Here is an essay on ‘Indian Society’ for class 11 and 12. Find paragraphs, long and short essays on ‘Indian Society’ especially written for school and college students.
Essay on Indian Society
Essay # 1. Meaning of Society:
The term society refers not to group of people but to the complex pattern of the norms of interaction that arise among and between them. It consists of not only mutual interactions and mutual interrelations of the individuals but it is also a structure formed by these relations. According to Maclver society is— “A web of social relationship.”
Just as life is not a thing but a process of living so society is not a thing but a process of associating.
According to Ginsberg – “A society is a collection of individuals united by certain relations or modes of behaviour which mark them off from other who do not enter into these relations or who differ from them in behaviour.”
According to Parsons – “Society may be defined as the total complex of human relationships in so far as they grow out of action in terms of mean-end relationships, intrinsic or symbolic.”
According to Prof. Wright – “Society is not a group of people. It is the system of relationships that exist between the individuals of the group.”
Society exists only when the members know each other and possess common interest or objects. The members who constitute the society must realise their likeness and their interdependence. They must have a community of feeling. Society is the whole system of social relationships and not a mere agency for the comfort of the beings.
Society is a permanent institution and is a kind of natural organisation which has emerged out of natural instincts of man. The true nature of society consists not in the external factors of interdependence or likeness or authority but in the state of mind of the beings that compose society. Three main types of society tribal, agrarian and industrial have been marked out on this globe. The African society is tribal, the Indian society is ‘agrarian’ (peasant) while the American society is industrial.
Essay # 2. Social Structure of Indian Society:
In a social structure, human beings organise themselves into associations for the pursuit of some object. The social structure of Indian society is heterogeneous character.
Social structure refers to the network of social relationship which is created among the human beings when they interact with each other according to their statuses in accordance with the patterns of society.
Definitions of Social Structure:
According to S. F. Nadel – “We arrive at the structure of a society through abstracting from concrete population and its behaviour, the pattern on network of relationships obtaining between actors in their capacity of playing roles relative to one another.”
According to Ginsberg – “Social structure is concerned with the principal forms of social organisation i.e., types of groups, associations and institutions and complex of these which constitute societies.”
According to Radcliffe Brown – “The components of social structure are human beings, the structure itself being an arrangement of persons in relationship institutionally defined and regulated.”
According to Karl Mannheim – “Social structure is the web of interacting social forces from which the various modes of observing and thinking have arisen.”
According to Talcott Parsons – “Social structure is the term applied to the particular arrangement of inter-related institutions, agencies and social patterns, as well as the status and roles which each person assumes in the groups.”
On the basis of above definitions we can see that social structure is an abstract phenomenon. It refers to the external aspects of society. Each society has a pattern of organization composed of the structures resulting from associations of men with each other. It may be a group, an association or an organization. Institutions, associations, groups, organizations and community are parts of social structure— instruments through which it functions. Social structure can be explained with the help of organic structure where body is an arrangement of different body parts like hands, legs, nose, ears, mouth etc.
These parts are arranged in a particular & systematic way so as to create a pattern and body works through these parts which are interdependent and inter-related. Though parts of organic structure are same in every case yet the form of organic structure of people differs like long, short, fat, lean and thin. In the same way, parts of all social structures are same—i.e. every social structure has a family, religion, political organization, land areas etc. but the forms of social structure like the form of family is not similar in all social structures. Some families have one husband, one wife and their children. Some have several wives one husband and their children.
In nutshell it can be said that:
1. Social structure is an abstract and intangible phenomenon.
2. As individuals are the units of associations and institutions so these associations and institutions are the units of social structure.
3. These institutions and associations are interrelated in a particular arrangement and thus create the pattern of social structure.
4. It refers to the external aspect of society which is relatively stable as compared to the functional or internal aspect of society.
5. Social structure is a ‘living’ structure which is created and maintained for a time and changes.
Social structure is closely related to the concept of social system. Social structure is the ‘means’ through which the social system functions. Social system refers to – “Functional aspect of social structure”
Talcott Parsons – “A social system consists in a plurality of individual actors interacting with each other in a situation which has at least a physical or environmental aspect.”
Social system is constituted by the actions of individuals. It involves participation of an actor in a process of interactive relationship in accordance with social norms. On the basis of their interaction and inter-relationship they create a pattern which is called social system.
