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Applied Anthropology and Development in India

Applied Anthropology and Development in India
Item Code: NAU332
Author: L.P. Vidyarthi and B.N. Sahay
Publisher: National Publishing House
Language: English
Edition: 1980
Pages: 340
Other Details: 8.50 X 6.00 inch
weight of the book: 0.5 kg

On the occasion of Rai Bahadur S.C. Roy Centenary Cele-bration (1871-1971), a seven-day International Symposium on Indian Anthropology was organised from November 4-10, 1971, in the Department of Anthropology, University of Ranchi, in collaboration with the Indian Anthropological Association and the Council of Social and Cultural Research, Bihar. This Inter-national Symposium focussed on the rise and growth of Indian Anthropology and discussed the developments on different aspects or Prehistory, Ethnology, Social Anthropology, Applied Anthropology, Physical Anthropology, Study of the Complex Society of India, etc., in various scientific sessions. In all, about 100 delegates participated and over 75 technical papers were presented and discussed. Subsequently, these papers were broadly classified for bringing out a series of volumes under the various branches of Anthropology. Some papers were also added sub-sequently to fill-up the gaps in relevant volumes. In this regard mention may be made of B. N. Sahay's Papers which were presented in BASS Seminar 1974 and ISCA, 1971 respectively. The present volume on Applied Anthropology and Develop-ment in India is a result of this endeavour. Some of the papers included in this volume have also appeared in parts, elsewhere which is thankfully acknowledged. Besides a detailed Introduction dealing with the Applied, Action and Development Anthropology in India in a historical perspective, this volume containing 18 research papers has been divided meaningfully into four parts. While Part I deals with the Constitutional Provisions, Planning, Development, Administration, and Evaluation in three papers by H. M. Mathur, Sachchidananda, and B. N. Sahay ; Part'II entitled `Social Structure and Stratification' has only two papers by D.R. Pratap and Mahinder Paul Kaushal. Part III discusses the problem and prospects of socio-economic development and has maximum number of papers written by 13 authors, viz., C. B. Tripathi, S. P. Malhotra, L. P. Bharara, Shyam Lal, B. K. Roy Burman, B. N. Pal, Sumati Mulay, Amita Bardhan, T. B Naik, N. K. Kadetotad, Saileshwar Prasad, Swinder Kaur, and B. N. Sahay. The Fourth part on Gross-cultural Adjustability and International Understanding contains only two propers on Cross-cultural Adjustability of Antar Bharati Participants in `Student Exchange Programme' by V. P. Sharma and 'Anthropology and International Understanding—the Role of Comparative Religion' by T. Ling. Although there is a lot of scope for research and training in the field of Applied and Action Anthropology, it is hoped that all interested in this branch of Anthropology would find this volume a useful addition to the literature on the subject.


Anthropology in India originated under the influence of and to serve the purpose of the colonial administration of the British. The alien administrators could realise that for an effective and successful administration of the natives they needed the knowledge of their life and culture. The foreign missionaries, too, felt the necessity of knowing about their so called "Pagan" -religion, peculiar customs and practices, and their language for the purposes of conversion. For the foreign travellers' adventures and the army personnel as well, the primitive and folk cultural life of the people in India also provided a source of attraction as a result of which they approached the inaccessible areas of the tribals and presented descriptive accounts about the land and the people of the area. The systematic use of such a study for effective administration in India was first as early as in 1807 when the court of Directors of the East India Company made a formal decision that "such knowledge would be of great use in the-future administration of the country" (Roy : 1921). To this effect Dr. Francis Buchanon was appointed as the Governor General-in-Council to undertake an ethnographic survey to enquire into the conditions of the inhabitants of Bengal and their religion (Buchanon : 1820). Since then anthropologically- oriented officers like Risley (1891), Dalton (1872); Grigson (1938), Gurdon (1914), Thurstan (1909), and many others in addition to their administrative duties were assigned the task of preparing handbooks, gazetteers, morographs, etc., on the tribes and castes of India. Owing to their efforts, the first set of ethnographic data for the purposes of colonial administration was brought to light.

Alongwith the administrators a few British anthropologists such as Rivers (1906), Radcliffe Brown (1922), and Hutton (1931) examined critically the tribal situations in certain parts of India and made several recommendations for the smooth and effective colonial administration. It was in 1931 when Hutton came out with his views regarding the evil effects of contact on the tribes. "The solution of the problems", accord-ing to him "would be to create self-governing tribal areas with free powers of self-determination in regard to surrounding or adjacent units." (Hutton : 504-507) Among the Indian nationals, S.C. Roy who studied several tribes of Bihar brought to light, for the first time, the devastat-ing effects of contact on some of the jungle tribes of Bihar. While his opinions are well known about the major tribes, in one of his papers he highlights the evil effects of contact on the minor tribes in the following words : "With the opening up of the country by the roads and rail-ways under the British rule and the gradual deforestation of the country and even the increasing restrictions in the use of forests, these forest tribes (the Bihrr and the Korwa) are slowly but surely dying out partly from famine and partly from loss of interest in life." (Roy 1931 : 375-377).

The evil effects of culture contacts among the tribals which have had direct bearing on applied anthropological research were taken up by D.N. Majumdar and A. Aiyappan under the influence of the British functional approach. Majumdar (1937) reported that the Ho of Kohlan had undergone much degeneration since they were studied by the earlier investigator Col. Dalton in 1870. He found the people "a degenerate race of men with weak constitution and lower expectation of life." In another paper, Majumdar (1939) reporting about the Korwa observes that the disparity in the proportion of sexes, imported diseases, and loss of ambition in life were leading to de-population in their ranks. The direct cause of apathy and decline, he detected in the changed economic and social conditions, and enumerated eleven causes of the 'tales of the discomfort'. Aiyappan deserves credit for being the direct student of Malinowski in the University of London. In the light of the principles of functionalism, Aiyappan after his return from London conducted field enquiry among the Iravas. He focused his attention on the changing culture of the Iravas and pub-lished the result in the shape of a monograph on the Iravas and culture change as early as in 1943. In addition to this work and under the auspices of Madras Museum, which has been an old centre of anthropological research in South India, Aiyappan made several other field enquiries and encouraged the young talents to undertake researches in the light of financial approach (Aiyappan : 1944).

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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