IGNOU BSOG 171 Free Solved Assignment 2022- Help first

BSOG 171


BSOG 171 Free Solved Assignment

BSOG 171 Free Solved Assignment July 2021 & Jan 2022

Q 1 How was Indian civilization seen as a distinct type in comparison to other cultures.

ANS: The term civilisation comes from the Latin word civis, meaning “citizen” or “townsman.” Thus a semblance of complexity is evident in the definition of civilisation.

The term assumes some agricultural practices, trade, some evidence of planned dwellings, multiple cultures, art, religion and some administrative and political structures.

Civilization is a complex of human grouping society with cultural-material and non-material/ideational traits and a defined polity.

Thus the Indus Valley Civilization whose society is revealed to us through its artefacts and monuments is considered a civilisation.

India is considered one of oldest continuing civilizations because its origin is traced back to the Harappan civilization.

There have been innumerable scholarly accounts focusing on the Indian civilization devoted to understanding of the nature of Indian society and culture.

In doing so, these accounts illuminate diversity and richness of India as a civilization and provide multiple conceptual tools/methodology used to study it.

Cohn (1971) points out that four broad approaches/directions to understand Indian civilization can be derived from these accounts,

Analysing Indian Civilization as a Type

This approach is predominantly popular with comparative sociologists. According to this approach Indian civilization is seen as a distinct type in juxtaposition with other societies and culture. BSOG 171 Free Solved Assignment

The emphasis is to view Indian society as a traditional society, which is experiencing processes, such as modernisation that illustrate cultural, social and historical principles.

The aim is however, not to read distinct values or aspects that are unique to India’s structure, but typify it on the basis of what it has in common with other
societies and culture and then to examine variations.

For example, India may be seen as a type in being a village society or an agrarian society as this allows comparisons with other societies and cultures which may display a similarity in terms of presence of a rural life and community.

However, to view India as a caste society will be a futile exercise as the concept/phenomenon of caste is unique to India.

This rules out the possibility for making India’s cross-cultural/societal comparisons. The unique is thus ‘scientifically incomprehensible’ in view of this approach.

BSOG 171 Free Solved Assignment
BSOG 171 Free Solved Assignment

Q 2. Critically examine the colonialist approach to the study of Indian society

ANS: The view of the British Colonialists can be sub-divided into a) Missionaries. It was N. B.Halhead who presented first compilation of Hindu Dharamshastra (1776) William Jones, Colebrook were other scholars who did notable work on India) and b) Administrative view, from H.H. BSOG 171 Free Solved Assignment

Risley under whom first census of India (1872) took place to J.H. Hutton, who was the last census commissioner, the collected census data helped later scholars like, Morgan, McLennon, Lubbock, Tylor, Starcke and Frazer.

a) Missionaries In India : Early 19th century saw considerable literature by missionaries on Indian society scholars like Claudius Buchanan, William Carey, William Ward and Sir John Shore condemned Hinduism and saw hope in the spread of Christianity.

Missionaries like Abbe Dubois understood caste as a Varna system which was seen as an impediment to conversion to Christianity (Dirks, 2001).

This view developed through the writings of early Evangelicals (Protestants who believed in spreading the teachings of Christianity through conversion by persuasion) in the late eighteenth century.

They viewed Indian society as being essentially undignified as compared to the British society and the only way to improve was by infusing it with British ways and by British rule.

Interestingly though in their search for the proof of a generally corrupting Hindu society, these missionaries made major contributions to the empirical study of the Indian society

b) The Administrative View:

The interpretation of Indian society by the administrators, trained in British universities and indoctrinated by practical scientific rationalism were more realistic and were largely based on facts on the ground. BSOG 171 Free Solved Assignment

Their purpose was to understand India in order to exploit its resources.

The administrators sought to develop structures and institutions that would help them in organising their actions (rules) related to the life of the native locals of India along with the enormous complexities characterising the Indian society.

British scholarly administrators posted in different parts of India, for example, Risley, Dalton and O’Malley in East India, Crooks in Northern India, wrote detailed accounts on the tribes and castes of India, which even today provide the basic information about the life and culture of the people of the respective regions.

The purpose of these studies was to familiarise the government officials and private persons with classified descriptions about castes and tribes in India with a view to ensuring effective colonial administration.

But these early works proved insufficient as East India Company’s territory rapidly increased and the British became aware of the baffling variety of peoples, histories, political forms, systems of land tenure and religious practices.

They realised that the relatively haphazard reporting of sociological information must be more systematised and supported field surveys whose goal was acquisition of better and more accurate information.

Q 3. Explain the nature of economic unification brought about the British rule in India.

Ans: Desai summarises that because of the British there was an extensive and basic political,administrative and legal unification of the country for the first time in Indian history’ He adds that such a state structure became necessary to the new type of economy which came into existence in India under the British rule.

