M.N. Srinivas started structural-functional analysis in sociological and social anthropological research in India. The structural-functional perspective relies more on the field work tradition for understanding the social reality so that it can also be understood as contextual’ or ‘field view’ perspective of the social phenomena.


  1. Mysore Narasimhachar Srinivas (1916-1999]was a world-renowned Indian sociologist He is mostly known for his work on caste and caste systems, social stratification and Sanskritisation in southern India. Srinivas’ contribution to the disciplines of sociology and social anthropology and to public life in India was unique. It was his capacity to break out of the strong mould in which [the mostly North American university oriented] area studies had been shaped after the end of the Second World War on the one hand, and to experiment with the disciplinary grounding of social anthropology and sociology on the other, which marked his originality as a social scientist
  2. It may be important to point out that it was the conjuncture between Sanskritic scholarship and the strategic concerns of the Western bloc in the aftermath of the Second World War which had largely shaped South Asian area studies in the United States. During the colonial era, the Brahmins or Pandits were acknowledged as important interlocutors of Hindu laws and customs to the British colonial administration.The colonial assumptions about an unchanging Indian society led to the curious assemblage of Sanskrit studies with contemporary issues in most South Asian departments in the U.S. and elsewhere. It was strongly believed that an Indian sociology must lie at the conjunction of Indology and sociology.
  3. Srinivas’ scholarship was to challenge that dominant paradigm for understanding Indian society and would in the process, usher newer intellectual frameworks for understanding Hindu society. His views on the importance of caste in the electoral processes in India are well known. While some have interpreted this to attest to the enduring structural principles of social stratification of Indian society, for Srinivas these symbolized the dynamic changes that were taking place as democracy spreads and electoral politics became a resource in the local world of village society.
  4. By inclination he was not given to utopian constructions – his ideas about justice, equality and eradication of poverty were rooted in his experiences on the ground His integrity in the face of demands that his sociology should take into account the new and radical aspirations was one of the most moving aspects of his writing. Through use of terms such as “sanskritisation” “dominant caste”, “vertical (inter-caste) and horizontal (intra-caste) solidarities”, Srinivas sought to capture the fluid and dynamic essence of caste as a social institution.
  5. As part of his methodological practice, Srinivas strongly advocated ethnographic research based on fieldwork, but his concept of fieldwork was tied to the notion of locally bounded sites. Because the vast country like India. Where million of people with different identities, interests are living and experienced series of transformations due to exogenous and endogenous factors. So one cannot offer an absolutist view of India.Thus some of his best papers, such as the paper on dominant caste and one on a joint family dispute, were largely inspired from his direct participation (and as a participant observer) in rural life in south India. He wrote several papers on the themes of national integration, issues of gender, new technologies, etc. It is really surprising as to why he did not theorize on the methodological implications of writing on these issues which go beyond the village and its institutions. His methodology and findings have been used and emulated by successive researchers who have studied caste in India.
  6. Srinivas occupies an eminent place among the first-generation sociologists of India. He belongs to the galaxy of G.S. Ghurye, R.K. Mukherjee, N.K. Bose and D.P.Mukerji. Srinivas has initiated the tradition of macro-sociological generalizations on micro-anthropological insights and of giving a sociological sweep and perspective to anthropological investigations of small-scale communities. Srinivas wanted to understand his countrymen not on the basis of western textbooks or from indigenous sacred texts but from direct observation, field study and field experience. He made intensive field study of Coorgs between 1940-42. In his study, he describes the concept of functional unity by Coorgs, mainly Brahmins ( priests), Kaniyas (astrologers and magicians) and Bannas and Panikas (low castes). In the context of the study of Rampura also, he describes that the various castes in a village are interdependent
  7. Srinivas studies of caste and religion highlighted not only their structural-functional aspects, but also the dynamics of the caste system in rural setting. He proposed conceptual tools like ‘dominant caste’ ‘sanskritization – westernization’ and ‘secularization’ to understand the realities of intercaste relations and also to explain their dynamics. The concept of dominant caste’ has been used in the study of power relations at the village leveL Srinivas presents the results of a number of studies on the structure and change in the village society.Srinivas has written articulates in the 1940s on Tamil and Telgu folk-songs.

