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Indian Sociological Thinkers
Indian thinkers in the field of sociology identified determinants of the world to formulate definite theories for the well-being and growth of a society. Thinkers and philosophers like Max Weber, Almond, Blondel, and Maurice proposed theories based on western lifestyles and culture, which is contradictory to the development of Indian society and its nature. Hence various Indian sociologists came forward to culminate different aspects of Indian society and its diversity.
For instance, Radhakamal Mukherjee formulated the thesis based on the ecology or ecosystem of a nation. Gandhi proposed the importance of rural development in the holistic development of a society. Similarly, Irawati Karve emphasised the importance of kinship in Indian societies. In the same way, the social stratification systems like the varna system, and economic ability are key factors in the theories of Ambedkar.
M K Gandhi
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was an exceptional social engineer in designing modern Indian societies. He was Born on October 2, 1869, in an Orthodox Hindu family. But South Africa helped him in understanding the importance of equality and equal rights, which helped him in India and the freedom struggle.
He opposed the concept of untouchability and strongly believed in non-violence.
As a social thinker, he encouraged the development of women in all societies, like widow remarriages, the abolition of child marriages, and female infanticide.
His ideas are so liberal they directly affect the evil practices that prevailed in Indian Society.
His messages spread through his poems and short stories throughout the country. He believed that future India should be liberal and friendly towards women and so-called untouchables.
His ideologies towards rural India are superior to those of his other counterparts.
He strongly believed that the development of rural areas leads to the development of a nation as a whole.
B R Ambedkar
Dr Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar was a futuristic socio-political thinker and philosopher. Being a counterpart of Gandhiji, his ideologies and concepts differ from other great thinkers like Gandhiji. He is the chief architect of our Indian Constitution. He strongly believed in the abolition of untouchability and considered untouchability as the major and only cause of all problems in India. He proposed that without the abolition of untouchability, even freedom from colonial rulers is not possible.
Being the chairman of the drafting committee, he emphasised the importance of fundamental rights and article 32, which talks about the importance of judicial review. He deeply focussed on sociological issues than political and economic issues, which can be seen while analysing the framework of the Indian Constitution.
Irawati Karve was a sociological postgraduate with a doctorate in anthropology. She is the first female anthropologist in India. She closely analysed the impact of kinship in determining the nature of society. She closely interprets the role of women in structuring society. She studied and correlated Hindu mythologies with modern societal stratifications. Her most famous book was Yuganta: The end of an epoch, in which she researched the characters of Mahabharat. She concluded that Kinship is the backbone of Indian societies which binds the society together.
She formulated various kinship patterns based on geographic zones, culture and organisation, such as Dravidian zones, indo-aryans, etc. Another important book of hers was the ‘Kinship organisation in India’.
Radhakamal Mukherjee was an exceptional sociologist thinker who interpreted economics with the nature of society. India is a country of diversity and richness, its social stratification is not equal. Hence, Mukherjee with the help of economic stratification marked the model.
He depicted the relationship between the exchange of financial wealth between different levels of society. For instance, higher caste individuals' economic share is higher than the lower castes.
Similarly, he analysed ecology with sociology. He considered geography, ecology and sociology for analysing the social system.
For example, the Ganges river has more human settlements than the desert regions of Rajasthan which in turn results in different cultures, traditions and occupations of people.
He also advocated for forest conservation and wrote a wide range of books about it.
Radhakamal wrote about the Ameliorative approach which can reduce the social problems of cities.
M N Srinivas
Mysore Narasimhachar Srinivas was one of the pioneers of Indian sociological thinkers. He deeply studied the caste system of India and its impact on Indian society. Bombay university awarded him a doctorate in sociology. He opposes the idea of western sociologists as it doesn't coincide with Indian culture, hence he started his research in the field of the caste system around 1942. He researched the southern Region of Coorg and analysed its dimensions like caste and religion. His famous works include marriage and family in Mysore, India's villages, etc.
Indian sociological thinkers like Gandhi, Ambedkar, and Radhakamal Mukherjee were pioneers in establishing a perfect society which prevails nowadays. These thinkers helped us in understanding the importance of ecology, kinship, equality, economic liberty, and so on. Thinkers like Irawati opened up about the dominance and importance of women in a society with scientific shreds of evidence. Ambedkar advocated and implemented rights that shape our modern society. Gandhi with the help of his non-violent teaching methods emphasised the importance of rural agrarian development. Studies done by these thinkers help us to know about our society and its stratification factors which helps us to develop our society.
Q1. Does good economic balance weaken Social Stratification?
Ans. Yes, according to M N Srinivas, higher economic status demolishes social stratification leading to equality among people. Hence, economic upliftment has the ability to decrease oppression in the caste and class.
Q2. What are the major drawbacks of Ambedkar's social ideas?
Ans. Most of his ideas are unfriendly towards higher-class Hindus. It also affected the Hindus who were themselves against caste oppression. Ambedkar’s social ideas were different from Gandhi in the sense that Ambedkar believed that casteism and hierarchy prevailed in rural areas.
Q3. How do mythological texts help in analysing a society?
Ans. Texts such as Ramayana and Mahabharat became a testimonial for understanding the society years ago. These texts provide a historical view of societies, people’s habits, lifestyle, tradition, social stratification and their political, economic and cultural overview.
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