Here is an essay on ‘Social Change, Revolution and War’ for class 9, 10, 11 and 12. Find paragraphs, long and short essays on ‘Social Change, Revolution and War’ especially written for school and college students.
- Essay on Concept of Planned Change
- Essay on Resistance to Adopt Change in Social Norms
- Essay on Some Crucial Areas in which Social Change in Necessary
- Essay on Procedures Instituting Social Change
- Essay on Revolution and Social Change
- Essay on War and Social Change
- Essay on Problem of Social Change and Social Development
Essay # 1. Concept of Planned Change:
As the present writer has written it must be realized that social change in a vast complex phenomenon involving areas and aspects. Planning is a rational activity. Planned change is a deliberate attempt to bring about certain specific changes in the society.
Since independence, the Indian people as well as the Indian Government have been trying to bring about a social change through planned effort, through the Five Year Plans and through the Community Development projects.
Earlier, during 1918-1948, Gandhi tried to bring about social change in India through his constructive programme. By his speeches and writings, by his ashrams and by establishing volunteer training camps in various parts of the country, he caused a tremendous change in social outlook as well as in self-reliance among the classes as well as the masses in India. That was also a deliberate effort to bring about social change.
In essence, planned social change involves the setting up of specific social norms and the delineation of means to make these social norms operative in the society. In the Gandhian era, the Karachi Congress session of 1931 marks a significant departure. It laid down the basic social norms which continue to influence the efforts of the Congress Party and the Congress Governments even today.
It laid down the fundamental rights of the citizens and the duties of the government which have been incorporated in the Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of State Policy in the Constitution of India, 1950. Thus, the Constitution of India has the social norms for planned change.
Since planned social change necessitates the clear formulation of the goals of social change, it can be described as an effort at social development. The aim of planning is to attain these specific goals. Thus, there is a community as well as a direction in change. It is a linear growth. For example, the rate of progress in education has been for the last quarter of a century at the rate of ten per cent per year, indicating a steady increase.
Similarly, there is a steady decrease in the death rate from about 27 per thousand in 1951 to about 16 per thousand in 1971; there is a steady increase in expectation of life form about 32 years in 1951 to about 52 years in 1971. There are indications of similar trends in the production of food, electricity, etc. It is possible to work out indicators for social development when there is planned social change.
Essay # 2. Resistance to Adopt Change in Social Norms:
Resistance to adopt change in social norms may arise on account of personality factors or on account of social factors.
At the personality system level, it has been seen that one of the powerful factors in socialization. The individual has internalized the existing social norms. So the new social norms which are contradictory to the internalized social norms will meet with great resistance, because the new social norms demand a total transformation, as in the case of the abandonment of the idea of pollution.
Secondly, learning theory assumes that unless the situation changes noticeably, individuals will continue to respond in their accustomed, habitual way. The rural society is even now functioning without any noticeable change. So it is not a matter for surprise that habitual attitudes and behaviours prevail in the rural society.
The Harijans are generally the landless labourers and the poorest persons in the village. They are illiterate. They do not bathe; they are dirty, wearing torn and unwashed clothes. They live in huts at the outskirts of the village. Thus the perceptual experience reinforces the internalized social norm of discrimination.
Consequently there is great resistance to the new norms of casteless- ness and social equality. Next, the super-ego is a powerful agent serving tradition. The super-ego of the individual corresponds to the super-ego of his parent and not to his rational conclusions based on his experience.
Another obstacle to effective participation in social change is the tendency to seek security in the past. There is a sense of insecurity to plunge into the new; so individuals tend to cling desperately to the old modes of behaviour; they wish to hold fast to the familiar.
There are factors resisting change at the social system level also. It has already been seen that conformity to social norms is one effective factor. Norms in the social system correspond to the habits in the personality system. Norms are the customary and expected ways of behaving. As Whyte (1956) has described, members of a group demand of themselves and of others conformity to the institutional norms.
