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Historical Sociology in India
 9781138931275

Table of contents :
Cover
Title
Copyright
Dedication
CONTENTS
Preface
PART I Historical sociology
1 Background and emergence
PART II History and the tradition of Indian sociology
2 Early colonial period
3 Post-1858 era
4 The phase of ‘pioneers’
5 Sociology after independence
i. Village, caste, tradition and socio-cultural change
ii. Peasant movements
iii. Tribal sector
iv. Ecology, education, industrial and urban settings
Concluding remarks
References
Further readings
Index

Citation preview

HISTORICAL SOCIOLOGY IN INDIA

This book is a comprehensive study of historical sociology and its development, especially in the Indian context. It looks at the works of Indian sociologists and analyses their approaches in terms of bookview (normative) and field-view (descriptive) history. The volume: • critically appraises reports of empirical surveys conducted during early colonial rule – including those by H. T. Colebrooke, Francis Buchanan and William Adam; • engages with the works of sociologists such as M. N. Srinivas, Ramkrishna Mukherjee, Louis Dumont, Nicholas Dirks, Bernard Cohn, Yogendra Singh, D. N. Dhanagare, A. M. Shah and T. K. Oommen, among others; and • shows how historical perspective has been adopted in understanding aspects of Indian society – villages, castes, traditions, sociocultural change, education and peasants and their ­movements. Presenting an alternative idea of social reality, this book will deeply interest students and scholars of sociology, social theory and social history. Hetukar Jha, former Professor of Sociology, Patna University, has been working on villages, culture, traditions, education and other sociological concepts from a historical perspective since 1968. He has published more than 120 research papers and 20 books including Colonial Context of Higher Education in India (1985), Social Structures of Indian Villages (1991) and Perspectives on Indian Society and History (ed., 2002). He is currently working on the village world in the colonial period.

HISTORICAL SOCIOLOGY IN INDIA Hetukar Jha

First published 2016 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN and by Routledge 711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2016 Hetukar Jha The right of Hetukar Jha to be identified as author of this work has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data A catalog record has been requested for this book. ISBN: 978-1-138-93127-5 (hbk) Typeset in Sabon by Apex CoVantage, LLC

To my wife, Indira Jha, the sustaining spirit of my pursuit

CONTENTS

ix

Preface PART I

Historical sociology

1

1 Background and emergence

3

PART II

History and the tradition of Indian sociology

25

2 Early colonial period

27

3 Post-1858 era

42

4 The phase of ‘pioneers’

48

5 Sociology after independence

57

i. Village, caste, tradition and socio-cultural change  57 ii. Peasant movements  77 iii. Tribal sector  83 iv. Ecology, education, industrial and urban settings  86

vii

C ontents

95 99 122 129

Concluding remarks References Further readings Index

viii

PREFACE

The present work (comprising two parts) first covers in brief the historical background of the emergence of ‘historical sociology’ as a branch of sociology in the last quarter of the last century. It begins with the discussion of the thinking of Western intellectuals since the eighteenth century regarding the craft of historiography as well as significance of history for understanding the dynamics of human world, and, then, deals with the rise of the notion of historicism. Further, in this part, emergence of historical sociology in Germany before the rise of Nazi power, changing trends of historical thinking in France and England (from the 1930s) and the rise of ‘historical sociology’ as an important field of research and teaching in Western sociology (particularly in the United States) in the 1980s have been described. This part has been included as a sort of frame of reference for Part II. Historical sociology as a branch of sociology is yet to emerge in this country. There are fields of family studies, village studies, urban studies, caste studies and so on, which constitute the domain of Indian sociology. However, sociological thinking in the light of history began to be visible since the beginning of sociology in India. In Part II, an attempt has been made to present an account of historyoriented sociological studies as well as reflections (from the first quarter of the last century to around the first decade of the present century). Besides, it may be mentioned here that a number of empirical studies/surveys of different regions were conducted in the colonial era since its beginning. These works are historical documents ix

P reface

packed hard with the details of socio-economic and cultural life of various categories of people, and, are, therefore, very valuable sources of historical sociology of India. Such works are supposed to be the contributions of ‘proto-sociologists’ (Mukherjee 1977: 14–27) of the ‘exploratory phase’ of sociology in India (Rao 1974a: XXII). So, some of the important studies and survey reports of both early and post-1858 phases of colonial era are also discussed in the beginning of this part. A. M. Shah was first to prepare a critical review of historical sociology in India in 1974. In 1977, Ramkrishna Mukherjee’s comprehensive and critical report Trends in Indian Sociology came out. Later, D. N. Dhanagare analysed the course of historical sociology pursued by the sociologists/anthropologists working on Indian society, culture and economy in 2006. The present work draws on a large measure of their views and analyses. I am, indeed, indebted to them. I express my gratitude to Professor Yogendra Singh (Chairman, Sub-Committee on the Sixth Round of ICSSR Survey in Sociology and Social Anthropology) who gave me the opportunity for preparing a report on historical sociology in India for Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), New Delhi. The present work is a revised and enlarged version of the report published in Indian Sociology, vol. I, (ed. Yogendra Singh, ICSSR Research Surveys and Explorations, 2014, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 20–86). Professor Andre’ Be’teille, an eminent sociologist of the country, and Professor Surendra Gopal, a distinguished historian, spared their valuable time to read the manuscript. I shall remain grateful to them for giving quite appreciative comments. Shri Paras Nath Singh Thakur typed the manuscript quite patiently and efficiently. I am thankful to him. The authorities of Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, New Delhi, were kind enough to accept my request for publishing it. I am deeply indebted to them. Efforts were made for covering the studies (relevant to the present issue) as comprehensively as possible. However, quite a number of important works of eminent sociologists/anthropologists/historians, it is feared, must have remained unnoticed. It is a pity, no doubt. The author owes them an apology. x

Part I HISTORICAL SOCIOLOGY

1 BACKGROUND AND EMERGENCE

Herodotos is supposed to be the first to begin the enterprise of historia in the fifth century b.c. Then, Thucydides (c.455–c.400 bc) took up this practice that continued to flourish in Europe in ancient and medieval eras (MacCulloch 2009: 35–36). During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, however, European historians discussed in detail the methods, styles and purpose of writing history. They considered it proper to include the imagined speeches and dialogues of historical personages of past generations or centuries in the texts of history. Further, history was also supposed to serve as a guide for moral and political actions, particularly of kings and statesmen (Lorenzen 2010: 2). Such notions, however, began to be radically changed since the eighteenth century that is supposed to be ‘the moment of the birth of history, of historicity and the sense of history as well as the possibilities of modern historiography’­ (Jameson 2006: 21–22). The ‘historicity and the sense of history’ arose and gradually gained ground following the reaction to or protest against the Enlightenment notion of ‘abstract laws’ implying the past as ‘an inferior stage in the development of reason, and thus intrinsically inferior to the present (and the future)’ (White 1962: XVI–XVIII). J. G. Herder was, perhaps, the first to write against the eighteenth-century (Enlightenment) view in 1774. He considered ethnic variations of human beings as the determining factor of history and contended further that both man and nature, being infinitely varied (and, therefore, being similar in this context), should 3

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be ‘studied not by abstract raison employed by the philosophes, raison . . . blurred the distinction between the various races in the interest of fictitious homogeneous humanity’ (Ibid.: XVIII). Sociological/ anthropological peculiarities were thus considered by Herder as the influencing factor of the course of human existence. His view, it seems, gave rise to thinking about the relationship between man and nature in history. History gradually came to occupy significant space in some of the dominant ideas of the nineteenth century such as romanticism, post-Kantian idealism and Darwinism. Romantics eulogized the irrational and held the past in high esteem because it presented examples of humanity ‘free from those fetters which were placed on the human spirit by an abstract, mechanical raison’ (Ibid.: XVI). For the thinkers of post-Kantian idealism, such as Hegel and those who followed him, history was ‘the development of spirit in time, as nature was the development of idea in space’ (Cassirer 1946: 254). In this philosophy, history was thought to be the union of the idea and its empirical reality. White (1962: XVI) writes in this context that ‘whatever . . . the results of this attitude, it did have the merit of evoking interest in everything historical and inspired . . . the reverence . . . for the historical existent, whether it appeared at first sight to be rational or irrational.’ The intellectual discourse was thus growing in support of history. Further, by the appearance of Darwin’s Origin of Species in 1859 nature also came to be viewed as following history. Concurrence of the views regarding history in romanticism, post-Kantian idealism and Darwinism, it seems, contributed to the rise of historicism, that is, ‘the tendency to interpret the whole of reality . . . in historical, that is to say, relative, terms’ (Ibid.: XVII). Meinecke also traced the rise of historicism back to the thoughts of those who had opposed rationalism in the past centuries (Lee and Beck 1954: 571). Subsequently, the question of interpreting reality began to be pursued in terms of similarity and/or difference between man and nature, the issue that had been raised by J. G. Herder. He had asserted the similarity of man and nature (described before). So, one could view history (of man) as a part of the total natural development of history. This formed the basis of ‘naturalistic 4

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historicism’ while the history of nature viewed as a part of the total historical development of man gave rise to the notion of ‘metaphysical historicism’. White (1962: XIX–XX) observes in this context that naturalistic historicism gave birth to an attempt to apply the categories of positive science to historical phenomena and always tended to resolve history into sociology . . . Metaphysical historicism . . . was characterized . . . by a desire to transcend time in order to find an ideal principle which governed the historical process. Walther Hofer also referred to these two kinds of historicism while analysing its meaning (Lee and Beck, 1954: 570). Subsequently, in addition to these (two kinds of historicism), ‘aesthetic’ historicism asserting man’s freedom and individual creativity also emerged. However, the effect of the imaginative creation of the individual or the effect of the narrative was considered more important than its truth or falsehood from the points of view of aesthetic historicism (White 1962: XX–XXI). Besides, nineteenth century appeared to be an age of facts. E. H. Carr (1977:8–9) writes in this context that Ranke in the 1830s, in . . . protest against moralizing history, remarked that the task of the historian was ‘simply to show how it really was . . . ’, this . . . had an astonishing success. In Great Britain, this view of history fitted in perfectly with the empiricist tradition. In the words of White (1962: XXIII), ‘it was “objective” history, the “objective” historians refused to judge the past, simply “entertained” the data and consciously tried to avoid interpreting it’. Neitzsche, however, called such empirical historians ‘ “eunuchs” in the harem of history who merely told what happened and who refused to judge the facts discovered empirically’ (Ibid.: XXII). It does not seem necessary to discuss each kind of historicism here. What, however, appears to be important is to describe, at least in 5

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brief, the influence of the notion of historicism as such on the development of sociology/anthropology. In this context, the thought of Meinecke and the views of the famous sociologists of early twentieth century are significant. Meinecke considered the task of historicism as ‘ascending from the individual to the general, and of seeking out the latter in the concrete stamp of the individual’ (Lee and Beck 1954: 571). The concept of individuality, according to him, is applicable not only to persons, but to all ‘historical creations’ (Ibid.). Merquior (1979: 40–41) writes in this context that ‘the business of Historicism is the monographic grasping of historical individuality – a far remove from the sweeping generalizations of evolutionist philosophy of history’ (emphasis added). Meinecke’s ideas continued to influence historical thinking in the second half of the twentieth century. Accordingly, historicism came to be viewed as search for the unique in history, as ‘change-minded quest’ emphasizing ‘the variety rather than the uniformity of human nature, . . . interested less in similarities than in differences’ (Ibid.: 41). Merquior (1979: 43) points out how this idea of historicism, being anti-ethnocentric, contributed to the concept of culture as collective (instead of being personal), expressive (instead of being perfective), transmissible, intransferrable and empirically given (instead of being simply ideal – normative). Herder had recognized the authenticity of ethnic differences in human universe (mentioned before) and had insisted on the equality of all cultures. Meinecke’s emphasis on the process of individualizing observation for generalizing the view of human forces in history reinforced the idea of cultures in contrast to that of culture as a singular noun. Besides, the idea of equality of all cultures or that of the uniqueness of each culture implies the notion of neutrality contrary to that of ethnocentrism. Merquior (1979: 44) asserts that without ‘the pluralistic neutrality vis-à-vis cultural particularism, professed by the historicist mind,  . . . anthropology, as an empirical social science could not have been born’ (emphasis added). The historicism of Meinecke and his followers seems to have paved the way for the practice of anthropology. Further, history was gradually drawn to sociological projects. In this context, an event of historic importance may be mentioned 6

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here: Mommsen, a great historian and a very senior contemporary of Weber, on the occasion of Weber’s ‘promotion’ to the doctorate said: ‘on this day when it is necessary for me to part this life, to no one more willingly than to Max Weber will I say, “My son, here is my lance, now grown too heavy for my arm” ’ (Antoni 1962: 124). This event may be supposed to have epitomized the gathering trend of interdisciplinary approach, which was, it seems, most welcome to Weber. He worked on the history of medieval commercial law and then became interested in the history of Roman agrarian law. He also became interested in the investigation of East German agrarian workers. Later, he engaged himself in the study of ethics – religious origin of capitalism and the socio-economic premises of world religions (Ibid.: 119–120). He did not subscribe to the approach of romanticism, nor did he accept history as a mere collection of facts. For the history of capitalism, he considered the study of individual liberty through various historical stages to be necessary. His sociology ‘offered an unequivocal accentuation of concepts, a series of abstractions . . . which serve towards the end of defining concrete phenomena’ (Ibid.: 177). He took a critical account of the historical processes behind the rise of ‘instrumental reason’. The focus of his attention was on rationalization of action according to which the actor becomes concerned to calculate the most suitable means for the attainment of his/her goals (Thompson 1983: 357). Sociology, Weber believed, is virtually a canon for historical interpretation (Antoni 1962: 184). Another famous sociologist of this period, Vilfredo Pareto, used historical material in his Treatise on General Sociology (1916), and, Durkheim worked on the history of education in France though he remained more concerned with developing the discipline of sociology by distinguishing it from history (Burke 2000: 10). Regarding the relationship of sociology and history, he contended that history ‘should be sociology’s microscope. Not that it should magnify the tiny . . ., but that it should be the instrument by which structures are discovered invisible to the unaided eye’ (Collins 1999: 1). History and sociology, thus, began to be considered to be having rich potential for promoting each other. 7

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Besides, the issues such as the meaning of history, its epistemology and meaningfulness of historiography came to constitute the chief concern of historicism influenced at least implicitly by the social sciences, particularly sociology/anthropology (Lee and Beck 1954: 575). In this context, the thought of Croce is considered quite significant. He propounded his view that, according to E. H. Carr (1977: 21), ‘All history is “contemporary history” . . . meaning that history consists essentially in seeing the past through the eyes of the present and in the light of its problems, and the main work of the historian is not to record, but to evaluate; for, if he does not evaluate, how can he know what is worth recording’. For Croce, all that has been created by man can be known by man, and, so, all knowledge is historical and all thinking of the present problems is necessarily historical (Lee and Beck 1954: 572). His understanding of historicism was, thus, against the view of accepting any one particular approach or system valid for the interpretation of reality. The variation in present needs and situations seems to refer to the variation in reality and, therefore, perhaps, its historical coverage may be supposed to imply the notion of historical relativism or historical relationism (Ibid.: 573–574). Somewhat similar stand was taken by Louis Gottschalk, who considered historical relationism as denying the validity of absolute principles in history and accorded much value to sociological conditions (Ibid.: 573). In this context, Karl Mannheim (1950: 70–71) also contended that all historical knowledge is relational knowledge. However, an entirely different approach in this connection was adopted by Karl Popper who thought of history as having inherent laws for determining the future of mankind (White 1962: XX). But, almost all the proponents of the different kinds of historicism repudiated any search for ‘laws’ like that of natural sciences and denied that history could offer any basis for prediction (Lee and Beck 1954: 576–577). One may say on the basis of the brief account of historicism, presented earlier, that the value of history came to be recognized quite widely. However, for historical pursuit the importance of sociological/anthropological dimensions of social reality began to be considered seriously following the thoughts 8

BACKGROUND AND EMERGENCE

of Meinecke, Croce, Weber and others (discussed before). Subsequently, the relationship between sociology/anthropology and history, it seems, was symbiotically forged at the epistemological level in Germany before World War II. As a result, historical sociology emerged in Germany from the 1920s, which did not accord validity to teleological and evolutionary approach in history, nor did it approve of single-factor accounts of history. Social change was considered from the points of view of historical sociology to be a contingent and open-ended process (Steinmetz 2007: 2–8). Karl Mannheim (1934: 14) characterized it as ‘the awareness that every social fact is a function of the time and place in which it occurs’. It was defined by Volker Kruse as ‘theoretical constructions with historical research’, in which social reality is understood as ‘historically produced’, and, further, ‘Historical events and practices cannot be explained by general laws or theories, but . . . by a conjuncture of different forces’ (Steinmetz 2007: 6). This (historical) sociology flourished until the early 1930s chiefly due to the contributions of historians and historical economists (Ibid.: 9). However, it could not continue further in Germany as Nazism began to rise (Ibid.). It took much time in the twentieth century for it to emerge again (in the United States of America). In this context, it is, perhaps, not out of place here to discuss at least briefly the historical thinking in France and Great Britain from the 1930s.

Changing trends of historical thinking in France and England since the 1930s The aforementioned account indicates clearly that the trend of thinking against the conventional notion of history (as past politics and/or as a narrative without any generalization) had become quite noticeable. The view that history should be the history of the totality of social structure and change based on the analysis and synthesis of the past human affairs began to be more appealing. The German historical sociology had virtually upheld this view. However, according to Hobsbawm (2002: 285), this view began to be advanced since the late 1930s in France by Marc Bloch and 9

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Lucien Febvre through their review, Annales. Bloch wrote a book, Apologia Pour 1’ Histoire (Vindication of History), that is considered to be the ‘best known and most influential twentieth century disquisition’, which begins with the question: ‘What is the use of history?’ (Weber 1994: 34). Bloch’s answer to this question covers about 120 pages of this book. He thought of history as a science (not in the positivistic sense) ‘of human societies, of man in society, of changes in time, of men and women in time and place; a science that ever returns to the great variable: people, . . . men, women, their mindsets, ways and traits are incredibly diverse; and history is the science of diversity’ (Ibid.). The Annalistes did not favour the practice of history that focused on narrow political history. For understanding the past, it was thought more important that historians should begin with the questions of the present and incorporate the knowledge of sociology, psychology, linguistics and geography in their endeavour. Bloch’s work on the history of the belief in the healing power of king that was part of a general faith (in miracles), a ‘collective error’, was a significant contribution to the knowledge regarding ‘primitive’ mentality (Burke 1983: 723). Febvre’s classic study, The Problem of Unbelief in the Sixteenth Century, published in 1941, dealt with the structural conditions – the absence of certain linguistic and conceptual tools – against the emergence of ‘disbelief’. Febvre focused on what was not there, the ‘missing words’ such as ‘absolute’, ‘relative’, ‘abstract’, ‘concrete’, ‘causality’, ‘regularity’ and so on. Further, ‘Measured time’ or ‘Clock-time’ was less significant than ‘experienced time’ (Ibid.). The works of Georges Duby, Jacques Le Goff, Robert Mandron and Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie are much influenced by those of Bloch and Febvre (Ibid.). However, it is Fernand Braudel’s work The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II (first published in 1949) that is considered ‘the most original as well as the most originative contribution to Annales history’ (Clark 1990: 179). Braudel remained editor of Annales: Economies, Societies, Civilisations from 1957 to 1968, held a commanding position in the French academic life and remained involved in upholding his idea about the nature of history. He along with his colleagues 10

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rejected . . . history (as) a narrative of events; he broke with the belief that historians should study intensely short periods of political history; he claimed that historians needed to study geography, sociology, anthropology and allied social sciences . . ., history should be total . . . on the grand scale.’ (Johnson 1996: 14) Braudel’s insistence on large space and long time and on the interaction between significant economic and social trends and the everyday life of people had much impact on the course of historical thinking. Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, supposed to be a very important Annales historian of the Braudel era, was much influenced by his approach. According to Stuart Clark (1990: 187), It has been said that no history is less ethnocentric than Braudel’s and the range of his interests and that of the journal’s is often intellectually breathtaking. Historians now could not easily dispense with the long durie, whether in the areas of application of Braudel and Le Roy Ladurie or in the study of mentalities. In England, there was a small group of Marxist historians raising voice against old, conventional history since 1946. After World War II, the first congress of historical sciences was organized by an Annales historian in Paris in 1950. Eric Hobsbawm (2002: 287) writes in this context that One innovation in which I found myself involved directly was a section on Social History, probably the first in any historical congress. In fact, there was as yet very little of it . . . narrow study of labour and socialist organizations . . . had previously had first claim on the name . . . obviously it should be concerned with labour, with social classes and social movements, and with the relations between economic and social phenomena, not to mention the reciprocal influences between economic 11

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facts and political, juridical, religious, etc., phenomena. (­emphasis added) The ‘innovation’ that ‘social history’ underwent was engineered by historiographic ‘modernizers’. The scope of ‘social history’ was now broadened to include the history of social classes, social movements and so on. Modernizers, according to Hobsbawm (2002: 288): were against ‘positivism’, the belief that if you get the ‘facts’ right, the conclusions would take care of themselves, and against the traditional bias of conventional historians in favour of kings, ministers, battles, treaties . . ., they wanted much broadened or democratized as well as methodologically sophisticated field of history. They were in favour of a history fertilized by the social sciences. The approach of the modernizers seems to have been virtually a continuation of that of the Annales school. They were generally Marxists and the journal Past and Present (established in 1952) was their chief organ. In 1970, the American journal, Daedalus, organized a meeting to survey the state of history. The gathering was dominated by the modernizers holding a common flag of ‘social history’ (Ibid.: 290). Hobsbawm writes further in this context that around 1970 it seemed reasonable to suppose that the war for the modernization of historiography that had begun in the 1890s had been won . . . The modernizers were far from reductionists. Though they believed that history must explain and generalize, they knew it was not like the natural sciences. However, they believed that history had a comprehensive project, whether it was Braudel’s ‘total’ or ‘global history, integrating the contributions of all the sciences of man’; or, if I may quote my own definition, what history in the broadest sense is about: how and why Homo sapiens got from the palaeolithic to the nuclear era. (Ibid.: 290–293; emphasis added) 12

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Thus, it seems that the standpoint of historical sociology of ­ ermany (before the rise of Nazi power; discussed before) came to G be reinforced by the works of British and French historians. History came close to sociology in the sense that analysis, interpretation, generalization, discovering/exploring explanations of present-day (sociological) questions relating to ‘people’, their everyday life and the interrelationships of different social, economic and cultural trends characterizing/constituting the totality of social structure came to be recognized as the task of historians. In the ‘Preface’ to his famous book, The Age of Revolution, Europe 1789–1848, Hobsbawm (1962: XV) wrote: The object of this book is not detailed narrative, but interpretation and what the French call haute vulgarization. Its ideal reader is that theoretical construct, the intelligent and educated citizen, who is not merely curious about the past, but wishes to understand how and why the world has come to be what it is today and whither it is going. (emphasis added) In this context, one cannot fail to mention the contribution of E. P. Thompson. In the beginning of his seminal book, The Making of the English Working Class, Thompson (1963: 11) wrote that ‘we cannot understand class unless we see it as a social and cultural formulation, arising from processes which can only be studied as they work themselves out over a considerable historical period’ (emphasis added). He was opposed to the view that tended to undermine or ignore the agency of working people in history. He made an exemplary attempt ‘to rescue the poor stockinger, the Luddite cropper, the “obscure” hand-loom weaver, the “utopian” artisan’ (Ibid.: 12–13). The work (The Making of the English Working Class) of this great champion of social history ‘captured young radical readers on both sides of the Atlantic overnight, and continental sociologists and social historians not long after’ (Hobsbawm 2002: 214; emphasis added). Thus, in England, there was rise of the approach of social history, that is, history of people (the historyless), in the 1950s and 13

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1960s, owing chiefly to the works of Thompson, Hobsbawm and the group of Marxist historians. It may be noted here that, simultaneously, in India as well, Niharranjan Ray, it seems, following the notion of ‘social history’, worked on the history of the people of Bengal at that time drawing on researches in sociology, anthropology, geography and linguistics (Hood 1994: XXI–XXXIV). However, Sumit Sarkar (1997: 50) contends in this context that ‘Thompson’s . . . address at the Trivandrum session of the Indian History Congress (1976) provided a major stimulus to “histories from below”, and social-historical research in this country’. This trend, it seems, continued to gain ground in India. In this context, the subalternist project began from 1982 (Pouchepadass 2002: 85). The objective of this school of historians led by Ranajit Guha ‘was to recognize the historical importance of the people’s free and sovereign agency, to retrieve its own culture, to arouse scientific interest in its authentic universe of thought and experience’ (Ibid.: 87). Social history in India came to incorporate sociological questions and findings. For example, Sabyasachi Bhattacharya, writing on social history in India (1982: 690–696), took account of the contributions of historians and sociologists/anthropologists as well. Thus, the premise that ‘Every social fact is a historical fact and vice-versa . . . history and sociology study the same phenomena . . . history must become explicative, that is to say sociological’ (Goldmann 1969: 231), it seems, came to be widely appreciated and followed by those engaged in historical research and thinking by the second half of the twentieth century.

