Subaltern Perspective of Indian Sociology

In sociology, there are many factors like sex, caste, creed, race or any institution in which subordination is needed. A subaltern in a layman language is nothing but Sub-ordination. Insubordination, it is not necessary that people will always co-ordinate. Sometimes there will be bold resistance to anything and other times people can be convinced under superior forces.

subaltern perspective

Hence Subaltern perspective goes with these two factors simultaneously. Ernesto Laclau in 1979 also called as Post Marxist who worked in several sectors like the possibility of wars, capitalism effects etc also researched that political party’s debate targeted at masses does not indicate that this ideology simple means the conflict between two groups of people.

Instead, he mentioned that Subaltern Perspective is observing the micro details of a human being like his fight of himself with the society, his fight against others ideology and behaviour to understand the concept of unity in an indifferent situation. Finding a calm scenario where conflicts were all set to ruin harmony was a tough challenge to sociology

This perspective challenges notions of sociology at a different level. The harmony part is tested in these situations. The people who are associated with education and research work strong added that every sub-group determines changes and its effects in a society. But the people who are not mostly academic can also face some of the situations in which they can bring an abundant amount of change in the society.

Social existence and Social Forces (changes) are interlinked with each other. They are continuously a part of the discussion among scholars who keep on reading and analyzing to come up with the ideologies that can have an impact on society. More than submissive part of subordination, defiance part has more affected the history.

As the subaltern perspective also shows the characteristics of defiance, a popular movement study case is necessary to get a detail view. Tribal peasant view was the movement which showed massive resistance to the British government for their rights. It was one of the massive opposition of two groups which proved the world that not only Elite class people dominance or rules can be right all the time. The peasant people demanded their shares and by a popular way, they also reclaimed history in a unique way.

There were many revolts which took place at the late 80s. People witnessed defiance in such a way that evolution of new ideologies took place. The revolts names were Indigo Revolt, Pabna Movement, The Deccan’s Peasant Uprising, Punjab Peasant Discontent, Champaran Satyagrah, Kaira Satyagraha, Moplah Rebellion and Bardoli Satyagraha.

The indigo movement of Bengal is quite a popular revolt because it was the first revolt witnessed between peasants and high-rank officials. They first were forced to cultivate Indigo at money much lesser than the actual price. Later people began to revolt and this revolt gained popularity in Bengal forcing to abolish some of the taxes in 1869.

One more popular movement was Champaran Satyagraha. In Bihar, Champaran district farmers were obliged to grow Indigo on 3/20 of their land. These forceful laws made people rebellious and Gandhi reached Champaran as soon he heard this news. Although high-rank officials asked him to leave the place and tried to suppress their voice he was also adamant on his decision and finally in June 1917 a committee for the inquiry was held including Gandhi and at the end, the rule was successfully abolished.

There were many examples in which peasant pull their socks up and showed a sense of bold resistance and had their rights back.

Thus this perspective rewards them with the title “Makers of their own History”. They barged with a sense of righteous consciousness for their rights in those times when our country was not even independent. B.R Ambedkar and Kapil Kapil Kumar are well-known names in the sector of Subaltern Perspective of Indian Sociology.

These subalterns somehow managed to show that how illogical and weak elite people can go to only follow the set pattern, not using their own judgment ability. They can be called as the eye-opener of Indian sociology because they took a stance for their rights; they got rebellious when it was most needed instead of sitting idle and following rules.

When ‘B.R Ambedkar’ faced an indifference behavior from childhood, he was curious to know why this kind of discrimination happens with them. For this, he conquered education from a different country and challenged the set notion of our country which boycotts SC/ST in temples or wells. He was also a popular subaltern of his time.

This is an Another Summary on “Subaltern Perspective of Indian Sociology”

The literal meaning of “Subaltern” is “belonging to an inferior rank or position”. Sociologists study and view the Indian society from various perspectives; subaltern perspective is one of them. The subaltern perspective can be depicted through the caste, race, occupation, class, age, color, and many more factors. It usually means subordination in any field, and it embodies features of dominance and submissive behaviors.

Numerous people gave their own subaltern perspectives. David Hardiman, born in Pakistan, introduced his perspective via his study, “the Coming of Devi” which was a movement suggesting the Adivasis and tribes of India to change their lifestyles. These types of movements have now been eradicated and can no longer be seen in the modern India. In Hardiman’s theory, three problems about the Indian society were pointed out. One, the word “subaltern” was not defined properly or adequately. Two, it has already been existing in our Indian society since a very long time. Three, it is always in comparison to something, i.e. it is always relative. Thus, relatively, there must be levels of everything. If something is at the top, there has to be something at the bottom too and there has to exist a lot of distinction in the higher and lower levels.

In the 1900s, our country had different rules and regulations for the “untouchables”. The untouchables or “Dalits” were looked down upon. They were deprived of all the basic privileges that were accessible to all the other higher caste groups. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, from our country, was the first untouchable to go abroad for higher education. After returning back to India, he observed the subaltern nature of the Indian society closely and proposed the idea of reservation for the oppressed classes to make them grow, to provide them equal rights and opportunities, and to let them access the other privileges too.

Similar to the untouchables or “Dalits”, in the primitive era, the Indian society was divided into 4 parts, the Brahmins, the Kshatriyas, the Vaishyas and the Shudras. Brahmins were considered the priestly people and Kshatriyas were considered the rulers and the warriors. Both of these cases belonged to the top two positions of the Indian caste system, with Brahmins being at the top. They had access to all the rights, opportunities and privileges. They were treated royally and with respect by the lower classes. Vaishyas were in the third position in the four varnas, and they were the artisans, merchants, farmers, and tradesmen. On the bottom, there were Shudras who were considered the labor class. The rank of this era’s “Dalits” and the primitive era’s Shudras was considered equal. Even the presence of these lower castes was considered tainted. They were not allowed to attend any ceremonies and were supposed to stay out when it came to any decision-making process in villages. They were also not allowed to enter religious places.

Even though our society is still divided into numerous castes like Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs), Other Backward Classes (OBCs), etc., there are many reforms and schemes developed for the growth of these minorities. In some corner, misuse of such reforms is also taking place, but as far as the development of the country is concerned, it has really become an indispensable task to let the minorities grow.

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