Rural Processes in India : Parochialization , Universalization , Sanskritization , Little and Great Tradition 

Spread the love


Rural Processes in India :

Parochialization , Universalization ,

Sanskritization ,

Little and Great Tradition 



The scientific study of the Indian rural system can be done only through certain changes inherent in it. These changes can be social, political, cultural and natural. As the interest of sociologists and other scholars towards rural studies is increasing, in the same way, importance has been given to the study of many such processes which exist within the rural system itself. In any society, when any change takes place within the social system itself, then we call such change as procedural change.


It is possible that the external structure of society appears to be the same in general, but these process-oriented changes arise in the cultural aspect of life and cause widespread changes in the social system. Therefore, in order to understand rural social changes, it is necessary to discuss those processes which are both the cause and the result of rural social change in the present conditions.


Basically that is why contemporary sociologists are in favor of explaining rural social changes with the help of many concepts which are responsible for the emergence of new changes as a process. With the help of these concepts, the Indian rural system and the changes taking place in it, their causes, consequences etc. can be understood in detail. These are the major processes of social change

1. Sanskritization

2 . Westernization

3. Industrialization

4. Urbanization

5. Modernization

6. Universalization


8. Little Tradition

9. Great Tradition



Rural Processes in India

In the present discussion, we will try to understand the Indian rural system by discussing important processes like localization, universalisation, sanskritisation and small and large tradition, without going outside the scope of our subject-context.

The concepts of localization and universalization have been used by Mackim Marriott to explain the interaction between the major and minor traditions based on his study of Kishangarhi, a village in Uttar Pradesh. Pro . M . N. Srinivas used the concept of Sanskritization for the first time while analyzing the social and religious life of the Cougas in South India. Later Srinivas tried to understand the process of cultural change through the concept of Sanskritisation.

Robert Redfield used the concept of ‘tradition’ to explain the process of cultural changes in India. You believe that every culture is formed by traditions, which can be understood by dividing it into two parts. In both these traditions, we call the first-class tradition as the ‘Great Tradition’ and the second-class tradition as the ‘Little Tradition’. Here we will study these five concepts in detail.




For a systematic study of the Indian rural system, it is necessary to find out the various cultural traditions found in the Indian society. Three major streams of cultural traditions can be seen prominently in Indian society, which are called cultural sub-structures. Doctor . Tea . Of . N. Unnithan, Indradev and Yogendra Singh have placed these three sub-structures as follows.

1. Elite Sub – Structure

2 . Folk Sub – Structure

3. Tribal Sub – Structure


But we must note that none of these cultural sub-structures is represented by a particular section of society. No sub-structure is found in its pure form from this point of view. Folk and elite cultural elements are found very close to each other. The carriers of these cultural traditions have also lived very close to each other. Here we should keep in mind that the main area of ​​folk traditions has been ‘rural India’ and only urban India of elite traditions has been. Robert Redfield used the concept of tradition to analyze the process of social change in India and said that every civilization is made up of traditions. On one side comes the traditions of the aristocratic people or the few thinking people, which we call the Great Tradition and on the other side comes the traditions of the folk or illiterate farmers, which we call the Little Tradition. We will discuss these traditions in detail further, for now to understand the concept of localization, let us know that a kind of co-relation is found between these two traditions. That is, these two traditions keep converting into each other. This correlation has been clarified by McKim Marriott. Mackim Marriott in Kishangarhi village in Aligarh district of Uttar Pradesh. On the basis of the study of the



Localization and

2 . Universalization


In . The concepts were used by Mackim Marriott to explain the process of dissemination between the minor tradition and the large tradition. In relation to localization, McKim Marriott has written that there is a process of localizing literary forms etc. The process of localization appears to be active in small communities under Indian ancient civilization, while the concept of universalization has been used to advance and elevate cultural elements and cultural knowledge. Here we will discuss them in detail.




Meaning & Characteristics of Parochialization 


In ordinary language, the word (Parochial) of Pragal language is used to mean narrowness or rustication. Thus, literally any process which narrows the spirit of the group or generates the local characteristics of the villages in the group, we call it the process of localization. Although the process of localization was first mentioned by Morris Propler, but later in the way Macim Marriott described it, more importance has been given to local religious beliefs rather than to parochialism.