Emergence of ‘historical sociology’ Regarding the state of sociology in the beginning of the second half of the last century, Anthony Giddens (1981: 215) wrote that Sociology was the whiz-kid subject of the 1960s . . . many of those in the more traditionally established subjects . . . regarded (it) as an endeavour largely empty of intellectual content, a mere fad . . . characteristically 14

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dominated by a rather complacent conception that human social institutions can be analysed by methods parallel to those employed in the natural sciences; and . . . typically associated with a cosy, ethnocentric vision of an increasingly abundant future to be brought about through the progressive spread of industrialism. Sociology was thus largely ahistorical. Intellectually its image was at a very low ebb. It was supposed to follow in the footsteps of natural sciences and extend implicitly or explicitly support to the ‘ethnocentric vision’, mentioned earlier. Until about the end of the sixth decade of the twentieth century, sociology remained generally alienated from history in Anglo-American world depending on ‘abstraction and concretization: abstracting social processes from the constraints of time and space, concretizing social research by aiming it at reliable observation of currently visible behaviour’ (Tilly 1980: 55). However, even in those days of ahistorical sociology, there were a few ‘pioneers’ such as Sorokin, Barnes and Becker, Homans, Merton and others who did not subscribe to the ‘presentism and modernism of (their) sociological contemporaries’ (Tilly 2007: 303). Their works (supposed to be the ‘first wave of historical sociology’) have been categorized in three broad groups by Tilly (2006: 1): (1) epochal synthesis, (2) retrospective ethnography and (3) critical comparison. Sorokin, for example, who did historical research for formulating grand successive socio-cultural stages of sensate, ideational and eclectic types, has been identified as a historical sociologist of epochal synthesis category. The second category, retrospective ethnography, includes works dealing with ‘empathic reconstruction of alien times and peoples’, for using current understandings of social processes to show how those instances fit into a known range of variation (Ibid.). George Homans reconstructed the organization of different kinds of village of the thirteenth century as the observers of contemporary village structures do. His study was chiefly based on the analysis and interpretation of historical records. His work is considered an appropriate example of retrospective 15

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ethnography category of historical sociology. In the third category of the first wave, Tilly includes the work of Barrington Moore Jr. regarding social origins of dictatorship and democracy. ‘In Critical Comparison’, Tilly (Ibid.) asserts, ‘a salient question concerning origins and causes guides the logical confirmation of differing experiences’. Earlier, Tilly (1980: 56) had identified four areas of historical sociology: (1) history of civilizations (referring to the works of Sorokin and Kroeber), (2) history of social thought (contributions of Barnes and Becker), (3) appropriation of ‘historical settings or cases to contemporary sociological analysis’ (the approach of George Homans) and (4) the attempt to solve ‘specific historical problems via sociological methods’ (e.g. Robert Merton’s study of science and technology in the seventeenth-century society of England). It is not possible to discuss here in detail the first wave of historical sociology. However, it may be mentioned that Barnes wrote in favour of promoting historical sociology in 1921 (17, 48) and Becker criticized sociologists’ ‘crippling neglect’ of history in 1934 (20) and, further, in 1938 (760) both of them together suggested that ‘sociologist should not approach his data with the intention of forcing them, willy-nilly into a Procrustean bed of “timeless” categories that are a priori generalizable.’ Among the historical sociologists of the first wave, the name of Norbert Elias also deserves to be included. Elias, a student of Alfred Weber and Karl Mannheim, was a German/British sociologist (Mann 1989: 108). He worked on the historical processes through which the manners, etiquettes and styles of life characterizing the Western civilization came to be recognized. His famous work, The Civilizing Process: The History of Manners and State Formation and Civilization, published first in 1939, remained virtually unnoticed for a long time; the other major study, The Court Society (in pre-revolutionary France) remained unpublished until 1969 (Pinker 1998: 30). Elias (1995: XI) in ‘Preface’ to The Civilizing Process wrote ‘how did . . .  “civilizing” of the West actually happen? Of what did it consist? And what were its causes or motive forces? It is to the solution of these main questions that this study attempts to constitute.’ He covered a long period and a 16

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wide area, Western Europe from the end of the Middle Ages to the beginning of the twentieth century, and analysed many etiquette manuals (prepared in the past centuries) and a large number of other archival sources. He described ‘the processes by which customary modes of speech, dress comportment, eating and drinking changed in response to the growing complexities of class, status and power relationships’ (Pinker 1998: 30). He did meticulous research of the changing manners of individual behaviour and asserted (1995: XII) that only historical experience makes clearer what this word (change) actually means. It shows . . . the decisive role played in this civilizing process by a very specific change in the feelings of shame and delicacy. The standard of what society demands and prohibits changes, in conjunction with this, the threshold of socially instilled displeasure and fear moves; and the question of sociogenic fears thus emerges as one of the central problems of the civilizing process. His premise was that there existed ‘indissoluble complementarity’ between human psyche, social structures and the structures of history (Ibid.: 30). The pursuit of the ‘pioneers’ (sociologists of the first wave of historical sociology) was, however, against the current of ahistorical sociology that virtually held sway over the entire field. Most of the sociologists had background in natural sciences and economics and, therefore, perhaps, they had economics or one of the natural sciences as their model for sociology. The intellectual resources required for promoting historical sociology were almost absent (Steinmetz 2007: 15). However, since the 1970s, the situation began to change following the turmoils of the late 1960s (which are too well known to require any discussion here). Besides, according to Anthony Giddens (1981: 215) the theoretical standpoints based on the development of ‘social theory’ favouring common conceptual concerns of sociology and history (discussed before) also began to gain ground. Philip Abrams, whose book, Historical Sociology 17

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(1980), inspired the founding of The Journal of Historical Sociology in 1988 (Wong and Sayer 2008: 2), pleaded in strong terms that reduced to their essentials, history and sociology are and always have been the same thing . . . Given that past and present are indivisible, and narrative and theory are wholly complementary, there can be no rational justification for the formal separation of history and sociology in the academic division of labour. (Perlin 1982: 801) Peter Burke’s Sociology and History (1980) called for an end of the ‘dialogue of deaf’ between historians, on one side, and sociologists and social anthropologists, on the other (Tilly 2007: 299). However, Steinmetz (2007: 16) believes that it was because of the rediscovery of Marxism in US sociology and the destabilization of the Fordist mode of regulation that the trend of historical sociology was strengthened. The most important factor that turned sociology towards history, according to Tilly (1980: 56), was the growing disillusionment in this period with developmental models of modernization, industrialization, political development and so on. The phenomenon of ‘underdevelopment’ was considered to be characterizing a large part of globe and was recognized to be the consequence of colonialism and imperialism believed to be the outcome of the dominance of the said models of development. It emerged as a glaring issue to be seriously probed into. And, subsequently, studies of past socio-economic, political and cultural conditions began to be undertaken. In this connection, different sorts of Marxist analyses ‘became the strongest current in reaction to developmental theories’ (Ibid.: 57). Consequently, the second wave of historical sociology arose in the 1970s as substantially much larger than the first wave. Soon, quite significant contributions to the field of macro-historical sociology began to appear (Tilly 2007: 303–305). Here, a brief discussion of at least a few studies pertaining to this field will not be out of place. Randall Collins (1999) has dealt with the works of those concerned with the phenomena of ‘revolution’ and ‘world system’ 18

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dynamics. For example, he has discussed the works of Barrington Moore Jr., Arthur Stinchcombe, Theda Skocpol and others, according to which the era of agrarian capitalism (preceding industrial capitalism) was the ‘epoch of revolutions’. Further, he has analysed Wallerstein’s work on the ‘expansion of the European world system around the globe through successive crises and transfers of hegemony’ combining the approaches of Marxism and the Annales school (Ibid.: 4). Wallerstein (1974: 9), it seems, deriving inspiration from Croce and Annales school, made it clear in the beginning that social reality is ephemeral. It exists in the present and disappears as it moves into the past. The past can only be told as it truly is, not was. For recounting the past is a social act of the present done by men of the present and affecting the social system of the present. ‘The social system of the present’ is the modern world system, which alone, according to him, is the site of social change (Ibid.: 7). The world system has extensive occupational/functional as well as spatial division of labour. The advantaged areas of the world economy, the core-states, possess both strong state machinery and national culture. The peripheral areas are those having weak states. In between the core and the periphery there is semiperipheral area depending upon the ‘complexity of economic activities, strength of the state machinery, cultural integrity, etc.’, which is posited as a structural category (Ibid.: 349). However, upward mobility in the world system from periphery to semiperiphery and from semiperiphery to the core has not been ruled out (Collins: 1999:4). The core region includes hegemonic zone where capital, most privileged workers and entrepreneurial activities are always centred. The world system appears to be characterized by the continuing hierarchical order of the zones of core, semiperiphery and periphery, which always remain vulnerable to the historical forces generating their upward or downward mobility. Historical research on world system has also been done by Janet Abu-Lughod. He has depicted how a ‘superordinate world system 19

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of Middle Ages linked a series of world-system trading zones from China through Indonesia . . . to India, to the Arab world . . . and finally to the European zone’ (Ibid.: 5). His curiosity about the decline of this system, perhaps, motivated him to raise a very significant question: ‘how we can explain not so much the rise of the West as the fall of the East?’ (Ibid.: 5). This question, it seems, implies that before deciding a strategy of development of a particular society, it is desirable to first identify the forces of decline or decadence, their historical roots and how these forces came to dominate and suppress the developmental spirit of that society. Abu-Lughod’s work has at least an implicit theory or theoretical assumption that without the knowledge of decadence the knowledge of development remains deficient. Geopolitics is another very important issue of macro-historical sociology. ‘The geopolitically oriented or military-centred view of the state’, according to Collins, has become increasingly important through the convergence of three areas of scholarship: geopolitical theory, the state-breakdown theory of revolution and the historical sociology of the modern state as an expanding apparatus of military organization and tax extraction’ (Ibid.: 7–8). Insofar as the historical sociology is concerned in this context, one may consider, for example, Michael Mann’s The Sources of Social Power. Mann (1992: VII) asserts in the beginning that ‘Sociological theory cannot develop without knowledge of history. Most of the key questions of sociology concern processes occurring through time; social structure is inherited from particular pasts; and a large proportion of our “sample” of complex societies is only available in history’. Further, ‘Societies’, in his view, are not social systems . . . they are not totalities . . . there is no system, no totality . . . Because there is no whole, social relations cannot be reduced ‘ultimately’ . . . to some systemic property of it – like the ‘mode of material production’, or the ‘cultural’ or ‘normative systems’. Societies are, rather, ‘constituted of multiple overlapping and intersecting networks of power.’ (Ibid.: 1; emphasis added) 20

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There are four sources of social power: economic, ideological, political and military. The originality of his study, according to Perry Anderson (1986: 1405), lies in his comprehensive concern with . . . the exact infrastructures of each kind of power, that is, the details of their organizational techniques. The logistics of military mobility; the extent and quality of literacy; the technology of farming and the transport capacities of trade . . . are the typical of the areas where Mann transforms our understanding of what the historical possibilities and realities of power have been, and how they have changed over millennia. His account of the rise of civilization and state and nature and import of ‘empires of dominance’ reveals his view of history as more or less episodic, not evolutionary. He has shown how increasing military expenses led the state to extend its control on society to secure finance, which eventually gave rise to nationalism on the one hand, and paved the way for classes to struggle for political representation on the other (Collins 1999: 9). The mobilization of classes both in the political and cultural contexts and that of nationalist movements has been explained by the dynamics of military organization of the state. However, according to Perry Anderson (1986: 1406) what is new in Mann’s explanation is the role he ascribes to the third source of power – ideology. The surprise hero of the tale is the Catholic Church . . . without sermons no peace and no trade . . . Mann points out, this is not a Weberian view insofar as it does not appeal to any particular relation between doctrine and labour or nature; it simply . . . entrusts to theology the virtues of sociality as such. Charles Tilly’s Coercion, Capital and European States, A.D. 990–1900 (1990) is another important work of macro-historical sociology dealing with the military-centred approach of state development. There are also some other studies that are widely 21

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acknowledged by intellectuals as of classic value. For example, Jack Goody (1983) straddled the centuries in the course of examining the development of family and marriage in Europe. George Duby (1983: 1107) contends in this connection that ethnologists, contrary to the premises of Levi-Strauss, came to view the structures of even primitive societies as having been subjected to the pressure of changing times; Jack Goody, for instance, made a deep probe into the transformation of a sect into a church in the fourth century, and described how it developed a set of rules (without drawing on Roman Law and Old and New Testaments), opposed to the then-prevailing indigenous system of such practices as adoption, polygyny, divorce, concubinage and endogamy, in order to consolidate the new community based on church membership and increase the capital of church. Eric Wolf in his well-known book, Europe and the People without History (1983), chose the theme of the mode of production for explaining the dynamics of society since ad 1400. He identified capitalist, tributary and kin-ordered modes, which are not evolutionary and unilineal; rather, they refer to the varying modes of social mobilization, allocation of labour and its deployment. Hobsbawm (1983: 1181) contends in this context that The major merit of Wolf’s work does not lie in his ability critically to synthesize the literature about the world since 1400 . . . It lies in the attempt to provide a way of grasping the strategic features of, . . . variability in the . . . different social systems and cultural understandings, . . . his main interest lies not in causal connections but in variability and combination. Besides such issues as manners and etiquettes, family and marriage, world system and revolution (discussed before), the history of ideas in Western Europe over the last 400 years was dealt with by the renowned intellectual of the late twentieth century, Michel Foucault. He took account of the pre-classical era, renaissance (upto the middle of the seventeenth century), classical period (upto the end of the eighteenth century) and the modern age on the basis of ‘enigmatic discontinuities’ between their corresponding epistemes. His notion 22

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of episteme may be supposed to be a ‘paradigm . . . a basement . . . of thought, mental infrastructure underlying all strands of the knowledge (on man), that amounts to an historical a priori . . . historical a prioris are not only incompatible but incommensurable’ (Merquior 1985: 38). In this context, one may also cite Ernest Gellner’s book, Plough, Sword and Book: The Structure of Human History (1988), as an important contribution to macro-historical sociology. He analysed the transition from the plural, multi-purpose, pre-agrarian world to a more homogenous one. Eugen Weber (1988: 1191), however, comments that ‘chock-full of wit and argumentative passion, it (the book) testifies to the zest and stimulation to be derived from contemplating what once might have been.’ In this context of macro-historical sociology, Bourdieu’s insight is, indeed, very meaningful. In answer to a question: ‘where do you locate yourself . . . to historical studies’, he (1990: 41–41) spoke: In social science . . . long-term history is . . . privileged . . . Among sociologists, this fact frequently gives rise to general consideration on bureaucratization . . . modernization and so on, which bring a great number of social benefits to their authors, but few scientific benefits . . . a full and complete sociology should clearly include history of the structures that are the product at a given moment of the whole historical process . . . It is necessary to write a structural history which finds in each state of the structure both the product of previous struggles to transform or conserve the structure, and, through the contradictions, tensions and power relations that constitute that structure, the source of its subsequent transformations. (emphasis added) Macro-historical sociology, thus, came to be a major field of study in Western sociology. It may be mentioned here that as a result of its growing influence, studies in the areas of history of climates, labour history, economic history, history of mentalities and others also began to be pursued (Burke 1993: 148). The contents of most of the works of this field have been widely acknowledged to be of 23

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high intellectual value. Sociology considered to be ‘whiz-kid subject . . . largely empty of intellectual content’ a few decades before (Gidden 1981: 215; mentioned before), it seems, gradually became intellectually quite vigorous and promising in the course of the development of (macro) historical sociology. The third wave of historical sociology is supposed to be emerging since the 1990s departing radically from the standpoints of the earlier second wave (Tilly 2007: 303). The focus of attention is, now, more on culture, consciousness and interpretation. Julia Adams, Elisabeth S. Clemens and Ann Shola Orloff (2005: 505) contend in this context that both actors and the relationships among them are understood as profoundly constituted by culture and historical conjuncture, instead of being mere reflections of some underlying system of economic relations. It is urged that ‘the ordinary and taken for granted’ should be considered significant; ‘the overlooked’, ‘the discouraged’ and ‘the prohibited’ should be granted space in historical sociology (Wong 2008: 7–8). Notwithstanding its varying focus (from first to third wave), historical sociology, it seems, has carved out a viable and vibrant space for it as an important branch of sociology. By the end of the 1970s, the number of sociologists engaged seriously in historico-sociological researches was about 300 to 400 (Tilly 1980: 58). The Journal of Historical Sociology that had begun to be published from 1988, soon, had practically worldwide circulation by 2008. It is available in more than 2,500 libraries. Historical sociology is one of the few subareas that was included in the rankings of sociology graduate programmes by the U.S. News and World Report (Steinmetz 2007: 4). The notion of what is history began to change in the Western intellectual tradition since the eighteenth century. The course of change in the meaning and scope of history from the points of view of the present, perhaps, led to the development of a sort of theoretical position upholding the value of history and sociology for each other. Subsequently, this theoretical notion visibly influenced the course of research and studies in history as well as sociology. Historical sociology, thus, seems to have developed as an important field of study for obtaining knowledge of the totality of social reality. 24

Part II HISTORY AND THE TRADITION OF INDIAN SOCIOLOGY In India, sociology as a discipline of teaching and research began first in Bombay University in the second decade of the last century. However, it is claimed that in the University of Calcutta, sociology had begun to be taught as a part of political economy and political philosophy from 1908 (Dutt Gupta 1972: 207–209). In any case, sociology had virtually no space in the academia of this country until the end of the nineteenth century. It may be pointed out here that most of the subjects of teaching and research on the curricula of the universities at that time, such as economics, political economy, political philosophy and philosophy, were not entirely new to the Indian intellectual tradition. The subjects such as Rajanitishastra, Arthashastra, Vyakarana, Sahitya and Darshanshastra, had been flourishing in India since long as conspicuous fields of intellectual pursuit, though, their course contents must have become different in the universities established in the nineteenth century. But, so far as sociology is concerned, no indigenous discipline equivalent to it had existed before. Lokavidya (knowledge of worldly affairs) has been discussed in an important fifteenth-century work on ‘man’ (purush), but, the account of its prevalence in any period of Indian history is yet to be found out (Jha 2002: 53–54). So, one may contend safely that before sociology entered the academic world in India, there was no tradition of learning equivalent to ‘sociology’

H istory and the tradition of I ndian sociology

here. However, Ramkrishna Mukherjee (1977: 23–29) in the course of analysing historically the stages of the growth of sociology in India contends that the studies and observations of different aspects of Indian society by the British administrators/intellectuals in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, that is, the works of pre- or proto-sociological phase, drew the attention of scholars of different disciplines to become receptive to sociology in early twentieth century and who, thus, became ‘pioneers’ of Indian sociology. Bernard Cohn (2004c: 148–153) also writes that the empirical knowledge of the structure and functioning of Indian society began to grow quite visibly in the colonial era. The accumulation of such ‘sociological’ knowledge by the end of the nineteenth century, it seems, had noticeable impact on the minds of Indian intellectuals, some of whom, according to Mukherjee, became ‘pioneers’ of this discipline in the Indian academic sector before independence. Here, however, it seems necessary to first discuss at least briefly the nature of knowledge of Indian society and history that was generated in the ‘exploratory’ or proto-sociological phase, which influenced the pioneers one way or the other. The proto-sociological literature is discussed in two sections: first section, A, covers the works of the first phase (up to about the mid-nineteenth century), and the second section, B, deals with that of the later period of colonial era.

