Sanskritization Concept: Meaning & Overview

It is the truth that all men are not equal. Inequalities occur due to the society, their perception, and prejudices. However, due to broad and intellect ability of people, it was found inequality is a crucial issue which separates each individual into a different category. Thus the study of Sanskritization took place.

sanskritization customs,beliefs,mn srinivas,images

The study of Sanskritization has been a source of analysis for the sociologist in India as well as abroad. It was an affecting study to show behavior patterns of lower castes and the evolution of their culture. Various case studies were also made regarding sanskritization.

‘Sanskritization’ was first introduced by Prof. M.N. Srinivas. Sanskritization is basically letting the lower caste individuals perform rituals and adopt various methods of living as like those of upper caste people by abandoning the disgrace associated with caste-based domination and oppression. Also, the concept of Sanskritization helps lower castes to elevate their position in the social hierarchy. In the study performed by Srinivas, he noticed the behavior changes in lower castes and how they are adopting the living style of Brahmins to be superior and indulge in various reputed ceremonies. They did this to be apart of important organizations and be there at higher ranks as of what they had before. Due to these reasons, they left few of the beliefs, rituals, and ways of living which are considered to be impure by the upper castes.

Defining Sanskritization Srinivas writes, “lower caste  people  adopt higher caste customs, culture, practices, and beliefs to acquire higher status in society

In the past the process of Sanskritization was slow and it offered very little opportunities to the lower section of the society for upper mobility. This, in turn, made it difficult for them to empower themselves in terms of economy as well as politics and made them inferior. There were also some sanctions acted against too radical change in styles of life. These sanctions operated with particular force upon the lower castes that were able to touch the barriers of untouchability rarely, if any.

Later the British rule released the lower castes from the grip of such oppressive sanctions. The court of law refused to recognize the rights upper castes to the exclusive use of the particular status symbol. The path of Sanskritization was thrown upon various sections of society. Thus Sanskritization became a barrier for lower castes against the sanctions of society.

Sanskritization has had many effects on the society in last many years. People belonging to various tribes and low-caste groups involved themselves in Sanskritization to change the society and lead towards betterment due to inequality prevailing in the country. This further had a great impact.

If we relate Sanskritization with social needs of people it is found to be very important when it comes to change because that can help them to raise their status in the society and a chance to become superior from being inferior.

Economic betterment is also related to Sanskritization as the lower caste people are no more into less reputed jobs rather they prefer the topmost and much higher rank when it comes to jobs. This is because higher the position in an organization an individual has higher will be his or her status in the society.

Further, it has been observed that Lower caste people have adopted many rituals which were traditionally performed by Brahmins.

The living patterns, as well as behavior pattern of lower castes, have changed due to sanskritization. They compete with higher caste individuals in every aspect of life. They share same rooms and offices. They reside in the same areas of higher castes; they have some kind of food, wear similar clothes and do much more things like these in the race of being like upper caste people and being superior.

They have also emerged out well in the education sector and achieved greater heights, in some cases better than higher castes even.

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