Mackim Marriott believes that when many cultures have been in existence for a long time, they become very old, then they begin to change into larger traditions, then usually such traditions are changed according to local beliefs and local needs. Is . That is, gradually many elements of the great tradition develop into the minor tradition. As a result, it becomes very difficult to understand the basic nature of any local tradition, its utility and its relation with religious texts. Even the people of the same village themselves are neither able to give much information about such tradition nor do they have the same opinion about that information. The result is that different beliefs related to the larger tradition, when different cultural characteristics of different places and regions take on different forms. On this basis, McKim Marriott says that when the local characteristics of the village are included in the Waht tradition, then we call this process as Parochialization. In other words, it can be said that when local beliefs restrict the spread of a fast or a long tradition and limit its scope, then we know it as the process of localization.


Mackim Marriott defines the concept of localization, writing that the downward movement of the elements of the large tradition and their union with the elements of the minor tradition is called the process of localization. It is clear from the above definition of Marriott that if the memory 195 tradition wants to stop the development of the minor tradition, then many small and completely imaginary traditions reduce their influence by hindering the development of these many traditions.

Within the larger traditions, many smaller local traditions develop. In fact, it is the downward development or diminishing change of culture, which we call the process of localization.



The features of the process of localization have been explained by McKim Marriott in five major parts.

(1) Localization is a process by which the beliefs and rituals of a particular place begin to be incorporated within the larger traditions of a society.

(2) The process of localization does not give much importance to intelligence and discretion. This means that the changes that take place in the larger tradition according to local beliefs cannot be explained on technical or intellectual grounds.

(3) The process of localization does not represent the characteristics of the whole group through any tradition, but under this process the ideas, experiences and beliefs of a small group are given importance.

(4) The process of localization takes away the traditions from their original form. It means that the way a tradition is mentioned in ancient religious texts, the process of localization changes that original form and gives a new form to that tradition.

(5) The Great Traditions are in a very systematic form, but when they are localized, there is no order left in the practices and rituals related to them.


Mackim Marriott wrote in his work on the promotion of the above characteristics that “localization is the process of spreading local characteristics, it is a process that limits the field of intelligence, separates traditions from their origin”. , and looks at particular traditions from a less systematic and less representative point of view.” Thus we see that the process of localization is a concept of the transition from a large tradition to a minor tradition. Bastul: This is a major feature of Indian rural system and agricultural societies. Many examples can be given of such a process from the rural life of India.



Some Examples of Parochialization 


McKim Marriott has tried to explain this process of localization with the examples of Govardhan Puja (Cownourisher Worship) and Nauti (Nauratha or Navaratri).


According to McKim Marriott, the way the festival of Govardhan Puja is celebrated in Kishangarhi village of Aligarh district, it exemplifies some types and changes of boundaries, which are due to the downward transfer of cultural themes from waht traditions to minor traditions. occur during. A term is needed to express the type of metamorphosis of cultural subjects that appear in the festival of Govardhan Puja, i.e., the downward movement of the larger traditional elements and the integration with the elements. For this motion which is the opposite of universalization, McKim Marriott suggests the term Parochi alization.


Localization is the process of limiting space, narrowing the field of intelligibility, depriving literary form and taking place in less systematic and less thought-provoking scales. The process of localization forms the characteristic of the creative work of ‘small communities’ within the Indian indigenous civilization. “


Mackim Marriott told that the people of Kishangarhi village celebrate the festival of ‘Govardhan Puja’. Here two main stories are heard in this regard. Both the stories related to Govardhan Puja are taken from the main Sanskrit text ‘Bhagavata-Purana’ of the tenth century. This Purana is a part of the larger Hindu tradition. In fact, forty miles away from Kishangarhi is the Govardhan Parvat.


According to the story written in this Purana, Lord Shri Krishna once while playing with his companions on the Govardhan mountain, instructed them to worship the nearby Govardhan mountain rather than a distant deity like Indra. Krishna’s fellow cowherds obeyed him and started doing so. By doing this, Lord Indra became very angry and started raining torrentially and he tried to submerge the entire Braj in water, but at this time Lord Krishna saved the people and wealth of the people of Braj by lifting the Govardhan mountain. Since then the Govardhan mountain was considered sacred and worshiped in a large area. Gradually, many rituals and beliefs (beliefs) have been included in this great tradition of Govardhan Puja, which have no relation with the story of Bhagwat Purana.


