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II.4.1 Emergence and growth of anthropology in India-Contributions of the 18th, 19th and early 20th Century scholar-administrators.

The growth of Indian anthropology has been divided into different periods by the above mentioned and other notable anthropologists in a slightly different way. According to S.C. Roy the growth of anthropology in India can be classified in terms of the sources of publications such as magazines, handbooks and monograms etc. and also in terms of the nationality of the authors.

According to S.C. Dube this growth can be classified in three phases:

  1. Compilation and publication of volumes on tribes and castes.
  2. Detailed monographic studies of individual tribes mostly based upon personal observation.
  3. Quantitative advancement and qualitative achievement.

N.K Bose divides the growth of anthropology in India into the following three phases:

  1. Encyclopaedia of tribes and castes.
  2. Descriptive monographs.
  3. Analytical studies of village, marriage and family, caste and civilization etc.

N. Majumdar divided the growth of anthropological researches in India into the following three historical periods:

  1. Formulation phase (1774-1911),
  2. Constructive phase (1912-1937),
  3. Critical phase (1938-to present day).

According to L.P. Vidyarthi the constructive period started around 1920 with the opening of the Department of anthropology in Calcutta with R. Chandra as its head and the starting of Indian Journal of Anthropology by S.C. Roy in 1921.

In the critical period Indian and British Anthropologists met together on the occasion of Silver Jubilee of the Indian Science Congress at Lahore. D.N. Majumdar published a problem-oriented monograph on the tribe published under the title ‘A Tribe in Transition: A Study in Culture Patterns, published by Longman’s Green and Co. London in 1937. This constitutes the start of what Majumdar calls critical period in the growth of Indian anthropology.

This period had the initiation of American collaboration with Lucknow University in anthropological studies. Oscar Lewis came to India as a consultant to the Central Ministry of Community Development, to carry on anthropological studies on a large scale. Another significant outsider to help in this growth was Morris Opler.

Some noted Indian anthropologists like S.C. Dube also visited academic anthropological institutions in America. An important publication of this period was Religion and Society among the Coorgs of South India, by M. N. Sriniwas, published by Oxford University Press in 1952. Thus the critical period was also called analytical period by some anthropologists including L.P. Vidyarthi? In short the growth of anthropology in India can be briefly summarised as follows:

I. The beginning, formative period.

In 1774 Sir William Jones started Asiatic Society of Bengal as its founder president, to study nature and man in India. Since then the British administrators, missionaries, travellers and anthropologists studied Indian tribes and published their accounts in the Journal of Asiatic Society of Bengal (1784), Indian Antiquary (1872), Journal of Bihar and Orissa Research Society (1915), and Man in India (1921). Accounts were also published in a series of districts Gazetteer, hand books and monograms on tribes.

Data were collected on the tribes during the census in 1931 and 1941. Important contribution in this direction was made by scholarly British administrators such as Risley, Dalton, O’Malley, Russel, Thurston and Crooks. Cambell, Latham and Risley published general books on Indian ethnology. These were followed by detailed accounts of specific tribes by Briggs, Shakespear, Gurdel, Mills, Parry and Grigson, in the following important works:

  1. R.G. Latham, Ethnography of India, London, Voorst viii + 375 pp., 1859.
  2. H.H. Risley, Tribes and Castes of Bengal, Calcutta, (1891).
  3. George W. Briggs, the Chamars, Calcutta Association Press, Russel Street, Calcutta, 1920.
  4. J. Shakespear, the Lushai Kuki Clans, London, Mac-Millan & Co., 1912.
  5. P.R.T. Gurden, the Khasi, London, MacMillan & Co., 1912.
  6. J.P. Mills, the Lhota Naga, London, MacMillan & Co., 1922 and the Rengma Naga, London, MacMillan & Co., 1937.
  7. N.E. Parry, the Lakhers, London,, MacMillan & Co., 1932.
  8. W.V. Grigson, the Maria Gonds of Bastar, Oxford University Press, London, 1938.

Some missionaries also made important ethnographic and linguistic studies. Among these were P.O. Bodding and J. Hoffman, W.H.R. Rivers published an important work, The Todas, in 1906 published by MacMillan and Co., London in 1911, G.G. Saligmann and B.G. Saligmann published an important work entitled The Veddas of Ceylone, in 1911 by Cambridge University Press.

II. Constructive period.

In 1919 Social Anthropology was included in the curricula of Bombay University in Sociology. In 1921 Department of Anthropology was started at Calcutta University. These centres started anthropological researches to which important contributions were made by the following scholars and their publications:

(1) A.R. Radcliffe Brown, The Andaman Islanders :A Study in Social Anthropology, Cambridge University Press, The Free Press, Glencoe, Illinois, 1922.

(2) J.H. Hutton, “Census of India,” Vol. 1, India, Simla, Government of India Press, Part III-B, Ethnographic Notes, 1931.

