NCERT Textbook - Cultural Change Humanities/Arts Notes | EduRev

Sociology Class 12

Humanities/Arts : NCERT Textbook - Cultural Change Humanities/Arts Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


Cultural Change 2
2020-21
Page 2


Cultural Change 2
2020-21
Social Change and Development in India
18
      e saw in the last chapter how colonialism brought in changes that altered
the structure of Indian society. Industrialisation and urbanisation transformed
the lives of people.  Factories replaced fields as places of work for some. Cities
replaced villages as places to live for many. Living and working arrangements
or structures changed.  Changes also took place in culture, ways of life, norms,
values, fashions and even body language. Sociologists understand, social
structure, as  a ‘continuing arrangement of persons in relationships defined or
controlled by institutions’ and  ‘culture’ as ‘socially established norms or patterns
of behaviour’. You have already studied about the structural changes that
colonialism brought about in chapter 1. You will observe how important those
structural changes are for understanding the cultural changes that this chapter
seeks to understand.
This chapter looks at two related developments, both a complex product of
the impact of colonial rule. The first deals with the deliberate and conscious
efforts made by the 19
th
 century social reformers and early 20
th
 century
nationalists to bring in changes in social practices that discriminated against
women and ‘lower’ castes. The second with the less deliberate yet decisive changes
in cultural practices that can broadly be understood as the four processes of
sanskritisation, modernisation, secularisation and westernisation.
Sanskritisation pre-dates the coming of colonial rule. The other three processes
can be understood better as complex responses of the people of India to the
changes that colonialism brought about.
2.1 SOCIAL REFORM MOVEMENTS IN THE
19
TH
 AND EARLY 20
TH
 CENTURY
You have already seen the far-
reaching impact of colonialism
on our lives. The social reform
movements which emerged in
India in the 19
th
 century arose to
the challenges that colonial
Indian society faced.  You
probably are familiar with what
were termed social evils that
plagued Indian society. The well-
known issues are that of sati,
child marriage, widow remarriage and caste discrimination. It is not that attempts
were not made to fight social discrimination in pre-colonial India. They were
central to Buddhism, to Bhakti and Sufi movements. What marked these 19
th
century social reform attempts was the modern context and mix of ideas. It was a
creative combination of modern ideas of western liberalism and a new look on
traditional literature.
W
Raja Ram Mohun Roy       Pandita Ramabai      Sir Syed Ahmed Khan
2020-21
Page 3


Cultural Change 2
2020-21
Social Change and Development in India
18
      e saw in the last chapter how colonialism brought in changes that altered
the structure of Indian society. Industrialisation and urbanisation transformed
the lives of people.  Factories replaced fields as places of work for some. Cities
replaced villages as places to live for many. Living and working arrangements
or structures changed.  Changes also took place in culture, ways of life, norms,
values, fashions and even body language. Sociologists understand, social
structure, as  a ‘continuing arrangement of persons in relationships defined or
controlled by institutions’ and  ‘culture’ as ‘socially established norms or patterns
of behaviour’. You have already studied about the structural changes that
colonialism brought about in chapter 1. You will observe how important those
structural changes are for understanding the cultural changes that this chapter
seeks to understand.
This chapter looks at two related developments, both a complex product of
the impact of colonial rule. The first deals with the deliberate and conscious
efforts made by the 19
th
 century social reformers and early 20
th
 century
nationalists to bring in changes in social practices that discriminated against
women and ‘lower’ castes. The second with the less deliberate yet decisive changes
in cultural practices that can broadly be understood as the four processes of
sanskritisation, modernisation, secularisation and westernisation.
Sanskritisation pre-dates the coming of colonial rule. The other three processes
can be understood better as complex responses of the people of India to the
changes that colonialism brought about.
