The Mythical Yeti – The Abominable Snowman


Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A(Socio, Phil) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph.D

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee, India

The mythical Yeti once better known as the Abominable Snowman, is one of several supposed “ape-men”. Elsewhere in the world, people tell tales of Bigfoot or the Sasquatch ,  is a mysterious bipedal creature that has long inhabited the remote and mostly uninhabited Himalayan Mountains, including Mount Everest, in central Asia, and Nepal, Tibet, China, and southern Russia.

The indigenous names of the Yeti reflect its mythological character. The Tibetan word Yeti is a compound word that roughly translates as “bear of a rocky place,” while another Tibetan name Michê means “man bear.” The Sherpas call it Dzu-teh,translated “cattle bear” and is sometimes used to refer to the Himalayan brown bear. Bun Manchi is a Nepali word for “jungle man.” Other names include Kang Admi or “snowman” which is sometimes combined as Metoh Kangmi or “man-bear snowman

According to popular cultural belief, a Yeti is an enormous, shaggy ape-man with huge feet and aggressive sabre-like teeth. Its fur is either grey or white.This supernatural and legendary being is an erect bipedal animal that is over six feet tall, weighs between 200 and 400 pounds, is covered with red to gray hair It is often depicted roaming the snowy mountains alone, make a whistling sound, has a bad smell, and is usually nocturnal and secretive. .” Many modern Yeti researchers, including the great mountaineer Reinhold Messner, feel that Yetis are actually born that sometimes walk upright.

The Yeti is a character in ancient legends and folklore of the Himalaya people. In most of the tales, the Yeti is a figure of danger, author Shiva Dhakal told the BBC. The moral of the stories is often a warning to avoid dangerous wild animals and to stay close and safe within the community.

Alexander the Great demanded to see a Yeti when he conquered the Indus Valley in 326 B.C. But, according to National Geographic, local people told him they were unable to present one because the creatures could not survive at that low an altitude.

The Yeti has long been a revered figure in Himalayan mythology that predates Buddhism. The peoples inhabiting Tibet and Nepal  do not see  Yeti as a proto-human type of creature but instead a man-like animal that seems to exist with supernatural powers.  Yeti comes and goes like a hairy ghost, just showing up rather than being found by tracking. Some stories tell of it flying in the air; killing goats and other livestock; kidnapping young women who are taken back to a cave to rear children, and throwing stones at humans.

Majority of the evidence for the Yeti comes from sightings and reports. Like Bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster. It’s not clear if these sightings were real, hoaxes or misidentifications .

1st Century AD: Pliny the Elder’s Account of the Yeti.The Yeti’s existence has long been known by Sherpas and other Himalayan inhabitants who observed the mysterious creature for thousands of years, Pliny the Elder’s, a Roman traveler, who wrote in Natural History in the first century AD: “Among the mountainous districts of the eastern parts of India…we find the Satyr, an animal of extraordinary swiftness. These go sometimes on four feet, and sometimes walk erect; they have also the features of a human being. On account of their swiftness, these creatures are never to be caught, except when they are either aged or sickly…. These people screech in a frightful manner; their bodies are covered with hair, their eyes are of a sea-green color, and their teeth like those of the dog.”

1832: First Yeti Report to the Western World. In 1832 in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal by British explorer B.H. Hodgeson, who said his guides had previously spotted a hairy bipedal ape in the high mountains.

1899: First Recorded Yeti Footprints. The first recorded Yeti footprints, still the most common evidence of the Yeti’s existence, was in 1899 by Laurence Waddell. He reported in his book Among the Himalayas that the footprints were left by a large upright hominid.

In 1921 the explorer and politician Charles Howard-Bury led a British expedition to Mount Everest. He spotted some large footprints and was told that they belonged to “metoh-kangmi”. This means something like “man-bear snow-man”.

When the expedition returned ,   a journalist named Henry Newman interviewed a group of British explorers who had just returned from a Mount Everest expedition. The explorers told the journalist they had discovered some very large footprints on the mountain to which their guides had attributed to “metoh-kangmi,” essentially meaning “man-bear snow-man.” Newman got the “snowman” part right but mistranslated “metoh” as “filthy.” Then he seemed to think “abominable” sounded even better and used this more menacing name in the paper.

In that moment, a legend was born. Accounts of sightings by locals continued to be translated by Western visitors and the story of a mysterious ape-like snow-man took off.

First Detailed Yeti Report in 1925. N.A. Tombazi, a Greek photographer on a British expedition to the Himalayas, made one of the first detailed reports about the Yeti in 1925 after observing one on a mountainside at 15,000 feet. Tombazi later recounted what he saw: “Unquestionably, the figure in outline was exactly like a human being, walking upright and stopping occasionally to uproot or pull at some dwarf rhododendron bushes. It showed up dark against the snow and, as far as I could make out, wore no clothes.” The Yeti disappeared before he could take a photograph but later Tombazi stopped while descending and saw 15 footprints in the snow that were 16 to 24 inches apart. He wrote about the prints: “They were similar in shape to those of a man, but only six to seven inches long by four inches wide at the broadest part of the foot. The marks of five distinct toes and the instep were perfectly clear, but the trace of the heel was indistinct.”

Researcher Myra Shackley  In her book “Still Living? Yeti, Sasquatch, and the Neanderthal Enigma” , offers the following description, reported by two hikers in 1942 who saw “two black specks moving across the snow about a quarter mile below them.” Despite this significant distance, they offered the following very detailed description: “The height was not much less than eight feet … the heads were described as ‘squarish’ and the ears must lie close to the skull because there was no projection from the silhouette against the snow. The shoulders sloped sharply down to a powerful chest … covered by reddish brown hair which formed a close body fur mixed with long straight hairs hanging downward.” Another person saw a creature “about the size and build of a small man, the head covered with long hair but the face and chest not very hairy at all. Reddish-brown in color and bipedal, it was busy grubbing up roots and occasionally emitted a loud high-pitched cry.”

From the 1920s through the 1950s there was a lot of interest in both climbing the great Himalayan peaks, including the fourteen 8,000-meter peaks, as well as trying to find evidence of the Yeti. Many great Himalayan climbers saw Yetis, including Eric Shipton; Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay on the first ascent of Mount Everest in 1953; British climber Don Whillans on Annapurna.

By the 1950s, interest ran high. Various mountaineers launched expeditions to find the creature.  Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to scale Mt. Everest, searched for evidence of the Yeti. He found what was claimed to be a scalp from the beast, though scientists later determined that the helmet-shaped hide was in fact made from a serow, a Himalayan animal similar to a goat.

The World Book Encyclopedia  approached Edmund Hillary. He had been somewhat of a believer in the 1950s but he said, “We shouldn’t go just Yeti searching, we should study how people live at high altitude.” So they built a house at 19,000 feet and did a bunch of experiments on how humans acclimatize. They’re the ones who first made the distinction between the Sherpa belief in the Yeti and the Yeti as a mysterious hominoid that lives in the mountains.

Shipton and Michael Ward were searching for an alternative Everest route when they came across the prints. Shipton was one of the most highly respected Everest explorers, so if he is bringing back a print, it is a real print. Nobody ever questioned that. The photograph was taken on the Menlung Glacier, west of Mount Everest, on the Nepal-Tibet border.

What was captivating about the prints was that they’re really sharp. The snow was hard so the photo looks like a sort of plaster of Paris cast. The second feature was that the prints looked like a human footprint, but with a thumb. So, you get this primate-like feeling but hominoid at the same time. Its enormous size—13 inches—also suggests a magnificent hominoid, a King Kong type of image! And the media grabbed it

The most important one was the Daily Mail one in 1954. That’s when Yeti fever took off, though the name for the Yeti was given as the Abominable Snowman. Then American oilman Tom Slick mounted several expeditions. One of them had 500 porters and spent 6 months in the field. They even took along bloodhounds to track the scent.

The.  great alpinist Reinhold Messner ,  the  famous Yeti-hunter of all , claims to have seen one in the Himalayas in the 1980s, and returned dozens of times to get to the bottom of the mystery. Messner first saw a yeti in 1986 as well as later sightings. Messner later wrote the book My Quest for the Yeti in 1998 about his Yeti encounters, explorations, and thoughts on the elusive Yeti.

Messner has a simple theory to explain all the sightings: the Yeti is a bear.Messner believes that the Yeti legend is a combination of a real bear species and Sherpa tales about the dangers of wild animals.”All the Yeti footprints are all the same bear,” says Messner. “The Yeti isn’t a fantastic figure. The Yeti is reality.”He is contemptuous of the idea that the Yeti is some sort of ape-man, “People don’t like reality, they like crazy stories,” he says. “They like the Yeti as a Neanderthal, the Yeti as a mix between a human and an ape.”

In March 1986, Anthony Wooldridge, a hiker in the Himalayas, saw what he thought was a Yeti standing in the snow near a ridge about 500 feet (152 meters) away. It didn’t move or make noise, but Wooldridge saw odd tracks in the snow that seemed to lead toward the figure. He took two photographs of the creature, which were later analyzed and proven genuine. Many in the Bigfoot community seized upon the photos as clear evidence of a Yeti, including John Napier, an anatomist and anthropologist who had served as the Smithsonian Institution’s director of primate biology.

The idea of ape-like creatures living in the mountains is more believable now than it was a few decades ago. We now know that hominid populations can go unnoticed for a long time. For example take the Denisovans, an extinct species of human known from a few fragmentary remains from a cave in Siberia. The remains were only discovered in 2008, yet genetic analysis suggests they survived for hundreds of thousands of years, only dying out around 40,000 years ago.

Another lost species endured until even more recently. The diminutive “hobbits” Homo floresiensis may have survived in Indonesia until just 12,000 years ago. That suggests there might be other populations to learn about.

Writing in the journal Nature in 2004, in the wake of the hobbit discovery, Henry Gee wrote that: “The discovery that Homo floresiensis survived until so very recently, in geological terms, makes it more likely that stories of other mythical, human-like creatures such as Yetis are founded on grains of truth.”

In 2007, American TV show host Josh Gates claimed he found three mysterious footprints in snow near a stream in the Himalayas. Locals were skeptical, suggesting that Gates — who had only been in the area for about a week — simply misinterpreted a bear track. Nothing more was learned about what made the print, and the track can now be found not in a natural history museum but instead in a small display at Walt Disney World.

In 2010, hunters in China caught a strange animal that they claimed was a Yeti. This mysterious, hairless, four-legged animal was initially described as having features resembling a bear, but was finally identified as a civet, a small cat-like animal that had lost its hair from disease.

The Russian government took an interest in the Yeti in 2011, and organized a conference of Bigfoot experts in western Siberia. Bigfoot researcher and biologist John Bindernagel claimed that he saw evidence that the Yeti not only exist but also build nests and shelters out of twisted tree branches. That group made headlines around the world when they issued a statement that they had “indisputable proof” of the Yeti, and were 95 percent sure it existed based on some grey hairs found in a clump moss in a cave.

In 2011, a Russian-led expedition and conference claimed to have “irrefutable evidence” of the Yeti’s existence, including a bed.

Even the Hollywood film star James Stewart supposedly got in on the act, by storing a Yeti finger in his luggage. In 2011, DNA testing revealed that the finger was human.

In 2014, Messner’s point of view received some unlikely support: from genetics.Bryan Sykes, formerly a professor of genetics at the University of Oxford in the UK, decided to test some supposed Yetis.

He and his team analysed hair samples from anomalous primates said to be Yetis, some of them supplied by Messner. They then compared the “Yeti” DNA with the genomes of other animals.

The team found that two Himalayan samples – one  from Ladakh, India and the other from Bhutan – were most genetically similar to a polar bear that lived 40,000 years ago.

This suggested that the Himalayas is home to an as-yet-unknown bear, a hybrid of an ancient polar bear and a brown bear. “If these bears are widely distributed in the Himalayas, they may well contribute to the biological foundation of the Yeti legend,” the team wrote.

Daniel Taylor, author of Yeti: The Ecology of a Mystery, has been searching for signs of this “Abominable Snowman” in the high Himalayas since he was a child.  Chamlang mountain rises above Makalu-Barun National Park in Nepal. Daniel Taylor helped create the park after exploring the region in search of the Yeti.

Taylor explains what he thinks made that human-like footprint, how his search eventually led to the creation of a national park, and why, in an age where we have become disconnected from nature, we have a deep need to believe in mysteries.

DNA analysis became a powerful new tool in the search for the Yeti. Tell us about the tests done by Bryan Sykes, at Oxford University, in England, and what new light they shed on the mystery.

They created a lot of confusion! A professor from Oxford makes a global call for all Yeti artifacts—hair, fingernails, bones, fragments—and he gets many, many artifacts, mostly bits of bear or sheep. He then does DNA analysis and finds that two appear to be bear-like, but can’t be explained by any known animal. The closest DNA connection is the polar bear but with mysterious DNA sequences.

After he publishes his research, the Yeti myth gets reactivated worldwide. A couple of doctoral students then decide to check his DNA sequencing. They show that he made a mistake and that rather than proposing a new animal it is the incomplete sequence of a known animal. Once again, we come back to the bear.

Although there is no concrete proof, people still go looking for Yetis in the Himalayas. Yetis are an example of cryptozoology: the search for creatures that cannot be said to exist because of a lack of evidence. That does not mean the end of the search, in future. “The fact there has never been any evidence hasn’t stopped people from searching,” says Barnett. As long as we enjoy legends and fairy tales, we won’t forget the Yeti.





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JUVENILE DELINQUENCY- A multi- facet analysis


Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A(Socio, Phil) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph.D

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee, India


In recent years, it has become very clear that juvenile delinquency is the most important aspect of the subject matter of criminology. Delinquent behaviour has assumed serious forms among the juveniles, which is a sign of sick society. The disorder and destruction due to deviant behaviour, a worldwide phenomenon, is assuming alarming proportions.

The word delinquency is derived from the Latin word “delinquere” meaning de i.e. away and linquere i.e. to leave thus, meaning to leave or to abandon. Originally, the word had an objective meaning as it referred to parents who neglected and abandoned their children. In present day, it is used and applied to those children who indulge in wrongful and harmful activities.

Juvenile delinquency is a term used to describe illegal actions by a minor. This term is broad in range and can include everything from minor violations like skipping school to more severe crimes such as burglary and violent actions.

Juvenile and minor in legal terms are used in different context. Juvenile is used when reference is made to a young criminal offenders and minor relates to legal capacity or majority. The habitual committing of criminal acts or offenses by a young person, especially one below the age at which ordinary criminal prosecution is possible.

Juvenile can be defined as a child who has not attained a certain age at which he, like an adult person under the law of the land, can be held liable for his criminal acts. The juvenile is a child who is alleged to have committed /violated some law which declares the act or omission on the part of the child as an offence.

Delinquency is an act or conduct of a juvenile which is socially undesirable. Juvenile delinquency generally means the failure of children to meet certain obligations expected of them by the society.  The juvenile delinquent has even been defined as “a child trying to act like a grown up”.

Juvenile delinquency refers to conduct by minors that is disruptive, destructive, or illegal. These usually consist of less serious crimes . Often these acts are associated with the minor not attending school or “cutting class” in order to perform such deeds. As such, they are often associated with both legal as well as academic consequences.

Definition of Delinquency

In fact there is a haze of vagueness and confusion surrounding the definition of juvenile delinquency and there is no single definition that may be acceptable to all.

The concept of delinquency also varies with the point of view of the people who feel challenged by it.

According to a social worker, “delinquency consisted of socially unaccepted acts”. A psychiatrist suggests that delinquent behaviour is activity which deviates from the normal. And a lawyer would say juvenile delinquency is what the law says it is.

In the words of W.H. Sheldon, it is “behavior disappointing beyond reasonable expectation”.

Cyril Burt says, delinquency occurs in a child ‘when his antisocial tendencies appear so grave that he becomes or ought to become the subject of official action.

According to Robison Holt, “we use the term delinquent as we sometimes use the term ‘love’ as though it were a simple concept whereas it actually embraces complex patterns of behaviour.”

Delinquency, it is clear, is many things to many people. The man in the street is concerned chiefly with behaviour that interferes with his property, his person and his rights. He believes that the official label of delinquency is attached only when the behaviour is really harmful and has occurred repeatedly.

Frederick B. Sussmann presents a summary list of acts or conditions included in delinquency definition or description, viz, violation of any law or ordinance, habitual truancy, association with thieves, vicious or immoral persons, and incorrigible beyond control of parent or guardian and so on.

Thus the term delinquency does not have a fixed meaning. However, there are two generally accepted approaches to the interpret ation of the term, viz the sociological and the legal.

The sociological view is well expressed by the definition given by Clyde B.Vedder who says, ‘juvenile delinquency refers to the anti-social acts of children and of young people under age. Such acts are either specifically forbidden by law or may be lawfully interpreted as constituting delinquency, or as requiring some form of official action. It means deviation from the normal behaviour.

It will also include a child who is homeless, destitute and neglected. In short, delinquent in the sociological view is a child whose activities cause concern and alarm to parents and teachers and others responsible for his care and education.

According to Robison the legal term “delinquency” is an umbrella for a wide variety of socially disapproved behaviour that varies with the time, place and the attitudes of those assigned to administer the law. This behaviour may include such acts as , incorrigibility, disobedience, lying, running away from home, frequent visits to the cinema, visiting places of ill repute and coming home late at night, habitually remaining truant from school, habitually using vile, obscene or vulgar language in Public Place, immoral conduct around school.

Contributing Factors to Delinquency

Individual factors- Individual factors that include antisocial behavior at a young age, poor cognitive development, hyperactivity, and emotional factors such as mental health challenges.

Family  factors -Family risk factors linked to delinquent behavior include poverty, maltreatment (includes neglect), family violence, divorce, parental psychopathology, familial antisocial behaviors, teenage parenthood, single parent family, and large family size.

Poor School Attendance-Poor school attendance is one of the top factors contributing to delinquency. School is not only a place to learn and grow; it is also a structured routine that provides children with a goal to accomplish each day.

The routine of getting up, getting prepared, attending school, completing the work, and returning home each day establishes a routine that is a basis for good choices in the future.

Failure to accept the routine of attending school actually instills in children that they do not have to comply with societal norms and that they can do as they please.

Poor Educational Standards-The type of school that a child attends may also contribute to their delinquency. Overcrowded and underfunded schools tend to lack discipline and order.

The chaos often experienced in these schools lead children to act more defensively because they are scared by their surroundings.

Violence In The Home-One of the largest contributing factors to delinquency is violence in the home,

Lashing out at others for the violence they experience at home is very common.

Children subjected to violent actions, or those who witness it to others, are more likely to act ut their fears and frustrations. They often have a “don’t care” attitude and this allows them to get into trouble more easily.

Violence In Their Social Circles-If the neighborhood is in which a child lives is violent, the children will have a tendency to be more prone to delinquency.

Many people describe this as street survival methods because the child gets into trouble as a way to stay out of trouble from area gang members or violent people.

Peer Pressure- Peer factors that include rejection by peers and association with peers who break the law and get into trouble. Having a delinquent peer group is the strongest risk factor for delinquency during the pre-teen years.

Peer pressure from direct acquaintances can have an effect on how a child reacts to bad situations. If all of their friends are committing delinquent acts, the child may feel pressured to do the same to be accepted.

Socioeconomic Factors-Juvenile delinquency is more common in poorer neighborhoods. While all neighborhoods are not exempt from delinquent activities, it is believed they happen more in areas where children feel they must commit crimes to prosper.

Substance Abuse-Substance abuse in a home or by the child is a very common cause for delinquency. Children who are exposed to substance abuse often do not have the necessities they need to thrive and are forced to find these necessities in other ways. Others, who become dependent on a substance may also need to commit crimes to sustain their habit.

Lack Of Moral Guidance-Parental or adult influence is the most important factor in deterring delinquency. When a parent or other adult interacts with the child and shows them what is acceptable behavior and what is considered wrong, the child is more likely to act in a way that is not delinquent.

It is very important for a child to have a bond with a good adult who will influence their actions and show them the difference between what is right and what is wrong.

Classification of Juvenile Delinquency

Different classifications of the juvenile delinquency and delinquents have been given by various authors. A few important classifications are noted below.

Hirsh delineated the following kinds of juvenile offences:

(1) Incorrigibility, which includes keeping late hours, disobedience,and so on.

(2) Truancy, which can be from home or school.

(3) Destruction of property, which includes both public and private property.

(4) Violence which is perpetrated against the community by using such means as knives and guns.

(5) Sex offenses which can range from homosexual activity to criminal assault and rape.

Eaton and Polk classified the delinquents by the following types of offences they have been involved in:

(1) Minor violations which include disorderly conduct and minor traffic violations.

(2) Property violations which include all property thefts except automobiles.

(3) Major traffic violations which include automobile theft and drunk driving and any other offence that would involve an automobile.

(4) Human addiction which includes sex offenses as well as alcohol and drug addiction.

(5) Bodily harm which includes homicide offenses that involve sexual deviation,; such as rape, and generally, all other acts of violence against a person.

Ferdinand presented two categories of juvenile offenders as under:

(1) Neurotic Offenders-They are the offenders whose delinquency is the result of powerful unconscious impulses which often produces guilt which in turn, motivates them to act out their delinquency in their community so that they will be caught and punished. The delinquent act is sometimes considered symbolic. For example, if they steal, it is done for love and not for a material gain. To such delinquents, delinquency is a way of handling their internal problems by externalizing the problem within the environment.

(2) Character Disorder Offenders- This type of offenders feel very little guilty when they commit the acts of delinquency. Because of a lack of positive identification models in their environment, they have failed to develop self-control and do what they want to do when they feel like doing it. They are unable to sublimate their impulses in a socially acceptable manner. They have not developed an adequate conscience structure or superego.

Schafer emphasized on psychological typologies and psychological dynamics of personality as the basis of classification of juvenile delinquents. The following types have been envisaged by him.

(1) Mentally Defective- This is an individual who has an organic problem and who has difficulty in controlling himself because of it. This category also includes mentally retarded youngsters.

(2) Situational Offenders- They are similar to the accidental offenders but, in these cases, there are more contributing factors. Their delinquency is precipitated by a crisis or by some external event which they are unable to handle. In other words, they do not necessarily go out looking for trouble but because of tempering circumstances, they do not use good judgment.

(3) Psychotic Offenders- A small number of youngsters do not have contact with reality. They may be classified as schizophrenic or may be given some other psychiatric label. As a result of dysfunctional thought patterns, they may hallucinate, have delusions or “hear voices” that command them to become involved in certain types of delinquent behaviour. The incidence of psychotic oriented delinquency is minimal in relation to the other forms.

(4) Cultural Offenders- Youngsters in this category have either emulated a faculty identification model or they live in an economically and socially deprived environment. Cultural offenders are considered normal members of a deviant sub-culture and their patterns of behaviour are often accepted and called normative in their own environment.

Theories of Delinquencies

Generally, three major approaches are Biogenic Theory, Psychogenic and SociogenicSome of the theories are briefly discussed below.

( A) Biogenic Theory

Biological determinists maintain that the physical qualities which people inherit or develop may cause them to violate the law. Physical make-up separates the deviant from the non-deviant.

Ceases Lambroso is regarded as the profounder of this theory. He declared “a criminal to be an atavistic phenomenon, a biological throwback since the somatological characteristics of criminals resemble those of primitive men. According to Cessare Lombroso, a biologist with an outstanding contribution to the science of criminology, “there exists a group of criminals born for evil, against whom all social cures break as against a rock.” Criminality according to him is in-born. A typical criminal, says Lombroso, has

certain physical characteristics as low forehead, hairy body, red eyes, ear deformation, receding chin, big and protruding jaws, and an extreme sensitivity or nonsensitivity  to pain.