It is the norms that make it possible for members to live and work together, since each knows what he may expect in the other. Because norms are shared, they cannot easily change. When one person deviates significantly from the group norms, the group will apply sanctions against him; in the village group he may be excommunicated; he no longer belongs to the group; he can go nowhere else.
Another important source of resistance is vested interest. The significant members of the group have been enjoying privileges, social, economic and political, in the traditional society. A change is a threat to these privileges. So they will do all in their power to prevent the adoption of new social norms.
The third social-system factor making for resistance to change arises from the fact that there are “core” values in every society. The social system may be looked upon as being made up of two concentric circles. The activities belonging to the inner circle are more resistant to change than the activities belonging to the outer circle.
Spicer (1952) has shown how introduction of improved technology in underdeveloped countries runs into formidable obstacles if it seems to impinge on religious superstitions, beliefs or practices. One of the most tragic episodes of human history is that Gandhi was assassinated by a Hindu in 1948 because he was preaching Hindu- Muslim amity after the partition of India, which took place as a result of the “two-nation” theory.
It is a familiar fact that the bus, the cycle and the watch were accepted long back by rural society since these innovations do not affect the inner core of rural culture. It took a longer time for education of all castes to be accepted. Even now the rural societies do not accept the Harijans to live in the main part of the village; they do not allow the Harijans to draw water from the village well. Touching the Harijan is taboo. As Watson (1969) writes, “There is a clear connection between the operation of the super-ego in individuals and the taboos persisting in the culture.”
Essay # 3. Some Crucial Areas in which Social Change in Necessary:
The most fundamental change necessary is regarding social structure. Today a man’s position in society is more or less determined by the caste in which he is born. Caste system does not permit social mobility. So the main object of social equality is to provide opportunity for the person of ability and equipment to move up in the society irrespective of his caste. Education is the means to enable an individual to move up in the society.
It also implies that there should be open competition in business as well as in the recruitment to offices in administration. Another significant area of social change is regarding the sexes Woman should have full opportunity to educate and equip herself so that she can occupy the highest position.
Even in 1971 only 18 per cent of women were literate. Thus, there should be extended opportunities for women to equip themselves and to move up in society. The third area is with respect to the workers. Today the workers are illiterate and unskilled. Programmes of worker’s education are now being launched on a country-wide scale to help them not only to become literate but also to understand that they are respected members of the society and have their rights; they are educated to enable them to get these rights.
But they should also realize their social responsibilities. If only the workers in the organized factory sector improve their position when the unorganized, landless labourers and others continue to live in degrading conditions, the ends of social justice will not be realized. Yet another important area in which new social norms and new attitudes have to be built up in a caste-structured society is dignity of labour.
In a caste-based society all manual labour, even the highly skilled work, is looked upon with contempt by those who are literate and educated. An educated person now prefers to starve or to be a social parasite rather than take up some occupation involving manual labour. Gandhi tried to fight these attitudes by setting up a new norm, namely, “bread labour.”
He said that no man has a right to take his food unless he gives at least a part of his time to manual labour. So he made the spinning wheel the symbol of individual development as well as national development. He formulated the “basic education” scheme which involved learning through crafts. There are some crucial areas in society where deliberate attempts have to be made to bring about change.
Essay # 4. Procedures Instituting Social Change:
The important aspect of social change is the change in social norms.
This involves two aspects:
(a) The clear formulation of the new social norms, and
(b) The efforts made to see that these new norms are accepted by the members of the group.
It is obvious that in a vast country like India with diverse populations all the way from the tribal groups in the forests and hill tracts to the highly sophisticated persons in the metropolitan cities like Bombay, Delhi, Calcutta and Madras and with many languages and dialects, it is a tremendous task to formulate the new social norms and to make the people to accept them.
The freedom movement, particularly in the Gandhian era (1920-1948), gave a great sense of unity and a sense of participation to the millions in the country. The social ideals of secularism, socialism and democracy were unanimously accepted by the people and these ideals were given shape in the Constitution of India when India became a sovereign republic.
