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    samaj shastri

    1G.S Ghurye
    Professor G. S. Ghurye (1893-1983) is justifiably considered the doyen of Indian Sociology. On his return from Cambridge, where he wrote his doctoral dissertation under W.H.R. Rivers and later A.C. Haddon, Ghurye succeeded Sir Patric Geddes as Head of Department of Sociology in the University of Bombay in 1924.


    He continued to head the Department until his retirement in 1959. After retirement, he was designated the first Emeritus Professor in the University of Bombay.



    Ghurye's contribution to the development of sociology and anthropology in India is enormous and multi-faceted. A prolific writer, Ghurye wrote 32 books and scores of papers, which cover such wide-ranging themes as kinship and marriage, urbanization, ascetic traditions, tribal life, demography, architecture and literature.

    Ghurye played a key role in the professionalisation of sociology by founding the Indian Sociological Society and its journal Sociological Bulletin. In addition, he encouraged and trained a large number of talented students who, in turn, advanced the frontiers of sociological and anthropological research in the country. With his own voluminous output and through the researches of his able students Ghurye embarked on an ambitious project of mapping out the ethnographic landscape of India.
    अगर हम कहें और वो मुस्कुरा दें
    हम उनके लिए ज़िंदगानी लुटा दें


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    5 Important Characteristics of Indian Caste System as described by Dr. G.S. Ghurye
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    The Important Characteristics of Indian Caste System as described by Dr. G.S. Ghurye are:

    (1) Segmentation of society into various divisions:
    Caste system according to Dr. Ghurye, divides whole society into separate groups in which status, social duties and rights are different. In such a society caste feeling amongst the individual is more dominant than social feeling. Each caste has its own rules and regulations and if a member breaks these, he is expelled from the caste.

    He further states that in such caste bound society the amount of community feeling must have been restricted and that the citizens owed moral allegiance to their caste first, rather than to the community as a whole.

    (2) Hierarchy:
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    There is a well defined stratification in the arrangement of various castes, with Brahmin at the top. Next to Brahmins come Kshatriya then Vaishya and then Shudra. As this system is based upon the birth of an individual, change from one caste to another is very difficult. But there are exceptions.

    In Indian villages this characteristic of caste is still present in its rigid form but in big cities where industries have gripped persons of all caste, into one lot, this rigid form of hierarchical form of caste system is gradually losing its conservation.

    (3) Restrictions on feeding, drinking and other social interactions:
    There are sets of rules by which a person belonging to caste is forbidden to take food with the members of another caste. There are other sub-rules in which it has been defined that which kind of food can be taken with the other caste. Thus a Brahmin cannot take food cooked with water in a Kshatriyas’ house but he can take food prepared and cooked in full ghee.

    (4) Restrictions on marriages:
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    According to Westermarck restriction on inter-caste marriages is the main characteristics of any caste system. Inter-caste marriage is strictly prohibited in Hindu society. In fact each of the main castes of Hindus is sub-divided into such castes and marriage outside one’s own sub-castes is not favoured.

    In the same manner individuals are checked from marrying to member of other region though he or she may belong to the same caste. Thus we see that marriages are restricted with endogamous merits of such caste belonging to a particular region.

    (5) Disabilities and privileges of different castes:
    Each caste is socially desired to perform certain occupations. Thus Brahmin cannot choose the profession of weeper and vice versa. Some castes are debarred from certain social privileges while others are given extra privileges. In Hindu caste system, Brahmins are the most priviledged castes and Shudra are worst priviledged casts.

    A Shudra cannot even touch an individual of higher caste. He cannot go to a temple or open a provision store. Besides these there are some kinds of restriction in the choice of occupations amongst various casts. In traditional Hindu caste system there was clear-cut division of occupations amongst the four castes.

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    A shudra could not take the profession of priest. A Brahmin could not make shoes. But due to foreign administration and changes in the environment of the country, this division of occupation lost its importance. After the independence and with the dawn of industrial era these restrictions have been fastly disintegrating.

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    Related Essays:
    6 Important Features of Indian Society (Caste-Stratified Society)
    8 Important Features of Caste System in India
    3 Important Principal of “Caste System” in India
    3 Important Perspectives of Indian Caste System
    अगर हम कहें और वो मुस्कुरा दें
    हम उनके लिए ज़िंदगानी लुटा दें


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    6 Important Features of Indian Society (Caste-Stratified Society)

    The Main Features of Indian societies as a Caste-stratified Society are:


    Social Stratification in India has been basically a caste-based social stratification. The Indian society stand organised on the foundations of caste-system. It involves the presence of social relations based upon a system characterised by several castes. The Indian society is usually described as a caste-based society.