Gall was a Viennese physician, “noticed that some of his fellows with pronounced characteristics had certain head configurations. He asked himself why people had “such different faces and such different natures; why one was deceitful, another frank, a third virtuous”. In attempting to answer these questions he made it a point of his life to examine every head he could find. He haunted medical laboratories, he visited prisons and lunatic asylums, his fingers fairly “itched” to measure the bumps and inequalities of the skulls he found. He thought he discerned a relationship between head “Knobs” and certain propensities and character traits, to which he gave fancy names. In this manner phrenology launched itself upon a world eagerly waiting toreceive it.

(B) Psychogenic Theory

These theory stresses the psychological pathology of the delinquent. There are  many researchers who have stressed the Psychological and Psychiatric variables to be highly related to delinquency

Glueek and Glueek Theory of Social Condition

Held that physically a delinquent is mesomorph in constitution. In attitude he is hostile, defiant, resentful, suspicious, Stubborn adventurous, unconventional and non submissive to the authority.

The criminal is a product of society. The impact of sociological factors is so great on individuals that they either shun criminality or embrace it, depending upon their environment and immediate social conditions

Sutherland and Cressey Theory of Differential Association.

Felt that criminal behaviour is not inherited and one who is not already trained in crime does not indulge in criminal behaviour. Rather, criminal behaviour is learned in interaction with other person especially within intimate personal groups. This, would mean that impersonal agencies such as movies and News papers play a relatively important part in the genesis of criminal behaviour. “Differential association” varies in frequency,duration, priority and intensity.

Akers’s differential reinforcement theory

Akers’s differential reinforcement theory integrated differential association and the learning theory of operant conditioning. Operant conditioning holds that behaviour is controlled by the consequences of that behavior.

Everyone receives positive and negative reinforcements for behavior. According to differential reinforcement theory, a positive reinforcement is a reward and is designed to increase the behavior being rewarded. On the other hand, a negative reinforcement is a punishment designed to decreasethe behavior.

Therefore, behavior is controlled by the rewards and punishments people receive for their behavior.  If a positive reinforcement is given after a person commits a delinquent act, the person has received a reward for that behavior. It is to be expected that the person will continue the behaviour.

Learning theorists argue that rewards are more powerful than punishments in shaping behavior. However, in some cases, a juvenile may be expecting to receive a reward (positive reinforcement) for behavior, but the reward is withheld. If this occurs, the person has received an indirect punishment for the behavior, and the behavior is less likely to continue. For example, if a young male commits a robbery but fails to obtain any money or valuables, he has received an indirect punishment, and he is less likely to continue the delinquent behavior.

A juvenile may also receive negative reinforcement for a behavior. If this occurs, the juvenile has received a direct punishment and is less likely to continue the behaviour.

If a juvenile receives rewards from his or her peer group for committing delinquent acts, that delinquency may continue—even with punishment by the juvenile justice system. A juvenile may also anticipate that a punishment (negative reinforcement) is going to occur after delinquent behavior. If no punishment follows, the juvenile has received an indirect reward for the behavior and is likely to increase the behavior.

Sykes & Matza Theory of Social Interaction

Delinquent behaviour like most social behaviour, is learned in the process of social interaction. Both feel that the family of the delinquent will agree with respectable society that delinquency is wrong even though the family may be engaged in a variety of illegal activities. They say that a delinquent is partly committed to the dominant. Social order in the he frequently exhibits, quilts or shame when he violates its prescriptions, accords approval to certain conferring figures and distinguishes between appropriates and inappropriate targets for his deviance.

(C) Psychoanalytical and Psychiatric Theory

Airchorn asserted that there must be something in child himself which environment brings out in the form of delinquency. Delinquents behave as they do because they are in some way “Maladjusted” persons. Airchron’s statement indicates further that the environment may function as a precipitating force, but never as primary force in causation.

(D) Medico-Biological Theory

This theory has been advanced at many times and in many ways and often in combination as “Medico biological” thesis of causation. Here this theory would include the hereditary factors, chemical balances within the physical organism, and certainly the influence of physical illness on behaviour. The biological explanation, concerned primarily with inherited characteristic.

(E) The Classical Theory

The classical theory of free will advocated that man is a free moral agent who chooses to do wrong. On the assumption of free will, the Classical theorists maintained that the criminal is morally guilty and responsible, he should; therefore, receive a punishment proportionate to that moral guilt. Thus, there were set penalties according to the moral turpitude involved in the offence

Some have looked for explanations in physical and mental health, others in emotional attitudes and still others in general social environment. The Classical theory was attacked since it treated all men as mere digits ignoring their individual natures or the circumstances under which they  committed the crime. It subjected to the same punishment the hardened criminal, the accidental and the habitual.

(F) Multi-causal Theory

According to Abrahamsen, “a criminal act is the sum of a person’s criminalistic tendencies plus his total situation divided by the amount of his resistance.” He rendered the multiplicity of causal factors into a mathematical formula.

This shows that the root of the delinquency lies in both in nature and nurture.

Recent sociologists, psychiatrists and criminologists agree that delinquency is a result of a number of factors. Burt enumerated no less than 170 causes which were conducive to delinquency.

According to him, “crime is assignable to no single universal source nor yet to two or three: it springs from a wide variety, and usually from a multiplicity of alternative and converging influences. So violent a reaction, as may easily be conceived, is almost everywhere the outcome of a concurrence of subversive factors: it needs many coats of pitch to paint a thing thoroughly black.”

No one factor is the sole cause of delinquency. It is a result of the interaction between the individual and his immediate and economic factors like poverty, slums etc. The natural factors are biological, mental and emotional. Geography and climatic conditions are indirect contributors to delinquency.

(G) Subculture theories

A subculture is a set of values, norms, and beliefs that differs from those within the dominant culture. According to subculture theory, delinquent youth hold values, norms, and beliefs in opposition to those held in the dominant culture. Therefore, youths who behave in a manner that is consistent with the values, norms, and beliefs of their subculture will often be in conflict with the law.

Three subculture theories are: Cohen’s delinquency and frustration theory, Cloward and Ohlin’s differential opportunity theory,  and Miller’s lower-class focal concern theory.

(I)Cohen’s delinquency and frustration theory,

Albert K. Cohen believed that individuals from the lower class had different values, norms, and beliefs than those held by the middle class.   The goal of lower-class youths is middle-class membership. However, lower class youths face developmental handicaps that place them at a disadvantage in obtaining their goal of middle-class membership. These developmental handicaps include the lack of educational preparation and inability to delay gratification

The primary means of becoming a member of the middle class is education. These youths, who have been socialized to be part of the lower class, frequently have difficulty in school because teachers and administrators are members of the middle class and hold the values, norms, and beliefs of the middle class. The standards and values used in school to evaluate youths, which Cohen calls middle-class measuring rods ,  include ambition, responsibility, deferred gratification, courtesy, ability to control aggression, constructive use of time, and respect for property.  Essentially, lower-class youths are being evaluated by measures grounded in middle-class values and norms to which they are not accustomed. These middle-class measuring rods make it difficult for lower class children to succeed in school.

If lower-class students fail at school, they will not be able to attain their goal of middle-class status. Inability to fulfil this goal is known as status frustration . Frequently, students who are not performing well in school seek others like themselves with whom to associate. In other words, these young people may associate with others like themselves who are failing in school and are facing status frustration. These young people form delinquent subcultures and gangs. In gangs, youths develop new norms, values, and beliefs; they also establish new means to obtain status.

This delinquent behavior is actually a protest against the norms, values, and beliefs of the middle-class culture.

(II) Richard Cloward and Ohlin’s differential opportunity theory

Cloward and Lloyd Ohlin focused on serious delinquency committed by urban, male gang members.   Status frustration  Occurs due to a person’s inability to obtain the goal of middleclass status. Youths who had little ability to achieve these goals through legitimate means would form delinquent subcultures/gangs in an effort to obtain the goals.

Cloward and Ohlin believed that illegal opportunities, like conventional opportunities, are stratified unequally.  This means that there is an illegitimate opportunity structure just as there is a legitimate opportunity structure for success. The legitimate opportunity structure involves education, hard work, and a good occupation, and not everyone has access to this opportunity structure to obtain economic success. Not everyone has access to the illegitimate opportunity structure, either.

The illegitimate opportunity structure includes criminal enterprises in neighbourhoods where there are criminal mentors to assist youths in becoming successful criminals. Although there are illegitimate opportunity structures in many neighborhoods, not everyone has equal access to these structures.

Neighborhood structures such as established criminal enterprises and criminal mentors that lead youths to become criminals. When delinquent subcultures/gangs are established with a different set of values, norms, and beliefs, the type of delinquent gang that develops will depend on the neighbourhood in which the youths live and whether they have access to illegitimate opportunity structures.

(III) Miller’s lower-class focal concern theory

Walter B. Miller basic tenet was that society is composed of various social groups, each with its distinctive subculture.

Miller identified six focal concerns that describe six values of a lower-class subculture.  These focal concerns differentiate the lower class from the middle and upper classes.

  • . Excitement —value of thrill-seeking through gambling, fi ghting, and getting intoxicated
  • Autonomy —value of personal freedom resulting in an active disdain of authority.
  • Fate —value or belief that most things that happen to people are beyond their control
  • Smartness —value of the ability to be streetwise and to con people
  • Toughness —value of physical strength, fi ghting ability, and masculinity
  • Trouble —value by which people are evaluated on the basis of their involvement in trouble-making activity

(H) Walter Reckless Containment Theory

Walter Reckless believed that both internal and external forces operate when juveniles make decisions to avoid or commit delinquent acts. Some internal forces inhibit people from committing delinquent acts while others encourage delinquent behavior. The same is true for external forces; some inhibit while others encourage delinquent acts.

Reckless identified four motivating and restraining forces for delinquency.

1. Inner pressures and pulls lead juveniles toward committing delinquent acts. Inner forces include an individual’s desires, needs, and wants. These  include feelings of restlessness, hostility, and the needfor immediate gratification.

2. Inner containments inhibit delinquent behavior. Inner containments are internal personal controls that lead someone to not commit delinquent acts. These include self-esteem, strong sense of responsibility, internalized moral codes, tolerance of frustration, and positive goal orientations.

3. Outer pressures  may lead to delinquency include the influence of one’s peer group, unemployment, and living conditions. External forces also include the rewards for committing delinquent acts such as status and financial gain.

4. Outer containments inhibit delinquent behavior. These include forces that provide discipline and supervision including parents, police, schools, and the juvenile justice system.

Inner containments are more effective at inhibiting delinquent activity than are outer containments. Outer containments are not always present prior to the commission of delinquent acts, while inner containments such as internalized moral codes are. An individual’s self-image and self-esteem are also major predictors of which of these forces will dominate behavior.

(I)Travis Hirschi Social Control /Social Bonding Theory

According to Travis Hirschi, people usually do not commit delinquent acts because they fear that this behavior will damage their relationships with their parents, friends, families, teachers, and employers; thus, individuals do not commit delinquent acts because they are bonded to the larger society. When these social bonds are broken or diminished, delinquency is likely. Hirschi stated that there were four elements of the social bond  including attachment, commitment, involvement, and belief.

• Attachment describes the emotional and psychological ties a person has with others. It includes sensitivity to and interest in others as well as a sense of belonging. Hirschi believed that attachment to parents is more important than attachment to peers and school. Attachment is the most important element of the social bond.

• Commitment involves the time, energy, and effort expended in conventional action.  Therefore, the more conventional assets people have—such as an education, job, and home—the less likely they are to commit crime.

• Involvement means significant time and attention spent in conventional activities, which leaves little time for illegal behavior. People who are busy working, going to school, are far less likely to commit crime. They do not have the spare time to indulge temptations to commit crimes.

• Belief describes the acceptance of moral legitimacy of law and authority, with an understanding that the law should be obeyed

Delinquency Prevention

Understanding why a minor commits a crime is essential to preventing future crimes from happening. Addressing the issues that has led to the choices that the minor child has made can help them change their actions in the future.

The juvenile delinquency is expression of unsatisfied desires and urges. For a delinquent, his deviant act is a normal response to his inner desire. Like a non delinquent a delinquent is also conditioned by various attending and prevailing circumstances around him. A juvenile delinquent is a person who has been so adjudicated by a judicial court though he may be no different from other children who are not delinquent. Delinquency is an act, conduct or interaction which is socially undesirable.

By addressing many of these issues at an early age, adults may be able to stop juvenile delinquency from starting. If delinquency has already occurred, addressing these issues and building protective barriers may allow the child to develop in a more secure environment and avoid problems in the future as well as when they are adults.

Delinquency Prevention Programs

It is established that

(1) high-quality activities  can make a measurable difference in problem behavior, and

(2) activities known to be effective do not work if poorly implemented.

These factors contribute to high-quality delinquency prevention activities:

  • Activities are highly structured, programs are scripted, and both follow manuals and implementation standards and use quality control mechanisms.
  • Activities are integrated into the regular school program.
  • Activities are selected from a wide variety of sources, including outside experts.
  • Program activities are supervised at all levels.
  • Programs are locally initiated and run by school insiders, researchers or govt personnel but are not necessarily locally developed. Externally developed programs tended to be of higher quality than locally developed programs.
  • The school principal supports prevention programs and is perceived by staff as an effective education leader.
  • Training is extensive and of high quality.

Implementing the program is a formal part of the implementer’s job. Activities are a regular part of the school program, do not depend on volunteers, and are conducted during the school day (not after school or on weekends).

Preventing Delinquent Behavior

The presence of a  factor is no guarantee delinquency will occur. Most children in foster care never break the law.

Protective Factors
While there are no magic solutions for preventing delinquency, understanding and building up protective factors is a good place to start. Protective factors are traits or experiences that help counteract  factors.

These protective factors may reduce the likelihood of delinquent behavior:

Youth resilience. “Resilience is the process of managing stress and functioning well even when faced with adversity and trauma” .Youth resilience include:

  • Hopefulness,
  • Motivation, sense of purpose,
  • Positive future orientation,
  • Positive view of self, overall positive attitude,
  • Realistic belief in one’s ability to succeed,
  • Spirituality,
  • Taking responsibility for oneself.
  • Trust in others, sense of empowerment,
  • Attends religious services;
  • Committed to school;
  • Does well in school; extracurricular activities; positive school climate.
  • Friends who disapprove of antisocial behavior;
  • Supportive relationships with parents and other adults;
  • Warm,
  • Kindness to oneself when confronted with personal failings and suffering,
  • Personal strengths (e.g., hard work, gratitude, respect, integrity) .
  • Realistic belief in one’s ability to succeed,
  • Self-esteem,
  • Spirituality, personal goals,
  • Thinking about consequences of one’s behavior,
  1. Social connectedness. Connections to people and institutions help youth increase knowledge and skills, have a sense of belonging, and find meaning in their lives . Signs of social connectedness include:
  1. Concrete support. Youth need concrete support and services that address their needs and help minimize stress. Youth have concrete support when social workers, foster parents, and others take steps to ensure they receive basic necessities as well as specialized academic, psychoeducational, health, mental health, legal, and/or employment services .
  2. Cognitive and social emotional competence. Signs that youth have cognitive and social emotional competence include:

So if you are caring for a child or youth who has risk factors for delinquency,

Connect with your child. Building a strong relationship takes time and effort but pays rich dividends: a caring, supportive relationship with an adult is the single most important protective factor for children who have experienced maltreatment.

Be clear about rules and expectations. In a friendly, clear way, explain to children in your home what you expect of them. Hold family members accountable consistently and respectfully. Respond to misbehavior in a way that is proportionate. For example, unless there is imminent danger, if a child’s behavior becomes unruly your first call should be to the child’s social worker, not law enforcement.

Build your behavior management skills. Due to past trauma, children in foster care sometimes have difficulty behaving appropriately. Teaching them to manage their own behavior will help them succeed in life and stay out of trouble. There are many resources to help you learn to do this, including this article from Fostering Perspectives:

Increase your knowledge and understanding of adolescent development. This is particularly important given the recent advances in the fields of neuroscience and developmental psychology. What you know affects how you interpret teen behavior and how you respond.

Know where your child is and who they’re with. Make your home a place your child’s friends want to be. This will help you monitor what’s going on and get to know the friends.

Don’t go it alone. Have frequent, candid conversations with your child’s social worker and your licensing social worker about your parenting successes and concerns. This is important. They want to be sure the child is getting his needs met and is staying out of trouble. Supporting you is one of the best ways to achieve these goals.

Be informed, supportive, and present. This is especially important when it comes to your child’s school, any therapy or treatment they receive, and extracurricular activities.

Prevention & Early Intervention

Juvenile delinquency follows a trajectory similar to that of normal adolescent development. In other words, children and youth tend to follow a path toward delinquent and criminal behavior rather than engaging randomly.

Early Intervention= Early intervention prevents the onset of delinquent behavior and supports the development of a youth’s assets and resilience.3 While many past approaches focus on remediating visible and/or longstanding disruptive behavior, research has shown that prevention and early intervention are more effective. 4

In essence, intervening early “not only saves young lives from being wasted,” but also prevents the onset of adult criminal careers and reduces the likelihood of youth becoming serious and violent offenders. This in turn reduces the burden of crime on society, and saves taxpayers money.5

Positive Youth Development= One positive youth development model addresses the six life domains of work, education, relationships, community, health, and creativity. The two key assets needed by all youth are

(1) learning/doing and

(2) attaching/belonging.

When the necessary supports and services are provided to assist youth in the six life domains, it is expected that positive outcomes will result.6

Effective Programs= Effective programs are those that aim to act as early as possible and focus on known behavioral development of juveniles.7 In general,  the following types of school and community prevention programs be employed:

  • Classroom and behavior management programs
  • Multi-component classroom-based programs
  • Social competence promotion curriculums
  • Conflict resolution and violence prevention curriculums
  • Bullying prevention programs
  • Afterschool recreation programs
  • Mentoring programs
  • School organization programs
  • Comprehensive community interventions

In general, when implemented with a high degree of fidelity (effectiveness), these programs demonstrate effective positive results


Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1969.

Eaton, J. W. and Polk, K., Measuring Delinquency. Pittsburg; university Pittsberg Press,1961.

Hirschi, Travis. Causes of Delinquency,

Hirsh, N., Dynamic Causes of Juvenile Crime. Cambridge; Mass, Sci-Art Publisher, 1937.

K. Kusum, ‘Juvenile Delinquency- A Socio-legal Study’(1979) Published by KLM Book House, New Delhi 22

Kvaraceus, W. C. and Miller, W.B. Delinquent Behaviour; Cultuer and The Individual.

Sellin, T. and Wolfgang, M., The Measurement of Delinquency. New York; John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 1964.

Washingoton; National Education Association,1959


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History of Hinduism

Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A(Socio, Phil) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph.D.

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee, India

On the basis of evidence of Hinduism’s early antecedents, like a person’s ancestors or family and social background ,which is derived from archaeology, comparative philology (a branch of historical linguistics that is concerned with comparing languages to establish their historical relatedness) , and comparative religion, the history of Hinduism in India can be traced back to about 1500 BCE

Language development in Hinduism

Rigveda, hymns that were composed chiefly during the last two or three centuries of the 2nd millennium BCE can be termed as the earliest literary source for the history of Hinduism   . The religious life reflected in this text shows Hinduism as an earlier sacrificial religious system, referred to as Brahmanism or Vedism, which developed in India among Indo-European-speaking peoples. Scholars from the period of British colonial rule postulated that this branch of a related group of nomadic and seminomadic tribal peoples, originally inhabiting the  country of southern Russia and Central Asia, brought with them  the Sanskrit language. These scholars further holds that other branches of these peoples penetrated into Europe, bringing with them the Indo-European languages that developed into the chief language.

It is   the ancient tongue, which Sir William Jones pronounced “more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either,” should have been the spoken language of the Aryans .  It was a near relative of the early Persian dialect in which the Avesta was composed. The Sanskrit of the Vedas and the epics has already the earmarks of a classic and literary tongue, used only by scholars and priests; the very word Sanskrit means “prepared, pure, perfect, sacred.” The language of the people in the Vedic age was not one but many; each tribe had its own Aryan dialect.  India has never had one language.

The Vedas contain no hint that writing was known to their authors. It was not until the eighth or ninth century B.C. that Hindu probably Dravidian merchants brought from western Asia a Semitic script, akin to the Phoenician; and from this “Brahma script,” as it came to be called, all the later alphabets of India were derived.” For centuries writing seems to have been confined to commercial and administrative purposes, with little thought of using it for literature; “merchants, not priests, developed this basic art.” ( Perhaps poetry will recover its ancient hold upon our people when it is again recited rather than silently read.) Even the Buddhist canon does not appear to have been written down before the third century B.C.

The oldest  inscriptions in India are those of Ashoka.” We who (until the air about us was filled with words and music) were for centuries made eye-minded by writing and print, find it hard to understand how contentedly India, long after she had learned to write, clung to the old ways of transmitting history and literature by recitation and memory. The Vedas and the epics were songs that grew with the generations of those that recited them; they were intended not for sight but for sound.

The language of the Indo-Aryans should be of special interest to us, for Sanskrit is one of the oldest in that “Indo-European” group of languages to which our own speech belongs. When a language is spoken by unqualified people the pronunciation of the word changes to some extent; and when these words travel by word of mouth to another region of the land, with the gap of some generations, it permanently changes its form and shape to some extent.  We feel for a moment a strange sense of cultural continuity across great stretches of time and space when we observe the similarity in Sanskrit, Greek, Latin and English of the numerals, the family terms, and those insinuating little words that, by some oversight of the moralists, have been called the copulative verb.  Cf. English one, two, three, four, five with Sanskrit ek, dwee, tree, chatoor, panch;Latin unus, duo, tres, quattuor, quinque; Greek heis, duo, tria, tettara, pente. (Quattuorbecomes four, as Latin quercus becomes fir.) Or cf. English am, art, is with Sanskrit asmi, asi, asti; Latin sum, es, est; C -eek eimi, ei, esti.

Hinduism arose from multiple sources

The Vedic people were in close contact with the ancestors of the Iranians, as evidenced by similarities between Sanskrit and the earliest surviving Iranian languages. Thus, the religion of the Rigveda contains elements from three strata:

  • An element common to most of the Indo-European groups.
  • An element held in common with the early Iranians.
  • An element appearing only in the Indian subcontinent.


Hinduism arose from multiple sources and from the geniuses of individual reformers in all periods. Present-day Hinduism contains few direct survivals from its Indo-European heritage. Some of the elements of the Hindu wedding ceremony, notably the circumambulation of the sacred fire and the cult of the domestic fire itself, are rooted in the remote Indo-European past. The same is probably true of some aspects of the ancestor cult. The Rigveda contains many other Indo-European elements, such as ritual sacrifices and the worship of male sky gods, including the old sky god Dyaus, whose name is cognate with those of Zeus of ancient Greece and Jupiter of Rome (“Father Jove”). The Vedic heaven, the “world of the fathers,” resembles the Germanic Valhalla and seems also to be an Indo-European inheritance.

The Indo-Iranian element in later Hinduism is chiefly found in the ceremony of initiation, or “second birth” (upanayana), a rite also found in Zoroastrianism. Performed by boys of the three “twice-born” upper classes, it involves the tying of a sacred cord. Another example of the common Indo-Iranian heritage is the Vedic god Varuna. Although now an unimportant sea god, Varuna, as portrayed in the Rigveda, possesses many features of the Zoroastrian supreme deity Ahura Mazdā (“Wise Lord”). A third example can be seen in the sacred drink soma, which corresponds to the sacred haoma of Zoroastrianism.

Even in the earlier parts of the Rigveda, however, the religion displays numerous Indian features that are not evident in Indo-Iranian traditions.   Some of these features may have evolved entirely within the Vedic framework, it is generally presumed that many of them stem from the influence of inhabitants of the Indian subcontinent who had no connection with Indo-European peoples. For example, some scholars attribute non-Vedic features of Hinduism to a people who are often vaguely and incorrectly called “Dravidian,” a term that refers to a family of languages and not an ethnic group. Some scholars have further argued that the ruling classes of the Indus civilization, also called the Harappa culture (c. 2500–1700 BCE), spoke a Dravidian language and have tentatively identified their script with that of a Dravidian language.

