Short essay on Social Changes in India

If we assess the social changes that have occurred in the Indian society from the middle of the 19th century, we notice the two directions in which such social changes have proceeded.

Certain changes in the traditional values and conventions have been wholly beneficial and are the result of the social reform movements which had or marginal influence on the society during the second half of the 19th century but gathered momentum since 1920’s when the Indian National Movement became mass based.
The second set of changes which have been increasing in intensity or coverage throughout the 20th century particularly after Independence, constitute the disturbing features of the present Indian society and have generally turned out to be serious problems. Such features are increasing (now explosive) population, increasing disorganization at all levels, crass materialism coupled with religiosity but without morality, increase in sophisticated crimes and socio-economic crimes, etc.
Some of the major areas in which social change is significant in the post-Independent India are the caste system, status of women, the status and role of backward classes, family, etc.

Social change in India may be considered as a process through which definite alterations in the structures and functions of a particular social system result. A particular social change may be good or bad, desirable or undesirable, sacred or profane, progressive or regressive depending upon the views and understanding of the observer. It is to be understood that when a particular social change occurs it will be evaluated in the light of the ideals, goals and theories of the observer.

The change implies continuity. Only when certain existing conditions, situations or things are partially modified we use the term ‘change’. So change and continuity coexist. Any social change may produce discernible and widespread changes in social structures, functions, behaviour, values, norms, and ways of life, attitudes, roles and status. Regarding social changes, sociologists have made detailed studies and have formulated various theories on the direction of change, factors of change and areas of change.

In the Indian context certain terms, Westernization, Sanskritization and Modernization are used to explain the direction of social change. The various factors of social changes in India are technology, industrialization, urbanization, legislation, education, economic factors, planning, religion and mass media.