The social structure of Indian society is comprised of various socio-religious institutions.
Essay # 3. Features of Social Structure of Indian Society:
India has been a country where numerous groups migrated from Asia and Europe. The social structure of Indian society is characterised by diversities and unity. But over the time, culture of each group has undergone changes and has become the part of Indian society culture. Even the process of economic development has brought revolutionary changes in the Indian pattern of social life.
1. Pluralistic Society:
Indian society is a pluralistic society with a complex social order characterised by a multitude of ethnic, linguistic, religious and caste divisions. Hindus constitute the majority community and comprise about 82% of the population. They stand evenly distributed across regions. The Muslims constitute 12% and the Sikhs 2% of the population. Muslims are concentrated in J and K, Assam, Bihar, U.P., Kerala and West Bengal.
Christians are concentrated in the small states of Northeast-Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and the Sikhs are concentrated in Punjab. These distributions have an important bearing upon the politics of these areas. The Muslim-concentrated areas are communal riots areas; the concentration of Sikhs in Punjab is a determinant of Politics in Punjab.
2. Predominantly Rural Society:
About 70% of the Indian people live in villages and Indian villages continue to be under-developed even backward. Lack of civic amenities, employment opportunities, roads, transport facilities, electricity, hospitals and schools in rural areas is a hard reality. The gains of industrialisation and development during the past 45 years have mostly been cornered by the urban areas. On an average a city dweller earns nearly 2.5 times more than a ruralite. The gains of technological break-through and industrialisation are yet to reach the villages. Urban-rural gap is a reality of our society.
The ruralites feel that though agriculture accounts for a major part of India’s national income, the rural areas continue to lag behind because of the governmental policies which favour the urbanites. In the democratic political process, the rural people by virtue of their large majority play an active and dominant role and yet the leadership in India continues to be in the hands of the urban elite.
Of late, the government of India has started giving due importance to the objective of rural development. IRDP, NREP, Panchyati Raj etc. are all designed to achieve this objective. The growing awareness among the rural people and their increasing participation in the political process are healthy signs yet the process continues to be slow.
Poverty of the masses is an important feature of Indian social system. Despite the fact of having made considerable progress in the fields of agriculture and industrialisation, India continues to be an economically backward country. It still remains world’s 15th, poorest nation despite maintaining an overall industrial growth rate of 3 to 5% and an agrarian growth rate of 2 to 3%.
The increase in GNP from 1.3% in 1947 to 3.6% in 1980 has failed to match the growing number. A large number of Indians continue to live below the poverty line. The economic development of the society through organised plans and all round industrial and technological development constitutes the biggest and most challenging objective of the Indian polity. The objective of economic upliftment is of at least 90% of the people by the end of 8th. Five Year Plan period is indeed laudable, yet chances of achieving it appears to be weak.
4. Illiteracy and Ignorance:
Illiterates constitute a major part of Indian social system. A large number of Indians are still illiterate. Nearly 64% of the population continues to be illiterate. Despite the spread of the educational network and adoption of ideal like free and compulsory education for children upto 14 years and the ideal of making 80 million adults literate by 1995, India remains a state inhabited by a large majority of illiterates. The population explosion and poverty combined with inadequate resources and efforts have all combined to perpetuate the problem.
The political process continues to be predominated by illiterate masses who are exploited by literate and neo-literate leaders. Even many political leaders have a vested interest in perpetuating illiteracy and public ignorance because they use them as their vote bank and as a means for maintaining their leadership. The faulty system of education has further compounded the evils of illiteracy. Even the literates have failed to keep away from casteism, communalism, factionalism, regionalism, indiscipline and corruption.
Politics in India continues to operate in an environment of illiteracy and ignorance. Nevertheless, with the passage of time the people of India are learning through formal and informal means of education, gaining experience and becoming more and more mature. Illiteracy creates so many social problems. The need is for more determined governmental action and strong social support in this respect.
5. Linguistic Diversity:
Communalisation of language is another factor which is polluting the social environment of India. On the basis of language, Indian society stands’ divided into linguistic groups. The constitution of India recognises as many as 15 languages as the major languages which are spoken by 87% of population. There are as many as 1652 ‘mother tongues’ in India. In the North-east region alone, which constitutes just 8% of the Indian Territory and 4% of the population, there are 432 languages.
