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Q. 1. What do you know about life of Dr. G.S. Ghurye? Write in detail.
Ans. The name of Dr. G.S. Ghurye has been taken as the founding fathers of Indian Sociology. He became famous in the field of Traditional Sociology. Dr. Govind Sadashiv Ghurye was born in 1893 in the home of a Sarswat Brahmin in Malvan. He completed his school and college education in Bombay where he used to study English and Sanskrit. He was very good in studies and he won chancellor’s Gold Medal in the examination of M.A. in 1918.
Patric Gidds gave his name for foreign scholarship and he went over to London. Ghurye studied sociology at Cambridge where he completed his Ph.D. under Prof. Rivers. He became first reader of sociology department in Mumbai University in 1924 and later on became the head of the department.
He remained on this post till 1950 and retired from there. With the passage of time he completely associated himself with sociology. He produced many famous sociologists like Srinivas, I.P. Desai, Kapadia, A.R. Desai, Dhirendra Narayan, Kulkerni etc.
Ghurye was a Catholic from his outlook.
He denied to differentiate between sociology and Social Anthropology during his study time. Some of his students also encouraged this approach and even he wrote a lot about this approach in his book.
He was of the view a deep study and strong data is required to formulate social structure in India.
He started to do surveys in Gujarat and Sindh and left it due to his ill health. He had a strong wish to collect data from the field. Even he used to explain various-small things with the help of data. Ghurye established ‘Indian Sociological Society’ in 1952 and became the first editor of Sociological Bulletin’ Ghurye learnt Sociology and Anthropology from Rivers and Hobhouse at Cambridge.
He wrote around 25 books in 35 years. He explored Sociological, Indological and Anthropological aspects in a great deal in his book. He stood between the difference of Sociology and Anthropology. He studied a lot about many important subjects like caste system, religion, family etc.
He was of the view that caste system is a very complex concept and it’s not possible to define it. That’s why he gave six features or characteristics of caste which are very important. He also studied political sociology and published many books on it like ‘Social Tensions in India (1968), Whither, India (1974), India Recreates History Democracy (1978) etc.
He also studied Sociology of Religion and wrote many books on it like Indian Sadhus, Gods and Men, Religious consciousness etc. in which he wrote about Indian religions and worship. He died in 1983.
Q. 2. Give features of caste system given by G.S. Ghurye.
Ans. Many sociologists have tried to define caste systems in their own way which has led to diversity in definitions. But Ghurye says that we cannot define caste system because it is a very complex concept. That’s why he gave six features of caste system which are given ahead—
(a) Segmental division of society
(c) Restrictions of feeding and social intercourse
(d) Civil and religious disabilities and privileges of various castes.
(e) Lack of unrestricted choice of occupation
(f) Restriction on marriage.
Now we will discuss these features in detail:
(a) Segmental division of society. Caste system divides Hindu society in many parts in which it determines or fixes the status, position and functions of the members of every part. That is why members of any specific group are conscious about their position and because of which they think themselves as unbreakable part of that group. The area of interaction of members of one caste is limited to its own caste because of this division of society in parts. Every caste has its own ways of living, traditions, values etc. Generally members of one caste interact with the members of its own caste. In this way according to Ghurye one caste is a social unit in which person lives his whole life.
(b) Hierarchy. In most of the part of India, Brahmin varna has got the highest status. We can see a definite hierarchy in caste system in which all castes are kept in a definite hierarchy. In this system the status of highest and lowest caste is definitely determined but there is some unclarity between the middle caste. But generally this status is given to all that at first position Brahmins are there, at second position Kshatriyas are there, at third position Vaishyas and at the end lower castes are there.
(c) Restrictions on feeding and social intercourse. There are some definite and detailed rules in caste system which tell us that with which caste a person can keep social relations and with which caste he can keep relations of feeding. Whole food has been divided in two categories of ‘Kacha Food’ and ‘‘Pakka Food’. We need water to cook ‘Kacha Food’ and we need oil to cook Pakka Food. There are a number of restrictions in giving and taking food to different castes.
(d) Civil and religious disabilities and privileges of various castes. Different castes have special civil and religious disabilities. During ancient times, few castes were kept out of the limit of the village. There were restrictions on social intercourse with few castes. They were restricted to go to the temples of upper castes, they were restricted to take water from the wells. They were restricted to read religious books.
Children of lower castes were restricted to get education. Upper castes and special privileges over lower castes.
(e) Lack of unrestricted choice of occupation. According to the rules of caste system, some castes have traditional occupations. Members of the caste had to adopt the traditional occupation. But some occupations like business, agriculture, job etc. were free to be done by anyone. But still with that a number of castes have definite occupations like carpenter, black-smith, potter, barber etc.
(f) Restrictions on marriage. Castes were again divided into sub-castes. These sub-castes were stopping its members to marry out of their group. The characteristics of caste is that it is an endogamous group. A person has to marry in his own subcaste. If any one broke this rule then he was generally thrown out of his caste.