Part A: Sociology

RAS mains syllabus of Sociology includes following topics:

  • Development of Sociological Thought in India.
  • Social Values.
  • Caste Class & Occupation.
  • Varna, Ashram, Purusharthas and Sanskar Vyavastha.
  • Issues and Problems of Society.
  • Tribal community of Rajasthan: Bhil, Mina (Meena) and Garasia.

Part B: Management

Management – Scope, concept, functions of Management – Planning, Organizing, Staffing, Direction, Coordination and Control, Decision-Making: concept, process and techniques.  Modern concept of Marketing, Marketing Mix – Product, Price, Place and Promotion  Objective, concept of maximization of wealth, Sources of Finance – Short and Long term, Capital Structure, Cost of Capital.

Concept and Main theories of Leadership and Motivation, Communication, Basics of recruitment, selection, induction, training & development and appraisal system

Part C: Business Administration

Techniques of analysis of financial statements, Basics of Working Capital Management, Responsibility and Social Accounting. Meaning & Objectives of Auditing, Internal Control, Social, Performance and Efficiency Audit. Basics of different types of Budgeting, Budgetary control.

Download – Sociology, Management, Accounting & Auditing RAS Mains GS Paper-I

  Development of Sociological Thought in India

The origin of sociology and social anthropology in India can be traced to the days when the British officials realized the need to understand the native society and its culture in the interest of smooth administration. However, it was only during the twenties of the last century that steps were taken to introduce sociology and social anthropology as academic disciplines in Indian universities.

The popularity that these subjects enjoy today and their professionalization is, however, a post-independence phenomenon. Attempts have been made by scholars from time to time to outline the historical developments, to highlight the salient trends and to identify the crucial problems of these subjects.

Sociology and social/cultural anthropology are cognate disciplines and are in fact indissoluble. However, the two disciplines have existed and functioned in a compartmentalized manner in the European continent as well as in the United States. This separation bears the indelible impress of western colonialism and Euro-centrism.

However, Indian sociologists and anthropologists have made an attempt to integrate sociology and anthropology in research, teaching and recruitment. They have made a prominent contribution to the development of indigenous studies of Indian society and have set an enviable example before the Asian and African scholars.

Another significant contribution of Indian sociology and social/cultural anthropology lies in their endeavor to synthesize the text and the context. This synthesis between the text and the context has provided valuable insights into the dialectic of continuity and change to contemporary Indian society (Momin, 1997).

It is difficult to understand the origin and development of sociology in India without reference to its colonial history. By the second half of the 19th century, the colonial state in India was about to undergo several major transformations.

Land, the revenue and authority that accrued from the relationship between it and the state, had been fundamental to the formation of the early colonial state, eclipsing the formation of Company rule in that combination of formal and private trade that itself marked the formidable state-like functions of the country.

The important event that took place was the revolt of 1857, which showed that the British did not have any idea about folkways and customs of the large masses of people. If they had knowledge about Indian society, the rebellion of 1857 would not have taken place. This meant that a new science had to come to understand the roots of Indian society. The aftermath of 1857 gave rise to ethnographic studies. It was with the rise of ethnography, anthropology and sociology which began to provide empirical data of the colonial rule.

Herbert Risley was the pioneer of ethnographic studies in India. He entered the Indian Civil Services in 1857 with a posting in Bengal. It was in his book Caste and Tribes of Bengal (1891) that Risley discussed Brahminical sociology, talked about ethnography of the castes along with others that the importance of caste was brought to colonial rulers. Nicholas Dirks {In Post Colonial Passages, Sourabh Dube, Oxford, 2004) observes: Risley’s final ethnographic contribution to colonial knowledge thus ritualed the divineness of caste, as well as its fundamental compati­bility with politics only in the two registers of ancient Indian monarchy or modern Britain’s ‘benevolent despotism’.

Thus, the ethnographic studies came into prominence under the influence of Risley. He argued that to rule India caste should be discouraged. This whole period of 19th century gave rise to ethnographic studies, i.e., studies of caste, religion, rituals, customs, which provided a foundation to colonial rule for establishing dominance over India. It is in this context that the development of sociology in India has to be analysed.