Hindi is spoken by nearly 31% of the people followed by Telegu which is spoken by nearly 9% of the population. Linguistic diversity and emotional and parochial love of people for their regional languages have forced the government to accept and follow the principle of re-organisation of Indian States on the basis of languages i.e. the creation of linguistic states. This feature has, further, hindered the recognition and use of Hindi as the official language of the Union.
The Southern States are not prepared to accept Hindi as the national language and instead are prepared to retain English as the medium of communication with the centre and other states. Language has emerged as a key factor of social and political tension in India.
Hindi has failed to get support as the National Language and attempts to popularise it as regarded by the people of the South, particularly in Tamil Nadu, as ‘impositions’ and they oppose it through aggressive and violent protests. In some states like Punjab, which is a bilingual state, the three language formula stands implemented but it has unduly burdened the educational system and within the state has divided the people on language basis.
6. Racial Diversity:
India is inhabited by people of different racial connections. People of the North are of Aryan race whereas the people of South represent the Dravidian race. In the Eastern States people have affinity with Mongolian race. The racial inter-mixing has taken place but only in a limited way.
The principle of unity in diversity is accepted and yet diversities are many times allowed to dominate the objective of unity. The constitution categorically ends racial discrimination and provides for secularism as the best way, yet in actual operation of socio-political processes, racial factor plays a role in India.
7. Caste and Casteism:
Caste and casteism has been the pre-dominant feature of Indian social system. It is an ancient evil which continues to influence India’s social, economic, cultural and political life. The constitution in abolishing untouchability and in providing for no discrimination on the basis of caste and creed has taken a great step towards their dilution, if not elimination of caste and casteism. But in the actual process of Indian society, caste and casteism continue to be major factors.
An attempt is on to limit their role. Increased social mobility and inter-mixing of people living in various parts of the country continues to be a major factor in the political processes like political socialisation, leadership recruitment, political communication, political participation and voting behaviour.
Caste membership and caste loyalties continue to influence the popular participation in politics. Even the constitution provisions for reservation of seats and jobs for the people belonging to Scheduled Castes and Tribes have failed to produce the desired integrative effect.
Caste system has deep historical roots and hence cannot be abolished. It has been playing an integrative role but only at the group level. It has helped the formation of social groupings in an otherwise vast and heterogeneous population. Hence what is needed is not its abolition but the cultivation of the ability to limit its role and prevent it from acting as a source of communalism, regionalism and parochialism.
The presence of communal tension and the periodic outbreak of communal riots have been the bone of Indian social system. Even after 50 years of independence these continue to strain the socio-political system. The existence of some regional and communal political parties adds fuel to the fire. Exploitation in the name of religion, election campaigns based on communal lines and use of religion as a pressure group are practised by political parties, which prefers secularism and also those which are based on a particular religion.
Communalism remains a big strain on India’s efforts towards nationalism. The menace of communalism constitutes a big danger to the unity and integrity of the nation. Even the spread of literacy and operationalisation of several control mechanism have produced little success towards the elimination of this menace.
The rejection of communal electorates and the implementation of a communal electrode too have failed to produce the desired results. Each year the state has to spread a huge amount of money for preventing and controlling riots and providing assistance to riot affected people. All this seriously limits the capabilities of Indian social system.
Religious, linguistic, cultural and caste diversities prevailing in the Indian society have together strengthened the forces of regionalism. Love and concern for one’s local area of inhabitation is something natural. The adoption of federal structure presupposes the existence of some regionalism due to which the division of powers is done between the federal government and the federating units. India is not an exception to generalisation.
But unfortunately, regionalism in India often takes the form of sub-nationalism or even anti- nationalism. The sons of the soil principle and the existence of several regional political parties with narrowly conceived regional goals have aggravated the problem. People belonging to a particular region or state regard fellow citizens who belong to other areas/regions/states as outsiders. People of Haryana regard Punjabis outsiders and even raise such slogans as Haryana for Haryanavis.