Srinivas explains two basic concepts to understand our society :

  1. Book view (bookish perspective) : Religion, Varna, caste, family, village and geographical structure are the main elements, which are known as the bases of Indian society.The knowledge about such elements is gained through sacred texts or from books. Srinivas calls it book view or bookish perspective. Book view is also known as Indology, which is not acceptable to Srinivas and he emphasised to the field view.
  2. The book view of caste system upholds the superior position of Brahmins in social hierarchy while the untouchables occupy the lowest rungs. There is strict restriction on commensality and mobility. More importantly, The book view is projected as uncontestable and immutable.
  3. Field view (field work) : Srinivas believes that the knowledge about the different regions of Indian society can be attained through field work. This he calls field view. Consequently, he prefers empirical study to understand our society. Srinivas took the path of small regional studies rather than the construction of grand theories. In this context, field work plays an important role to understand the nativity of the rural Indian society.
  4. In opinion of Srinivas, view from the field particularly in the context of the caste situation, brings out lived reality of the people, the articulation of what is contained in scriptural texts in real life situations. Here, social mobility assumes importance.

Srinivas also realized the need for a mathematical and statistical orientation in sociology. His self-analysis underlines this point There are cogent reasons of both an ideological and a practical nature which explain why the secondary level of analysis described above is not usually pursued by scholars. The practical considerations are easy to detect Perhaps, more in the past than at present, the fear of mathematics derive many brilliant and diligent scholars to the ‘humanistic’ disciplines like sociology.

Writings of Srinivas::

Srinivas has written on many aspects of Indian society and culture. He is best known for his work on religion, village community, caste and social change He was influenced by Radcliffe-Brown’s notion of structure, who was his teacher at Oxford He studied Indian society as a ‘totality’, a study which would integrate “the various groups in its interrelationship, whether tribes, peasants or various cults and sects” (Patel). His writings are based on intensive field work in South India in general and Coorgs and Rampura in particular (Shah).

  1. Social Change : Brahminization, sans-kritisation, westernization and secularization
  2. Religion and Society
  3. Study of Village
  4. Views on Caste
  5. Dominant Caste

Social Change:

‘Social change’ as a theme continues to be a significant concern of Indian sociologists.This hold true not only for the pre-independence phase but also for post-independence period Srinivas attempted to construct a macro-level analysis using a large number of micro-level findings on the processes of ‘sanskritisation, ‘westernization’ and ‘secularization’. Interestingly enough,Srinivas returned to his micro-empirical setting a village- after nearly a quarter of century and in a diachronic frame highlighted the nature of social change in that village over period of time.

Religion and Society

  1. Srinivas’s work ‘Religion and Society among the Coorgs of South India’ led him to formulate the concept of Brahminization to represent the process of the imitation of life-ways and ritual practices of Brahmins by the lower-caste Hindus.The concept was used as an explanatory device to interpret changes observed in the ritual practices and life-ways of the lower castes through intensive and careful field study. The notion of Brahminization, however, had implicit possibilities of further abstraction into a higher level concept, Sanskritisation, which Srinivas introduced because his own field data and those of many others indicated limitations of using only Brahminic model as frame of reference. Later, sanskritisation, as a concept, thus, replaced Brahminization at a more abstract level.
  2. Srinivas achieved this through enlarging the meaning of sanskritisation and by distinguishing it from another concept, westernization, using both terms in a systematic manner to explain the processes of social change in India. This conceptual scheme, though referring mainly to the processes of cultural imitation, has a built-in structural notion, that of hierarchy and inequality of privilege and power, since the imitation is always by the castes or categories placed lower in social and economic status. We find a systematic placed lower in social and economic status.
  3. We find a systematic formulation of the two concepts in Srinivas’s ‘Social Change in Modern India’, wherein he defines ‘sanskritisation’ as the process by which a ‘low’ caste or tribe or other groups takes over the custom, ritual beliefs ideology and style of life of a high and in particular, a ‘twice-born (dwija), caste. The sanskritisation of a group has usually the effect of improving its position in the local caste hierarchy.The major emphasis in study of social change through concepts of sanskritisation and westernization and of the levels of traditions is on the changes in cultural styles, customs and ritual practices.


