Define Religion : Positive And Negative Aspects For Society

Sociologist Robert Bellah used the term 'Civil Religion' to refer to a set of symbols, beliefs, values and practices about ultimate meaning of life in a particular society. "Religion can be viewed as a system of sacred things and their interrelationship. Religion is a social phenomenon, having to do with these aspects of human existence that are socially defined as sacred by people. Religion is a social product, and people collectively produce religion". 

Positive Aspects of Religion

Religion is a source of comfort and consolation in crisis. Religion helps accept the inevitable and unchanging aspects of life, catastrophes etc. Religion provides a world view of cosmology which helps explain reality and provides a world view that acts as a guide in uncertain world. Religion provides guidelines on moral and ethical issues and helps in maintenance of societies. Religion provides a sense of identity. In a society marked by rapid changes, identification with a religious community gives answers to many questions.

Negative Aspects of Religion

Religion diverts the fact that society is constructed by people and therefore can be changed by them. Religion comes in the way of change. For example, a Hindu cannot marry a Christian. Religion provides an overarching explanation of life and reality which is viewed as sacred and inviolable. This view does not allow for searching further knowledge.

Marriage : Rules And Types

Marriage is closely related to the institution of family. The coming together of two individuals in the socially approved sense is called marriage. Rules, perceptions and rituals of marriage differ with society. Homosexual marriages are also increasing nowadays. This questions the very existence of marriage as an institution.

Rules Governing Marriage

a) Incest Taboo

Incest taboo prevents marriage between close family members. It is a criminal offense in most societies. The exact definition of a 'family member' differs with society. For example Dravidians can marry mother's brothers and father's sisters children which is considered as incest in North.

b) Exogamy

One can marry only outside of his group. What is a group, depends on the society. You may marry outside your group but within your racial or ethnic group. Exogamy originated as communities and groups wanted to expand their social network through alliance.

c) Endogamy

This is marriage within one's group. One marries within one's own caste or group.

Types of Marriage

1. Polygamy : There will be more than one spouse. There are two types of polygamy

a) Polyandry : A women has several husbands. In Tibet, this is often seen in societies where men travel for a long time.

b) Polygamy : Man has several wives. More number of wives mean more wealth and prestige for a man.

2. Monogamy

This is the most common type of marriage. The relation will be between heterosexual partners. Sexual relationship is between married partners only. This is the most common type in the West. 

Increase in the number of divorces led to 'serial monogamy'. This is marriage in series. Each marriage is ended before the next one starts.

Family Types And Functions

Family is one of the most basic institution of a society. Family is defined as a social group related by ancestry, marriage or adoption who live together and form an economic unit and cooperatively grow their young.

Types Of Family

There are two types of family, nuclear and extended family. Extended family is made up of two generations, grandparents, their children, grand children, uncles and aunts. Nuclear family is based on marriage. A couple gets married, moves to another house and raise their children. That family consists of husband, wife and their children.

Functions Of The Family

a) Socialization

Family is the important institution where children learns the ways of their respective culture. This is called socialization. Even though children learn a lot from school and outside world, the family still has been recognized as the primary agent of socialization.

b) Reproductive and Sexual Functions

Family is the legitimate institution for having children. It allows the continuation of generations by recognizing socially and legally, the offspring born to a married couple. Children born outside of marriage are often heaped with ridicule and displeasure. Marriage and family, together regulate sexual activity. All societies have 'Incest Taboo', which prevents marriage between a certain kind. For eg: Dravidians can marry mother's brothers and father's sister's children which is considered as incest in North. The primary significance of incest taboo is to encourage alliance outside the family and to regulate sexuality.

c) Economic Functions

Families of the past were more economically independent. The extended family works like a corporation. Nowadays, other institutions perform the economic function but family still operates as an economic unit. Husband and wife share their resources and take up financial burdens together.

d) Identity and Social Status

A person acquires a sense of identity directly from the family. The status of an individual is transferred from the family to the individual. 

e) Emotional Security

This is the most important function of a family. Family provides emotional security and support to its members. Nowadays, most of the above described functions are going outside the institution of family, but not emotional security, especially in the nuclear families of today's context.