Sociology and social anthropology developed in India in the colonial interests and intellectual curiosity of the western scholars on the one hand, and the reactions of the Indian scholars on the other. British administrators had to acquire the knowledge of customs, manners and institutions of their subjects.

Christian missionaries were interested in understanding local languages, folklore and culture to carry out their activities. These overlapping interests led to a series of tribal, caste, village and religious community studies and ethnological and linguistic surveys. Another source of interest in Indian studies was more intellectual.

While some western scholars were attracted by the Sanskrit language, Vedic and Aryan civilization, others were attracted by the nature of its ancient political economy, law and religion. Beginning from William Jones, Max Muller and others, there was a growth of Indo logical studies. Karl Marx and Frederic Engels were attracted by the nature of oriental disposition in India to build their theory of evolution of capitalism.

Similarly, Henry Maine was interested in the Hindu legal system and village communities to formulate the theory of status to contract. Again, Max Weber got interested in Hinduism and other oriental religions in the context of developing the theory, namely, the spirit of capitalism and the principle of rationality developed only in the West.

Thus, Indian society and culture became the testing ground of various theories, and a field to study such problems as growth of town, poverty, religion, land tenure, village social organization and other native social institutions. All these diverse interests – academic, missionary, administrative and political – are reflected in teaching of sociology.

According to Srinivas and Panini (1973: 181), the growth of the two disciplines in India falls into three phases:

  • The first, covering the period between 1773-1900 AD, when their foundations were laid.
  • The second, 1901-1950 AD, when they become professionalized.
  • Finally, the post-independence years, when a complex of forces, including the undertaking of planned development by the government, the increased exposure of Indian scholars to the work of their foreign colleagues, and the availability of funds, resulted in considerable research activity.

These three major phases in the introspection in sociology, which have been discussed by Rege (1997) in her thematic paper on ‘Sociology in Post-Independent India’, may also be mentioned. Phase one is characterized by the interrogations of the colonial impact on the discipline and nationalist responses to the same, phase second is marked by explo­rations into the initiative nature of the theoretical paradigms of the discipline and debates on strategies of indigenization.

This phase also saw critical reflections on the deductive positivistic base of sociology and the need for Marxist paradigms and the more recent phase of post-structuralism, feminist and post-modern explorations of the discipline and the field. Lakshmanna also (1974: 1) tries to trace the development of sociology in three distinctive phases. The first phase corresponds to the period 1917-1946, while the second and the third to 1947-1966 and 1967 onwards respectively.

       Sociology in the Pre-Independence Period

It is clear by now that sociology had its formal beginning in 1917 at Calcutta University owing to the active interest and efforts of B.N. Seal. Later on, the subject was handled by Radhakamal Mukherjee and B.N. Sarkar. However, sociology could not make any headway in its birthplace at Calcutta.

On the other hand, anthropology flourished in Calcutta with the establishment of a department and later on the Anthropological Survey of India (ASI). Thus, sociology drew a blank in the eastern parts of the country. But, the story had been different in Bombay. Bombay University started teaching of sociology by a grant of Government of India in 1914.

The Department of Sociology was established in 1919 with Patrick Geddes at the helm of affair. He was joined by G.S. Ghurye and N.A. Toothi. This was indeed a concrete step in the growth of sociology in India. Another centre of influence in sociological theory and research was at Lucknow that it introduced sociology in the Department of Economics and Sociology in 1921 with Radhakamal Mukherjee as its head.

Later, he was ably assisted by D.P. Mukherjee and D.N. Majumdar. In South India, sociology made its appearance at Mysore University by the efforts of B.N. Seal and A.F. Wadia in 1928. In the same year sociology was introduced in Osmania University at the undergraduate level. Jafar Hasan joined the department after he completed his training in Germany.

Another university that started teaching of sociology and social anthropology before 1947 was Poona in the late 1930s with Irawati Karve as the head. Between 1917 and 1946, the development of the discipline was uneven and in any case not very encouraging. During this period, Bombay alone was the main centre of activity in sociology. Bombay attempted a synthesis between the Indo-logical and ethnological trends and thus initiated a distinctive line of departments.

