• 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.

Islam: The Universal and the Particular
Islam: The universal and the particular

Moses said: ‘I will journey on until I reach the land where the two seas meet, although I may march for ages.’

—Qur'ān 18, 60

Orientalists are at home with texts. Anthropologists are at home in villages. The natural consequence is that the former tend to see Islam from above, the latter from below.

—ERNEST GELLNER, Muslim Society
Islam, One or Many

Sociologists and social anthropologists (I use the two terms synonymously) are primarily interested in what people actually do in their lives, and not in what is given in their traditions, whether textual or oral. Needless to say, Muslim communities around the world have both kinds of traditions. The hiatus between the given and the actual provides for ...

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