    While defining caste in the context of Indian social system, Ketkar has written, “A caste group is a group having two characteristics: i) Member is confined to those who are born of members and includes all persons so born, and (ii) The members are forbidden by an inexorable, social law to many outside the group.

    M. N. Srinivas writes
    , “Caste in India is a hereditary group having a traditional association within occupation and a particular position in the local hierarchy of castes. Relations between castes are governed among other things by concept of pollution or purity and generally, maximum commensality occurs within the caste. However, each caste is in itself stratified into sub-caste. A complex hierarchy of castes characterises Indian social system.

    1. Segmental Division of Society:
    The Indian society stands divided into several castes and the position of each caste is based on traditional importance. The position of each individual is related to the position of his caste group and right at the time of his birth he becomes a member of either a high caste or a low caste.

    Each caste group has a definite and determinate set of rules in respect of relation with other castes. Usually inter-caste marriages are prohibited and no one can ever get out of his caste.

    2. Social and Religious Hierarchy:




    Each caste group stands alone as a particular social group. For example, several castes are considered to be Brahmin castes while several others are considered to be Kashtriya castes.

    Some castes are considered to be higher castes while others are considered to be lower castes. All the castes are bound by a well defined system of social and religious functions and relations. Social and religious hierarchy runs along the caste hierarchy.

    3. Restrictions of Food-sharing and Social-intercourse:
    The members of each social group are involved in exchange of relations among themselves. The higher class always tries to secure the formal purity of his caste. Each caste has its own caste culture which defines the food sharing and social intercourse rules which are to be followed by the members of the caste.

    4. Endogamy System:
    Each person gets placed in a particular caste at the time of his birth and he remains a member of his caste group throughout his life. Each member can marry persons belonging to his own caste groups. People of a Kshatriya caste can marry only in other Kshatriya castes. Usually no one can marry in his own sub-caste.

    5. Caste-based Occupational Groups:




    Traditionally castes in the Indian society have been inseparably associated with several professions. Parental occupation is always considered a good and essential occupation for the new generation. Only the son of a purohit or pundit can perform the functions of a purohit or pundit.

    6. Civil and Religious Disabilities:
    Right from ancient times, the member of each class, particularly the members belonging to the lower class have to live with certain disabilities. A system of civil and religious disabilities has been traditionally associated with different caste groups. In ancient India persons belonging to some low castes were even not allowed to enter the cities and they were even not allowed to enter the schools.

    Even some people used to be denied the right to study Vedas and other religious scriptures. As such several civil and religious disabilities were part and parcel of the Indian caste system and consequently of the Indian system of social stratification.

    The Constitution of India prohibits inequalities and discriminations based upon caste, colour, creed, religion, race, sex, place of birth and any similar factor. Untouchability is a crime. Equal citizenship, equal rights and equal opportunities for development have been granted to all persons.

    However, some Special protections have been given to the persons belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. This has been done to secure social equality in Indian society.

    Indian society has been traditionally a caste-based stratified society. In the past, such stratification acted as a source of inequalities and exploitation of members of some castes by the members of the so-called high castes.

    Now the system has been changing and the Constitution of India has laid down several laws for securing the objective of social, economic political justice and equality of status and opportunity for all. Caste based rigid social stratification has been now undergoing changes and the role of the caste is getting diluted in the Indian society
    अगर हम कहें और वो मुस्कुरा दें
    हम उनके लिए ज़िंदगानी लुटा दें


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    8 Important Features of Caste System in India
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    Generally speaking, castes are mutually exclusive, often localized groups into which individuals are born. These represent minutely graded levels of social distance and a way of life influenced by a tradition of customs and taboos.


    Castes have been evolving over the years. Legal changes, education, new employment opportunities, urbanisation etc. have transformed many features of cast system. Some features are:

    (1) Hierarchy:
    The caste system represents and hierarchic pyramid with Brahmans at the top, various so called lower casts at the bottom and thousands of other cases in the middle.

    (2) Hereditary Status:
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    Caste is determined by birth and there is very little room for change.

