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CHAPTER 1

SALIENT FEATURES OF INDIAN SOCIETY AND DIVERSITY

India is, the cradle of the human race, the birth place of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grandmother of tradition, our most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only. - Mark Twain This chapter will take you to through the journey of the most interesting and diverse yet united society society, i.e., society of India. First But first of all, let us answer this question: WHAT IS SOCIETY? Society is a network of social relationships. August Comte defined has defined sociology as a discipline dealing with scientific the scientific study of society. According to Durkheim Durkheim, social facts constitute human society. A social fact is a social phenomenon which makes a man to act in a given situation following certain norms. A concrete society consists of persons having different statuses. An individual simply is not a biological creature. He has a culture, a mind-set, a history and he is related to a large number of people in different situations. Society apart from being a besides a structure structureis also a process, a dynamic entity. A society is a group of people who share a common culture, occupy a particular territorial area and feel themselves a unified and distinct entity. COMPONENTS OF SOCIETYHarry M. Johnson enlisted following the following components of Indian Societysociety: 1. Definite territory 2. Progeny 3. Culture 4. Independence

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Definite Territory: - AA society is a territorial group. Some nomadic societies move about within a much larger territory than they occupy at any one time, but they regard the whole range as their country. There can be territorial groups within society like clans, neighbourhoods, political outfits, cities, countries, etc. Progeny-: Members of society a society are recruited usually by means of reproduction within the group. Many societies also obtain members by adoption, enslavement, conquest or immigration, but reproduction within the group itself remains a fundamental source of new members. Culture- : A society has a comprehensive culture in the sense that it is culturally self-sufficient. A comprehensive culture may have sub-cultures as well. In case of India, people have a comprehensive culture which gives them an identity. We have a common culture, a family system, a set of religious communities, linguistic entities, village communities, and and, above all all, a history of shared pains and pleasures. The subcultures such as Rajasthani culture, Lucknawi culture, and Punjabi culture are also characterized by their respective characteristics. Independence-: It means that a society is not a sub-group of any other entity. We can define society as a permanent, self-contained and an integrated group. INDIAN SOCIETY AND ITS SALIENT FEATURESIndian society is almost five thousand years old, right from since the period of its first known civilization. During this long time, several waves of immigrants representing different ethnic strains and linguistic families contributing have contributed to its diversity, richness and vitality. The diagram below tells youdescribes about the various salient features of Indian society.

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UNITY IN DIVERSITY SOCIAL DEMOGRAPHY RELIGION IN INDIA

VILLAGES AND CITIES

Salient Features Of Indian Society

CASTE IN INDIA

CULTURAL PLURALISM IN INDIA

MARRIAGE, FAMILY AND KINSHIP

Figure 1.1 Now, we will know aboutdiscuss these features in detail one by one. UNITY IN DIVERSITYBeneath the bewildering diversity of religion, language and customs of thisvast this vast country, the underlying unity of Indian society isremarkableis remarkable. What is DIVERSITY? The simple meaning of diversity is differences. For our purposes, however, it means collective differences, that is,differences, differences which mark off one group of people from another. These differencesmaydifferences may be of any sort: biological, religious, linguistic linguistic, etc. On the basis of biologicaldifferencesbiological differences, for

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example, we have racial diversity. On the basis of religiousdifferencesreligious differences, similarly, we have religious diversity. On the basis of cultural differences, we have cultural diversity. When a group of peopleshare people share a similar characteristic, be it language or religion or anything else, itshows it shows uniformity in that respect. But when we have groups of people hailingfrom hailing from different races, religions and cultures, they represent diversity.So So, diversity means variety. Such a variety is in abundance in India. We havehere have here a variety of races, of religions, of languages, of castes and of cultures.Forcultures. For the same reason reason, India is known for its socio-cultural diversity. Now, what is UNITY? Unity is a social psychological condition. It means integration. It connotes asense a sense of one-ness, a sense of we-ness. It stands for the bonds, which hold the members of a society together. FEATURES OF OF INDIAN DIVERSITY There are various features which account for diversity of India. They are:-

Racial

Linguistic Features Of Indian Diversity

Religious
Figure 1.2 1-Racial Diversity:

Caste
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A race is a group of people with a set of distinctive physical features such as skin colour, type of nose, form of hair, etc. Anthropologists, like J. H. Hutton, D. N. Majumdar and B. S. Guha, have given stated the latest racial classification of theIndian the Indian people based on further researches in this field. Huttons and Guhasclassifications Guhas classifications are based on 1931 census operations. B. S. Guha (1952) hasidentified has identified six racial types: (1) the Negrito, (2) the Proto Australoid, (3) theMongoloidthe Mongoloid, (4) the Mediterranean, (5) the Western Brachycephals, and (6) theNordicthe Nordic. Besides telling you what the various types denote, we shall not gointo go into the details of this issue, because that will involve us in technical matterspertaining matters pertaining to physical anthropology. Here, we need only to be aware of thediversitythe diversity of racial types in India. Negritos are the people who belong to the black racial stock as found inAfricain Africa. They have black skin colour, frizzle frizzled hair, thick lips, etc. In IndiaIndia, someofsome of the tribes in South south India, such as the Kadar, the Irula and the Paniyan havedistincthave distinct Negrito strain. The Proto-Australoid races consist of an ethnic group, which includes theAustralianthe Australian aborigines and other peoples of southern Asia and Pacific Islands.RepresentativesIslands. Representatives of this group are the Ainu of Japan, the Vedda of Sri Lanka,and and the Sakai of Malaysia. In India the tribes of Middle India belong to thisstrainthis strain. Some of these tribes are the Ho of Singhbhumi, Bihar, and the Bhil oftheof the Vindhya ranges. The Mongoloids are a major racial stock native to Asia, including the peoplesofpeoples of northern and eastern Asia. For example, Chinese, Japanese,
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Burmese,EskimosBurmese, Eskimos, and often American Indians also belong to this race. In India, theNorththe North Eastern regions have tribes of brachycephalic Mongoloid strain. AslightlyA slightly different kind of Mongoloid racial stock is found in the BrahmputraValleyBrahmputra Valley. The Mikir-Bodo group of tribes and the Angami Nagas represent thebestthe best examples of Mongoloid racial composition in India.

