Question: What is Sanskritisation? Discuss its effect on society. Give reasons for occurrence of Sanskritisation.
Answer: Sanskritisation is a term used to describe the process of upward movement of castes in social hierarchy by adopting practices of upper castes.
The term was given by famous sociologist M N Srinivas to describe the imitating practices found in some intermediate castes in Indian society.
Effects of Sanskritisation
- Social dignity
Sanskritisation gave a sense of social dignity to intermediate castes. They began to consider themselves as higher in caste hierarchy.
- Support rural economy
The exit of higher caste such as Kshatriyas and Brahmins from rural areas created a void in terms of economic system. This was filled by the intermediate castes who obtained a new identity through Sanskritisation.
- Amalgamation of culture
Sanskritisation brought in a new culture that was a mix of previous identity and new identity. This was visible in form of their culture and practices.
Ex: Hindus of tribal origin following their traditional practices.
Reasons for Sanskritisation
Due to modernization, higher caste such as Brahmins and Kshatriya gave up their traditional practices such as fire sacrifice and thread ceremony. This caused a void that had to be filled.
Due to globalisation, urban migration started. Many higher castes moved to urban areas and gave up traditional occupation. This was favourable for Sanskritisation.
- Land reforms
Due to land reforms, land owning castes lost dominance. Intermediary castes became beneficiary of the development and they strengthening their social position.
- Economic prosperity
Economic prosperity was a outcome of reforms such as equality and education. This allowed intermediate castes to show their dominance by imitating traditional practices of higher castes.
Thus, Sanskritisation phenomenon is unique to Indian society. This played a major role in continuation of traditional practices even after renaissance.