Social Problems and Social Change in India

Societies often face problems because of social and cultural changes.

So­cial change is change in the patterned roles, or a change in the network of social relations, or a change in the structures and organization of a so­ciety.

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Social change is never complete or total; it is always partial. It can be minor or fundamental. Further, the change can be spontaneous or planned. Planned change is to achieve some set collective ideals. After independence, India also had set some collective goals to achieve.

Some of the important changes that we find in our society in the last four decades are: change from tradition to modernity in certain values and institutions, from ascribed status to achieved status, from predomi­nance of primary groups to predominance of secondary groups, from informal means of control to formal means of control, from collectivity to individualism, from sacred values to secular values, from folklore to science and rationalism, from homogeneity to heterogeneity, and in­creasing processes of industrialization and urbanization, increasing awareness of rights among various sections of society due to the spread of education, weakening of the caste system, weakening of traditional sources of security, an increase in the aspirations of minority groups, oc­cupational mobility, enactment of several social laws, and de-linking religion from politics.

Thus, though we have achieved many of the set collective goals, many contradictions have also set into our system. For example, aspira­tions of the people have become high but the legitimate means for achieving these aspirations are not either available or accessible. We preach nationalism but practice casteism, linguism, and parochialism. Many laws have been enacted but either these laws are full of loopholes or they are not properly implemented.

We talk of egalitarianism but we enforce discrimination. We aspire for ideational culture but what is emerging is the sensate culture. All these contradictions have increased discontentment and frustrations among people which in turn have re­sulted in many social problems. Youth unrest, tribal unrest, peasant unrest, industrial unrest, student unrest, minority unrest, violence against women, and so forth, have all led to agitations, riots, insurgency and ter­rorism.

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