    (3) Traditional Occupation:
    In the traditional ancient system, almost every caste followed a certain occupation which was handed down from its one generation to another. Temple Priests, Carpenters, barbers, safai karamcharies came from traditional castes.

    (4) Endogamy:
    Individuals marry within their own castes.

    (5) Principle of Purity and Pollution:
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    Relations between castes were traditionally determined by the concepts of pollution and purity which asserted that lower castes are polluting to higher castes. The theory of pollution formed the basis for untouchability.

    (6) Commissural Restrictions:
    Lower casts were denied many opportunities, they were not allowed to wear jewellery, enter temples or attend schools. According to Blunt, there were seven restrictions in this context.

    (i) Cooking taboo, which lay rules that may cute food.

    (ii) Eating Taboo

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    (iii) Drinking Taboo

    (iv) Commensally taboo

    (v) Food taboo (Rules regarding food kacha, pucca, etc.)

    (vi) Smoking taboo (Rules regarding smoking Hukka)

    (vii) Vessels taboo (Types of vessels to be used).

    (7) Castes are Localised Groups:
    There are no uniform standards that evaluate castes all over the country. A particular caste may be considered ‘untouchable’ in our region but not so in another region.

    (8) Caste and Sub-caste:
    The terms caste and sub-caste should not be confused with each other. Sub-caste signifies a sub-division of a larger caste. In cases where a caste group has split into several smaller endogamous groups, the use of this term for the latter is justified. But where the new group is the result not of the fission but of the fusion of two different groups, it would be incorrect to call it a sub-caste.

    Weber holds that today one caste frequently contains hundreds of sub-castes. In such cases, these sub-castes may be related to one another exactly or almost exactly as different castes. If this is the case, the sub-castes, in reality, are castes in which the caste name common to all of them has merely a historical significance.

    The arrangement of several caste groups in a particular order of relationship in society constitutes the caste system.
    अगर हम कहें और वो मुस्कुरा दें
    हम उनके लिए ज़िंदगानी लुटा दें


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    3 Important Principal of “Caste System” in India
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    Caste is a social phenomena found in several human societies. However, it is functioning in its most elaborately defined and rigid form in India. Indian society has been basically a caste based social system and castes and caste system still continue to be a major input of Indian society and polity.


    Caste implies an element of heredity and birth in social stratification. At the same time, the question: how far the purely hereditary elements and how far other factors are responsible for the origin and continuance of the caste system? , is a matter of discussion.

    Hindu society stands organised in terms of caste hierarchy. The traditional view has been that it stands ordained on the basis of the four castes — Brahmanas, Kshatriyas, Vaishas and Sudras. However in practice, the four fold caste is a theoretical division because each caste stands divided into innumerable sub-castes. Every sub-caste claims to belong to one of the main ideological castes.

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    The stratification of four-fold caste is based on the following principles:

    (1) Unchangeable status based on birth;

    (2) The gradation of professions;

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    (3) Restriction on marriage outside one’s own caste.

    In brief, in Hindu social system caste system is a mode of social stratification. In it, individual status is somewhat hereditary. Membership of a caste is confined to those who are born members. The Caste System, Joint Family System and Rural Life are often seen as the three basic pillars of Indian society. Caste is a hereditary group which does not permit social mobility for its members.

    Caste is used both a unit as well as a system. As a unit, caste is defined as a closed-rank status group, i.e., a group in which the status of members, their occupations, the field of mate- selection and interaction with others is fixed. As a system, it refers to collectively of restrictions, namely restrictions on change of membership, occupation, marriage and commensurable social relations.

    In this context, there is presupposition that no caste can exist in isolation and that each caste is closely involved with other castes in the network of economic, political and ritual relationships. The closed rank group feature of caste also explains its structure. The caste system which we find in India has all the peculiarities of Indian social system.

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    Caste is closely linked with Hindu Philosophy and religion, custom, tradition, marriage and family, food and dress habits. It is believed to have a divine origin endlessly supported by rituals and ceremonies.

    The term ‘Caste’ is derived from S****** sword ‘Caste’ which means breed or lineage. The word caste also signifies ‘race’ or ‘kind’. The Sanskrit word for caste is ‘varna’ which means colour. It is also called ‘Jati’.

    Varnas are four in number and the castes run in thousands. Caste, according to the Indological perspective, originated due to the division of labour. Gradually, castes become more and more rigid and membership and occupations became hereditary. The Indologists further argue that since castes are divine, these will continue to exist in future also.