Other sources: The Brahmanic norms

The development of Hinduism can be interpreted as a constant interaction between the religion of the upper social groups, represented by the Brahmans, and the religion of other groups. From the time of the Vedas (c. 1500 BCE), people from many strata of society throughout the subcontinent tended to adapt their religious and social life to Brahmanic norms. This development resulted from the desire of lower-class groups to rise on the social ladder by adopting the ways and beliefs of the higher castes. Further, many local deities were identified with the gods and goddesses of the Puranas. The process, sometimes called “Sanskritization,” began in Vedic times and was probably the principal method by which the Hinduism of the Sanskrit texts spread through the subcontinent and into Southeast Asia. Sanskritization still continues in the form of the conversion of tribal groups, and it is reflected in the persistence of the tendency among some Hindus to identify rural and local deities with the gods of the Sanskrit texts. Sanskritization also refers to the process by which some Hindus try to raise their status by adopting high-caste customs, such as wearing the sacred cord and becoming vegetarians.

If Sanskritization has been the main means of connecting the various local traditions throughout the subcontinent, the converse process, which has no convenient label, has been one of the means whereby Hinduism has changed and developed over the centuries. Many features of Hindu mythology and several popular gods—such as Ganesha, an elephant-headed god, and Hanuman, the monkey god—were incorporated into Hinduism and assimilated into the appropriate Vedic gods by this means. Similarly, the worship of many goddesses who are now regarded as the consorts of the great male Hindu gods, as well as the worship of individual unmarried goddesses, may have arisen from the worship of non-Vedic local goddesses.

The prehistoric period (3rd and 2nd millennia BCE)

The prehistoric culture of the Indus valley arose in the latter centuries of the 3rd millennium BCE from the metal-using village cultures of the region. There is considerable evidence of the material life of the Indus people, but its interpretation remains a matter of speculation until their writing is deciphered. Enough evidence exists, however, to show that several features of later Hinduism may have had prehistoric origins.

In most of the village cultures, small terra-cotta figurines of women, found in large quantities, have been interpreted as icons of a fertility deity whose cult was widespread in the Mediterranean area and in western Asia from Neolithic times (c. 5000 BCE) onward. This hypothesis is strengthened by the fact that the goddess was apparently associated with the bull—a feature also found in the ancient religions farther west.

The river’s name comes from Sanskrit word ‘Sindhu’. It is mentioned in the Rig Veda, the earliest (c. 1500 BC) chronicles and hymns of the Aryan people of ancient India, and is the source of the country’s name. words like Hindu, Hindustan and India have been derived from Sindhus and ‘Indus’, the name given to Sindhu by foreigners. The journey of Sindhu through India transports you to a civilization going back five thousand years

Sindhu is divine. In the beginning was the word. The first recorded word was the Veda. The earliest mention of this great river is in the Vedas. The Sindhu — the cradle of Indian civilization — finds its most dramatic description in the Rig Veda (c. 1500 BC).

“Sindhu in might surpasses all streams that flow. His roar is lifted up to heaven above the earth; he puts forth endless vigour with a flash of light ….Even as cows with milk rush to their calves, so other rivers roar into the Sindhu. As a warrior king leads other warriors, so does Sindhu leads other rivers… Rich in good steeds is Sindhu, rich in gold, nobly fashioned, rich in ample wealth”.

Sindhu is too alive and too divine to be “it”, and so Sindhu is “he”! When the Vedic seer invokes the Sindhu. The Veda refers to the Ganga only twice, but it makes as many as thirty references to the Sindhu! It is the oldest name in Indian history – and in Indian geography. This is the great Sindhu that gave Sindh and Hind — its name. The Rig Veda compares the sound of the flowing Sindhu to the roar of thunderstorm, indicating the sense of awe inspired by the river in the minds of Aryans. Later on, in the Vedic period, the word Sindhu came to denote the sea, from which the vastness of the river can be gauged. In the Ramayana, Sindhu is seen to be given the title “Mahanadi”, which means “the mighty river”.

Kalidasa says in the Raghuvansha that on the advice of his maternal uncle Yudhajat, Rama conferred Sindh on Bharata. Rama’s ancestor Raghu’s triumphant horses had relaxed on the bank of the Sindhu.

Sindh was part of Dasaratha’s empire. When Kekayi goes into a sulk, Dasaratha tells her, “The sun does not set on my empire. Sindh, Sauvira, Saurashtra, Anga, vanga, Magadha, Kashi, Koshal — they are all mine”. When Sita was kidnapped by Ravana, Rama sent the vanaras (monkeys) to look for her, among other places, in Sindh with its “remarkable swimming horses”.

In the Mahabharat, the Sindhu is reverentially mentioned along with other two holy rivers, the Ganga and Saraswati. References to the Sindhu are also seen in many ancient literary works like those of Kalidasa, Bana, Panini. The fame of the mighty Sindhu had spread even beyond the subcontinent and it found reflections in the literary works of the Greek and Roman empires. It finds mention in some of the earlier literature of India.

Another great Sanskrit poet, Bhasa, had done a whole play, “Avimark” on the romance of Prince Avimark with Princess Kurangadi of Sindhu-Sauvira. The Bhavishya Purana says that Shalivahana, the grandson of Maharaja Vikramaditya of Ujjain, established law and order in ‘Sindhusthan” and fixed his frontier on the Sindhu. Anshnath, the eleventh Jain Tirthankar, was a Sindhi. He died in Bengal. The Jaina Dakshinya Chihna (eight century) speaks of Sindhis as “elegant, with a lovely, soft and slow gait. They are fond of songs, music and dance and feel affection for their country”.

There is a legend that the great Buddha had graced Sindh with his visit. Finding the climate extreme, and the area dry and dusty, he had permitted the bhikshus to wear shoes here. He had also permitted the use of padded clothing, forbidden elsewhere. Here Sthavirtis, the Prince of Rorik or Roruka (Aror or Alor, near modern Rohri) became his disciple. When the Buddha went round his native Kapilavastu in a chariot, it was mentioned that the “four auspicious horses, of lotus colour, had come from Sindhudesh”.

To this day, historic Buddhist stupas are found in Sindh. The Divyavadana (Tibetan version) reports: “The Buddha is in Rajgriha. At this time, there were two great cities in Jampudvip (north India), Pataliputra and Roruka. When Roruka rises, Pataliputra declines; when Pataliputra rises, Roruka declines”.

Here was Roruka of Sindh competing with the capital of the Magadha empire. When Bimbisar was the king of the Magadha, he sent Rudrayan, king of Sindhu-Sauvita, a rare portrait of the Buddha. The two powerful ministers of Sindh at the time were Hiroo and Bheru, their names still common amongst the Sindhis!

Chandragupta Maurya first won Sindh and then Punjab. It was from this base that he displaced the Nandas, occupied Pataliputra and established the great Mauryan empire.

Kashmir’s ancient royal history Rajatirangini has many references to Sindh and the Sindhis. Kuya’s son Sindhu rose to lead the elephant brigade of Kashmir. He was advisor to Queen Dida. A top honour was “Sindhu Gaja”, Elephant of Sindh.

Many seals show what may be religious and legendary themes  such as seals depicting trees next to figures who may be divinities believed to reside in them. The bull is often depicted standing before a sort of altar, and the horned figure has been interpreted  as a  Hindu god Shiva. Small conical objects have been interpreted by some scholars as phallic emblems, though they may have been pieces used in board games. Other interpretations of the remains of the Harappa culture are even more speculative and, if accepted, would indicate that many features of later Hinduism were already in existence 4,000 years ago.

Archaic religious practices

Some elements of the religious life of current and past folk religions—notably sacred animals, sacred plants (especially the pipal, Ficus religiose and Tulsa, Ocimum basilicum ), and the use of small figurines for worship—are found in all parts of India and  have been borrowed from pre-Vedic civilizations.

The Vedic period (2nd millennium–7th century BCE)

The people of the early Vedic period left few material remains, and leave a very important literary record called the Rigveda. Its 1,028 hymns are distributed throughout 10 books. A hymn usually consists of three sections: an exhortation; a main part comprising praise of the deity, prayers, and petition, with frequent references to the deity’s mythology; and a specific request.

The Rigveda is not a unitary work, and its composition may have taken several centuries. In its form at the time of its final edition, it reflected a well-developed religious system. The date commonly given for the final recension of the Rigveda is 1200 BCE. During the next two or three centuries it was supplemented by three other Vedas and still later by Vedic texts called the Brahmanas and the Upanishads .

The Temples

The Buddhists and Jains had made use of artificial caves for religious purposes, and these were adapted by the Hindus. Hindu cave shrines, however, are comparatively rare, and none have been discovered from earlier than the Gupta period. The Udayagiri complex has cave shrines, but some of the best examples are in Badami (c. 570), the capital of the Chalukya dynasty in the 6th century. The Badami caves contain several carvings of Vishnu, Shiva, and Harihara (an amalgamation of Vishnu and Shiva), as well as depictions of stories connected with Vishnu’s incarnation, Krishna. Near the Badami caves are the sites of Aihole and Pattadakal, which contain some of the oldest temples in the south; some temples in Aihole, for example, date to approximately 450. For this reason these sites are sometimes referred to as the “laboratory” of Hindu temples. Pattadakal, another capital of the Chalukya empire, was a major site of temple building by Chalukyan monarchs in the 7th and 8th centuries. These temples incorporated styles that eventually became distinctive of north and south Indian architecture.

The Gupta period was marked by the rapid development of temple architecture. Earlier temples were made of wood, but freestanding stone and brick temples soon appeared in many parts of India. By the 7th century, stone temples, some of considerable dimensions, were found in many parts of the country. Originally, the design of the Hindu temples may have borrowed from the Buddhist precedent, for in some of the oldest temples the image was placed in the centre of the shrine, which was surrounded by an ambulatory path resembling the path around a stupa (a religious building containing a Buddhist relic). Nearly all surviving Gupta temples are comparatively small; they consist of a small cella (central chamber), constructed of thick and solid masonry, with a veranda either at the entrance or on all sides of the building. The earliest Gupta temples, such as the Buddhist temples at Sanchi, have flat roofs; however, the sikhara (spire), typical of the north Indian temple, was developed in this period and with time was steadily made taller. Tamil literature mentions several temples. The epic Silappatikaram (c. 3rd–4th centuries), for instance, refers to the temples of Srirangam, near Tiruchchirappalli, and of Tirumala-Tirupati (known locally as Tiruvenkatam).

In the Pallava site of Mahabalipuram (Mamallapuram), south of Chennai, a number of small temples were carved in the 7th century from outcroppings of rock; they represent some of the best-known religious buildings in the Tamil country. Mamallapuram and Kanchipuram, near Chennai in the state of Tamil Nadu, were major cities in the Pallava empire (4th–9th centuries). Kanchipuram, the Pallava capital, is sometimes called the “city of a thousand temples.” Some of its temples date to the 5th century, and many feature magnificent architecture. Dedicated to local manifestations of Shiva, Vishnu, and various forms of the Great Goddess, the temples were patronized by royalty and aristocrats but also received donations and endowments from the larger population.

Evidence for contact between the Pallava empire and Southeast Asia is provided by some of the earliest inscriptions (c. 6th–7th centuries) of the Khmer empire, which are written in “Pallava style” characters. There are also several visual connections between temple styles in India and in Southeast Asia, including similarities in architecture (e.g., the design of temple towers) and iconography (e.g., the depiction of Hindu deities, epic narratives, and dancers in carvings on temple walls). Yet there are also differences between them. For example, the Cambodian Shiva temples in Phnom Bakheng, Bakong, and Koh Ker resemble mountain pyramids in the architectural idiom of Hindu and Buddhist temples in Borobudur and Prambanan on the island of Java in present-day Indonesia.

The period between the fall of the Mauryan empire (c. 185 BCE) and the rise of the Gupta dynasty (c. 320 CE) was one of great change, including the conquest of most parts of western India by a succession of invaders. India was opened to influence from the West as never before, not only by invaders but also through flourishing maritime trade with the Roman Empire. The effects of the new contacts were most obvious in art and architecture. One of the oldest freestanding stone temples in the subcontinent has been excavated at Taxila, near Rawalpindi, Pak. During the 1st century BCE the Gandharaschool of sculpture arose in the same region and made use of Hellenistic and Roman prototypes, mainly in the service of Buddhism. Hindu temples of the period probably were made of wood, because no remains of them have survived; however, literary evidence shows that they must have existed.

Rebel against Brahmanism (6th–2nd century BCE)

Indian religious life underwent great changes during the period 550–450 BCE. There were many heterodox teachers who organized bands of ascetic followers, and each group adopted a specific code of conduct. They gained considerable support from ruling families and merchants. The latter were growing in wealth and influence, and many of them were searching for alternative forms of religious activity that would give them a more significant role than did orthodox Brahmanism or that would be less expensive to support.

The scriptures of the new religious movements throw some light on the popular religious life of the period. The god Prajapati was widely believed to be the highest god and the creator of the universe; Indra, known chiefly as Shakra (“The Mighty One”), was second to him in importance. The Brahmans were very influential, but there was opposition to their large-scale animal sacrifices—on moral, philosophical, and economic grounds—and to their pretensions to superiority by virtue of their birth. The doctrine of transmigration was by then generally accepted, though a group of outright materialists—the Charvakas, or Lokayatas—denied the survival of the soul after death. The ancestor cult, part of the Indo-European heritage, was retained almost universally, at least by the higher castes. Popular religious life largely centred around the worship of local fertility divinities (yakshas), cobra spirits (nagas), and other minor spirits in sacred places such as groves. Although these sacred places were the main centres of popular religious life, there is no evidence of any buildings or images associated with them, and it appears that neither temples nor large icons existed at the time.

About 500 BCE asceticism became widespread, and increasing numbers of intelligent young men “gave up the world” to search for release from transmigration by achieving a state of psychic security. This century was marked by the rise of breakaway sects of ascetics who rejected traditional religion, denying the authority of the Vedas and of the Brahmans and following teachers who claimed to have discovered the secret of obtaining release from transmigration. By far the most important of these figures were Siddhartha Gautama, called the Buddha, and Vardhamana, called Mahavira (“Great Hero”), the founder of Jainism.

The orthodox Brahmanical teachers reacted to these tendencies by devising the doctrine of the four ashramas, which divided the life of the twice-born after initiation into four stages: the brahmacharin(celibate religious student); the grihastha (married householder); the vanaprastha (forest dweller); and the sannyasin (wandering ascetic). This attempt to keep asceticism in check by confining it to men of late middle age was not wholly successful. Thereafter Hindu social theory centred on the concept of varnashrama dharma, or the duties of the four classes (varnas) and the four ashramas, which constituted the ideal that Hindus were encouraged to follow.

The first great empire of India, the Mauryan empire, arose in the 3rd century BCE. Its early rulers were non-Brahmanic; Ashoka (reigned c.265–238 BCE), the third and most famous of the Mauryan emperors, was a professed Buddhist. Although there is no doubt that Ashoka’s patronage of Buddhism did much to spread that religion, his inscriptions recognize the Brahmans as worthy of respect. Sentimentsin favour of nonviolence (ahimsa) and vegetarianism, much encouraged by the non-Brahmanic sects, spread during the Mauryan period and were greatly encouraged by Ashoka. A Brahmanic revival appears to have occurred with the fall of the Mauryas ( in Shung Dynesty). The orthodox religion itself, however, was undergoing change at this time, as theistic tendencies developed around the gods Vishnu and Shiva.

Early Hinduism (2nd century BCE–4th century CE)

The centuries  were marked by the recension of the two great Sanskrit epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata (the latter incorporating into it the Bhagavadgita). The worship of Vishnu, incarnate as Rama in the Ramayana, and Krishna in the Mahabharata   developed significantly during this period , as did the cult of Shiva, who plays an active role in the Ramayana and  Mahabharata.

The Vedic god Rudra gained importance from the end of the Rigvedic period. In the Svetashvatara Upanishad, Rudra is for the first time called Shiva and is described as the creator, preserver, and destroyer of the universe. His followers are called on to worship him with devotion (bhakti). The tendency for the laity to form themselves into religious guilds or societies—evident in the case of the yaksha cults, Buddhism, and Jainism—promoted the growth of devotional Vaishnavism and Shaivism. These local associations of worshipers appear to have been a principal factor in the spread of the new cults. Theistic ascetics are less in evidence at this time, though a community of Shaivite monks, the Pashupatas, existed by the 2nd or 3rd century CE.

By the time of the early Gupta empire the new theism had been harmonized with the old Vedic religion, and two of the main branches of Hinduism were fully recognized. The Vaishnavas had the support of the Gupta emperors, who took the title paramabhagavata (“supreme devotee of Vishnu”). Vishnu temples were numerous, and the doctrine of Vishnu’s avatars (incarnations) was widely accepted. Of the 10 incarnations of later Vaishnavism, however, only two seem to have been much worshipped in the Gupta period (4th–6th century). These were Krishna, the hero of the Mahabharata, who also begins to appear in his pastoral aspect as the cowherd and flute player, and Varaha, the divine boar, of whom several impressive images survive from the Gupta period. A spectacular carving in Udayagiri (Madhya Pradesh) dating from about 400 CE depicts Varaha rescuing the earth goddess, Vasudha. Temples in Udayagiri (c. 400) and Deogarh (c. 500) also portray Vishnu reclining on the serpent Ananta (“Without End”).

The rise of major sects: Vaishnavism, Shaivism, and Shaktism

Vaishnavism (Vaishnava dharma) is one of the major traditions within Hinduism along with Shaivism, Shaktism, and Smartism. It is also called Vishnuism, its followers are called Vaishnavas, and it considers Vishnu as the Supreme Lord.

Shaivism theology ranges from Shiva being the creator, preserver, destroyer to being the same as the Atman (self, soul) within oneself and every living being. It is closely related to Shaktism, and some Shaiva worship in Shiva and Shakti temples.

Shaktism (Sanskrit: Śāktaḥ, lit., “doctrine of energy, power, the Goddess”) is a major tradition of Hinduism, wherein the metaphysical reality is considered feminine and Parvati (goddess) is supreme.

The Shaivites were also a growing force in the religious life of India. The sect of Pashupata ascetics, founded by Lakulisha (or Nahulisha), who lived in the 2nd century CE, is attested by inscriptions from the 5th century; it is among the earliest of the sectarian religious orders of Hinduism. Representations of the son of Shiva, Skanda (also called Karttikeya, the war god), appeared as early as 100 BCE on coins from the Kushan dynasty, which ruled northern India, Afghanistan, and Central Asia in the first three centuries of the Common Era. Shiva’s other son, the elephant-headed Ganesha, patron deity of commercial and literary enterprises, did not appear until the 5th century. Very important in this period was Surya, the sun god, in whose honour temples were built, though in modern times he is little regarded by most Hindus. The solar cult had Vedic roots but later may have expanded under Iranian influence.

Several goddesses gained importance in this period. Although goddesses had always been worshipped in local and popular cults, they play comparatively minor roles in Vedic religion. Lakshmi, or Shri, goddess of fortune and consort of Vishnu, was worshipped before the beginning of the Common Era, and several lesser goddesses are attested from the Gupta period. But the cult of Durga, the consort of Shiva, began to gain importance only in the 4th century, and the large-scale development of Shaktism (devotion to the active, creative principle personified as the mother goddess) did not take place until medieval times.

Hinduism in Southeast Asia and the Pacific

Hinduism and Buddhism exerted an enormous influence on the civilizations of Southeast Asia and contributed greatly to the development of a written tradition in that area. About the beginning of the Common Era, Indian merchants may have settled there, bringing Brahmans and Buddhist monks with them. These religious men were patronized by rulers who converted to Hinduism or Buddhism. The earliest material evidence of Hinduism in Southeast Asia comes from Borneo, where late 4th-century Sanskrit inscriptions testify to the performance of Vedic sacrifices by Brahmans at the behest of local chiefs. Chinese chronicles attest an Indianized kingdom in Vietnam two centuries earlier. The dominant form of Hinduism exported to Southeast Asia was Shaivism, though some Vaishnavism was also known there. Later, from the 9th century onward, Tantrism, both Hindu and Buddhist, spread throughout the region.

Beginning in the first half of the 1st millennium CE, many of the early kingdoms in Southeast Asia adopted and adapted specific Hindu texts, theologies, rituals, architectural styles, and forms of social organization that suited their historical and social conditions. It is not clear whether this presence came about primarily through slow immigration and settlement by key personnel from India or through visits to India by Southeast Asians who took elements of Indian culture back home. Hindu and Buddhist traders, priests, and, occasionally, princes traveled to Southeast Asia from India in the first few centuries of the Common Era and eventually settled there. Enormous temples to Shiva and Vishnu were built in the ancient Khmer empire, attesting to the power and prestige of Hindu traditions in the region. Angkor Wat, built in the 12th century in what is now Cambodia, was originally consecrated to Vishnu, although it was soon converted to (and is still in use as) a Buddhist temple. One of the largest Hindu temples ever built, it contains the largest bas-relief in the world, depicting the churning of the ocean of milk, a minor theme of Indian architecture but one of the dominant narratives in Khmer temples.

Despite the existence in Southeast Asia of Hindu temples and iconography as well as Sanskrit inscriptions, the nature and extent of Hindu influence upon the civilizations of the region is fiercely debated by contemporary scholars. Whereas early 20th-century scholars wrote about the Indianization of Southeast Asia, those of the late 20th and early 21st centuries argued that this influence was very limited and affected only a small cross section of the elite. It is nevertheless certain that divinity and royalty were closely connected in Southeast Asian civilizations and that several Hindu rituals were used to valorize the powers of the monarch.

The civilizations of Southeast Asia developed forms of Hinduism and Buddhism that incorporated distinctive local features and in other respects reflected local cultures, but the framework of their religious life, at least in the upper classes, was largely Indian. Stories from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata became widely known in Southeast Asia and are still popular there in local versions. In Indonesia the people of Bali still follow a form of Hinduism adapted to their own genius. Versions of the Manu-smriti were taken to Southeast Asia and were translated and adapted to indigenous cultures until they lost most of their original content.

Claims of early Hindu contacts farther east are no more doubtful. There is evidence of direct influence of Hinduism on China or Japan, which were primarily affected by Buddhism.

The rise of devotional Hinduism (4th–11th century)

The medieval period was characterized by the growth of new devotional religious movements centred on hymnodists who taught in the popular languages of the time. The new movements probably began with the appearance of hymns in Tamil associated with two groups of poets: the Nayanars, worshipers of Shiva, and the Alvars, devotees of Vishnu. The oldest of these date from the early 7th century, though passages of devotional character can be found in earlier Tamil literature.

The term bhakti, in the sense of devotion to a personal god, appears in the Bhagavadgita and the Shvetashvatara Upanishad. In these early sources it represents a devotion still somewhat restrained and unemotional. The new form of bhakti, associated with singing in the languages of the common people, was highly charged with emotion and mystical fervour, and the relationship between worshiper and divinity was often described as analogous to that between lover and beloved. The Tamil saints, south Indian devotees of Vishnu or Shiva from the 6th to the 9th century, felt an intense love (Tamil: anbu) toward their god. They experienced overwhelming joy in his presence and deep sorrow when he did not reveal himself. Some of them felt a profound sense of guilt or inadequacy in the face of the divine. In Tamil poems the supreme being is addressed as a lover, a parent, or a master. The poets traveled to many temples, many of them located in southern India, singing the praises of the enshrined deity. The poems have a strong ethical content and encourage the virtues of love, humility, and brotherhood. The ideas of these poets, spreading northward, probably were the origin of bhakti in northern India.