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2 EARLY COLONIAL PERIOD

Soon after the establishment of British suzerainty in the late eighteenth century, the need of gathering knowledge of Indian society and culture was realized by colonial authorities. Warren Hastings, in 1785, who was governor-general at that time, wrote to the president of the Court of Directors of the East India Company that ‘Every accumulation of knowledge, and especially such as is obtained by social communication with people over whom we exercise a dominion . . . is useful to the state’ (Chaudhuri 2003: 107). Hastings was instrumental in initiating and encouraging the efforts for bringing to light the different aspects of life of people (Hauser 1996: A-3). He, it seems, realized the need of exploring and conquering what Bernard Cohn later called ‘epistemological space’ of India. This project, it seems, began since the last quarter of the eighteenth century. The first survey of a large area (of the present states of Bihar and Jharkhand) inhabited by Bhuiyas–Paharias, who had rebelled against the British in the early 1770s, was conducted by Major James Browne at the instance of Warren Hastings. Browne not only tackled the grievances of tribals successfully but also made an intensive inquiry into their understanding of their own history and institutions. His report, India Tracts (1788; Sinha 1996), remained practically ignored by the historians, sociologists and anthropologists for more than last two centuries. It seems, therefore, necessary to present at least a brief account of it in order to indicate its significance for the historical sociology/anthropology of India. 27

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India Tracts (Sinha 1996) contains five sections. In the end, there is a supplementary account of the hills and the indigenous administrative system of ‘hill people’. In the first section, the geographical situations of the different parganas including ghatwalis (small zamindaris, more than 130 in number) of the jungle terray District that covered a large area of the present states of Bihar and Jharkhand are described. Besides, the state of agricultural conditions and the network of road communication between the villages have also been dealt with. In the second section, the gross revenues of the parganas in the year 1777 are given. The third section includes details of the items that were produced and that were exported and imported through trade. This section also throws light on the problems of transportation and the exploitation of Bhuiyas by traders. In the fourth section, the details of important and relatively large ghatwalis (zamindaris) along with that of their interrelationship have been narrated. The information in this context, it seems, was collected from a large number of persons. The cause of rebellion and how James Browne managed to win the confidence of Bhuiyas are also discussed. Regarding this tribe, Browne wrote: Almost all the Gautwalls of the jungle terry, and a great many of the inhabitants, are of a tribe called Bhuiyahs, they are looked upon as but a low caste by the Hindoos of any rank and knowledge, though the chiefs do not scruple to wear the zinnar; from this similarity of caste, all chiefs throughout the country were connected by marriage, and from this connection, a general union of counsels and arms takes place on all apprehensions from government, or from any foreign enemy. (Ibid.: B-21; emphasis added) The ‘zinnar’ was janeyu (sacred thread of the upper Hindu varnas). The practice of wearing it prevailed among chiefs apparently as a symbol of their common objective of maintaining or institutionalizing their unity for defending their territory together against any external force. One may consider it as an instance of their sanskritization. Browne, however, took note of its strategic value for 28

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their survival and dominance among their tribesmen. Brahmanic influence was also observed by Browne, but, his observation makes it clear that the main objective of the Bhuiyas was to protect and promote their own social existence. Browne’s report, first published in 1788 (Logographic Press, Printing House Square, Black Friars), contains quite significant material for historical sociology/anthropology of India. Details of technology, channels of internal and external trade, internal administrative practices and others held the focus of his attention. Another important work in this context is an empirical study of agrarian situation and internal commerce conducted by Henry Thomas Colebrooke in some of the districts of Bengal and Bihar during the early 1790s. It was first printed in 1794 (for private circulation), and then in 1804, it was published in London and Calcutta simultaneously. The book entitled Remarks on the Husbandry and Internal Commerce in Bengal was again brought out in 1884 by R. Knight, editor of Statesman in Calcutta at that time (Sinha 2007: XV). Colebrooke, who later became famous as a great indologist, began his career in the service of the East India Company as assistant collector of Tirhut (Bihar) in 1786, and in 1789, he was transferred to Purnia. During his tenure in Purnia, he conducted his field investigation. R. Knight (Ibid.: e–f) writes: The value of the present treatise is unique. It contains, so far as we know, the sole picture we possess of what Bengal and its Agriculture actually were at the time of the Settlement (1793) . . . in the words of Max Muller, he (Colebrooke) never allows one word to escape his pen for which he has not his ‘authority’. Ramkrishna Mukherjee (1977: 22) also took note of his survey. According to Bernard Cohn (2004b: 150–151) Colebrooke recorded that ‘daily observation shows even Brahmans exercising the menial profession of a Sudra . . . Every profession, with few 29

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exceptions, is open to every description of persons; and the discouragement, arising from religious prejudices, is not greater than what exists in Great Britain from the effects of Municipal and corporation laws. Colebrooke further wrote that we must appeal to the experience of every gentleman, who may have resided in the provinces of Bengal, whether Brahmans are not employed in the most servile offices and whether the Sudra is not seen elevated to situations of respectability and importance. (Sinha 2007: 128) It seems that people hardly adhered to the norms of dharmashastras in this context (of correlation between caste/varna and occupation). The difference between book view and field view is thus glaring. Colebrooke’s survey includes information regarding physical, geographical and climatic conditions (of the different parts of Bengal) and the description of the cultivation of cotton, sugarcane, indigo, opium and so on. Besides, he also recorded the prices of different commodities, demographic details, wages of agricultural and non-agricultural labour and so on. Bernard Cohn (2004b: 149–150) refers to a two-volume work, Indian Recreations: Consisting Chiefly of Strictures on the Domestic and Rural Economy of the Mahomedans and Hindoos, by William Tennant, first published in 1804, containing the description of a village near Banaras. The description includes information regarding the crops cultivated, the method of cultivation, occupations and wages of labourers. Before the end of the eighteenth century, the company also invited eminent artists from England to come and make drawings and paintings of urban streets, different rural sites and historical monuments. William Hodges, a great artist, came to Bengal in 1779, visited different places and prepared the book, Selected Views in India, including forty-four paintings, which was brought out in 1788. Hodges was followed by Thomas and William Daniell in 1786. Daniells’ works were published later in 1832 and 1835. 30

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Besides painting the scenes of social life and historical monuments, they recorded in their books their observations on agricultural conditions, cultural practices, travelling groups, road network, bazaar situations and others (Gopal and Jha 2008: 13–60). Soon after the end of the eighteenth century, some of the districts of Bengal were surveyed by Francis Buchanan. The reports of these surveys are supposed to be of monumental value for historical sociology/anthropology of the country. Here, it is not possible to discuss them in detail. However, the significance of the objectives (of his survey) and the method as well as the contents of his observations is described in brief. Buchanan, at the instance of Lord Wellesley, the then governor-general, had surveyed Mysore and the territories acquired after the Fourth Mysore War. He obtained information regarding technology, historic sites and plants and collected ethnographic accounts of various castes, their subdivisions and their occupations by interviewing a number of people (Cohn 2004b: 152). His report entitled A Journey from Madras through the Countries of Mysore, Canara and Malabar (London, Cadell and Davies) was published in three volumes in 1807. However, his survey of the districts under the presidency of Bengal is considered to be of great value (Ibid.). In 1807, the directors of the East India Company recommended that a statistical survey of Bengal should be carried out by Dr. Francis Buchanan, and, then, following the directions from the Governor-General in Council (issued on the 11th September 1807), he was appointed to the work (Banerji-Shastri 1939: 1). He began the survey of the district of Purnia and completed it during 1809–10. The survey of Bhagalpur district was done during 1810–11 and that of Patna-Gaya in 1811–12 and finally the district of Shahabad was covered during 1812–13. Besides these, he also maintained diaries (entitled journals) of his fieldwork and recorded the details of how he travelled from village to village, how he collected information from the persons he thought reliable and how he made observation of the sites of historical and geographical/botanical/geological value. In the report of each district, one finds minute details regarding (1) ‘Topography and Antiquities (along with historical notes), (2) People (population, condition 31

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and manners of living, education, religion and sects), (3) Natural Productions, (4) Agriculture (implements, manures, floods and embankments, domestic animals, fences, farms and estates), and (5) The state of Arts and Commerce’ (Banerji 1939: 1). The reports (Purnea Report, 1809–10; Bhagalpur Report, 1810–11; Bihar and Patna Report, 1811–12; and Shahabad Report, 1812–13), excluding his journals, contain altogether not less than 7 lakh words, all based on first-hand field observation. It may be mentioned here that quite a number of renowned intellectuals such as R. C. Dutt (1956), a great nationalist of early twentieth century, A. K. Bagchi (1976), Irfan Habib (1985), and many others found Buchanan’s reports quite a valuable contribution to the knowledge of Indian society in the beginning of colonial rule. Morika Vicziany (1986: 652, 660), however, suggests that though the information regarding local socio-cultural life, conditions, institutions and practices is quite abundant and significant, the quantitative parts (tables) included in his reports should be treated with caution. One may question the reliability of quantitative information contained in the reports, but, none can hopefully fail to appreciate the method of gathering qualitative as well as quantitative information adopted by Buchanan about 200 years before. C.E.A.W. Oldham, who was first to edit and bring to light his Shahabad journal more than a century after he had submitted the manuscript, wrote the following in this context (1926: XI): Later writers on ethnography have at times questioned the value of Buchanan’s notes on this subject. While he sometimes suggests a conclusion of his own from the evidence gathered, he generally contents himself with recording the information given to him. The great value of his work in this connection rests, however, not on his own views (which he never expresses dogmatically), but on the fact that he faithfully recorded the statements made by the people themselves. . . . one of his chief claims to our gratitude is the scrupulous care with which he noted down traditions of the illiterate country folk and of the so-called aboriginal 32

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races, . . . he devoted considerable time in the remoter parts and among the hills to questioning the people.’ (emphasis added) Buchanan, it seems, considered it more important to gather field views of the life lived by people. For example, regarding the categories of people he (1934: 152) observed the following in 1812–13: ‘By the natives . . . the people are divided into four classes: Ashraf or gentry; Panget Pauniyas or Karigar, that is, artificers; Beniya Bekalis or Dokandars, that is, traders; and Karindagar or Labourers.’ It is quite significant to note that the classification (of people) that prevailed in the society at that time was chiefly based on occupation and not on caste. Caste as such, it seems, was hardly of any consequence for the identification of one’s social status by the people, and, at the same time, it had hardly any dharmashastriya association with occupation. Buchanan observed in this context during 1811–12 (n.d.: 267) that ‘Domestic servants are of all classes, and even pure Brahmans are . . . employed as such by persons of low birth.’ This corroborates Colebrooke’s finding in this context (described before). Besides, he found overwhelming number of people of non–upper caste groups following the cults such as Kabir Pantha, Nanakashahi, Dasnamis, Aghor Pantha and Sheonarayani, which were (and are) against the varna/caste order. The local village level sacred order was very much popular and the priests of village gods were only Dosadhs (one of the present-day scheduled castes) and Ahirs (one of the other backward castes). Buchanan observed in 1812–13 (1934: 77) that ‘The Brahmans will not acknowledge the authority of these deities, but send offerings by the hands of Goyalas (Ahirs) or other low persons’. About another caste, Kurmi (of Shahabad), of the present category of other backward castes, he (Ibid.: 198) wrote in 1812–13 that ‘200 families . . . can read and write and 50 of them do not cultivate with their own hands, being descended of persons who with the title of Chaudhari managed the division into which the immense barony (pergunat) of Chayanpur was divided.’ Kurmis, Yadavas and Dosadhs were found occupying high administrative positions in the zamindari of Sahebezada Singh 33

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whose son Babu Kuer Singh later took lead in the freedom struggle of 1857. In his Preface to Asian Drama: An Inquiry into the Poverty of Nations, Gunnar Myrdal (1968: VII) wrote ‘Habent Sua Fata Libelli – books have their own destiny, even while they are being written and before they are published.’ Destiny was, perhaps, not very kind to the works of Buchanan, which, completed before the end of the second decade of the nineteenth century, had to wait for their publication for more than a century. So, this vast store of knowledge virtually remained sealed to Indian sociologists and anthropologists for a long time. A summarized version entitled The History, Antiquities, Topography and Statistics of Eastern India, in three volumes, edited by Robert Montgomery Martin had been published in 1838. Martin’s volumes cover parts of northern Bengal, southern Assam, districts of Dinajpur and Rangpur, southern Bihar and the district of Gorakhpur (Cohn 2004b: 152–153). However, the remarks of C.E.A.W. Oldham (who edited Buchanan’s Shahabad Journal in 1926) in this context deserve to be mentioned here. He (1926: III–IV) wrote: The wholly unmerited oblivion into which Buchanan’s valuable researches passed for so many years was largely due to . . . the neglect of the East India Company to have the result of his labours published in complete form . . . It was not till nine years after his death (in 1829) that the three volumes of what has all along been known as ‘Martin’s Eastern India’ were published by Mr. Robert Montgomery Martin . . . It is astonishing that the officials of the India House should have permitted these volumes to be printed without Buchanan Hamilton’s name appearing anywhere on the title page. It is hardly necessary to discuss the question whether Martin omitted matter of material value. He obviously had neither the experience of the country, nor the knowledge of the subjects dealt with . . . I can only say that when I first studied portions of the original manuscripts at the India Office in 1903, I was amazed at the facts 34

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disclosed, and impressed with . . . the portions . . . which had been ‘scored through’ by Martin. (emphasis added) Oldham’s observation points out in clear terms that Buchanan’s works remained neglected for a long time. Why such documents (as India Tracts, Buchanan’s reports and Adam’s reports), were shelved by the authorities (of the East India company government)? This may be an important question of historical sociology of India, which, if dealt with deeply, can throw much light on the issue of political control over the production and consumption of knowledge, that is, relationship between power and knowledge in historical perspective in India. The colonial authorities in the beginning were concerned chiefly with landholding and land revenue collection, and, therefore, village became quite an important object of observation and study. Thomas Munro, Mark Wilks, Charles Metcalfe and others, all took account of the significance of village community quite elaborately (Dirks 2002: 28–29). Since their works are generally supposed to be well known to historians and sociologists, it is not necessary to discuss them in detail here. However, it may be mentioned in this context that though most of such accounts of village life had been prepared for catering implicitly or explicitly to the interest of colonial power, they convey at least the notion of the existence of village solidarity and community until at least the first few decades of the nineteenth century (Jha 2006: 2–5). In the early nineteenth century, besides the works of Buchanan and others (described before), the Reports on the State of Education in Bengal (1835 and 1838) were prepared by William Adam, which contain quite valuable material for the historical sociology/anthropology of India. Adam obtained the sanction of William Bentinck in 1835 for conducting intensive survey of the state of education in Bengal and Bihar districts. Anathnath Basu, editor of Adam’s reports, published in 1941, wrote (1941b: XXXIV): For nearly three years he was engaged on this work. He traveled through the hamlets and villages in the districts 35

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of Bengal (and Bihar), mixed with the high and the low, came in close contact with the people and saw the actual condition of things . . . Macaulay, as the President of the General Committee, to whom Adam Officially submitted his Reports did not fail to appreciate his work. In 1868, Adam’s Three Reports on Vernacular Education in Bengal and Bihar, edited by J. Long, was published by the Home Secretariat Press, Calcutta. But, several important sections of the original reports had been left out in Long’s edition. So, Anathnath Basu decided to edit the entire work and bring it to light in 1941 (Basu 1941c: X). A few notable observations of Adam regarding village and village schools are mentioned here. The total number of villages in Bengal and Bihar was estimated to be about 150,748 during the 1830s and Adam reported that in each of about 100,000 (1 lakh) villages, there was a village school (Basu 1941a: 7). It may be mentioned here that village schools flourished not only in Bihar and Bengal, but also in other parts of India. Rev. F. E. Keay (1918: 107) wrote on the basis of evidence furnished by British Indian records that there was, . . . before the British Government took over the control of education in India, a widespread, popular, indigenous system. It was not confined to one or two provinces, but was found in various parts of India, though some districts were more advanced than others. In the inquiry made for the Madras Presidency in 1822–26, it was calculated that rather less than one-sixth of the boys of school-going age received education . . . in the similar inquiry made for the Bombay Presidency (1823–28), the number of boys under instruction was put down to about one in eight. In such schools of Bengal and Bihar, Adam found the village boys being taught agricultural accounts, commercial accounts and some books of local vernacular literature (Basu 1941a: 245). In all the districts (e.g. Midnapore, Burdwan, Birbhum, Patna and Tirhut), 36

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the teachers were paid remuneration in both cash and kind by the villagers who also used to arrange for the space and infrastructure required for running the school. Adam categorically wrote: ‘indigenous elementary schools . . . are those . . . in which instruction in the element of knowledge is communicated, and which have been originated and are supported by the natives themselves, in contradiction from those that are supported by the religious or philanthropic societies’ (Ibid.: 6, 227–246). Another important feature of this mass scale education was that it was ‘most secularized’ (Hagen 1981: 259). Adam recorded the caste and religion of almost each teacher and each student of the schools he covered intensively. For example, in the district of ‘South Bihar’ in Bihar, there were Muslim as well as Hindu teachers of Kayastha, Magadha, Gandhabanik, Teli, Koiri and Sonar caste groups. There were 2,918 Hindu students and 172 Muslim students. The Hindu students were drawn from forty-eight caste groups including those of Dosadh, Pasi, Musahar, Dhobi, Tanti, Kalwar, Beldar, Goala, Napit, Kahar, Kurmi and Brahman (Basu 1941a: 243–245). Adam (Basu 1941c: IX) categorically observed that, ‘the Musalman teacher . . . has Hindus of good caste among his scholars and this is equally true of the Chandal and other low caste teachers enumerated’ (emphasis added). He, further, wrote (Basu 1941a: 251) that the students of different religions and different upper, intermediate and lower (Dalit) caste groups ‘assemble in the same school-house, receive the same instructions from the same teacher, and join in the same plays and pastimes’. A popular notion that India did not have any secular education before British rule, it seems, requires a radical revision in the light of the reports of William Adam and others (who made inquiries in other parts of the country at that time, mentioned before). These reports are quite valuable from the points of view of Indian historical sociology/anthropology and their analysis can hopefully help in discerning the factors conducive to the development of mass education in the vast rural world of the country today. The surveys conducted by James Browne, Colebrooke, Buchanan, Adam and others before the 1840s, it seems, reveal more or less a common ethos of inquiry. Comprehensive exploration of 37

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socio-cultural dynamics of life of the people by taking account of their (people’s) own understanding of their customs, beliefs, rites and practices seems to be quite a remarkable and unique feature of their endeavours. Research in historical linguistics initiated by Sir William Jones, H. T. Colebrooke, Charles Wilkins and other Sanskritists in the second half of the eighteenth century was further continued by the Western scholars. In the early nineteenth century, a consensus view was advanced by them that ‘several of the world’s major language groups and, by extension, the people who spoke them were distantly related’ (Bayly 1997: 4). This consensus implied a relationship more of historical brotherhood than that of mere colonial domination. However, this cultural project seems to have failed to generate any political appeal. Instead, promoting ‘cultural technologies of rule’ for sustaining and strengthening colonialism held the focus of the policy of the British authorities (Dirks 2004: IV). Conquering the epistemological space appeared to be a necessary part of political conquest. But, according to Bernard Cohn (2004c: 53), ‘The facts of this space did not exactly correspond to those of the invaders. Nevertheless, the British believed that they could explore and conquer this space through translation’ (emphasis added). However, acquisition of knowledge through translation could not prove to be a smooth process. Cohn discusses this problem quite insightfully (Ibid.: 18–19): Meaning for the English was something attributed to a word, a phrase, or an object, which could be determined and translated, at best with a synonym . . . Everything had a more or less specific referent for the English. With the Indians, meaning was not necessarily construed in the same fashion. The effect and affect of hearing a Brahman chant in Sanskrit at a sacrifice did not entail meaning in the European sense; it was to have one’s substance literally affected by the sound. When a Mughal ruler issued a farman . . . it was more than an order . . . These were more than messages or, as the British construed them, a contract or right. 38

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Rather, they were a sharing in the authority and substance of the originator. (emphasis added) Famous historian Sayyid Ghulam Husain Khan Tabatabai who wrote The Seir Mutaqherin (View of Modern Times), a four-volume history in Persian in the 1780s and translated into English in 1789, had also observed the British mode of acquiring information/knowledge as culturally different (Yang 1998: 53–54). Consequently, perhaps, the processes of what Homi K. Bhabha calls ‘misrule of translation’ continued unabated (1997: 14). The lower class people remained culturally untranslated and legally unrepresented. Cohn (2004c: 31) cites the hypothetical case of Dom (belonging to one of the lowest caste groups) in this context. However, following the British policy, the laws for the Hindus and Muslims were codified on the basis of their sacred books. Ramkrishna Mukherjee (1957: 82–83) writes in this context that ‘Selected Brahmin pandits from different parts of the Subah of Bengal were brought to Calcutta where they were employed for two years in order to prepare a compendium of Hindu Law in Sanskrit on the basic orthodox religious works starting with Manusmriti. The manuscript was then translated into Persian and from Persian into English by N.B. Halhead . . .’ Likewise Hastings employed ‘learned professors of the Mahomedan law for translating from the Arabic into Persian tongue, a compendium . . . called Hedaya’. For translation, thus, the texts of Sanatani/Vedic order were accorded primacy whereas those of other constituents of Hindu world such as the sects of Lokayata, Vaishnava, Shakta, Shaiva and other cults were ignored. Consequently, religious orthodoxy began to gain upper hand in society (Ibid.: 82). It is difficult to say how far the cultural difference between the use of English and that of Sanskrit/ Arabic/Persian, mentioned (above) by Bernard Cohn, was taken into account in the said project of translation for codifying the laws for Hindus and Muslims. However, the possibility of ‘misrule of translation’ affecting this project cannot be ruled out. Further, one may also suppose that it was due to the ethos of such ‘misrule’ that Brahmanic texts came to acquire the status of being the authentic 39

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sources of knowledge of Indian (particularly Hindu) traditions and society in the eyes of colonial authorities (Dirks 2004: X). The book view was, thus, given primacy for acquiring historical knowledge. Dirks (2002: 14) asserts quite reasonably in this context that Manusmriti took on unprecedented status as an ‘applied’ legal document only under early British . . . the canonic importance of this text for understanding the foundational nature of Indian society was an even more significant break with the past; it encapsulated British attempts to codify not just law but also social relations in a single, orthodox ‘Hindu’ – and therefore necessarily ‘Brahmanic’ – register. From Jones and Mill to Dumont and Marriott, Manu has taken on a general anthropological significance it could never have had before.’ Thus, a narrow view of Hinduism as mere ‘Brahmanism’ emerged by the mid-nineteenth century. The vast and liberal world of Hindus of diverse (Sanatani and non-Sanatani) sects, cults and traditions constituting what Amartya Sen calls ‘Hindu Spectrum’ (2005: 46), remained ignored in this context. The role of Missionaries also deserves to be discussed here, at least briefly. Dirks (2002: 21–24) contends that Missionaries contributed much to early colonial ethnography, though they remained primarily concerned with conversion. The first extensive and most influential work, Description of the Character, Manners, and Customs of the people of India, and Their Institutions, Religious and Civil of Abbe Dubois came out in English in 1816, which contained elaborate description of the caste system, customs and manners of Hindus. Dubois held caste, and particularly Brahmans, as the chief impediment to conversion. This observation became almost a convention among the later Christian Missionaries (Ibid.: 38). In the Madras Missionary Conference of 1850, it was resolved that ‘caste is one of the greatest obstacles to the progress of the Gospel in India’ (Forrester 1980: 42). Subsequently, reflections on 40

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the causes of 1857 struggle for independence led to the recognition of caste by officials as the ‘foundational fact of Indian society, fundamental . . . to Hinduism’ (Dirks, 2002: 41). And, simultaneously, caste system was characterized by both Evangelicals and Utilitarians (such as Charles Grant and James Mill, respectively) as being ‘under the exclusive domination of Brahmans’ (Ibid.: 35). The notion of ‘brahmanism’ denoting Hinduism as such was under the circumstances considerably reinforced. Thus, during the early colonial period, fairly elaborate and down-to-earth accounts of people, cultures, traditions and living conditions were prepared by Browne, Colebrooke, Buchanan and others, which are very valuable from the points of view of historical sociology/anthropology. Their observations indicate in clear terms that caste identity was not considered relevant to the pursuit of secular activities; the textual (shastriya) correlation between caste and occupation had virtually no space in social reality that was prevailing; and the socio-economic categories of people were virtually free from caste/varna consideration. But, later, the mode of inquiry, it seems, was radically changed. The book-view accounts (drawn on the translated versions of normative texts of ancient period) now began to be held generally as the sole authentic source of knowledge of the culture and society of India of modern times. The colonial authorities since the beginning of the second half of the nineteenth century began their project of generating as well as patronizing the knowledge of Indian (Hindu) social reality in terms of caste and Brahmanism (discussed in Chapter 3). However, it may be mentioned here that George A. Grierson(1927, 2005: 193) opposed the practice of all those who ‘busied themselves with the tongues and thoughts of ancient India, and . . . too often presented them as illustrating the India of modern times’. For understanding India of today, he insisted on acquiring the knowledge of the vernaculars prevailing among people at the grass-roots level.