Theories Of Social Stratification

In a society, different occupations carry different levels of prestige and different economic rewards. This system of inequality is called social stratification. Sociologists belonging to the functionalist school argue that certain jobs require more skills and specialized training and are more difficult to learn than others. Such jobs are rewarded as they are difficult, require long periods of training etc. So rewards have to be given to encourage them.

The functionalist school to which Davis and Moore belong, argues that economic stratification exists because it meets societies' needs for productivity by motivating people. Some jobs are more important than others. They need greater responsibility, greater skills, longer work hours etc. So they are rewarded better.

Conflict theorists like Tumin argue that inequality exists because the wealthy and powerful make the social system work in such a way that it protects their interests. They say, some of the better paying jobs are not necessarily crucial to the society. The society needs a farmer and a garbage collector much more than a lawyer. 

Wealth, which is inherited is distributed unequally than income. It is easier for a person born in a wealthy family to train as a doctor than a person from a low income family. So it is not motivation alone that drives people to choose seemingly difficult professions which enjoy high pay and prestige. The stratification system of most societies endure a pattern for a long time.

Social Structure

In the caste system of India, Brahmins have to rule and Shudras toil over land. With change in time, Brahmins can become doctors or Shudra can become a scientist. This way, the social structure can change over time. Social structure is a patterned set of rules. These rules and frameworks to be considered as a social structure must continue and endure over a time. Since social structure is a set of rules made by human beings, they are liable to change in the long run.Social structures reflect some dimensions of interaction such as power, economic resources, prestige values etc.

Regional Imbalances

Regional imbalance is a challenge to India in the form of economic disparities between different regions. Colonialism created its economic infrastructure according to its needs, as a result some regions remained completely backward. Only regions around Bombay, Calcutta and Madras got industrially developed. After independence, attempts were made to tackle this issue by allocation of funds and resources to backward states by finance commission. 

The low economic growth of India was the major reason for regional imbalances. Another reason was the backwardness of socio-economic and political organizations. Bihar and UP did not have land reforms properly implemented, so both remained as backward states. Third reason was that the backward states had a lower level of social expenditure on education, public health and sanitation.

Low level of expenditure led to low level of production. Political and administrative failure was another reason. Sons of soil movement and regional disparities also aggravated the issue.

Legacy Of Nationalist Movement In India

In the post independence India, the nationalist movement gave us a rich legacy to draw upon for the purposes of achieving social and economic transformation. The nationalist movement popularized democratic ideas and institutions in India. The nationalist movement emphasized on civil liberties. These civil liberties were not just for Congress but also for opposing parties as well. For example, Congressmen defended communists in different trials.

In the post independence India, this struggle for civil liberties had a major impact on the way our constitution was being shaped up. The section on fundamental rights, freedom of speech, movement and association in our constitution etc were the legacy of our freedom struggle. There were discontinuities as well, such as the congress using power to dethrone the communist government in Kerala.

The ideals of nationalist movement got a major setback with the imposition of emergency in 1975. Major civil and political freedoms were taken away from the people. It was due to the resilience and democratic process undergone by the people of India, they voted a new government to power. The national movement's legacy limitations were pointed out by radical and communist groups. They emphasized that congress did not pursue the path of radical, social and economic transformation in the period of nationalist struggle in the post-independence era.

Role Of Swadeshi In Indian National Movement

Swadeshi movement questioned the approach of  moderates by 'petitioning and praying' to the colonial government. It set the goal of self government for Indians. It adopted the method of boycott of foreign goods, passive resistance, disobedience of colonial authority and mobilization of the masses. The modest demands of the nationalists were disregarded by the British government. Racial arrogance towards Indians increased. 

