example, members of tribal communities may migrate to urban areas for employment, where they come into contact with members of different castes. These interactions can lead to cultural exchanges and adaptations.

Examples of Tribal-Caste Interactions

a) Bhil Tribe and Meena Caste: In Rajasthan, the Bhil tribe has had historical interactions with the Meena caste. These interactions have influenced the cultural practices of both groups, leading to the adoption of certain rituals and customs.

b) Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes: In India, both Scheduled Tribes (STs) and Scheduled Castes (SCs) are recognized as historically marginalized groups. While they are distinct categories, there are instances where members of STs and SCs live in close proximity and may share common challenges related to discrimination and social exclusion.

c) Garo Tribe and Khasi Caste: In the northeastern state of Meghalaya, the Garo tribe and the Khasi caste have coexisted for centuries. The Khasi caste has influenced the matrilineal system of the Garo tribe, and both communities share certain cultural practices and festivals.

Q3) Discuss critically the concepts of caste, class, and gender in India.

Ans) Caste, class, and gender are three crucial dimensions of social stratification in India, and their interactions have far-reaching implications for the country's society, economy, and politics. A critical discussion of these concepts in the Indian context reveals the complex and often interdependent nature of these social hierarchies.


Caste in India is a hierarchical and hereditary system of social classification, traditionally organized into thousands of endogamous groups. It has deeply rooted historical and religious foundations, which have had a lasting impact on Indian society. A critical examination of the caste system reveals the following aspects:

a) Social Hierarchy: Caste creates a rigid social hierarchy where individuals are born into a particular caste and have limited opportunities for social mobility. The caste system is marked by inequalities, with certain castes historically enjoying privileges while others face discrimination and oppression.

b) Discrimination and Exclusion: The caste system has been a source of discrimination and exclusion, particularly for Dalits (formerly known as Untouchables) who have faced social and economic marginalization. Despite legal protections and affirmative action measures, caste-based discrimination persists in various forms.

c) Political and Economic Influence: Certain dominant castes have held significant political and economic power in different regions of India. This has implications for governance and resource distribution, with caste-based politics playing a pivotal role in electoral dynamics.


Class in India is often associated with economic and social stratification based on factors such as income, occupation, and access to resources. A critical analysis of class in India reveals the following:

a) Economic Disparities: India is marked by significant economic disparities, with a small wealthy elite coexisting with a large population facing poverty and economic precarity. The unequal distribution of wealth and resources is a central aspect of class stratification.

b) Occupational Diversity: Class divisions are closely linked to occupational diversity, where some individuals have access to high-paying and prestigious jobs, while others are engaged in low-paying or informal employment. The urban-rural divide also plays a role in class distinctions.

c) Globalization and Inequality: Economic liberalization and globalization have contributed to both economic growth and increased income inequality. While certain segments of the population have benefitted, others have been left behind, exacerbating class-based disparities.


Gender is another dimension of social stratification, with significant implications for women's status and opportunities in India. A critical examination of gender dynamics in India reveals the following:

a) Gender Inequality: Despite legal and social reforms, gender inequality remains a pervasive issue. Women often face disparities in access to education, employment, healthcare, and political representation. Discrimination, violence, and harmful practices such as dowry and female feticide persist.

b) Intersectionality: The intersection of caste, class, and gender further complicates the experiences of women in India. Dalit women, for example, face the compounded challenges of discrimination based on both caste and gender.

c) Women's Empowerment: India has made progress in women's empowerment, with more women entering the workforce, participating in politics, and advocating for their rights. However, gender-based disparities and patriarchal norms continue to pose barriers.

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