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The anthropological notion of ‘race’ prevailing in the nineteenth century, it seems, came into use for recognizing caste/tribe in this country. C.A. Bayly (1997: 4) contends in this context that ‘race science’ became a ‘more insistent theme in India after 1840’ (that proved to be handy for instituting acts regarding ‘Criminal Tribes’ by the 1870s in order to procure supplies of cheap labour). Important British authorities such as W. W. Hunter and H. H. Risley held ‘race’ to be in fact ‘caste’ (Bayly 1995: 228). Consideration of caste as equivalent to race, it seems, paved the way for anthropology to be the ‘principal colonial modality of knowledge and rule’ after 1857, and from 1870, it became the primary object of social classification and understanding (Dirks 2002: 45). It increasingly became the focus of anthropological inquiry (MacLean 1892: 29). Reverend M. A. Sherring used textual as well as empirical information for preparing his work, Hindu Tribes and Castes in three volumes, published in 1872. He observed that ‘Caste explains the total religiosity of the Hindu . . . , caste has made the Hindu servile’ and, for this it is the ‘wily Brahman’, being ‘arrogant and proud’, ‘selfish’, ‘tyrannical’, who is at fault; caste is the product of ‘Brahmanism’ (Dirks 2002: 47). Ethnological accounts focusing on caste began to be prepared and published. For example, Descriptive Ethnology of Bengal by E. T. Dalton came out in 1872. H. H. Risley’s The Tribes and Castes of Bengal was published in 1891, and, in 1896, Tribes and Castes of the North-Western Provinces 42

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and Oudh (in four volumes) prepared by W. Crooke was brought out. However, ‘The spirit of caste’, Dirks (Ibid.: 48) asserts, ‘attained its apotheosis with the census’, which began to be conducted from 1872. Commitment of the British authorities to the ethos of ‘race science’ as the appropriate ‘modality of knowledge’ of Indian society, it seems, deeply affected the mind-set of natives one way or the other. According to O’Malley (1913: 440), people came to perceive the aim of census operation as to fix ‘the relative status of different castes and to deal with the questions of social superiority’. He (Ibid.) further reported that ‘No part of the Census aroused so much excitement as the return of caste . . . Hundreds of petitions were received from different castes – their weight alone amounts to one and a half maunds – requesting that they might be known by new names, be placed higher in the order of precedence, be recognized as kshatriyas.’ As a consequence of census operations, it seems, rise of caste consciousness became quite visible (Bandyopadhyay 1992: 31). Caste sabhas (associations) began to be organized by different caste groups since 1887 for formulating and promoting their respective caste interests (Jha 1977: 14–17). One of such interests was, as O’Malley pointed out (mentioned above), to get one’s caste status officially upgraded and recognized as closer to that of Brahmans. So, the status of a caste came to depend upon the official recognition of its distance from the topmost position of Brahmans. It, thus, seems that Brahmanism was being considerably reinforced. Dirks (2002: 49) categorically asserts in this context that the decennial census ‘played the most important institutional role . . . in installing caste as the fundamental unit of India’s social structure’, and, simultaneously, ethnographic surveys ‘announced the pre-eminence of caste for colonial sociology’. Bernard Cohn (2004d: 241–242) writes that ‘Most of the basic treatises on the Indian caste system written during the period 1880 to 1950 were written by men who had important positions either as census commissioners for all of India or for a province. Among them were A. Baines, E.A.H. Blunt . . . J. H. Hutton, D. Ibbetson . . . L.S.S. O’Malley, H.H. Risley’, and, further, 43

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It would not be an exaggeration to say that down until 1950 scholars’ and scientists’ views on the nature, structure and functioning of the Indian caste system were shaped mainly by the data and conceptions growing out of the census operations. The census data were used for preparing district gazetteers and studies on tribes and castes. Besides, in order to comprehend social reality, caste was thought as the appropriate basis of social stratification. For example, W. C. Plowden prepared five categories: ‘Brahmans, Rajputs, Castes of Good Social Position, Inferior Castes and Non-Hindus or Aboriginal castes’; J.A. Bourdillon proposed ‘a category of intermediary castes’ below the ‘Rajputs’ (Ibid.: 245). However, according to Bernard Cohn (2004b: 155), ‘The most famous classification is H.H. Risley’s, in which he reduced the 2000-odd castes, which the census had found in India, to seven types: tribal, functional and sectarian; castes formed by crossing; national castes; castes formed by migration; and castes formed by changing customs’. It may be pointed out here that all such kinds of classification radically differ from what Buchanan had observed in early nineteenth century. The categories mentioned by Buchanan were based on people’s own understanding of their classes (described earlier), but, those prepared by Risley or Plowden in this context were, rather, their constructs without incorporating people’s version. Besides, the ‘official’ ethnographers did not consider historical perspective relevant to the understanding of a caste; instead, they generally dealt with the origin of a caste in the light of broad functional arrangements. For example, Nesfield regarded caste as having its origin in the division of labour . . . H.H. Risley argued for a racial origin of caste. Ibbetson saw the major impetus to the formation of caste in ‘tribal origins’. Crooke and others came out for more eclectic theories of origin. (Ibid.) Bernard Cohn (Ibid.: 156) further observes that the reports and accounts generally prepared by the ethnographers and census officials 44

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reflected anthropological interests and theories of the period 1870–1910 . . . The data and their organization implicitly reflect the works of Morgan . . . Taylor . . . Frazer . . . The compilers of the handbooks and gazetteers, the records of the proverbs, myths, and practices . . . were contributing . . . to the eventual solution of general anthropological problems. Evolutionary approach was, thus, the leading influence on ethnographic studies and census operations in India, which, of course, implied Western or colonizers’ civilizational superiority. However, such efforts also brought to the notice of scholars a vast mass of information regarding the enormous diversity of castes, customs, manners, practices, occupations, languages/dialects, regions and so on at the pan-Indian level. In the context of understanding village in India, it may be mentioned that, according to L. B. Alayev, it was Thomas Munro who first referred to it as ‘village community’ in 1806 (Gopal 1987: 19). It was viewed as a political society, a ‘self-governing republic’, in early nineteenth century. Then it was perceived as a ‘body of co-owners of the soil’, and, a little later, inspired by R. C. Dutt’s Economic History of India, published in 1902, it became the ‘emblem of traditional economy and polity’ in the eyes of the Indian nationalists (Cohn 2004b: 158–159). However, it was due to Henry Maine and Karl Marx that village community was incorporated into the circle of world history (Dumont 1966: 80). Baden-Powell’s massive work, The Land Systems of British India in three volumes, published in 1892, based on empirical study, contradicted the views of Maine regarding the typology of village and landownership. But, he also followed the same (evolutionary) approach as that of Maine. Bernard Cohn (2004b: 162) writes in this context that ‘The Victorian students of Indian village were interested in the village as a type from which they could infer evolutionary stages and which could be used to compare similar developments or stages in other parts of the world’ (emphasis added). The official reports on famines and riots, the survey settlement reports (district-wise) and other reports regarding the conditions 45

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of peasantry were also prepared in this period, which, at least, contributed significantly to the stock of knowledge of the rural India. Besides, European Indological scholars recognized the ancient glory of Indian civilization. A large number of European and Indian scholars translated the ancient texts of different knowledge systems that flourished in the ancient period. The names of Max-Muller, Swami Vivekananda, Griffith, McCrindle, R. G. Bhandarkar, Radha Kumud Mookherji, K. P. Jayaswal and others are quite famous and well known to scholars. Besides, it may be mentioned that centres of research in this context emerged in Pune, Banaras and Kolkata. In Kolkata, for example, from 1788 to 1884, 414 essays on antiquities, 140 essays on coins and gems, 143 essays on history, 305 essays on languages and literatures and 127 essays on religion, manners and customs were published in the Asiatick Researches and Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal (Chakrabarty 2008: 9). The Bibliotheca Indica Series began to be published from 1848. A large number of volumes were published in this series. The researches promoted by the Asiatic Society on Indology were, Ramakanta Chakrabarty (Ibid.: 10) asserts, ‘motivated by the spirit of delving deep into unknown historical facts or the spirit of discovery’. The volumes of Indian Thought, which began to be published from Banaras since the first decade of the twentieth century, were highly appreciated by European as well as by Indian scholars (Jha 1976: 109). At Pune, R. G. Bhandarkar pioneered the approach of ‘search for a glorious past’ based on ‘reliable evidence’ and worked ‘towards the demystification of history’ (Gottlob 2003: 26–27). Besides, a large number of important works were produced in vernaculars such as Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Assamese, Marathi and Tamil (Chatterjee 2008: 1–24). For example, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee’s novels (in Bengali) dealt with the issues of colonial subjugation and the value of history. Bengalis were urged to write their own history considering the notion of Indian modernization having ‘inner space for the indigenous culture’ (Gottlob 2003: 30–31). He continued to inspire Indian intellectuals of later generations working on Indian society, culture and history. Dinabandhu Mitra wrote a drama (in Bengali), Nila Darpan, portraying the excesses 46

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of indigo-planters, which roused the indignation of educated classes in India in the mid-nineteenth century (Gopal 2008: 101). Bihar Durpan written in Hindi by Ramdeen Singh, published in 1881, contains a rich account of socio-economic life of the people of early colonial era (Singh 1996). Aina-i-Tirhut, written by Bihari Lal ‘Fitrat’ in Urdu and published in 1883, includes historical and socio-economic account of the region, Mithila, based on records and documents and the surveys of villages that the author had himself conducted for five years. One finds the details regarding historical sites, number of tanks and ponds (for irrigation), zamindars, Kothiwals (money-lenders, who were observed to be economically richest and most dominant in the entire region), traditions of scholarship, indigo planters, conditions of agriculture and peasantry, and others, described in this book (Jha 2001). Further, the publication of the volumes of Linguistic Survey of India by George A. Grierson revealed the knowledge regarding a large number of languages/dialects and sub-dialects prevailing among the people of this country. Grierson’s Bihar Peasant Life, published in 1885, is still considered a classic for understanding peasant world in north India. Thus, the works of Western scholars and officials and also those of Indian intellectuals in the second half of the nineteenth century deserve at least the credit of broadening the horizon of thinking about India a great deal. The idea of Indian civilization drawing on the knowledge of ancient achievements in different fields of learning came to be widely recognized. Ancient classic Brahmanic texts were valued for explaining and understanding the customs, institutions, traditions, rituals and so on (Kosambi 2002: 3–4). The revelations about socio-economic and cultural diversity in different gazetteers, survey settlement reports, census reports and other documents prepared by O’Malley, Stevenson-Moore, Baden-Powell and other British authorities, Ramkrishna Mukherjee (1977: 22–23) contends, ‘helped to produce pioneers in Indian sociology’.

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Bombay university was the first to introduce sociology for research and teaching in 1914 (Rao 1974a: XXI). In the University of Calcutta, sociology had begun to be taught as a part of political economy and political philosophy since 1908 (Mukherjee 1977: 29–30). In 1917–18, Mysore University started teaching sociology at the undergraduate level. Then, Lucknow University introduced it under the department of economics in 1921. Before 1950, Osmania University and Poona University also began teaching of sociology (Rao 1974a: XXXII–XXXIII). The universities of Bombay, Lucknow and Calcutta gradually emerged as the chief centres of sociological research in the country before independence. M.S.A. Rao distinguishes three phases of the development of sociology in India: first, ‘exploratory’; second, ‘the phase of development’; and third, ‘the phase of diversification’ (Ibid.: XXII). The exploratory phase mentioned by him (Ibid.: XXII–XXIV) broadly corresponds to that of proto-sociological works (Mukherjee 1977: 22–27), which have been discussed before. The phase of development of sociology in India according to Rao, covers the period from 1914 to around 1950 (1974a: XXX–XXXIII), which is considered by Ramkrishna Mukherjee as the era of the ‘pioneers’ of Indian sociology (1977: 17). A. M. Shah in the first trend report on ‘Historical Sociology’ in India (1974: 438) also distinguished the sociologists and social anthropologists such as D. P. Mukerji, G. S. Ghurye, Radha Kamal Mukerjee, Brajendranath Seal, Benoy Kumar Sarkar, 48

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L. K. Ananthakrishna Iyer, S. C. Roy and K. P. Chattopadhyaya, as ‘pioneers’ of Indian sociology in India before independence. Sociology of ‘pioneers’ has been generally distinguished from that of post-independence era (Damle 1967: 86–87; Singh 1967a: 19). So, an attempt is made here to discuss their (Pioneers’) contributions in brief from the points of view of historical sociology. Of all the pioneers, G. S. Ghurye is said to have commanded a very high degree of influence on the course of sociology before 1950 (Mukherjee 1977: 31). He wrote more than thirty books and produced quite a number of distinguished sociologists after he became the head of the department of sociology at Bombay University in 1924. The range of his interest was encyclopaedic: ‘From Shakespeare to Sadhus, from art and architecture to folk-gods and goddesses, from sex and marriage to race relations . . . the multiple aspects of what may broadly be called “culture” ’ (Pramanick 1982: 24). He was a great Sanskritist and believed that thorough grounding in Sanskrit literature is essential for acquiring the knowledge (of past social history) that is necessary for developing sociology of India. In the first review of historical sociology, A. M. Shah (1974: 438) wrote: ‘During his (Ghurye’s) apprenticeship under Haddon and Rivers at Cambridge, he absorbed not only their nascent empiricism, but also their evolutionism and diffusionism, and the latter blended with his Indology and sanskritic learning . . . It is clear from his . . . Caste and Race in India (1932) . . . Family and Kin in Indo-European Culture (1955), The Indian Sadhus (1953), Gods and Men (1962), and Pravara and Charana (1971).’ Some of his eminent students also incorporated his approach in sociological studies. For example, Karandikar’s Hindu Exogamy (1929), Prabhu’s Hindu Social Institutions (1940) and Irawati Karve’s works on early Hindu Kinship (1938–39, 1943–44) reflect the influence of evolutionist and diffusionist perspectives (Ibid.). Most of his works are centred ‘around traditional Hindu or Brahminical knowledge systems, religious practices, social organization and law as reflected in classical Sanskrit texts’ (Upadhya: 2002: 42). The basis of his analytical categories in almost all major works, according to Yogendra Singh (1967a: 21–22), lies in ancient Hindu or Brahmanic texts, used as 49

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historical context of the interpretation of socio-cultural phenomena. His extensive use of classical Sanskrit texts of Sanatani tradition for understanding and explaining the present socio-cultural institutions implies his view of Indian society as being unique or at least different from the Western society. Besides, his dependence on Sanatani Shastras seems to accord well with the colonial (and indological) practice of giving primacy to Brahmanical texts (book views) in the context of understanding and explaining Indian traditions and institutions. Ghurye’s contemporary in Kolkata was K. P. Chattopadhyaya who also worked to portray the present reality on the ground of its past. The themes he dealt with in this context are marriage, kinship, social organization and community (Newars) (Mukherjee 1977: 31–32). However, he remained mostly concerned with the methodology of large-scale survey research and his theoretical orientation was influenced by diffusionism (Ibid.: 39–41). Brajendra Nath Seal used to deliver lectures in Calcutta University in 1917 on what he called ‘comparative sociology’. He wrote monographs on Hindus of ancient period and made a comparative study of Vaishnavism and Christianity (Ibid.: 32). He also stressed the need of statistical approach and inspired P. C. Mahalanobis, B. K. Sarkar, Radha Kamal Mukerjee and others who subsequently became very eminent (Ibid.: 33). His work on Vaishnavism and Christianity came out in 1899, which was based on ancient Indian texts and, therefore implied indigenous origin and development of bhakti (devotion) and Vaishnavism in India. This issue was a little later dealt with by the famous linguist George A. Grierson in 1906–07, who asserted that ‘historical rise of bhakti owed its origins to the spread of early Christianity’ in India (Pinch 2008: 123). However, R. G. Bhandarkar soon demonstrated in 1913 ‘the existence of theology of bhakti in the pre-Christian era’ (Ibid.: 124) in India. Seal’s comparative historical approach, it seems, inspired his contemporaries to devote their attention to the study of Indian institutions from historical perspective. Benoy Kumar Sarkar wrote against a sort of belief that Hinduism is simply ‘other worldly’. His work, Introduction to Hindu Positivism, translation of Shukraniti, an ancient text, 50

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which was published in 1914, became very popular (Basu 1937: 8). In the second edition of Positive Background of Hindu Sociology, he (1937: 59) included three volumes, Introduction to Hindu Positivism, Hindu Materialism and Natural Sciences and Hindu Politics and Economics. Besides, he wrote a large number of articles in Bengali and English. His contributions were widely appreciated by economists, anthropologists and historians (Basu 1937: 9). A. K. Coomaraswamy was another intellectual who contributed to sociological thinking a great deal at that time. He worked on the Vedas, Buddhism and spiritualism, and adopted a cultural approach to ‘understand Indian (and Asian) social reality . . . specifically in non-Western and the Oriental context’ (Mukherjee 1977: 40). The contributions of Radha Kamal Mukerjee and D. P. Mukerji are quite significant in the context of the recognition and growth of sociology in Indian academic universe. The former conducted a number of empirical studies on different issues such as land problems, working class, urban and rural life, ecology and food planning, covering the fields of economics, sociology and metaphysics (Mukherjee 1989: 261–265). Yogendra Singh (1967a: 22) took note of strong philosophico-sociological orientation in his works. His attempt was to develop a synthesis of ‘the symbolic-social and the existential bases of society’ and he thought of man as ‘bio-socialspiritual’ (Ibid.). His scheme of analysis was, thus, ‘rooted into the tradition with all its uniqueness’ (Ibid.). Radha Kamal Mukerjee (1960: 139) himself wrote in this context that ‘History . . . has specific importance for the social sciences. The latter remain incomplete without historical interpretation and generalization that refer to a succession of human events, values and experiences . . . The contents of social development – change, decline or progress – therefore can only be filled up by historical data.’ However, for ‘historical data’, it seems, he depended more on the ancient philosophical and spiritual works of Brahmanical tradition. D. P. Mukerji was another stalwart among the pioneers. Two issues, the emergence, nature and functions of middle class, and the importance of the study of tradition, engaged his mind chiefly (Chakrabarti 2010: 235–236). However, his reasoning regarding 51

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the study of Indian traditions seems to be quite significant from the points of view of historical sociology. In his presidential address to All India Sociological Conference held in 1955, he spoke regarding the unique nature of India in the sense that an Indian ‘could not be but an Indian’ and he/she ‘could develop . . . (his/her) personality only by understanding Indian culture’, which is ‘essentially social. Her (Indian) history, her economics, and even her philosophy . . . had always centred in social groups’ (Mukerji 1986: 1–2). He considered tradition as the living embodiment of the social nature of Indian culture. Traditions, according to him, are not always static or conservative; they change, they survive, they resist and they also absorb external elements; they undergo transformation in response to the internal and external pressures and also multiply in the varying conditions of space and time. He (Ibid.: 5), therefore, exhorted the Indian sociologists to consider that their first task is to study ‘The social traditions to which we have been born and in which we have had our being’. He (1986: 15) made his contention quite clear in this context that the study of the Indian social system in so far as it has been functioning till now, requires a different approach to sociology, because of its . . . traditions . . . In my view, the thing changing is more real and objective than change per se. (emphasis added) Thus, D. P. Mukerji also asserted the view of Indian social reality as being unique or different from that of Western nations. This notion had been persisting implicitly or explicitly since the nineteenth century (described before). However, his emphasis on the study of traditions indicates his conviction that Indian sociology is not possible without Indian history. Tradition exists in both space and time, and so, both have to be taken into account. Further, what is more important is that he did not insist on the relevance of classical Sanskrit texts in this context; rather, his emphasis was on the study of what is (and/or was) real and objective (that is ‘thing changing’) for developing Indian sociology. He, thus, made an insightful 52

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appeal for taking account of field-view history that reveals ‘the reality on the ground’ (Be’teille 2009: 202) as an appropriate way of promoting the enterprise of sociology in this country. Reflecting on the contributions of the pioneers, Ramkrishna Mukherjee (1977: 27–28) observed that ‘they were more India-centered and self-consciously Indian. Also . . . their approach towards the appraisal of social reality was not imitative in any way’. Further, ‘the advancement of sociology was not a mere vocation to most of the pioneers; it was almost a mission’ (Ibid.: 29). Being primarily ‘India-centered’, their efforts had some sort of missionary zeal, and, therefore, perhaps, they, according to Y.B. Damle (1967: 86–87), ‘were . . . much occupied with the Indological or Culturological or philosophical development . . . during the British rule . . . the defensive attitude was quite reflected in this emphasis on Indological approach to sociological studies in India.’ The extensive use of Sanskrit classical texts for explaining origins and functions of different Hindu institutions continued until around the mid-twentieth century (Cohn 2004b: 165). However, A. M. Shah was, perhaps, the first to question the use of classical Sanskrit texts for sociological studies. Shah (1974: 449) wrote: The classical Sanskrit literature on the joint family is concerned with the property-holding and ritual performing group and not with the household groups. It cannot, therefore, be used to provide the base line for the study of . . . household groups in the modern time. His objection seems to be contextual in the sense that he argued against the use of those ancient texts that do not deal with the issues of a particular sociological investigation. D. N. Dhanagare has a different view in this context. According to him (2006:9): Classical texts often change hands and go through several interpolations by the time they are handed down to us. Hence, the question as to whether or not an analysis based on textual interpretation, however meticulously attempted, 53

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could be accepted as a viable substitute for rigorous use of historical method, still remains open. Dhanagare’s ‘question’ seems to be historically justified. But, this is regarding the authenticity of the text. Andre’ Be’teille (2009: 202), however, pleads against the very use of classical texts (authenticated or not) simply because such texts represent merely ‘book views’ having practically nothing to say about what actually prevailed on the ground. Friedhelm Hardy (1995: 14) contends in this context that we should go beyond normative, indological ‘book-view’ and study ‘field-view’, descriptive texts, for understanding Indian traditions as they were (and are) actually lived by people at large. It may be mentioned that D. D. Kosambi was also opposed to the (said) trend of depending on ancient Brahmanic texts for understanding and explaining social reality. He (2002: 4) wrote in this context in 1963 that ‘the Brahmanizing tendency (under the aegis of colonial rule) . . . seriously affected many . . . scholars whose . . . concentration upon Brahmin documents seems to have impaired their ability . . . This tunnel vision persists in all disciplines concerned with Indology’ (emphasis added). Kosambi charged such scholars with ‘tunnel vision’ that made them virtually blind to the social reality of the overwhelming majority of people who have been generally following non-Brahmanic cults and traditions. For example, he (Ibid.) pointed out that ‘85 percent of the population . . . allowed widows to remarry (and permitted divorce when either party felt aggrieved) made no impression upon the scholars . . . P. V. Kane’s monumental history of Dharmashastra meticulously restricts the discussion (in this context) to smrti documents.’ It may not be out of place to note here that along with, rather, parallel to sanatani or Brahmanic/Vedic order, a broad tradition of Lokayata has been existing in India since ancient days. Debiprasad Chattopadhyaya (1959), S. N. Dasgupta (2000: 512–550), K. P. Chattopadhyaya (1975: 137–158), and many others have discussed this philosophy of loka existing since ancient period in opposition to the Brahmanic sanatani order. Lokayata included various cults of Tantra and other non-Vedic sects opposed to the varna-ashram 54

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principles of the Vedic tradition (Chattopadhyaya 1959; 331–332). It may be pointed out that the category of loka (people) consisting of all non–upper caste groups came to include even women of upper varnas before the Mauryan rule (Sharma 1966: 31). So, this became a vast category of the overwhelming majority of people who, having been excluded from the Vedic or Brahmanic tradition, gradually came to the fold of Tantric cults constituting Lokayata (Sharma 2001: 235). Tantric (Lokayata) cults were also adopted in Buddhist traditions, which, according to Har Prasad Shastri, helped the latter in gaining popularity among the masses (Chattopadhyaya 1959: 327). The chief social question situated as a rock between the conglomerate of Lokayata sects/cults and Vedic/Brahmanic order was the rule of varna–jati principle upheld by the latter and, simultaneously, opposed by the former. Various sects such as Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Shakta, Dasnami, Kabir Pantha and Nanaka Shahi, which emerged in different periods of history, seem to have obviously carried on the spirit of Lokayata and therefore, perhaps, became very popular among the masses (non–upper caste groups). Thus, there was not only Brahmanic order, but, there were also many other traditions most of which, however, were either ignored or considered to be of little value vis-à-vis Brahmanic tradition from the beginning of the second half of the nineteenth century. However, since all these traditions existed together (opposing one another or struggling to survive or compete against one another) in Indian history, the impact of one on another in varying degrees in different space–time contexts cannot be ruled out. So, the followers of the Vedic tradition could also have imbibed different elements of other sects in different periods of history. A tradition is a living entity. Its followers live it in the sense that what should be done and what should not be done by them depend upon what their tradition tells them every moment, and not upon what is written or prescribed in the text. The text does not change; it remains static, but the tradition it gives birth to survives in society by adjusting itself to the changing socio-cultural, political and economic conditions. The story of tradition contains the account of changing social reality. D. P. Mukerji, therefore, urged the Indian sociologists 55

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to consider the study of traditions as their first task (mentioned before). The historical approach of most of the pioneers has been questioned on account of the dominance of evolutionism and diffusionism in their studies (discussed before). A. M. Shah (1974: 433) considered such an approach as merely pseudo-historical, conjectural. In this context, it has been discussed before that since the emergence of historical sociology in Germany (before the rise of Nazi power), the evolutionary thinking or perspective lost its validity as historical approach in the Western intellectual tradition. The contributions of the pioneers, however, are quite enormous and significant. The tradition of sociology in India began to be recognized and institutionalized by their efforts. Their studies and researches yielded a rich stock of knowledge of Indian institutions, society and culture, having potential for drawing the attention of future generations of scholars towards the pursuit of sociology in India. However, in the context of historical sociology, it seems, their historical approach bore the brunt of evolutionism, that is, ‘pseudo’ or ‘conjectural history’ as well as the ‘tunnel vision’ of indologists and Sanskritists.