The capitalist economic transformation of India broke up the multitude of separate village economies, welded the Indian people economically, through a system of exchange relations, and made contract the key basis of their economic relations” (ibid).

He further adds that the commercial crops which were grown mainly for the market not for one’s own consumption were introduced in large: commodity products such as sugarcane, tea, coffee, jute, rubber etc. BSOG 171 Free Solved Assignment

The commericialisation of agriculture meant that India was linked to the wider world market.

Desai write that “both the internal and foreign trade of India increased in volume and scope. Further, modern industries on a capitalist basis steadily developed in the country.

The new state had to enact a mass of laws to regulate the huge complex of contractual and other relations inevitably arising from such an economic state.

Thus there came into existence a system of new laws, uniformly operating and governing all complex and multi-fold relations and transactions between the tenants and landlords, workers and employers, manufacturers, traders and bankers, also laws determining the relations of India with other countries regarding perennially operating trade and other activities” (Ibid).

Accordingly a uniform currency system was also introduced. The kind of changes British colonials introduced in land relations was also significant.

Pre-col class of landed feudal nobility with proprietary rights over land.

“The feudal nobility which existed throughout the pre-British period was given only the right to collect and appropriate land revenue over a specific number of villages.

The nobility was not the owner of these villages but only the revenue collector keeping the whole or a portion of the land revenue.BSOG 171 Free Solved Assignment

The institution of manor never existed in the pre-British Indian society. Similarly, it was also not the monarch who was the owner of the agricultural land of the realm.

The monarch or the state had a right only to receive a definite proportion of the produce” (Ibid:34).

At the same time the individual peasant proprietorship over land did not exist in preBritish India.

This implies that the private ownership of land was non-existent. Village possessed the right over land and that is why village was the unit of revenue assessment. This continued in Mogul India.

The political principles of Mughal Empire were governed by distinct traditions giving rise to highly centralised bureaucratic structure.

The system of nobles’ distribution of ranks called mansabdari and system of distribution of land grants i.e. jagirdari were its prominent structures.

But they could not introduce private ownership of land. It was after the emergence of colonial powers in Indian subcontinent private ownership of land was introduced.

“The British conquest of India led to a revolution in the existing land system.

The new revenue system introduced by the British in India superseded the traditional right of the village community over the village land and created two forms of property in land; landlordism in some parts of the country and the individual peasant proprietorship in others” (Ibid:35). BSOG 171 Free Solved Assignment

These changes were unprecedented in Indian history. From the point of view of administration, it was more economical for the British to collect revenue from thousands of landlords than fron small peasant proprietors, argues Desai.

He further says, “for political-strategic reason, the young British Raj in India needed a social support in the country to maintain itself.

It was expected that the new class of landlords, which owed its existence to the British rule, would naturally support it” (Ibid:36).

These changes in land relations had far reaching impact on the consolidation of India as a nation.

“It contributed towards building the material foundation, namely, the economic welding together of India and of India with the world, for the national consolidation of the Indian people and the international economic unification of the world.

BSOG 171 Free Solved Assignment
BSOG 171 Free Solved Assignment

Q 4 Bring out the main features of tribes in India.

Ans: 1. Definite Common Topography: Tribal people live within a definite topography and it is a common place for all the members of a particular tribe occupying that region.

In the absence of a common but definite living place, the tribals will lose other characteristics of a tribal life, like common language, way of living and community sentiment etc.BSOG 171 Free Solved Assignment

Sense of Unity:

Unless and until, a group living in a particular area and using that area as a common residence, does not possess the sense of unity, it cannot be called a tribe.

Sense of unity is an invariable necessity for a true tribal life. The very existence of a tribe depends upon the tribal’s sense of unity during the times of peace and war.

Endogamous Group:

Tribal people generally do not marry outside their tribe and marriage within the tribe is highly appreciated and much applauded.

But the pressing effects of changes following the forces of mobility have also changed the attitude of tribals and now, inter-tribe marriages are becoming more and more common.

Common Dialect:

Members of a tribe exchange their views in a common dialect. This element further strengthens their sense of unity.

Ties of Blood-relationship:

Blood-relation is the greatest bond and most powerful force inculcating sense of unity among the tribals.

Protection Awareness:

Tribal people always need protection from intrusion and infiltration and for this a single political authority is established and all the powers are vested in this authority.

The safety of the tribal is left to the skill and mental power of the person enjoying political authority. BSOG 171 Free Solved Assignment

The tribal chief is aided by a tribal committee, in the events of contingencies. Tribe is divided into a number of small groups and each group is headed by its own leader.

The chief of a group works according to the directives received by him from the tribal chief

Distinct Political Organization:

Every tribe has its own distinct political organisation which looks after the interests of tribal people. The whole political authority lies in the hands of a tribal chief.

