Look Inside

Religion and Culture in Indian Civilization

FREE Delivery
Delivery Ships in 1-3 days
Item Code: NAW059
Publisher: D. K. Printworld Pvt. Ltd.
Author: C.N. Venugopal
Language: English
Edition: 2011
ISBN: 9788124605639
Pages: 318
Other Details 9.00 X 6.00 inch
Weight 570 gm
Fully insured
Fully insured
Shipped to 153 countries
Shipped to 153 countries
More than 1M+ customers worldwide
More than 1M+ customers worldwide
100% Made in India
100% Made in India
23 years in business
23 years in business
Book Description
About the Book

The volume deals with the civilizational dimensions of religion and culture in India. It underlines the point that religion and culture are important elements of all civilizations but it is their interplay that has given a unique feature to Indian civilization.

The essays interrogate the various western sociological discourses on civilization and articulate the alternative conceptualizations available in Indian sociology. They underline the unity and diversity of Indian civilization, present the idea of civilization as conjoined with the idea of civil society and study the ecological crisis in the modern world. They focus on the dialogical relationship between tribal and non-tribal religions, link between religion and environment, religious philanthropy and Christian influence on Hindu way of life in India. They also delve into the concept of composite culture in India, scrutinizing aspects of folk religion and cultures to show, for instance, how art forms get accumulated into the idea of culture.

The volume will be of immense interest to a variety of scholars and students associated with the study of Indian religion and culture.

About the Author

Throughout a busy professional career that got underway in 1991, Dr Amit Kumar Sharma has functioned as sociologist, Indologist, writer, columnist and, increasingly, as philosopher of indic civilization. His versatility in all of these areas has resulted in well over 200 articles in English and Hindi. He has also written 6 books dealing with Sociology, Indian Society, Culture and Gandhian ideology. He is a multilingual person who frequently writes both in Hindi and English languages. As an academician his main areas of concern are Cinema and Culture in India, Sociology of Religion, Sociology of Civilizations, Sociological Theories and Indology.

He has obtained his M.Phil and PhD degrees from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He did his masters in Sociology from Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi. He has been teaching Sociology at the Centre for the Study of Social Systems, JNU, New Delhi since 1999.

In addition to his professorial and professional activities, Amit Kumar Sharma has been active in public sphere about politics in India, Gandhian philosophy, Hindi cinema and emerging global order. Presently, he is the brand ambassador of brandbihar.com, a website that promotes the culture of Indian ethos in 189 countries.


Tus book is a collective endeavour to honour Prof. C.N. Venugopal. Prof. Venugopal joined the faculty of the Centre for the Study of Social Systems, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi in 1971. He retired from JNU in October 2001. In JNU he taught several courses at the MA and the MPhil levels but he is usually remembered for his lectures in sociological theory and sociology of religion. Although he wrote a number of scholarly articles on different aspects of religion, ideology and Indian society, he is primarily remembered as a teacher, seeker and thinker of the highest order. He was born in the year 1939 at Hassan Town, Karnataka. After completing MA in Sociology in 1964, he spent a few years working on research projects conducted by University of Mysore and TISS, Mumbai during 1964-71. After retirement he has settled with his wife at Bangalore. He is a great scholar but he is also a great human being. When his turn came he declined chairpersonship of the centre in JNU. When he approached 62 years of life, he did not seek three years extension as a Professor of JNU. Unlike many others of his generation he never tried to get the limelight or seek power or privilege. He remained a true believer in the Sanatana Dharma of Indic tradition and practised what he taught to his students. He tried to synthesize sociology and Indology in his own way. A.K. Coomaraswamy, G.S. Ghurye and Radhakamal Mukherji were his main inspirations. Among the three Coomaraswamy’s influence was most decisive in his personal domain and Ghurye’s influence was decisive in his public domain. The writings of Radhakamal Mukerjee on religion, art and culture have exerted a benign influence on his thinking. In his personal life Jainism and some aspects of the Lingayata Sampradaya influenced him. Given his Vaishnavite background these influences were very productive both as a Sanatani Hindu and a Professional Sociologist associated with JNU.