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i. Village, caste, tradition and socio-cultural change Ramkrishna Mukherjee (1977: 47) used the term ‘modernizers’ for the sociologists who came to dominate the field of sociology in India soon after independence, and ‘denounced the historical approach as pseudo-scientific and adopted the “structural-functional” approach guided by a positivist orientation.’ Yogendra Singh (1967b: 181) had also observed before that All the sociological studies which have been produced in India since independence, whether in the field of rural sociology, or community studies, or family sociology, or study of urban communities and crime and social pathology, etc.; have employed either the statistical or structural-functional methods. Dhanagare (1993: 74) contends that ‘An over-commitment to ‘structural-functionalism’ as a theoretical orientation has . . . gradually alienated the twin-disciplines (sociology and social anthropology) from history’. However, the old issues such as caste and stratification, family and kinship, religion and ritual, village social organization, and others continued to dominate the domain of sociological research after independence (Ibid.: 51).

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But, in spite of the dominance of structural functionalist approach, the relevance of historical perspective, it seems, did not remain unrecognized and ignored. M. N. Srinivas, for example, in his studies of caste and religion (1952, 1959, 1962 and 1966) did not ignore history. He strongly pleaded in favour of the use of historical records and documents relating to villages, land use and settlement of local disputes by sociologists and anthropologists (Srinivas 1962: 141). However, one may not overlook the question ‘Whether use of historical method could of all be considered as a strong forte of Srinivas?’ (Dhanagare 2006: 17). His concepts of ‘Sanskritization’ and ‘Westernization’ have been widely discussed and used in sociological literature, and it is, therefore, not necessary to deal with them here. However, an attempt is made to discuss in brief their historical contexts. Yogendra Singh (1974: 389) observed Sanskritization as having ‘an equal appeal for the Indologists, historians of Indian culture and sociologists and social anthropologists’. Quite a number of scholars appreciated Srinivas’s view of the process of Sanskritization. However, some of them also pointed out the ‘contextual gaps and limitations in the formulation of this concept’ (Ibid.: 390). Harold Gould, for example, suggested in 1996 that ‘the motive-force behind Sanskritization is not cultural imitation per se, but an expression of challenge and revolt against the socio-economic deprivations’ (Singh 1973: 11). R. L. Hardgrave Jr. (1969) observed that among the Nadars of Tamil Nadu it was their economic prosperity that motivated them to acquire higher social status through Sanskritization. In the study of non-Brahman movement in Kollapur, C. Y. Mudaliar (1978) found that ‘it was the decline in power and economic structure of the Marathas which led to the conflict between them and Brahmin caste groups. The Marathas attempted to reestablish their claims to the kshatriya status and generally to sanskritize themselves’ (Bhattacharya 1982: 695). Bhattacharya refers to Hetukar Jha’s study (1977) in this context and considers his observation that ‘the questions regarding why and where a caste chooses to sanskritize itself’ are the crucial historical questions (Ibid.). He (Ibid.) contends that 58

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Sanskritization provides merely a label for a process that may be sometimes an expression of revolt against socio-economic oppression and sometimes an expression of upward social mobility. The model itself yields no hypothesis, it merely helps us to recognize and put a name to phenomenon. According to Michael Gottlob (2003: 76), ‘If the theorem of Sanskritization was a step towards historicization for the sociologist and anthropologist, it appeared only as a “common place to the historian.” ’ In the context of Westernization, his narrative is apparently historical. Describing the changing situation in Mysore state in the colonial period, Srinivas (2004: 209) observed that a new, secular caste system superimposed on the traditional system, in which the British, the new Kshatriyas, stood at the top, while the Brahmins occupied the second position, and the others stood at the base of the pyramid. . . . The position of the Brahmin in the new hierarchy was crucial. He became the filter through which westernization reached the rest of Hindu society in Mysore. Westernization, according to him, denotes cultural change (Ibid.: 212). The historical details, narrated by him, refer to the changes that occurred as the consequence of Westernization, such as the emergence of a three-tier secular caste hierarchy, growing value and acceptance of new (Western) knowledge systems that facilitated the widening of the scope of sharing the advantage of expanding economic and job opportunities, disappearance of some sacred rituals, increase in the popularity and scale of the dowry taking practice and others (Ibid.: 210–212). In the decade of the 1950s, Ramkrishna Mukherjee published two books: The Rise and Fall of The East India Company (1955) that deals with historical issues from sociological perspective, and The Dynamics of a Rural Society (1957), which contains an analytical 59

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account of rural world based on historical approach. Mukherjee was highly influenced by the great historian Maurice Dobb and Rajni Palme Dutt of the Communist Party of Great Britain (during the late 1940s). Consequently, perhaps, he chose to do sociological appraisal of the (historical) facts relating to East India Company that acted as a catalyst in the transformation of the Indian economy and society over a period of two and a half centuries. He stated in the ‘Preface to the Third Edition’ of The Rise and Fall of the East India Company: A Sociological Appraisal (1973: VII): ‘I believe it important to analyze the social forces manifest in the subcontinent in the pre British and early British period of India’s history in order to appreciate her contemporary sociological issues’ (emphasis added). Mukherjee examined the historical force (English merchant capital) to which the company owed its origin, analysed its activities related to the socio-political conditions in India from 1608 till it became the ruling power, discussed how it ruled this country, how the ‘granary of the East’ was changed into ‘a land of destruction and beggary’ and, finally, described how ‘the company had to capitulate in the end to the mounting influence of British industrial capital after bleeding India white for a century’ (Ibid.: XVI–XIX). After independence, it was probably the first study by a sociologist that rigorously covers the workings of colonial rule for about 250 years. A little later, in 1964, Louis Dumont also considered this approach important for the development of Indian sociology (Shah 1974: 444–445). The other book, The Dynamics of a Rural Society (1957), deals mainly with the economic and social changes in the village world of Indian society under British rule. The focus of this study was, however, on Bengal. Mukherjee, analysing statistically the empirical data of household income collected from six villages in 1941–42 and from twelve villages in 1937 of the districts of Bagra and Birbhum found three classes constituting the village structure by the end of colonial rule. According to him, class I included landholders and supervisory farmers; class II consisted of self-sufficient peasantry (the cultivators) along with artisans and traders; and class III was the largest class of sharecroppers, agricultural labourers and others. He, 60

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then, discussed the historical situation of rural life from ancient to pre-British days and observed on that basis that village was dominated chiefly by only one class – the above-mentioned class II of peasantry before the arrival of the British. Further, he described the emergence of (the above-mentioned) class I and class III in the village structure by analysing the consequences of colonial policies and administration. As a result, the village underwent structural change and lost the force of village identity considerably (Ibid.: 6–51). The notion of village in British India comprising an egalitarian society had been challenged and controverted by economists before (Ibid.: 2). The first sociological attempt in this context was, perhaps, made by Mukherjee on the basis of empirical surveys and historical investigation, which also revealed, probably for the first time, the weakening of village solidarity or village community – that is, weakening of the secular base of solidarity and identity in the rural world. It was around this time (1957) that Dumont and Pocock also recognized the low status of village institution (1957:18), but their view was controverted by S. C. Dube (1958: 3) and F. G. Bailey (1959: 12). However, Mukherjee’s findings based on quite comprehensive historical probe remained either ignored or unchallenged. Besides, it is generally believed that peasant studies hardly existed in the social sciences and history in India before the 1960s (Siddiqi 2008: 57), though, Ramkrishna Mukherjee analysed the dynamics of rural life before the 1960s in terms of the prevalence of ‘peasant economy’ dependent on two sets of production relations in society; one between class I and class III, and the other of class II owning the means of production and using their own labour (1957:14). The peasant movement studies later became an important issue of sociological and historical research and most of them generally centred around the production relations observed by Mukherjee. However, Daniel Thorner’s insightful observation may be referred to in this context. He (1971: 202) wrote that ‘Because of their historical persistence, peasant economics would appear to be well worthy of study in their own right and in their own terms’; yet, according to him (Ibid.) one finds the discussions of peasant economics ‘scattered among such diverse categories as “subsistence”, “feudal” or 61

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“oriental” . . . intermediate or transition stage between “primitive” and “modern” ’. For comprehending peasant world, Thorner, it seems, does not consider it appropriate to depend on the ‘categories’ coloured by the ideas extrinsic to the long-standing peasant economy and society as such. His remarks seem to be applicable to Mukherjee’s study as well since the influence of Marxist model is easily discernible in it. It may, further, be noted that his elaborate and critical appraisal of the social, political and cultural forces of pre-colonial and colonial days reveals a significant fact from the point of view of historical sociology of India that liberal outlook prevailed in the socio-religious life of people before the beginning of colonial rule and it was due to the policies and efforts of the British authorities that orthodoxy began to grow among Hindus as well as Muslims (Mukherjee 1957: 80–88). Since the 1950s, Bernard Cohn began his explorations into various layers of the interface between colonial power and Indian institutions and culture through the binocular vision of ‘anthropology land’ and ‘history land’. He continued to contribute to historical anthropology/sociology of India for decades in the second half of the twentieth century, inspiring his students in Chicago and influencing scholars in India. His works are widely known and consulted by sociologists/anthropologists. Here, a few salient points indicating his historical insight affecting his sociological/anthropological investigations are described. Cohn observed that the British conquered not only the territory of India but also an epistemological space. In his studies concerning the history of the generation and use of colonizers’ knowledge of India, he dealt with the epistemological violence by British rule and supported a new kind of cultural analysis, labeled by McKim Marriott and Ronald Inden as the ‘ethno sociology’ of India (Dirks 2004: VII). A very significant view of Bernard Cohn is that the British devised ‘investigative modalities’, such as historiography, observation and travel, survey, enumeration, museology, and surveillance, to collect and generate knowledge of the dominated world; the accumulation of which along with the exercise of power, according to him, were parts of the same project of colonialism (Ibid.: X). 62

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Instead of simply following functionalism prevailing in the post– World War II generation of anthropologists, he went further . . . (investigated) the structural changes . . . in the region of Uttar Pradesh . . . the political character of late pre-colonial regimes around Banaras, the ways the past lived on in the present of the village, and the impact of colonial legal systems on local life and legal practice in India. (Dirks 2004: VI–VII) Cohn adopted the historical mode and wrote (2004e: 6) that ‘research in history is based on finding data; research in anthropology is based on creating data.’ While working with judicial records related to a locality, he felt hampered simply because he had not known the people on whom he was working. Anthropology through history helped him in delving deep into the questions regarding the meanings of the forms of domination at the different levels of caste, village, region and the nation at large from the points of view of the dominated. He was, perhaps, the first anthropologist after independence to study the socio-economic conditions of a lower caste (Chamars), its relationship with other castes in the everyday life lived in the villages and the changes in its status and tradition (Cohn 2004h, 2004i, 2004j). However, G. W. Briggs, who was, perhaps, not an anthropologist, had published before a monograph on Chamars in 1920, drawing on the works of Ibbetson, Crooke, Russell, and others; census reports and some Brahmanical texts. He had also interviewed a number of persons in this context. His book contains descriptions of their customs, rituals, occupations and religious practices. Later, historians such as R. S. Sharma (1958), Vivekananda Jha (1975), Prabhati Mukherjee (1988) and others dealt with untouchability and untouchable castes on the basis of their analyses of mostly normative texts (of ancient period). Sociologists/anthropologists generally took account of scheduled caste (SC) movements since the 1970s (Shah 2000: 38). Hetukar Jha (2000: 424–427) investigated the conditions of SCs in Bihar since ancient period chiefly on the 63

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basis of the descriptive texts revealing various ups and downs in the statuses and functions of different SC groups in past centuries. Bernard Cohn’s approach, it seems, continued to inspire at least implicitly the studies conducted later on SCs in sociology/anthropology. Though the idea that ‘Villages and folk institutions were . . . integrally linked with the civilizational and classical forms’, advanced by Redfield and Milton Singer in Village India (1955), was appreciated by Cohn, their notions of ‘great’ and ‘little’ traditions as high and low cultures did not appeal to him to a great extent since both (great and little traditions), according to him, got mixed up with one another in the dynamics of socio-cultural relations and, consequently, their contents could hardly be identified (Prakash 2004: VI). It may be mentioned that Robert Redfield (1955–56) developed the idea that a civilization consists of a tradition of elites, ‘great’ tradition, and that of folk, of unlettered people, ‘little’ tradition, on the basis of his researches in Mexico. Milton Singer, McKim Marriott and their associates applied this analytical frame to the historical study of Indian society and culture (Marriott 1955; Singer 1959). Milton Singer’s statements about socio-cultural changes on the basis of interaction between great and little traditions and McKim Marriott’s characterization of the modes of such interaction as universalization and parochialization, however, imply a sort of superiority of Brahmanic tradition, a colonial legacy (discussed before), to all other traditions clubbed together under the category of ‘little’ tradition. The use of such terms as ‘great’ and ‘little’ for traditions amounts to their hierarchization that seems to be questionable. Wendy Doniger (2009: 382) writes in this context that The village traditions and local folk traditions, which . . . Robert Redfield . . . labeled ‘little’, in fact constitute most of Hinduism and are one of the main sources even of the so-called pan-Indian traditions . . . which Redfield called the ‘great’ tradition. ‘Little’ carries pejorative as well as geographical connotations, not just small individual villages but a minor, cruder, less civilized tradition beneath scholarly contempt. Yet, in terms of both the area that the 64

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villages cover in India . . . and their population . . . not to mention the size of their creative contributions . . . the pan-Indian tradition is little, while the village cultures are . . . great tradition. (emphasis added) Besides, this frame, developed in a different culture and applied to the analysis of Indian situation from above does not seem to accord well with Cohn’s approach (2004g: 7) of viewing the reality from particular to general through history. Regarding his perspective of thinking and working, Rabinow wrote; ‘Bernard Cohn, at the University of Chicago, was teaching us about the relations of knowledge and power, spaces and colonies, long before I ever heard of Foucault’ (Chakrabarty 2004: XI). It may be of interest to note that in the 1960s on the basis of the historical accounts of the activities of caste sabhas (associations) of Newars and Vanniyars (of south India), Rudolph and Rudolph (1969: 36–63) discussed the efforts of these communities for the secular development of their respective caste groups, particularly in the context of gaining political power. Caste through the process of horizontal mobilization underwent structural, functional and cultural transformation. And, Rudolph and Rudolph asserted (Ibid.: 11): ‘In its transformed state, caste has helped India’s peasant society make a success of representative democracy.’ Grafting caste on to politics (by the political elites) has been considered conducive to the success of democracy in India by other scholars as well such as Rajni Kothari (Sharma 2010: 8), Harry W. Blair (1979: 7) and others. However, such a view implies granting a sort of legitimacy (by social scientists) to casteism as such and also to those (political elites) who practise it. However, casteism has been observed to be promoting ‘conservative populism all the more disturbing’ (Assayag 2012: 465; emphasis added). In the 1950s, A. M. Shah and R. G. Shroff began their project of studying a village in Gujarat in contemporary as well as historical perspective. They collected historical material from the records maintained by genealogists and mythographers, and from those available in taluk, district and Secretariat Record Office. Shah 65

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was, perhaps, the first sociologist to use genealogical records for sociological/anthropological investigation. His study in historical perspective in collaboration with Srinivas led to the discovery of a significant fact that the idea of village self-sufficiency is a myth (1974: 448). Shah continued to incorporate historical approach in his studies of village (Social Change in a Gujarat village, 1964b) and family (The Household Dimension of the Family in India, 1973). He along with his colleagues, R. G. Shroff and A. R. Shah, brought to light the details of historical sources for the study of the villages and towns of Gujarat in 1963. A little later, T. R. Metcalf (1967) and Anand A. Yang and James Ray Hagen (1976) also published the details of historical sources for the study of north Indian regions. T. N. Madan drawing on chiefly a twelfth-century Sanskrit text, Rajatarangini of Kalhana, prepared an account of Kashmiri Pandits in the 1960s and dealt with how Hindus and Muslims emerged as separate communities (1989: 13–19). He also worked on the relationship between Hindu and Muslim kings of Kashmir from the eighth century onwards (1972: 118–119). His historical investigation, according to Dhanagare (2006: 14), makes clear ‘the kinds of interfaces between the Muslim identity and Hindu representations and the Hindu identity and Muslim representations that have been decisively impacted by the Muslim and Hindu rulers of those times’. Further, according to him (Ibid.), ‘main problem arises from Madan’s exclusive reliance on a Sanskrit text . . . not backed by any other sources’. Madan also made a historical probe into the nature of Hinduism. He (1997: 198, 200) observed that Hindu religious tradition had remained pluralist, having hierarchical orientation. However, such a contention, it seems, reflects chiefly the points of view of Sanatani/Vedic/Brahmanic (orthodox) tradition. Veena Das was, perhaps, the first to use jati puranas of pre-modern eras as an important historical source for sociological/anthropological studies. On the basis of Dharmaranya Purana and Grihyasutra literature and other texts, she analysed the relationships between the categories of householder, king and sannyasi, and also examined the difference between a sannyasi (of Brahmanic tradition) and 66

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a bhikhu (of Buddhist tradition) (1990: 139–150). Her approach, it seems, is based on the consideration that conceptual categories mediate between reality and its understanding. However, ‘when it comes to understanding observable behavior, it is specific meanings superimposed by cultural ideas on conceptual categories that in the ultimate analysis become more decisive in epistemological terms’ (Dhanagare 2006: 12; emphasis added). ‘Specific meanings’, if derived from the Brahmanical texts, can hardly prove to be appropriate for understanding the behaviour of one following any nonor anti-Brahmanical tradition. Dhanagare (2006: 14) suggests in this context that such texts ‘may at times be necessary, but certainly not sufficient for historical reconstruction, analysis, reasoning and interpretation’. Amrit Srinivasan’s study (1980) of four myths is also based on a normative text (Bhagawata Purana). A. R. Desai had discussed before in 1948 the historical conditions under colonial rule, which gave rise to nationalism in India. Nationalism, according to him, did not exist in India in pre-British days. India’s economic breakdown was the result of British rule. It was the need of economic freedom that gave rise to the urge for political independence. The new economic interests of the emerging classes worked as the catalytic force in Indian national movement. The success and failure of developmental measures after independence were also studied by him in terms of the nature of pre-existing class contradictions (Singh 1974: 411). His historical analysis and interpretation, though based on secondary sources and influenced by R. Palme Dutt and K. S. Shelvankar, remain a valuable contribution to the historical sociology of India (Dhanagare 2006: 22). In the 1960s, another stalwart among Indian sociologists, I. P. Desai (1969) worked on Vedchhi movement from 1922 to 1967 in a tribal locality of Surat district for initiating and following the measures of social reform inspired by Gandhi. Desai depended on the oral accounts gathered from those who were active participants in the movement. It was probably the first sociological study based on oral history. In this decade (of the 1960s), Frykenberg’s historical study (1965) of the workings of (district-level) socio-cultural and economic forces came out. Another major contribution in this 67

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context, the historical accounts of Nadars’ movement by Hardgrave Jr. (1969), was also published. Before the end of this decade, historical approach was adopted for village studies by Alan Beals (1955), Kathleen Gough (1969) and Brij Raj Chauhan (1967). In the 1960s, Louis Dumont’s work, Homo Hierarchicus (1966, 1972), came out that was widely considered to be throwing significant light on the relationship between religion and society in India. Drawing chiefly on indological studies, he suggested two essential characteristics of Hindu society: ‘first, status is determined by principles independent of the distribution of authority; and, second, the idiom in which higher or lower status is expressed is the idiom of purity’ (Douglas 1972: 15). Hindu society, according to Dumont (1972: 299), is a society of a large number of castes, all ranked more or less permanently in relation to each other on the basis of the opposition of pure and impure. Further, this opposition being hierarchical in nature implies ‘separation’ and ‘on the professional level specialization of occupations relevant to the opposition’. Besides, he (1960: 33–62) also discussed conflict between the tradition of ‘renouncer’ and that of ‘man in the world’ as two ideal types combining together in different ways in different periods of Indian history. Renouncers, however, according to him (1982: 94–95) made significant contributions to most of the religious and other innovations and developments in India. He (1960: 37) made it clear that his attempt was ‘to bring together from a sociological vantage point the main findings of Indology’. It was in this context of conflict between the two traditions (one of ‘renouncer’ and the other of ‘man in the world’) that J. C. Heesterman (1985) contended that developments and innovations in different traditions could be explained more appropriately by ‘inner conflict’ inherent in traditions than by Dumont’s notion of conflict between groups (of renouncers and men in the world) (Bronkhorst 2012: 13). Tradition, according to Heesterman (1985: 2): is characterized by the inner conflict of atemporal order and temporal shift rather than by resilience and adaptiveness. It is this unresolved conflict that provides the motive 68

