1. What is ‘sanskritisation’? Explain. What are its effects on the society?
‘संस्कृतिकरण’ क्या है? समाज पर इसके प्रभाव क्या हैं?
Sanskritization is a process by which scheduled castes, tribes and other low Hindu castes change their way of life, customs and rituals in the direction of upper castes. It is followed by a claim to a higher position in the caste hierarchy than traditionally concealed to the claimant caste by the local community. Such claims are made over a period of time, sometimes a generation or two before they are conceded.
Effects of Sanskritization on society: Sanskritization has an influential effect on society in many ways.
- More Equality and Liberty: Some scheduled castes adopted upper-caste names, discovered myths about their origin and changed their traditional occupations. Now they sit along with the higher caste on the cots without any fear or hesitation.
- Behavioural change: Lower caste adopted other castes living patterns which gave them the liberty to sit and stand before other castes. For example, lower caste people were not keen to keep a clean atmosphere but due to Sanskritization, they started maintaining hygiene. They have left prohibited food. They also keep their houses clean and put on dresses like higher castes.
- Value Transmission: It helped in socio-economic and cultural value transmission in several groups of society.
- Exposure to New ideas: Sanskritisation is not just the adoption of new customs and habits, but also includes exposure to new ideas and values appearing in Sanskrit literature. Some of the most common Sanskritic theological ideas like Karma, dharma, Paap, Maya, Samsara and Moksha, which become common in the talk of people who are Sanskritised.
- Redefined Caste System: Sanskritisation challenged the then prevalent idea that caste was a rigid and unchanging institution. The concept of Sanskritisation addressed the actual complexity and fluidity of caste relations. It brought into academic focus the dynamics of the renegotiation of status by various castes and communities in India.
- Societal Up-gradation of lower caste: The low caste individuals are inclined towards Sanskritization because in that way they can elevate their social status and get higher status in the caste hierarchy.
- Reduced Untouchability: Now the situation is that the untouchable practice is almost abolished from society.
- Professional Changes: The lower caste people have given up un-cleaned occupation to raise their economic status because clean trades are a symbol of social light.
Many scheduled castes and tribes changed their dressing style and eating habits in a similar way of upper castes. But they had to face a lot of violence by upper castes for following their way of life. Though the process is followed by many, only those that are politically or economically powerful succeeded in the process.
After the independence of the country, the issue of social mobility became more complex and cases of Sanskritization, de-Sanskritization as well as re-Sanskritization were observed. Due to the policy of positive discrimination adopted by the Indian government now an increasing number of groups laid claim to backward status rather than high status. Some of them claim a backward status in state matters and a forward status in society.