Swadeshi movement was officially declared on 7th August 1905 as a protest against the partition of Bengal. People were advised to boycott British goods like Manchester cloth and Liverpool salt. Strikes were observed in Calcutta. Huge meetings attended by thousands were held. Slogans of Swadeshi and Swaraj were taken up by the young, elderly and women. Vande Mataram became a popular song.

The British government tried to repress the movement by prohibiting meeting, political activities, banning newspapers and leaders were deported. Due to government's actions, revolutionary terrorism emerged. Anushilan and Jugantar were two important revolutionary groups of the time.

Role Of Gandhi In National Movement

Gandhi arrived in India on 9th January 1915. Gandhi's political involvement started when he took up the issue of Champaran Indigo farmers, the Ahmedabad textile workers and Kheda peasants. These struggles witnessed his specific method of agitation known as Satyagraha. In Champaran, North Bihar, Indigo planters were forcing the peasants to grow indigo which was not profitable. Gandhi was invited by the peasants and the struggle was successful. In Kheda district of Gujarat, crops were damaged due to rain and farmers wanted exemption from paying revenue for that year. But the British government refused. Gandhi started satyagraha and advised farmers not to pay revenue. The struggle was a partial success. In Ahmedabad, Gandhi led the struggle of workers for raising their wage. They got 35% hike in wages. All these struggles helped Gandhi to familiarize with the political situation in India.

Non-cooperation And Khilafat Movements

During the first world war Gandhi actively participated in satyagraha against Rowlatt Act. He asked people to disobey it and court arrest. Gandhi also gave ample support to Khilafat movement. He found it as an opportunity to unite Hindus and Muslims against British rule. Gandhi simultaneously launched non-cooperation movement. The Indians were asked to boycott foreign goods and jobs in government. It became a huge movement, even the peasants and the poor became familiar with nationalism. Women also joined the movement. But Chauri-Chaura incident was condemned by Gandhi and he withdrew the movement.The move which shocked congress people.

Civil Disobedience Movement

A new phase of national movement was launched by Gandhi on March 12, 1930 which was the civil disobedience movement which was started with the historic Dandi March. He walked from Sabarmati Ashram to Dandi and made salt in violation of the law. There were massive protests against Gandhi's arrest. Shops selling foreign goods were picketed. Due to protests, British government invited Gandhi for Round Table Conference to talk about the issues. Gandhi participated in the conference despite the opposition of congress leaders. Gandhi-Irwin Pact was formed, the protest was withdrawn. However British did not agree Gandhi's demands.

Quit India Movement

Quit India movement was launched on 8th August 1942 in protest to India's participation in World War without the consent of Indians. Gandhi extorted the people to 'DO or Die'.

Deindustrialization In Colonial Context

Nationalists argued that the British rule led to deindustrialization of India. Formerly, India was a cotton exporter, the British rule forced India to import cotton products which destroyed the jobs of artisans, craftsmen and whatever manufacturing activities existed.

Amiy Bagchi observed, India was the consumer of 40% of British cotton exports for more than 75 years up to 1913. Industrialization in England was accompanied by decline of Indian cotton manufacturers. This led to decline of people dependent on indigenous industries and consequent over burdening of agriculture. 

The decline of Dhaka, Surat, Murshidabad and many other cities became testimony to the deindustrialization. Dhaka which was called the Manchester of India, became a poor and small city.

Huawei E8231 Wifi USB Modem User Review

A month ago, I bought Huawei E8231 Wifi USB Modem as a backup for my bsnl broadband connection. I bought it for Rs.1799 from SnapDeal which offered the lowest price at that time. It has to be the best decision I made. Initially, I had some doubts about Huawei as I previously owned a USB modem which didn't work well and eventually I sold it. 

I wasn't that tempted to buy this modem. In fact I was forced to buy Huawei Wifi modem as it was the only reliable wifi usb modem available in Indian market. Other options were to buy wingle from Idea or Tata Docomo, which restricts my freedom to switch operators. Also Idea wifi modem costs Rs.2500 which is Rs.700 more than Huawei E8231 Wifi USB Modem. So I decided to buy E8231.