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    अगर हम कहें और वो मुस्कुरा दें
    हम उनके लिए ज़िंदगानी लुटा दें


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    3 Important Perspectives of Indian Caste System

    The Important Perspectives of Indian Caste System are described below:


    Caste system in India has been studied from three perspectives i.e. Indological, Socio- Anthropological and Institutionalist. Indologists view caste from the scriptural point of view, Social-Anthropologists from the cultural point of view, and Sociologist from the point of view of stratification.

    (A) Indological-Religious Perspective:




    In the Indological-religious perspective, the exponents take their cue from the ancient scriptures and present their views on the origin, purpose, and future of the caste system. They hold the view that Varnas originated from Brahma and castes emerged as fissional units of the varna system.

    The origin of Castes came due to the need and development of division of labour in the society. Brahmins were given the superior position in society because of their knowledge of scriptures and a belief in the divine right of Brahmins to interpret and administer rules in accordance with the dictates of ancient, divine and revered scriptures.

    (B) Social-Anthropological Perspective:
    The Social-anthropologists like Ilutton, Risley, Krober and several others adopt a cultural perspective for explaining the origin, meaning and nature of Caste system. Their perspective takes four major directions: organizational, structural, institutional and relational.

    The organizational and structural perspectives of Hutton consider caste as a unique system found in India. Structural aspect of caste explains that caste is a general from of stratification.

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    The structural view upholds the view that stratification is a universal reality and caste is therefore an aspect of reality.

    (C) The Institutionalist Perspective:
    The Institutionalist Perspective does not favour the view that caste is relevant only to India. It takes into account the presence of caste in ancient Egypt, Southern United States and some other societies.

    The Relational perspective accepts the presence of caste situations in army, business, factories and some other social units, where a form of caste divisions are identified which are either present till today of have become almost obsolete.

    The sociological perspective views caste system in terms of social stratification of society and as a hierarchical system of social inequality. The culturalogical view understands caste in terms of ideas of pollution, purity and notions of hierarchy, segregation and corporateness. It views castes as a distinct phenomenon.

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    Some scholars view caste as a ‘closed system’ of social stratification. Others consider it both closed and open. As a ‘closed system, caste has an ‘organic’ character in which different castes depend upon each other for the fulfilment of various socio-cultural and economic needs. Bougie (1939) defined caste as ‘an endogamous and hereditary sub-division of an ethnic unit occupying a position of superior or inferior rank or social esteem in comparison with other such subdivisions.

    Bailey and Srinivas avoid the problem of giving a definition of caste. They view castes as structures. Ketkar, Suit and Opler also follow this line and instead of defining caste give the inductive characteristics of the caste systems.

    According to Ketkar, “Caste is a social group having two features: (i) Hereditary membership, and (ii) Endogamy”.

    Krober identifies Caste as “an endogamous and hereditary sub-division of an ethnic unit occupying a position of superior or inferior rank in comparison with other such subdivisions”.

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    अगर हम कहें और वो मुस्कुरा दें
    हम उनके लिए ज़िंदगानी लुटा दें


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    Govind Sadashiv Guhurye : Biography and Contribution to Indian Sociology




    Govind Sadashiv Guhurye : Biography and Contribution to Indian Sociology!

    Govind Sadashiv Ghurye (1893-1984) is a towering figure in intel*lectual and academic circles for his unique contribution in the field of Indian sociology. He has often been acclaimed as the ‘father of Indian sociology’, ‘the doyen of Indian sociologists’ or ‘the symbol of sociological creativeness’. Ghurye had been engaged in building up; almost single handedly, the entire first generation of Indian sociologists in post-independence period.

    M.N. Srinivas has rightly said, “Nothing disguises the fact that Ghurye was giant”. Efforts of individuals, who have variously been regarded as the ‘founding fathers’, ‘pioneers’ ‘first-generation sociologists’ etc., constituted the most important factor in the growth of Indian sociology. These pioneers provided direction to shape the future of sociology in India. And, of all these, none did as much for sociology in India as Ghurye.

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    Two aspects of Ghurye’s work are worth inquiring into:

    a. First, his role in promoting and directing the course of research in diverse fields of Indian society (as a teacher, as an institution builder and as a scholar); and

    b. Second, his own substantive writings, his theoretical postu*lates, his vision of the role of sociology, etc.

