1st Edition

Modernity in India Issues, Perspectives and Challenges

By Renu Vinod Copyright 2024
    250 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge India

    250 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge India

    This book presents a sociological interpretation of the emergence of modernity in India via the colonial encounter, and its ramifications for Indian society, economy, and polity. It outlines the main features of modernity and the Western context in which it was defined, both in classical and later sociological works, as well as the Western roots of India’s development project after independence. The Eurocentric origins of modernity in India are summarised, along with the challenges it has posed in the political realm in the building of a pan-Indian or national consciousness, and in the emergence of dominant caste politics and regional and regionalistic parties to counter what was perceived to be an elite and marginalising project to modernise the Indian nation. It describes the trajectory that the Indian economy has undertaken from state-supported capitalism at the time of independence to market-centric neoliberalism by the 1990s, and the effects of this trajectory on both rural and urban India. The dominating role of both the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ middle classes as formidable cultural forces and the heterogeneous character of the latter, as a result of the upward mobility that has been underway since independence, are also summarised, as are the debates around the ever-imminent breakup of the Indian family and its implications for women and the elderly. It ends by outlining the history and persistence of various economic and cultural forms of social exclusion in contemporary India. This book would be useful for students, researchers, and teachers of sociology, history, political science, and interdisciplinary courses in the social sciences, such as modern Indian studies.

    List of figures vii

    List of boxes viii

    Preface ix

    1 Understanding modernity: An outline of the main sociological perspectives 1

    2 The colonial encounter in India: Towards a complex modernity 24

    3 Conceptualizing development: The early modernisation model 47

    4 India after independence: Community, identity, and nation 70

    5 From village factions to regional parties: The democratising of caste in the field of electoral politics 93

    6 Village India: From colonial idea to capitalist takeover 116

    7 Public sector, LPG, and workers’ struggles: An outline of the impact of state-driven capitalism on the working class 141

    8 The middle class in India: Its colonial, post-independent, and contemporary forms 164

    9 The family and the household: Changing social dynamics 185

    10 The economic and cultural dimensions of social exclusion in India: Definitions, history, and contemporary practices 209

    Index 232


    Renu Vinod teaches sociology at the Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts, Pune, prior to which she taught sociology at Savitribai Phule Pune University. She has worked in the development sector in Delhi in organisations such as the UNDP, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, and the Centre for Civil Society. Dr. Vinod obtained her PhD from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. She received the Erasmus Mundus’s Experts4Asia Consortium Grant for post-doctoral research at Uppsala University in 2016.