IGNOU MSO-04 Sociology in India Free Solved Assignment



Q1. Discuss with examples the three major approaches to understand Indian society.

Ans:The eighteenth century three types of western interpretation of Indian reality became evident:

(1)        The orientalist,

(2)        The missionary, and

(3)        The administrative (Cohn 1968; Singh. 1979).

The orientalists were enchanted by the Indian spiritual tradition mythology, philosophy, etc. Their reliance on textual view led to a picture of Indian society as being static, timeless and space less. The missionaries, who were zealots2 of the Christian religious traditions, looked at it as a socio-cultural and ethnic system which needed total religious traditions, looked at it as a socio-cultural and ethnic system which needed total religious conversion. Both the groups agreed that Hinduism as practiced within the realm of their observation was filled with ‘superstition’ and ‘abuses’. Though, the orient lists considered the situation of their contemporary Indians as a fall from a Golden Age. The missionaries, of course, added a lot to the empirical study of the Indian society which was strengthened by the administrators. The interpretation of Indian reality by the administrators, trained in British universities and indoctrinated by utilitarian rationalism, was more pragmatic and more matter of fact. Their purpose was to understand it in order to exploit its resources. The administrators sought to develop categories that would help them in ordering their ideas and actions relating to the life of the natives of India avoiding the enormous complexities characterizing it. For example, B. H. Baden Powell’s 3 volumes of The Land Systems of British India (1892) were not just a compilation of data but contained a series of arguments about the nature of Indian village and its resources in relation to the state and its demand over these resources. Baden Powell recognized that there were in general two claims on the produce of the soil, the states and the landholder’s. He postulated that the government derived its revenue “by taking a share of the actual grain heap on the threshing floor of each holding”. In order to ensure the collection of this share, a wide range of intermediaries between the state and the grain heap developed. They asserted in their turn varying degrees of control or ownership/possession right over land and its produce. In addition, rights over the land were established by conquest. Baden Powell strongly contested Henry Maine’s view that there was only one type of Indian village, viz., and politically autonomous and economically self-sufficient village community. It continued to fascinate both the Western thinkers such as Marx and Metcalfe and the Indians Metcalfe observed, “They [i.e., the village Communities] seem to last when nothing else lasts.” The idea of the unchanging village community was incorporated into general social theory of the later nineteenth and also twentieth century’s. The Marxists viewed the British rule as an “unconscious tool of history” breaking the stagnation Indian society founded on unchanging village communities. The Indian nationalists on the other hand came to rely on R. C. Dutt’s Economic History of India to establish that it was the evils of British imperial rule which degraded India from this idyllic state of village republics with agricultural prosperity to the conditions of stagnated rural economy dominated by moneylenders and rapacious3 landlords.

According to Baden Powell, there were two distinct types of village in India:

(1)        “ryotwari” or non-landlord or severalty, and

(2)        landlord or joint-village.

But both he and Maine and their respective followers were interested in developing evolutionary stages of development of socio-economic formations. The types and classifications of villages were also attempted in relation to the institution of caste. They were found advantageous by the administrators. They reduced the need for specific knowledge. To act in terms of categories was relatively convenient. Latently, the categorical or conceptual thinking about villages directed attention away from internal politics in villages and from the questions of the nature of actual social relations and economic conditions engendered4 by the colonial policy. Of course, the reports such as those of the Famine Commission of 1901 and concern over widespread peasant riots and large scale alienation of land from peasant to moneylenders prompted the search for remedial action and a number of official investigations into the socio-economic conditions in the villages were made. Although some knowledge was acquired, the ground-reality was ignored.

Q2. Did suitable conditions exist during the colonial rule in India which could promote the emergence of sociology? Discuss.