(3) S.C. Roy, (a) Mundas and Their Country, Calcutta, City Book Society, 1912, (b) The Oraons of Chhota Nagpur, Ranchi, Author, Bar Library 1915. (C) The Birhor, a little Known Jungle Tribe of Chhota Nogpur, Man in India Office, Church Road, Ranchi, 1925, (d) Oraon Religion and Customs, Ranchi, Man in India Office, 1928, (e) 7 he Hill Bhuinyas of Orissa, Ranchi, Man in India Office, 1935, and (f) The Kharia, Vol. I & II (with R.C. Roy), Ranchi, Man in India Office, 1937.

(4) G.S. Ghurye: (a) “A Note on Cross Cousin Marriage and Rural Organisation, Kathiawar,” Journal of University of Bombay, Vol. 5, Part 1, pp. 88-90, 1943, (b) “Social Change in Maharashtra,” Part I, Sociological Bulletin, Vol. 1, (c) “Social Change in Maharashtra,” Part II, Ibid.

(5) K.P. Chattopadhyay : (a) “An Essay on the History of Mewar Culture,” Journal and Proceedings of Asiatic Society of Bengal (New Series), Vol. XXIII, No, 3,1925 and (b) “Some Malayalam kinship terms”, Man in India, Vol II, No. 2,1922.

(6) M.N. Srinivas: (a) Marriage and Family in Mysore, Bombay, 1942 and (b) The Social Organisation of South India (note), Man, Vol. 46, No. 86, 1946.

(7) D.N. Majumdar, A Tribe in Transition: A Study in Culture Patterns, London, Longmans, Green & Co., 1937.

(8) Iravati Karve, Kinship Terminology and ‘Kinship Uses of the Maratha Country*, Bulletin of the Deccan College Research Institute, Vol. 2-4, pp. 327-89, 1940.

Among others who made important contribution to the growth of anthropology in India, the most notable were the studies of the following:

P.N. Mishra, L.KA. Iyer, K.P. Chattopadhyay, T.C. Das, and D.N. Majumdar in the East and North India, and G.S. Ghurye, Iravati Karve, L.K. Ananthakrishna Iyer and A. Aiyappan in the West and South India. All these scholars stimulated anthropological research and publication of articles, monographs and books. In 1938 a joint session of the Indian Science

Congress Association and the British Association reviewed the progress of anthropology in India. This was the first review of the anthropological researches in India. Among the most notable contribution made to anthropology during this period the works of D.N. Majumdar, M.N. Sriniwas and N.K. bose may be noted. D.N. Majumdar published from Lucknow in 1950, The Affairs of a Tribe: A Study of Tribal Dynamics, In 1942 M.N. Sriniwas published his work, Marriage and Family in Mysore.

An important contribution was made by N.K. Bose in his paper Hindu Method of Tribal Absorption, published by Cultural Anthropology, in 1941. The following may be noted as important additions to the anthropological literature published during this period:

  1. Verrier Elwin: (a) The Baiga, London, Johan Murry, 1939, (b) The Agaria, O.U.P., 1943, (c) Maria, Murder and Suicide, O.U.P., 1943, (d) The Muria and Their Ghotul, Geoggery Cambridge, O.U.P., 1947, (e) Religion of an Indian Tribe, Oxford University Press, 1955.
  1. C. Von Furer-Haimendorf: (a) The Chenchus, Jungle Folk of the Deccan, London, MacMillan & Co., 1942, (B) The Tribal Population of Hyderabad, Hyderabad Revenue Department Census 1945, (c) The Reddis of the Bison Hills :A Study in Acculturation’ (in collaboration with Elizabeth Von Furer Haimendorf) in two volumes, London, Macmillan & co., 1945, (J) “The Agriculture and Land Tenure among the Apa Tanis,” Man in India, Vol. 26,1946, pp. 181-95 and “Notes on Tribal Justice among the Apa Tanis,” Man in India, vol. 29,1946.
  1. G.W. Briggs, the Chamars, Calcutta Association Press, Russel Street, Calcutta, 1926.
  2. L.K. Ananthakrishna Iyer, “The Kahars of Mysore”, Man in India, Vol. 9, 1929.
  3. J.H. Hutton, Caste in India, Cambridge University Press, 1946.

Summing up the development of anthropology in India during the constructive period L.P. Vidyarthi has rightly remarked, “Thus, Indian anthropology which was born and brought up under the predominant influence of the British, matured during the constructive phase on the lines of British anthropology.

During this period, except a few studies of Indian institutions like Caste, the tribal studies continued to be the exclusive field of study by the enlightened British scholars, administrators, missionaries and later by the British and Indian anthropologists till the end of the forties of this century.

On the lines of anthropology taught at that time at Cambridge, Oxford, and London, Indian anthropology was characterised by ethnological and monographic studies with a special emphasis on researches in kinship and social organization.

III. Analytical Period, 1950

After Second World War some eminent American anthropologists including Morris Opeler of Cornell University, Oscar Lewis of University of Illinois, David Mandelbaum of the University of California and others came to India and conducted many important studies in rural and tribal areas.