However, accepting new social values in principle is one thing and accepting them as operating social values informing and influencing the daily behaviour and, in particular, the child rearing practices, is another. We have noted above the resistances encountered at the individual level and at the social level. What, then, are the steps necessary to weaken these resistances so that the new social norms become operative?
The problems involved in the formation and change of attitudes have been delineated. These are basic for the institution of any change programme.
One of the basic steps in the formation of attitudes is the internalization of these norms at the childhood level and later in the primary school. As far as the parents are concerned this is a far cry since nearly 80 per cent of the parents are illiterate and are living in the isolated 570,000 villages.
It is obvious that this is one of the great obstacles for bringing about any social change of lasting value. With respect to the influence of schooling, the formidable problem is the fact of wastage and stagnation. Out of 100 pupils enrolled in the Class I only 20 children reach Class VII. Thus, neither socialization at home nor at the school are effective at present because of illiteracy of the parents and the stupendous wa5tage at school.
Another important step for attitude change and acceptance of new norm is the participation of the members of the group in diagnosing the problem and the realization of its importance. This is also lacking though India is a democratic country. In spite of independence and the adoption of democratic form of government, the Indian society continues to be authoritarian by tradition.
The structural properties of the Indian society continue to be influenced by the caste system and by the fact that only a small minority of people are educated. Added to this is the tradition from the colonial form of government under the British rule. It must be remembered that elected persons formed only a part of the ministry according to the Mont-ford Reforms of 1919 and that only the State governments became responsible to the legislature according to 1935 Act.
The Central ministry became responsible to the legislature only in 1947. Finally, there is the fact that the Congress party dominated the ministries and legislatures throughout the country from 1947 to 1967. All these led to the prevalence of authoritarian outlook in the formulation of the Five Year Plans and the Community Development Programme.
The policies were decided at the top; the priorities were decided at the top. It is true that the top levels of the Congress party, as well as the members of the Parliament and State legislatures were involved. But this was more to satisfy formalities than to get them really involved.
As for the people, they were nowhere in the picture. In fact, the various reports evaluating the Community Development projects have emphasised that the programme failed because of lack of participation. Kuppu-swamy (1971) reports that only 27 per cent of the village respondents had heard of the plan. The plan documents realize and express concern over this lack. “The problem is to create a milieu in which the small man, who has so far had little opportunity of perceiving and participating in the immense possibilities of growth through organized effort, is enabled to put in his best in the interests of a higher standard of life for himself and increased prosperity for the country.”
Lasting change in society can be possible when the members of the group participate in diagnosing the defect in the existing society and adopt the project by consensual group decision. So far this has not been possible because the elite have no faith in the illiterate masses.
This is one conspicuous difference between the post- independence attempts at social change and the Gandhian attempts. Even in 1920 Gandhi fully realized the necessity and the possibility of involving the masses in the freedom struggle. Though the masses were illiterate, he had faith in their understanding. As a result he was able to mobilize the people to participate in the national struggle for freedom. Now the elite have no faith in the illiterate masses.
Another important technique to reduce resistance for social change is the ability of the proponents to empathize with the opponents. It has been seen above that mere legislation enforcing the new norms is ineffective in the vast rural society of India. An earnest attempt should be made to understand the valid objections of people towards the new social norms and take effective steps to relieve unnecessary fears.
Merely putting the higher caste people into the prison since they practice untouchability is not enough. They must be made to understand the social injustice involved. Attempts should also be made to link up the new social ideals and values with the traditional social values.
There are innumerable incidents in the epics like those of the tribal boatman Guha who took Rama and others in his boat to cross the river, the tribal woman Sabari who gave fruits to Rama, the tribal hunter youth Eklavya who set up the image of Dronacharya and learnt the art of archery and so on which will help to inculcate the modern values of social equality and social justice in the minds of the people.
Essay # 5. Revolution and Social Change:
There have been mass uprisings against authority on several occasions in the various countries. In the eighteenth century, in France and the United States, riotous action became a recognized and acceptable extra legal means of protesting against authority or of usurping authority, when there was a general consensus that the person in authority had failed to fulfill his obligations or had exercised his rights in an unjust manner.