The Mediterranean races relate to the Caucasian physical type, i.e., the white Unity and Diversity race. It is characterisedcharacterized by medium or short stature, slender build, long a long head with cephalic index (the ratio multiplied by 100 of the maximum breadth of the head to its maximum length) of less than 75 and dark (continental) complexion. The Western Brachycephals are divided into the following three sub-groups: (1i) The Alpenoid are characterisedcharacterized by broad head, medium stature and light skin, found amongst Bania castes of Gujarat, the Kayasthas of Bengal, etc. (ii) The DinaricThey are characterisedcharacterized by broad head, long nose, tall stature and dark skin colour, found amongst the Brahmin of Bengal, the non-Brahmin of Karnataka, (iii) The Armenoid.- They are characterisedcharacterized by features similar to Dinaric. The Armenoid have a more marked shape of the back of head, a prominent and narrow nose. The Parsi Parsis of MumbaiBombay show the typical characteristics of the Armenoid race. Finally, the Nordic races belong to the physical type characterisedcharacterized by tall stature, long head, light skin and hair, and blue eyes. They are found in Scandinavian countries, Europe. In India, they are found in different parts of north of the country, especially in Punjab and Rajputana. The Kho of Chitral, the Red Kaffirs, and the Khatash are some of the representatives of this type. Research suggests that the Nordics came from the north, probably from south east Russia and south west Siberia, through central Asia to India.
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2-Linguistic Diversity: Do you know how many languages are there in India? While the famouslinguistfamous linguist Grierson noted 179 languages and 544 dialects, the 1971 census ontheon the other hand, reported 1652 languages in India which are spoken as mothertonguemother tongue. Not all these languages are, however, equally widespread. Many ofthemof them are tribal speeches and these are spoken by less than one percent per cent of thetotalthe total population. Here you can see that in India there is a good deal of linguisticdiversitylinguistic diversity. Only 22 languages are listed in Schedule VIII of the Indian Constitution. TheseareThese are Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri,

Konkani,MalayalamKonkani, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil,Telugu Telugu, Urdu, Bodo, Maithili, Dogri and Santhali. The above constitutionally recognised languages belong to two linguisticfamilieslinguistic families: Indo-Aryan and Dravidian. Malayalam, Kannada, Tamil and Teluguare Telugu are the four major Dravidian languages. The languages of Indo-Aryan familyarefamily are spoken by 75 percent per cent of Indias total population while the languages ofDravidianof Dravidian family are spoken by 20 percent. This linguistic diversity notwithstanding, we have always had a sort of linklanguagelink language, though it has varied from age to age. In ancient times it was Sanskrit,inSanskrit, in medieval age it was Arabic or Persian and in modern times we have HindiandHindi and English as official languages.
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3-Religious Diversity: India is a multi-religious country. ThereareThere are six major religious groups inIndiain .OfIndia. Of the total population of India in 2001, 80.5 per cent are Hindus while Muslims account for 13.4 percent per cent and Christians 2.3 percent per cent respectively of the total population. In absolute numbers, approximately 828 million are Hindus while Muslims are around 138 million out of Indias total population of approximately 1,029 million. Sikhs account for 1.9 per cent of the total population. The proportion of Buddhists, Jains and other religions are 0.8 per cent, 0.4 per cent and 0.6 per cent cent, respectively. Religion is both a factor of unity anddiversityand diversity in Indian society. All religiousgroupsreligious groups are differentiated internally. CasteorCaste or caste like status groups are found inHinduismin Hinduism, Islam, Christianity andSikhismand Sikhism. Within a homogeneous society,religionsociety, religion plays a highly integrative role butbybut by the same token in a multi-religioussocietyreligious society religion can become an issue of contention and lead to conflicts.Traditionallyconflicts. Traditionally, different religious groupshavegroups have lived in India in more or less peacefulcoexistencepeaceful coexistence. In recent years, however,harmonyhowever, harmony between religious groups,whichgroups, which in India we refer to as communalharmonycommunal harmony, has been under strain. There are two major

aspects to anyreligionany religion, the spiritual and the temporal.Thetemporal. The spiritual aspect of religion is quite similar in all religions. In every religionanreligion an emphasis is placed on the moralconductmoral conduct and transcendence of theselfishthe selfish ego. While this aspect of religionisreligion is a matter of personal devotion, thetemporalthe temporal aspect of religion is alwaysrelatedalways related with the group identity andsolidarityand solidarity is maintained by religiousritualsreligious rituals and communitys beliefs. At thetemporalthe temporal level, different religiousgroupsreligious groups differ from each other. In India, there has not been only the agreata different great degree of religious toleranceamongtolerance among religiouscommunitiesreligious

communities, but some religious placeshaveplaces have acquired a character andpopularityand popularity that goes beyond a singlereligioussingle religious community. Similarly, somereligioussome religious festivals are celebrated, at leastinleast in a limited way, by many religiouscommunitiesreligious communities. Places like Varanasi,UjjainVaranasi, Ujjain, Amritsar, Mathura, BodhgayaBodh Gaya, ,Vaishno Devi, Tirupati and AjmerSharifAjmer Sharif are some such religious centres.Forcentres. For instance, a large number of HindusalsoHindus also visit Ajmer Sharif, a MuslimpilgrimageMuslim pilgrimage place. Also, the economy oftheseof these religious centres often involvesshopkeepersinvolves shopkeepers and service providers fromotherfrom other religions. In the field of bhakti and devotionthedevotion the Hindu Saints and Muslim SufishadSufis had many similarities and commonalities.Somecommonalities. Some religious festivals likeDiwalilike Diwali, Dushehera Dussehra and Holi have twoaspectstwo aspects, ritualistic and cultural. TheritualisticThe ritualistic aspect is restricted to HindusbutHindus but the cultural aspect is more or lesscelebratedless celebrated by all the communities. IntheIn the same way, Christmas and Id-ul-fitrare fitr are also celebrated at many places bydifferentby different common religious ethos communities. Kabir, Akbar, Dara Shikoh communities and in MahatmaGandhiMahatma Gandhi have been instrumental indevelopingin developing among thedifferentthe different religious India.PersianIndia. Persian Sufism took a new shade ofcolouroff-color in India. Poets and religiousteachersreligious teachers Ramanand and Kabir tried to combine the best and condemnthecondemn the worst in Hinduism and Islam alike.Atalike. At the