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force we perceive as the flexibility of tradition. Indian civilization offers a particularly clear case of this dynamic inner conflict’. Thus, Dumont made an attempt to explain the developments in the religious world of India by positing ‘an opposition between two groups of people: the renouncer as against the man in the world’, while Heesterman ‘postulated a similar opposition but one present in a single group, or even in single individuals’ (Bronkhorst 2012: 40). In the 1970s, Yogendra Singh in his study, Modernization of Indian Tradition (1973), discussed the changes in the long tradition of Indian society and culture since ancient period. He critically analysed the contributions of Buddhism, Jainism and other religions to the processes of orthogenetic changes in Indian tradition. He described the positive impact of Islam and Western civilization on Indian society that effected heterogenetic changes in Indian culture (1973: 25–60). His argument following macro-historical approach suggests that each society adopts its own way of modernization (Ibid.: 208–215). The idea of the unique nature of Indian society held by the ‘pioneers’, it seems, echoes through Y. Singh’s study. In the context of village study as well, he examined the historical sources throwing light on the locality of Chanukhera, a village in the eastern Uttar Pradesh, since the Buddhist period, and, then documented the change in this village from 1955 to 2007 (Singh 1970, 2009). His study reveals that Doms, Tharus and Bhars ruled the region before the tenth century ad, and then, following the migration of Rajputs to the area, old power structure changed in favour of the latter (2009: 181). Long-term historical view affords the understanding of the variation in the status of both caste and region. Doms, Dusadhs and Bhars, who were rulers/chiefs in the late ancient and early medieval period, could not have had inferior status in social hierarchy in those days. This helps in questioning rash generalizations about the social conditions of different castes simply on the basis of their situation in one particular period. 69

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In the 1970s a significant contribution to sociological/anthropological study of village drawing on primary as well as secondary historical sources was made by Tom G. Kessinger (1974). He intensively consulted land records, such as jamabandi, Sajra Nasib and Lal Kitab, and pilgrimage records, relating particularly to the period of more than a century from 1848 to 1968. He found many changes in the village (Vilayatpur in Punjab) during this period such as improvements in agriculture and education, occupational differentiation, decline of jajmani system, and, above all, decline of village as a community (1974: 204–219). In 1974, the formation of Shrotriyas as a jati (a subcaste of Maithil Brahmans) in the late medieval period, that still exists, was studied by Hetukar Jha. He used the primary sources, especially genealogical records, known as Panjis, which had begun to be organized and maintained by panjikars (genealogists) since the first quarter of the fourteenth century for all Maithil Brahmans and Kayasthas (Jha 1974: 94–95). Since most of the defining attributes of caste such as occupation and status had been varying across time and space, Jha suggested that continuity of a caste depends (not strictly on endogamy, rather) on the continuity of the source of its identity (Ibid.: 96). A little later, in 1977, Jha analysed the events of conflict and violence between (Hindu as well as Muslim) zamindars and peasants (mostly Yadavas) during the early 1920s. He consulted the relevant archival records in this context and found the self-interests of zamindars as the cause of their opposition to the efforts of Yadavas for Sanskritizing their community in order to get rid of their exploitation by the former (1977: 554–556). The significance of the question: why and when a caste chooses to sanskritize itself? raised by him was, however, considered quite crucial by historians such as Sabyasachi Bhattacharya in the context of Sanskritization, mentioned before. In the 1970s, Anand Chakravarti in his study of a village, Devisar, in Rajasthan analysed the historical details regarding the rise of Rajputs (since the medieval era), and decline of their authority after independence (1975: 191–221). Historical investigation helped in demonstrating the contrast between the present and past conditions of Rajputs’ power base. Historical sources were also used by him 70

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in his study of a village in Purnia district of north Bihar to explore the exploitative relationship between landowners and agricultural labourers (2001: 278–293). By the end of the 1970s, Hetukar Jha, on the basis of his analysis of both primary and secondary historical sources relating to the region of Mithila (north-eastern Bihar, that also includes a large part of Purnea district), discussed the elite-mass contradiction in the region generated by the historical practices of granting rent-free lands (of eighteen kinds), slavery and Paniji system (Jha 1980: 188–193). Virginius Xaxa worked on Jalpaiguri district of north Bengal and consulted survey and settlement reports as well as other records of the district in order to take historical account of the agrarian structure from 1860 (1980: 62–82). This account throws light on the prevalence of ‘economic dualism’ accommodating the dialectical relationship between plantation and subsistence economies (Xaxa 1997: 59–133). Historical approach for understanding the agrarian structure of Birbhum (West Bengal) and Madhubani (Bihar) districts since the colonial period was also adopted by Partha N. Mukherji and M. Chattopadhyay (1981), and M. N. Karna (1981), respectively. Rajendra Singh’s study (1988) of Basti district (Uttar Pradesh) in this context is a notable contribution to historical sociology. He intensively worked in different archives to collect material for the study of the people of Basti district from 1801 to 1970. He studied the changing relationship between land, power and people since pre-colonial days to ‘show the changing sources of power and its correlates as well as to gain insights into the persistence and change in institutions and everyday practices in the past as well as in contemporary society in Basti’ (Dhanagare 2006:31). Hetukar Jha (1991) examined the primary historical sources, chiefly ‘village notes’ prepared at the time of Cadastral survey of Bihar (from 1894–95 to 1916–17), to explore the variation in village structure and the modal styles of relationships between baraka (elites) and chhotka (masses) in the rural areas of Bihar. He used ‘village notes’ of more than 5,000 villages of nine districts of both northern and southern areas of Bihar (except the present Jharkhand region) and classified the villages on the basis of inter-village and intra-village complexities in eleven 71

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ordinal categories (35–43). Ramkrishna Mukherjee had shown earlier that peasants inhabiting the villages were not egalitarian; rather, they were distributed in different classes (discussed before). Jha’s study indicates that the villages were also of different categories on ordinal (simple-complex) scale. Historically, thus, rural areas did not constitute a homogeneous space. Surinder Jodhka studied jajmani relationships in pre-colonial days of Haryana and took note of the changes thereof in the colonial period, which gave rise to moneylending practices (Jodhka 1995: 31–55). In this context, historians such as Binay Bhushan Chaudhury (1975) and Peter Robb (1988) discussed in detail how in the nineteenth century peasants as a result of their increasing indebtedness to moneylenders lost their lands and eventually became sharecroppers and landless agricultural labourers. Another noted historian, Anand Yang (1989), worked on how colonial control was exercised at the local level. In his book, The Limited Raj: Agrarian Relations in Colonial India, Saran District, 1793–1920, he (1989: 3–4) mentions that As a growing body of investigation on colonial settings shows, European regimes maintained and enhanced their authority by winning support of the powerful local individuals and groups who became recipients of their patronage and enjoyed favourable agrarian and commercial policies . . . The Raj was anchored at the local level by alliances with . . . rais, raja, taluqdar and zamindar. This mechanism, however, involved alliance of colonial administration with powerful men of rural areas ignoring their collective institution such as village. He also studied social, cultural and economic history of markets in Bihar from 1765 to 1947. In his book, Bazaar India (1998), he discussed in detail the dynamics of Bihar’s marketing system, taking into account the markets and trade systems of rural areas and their linkage with that of urban centres. He also examined how the haat/ bazaar functioned not only as an economic institution, but also as a centre 72

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of social and political activities at the local level. Regarding the functions of village markets, the renowned historian Fernand Braudel (1977: 31) raised a very important question: ‘Should we view village markets as a flaw preventing urbanism from taking hold?’ However, this issue does not seem to have been categorically dealt with so far. Hetukar Jha (2005) studied the practice of money-lending and workings of British legal system and the rise of caste consciousness in the colonial period, and found that they cumulatively effected the radical disruption and decline of village community. Kessinger’s study (described before) is corroborated by Jha’s investigation into the factors responsible for the decline of the secular seat of life and existence of rural people by the end of the colonial rule. In the decade of the 1990s, Nicholas Dirks, a renowned historian and anthropologist, took a long view of history in his study (1993) of the relationship between a little kingdom (a precolonial state in south India) and society. He used inscriptional and textual sources (ballads, genealogies, chronicles), land records of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and colonial reports relating to the region. Besides, he also did intensive ethnographic fieldwork. On the basis of this remarkable ethnographical study, he asserted (1993: 4–5) that: until the emergence of British colonial rule in southern India the Crown was not so hollow as it has generally been made out to be. Kings were not inferior to Brahmans, the political domain was not encompassed by a religious domain. State forms, which not fully assimilable to Western categories of the state were powerful components in Indian civilization . . . caste structure, ritual form, and political process were all dependent on relations of power . . . (which) were culturally constructed. (emphasis added) Dirks’s intensive probe into various documents and material regarding the relationship between political power and priestly functions that actually prevailed in pre-colonial India seems to be 73

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radically different from what Louis Dumont contends (1972: 300) in this context that it is necessary to distinguish between two very different things: the scale of statuses (called ‘religious’) which I name hierarchy and which is absolutely distinct from the fact of power; and the distribution of power, economic and political, which is very important in practice, but is distinct from, and subordinate to hierarchy. (emphasis added) It may be mentioned here that the observations of Colebrooke and Buchanan (described before), in the context of caste and occupation, also seem to validate the finding of Dirks. Dumont’s view based largely on normative texts, thus, appears to be far from the social reality that prevailed. Ravindra K. Jain (2007) studied the traditional history of Bundela Rajput kingdoms of Madhya Pradesh by anaysing genealogies and legends and brought to light the value of such sources for defining the area of dominance of a ruling group. His observation (Ibid.: 145) is highly significant from the points of view of history and sociology in India: the residue of institutionalized conflict in nineteenth century central India leading up to the currently publicized contemporary menace of ‘dacoity’ (brigandage) in Gwalior and Bundelkhand cannot be understood without restoring to their legitimate place the ideology and processes of clanship in the traditional ruling groups. Besides, he contends that the dominant trend of recognizing only caste as the unit of social identity and, therefore, perhaps, using it ‘as a blanket term for all hierarchical status distinctions’ blocked our ‘perception of other contextually meaningful schemes of classifying political and social relations’ (Ibid.: 147). His study reveals a very significant historico-sociological fact that ‘under certain geopolitical conditions throughout middle India (of pre-industrial era), 74

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exclusion from a confirmed jati status was the means of gaining power and creating a new framework of statuses and offices’ (Ibid.: 148). Caste identity was thus not at all indispensable in any context of the dynamics of one’s life before British rule. Ravindra K. Jain’s view, it seems, corroborates what Nicholas Dirks (2002: 13) says in this context: before mid-nineteenth century, ‘the units of social identity had been multiple . . . caste was just one category among many others . . . Regional, Village kinship groups, factional parties, chiefly contingents, political affiliations . . . could supersede caste as a rubric for identity.’ Jati as such came to acquire the status of being ‘the foundational fact of Indian society’ since the beginning of the second half of the nineteenth century (Dirks 2000: 41; Jha 2006: 266). Jati, however, as the most effective and permanent social identity, it seems, came to be institutionalized so deeply since the second half of the nineteenth century that, according to Jain, one generally fails to perceive now ‘other contextually meaningful schemes of classifying political and social relations’ (mentioned earlier). Parvez Abbasi’s study (2005) of land control and its interface with caste and lineage structure in a Muslim-dominated village in Uttar Pradesh in historical perspective indicates that while some dominant lineages had not only continued their hold over agricultural land but also managed to acquire more during the last 135 years . . . Internal differentiation within a caste group in terms of landownership . . . (is) an indication of emerging class structure. (Dhanagare 2006: 33) This, however, may be supposed to be a case of the growth of ‘class in caste’. Satish Saberwal is known to have worked a great deal for promoting intellectual kinship of history and sociology in India. He (1979) investigated the conditions of social inequality in the colonial period, in terms of ‘structures of opportunity’ and ‘restrictions’ prevailing under colonial rule and observed that landless labourers’ capacity to bargain with landowners was severely restricted. The 75

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situation was so precarious that ‘the larger society locked (peasant) . . . into landless labour; (and) he locked himself into his caste group’ (1979: 260). In another study (2005), he examined the integration and separation of the traditions of Hindus and Muslims in different phases of history since the medieval period. He discussed ‘the fact of shared space’, ‘the obligation to live together in that shared space’ in medieval India (2005: 273). Saberwal also dealt with the issue of Hindu–Muslim relationship particularly in the context of conversion in a separate study. Taking again a macro-historical view, he consulted the authentic works of historians and sociologists and demonstrated in detail the various modes of conversion such as ‘personal influence of Muslim religious men’, ‘political conversions’ and ‘coercion’ (2007: 138–139). The question regarding the variation in dominance and effectiveness of these modes in different regions and periods may be raised in this context. However, the study remains a significant contribution to the understanding of relationship between Hindus and Muslims since the medieval days. Gail Omvedt was, perhaps, the first to focus attention on Bahujan Samaj movement in Maharashtra since the mid-nineteenth century against the economic and cultural dominance of Brahmans (1976: 1–4; 285–303). She also worked on ecological, women and Dalit movements. In her view, such movements indicated the ‘rise of alternative politics for “reinventing revolution” ’ (Dhanagare 2006: 34). Dalit movements were extensively studied by her and she used the term ‘unfinished revolution’ for such struggles (1994). An enormous amount of historical sources were used by her in the course of her studies. M. S. Gore dealt with the struggles of Dalit castes against Brahmans quite comprehensively. He examined the changes in the socio-economic conditions of lower castes in the colonial rule, discussed the activities of Mahatma Phule’s Satyashodhak movement till the 1880s and then analysed how Maratha and non-Maratha peasants, artisans and workers combined together in the movement against Brahmans (Dhanagare 2006: 34–35). The historico-sociological perspective of Gore is undoubtedly seminal. Dilip M. Menon (1994) studied the movement of SCs in Malabar 76

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from 1900 to 1948. He discussed the extent of untouchability in Kerala and then took account of how strong peasant unions emerged and became active since the 1930s (Nayar 1994: 30). Satish Sharma (1985) studied the relationship between the Arya Samaj and the castes considered untouchable in Punjab, and Jogdand (1991) analysed how the social reform movements in Maharashtra contributed to the Dalit movement. In both of these studies, however, historical sources were used only for ‘providing background information’ (Dhanagare 2006: 38).

ii. Peasant movements The beginning of peasant movement studies in sociology in India is generally traced back to the decade of the 1970s. However, the pioneering attempt was made in this context by Walter Hauser about a decade before, in 1961. He studied the emergence and activities of Bihar Provincial Kisan Sabha from 1929 to 1942 under the leadership of Swami Sahajanand Saraswati. Hauser analysed the efforts of Sahajanand Saraswati for organizing the struggle for just rights and dignity of Bihar peasantry. He has been continuously working on the works of Sahajanand Saraswati who, according to him, ‘best articulated the implications of imperialism, nationalism, casteism, etc. . . . for India’s kisans’ (Pinch 2008: 14–15). Soon, peasant movements and agrarian struggles attracted the attention of sociologists/anthropologists, which still continue as an important area of sociological/anthropological investigation. The studies done in this area have already been comprehensively reviewed by T. K. Oommen (1985a: 108–12) and Ghanshyam Shah (1990: 32–69). Quite a large number of works have appeared in this context. However, according to Rajendra Singh (2000: 90), only a few of them, such as those of Hardiman (1981), Oommen (1985b) and Dhanagare (1983), have significant impact of historical perspective. In this context, M.S.A. Rao’s contribution is also quite notable. He (1978) edited two volumes containing the studies (incorporating historical approach) of Naxalite movement, land-grab movement, reform movement among the Waddars and Virsaiva movement. Rao (1979) 77

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also conducted studies of the movements of Izhavas (of south India) and Yadavas of north India. He took account of the conditions of their existence since early British rule and examined their movements until about 1950. He consulted primary records relevant to both of these movements and demonstrated ‘how comparative historical method could be deployed systematically to attempt a sociological analysis of social change’ (Dhanagare 2006: 25). T. K. Oommen is one of the few sociologists for whom the study of social movements has been the ‘privileged field of . . . life-long academic expressions, debates and writings’ (Singh 2000: 73). In his study of the peasant struggles in Malabar and Tranvancore–Cochin princely states, which together formed the state of Kerala, he reconstructed the process of mobilization in the course of Congress-led anti-imperialist movement that gave rise to new issues and forms of protest under the influence of leftist Parties (1985b: 35–53, 180–254). He depended mostly on secondary sources of history. However, he also consulted vernacular literature (in Malayalam) in this context. According to him (1985a:114), the Moplah uprisings (33 in number) in Malabar from 1836 to 1921 and the Tebhaga, Telangana and Naxalite movements are generally considered to be the most studied agrarian movements in India. D. N. Dhanagare worked on Telangana (1974), Tebhaga (1976) and Moplah (1977) movements. He also took account of the peasant movements in Uttar Pradesh (1975c). About his studies in this context, he (2006:26) wrote: My purpose was to historically reconstruct social origins of a given movement and to understand its lasting impact on agrarian power structure . . . my findings challenge the validity of the thesis on ‘passivity of the Indian peasant’, propounded by Barrington Moore Jr., they also question the empirical validity of the ‘middle peasant thesis’ advanced by Eric Wolf and Hamza Alavi. Dhanagare’s rigorous study of such historical records as gazetteers, official reports, private papers and vernacular literature, it 78

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seems, enabled him to unsettle the images of Indian peasantry posited before. Pushpendra Surana (1983), K.  L. Sharma (1985) and Hira Singh (1998) worked on peasant struggle in Rajasthan in historical perspective. Surana studied the Bijolia movement that arose in the erstwhile princely state of Mewar during 1917–22 against the dominance of landlords. He analysed how religious sentiment was used for the mobilization of peasants (1983: 70–72). K. L. Sharma covered a long period and analysed the socio-political structure prevailing in the estates of Rajputana since the medieval era. His focus, however, was on peasant movements against the absolutist power of the erstwhile ruling chiefs, from 1913 to 1947. According to him (1985: 122–133), various organizations, such as Marwar Hitkari Sabha, Lok Parishad, Praja Mandals and Rajputana Madhya Bharat Sabha, not only worked for public welfare, but also made efforts for raising political consciousness among the masses. He intensively consulted both primary and secondary sources in this context. Hira Singh (1988) produced a very insightful view of the changing land relations between landlords and the kisans of Rajasthan. He examined the dynamics of relations between peasants, princes and the colonial power and discussed how peasant movements gathered momentum from the 1920s to the 1940s. Dhanagare (2006: 27) considers two noteworthy features of Hira Singh’s contribution to historical sociology of India: he has developed a sociological argument in a princely setting in Rajasthan by tapping and purposefully using enormous archival sources . . . Secondly . . . his study is an excellent example of an exercise in historical sociology that has made valuable contribution to theoretical discourse on both feudalism and social movements. Rajendra Singh (1974) studied land-grab movement in Basti district (Uttar Pradesh) during the early 1970s. He discussed the socio-economic structure of this district prevailing since the colonial period (1974: 47–56) and, then, described how intensive political 79

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mobilization of Chamars, Pasis, Arakh and Lodh communities was carried out by the leaders of leftist parties (Ibid.: 66). Rajendra Singh’s study controverts the view of Barrington Moore Jr. regarding the passive nature of peasantry (Ibid.: 67). Thus, he joins hands with Yogendra Singh and D. N. Dhangare in this context. He also took account of how the land-grab movement ultimately failed. ‘The most crucial factor’, according to him (Ibid.: 68), ‘that gave a death blow to the movement was the development of sectarianism’ (emphasis added). P. Radhakrishnan (1989) studied the pre-colonial agrarian order in Malabar and examined how British government introduced changes in land-related laws between the 1880s and 1920s. He historically explained the land reforms effected by the pressure of Moplah rebellions (Dhanagare 2006: 28). The Naxalbari or Naxalite movement that began in the late 1960s in West Bengal and soon spread to other states is supposed to be ‘the most widely studied agrarian revolt in contemporary India’ (Oommen 1985a: 117). However, Partha N. Mukherji’s study (1978) in this context stands out since he analysed this movement in historical perspective ‘in terms of the relationship between social structure and social change’ (Oommen 1985a: 117). He examined considerable amount of archival sources and also used oral accounts to demonstrate the roots of the movement in the zamindari system created under colonial rule. Though the declared objective of the movement was to capture state power, Mukherji observed that the movement, in fact, came to be directed against ‘excesses . . . the exchange of goods between the producer and the owner was sought to be properly regulated’ (Mukherji 1978: 73–74). Rabindra Ray’s study (2011), however, appears to be quite comprehensive in this context. He discussed the historical forces that worked behind the emergence of bhadralok in Bengal under British rule. He categorically analysed the basic difference between the ethos of English-speaking intelligentsia and that of those depending chiefly on vernacular (Ibid.: 47–65). The leaders of Naxalite movement, however, according to him, were drawn from the latter category (Ibid.: 65–66). He, further, described the trends of economic decline and educated unemployment in Bengal 80

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after independence. Under the circumstances, he meticulously analysed how Naxalite movement arose against the bhadralok society (Ibid.: 72–73). This movement was also started in Bihar, first in Musahari, north Bihar, where it failed to take root, and, then, soon it began to be visible in the Bhojpuri-speaking belt of south-western Bihar. This phenomenon was studied by a team including a sociologist, a psychologist, a historian and a linguist (Jha et al. 1985) who together examined the primary as well as secondary sources of history of Bihar since medieval days and discussed the historical experience of each one of the three cultural zones (namely, Maithili-speaking belt, Magahi-speaking zone and Bhojpuri-speaking region) constituting Bihar (except the area now under present Jharkhand state). The movement in Shahabad district (Bhojpuri-speaking area) was studied in detail by analysing the processes of group formation, mobilization and the events of violence in the light of the history of this region since medieval period. It was found that the objective of changing the structure of socio-economic relations in rural areas was virtually replaced by that of fighting for the izzat (dignity) of the downtrodden sector. The issues of economic interest (such as payment of minimum wages fixed by the government) were only marginally taken up and that too only in support of the main issue of dignity. The replacement of the main objective of the movement that was observed by Partha N. Mukherji (described before) in Bengal seems to have occurred in Bihar as well. Agrarian movements in Bihar have also been studied by historians. The importance of such studies in the context of historical sociology remains unquestionable. For example, J. Pouchepadass made a thorough probe into how the peasants were mobilized in the course of struggle against indigo planters of Champaran (Bihar) in the first quarter of the twentieth century (1974, 2000). Surendra Gopal (2002) analysed the peasant struggles against the indigo planters in north Bihar since the 1860s and discussed how peasant movement grew from local to regional level and finally became linked with national movement. Stephen Henningham (1982) studied the struggles of the peasantry of north Bihar from 81

