H C SR1VASTAVA
Concept of Tradition in Indian Sociological Thought
INDIAN sociologists often venture to acquire 'deeper knowledge' about social phenomena in this country in their fight against superficial empiricism. For 'deeper9 and 'inner-structuraP understanding some of them have posed tradition as a supramembership reality, timeless, translogical, metasocial and a system of unbreakable core-values. With arguments, not always very serious, they have pleaded to establish the existence of Indian tradition in time dimension as somewhat "a distinct social reality sui generis." They find a quality of super-elasticity or adaptability in Indian culture which makes it unbreakable against the process of change in history. Such a residual concept of tradition has a serious sociological implication for the perspective of social stability and change in India. The purpose of this study is two-fold; first, to present in brief the conceptual thinking of those sociologists for whom the tradition is supposed to be 'visible'; secondly, to find a few implications in the form of constant tradition and variable tradition.
According to D P Mukherjee, for Indian sociologists, there is no getting away from tradition. This is so, especially because their role is to study the principles that govern social life in India, common living, common sharing of social heritage and the "continuity of social structure" to guide the future course of the country whose culture is 'eternal.'1