During this period, Bombay produced many scholars who richly contributed to the promotion of sociological studies and research in the country. K.M. Kapadia, Irawati Karve, S.V. Karandikar, M.N. Srinivas, A.R. Desai, I.P. Desai, M.S. Gore and Y.B. Damle are some of the outstanding scholars who shaped the destiny of the discipline. The products of this university slowly diffused during this period in the hinterland universities and helped in the establishment of the departments of sociology.

Certain trends of development of sociology may be identified in the pre-independence period. Sociology was taught along with economics, both in Bombay and Lucknow. However, in Calcutta, it was taught along with anthropology, and in Mysore it was part of social philosophy.

Teachers had freedom to design the course according to their interests. No rigid distinction was made between sociology on the one hand and social psychology, social philosophy, social anthropology, social work, and other social sciences such as economics and history, on the other. The courses included such topics as social biology, social problems (such as crime, prostitution and beggary), social psychology, civilization and pre-history. They covered tribal, rural and urban situations.

At the general theoretical level, one could discern the influence of the British social anthropological traditions with emphasis on diffusionism and functionalism. In the case of teaching of Indian social institutions the orientation showed more Indo-logical emphasis on the one hand and a concern for the social pathological problems and ethnological description on the other. Strong scien­tific empirical traditions had not emerged before independence. Sociology was considered a mixed bag without a proper identity of its own.

    Sociology in the Post-Independence Period

The next phase, as mentioned by Lakshmanna (1974: 45), in the growth of the subject, corresponds to the period between the attainment of independence and the acceptance of the regional language as the medium of instruction in most states of the country. Towards the end of this period, we also witnessed the interest on the part of the Central Government to promote social science research through a formal organization established for the purpose.

This phase alone experienced tremendous amount of interaction within the profession as two parallel organizations started functioning for the promotion of the profession. In Bombay, Indian Sociological Society was established and Sociological Bulletin was issued as the official organ of the society. This helped to a large extent in creating a forum for publication of sociological literature.

Lucknow school, on the other hand, started the All India Annual Sociological Conference for professional interaction. Lakshmanna identifies that the research efforts mainly progress on three lines. First, there was large-scale doctoral research in the university. Second, the growing needs of the planners and adminis­trators on the one hand and the realization of increasing importance of sociological thinking and research in the planning process on the other, opened up opportunities for research projects.

Third, during this period, the growing importance of social science research also resulted in the establishment of research institutes. The development of research activity also meant the enlargement of the employment opportunities at all levels.

Correspondingly, there was also an increase in the number of universities and college departments. This period also noticed considerable vertical and horizontal mobility in the profession. Teaching of sociology got well established in the fifties. This period reflected three things as marked by Rao (1982).

First, sociology achieved greater academic status. Not only many more universities and colleges began to teach at the postgraduate and graduate levels but the discipline itself became more focused in theoretical orien­tation and highly diversified in its specialization. Secondly, sociology established its identity as discipline by separating itself from psychology, anthropology, social philosophy and social work.

Although, in some universities, still social pathology and social psychology are taught as a part of sociology courses. In many others, a highly diversified curriculum structure in proper sociology exists including such specialization as rural and urban sociology, sociology of kinship, sociology of religion, sociology of stratification, sociology of education, political sociology, medical sociology, social demography and sociology of economic devel­opment.

Thirdly, diversification followed the lines of extension of sociological approach to different areas of social life. It was related to the growing needs of development in independent India. Colonial legacy became a thing of the past and democratic processes were introduced at all levels.

Sociologists soon become sensitive to problems of development in the contexts of tribal, rural and urban situations. Problems of rural development, industrialization, and expansion of education, control of population, new political processes and institutions, social and political movements attracted their areas of social life. They started conducting empirical research with a view to understand the structure, dynamics and problems of development. All these concerns had a feedback on the teaching of sociology at various levels.

Another important change in the teaching of sociology, which came after independence, has been in regard to the external intel­lectual influences. Before independence the teaching of sociology and social anthropology was mainly, if not wholly, influenced by the then current theoretical concerns in Great Britain.

