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Andre Béteille is one of India's leading sociologists and writers. He is particularly well known for his studies of the caste system in South India. He was a Professor of Sociology at the Delhi School of Economics at the University of Delhi where he is Professor Emeritus of Sociology since 2003.

He received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in anthropology from the University of Calcutta. Thereafter he received his doctorate from the University of Delhi. After a brief stint at the Indian Statistical Institute as a research fellow, he joined the faculty of sociology at the DSE.

In his long and distinguished career, he has in the past taught at Oxford University, Cambridge University, the University of Chicago, and the London School of Economics. He is currently Chairman of the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta and of the Indian Council of Social Science Research.

In the words of historian Ramachandra Guha,

Béteille has written insightfully about all the major questions of the day: India's encounters with the West, the contest between religion and secularism, the relationship between caste and class, the links between poverty and inequality, the nurturing of public institutions, the role and responsibilities of the intellectual.

In 2005, Professor Béteille received the Padma Bhushan as a mark of recognition for his work in the field of Sociology. The same year he was appointed a member of the Prime Minister's National Knowledge Commission. In 2006, following a proposal for increasing caste-based reservations, Andre Beteille quit the Commission in protest. In 2006, he was made National Professor.

Béteille was born in Chandannagore - the youngest of three brothers and a sister. His father was mayor of the Chandannagore Municipality. He was educated in Calcutta - where the family shifted after independence. He graduated from St. Xavier's College, Calcutta and joined Delhi School of Economics for further studies.

Contents

Bibliography

  • Sociology: Essays on Approach and Method, Oxford University Press, 2002.
  • Antinomies of Society: Essays on Ideologies and Institutions, Oxford University Press, 2000.
  • Chronicles of Our Time, Penguin Books, 2000.
  • The Backward Classes in Contemporary India, Oxford University Press, 1992.
  • Society and Politics in India: Essays in a Comparative Perspective, Athlone Press, 1991 (L.S.E. Monographs in Social Anthropology, no. 63).
  • The Idea of Natural Inequality and Other Essays, Oxford University Press, 1983 (new, enlarged edition, Oxford University Press, 1987).
  • Inequality Among Men, Basil Blackwell, 1977 (Italian edition published as La diseguaglianza fra gli uomini, Il Mulino, 1981).
  • Studies in Agrarian Social Structure, Oxford University Press, 1974.
  • Six Essays in Comparative Sociology, Oxford University Press, 1974 (enlarged edition published as Essays in Comparative Sociology, Oxford University Press, 1987).
  • Inequality and Social Change, Oxford University Press, 1972.
  • Castes: Old and New, Essays in Social Structure and Social Stratification, Asia Publishing House, 1969.
  • Caste, Class and Power: Changing Patterns of Stratification in a Tanjore Village, University of California Press, 1965.
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Essays

Selected quotes

  • "The Indian intelligentsia has somewhat mixed attitudes towards the Indian village. While educated Indians are inclined to think or at least speak well of the village, they do not show much inclination for the company of villagers."
  • "In the past, Indian society was unique in the extremes of which it carried the principle and practice of inequality; today Indian intellectuals appear unique in their zeal for promoting the adoption of equality in every sphere of society."
  • "The vitality of a religion depends on a continuous critique of it by its own reflective members."
  • "A civilisation that cannot accommodate a variety of traditions, seeking to maintain a jealous hold on only one single tradition, can hardly be called a civilisation."
  • "The practice of untouchability is indeed reprehensible and must be condemned by one and all; but that does not mean that we should now begin to regard it as a form of racial discrimination. The Scheduled Castes of India taken together are no more a race than are the Brahmins taken together. Every social group cannot be regarded as a race simply because we want to protect it against prejudice and discrimination." [1]
  • "Treating caste as a form of race is politically mischievous; what is worse, it is scientifically nonsensical" [2]

See also

References

External links


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