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1917 to 1942. He consulted the papers available in government and private archives and used local newspaper reports, government reports and records and also secondary sources to prepare historically the accounts of anti-planter protests (from 1917 to 1923), Swami Vidyanand’s movement (from 1919 to 1920), the non-cooperation movement (from 1920 to 1923), the civil disobedience movement (from 1930 to 1934), the kisan sabha movement (from 1936 to 1939) and the Quit India revolt of 1942. In north Bihar, since the second half of the nineteenth century the British administered ‘limited Raj’ (Yang 1989) that did not disturb the traditional socio-economic structure, and depended to a great extent on the support of great zamindars and village elites (Henningham 1982: 199). However, in the twentieth century, the movements from 1917 to 1942 were generally led and directed by rich peasants and small zamindars. Such movements could hardly succeed in securing the support of the north Bihar branch of the Indian National Congress (Ibid.: 196). The role of the Congress Party in the context of anti-landlord protests in Bihar before independence has also been critically examined by Vinita Damodaran (1994). She discussed in detail how the Congress leadership in Bihar displayed the trait of being ‘conservative’ and ‘hostile to radical strains of activities’ and after 1937 more actively contributed to the repression of the peasant movement of the 1930s, known popularly as bakasht andolan (Grove 1994: 30). William R. Pinch (1996) made an extensive survey of historical records since the beginning of the eighteenth century and analysed the activities of Vaishnava sects in the context of non–upper caste peasant movements in north India. He discussed Yadavas’ politics for Kshatriya identity from the 1890s to the 1920s and the politics of Kurmi, Kushvaha and Yadav involvement in agrarian radicalism from the 1920s to the 1940s. According to him (1996: 142): the populist, peasant-based call for a Kshatriya past suddenly lost its voice after the 1940s . . . the shift from the cultural politics of the early twentieth century to the political culture of the 1990s . . . has been gradual . . . The 82

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implications of that shift are profound . . . signaling the demise of a political culture based on an ideology of martial power and the rise of politics based on democratic, demographic realities. Thus, quite a number of peasant movement studies, it seems, are significantly historico-sociological.

iii. Tribal sector Beginning of the study of the tribal world may be traced back to the work of Major James Browne (1788), described before. Later, a large number of tribal communities began to be studied by scholars and administrators since the nineteenth century. L. P. Vidyarthi observed in 1972 that only a few of these studies had been done in historical perspective and bemoaned their short historical coverage. He (1974: 102) stressed ‘The need for long and middle range historical researches to clarify the complex problems of tribalisation’. However, there are some tribal communities that have been studied in historical perspective. For example, Asoso Yonuo (1974) took historical account of the Nagas since the colonial period in his work. M. Horam (1975) described the historical background and origin of the Nagas in the course of analysing their family, clan and village organization. N. Iqbal Singh (1978) in his book on the Andamans narrated chiefly the historical details of confrontation between tribals of the area and the colonizers. C. P. Singh (1978) in his study of the Ho tribe of Singhbhum depended largely on historical material to trace the history of the region from the eighteenth century in the context of Kol rebellions. The renowned anthropologist, Furer-Haimendorf (1979), in his study of the Gonds of Andhra Pradesh discussed the role of Gonds in history and their ecology and social setting, (Sachchidananda 1985: 78).­ Macdougall (1977) made a historical probe in order to explain why Mundas and Santhals, who had been suffering together from relative deprivation and exploitation, chose different ways for the solution of their problems during the second half of the nineteenth 83

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century (Ibid.: 101). Nalini Natrajan’s book (1977) dealing with the Khasis of Meghalaya is based on the historical study of the impact of Missionaries on their life. A major contribution was made by K. S. Singh (1977) in this context who discussed how through different phases the orientation of tribal movements in Chhotanagpur (now Jharkhand) shifted from ‘ethnicity’ to ‘regionalism’ during the period of about seventy-five years since 1900. It may be noted that most of the tribal movements were revolts or protests against the state. Rajendra Singh (2000: 91) writes in this context that ‘V. Raghaviah’s list (1979) contains 78 tribal revolts during 1778 and 1971 in chronological order . . . Almost all of these revolts were . . . against the state. The seventy seven uprisings accounted by Kathleen Gough contain massive historical data on tribal revolts against the British rule.’ K. L. Sharma (1976) made deep investigation into the tribal insurrections and revolts in the Chhotanagpur region during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and discussed the colonial and Missionary activities among the tribals in historical perspective. He took account of Birsa Munda movement and the activities of Unnati Samaj as well as Adivasi Sabha. Besides, he also dealt with the formation of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha. Jitendra Prasad (2005) worked on the socio-economic conditions of existence of Santhals. He collected data from the field (Santhal villages) and also used historical material extensively. In this context, he analysed the descriptive accounts of the social life of tribal communities available in the works of colonial administrators. He (2005: 257–258) contended that In our historical analysis of the structures of deprivation in economic, socio-cultural and the political field . . . We found that the developmental strategies pursued by the colonial state and the national state had certain similarity in so far as creating structures of exploitation is concerned. And, therefore, the tribal response to these structures of deprivation in both colonial and post-colonial period was characterized by protest movements. 84

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He discussed the factors promoting Jharkhand movement in Chhotanagpur and Santhal Parganas. One of the most important questions from the points of views of historical sociology and anthropology is the tribe–caste relationship viewed in terms of ‘Hinduization of tribes’, ‘Tribalization of castes’ and ‘Tribe-caste continuum’, which was dealt with quite comprehensively and critically by the famous historian Binay Bhushan Chaudhuri (2002). H. H. Risley’s assertion in this context that ‘All over India . . . tribes are gradually and insensibly being transformed into caste’ (1915: 72) represented virtually the official perception in the colonial period. G. S. Ghurye (1943) assumed that the transition from tribe to caste had already reached an advanced stage and the so-called aborigines were, in fact, ‘Hindu sub castes’, ‘backward Hindus’, differing only in degree from other segments of Hindu society (Chaudhuri 2002: 24). N. K. Bose (1941, 1949) also discussed the ‘Hindu method of tribal absorption’. He observed that shifting cultivation prevalent among the Juangs of Orissa became unviable, and therefore, they were forced to adopt wet cultivation, and began to be ‘tagged onto the larger body of Hindu society’. Further, in the case of Mundas and Oraons, he contended that they realized the prospect of raising their level of living by imitating the crafts of Hindu castes (Chaudhuri 2002: 69–70). Bose recognized that absorption of Hindu traits by the tribals was a slow and gradual process, and at the same time, it gave rise to the formation of elite category among them (1975: 46–47). Surajit Sinha, another stalwart among Indian anthropologists, made a deeper analysis of this historical phenomenon of tribal transformation visible only among the ‘top echelons of the emerging power hierarchy’ in the tribal sector. Sinha (1962: 76–77) observed in this context that ‘the emergent structure (of tribal society) facilitated the upper hierarchies to attain Rajput status, the power of the same structure was directed, to a considerable extent, toward inhibiting the realization of similar aspirations by commoners’ (emphasis added). B. B. Chaudhuri analysing the various government reports and the works of E. G. Mann, W. W. Hunter, H. H. Risley, Dalton, S. C. Roy, Martin Orans and others regarding tribal movements in the colonial 85

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period made it clear that ‘tribalization’, propounded by K. S. Singh (1985), has been a very weak trend and ‘Hinduization’ depended upon the changing will and subjectivity of the tribal groups influenced by their protest movements (Chaudhuri 2002: 26, 74). His study seems to reveal a significant historico-sociological phenomenon, the phenomenon of alienation of (tribal) elites from the tribal masses. A similar trend has been observed among Dalits as well by Sachchidananda (1997), Rajalaxmi Rath (1995), Kamla Prasad (2003) and others. In a recent study of Dalits in the state of Uttar Pradesh (in north India), Badri Narayan (2012: 9) observes that out of the sixty six Dalit castes, only four . . . Ravidasi . . . Pasi . . . Dhobi . . . and Kori (weaver) have become visible in democratic politics . . . While democracy has helped in empowering . . . (these) communities, it has also led to the disempowerment of many other smaller communities because marginalized communities which have gained power do not want to share it with their less fortunate brethren. (emphasis added)

iv. Ecology, education, industrial and urban settings Ramachandra Guha (1985: 54–100) considered the issues such as social conflicts over natural resources, indigenous conservation systems and changing attitudes to nature as important for environmental history. He examined the changes in agrarian order, which had followed the ecological changes directed by the colonial government. He consulted a large number of government records, reports, personal collections and manuscripts to study how the forest policies of the colonial state promoted the exploitation of forest resources in the interests of the outsiders (contractors and officers). The famous environmental movement, chipko, was, according to him (1991: XII–XV), virtually an extension of peasant struggles against the ecological degradation sponsored by the British authorities in the Himalayan zone (Uttarakhand). Dhanagare (2006: 29) 86

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considers Guha’s study of the chipko movement as ‘one of the best examples of how historical sociology could be tried and brought to fruition in the form of historical explanation’. The relationship between environment and society was also studied by Nirmal Sengupta who examined the functions of the indigenous system of irrigation in south Bihar. He traced the ahar-pyne system of irrigation prevailing in the south Bihar villages back to the ancient period when Jatakas were written (1994: 128). Peasants, it seems, developed knowledge of the geographical conditions of the region (having a slope from south to north roughly at the rate of one meter per kilometer) and devised the scheme of the construction of pynes and ahars for preserving water to irrigate their lands. On the basis of historical records of the region, Sengupta observed that local zamindars had been traditionally maintaining these pynes and ahars, and, therefore, perhaps, this indigenous system of irrigation worked so efficiently that Gaya district (of south Bihar) hardly experienced any effect of the famines of 1866–67, 1873–74 and 1896–97 in Bihar (Ibid.: 127, 130). However, the observations and reports of J.F.W. James, H. K. Briscoe (who was officiating secretary to the Board of Revenue, Bihar and Orissa in 1915) and J. Reid (director of the Department of Land records and surveys, Bihar and Orissa, in 1915), indicate it clearly that the said traditional obligation of zamindars was, later, exploited by them in their own self-interest for blocking the voice of cultivators for the introduction of the system of payment of land rent in cash (Jha 2007: 26–27). The traditional irrigation system of south Bihar (particularly Gaya region) thus gradually became dysfunctional in early twentieth century. Elizabeth Whitcombe (1994) examined the advantages and disadvantages of canal irrigation system introduced by the colonial authorities in the region of Uttar Pradesh. The author analysed various government reports and views of colonial authorities regarding the effect of this system varying from district to district. For example, in Etawah district, cultivation of ‘valuable’ crops increased; kachcha wells (for irrigation) were almost entirely superseded in Bulandshahar; ‘percolation from main channels’ created ‘swamps’ ruining the sugarcane crops in Etah (1994: 144–146). The study 87

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throws much light on the plight of peasantry in the areas where canal irrigation had been promoted (Ibid.: 142–143). Hetukar Jha (2004) investigated the tradition of excavating tanks for preserving water (for irrigation) in north Bihar since ancient period. The tradition was so vigorous that an important document of the nineteenth century, Aina-i-Tirhut (in Urdu, 1883), recorded the existence of dozens of tanks in each village in the region of Tirhut (Jha 2001: 141–149). Jha consulted a number of historical sources in this context (2004). Excavating tanks and wells used to be a moral as well as religious duty of all those who could afford to do so. In north Bihar (particularly in the region of Mithila), this obligation, it seems, was widely valued and performed as the data given in Aina-i-Tirhut in this context indicate. A necessary condition of the recognition of the legitimacy of tank/well as a common socio-cultural and economic property-resource in society was to organize an elaborate religious ceremony for dedicating the tank to God and all the living beings. So, peasants enjoyed usufructuary rights (sanctified by the religion) over the use of water (for drinking, washing and irrigation) of the tanks (Ibid.: 330–331). Thus, though maintenance of tanks and wells was the duty of their legal owners, peasants were free to use water for irrigation and other purposes. The zamindars/tank owners could not exercise any power to control the use of water by peasants for irrigation, whereas in south Bihar, it was, perhaps, due to the absence of such a religious practice that the zamindars found it easy to exercise their control over the users (peasantry) of water of pynes and ahars, mentioned before. Such a religious tradition associated with a major source of irrigation (an integral part of the process of agricultural production) that prevailed in north Bihar (Mithila), discussed above, it seems, supports the contention of Godelier that in pre-capitalist social formations religious beliefs and practices may, in some aspects, be the constituent of the sphere of production relations (Godelier 1972: 96–98). In the field of education, a large number of scholars worked on its various aspects such as its goals and objectives, structures and functions. Suma Chitnis, a famous sociologist, did a comprehensive survey of studies in this context in 1974 (166–232) and, again, 88

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in 1985 (209–251) and found historical approach almost absent in most of them. Reflecting on this situation, Suma Chitnis (1985: 228) observed that ‘Intensive studies which require . . . longitudinal research are inhibited because of funding problems . . . most funding agencies are reluctant to commit themselves to longitudinal research’. Studies on education in historical perspective such as R. K. Mookerji’s Ancient Indian Education: Brahmanical and Buddhist and A. N Basu’s ‘Indigenous Education’, Modern Review, August, 1939, however, had been brought out before independence (Bara 1998: 161). J. C. Marawalla’s dissertation on the growth of primary education in the former Bombay Presidency and Y. D. Jadeja’s study of the growth of primary education in Surat district came out in 1947 and 1970, respectively (Chitnis 1974: 174). Later, Aparna Basu (1974), a historian, made a significant contribution to the understanding of education and political development from 1898 to 1920. Joseph Bara (1998) analysed the views and observations of J. P. Naik, S. C. Shukla, Kazi Shahidullah and others to demonstrate educational fragmentation in the colonial period. His analysis (Ibid.: 160) suggests that Indigenous popular education had an infrastructure rooted in Indian culture. Its door was open to most of the common people for elementary instruction within the framework of the caste system. By contrast, primary education in the colonial Western system lacked a sound structure, uprooted the people culturally, and widened the gulf between high and low in the social hierarchy. Pre-colonial elementary education was socially purposive and tended to be free of cost in a natural setting. But the colonial system’s ‘general’ elementary education used public resources for the benefit of those classes who were already educationally privileged. Aparna Basu (1998) examined how ‘national education’ was started in Bengal from 1905. She used primary as well as secondary sources in this context. According to her (Ibid.: 55–56), ‘the idea of national education emerged not to promote loyalty to the 89

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state . . . but in opposition to the system of education introduced by the colonial masters . . . it was seen as a crucial agent of social transformation’. Basu discussed the role of local pleaders, barristers and activists in promoting this system. However, it soon declined. She (Ibid.: 67) wrote in this context that ‘The national schools in Bengal were distinctly political in aim, and the men behind them were agitators rather than educationists. Once the political euphoria subsided, the impetus was lost.’ Sumanta Banerjee (1998) examined the views and efforts of social reformers in the nineteenth-century Bengal for the education of the labouring poor. He discussed two cases: a school set up in 1863–64 and an educational enterprise among industrial workers in Calcutta started in 1874 (Ibid.: 171). However, such ventures failed to make a lasting impact due to ‘the alienation of the landlord pedagogues from a resistant peasantry, and also because moral education gradually lost its appeal among the industrial workers . . . superseded by their overriding need to unionize and struggle for their demands’ (Ibid.: 196). James R. Hagen (1981), a historian, worked on the changing conditions, structures and clients of education in Patna district (Bihar) from 1811 to 1951. He consulted a large number of government reports and records of this period and also used secondary sources for this purpose. It may be noted here that the view that colonial authorities were first to introduce secular education in this land is widely believed. For example. A. R. Desai (1948: 139) wrote that ‘The introduction of modern education was . . . definitely a progressive act of the British rule’. J. P. Naik and Syed Nurullah (1971: 275) asserted that it was a great achievement. Hagen’s work, however, was, it seems chiefly aimed at reviewing and reassessing this notion quite critically in the context of the historical reality of society as a whole from the beginning of the colonial period. It is really very significant to note that on the basis of his comprehensive and critical analysis of indigenous traditions, culture and British attitude, policies, administrative decisions (regarding different levels of education), he (1981: 458–459) observed: that the experience of colonial education was enormously negative in nearly every aspect. As a means of transferring 90

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Western science and technology, its negative consequences as a whole far outnumbered the net result of a small number of elite Western schools. . . In terms of expanding general literacy, the net result of colonial education was one of the lowest literacy rates in Asia . . . the most negative consequence was that colonial education disrupted and largely displaced the indigenous cultural meaning of education. (emphasis added) Joseph Bara’s observation in this context (mentioned before) seems to be amply supported by Hagen’s critical analysis of the records of the colonial period. Hetukar Jha (1998) discussed how as a result of the British policy decision of 1835, the village schools for indigenous elementary education, which were widely prevalent and were ‘most secularized’ (Hagen 1981: 259), were eventually closed. Jha (1985) also studied the history of Patna University (first University in Bihar) from 1917 to 1951. He used the primary sources (such as admission registers of the university containing information regarding socio-economic and regional backgrounds of students), census reports, government reports and records, and secondary sources extensively for analysing how British policy in favour of elitist (English) education against the demands for Orientalist education and mass (vernacular) education was finally decided in 1835 (Ibid.: 19–36). He also analysed the socio-economic backgrounds of students admitted to the university and brought out empirical data conforming to the filtration theory of education that British authorities had decided to follow from 1835. As a result of this decision, the vernacular (village) school system decayed and the scope of the education of the lower caste/class groups of rural areas shrank a great deal blocking the prospect of entry to middle classes from below. B. B. Misra, an eminent historian, who worked on the growth of middle classes in India (1961) observed in this context that ‘In fact . . . the professional classes (constituting middle classes) in India continued to comprise those who also ranked high in the hierarchy of caste’ (Ibid.: 307). 91

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In the 1950s, Harold Gould worked on education and politics in Uttar Pradesh. He (1972) took account of the founders of educational institutions during the colonial era and, then, examined the nature of entrepreneurship in the field of education after independence. According to him (Ibid.: 97) ‘It is doubtful that the educational entrepreneurs . . . were primarily politically inspired (before independence) . . . The founder of schools whose purpose was the propagation of learning on the western model . . . was honoured and enjoyed public gratitude and respect’. However, after independence, ‘Educational development has . . . helped to promote the ‘ethnicization’ and politicization of the caste system’ (Ibid.). I. A. Gilbert (1972) studied the problems of autonomy of the institutions of higher education (Presidency College, Kolkata; Muir Central College, Allahabad; and Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College, Aligarh) in the colonial period. Political considerations were observed to be affecting both government and private colleges. However, private educational management was more influenced by dominant groups representing the governing bodies (Rudolph and Rudolph 1972: 168). Further, the problems of autonomy and politicization in the context of the functioning of MS University (Baroda) and Osmania University (Hyderabad) were investigated intensively by Rudolph and Rudolph (1972) and Carolyn M. Elliott (1972), respectively. Their findings indicate that universities after independence began to ‘experience the double impact of demand from below as aspirants for college education doubled, and pressures from above, as state governments sought to . . . consolidate support by educational allocation and policies’ (Rudolph and Rudolph 1972: 168–169). The Delhi College (Pernau 2006) contains critical review of colonial intentions and the details of cultural encounter in the context of the existence of a historic institution of higher education before 1857. These studies throw a significant light on the historical conditions and background of the development of education and educational institutions in India since colonial period. Most of the studies of industrial/urban settings have hardly any visible historical tint. N. R. Sheth in his report on ‘Industrial Sociology’ in 1974 bemoaned this and suggested that historical studies 92

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of Industrialization should be given ‘top priority’ (1974: 177). Victor S. D’Souza reported in 1985 (169) that interest in urban history had, however, begun to grow. He referred to the works of A. Ghosh (1973) and M.S.A. Rao (1974b), which include a ‘general account’ of urban setting in early (ancient) era (D’Souza 1985: 169). A. D. King (1976) dealt with the different aspects of the British view of urban planning in his study of Delhi in colonial period. Satish Saberwal (1976, 1978) categorically discussed the processes of urbanization in India in historical perspective. Howard Spodek (1976) studied the relationship between rural and urban areas in Saurashtra from 1800 to 1960. D’Souza (1985: 170) refers to the historical studies of some important cities such as Ahmedabad (by Gillian 1968), Varanasi (by Singh 1969) and Kolkata (by Sinha 1968). Harish Doshi’s study of the history of the growth of cotton mills in Ahmedabad from 1861 to 1961 is, according to Dhanagare (2006: 38), one of the first studies on industrial cities in which historical background was ‘used to show a meaningful relationship between a traditional neighborhood organization and challenges of modern industrialization’. Doshi (1974) discussed how pols (close-knit neighbourhood organizations) managed to survive by adopting the practice of providing security and basic amenities. Dipankar Gupta (1982) studied how Shiv Sena emerged in the 1960s due to increasing unemployment and the growing feeling of deprivation among the lower and middle classes of Mumbai. He also took account of the various aspects of the agitation of Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti in the 1950s. However, his study covered relatively a very short period of the last century. Sujata Patel (1987) investigated the capital–labour relationship from the 1920s to 1930s and traced the history of trading and marketing in textiles back to the prevalence of the institution of Pedhis in Gujarat. She also took account of the tradition of resolving dispute through arbitration by nagarsheth. Dhanagare (2006: 39–40) contends that Patel’s study is an ideal case that fits into . . . ‘historical sociology’ because the question she has raised regarding 93

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the relationship between capital and labour in Gujarat at a certain historical juncture is basically sociological . . . by deploying the method of historical analysis, Patel has established the fact that contemporary . . . relationship of two classes . . . had its roots in the 16th century institution of dispute settlement in Gujarat’. In another study of AMUL, Patel (1990) analysed how the development in the political economy of central Gujarat region transformed a milk cooperative into a giant corporate establishment. In her study of corporatism in Ahmedabad textile industry (2002), she attempted ‘to build a historical argument to test the validity of the theory of corporatism in general and European syndicalism in particular and to show how Gandhian and European corporatist ideologies were quintessentially different’ (Dhanagare 2006: 40). She (2000) also investigated quite intensively the processes involved in the making of the images of women in Mahatma Gandhi’s thought and action in historical perspective. Sujata Patel’s contributions, it seems, have substantially enriched the venture of historical sociology in India. D. Parthasarthy’s study of urban violence (1997) in historical perspective throws much light on the sociology of violence. He discussed how rich peasants under different kinds of pressure migrated to the cities, where their old rivalries gave rise to collective violence. For his study of collective violence he selected Vijaywada from 1871 to 1991 (1997: 18–83, 123–169). One, thus, gets the view that violence does not generally erupt abruptly; rather, it is the result of the historical background of function of different class/ caste interests, political, demographic and ideological pressures.