    Ghurye excelled in both of them.

    Background:
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    Ghurye was born on 12th December, 1893 in a Saraswat Brahmin family in Malavan, Maharashtra, and the West Coast of India. He died on 28th December, 1983 at the age of 91 in Bombay. Sociology was not a school or college subject when Ghurye was a student. From the very early years, Ghurye showed a flair for Sanskrit.

    After passing the matriculation examination, Ghurye got himself admitted to the Elphinstone College, Bombay with Honours. He had a brilliant academic career throughout. He stood first class second at the BA examination and was awarded the Bahu Dazi prize – the blue ribbon of Sanskrit competence in the university.

    He stood first class first at the MA examination in English and Sanskrit in 1918 and was awarded the Chancellor’s Gold Medal. None before that time had obtained a first class at the MA with Sanskrit. With this type of background in Sanskrit, Ghurye finally came to sociology, which profoundly influenced later Ghurye’s own writings and the course of research made in the field of sociology under his leadership.

    While teaching at the Elphinstone College, Ghurye submitted an essay to Patrick Geddes on “Bombay as an Urban Centre”. It won him a foreign scholarship. The scholarship was instituted by the University of Bombay to train promising young men in sociology. Ghurye went to London School of Economics where he briefly worked with L.T. Hobhouse.

    He later moved to Cambridge where he worked with W.H.R. Rivers. Rivers died in 1922 before Ghurye completed his doctoral work. In 1923, he completed his PhD under A.C. Hadden on Caste and Race in India. His work was published by Routledge and Kegan Paul in 1932 in C.K. Ogden’s History of Civilization Series. It immediately established Ghurye’s reputation.

    Sociology in Bombay developed under the leadership of G.S. Ghurye. Patrick Geddes was invited by the University of Bombay to start a Department of Sociology in 1919. Ghurye succeeded Geddes as head and as a Reader, took charge of the Department of Sociology at Bombay University in 1924.

    He was appointed as Professor in 1934 and retired in 1959. When he retired in 1959, the University of Bombay made him an Emeritus Professor. Ghurye was the first Emeritus Professor in Bombay University. He did not cease to be academically active after retirement from service. His last research student submitted thesis in 1971. During these about fifty years’ span, he supervised as many as eighty theses. Of these, forty have been published as books.

    As a teacher, Ghurye was very serious and meticulous in preparing his lectures notes. Many of his students have testified that his lectures were heavily documented. As a research guide, he was more impressive and more successful. He created a ‘sociological awareness’.

    The ‘second generation’ of Indian sociologists was largely his creation. They include M.N. Srinivas, K.M. Kapadia, I. Karve, K.T. Merchant, I.P. Desai, A.R. Desai, Y.B. Damle, D. Narain, M.S.A. Rao, K.N. Venkatarayappa, A. Bopegamage, M.G. Kulkarni, K.C. Panchnadikar, M.L. Sharma, D.B. Unwalla and many others.

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    As an institution-builder, deservedly, the most profound impact on Indian sociology was made by Ghurye. Ghurye was the principal architect of the Department of Sociology of Bombay University and produced a batch of renowned scholars including M.N. Srinivas, who is now internationally known. His students headed (and many of them are still heading) the departments of sociology in many universities in India.

    Ghurye was the prime mover in the formation of Indian Sociological Society in 1952 and was also instrumental in the publication of its mouthpiece, Socio*logical Bulletin, as its official bi-annual journal. However, the first sociological journal in India, The Indian Journal of Sociology, was started in January 1920 under the editorship of Alban G. Widgery of Baroda College in Baroda.

    Ghurye was elected the president of the anthropological section of the Indian Science Congress in 1934. In the same year, he was also elected as the nominee to the Royal Asiatic Society and continued to hold this position till 1948. During his lifetime, he won several top honours accorded to any intellectual in India.

    As a scholar, in fact, throughout his life, Ghurye has been active from the academic standpoint. His 16 books, out of a total of 31 books, published during his lifetime. His output is indeed prodi*gious by any standard. Several of them are noteworthy as pioneering contributions to the sociology field.

    Even so, Ghurye is most likely to be remembered by Caste and Race in India (titled Caste and Class in India in subsequent editions). His persistent research endeavor, wide ranging interest and upholding of the base of academic tradition made him the centre of sociological creativity and research for several generations of Indian sociolo*gists.