The residents of Kishangarhi told this saga. took a narrower form. Due to ignorance and etymology of Govardhana language, according to the local language, ‘dung-wealth’ became ‘cowdung-wealth’. Thus the villagers started considering cow dung as the biggest wealth. Govardhan is visible in the form of a mountain of dung in the courtyard of each family of Kishangarhi. The mountain made of cow dung is decorated with trees made from straw and cotton. Within the wall made of dung, the family cows, bulls, buffaloes and even the family cowherds, the sound of feeding the cattle, the milking utensils, the place to feed the animals, etc. . On this day one rupee is presented to the family cowherd. In the evening, the relatives of each family jointly worship this mountain. Light a lamp in the middle of the mountain, thread the trees around the mountain and shout slogans for the long life of the grandfather. On the second day this idol of cow dung is broken, its remains are used as fuel, and some part of it is saved and kept for burning after four months at the time of Holi combustion.


From the above example of Govardhan Puja, Maquim. Marriott tries to make it clear that all these behaviors of the residents of Kishangarhi are symbolic of local characteristics, that is, when the cultural elements of Vahat (Govardhan Puja) move downwards, it changes form during this journey. (like cow dung-wealth worship) and they get integrated into the Little Tradition. This process of turning into a larger tradition is called Marriott ‘localization’.


To illustrate this concept of localization, Mackim Marriott mentions another example, Navadurga or Navratri or Naortha, the festival celebrated on the occasion of Dussehra.


The festival of Navratri is celebrated all over India, and on this day Durga, Amba or Kali Prada are worshipped. Therefore, it comes under the category of great tradition, but this festival of that tradition, due to linguistic ambiguity and loss of meaning due to contact till reaching the village of Kishangarhi, resulted in the emergence of a new minor goddess and this new goddess Nauratha (Nauratha). became famous by name. _


McKim Marriott says that it is clearly known from the study of Kishangarhi village that Naurtha Devi is also worshiped here during the worship of Navadurga, which does not find any mention in Hindu scriptures. –

According to Marriott, on the occasion of Dussehra, girls and women of the village worship this goddess in the morning and evening for nine days. For nine days, women and girls outside every tenth house were placed on the wall with a mixture of dung and mud.



Therefore, according to Marriott, Naortha is a parochial goddess. This goddess has no relation with the larger tradition of Hindus, but once it was born, then all the villagers accepted it by recognizing it as a great goddess.


It is clear that the process of localization within Indian culture continuously gives rise to small local traditions, rituals and beliefs. It is true that the relation of most of the traditions found in the rural system is directly or indirectly influenced by the process of localization even today. Shar Vihaan Lah


Doctor . Srivastava has presented his views slightly different from Marriott. According to you Naurtha is another alternate name of Navratri i.e. Durga, which is worshiped during Navratri period. People belonging to the Laya tradition generally keep alternate names of deities for the sake of convenience.


Doctor . NS . R . Chauhan has also criticized the concept of localization determined on the basis of Govardhan Puja , and states that rather than taking the festival of Govardhan Puja as the basis for proposing this concept . should be considered as a test site.


Lewis Spence has also pointed out that among the semi-civilized people there has been constant talk in the works of the great gods. Dialectical misunderstandings have led to the creation of descriptive words that change the names of the goddesses. In this way, getting the local name of the deities and saying that the deities of that tradition have been localized and the people have adopted them in their own tradition, would be a big mistake. Apart from this, in other regions of India, the people do not know any goddess named Naortha, nor do they celebrate Navratri worship with any other than Durga. Thus it appears that the word Naortha is used only for the goddess Durga of Navratri and not for any other goddess.


Mackim Marriott also gives examples of some gods to make his concept of localization more clear. According to Praap, a deity named Sukracharya in Kishangarhi also explains the process of localization, but according to Mr. Vaastav, this explanation of McKim Marriott does not seem correct. Mackim Marriott has written at one place that some time ago the elders of the prominent Brahmin family of Kishangarhi erected a stone under a tree in the burial ground of the Pahlavas to worship Sukracharya, where the newlyweds of that family would get the husband’s house. Within a few days, she goes with her husband and worships the stone representing Sukracharya. He again writes that the women of that family and the Nayan (the barber’s wife) told Macim Marriott that the stone representing Sukracharya did not represent any cultural deity, but was the site of the ancestors of the same Brahmin family. Knowing this fact, McKim Marriott tried to forcefully impose that cultural gods . Sukracharya has become a local deity in Kishangarhi village through the process of localization.


In spite of these observations, the above concept localization as propounded by McKim Marriott remains an extremely important concept for understanding the Indian rural system.





Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.