It is doubtful, however, whether rebellion has been a significant factor in bringing about social change. Generally, rebellions are occasioned by some local and atypical circumstances. It is also directed against the persons in position of authority rather than against the social system itself.
That is, rebellion does not appear to arise from some deep-seated discontent with the social structure. Its purpose, thus, appears to be to intimidate those in positions of leadership and to curtail their initiative, rather than to bring about social change.
Civil War is more revolutionary in character than rebellion. Civil war implies a greater degree of military organization by those who are rising in revolt. The aim of civil war may be mere capture of power or a complete change in the social system.
Revolutions are generally instigated by the members of a newly emerging, non-hereditary class and directed toward the destruction of the hereditary class system as in the American, French and Russian revolutions. Secondly, the revolutionary leaders express the interests and desires of a small segment of the population. Generally, the majority of the citizens do not have the foresight or the courage to destroy what is familiar in order to create something that is more desirable.
When there is deep-seated and wide-spread unrest in the society and the government is not only unable to bring about changes which will reduce the unrest, but actually uses the police force to suppress those who attack the rulers, the society is ripe for revolution. The rulers can banish the specter of revolution only if they can resolve the basic contradictions in the society.
The aim of the revolution is to overthrow the fundamental hierarchical relationships in a society so that the section near the bottom captures power and overthrows the section at the top. All revolutions are thus anti-authoritarian; they seek to destroy those in authority, those who have been undermining the lives of the people; they also seek to change the social structure.
It is clear that mere political revolution is of no consequence; it is only a change in the masters. Real revolution consists of profound changes in the economic and social structure and far-reaching changes in the cultural values which support the prevailing hierarchical structure.
According to Karl Marx (1818-1883), every social organization is subject to ceaseless change. But often the political pattern and the social institutions become well consolidated; they check social change; revolutions arise in order to over-threw the institutions which obstruct social growth.
However, Marx held that revolutions are inevitable in society. The outworn institutions prevent the satisfaction of basic wants of people under changed conditions. As a result there is social unrest. The existing political power will suppress such unrest; this intensifies the unrest leading to further repression resulting finally in violent revolution.
Marx asserted that revolutions will perpetually recur until the workers who are the real producers of wealth have equality and are able to enjoy a decent standard of living. Revolution, according to Marx, is the result as well as a cause of a radical change in the outlook of the masses in the society so that they are “class conscious” and can overthrow the existing social institutions, capture power and create new institutions which are more satisfactory. He further asserted that a revolution must be violent.
In contrast, Gandhi (1869-1948) conceived and formulated “nonviolent revolution.” He wrote, “A non-violent revolution is not a programme of seizure of power, but it is a programme of transformation of relationships.” The non-violent revolution is possible through satyagraha and constructive programme. Satyagraha is resistance to all tyranny and injustice.
It can be cultivated and wielded only by those who entirely eschew violence. Exploitation is possible only so long as the exploited consent and cooperate. A government can function only as long as the people support it. But when the actions of the government hurt them, it becomes the duty of the people to withdraw their support. It is not the blind duty of the citizen to obey all the laws that are imposed on him. On the other hand, every individual has the right to rise against an intolerable wrong.
Gandhi did not believe in armed risings since “the remedy is worse than the disease sought to be cured. They are a token of the spirit of revenge and impatience and anger. The method of violence cannot do good in the long run.” “Complete civil disobedience is rebellion without the element of violence in it. An out-and-out civil resister simply ignores the authority of the state.”
“A Satyagrahi sometimes appears to disobey laws and the constituted authority only to prove in the end his regard for both.” “Disobedience to the law of the State becomes a peremptory duty when it comes in conflict with the law” (of righteousness). But the resistance is not with hatred. “It is never the intention of a satyagrahi to embarass the wrong doer. The appeal is never to fear; it is, must be always to the heart. The satyagrahi’s object is to convert, not to coerce, the wrong doer.” “Non-violence is never a method of coercion; it is one of conversion.”