courts of Oudh and HyderabadthereHyderabad there grew aesthetic standards inpaintingin painting, in poetry, in love and in food,whichfood, which drew on the courtly traditions ofRajasthanof Rajasthan and Persia. MuslimsborrowedMuslims borrowed caste from Hindus, HindustookHindus took purdah from Muslims. Religion, however, is also a factor ofdiversityof diversity and animosity. The countrywascountry was partitioned into India and Pakistan,primarilyPakistan, primarily on religious and communallinescommunal lines. Even after partition thecommunalthe communal problem raised its headfromhead from time to time. Communalism,whichCommunalism, which breeds hatred and violenceagainstviolence against other religions, is the result offundamentalismof fundamentalism. Fundamentalism isanis an attitude of some religious peoplewhopeople who emphasize the letter of religiousdogmasreligious dogmas over the underlying spirit. It isais a product of ignorance as well asdeliberateas deliberate mischief by vested intereststointerests to gain political power and economicbenefitseconomic benefits by exploiting religioussentimentsreligious sentiments of the faithful people anddividingand dividing them along communal lines. 4-. Caste Diversity: India is a country of castes. The term caste is generally used in two senses: sometimes in the sense of Varna and sometimes in the sense of Jati. (i) Varna refers to a segment of the four-fold division of Hindu society based on functional criterion. The four Varna are Brahman, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra with their specialized functions as learning, defencedefense, trade and manual service. The Varna hierarchy is accepted all over India. (ii) Jati referstorefers to a hereditary endogamous status group practisingpracticing a specific traditional occupation. You may be surprised to know that there are more than 3,000 jatiin jati in India. These are hierarchically graded in different ways in different regions. It may also be noted that the practice of caste system is not confined to Hindus alone. We find castes among the Muslim, Christian, Sikh as well as other communities. You may have heard of the hierarchy of Shaikh, Saiyed, Mughal, and Pathan among the Muslim. Furthermore, there are castes like teli (oil pressurepresser), dhobi (washer man), darjee (tailor), etc., among the Muslim. Similarly, caste consciousness among the
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Christian in India is not unknown. Since a vast majority of Christians in India are converted from Hindu fold, the converts have carried the caste system into Christianity. Among the Sikh again you have so many castes including Jat Sikh and Majahabi Sikh (lower castes). In view of this you can well imagine the extent of caste diversity in India. In addition to the above described major forms of diversity, we have diversity of many other sorts like settlement patterns - tribal, rural, urban; marriage and kinship patterns along religious and regional lines; cultural patterns reflecting regional variations, and so on. These forms of diversity will become clear to you as you will progress with this chapter.

BONDS OF UNITY IN INDIAThere are bonds of unity underlying all the diversity of India. These bonds of unity may be located in a certain underlying uniformity of life as well as in certain mechanisms of integration. Beneath the manifolddiversitymanifold diversity of physical and social type, language, custom and religion whichstrikeswhich strikes the observer in India there can still be discerned a certain underlyinguniformityunderlying uniformity of life from the Himalayas to Cape Comorin.
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Geo-political Unity Bonds Of Unity In India Tradition Of Accomodation

Institution Of Pilgrimage

Tradition Of Interdependence

1-Geo-political Unity: India isknownis known for its geographical unity marked by the Himalayas in the north endandend and the oceans on the other sides. Politically India is now a sovereign state.Thestate. The same constitution and same parliament govern every part of India. We sharetheshare the same political culture marked by the norms of democracy, secularism andsocialismand socialism. Although it has not been recognised till recently, the geo-political unity ofIndiaof India was always visualized by our seers and rulers. The expressions of thisconsciousnessthis consciousness of the geo-political unity of India are found in Rig-Veda, inSanskritin Sanskrit literature, in the edicts of Asoka, in Buddhist monuments and in variousothervarious other sources. The ideal of geo-political unity of India is also reflected in theconceptsthe concepts of Bharatvarsha (the old indigenous classic name for India), Chakravarti (emperor), and Ekchhatradhipatya (under one rule). 2-. The Institution of Pilgrimage: Another source of unity of India lies in what is known as temple culture,whichculture, which is reflected in the network of shrines and sacred places. From Badrinathand Badrinath and Kedarnath in the north to Rameshwaram in the south, Jagannath Puri inthein the east to Dwaraka Dwarka in the west the religious shrines and holy rivers are spreadthroughoutspread throughout the length and breadth of the country. Closely related to them istheis the age-old culture of pilgrimage, which has always moved people to variouspartsvarious parts of the country and fostered in them a sense of geo-cultural unity.Asunity. As well as being an expression of religious sentiment, pilgrimage is also anexpressionan expression of love for the motherland, a sort of mode of worship of the country.Itcountry. It has played a significant part in promoting interaction and cultural affinityamongaffinity among the people living in different parts of India. Pilgrimage can, therefore,rightlytherefore, rightly be viewed as a mechanism of geo-cultural unity. 3-. Tradition of Accommodation: The first evidence of accommodation lies in the elastic character of Hinduism, the majority religion ofIndiaof India. Hinduism is not a homogeneous religion,areligion, a religion having one God, one Book and one Temple. Indeed, it can be bestdescribedbest described as a federation of faiths. Polytheistic (having multiple deities) incharacterin

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character, it goes to the extent of accommodating village level deities and tribalfaithstribal faiths. For the same reason, sociologists have distinguished two broad forms ofHinduismof Hinduism: Sanskritic and popular. Sanskritic is that which is found in the texts(texts (religious books like Vedas, etc.) and popular is that which is found in theactualthe actual life situation of the vast masses. Robert Redfield has called these twoformstwo forms as great tradition of Ramayana and Mahabharata and the little traditionoftradition of worship of the village deity.Hinduismdeity. Hinduism has been an open religion, a receptive andabsorbingand absorbing religion, an encompassing religion. It is known for its quality ofopennessof openness and accommodation. Another evidence of it lies in its apathy to conversion. Hinduism is not a proselytisingproselytizing religion that is it does not seek converts. Nor has it ordinarilyresistedordinarily resisted other religions to seek converts from within its fold. This quality ofaccommodationof accommodation and tolerance has saved the way to the coexistence of severalfaithsseveral faiths in India. Mechanisms of coexistence of people of different faiths have been in existencehereexistence here for long. Take for example, the case of Hindu-Muslim amity. Hindus andMuslimsand Muslims have always taken part in each others functions, festivities and feasts. How did they do it? They did it by evolving the mechanism of providing forafor a separate hearth and a set of vessels for each other so as to respect eachotherseach others religious sensibility. This always facilitated mutual visiting and sharinginsharing in each others joy and grief. They have also done so by showing regards foreachfor each others saints and holy men. Thus, both Hindus and Muslims have shownreverenceshown reverence to the saints and Pirs of each other. And this holds as well for thecoexistencethe coexistence of other religious groups like Sikh, Jain, and Christian and so on. 4-. Tradition of Interdependence: We have had a remarkable tradition of interdependence, which has held ustogetherus together throughout centuries. One manifestation of it is found in the form ofJajmani of Jajmani system, i.e., a system of functional interdependence of castes. ThetermThe term jajman refers generally to the patron or recipient of specialisedspecialized
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services.Theservices. The relations were traditionally between a food producing family and thefamiliesthe families that supported them with goods and services. These came to be calledthecalled the jajmani relations. Jajmani relations were conspicuous in village life,life astheyas they entailed ritual matters, social support as well as economic exchange. ThewholeThe whole of a local social order was involved (the people and their values) insuchin such jajmani links. A patron had jajmani relations with members of a highcastehigh caste (like a Brahmin priest whose services he needed for rituals). He alsorequiredalso required the services of specialists from the lower jati to perform those necessarytasksnecessary tasks like washing of dirty clothes, cutting of hair, cleaning the rooms andtoiletsand toilets, delivery of the child etc. Those associated in these interdependentrelationsinterdependent relations were expected to be and were broadly supportive of each other withqualitieswith qualities of ready help that generally close kinsmen were expected to show.Theshow. The jajmani relations usually involved multiple kinds of payment and obligations as well as multiple functions. No caste was self-sufficient,sufficient; it depended for many things on other castes. In a sense, each castewascaste was a functional group in that it rendered a specified service to other castegroupscaste groups. Jajmani system is that mechanism which has formalisedformalized and regulatedthisregulated this functional interdependence. Furthermore, castes cut across the boundaries of religious communities. WehaveWe have earlier mentioned that notions of caste are found in all the religiouscommunitiesreligious communities in India. In its actual practice, thus, the institution of jajmaniprovides for interinstitution of jajmani provides for inter linkages between people of different religious groups. ThusaThus a Hindu may be dependent for the washing of his clothes on a MuslimwasherMuslim washer man. Similarly, a Muslim may be dependent for the stitching of hisclotheshis clothes on a Hindu tailor, and viceversa. Efforts have been made from time to time by sensitive and sensible leaders ofbothof both the communities to synthesisesynthesize Hindu and Muslim traditions so as to bringthebring the two major communities closer to each other. Akbar, for example, foundedafounded a new religion, Din-e-Ilahi, combining best of both the religions. ThecontributionsThe contributions made by Kabir, Eknath, Guru Nanak, and and, more recently recently, MahatmaGandhiMahatma Gandhi, are well known in this regard.