Besides, important rural studies were made by M.N. Srinivas, Iravati Karve, S.C. Dube and D.N. Majumdar among others. The following are the notable contributions to the growth of anthropology in India during this period:

  1. M.N. Srinivas, Religion and Society among the Coorgs of South India, Oxford University Press, 1952.
  2. Iravati Karve, Kinship Organization in India, Poona, Deccan College (first edition), 1953.
  3. S.K. Srivastva, “The Tharu: A Study in Cultural Dynamics Agra, Agra University Press, 1958.
  4. D.N. Majumdar, “Himalayan Polyandry”, Bombay, Asia Publishing House, 1963.
  5. Burling, “Rengsanggri,” Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1963.
  6. C. Von Furer-Haimendorf, the Konyak Nagas, London, Oxford University Press, 1969.
  7. L.P. Vidyarthi, the Maler: A Study in Nature-Man-Spirit Complex of a Hill Tribe, Calcutta, Bookland Private Limited, 1963.
  8. Edward J. Jay, A Tribal Village in Middle India, Calcutta, Anthropological Surevey of India, 1970.
  9. D.P. Sinha, Culture Change in an Inter-tribal Market, Bombay, Asia Publishing House, 1968.
  10. Sachchidananda, Culture Change in Tribal Bihar, Calcutta, Bookland Private Limited, 1964.
  11. B.N. Sahay, Dynamics of Leadership, New Delhi, Book Hive,1968.
  12. A.B. Saran, “Murder and Suicide among the Two Tribes of Bihar, New Delhi, National Publishing House, 1975.
  13. P.K. Bhowmick, the Lodha Of West Bengal: A Socio-Economic Study, Calcutta, Punthi Pustak, 1963.
  14. F.G. Bailey, Tribe, Caste and Nation, Bombay, Oxford University Press, 1960.
  15. G.S. Ghurye, the Scheduled Tribes, Bombay, Popular Book Depot, 1960.
  16. P.G. Shah, Tribal Life in Gujarat, Bombay, Gujarat Research Society, 1964.
  17. L.N. Chapekar, the Thakurs of Sahadri, Bombay, O.U.P., 1960.
  18. P.G. Shah, Tribal Life in Gujarat, Bombay, Gujarat Research Society, 1964.
  19. Y.V.S. Nath, the Bhils of Ratanmal, Baroda, M.S. University of Baroda, 1960.
  20. Ehrenfel, Kadar of Cochin, Madras, University of Madras, 1952.
  21. P.K. Mishra, Nomads in Mysore City, Calcutta, Anthropological Survey of India, 1971.
  22. G.M. Carstairs, the Twice-Bom, London, the Hogarth Press,1957.
  23. Oscar Lewis, Group Dynamics in a North Indian Village, Delhi, Planning Commission, 1954.
  24. H.S. Dhillon, Leadership and Groups in a South Indian Village, New Delhi, Planning Commission, 1955.
  25. S.C. Dube (ed.) EmergingPattems of Rural Leadership in Southern Asia, Hyderabad, National Institute of Community Development, 1965.
  26. Rajrii Kothari (ed.), “Caste in Indian Politics,” NewDelhi, Orient Longmans Ltd., 1970.
  27. LP. Vidyarthi, Dynamics of Tribal Leadership in Bihar, Allahabad, Kitab Mahal, 1976.
  28. D.N. Majumdar, Affairs of a Tribe: A Study in Tribal Dynamics, Lucknow, Universal, 1950.
  29. Verrier Elwin, Religion of an Indian Tribe, London, Oxford University Press, 1955.
  30. L.P. Vidyarthi, Aspects of Religion in Indian Society, Meerut, Kedar Nath Ramnath, 1961.
  31. E.B. Harper, Religion in South Asia, Seattle, University of Washington Press, 1964.
  32. L.P. Vidyarthi, Sacred Complex of Hindu Gaya, Bombay, Asia Publishing House, 1961.
  33. M.Jha, Sacred Complex of Janakpur, Allahabad, United Publishers, 1971.
  34. L.P. Vidyarthi and M. Jha (eds.), Sacred Complex of India, Ranchi, Council and Cultural Research, Bihar, 1974.
  35. S. Narayan, Sacred Complex of Deoghar, Ph. D. Thesis submitted to Ranchi University, Ranchi, 1973.

Among the important seminars conducted and published during this period are : Urgent Researches in Social Anthropology and Tribal Situation in India published by Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Simla, Numerous papers have been published by Anthropologists in India concerning (a) change leading to tribal identity, integration, vanishing culture and planning, (b) emergence of industrial anthropology, (c) increased emphasis on tribal demography, and (d) integrated study of tribal regions. Important contribution has been made to Action Research, Socio-Psychological Research, and Folk­lore researches, Studies of Power Structure and Leadership and Anthropology of Religion.

To conclude in the words of L.P. Vidyarthi, “The journey of Indian anthropology still continues. It has gone much ahead under the influence of and in collaboration with the British and American anthropologists. Of course, in a broader perspective, they will continue to influence the Indian social science for some more time.  Science knows no barrier and the science of man in India will continue to collaborate and learn in the- fields of theory and methods of social research from the other scientifically advanced countries of the world.

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