As a sociologist, religion and culture were his core concerns. He always regarded India as a civilization. When Prof. Venugopal was about to retire, Prof. J.S. Gandhi, Prof. Anand Kumar, Prof. Avijit Pathak and myself organized a seminar with the assistance of DSA, CSSS/SSS. We expected to bring out a volume in his honour. We requested the participants for their written papers. Prof. Gandhi, Prof. Pathak and I were to edit this volume; unfortunately the participants were preoccupied in their other works. In the meantime Prof. Gandhi retired from the Centre and Prof. Pathak was preoccupied with his other concerns. Therefore, I was left alone to handle this project. In the last five years I have received some good contributions from the academic community. The contributions were given as an honour to Prof. Venugopal but every contributor had his or her own views and concern. The articles were not related with the writings of Prof. Venugopal. Unfortunately, most participants of the Felicitation Seminar have not given their contributions so far. I have arranged the received articles in two related volumes:

  1. Religion and Culture in Indian Civilization: Essays in Honour of Prof. C.N. Venugopal.

  2. Religion and Society in India: Essays in Honour of Prof. C.N. Venugopal.

The present volume is concerned with the civilizational dimensions of religion and culture in India. The other volume is primarily concerned with the sociological aspects of religion and society in India as a nation-state.

In the making of the volume Prof. Anand Kumar, Prof. Avijit Pathak, Prof. M.N. Panini, Prof. E. Haq, and Prof. J.S. Gandhi have been a constant source of inspiration. Prof. Satish Jain (Economist) and Dr Wagish Shukla (Mathematician), have added new dimensions to the collection. Vinay Srivastava, Tiplut Nongbri, Susan Visvanathan, Rabindra Ray, Koma Chatterji, Nita Mathur, Anand Kumar and Avijit Pathak have enriched the volume by their valuable contributions. I am grateful to all of them. The DSA had provided the initial assistance. Shaswat Bharati, Kautilya Institute and SITA members were always enthusiastic to help in time. Serva Chetan Katoch, Dependra Pathak, Rakesh Kapoor, Ashok Malhotra, Mithilesh Kumar Tripathi, Prabhat, Nishant, Rajshree, Subrat, and Basil have given their valuable time in the preparation of the volume. Vandana has been inspiring and helping whenever I needed her help. I thank them all.


SocioLocicaL theories of religion and culture are marked in a variety of ways by presuppositions about the nature, meaning, function and significance of religion and culture in the Western civilization in general and Abrahamic traditions of the West in particular. This proves to be a serious handicap in the study of non-Western civilizations in general and Indian civilization in particular. Often, keywords derived from Western civilization have been used as cues to explore the repertoire of beliefs, rituals, cultural processes and institutions of non-Western civilizations. This has led to unintended consequences. The same cannot be said about the concept and framework of civilization itself. Every civilization evolves over a longer period as a product of a dialectical process between nature, culture, religious beliefs and everyday practices. In this way every civilization is unique and provides a broad framework in a given space and time to its people. In the social sciences "civilization" occupies the same space which paradigm holds in the natural and the physical sciences. Each civilization is constructed, preserved, and transmitted in a number of ways such as oral narrative, iconic constructions, monuments, literary texts, customs, folkways, mores and institutions. It is also mediated by saints, seers, martyrs, shamans, mystics, technical experts, artists and craftspeople. The defining feature of any civilization is continuity. It grows gradually and sometimes changes radically. However, only the structural framework of the civilization changes (i.e. the elements of the civilization and their relationship) but the organizing principles and the underlying values, to a large extent, remain the same. The organizing principles and values, thus, require a comprehensive understanding (Inden, 2006; Dumont, 1971, Ghurye, 1962; Mukherjee, 1960; Marriot, 1990; Sharma, 2005).

The defining feature of Western sociology is that it is rooted in the European enlightenment of the eighteenth century, and regards modernity as a great rupture in space and time. Perhaps, therefore, it seems to be baffled by traditional civilizations like Indian and Chinese. Moreover, it is hostile towards the non-modern elements of Western civilization itself. This volume tries to articulate some of these anxieties in a more nuanced understanding of religion and culture in Indian civilization. This volume underscores that, arguably, religion and culture are important elements of all civilizations, but it is their interplay that has given a unique feature to Indian civilization.