    Ghurye’s broad area of interest was general process of evolution of culture in different civilizations in general, and in Indian (Hindu) civilization in particular. The origin and subsequent proliferation of the different varieties of Indo-European civilization constitute the range of Ghurye’s study.

    Indian society, through its long historical process of growth, presents a picture of a vast mosaic of culture held together by religion, values and norms of Hinduism. As a sociologist, Ghurye feels the imperative of exploring this unifying and synthesizing process.

    In spite of many diversions, exploration and analysis of the process of cultural unity in India through ages constitutes the major thrust of Ghurye’s writing. He moves to establish his thesis with perfect case, back and forth, from the Vedic to the present-day India.

    Theoretical Approach and Methodological Application of Ghurye:
    Ghurye’s rigour and discipline are now legendary in Indian socio*logical circles. In the application of theories to empirical exercises or in the use of methodologies for data collection that legendary rigour is not somehow reflected. To put it differently, Ghurye was not dogmatic in the use of theory and methodology.

    He seems to have believed in practising and encouraging disciplined eclecticism in theory and methodology. Despite his training at Cambridge under W.H.R. Rivers and his broad acceptance of the structural-functional approach, Ghurye did not strictly conform to the functionalist tradition when interpreting the complex facets of Indian society and culture, which he chose to investigate.
    अगर हम कहें और वो मुस्कुरा दें
    हम उनके लिए ज़िंदगानी लुटा दें


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    He stood first class first at the MA examination in English and Sanskrit in 1918 and was awarded the Chancellor’s Gold Medal. None before that time had obtained a first class at the MA with Sanskrit. With this type of background in Sanskrit, Ghurye finally came to sociology, which profoundly influenced later Ghurye’s own writings and the course of research made in the field of sociology under his leadership.
    अगर हम कहें और वो मुस्कुरा दें
    हम उनके लिए ज़िंदगानी लुटा दें


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    The pioneers were ‘armchair’ or ‘lecture-ism’ sociologists. Even Ghurye had conducted village, town and community studies. It was said that “Ghurye insisted on fieldwork, though he himself was an armchair scholar” (Srinivas and Panini, 1973: 188). This was not intended as a pejorative comment (Srinivas, 1973), but it reflected the tremendous premium placed on single-handed ‘anthro*pological fieldwork’.

    Therefore, it may be said that although trained in the craft of Indology, Ghurye was not averse to the fieldwork traditions of social and cultural anthropology. His field survey of Sex Habits of Middle Class People in Bombay conducted in the 1930s and published in 1938 and the monograph on the Mahadev Kolis (1963) demonstrated Ghurye was far from promoting an armchair textual scholarship. He was an empirical field worker also. Later generations of Indian sociologists and social anthropologists used Ghurye’s inexhaustible themes for their researches.

    It would be appropriate to characterize Ghurye as a practi*tioner of ‘theoretical pluralism’. Basically interested in inductive empirical exercises and depicting Indian social reality using any source material – primarily Indological – his theoretical position bordered on laissez-faire. Similarly, when Ghurye conducted survey-type research involving primary data collection, he did not conform to accepted methodological canons.

    He often ventured into generalization on the basis of scanty and unrepresentative evidence, e.g., Social Tensions in India (Ghurye, 1968). It is also likely that Ghurye’s flexible approach to theory and methodology in sociology and social anthropology was born of his faith in intel*lectual freedom, which is reflected in the diverse theoretical and methodological approaches that his research students pursued in i heir works. Ghurye also used historical and comparative methods in his studies which have also been followed by his students.

    Ghurye was initially influenced by the reality of diffusionist approach of British social anthropology but subsequently he switched on to the studies of Indian society from indological and inthropological perspectives. He emphasized on Indological approach in the study of social and cultural life in India and the elsewhere. This helps in the understanding of society through liter*ature.

    Ghurye utilized literature in sociological studies with his profound knowledge of Sanskrit literature, extensively quoted from the Vedas, Sbastras, epics, and poetry of Kalidasa or Bhavabhuti to shed light on the social and cultural life in India. He made use of the literature in vernacular, e.g., Marathi, and cited from the literature of modern writers like Bankimchandra Chatterjee as well.