In some tribes, tribal committees exist to help the tribal chief in discharging his functions in the interests of the tribe.


Common culture of a tribe springs out from the sense of unity, common language, common religion, common political organisation. Common culture produces a life of homogeneity among the tribals.

Importance of Kinship:

Kinship forms the basis of tribal social organization. Most tribes are divided into exogamous clans and lineages.

The marriage among tribals is based on the rule of tribal endogamy. Marriage is viewed as a contract and there are no prohibition on divorce and remarriage.

Egalitarian Values: BSOG 171 Free Solved Assignment

The tribal social organization is based on the egalitarian principle. Thus there are no institutionalized inequalities like the caste system or sex based inequalities.

Thus men and women enjoyed equal status and freedom. However some degrees of social inequality may be found in case of tribal chiefs or tribal kings who enjoy a higher social status, exercise political power and posses wealth.

Rudimentary type of Religion:

Tribes believe in certain myths and a rudimentary type of religion.
Further, they believe in totems signifying objects having mystic relationship with members of the tribe.

Robert Goodland has given the following characteristics of the tribal people:

(a) Geographical isolation or semi-isolation;
(b) Unacculturated or partially acculturated into national society;
(c) Largely or entirely independent of the national economic system;
(d) Ethnic distinctiveness from the national society;
(e) Economic base tightly dependent on their specific environment;
(f) Possessing leadership but no more national representation, and few, if any political rights.

Q 5 Examine the relationship between caste and class.

Ans: Caste and class are both ‘status groups’ in Max “Weber’s phraseology. A ‘status group is a collection of persons who share a distinctive style of life and a certain consciousness of kind.

While caste is perceived as a hereditary group with a fixed ritual status, a social class is a category of people who have a similar socio-economic status in relation to other segments of their community or society.BSOG 171 Free Solved Assignment

The individuals and families who compose a social class are relatively similar in educational, economic and prestige status.

Those who are classified as part of the same social class have similar life chances.

Some sociologists regard social classes as being primarily economic in nature whereas others tend to stress factors such as prestige, style of life, attitudes, etc.

Caste system is characterised by ‘cumulative in-equality’ but class system is characterised by dispersed inequality’.

The members of a class have a similar socio-economic status in relation to other classes in the society, while the members of a caste have either a high or low ritual status in relation to other castes.

Caste is a unique phenomenon (Leach and Dumont) found in India but class is a universal phenomenon found all over the world. Caste works as an active political force in a village but not the class.

Andre Beteille (1965), on the basis of his study of caste and class in Sripuram in South India found that classes do not constitute a basis for communal and political action.

Referring to this Leach (1960) has said that while caste assumes economic and political functions and competes with other castes, it defies caste principles.

Gough and Richard Fox also hold the same position. M.N. Srinivas (1962:7), however, does not agree with Leach on this.

He maintains that competition between caste groups cannot be described as defiance of caste principles. BSOG 171 Free Solved Assignment

It is true that castes depend on each other (jajmani system) but besides interdependence, castes also compete with each other for acquiring political and economic power and high ritual position.

Yet another difference between caste and class is that caste has an organic character but class has a segmentary character.

In caste system, upper castes compete with each other for the services of the lower castes but in the class system, lower classes compete with each other for the favour of the upper classes (Leach, 1960:5-6).

Further, in the caste system, status of a caste is determined not by the economic and the political privileges but by the ritualistic legitimation of authority, i.e., in the caste system, ritual norms encompass the norms of power and wealth (Dumont).

For example, even though Brahmins have no economic and political power, yet they are placed at the top in the caste hierarchy.

In the class system, ritual norms have no importance at all but power and wealth alone determine one’s status.

Bailey, however, does not accept Dumont’s statement that religious ideas rather than the economic values establish the rank of each caste.

He says that if we accept this statement, it would mean that changes in control over economic resources can take place without causing changes in rank.

This is only partially true. It may be true for Brahmins and untouchables but not for the intermediate castes. BSOG 171 Free Solved Assignment

In his own study in Bisipara, he found that change in wealth is followed by change in rank (1957:264-65).

Lastly, social mobility is not possible in caste system but in the class system, change in status is possible. D.N. Majumdar (1958) in this context explained caste as a closed class.

This view is not accepted by M.N. Srinivas. He thinks that movement is always possible through the processes of sanskritisation and westernisation (1962:42).

Beteille (1965) has also said that no social system is absolutely closed. There is always some scope, however limited, for alternative combinations.

Q 6 Varna

Ans: The “Purusha Sukta,” a work belonging to the Rig Vedic period, is the first to talk about the classifications of humans, or the caste system.

However, the “Purusha Sukta” is considered to be a later insertion to the original work in order to make such classifications sound authentic and acceptable that such a caste system was prevalent in ancient times.