The devotional cults further weakened Buddhism, which had long been on the decline. The philosophers Kumarila and Shankara were strongly opposed to Buddhism. In their journeys throughout India, their biographies claim, they vehemently debated with Buddhists and tried to persuade kings and other influential people to withdraw their support from Buddhist monasteries. Only in Bihar and Bengal, because of the patronage of the Pala dynasty and some lesser kings and chiefs, did Buddhist monasteries continue to flourish. Buddhism in eastern India, however, was well on the way to being absorbed into Hinduism when the Muslims invaded the Ganges valley in the 12th century. The great Buddhist shrine of Bodh Gaya, the site of the Buddha’s enlightenment, became a Hindu temple.

At the end of its existence in India, Buddhism exhibited certain philosophical and cultural affinities with Hinduism. Among the Buddhist Tantrists appeared a new school of preachers, often known as Siddhas (“Those Who Have Achieved”), who sang their verses in the contemporary languages—early Maithili and Bengali. They taught that giving up the world was not necessary for release from transmigration and that one could achieve the highest state by living a life of simplicity in one’s own home. This system, known as Sahajayana (“Vehicle of the Natural” or “Easy Vehicle”), influenced both Bengali devotional Vaishnavism, which produced a sect called Vaishnava-Sahajiya with similar doctrines, and the Natha yogis (mentioned below), whose teachings influenced Kabir and other later bhaktimasters.

Hinduism in medieval period (11th–19th century)

The advent of Islam in the Ganges basin at the end of the 12th century resulted in the withdrawal of royal patronage from Hinduism in much of the area. The attitude of the Muslim rulers toward Hinduism varied. Some, like Fīrūz Tughluq (ruled 1351–88) and Aurangzeb (ruled 1658–1707), were strongly anti-Hindu and enforced payment of jizya, a poll tax on unbelievers. Others, like the Bengali sultan Ḥusayn Shah ʿAlāʾ al-Dīn (reigned 1493–1519) and the great Akbar (reigned 1556–1605), were well disposed toward their Hindu subjects. Many temples were destroyed by the more fanatical rulers, however. Conversion to Islam was more common in areas where Buddhism had once been strongest.

On the eve of the Muslim occupation, Hinduism was by no means sterile in northern India, but its vitality was centred in the southern areas. Throughout the centuries, the system of class and caste had become more rigid; in each region there was a complex hierarchy of castes strictly forbidden to intermarry or dine together, controlled and regulated by secular powers who acted on the advice of the court Brahmans. The large-scale Vedic sacrifices had practically vanished, but simple domestic Vedic sacrifices continued, and new forms of animal, and sometimes vegetable, sacrifice had appeared, especially connected with the worship of the mother goddess.

By that time, most of the main divinities of later Hinduism were worshipped. Rama, the hero of the epic poem, had become the eighth avatar of Vishnu, and his popularity was growing, though it was not yet as prominent as it later became. Similarly, Rama’s monkey helper, Hanuman, now one of the most popular divinities of India and the most ready helper in time of need, was rising in importance. Krishnawas worshipped, though his consort, Radha, did not become popular until after the 12th century. Harihara, a combination of Vishnu and Shiva, and Ardhanarishvara, a synthesis of Shiva and his consort Shakti, also became popular deities.



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The Sindhu (Indus) River — Remember Your Roots, and Heritage


Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A(Socio, Phil) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph.D.

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee, India


Many rivers and river valleys worldwide have played a significant role in the evolution, sustaining and development of civilizations. Notable amongst these are the Nile, Tigris-Euphrates, Sindhu (Indus) and Hwang Ho-Yang Tse Kyang. Mighty civilizations grew up on the banks of these great river systems.

The Indus River, locally refereed as the Tibetan, Sindhu, or Mehran, is the longest river in Asia. It is among the longest rivers in the world, with a total length of 2,000 miles from its source to drainage. Its estimated annual flow averages 58 cubic miles, making it the twenty-first largest liver in the world in terms of annual flow.

The river has total drainage area of about 4,50,000 square miles, of which 1,75,000 square miles, lie in the Himalayan mountains and foothills. A great Trans-Himalayan river, it is one of the longest rivers in the world with an astonishing length of 2900 km. Rising in south-western Tibet, at an altitude of 16,000 feet, Sindhu enters the Indian territory near Leh in Ladakh.

After flowing eleven miles beyond Leh, Sindhu is joined on the left by its first tributary, the Zanskar, which helps green the Zanskar Valley. Many interesting mountain trails beckon the mountaineering enthusiasts to the Zanskar Valley. The Sindhu then flows past Batalik.

The Indus River rises in the northern highlands of the Kailash Ranges in the Tibetan Autonomous Region. The river then flows northwest to cross India in the state of Jammu and Kashmir . In Kashmir, it is joined by its first tributary, the Zaskar River, . The mighty Indus when it enters the plains is joined by its famous five tributaries – the Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej – giving Punjab — “Land of five rivers” — its name,  and then flows in a southerly direction along the entire length to Pakistan, as the longest river in the country, and then drains into the Arabian Sea near the port city of Karachi in the province of Sindh..

. The Indus Valley civilization is synonymous with Harappa and Mohenjodaro.

The mighty Sindhu (Indus) river symbolizes the power and permanence of the ancient Indian civilization which evolved over a period of thousands of years. The archaeological discovery of the Indus Valley civilization which flourished along its banks, has reinforced the antiquity of the Indian civilization.

The river’s name comes from Sanskrit word ‘Sindhu’. It is mentioned in the Rig Veda, the earliest (c. 1500 BC) chronicles and hymns of the Aryan people of ancient India, and is the source of the country’s name. words like Hindu, Hindustan and India have been derived from Sindhus and ‘Indus’, the name given to Sindhu by foreigners. The journey of Sindhu through India transports you to a civilization going back five thousand years

Sindhu is divine. In the beginning was the word. The first recorded word was the Veda. The earliest mention of this great river is in the Vedas. The Sindhu — the cradle of Indian civilization — finds its most dramatic description in the Rig Veda (c. 1500 BC).
“Sindhu in might surpasses all streams that flow. His roar is lifted up to heaven above the earth; he puts forth endless vigour with a flash of light ….Even as cows with milk rush to their calves, so other rivers roar into the Sindhu. As a warrior king leads other warriors, so does Sindhu leads other rivers… Rich in good steeds is Sindhu, rich in gold, nobly fashioned, rich in ample wealth”.

Sindhu is too alive and too divine to be “it”, and so Sindhu is “he”! When the Vedic seer invokes the Sindhu. The Veda refers to the Ganga only twice, but it makes as many as thirty references to the Sindhu! It is the oldest name in Indian history – and in Indian geography. This is the great Sindhu that gave Sindh and Hind — its name. The Rig Veda compares the sound of the flowing Sindhu to the roar of thunderstorm, indicating the sense of awe inspired by the river in the minds of Aryans. Later on, in the Vedic period, the word Sindhu came to denote the sea, from which the vastness of the river can be gauged. In the Ramayana, Sindhu is seen to be given the title “Mahanadi”, which means “the mighty river”.

Kalidasa says in the Raghuvansha that on the advice of his maternal uncle Yudhajat, Rama conferred Sindh on Bharata. Rama’s ancestor Raghu’s triumphant horses had relaxed on the bank of the Sindhu.

Sindh was part of Dasaratha’s empire. When Kekayi goes into a sulk, Dasaratha tells her, “The sun does not set on my empire. Sindh, Sauvira, Saurashtra, Anga, vanga, Magadha, Kashi, Koshal — they are all mine”. When Sita was kidnapped by Ravana, Rama sent the vanaras (monkeys) to look for her, among other places, in Sindh with its “remarkable swimming horses”.
In the Mahabharat, the Sindhu is reverentially mentioned along with other two holy rivers, the Ganga and Saraswati. References to the Sindhu are also seen in many ancient literary works like those of Kalidasa, Bana, Panini. The fame of the mighty Sindhu had spread even beyond the subcontinent and it found reflections in the literary works of the Greek and Roman empires. It finds mention in some of the earlier literature of India.

Another great Sanskrit poet, Bhasa, had done a whole play, “Avimark” on the romance of Prince Avimark with Princess Kurangadi of Sindhu-Sauvira. The Bhavishya Purana says that Shalivahana, the grandson of Maharaja Vikramaditya of Ujjain, established law and order in ‘Sindhusthan” and fixed his frontier on the Sindhu. Anshnath, the eleventh Jain Tirthankar, was a Sindhi. He died in Bengal. The Jaina Dakshinya Chihna (eight century) speaks of Sindhis as “elegant, with a lovely, soft and slow gait. They are fond of songs, music and dance and feel affection for their country”.

There is a legend that the great Buddha had graced Sindh with his visit. Finding the climate extreme, and the area dry and dusty, he had permitted the bhikshus to wear shoes here. He had also permitted the use of padded clothing, forbidden elsewhere. Here Sthavirtis, the Prince of Rorik or Roruka (Aror or Alor, near modern Rohri) became his disciple. When the Buddha went round his native Kapilavastu in a chariot, it was mentioned that the “four auspicious horses, of lotus colour, had come from Sindhudesh”.
To this day, historic Buddhist stupas are found in Sindh. The Divyavadana (Tibetan version) reports: “The Buddha is in Rajgriha. At this time, there were two great cities in Jampudvip (north India), Pataliputra and Roruka. When Roruka rises, Pataliputra declines; when Pataliputra rises, Roruka declines”.

Here was Roruka of Sindh competing with the capital of the Magadha empire. When Bimbisar was the king of the Magadha, he sent Rudrayan, king of Sindhu-Sauvita, a rare portrait of the Buddha. The two powerful ministers of Sindh at the time were Hiroo and Bheru, their names still common amongst the Sindhis!

Chandragupta Maurya first won Sindh and then Punjab. It was from this base that he displaced the Nandas, occupied Pataliputra and established the great Mauryan empire.
Kashmir’s ancient royal history Rajatirangini has many references to Sindh and the Sindhis. Kuya’s son Sindhu rose to lead the elephant brigade of Kashmir. He was advisor to Queen Dida. A top honour was “Sindhu Gaja”, Elephant of Sindh.


REFERANCES: | May 16, 2011

Remember Your Roots, Heritage and Culture

MINISTRY OF TOURISM Government of India




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Hindu reform movements

Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A(Socio, Phil) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph.D.

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee, India

Several  groups, collectively known as Hindu reform movements, strive to introduce regeneration and reform to Hinduism.   What has been termed “modern Hinduism” has grown largely out of a number of quite radical reform movements of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  Although these movements are very individual in their exact philosophies they generally stress the spiritual, secular and logical and scientific aspects of the Vedic traditions, creating a form that is egalitarian that does not discriminate based on Jāti (caste or subcaste), gender, or race. Thus, most modern Hindu reform movements advocate a return to supposed ancient, egalitarian forms of Hinduism, and view aspects of modern Hinduism, such as discrimination and the caste system, as being corrupt results from colonialism and foreign influence.

These movements had a relatively small number of followers and by no means replaced or superseded the major traditional forms of Hinduism.

The reform movements largely emerged from the growing contact that Hindu thinkers had with Western thought, culture and religion. Below are the four most important movements and the names associated with them.

Brahmo Samaj

The Brahmo Samaj is a Hindu unitarian society, which in outward forms of worship is modeled largely after Christian practices. They stand for the abolition of caste, idol worship, and child marriage, and advocate temperance and other social reforms.

The pioneer of reform was Ram Mohun Roy. His intense belief in strict monotheism and in the evils of image worship began early and probably was derived from  Christianity.  In 1814  he settled in Calcutta (Kolkata), where he was prominent in the movement for encouraging education of a Western type. His final achievement was the foundation of the Brahmo Samaj (“Society of God”) in 1828.

Roy remained a Hindu, wearing the sacred cord and keeping most of the customs of the orthodox Brahman, but his theology was drawn from several sources. He was chiefly inspired by 18th-century Deism(rational belief in a transcendent Creator God) and Unitarianism (belief in God’s essential oneness), but some of his writing suggests that he was also aware of the religious ideas of the Freemasons (a secret fraternity that espoused some Deistic concepts). Several of his friends were members of a Masonic lodge in Calcutta. His ideas of the afterlife are obscure, and it is possible that he did not believe in the doctrine of transmigration. Roy was one of the first higher-class Hindus to visit Europe, where he was much admired by the intelligentsia of Britain and France.

After Roy’s death, Debendranath Tagore (father of the greatest poet of modern India, Rabindranath Tagore [1861–1941]) became leader of the Brahmo Samaj, and under his guidance a more mystical note was sounded by the society; Tagore also promoted literacy and vigorously opposed idolatry and the practice of suttee. In 1863 he founded Shantiniketan (“Abode of Peace”), a retreat in rural Bengal.

The third great leader of the Brahmo Samaj, Keshab Chunder Sen, was a reformer who completely abolished caste in the society and admitted women as members. Keshab’s faction, the Brahmo Samaj of India, adopted as its scripture a selection of theistic texts gathered from all the main religions. At the same time, it became more Hindu in its worship, employing the sankirtana (devotional singing and dancing) and nagarakirtana(street procession) of the Chaitanya movement, an intensely devotional form of Hinduism established by the Bengali mystic and poet Chaitanya. In 1881 Keshab founded the Church of the New Dispensation (Naba Bidhan) for the purpose of establishing the truth of all the great religions in an institution that he believed would replace them all. When he died in 1884, the Brahmo Samaj began to decline.

Arya Samaj

The Arya Samaj was founded by Swami Dayananda Sarasvati (left) in 1875 as a radical reform movement. Dayananda wanted to halt the Christian missionary onslaught and to return to the ancient Vedic tradition. A reformer of different character was Dayanand Sarasvati, who was trained as a yogi but steadily lost faith in Yoga and in many other aspects of Hinduism. After traveling widely as an itinerant preacher, he founded the Arya Samaj in 1875, and it rapidly gained ground in western India  He therefore sought to purge Hinduism of what he considered later additions, such as image worship, pilgrimage and ritual bathing. Although emphasising the ancient Vedic tradition, Dayananda also sought to modernise Hinduism and to re-absorb Hindus who had converted to Islam or Christianity. His movement, with its concerns over the influence of other religions sowed the seeds for the many political parties that desired to re-establish Hindu rule in India. The Arya Samaj is still an active organisation, both world-wide and in the UK. Its members agree to follow its “Ten Principles” and worship largely through havan (the sacred fire ceremony) and recitation of the Gayatri-mantra.

. Dayanand rejected image worship, sacrifice, and polytheism and claimed to base his doctrines on the four Vedas as the eternal word of God. Later Hindu scriptures were judged critically, and many of them were believed to be completely evil. The Arya Samaj did much to encourage Hindu nationalism, but it did not disparage the knowledge of the West, and it established many schools and colleges. Among its members was the revolutionary Lala Lajpat Rai.

Ramakrishna Mission

Ramakrishna (right) was born Gadadhar Chatterji in a poor but orthodox Bengali brahmana family. As a young man he became the priest at the Kali temple near Calcutta. He was later initiated as a sannyasi and experienced mystical visions, especially of Devi. He was profoundly influenced by Christianity and Islam and emphasised the universality of religion. He preached that “Jiva is Shiva” (the soul is God). He met many contemporary reformers and it was Keshab Chandra Sen who made him first known to the world.

Among the followers of Ramakrishna was Narendranath Datta, who became an ascetic after his master’s death and assumed the religious name Vivekananda. In 1893 he attended the World’s Parliament of Religions in Chicago, where his powerful personality and stirring oratory deeply impressed the gathering. After lecturing in the United States and England, he returned to India in 1897 with a small band of Western disciples and founded the Ramakrishna Mission, the most important modern organization of reformed Hinduism. Vivekananda, more than any earlier Hindu reformer, encouraged social service. Influenced by progressive Western political ideas, he set himself firmly against all forms of caste distinction and fostered a spirit of self-reliance in his followers. With branches in many parts of the world, the Ramakrishna Mission has done much to spread knowledge of its version of Hinduism outside India.

It was Vivekananda (1863–1902), however, who made Ramakrishna really famous. He joined the Brahmo Samaj but later became Ramakrishna’s favourite disciple. He was expert in presenting Advaita Vedanta and greatly impressed the Western world in his presentation to the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893. He travelled extensively, promoting wide reform, claiming that other reformers “played into the hands of Europeans.” He established the Ramakrishna Mission, today well known for its social and educational endeavors.

The most important developments in Hinduism did not arise primarily from the new samajs. Ramakrishna, a devotee at Daksineshvar, a temple of Kali north of Kolkota (Calcutta), attracted a band of educated lay followers who spread his doctrines. As a result of his studies and visions, he came to the conclusion that “all religions are true” but that the religion of a person’s own time and place was for that person the best expression of the truth. Ramakrishna thus gave educated Hindus a basis on which they could justify the less rational aspects of their religion to a consciousness increasingly influenced by Western values.

Theosophical Society

Another movement influenced in part by Hinduism is the Theosophical Society. Founded in New York City in 1875 by Helena Blavatsky of Russia, it was originally inspired by Kabbala (Jewish esoteric mysticism), gnosticism (esoteric salvatory knowledge), and forms of Western occultism. When Blavatsky went to India in 1879, her doctrines quickly took on an Indian character, and from her headquarters at Adyar she and her followers established branches in many cities of India.

After surviving serious accusations of charlatanry leveled against its founder and other leaders, the society prospered under the leadership of Annie Besant, a reform-minded Englishwoman. During her tenurethe many Theosophical lodges founded in Europe and the United States helped to acquaint the West with the principles of Hinduism, if in a rather idiosyncratic form.

The Theosophical Society also played a crucial role in moulding and shaping the socio-religious movement of the 19th century.

In her words, the mission of the Theosophical Society was the revival, strengthening and uplifting of ancient religions, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism and Buddhism. This brought with it a new sense of self-respect, a pride in the past, a belief in the future and as an inevitable result, a great wave of patriotic life, the beginning of the rebuilding of the nation.

No doubt, it stood for revivalism but it sought for the abolition of child marriage, illiteracy and alcoholism. The other association that worked for revival of age-old culture was Deva Samaj formed by Satyanand Agnihotri in 1887, which was limited to the Punjab Sanatana Dharma. Rakshini Sabha of Bengal which was set up in 1883, the Madhava Siddhanta Unnayini Sabha set up in south in 1887 and Bharat Dharma Maha Mandal of Benaras with their urge for socio-religious reform movements among the Muslims and Sikhs was reflected in their efforts during the 19th century. In the regeneration of the Muslim society, two intellectuals.

Aurobindo Ashram

Another modern teacher whose doctrines had some influence outside India was Sri Aurobindo. He began his career as a revolutionary but later withdrew from politics and settled in Pondicherry, then a French possession. There he established an ashram and achieved a high reputation as a sage. His followers saw him as the first incarnate manifestation of the superbeings whose evolution he prophesied. After his death, the leadership of the Aurobindo Ashram was assumed by Mira Richard, a Frenchwoman who had been one of his disciples.

Sri Aurobindo firmly believe that the question is not between modernism and antiquity, but between an imported civilisation and the greater possibilities of the Indian mind and nature, not between the present and the past, but between the present and the future. He pointed out that “the living spirit of the demand for national education no more requires a return to the astronomy and mathematics of Bhaskara or the forms of the system of Nalanda than the living spirit of Swadheshi, a return from railway and motor traction to the ancient chariot and the bullock-cart.” He, therefore, spoke not of a return to the 5th century but an initiation of the centuries to come, not a reversion but a break forward away from a present artificial falsity to India’s own greater innate potentialities, which are demanded by the soul of India.

Other reform movements

Numerous other teachers have affected the religious life of India. Among them was the great Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore, who was influenced by many currents of earlier religious thought, both Indian and non-Indian. Tagore was particularly popular in Europe and the United States about the time of World War I, and he did much to disseminate Hindu religious thought in the West.

Less important outside India but much respected in India itself, especially in the south, was Ramana Maharshi, a Tamil mystic who maintained almost complete silence. His powerful personality attracted a large band of devotees before his death in 1950.

In 1936 Swami Shivananda, who had been a physician, established an ashram and an organization called the Divine Life Society near the sacred site of Rishikesh in the Himalayas. This organization has numerous branches in India and some elsewhere. His movement teaches more or less orthodox Vedanta, one of the six schools of Indian philosophy, combined with both Yoga and bhakti but rejects caste and stresses social service.


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Indus River Valley Civilization – Two great cities of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro.


Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A(Socio, Phil) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph.D

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee, India

In the days when historians supposed that history had begun with Greece, Europe gladly believed that India had been a hotbed of barbarism until the “Aryan” cousins of the European peoples had migrated from the shores of the Caspian to bring the arts and sciences to a savage and benighted peninsula. Recent researches have marred this comforting picture as future researches will change the perspective of these pages. In India, as elsewhere, the beginnings of civilization are buried in the earth, and not all the spades of archaeology will ever quite exhume them. Remains of an Old Stone Age fill many cases in the museums of Calcutta, Madras and Bombay; and Neolithic objects have been found in nearly every state. These, however, were cultures, not yet a civilization.

Harappa. The early Indus valley civilization–later called Harrapan–was first excavated in the 1850s, during the construction of railways under British supervision. Alexander Cunningham,a British general involved in the discoveries, later headed the Indian Archeological Survey. In 1856, British colonial officials in India were busy monitoring the construction of a railway connecting the cities of Lahore and Karachi in modern-day Pakistan along the Indus River valley.

As they continued to work, some of the laborers discovered many fire-baked bricks lodged in the dry terrain. There were hundreds of thousands of fairly uniform bricks, which seemed to be quite old. Nonetheless, the workers used some of them to construct the road bed, unaware that they were using ancient artifacts. They soon found among the bricks stone artifacts made of soapstone, featuring intricate artistic markings.

Though they did not know it then, and though the first major excavations did not take place until the 1920s, these railway workers had happened upon the remnants of the Indus Valley Civilization, also known as the Harappan Civilization, after Harappa, the first of its sites to be excavated, in what was then the Punjab province of British India and is now in Pakistan.

In 1924 the world of scholarship was again aroused by news from India: Sir John Marshall announced that his Indian aides, R. D. Banerji in particular, had discovered at Mohenjo-daro, on the western bank of the lower Indus, remains of what seemed to be an older civilization than any yet known to historians. There, and at Harappa, a few hundred miles to the north, four or five superimposed cities were excavated, with hundreds of solidly-built brick houses and shops, ranged along wide streets as well as narrow lanes, and rising in many cases to several stories. Anchored on the two great cities of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro., it had developed rapidly, and independently of Mesopotamian patterns, in the mid-3d millennium B.C.E. The total area of the civilization was much larger than Sumer or Old Kingdom Egypt. The Great Cities of the Indus Valley .

Scholars are still piecing together information about this mysterious civilization, but they have learned a great deal about it since its rediscovery. Its origins seem to lie in a settlement named Mehrgarh in the foothills of a mountain pass in modern-day Balochistan in western Pakistan. There is evidence of settlement in this area as early as 7000 BCE.

The Indus Valley Civilization is often separated into three phases: the Early Harappan Phase from 3300 to 2600 BCE, the Mature Harappan Phase from 2600 to 1900 BCE, and the Late Harappan Phase from 1900 to 1300 BCE.

Harappan civilization, a huge complex of cities and villages, developed rapidly during the 3rd millennium B.C.E. within the Indus river system. The two principal cities were Harappa, in the north, and Mohenjo-Daro, in the south. The rivers were fed by the melting snows of the Himalayas, and monsoon rains, depositing rich soil in the valley plains. Early settlers profited from the region’s rich environment. They domesticated animals, practiced sophisticated agricultural techniques; they made pottery, mirrors and bronze tools and weapons.