2.1 SOCIAL REFORM MOVEMENTS IN THE
19
TH
 AND EARLY 20
TH
 CENTURY
You have already seen the far-
reaching impact of colonialism
on our lives. The social reform
movements which emerged in
India in the 19
th
 century arose to
the challenges that colonial
Indian society faced.  You
probably are familiar with what
were termed social evils that
plagued Indian society. The well-
known issues are that of sati,
child marriage, widow remarriage and caste discrimination. It is not that attempts
were not made to fight social discrimination in pre-colonial India. They were
central to Buddhism, to Bhakti and Sufi movements. What marked these 19
th
century social reform attempts was the modern context and mix of ideas. It was a
creative combination of modern ideas of western liberalism and a new look on
traditional literature.
W
Raja Ram Mohun Roy       Pandita Ramabai      Sir Syed Ahmed Khan
2020-21
Cultural Change
19
Sociologist Satish Saberwal elaborates upon the modern context by sketching
three aspects to the modern framework of change in colonial India:
n modes of communication
n forms of organisation, and
n the nature of ideas
New technologies speeded up various forms of communication. The printing
press, telegraph, and later the microphone, movement of people and goods
through steamship and railways helped quick movement of new ideas. Within
India, social reformers from Punjab and Bengal exchanged ideas with reformers
from Madras and Maharashtra.  Keshav Chandra Sen of Bengal visited Madras
in 1864. Pandita Ramabai travelled to different corners of the country. Some of
them went to other countries. Christian missionaries reached remote corners
of present day Nagaland, Mizoram and Meghalaya.
The mix of ideas
Ø Ram Mohun Roy attacked the practice of sati on the basis of both appeals to humanitarian and
natural rights doctrines as well as Hindu shastras.
Ø Ranade’s writings entitled The Texts of the Hindu Law on the Lawfulness of the Remarriage of Widows and
Vedic Authorities for Widow Marriage elaborated the shastric sanction for remarriage of widows.
Ø The content of new education was modernising and liberal. The literary content of the courses in the humanities
and social sciences was drawn from the literature of the European Renaissance, Reformation and
Enlightenment. Its themes were humanistic, secular and liberal.
Ø Sir Sayed Ahmed Khan’s interpretation of Islam emphasised the validity of free enquiry (ijtihad) and the alleged
similarities between Koranic revelations and the laws of nature discovered by modern science.
Ø Kandukiri Viresalingam’s The Sources of Knowledge reflected his familiarity with navya-nyaya logic. At the
same time he translated Julius Huxley.
BOX 2.1
New technologies and
organisations that speeded up
various forms of communication
2020-21
Page 4


Cultural Change 2
2020-21
Social Change and Development in India
18
      e saw in the last chapter how colonialism brought in changes that altered
the structure of Indian society. Industrialisation and urbanisation transformed
the lives of people.  Factories replaced fields as places of work for some. Cities
replaced villages as places to live for many. Living and working arrangements
or structures changed.  Changes also took place in culture, ways of life, norms,
values, fashions and even body language. Sociologists understand, social
structure, as  a ‘continuing arrangement of persons in relationships defined or
controlled by institutions’ and  ‘culture’ as ‘socially established norms or patterns
of behaviour’. You have already studied about the structural changes that
colonialism brought about in chapter 1. You will observe how important those
structural changes are for understanding the cultural changes that this chapter
seeks to understand.
This chapter looks at two related developments, both a complex product of
the impact of colonial rule. The first deals with the deliberate and conscious
efforts made by the 19
th
 century social reformers and early 20
th
 century
nationalists to bring in changes in social practices that discriminated against
women and ‘lower’ castes. The second with the less deliberate yet decisive changes
in cultural practices that can broadly be understood as the four processes of
sanskritisation, modernisation, secularisation and westernisation.
Sanskritisation pre-dates the coming of colonial rule. The other three processes
can be understood better as complex responses of the people of India to the
changes that colonialism brought about.