    Works of Ghurye:
    Ghurye’s writings have enormous diversity of themes and perspec*tives. The range is very wide, indeed. As the two principal branches of the Indo-European people subsequently prospered in India (the Indo-Aryan) and Europe (the Anglo-Saxon), for example, he has shown wide similarities between these two peoples as regards the two principal institutions, viz., the family and the caste.

    Not only this, a host of other things also came with Ghurye’s range of interests. Rajput architecture and funerary monuments, sadhus in India and sex in America, Shakespeare and Kalidas, castes, tribes and races, metropolitan civilization – everything was grist to his sociological mill. His writings have been gathered from all sources – literary, historical, archaeological, sculptural, painting and iconog*raphy. This gives an extra dimension to his research.

    Up to 1980, he authored thirty-one books; only five of them were written before 1950 and thirteen up to 1959 when he retired from the university service.

    The important works of Ghurye are as follows:

    1. Caste and Race in India (1932, 1969)

    2. Culture and Society (1947)

    3. Indian Sadhus (1953)

    4. Bharatnatyam and Its Costume (1958)

    5. Family and Kin in Indo-European Culture (1955, 1961)

    6. Cities and Civilization (1962)

    7. Gods and Men (1962)

    8. Anatomy of a Rural-Urban Community (1962)

    9. Scheduled Tribes (first published as The Aborigines So-called and their Future) (1943, 1959, 1963)

    10. Religious Consciousness (1965)

    11. Indian Costume (1966)

    12. Social Tensions in India (1968)

    13. I and Other Explorations (1973)

    14. Whither India (1974)

    15. Indian Acculturation (1977)

    16. Vedic India (1979)

    17. Bringing Cauldron of North East India (1980)

    The whole range of Ghurye’s works can be classified into a number of broad themes. The classification has not always been a neat one, sometimes a little bit of discretion had to be used but this enabled us to arrange more systematically his ideas.

    Pramanick (1994) has divided Ghurye’s writings into six broad areas. These are:

    1. Caste

    2. Tribes

    3. Kinship, family and marriage

    4. Culture, civilization and the historical role of cities

    5. Religion

    6. Sociology of conflict and integration

    Besides these, there are a number of important writings of Ghurye, which could not be fitted into the above scheme. We would briefly discuss here the important works of Ghurye.

    Caste and Kinship:
    We first take up Ghurye’s Caste and Race in India (1932), which cognitively combined historical, anthropological and sociological perspectives to understand caste and kinship system in India. He tried to analyse caste system through textual evidences using ancient texts on the one hand and also from both structural and cultural perspectives on the other hand.
    अगर हम कहें और वो मुस्कुरा दें
    हम उनके लिए ज़िंदगानी लुटा दें


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    कर्मठ सदस्य dkj's Avatar
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    Ghurye studied caste system from a historical, comparative and integrative perspective. Later on he did comparative study of kinship in Indo-European cultures.

    In his study of caste and kinship, Ghurye emphasizes two important points:

    1. The kin and caste networks in India had parallels in some other societies also.

    2. The kinship and caste in India served in the past as integrative frameworks.

    The evolution of society was based on the integration of diverse, racial or ethnic groups through these networks.

    Ghurye highlights six structural features of caste system as follows:

    1. Segmental division

    2. Hierarchy

    3. Pollution and purity

    4. Civil and religious disabilities and privileges of different sections

    5. Lack of choice of occupation

    6. Restrictions on marriage

    Besides the above characteristics, Ghurye laid particular stress on endogamy as the most important feature of the caste system. Any effective unit of the caste hierarchy is marked by endogamy. Every caste had in the past segmented into smaller sub-divisions or sub-castes. Each of these sub-castes practised endogamy. For example, Vaishya (Baniya or Mahajan) castes are divided into various sub-castes such as Agrawal, Maheshwari etc.

    Caste is also linked with kinship through caste endogamy and also clan (gotra) exogamy. Gotra has been treated as thoroughly exogamous unit by the Brahmins and later by the non-Brahmins. The basic notion here is that all the members of a gotra are related to one another, through blood, i.e., they have rishi (sage) as their common ancestor. Therefore, marriage between two persons of the same gotra will lead to incestuous relationship. It will lead the lineage of the gotra to near extinction.

    The relationship between caste and kinship is very close because:

    (i) exogamy in our society is largely based on kinship, either real or imaginary, and

    (ii) the effective unit of caste, sub-caste is largely constituted of kinsmen.