An advanced agricultural system supported Harappa’s peoples. The main food crops were wheat, rye, peas, and possibly rice, and  and cotton was also part of the system.They domesticated animals, practiced sophisticated agricultural techniques; they made pottery, mirrors and bronze tools and weapons. Irrigation systems controlled the rivers’ flow.

Harappa was a fortified city in modern-day Pakistan that is believed to have been home to as many as 23,500 residents living in sculpted houses with flat roofs made of red sand and clay. The city spread over 150 hectares—370 acres—and had fortified administrative and religious centers of the same type used in Mohenjo-daro.

The Indus valley had been home to a huge network of towns and villages, first arising in the mid-3rd millennium B.C.E. Two great cities, Harappa and Mohenjo Daro, were at the heart of the civilization. The ancestor to Indian civilizations, Harappa, flourished in the Indus River Valley. Nomadic Aryan invaders moved into the region of the latter between 1500 and 1000 B.C.E. and established the basis for a new pattern of civilization in South Asia.

Nomadic Aryan invaders moved into the region of the latter between 1500 and1000 B.C.E. and established the basis for a new pattern of civilization in South Asia. .The Indus River Valley and the Birth of South Asian Civilization. Harappan civilization, a huge complex of cities and villages, developed rapidly during the 3rd millennium B.C.E. within the Indus river system.

Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro were densely populated, walled cities similar in layout and construction. They were built on a square grid pattern divided by main streets into smaller, precise, grids. Buildings and walls were made of standardized kiln-dried bricks. The massive scale required an autocratic government able to manage large numbers of workers.

The remains of the Indus Valley Civilization cities indicate remarkable organization; there were well-ordered wastewater drainage and trash collection systems and possibly even public baths and granaries, which are storehouses for grain. Most city-dwellers were artisans and merchants grouped together in distinct neighborhoods. The quality of urban planning suggests efficient municipal governments that placed a high priority on hygiene or religious ritual.

Harappans demonstrated advanced architecture with dockyards, granaries, warehouses, brick platforms, and protective walls. These massive walls likely protected the Harappans from floods and may have deterred military conflicts. Unlike Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt, the inhabitants of the Indus Valley Civilization did not build large, monumental structures. There is no conclusive evidence of palaces or temples—or even of kings, armies, or priests—and the largest structures may be granaries.

These discoveries establish the existence in Sind (the northernmost province of the Bombay Presidency) and the Punjab, during the fourth and third millennium B.C., of a highly developed city life; and the presence, in many of the houses, of wells and bathrooms, as well as one of the first elaborate drainage-system, betoken a social condition of the citizens at least equal to that found in Sumer, and superior to that prevailing in contemporary Babylonia and Egypt. . . . Even at Ur the houses are by no means equal in point of construction to those of Mohenjo-Daro.

The city of Mohenjo-Daro contains the Great Bath, which may have been a large, public bathing and social area. Harappa, Mohenjo-daro, demonstrate the world’s first known urban sanitation systems. The ancient Indus systems of sewage and drainage developed and used in cities throughout the Indus region were far more advanced than any found in contemporary urban sites in the Middle East and even more efficient than those in many areas of Pakistan and India today. Individual homes drew water from wells, while wastewater was directed to covered drains on the main streets. Houses opened only to inner courtyards and smaller lanes, and even the smallest homes on the city outskirts were believed to have been connected to the system, further supporting the conclusion that cleanliness was a matter of great importance.

Each city possessed fortified citadels which served as defensive sanctuaries, community centers, assembly halls or places of worship, and public bathing tanks. Large granaries located nearby stored grain, whose sale and production may have been regulated by the state. Smaller uniformly constructed residences made of brick were arranged along twisted lanes. They lacked exterior decoration and ornamentation and contained a courtyard surrounded by rooms for sleeping, cooking, and receiving visitors. Bathing areas and drains emptied into a citywide sewage system, one of the best in the ancient world.

The cities were major trading centers; there is evidence for trade with Mesopotamia, China, and Burma. The Harappans remained conservative and resistant to external influences, including weapon development.

Little is known about Harappan religion and language. A collection of written texts on clay and stone tablets unearthed at Harappa—which have been carbon dated 3300-3200 BCE—contain trident-shaped, plant-like markings that appear to be written from right to left. There is considerable debate about whether it was an encoded language at all and whether it is related to Indo-European and South Indian language families. The Indus script remains indecipherable without any comparable symbols, and is thought to have evolved independently of the writing in Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt.

The Harappan religion also remains a topic of speculation. It has been widely suggested that the Harappans worshipped a mother goddess who symbolized fertility. In contrast to Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations, the Indus Valley Civilization seems to have lacked any temples or palaces that would give clear evidence of religious rites or specific deities.

A powerful class of priests, drawing authority from their role as intermediary between the populace and gods, dominated society. Promoting fertility was a paramount concern. The most prominent deity depicted was a fierce-faced naked male with a horned head. The concern with fertility was demonstrated by numerous naked female figures (devis, or mother-goddesses, and sacred animals—especially bulls), and phallic-shaped objects.

The figures, along with carvings depicting members of society, represent the pinnacle of Harappan artistic expression. The rigid order of the society required an extensive administrative class serving the priests. The latter, along with merchants, occupied the larger residences of the city.

Many Indus Valley seals include the forms of animals; some depict the animals being carried in processions, while others show mythological creations like unicorns, leading scholars to speculate about the role of animals in Indus Valley religions. Interpretations of these animal motifs include signification of membership in a clan, elite class, or kin structure. One seal from Mohenjo-daro shows a half-human, half-buffalo monster attacking a tiger. This may be a reference to the Sumerian myth of a monster created by Aruru—the Sumerian earth and fertility goddess—to fight Gilgamesh, the hero of an ancient Mesopotamian epic poem. This is a further suggestion of international trade in Harappan culture.

Indus Valley excavation sites have revealed a number of distinct examples of the culture’s art, including sculptures, seals, pottery, gold jewelry, and anatomically detailed figurines in terracotta, bronze, and steatite. However, Harrapan artifacts display an extraordinary uniformity. Pottery, seals, weights, and bricks with standardized sizes and weights, suggest some form of authority and governance

Among the various gold, terracotta, and stone figurines found was a figure of a priest-king displaying a beard and patterned robe. Another figurine in bronze, known as the Dancing Girl, is only 11 centimeters high and shows a female figure in a pose that suggests the presence of some choreographed dance form enjoyed by members of the civilization. Terracotta works also included cows, bears, monkeys, and dogs. In addition to figurines, the Indus River Valley people are believed to have created necklaces, bangles, and other ornaments.

It is widely believed that the Harappan civilization was a peaceful one that did not engage in any warfare, but there is not conclusive evidence to support this belief, and some archaeologists consider it a pervasive myth. Some scholars argue that Harappans were peaceful primarily because there were no natural enemies due to the geographic location of the major cities. Weapons have been found at sites, but there is debate as to whether they were used in conflict with other groups or as defense against wild animals.


The precise causes of Harappan decline during the mid-2nd millennium B.C.E. remain disputed. Many factors contributed to its demise. Mohenjo-Daro and other locations suffered from severe flooding. Shifts in climatic patterns eventually transformed the fertile region into an arid steppe. The priestly class lost power. Migrants, some of them Aryan pastoralists, destroyed the irrigation system over a long period of time.

The Indus Valley Civilization declined around 1800 BCE, and scholars debate which factors resulted in the civilization’s demise. One theory suggested that a nomadic, Indo-European tribe called the Aryans invaded and conquered the Indus Valley Civilization, though more recent evidence tends to contradict this claim. Many scholars believe that the collapse of the Indus Valley Civilization was caused by climate change. Some experts believe the drying of the Saraswati River, which began around 1900 BCE, was the main cause for climate change, while others conclude that a great flood struck the area.

Various elements of the Indus Civilization are found in later cultures, suggesting the civilization did not disappear suddenly due to an invasion. Many scholars argue that changes in river patterns caused the large civilization to break up into smaller communities called late Harappan cultures.

Another disastrous change in the Harappan climate might have been eastward-moving monsoons, or winds that bring heavy rains. Monsoons can be both helpful and detrimental to a climate, depending on whether they support or destroy vegetation and agriculture.

By 1800 BCE, the Indus Valley climate grew cooler and drier, and a tectonic event may have diverted or disrupted river systems, which were the lifelines of the Indus Valley Civilization. The Harappans may have migrated toward the Ganges basin in the east, where they could have established villages and isolated farms. These small communities would not have been able to produce the same agricultural surpluses to support large cities. With the reduced production of goods, there would have been a decline in trade with Egypt and Mesopotamia. By around 1700 BCE, most of the Indus Valley Civilization cities had been abandoned.

The huge city of Mohenjo-Daro

Mohenjo-daro is thought to have been built in the twenty-sixth century BCE; it became not only the largest city of the Indus Valley Civilization but one of the world’s earliest major urban centers. Located west of the Indus River in the Larkana District, Mohenjo-daro was one of the most sophisticated cities of the period, with advanced engineering and urban planning.

The ruins of the huge city of Mohenjo-Daro – built entirely of unbaked brick in the 3rd millennium B.C. – lie in the Indus valley. The acropolis, set on high embankments, the ramparts, and the lower town, which is laid out according to strict rules, provide evidence of an early system of town planning.

Mohenjo-Daro is the most ancient and best-preserved urban ruin on the Indian subcontinent, dating back to the beginning of the 3rd millennium BC, and exercised a considerable influence on the subsequent development of urbanization on the Indian peninsula.

The archaeological site is located on the right bank of the Indus River, 400 km from Karachi, in Pakistan’s Sind Province. It flourished for about 800 years during the 3rd and 2nd millennia BC. Centre of the Indus Civilization, one of the largest in the Old World, this 5,000-year-old city is the earliest manifestation of urbanization in South Asia. Its urban planning surpasses that of many other sites of the oriental civilizations that were to follow.

Of massive proportions, Mohenjo-Daro comprises two sectors: a stupa mound that rises in the western sector and, to the east, the lower city ruins spread out along the banks of the Indus. The acropolis, set on high embankments, the ramparts, and the lower town, which is laid out according to strict rules, provide evidence of an early system of town planning.

The stupa mound, built on a massive platform of mud brick, is composed of the ruins of several major structures – Great Bath, Great Granary, College Square and Pillared Hall – as well as a number of private homes. The extensive lower city is a complex of private and public houses, wells, shops and commercial buildings. These buildings are laid out along streets intersecting each other at right angles, in a highly orderly form of city planning that also incorporated important systems of sanitation and drainage.

Of this vast urban ruin of Mohenjo-Daro, only about one-third has been reveal by excavation since 1922. The foundations of the site are threatened by saline action due to a rise of the water table of the Indus River. This was the subject of a UNESCO international campaign in the 1970s, which partially mitigated the attack on the prehistoric mud-brick buildings.

Among the finds at these sites were household utensils and toilet out- fits; pottery painted and plain, hand-turned and turned on the wheel; terracotta’s, dice and chess-men; coins older than any previously known; over a thousand seals, most of them engraved, and inscribed in an un- known pictograph script; faience work of excellent quality; stone carving superior to that of the Sumerians;  copper weapons and implements, and a copper model of a two-wheeled cart (one of our oldest examples of a wheeled vehicle) ; gold and silver bangles, ear-ornaments, necklaces, and other jewelry “so well finished and so highly polished,” says Marshall, “that they might have come out of a Bond Street jeweler’s of today rather than from a prehistoric house of 5,000 years ago.”

Strange to say, the lowest strata of these remains showed a more developed art than the upper layers as if even the most ancient deposits were from a civilization already hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years old. Some of the implements were of stone, some of copper, some of bronze, suggesting that this Indus culture had arisen in a Chalcolithic Age i.e., in a transition from stone to bronze as the material of tools.” The indications are that Mohenjo-Daro was at its height when Cheops built the first great pyramid; that it had commercial, religious and artistic connections with Sumeria and Babylonia;  and that it survived over three thousand years, until the third century before Christ,  These connections are suggested by similar seals found at Mohenjo-Daro and in Sumeria (especially at Kish), and by the appearance of the Naga, or hooded serpent, among the early Mesopotamian seals. u In 1932 Dr. Henri Frankfort unearthed, in the ruins of a Babylonian-Elamite village at the modern Tell-Asmar (near Baghdad), pottery seals and beads which in his judgment (Sir John Marshall concurring) were imported from Mohenjo-Daro ca. 2000 B.C.”

Macdone.U believes that this amazing civilization was derived from Sumeria;” Hall believes that the Sumerians derived their culture from India;” Woolley derives both the Sumerians and the early Hindus from some common parent stock and culture in or near Baluchistan.  Investigators have been struck by the fact that similar seals found both in Babylonia and in India belong to the earliest (“pre-Sumerian”) phase of the Mesopotamian culture, but to the latest phase of the Indus civilization  which suggests the priority of India. Guide inclines to this conclusion: “By the end of the fourth millennium B.C. the material culture of Abydos, Ur, or Mohenjo-Daro would stand comparison with that of Periclean Athens or of any medieval town. . . . Judging by the domestic architecture, the seal-cutting, and the grace of the pottery, the Indus civilization was ahead of the Babylonian at the beginning of the third millennium (ca. 3000 B.C.). But that was a late phase of the Indian culture; it may have enjoyed no less lead in earlier times. Were then the innovations and discoveries that characterize proto-Sumcrian civilization not native developments on Babylonian soil, but the results of Indian inspiration? If so, had the Sumerians themselves come from the Indus, or at least from regions in its immediate sphere of influence?”  These fascinating questions cannot yet be answered; but they serve to remind us that a history of civilization, because of our human ignorance, begins at what was probably a late point in the actual development of culture.

We cannot tell yet whether, as Marshall believes, Mohenjo-Daro represents the oldest of all civilizations known. But the exhuming of prehistoric India has just begun; only in our time has archaeology turned from Egypt across Mesopotamia to India. When the soil of India has been turned up like that of Egypt we shall probably find there a civilization older than that which flowered out of the mud of the Nile.  Excavations near Chitaldrug, in Mysore, revealed six levels of buried cultures, rising from Stone Age implements and geometrically adorned pottery apparently as old as 4000 B.C., to remains as late as 1200 A.D.”




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KNOWLEDGE- The what aspect


Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A(Socio, Phil) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph.D

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee, India

Epistemology, from the Greek words episteme (knowledge) and logos (word/speech) is the branch of philosophy that deals with the nature, origin, and scope of knowledge. It deals withthe Theories of the nature of knowledge-like Agnosticism ( the doctrine that holds tha one can not know the existence of anything beyond the phenomenon of experience.) Skepticism (challenge to accepted views in science ,morals, and religion. A questioning attitude toward the possibility of having any knowledge.)

Epistemology is important because it is fundamental to how we think. Epistemology is based on:

Empiricism( knowledge is obtained through experience. The position, or sense-perceptual experience, is the medium through which knowledge is gained.)

Rationalism ( knowledge can be acquired through the use of reason.

Intuitionism-(A position that knowledge is gained through immediate insight and awareness  ).

Authoritarianism (The position that much important knowledge is certified to us by an indisputable authority.)

Reveleation –( The position that  God presently reveals himself in the holy books or holy places. A communication of God,s will to man from some external source.)

In medieval period the main formula for knowledge was   KNOWLEDGE= SCRIPTURES x LOGIC. If people wanted to know the answer of an important question, they would read scriptures and use their logic to understand the exact meaning of the text. For example, scholars who wished to determine the shape of the earth scanned the Bible looking for relevant referaences. One pointed out that in job 38:13, it says that God can take hold of the edges of the earth and wicked be shaken out of it. This implies- reasoned the pundit- that because the earth has ‘ edges’ the God can ‘take hold of’, it must be flat square. Another sage rejected this interpretation, calling attention to Isaiah 40:22, where it says that God  sits enthroned above the circle of the earth. Isn’t that proof that the earth is round? In practice, this meant that scholars sought knowledge by spending years in school and libraries, reading more and more texts, and sharpening their logic so they could understand the texts correctly.

The Scientific Revolution proposed a very different formula for knowledge: Knowledge = Empirical Data x Mathematics. If we want to know the answer to some question, we need to gather them. For example, in order to gauge the true shape of the earth, we can begin by observing the sun, moon and planets from various locations across the world. Once we have amassed enough observations, we can use trigonometry to deduce not only the shape of the earth, but also the structure of the entire solar system. In practice, this means that scientists seek knowledge by spending years in more and more empirical data, and sharpening their mathematical tools so they can interpret the data correctly.

Humanism offered an alternative. As humans gained confidence in themselves, a new formula for acquiring ethical knowledge appeared: Knowledge = Experiences x Sensitivity. If we wish to know the answer to any ethical question, we need to connect to our inner experiences, and observe them with the utmost sensitivity. In practice, this means that we seek knowledge by spending years collecting experiences, and sharpening our sensitivity so we can understand these experiences correctly.

Experiences and sensitivity build up one another in a never-ending cycle. I cannot develop sensitivity unless I undergo a variety of experiences. Sensitivity is not an abstract aptitude that can be developed by reading books or listening to lectures. It is a practical skill that can ripen and mature only by applying it in practice.

Human beings over time have evolved many bodies of knowledge, which include a repertoire of ways of thinking , of feeling and of doing things, and constructing more knowledge. All children have to re-create a significant part of this wealth for themselves, as this constitutes the basis for further thinking and for acting appropriately in this world. It is also important to learn to participate in the very process of knowledge creation, meaning making and human action, i.e. work.

“‘Knowledge’ is defined as what we know: knowledge involves the mental processes of comprehension, understanding and learning that go on in the mind and only in the mind, however much they involve interaction with the world outside the mind, and interaction with others.” Wilson

According to Wilson, knowledge can only be in the minds of people. Although not directly expressed, the definition includes the empiricist (“interaction with the world) and the rationalistic (“comprehension, understanding and learning”) viewpoint on the creation of knowledge. Adding to his knowledge definition, Wilson  says that knowledge is bound to the thinking structures of each individual and when these wish to share it, they compose messages which are then decoded by another individual. However, “the knowledge built from the messages can never be exactly the same as the knowledge base from which the messages were uttered”.

Allee (1997 ) has the viewpoint that “we literally cannot know anything without a word to describe it” and therefore binds knowledge exclusively to information. Her view on knowledge is very limited as language is only one out of many information channels such as visuals, sounds or practical demonstration. “Knowledge is experience or information that can be communicated or shared”.

Knowledge is human faculty resulting from interpreted information; understanding that germinates from combination of data, information, experience, and individual interpretation. Facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.

Knowledge is the acquaintance with or understanding of a science, art, or technique.  It is the sum of what is known :  the body of truth, information, and principles acquired by humankind. The sum or range of what has been perceived, discovered, or learned .

In medieval period the main formula for knowledge was   KNOWLEDGE= SCRIPTURES x LOGIC. If people wanted to know the answer of an important question, they would read scriptures and use their logic to understand the exact meaning of the text. For example, scholars who wished to determine the shape of the earth scanned the Bible looking for relevant referaences. One pointed out that in job 38:13, it says that God can take hold of the edges of the earth and wicked be shaken out of it. This implies- reasoned the pundit- that because the earth has ‘ edges’ the God can ‘take hold of’, it must be flat square. Another sage rejected this interpretation, calling attention to Isaiah 40:22, where it says that God  sits enthroned above the circle of the earth. Isn’t that proof that the earth is round? In practice, this meant that scholars sought knowledge by spending years in school and libraries, reading more and more texts, and sharpening their logic so they could understand the texts correctly.

The Scientific Revolution proposed a very different formula for knowledge: Knowledge = Empirical Data x Mathematics. If we want to know the answer to some question, we need to gather them. For example, in order to gauge the true shape of the earth, we can begin by observing the sun, moon and planets from various locations across the world. Once we have amassed enough observations, we can use trigonometry to deduce not only the shape of the earth, but also the structure of the entire solar system. In practice, this means that scientists seek knowledge by spending years in more and more empirical data, and sharpening their mathematical tools so they can interpret the data correctly.

Humanism offered an alternative. As humans gained confidence in themselves, a new formula for acquiring ethical knowledge appeared: Knowledge = Experiences x Sensitivity. If we wish to know the answer to any ethical question, we need to connect to our inner experiences, and observe them with the utmost sensitivity. In practice, this means that we seek knowledge by spending years collecting experiences, and sharpening our sensitivity so we can understand these experiences correctly.

Experiences and sensitivity build up one another in a never-ending cycle. I cannot develop sensitivity unless I undergo a variety of experiences. Sensitivity is not an abstract aptitude that can be developed by reading books or listening to lectures. It is a practical skill that can ripen and mature only by applying it in practice.

Human beings over time have evolved many bodies of knowledge, which include a repertoire of ways of thinking , of feeling and of doing things, and constructing more knowledge. All children have to re-create a significant part of this wealth for themselves, as this constitutes the basis for further thinking and for acting appropriately in this world. It is also important to learn to participate in the very process of knowledge creation, meaning making and human action, i.e. work.

  • Acquaintance or familiarity gained by sight, experience, or report:
  • Acquaintance with facts, truths, or principles, as from study or investigation;
  • Awareness, as of a fact or circumstance:
  • General erudition familiarity or conversance, as with a particular subject or branch oflearning:
  • In an organizational context, knowledge  is ;
  • Something that is or may be known; information:
  • The body of truths or facts accumulated in the course of time.
  • The fact or state of knowing; the perception of fact or truth; clear andcertain mental apprehension.

Thus knowledge is the sum of what is known and resides in the intelligence and the competence of people.

Types of Knowledge

There is so much disagreement over what are, exactly, the different types of knowledge that an agreed upon “master list” simply does not exist.

Here is a master list of the different types of knowledge and theories of knowledge that are out there

1. A Priori

A priori literally means “from before” or “from earlier.” This is because a priori knowledge depends upon what a person can derive from the world without needing to experience it. This is better known as reasoning.

2. A Posteriori

A posteriori literally means “from what comes later” or “from what comes after.” This is a reference to experience and using a different kind of reasoning (inductive) to gain knowledge. This kind of knowledge is gained by first having an experience  and then using logic and reflection to derive understanding from it. In philosophy, this term is sometimes used interchangeably with empirical knowledge, which is knowledge based on observation.

3. Explicit Knowledge

Explicit knowledge is similar to a priori knowledge in that it is more formal or perhaps more reliable. Explicit knowledge is knowledge that is recorded and communicated through mediums. The defining feature of explicit knowledge is that it can be easily and quickly transmitted from one individual to another.

4. Tacit Knowledge

Whereas explicit knowledge is very easy to communicate and transfer from one individual to another, tacit knowledge is precisely the opposite. It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to communicate tacit knowledge through any medium.

The biggest difficult of tacit knowledge is knowing when it is useful and figuring out how to make it usable. Tacit knowledge can only be communicated through consistent and extensive relationships or contact.

5. Propositional Knowledge (also Descriptive or Declarative Knowledge)

Propositional and non-propositional knowledge,  share similarities with some of the other theories already discussed. Propositional knowledge has the oddest definition yet, as it is commonly held that it is knowledge that can literally be expressed in propositions; that is, in declarative sentences  or indicative propositions.The key attribute is knowing that something is true.

6. Non-Propositional Knowledge (also Procedural Knowledge)

Non-propositional knowledge (which is better known as procedural knowledge, is knowledge that can be used; it can be applied to something, such as a problem. Procedural knowledge differs from propositional knowledge in that it is acquired “by doing”; propositional knowledge is acquired by more conservative forms of learning.


Knowledge in Indian Context

In Indian context,the words knowledge, buddhi, and consciousness are used synonymously. Four means of valid knowledge are admitted: perception, inference, comparison, and verbal testimony. Perception is defined as the knowledge that arises from the contact of the senses with the object, which is nonjudgmental, or unerring or judgmental. Inference is defined as the knowledge that is preceded by perception (of the mark) and classified into three kinds: that from the perception of a cause to its effect; that from perception of the effect to its cause; and that in which knowledge of one thing is derived from the perception of another with which it is commonly seen together. Comparison is defined as the knowledge of a thing through its similarity to another thing previously well-known.