The aim of the satyagrahi is conversion by gentle persuasion; therefore he must always be courteous and patient. His aim is to understand the position of the opponent. “Immediately we begin to think of things as our opponents think of them we shall be able to do them full justice.”
This requires a detached state of mind. “Three-fourths of the miseries and misunderstandings of the world will disappear, if we step into the shoes of our adversaries and understand their standpoint.”
Satyagraha and civil disobedience can be successful only if the cooperation of the whole nation is secured through the constructive programme. What is constructive programme? Gandhi wrote, “Complete Independence through truth and non-violence means the independence of every unit, be it the humblest of the nation, without distinction of race, colour or creed.”
So the most important item of the constructive programme is the unity of the people, what he called “communal unity.” Every citizen “has to feel his identity with every one of the millions of the inhabitants” of the country. Every individual must cultivate personal friendship with the persons of the other faiths and should have the same regard for the other faiths as he has for his own.
The second important item of the constructive programme which flows out of the first is the removal of untouchability. “Every Hindu should make common cause with Harijans and befriend them in their awful isolation—such isolation as perhaps the world has never seen in the monstrous immensity one witnesses in India.”
The third important item which again flows from the first is the change in attitude toward woman. “Woman has been suppressed under custom and law for which man is responsible. . . .In a plan of life based on non-violence, woman has as much right to shape her own destiny as the man has to shape his. . . .Men have not realized this truth in its fullness in their behaviour toward woman.
They have considered themselves to be lord and masters of women instead of considering them as their friends and co-workers….Women have been taught to regard themselves as slaves of men. It is the duty of man to see that they enable them to realize their full status and play their part as equals of men “The next item in the constructive programme is Khadi. “It connotes the beginning of economic freedom and equality of all in the country.”
“It means a wholesale swadeshi mentality, a determination to find all the necessaries of life in India and that too through the labour and intellect of the villagers.” It means the end of the exploitation of the people in the 570,000 villages. “This needs a revolutionary change in the mentality and tastes of many.” “It vitally touches the life of every single Indian, makes him feel aglow with the possession of a power that has lain hidden within himself and makes him proud of his identity with every drop of the ocean of Indian humanity.”
“Khadi tome is the symbol of unity of Indian humanity, of its economic freedom and equality.” Khadi also means “the decentralization of the production and distribution of the necessaries of life.” The fifth item of constructive programme is Basic Education. “This education is meant to transform village children.” “Primary education is a farce designed without regard to the wants of India, of the villages and for that matter even of the cities.” Another part of this item is adult education. It is not enough to teach illiterates to read and write.
The minds of the adults should be opened “to the greatness and vastness of their country.” Yet another aspect of the problem of education is the removal of the “deep chasm between the educated and politically-minded classes and the masses” caused by the neglect of the mother tongue and preference for English. “The masses will remain cut off from the modern mind” if the Indian languages are not cultivated and enriched.
“It is inherent in the Swaraj based on non-violence that every individual makes his own direct contribution to the independence movement.” This is impossible unless the masses are made to understand the issues through the Indian languages. “And then for all-India intercourse we need, from among the Indian stock, a language which the largest number of people already know and understand and which others can easily pick up. This language is indisputably Hindi.”
Finally, there is the aspect of education in health and hygiene. “In a well-ordered society, the citizens know and observe the laws of health and hygiene.” “A healthy mind in a healthy body is a self-evident truth.” “Divorce between intelligence and labour has resulted in criminal negligence of the villages. And so, instead of having graceful hamlets dotting the land, we have dung-heaps.” Village sanitation is another important item in the constructive programme.
Thus, according to Gandhi, revolution is necessary not only to be free from foreign domination but also to be free from the domination of the caste and class structure in the society. It is through a nonviolent revolution free from hatred and fear, that it is possible for the Indian society to transform itself into a society with equality and social justice.
Essay # 6. War and Social Change:
War is one of the established institutions in the society since the most ancient times. The military occupation is one of the most honoured occupations. Even today each nation spends about 15 to 20 per cent of its revenue on military establishment and equipment. There is constant technological progress and each country engages highly specialized scientists and engineers in research and development (R and D).