Ans: Sociology and social anthropology succeeded in establishing themselves as disciplines in India in the years following the end of World War I, despite an unfavourable academic environment. The atmosphere for the social sciences changed noticeably in the years following independence. The Indian state’s commitment to economic development through centralized planning, its banning of the practice of untouchability and the introduction of measures for protective discrimination in favor of the untouchables and tribals, and in a lesser way, of the other socially and educationally backward classes, made it an ally of the social sciences, including sociology and social anthropology. Sociology is a ‘humanistic’ social science. It, consequently, has to take into account the specific ideas and ideals, values and aspirations, problems and predicament of concrete groups of human beings in particular historical circumstances even when it tries to attain generalizations about human relations. Sociology, therefore, hardly fits in the mould of natural science and its development in different countries bears in one way or another imprint of particular historical experiences and cultural configurations. Lack of attention to the fact in India has resulted in that.

One cannot, even today, speak with much conviction of an Indian tradition in sociology whereas one could speak of a German or American tradition of sociology. This is largely because of the fact that in their teaching and research Indian sociologists has in an overwhelming manner drawn upon the concepts, methods and theories already in use in the West instead of developing their own. The activity of the sociologists in this regard is hardly different from what is done by the physicists or biologists or even economists. But the sociologists have a special kind of reason for their worry. The relationship of data on the one hand and concepts, methods, and theories on the other in the human sciences is different from what it is in the natural sciences. When an Indian sociologist Andre Beteille formulates, most appositely points out, a general rule or principle such as the Saha Equation or Chandrasekhar Limit, he takes for granted that it will be used by the physicists everywhere and not just in India. The utility of a common stock of tools is not in question in natural sciences; but in human sciences, True, because of their familiarity with Western sociology and its basic concepts and categories, the Indian sociologists did not have to struggle so hard as their predecessors in the nineteenth century Europe to establish the legitimacy of sociology as a serious intellectual discipline. But their over dependence on the Western pathfinders made them forget the fact that sociology in the West was “an intellectual response, a cognitive response, to the problems which that society was facing as a result of industrialization and the type of social upheaval and transformation that were taking place”. The Intellectual Revolution embodied in the movement for Enlightment, Scientific Revolution and Commercial Revolution, which spanned the period between the 14th and the 18th centuries, the French Revolution of 1789 and the Industrial Revolution put a deadly blow to the age-old feudal system monarchy and the church when the saga of the aspirations and achievements of individuals and the tale of their woes started, there was great uncertainty about the values and social order in the new situation. Sociology in the West came by way of an attempt to come to grip with it. It “was very largely a kind of cognitive system which the industrial bourgeoisie in the European context tried to develop as a response, as a kind of worldview to overcome the problems of the disintegrating traditional worldview and, at the same time the disintegrating paradigms of knowledge.” But, the industrial bourgeoisie did not develop in India when sociology came to the country. Sociology in India was the product of intellectual response of the Indians to the Western interpretations of Indian society and culture by the Westerners, mainly after the colonial rule of the British began in India. Anthropology, the kindred discipline with sociology, too was largely the product of European expansion of the world during the last three or four centuries. The need to govern men of various races and vastly different cultures created the urgency in the European rulers to study the life and cultures of the ruled. The Western effort to gather information of the life and culture of the Indians, which formed the basis of sociology and anthropology in India, was marked by a similar interest of the colonial rulers. It is, of course, true that later genuine scientific interests enriched both the disciplines and they emerged in the Western context of modernity. At the same time one can ill-afford to ignore the colonial context within which sociology grew in this country.

Q3. Discuss the social structure of Indian village in terms of caste, class and gender.

Ans: The number of castes resident in a single village can vary widely, from one to more than forty. Typically, a village is dominated by one or a very few casts that essentially control the village land and on whose patronage members of weaker groups must rely. The logical and chronological context in which social anthropologists worked largely guided the kinds of research questions they identified for their studies. The tradition of studying tribal communities that emphasized a ‘holistic’ perspective also had its influence on the way village was visualized. Despite their primary preoccupation with kinship, religion and ritual life of the ‘little communities’, documenting their internal structures and village  social life could not be completed without looking at the prevailing social differences. Theoretically also the emphasis on ‘unity’ did not mean absence of differences and social inequality. Neither did it mean that these questions were not important for social anthropology. Though not all of them began their work with a direct focus on understanding the structures of inequalities, almost every one of them offered detailed descriptions of the prevailing differences of caste, class and gender in the village social life.