  1. The term Sanskritisation was introduced into Indian Sociology by Prof. M.N. Srinivas.The term refers to a process whereby people of lower castes collectively try to adopt upper caste practices and beliefs, as a preliminary step to acquire higher status. Thus, this indicates a process of cultural mobility that took place in the traditional social system of India.
  2. Meaning of Sanskritisation : Sanskritisation is not a new phenomenon. It has been a major process of cultural changein Indian history, and it has occurred in every part of the Indian sub-continent It denotes the process in which the lower castes try to imitate the life-styles of upper castes in their attempt to raise their social status.
  3. Definition of Sanskritisation: The definition of Sanskritisation was given by M.N.Srinivas in his “Social Change in Modern India” published in 1971. It means “a process by which a low caste or a tribe or other group changes its customs, rituals, ideology, and a way of life in the direction of a high and frequently, twice born caste.”
An analysis of the process of Sanskritisation :
  1. Sanskritisation denotes the process of upward mobility. In this process, a caste is trying to increase its position in the caste hierarchy not at once, but over a period of time. It would take some times, a period of one or two generations.’
  2. Mobility that is involved in the process of Sanskritisation results only in “positional changes” for particular castes or sections of castes, and need not necessarily lead to a”structural change”. It means, while individual castes move up or down, the structure as such remains the same.
  3. In process of sanskritisation, caste mobility is group mobility. To ensure that the mobile caste member does not find difficult to obtain marriage partner, to neutralize threat from other castes, caste mobility must be a group mobility.
  4. The castes which enjoyed higher economic and political power but rated relatively low in ritual ranking went after Sanskritisation for they felt that their claim to a higher position was not fully effective.
  5. Economic betterment is not a necessary pre-condition to Sanskritisation, nor economic development must necessarily lead to Sanskritisation. However, sometimes a group (caste/tribe) may start by acquiring political power and this may lead to economic development and Sanskritisation.
  6. Therefore, Sanskritisation is not possible without secular mobility.
  7. Sanskritisation is not necessarily confined to the castes within the Hindu community, it is found in tribal communities also. The Bhils of Western India, the Gonds and Oraons of Middle India and the Pahadiyas of Himalayan region have come under the influence of Sanskritisation. These tribal communities are now claiming themselves to be Hindus.
  8. Therefore, It speaks about Tribe-Caste Continuous. It is thus not necessity speaking of Brahmanical model of mobility rather it speaks about kshatriya model vaishya model shudra model of mobility.
  9. The process of Sanskritisation serves as a “reference group”. It is through this process caste group tries to orient its beliefs, practices, values, attitudes and “life styles”in terms of another superior or dominant group, so that it can also get some recognition.
  10. Sanskritisation does not take place in the same manner in all the places.
Impact of Sanskritisation as Modernizing Force:
  1. Modern education,Western literature and philosophy of people widened and as a result the mental horizons and visionary of people changed They welcomed rationality and other good features of and made good use of liberal and humanitarian ideas and thoughts.
  2. Vedas has been conceived through intellectual contemplation and empirical observation and used Upnishads (speculative interpretation of Vedas or Mythology) for the creation of human imagination.
  3. Reformists and their organizations had purely an economic and social thrust They aimed at establishing a social order based on Vedic teachings and practices. They criticized the mumbo-jumbo of rituals and superstitions created by some selfish people to entangle the ignorant and poor masses. They laid emphasis on interpreting Vedas in a rational and scientific way.
  4. It reduced or removed the gap between the ritual and secular rankings. It also helped upliftment of weaker persons.The lower caste group which successfully got into the seat of secular power also tried to avail of the services of Brahmins especially at the time of observing rituals, worshipping and offering things to God.
Does sanskrtisation exists among tribals?
  1. The question that arises is whether Hinduisation is the same as sanskritisation. The two are, of course, interrelated but it may be more appropriate to describe the process involved in the context of tribes as Hinduisation rather than sanskritisation. This is so because climbing up the hierarchy is not the overriding concern among the tribes. Ofcourse it is not possible to conceive of Hindu faith and practices outside that of caste organization. Hinduisation thus invariably entails some caste status. But the caste status that is accorded to tribe is said to be one of ‘laws caste Status’. If this is the case, then where is the process of social mobility in the case of tribes? What is it that tribes gain through this process? Neither have they mate claim for higher status. In opinion of Dalit sociologist Hardiman, it is outsiders who impose such status on tribes. In fact, even after Hinduisation tribes by and large remain outside the hierarchical structure of Hindu society.
  2. The problem with concept of Sanskritisation in the case of tribes does not end there. In fact, there is also problem of the reference group. It is for from clear from the literature as to which of the caste groups, tribes (barring those belonging to royal or chiefly lineage) emulated in their respective region. The royal/Chiefly lineage emulated rajputs and has entered into matrimonial alliance with them. Thus whereas the upper strata of the tribal society got integrated into Hindu society The subjects continued to live outside Hindu society though there may have been a process of Hinduisation among them. Climbing up the ladder of hierarchy had been not their concern. Given this, it would perhaps be more not their concern. Given this, it would perhaps be more appropriate to speak of Hinduisation than of sanskritization in the context of tribes in India. Further, if at all tribes consider some castes superior. It is not because of their caste status but because they happen to be Jajirdan, thinkadars, lambadars etc.
  3. The question that may be asked them is why tribes, Hinduised themselves even though they attain no higher status? Do they want to be absorbed into the longer society? Well, this may have been the case in the past but it is no longer the case today. Today, the process of acculturation into ideas, values and practices of the dominant community is more of being like the dominant community than are of being part of that society of assuming some caste status.
Criticisms of Sanskritisation :
  1. According to J.F Stall, Sanskritisation as used by Srinivas and other anthropologists isa complex concept or a class of concepts.The term itself seems to be misleading, since its relationship to the term Sanskrit is extremely complicated
  2. Yogendra Singh opines that sanskritisation fails to account for many aspects of cultural change in past and contemporary India as it neglects the non-sanskritic traditions.
  3. As it neglects non-sanskritic traditions like Bhakti movement, Buddhism and Islamisation. So it is more of culturological model than sociological
  4. Sanskritic influence has not been universal to all parts of country. In most of northern lndia, especially in Punjab, it was the Islamic tradition which provided a basis for cultural imitation.
  5. When we try to interpret certain changes that have taken place in the field of social mobility in the light of Sanskritisation, we face certain paradoxes. According to Dr.Srinivas, political and economic forces are normally favourable for Sanskritisation. But the “policy of reservation” a poltico constitutional attempt to elevate the status of lower caste, and class people, presents here a different picture. Theoretically, the policy of reservation must be supportive of Sanskritisation. But paradoxically it goes against it.


