‘The concept of unity is inherent in Hinduism.’ Who has written this? | Sociology for CUET by Vikash Ranjan | Sociology Guru

Inherent in Hinduism

Question: ‘The concept of unity is inherent in Hinduism.’ Who has written this?

  1. K. L. Sharma
  2. N. Srinivas
  3. Yogendra Singh
  4. C. Dube

Answer: (2)

The statement, “The concept of unity is inherent in Hinduism,” is attributed to M. N. Srinivas. This response will delve into M. N. Srinivas’s perspective on the concept of unity in Hinduism and his observations on the diverse cultural and religious landscape of India. Additionally, we will critically evaluate his stance, especially concerning Hinduism and the caste system, acknowledging potential points of agreement and disagreement.

N. Srinivas’s Perspective on Unity in Hinduism:

Mysore Narasimhachar Srinivas, a prominent Indian sociologist, made significant contributions to the understanding of Indian society, culture, and social change. The provided statement encapsulates Srinivas’s viewpoint on the intrinsic unity embedded in Hinduism. Let’s break down his perspective:

  1. Sacred Centres and Pilgrimage:

Srinivas asserts that the concept of unity is manifested in Hinduism through the existence of sacred centers and pilgrimage sites spread across the entire Indian subcontinent. Pilgrimage is a significant aspect of Hindu religious practice, emphasizing the idea of a shared sacred geography.

  1. Sanskritic Culture:

Srinivas highlights the pervasiveness of certain aspects of Sanskritic culture throughout the country. This suggests a cultural unity that extends beyond regional variations, contributing to a sense of shared identity among Hindus.

  1. Inclusivity of Other Religions:

The statement acknowledges that India is not only a sacred land for Hindus but also for Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Muslims, and Christians. This inclusivity implies a recognition of diverse religious traditions coexisting within the geographical and cultural boundaries of India.

  1. Caste as a Common Social Idiom:

Srinivas observes that the institution of caste cuts across diverse religious groups and provides them with a common social idiom. This implies that while religious affiliations may vary, the social fabric is woven together, to some extent, by the institution of caste.

  1. Secular State and Plural Character:

Srinivas notes that India, as a secular state, embraces diversity. He cites examples such as the Five-Year Plans, the propagation of egalitarian ideals, a single government, and a common body of civil and criminal laws as evidence of India’s plural character and oneness.

Critical Evaluation:

Srinivas’s perspective on the concept of unity in Hinduism and the broader sociocultural context of India raises points for critical examination. Here are key aspects to consider:

  1. Diversity within Hinduism:

While Srinivas emphasizes unity in Hinduism, it is essential to acknowledge the diversity within the religion. Hinduism is not a monolithic tradition; it encompasses a vast array of beliefs, practices, and sects. The diversity within Hinduism challenges any singular characterization of its unity.

  1. Caste System as a Common Social Idiom:

Srinivas’s assertion that the caste system serves as a common social idiom might be contested. The caste system has been a source of social stratification and inequality, and its impact on different religious communities varies. While it may provide a shared social structure, it has also been a source of tension and discrimination.

  1. Inclusivity of Other Religions:

Srinivas acknowledges the sacredness of India for various religious communities, including Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Muslims, and Christians. However, the extent of inclusivity and mutual acceptance among these diverse religious traditions is a complex and evolving aspect of India’s socioreligious landscape.

  1. Secularism and Diversity:

The notion of India as a secular state embracing diversity aligns with constitutional principles. However, challenges and instances of religious tension have emerged over time. The relationship between the secular framework and the diverse religious fabric requires ongoing examination.

  1. Contemporary Relevance:

Srinivas’s observations were made in a specific historical and sociocultural context. It is essential to consider how his perspectives align with or differ from contemporary realities, especially in the face of evolving social dynamics, globalization, and changing attitudes toward religion and identity.

  1. Individual and Community Perspectives:

Srinivas’s emphasis on the unity of Hindus through pilgrimage, shared culture, and the caste system may reflect a perspective from a macro-level sociological analysis. Individual experiences and perceptions within these communities may vary, and the concept of unity may be subject to different interpretations.