Caste System:- The Indian caste system describes the social stratification and social restrictions in the Indian subcontinent, in which social classes are defined by thousands of endogamous10 hereditary groups, often termed as jâtis or castes. It was during the colonial period that caste was, for the first time, the Prised in modern sociological language. The colonial administrators also gathered extensive ethnographic details and wrote detailed accounts of the way systems of caste distinctions and hierarchies worked in different parts of the sub-continent. Social anthropology in the post-independence India continued with a similar approach that saw caste as the most important and distinctive feature of Indian society. While caste was a concrete structure that guided social relationships in the Indian village, hierarchy was its ideology.

Land and Class:- As is evident from the above discussion, the social anthropologists studying India during the fifties and sixties generally worked in the framework of caste. The manner in which social science disciplines developed in India, class and land came to be seen as the concerns of economists. However, since anthropologists advocated a perspective that studied ‘small communities’ in holistic terms, agriculture and the social relations of production on land also found a place in the village monographs. While some of them directly focused on economic life as one of the central research questions, most saw it as an aspect of the caste and occupational structure of the village.

Gender Differences:- It is rather interesting to note that although ‘gender’ as a conceptual category had not yet been introduced in the social sciences when the social anthropologists were doing their field studies during 1950s and 1960s, village studies was not completely “gender blind”. Since the concept of gender and the accompanying theoretical issues had yet to be articulated, the social anthropologists did not look at man-woman relations in the manner in which it was to be conceptualized and studied later. Still, many of the village monographs provide detailed accounts of the patterns of social relations between men and women in the rural society of India. Some of these monographs even have separate chapters devoted to the subject. In the absence of a critical theoretical perspective, the village studies constructed gender and patriarchy as a ‘natural social order’. Further, accounts of man-woman relations provided in these studies were largely based on the data collected from male informants.

Q4. Why did the village studies become popular during the 1950s and 1960s in India? Discuss.

Ans: Village India has figured prominently is sociological literature. In post-independence India, in the 1950s and 1960s, a number of anthropologists and sociologists from the UK, USA, and India contributed to village studies. The relation between land and people has an important bearing on the economic life of the village, but such a fluid category of alliance can do little with the cultural personality of a village. The Indian society is predominantly divided into two divisions like the rural society and the urban society. Villages have always been an integral part of society in India. Ideological as well as political — for the way Indian society was to be imagined in the times to come. Along with the earlier writings of James Mill, Charles Metcalfe’s notion of the Indian Village Community set the tone for much of the later writings on rural India. Metcalfe, in his celebrated remark stated that “the Indian village communities were little republics, having nearly everything they wanted within themselves, and almost independent of foreign relations. They seemed to last where nothing else lasted. Dynasty after dynasty tumbled down; revolution succeeded revolution but the village community remained the same.” Though not all colonial administrators shared Metcalfe’s assessment of the Indian village, it nevertheless became the most popular and influential representation of India. The Indian village, in the colonial discourse, was a self-sufficient community with communal ownership of land and was marked by a functional integration of various occupational groups. Things as diverse as stagnation, simplicity and social harmony were attributed to the village which was taken to be the basic unit of Indian civilization.

In many ways, even in the nationalist discourse, the idea of village as a representative of authentic native life was derived from the same kind of imagination. Though Gandhi was careful enough not to glorify the decaying village of British India, he nevertheless celebrated the so-called simplicity and authenticity of village life, an image largely derived from colonial representations of the Indian village. The decadence of the village was seen as a result of colonial rule and therefore village reconstruction was, along with political independence, an important process for recovery of the lost self.

In the post-Independence India also ‘village’ has continued to be treated as the basic unit of Indian society. Among the academic traditions, the study of village has perhaps been the most popular among the sociologists and social anthropologists working on India. They carried-out a large number of studies focusing on the social and cultural life of the village in India. Most of these studies were published during the decades 1950s and 1960s. These ‘village studies’ played an important role in giving respectability to the disciplines of sociology and social anthropology in India. Generally basing their accounts on first-hand fieldwork, carried out mostly in a single village, social anthropologists focused on the structures of social relationships, institutional patterns, beliefs and value systems of the rural people.

Q5. Describe rules of marriages amongst some of the communities in India.