  1. The process of Westernization of caste-system in India began with the frantic efforts of missionaries to convert as many Indians as possible into Christianity and coming of East India Company in India first to trade and later on to increase its political power in India. East India Company successfully established ‘British Imperial Rule’ in India by 1858.
  2. British rule produced radical and lasting changes in the Indian society and culture. The British brought with them new technology, institutions, knowledge, beliefs, and values. These have become the main source of social mobility for individuals as well as groups. It is in this context, M.N.Srinivas, introduced the term “Westernisation” mainly to explain the changes that have taken place in the Indian society and culture due to Western contact through the British rule.
  3. Definition of Westernisation : According to M.N.Srinivas,”Westernisation” refers to “the changes brought about in the Indian society and culture as a result of over 150 years of British rule and the term subsumes changes occurring at different levels -technology, institutions, ideology and values.”
  4. Meaning of Westernisation: In comparison with Sanskritisation, Westernisation is a simplier concept It explains the impact of Western contact (particularly of British rule) on the Indian society and culture. M.N. Srinivas used the term “Westernisation” to describe the changes that a non-western country had undergone as a result of prolonged contact with the western one. It imples, according to Srinivas, “certain value preferences”, which in turn subsumes several values, such as “humanitarianism” It implies an active concern for the welfare of all human beings irrespective of caste, economic position, religion, age and sex. Westernisation not only includes the introduction of new institutions, but also fundamental changes in old institutions. For example, India had schools long before the arrival of the British, but they were different from the British introduced schools. Other institutions such as army, civil service and law courts were also similarly affected However, the increase in Westernisation does not retard the process of Sanskritisation. Both go on simultaneously, and to some extent increase in Westernisation accelerates the process of Sanskritisation. For example, the postal facilities, railways, buses and newspaper media which are the fruits of Western impact on India render more organised religious pilgrimages, meetings, caste solidarities, etc., possible compared to the past.
  5. M.N. Srinivas classifies people is there categories based on their value orientation and manifest behaviour. He says that a category of people who are both internally as well as externally sanskritised that means whose value structure as well as behaviour is sanskritised Another category of people where people are internally sankritised i.e. sanskritised value base white externally westernized i.e.they imitate west in their fashion and habbits. Third category where both internal as well as external sanskritisation can be found So this categorization of Srinivas helps to understand the balancing act of people between tradition and modern identities. Hence it explain change with continuity.