We have already mentioned the influence of diffusionism and functionalism (of Malinowski). The syllabi also reflected traditions of ethnology, evolutionism and Indology. After independence, however, American sociological traditions had a major impact on the teaching of sociology in India. This is evident from such topics in the syllabi as structural-functional theory (Parsons and Merton) and research methodology.

Besides the American, the French, German and Marxian intellectual influences also had an impact. In the midst of such diverse intellectual stimuli, Indian sociologists began to criticize, modify and develop diverse sociological approaches in the study of Indian society and culture, and these are reflected in the course of study of different universities.

   Developments in the Seventies

There have been a few reviews of developments in sociology and social anthropology since earlier times till 1970s and onwards (see, for example, the collection of essays in Unnithan, Singh et al., 1965; ICSSR, 1971, 1974, 1985; Rao, 1974; Mukherjee, 1977; Mukherjee, 1979; Singh, 1986; UGC, 1978, 1979, 1982; Lele, 1981; Oommen and Mukherjee, 1986; Dhanagare, 1993; Singhi, 1996). Of these, Ram Krishan Mukherjee review has been more exhaustive and substantial for the discipline as a whole.

The ICSSR trend reports covered in detail the developments in each of specializations. Rao (1982: 16-23) reviewed the developments in the seventies under three heads:

(i) Areas of the interests and specialization which got crystallized;

(ii) Areas of interest which has developed but not got crystallized; and

(iii) Emergence of new approaches in the estab­lished areas.

The seventies of the last century saw a further continued diver­sification of interests and specialization in substantive areas of research and teaching in the sixties. While, earlier, village community studies dominated researches, but the interests in the areas of agrarian relations, land reforms, peasants, agricultural labourers, and scheduled castes and tribes began to attract greater attention of sociologists and social anthropologists in the seventies.

The problems of rural society were formulated in the Marxian framework of analysis emphasizing conflicts and contradictions. The other areas of interests that were crystallized in the seventies were industrial sociology, urban sociology and social stratification. Secondly, there were six areas of interest that started getting some attention in the seventies but have not really got off the mark.

These were: sociology of profession, sociology of organization, medical sociology, social demography and studies on women, Muslims and Hindu-Muslim relations. Thirdly, it is significant to note that the seventies saw new approaches and foci in the large areas of research and teaching such as caste, kinship, religion, politics and tribal studies.

  Perspectives in the Eighties

Many of the areas of specialization mentioned in the foregoing account, no doubt, gained strength in the eighties of the last century. Some areas of enquiry, such as social demography and medical sociology, were crystallized. A few other areas of investigation opened up and more research in the established areas was undertaken on new lines. Some of the new areas have been introduced.

These were: sociology of deviance, sociology of knowledge, sociology of science and technology, and historical sociology. Rao -1982 anticipated these areas for research in the eighties. There was an indication that interest in sociology of science and technology might get more widespread (Uberoi -1978, Vishwanathan-1977). The growing interest in historical sociology was reflected in Fox (1977).

Damle (1982: 57-58) anticipated the task of sociology for the eighties in India, which was to analyze:

  • The transformation of Indian society
  • The limits of such transfor­mation
  • The impact of these limits to such transformation, which was reflected either in the frustrations of the efforts to surmount the obstacles. In this context, new ideologies and protest movements acquired a special significance.

In many of the newly developing branches of sociology, scholars have made notable but isolated contributions. There has been thinking that research should be promoted in the nineties in the areas of sociology of planning and development, sociology of professions, sociology of organizations, social dimensions of poverty, law and social change, sociology of national integration etc.

   Imperatives in the Nineties

The country during the nineties of the last century was passing through radical political, economical and socio-cultural changes as a result of which the scope and focus of Indian sociology has expanded. Under the influence of such developments, the Indian government that adored the policy of mixed economy ever since independence and cherished the ideals of welfarism proceeded to allow the market-oriented policy to prevail.

To achieve this goal, the government adopted a new policy of economic reforms in the year 1991 with a view to globalize its economy (Singh, 1997). Globalization is a move prompted by the leaders of the developed world. Liberalization policy, including the freedom accorded to the foreign companies and capital to enter into Indian market, is the two major steps of the government in this direction.