Relevance to the MA CUET Exam:

For candidates preparing for the MA CUET exam, questions related to M. N. Srinivas’s views on unity in Hinduism and the diversity of Indian society may be presented to assess their understanding of sociological concepts and critical thinking skills. Potential exam scenarios could include:

1 Analysis of Srinivas’s Perspectives:

Candidates might be asked to critically analyze M. N. Srinivas’s views on the unity within Hinduism and the broader social and religious diversity in India. This could involve assessing the strengths and limitations of his observations.

  1. Comparative Perspectives:

Exam questions might prompt candidates to compare Srinivas’s perspectives with those of other sociologists or philosophers who have addressed similar themes. This comparative analysis could encompass views on religion, culture, and social unity.

  1. Application to Contemporary Issues:

Candidates may be required to apply Srinivas’s ideas to contemporary sociocultural issues in India. This could involve discussing how his concepts align with or diverge from current debates on religious pluralism, secularism, and identity.

  1. Debates on Caste and Social Identity:

Exam questions might delve into the ongoing debates on caste, social identity, and their role in shaping communal and individual experiences. Candidates could be asked to explore the complexities and challenges associated with the caste system in contemporary India.

  1. Critical Assessment of Secularism:

Candidates may be tasked with critically assessing Srinivas’s observations on India as a secular state embracing diversity. This could involve examining the current state of secularism and its implications for social cohesion.

In summary, M. N. Srinivas’s statement about the concept of unity in Hinduism reflects his sociological perspective on the interplay between religion, culture, and social identity in India. As candidates approach questions related to this topic in the MA CUET exam, a nuanced understanding of Srinivas’s views, coupled with critical evaluation and consideration of contemporary dynamics, will be essential for constructing thoughtful and well-informed responses.


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Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Question: Define the term “ethnic movement” and provide an example from India.

Answer: An ethnic movement refers to a collective effort by a group sharing common cultural, linguistic, or religious traits, seeking to assert their identity and rights; an example from India is the Khalistan Movement in Punjab.

2. Question: Identify the main objectives behind the Gorkhaland ethnic movement.

Answer: The Gorkhaland ethnic movement primarily seeks to establish a separate state for India’s Nepali-speaking population in the Darjeeling region, advocating for linguistic and cultural recognition and political autonomy.

3. Question: What was the Operation Blue Star, and which ethnic movement was it related to?
Answer: Operation Blue Star was a military action in 1984, aiming to remove Sikh militants hiding in the Golden Temple in Amritsar; it is related to the Khalistan movement, which sought a separate Sikh country.

4. Question: Mention a critical factor that triggered the emergence of ethnic movements in India, as discussed by Dipankar Gupta.
Answer: Dipankar Gupta emphasized that ethnicity is fundamentally a political process, wherein caste and religion, the key components of identity formation, are politicized by leaders for vested interests.

5. Question: What were the primary reasons for the Assam Ethnicity conflicts involving Bodo tribals and Bengali Muslim settlers?
Answer: The Assam Ethnicity conflicts primarily stemmed from issues related to immigration, land rights, and resource allocation, leading to clashes, riots, and evolving relationships among indigenous communities to address challenges.

6. Question: Briefly describe the role of the Dravidian Movement in terms of caste and societal structure.
Answer: The Dravidian Movement, led notably by E.V. Ramasamy, aimed to establish an egalitarian society, focusing on anti-Brahmanism and advocating for equal rights for backward castes, while also introducing reforms like self-respect marriages.

7. Question: Name the prominent ethnic movements in North-East India and specify one common objective.
Answer: Prominent ethnic movements in North-East India include the Nagas’ and Mizos’ struggles; a common objective was to gain autonomy and recognition for their distinct tribal identities and cultural uniqueness.

8. Question: What is the key argument of Gail Omveldt regarding traditional Indian society and multiculturalism?
Answer: Gail Omveldt opposed romanticizing traditional Indian society, arguing that hierarchy has always dominated it and dismissing the notion that multiculturalism is an intrinsic feature of Indian society as a myth.

9. Question: Briefly explain the social hierarchy factor as a contributing element to ethnic movements as suggested by Olzak.
Answer: Olzak suggests that the construction of hierarchies among ethnic communities, which often leads to the suppression of one group by another, is a key factor that can instigate social and ethnic movements.

10. Question: Identify one consequence of the unequal economic development factor within the context of ethnic movements in India.
Answer: One consequence of unequal economic development is the marginalization and underdevelopment of certain groups, leading to feelings of alienation and sometimes initiating ethnic movements as these groups strive for equality and recognition.

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