Areas of Knowledge in Indian Context

The term ‘Jnana’( gyaan ) mean the same as education in its wide sense in Indian philosophy. In Indian philosophies, the term ‘Jnana’ is not used for only information or facts, though in the west, this sense is quite prevalent. In the Amarkosha, the terms ‘Jnana’ and ‘Vijnana’ (Vigyaan) have been distinguished saying that is related with emancipation while ‘Vijnana’ is reated with crafts. In other words,Jjnana or knowledge is that which develops man and illuminates his path to emancipation, while whatever is leant and known in practical life is called Vijnana or science.

The Indian concept of education can be understood from the prescribed list of subject on the concept of reality.

Vidya and Avidya

The terms Vidya and Avidya represent opposites. Vidya refers to knowledge ,learning, and to the different sciences – ancient and modern. So Avidya would mean the opposite – ignorance, absence of learning, and illiteracy

The Mundakopanised says :

Tasmai sa uvacha ha –dve vidye veditavye eti hasma yad brahmavido vadanti, para chaivapara cha

“…..There are two kinds of knowledge worthy to be known, namely, the higher(para) and the lower (Apara).”

The Sanskrit words Vidya is a shortened of forms of Para Vidya. The root Vid means to know. Para Vidya is knowledge of the Absoute or spiritual knowledge.


Apara Vidya or it shortened from Avidya is knowledge of any sector or worldly knowledge in the wider sense.

Etymologically avidya is the antithesis of knowledge, ie., the absence of knowledge. But the word is not used in the negative concept. All knowledge or Apara Vidya which envelopes the phenomenal world is turned Avidya.

Isa – Upanishad explains the idea in the following verse:

Vidyam Cha avidyam cha

Bah tad veda upayam saha

Avidyaya mrutyum tirtva


It is through Avidya that one crosses the great stream of death which through Vidya one attains immortality.

In the Mundaka Upanishad, a student reverentially questions a Rishi about Truth: ‘Revered Sir, what is that by knowing which everything (in this universe) becomes known?’  The Rishi begins his reply by classifying knowledge or Vidya into two categories: Para(higher) and Apara (lower). Apara Vidya refers to the four Vedas and the six accessories of Vedic knowledge (the vedaigas): phonetics, the ritual code, grammar, etymology, prosody, and astrology. in short, religious or scriptural knowledge and the ways of living prescribed by different religions are all subsumed under Apara Vidya. Para vidya, the Rishi informs his student, is that ‘by which the immutable Brahman (akshara) is attained’. This Brahman is imperceptible, eternal, omnipresent, imperishable, and the source of all beings. Scriptural study is Apara Vidya, secondary knowledge. To know Brahman (or God) directly and in a non-mediate fashion is the primary aim of life, and is therefore termed Para Vidya. The Apara Vidya that comprises scriptural knowledge helps us know that this world is not the only world, that there are other divine worlds accessible to human beings.

The Upanishads remind people with dogmatic and fanatic tendencies that scriptural injunctions also lie in the domain of ‘lower knowledge’. The Mundaka Upanishadsays that people devoted to mere scriptural ritualism are ‘deluded fools’: ‘dwelling in darkness, but wise in their own conceit and puffed up with vain scholarship, [they] wander about, being afflicted by many ills, like blind men led by the blind’. They think of their way as the best and delude themselves into believing that they have attained fulfilment, and so continue to suffer the ills of life .

Sri Ramakrishna  explicates the nature of Avidya: ‘Avidya consists of the five elements and the objects of the five senses – form, flavour, smell, touch, and sound. These make one forget God’ So Avidya is nothing but human ignorance about God’s nature, by which one is perpetually deluded into doing the rounds of Samsara, the cycle of transmigration. This Avidya again is nothing but misidentification of real knowledge, which is one’s real nature. Therefore, religious scriptures ask humans to purify their heart, mind, intellect, and ego. Real human nature is pure and divine; each soul is potentially divine. Maya personifies our illusory perception. This phenomenal world is the longest dream come out of cosmic mind, of which the individual is a part.

‘According to the Advaita philosophy,’ says Swami Vivekananda, ‘there is only one thing real in the universe, which it calls Brahman; everything else is unreal, manifested and manufactured out of Brahman by the power of Maya. To reach back to that Brahman is our goal. We are, each one of us, that Brahman, that Reality, plus this Maya. If we can get rid of this Maya or ignorance, then we become what we really are.’  While lecturing on ‘The Real Nature of Man’ Swamiji dwelt upon the nature of ignorance, Avidya.





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Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A(Socio, Phil) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph.D

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee, India

“If I were a dictator, religion and state would be separate. I swear by my religion. I will die for it. But it is my personal affair. The state has nothing to do with it. The state would look after your secular welfare, health, communications, foreign relations, currency and so on, but not your or my religion. That is everybody’s personal concern!”

-Mahatma Gandhi

When different cultures and communities exist within the same country, how should a democratic state ensure equality for each of them? . In this assignment we will try and see how the concept of secularism may be applied to answer that concern. In India, the idea of secularism is ever present in public debates and discussions, yet there is something very perplexing about the state of secularism in India. On the one hand, almost every politician swears by it. Every political party professes to be secular. On the other hand, all kinds of anxieties and doubts beset secularism in India. Secularism is challenged not only by clerics and religious nationalists but by some politicians, social activists and even academics.

In politics today, both Indian and International, perhaps few other words of frequent use are as confusing, abused and misunderstood as Secularism. The West is believed to be the cradle of this concept. But, as we shall see soon, in the Western dictionaries secularism is described as something opposed to religion, as something which has nothing to do with God or with anything super-natural or transcendental.

Its origin can be traced to the western world view. It is, therefore, important to understand its philosophical base to fully appreciate its connotation, its importance and its limitations. The word secular is derived from the Latin word’ sacularis’ which meant, among other things, ‘that which belongs to this world, non-spiritual, temporal as opposed to spiritual or ecclesiastical thing’. It is a form applied in general to the separation of state politics or administration from religious matters, and ‘secular education.’ is a system of training from which religious teaching is definitely excluded.

Philosophically, the term reveals the influence of positivism and utilitarianism. ‘Positivism supplied a conception of knowledge affording a basis upon which it was held that religious considerations could be ruled out and utilitarianism lent itself to a non-religious explanation of the motives and ends of conduct’.

English dictionaries define “secularism” as the quality of “having no concern with religion or spiritual matters”. But they also describe it as “ a system which seeks to interpret and order life or principles taken solely from this world.” Therefore, secularism in the political sphere refers to the freedom of the state to deal with the affairs of the world without interference from any religious authorities. In other words, secularism is mainly interpreted in present day studies as “the neutrality of the state in regard to religion.”

The term secularism was coined in 1850 by G.J. Molyoake (an Owenite Socialist, an atheist and the last person to be imprisoned for blasphemy in Britain), who saw it a movement , which provided an alternative to theism

Secularism as followed in India:

India, the land of origin of four major religions – Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism and Sikhism has had a different case. While the West was in the process of conceiving the idea of Secularism as discussed above, India was ruled by a Muslim dynasty (Mughals). When India declared itself as a secular state through its constitution, the critics said that it a blatant copy of the west. But they failed to see that two of the great emperors – Ashoka The Great and Akbar The Great had established their empires on the very ideas which the states of modern era fail to emulate now.

The Indian idea of secularism is quite different from the West. While the West emphasizes on the separation of state and religion, the great empires of India were guided by religious doctrines.

Hinduism is based on religious tolerance – accommodating others’ ideas into its own. It preaches for benevolence, sympathy, compassion and non-violence. The rulers in ancient India tried to establish their kingdom based on these values. Their inscriptions can still be found scattered all over India and abroad.

The Indian idea of Secularism is based on these principles:

  • Separation of state and religion is not sufficient for the existence of a secular state.
  • State must not only be non-theocratic but also have no formal, legal alliance with any religion.
  • State should endeavor to establish peace, religious freedom,  and eradicate discrimination. Note that this concept is missing in western thought, because they never had the experience of multi-religious society, as in India.

Theoretical Rationale

By secularism, we generally mean the principle in which people belonging to one religion do not oppress people belonging to other religions. This concept has had different interpretations in the East and the West.

The well-known historian, Professor K. N. Panikkar points out two aspects of secularization: “First, a struggle to develop a system of belief and social practice regulated by reason through a rationalist critique of religion and social mores. Second, an attempt to de-emphasize otherworldliness and to focus attention on the reality of material existence”

Secularism in India

The situations and the circumstances from which ‘secularism’ took its origin in India are quite different from those of the West. Pluralism especially when there arose conflicts between religions. True, Religious Pluralism was a fact of life in India from time immemorial. In fact, some sort of minor religious conflicts arose in the context of Buddhism and Jainism. But emperors like Ashoka nipped it in the bud through various administrative measures. Even the Muslim rulers like Akbar and Hydar-ali saw to it that their rule would not lead to serious inter-religious conflicts.

If Rigveda teaches ekam sat viprah bahudha vadanti (Truth is one but scholars speaks of it diversely) it may not have originated in the context of religious pluralism as we understand today. Thechatushkoti of Vedant (fourfold opposing affirmation of a thing) and the Saptabhanginaya of Jainism (the sevenfold opposing affirmations of a thing) based onanekantvada (many-sidedness of reality) seem to depend more on peculiar mind-sets of the people rather than religious pluralism as we understand today. It is this mind-set, which produced the well-known parable of the four congenitally blind people describing the nature of an elephant by touching its different limbs.

After independence Indian democracy willy-nilly followed the Gandhian and the Nehruvian concepts of secularism.

“Nehruvian dharma-nirapeksata and Gandhian sarva-dharma-samabhavre present the two most significant models of secular ideologies that were subsumed into the national consensus, where ‘they are frequently mistaken for or conflated with each other’ . There were others too, like Tagore with his deep humanism and Lohia with his committed socialism that by and large supported rather than undermined this consensus. Eventually the various tensions and contradictions between these diverse ‘secularism’ were also fused or rather confused”.

“I do not expect India of my dreams to develop one religion, i.e., to be wholly Hindu or wholly Christian or wholly Mussalman, but I want it to be wholly tolerant, with its religions working side by side with one another.” So said Mahatma Gandhi.

During the freedom struggle, secularism was emerging as the most dominant principle. The leaders of the Indian National Congress; Gandhi, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Nehru and others were deeply committed to the ideal of secularism, though each expressed it in very different manners. Secularism became the mantra of the Indian nation, a nation exhausted by partition and sectarian riots and above all the assassination of Gandhiji, did not want any more divisive talk. The founding fathers represented the aspirations of the different sections of society and it is due to the struggles of these different people that secular principles got enshrined into the Indian constitution.

Under Jawaharlal Nehru, the concept of a secular nation-state was officially adopted as India’s path to political modernity and national integration. Unlike in the West, where secularism came mainly out of the conflict between the Church and the State, secularism in India was conceived as a system that sustained religious and cultural pluralism.

In the post Independent scenario the social dynamics was very complex. The process of secularisation/industrialisation was going on at a slow pace. Even at this stage, though constitution was secular, the state apparatus: the bureaucracy, the judiciary, the army and the police were infiltrated by communal elements. The Congress government, though predominantly secular, had many leaders in important positions who were influenced by a Hindu communal ideology. This resulted in a social development that was mixed; on the one hand secularism thrived and on the other though communalism remained dormant, was never dead. With the social changes of the late 70′s and the early 80′s, communalism got a strong boost and it started attacking secularism in a big way.

Secularism introduces science, technology and rationalism in the society and forms the basis of a modern secular state. In the process, it has to oppose and struggle against the clergy and vested forces in the society. And as such, the fundamentalist communal onslaughts are the ‘other’ of secularism and secularization. The oppressed sections join the secular movement to wrest the accompanying liberal space that can be the base for launching the struggles for their rights. Fundamentalism is the regressive reaction of feudal elements and sections of middle classes in league with the clergy, to crush the aspirations of oppressed class, whose movements for their rights is a big source of tension for them. The secularization process and the accompanying movements of the oppressed increase the insecurity of fundamentalist forces. They try to lure these classes into their fold through religion and liberal use of money and muscle power.

It is not so much a question of defending or preserving the existing secular character of the Indian polity, but rather a need to create and build a secular polity in the nation. Only the ideal of building a secular democratic nation can stem the tide of communal fascism in the country. Sarva Dharma Sambhav has to operate at the personal as well as the social level, while Dharma Nirpekshata or Secularism per se continues to be the state policy. Religious clergy, bigotry, dogmas and rituals cannot be allowed to guide the state.

Mahatma Gandhi has rightly said: “I swear by my religion, I will die for it. But it is my personal affair. The State has nothing to do with it. The State would look after your secular welfare, health, communications, foreign relations, currency and so on, but not your or my religion. That is everybody’s personal concern!”

This strength of the Hindu religion is now viewed as a weakness. The B.J.P. was quick to take up the mantle of ‘the’ communal party, riding on the wave of the post-mandal upper class/caste backlash. The BJP began attacking, what they called “pseudo-secularism”, which pampered the minorities at the expense of the majority and demanded that special rights for minorities be taken away.

Supporting the BJP was the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, a relatively new outfit with branches all over the world and drawing on support, both moral and financial, from the Hindu diaspora in the West. This took an aggressive form when the Babri Masjid\Ramjanambhoomi controversy erupted. This period also saw the rise of other militant Hindu organizations such as the BajrangDal and the Shivsena. These groups quickly mushroomed and poisoned the social space with communal rhetoric and the agenda of Hindu Rashtra; and launched an ideological, social and political onslaught on secular ethos, syncretic culture and composite nationalism. They refused to recognize the contributions of Muslims and other minorities, to India’s history and culture. They selectively concentrated on intolerant Muslim rulers, extending their often-brutal conduct to the entire period of Muslim rule and, even to all Muslims. But such prejudices were not openly aired in public; but now they have not only gained legitimacy, but have also almost become the mainstream opinion.

The attack on the Mosque at Ayodhya led to a rash of violence across the country. The events leading to the demolition of Babri Masjid and their aftermath of communal carnage mark a watershed in the history of free India. The traumatic events clearly exposed the chasm that had been created between the two communities by communal forces.

The year 2002 witnessed one of the most devastating riots in Gujarat where mobs went on a rampage, destroying Muslim homes and businesses, killed Muslims, including men women and children and drove thousands of people away from their homes. The ostensible reason for this fury was the burning of a train coach that was carrying Hindu pilgrims returning from Ayodhya. Fifty-nine people including women and children died in the fire. This action, sparked off, as the state’s Chief Minister put it, in Newtonian terms, a reaction, except that it was grossly disproportionate to the original crime. A Human Right’s Watch report paints a chilling picture of state complicity in the religious violence in Gujarat. This marks the first time when the state has emerged as a major player and actor in violence by mobs, a qualitative change from previous such situations in India. It is in this backdrop that one has to understand, as to why it is only during the last decade and a half that secularism has come under a cloud and the concept of a Hindu Rashtra is being asserted aggressively.

Today, the biggest challenge to the Indian nation is coming from forces claiming to represent the mainstream majority. There is an emergence of extremist voices that claim to speak for Hindus and they are laying down demands that threaten the very idea of a secular India. The biggest area of concern is that the state has emerged to be complicit, as an actor and player in mounting this challenge to Indian pluralism, which goes under the name of Hindutva.

The communal forces are actively propagating the myth that Secularism is a new mask of fundamentalism. They denigrate the secular policies, which are a hindrance to Hindu Right’s unobstructed march to subjugate the oppressed in general and minorities in particular. They are equating fundamentalism with Islam; and the policies of Indian rulers with secularism, and the appeasement of mullahs as being synonymous with secular policies. Further, Hindutva forces accuse that secularism pampers the Muslims as a vote bank. The Muslims are accused of extra-territorial loyalty because they allegedly cheer for Pakistan whenever India and Pakistan play cricket. Since Muslims are being thought synonymous to fundamentalism; therefore the assertion that the Indian state is appeasing fundamentalists in the name of secularism. It is precisely on this charge that the Father of Indian Nationalism, Mahatma Gandhi, was assassinated by one of the votaries of Hindutva.

The Christians, who are much lesser in number, are accused of being more loyal to the Vatican, another outside force and of trying to convert poor Hindus with inducements of education and food. Who can forget the brutal burning of Graham Staines and his two minor sons by a member of the Bajrang Dal in the name of religion? Or even the rape of some sisters in Gujarat, their fault being the spreading of the word of their God.

The fact, however, is that the social and the economic conditions of the Muslim community is dismal. If at all the opportunist political policies of various governments have struck compromises, it has been with certain religious leaders of the minorities and the minorities have been kept in abysmal conditions. In that sense, the govt. policies have been anti-oppressed, rather than pro Muslim. Further, the fact that 130 million Muslims decided to stay back in India rather than joining Pakistan, should settle their status as true citizens.

Secularism introduces science, technology and rationalism in the society and forms the basis of a modern secular state. In the process, it has to oppose and struggle against the clergy and vested forces in the society. And as such, the fundamentalist communal onslaughts are the ‘other’ of secularism and secularization. The oppressed sections join the secular movement to wrest the accompanying liberal space that can be the base for launching the struggles for their rights. Fundamentalism is the regressive reaction of feudal elements and sections of middle classes in league with the clergy, to crush the aspirations of oppressed class, whose movements for their rights is a big source of tension for them. The secularization process and the accompanying movements of the oppressed increase the insecurity of fundamentalist forces. They try to lure these classes into their fold through religion and liberal use of money and muscle power.

Secularism in the Indian context should imply respect for pluralism and a non-coercive and a voluntary recourse to change. Respect for diversity not only embodies the democratic spirit, it is the real guarantee of unity. We should value democratic, not fascistic, unity. No democratic society can downgrade diversity and pluralism in the name of unity. Secular ethics can be strengthened only when the acts of vandalism are sternly dealt with and the guilty are made to pay for it. With secularism that insists on the inalienable rights of the citizens and a due process of law, it will be easier to mount public pressure against sectarian killers and those who promote hatred. The battle of secularism and democracy has also to be fought at the grass root levels where a set ideals generating strong idealism is required to mobilize and prepare the masses for struggle.

In the end, secularism begins in the heart of every individual. There should be no feeling of “otherness” as we all have is a shared history. India being a traditional society that contains, not one, but many traditions, owing their origin in part to the different religions that exist here, has so far managed to retain the secular character of its polity. Ours is a society where Sufis and Bhakti saints have brought in a cultural acceptance for each other. Are we going to let it all go to waste and listen to people who have concern for their careers as politicians or leaders rather than our welfare at heart? Let us instead concentrate our efforts at making India a powerful and progressive nation.

Constitutional position of Secularism in India

By opting for secularism, the framers of the Indian Constitution opted not only for democracy but also for a harmony among different faiths and for a dialogue among different cultural traditions. For them the scenario was clear: it takes several religious groups to come together and to decide to be secular. As such, it was enough to interpret Hinduism as inherently secular. So in the same manner, to press religion into the service of politics, Gandhi declared that his Hinduism was “all-inclusive” and it stood for tolerance. To be truly secular the Indian state had to promote all religions and cultural identities and to build them with the secular interests of the nation. In other words, religious pluralism and religious tolerance became the bedrock of the Indian concept of secularism.

The Indian model of secularism was presented as a “symmetry” model, where the acceptance of the legitimacy of pluralism and diversity became central. However, for this pluralism to function and to be successful in defining the Indian common good, all  religious communities had to on a minimal consensus regarding shared values and  shared rules for conflict management between different religious groups.  This minimal consensus on shared values acted as a unifying force amidst diversity. As such, mutual respect and tolerance became the most important values to keep religious pluralism in place in India.  As a result, Indian secularism became a bridge between religions in a multi-religious society. It became a way for extending the principle of pluralism to religiosity. As Lala Rajpat Rai wrote , “ The Indian notion, such as we intend to build, neither is, nor will be, exclusively Hindu, Muslim, Sikh or Christian. It will be each and all.” In that sense, Indian secularism advocates a form of neutrality and non-preferentialism in regard to different religions. In this context, religious minorities can best be protected by a democratic state that ensures religious tolerance.

Nehru insisted that free India should be non communal, secular state. “The government of a country like India,” Nehru declared “with many religions that have secured great acceptance and deep followings for generations, can never function satisfactorily in the modern age accept on a secular basis.” He boasts of the fact that “our Constitution is based on secular conception and gives freedom to all religions.

India is a secular country as per the declaration in the Preamble to the Indian Constitution. It prohibits discrimination against members of a particular religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth .India, therefore does not have an official state religion. Every person has the right to preach, practice and propagate any religion they choose. The government must not favour or discriminate against any religion. It must treat all religions with equal respect. All citizens, irrespective of their religious beliefs are equal in front of law.

In the beginning of the Preamble of the Indian Constitution the word secular was inserted in the 42nd amendment: “We, the people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a Sovereign ‘Socialist’ Secular Democratic Re-public and to secure to all its citizens…”

The basic outlines of the Secularism are enshrined in the following Articles of the Constitution:

1. Preamble: It is true that the word ‘secular’ did not first occur either in Article 25 or 26 or in any other Article or Preamble of the Constitution.By the Constitution (42nd Amendment) Act, 1976, the Preamble was amended and for the words ‘Sovereign Democratic Republic’ the words ‘Sovereign, socialist, secular, Democratic Republic’ were substituted.

2. No State Religion: There shall be no ‘state religion’ in India. The state will neither establish a religion of its own nor confer any special patronage upon any particular religion.

It follows from that:

1. The state will not compel any citizen to pay any tax for the promotion or maintenance of any particular religion or religious institution (Article 27).

2. No religious instruction shall be provided in any educational institution wholly run by state funds.

3. Even though religious instruction be imparted in educational institutions recognised by state or receiving aid from the state, no person at lending such institution shall be compelled to receive that religious instruction without the consent of himself or of his guardian. In short, while religious instruction is totally banned in state-owned educational institutions, in other denominational institutions it is not totally prohibited but it must not be imposed upon people of other religions without their consent (Article 28).

3. Freedom of Conscience: Avery person is guaranteed the freedom of conscience and the freedom to profess, practise and propagate his own religion, subject only:

1. to restrictions imposed by the state on the interest of public order, morality and health (so that the freedom of religion may not be abused to commit crimes or antisocial acts, e.g., to commit the practice of infanticide, and the like);

2. to regulations or restrictions made by state relating, to any economic, financial, political or outer secular activity which may be associated with religious practice, bill do not really related to the freedom of conscience;

3. to measures of social reform and for throwing open of Hindu religious institutions of a public character to all classes and sections of Hindus. Subject to above limitations, a person in India shall have the right not only to entertain any religious belief but also to practise the obligations dictated by such belief, and to preach his see%., to ethers (Article 2Fi)

4. Freedom to Manage Religious Affairs: individual to pro fess, practise and propagate his religion, them is also the right guaranteed to every religious groups or denominations:

  • To establish and maintain institutions for religious and charitable purposes.
  • To manage its own affairs in matters of religion;
  • To own and acquire movable and immovable property; and
  • To administer such property in accordance with law

5. Cultural and Educational Rights: Under Article 29 and 30 certain cultural and educational rights are guaranteed. Article 29 guarantees the right cf any section of the citizens residing in any part of the country having a distinct language, script or culture of its own and to conserve the same Article 30 provides that all minorities, whether based on religion or language, shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice”.