The impact of globalization on Indian cultural heritage and general life situation of the people of the country has generated new areas that deserve the attention of Indian sociologists who do seem to be attentive to such relevant areas as civic society (Gupta, 1997), crisis and resil­ience in the process of social change (Singh, 1993) and secularism and national integration 0oshi, 1997) but specific social impli­cation of the new economic policy is yet to be analysed.

A few courses have been introduced recently on global themes in some of the universities. They are as follows: ecology and society, issues of human rights, sociology of management, human resource devel­opment, media and society, action sociology etc. There is also need to start some more new courses like sociology of public order; peace, security and development; security management and infor­mation technology etc. These courses are not only important for teaching but also for research in the construction of society and useful for the modern occupation and profession.

Teaching of Sociology in India

The origin of sociology in India as a distinct discipline can be traced back to the period around 1920s. Teaching of sociology started in Bombay University as early as 1914 but the birth of current academic sociology took place only with the establishment of departments of sociology in Bombay and Lucknow.

As for teaching and research, nothing such happened except nominal teaching of the discipline wherever it was introduced for almost a quarter of a century. What Parvathamma states about Mysore University remain true for the entire country and for the discipline of sociology as a whole? “The undergraduate syllabi in sociology as framed by Wadia continued almost for a quarter of a century.

Only in the late 1950’s, it was changed (Parvathamma, 1978). Though one finds a nominal beginning, nothing of any consequence happened in the realm of sociology. It remained more or less static during the 1920-47 periods. This was the last phase of the colonial rule in India when the national leaders were preoccupied with the liberation movement.

Pre-independence scholars have contributed to the foundation of sociology by providing a tradition in which sociology in India could grow and evolve (Unnithan et al., 1967). Their contributions, however, began to make an impact only after independence, though the number of universities increased from 11 in 1920 to 16 in 1945. However, the number of sociology depart­ments remained just two and of these, only one was concerned for independent degree in sociology (Unnithan, 1982).

The percentage of universities, having sociology department, had been falling during 1920-50. It began to show a trend towards regular increase after 1950. By 1960, 23.8 per cent of universities in India had sociology departments. By 1965, this number rose to 29.6 per cent. Now, there are 95 universities including institutions that are deemed to be universities. Fifty-one of them or about 54 per cent accommodate departments of sociology.

In spite of their relatively greater growth in sociology departments, it is interesting that 44 (46.3%) out of 95 universities do not have any sociology teaching at all. Of the 51 universities that teach sociology, only 32 have separate departments, whereas 14 conduct undergraduate and postgraduate programmes including PhD.

There are 16 universities where sociology is combined with other social science departments but an independent degree is awarded; in three departments no degree is awarded though the subject is taught (Unnithan, 1982: 64). Besides these, according to the Universities Handbook of India, 1973, the 16 Agricultural Universities, the five All India Institutes of Technology, the three Institutes of Technology, the three Institutes of Management, the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, and the Gujarat Vidyapeeth, Ahmadabad also offered sociology as a subject of study  research.

Sociology is very popular subject in the universities and colleges of India today. Currently, out of 133 traditional univer­sities, about 85 have departments of sociology apart from other departments of social sciences related to sociology like population studies and women studies.

A majority of students opt for sociology as one of their subjects at graduation level. It is considered as an easy subject to get through in examination. It is usually preferred by girls particularly those who are not much career conscious. Similarly, at the postgraduate level too, sociology receives a large number of students.

The rank of sociology comes fifth in terms of the number of the universities offering social sciences and allied subjects. This shows that from the quantitative point of view, the position of sociology as an academic discipline is not very low in spite of the fact that it entered the university curriculum only very recently.

It is also seen that at the postgraduate level, sociology has established itself as a subject of major importance, attracting the largest number of students next only to economics, history and political science. Postgraduate enrolment in the year 1969-70 was alone 4,918 – taking sociology (4,442) and anthropology (476) together which contributed 11.57 per cent of the total enrolment (42,479) for postgraduate education in social sciences.