Similarly, in the field of art and architecture architecture, we find such a happy blending ofHinduof Hindu and Muslim styles. What else is this if not a proof of mutual appreciationforappreciation for each others culture? Quite in line with these traditional bonds of unity, the Indian state in postIndependence era has rightly opted for a composite culture model of nationalunitynational unity rather than a uniform culture model. The composite culture modelprovidesmodel provides for the preservation and growth of plurality of cultures within theframeworkthe framework of an integrated nation. Hence the significance of our choice oftheof the norm of secularism, implying equal regard for all religions, as our policyofpolicy of national integration. The above account of the unity of India should not be taken to mean that wehavewe have always had a smooth sailing in matters of national unity, with no incidentsofincidents of caste, communal or linguistic riots. Nor should it be taken to mean that thedivisivethe divisive and secessionist tendencies have been altogether absent. There havebeenhave been occasional riots, at times serious riots. For example, who can forget thecommunalthe communal riots of partition days, the linguistic riots in Tamil Nadu in protestagainstprotest against the imposition of Hindi, the riots in Gujarat during 1980s betweenscheduledbetween scheduled and non-scheduled castes and communal riots of 2002? TheredeemingThe redeeming feature, however, is that the bonds of unity have always emergedstrongeremerged stronger than the forces of disintegration. SOCIAL DEMOGRAPHY Demography, first used by Guillard in 1885, is the statistical study of human populations. It includes the study of the size, structure, and distributions of different populations and changes in them in response to birth, migration, aging, and death. It also includes the analysis of the relationships between economic, social, cultural, and biological process influencing a population.
GRAPHY = SCIENCE

DEMOS= PEOPLE

DEMOGRAPHY

So So, demography is the science of systematic and descriptive study of people and the aspects related to them. Demography is classified as formal demography and social demography based on the basis of demographic processes and structures. The demographic processes consist mainly of fertility, mortality and migration. While, demographicstructuresdemographic structures consist mainly of agecompositionage composition of population, gender composition, size of population,territorialpopulation, territorial or regional composition andsocialand social composition of population.Formalpopulation. Formal demography simply refers to a mathematical study of major events of life as birth, death, migration, marriageandmarriage and divorce.Socialdivorce. Social demography referstorefers to a study of relationship between demographic phenomena on the onehandone hand and social and economicphenomenaeconomic phenomena on the other. Social demography is a smooth blend of demography and sociology. Indias demographyFormatted: No underline

CENSUS 2011 AT A GLANCE Population of India grew by 17.7% per cent during 2001-11, against 21.5% per cent in the previous decade.Thedecade. The sex ratio in the age group 0-6 has decreased by 8 units and is low at 914. It attempts to bring out the recent changes in our society in its attitude andoutlookand outlook towards the girl child. The literacy rate has increased by 8 percentage points from last census which is a matter of joy but we still have to go very far to achieve 100% per cent literacy. Current Scenario in Indias Demography- DEMOGRAPHIC DIVIDEND The The demographic dividend is is a window of opportunity in the development of a society or nation that opens up as fertility rates decline when faster rates of economic growth and human development are possible when combined with effective policies and markets. The drop in fertility rates often follows significant reductions in child and

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infant mortality rates, as well as an increase in average life expectancy. Demographic dividend refers to a period usually 20 to 30 years wwhen a greater proportion of people are young and in the working age-group. This cuts spending on dependents, catalysingcatalyzing economic growth. It is estimated that this dividend phase ends around 2045,2045; it would have achieved a stable and balanced population.Withpopulation. With more than one-third of the countrys population below 15, children and youth should become the focal point of national development efforts if India is to take advantage of the Demographic Dividend. Whether we can reap this demographic dividend to the nation's boon or let it become a bane depends on two factors: massive quality improvement in this new workforce by much better education, health and skill development on the one hand and creating better livelihood opportunities on the other. Major challenges in reaping this demographic dividend are high maternal mortality (212 per lakh), high infant mortality (46 per thousand), decreasing child sex-ratio (914 per 1000), severely high cases of child sexual abuse (53% per cent highest in the world) and lack of adequate health and education. So, it is a really tough task for policy makers to tackle these challenges and reap the benefits of demographic dividend, but the task is not impossible, all it needs is true political will. VILLAGES AND CITIES IN INDIA Social StructureSocial structure is the organized pattern of social relationships and social institutions that together compose society. Social structures are not immediately visible to the common people,people; however however, they are present and affect all dimensions of human experience in society. Social structure is seenasseen as the pattern of interrelated statuses and roles found in a society, constituting a relatively stable set ofsocialof social relations. It is the organisedorganized pattern of the inter-related rights and obligations of individuals and groups in a system of interaction. Rural and Urban Social StructuresRural societies are basically agriculture based and depend on nature for their sustenance.Ruralsustenance. Rural and urban centres have always coexisted in India.RuralIndia. Rural and urban lives have some common features. They
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showinterdependenceshow interdependence especially in the sphere of economy, migration towards cities, and city peoples dependence on villages for various productslikefood products like food grains, milk, vegetables, raw materials for industry and increasingdependenceincreasing dependence of villagers on towns for manufactured goods and market. DespitethisDespite this interdependence between the two there are certain distinctive features whichseparatewhich separate them from each other in terms of their size, demographic composition, cultural tendencies, and style of life, economy, employment and social relations. Rural people inhabited in villages. There are three main types of settlement patterns in villages1. The nucleated village-: It is found all over the country. In this pattern, a tight cluster of houses is surrounded by the fields of the villagers. You can very well appreciate this pattern in the following sketch.