Ans:- This limit or the rule of exogamy is in North India.

(i) Clan Exogamy: Belonging to one’s natal descent line is best expressed in matters of marriage. No man is allowed to marry a daughter of his patriline. In North India, lineage ties upto five or six generations are generally remembered and marriage alliances are not allowed within this range. In such a situation, the lineage turns into the clan and we speak of gotra (clan) and gotra bhai (clan mates). Widely used Sanskrit term gotra is an exogamous category within a sub-caste. Its main use is to regulate marriages within a sub-caste.

(ii) The Four Clan Rule: In this connection, you may refer to the four-gotra or four-clan rule. In Irawati Karve’s (1953: 118) words, according to this rule, a man must not marry a woman from (i) his father’s gotra, (ii) his mother’s gotra, (iii) his father’s mother’s gotra, and (iv) his mother’s mother’s gotra. In other words, this rule prohibits marriage between two persons who share any two of their eight gotra links. This means that the rule of exogamy goes beyond one’s own lineage. Another related kind of exogamy, which exists in North India, is village exogamy. A village usually has members of one or two lineages living in it. Members belonging to the same lineage are not permitted to intermarry. This principle extends even to the villages, which have more than two lineages. In other words, a boy and a girl in a village in North India are like a brother and sister and hence cannot intermarry.

Rules of endogamy:- As mentioned earlier, the kinship system operates within the families of the caste groups living in one village or a nearby cluster of villages. Castes are endogamous. This means that one marries within one’s caste. Let us look at the rules of marriage within one’s caste/ sub-caste.

Marriages within the Subcaste

Associated with local terms is the idea of the status of various units within the subcaste. Taking the example of the Sarjupari Brahmin of Mirzapur district in Uttar Pradesh, studied by Louis Dumont (1966: 107), we find that each of the three subcastes of Sarjupari Brahmins of this area is divided into three houses (kin groups or lineages) which range hierarchically in status. The marriages are always arranged from lower to higher house. This means that woman is always given to the family, which is placed in the house above her own. Also refer to the popular saying in North India that ‘the creeper must not go Kinship-I back’. The same idea is reflected by another North Indian saying that ‘pao pujke, ladki nahin le jainge’ (i.e., once we have washed the feet of the bridegroom during the wedding ceremony, we cannot accept a girl from his family, because this will mean that we allow that side to wash our feet or allow the reversal of relationships).


Q6. Discuss the relationship between tribe and caste in India with suitable examples.

Ans: Sociologists and anthropologists tend to see as the end result of social change in tribal India the transformation of any given tribe into a caste or just another socially stratified group, or the merger of the tribe in the peasantry. Tribes were one which lived in isolation from the rest of the population and therefore without any interaction or interconnection with them. In contrast the main concern in the post-colonial ethnography has been to show close interaction of the tribes with the larger society or the civilization. The relation has, of course, been differently conceptualized. Sinha (1958) views tribes as a dimension of little tradition that cannot be adequately understood unless it is seen in relation to the great tradition. In contrast Beteille (1986: 316) sees tribes more as a matter of remaining outside of state and civilization in contexts where tribe and civilization co-exist, as in India and the Islamic world. Thus, though the distinction is maintained, the two are treated not as isolated but in interaction with each other. Even when tribes have been conceived as remaining outside the state, which has been most often the case, they have not been treated as falling outside the civilization influence. Hence, tribes have been viewed as being in constant interaction with the civilization. Consequently the tribal society has not been seen as static but in a process of change. One of the dominant modes in which the transformation of the tribal society has been conceived is in terms of tribe moving in the direction of becoming a part of civilization by getting absorbed into the society that represents civilization. Both historians and anthropologists have made such observation in the context of the past. Kosambi (1975) has referred to tribal elements being fused into the general society. Similarly, N. K. Bose (1941) makes reference of tribes being absorbed into the Hindu society. Such a claim has not gone abetted4. A large number of anthropological works of the post-independence era still point to phenomena such as tribes being absorbed or assimilated into Hindu society or tribes becoming caste. Tribes are said to have accepted the ethos of caste structure and absorbed within it. Hence they are treated as hardly differentiable from those of neighbouring Hindu peasantry. Some of the well-known tribes in this category are said to be Bhils, Bhumijs, Majhi, Khasa and Raj-Gond. In fact, much of the social anthropological discourse on tribes has been primarily couched in terms of tribes being transformed to caste.