Impact of Westernisation

  1. Opened up the doors of the knowledge
  2. Modern education opened up the doors of the knowledge flourished in Europe after Renaissance movement of Middle Ages. It had widened the mental horizons of Indian intelligentsia.
  3. Education for all – During second half of the nineteenth century, British government in India opened the doors of education to all the sections of Indian society, irrespective of caste or creed Still very few amongst the general public could avail the advantages of formal modern education. Education remained confined within a small section of society.
  4. Highlighted evil practices-Modern education had highlighted the evil practices and weaknesses developed into the system, like rigidity and harshness of many social customs and practices prevalent at that time for the weaker sections of the society i.e. untouchability and inhuman treatment to women,Sati, Polygamy, child marriage etc. prevalent at that time.
  5. Attracted attention of social reformers- Modern education had attracted the attention of intellectuals and social reformers towards real issues evils caused by ignorance, irrationality of mumbo-jumbo of rituals and superstitions created by some selfish people to entangle the ignorant and poor masses.They suggested remedies for social, political and economic ills of the country. They took upon themselves the responsibility to build a modern, open, plural culturally rich, prosperous and powerful India out of a fragmented, poverty stricken, superstitious, weak, indifferent, backward and inward looking society. As a result of such efforts, it led to abolition of Sati and slavery. Female infanticide practice lowered to a great extent
  6. Realization of the worth of liberty and freedom- It equipped national leaders with intellectuals tools with which they fought the oppressive British Raj. Indians realized the worth of liberty and freedom. They got exposure to the philosophies of thinkers like Locke, Mill Roussseau, Voltaire, Spencer and Burke etc.They understood the reasons and impact of English, French, American revolutions.

Criticisms of Westernisation :

The concepts of Sanskritisation and Westernisation primarily analyse social change in “cultural” and not in “structural” terms. This denoted that these terms have limited range of application and use.

  1. Srinivasas model explains the process of social change only in India which is based on the caste system. It is not useful for other societies. Though Srinivas claimed that the concept of Westernisation is “ethically neutral” it is not really so. The Western model which Srinivas has eulogised has its own contradiction. Mention can be made of the facts of Western life such as racial prejudice, colour segregation and exploitive nature of the Western economy, etc.These facts contradict humanitarian ideals or rational outlook on life.
  2. It is also commented that the Western model which Srinivas has eulogised has its own contradiction. The western model sometimes conveys values that are contrary to the ones referred by Srinivas.
  3. Daniel Learner has raised some objections to the use of Westernisation as conceived by Srinivas :
    • It is too local label and the model which is imitated may not be western country; but Russia.
    • One of the result of prolonged contact with the west is the rise of the elite class whose attitude towards the West is ambivalent is not invariably true. In this context, Lerner refers to the appeal of Communism in non-western countries.
    • Westernisation in one area or level of behaviour does not result inWesternisation in another related area or level
    • While there is certain common elements in Westernisation, yet each represent a particular variant of a common culture and significant difference exists between one country and another.
Difference between Sanskritisation and Westernisation:
  1. Sanskritisation process promoted the sacred outlook; while Westernisation process promoted secular
  2. Sanskritisation is a process of upward mobility by a process of imitation while Westernisation is a process of upward mobility by a process of development
  3. Sanskritisation implies mobility within the framework of caste while Westernisation implies mobility
    outside the framework of caste.
  4. While Sanskritisation puts a taboo on meat-eating and consumption of alcohol Westernisation promoted meat-eatingand consumption of alcohol Sanskrtisation implies to imitation of higher caste particularly twice-born. While westernization implies imitation of dominant community.Today process of westernization is more prevalent than sankrtisation due to strong exogenous forces of globalization.

Study of Village :

Besides religion and caste, the third traditions component of Srinivas’ Study is village. Srinivas got the seed idea of studying India’s villages from his mentor Radcliffe-Brown in. He conducted the study of Rampur – a Mysore village – which gave him the concept of ‘dominant cast’. The study has been contained in the Remembered Village; it is here only that Srinivas takes some time to discuss social and economic changes, which have taken place in Rampura. He informs that the technological change occupied a prominent place in the life of the people of Rampura soon after independence. Technological change, of course, went hand in hand with economic, political and cultural changes.

  1. The main aim of Srinivas has been to understand Indian society. And’ for him, Indian society is essentially a caste society.
  2. He has studied religion, family, caste and village in India. Srinivas search for the identity of traditions makes him infer that the Indian traditions are found in caste, village and religion.
  3. Ideologically, he believed in status quo: let the Dalits survive and let the high castes enjoy their hegemony over subaltern. For him, it appears that Indian social structure is on par with the advocates of Hindutva, say, the cultural nationalism. Srinivas though talks about economic and technological development, all through his works he pleads for change in caste, religion and family.
  4. Even in the study of these areas he sidetracks lower segments of society. They are like ‘untouchables’ for him.
  5. Srinivas has extensively talked about the social evils of the caste society; he pleads for change in caste system and discusses westernization and modernization as viable paradigms of changes. But his perspective of change is Brahminical Hinduism or traditionalism.