2.1 SOCIAL REFORM MOVEMENTS IN THE
19
TH
 AND EARLY 20
TH
 CENTURY
You have already seen the far-
reaching impact of colonialism
on our lives. The social reform
movements which emerged in
India in the 19
th
 century arose to
the challenges that colonial
Indian society faced.  You
probably are familiar with what
were termed social evils that
plagued Indian society. The well-
known issues are that of sati,
child marriage, widow remarriage and caste discrimination. It is not that attempts
were not made to fight social discrimination in pre-colonial India. They were
central to Buddhism, to Bhakti and Sufi movements. What marked these 19
th
century social reform attempts was the modern context and mix of ideas. It was a
creative combination of modern ideas of western liberalism and a new look on
traditional literature.
W
Raja Ram Mohun Roy       Pandita Ramabai      Sir Syed Ahmed Khan
2020-21
Cultural Change
19
Sociologist Satish Saberwal elaborates upon the modern context by sketching
three aspects to the modern framework of change in colonial India:
n modes of communication
n forms of organisation, and
n the nature of ideas
New technologies speeded up various forms of communication. The printing
press, telegraph, and later the microphone, movement of people and goods
through steamship and railways helped quick movement of new ideas. Within
India, social reformers from Punjab and Bengal exchanged ideas with reformers
from Madras and Maharashtra.  Keshav Chandra Sen of Bengal visited Madras
in 1864. Pandita Ramabai travelled to different corners of the country. Some of
them went to other countries. Christian missionaries reached remote corners
of present day Nagaland, Mizoram and Meghalaya.
The mix of ideas
Ø Ram Mohun Roy attacked the practice of sati on the basis of both appeals to humanitarian and
natural rights doctrines as well as Hindu shastras.
Ø Ranade’s writings entitled The Texts of the Hindu Law on the Lawfulness of the Remarriage of Widows and
Vedic Authorities for Widow Marriage elaborated the shastric sanction for remarriage of widows.
Ø The content of new education was modernising and liberal. The literary content of the courses in the humanities
and social sciences was drawn from the literature of the European Renaissance, Reformation and
Enlightenment. Its themes were humanistic, secular and liberal.
Ø Sir Sayed Ahmed Khan’s interpretation of Islam emphasised the validity of free enquiry (ijtihad) and the alleged
similarities between Koranic revelations and the laws of nature discovered by modern science.
Ø Kandukiri Viresalingam’s The Sources of Knowledge reflected his familiarity with navya-nyaya logic. At the
same time he translated Julius Huxley.
BOX 2.1
New technologies and
organisations that speeded up
various forms of communication
2020-21
Social Change and Development in India
20
Modern social organisations like the Brahmo Samaj in Bengal and
Arya Samaj in Punjab were set up. The All-India Muslim Ladies
Conference (Anjuman-E-Khawatn-E-Islam) was founded in 1914.  Indian
reformers debated not just in public meetings but through public media
like newspapers and journals. Translations of writings of social reformers
from one Indian language to another took place. For instance, Vishnu
Shastri published a Marathi translation of Vidyasagar’s book in Indu
Prakash in 1868.
New ideas of liberalism and freedom, new ideas of homemaking and
marriage, new roles for mothers and daughters, new ideas of self-
conscious pride in culture and tradition emerged. The value of education
became very important. It was seen as very crucial for a nation to become
modern but also retain its ancient heritage.  The idea of female education
was debated intensely. Significantly, it was the social reformer Jotiba
Phule who opened the first school for women in Pune. Reformers argued
that for a society to progress women have to be educated. Some of them
believed that in pre-modern India, women were educated. Others
contested this on the grounds that this was so only of a privileged few.
Thus attempts to justify female education were made by recourse to
both modern and traditional ideas. They actively debated the meanings
of tradition and modernity. Jotiba Phule thus recalled the glory of pre-
Aryan age while others like Bal Gangadhar Tilak emphasised the glory
of the Aryan period. In other words 19
th
 century reform initiated a period
of questioning, reinterpretations and both intellectual and social growth.
