ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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M N Srinivas: (November 16, 1916 - November 30, 1999)

M N Srinivas maintained an unshakable belief in the unique significance of sociology for understanding the world in which we live. Anthropology provided a method, the method of intensive fieldwork, but the important thing was to understand events and activities in the broader social perspective of structure and change. Srinivas was deeply interested in change, although he believed, quite rightly, that the sociologist would not be able to make much of change if he let go of the idea of social structure.

The passing of M N Srinivas marks the end of an era in the life of the social sciences in India. He dominated sociology in the country more than any other single person among his contemporaries or his predecessors, and it is difficult to think of anyone who can fill the place vacated by him. His influence extended beyond the boundaries of his discipline, and the impact of his work was felt by historians, political scientists, economists and others. He lived to be 83, but remained active, alert and creative till the end. His last visit to the Delhi School of Economics, where he delivered the Golden Jubilee Lecture on September 20, 1999, was a memorable occasion both for those who heard him for the first time and for those who had heard him many times before.

Srinivas’s active career as a sociologist covers a very long span of time. When India became independent more than 50 years ago, he was a professional sociologist who had already secured a doctorate from Bombay University and was about to secure a second one from Oxford. In India he had been a student first at Mysore and then at Bombay. After a period in Oxford between 1945 and 1951, he returned to India where he built successful departments of sociology in the Universities of Baroda and Delhi before leaving for Bangalore where he spent the last 27 years of his life.

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