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If Marxists and Islamists have been "hostile" to sociology, Hindu fundamentalists use it to ensure hold on power

By Bhaskar Sur*
Though Karl Marx was one of the founders of modern sociology, Marxists in general have been hostile to it. For ruling Marxists it was a bourgeois subject, decadent and subversive. It is only natural that a ruling elite which would like to perpetuate its rule to eternity in the name of 'historical necessity', find the critical method of sociology, casting doubts on such claims rather disturbing.
Sociology made a promising beginning in the imperial Russia. The Russian sociological society was founded in 1916 with Pitrim Sorokin as its secretary. The study of sociology was banned in 1922, under the eyes of the Lenin and it remained in obscurity until Stalin died and the suffocating reign of terror came to an end.
Sorokin emigated to United states where he found a more congenial, if not ideal, atmosphere to carry on his work. Of all East European countries Poland had a continuous and rich tradition of sociology. Under the communist rule it came under scanner.
Stanislav Ossoswski, one of the greatest sociologists, was the undisputed leader of the Polish school.In 1952, at the height of Stalinism his chair of sociology at the University of Warsaw was suddenly abolished and he was not reinstated until 1956. Ossoswski's "Class Structure in Social Consciousness" is a sociological classic. He made remark worth recalling: "The dominance of a single party in a socialist regime might be just as vicious( if not more) than the dominance of a single class in a capitalist dispensation".
Later, Zygmunt Bauman, another Polish sociologist of Jewish origin lost his university position and had to emigrate to Britain to continue the sociological pursuit..Along with Foucault and Pierre Bordeaux, Bauman is considered to be one of most original sociologists of late twentieth century.
In China sociology faced suppression after the communists came to power in 1949. In 30s and 40s of the last century, Chinese scholars developed a centre of sociological research at Yenching-Yunan station.They made investigation on a wide variety of subjects relating to Chinese society and used to bring out a quality bi-lingual research journal.
Most eminent of such researchers was Fei Xiaotung, a pioneer in rural studies. He had to disown his his earlier work on the Chinese village. During the Cultural Revolution, sociologists came under renewed repression.
In Islamic countries sociology suffers from a continuous censorship even far more repressive than under the communist regimes. They must not go beyond the "Islamic ethic" and must not do anything to 'dishonour' the hallowed tenets of Islam.
Under Hindu fundamentalists, Indian sociology is perhaps to going to suffer the same fate. Ideologial fanaticism is so often a guise of the traditional or the new power elite to control all sociological discourse to ensure their hold on power.
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*From Bhaskar Sur's Facebook timeline 

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