In contrast to other forms of conflict, war is a highly organized and calculated undertaking involving a great deal of training to the personnel and providing them with the latest equipment. Thus, each nation state looks upon war as inevitable and spends money to train and equip the personnel in its military services. In other words, each country has the belief that war will come.
This itself is a predisposing factor in causing war. It is obvious that if people in the various countries look upon war as inevitable, collective resistance against war will be weak. However, the various public opinion studies show that only about one quarter to one third of the persons, in the countries studied, look upon war as inevitable in the next 25 years. There are many more ‘yes’ responses when they were asked if there is some conflict between their country and another.
It is the sense of insecurity which prompts the citizens of each country to demand that the government should spend more to protect the people from attack by another country. There are some political parties in India which are urging the government to prepare atomic bombs since China has equipped herself with them. Osgood (1962) calls it the “spiral of terro.” The problem is whether it is possible to reverse this spiral of terror so that each country could march toward a more peaceful world. This is how the problem of war becomes a theme in social change.
It is sometimes asserted that wars are started by the ambition and cruelty of the political leaders of the enemy country. It is true that war has often been utilized to distract the attention of the dissident’s elements in a country’s population by channelling aggression to the enemy country. This is the explanation given by some to the Chinese aggression on India in 1962 and to the Pakistani attacks in 1965 and 1971.
War is an extreme example of violence. Whether threatened or actually carried out, war is a token of the zest for political power. Power signifies control over men’s minds and actions. Resort to warfare in the international scene indicates that the aggressor uses military power in order to gain political power. The political objective of war is to force the enemy to yield to the will of the victor, in other words, to change the mind of the enemy.
Quincy Wright (1942) distinguishes between four kinds of war in the psychological sense of aggression has its foundations in the animal behaviour. War among the tribal people is psychological as well as sociological involving aggressiveness by organized human groups. War among the historic kingdoms is legal in addition to being psychological and sociological. He looks upon the latest phase of war as being technological, which started with the advent of world-cultural- contacts.
Though the character of war has changed, the basis of war continues to be psychological. Aggressiveness is at the basis of war whether hands and teeth are used, or clubs, spears and swords are used, or gun powder is used or moving mechanisms are used, or the more modern chemical and atomic weapons are used. As with means, there have also been changes with respect to ends. The objectives of war have also changed.
Tribal wars may have been fought for immediate and material ends. Even the first and second world wars were fought for territorial gain. Since the formation of United Nations Organization (1945) wars for territorial gain have become impossible. It is against the new international code which recognizes sovereignty of each nation.
Though Israel has conquered some Arab lands in the lightning war of 1968, the victor recognizes that he has to surrender the land. Though the causes of war may have changed from time to time the psychological factors of fear, suspicion, greed, lust for power, hate, revenge etc., and are basic to all wars, ancient as well as modern.
Apart from mobilizing the material resources and converting the machines, which produce goods for consumption in peace time, to produce goods for destruction, the basic aspect of war is the mobilization of human resources, particularly human aggressiveness and hate toward the enemy. To this end all the mass media are effectively used. They are used not only to inform and enthuse the members of one’s nation but also to inform and create panic in the members of the enemy nation.
There are many theories of war. Waller (1940) labels one of these as the psychological theory, according to which men fight because of the pugnacity and aggressiveness. Though such a view of war may be simplistic since neither the ordinary citizens nor even the militarily trained soldiers may come to grips with the enemy to give expression to pugnacity, or combat, it must be recognized that all nations are engaged in one or the other of the following activities, namely, preparing for a war, fighting a war or recovering from a war.
More than fifteen per cent of the total budget of a nation is spent in maintaining the army, navy and air force and in manufacturing the requirements of these military wings. Secondly, in the twentieth century a war involves the energies of the whole nation it is not something that merely concerns the military personnel.