Nowhere is this better reflected than in the classification of tribes provided by the eminent anthropologists. Different scholars have of course made the classification differently; but all invariably refer to a stage of incorporation into the Hindu society. Some of the classifications in vogue are referred below.

Roy Burman (1972) in his earlier work classified tribes as (1) those incorporated in the Hindu society, (2) those positively oriented to Hindu society, (3) those negatively oriented, and (4) those indifferent to the Hindu society. Vidyarthi (1977) talked of tribes as (1) those living in forest, (2) those in rural areas, (3) semi-acculturated, (4) acculturated, and (5) assimilated. Elwin (1944) categorized tribes into four categories. These were (1) purest of the pure tribal groups, (2) those in contact with the plains and therefore changing but still retaining the tribal mode of living, (3) those forming the lower rung of the Hindu society, (4) those adopted to full Hindu faith and living in modern style. The criteria of classification used by Vidyarthi suffer from the lack of logical consistency. Elwin even went to the extent of writing that the whole aboriginal problem was one of how to enable the tribesmen of the first and the second classes to advance direct into the fourth class without having to suffer the despair and degradation of the third. Dube too classifies tribes along almost the same lines as those of Elwin.

Q7. Critically discuss the linkages between religion and politics in India.

Ans: A religion is a system of human thought which usually includes a set of narratives, symbols, beliefs and practices that give meaning to the practitioner’s experiences of life through reference to a higher power, deity or deities, or ultimate truth. Religion is commonly identified by the practitioner’s prayer, ritual, meditation, music and art, among other things, but more generally is interwoven with society and politics. It may focus on specific supernatural, metaphysical, and moral claims about reality (the cosmos and human nature) which may yield a set of religious laws, ethics, and a particular lifestyle. Religion also encompasses ancestral or cultural traditions, writings, history, and mythology, as well as personal faith and religious experience. The term ‘religion’ refers to both the personal practices related to communal faith and to group rituals and communication stemming from shared conviction. ‘Religion’ is sometimes used interchangeably with ‘faith’ or ‘belief system,’ but it is more socially defined than personal convictions, and it entails specific behaviors, respectively. The development of religion has taken many forms in various cultures. It considers psychological and social roots, along with origins and historical development.  In the frame of western religious thought, religions present a common quality, the “hallmark of patriarchal religious thought”: the division of the world in two comprehensive domains, one sacred, the other profane1. According to the futurist Raymond Kurzweil, “The primary role of traditional religion is deathliest rationalization that is, rationalizing the tragedy of death as a good thing.” Religion is often described as a communal system for the coherence of belief focusing on a system of thought, unseen being, person, or object, that is considered to be supernatural, sacred, divine, or of the highest truth. Moral codes, practices, values, institutions, tradition, rituals, and scriptures are often traditionally associated with the core belief, and these may have some overlap with concepts in secular philosophy. Religion is also often described as a ‘way of life’ or a life stance.

Politics is a process by which groups of people make decisions. The term is generally applied to behavior within civil governments, but politics has been observed in all human group interactions, including corporate, academic and religious institutions. It consists of “social relations involving authority or power” and refers to the regulation of a political unit, and to the methods and tactics used to formulate and apply policy.

The word ‘Politics’ comes from the Greek word (polis) meaning city-state. The Greek word   ‘Politikos’ describes anything concerning the state or city affairs. In Latin, this was ‘politicus’ and in French ‘politique’. Thus it became ‘politics’ in the most perfect example of the Greek city-state is Athens.

Now let’s have a look on Indian politics and religion. In India, religion plays on quintessential role in the day to day life and is a major influence over the Indian population and culture Religion covers every aspect of the life of the Indian people. Religion also plays an important role in the politics of India.