However, the percentage was a little higher for PhD (16.34%). Of the 2,153 students enrolled for PhD in social sciences, 352 were in the field of sociology alone. According to the UGC report, out of total 2,582 faculty members of the postgraduate departments in social sciences in the universities and colleges, 243 were sociologists and 119 anthropologists. Until 1971, the country has produced a total of 485 PhD scholars in the fields of sociology, social anthropology, criminology and social work.

Since 1968, the average rate of PhDs in sociology was 46 per year. This is an impressive figure, indeed, compared to the figures for previous periods. Thus, 34 PhDs were submitted during the decade 1931-40 and 79 in the subsequent two decades of 1941-60.

The courses and the syllabi in sociology of the various univer­sities reveal yet another dimension of development of the discipline in India. Sociology is being taught at all levels in the universities – from graduation to MPhil/MLitt level. Some courses give special emphasis to research methodology.

As regards the subject matter taught at the graduate and postgraduate levels, there seems to be some rough similarity between universities in the course. Principles of Sociology, Indian Social Institutions and Social Change are offered at both the BA and MA levels in most universities while Research Methods, Rural and Urban Sociology, Social Anthro­pology and Social Psychology are among the other subjects included in the core courses at MA level.

The rest of the subjects cover a wide range of special areas in the discipline, namely, political sociology, educational sociology, industrial sociology, sociology of kinship, religion, marriage and family, and so on. It seems that from the national point of view, there is a wider choice of optional subjects for the students of sociology than is available to students of other disciplines.

An analysis of the courses reveals several deficiencies. At present, there is a lack of integration of syllabi at all levels that could ensure a standard of uniform minimal knowledge in sociology along with possibilities for specialization and advance training in sociology. Hardly any effort is noticed to introduce new courses on the basis of rationale societal consider­ations.

Largely, the old courses continue. The gravity of problem is accentuated by the contents of the courses and the textbooks prescribed. The contents of the courses are often irrelevant to the students of sociology in India as instruction is based mostly on books written by foreign scholars for students elsewhere. All these points reflect to the overall underdeveloped nature of sociology in India (Unnithan, 1982: 68).

Overall, the quantitative expansion of sociology is increasing but the quality aspect of the development of sociology as an academic discipline in colleges and universities is appalling. Except a few prestigious universities, the status of sociology in most of the universities in the country is really degraded.

Hence, the quality research and teaching in sociology has considerably slumped. Singh (1997) writes: Professional anxiety, achievement, motivation, entrepreneurial aspiration and changing mode of consumption have immensely affected the standard of sociology.

Therefore, the teachers and other scholars of sociology will have to take care and pains for its revival. Importantly, and specifically, we need to be academically and politically active to influence the development of a ‘new’ sociological curriculum.

Sociological Research in India

Since independence, with the rapid development of the teaching of sociology in Indian universities and colleges, there has been a concomitant increase in the number of research studies on different aspects of sociology, resulting in doctoral dissertations and in the publication of many volumes and articles in various professional journals. Several previous surveys of the development of sociology in India present the process in different phases and trends, notably those by Becker and Barnes (1961), Saran (1958), Bottom ore (1962), Clinard and Elder (1965), Vidhyarthi (1972), and the Indian Council of Social Sciences Research (ICSSR) (1972).

Despite these attempts, little attention has so far been paid in the direction of proper research taking steps of methods of data collection, techniques, degree of quantity and quality, Arial unit of study, and theoretical orientations in specific substantive areas of sociology.

Usually, it is seen that while at the university department level, there are facilities of doing research which do not exist at the college level. Even at the department level there is no system of sabbatical leave where the teacher can take time off for the research. Fieldwork is an essential aspect of research in sociology and unless a teacher has a year or nine months off, he cannot conduct research.

The ICSSR and the UGC have suitable schemes for providing these facilities. There is thus now no dearth of money to conduct research. The problem is to control spurious research. The ICSSR, which is the main agency for promoting research in sociology and social anthropology, has laid down priorities in keeping with social goals. It is necessary to initiate research to teach new courses as research and teaching are intimately related in the development of the discipline.

Research in sociology got a considerable boost in the country since independence. Several studies conducted by sociologists were financed, sponsored and supported by several agencies. There was another welcome trend in the introduction of the courses on methods of social research as part of the MA syllabus. In fact, this was also emphasized by the UGC Review Committee on Sociology (1960).