Huawei E8231 Wifi USB Modem Features
Huawei E8231 Wifi USB Modem User Review
  • Download speed up to 21.6 Mbps on 3G network ( The maximum I got on Idea Kerala 3G  network is 9 Mbps. It all depends on the network operator not the modem. )
  • You can connect up to 10 devices ( I keep my Nexus 5 connected all the time and didn't get the opportunity to connect more than 3 devices )
  • Plug and play ( You can plug it into your laptop or mobile charger if it comes with separate charging head and the USB cable )
  • Freedom to choose any operator ( This is the main thing for me )

Plug and play, that's it you are done.Simply insert the sim card (it doesn't come with a memory card slot) and wait for 20 seconds and the device will get connected to 3G/2G network depending on the network availability. You don't need to download any settings or stuffs. Everything gets done automatically. E8231 has two LED lights. One is for Wi-fi connectivity status and the other for network. If the network connectivity LED is green, then it is connected to 2G network. If the LED is blue, it is a 3G network and if it is cyan then it is a 3G+ network. I normally get connected to 3G+ network and sometimes 3G.

The internet speeds are awesome. The best speeds I have ever experienced on any modem (It has a lot to do with the 3G+ network of Idea Kerala). The best thing about E8231 is that, you can use it anywhere. You can use it on your computer or just plug it into a USB power source. My Nexus 5 charger comes with separate charging head and USB cable, so I didn't need to buy a separate USB power source. I think you can get China made USB power source from local mobile shops for around Rs.80.


You can't expect a lot of coverage from Huawei E8231 Wifi USB Modem. It is good for two adjacent rooms and a room right below if the modem is placed on the first floor. I already have a netgear wifi range extender with me, so I had no trouble extending the range to cover my whole house. Range extenders are not an ideal solution as they are costly. You just need to live with the limited coverage of E8231. Honestly, you can't expect more from a USB modem.

Security Set Up

To set up password for your wi-fi network, you can use the Huawei web interface which opens in your browser right after the modem is connected to network. Or you can download the Huawei Mobile Wifi android app to set it up from your mobile. Even better thing is that you can track the usage, run USSD, SMS etc using both web and mobile app. You can even see the list of connected devices over wifi.


All in all Huawei E8231 is an excellent product to consider. It is really worth the money.

Drain Of Wealth Theory

Drain Of Wealth Theory is the process by which a significant part of India's national wealth was being exported to England for which India got no economic returns. India was made to pay an indirect tribute to English nation. The drain of India's wealth to England in the form of salaries to British officers posted in India, home-charges and profits made on the British capital invested in India, benefited England and diminished the sources of investment in India.

Safari TV Now Available On DTH Services

Safari TV is a great channel for travel enthusiasts. It has great informative programmes as well. Earlier Safari TV was available only via analog cable network. Now it is available on Kerala Vision Set Top Box (channel no.14). It is also available on DTH services. Sun Direct (channel no.221) and Videocon D2H (channel no. 646) also broadcasts Safari TV. There are plans to include the channel in other popular DTH services as well.

Commercialization Of Indian Agriculture Under Colonial Rule

Commercialization of Indian agriculture under colonial rule started in 1860's. In simple words, due to commercialization, the agricultural products were oriented towards a market. It became a marketable commodity. The reasons for commercialization were
  • Rapid development of railways from 288 miles in 1857 to 30,576 miles in 1908
  • The opening on Suez Canal which cut short the distance between India and UK by 3000 miles
  • Inventions like steam ships
  • Due to civil war in America, British started buying cotton from India
As a result of commercialization, export from India to England increased by 500%. But none of these led to the development of Indian agriculture. The reasons were
  • Backward agricultural organization in India
  • Lack of resources for technological development
  • Inability of the sector to take full advantage of the opportunity
  • Absence of increase in land productivity
  • Colonialism restricted productive growth
Increasing demand for cash crops led to famine as farmers grew cash crops like cotton instead of food crops. Differentiation of farmers as those prospered ones who grew cash crops and others who suffered loses came into being. One big advantage of commercialization of agriculture was that the villages got linked to the world market.