According to Indian sociologists like T.N. Madan, J.P.S. Uberoi, A.K. Saran and C.N. Venugopal, a creative synthesis of the structural sociology of Claude Lévi-Strauss and Indology of A.K. Coomaraswamy can be helpful in understanding some crucial aspects of religion and culture in Indian civilization. This volume implicitly shares the need to go beyond Western sociology of religion, culture and civilization but different authors evolve their own strategies to capture the unique aspect of their chosen study. The diversified opinions presented by different contributors have resulted in some looseness of structure, but it has preserved the seminal ethos of Indian civilization. What is presented here is a volume with a unifying theme, namely, religion and culture in Indian civilization. They also articulate the Indic orientation in their own way. There is, however, diversity and not uniformity in their approaches, treatment and orientation. Individually they do not present a coherent or consistent picture of a homogeneous viewpoint about religion and culture in Indian civilization. The volume as a whole however, represents the new thinking about religion and culture in India today.

Amit Kumar Sharma in his essay, "Unity and Diversity in Indian Civilization," interrogates the various Western sociological discourses on civilization and articulates the alternative conceptualizations available in Indian sociology. He also underlines the unity and diversity in Indian civilization. Civilization is an umbrella term that has been variously defined by sociologists. For Durkheim, civilization helps to conceptualize the relationship between society, culture and the individual. The learning of culture takes place through the process of civilizing. He claims that human being is a symbolizing animal, and therefore, the civilizing process takes place through symbolization. Marcell Mauss argues that civilization is a social entity in which cultural forms are co- present and co-extensive, yet non-reducible to one another. Civilization constructs its own identity, and has an organic passage of time. Civilizational process refers to art, philosophy and religion. Civilizational discourse of the Chicago School was rooted in Malinowski’s anthropology and American philosophical pragmatism. In the Western discourses, we find that civilization has had a linguistic turn. It took an objective form from the works of Saussure, Barthes, and others. Human world is symbolically constructed. Symbols in the Western tradition are arbitrarily chosen to represent the signified objects. Coomaraswamy claims that symbols are not chosen arbitrarily in Indian civilization. He also claims that modern industrial civilization is a great rupture in the Western tradition in itself. In the same way, G.S. Ghurye holds that civilization is a collective endeavour of humanity and that India represents a pagan civilization. Indian civilization is rooted in broad universalism and integral cosmopolitanism, human tenderness and compassion. Ghurye says that the cultural unity of civilization is based on complementarity, reciprocity and exchange. Accommodation without assimilation has been the characteristic of Indian civilization. A civilization includes both folk and classical cultural traditions. Tribal cultures on the other hand are characterized by a common territory and shared sentiments. The classical, folk and tribal represent three types of cultural streams which interact within Indian culture. There is peaceful coexistence of different religions in India and most festivals are celebrated by the majority of the regional cultures. The salient features of Indian civilization are a cosmic vision, a sense of harmony, order and beauty, tolerance, emphasis on duty, sacrifices and altruism, joint family, theory of karma, diversity and plurality and kala cakra. Various political, economic and geographical factors have led to the unity and diversity in Indian civilization.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Q. What locations do you deliver to ?
    A. Exotic India delivers orders to all countries having diplomatic relations with India.
  • Q. Do you offer free shipping ?
    A. Exotic India offers free shipping on all orders of value of $30 USD or more.
  • Q. Can I return the book?
    A. All returns must be postmarked within seven (7) days of the delivery date. All returned items must be in new and unused condition, with all original tags and labels attached. To know more please view our return policy
  • Q. Do you offer express shipping ?
    A. Yes, we do have a chargeable express shipping facility available. You can select express shipping while checking out on the website.
  • Q. I accidentally entered wrong delivery address, can I change the address ?
    A. Delivery addresses can only be changed only incase the order has not been shipped yet. Incase of an address change, you can reach us at help@exoticindia.com
  • Q. How do I track my order ?
    A. You can track your orders simply entering your order number through here or through your past orders if you are signed in on the website.
  • Q. How can I cancel an order ?
    A. An order can only be cancelled if it has not been shipped. To cancel an order, kindly reach out to us through help@exoticindia.com.
Add a review
Have A Question

For privacy concerns, please view our Privacy Policy

Book Categories