For him, Indian traditions are those, which are manifested in caste and village. His traditions are Hinduised traditions, and in no sense secular ones. Srinivas, in a straight forward way, rejects secularism and stands in favour of Hindu traditions. In his critique of Indian secularism, which appeared in a short article in the Times of India in 1993, he finds secularism wanting because he believes that India needs a new philosophy to solve the cultural and spiritual crises facing the country and that philosophy cannot be secular humanism. It has to be firmly rooted in God as creator and protector. Srinivas’ to Hindutva ideology of cultural nationalism. At this stage of discussion, Doshi comments regarding India’s traditions, it can be said that any tradition emanating from caste system cannot be nation’s tradition as the constitution has rejected caste.

Srinivas concentrated on the study of some vital aspects of Hindu society and culture and his study did it explore the dimensions of interaction and interface between the Hindu and non-Hindu segments. The area that he studied did not have a large non-Hindu presence. He hoped that other sociologists would take up the study of the non-Hindu segment of Indian society and culture without which an Indian sociology, Indian in the sense of being comprehensive and authentic and hence truly representative of the plurality and complexity of India, would not emerge. In this context, Joshi viewed that Srinivas’ self definition and self-perception was never that of a Hindu sociologist but that of an Indian sociologist studying Hindu religion and its social institutions in a specific area through intensive field work at the ground level.

Views on Caste : (Discussed in Next Unit – Caste System)

Assessment of Srinivas :

The life mission of Srinivas has been to understand Indian society. But he is criticized on following lines :

  1. He though talks about economic and technological developments but in the study of these areas sidetracks lower segments of society.
  2. In his endeavour for promoting sanskritisation he has marginalized and alienated religious minorities.
  3. For him, Indian traditions are those, which are manifested in caste and village. His traditions are Hinduised traditions and in no sense secular ones.
  4. The construction of sanskritisation and dominant caste put him closer to Hindutva ideology of cultural nationalism. One can say that his understanding was more elitist or presents only upper caste view.

The indigenous concepts of social change prevailing among sociologists in the 1950s and in the 1960s
were formulated by M.N.Srinivas under the labels ‘sanskritisation’ and ‘westernization’. He regarded these two processes as “limited processes in modern India and it is not possible to understand one without reference to the other”.Srinivas had evolved the concept of sanskritisation while preparing his doctoral dissertation under the guidance of Radcliffe-Brown and Evens Pritchard at Oxford He finally formulated the concepts as denoting the process by which a ‘low caste people, tribal or other group, changes its customs, rituals, ideology, and way of life in the direction of a high and frequently ‘twice-born caste’.

Srinivas posited the concept of westernization as follows: “The British conquest of India set free a number
of forces – political, economic, social and technological … (which) affected the country’s social and cultural
life profoundly and at every point, and that the withdrawal of the British from India not only did not mean the cession of these forces but, meant on the contrary, their intensification”.

  1. According to Mukherjee now, as a summary of certain characteristics spontaneously observable in society, these concepts cannot claim any originality.
  2. What Srinivas characterized as sanskritisation in the idiom of sociology currently fashionable, had been described by the proto-sociologists Lyall and Risley as ‘Aryanization’ and ‘Brahminization’. Possibly, sanskritisation is a more precise expression of the process under reference, as is claimed by Srinivas who does not deny the antecedents to his concept.
  3. The pioneers also were not unaware of the two processes and took particular note of them in the context of their respective value preferences, theoretical formulations and research orientation (e.g., Coomaraswamy, and D.P. Mukerji).
  4. The two processes have, respectively, two levels of meaning – ‘historic-specific’ and ‘contextual-specific, as Yogendra Singh has remarked regarding sanskritisation.


Despite above mentioned criticism, Srinivas stands tall among the first-generation sociologists of India. His focus on ‘field view’ over the ‘book view’ is a remarkable step in understanding the reality of Indian society. This reflects sociology of nativity. His field work among the Coorgs relates his approach as structural-functional and represents an exposition of the complex interrelationship between ritual and social order in Coorgs society. It also deals with the crucial notion of purity and pollution as also with the process of incorporation of non-Hindu communities into the Hindu social order. This refers to the concept of ‘sanskritisation’ which he used to describe the process of the penetration of Sanskritic values into the remotest parts of India.

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