Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Presentations on Indian Society by II PSEng, 2013-14

Indian Society is a vast varied society with no singularity or homogenity to the entirety of the nation, the language, the myths, the practices, the culture all have their own unique origins and histories that have developed into modern day India as we know it. In an attempt to both educate and enlighten both themselves and their classmates, each individual of the class had chosen a topic coming broadly under the topics of Linguistics, Races, Religion, Family, Caste and Occupation, under the direction of Dr. Sheila Mattews. 
          The presentations began with the Linguistics group who approached the topic by initially with the division of India into the various regions that make up the whole, and through this exemplified the diversity that can be found in India in that very process with the number of languages to be found in the country. With the presentations by the individuals they attempted to bring out the manner in which these languages have taken shape in India, the process of invasion and colonisation and how these affected some areas but not other, yet all sharing common aspects in their speech, or their script and  so on. This uniformity of diversity and commonality across India clearly points towards the pluralistic nature of Indian society.

          Following the Linguistics group was the Races group, handling the various racial backgrounds of the people in India, from all over the country. They discussed the division of the races in India on the basis of their various physical characteristics and the manner in which they came to be in India, through the many centuries of history that is in India's past, from the Dravidians, to the Mongoloids, to the Indo-Aryans and the races that followed as well as a result of interaction between these races. How these races were spread across India and their arrival in India itself was discussed with reference to the many conquering forces that have come to India, the Mughals, the Mongols, and many others.

          Having gathered what the heterogenuous mass of our population roughly looks like and talks like the presentations moved on to the beliefs of the many, many division and denominations of our country. With the various tides of changes that have occured over the land of India so too have thoughts and ideas about the individual's origin as well as the origin of the world. The group that had taken up this topic included the religions of Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism,  Sikhism, Christianity and its many denominations, Hinduism. Islam and the Tribal religions – like Sunmaism, derivatives of the Bond religion of Tibet and others. With India being the place of birth of some of these religions and its acceptance and adaption of these other religions into its own practices and customs shows us the pluralistic nature of India.

          The group following this were given the topic of Caste and Occupation and spoke of how it was thought to be primarily a Hindu practice, but in reality how it cuts across religions to form systems of social stratification, its presence and prevailance in both Islamic, Christian and Buddhist practices.The idea of reservation on the basis of Caste was discussed with reference to SCs and STs as well as OBCs and Dalit Christians with the changes in thought about the concept over time as well as the intial division of influencial forces in India, such as Ambedkar and Mahatma Gandhi, about the issue.

          The final group's topic for presentation was Family and the discussion covered the types of families that could be found across India, dividied on the basis of lineage, heriditary, residence, marriage- both polygamous/monogamous and polyandry. Looking at the family structure that could be found in the different religions across India.

          With this concluded the presentations of PSEng on the various aspects of Indian Society- through which one could see the pluralistic nature of India in its current context as well as its development into such a situation.

-Michael Varghese

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