Primarily, war depends on the building up of warlike attitude in all the citizens of a nation. As the UNESCO document puts it, “Wars start in the mind of man.” Various methods are used to indoctrinate the people and build up in them these attitudes. All the agencies controlling public opinion are used. Not only the various mass media are used but the school and the church are also used.
Prayers are offered in the temple today as in the ancient times invoking God to help the devotees to annihilate the enemy people and to destroy their property. All the various techniques of propaganda are used to build up the morale within the nation and to break down the morale of the enemy nation.
In all this work the frustrations of individuals may be a great source of strength. Individuals obtain release from their frustrations both to agitate and to engage in propaganda and also to train themselves in warfare. People readily lend themselves also because of the possibility of realization of their hopes during the war and after the war.
The frustrations arising out of unemployment, poverty and other economic factors could be utilized to energize them to protect the dignity of the nation by becoming warlike in their attitudes.
Every nation looks upon itself as preparing only to defend itself. But its neighbours look upon such preparation as a threat against their safety and so they start preparation. Thus, a circular process is released leading to ever greater expenditures on armaments. They set off processes of change in society which unite the people against the other nation.
There is a gradual growth of myths about the other people; stereotypes building up unfavourable attitudes against the other nation become current. “Incidents” become “atrocities.” There is a loss of objectivity in discussing the issues and incidents. Attention is rapidly deflected from internal affairs and directed to foreign affairs. Individuals identify themselves increasingly with the nation, and feel each “atrocity” committed the enemy by country as a personal affront.
As a result of all these processes, certain propositions are accepted as unquestioned truths. Each person accepts them because the others accept them. To question then becomes a sign of disloyalty to the nation. Thus, in the last analysis, wars result from these changes in public opinion; the spiral movement in the public opinion ultimately leads to war; it is the end result of a series of interactions, magnified by the mass media messages.
However, the issues over which the nations go to war continue to be issues even when the war is over. Wars do not settle problems; when diplomacy fails wars start. But when wars end diplomacy has again to start.
It is true that the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971 ended with the defeat of the Pakistani forces and the establishment of Bangladesh as an independent country. But the relations between India and Pakistan remain to be settled. So diplomacy started again and the Indo-Pakistan summit meeting took place in 1972 to settle the issues bilaterally.
Essay # 7. Problem of Social Change and Social Development:
(a) The preliterate tribal society in which people live in isolated groups and exist at the lowest level of living with rigid customs transmitted through oral heritage;
(b) The literate peasant society in which people live in villages practicing agriculture and handicrafts; as a result the people in these societies have a higher standard of living than those in the preliterate tribal societies but more than seventy five per cent will be living at subsistence level; a microscopic minority of less than five per cent become literate and have access to knowledge through reading;
(c) The educated industrial society in which there is universal literacy and in which more than half of the people have education of ten years or more; in which scientific knowledge of matter, life, man and society is deliberately promoted and in which the resources, natural and human are utilized through technology, education, and training so that most of the people, if not all, live in comfort in well-built houses and have access to knowledge and culture.
Right up to the nineteenth century all the societies in the world lived at the literate peasant level. Two revolutions took place in Western Europe in the end of eighteenth century which brought about a great transformation in society; these are the Industrial revolution in England and the French revolution.
Industrial revolution utilized machines to produce goods necessary for living comfortably; these machines were worked through inanimate energy like steam. Thus the industrial revolution made it possible for the people of the lower classes to get rid of poverty and live comfortably.
The French revolution dealt a strong blow at monarchical tyranny and the feudal organization of society, both of which made more than ninety per cent of the people to live in utter poverty, illiteracy, and ignorance for thousands of years; it liberated the common man so that he could raise his voice and hand against tyranny and social injustice. Throughout the nineteenth century and right up to the middle of twentieth century the achievements of man in Western Europe enabled him to conquer and colonize the whole of Asia, Africa and South America.
The liberated common man of Western Europe utilized his knowledge and technology to conquer the rest of the world. A new era in human history started with the independence of India in 1947. The colonies were liberated and new nation states came into being during fifties and sixties.