Nucleated Village Pattern 2. Linear settlements- : Found in some parts of the country, like inKeralain Kerala, in Konkan and in parts of Bengal. In such settlements, houses are grouped around a line, each surrounded by its own compound. However, there is negligible demarcation between one village and another.

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Linear Village Pattern

3.

Disperse settlement-It is simply a scattering of small clusters of usually two or three houses. Just like linear settlement, physical demarcation of villages is not clear in this settlement also. These settlements are found in hilly areas, in the foothills of Himalayas, in the highlands of Gujarat and in the Satpura range of Maharashtra.

Dispersed Village Pattern The term city is used for a kind of place while urban is understood as a quality of life which is found typically in the cities. It is the size of population and degree of complexity of organisation which differentiates a village from a town, a town from a city, and a city from a metropolis. What makes a city different from villages? The term city is used for a kind of place while urban is understood as a quality of life which is found typically in the cities. It is the size of population and degree of complexity of organisation which differentiates a village from a town, a town from a city, and a city from a metropolis.Themetropolis. The presence of a market and a specialisedspecialized class of traders is the crucial feature of a city.Itcity. It is the factor of market economy and commerce, which brings together the people of diverseoriginsdiverse origins, lifestyle, economic and socio-cultural backgrounds.Otherbackgrounds. Other religious, political, economic, technological institutions, complex administrative structures, religious centres are also presentinpresent in a city to complement the trade andcommerceand commerce networks. The people organiseorganize themselves in relatively complex organisational arrangements such as multi-specialityspecialty hospitals, shopping malls, courts courts, etc. Heterogeneous population that is the presence of a large number of people belonging to different socio-cultural castes and communities, having different languages, food habits, clothing habits etc. and modern outlook and behaviour are other distinct features of urban social structure.Thestructure. The 1961 census defined an urban place as a fixed community with a population of at least 5,000 and it still continues to remain the same.

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In urban communities, people interact witheachwith each other for limited and specific purposes, for example, teachers andstudentsand students in a classroom, buyers and sellers in a store and doctors and patients in clinics. They do not know each and every member of society while in villages because of limited population, people generally know each other personally and have intimate and longstanding relationships. This results in formal, impersonal and superficial relations among urban people. Life is fast and busy in cities, there is no time for personal contacts without any purpose. People enter into relationships after calculating gains and losses from such a relationship while in rural areas people dont have that utilitarian bent of mind, they usually enter into a relationship for internal satisfaction. Because of severe heterogeneity in population in cities, people of cities are more tolerant toward differences of religion, caste and community but it does not mean that all people are same and have secular orientation,orientation; there are massive communal riots in cities also. Many of the educational, recreational and other functions which were performed within a rural joint family are taken over by specialisedspecialized institutions such as schools, recreational clubs, sports and hobby academies and other voluntary organisations in the urban social context. In urbansocietyurban society there is generally a clear demarcation between the home and place ofworkof work, and between other institutions which is not always found in rural society. CASTE IN INDIA Caste is a system of rigid social stratification characterized by hereditary status, endogamy, and social barriers sanctioned by custom, law, or religion. Sociologists have defined caste or (as locally referred to) jati as a hereditary, endogamous, group which is usually localisedlocalized. It has a traditional association with an occupation, and a particular position in the local hierarchy of castes. Relations between castes are governed, among other things by the concepts of pollution and purity, and generally maximum commensality i.e., interdiningoccurs inter dining occurs within the caste (Srinivas). The caste system is a distinct Indian social institution that legitimiseslegitimizes and enforces practices of discrimination against people born into particular

castes.Thesecastes. These practices of discrimination are humiliating, exclusionary and exploitative. Historically, the caste system classified people by their occupation and status. Every caste was associated with an occupation, which meant that persons born into a particular caste were also born into the occupation associated with their caste they had no choice. Moreover, and perhaps more importantly, each caste also had a specific place in the hierarchy of social status, so that, roughly speaking, not only were occupational categories ranked by social status, but there could be a further ranking within each broad occupational category. In strict terms, social and economic status werestatuses were supposed to be sharply separated. VARNA SYSTEM The varna system is a form of an ancient social classification based on professions. That isBrahmana: - the intellectual class; professions like teaching, priesthood, medicine, philosophy came under this.
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Kshattriya Kshatriya: - the warrior class; usually professional soldiers with high posts in the army.

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The above two were the topvarnastop varnas. There was always a competition between them for the highest position in society, and for the status of the ruling class. There were both brahman and kshatriya kings. The wars between the JanapadasJanapadas (Kshatriya dominated society) and early Indian kingdoms(kingdoms (Brahmana dominated society) reflect this. In the end, it was the Brahmanas who attained the reputation of being the highest class as they were the priestly class, and controlled important religious matters. For example, for someone to be deemed a king, they had to perform the 'ashmedha''ashwamedha', and thus, only the Brahmans could authenticate a king's rule.

Vaishyas: - the 'white-collar' working class; they were the traders, shopkeepers, entrepreneurs, land-owning farmers farmers, etc.

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The reputation of each vaishya community was different, and was either high or low depending on their financial status. Ancient India usually had a very powerful merchant class which had powerful lobbies in a king's court, and thus could influence state matters to a certain degree.

Shudras: - the 'blue-collar' working class; they were the laborers, toiling for the benefit of the higher castes... servants working in the houses of the upper 3 castes, landless farmhands farmhands, etc.

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Out-castes castes or - the 'untouchables': - these were the out-castes, communities which couldn't be assimilated into the mainstream Indians societysociety (tribals, called adivasis) or communities whose professions were considered unclean.

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Over the years, this system was codified and was made extremely rigid by the upper castes,castes and bullied and exploited the bottom castes for thousands of years.

The caste system was initially a totally different thing from the varna system, but later got so intertwined with the varna system that people today sometimes can't distinguish the two.

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The The caste system system is a "race" system, a system to keep track of the millions of clans and ethnic groups across the Indian subcontinent.

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The caste system served as an important factor in India's past to determine a community's background, it'sits clan lineages, culture, faith, their place of origin, their language, financial status and most importantly their professions. And a caste was inducted into any of the 4 varnas varnas, depending on it'sits profession, and thus it'sits social hierarchy was determined.