Threats And Obstacles To Tourism

In order to understand the threats and obstacles to tourism, we need to go to deeper levels of operation than just the surface. Some of the threats and obstacles are

1. Civil Unrest, Crime And Arm Twisting

Civil unrest is a major threat to tourism. Strikes in airlines or hotels, agitations or civil disturbances, communal riots and terrorist activity affect tourist movement. Decline of tourists to Kashmir valley is an example. These kinds of activities affect the local population more than the tour operators. It leads to extreme hardships. Tour operators will always find another route or location.Crimes, molestation is another threat to tourism. In such cases, Western countries use arm twisting to prevent their citizens from traveling to third world countries.

2. Redtapism And Bureaucracy

Redtapism delays tourism projects. Another issue is the attitude of bureaucrats or politicians. Competent officials who have sound knowledge of tourism industry and impacts should be appointed.

3. Trained Manpower And Awareness

Lack of trained manpower in informal and subsidiary services is a threat. Lack of awareness is also an issue. Awareness includes a knowledge about the impact of tourism on everyday lives of local population.

4. Ignoring Domestic Tourists

Emphasis has always been on foreign exchange earning, but we need to give sufficient attention to domestic tourism as well.

Political Implications Of Tourism

Politicians view tourism as a way of gaining powerful friends including western governments and investors. A healthy balance of payments can be achieved by prominently displaying gross earnings from tourism, which in term can be used to obtain aid and investments. 

Some of the aspects of tourism that have different political implications are given below

1. The relationship of master-slave between tourists and locals.

2. Priority given to external assistance and imports than developing local resources.

3. Priority for tourism decreases the budget allocations for other social sectors such as education, health, sanitation and other basic necessities.

4. Tourism is a highly volatile industry, over dependence on it can be dangerous for a country's future development.

5. Lack of protection for workers in the tourism industry.

Tourism plans and projects must be started after due consultation with the local population, otherwise it may lead to violence. As any project will have a direct repercussion on the local people's economy, ecology, culture and everyday life, they have the right to have their opinion to be heard and taken into consideration.

Carrying Capacity In Tourism

Unplanned and unregulated management of tourism leads to structural or visible modifications of the natural and social environment that are often destructive. Carrying capacity is a notion which recognizes both natural and human attractions have upper limits in their capacities to absorb visitors, a capacity above which a deterioration of the resource itself takes place. 

Carrying capacity has been defined by O'Grady and Alison as a level of tourist development or recreational activity in which the environment is degraded, facilities are saturated or people's enjoyment diminished. Carrying capacity is a function of a number of tourism factors as well as of a variety of social, economic and environmental features of the destination area. 

Environmental features include
  • Climate, topography, flora and fauna
  • Level of economic development of the area
  • Sophistication of its social and political organization
  • Scale of tourist infrastructural development
Environmental impact assessment should be made before developing any new tourism project. Proper legislation and policies must also be made.

Socio Cultural Impacts Of Tourism

The effect that the tourists and the industry have on the society and culture of local communities is called socio cultural impact. Tourism has severely affected indigenous customs and ways of life. Tourists often travel in an 'environment bubble'. Tourist encounter results in promoting stereotypes with both hosts and tourists. With the increased number of tourist demand for participation in traditional events as a right, staged cultural shows increase, which has no cultural meaning. This is known as 'staged authenticity'.

A mindset of the locals to emulate tourists in T-shirts, jeans and an earphone generates tension and restlessness and increases the propensity to consume for the locals. This is known as demonstration effect of tourism. The inability of the local community to keep up with the standards of the tourists lead to social tensions like increased begging, prostitution, cheating, mugging of tourists and drug peddling. At times certain preconceived images are linked with the tourists that they take drugs, indulge in gambling, prostitution etc.
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