But political liberation means nothing to the eighty to ninety per cent of the people of these new nations who are continuing to live in utter poverty, illiteracy, and superstition. Political freedom has given the people the right to elect the leaders who form the government; but it cannot improve the standard of living of the people or enable them to fight and achieve social justice and equality.
The great task facing the new nations is to bring about industrial revolution and universal literacy so that the vast masses can work for the prosperity of the people as a whole and improve the standard of living, thinking, feeling, and acting.
This is the problem of social change and social development. Scientific knowledge is available; technology is available. But the people in these new nations have not been able to utilize knowledge and technology to bring about the revolution in levels of living which the people of the countries of Western Europe achieved in nineteenth century. The key to this problem is change in social norms and changes in attitude and behaviour. This is how the problem of social change becomes important in social psychology.
There is here a theoretical and a practical problem. What are the conditions in society which enable the people to change their norms and their attitudes? This is the theoretical problem. How is it possible to bring about a change in the social norms, the attitudes and the behaviour of the people? This is the practical problem.
Right from the early decades of nineteenth century Indian society has been confronted with the problem of social change. The chief factor which necessitated social change is the impact of the political and economic ideas and Institution of the British as well as the influence of Christian ideals. Both these are well illustrated in the reaction of Rammohan Roy (1820’s), who condemned some of the practices of Hindu society like sati, caste system, extreme ritualism, the prevalence of superstition etc.
He wanted that the evil social practices must be put an end to by legislation and governmental intervention. Another significant change he desired and worked for is the change from religious education to secular education in physical and biological sciences. The third change which he desired and actually introduced is education through the medium of English rather than through Sanskrit and Persian.
In the religious sphere, he sought to introduce monotheism and the Upanishadic forms. This is why he is looked upon as the father of Indian renaissance. It is a remarkable fact of Indian social history that he succeeded in introducing all these changes in spite of the tremendous resistance of the orthodox few who wanted the unhindered continuity of customs and the illiterate many who were apathetic to these problems of religion, education etc. But it is also a fact of history that the ideals he preached and the practices he introduced remained influential only in a small minority.
It has been seen that social behaviour depends upon the group norms. It has also been seen that the social norms are enforced by the members of the group. This is why there is the phenomenon of social conformity.
Secondly, it has been seen that these social norms are implanted in early childhood by the parents through child-rearing practices. Thus, the norms internalized during childhood are enforced in adulthood both by internal factors (super-ego and conscience) and by external factors (social conformity requirements).
It is obvious that social change involves a change in social norms. This means that the members of the group are required to abandon the old norms and accept the new norms or modify the old norms so that they are in line with the new norms.
In other words, there is a conflict in the mind of each member of the group. An individual has been brought up with one set of norms and now he is required to behave according to another social norm. For example, the children in the higher caste and upper class homes in the villages are brought up to look upon the touch of a scavenger or a cobbler as polluting.
The untouchability offences Act (1956) require him not to practice untouchability. This is the dilemma; he is actually punished by his conscience and by the members of the group if he gives up the practice of untouchability.
If he practices it, he is punished by the law. This situation arises because there are two sets of contradictory social norms; there is one set of social norms at home and in the village; there is another set in the country at the national level.
The question arises as to how social norms at the national level have changed though the social norms at the village level continue to be traditional and customary. Radical social norms at the national level came into being because of the national struggle for independence the leadership of charismatic leaders like Gahdhi and Nehru, and the drawing up of the Indian Constitution in 1950 by the Constituent Assembly which was elected soon after independence.
All the social, political and economic ideals cherished by the great Indian leaders from Rammohan Roy to Gandhi and Nehru are enshrined in the constitution. Later, laws were passed to implement the ideals expressed in the constitution.
Thus, the ideas of social equality and social justice have been accepted in the constitution and in legislation though they are not accepted as social norms at home, in the village, in the caste and other such groups, Because they are not accepted in the home and in the village there is no change in child-rearing practices; so the old social norms are being perpetuated and there are no changes at the behavioural level.