MA in Sociology
Perspectives of Indian Society-I
DIRECTORATE OF DISTANCE & CONTINUING EDUCATION
UTKAL UNIVERSITY, Vani Vihar
Indology: Meaning and Definition
Indology is known as the science of Indian Society. The Indological perspective claims to understand Indian Society through the concepts, theories and frameworks that are closely associated with Indian Civilization. It made a claim that Indian Society is unique in structure, function and dynamics and cannot be associated with the European Society. Indology relies on book view and culture and denounces rigorous empirical investigation. Indology is both an approach to study the Indian Society and also an independent discipline with Indian Society as subject matter. In both the form Indology consists of studying language, beliefs, ideas, customs, taboos, codes, institutions, rituals, ceremonies and other related components of culture.
Indology demands inter-disciplinary, multi- disciplinary and cross disciplinary approach. Indology is also older than Sociology. It is antique in its origin owing its origin to 1784 by Sir William Jones of Calcutta. It was in the year 1987 that Sir William Jones founded the Asiatic Society of Bengal where he introduced the two departments of Sanskrit and Indology. It is the beginning of Indology in India, which has been followed by several other scholars.
Scholars of Indology
As it is a fact that Indology is more a textual study, so a lot of scholars have conducted their studies depending on text. The studies conducted during this period covers a wide range of subjects such as social structure and relationships, cultural values, kinship, ideology, cultural 2
transactions and symbolism of life and the world etc. the studies based on text s have been conducted by many scholars, such as Bernett (1976), David (1973), Fruzzetti and Oslor (1976), Inden and Nicholas (1972), Khare (1975, 1976), Murray (1971, 1973), Marriott (1979), Pocock (1985), Eck (1985) etc. Most of these studies are based on the textual materials either drawn from epics, legends, myths, or from the folk traditions and other symbolic forms of culture. Most of them have been published in “Contributing to Indian Sociology” (New Series), edited by T.N. Madan.
Focusing on the origin of the perspective , Indological Perspective owes its origin to the contribution of the Orientalists like William Jones, Henery Maine, Max Muller etc. They have contributed tremendously for the development of the society and from their contribution there was the evolving of Indological Perspective. All of them have based their studies on rich cultural tradition of India and the principle that govern India and out laws of Hindu. Therefore they were also called as the Indologist.
Many founding fathers of Indian Sociology are also influenced by Indology. The various scholars are like B.K. Sarkar, G.S. Ghurye, R.K. Mukherjee, K.M. Kapadia, Irawati Karve, P.H. Prabhu, Louis Dumont.
Indology and Orientalism
Within Indology there is the bifurcation of two studies. That is Indology or Indic studies and Oriental studies. Both of them have some commonalities and differences. Indology is a sympathetic and positive picture of Non- European society of the East including Indian Society and culture. Orientalism gives an unsympathetic and negative account of the Indian Society. 3
Indology is said to be the westerner’s labour of love for the Indian wisdom. And Orientalism emerged as the ideological need of the Bristish Empire. Indologist like Jones, Louis Renou and Bougle in France and Wilson in British India are the reputed figure and the Orientalist include Muller, William Archard, Max Weber, Karl Marx. There is a general tendency among the Indologist either to exaggerate the virtue of Indian culture, Orientalist were trying to see negative aspect of Indian tradition and rationalize...
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