The sub-committee on the Minorities placed the recognised minority communities in three groups:

1. Communities with a population of less than 0.5% in the Indian Dominion omitting the princely states.

1. Anglo Indian

2. Parsecs

3. Plains Tribesmen in Assam 13. Population not exceeding 1.5% C. Indian Christians I). Population exceeding 1,54.6

4. Sikhs

5. Muslims

6. Scheduled Castes

Legal  position of Secularism in India

Although the term secularism was not in the original text of the Constitution, secularism was a subject of animated discussion when the Constituent Assembly look up for consideration the provisions dealing with the freedom of religion.

Explaining the secular character of the Indian Constitution the Supreme Court observed: “There is no mysticism in the secular character of the state. Secularism is neither anti-God nor pro-God, it treats alike the devout, the agnostic and the atheist. It eliminates God from the matter of the state and ensures no one shall be discriminated against on the ground of religion.

Theory and Practice of Secularism in India

When Jawaharlal Nehru framed the objective Resolution of the Constitutor secularism figured as an important aspect of C Known to be a secularist by ‘instinct’, Nehru associated secularism with modernity and considered sentiments based on caste and religion as backward and a belief from the past. He felt that religious tolerance, an essential aspect of secularism was a characteristic of Indian culture. But this was not all. According to Nehru, narrow religious groupings, binding or loyalties must exclude many sections of the population and only create Hindu nationalism, Muslim nationalism and Christian nationalism and not Indian nationalism. In a country with different religious groups, it is important to build real nationalism on the basis of the secularity. What is a secular state? Nehru was not happy with the word ‘secular’ but used it for want of a better word:

“It does not obviously mean a state where religion as such is discouraged. It means freedom of religion and conscience, including freedom for those who have no religion. It means free play for all religions, subject only to their not interfering with each other or with the basic concept of our state”.

A secular suite, therefore, is not an anti-religious state but a state without a religion. It involves the concept of religious freedom for all faiths living within the state. Secularism is not only a characteristic of the state but involves the concept of religious co-existence and the concept of equal citizenship rights It also characterizes an attitude of mind which must be shared by the minority and majority religious communities living within the state.

K.N. Panikkar argues that there are three characteristics of the kind of secular state that India claims to be:

Firstly, the secular slate postulates that political institutions must be based on the economic and social interests of the entire community, without reference to religion, race or seat; that all must enjoy equal rights and no privileges, prescriptive rights or special claims should be allowed for any group on the basis of religion.

Secondly, it eliminates from the body politic ideas of division between individuals and groups on the basis of their faith and racial origin.

Thirdly, it is obvious that a composite secular state must accept as the basis of its policy what Aristotle termed as ‘distributive justice’, the idea that all communities must have power, as they must share the duties and responsibilities of being citizens.

Secularism has to play a decisive role at present stage of Indian democracy. It is so because today when the Indian democracy seems to face the challenge of narrow divisive trends and tendencies. A rational and scientific approach which is the basis of secularism has become a matter of utmost importance. Communal disturbances which have distinguished the public life in the recent past, as well the birth and growth of narrow and divisive trends and obscurantist theories are mainly the result of ignorance can be fought not by legislation alone, nor by a negative fiat alone, but by education only.

The present Indian scenario-

Indian secularism has been subjected to fierce criticism. What are these criticisms?


First, it is often argued that secularism is anti-religious. We hope to have shown that secularism is against institutionalised religious domination. This is not the same as being anti-religious.

Similarly, it has been argued by some that secularism threatens religious identity. However, as we noted earlier, secularism promotes religious freedom and equality. Hence, it clearly protects religious identity rather than threatens it. Of course, it does undermine

some forms of religious identity: those, which are dogmatic, violent, fanatical, exclusivist and those, which foster hatred of other religions. The real question is not whether something is undermined but whether what is undermined is intrinsically worthy or unworthy.

Western Import

Another criticism is that secularism is linked to Christianity, that it is western and, therefore, unsuited to Indian conditions. On the surface, this is a strange complaint. For there are millions of things in India today, from trousers to the internet and parliamentary democracy, that have their origins in the west. One response, therefore, could be: so what? Have you heard a European complain that because zero was invented in India, they will not work with it?

However, this is a somewhat shallow response. The more important and relevant point is that for a state to be truly secular, it must have ends of its own. Western states became secular when, at an important level, they challenged the control of established religious authority over social and political life.

A secular state may keep a principled distance from religion to promote peace between communities and it may also intervene to protect the rights of specific communities.

This exactly is what has happened in India. India evolved a variant of secularism that is not just an implant from the west on Indian soil. The fact is that the secularism has both western and nonwestern origins. In the west, it was the Church-state separation which was central and in countries such as India, the idea of peaceful coexistence of different religious communities has been important.


An accusation against secularism is the charge of minoritism. It is true that Indian secularism advocates minority rights so the question is: Is this justified? Consider four adults in a compartment

What holds true of individuals also holds for communities. The most fundamental interest of minorities must not be harmed and must be protected by constitutional law. This is exactly how it is in theIndian Constitution. Minority rights are justified as long as these rights protect their fundamental interests.

At this point someone might still say that minority rights are special privileges which come with some costs to others.


Another  criticism claims that secularism is coercive and that it interferes excessively with the religious freedom of communities. This misreads Indian secularism. It is true that by rejecting the idea of separation as mutual exclusion, Indian secularism rejects non-interference in religion. But it does not follow that it is excessively interventionist. Indian secularism follows the concept of principled distance which also allows for noninterference.

Besides, interference need not automatically mean coercive intervention.

It is of course true that Indian secularism permits state-supported religious reform. But this should not be equated with a change imposed from above, with coercive intervention. But it might be argued: does it do this consistently? Why have personal laws of all religious communities not been reformed? This is the big dilemma facing the Indian state. A secularist might see the personal laws (laws concerning marriage, inheritance and other family matters which are governed by different religions) as manifestations of community specific rights that are protected by the Constitution. Or he might see these laws as an affront to the basic principles of secularism on the ground that they treat women unequally and therefore unjustly. Personal laws can be seen as manifestations of freedom

Vote Bank Politics

There is the argument that secularism encourages the politics of vote banks. As an empirical claim, this is not entirely false. However, we need to put this issue in perspective. First, in a democracy politicians are bound to seek votes. That is part of their job and that is what democratic politics is largely about. To blame a politician for pursuing a group of people or promising to initiate a policy with the motivation to secure their votes is unfair. The real question is what precisely the vote is sought for. Is it to promote solely his self-interest or power or is it also for the welfare of the group in question? If the group which voted for the politician does not get any benefit from this act, then surely the politician must be blamed. If secular politicians who sought the votes of minorities also manage to give them what they want, then this is a success of the secular project which aims, after all, to also protect the interests of the minorities.

In India it’s  Lip service to the concept of secularism on top of the extremely malevolent practise of exhibiting undue, misplaced and meek deference to religious identities of people/voters. Here, we actually seek to strengthen the hold of Religion on matters of state, as opposed to bolstering the separation between religion and state.

Protecting Religious freedom is one thing, but discriminating between people based on their religious orientation is quite another. To deny this is a crime against the principles of Egalitarianism, foundation of our democracy.

Our Indian law discriminates among religions and panders to the vested interests of many religious subgroups. Eg -the absence of Uniform Civil Code in India? or What are the things in India that a Muslim can do legally while other Indians cannot? Our law can discriminate people based on caste and creed if it wants to.

Paying equal respect to every religion , is the very anti-thesis of the concept of secularism. It’s a wicked fallacy because some religions do make it their business to infringe on the rights of others (homosexuals, women, infidels, you name it), they try, with all their might and ignorance, to ensure that their adherents be more equal among equals. We could do without such nonsense.

Here in India, anything that promotes Hinduism is criticised, spurned, and not tolerated but any criticism or mockery of any other denomination is always blindly projected as an act of intolerance, or an abuse of freedom, if you will.

India has no clue as to what democracy really entails. Effectively, mostly anti-Hinduism coupled with excessive mollycoddling of other creeds defines ‘secularism’ for Indians. I think that’s what prompted Arun Shourie to remark that the word “Secularism” has been prostituted.

Sans secularism and unity among various people, pluralism can be hugely explosive! It’s a dangerous concept, pluralism, and mostly incompatible in the current socio-political concept.

We have merely adopted the appearance and failed to actually grasp the profound concept of democracy or secularism or egalitarianism. This is what happens when you only import the style and not the substance.

Secularism is very different from a pseudo-masochistic orgy of self-hatred or toleration of intolerance; it is rather a tactic for self-defense.

“Let’s not talk about religion at all. To hell with religion” – that is the central aspect of secularism which these phony-intellectuals have always failed to grasp.

Secularism is not about meekly tolerating meta-physical or supernatural balderdash, or glorifying cherry-picked tenets of one religion over the other; it is about consciously resisting the very concept of religion altogether.

While, in the west, these concepts are instilled naturally, in India, these are not learnt spontaneously; rather the horrific indigenous misinterpretations of secularism are haphazardly drummed into our heads.

“All these problems do occur because of different interpretations of the principles of secularism.” ~ Bulent Arinc



  • . “A Secular Agenda – For Strengthening Our Country,For Welding It” by Arun Shourie, Publisher: Rupa & Co, Language : English
  • G.J. Larson, Religion and Personal Law in Secular India: A Call to Judgment, Indiana University Press, ISBN 978-0253214805
  • “Indian Controversies: Essays on Religion in Politics” by Arun Shourie, Publishers: Rupa & Co, South Asia Books, A S A Publications, Language: English
  • “India’s secularism: new name for national subversion”, original in Hindi by Sita Ram Goel, translated into English by Yashpal Sharma, Publisher: Voice of India
  • “Muslim politics in Secular India” by Hamid Umar Dalwai, Publisher: Hind Pocket Books, Language:English








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Observation of adolescent behavior


Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A(Socio, Phil) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph.D

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee, India

Adolescence Stage is the period of rapid and revolutionary changes in the individual’s physical, mental, moral, emotional, spiritual, sexual and social outlook. A.T. Jersield defines, “Adolescence is that span of years during which boys and girls move from childhood to adulthood, mentally, emotionally, socially and physically”. The period of adolescence is considered as crucial and significant period of an individual’s life. Psychologically, adolescence is the age when the individual becomes integrated into the society of the adults. It is the stage when the child no longer feels that he is below the level of his elders but rather an equal with them, at least in rights. It also includes profound intellectual changes. These intellectual transformations, typical of an adolescent’s thinking, enable him to achieve his integration into the social relationships of the adults.

Characteristics of Adolescence Stage

It is a significant period because it is a period of:

  • Fast physical development
  • Fast mental development  Fast social development
  • Fast emotional development
  • Fast sexual development

Adolescent Inpatient Behavioral Rating Scale of  David Colton,  can be used for the observation  of adolescent behavior in an objective and scientific manner.

The purpose of this instrument is to provide a consistent and stable approach for measuring

variation in observed behaviors. This behavioral rating scale can be used as a measure to identify changes including trends and patterns in specified behaviors.

The instrument consists of 64 defined behaviors. There is also space to add behaviors that might not be reflected in these scales. The items have been grouped thematically, however behaviors to be observed and rated should be selected from across the instrument; item selection should not be limited by how the items are categorized. For example, the item “Difficulty settling at night” has been placed with behaviors that are often associated with anxiety.

All of the items are rated using a scale of severity: 0 = not present, 1 = mild, 2 = moderate, and 3 = severe. In turn, severity may be said to be a measurement of three dimensions: intensity, frequency and duration. These attributes may be assessed individually or in combination. Each item includes specific descriptors to assist in determining how the behavior should be rated.


This instrument may be used as either a pretreatment/post-treatment measure or as the basis for repeated (weekly, daily, shift-to-shift, or hourly) observations.

The entire form (all items) should be completed. If the behaviors are not observed, use “Not Present” to rate the item.


Anxiety Not Present        Mild         Moderate        Severe

‰ 1. Hyper vigilant                                       0                            1               2                        3

‰ 2. Difficulty settling at night                   0                            1                2                        3

‰ 3. Repetitive behaviors                            0                           1                2                        3

‰ 4. Nightmares/flashbacks                        0                           1                 2                       3

‰ 5. Low startle threshold                           0                           1                 2                        3

‰ 6. Panic attacks                                          0                           1                  2                        3

‰ 7. Grandiose                                               0                           1                 2                        3


Not Present    Mild       Moderate           Severe

‰ 8. Withdrawn                                                    0                1               2                         3

‰ 9. Sad affect                                                       0                1                2                          3

‰ 10. Flat affect                                                     0                1                2                         3

‰ 11. Crying spells                                                 0                1                2                         3

‰ 12. Tired/loss of energy                                     0               1                2                          3

‰ 13. Negative self-statements                             0              1                2                          3

‰ 14. Physical complaints                                       0              1               2                            3

‰ 15. Irritable                                                             0              1              2                           3

‰ 16. Self-harmful statements                                0             1               2                            3

‰ 17. Self-injurious behavior                                   0              1             2                           3

Communication Problems Not Present      Mild       Moderate     Severe

‰ 18. Loud/shouting                                                    0                     1             2                        3

‰ 19. Under-productive speech                                  0                     1            2                        3

‰ 20. Incoherent speech                                               0                     1            2                       3

‰ 21. Pressured speech                                                 0                     1            2                        3

‰ 22. Disorganized speech                                            0                     1             2                       3

‰ 23. Echolalia                                                                 0                     1             2                       3

Psycho-Motor Activity Not Present    Mild            Moderate     Severe

‰ 24. Dizziness and/or difficulty standing                   0                1                    2                    3

‰ 25. Exaggerated mannerisms                                     0                1                     2                   3

‰ 26. Stereotypical movements                                    0                 1                     2                   3

‰ 27. Perseveration                                                          0                1                     2                   3

‰ 28. Tremors and tics                                                     0                1                     2                   3

‰ 29. Psychomotor retardation                                       0               1                     2                   3

‰ 30. Clumsiness                                                                0                1                     2                   3

Attention Problems/Hyperactive Not Present     Mild      Moderate       Severe

‰ 31. Difficulty staying on task                                    0                      1              2                      3

‰ 32. Difficulty following directions                            0                      1              2                     3

‰ 33. Distracted by external stimuli                            0                       1              2                     3

‰ 34. Distracted by internal stimuli                              0                      1              2                     3

‰ 35. Fidgets/Restless                                                     0                     1                2                    3

‰ 36. Hyper-kinetic                                                         0                       1               2                     3

Conduct Problems/Disruptive Behaviors Not Present   Mild     Moderate     Severe

‰ 37. Cursing                                                                        0                     1            2                      3

‰ 38. Argumentative                                                          0                     1            2                      3

‰ 39. Frustration/Tantrums 0 1 2 3

‰ 40. Disobedient 0 1 2 3

‰ 41. Does not accept responsibility                             0                     1              2                       3

‰ 42. Rude                                                                          0                     1             2                        3

‰ 43. Manipulates others                                                0                     1              2                        3

‰ 44. Lies                                                                            0                     1              2                        3

‰ 45. Verbally threatens                                                  0                     1               2                       3

‰ 46. Physically intimating                                               0                     1               2                       3

‰ 47. Aggressive toward objects                                     0                      1              2                       3

‰ 48. Aggressive toward people                                      0                     1              2                        3

‰ 49. Demands must be met immediately                     0                     1              2                        3

‰ 50. Passively defiant                                                        0                     1             2                        3

Social Skills Not Present     Mild     Moderate         Severe

‰ 51. Touches others when/where they don’t want           0                  1             2                       3

‰ 52. Teases others                                                                    0                  1             2                       3

‰ 53. Does not maintain appropriate social distance          0                   1             2                       3

‰ 54. Engages in attention seeking behaviors                       0                   1             2                       3

‰ 55. Interrupts or intrudes                                                       0                  1             2                        3

‰ 56. Difficulty waiting one’s turn                                            0                  1              2                       3

‰ 57. Difficulty picking up social cues                                       0                 1               2                       3

‰ 58. Sexually inappropriate – directed toward self               0                1               2                       3

‰ 59. Sexually inappropriate – directed toward others          0                 1              2                       3

‰ 60. Difficulty maintaining personal hygiene                          0                1               2                       3

‰ 61. Incontinence (including bedwetting)                               0                 1              2                        3

‰ 62. Bowel management problems 0 1 2 3




Eating Habits

‰ 63.                          Ate most          Skipped most      Picky about what    Overeats or

of this meal     of this meal             he/she ate             gorges

Breakfast                           1                      2                                3                           4

Lunch                                  1                      2                                3                           4

Dinner                                 1                     2                                 3                           4

Snack                                   1                     2                                 3                           4

Sleeping Habits

‰ 64

Sleeps thru the night               Difficulty falling        Awakens early          Restless sleep

1                                               2                                  3                                 4

Other Behaviors (specify)

Not Present        Mild           Moderate    Severe

‰ 65. ___________________________________ 0                         1                    2                       3

‰ 66. ___________________________________ 0                         1                     2                      3

Adolescent Inpatient Behavioral Rating Scale David Colton,


1. Hyper Vigilant

0 1 2 3
Not Present: Behavior was not observed. Mild: Has expressed distrust and need to watch others; tends to scan the environment. Moderate: Intermittent periods of watching others or the environment to the extent that the individual is not attending to immediate tasks. May express belief that others are plotting against him/her Severe: Watching is pervasive and becomes the primary task to the extent that attention to other tasks is compromised. May associate everyday activities with plots of harm. May not want to interact with others due to these fears.




  1. Difficulty Settling at Night
0 1 2 3
Not Present: Behavior was not observed. Mild: Procrastinates in completing nighttime routines. Doesn’t look forward to going to bed Moderate: Resists completing nighttime routines. May request that bedroom or hallway lights be kept on. Still awake an hour or more after lights out. Severe: Power struggles over going to bed or being in bedroom. Frequent excuses for leaving bedroom at night. Still awake two or more hours after lights out.
  1. Repetitive Behaviors
0 1 2 3
Not Present: Behavior was not observed. Mild: May display some repetitive or ritualistic behaviors, such as hand washing or lining toiletries in a set pattern. Moderate: Repetitive/ ritualistic behaviors are noticeable and interfere with daily functioning. For example, may become upset if he/she is not allowed to complete the behavior. Severe: Has physical reaction to nightmares and/or flashbacks, which occur on a daily basis, such as crying, shaking, screaming, fast breathing, and/or increased heart rate.



  1. Low Startle Threshold 0


0 1 2 3
Not Present: Behavior was not observed. Mild: Individual appears “jumpy” and easily startled by others or events in the environment. Moderate: Individual is very “jumpy” in response to specific situations. Severe: “Jumpy” and “nervous” almost all the time. May isolate self from others and situations to reduce fears.


6. Panic Attacks

0 1 2 3
Not Present: Behavior was not observed. Mild: Appears to be in physical discomfort, such as sweating, shaking, feeling short of breath, which is not incapacitating. Moderate: Sudden periods of intense sweating, shaking, feeling short of breathe, or other physical discomfort. Needs reassurance to calm down. Severe: Sudden periods of intense sweating, shaking, or feeling short of breathe, which is physically incapacitating. Routines are restricted in response to potential panic attacks (for example, refuses to leave room or unit).



  1. Grandiose
0 1 2 3
Not Present: Behavior was not observed. Mild: Occasionally exaggerates selfimportance or exploits. Likes to brag about self to others. Moderate: Often exaggerates or concocts elaborate stories of selfimportance and denies grandiosity when confronted. Severe: Boastful on a daily basis, with elaborate stories of self-importance. Expresses little or no remorse when confronted with exaggeration and will defend in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.















18. Loud/Shouting      
  1 2 3
Not Present: Behavior

was not observed.

Mild: Occasionally raises

voice or becomes excited

when speaking.

Moderate: Often speaks

loudly or shouts when


Severe: Primary method

of communicating is by

speaking loudly or

shouting. Voice may be

hoarse from shouting


19. Under-Productive



  1 2 3
Not Present: Behavior

was not observed.

Mild: Often needs

coaxing to speak. This is

different than speaking

softly or in a monotone.)

Moderate: Constantly

needs coaxing to speak.

Rarely initiates verbal


Severe: Virtually or

entirely mute. Will not

respond when spoken to.



20. Incoherent Speech      
  1 2 3
Not Present: Behavior

was not observed.



Mild: Speech may be

slurred, mumbled, and at

times difficult to



Moderate: Mumbles and

mutters often. Speech

very difficult to


Severe: Speech does not

make sense or speech is

so garbled that it not




21. Pressured Speech      
  1 2 3
Not Present: Behavior

was not observed.


Mild: Not applicable as

pressured speech is

typically a moderate to

severe condition.


Moderate: Speaks

rapidly and has difficulty

slowing down speech,

even when prompted.


Severe: Speaks so

rapidly may be difficult to understand; has extreme difficulty trying to stop is unable to stop talking



22. Disorganized Speech      
  1 2 3
Not Present: Behavior

was not observed.


Mild: May mix words or

topics during verbal

interactions, so that

sentences don’t always

make sense.


Moderate: Content of

speech shifts from subject

to subject, in an apparent

random fashion. May

make up words as he/she



Severe: Very difficult to

converse with the

individual as the content

of their speech is

constantly shifting.

Individual may respond in totally irrelevant ways or reach illogical




23. Echolalia      
  1 2 3
Not Present: Behavior

was not observed.


Mild: Occasionally will

repeat a word or phrase

spoken by another.

Happens once or twice a



Moderate: Frequently

(several times a shift)

repeats words or phrases.

Speaks in a mechanical,

robot like speech pattern.


Severe: Repeats words

or phrases of others

several times an hour.

Has difficulty being

redirected from this





24. Dizziness and/or

Difficulty Standing

  1 2 3
Not Present: Behavior

was not observed.


Mild: Patient verbally

complains of dizziness or nausea, but able to



Moderate: Patient

verbally complains of

dizziness or nausea, needs assistance to stand.


Severe: Difficulty

getting out of bed or may need to remain in bed. Needs physical assistance to ambulate.



25. Exaggerated


  1 2 3
Not Present: Behavior

was not observed.



Mild: May display broad and embellished gestures,



Moderate: Often uses

overstated gestures and

facial expressions when


Severe: All body

movements, at virtually

all times appear




26. Stereotypical


  1 2 3
Not Present: Behavior

was not observed.



Mild: Occasional

repetitive motor activity,


Moderate: Persistent motor activity often

appears repetitive and nonproductive


Severe: Repetitive motor activity occurs throughout

the day and may interfere with social communication with others.



27. Perseveration      
  1 2 3
Not Present: Behavior

was not observed.



Mild: May occasionally

appear to be stuck on a

thought or behavior

Moderate: Frequently

“is stuck” on the same

movement or thought,


Severe: Perseverative

behaviors interfere with

ability to engage in other

tasks, including activities

of daily living and social




28. Tremors and Tics      
  1 2 3
Not Present: Behavior

was not observed.



Mild: Sudden motor jerk

or spasm in face or hands noted once or twice in an



Moderate: Sudden facial and hand muscle spasms, or uncontrolled

utterances noted more

than twice an hour.


Severe: Almost

continuous, multiple

facial and hand spasms

and/or uncontrolled

utterances observed.

Muscles or limbs may be

severely contorted.



29. Psychomotor



  1 2 3
Not Present: Behavior

was not observed.


Mild: Some

psychomotor stiffness or



Moderate: Notable

psychomotor difficulties

including stiff or jerky

movements, pill-rolling,


facial expression.


Severe: Most or all

physical movement is

exaggerated or difficult

30. Difficulty Staying

on Task

  1 2 3
Not Present: Behavior

was not observed.


Mild: May need

prompting to stay on task

several times a day.


Moderate: Needs

frequently prompting and coaxing to attend to a task, but does not stay on task for more than 10 –15 minutes before needing

additional redirection.


Severe: Cannot stay

focused on tasks for more than 5 – 10 minutes or cannot engage in the task

when directed. When not

on task the behaviors are

disruptive to others.