    To Ghurye, there are three types of marriage restrictions in our society, which shape the relationship between caste and kinship. These are endogamy, exogamy and hypergamy. Exogamy can be divided into two parts:

    (i) spinda or prohibited degrees of kin, and

    (ii) sept or gotra exogamy.

    The gotra and charna were kin categories of Indo-European cultures which systematized the rank and status of the people. These categories were derived from rishis (saints) of the past. These rishis were the real or eponymous founder of the gotra and charna.

    In India, descent has not always been traced to the blood tie. The lineages were often based on spiritual descent from sages of the past. Outside the kinship, one might notice the guru-shishya (teacher-student) relationship, which is also based on spiritual descent. A disciple is proud to trace his descent from a master.

    Likewise, caste and sub-caste integrated people into a ranked order based on norms of purity-pollution. The rules of endogamy and commensality marked off castes from each other. This was integrative instrument, which organized them into a totality or collectivity.

    The Hindu religion provided the conceptual and ritual*istic guidelines for this integration. The Brahmins of India played a key role in legitimizing the caste ranks and orders through their interpretation of Dharamashastras, which were the compendia of sacred codes.

    Tribe:
    Ghurye’s works on the tribes were general as well as specific. He wrote a general book on Scheduled Tribes in which he dealt with the historical, administrative and social dimensions of Indian tribes. He also wrote on specific tribes such as the Kolis in Maharashtra. Ghurye presented his thesis on tribes at a time when a majority of the established anthropologists and administrators were of the opinion that the separate identity of the tribes is to be maintained at any cost.

    Ghurye, on the other hand, believes that most of the tribes have been Hinduized after a long period of contact with Hindus. He holds that it is futile to search for the separate identity of the tribes. They are nothing but the ‘backward caste Hindus’. Their backwardness was due to their imperfect integration into Hindu society. The Santhals, Bhils, Gonds, etc., who live in South-Central India are its examples (Ghurye, 1963).

    There has been fierce debate between G.S. Ghurye and Verrier Elwin. Elwin in his book Loss of Nerve said that tribals should be allowed to live in isolation, whereas Ghurye argued that tribals should be assimilated into Hindu castes.

    Thus, Ghurye holds the view that a grand historical process of merger between two communities has almost been completed. Consequently, tribes, now, may be regarded as ‘backward Hindus’. The incorporation of Hindu values and norms into tribal life was a positive step in the process of development.

    The tribes in India had slowly absorbed certain Hindu values and style of life through contact with the Hindu social groups. Today, it is being considered a part of Hindu society. Under Hindu influence, the tribes gave up liquor drinking, received education and improved their agriculture.

    In this context, Hindu voluntary organizations, such as Ramakrishna Mission and Arya Samaj, played a constructive role for the development of the tribes. In his later works of north-eastern tribes, Ghurye documented secessionist trends. He felt that unless these were held in check, the political unity of the country would be damaged.

    Ghurye presents a huge data on the thoughts, practices and habits of the tribes inhabiting the Central Indian region. He quotes extensively from various writings and reports to show that Katauris, Bhuiyas, Oraons, Khonds, Gonds, Korkus etc. have substantially adopted Hinduism as their religion. Ghurye suggests that the economic motivation behind the adoption of Hinduism is very strong among the tribes. They can come out of their tribal crafts and adopt a specialized type of occupation, which is in demand in society.

    Rural-Urbanization:
    Ghurye remained occupied all through his life with the idea of rururbanization securing the advantages of urban life simulta*neously with nature’s greenery. Therefore, he discusses the process of rural-urbanization in India. He views that the urbanization in India was not a simple function of industrial growth.

    In India, the process of urbanization, at least till recent years, started from within the rural area itself. He traced Sanskrit texts and documents to illustrate the growth of urban centres from the need for market felt in a rural hinterland. Development of agriculture needed more and more markets to exchange the surplus in food grains.

    Conse*quently, in many rural regions, one part of a big village started functioning into a market. This led to a township, which in turn developed administrative, judicial and other institutions. In the past, urban centres were based on feudal patronage, which had demands for silk cloths, jewellery, metal artifacts, weapons etc. This led to the growth of urban centres such as Banaras, Kanchipurum, Jaipur, and Moradabad etc.
    अगर हम कहें और वो मुस्कुरा दें
    हम उनके लिए ज़िंदगानी लुटा दें


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