CHARACTERISTICS OF CASTE SYSTEM IN INDIA 1. 1. Hereditary : Caste status of an individual is determined strictly by his heredity, i.e., the caste
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into which one is born. No amount of personal accomplishments or efforts can alter his caste status. 2. 2. Endogamous : It endogamous character strictly prohibits inter-caste marriages. Accordingly a person born in low caste can never hope to marry someone in higher caste. Each individual is supposed to marry within his caste and sub-caste. Marrying outside caste makes an individual or without a caste which is the lowest category even below Shudra. 3. Hierarchal: Caste system has a system of superiority and subordination. According to Hindu Caste hierarchy. Brahmin occupies the highest followed by Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra. 4. Fixed Occupations:: Members of any caste are obligated to adopt the professions of their caste. Having developed from Varna system the occupation in caste system is definite; son of blacksmith pursues the occupation of his latherfather, son of carpenter becomes carpenter and so on. (With development of industries people belong to many castes have lost their occupation and have taken agriculture or some other occupation). 5. Restricted Food Habits:: Higher castes try maintaining their traditional purity by different food habits. Thus Brahmins will only take Satwik or Pure food. Kshatriya and Vaishya will take Royal food. A Shudra takes Tamsi Tamsik food. Each individual caste has its own laws which govern the food habits. There is no restriction against fruit, milk, butter, dry fruit etc. but food can be accepted only from the members of ounces own or higher caste. 6. Untouchability: In Indian caste system Shudra and out castes are considered to be untouchables. In
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certain times of day even seeing a shudra is considered to be pollution. Even if shadow of a low caste falls on a Brahmin, latter is said to have been polluted. 7. Absence of Vertical Mobility: In a caste system, there is no mobility movement of its members, up or down, the social status ladder. A persons status at birth is his life time status. 8. Reinforcement by Religious Beliefs: Religious beliefs have played a significant role in making caste system unavoidable. Religion has described Brahmin as sacred and also an element of reverence and awe is attached to him. In absence of religious support such rigid caste system was not possible. MARRIAGE, FAMILY AND KINSHIP IN INDIA What is marriage? Marriage or matrimony is a social union or legal contract between people called called spouses that establishesspouses that establish rights and obligations between the spouses, between the spouses and their children, and between the spouses and their inlaws. In India, it is a socially approved, pious union of husband and wife.Childrenwife. Children born of marriage are considered as the legitimate children of the married couple. Marriage is a universal truth in India. A male and a female indivisualindividual isare not regarded as complete without marriage. Children especially sons are considered as saviourssaviors of old age of parents and also a key to familys economic resources. They are the lamps to save the familys lineage. Marriage Types Monogamy is mostly prevalent in India presently. Monogamy is the marriage of one man to one woman.Untilwoman. Until the passing of the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955, a Hindu man was permitted to marry more than one woman at a time that is polygynypolygamy. Although permitted, polygyny polygamy has not been common among the Hindus. Only limited sections of the population like kings, village heads, and members of the landed aristocracy actually practiced polygynypolygamy.
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Islam, on the other hand, has allowed polygynypolygamy. A Muslim man can have as many as four wives at a time, provided all are treated as equals. However, it seems that polygynous polygamous unions have been restricted to a small percentage of Muslims, namely the rich and the powerful. Polyandry is even less common than polygynypolygamy. Polyandry is marriage of one woman to several men. A few Kerala castes practiced polyandry until recently. The Toda of the Nilgiris in TamilnaduTamil Nadu, the Khasa of Jaunsar Bawar in Dehradun district of Uttaranchal and some North Indian castes practisepractice polyandry. We also find polyandry, the famous Draupadi, in epics like Mahabharata. In ancient times, child marriage and sati pratha were quite common in India but thanks to reformers like Raja Rammohan Roy who freed our society from these marriage marriage-related evils. Some terms regarding Marriageregarding marriage No society gives absolute freedom to its members to select their partners. Endogamy and exogamy are the two main rules that condition marital choice. Endogamy: It is a rule of marriage in which the life-partners are to be selected within the group. It is marriage within the group and the group may be caste, class, tribe, race, village, religious group etc. We have caste endogamy, class endogamy, sub caste endogamy, race endogamy and tribal endogamy etc. In caste endogamy marriage has to take place within the caste. Brahmin has to marry a Brahmin. In sub caste endogamy it is limited to the sub caste groups. Exogamy: It is a rule of marriage in which an individual has to marry outside his own group. It prohibits marrying within the group. The so-called blood relatives shall neither have marital connections nor sexual contacts among themselves. Forms of exogamy: Gotra Exogamy: The Hindu practice of one marrying outside one's own gotra. Pravara Exogamy: Those who belong to the same pravara cannot marry among themselves. Village Exogamy: Many Indian tribes like Naga, Garo, and Munda etc. have the practice of marrying outside their village.
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Pinda Exogamy: Those who belong to the same pinda or sapinda (common parentage) cannot marry within themselves. Isogamy: It is the marriage between two equals (status) Anisogamy: It is an asymmetric marriage alliance between two individuals belonging to different social statuses. It is of two forms - Hypergamy and Hypergamy. Hypergamy: It is the marriage of a woman with a man of higher Varna or superior caste or family. Hypogamy: It is the marriage of high caste man with a low caste woman. Orthogamy: It is the marriage between selected groups. Cerogamy: It is two or more men get married to two or more women. Anuloma marriage: It is a marriage under which a man can marry from his own caste or from those below, but a woman can marry only in her caste or above. Pratiloma marriage: It is a marriage of a woman to a man from a lower caste which is not permitted. Now, what is a Family? A family is simply a fundamental social group in society typically consisting of parents and their children. It forms the basic unit of social organization and it is difficult to imagine how human society could function without it. The family has been seen as a universal social institution and an inevitable part of human society. The family is a group of persons united by ties of marriage, blood or adoption constituting a single household interacting with each other in their respective social role of husband and wife, mother and father, brother and sister creating a common culture.G G. P. Murdock defines the family as a social group characterized by common residence, economic cooperation and reproduction. It includes adults of both sexes at least two of whom maintain a socially approved sexual relationship and one or more children own or adopted of the sexually co-habiting adults. Sociologist George Murdock has listed four important functions of family. 1. i) Regulate sexual relations; 2. ii) Account for economic survival;
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3. iii) Controls reproduction; and 4. iv) SocialisingSocializing children. Types of Families in Indian Society Basically, we have two types of families in our society,society; these are Joint families and Nuclear families. This classification is based on the way families are organisedorganized. A nuclear family is simply a group consisting of a man, his wife and their unmarried, children.Thechildren. The joint family is commonly defined as the nuclear family and all kin belonging to the side of husband, and/or wife which are living in one home. The characteristics of a joint family are as follows: 1. Common residence: It is a characteristic feature of the joint family. It implies that all the members live together under one roof. The traditional Indian joint family consisted of several family units. But although units lived together in a single house. However, when the accommodation was felt inadequate they were compelled to live separately in the close vicinity. 2. Common Property: Another significant feature of the joint family is that the members hold property, both movable and immovable, in common. The head of the household also maintains a common fund, which pulls together the earnings of all the members. In wealth of the family is both produced and consumed collectively and the head that is known as the 'karta' acts as trustee of the common property. He looks after the material well-being of all the members his family. Although the members of the joint family earn according to their capacity, the consumption is not delimited to their earnings. Rather they consume in accordance with the necessity. 3. Joint Kitchen: The presence of a joint family is also felt due to the existence of a common kitchen. The spouse of the head of the family or an aged woman of the family acts as the supervisor of the other female members working in the kitchen. While the women of the family are engaged at the hearth, the males are engaged in field work outside home. Generally, the children and male members of the joint family are, first of all, served food by the women
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and thereafter they themselves take food. So long as a joint kitchen is maintained the joint family remains integrated. But when separate cooking begins, the beginning of disintegration of joint family starts. 4. Common Religious Worship: The members of a joint family believe in common Gods and Goddesses. Their common Gods and Goddesses are known as 'Kula Devatas'. Religion is so much integrated with the Hindu social life that several religious ceremonies and rituals are performed in a collective manner. The younger generation learns the religious practices from the older generation. 5. Kindred Relationship: The members of the joint family are bound together through blood relations. Parents and children, brothers and sisters, grandparents and grandchildren are all tied by kinship bonds and are accommodated under the same roof. 6. Consciousness of mutual rights and obligations: All the members of the joint family, except the head or 'Karta', have equal rights and obligations. The members are always conscious of these rights and obligations. This consciousness maintains the joint family as a closely-knit unit. However, the head of the joint family appears more equal than other members in regard to the rights and obligations. 7. Rule of the Head: The eldest married male member of the family, known as the 'Karta' is the head of a joint family. The 'Karta' possesses absolute authority over all the members of the family. His decision is also binding on all the family matters. 8. Three Generation Depth: The joint family comprises of persons belonging to at least three generations. Many a time, it may be supplemented by other relatives like cousins, great grandsons, uncles, aunts, etc. Important dysfunctions of Joint family: Although the joint family has a number of functions, it is not free from criticism. The main disadvantages of joint family are that it hinders the development of personality, causes miserable condition of women, makes home for idlers, becomes a center of