The effect of religion on Indian politics is staggering. The hatred that has for many years put the country in political strife does not seem to be declining. The feelings between all religions, especially Hinduism and Islam, are just as strong as ever. The structure of the Indian government sets up for the confrontations between the opposing political parties. These confrontations are the basis for power struggle within the Indian government.

Q8. What is secularism? Is it different from secularisation? Discuss.

Ans: Secularism is the concept that government or other entities should exist separately from religion and/or religious beliefs. In one sense, secularism may assert the right to be free from religious rule and teachings, and freedom from the government imposition of religion upon the people, within a state that is neutral on matters of belief, and gives no state privileges or subsidies to religions. In another sense, it refers to the view that human activities and decisions, especially political ones, should be based on evidence and fact unbiased by religious influence.  In its most prominent form, secularism is critical of religious orthodoxy and asserts that religion impedes human progress because of its focus on superstition and dogma rather than on reason and the scientific method. Secularism draws its intellectual roots from Greek and Roman philosophers such as Marcus Aurelius and Epicurus, medieval Muslim polymaths such as Ibn Rushd, Enlightenment thinkers like Denis Diderot, Voltaire, John Locke, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and Thomas Paine, and modern freethinkers, agnostics and atheists such as Bertrand Russell and Robert Ingersoll.

Secularization refers to the transformation of a society from close identification with religious values and institutions toward non-religious (or ‘irreligious’) values and secular institutions. Secularization thesis refers to the belief that as society’s progress, particularly through modernization and rationalization, religion loses its authority in all aspects of social life and governance. Secularization has many levels of meaning, both as a theory and a historical process. Social theorists such as Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Max Weber, and Émile Durkheim, postulated that the modernization of society would include a decline in levels of religiosity. Study of this process seeks to determine the manner in which, or extent to which religious creeds, practices and institutions are losing their social significance (if at all).

The term also has additional meanings, primarily historical. Applied to church property, secularization involves the abandonment of goods by the church where it is sold to purchasers after the government seizes the property, which most commonly happens after reasonable negotiations and arrangements are made. In Catholic theology, the term can also denote the permission or authorization given for an individual (typically clergy, who become secular clergy) to live outside his or her religious colony (monastery), either for a fixed or permanent period.

Secularization is sometimes credited both to the cultural shifts in society following the emergence of rationality and the development of science as a substitute for superstition — Max Weber called this process, “the disenchantment of the world” — and to the changes made by religious institutions to compensate. At the most basic stages, this begins with a slow transition from oral traditions to a writing culture that diffuses knowledge. This first reduces the authority of clerics as the custodians of revealed knowledge.

Q9. Discuss the impact of urbanisation on social institutions like family, kinship and marriage in India.

Ans: Following are the effects of Urbanization:

Family and Kinship

Urbanization affects not only the family structure but also intra-and inter-family relations, as well as the functions the family performs. With urbanization, there is a disruption of the bonds of community and the migrant faces the problem to replace old relationships with new ones and to find a satisfactory means of continuing relationship with those left behind. Several empirical studies of urban families conducted by scholars like I.P. Desai, Kapadia and Aileen Ross, have pointed out that urban joint family is being gradually replaced by nuclear family, the size of the family is shrinking, and kinship relationship is confined to two or three generations only. In his study of 423 families in Mahuva town in Gujrat, I.P. Desai (1964) showed that though the structure of urban family is changing, the spirit of individualism is not growing in the families. He found that 74 per cent families were residentially nuclear but functionally and in property joint, and 21 per cent were joint in residence and functioning as well as in property and 5 per cent families were nuclear. Kapadia (1959) in his study of 1,162 families in rural and urban (Navsari) areas in Gujrat found that while in rural areas, for every two nuclear families there were three joint families; in urban areas, nuclear families were 10 per cent more than joint families.

Aileen Ross (1962) in her study of 157 Hindu families belonging to middle and upper classes in Bangalore found that:

  1. about 60 percent of the families are nuclear
  2. the trend today is towards a break with the traditional joint family form into the nuclear family form into the nuclear family unit.
  3. small joint family is now the most typical form of family life in urban India.