Significant sophistication in research methodology is an urgent desideratum for present assessment of the rapidly changing and complex social organization to which we belong. In the field of doctoral research, the progress in sociology has been remarkable.

In spite of the fact that almost till the middle of the fifties, a much less number of recognized supervisors were available for the guidance of the doctoral research students in the departments of the univer­sities. Besides these limitations, sociology and other allied fields granted as many as 438 doctoral degrees up to 1970 and economics and political science exceeded these figures.

The personnel position in sociology is still on the lower side. There are only 243 sociology teachers as compared to larger number in economics and political science, psychology and geography. This has to be further viewed in the light of the numbers of the university and college departments.

In terms of the number of departments at the university level, sociology (51) is behind only from economics (72), political science (59) and commerce (56). The position at the college level is roughly the same. When we try to match the spread of the discipline and its manpower requirements, it becomes clear that there had been some defect in the recruitment pattern as revealed by the existence of a large number of unfilled professorial posts in several universities.

Senior members of the profession should take note of this unsatis­factory situation. In spite of the limitation of personnel, a very large number of research projects (50), constituting the highest share (25.5%) of the ICSSR grants, were undertaken by the scholars belonging to the sociology discipline.

A total of 19 theses were published in sociology. The position is still brighter if we add in it social anthropology. In fact, the acceptance of the largest number of projects (above 20%) in sociology was a matter of satisfaction because the formulations of the problems were realistic and sound.

There has been a realization that diverse research methods were complimentary rather than conflicting. The early seventies saw a bitter debate between the surveyors and participant observers. But, both realized that the two could be complementary. There have been more researches using statistical surveys methods.

There were a number of training courses in quantitative methods including computer programming. Besides quantitative techniques, other techniques such as historical analysis, case studies and partic­ipant observation are also increasingly used by sociologists and social anthropologists depending on the nature of the problem of investigation and its aim.

Sociological Research in India: The State of Crisis: The recent years have seen the publications in EPW of a number of articles discussing and for the most part deploring the current state of research and teaching in sociology. Speaking especially of the situation in western India, they support the view that sociology in India has become a rather lackluster disci­pline, its leading concepts presented through outdated mass-market American texts, and notably devoid of engagement with the social world outside the classroom.

The 1990s have seen engaged debate on the crisis in the discipline. This debate saw a series of responses from the scholars in the field assessing the ‘tiredness of the disci­pline’ (Deshpande, 1995), the possibilities of ‘a community of discourse’, the dangers of ‘uncritical metropolitanism’ (Murthy, 1993) and the relevance of gender and feminist pedagogues as strategies to confront the crisis (Rege, 1994; Uberoi, 1994).

The discussion has been made on the construction of socio­logical discipline (Thappan, 1991; Hedge, 1992) and teaching of sociology in Indian universities (Uberoi, 1989-90; Deb 1997). In the recent years, a new dimension has been reflected in the debate taking the issue of gender studies (Dube, 1986, 1996, 1997; Desai, 1997; Bhagwat and Rege, 1991; Patel 1994; Uberoi, 1994) and women’s movement (Niranjana, 1992; John, 1996).

Veena Das (1993) tries to locate the crisis in sociological research in India in three institutional structures – the universities, the UGC and the professional bodies such as the Indian Socio­logical Society. At the level of the universities, the proliferation of the subject has simply not been matched by the will to ensure competence in teaching and research. In several universities, textbooks such as that of MacIver and Page, written almost 50 years ago, continue to be taught.

Second, where teaching and research are conducted in regional languages, students do not acquire profi­ciency even in reading in the English language. This is in fact that rhetorical statements about national self-respect notwithstanding, neither the translations of competent sociological works in the regional languages nor original contributions add up to a sufficient body of literature that may be available in these languages.

Thus, a student fails to acquire competence in his subject on the basis of this literature. Third, the policies for recruitment and promotion of teachers increasingly sacrifice academic competence for political expediency. Fourth, the examination of PhD dissertations is managed within small coterie of scholars.