Similar cries are also heard from other parts of the country. Inter-State boundary disputes, Punjab and Haryana Inter-State river water disputes, Kaveri water dispute, demand for more and more autonomy for the states, separate states and independent states are manifestations of regionalism which characterise Indian society and which keep the political system under stress. The need to channelise ‘regionalism’ and make it a contributing part of nationalism is one of the biggest tasks before the Indian socio-political system.
10. Tradition and Modernity:
Tradition and modernity exist side by side in the Indian society. The attempts of modernisation of tradition as well as traditionalisation of modernity are simultaneously present. Tradition is clearly being affected by modern trends and pressures like politicisation of caste, lessening of caste consciousness among the urban elites, operationalism of modern western tools of administration and government etc. but at the same time modernity after gets coloured with traditionalism when the social and political elites talk in terms of age old glorious traditions of India.
The Indian approach towards development reflects both tradition and modernity. As Rajni Kothari writes, “The Indian approach to development may be characterised as one in which the exposure to modernity led to a renewed awareness and quickening of traditional identity; its reinterpretation, rejuvenation and its consolidation in the framework of new institutions and ideas. The Indian response to modern stimuli consisted of asserting the Indianness of India, reformulating this Indianness and giving it a modern character. The model of those who conceive modernisation as a rejection of traditionality and transformation on modern lines does not apply to India nor does the opposite model of those who deny potency to modern institutions and values and simply assert the durability and re-silence of traditionalism.” What is happening in India can be described as an attempt as a synthesis of tradition and modernity for achieving a new identity without destroying its rich diversity and cultural heritage.
11. Problem of Social Communication:
The environment of Indian social system also reflects a problem of social communication. Social structure of Indian society is based on the factors of illiteracy and backwardness of a large section of population. Linguistic diversity greatly aggravates this problem. This has tended to maintain or even increase the gap between the elites and the masses. This problem is clearly reflected between high and low castes, illiterates and literates, urbanites and ruralites etc.
All these social factors are the determining factors of the environment of Indian social structure, social system and political system. These are mostly problematic factors. Indian political system is a developing democratic system operating within an environment characterised by over-population, poverty, underdevelopment, casteism, communalism, regionalism, linguism, terrorism and violence. Despite these constraints, India’s socio-political system has been successfully maintaining its stability as a system.
It has been engaged in the process of securing development through control over these limitations by making and implementing desired authoritative values as well as through the spread of literacy, direct political socialisation, organised economic planning and policies and above all through active involvement of the people in the process of socio-economic development. After independence, the process of all-round socio-economic political-cultural development has been initiated through several well-conceived policies and Five Year Plans.
The progress has been slow, the problems have been many and restraints have been big, yet the people of India are on the march of social change. The political system has been leading, guiding, directing, coordinating and controlling this march.
It is harnessing the resources of the country and channelising the socio-economic-cultural factors for ushering India towards the developmental goal. It has successfully exhibited its ability in the sphere of crisis management and in maintaining progress on the road towards peace, security and prosperity. The need of the hour is to put in more vigorous and determined efforts towards state-building, nation-building, citizen-building and system-building.
Social structure of Indian society is, therefore, characterised by religious, regional, linguistic and caste diversities. There are social conflicts among the various institutions of Indian society. Social institutions are closely related to each other. All institutions face the problem of continuously adjusting themselves to a changing society. Changes in the social environment may bring changes in all the institutions. Inflation may have a radical influence on marriage, death, crime and education.
Breakdown of economic institutions may have great effects upon political institutions. Any change in an institution may lead to a change in the other institutions. No institution can avoid affecting other institutions or avoid being affected by others. All the social institutions of Indian society are affecting the political and cultural institutions.
Political system, being a part of social system, is working under the influence of social environment. Although there is diversity and conflict in the social structure of Indian society yet these diversities and conflicts have become unique features of Indian social system. They are on the path of adjusting themselves to the social environment keeping in view the unity and integrity of the nation. The contemporary presence of conflict in the society is a sign of increased and increasing awareness.
Indians have a firm belief in unity in diversity, toleration and peaceful conflict-resolution. The people of India are fully alive to the problems and strains that affect their society and the political system. They are conscious of their glorious traditions and the inner unity of the people of India as Indians. Modernisation of tradition and all-round development, social, economic, cultural, scientific, industrial, and technological are bound to integrate Indians into a strong united and developed nation.