quarrels, lacks privacy, causes uncontrolled reproduction, and brings down the standard of living and son. These demerits of joint family may briefly be stated below: 1. Hinders the development of personality: The 'Karta' or the head of the joint family is the sole authority in taking decisions in family affairs. He is all in all in the family and his decision is to be complied compiled by all other members. Such an authoritarian pattern arrests the scope for developing the personality of the juniors through independent thinking. 2. Causes miserable position of woman: The status of woman is extremely low in the joint family system. The condition of the girl child is deplorable. The daughter-in-law finds it very difficult to adjust in the joint family environment. She not only works day and night but also faces the ill treatment by the mother- in-law and sister-in-laws. She is treated like a slave. In many a case, the daughter-in-law takes resort to suicide due to unbearable ill-treatment. 3. Makes Home for Idlers: Due to collective responsibility in the joint family, the active members work harder, but the lazy members become lazier because without doing the productive work, they are not deprived of getting equal amount of food from the common kitchen. Instead of competing for work, the lazy members compete in eating and sleeping. 4. Becomes a center of quarrels: Because of the presence of many women in the joint family quarrels become an everyday affair. Quarrels are common between the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law and sisterin-laws. At times the male members may also quarrel over the partition issue. 5. Lack of privacy: Privacy is denied in a joint family. Even the newly married couples do not get scope to discuss their problems in the presence of their elders. During the day time meeting the husband by the wife is causality. The married couples do not find the joint family atmosphere congenial to enjoy their married life in full on account of several restrictions placed on their conjugal life. As such the development of their personality and cooperation is hampered. 6. Uncontrolled Reproduction: It is the responsibility of the joint family to bring up the children and provide them education as they grow up. Therefore, no member feels the necessity of restrictions on

children. Hence, the responsibilities of the joint family as a collectivity in respect of reproduce is just the reverse in case the individual members. 7. Declining Standard of Living: The constant litigation, low position of women, absolute rule of the head, unrestricted reproduction, irresponsibility on the part of the members and lack of proper care of common property result in poor economic condition and the declining standard of living. 8. Other Dysfunctions: In addition to the dysfunctions already discussed above, some other minor dysfunctions of the joint family are also visualisedvisualized. For example, absolute authority of the head who is an orthodox fellow hinders the introduction of new ideas and encourages the persistence of practices, customs and traditions, etc. in the family. Suspicion and doubt against each nuclear unit within the joint family system also pollutes the family atmosphere. If a comparison is made between the functions and dysfunctions of the joint family, it will be clear that the dysfunctions have become instrumental in causing disintegration of the joint family system. What is Kinship? Kinship is a method of acknowledging relationships. Human beings are social by nature. A normal adult male is a son, a brother, anephewa nephew, an uncle and so on. Similarly, a female is a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother and aunt etc. Such relationships based either on marriage orbloodor blood-ties are known as KINSHIP relations.Socialrelations. Social recognition and expression of familyrelationshipsfamily relationships are formed ontheon the basis of marriage, procreation oradoptionor adoption. In fact, social recognition ofarelationshipof a relationship is moreimportantmore important than biologicalbondbiological bond. If a relationship is not recognized or accepted socially, then it is not included within the realm of kinship. Kinship can be defined as relationships based on descent, marriage or adoption.Thereadoption. There are basically two types ofkinshipwithin of kinship within afamilya family: 1. Affinal Kinship 2. Consanguineous Kinship

Affinal kinship is based on marriage. The most primary affinal relationship is the one between a husband and a wife which in its extended form includes parents and siblings of both sides and their spouses and children. Hence, the relationship between son-inlaw and father-in-law is an example of affinal kinship. Similarly Similarly, brother-inlawsandtheirchildrenarealsoexamplesofaffinalkinslaws and their children are also examples of affinal kin. ConsanguinealkinshipbasedondescentConsanguineal kinship-based on descent, also known as blood relations.Bloodrelations. Blood relationship or consanguineous kinship isbasedis based on genetic relationship between parents and children. The relationship between mother and child is the starting point of consanguineal kinship, which in its extended form includes the child's father, grandparents, uncles, cousins, aunts and so on. Adoption of achilda child is also anexamplean example of establishment of kinship betweenachildandhisadopterbetween a child and his adopter. The kinship relationships can also be categorized intermsin terms of degree of closenessintofollowing closeness into following types: 1. Primary Kinkin 2. Secondary Kinkin 3. Tertiary Kinkin Primary kins kin or first degree kins kin are those who are directly related to each other. These kins kin may belong to the family of orientation, the one in which we are born and brought up. For example, our father, mother, brothers and sisters are our primary kins kin because we are directly related to these persons through blood or genetic ties. Husband-wife relationship is an example of primary affinal kin. A person may have seven types of primary kins kin, viz., mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister, husband or wife. The primary kins kin of our primary kins kin are our secondary kinskin. They are notdirectlynot directly related to us but are related to us through our primary kinskin. There can be 33types of secondarykinssecondary kin. Examples of secondary kins kin are: Fathers father father, i.e., paternal grandfather, mother'sfatherimother's father, i.e., maternal grandfather, fathersmother fathers mother, i.e., paternalgrandmotherpaternal grandmother, wife's or husband's brothers and sisters, parents and so on.