Sylvia Vatuk maintains that the ideal of family “jointness” is still upheld although living separate. The extended family acts as a ceremonial unit and close ties with the members of agnatic extended family are maintained. Also, larger kinship clusters including groups of bilaterally and affinally related household within the same or closely adjacent mohallas exist. There is a tendency towards bilateral kinship in urban areas. In her study of Rayapur in 1974-1976, Vatuk mentions the increasing tendencies towards individualizing the marital bond and decline of practices such as levirate1 widow inheritance, widow remarriage, marriage by exchange, polygyny, etc. The impact of urbanization is also seen in the urban pattern of increasingly homogenized values and ways of behaving.

Thus, gradual modification of the family structure in urban India is taking place such as diminishing size of the family, reduction in functions of family, emphasis on conjugal relationship, etc. Kinship is an important principle of social organization in cities and there is structural congruity between joint family on one hand and requirements of industrial and urban life on the other. In his study of nineteen families of outstanding business leaders in Madras, Milton Singer (1968) argues that a modified version of traditional Indian joint family is consistent with urban and industrial setting.

Q10. Discuss the changing facts of peasant movement in India.

Ans:- Some of the most important peasant movements in India are as follows: 1. Champaran Satyagraha (1917) 2. Kheda Peasant Struggle 3. The Bardoli Movement in Gujarat 4. Moplah Rebellion in Malabar 5. Peasant Revolt in Telangana 6. Tebhaga Movement in Bengal.

The history of agrarian unrest can be traced back to the first quarter of 1920s. The rural sociologists have used various terms for peasant unrest. For some the unrest is called as a peasant struggle, for some it is called as a peasant uprising and some others call it as a peasant revolution. Few other sociologists call it simply a movement.

The change in the agrarian situation has resulted in a change in the situation of the peasants, which has given rise to many problems. The peasants have more demands. These situations have also changed the relations between peasants and agricultural laborers (S.L. Doshi and P.C. Jain, Rural Sociology, pp. 229 and 230). Now let us have a detailed discussion on some of the important peasant movements.

  1. Champaran Satyagraha (1917):- The Champaran peasant movement was a part of the independence movement. After returning from South Africa, Gandhiji made the experiment of non-cooperation by lead­ing the Champaran (Bihar) and Kheda (Gujarat) peasant struggles. The basic idea was to mobilize the peasants and make them attain their demands.

The peasant movement of Champaran was launched in 1917-1918. The main aim was to create awakening among the peasantry against the European planters. These planters exploited the peasants without providing them adequate remuneration for their labor.

  1. Kheda Peasant Struggle:- The peasantry of Kheda consisted mainly of Patidars who were known for their skills in agriculture. The Patidars were well-educated. Kheda is situated in the central part of Gujarat and was quite fertile for the cultivation of tobacco and cotton crops.
  2. The Bardoli Movement in Gujarat:- During the British Raj, in the state of Gujarat, Bardoli Satyagraha of 1925 was a major episode of civil disobedience in the Indian Independence movement. In the year 1925, the taluka of Bardoli suffered from heavy floods and severe famine which affected the crops very badly. This situation led the farmers to face great financial troubles. At the same time, the Government of Bombay Presidency raised the tax rate by 30 per cent.
  3. Moplah Rebellion in Malabar:- Moplahs were Muslim peasants settled in the Malabar region of Kerala. The social and economic background of the Moplahs was heterogeneous. Certain rich Moplahs earned their livelihood as traders and merchants. Rest of the Moplahs worked as small agricul­turists who were the tenants of the big landlords.
  4. Peasant Revolt in Telangana:- This movement was started against the Nizam of Hyderabad. The agrarian structure fol­lowed the feudal system at this time. During this time, two kinds of land tenure systems were prevalent, namely, Ryotwari and Jagirdari. Under the Ryotwari system the peasants owned patta in their name and were the proprietors and registered occupants of the land.
  5. Tebhaga Movement in Bengal:- The word Tebhaga literally means three shares of harvests. It was a sharecropper’s movement, which demanded two-thirds for themselves and one-third for the landlord. Earlier, the sharecroppers used to give fifty-fifty share of the produce on their tenancy. The crop sharing system at that time was known as barga, adhi, bhagi, etc., and the sharecroppers were called as bargadars or adhiars.

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