According to the popular belief that exists about varna classification, brahmans are considered the supreme, in which class priests and preachers reside; Kshatriyas are kings and warriors; vaishyas are traders and agriculturists, and shudras are considered laborers who provide service to those who belong to other types of varna.

Contrary to the suggestion by earlier texts that one’s birth decides one’s varna, it is strongly considered that it is one’s guna that determines one’s varna.

Gunas, or qualities, are classified into three types: tamas, rajas and sattva. Tamas is the state of darkness or inactivity, rajas is the state of action and energy and sattva concerns harmony and balance.BSOG 171 Free Solved Assignment

Every individual possesses these qualities to a certain degree, but the dominant guna decides one’s character and, thereby, one’s varna.

Q 7 Polygamy

Ans: Polygamy (from Late Greek rokvyauía, polygamia, “state of marriage to many spouses” ) is the practice of marrying multiple spouses.

When a man is married to more than one wife at the same time, sociologists call this polygyny.

When a woman is married to more than one husband at a time, it is called polyandry. In contrast to polygamy, monogamy is marriage consisting of only two parties.

Like “monogamy”, the term “polygamy” is often used in a de facto sense, applied regardless of whether a state recognizes the relationship.

In sociobiology and zoology, researchers use polygamy in a broad sense to mean any form of multiple mating.

Worldwide, different societies variously encourage, accept or outlaw polygamy. In societies which allow or tolerate polygamy, in the vast majority of cases the form accepted is polygyny.BSOG 171 Free Solved Assignment

According to the Ethnographic Atlas Codebook (1998), of 1,231 societies noted, 588 had frequent polygyny, 453 had occasional polygyny, 186 were monogamous and 4 had polyandry – although more recent research suggests that polyandry may occur more commonly than previously thought.

In cultures which practice polygamy, its prevalence among that population often correlates with class and socioeconomic status.

From a legal point of view, in many countries, although the law only recognises monogamous marriages (a person can only have one spouse, and bigamy is illegal), adultery is not illegal, leading to a situation of de facto polygamy being allowed, although without legal recognition for nonofficial “spouses”.

Scientific studies classify the human mating system as primarily monogamous, with the cultural practice of polygamy in the minority, based both on surveys of world populations, and on characteristics of human reproductive physiology.

Q 8 Settled cultivators

Ans: The life-giving waters of the Nile made it possible for the Egyptians to raise many crops as early as 5,000 years ago

Modem concrete dams constructed across the Nile e.g. Aswan and Sennar Dams improved agriculture, BSOG 171 Free Solved Assignment

In the same way, desert cultivators rely on the Indus in Pakistan, the Tigris-Euphrates in Iraq, and the Colorado in the Imperial Valley of California.

In the deserts, wherever there are oases, some form of settled life is bound to follow. These are depressions of varying sizes, where underground, water reaches the surface.

Some of them are abnormally large like the Tafilalet Oasis in Morocco which measures 5,000 square miles.

A wall is usually constructed around the oasis to keep out the violent dust storms called simooms.

The most important tree is the date palm. The fruit is consumed locally and also exported.

Other crops cultivated include maize, barley, wheat, cotton, cane sugar, fruits and vegetables.

Q 9 Urban villages of Delhi

Ans: Delhi is unique in the way it is made of many villages. As the city expanded many village settlements with distinct agricultural practices and its allied social life were engulfed in to Delhi city. BSOG 171 Free Solved Assignment

They were considered as urban villages or Lal Dora areas, areas which were earlier villages A red thread was tied to mark the boundary by authorities, hence lal dora.

In 1908 they were classified as Abadi land to be used for non-agricultural purposes. The jurisdiction of the municipal authorities or the urban development is not applicable here.

Lal Dora areas are exempted from the building bye laws, and strict construction norms and regulations, as regulated under the Delhi municipal act.

The term Lal Dora applies to both Rural & Urban villages and prime areas of Delhi today (though still classified as Lal Dora) operate commercial & high end residential areas like Hauz Khas Village, Lado Sarai, Khidki village, Shahpur Jat, Chhatarpur, etc

Q 10 White Collar working class

Ans:A white-collar worker belongs to a class of employees known for earning higher average salaries doing highly skilled work, but not by performing manual labor at their jobs.

White-collar workers historically have been the “shirt and tie” set, defined by office jobs and management, and not “getting their hands dirty.”

White-collar workers are suit-and-tie workers who work at a desk physical labor. They tend to make more money than blue-collar workers.BSOG 171 Free Solved Assignment

American is partially responsible for the modern understanding of the term “white-collar,” having used the phrase in conjunction with administrative work.

The differences in connotation between white-collar and blue-collar have much more to say about the way we perceive the service industry in comparison to the manufacturing and agricultural industries.


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