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The value of historical thinking in respect of the conditions of human life began to draw the attention of Western intellectuals since the eighteenth century. The discourses on historicism gradually brought history close to sociology and eventually gave rise to historical sociology in Germany before the rise of the Nazi power. Subsequently, the emergence of Annales school in France and that of the approach of ‘social history’ in England contributed a great deal to the significance of sociological history. The works of quite a number of historians and sociologists further demonstrated the value of sociological history/historical sociology. From the 1970s and 1980s, this approach increasingly began to gain ground, and consequently historical sociology came to be recognized as an area of research and teaching in Western (American) sociology. A journal (The Journal of Historical Sociology) also began to be published whose circulation is growing fast. The field of historical sociology, now, appears to be well institutionalized. Yoke-Sum Wong (2008: 8), one of the editors of the Journal of Historical Sociology, wrote that ‘historical sociology . . . is one borne by endless curiosity for the overlooked, the discouraged and the prohibited’. Thus, historical sociology may be supposed to follow the spirit of what Bernard Cohn (2004f: 39–42) called ‘proctological history’, that is, the historical study of the inarticulate, the deprived and the exploited. In India, the quest of the colonial authorities for acquiring knowledge of Indian society, people and culture in order to rule the 95

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territory resulted in the accumulation of a large amount of sociological/anthropological and historical material in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Besides, indological researches contributed to the knowledge of Indian philosophical traditions from ancient days. All these, it seems, had an impact on the thinking of ‘pioneers’ of Indian sociology who generally considered India as historically and culturally unique or different from the West. For sociological understanding and explanation of Indian institutions, they mostly depended on the normative texts of ancient/medieval period. However, the Western perspectives of evolutionism and diffusionism also influenced their studies. After independence, sociology in India virtually began to toe the line of structural functionalism, though some important historico-sociological studies were also carried out. The approach of history from ‘below’ began to gain ground since the 1980s. Subsequently, this trend came to be reinforced by the works of the subalternist historians. Sociologists/anthropologists, perhaps, did not lag far behind them in this context. Since the 1980s, one finds the studies of movements and conditions of lower castes and peasants conducted in historical perspective in different parts of India (described before). The issues concerning the masses, particularly the ignored people, increasingly began to engage the minds of sociologists. Besides, the colonial situation also came to be subjected to re-evaluation and re-examination. Thus, though historical sociology does not exist here as a sub-discipline of sociology, the notion of historical sociology prevailing among its Western champions has remained visible to a great extent in the works of many sociologists/ anthropologists. It may be mentioned that the view of Indian society as unique or different (from the Western society), that was rather strongly asserted before independence, continued to persist, at least implicitly, in the post-independence era. This is reflected in the works on tradition and caste (described before). However, this seems to have contributed to the efforts of appraising and understanding Indian social reality a great deal. Dependence on book-view history, that is, the use of normative texts for explaining and understanding the 96

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Indian institutions, it seems, continued even after independence, though field-view history, that is, the use of descriptive texts, also gradually began to gain ground in sociological/anthropological researches. Secondary sources have been generally consulted by all those who adopted the historical perspective. Primary sources have also been used by quite a number of sociologists/anthropologists. In this context, it is heartening to note that genealogical records, proverbs and folklore have been recognized as authentic historical sources relevant to the sociological studies. However, coverage of time in most of the studies has been relatively short (colonial period). It may be said in the end that historical perspective of one sort or another continued to be incorporated in at least few important sociological/anthropological studies in each of the successive decades since the beginning of sociology in India. The historico-sociological endeavours made in this country for understanding and explaining the social conditions, dynamics and traditions of peasants, lower castes/classes, and tribals are, it seems, not out of tune with the ethos of historical sociology flourishing as a sub-discipline of sociology in the United States (discussed before). At the same time, the works of historians following the subalternist and ethnohistory approaches also reinforce the validity and significance of the use of historical approach for sociological/anthropological appraisal of social reality. The awareness of the value of historical approach appears to be growing among social scientists. It seems necessary that the normative texts (of ancient and medieval periods), such as the books of ancient Indian philosophical systems, Sutras, Smritis, Puranas and Jatakas, should be analysed at least in terms of the issues of their contents in order to make them accessible to the wider group of sociologists and, also, to avoid the contingency of the use of a part of the text out of its context. One may say that much has already been done in this context by Sanskritists, scholars of Buddhism, Jainism, Islam, and others. It is quite true, no doubt. But, it is difficult to say to what extent sociological/ anthropological perspective was incorporated by them. So, instead of depending upon second- or third-hand versions, sociologists/ 97

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anthropologists should themselves undertake the exercise of analysing the normative texts. This will, hopefully, help them in using the book-view history in a more systematic and authentic way. In the first trend report on historical sociology, A.M. Shah (1974: 454) had also suggested that sociologists ‘should not depend entirely upon historians for historical knowledge but should themselves go into historical research’. Records of field-view history should also be examined by sociologists/anthropologists themselves in the contexts of their own issues of research. Dependence on others’ account/ interpretations may not be so useful and gainful. Dhanagare (2006: 43), however, observed that the trend of exploring and using primary sources of history by sociologists/anthropologists had been growing, albeit slowly, in the country. Institutionalization of historical sociology as a sub-discipline of research and teaching in the universities and research institutes, it is hoped, will boost the said trend a great deal. Besides, it will, perhaps, also promote sociology of the long run, which is generally too costly an endeavour to be afforded in the absence of financial and institutional support. For sociology to exist and grow in our country in the present century, it seems desirable that the practice of this discipline should be oriented more and more towards understanding and explaining the historically produced conditions of existence, experiences, ways of life and worldviews. Historical sociology, therefore, deserves to be promoted by all means.

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Ray, Rajat Kanta 2003. The Felt Community. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Robb, Peter (ed.). 1995. The Concept of Race in South Asia, SOAS Studies on South Asia, New Delhi: Oxford University Press. ——— (ed.). 1996. Meanings of Agriculture: Essays in South Asian History and Economics. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Saberwal, Satish. 2008. Spirals of Contention: Why India Was Partitioned in 1947. New Delhi: Routledge. Said, Edward S. 1979. Orientalism. New York: Vintage Books. Sarkar, B. K. 1918. Hindu Achievements in Exact Sciences. New York: Longmans, Green and Co. ———. 1922. The Futurism in Young Asia and Other Essays on the Relations between the East and the West. Berlin: Julias Springer. ———. 1937. Creative India: Mohenjodaro to the Age of Ramakrishna–Vivekananda. Lahore: Motilal Banarasidass. ———. 1939. The Political Institutions and Theories of the Hindus: A Study in Comparative Politics. Calcutta: Chuckervertty, Chatterjee and Co. Schaller, Joseph. 1996. “Sanskritization, Caste Uplift and Social Dissidence in the Sant Raidas Panth” in David N. Lorenzen (ed.) Bhakti Religion in North India: Community Identity and Political Action. New Delhi: Manohar: 94–119. Shah, A.M. 1996. “History and Sociology” in Narendra K. Singhi (ed.) Theory and Ideology in Indian Sociology: Essays in Honour of Professor Yogendra Singh. Jaipur and New Delhi: Rawat Publications: 351–355. Shanin, T (ed.). 1971. Peasants and Peasant Societies. Harmondsworth: Penguin. Siddiqui, M.H. 1978. Agrarian Unrest in North India: The United Provinces (1919–22). New Delhi: Vikas. Singer, Wendy. 1997. Creating Histories: Oral Narratives and the Politics of History-Making. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Singh, Kashi. 1968. “The Territorial Basis of Medieval Town and Village Settlement in Eastern Uttar Pradesh, India.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers LVIII: 218. Skocpol, T. (ed.). 1984. Vision and Method in Historical Sociology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Smith, D. 1991. The Rise of Historical Sociology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Srinivas, M.N. 1952. Religion and Society among the Coorgs of South India. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ———. 1966. Social Change in Modern India. Bombay: Allied Publishers. Srivastava, M.N. 1968. The History of Indian Famines. Agra: Sri Ram Mehra.

127

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Stinchcombe, A.L. 1978. Theoretical Methods in Social History. New York: Academic Press. Stokes, Eric. 1959. The English Utilitarians in India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Sweezy, Paul M. et al. 1957. The Transition from Feudalism to Capitalism: A Symposium. Patna: Sanskriti Publications. Thorner, Daniel. 1976. The Agrarian Prospect in India. New Delhi: Allied Publishers. Thorner, Daniel, and Thorner, Alice. 1962. Land and Labour in India. Bombay: Asia Publishing House. Tilly, Charles. 1984. Big Structures, Large Processes, Huge Comparisons. New York: Russell Sage. Uberoi, Patricia, Sundar, Nandini, and Deshpande, Satish (eds). 2010. Anthropology in the East. Ranikhet: Permanent Black. Vansina, J. 1985. Oral Tradition as History. Madison: Wisconsin University. Weber, Eugen. 1976. Peasants into Frenchmen: The Modernization of Rural France 1870–1914. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. Weber, Max. (1909) 1976. The Agrarian Sociology of Ancient Civilizations. London: New Left Books. ———. 1917 reprinted 1958. The Religion of India: The Sociology of Hinduism and Buddhism. Hans H. Gerth and Don Martindale (eds). New York: Free Press. ———. 1922, reprinted 1991. The Sociology of Religion. Boston: Beacon Press. ———. 1923, reprinted 1961. General Economic History. New York: Collier. White, Hayden. 1973. Metahistory: The Historical Imagination in Nineteenth-Century Europe. Baltimore: Maryland. ———. 1978. Theories of History. Los Angeles, California: William Andrews Clark Memorial Library Publications. ———. 1986. The Content of the Form: Narrative Discourse and Historical Representation. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press. Wiser, W.H. 1958. The Hindu Jajmani System. Lucknow: Lucknow Publishing House. Yang, Anand A. 1987. “A Conversation of Rumours: The Language of Popular Mentalities in late Nineteenth Century Colonial India.” Journal of Social History 20: 485–505.

128

INDEX

Adam’s Three Reports on Vernacular Education in Bengal and Bihar 36 Adivasi Sabha 84 adoption 22 ‘aesthetic’ historicism 5 The Age of Revolution, Europe  1789– 1848 13 agrarian movements, Bihar 81 – 2 agrarian radicalism 82 – 3 ahar-pyne system of irrigation 87 Aina-i-Tirhut 47, 88 All India Sociological Conference, 1955 52 Annales: Economies, Societies, Civilisations 10 Annales historian 9 – 12 Annales school in France 12, 19, 95 Apologia Pour 1’ Histoire 10 areas, historical sociology: civilizations 16; settings or cases 16; social thought 16; sociological methods 16 Arthashastra 25 Asian Drama: An Inquiry into the Poverty of Nations 34 Asiatick Researches and Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal 46 Bahujan Samaj movement 76 bakasht andolan 82

Bazaar India 72 – 3 bhadralok, emergence of 80 – 1 Bhagawata Purana 67 Bibliotheca Indica Series 46 Bihar Durpan 47 Bihar Peasant Life 47 Bihar Provincial Kisan Sabha 77 Bijolia movement 79 Birsa Munda movement 84 Brahmanic influence 29 Brahmanism 40 – 3 British legal system 73 Buddhism 51, 69, 97 canal irrigation system 87 – 8 capitalism 7, 19 caste: casteism 65, 96 – 7; Hindu – Muslim relationship 66, 76; Hindu society, characteristics 68; identity 75; non- or anti-Brahmanical tradition 58, 67; and occupation, context of 74; rise of consciousness 73; rise of Rajputs 70 – 1; sabhas 65; sannyasi 66 Caste and Race in India 49 chipko (environmental movement) 86 – 7 civil disobedience movement 82 The Civilizing Process: The History of Manners and State Formation and Civilization 16

129

I ndex

classical Sanskrit texts, use of 49 – 50, 52 – 4 Coercion, Capital and European States, A.D. 990 – 1900 21 Colebrooke’s survey 29 – 30, 30 comparative sociology 50 concubinage 22 conflict, notion of 68 – 9 congress of historical sciences 10 The Court Society 16 ‘Criminal Tribes’ 42 “culture” 6, 14, 19, 24, 27, 41, 46 – 7, 49, 52, 56, 58, 62, 64 – 5, 69, 89 – 90 Dalit movement 76 – 7, 86 Darshanshastra 25 Darwinism 4 Dasnami 33, 55 Descriptive Ethnology of Bengal 42 dharmashastriya association 33 diffusionism 49, 50, 56, 96 divorce 22, 54 dowry taking practice 59 The Dynamics of a Rural Society (1957) 59, 60 early colonial period: agrarian situation and internal commerce 29; agricultural conditions 27; Bhagalpur district, survey of 31; Brahmanic influence 29; Buchanan’s reports 32; class division of people 33; Colebrooke’s survey 29 – 30; dharmashastriya association 33; exports and imports 28; Hastings, Warren (1785) 27; India Tracts 27 – 30, 28; landholding and land revenue collection 35; monumental value 31; Mysore, survey on 31; norms of dharmashastras 30; power and knowledge, relationship 35; road communication 27;

survey details 31 – 2; varna/caste order 33 – 4; ‘zinnar,’ practice of wearing 28 early nineteenth century: Bentinck, William (1835) 35; Brahmanism 40; curriculum, village schools 35 – 7; historical linguistics 38; role of Missionaries 40; Sanatani/Vedic order 39; secular education 37; struggle for independence, 1857 41; villages 35 ecology: canal irrigation system 87 – 8; chipko (environmental movement) 86 – 7; construction of pynes and ahars 87 – 8; environment and society, relationship between 87; funding problems 89; system of payment of land rent 87 Economic History of India 45 education: autonomy and politicization 92; higher education, autonomy 92; in historical perspective 89; mass (vernacular) education 91; modern education 90 – 1; national education 89 – 90; orientalist education 91; in Patna district 90; and political development 89; and politics in Uttar Pradesh 91 – 2; village schools, indigenous elementary education 91 elementary education, village schools 91 endogamy 22, 70 Enlightenment notion of ‘abstract laws’ 3 Europe and the People without History 22 evolutionism 49, 56, 96 Family and Kin in Indo-European Culture 49 Fourth Mysore War 31 functionalism 63, 96

130

I ndex

geopolitics 20 German historical sociology 9 Gods and Men 49 Herder, J. G. 3 Herodotos 3 Hindu Exogamy 49 ‘Hinduization of tribes’ 85 Hindu or Brahminical knowledge systems 49 Hindu Social Institutions 49 historical sociology: areas (see areas, historical sociology); critical comparison 15; culture, consciousness and interpretation 24; epochal synthesis 15; ethnocentric vision 15; family and marriage in Europe 18; geopolitics 20; industrialization 18; institutionalization of 98; intellectual resources 17; macro-historical sociology 18, 23 – 4 Historical Sociology 17 historicism: capitalism 7; Carr, E. H. 8; cultural uniqueness 6; definition 6; development of sociology/anthropology 6; historical creations 6; historical relativism or historical relationism 8; instrumental reason, rise of 7; of Meinecke 6; social change 9; social reality 8 The History, Antiquities, Topography and Statistics of Eastern India 34 Homo Hierarchicus (1966, 1972) 68 independence struggle in 1857 41 Indian national movement 67 Indian peasantry 79 Indian Recreations: Consisting Chiefly of Strictures on the Domestic and Rural Economy

of the Mahomedans and Hindoos 30 The Indian Sadhus 49 Indian society 26 – 7, 40 – 1, 43, 46, 50, 60, 64, 69, 75, 95 – 6, 96 – 7 India Tracts 27 – 30,  35 indological approach to sociological studies 53 industrial sociology 92 – 3 industrial/urban settings, studies of 92 – 3; capital – labour relationship 93 – 4; growth of cotton mills 93; industrial sociology 92 – 3; urbanization in India, process 93; urban violence 94 Introduction to Hindu Positivism 50 – 1 Islam 69, 97 Jainism 69, 97 jajmani system 70, 72 jamabandi 70 Jatakas 87, 97 jati puranas of pre-modern eras 66, 70 Jharkhand movement 85 Journal of Historical Sociology 18, 24, 95 A Journey from Madras through the Countries of Mysore, Canara and Malabar 31 Kabir Pantha 33, 55 kachcha wells (for irrigation) 87 kisan sabha movement 77, 82 Kol rebellions, context of 83 Lal Kitab 70 land-grab movement 77, 79 – 80 The Land Systems of British India 45 The Limited Raj: Agrarian Relations in Colonial India, Saran District, 1793 – 1920 72, 82

131

I ndex

Linguistic Survey of India 47 Lokavidya 25 Lokayata, tradition of 39, 54 – 5 Lok Parishad 79 Madras Missionary Conference, 1850 40 The Making of the English Working Class 13 Manusmriti 39 – 40 Marwar Hitkari Sabha 79 Marxism in US sociology 18 – 19 Marxist historians 11, 14 Marxist model 62 mass (vernacular) education 36, 41, 46, 78 – 80, 91 The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II 10 ‘metaphysical historicism’ 5 mobilization of classes 21 modern education 90 – 1 modernization 12, 18, 23, 46, 69 Modernization of Indian Tradition (1973) 69 modernizers, approach of 12, 57 monumental history of Dharmashastra 54 Moplah uprisings 78 Nadars’ movement 68 Nanaka Shahi 55 national education 89 – 90 nationalism in India 67 naturalistic historicism 5 Naxalbari or Naxalite movement 77, 78, 80 – 1 Nazism 9 Nila Darpan 46 – 7 non-Brahman movement 54, 58, 67 non-cooperation movement 82 orientalist education 91 Origin of Species 4

Panjis (genealogical records) system 66, 70, 71, 97 peasant movements: agrarian movements, Bihar 81 – 2; agrarian radicalism 82 – 3; bakasht andolan 82; bhadralok, emergence 80 – 1; Bihar Provincial Kisan Sabha 77; Bijolia movement 79; Congress Party, role of 82; Indian peasantry 79; land-grab movement, Basti district 79 – 80; movements in Shahabad district 81; Naxalbari or Naxalite movement 80; peasant struggle in Rajasthan 79; sectarianism 80; social movements 78 pilgrimage records 70 pioneers, era of: Bhandarkar, R. G. 50; Chattopadhyaya, K. P. 50; classical Sanskrit texts, use of 53 – 4; comparative sociology 50; Coomaraswamy, A. K. 51; culture 49; diffusionism 50, 55, 56; evolutionism 55; Ghurye, G. S. 48 – 9, 49; Grierson, George A. 50; Hindu or Brahminical knowledge systems 49; indological approach to sociological studies 53; Lokayata, tradition of 54; monumental history of Dharmashastra 54; Mukerjee, Radha Kamal 51; Mukerji, D. P. 51 – 2; non-Brahmanic cults and traditions 54; Sarkar, Benoy Kumar 50; Seal, Brajendra Nath 50; sects 55; Singh, Yogendra 51; Tantric (Lokayata) cults 54 – 5; texts of Sanatani tradition and shastras 50; tunnel vision, indologists and Sanskritists 54, 56; varna-ashram, Vedic tradition 54 – 5; Western intellectual tradition 56

132

I ndex

Plough, Sword and Book: The Structure of Human History 23 polygyny 22 Positive Background of Hindu Sociology 51 post-1858 era 42; ancient texts, translations of 46; caste sabhas 43; class categories 44; diversity, cultural 45; famines and riots 45 – 6; novels 46 – 7; ‘race science’ 42 – 3; social stratification 44; vernacular publications 46 post-Kantian idealism 4 Praja Mandals 79 Pravara and Charana 49 The Problem of Unbelief in the Sixteenth Century 10 “proctological history” 95 Quit India revolt 82 Rajanitishastra 25 Rajputana Madhya Bharat Sabha 79 Rajputs, rise of 70 – 1 reform movement 77 Remarks on the Husbandry and Internal Commerce in Bengal 29 renaissance 22 Reports on the State of Education in Bengal 35 retrospective ethnography 15 – 16 ‘revolution’ and ‘world system’ 18 – 19 The Rise and Fall of The East India Company (1955) 59 The Rise and Fall of the East India Company: A Sociological Appraisal (1973: VII) 60 rise of historicism 4 romanticism 4, 7 Sahitya 25 Sajra Nasib 70 Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti 93

Sanatani tradition and shastras, texts 50 Sanatani/Vedic order 39 sannyasi (of Brahmanic tradition) 66 Sanskritization, process of 28, 58 – 9,  70 Satyashodhak movement 76 scheduled caste (SC) movements 63 – 4 sectarianism, development of 80 sects 32, 39 – 40, 55 secular education 37, 90 The Seir Mutaqherin 39 Selected Views in India 30 Shahabad journal 32 – 3 Shaivism 55 Shakta 39, 55 Shrotriyas formation 70 social history, notion of 11, 14 social identity, unit of 74 – 5 social inequality, conditions of 75 – 6 social power, sources 21 social stratification 44 socio-cultural change: Bahujan Samaj movement 76; Bazaar India 72 – 3; bhikhu 67; British legal system 73; conditions of social inequality 75 – 6; conflict, notion of 68 – 9; context of Westernization 58, 59; Dalit movement 77; decline of jajmani system 70; dowry taking practice 59; economic dualism 71; ethnographical study 73; functionalism 63; genealogical records 66; Indian society 69; Islam and Western civilization, impacts 69; jajmani relationships 72; jati puranas of pre-modern eras 66; Marxist model 62; Nadars’ movement 68; nationalism in India 67; Paniji system 70, 71; political power and priestly functions

133

I ndex

‘ethnicity’ to ‘regionalism’ 84; historico-sociological phenomenon 86; Ho tribe of Singhbhum 83; Jharkhand movement 85; Santhals 84; tribe – caste relationship  85 ‘Tribe-caste continuum’ 85 The Tribes and Castes of Bengal 42 Tribes and Castes of the North-Western Provinces and Oudh 42 – 3

73 – 4; Sanskritization, process of 58; Satyashodhak movement 76; scheduled caste (SC) movements 63 – 4; sociological/ anthropological investigations 62; unit of social identity 74 – 5; Vedchhi movement 67; village markets 73; Yadavas, efforts of 70 socio-cultural stages, sensate, ideational and eclectic 15 sociology: chief centres, sociological research 48; development in India 48; as discipline of teaching 25; ‘pioneers’ of Indian 26; in universities 48 Sociology and History 18 The Sources of Social Power 20 structural functionalism 57, 96 Swami Vidyanand’s movement 82

Unnati Samaj, activities of 84

Tantric (Lokayata) cults 54 – 5 Tebhaga movements 78 Telangana movement 78 Thucydides 3 tradition: Brahmanic texts 47, 49, 51, 55, 66; Buddhist 67; Bundela Rajput kingdoms 74; early colonial period 40; of elites 63; formation of Shrotriyas as a jati (a subcaste of Maithil Brahmans) 70; Indian 40, 50, 52, 54; pan-Indian traditions 64 – 5; Sanatani and non-Sanatani 40, 50, 54; Vedic 55 Treatise on General Sociology 7 ‘Tribalization of castes’ 85 tribal sector 83 – 5; alienation of (tribal) elites 86; Birsa Munda movement 84; colonial administrators 84; in colonial period 85 – 6; context of Kol rebellions 83; Dalits, study of 86; elite category 85;

Vaishnavism 50, 55 varna/caste order 33 – 4, 54 – 5 Vedchhi movement 67 vernacular publications 46 village: alternative politics, rise of 76; class III: largest class of sharecroppers, agricultural labourers 60; class II: self-sufficient peasantry 60 – 1; class I: landholders and supervisory farmers 60; economic dualism 71; ethno sociology 62; investigative modalities 62; markets, functions 73; modernizers 57; peasant economy 61 – 2; schools, indigenous elementary education 91; structural-functional approach 57; ‘village notes’ 71 – 2 Village India (1955) 64 – 5 Virsaiva movement 77 Vyakarana 25 Waddars movement 77 Westernization 58, 59 world system 18 – 20, 22 Yadavas, efforts of 33, 70, 78, 82 zinnar (wearing), practice of 28

134