Contribution of Accidental Anthropologists
SARAT CHANDRA ROY
- He was a lawyer.
- He did his graduation and post graduation in English.
- In 1898, after starting practice of law, he decided to take up a job as an English teacher at a Christian missionary school.
- In Ranchi, he became the leading authority on culture and society of tribal people of Chota Nagpur Region.
- Started his anthropologists research when he left the school and was appointed as official interpreter in the court.
- Anthropologist research was a byproduct of his professional need to interpret tribal customs and laws for the court.
- His hard work and diligence and keen eye for details resulted in valuable research articles.
- In addition to Monographs on various tribes like Oraon, Mundas and Kharias, he published more than hundred articles in leading Indian and British Journals.
- Founded the journal ‘Man in India’ in 1922.
L. K. ANANTHAKRISH NA IYER
- College teacher in Cochin state.
- In 1902, he was asked by Dewan of Cochin to assist with an ethnographic survey of the state.
- British Govt, wanted similar survey in all the states.
- He did this work on voluntarily basis
- His work was appreciated by British administrators.
- Guests lecturer— University of Madras.
- Reader— University of Calcutta.
- Awarded an honorary doctorate by German UniversityA
- Received the titles of ‘Rao Bahadur’ & ‘Dewan Bahadur’ by Cochin state.
I. G.S.GHURYE on Caste and Race
- Caste and Race
(i) Herbert Risley thought humans can be divided into separate races on the basis of physical characteristics (length of nose, size of skull etc.)
(ii) He believed India was a 'Lab' for studying evolution of racial types because inter-caste marriage is prohibited.
(iii) He argued caste originated in race because different caste groups seemed to belong to distinct racial types.
(iv) He suggested that lower castes were original inhabitants and subjugated by Aryans.
(v) Ghurye believed Risley's theory was true only for north India. In other parts of India, inter-group differences were not very large.
(vi) Thus 'racial purity' was preserved only in north India and in rest of the country, endogamy was introduced into already racially varied groups.
- Features of caste
(i) Based on segmental division : Society divided into number of mutually exclusive segments decided by birth.
(ii) Based on hierarchical division : Each caste strictly unequal to every other castes. No castes are ever equal.
(iii) Involves restrictions on social interaction (especially food-sharing)
(iv) Involves differential rights and duties.
(v) Restricts the choice of occupation : It is also decided by birth and is hereditary.
(vi) Involves strict restrictions on marriage: Only endogamy is allowed
Debate between protectionist and Nationalist in regard to tribal culture
(a) British anthropologists were interested in studying the tribal culture of India.
(b) They believe that assimilation of tribal culture with main stream Hinduism will lead to exploitation of tribal people by Hindus and thus their culture should be protected and preserved.
(a) Believe in unity of India and the need for modernizing Indian society and culture.
(b) They believe that attempt to preserve tribal culture were misguided and resulted in maintaining tribes in a backward state.
II. D. P. MUKHERJEE on tradition and change
(i) According to D. P. Mukherjee, India was based on the centrality of society.Therefore he studied the social traditions of India.
(ii) His study was not oriented only towards the past but included sensitivity to change.
(iii) Living Tradition : Tradition not only maintaining its links with the past but also adapting to the present and thus evolving overtime.
(iv) Argued : Indian society was not individualistic, it is oriented towards group, sect or caste-action.
(v) Root meaning of word Tradition' is to transmit. Traditions are rooted in past and kept alive through repeated recalling and retelling of stories and myths.
(i) Three principles of change — Shruti, Smriti and Anubhay. Anubhav (personal experience) is a revolutionary principle.
(ii) However, in India, personal experience turns into collective experience.
(iii) For, D. P. Mukherjee, the discursive reason (Buddhi-vichar) is not dominant force' of change but prem (love) and Anubhava — are su perior agents of change.
(iv) Collective experience leads to conflict and rebellion.
(v) Resilience of tradition ensures that the pressure of conflict produces change in the tradition without breaking it.
III. A. R. DESAI on state
A. Features of welfare state
(i) Welfare state is a positive state.
- It does not seek to do only the minimum necessary to maintain law and order.
- It is interventionist state and uses it powers to implement policies of social welfare.
(ii) It is democratic state.
- Democracy is essential for welfare state.
- Formal democratic institutions especially multi-party elections are a defining feature.
(iii) It involves a mixed economy.
- Mixed economy is an economy in which both private and public enterprises exist.
- Welfare state does not eliminate capitalist market and nor prevents public investments.
B. Criteria to measure the performance of welfare state
(i) It ensures freedom from poverty, social discrimination and security for all its citizen.
(ii) It removes inequalities of income through redistribution of wealth and preventing the concentration of wealth.
(iii) It transforms economy in such a way that capital profit motive is made subservient to the needs of the community.
(iv) It ensures stable development free from the cycle of economic booms and depressions.
(v) It provides employment for all.
C. Claims of 'welfare state' are exaggerated
(i) Most modern capitalist states, even in most developed countries, fail to provide minimum levels of economic and social security to all their citizens.
(ii) They are unable to reduce economic inequality and often seem to encourage it.
(iii) They have been unsuccessful at enabling stable development free from market fluctuations.
(iv) There is a presence of excess economic capacity yet high levels of unemployment.
IV. M.N.SRINIVAS on village
- M.N.Srinivas's writings
His writings on the village were of two broad types.
(a) First, there was ethnographic accounts of fieldwork done in villages.
(b) A second kind of writing included historical and conceptual discussions about Indian villages.
- Louis Dumont view of villages
(i) He thought that social institution like caste were more important than villages, which was after all only a collection of people living in a particular place.
(ii) He described Indian villages are unchanging, self-sufficient and 'little republics'.
- Srinivas's views against Louis Dumont
(i) Believed that village was a relevant social entity. History shows that villages have served as a unifying identity.
(ii) He criticised Dumont's view of villages as unchanging, self-sufficient little republics. He showed that the village had, in fact, experienced considerable change.
(iii) Villages were never self-sufficient and had been involved in various kinds of economic, social and political relationships at regional level.
- Significance of villages
(i) The village as a site of research offered many advantages to Indian sociology.
(ii) It provided an opportunity to illustrate the importance of ethnographic research methods.
(iii) It offered eye-witness accounts of the rapid social change that was taking place in the Indian countryside as newly independent nation began a programme of planned development.
(iv) Because of these vivid descriptions, policy makers were able to form impressions of what was going on in the heartland of India,
(v) Village studies thus provided a new role for a discipline like sociology in the context of an independent nation.