The primary kinns of our secondary kins kin or secondary kins kin of our primary kins kin are known as our tertiary kins kin orthirdor third degree kinskin. For example, your brother-in-law isyouris your secondary kin and his wife or children who are his primary kins kin become your tertiary kin. These are 151types 151 types oftertiaryof tertiary kinskin. For example, Father's brother's wife, father's sister's husband, father's mother's brother, father's mother's sister and so on. InthisIn this way, the degree ofkinshipof kinship can be extendextended to 4th, 5th, 6thand 6th to go on to any degree. TheprimaryThe primary kins kin of our tertiary kins kin are called fourth degree kins kin and soon. Such kins kin may include allthoseall those with whom we share even remotest consanguineous or affinal ties. They are classified as distantkinsdistant kin. In some societies, distantkins distant kin are significantlikesignificant, like in many simple and rural societies, while in others like in metros they may not even be recognized. Religion in India Religion is concerned with the shared beliefs and practices of human beings. It is the human response to those elements in the life and environment of mankind which are beyond their ordinary comprehension. Most religions deal with the attempt of human beings to understand something or some power which is supernatural and supersensory.Religionsupersensory. Religion is the upholder of all values, morality and ethics of society. In this sense, it is the source of public order in society and provides the source of inner individual peace to men and women. It has a civilisingcivilizing effect on mankind. Yet, it has also led to the creation of obstacles in the path of progress. Its negative effects amongst mankind have been of promoting fanaticism and intolerance, ignorance, superstition and obscurantism. In Karl Marxs words: Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the sentiment of a heartless world and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people. Religious Pluralism In India Indian society is composed of diverse cultures, and peoples, languages and religions. To examine the nature of diversity of the religious faiths in our country we must look at the historical antecedents of various religious groups found in our society. Diversity of religious faiths has existed over a very long period of time as India has been a country of

not only very ancient history but also a place where communities from outside continually kept on coming and settling down. Together with diverse cultural groups in various religions in India pursuing their faiths, these immigrant communities also brought their own religious faiths, customs and cultures. This resulted in bringing together people following different religions and gradually laid the basis of religious pluralism in India. Religious pluralism means diversity among people based on their varied kinds of religious beliefs. Pluralism of religion has thus two connotations: 1. i) it refers to the fact that India has been a land of not one but many religions since ancient times; and 2. ii) That each religion contains, besides its primary features which define its essencemanyessence many cultural, social and ritualistic elements which cut across boundaries of different religions faiths. These cultural and social similarities are a product of interaction and accommodation established over a long period of time by regional, linguistic, ritual and social proximity of various religious groups. Religious pluralism in India is, thus not only a fact but it also permeates through beliefs, values and social character of individual religions in India. India is the birthplace of four of the the world's major religions; namely namely, Hinduism, Buddhism, , Jainism Jainism and and Sikhism.
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Throughout India's history, , religion religion has been an important part of the country's culture. Religious diversity andreligious toleranceand religious are both established in the country by the law law and and custom. A vast majority of Indians, (over 93% per cent), associate themselves with a religion. Zoroastrianism Zoroastrianism and and Judaism Judaism also have an ancient history in India, and each has several thousands of Indian adherents. India has the largest

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population of people adhering to Zoroastrianism (i.e., Parsis Parsis and Iranis) and Bahai Faith in the world,evenworld, even though these religions are not native to India. Many other world religions also have a relationship with Indian spirituality, such as the Bahai faith which recognisesrecognizes Buddha and Krishna as manifestations of the God Almighty. The Muslim population of India is the third largest in the world. India also has the third largest Shia population in the world. The shrines of some of the most famous saints of Sufism, like Moinuddin Chishti and Nizamuddin Auliya, are found in India, and attract visitors from all over the world.Indiaworld. India is also home to some of the most famous monuments of Islamic architecture, such as the Taj Mahal and the Qutub Minar. Civil matters related to the community are dealt with by the Muslim Personal Law,andLaw, and constitutional amendments in 1985 established its primacy in family matters. The Constitution of India declares the nation to be a secular republic that must uphold the right of citizens to freely worship and propagate any or no religion or faith. The Constitution of India also declares the right to freedom of religion to be a fundamental right. CULTURAL PLURALISM IN INDIA Culture plays an important role in the development of any nation. It represents a set of shared attitudes, values, goals and practices. Culture and creativity manifest themselves in almost all economic, social and other activities. A country as diverse as India is symbolized by the plurality of its culture. Cultural pluralism is a term used when smaller groups within a larger society maintain their unique cultural identities, and their values and practices are accepted by the wider culture provided they are consistent with the laws and values of the wider society. Cultural pluralism is a system where different culture-groups co-exist and share acommona common cultural platform without losing their respective identity. The culture of India is one of the oldest and unique. In India, there is amazing cultural diversity throughout the country. Indias culture has been enriched by successive waves of migration which were absorbed into the Indian way of life. It is this variety which is a special hallmark of India. Its physical, religious and racial variety is as immense as its

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linguistic diversity. Underneath this diversity lies the continuity of Indian civilization and social structure from the very earliest times until the present day. The South, North, and Northeast have their own distinct cultures and almost every state has carved out its own cultural niche.Indianiche. India has one of the worlds largest collections of songs, music, dance, theatre, folk traditions, performing arts, rites and rituals, paintings and writings that are known, as the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) of humanity. Indian culture is a composite mixture of varying styles and influences. In the matter of cuisine, for instance, the North and the South are totally different. Festivals in India are characterized by color, gaiety, enthusiasm, prayers and rituals. In the realm of music, there are varieties of folk, popular, pop, and classical music. The classical tradition of music in India includes the Carnatic and the Hindustani music. This makes Indian culture a truly plural one. This completes the brief account of salient features of our society, . I would like to end this chapter with this famous quote:.It is impossible not to be astonished by India. Nowhere on Earth does humanity present itself in such a dizzying, creative burst of cultures and religions, races and tongues. Every aspect of the country presents itself on a massive, exaggerated scale, worthy in comparison only to the superlative mountains that overshadow it. Perhaps the only thing more difficult than to be indifferent to India would be to describe or understand India completely.
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