Modern Social and Cultural Evolution
This section of the atlas portrays the principal elements in the bewildering ethnic
diversity of modern South Asia. Communal, linguistic, and caste or tribal affilia-
tions provide the subject matter for most of the maps. As used here, the term "com-
munity" relates not only to religiously defined social groups (Hindu, Muslim, etc.)
but also to several other social groups collectively known as "scheduled" (or "de-
pressed") castes or tribes, "Eurasians," and "Europeans." Among the broad
religious groups, attention is given also to specific sects and denominations; among
linguistic groups, regional dialects are indicated; for certain caste groups major
subcastes or clans are also mapped.
The distributions mapped in this section relate mainly to the census years 1931
and 1961, which are chosen also as the benchmark years for most of the maps
that follow in section XI, "Demographic and Economic Evolution." The 1931
Census of India was the most detailed and most richly documented enumeration
of the pre-independence period and provides an excellent basis for comparison
with post-independence patterns. Within the post-independence period 1961 is
the most recent year, as of this writing, for which nearly universal coverage is avail-
able for most of the variables that concern us. The principal lacunae for the en-
tire period since independence are with respect to data for specific castes other
than those assigned to the "scheduled" category.
Although we might have provided in addition to the maps comprising this sec-
tion a wealth of additional maps for censuses other than those of 1931 and 1961,
dating as far back as 1872 in the case of religion, little practical benefit would
have been derived from such a undertaking, since the rates of change from decade
to decade have generally been relatively slow. The obvious exceptions relate, of
course, to those major population changes consequent on the 1947 partition of
the subcontinent between India and Pakistan. (Other exceptions are provided in
the case of religious groups that have been growing at an unusually rapid rate,
specifically the Sikh and Christian communities, for which the 1901 distribution
patterns have also been mapped.) Given the fact that the most striking short-term
changes in ethnic distributions occurred between the censuses of 1941 and 1951,
one may resonably wonder why there are no maps in this section for the former
year and only two, relating to displaced persons, for the latter. It is necessary,
therefore, to note that because the British were then preoccupied with World War
II the published results of the 1941 census were exceedingly meager, coverage of
a number of topics of concern to us being totally lacking. Further, in two areas
of crucial importance, Bengal and Punjab, a significant degree of falsification of
1941 census returns seems to have taken place because of communally motivated
padding of census rolls, further vitiating the overall value of the enumeration.
While a stronger case can be made for mapping the census data of 1951, economy
of effort argued against doing so. In 1951 the political map of India and Pakistan
was still in a state of flux, and it was not until the Indian States' Reorganization
in 1956 that any close approximation of the present major internal administrative
jurisdictions was established. As for mapping at the district level, we may note
that the changes from 1951 to 1961 are not, by and large, great enough to war-
rant the portrayal of both patterns.
For many topics data are provided by both major and minor administrative
subdivisions. Major subdivisions in India before independence comprised prov-
inces under direct British rule, major states (e.g., Hyderabad or Mysore), or states
agencies (e.g., Central India Agency). After independence, major subdivisions in
India were states and union territories, whereas in Pakistan they were provinces.
It will be noted that coverage does not extend to Burma in this period. Data for
the North-East Frontier Agency of India and the North-West Frontier Agency of
Pakistan, as well as for a scattering of other tribal regions, are often not available,
those regions having been enumerated incompletely or not at all at specific cen-
suses. Both pre- and post-independence Ceylon and Sikkim are treated as single
major administrative units, as are Nepal and the Maldive Islands in the latter
period (relevant pre-independence data for the these areas are not available). Census
data for Afghanistan and Bhutan are totally absent, but for certain maps estimates
have been made for those areas to complete the territorial coverage.
Coverage by minor administrative divisions generally implies mapping at the
"district" level. For the pre-independence period, however, data for the princely
states too small to be divided into districts are normally provided for the states as
wholes or, in certain cases, for the smaller states' agencies as wholes or, where
states are particularly small, for clusters of contiguous states. (Since there were
more than six hundred princely states in the Indian Empire, it is obvious that at
the scale of generalization employed in this atlas a certain amount of aggregation
was unavoidable; in some instances data for isolated petty states were aggregated
with those of adjoining districts of British India.) For Ceylon at all periods prov-
inces are the units taken as minor administrative divisions, even when more de-
tailed district level data are also available;1 data for Nepal, where available, are
provided by "census regions."
Rounding out the primarily ethnic coverage of section X are maps of a variety
of related matters: holy places, currency of major scripts, literacy, institutions of
higher education and growth in their enrollment, and distribution and growth of
newspapers and the cinema industry. Synthesizing much of the data of the section
as a whole is a final map of the culture regions of South Asia.
The censuses of the various countries of South Asia, commencing with the In-
dian Census of 1872, are by far the most important data sources for section X.
Specific censuses utilized for each map plate are indicated in the list of sources
following the relevant text. For an explanation of the manner of citation, see the
note under "Censuses" in the "Government Documents" section of the main
Dupree, Louis. Afghanistan. Princeton, N.J., 1973. (Cited for part 2, "The Peo-
ple," pp. 55–251.)
Fürer-Haimendorf, Elizabeth von. An anthropological bibliography of South Asia.
3 vols. Paris, 1958–70.
Hodson, Thomas C. India, census ethnography, 1901–1931. Delhi, 1937.
Maloney, Clarence. Peoples of South Asia. New York, 1974.
Mandelbaum, David G. Society in India. 2 vols. Berkeley, Calif., 1970.
Risley, Herbert Hope. The people of India. 2d ed. Calcutta, 1915.
Singer, Milton B., ed. Traditional India: Structure and change. Philadelphia, 1959.
Singer, Milton B., and Cohn, Bernard S., eds. Structure and change in Indian so-
ciety. Chicago, 1968.
1 Ceylon data for 1931 in this section are normally estimates obtained by interpolation,
assuming constant rates of change, between the census years 1921 and 1946. Ceylon data for
1961 are similarly obtained by interpolation between the census years 1953 and 1963.