• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

This book looks at the sociology of India from two perspectives: first, understanding the cultural traditions of India with special reference to religious and ethical values; and second, exploring the growth of the sociological traditions of India.

Divided in two parts, the book goes beyond mere description of the main religious traditions and looks at the ethical values that are embedded in the religio-secular traditions of India. It also projects the sociological traditions of India as a historical process, a process of growth of sociological knowledge. The basic premise of the discussion is not one dominant cultural tradition but the plurality that characterizes the cultural, religious, and value traditions of India, and pluralism that characterizes the sociology of India.

Hinduism: The Book View and the Field View
Hinduism: The book view and the field view

Do not stay in the field!

Nor climb out of sight.

The best view of the world

Is from a medium height.

—NIETZSCHE, The Gay Science

It should be obvious, in principle, that a Sociology of India lies at the confluence of Sociology and Indology.

—LOUIS DUMONT, ‘For a Sociology of India’

It is a sociological truism that the bearers of a cultural tradition usually are not also the bearers of a critical consciousness of its character. It is outsiders who bring this gift to them, whether by being told of inter-cultural similarities or differences, or both. Put otherwise, what is lived reality to the insider is an observable and describable way of life to the outsider. ...

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