If the universities are to take a share of the blame for the falling standards for research, the UGC cannot escape its major responsi­bility either. The decision-making bodies in the UGC seem to have completely misguided notions about the state of social science research in the country. Finally, the professional bodies have done little to salvage the situations. The interests of the profession lie not only in producing greater number of jobs for sociologists but in ensuring that ethical practices in the discipline are maintained.

Possible Sociological Discourses

We need to concentrate on some of the essentials of sociological discourses to develop sociology in India. They are:

  • The development of sociology in India may be viewed in terms of the historicity of social conditions that have shaped the sociological perspectives from time to time. The theoretical and cognitive systems of sociology are socially conditioned (Singh, 1986).

It is to be hoped that thinking in this direction will result in the concentration of contested themes and in the recovery of key Indian socio-cultural realities and textual tradi­tions, traditions that have remained or continue to remain as an excluded part of hegemonic sociology or its margin (Nada rajah, 1996). Perhaps, this is the right time to resume the ‘Indian sociology’ by recognizing context and culture of the society and to overcome from the identification of sociology as solely a western.

  • The production of sociological knowledge can be qualitatively changed with a sociological curriculum helping the multi- faceted contestation of western sociological knowledge. There is a need to consider not only the content of social science education in our universities but also the methodology used in the production of such knowledge (Nada rajah, 1996).
  • Institutionalization of research requires a proper fit between the growing needs of theory and the increasing demands of society. Generally, public funds are made available by the government, UGC, ICSSR and other agencies in terms of the criteria set out for priorities. The question of priorities has to be answered in the context of the relevance of research.
  • While paying attention to research priorities, the needs of individual scholars pursuing a promising but out-of-the- way enquiry should not be neglected. Research efforts involving interdisciplinary approach or bold methodological innovation should, on principle, be encouraged. The ICSSR standing committee has also recommended these suggestions in the eighties.

To conclude, the history of the development of sociology has not been much encouraging. At its beginning anthropology and ethnology helped the colonial rule to establish its foundation. In other words, the discipline of sociology was partly responsible for the survival of colonialism and feudalism in princely states. The feudal mentality of Indian people is thus due to sociology, anthro­pology and ethnology. It must be said that this discipline has not been worth its salt in India.

If we make a survey of the sociological literature which has cropped up during the last about 100 years does not take into account any massive event which took place in India. India’s freedom struggle was a long struggle and it sought the participation of the masses. All the people participated in the movement notwithstanding the plural character of the Indian society.

It was a great event in the history of India. The sociologists did nothing to analyze the freedom struggle. It is difficult to find any book on sociology written by our so-called sociologists. When the masses were busy fighting for their freedom, our sociologists such as N.K. Bose and G.S. Ghurye were writing on caste and ethnicity. Such a record of sociology can easily be called ungrateful to the nation. How can we be proud of such sociologists?

Another memorable event in India’s history has been the mass exodus of people from Pakistan after the division of country between India and Pakistan. Burning trains from Pakistan were coming to India and the blood-stained trains were leaving India for Pakistan. Lakhs of refugees crossed the borders. It never happened earlier but the sociologists who claimed to be the analysts of Indian society did not mention anything about this tragic event.

Besides, an event, which is a remarkable in the building of our nation-state, is the era of building modern India. Nehruji and his generation of national leaders started Five-Year Plans for the devel­opment of industry and village agriculture. The sociologists again turned their eyes to this era of development.

It is discouraging to learn that the sociologists observed silence on this process of devel­opment. However, the sociologists made some village studies. Actually, there was a flood of such studies. These studies made some contributions. But, these contributions have false theoretical claims. Dominant caste, sanskritization, westernization, parochialization and universalization are some of the contributions which have not proved to be of any help for the development of villages. They have proved to be Utopian for the nation.

There are several problems for the country. The problems are multi-ethnic, multi-caste, multi-religion, multi-region and multi-linguistic. Economic problems coupled with unemployment are disasters. It is expected of sociology to analyze the social ills and bring out some solutions. In the present work, we are discussing social thinkers of contemporary India. They are also responsible to relax-in comfortable armchairs and enjoy the academic status.

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