The varied social reform movements did have common themes. Yet
there were also significant differences. For some the concerns were
confined to the problems that the upper caste, middle class women and
men faced.  For others the injustices suffered by the discriminated castes were
central questions. For some social evils had emerged because of a decline of the
Vidyasagar
Viresalingam
Jotiba Phule
2020-21
Page 5


Cultural Change 2
2020-21
Social Change and Development in India
18
      e saw in the last chapter how colonialism brought in changes that altered
the structure of Indian society. Industrialisation and urbanisation transformed
the lives of people.  Factories replaced fields as places of work for some. Cities
replaced villages as places to live for many. Living and working arrangements
or structures changed.  Changes also took place in culture, ways of life, norms,
values, fashions and even body language. Sociologists understand, social
structure, as  a ‘continuing arrangement of persons in relationships defined or
controlled by institutions’ and  ‘culture’ as ‘socially established norms or patterns
of behaviour’. You have already studied about the structural changes that
colonialism brought about in chapter 1. You will observe how important those
structural changes are for understanding the cultural changes that this chapter
seeks to understand.
This chapter looks at two related developments, both a complex product of
the impact of colonial rule. The first deals with the deliberate and conscious
efforts made by the 19
th
 century social reformers and early 20
th
 century
nationalists to bring in changes in social practices that discriminated against
women and ‘lower’ castes. The second with the less deliberate yet decisive changes
in cultural practices that can broadly be understood as the four processes of
sanskritisation, modernisation, secularisation and westernisation.
Sanskritisation pre-dates the coming of colonial rule. The other three processes
can be understood better as complex responses of the people of India to the
changes that colonialism brought about.
2.1 SOCIAL REFORM MOVEMENTS IN THE
19
TH
 AND EARLY 20
TH
 CENTURY
You have already seen the far-
reaching impact of colonialism
on our lives. The social reform
movements which emerged in
India in the 19
th
 century arose to
the challenges that colonial
Indian society faced.  You
probably are familiar with what
were termed social evils that
plagued Indian society. The well-
known issues are that of sati,
child marriage, widow remarriage and caste discrimination. It is not that attempts
were not made to fight social discrimination in pre-colonial India. They were
central to Buddhism, to Bhakti and Sufi movements. What marked these 19
th
century social reform attempts was the modern context and mix of ideas. It was a
creative combination of modern ideas of western liberalism and a new look on
traditional literature.
W
Raja Ram Mohun Roy       Pandita Ramabai      Sir Syed Ahmed Khan
2020-21
Cultural Change
19
Sociologist Satish Saberwal elaborates upon the modern context by sketching
three aspects to the modern framework of change in colonial India:
n modes of communication
n forms of organisation, and
n the nature of ideas
New technologies speeded up various forms of communication. The printing
press, telegraph, and later the microphone, movement of people and goods
through steamship and railways helped quick movement of new ideas. Within
India, social reformers from Punjab and Bengal exchanged ideas with reformers
from Madras and Maharashtra.  Keshav Chandra Sen of Bengal visited Madras
in 1864. Pandita Ramabai travelled to different corners of the country. Some of
them went to other countries. Christian missionaries reached remote corners
of present day Nagaland, Mizoram and Meghalaya.
The mix of ideas
Ø Ram Mohun Roy attacked the practice of sati on the basis of both appeals to humanitarian and
natural rights doctrines as well as Hindu shastras.
Ø Ranade’s writings entitled The Texts of the Hindu Law on the Lawfulness of the Remarriage of Widows and
Vedic Authorities for Widow Marriage elaborated the shastric sanction for remarriage of widows.
Ø The content of new education was modernising and liberal. The literary content of the courses in the humanities
and social sciences was drawn from the literature of the European Renaissance, Reformation and
Enlightenment. Its themes were humanistic, secular and liberal.
Ø Sir Sayed Ahmed Khan’s interpretation of Islam emphasised the validity of free enquiry (ijtihad) and the alleged
similarities between Koranic revelations and the laws of nature discovered by modern science.
Ø Kandukiri Viresalingam’s The Sources of Knowledge reflected his familiarity with navya-nyaya logic. At the
same time he translated Julius Huxley.
BOX 2.1
New technologies and
organisations that speeded up
various forms of communication
2020-21
Social Change and Development in India
20
Modern social organisations like the Brahmo Samaj in Bengal and
Arya Samaj in Punjab were set up. The All-India Muslim Ladies
Conference (Anjuman-E-Khawatn-E-Islam) was founded in 1914.  Indian
reformers debated not just in public meetings but through public media
like newspapers and journals. Translations of writings of social reformers
from one Indian language to another took place. For instance, Vishnu
Shastri published a Marathi translation of Vidyasagar’s book in Indu
Prakash in 1868.
New ideas of liberalism and freedom, new ideas of homemaking and
marriage, new roles for mothers and daughters, new ideas of self-
conscious pride in culture and tradition emerged. The value of education
became very important. It was seen as very crucial for a nation to become
modern but also retain its ancient heritage.  The idea of female education
was debated intensely. Significantly, it was the social reformer Jotiba
Phule who opened the first school for women in Pune. Reformers argued
that for a society to progress women have to be educated. Some of them
believed that in pre-modern India, women were educated. Others
contested this on the grounds that this was so only of a privileged few.
Thus attempts to justify female education were made by recourse to
both modern and traditional ideas. They actively debated the meanings
of tradition and modernity. Jotiba Phule thus recalled the glory of pre-
Aryan age while others like Bal Gangadhar Tilak emphasised the glory
of the Aryan period. In other words 19
th
 century reform initiated a period
of questioning, reinterpretations and both intellectual and social growth.
The varied social reform movements did have common themes. Yet
there were also significant differences. For some the concerns were
confined to the problems that the upper caste, middle class women and
men faced.  For others the injustices suffered by the discriminated castes were
central questions. For some social evils had emerged because of a decline of the
Vidyasagar
Viresalingam
Jotiba Phule
2020-21
Cultural Change
21
true spirit of Hinduism. For others caste and gender oppression was intrinsic
to the religion. Likewise Muslim social reformers actively debated the meaning
of polygamy and purdah. For example, a resolution against the evils of polygamy
was proposed by Jahanara Shah Nawas at the All India Muslim Ladies
Conference. She argued:
…the kind of polygamy which is practiced by certain sections of
the Muslims is against the true spirit of the Quran…and it is the
duty of the educated women to exercise their influence among
the relations to put an end to this practice.
The resolution condemning polygamy caused
considerable debate in the Muslim press. Tahsib-e-
Niswan, the leading journal for women in the Punjab,
came out in favour of the resolve, but others disapproved.
(Chaudhuri 1993: 111). Debates within communities
were common during this period. For instance, sati was
opposed by the Brahmo Samaj. Orthodox members of
the Hindu community in Bengal formed an organisation
called Dharma Sabha and petitioned the British arguing
that reformers had no right to interpret sacred texts.
Yet another view increasingly voiced by Dalits was a
complete rejection of the Hindu fold. For instance, using
the tools of modern education, Muktabai, a 13 year old
student in Phule’s school writes in 1852:
Let that religion
Where only one person is privileged
And the rest are deprived
Perish from this earth
And let it never enter our minds
To be proud of such a religion…
Find out about some of the social
reformers mentioned below? What
issues did they fight for? How did
they conduct their campaign? Was
there any opposition?
Ø Viresalingam
Ø Pandita Ramabai
Ø Vidyasagar
Ø Dayanand Saraswati
Ø Jyotiba Phule
Ø Sri Narayan Guru
Ø Sir Sayed Ahmed Khan
Ø Any other
ACTIVITY 2.1
2.2 HOW DO WE APPROACH THE STUDY OF
SANSKRITISATION, MODERNISATION,
SECULARISATION AND WESTERNISATION
In this chapter each of the four concepts, namely sanskritisation, modernisation,
secularisation and westernisation, are dealt with in different sections. But as
the discussion unfolds, it will become obvious to you that in many ways they
overlap and in many situations they co-exist. In many situations they operate
very differently. It is not surprising to find the same person being modern in
some ways and traditional in another. This co-existence is often seen as natural
to India and many other non-western countries.
2020-21
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