Attention Problems/Hyperactive


31. Clumsiness


  1 2 3
Not Present: Behavior

was not observed.



Mild: Somewhat more

clumsy for age, such as a

teenager who frequently

falls while running

Moderate: Frequently

clumsy, such as falling

over objects or knocking

over objects several times

a day/shift.


Severe: Extremely

awkward, frequently

bumping into things and

people throughout the




32. Difficulty Following


  1 2 3
Not Present: Behavior

was not observed.



Mild: Difficulty

immediately focusing on

verbal prompts and

directions, but does return

to task or response within

a minute or two.


Moderate: Responds to

multiple prompts with

great difficulty and may

or may not respond to the

redirection. May require

physical touch to

establish contact

Severe: Is so

preoccupied and/or off

task that is unable to

respond to prompts and

redirection. Physical

touch used as primary

means of redirection.

May not be able to

complete a task.


33. Distracted by

external stimuli

  1 2 3
Not Present: Behavior

was not observed.


Mild: Responds to minor

interruptions or external




Moderate: Responds to

objects and activities in

immediate surroundings

without thinking.

Severe: Response to

external stimuli is

persistent and prevents

individual from

completing immediate





34. Distracted by

internal stimuli

  1 2 3
Not Present: Behavior

was not observed.



Mild: Appears deep in


with little awareness of

surroundings. May appear

surprised or startled when



Moderate: Does not

appear aware of

surroundings or others in

the environment. May

engage in behaviors in

response to thoughts

without awareness of



Severe: Individual is so

preoccupied by thoughts

that he/she has difficulty

responding to others or

his/her environment.

May not respond even

when prompted. May

converse with self (in

response to voices).



35. Fidgets/Restless      
  1 2 3
Not Present: Behavior

was not observed.



Mild: Difficulty sitting

still for much more than

15 minutes. Body in

frequent motion

Moderate: Squirms and

has difficulty sitting still

for more than 5 minutes.

Body in frequent random



Severe: Squirms and

wriggles constantly.

Difficulty sitting still for

more than a few minutes. Body in constant, random




36. Hyper-kinetic      
  1 2 3
Not Present: Behavior

was not observed.


Mild: Has high levels of

energy, which interferes

with staying on task.

Needs verbal prompts to



Moderate: Physical

motion greatly interferes

with staying on task.

Needs constant verbal

prompts to help focus.

May at times need

physical prompts to



Severe: Cannot stay on

task due to high levels of

physical activity, such as

running, jumping, and

climbing. Ignores verbal

prompts and may need

physical touch such as

holding to help refocus



Conduct Problems/Disruptive Behaviors

37. Cursing      
  1 2 3
Not Present: Behavior

was not observed.



Mild: Curses at both

appropriate and

inappropriate times, i.e.,

language is ‘peppered’

with sporadic cursing.


Moderate: Cursing is a

routine part of verbal

communication and may

interject curse words in

most statements.

Severe: Has difficulty

not using curse words,

even when prompted.

Defends use of curse

words even when told by

others that it is offensive



38. Argumentative      
  1 2 3
Not Present: Behavior

was not observed.


Mild: Initiates arguments

over minor offenses or

when given simple

directions. Easily

becomes defensive.


Moderate: Frequently

contests directions and

feedback. May raise

voice, curse, or appear to

be excited.


Severe: Interactions are

frequently based on

conflict. Verbal

communication is

characterized by cursing,

shouting, “getting in your face,” and being highly defensive.



39. Frustration/


  1 2 3
Not Present: Behavior

was not observed.



Mild: Gives up easily on

tasks when the task

appears to be demanding.

May express frustration

by cursing, stomping feet,

or leaving activity.


Moderate: May initially

refuse and therefore

require encouragement to engage in a demanding activity. May externalize frustration through attempts to escape the

situation or through


toward objects.

Severe: Is very avoidant

of demanding activities.

May externalize

frustration through

attempts to escape the

situation or through


toward objects and/or




40. Disobedient      
  1 2 3
Not Present: Behavior

was not observed.




Mild: Occasionally

refuses to do as asked,

which may be evidenced

by being argumentative,

cursing, and shouting

Moderate: Often refuses

to do as asked or as

suggested and may do

exactly the opposite of

what was requested.

Appears to be reinforced

by this behavior.

Severe: Often breaks

rules and does not follow through with

expectations. Interactions

over disobedient

behaviors typically result

in conflict and may lead

to aggressive behaviors



41. Does Not Accept


  1 2 3
Not Present: Behavior

was not observed.


Mild: When making a

poor or inadequate

decision, tends to refuse

to accept responsibility

and the consequences that  result from those choices.


Moderate: Demonstrates

poor decision making

skills and then minimizes

impact on self and others.


Severe: In addition to

minimizing the effects of

poor choices, when

confronted about his/her

choices, is likely to blame

others for own behaviors



42. Rude      
  1 2 3
Not Present: Behavior

was not observed.



Mild: Occasionally says

or does things to be

hurtful of others. For

example, may ridicule

another person.

Moderate: Often

engages others by saying

and doing things that are

hurtful. Demonstrates a

lack of sensitivity to the

feelings of others.


Severe: Persistently will

say or do things to illicit

negative behaviors from

others. Appears to be

reinforced when others

become irritated by these




43. Manipulates Others      
  1 2 3
Not Present: Behavior

was not observed.


Mild: May occasionally

do or say things to

influence others to engage

in negative behaviors.


Moderate: Appears to

be reinforced by ability to

manipulate others. Often

uses manipulation to

obtain personal gain.


Severe: Manipulation

gets in the way of

developing healthy

relationships with others.

May take advantage of

‘weaker’ peers who are

easily victimized. Seems

to enjoy ability to get

others into trouble.



44. Lies      
  1 2 3
Not Present: Behavior

was not observed.


Mild: May use a lie to

defend a poor decision or

exaggerate a situation.


Moderate: Feels

comfortable in telling

falsehoods and denies that

he/she is lying when



Severe: Expresses little

or no remorse when

confronted with a

falsehood and will defend the lie in the face of overwhelming evidence

to the contrary.



45. Verbally Threatens      
  1 2 3
Not Present: Behavior

was not observed.



Mild: In response to

frustration or anger, will

threaten aggression.

However, will usually

apologize later and can

acknowledge that the

threat was a response to

the situation

Moderate: Uses verbal

threats to intimate others.

Demonstrates little or no

contrition after the threat

is made. Threats are

often verbalized through

shouting and cursing


Severe: Significant level

of harm is implied or

evident in the threat,


may be verbalized in a

steady, “steely” tone of




46. Physically



  1 2 3
Not Present: Behavior

was not observed.



Mild: Has on occasion

used physical presence to

frighten or manipulate

another. May be used in

response to frustration or



Moderate: Seeks out

individuals and tends to

repeatedly physically

intimate another person;

i.e., behavior is clearly

volitional. Tends to use

intimation with

individuals who are easily


Severe: Uses physical

intimidation as the

primary means of

connecting with and/or

obtaining gain from

another. Uses intimation

with whoever he/she

wants to take advantage

of regardless of age, size,




47. Aggressive toward


  1 2 3
Not Present: Behavior

was not observed.


Mild: May throw, punch,

or hit objects out of

frustration or anger.


Moderate: Sustained

and intense aggression

toward objects, usually

accompanied by other

behaviors, such as

shouting, cursing, or



Severe: Aggression

toward objects is

accompanied by loss of

self-control and may

result in self-injury, such

as from banging hands on the wall



48. Aggressive toward


  1 2 3
Not Present: Behavior

was not observed.


Mild: When angered or

frustrated may lash out at others, such as pushing or shoving.


Moderate: Physical

aggression such as

punching, kicking, and

biting, which is often

targeted toward another.


Severe: Aggression does

bodily harm to another.



49. Demands must be

met immediately

  1 2 3
Not Present: Behavior

was not observed.



Mild: May fidget, stomp

feet, shake, and/or pout

when he/she doesn’t get

demand met immediately.


Moderate: In additional

to physical expression,

repeats demands over and

over in a loud or shrill

tone of voice.

Severe: May become

verbally threatening,

physically aggressive, or

may lose self-control in

response to not getting

demands met




50. Passively Defiant      
  1 2 3
Not Present: Behavior

was not observed.



Mild: Occasionally will

refuse to follow directions

by ignoring the person

providing the guidance

Moderate: Ignores

directions and continues

with alternative activities

even when asked to stop.

Appears to enjoy the

frustration this engenders.


Severe: Does not follow

directions, engage in

scheduled activities or

participate as requested.

Ignores attempts at

redirection. These

behaviors often escalate

into power struggles and

heated arguments




Social Skills

51. Touches others

when/ where they don’t


  1 2 2
Not Present: Behavior

was not observed.


Mild: May use physical

contact at inappropriate

times and does not appear

to recognize social cues

that the behavior is

unwanted. For example,

may use a hug as a



Moderate: Touches

another’s body in socially

unacceptable ways, such

as rubbing against a

person or grabbing a

woman’s breasts. Needs

verbal redirection to stop

the behaviors.


Severe: Continues

inappropriate touching

even when reminded and

may require physical

interaction to stop the

behavior, such as

extending a hand to keep

the individual at arm’s





52. Teases others      
  1 2 3
Not Present: Behavior

was not observed.


Mild: Occasionally

teases others in a manner

that is not always age

appropriate. Is fairly



Moderate: Often teases

others in ways that are

clearly not age

appropriate. Needs

frequent redirection.

Teasing is usually not

tolerated by peers.


Severe: Continues

inappropriate teasing

even with frequent

prompts. May require

physical interaction to

stop the behavior, such as

use of time out. Peers

may respond in an

aggressive manner if

teasing does not desist.




53. Does not maintain

social distance

  1 2 3
Not Present: Behavior

was not observed.


Mild: Stands or sits very

close to another person

during interactions. The

other person may need to

step back or move from

the seat in response to the

close proximity.


Moderate: Requires

frequent prompts

regarding being to close.

Does not appear to be

aware of another’s



Severe: Continues to

intrude into another’s

personal space, even

when reminded and may

require physical

interaction to stop the

behavior, such as

extending a hand to keep

the individual at arm’s




54. Engages in attention

seeking behaviors

  1 2 3
Not Present: Behavior

was not observed.



Mild: Occasional

attention seeking requires

staff redirection, which

the individual accepts

without becoming



Moderate: Attention

seeking behavior

continues after several

prompts and may require

physical redirection, such

as time out. Behaviors

may be tolerated by peers

Severe: Behaviors

interfere with staying on

task and require

assistance from staff to

manage. Peers have

difficulty tolerating the




55. Interrupts or


  1 2 3
Not Present: Behavior

was not observed.



Mild: Interrupts without

using appropriate social

skills, e.g., without

saying, “excuse me.”

Behaviors are generally

tolerated by others.

Moderate: Requires

frequent verbal prompts

regarding interrupting or

intruding on others. Does  not appear to be aware of another’s discomfort.


Severe: Continues to

intrude or interrupt even

when reminded and may

require physical removal

from the area/situation to

stop the behavior, such as using time out. Peers

have difficulty tolerating

the behaviors.



56. Difficulty waiting

one’s turn

  1 2 3
Not Present: Behavior

was not observed.



Mild: Occasionally

disrupts others when

speaking or breaks into an

activity. At times

requires redirection for

this behavior.


Moderate: Frequently

disrupts others when

speaking or breaks into an

activity. Requires

redirection for this


Severe: Constantly

initiates without regard

for the feelings or needs

of others. Appears to

lack self-control over this behavior, even when




57. Difficulty picking

up social cues

  1 2 3
Not Present: Behavior

was not observed.


Mild: Needs occasional

prompting regarding

social behaviors and

responding to social cues

from others.


Moderate: Often

misreads social cues,

resulting in need for

verbal and or physical

redirection, such as

separating from peers.


Severe: Maladroit social

behaviors and inability to

respond to social cues

results in negative social





58. Sexually

Inappropriate: Directed

toward others

  1 2 3
Not Present: Behavior

was not observed.


Mild: Occasionally

makes sexually

inappropriate comments

or initiates sexually

inappropriate touching of others, such as rubbing

against another person.


Moderate: Requires

verbal redirection for

using sexually

inappropriate comments

during social interactions.

May require verbal and/or

physical redirection due

to attempting to touch

another’s private parts.


Severe: Attempts to

grope another person

requiring physical

separation from others.

May be hypersexual, with

these behaviors occurring

frequently throughout the




59. Difficulty with

personal hygiene

  1 2 3
Not Present: Behavior

was not observed.



Mild: Occasionally needs

prompting to complete

daily hygiene. For

example, may need to

send back to the

bathroom to take a

shower or brush teeth

Moderate: Needs

frequent prompting, on a

daily basis, to complete

personal hygiene, such as

bathing and brushing

teeth. Does not pick up

social cues that poor

hygiene is undesirable.


Severe: Requires

physical assistance and

direction in completing

personal hygiene. Cannot

complete daily hygiene

activities without this





Eating and Sleeping Behaviors

60. Eating Habits      
1 2 3 4
Ate Most of Meal: Eats

all or most of the portions

served with the meal.


Skipped Most of Meal:

Ate only one or two items

and/or did not eat all of

each portion served, so

that most of the food was

left on the plate.


Picky About What

he/she Eats: Has very

limited range of foods

that he or she will eat.

May eat snacks in lieu of

meals served or request

extra portions of a

particular item.


Overeats or Gorges:

Eats quickly and often

asks for extra servings.

May ask for or take extra

portions from peers. May

ask for additional food

and snacks throughout the




61.Sleeping Habits      
1 2 3 4
Sleeps thru the night

w/o incident: When 15

minute bed checks are

made, child usually

appears to be deeply

asleep. If awakens to use

the bathroom, typically

falls back to sleep



Difficulty falling asleep:

Has difficulty falling

asleep. May be up an

hour or two after lights

out. May result in being

sleepy and/or irritable

later in the day.


Awakens early:

Awakens early and

cannot fall back to sleep.

May result in being

sleepy and/or irritable

later in the day.


Restless sleeper:

Difficulty falling and

staying asleep. Is often

up and out of room during

the night and is awake

when bed checks are

made. May result in being

sleepy and/or irritable

later in the day.


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.Hughes-Hassell S, Rodge P (2007) The Leisure Reading Habits of Urban Adolescents. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy 51: 22–23.

.Livaudais JC, Napoles-Springer A, Stewart S, Kaplan CP (2007) Understanding Latino adolescent risk behaviors: parental and peer influences. Ethn Dis 17: 298–304.

.Rudatsikira E SS, Kazembe LN, Muula AS (2007) Prevalence and associated factors of physical fighting among school-going adolescents in Namibia. Ann Gen Psychiatry 6:

.The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health: study design. (Accessed 2009)

Caspersen CJ, Pereira MA, Curran KM (2000) Changes in physical activity patterns in the United States, by sex and cross-sectional age. Med Sci Sports Exerc 32: 1601–1609.

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Khan A (2000) Adolescents and Reproductive Health In Pakistan: A Literature Review. The Population Council, Pakistan Office. (Accessed Achenbach TM (1983) Manual for the Child Behavior Checklist and Revised Child Behavior Profile. Burlington, VT. University of Vermont, Department of Psychiatry.

WH0-10 Facts on Adolescent Health. (Accessed 2009)



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Critical analysis of school situation in terms of its role in promoting learners cognitive and non-cognitive learning output

Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A(Socio, Phil) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph.D

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee, India

Academic performance is an outcome that is affected by a range of factors that are both intrinsic to the individual learner, and apparent within the context of their environment.

In drawing together the findings from the literature review, the various noncognitive

skills and attributes were categorized into five areas including:

Academic Behaviors

Academic behaviors are reflected through the visible and observable signs that a student is engaged and being effortful with their learning. Academic behaviors directly relate

to how well a student performs in class and have a significant influence on achievement.

Academic Perseverance

Academic perseverance is based on a range of psychological concepts that form the foundation for understanding a students ability to set goals, stay focused, and work towards educational attainment.

Academic Mindsets

Academic mindsets are the beliefs and attitudes that a young person holds in relation to their academic work. When a student has a positive academic mindset, they are more likely to be motivated to learn, persistent with their work, and demonstrate perseverance.

Learning Strategies

Learning strategies are the processes that a student can draw upon to engage with the cognitive tasks of thinking, remembering, and/or learning. This includes the domains of study skills, metacognition, self-regulation, and goal-setting.

Social Skills

Social skills focus on the interpersonal qualities of a student and the behaviors that facilitate social interactions with others. In addition to improving interactions with peers and teachers within the school context, social skills are also considered to be an important component of future work and life outcomes.


Cognitive abilities (and skills) are usually identified with intelligence and the ability to solve abstract problems. Measures of these skills include the IQ test and the standardized tests on reading, science and maths carried out almost routinely at the international level since the early 1990 or even before. Since the different aspects of cognition are highly correlated, a general intelligence factor labelled “g” can be extracted from correlated test scores.

Perception- Learning outcome  involved  are   Recognition and interpretation of sensory stimuli (smell, touch, hearing, etc.)

Attention-  Learning outcome involved  are  Ability to sustain concentration on a particular object, action, or thought, and ability to manage competing demands in our environment.

Memory- Learning outcome   involved  are Short-term/ working memory (limited storage), and Long-term memory (unlimited storage).

Motor skills- Learning outcome   involved  are Ability to mobilize our muscles and bodies, and ability to manipulate objects.

Language- Learning outcome   involved are  Skills allowing us to translate sounds into words and generate verbal output.

Visual and Spatial Processing- Learning outcome involved are  Ability to process incoming visual stimuli, to understand spatial relationship between objects, and to visualize images and scenarios.

Executive Functions- Learning outcome involved are  Abilities that enable goal-oriented behavior, such as the ability to plan, and execute a goal.

These include:
Flexibility: Learning outcome involved are  the capacity for quickly switching to the appropriate mental mode.
Theory of mind: Learning outcome involved are    insight into other people’s inner world, their plans, their likes and dislikes. include:
Anticipation: Learning outcome involved are   prediction based on pattern recognition.
Problem-solving: Learning outcome involved are    defining the problem in the right way to then generate solutions and pick the right one.
Decision making: Learning outcome involved are   the ability to make decisions based on problem-solving, on incomplete information and on emotions (ours and others’).
Working Memory: the capacity to hold and manipulate information “on-line” in real time.
Emotional self-regulation: Learning outcome involved are    the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions for good performance.
Sequencing: Learning outcome involved are    the ability to break down complex actions into manageable units and prioritize them in the right order.
Inhibition: Learning outcome involved are    the ability to withstand distraction, and internal urges.

Non cognitive learning outcome

Non cognitive learning outcome are personality traits that are weakly correlated with measures of intelligence, such as the IQ index. A broadly accepted taxonomy of personality traits in the  definition by Nyhus and Pons, 2005, model includes the following factors;

Agreeableness is the willingness to help other people, act in accordance with other people interests and the degree to which an individual is co-operative, warm and agreeable versus cold, disagreeable and antagonistic.

Conscientiousness is the preference for following rules and schedules, for keeping engagements and the attitude of being hardworking, organized and dependable, as opposed to lazy, disorganized and unreliable.

Emotional stability encompasses dimensions such as nervous versus relaxed and dependent versus independent, and addresses the degree to which the individual is insecure, anxious, depressed and emotional rather than calm, self-confident and cool.

Autonomy indicates the individual propensity to decide and the degree of initiative and control. Extraversion is the preference for human contacts, empathy, gregariousness, assertiveness and the wish to inspire people.

Non cognitive skills are a crucial ingredient in the concept of emotional intelligence

used by social psychologists and human resource management specialists.

The impact and acquisition of the above referred cognitive and non-cognitive skills depands on the learning resources available in schools. Hence it is necessary to evaluate the learning resources in schools.

The purpose of this document is to provide guidelines for the evaluation and selection of learning resources for the public schools in ———..

A. For the purposes of this document, we use the following terms:

(1) “Learning Resources” will refer to any person(s) or any material  with instructional content or function that is used for formal or informal teaching/learning purposes. Learning resources may include, but are not limited to, print and non-print materials; audio, visual, electronic, and digital hardware/software resources; and human resources.

(2) “Resource-Based Learning” will refer to the curriculum documents that actively involves students, teachers, in the effective use of a wide range of print, non-print and human resources.

(3) “Selection Tools/Aids” will refer to bibliographies that include an evaluative or critical annotation for each item, providing recommendations; bibliographic information for each item; purchasing information; access to entries by author, title, subject, format, and audience to aid in locating recommended materials; and analytical indices, appendices, or other special features useful in helping students and teachers locate portions of works that may be in the school’s collection.

Statement of Objectives of Selection

• To provide suggestions to select resources that will enrich and support the curriculum, taking into consideration the diversity of interests and perspectives, and the variety of abilities, learning styles and maturity levels of the learners served;

• To provide suggestions   to select resources that will stimulate growth in factual knowledge, literary appreciation, aesthetic values, and knowledge of societal standards;

• To provide suggestions to select resources representative of gender, appearance, sexual orientation, ability/disability, belief system, family structure, race and ethnicity, and socio-economic status;

Procedures for Selection of Learning Resources General Learning Resources: Considerations Content/Format/Design Methodology

  • be chosen to help students understand the many important contributions made to our civilization by minority groups and people/groups with a variety of ethnic backgrounds
  • be designed to motivate students and staff to examine their attitudes and behaviors, and to comprehend their duties, responsibilities, rights, and privileges as participating citizens in our society
  • be relevant to the needs of the student. Learning resources should
  • be supportive of continuous learning by the individual
  • portray positive role models
  • promote equality by enhancing students’ understanding of a multicultural and diverse society
  • provide for both formative and summative assessment/evaluation as appropriate
  • recognize the integration of students with special needs (as part of the class)
  • reflect good safety practices in texts and visuals (e.g., use of helmets, seatbelts)
  • reflect sensitivity to gender and sexual orientation, the perspective of aboriginal people, and cultural and ethnic heritage
  • support/promote students’ self-esteem and respect for the self-esteem of others
  • use language appropriate to the intended audience, and exclude slang, vernaculars, or expletives that detract from meaning.

Learning resources should

Assessment/ Evaluation Social Considerations

1. Gender Equity

  • Education that is accessible and appropriate is sensitive to how gender shapes and is shaped by experience and learning.
  • Female and male students may have different methods of learning and different educational needs. In a gender-equitable education system, all methods of learning are respected equally, and students with gender-specific needs or characteristics are supported and provided with resources appropriately and equally.
  • Language influences the way in which people understand and interpret the world around them; therefore, the language of recommended learning resources should be inclusive, but not necessarily neutral, and should promote equality for males and females.
  • Students are influenced by attitudes and values around them. It is important that recommended learning resources reflect balanced images and information about males and females and support broad choices and many roles for both sexes.
  • Some materials contain an inherent gender bias because of historical or cultural context. When such resources are used, students should be made aware of the context.

2. Multiculturalism

• Students should experience a sense of belonging coupled with pride in their heritage. Learning materials should raise levels of awareness about ethnocentrism, bias, stereotypes, discrimination, and racism, and teach or provide examples of inclusive, pro-social behaviours.

• Students from all cultural and ethnic backgrounds need to see themselves reflected in educational materials. The sharing of cultural heritages, languages, traditions, values, and lifestyles enriches the education of all students.

• To these ends, resource collections should include materials that

  • affirm and enhance self-esteem through pride in heritage
  • create sensitivity to and respect for differences and similarities within and among groups
  • increase awareness of ethnic and cultural diversity
  • promote cross-cultural understanding, citizenship, and racial harmony
  • reflect and validate students’ cultural experiences.

3.. Students with Special Needs

A. Students with Intellectual Disabilities

Students with intellectual disabilities have intellectual development functional behaviours that are significantly below the norm for students the same age.

Language and Text Organization

  • Avoid complex sentences.
  • Ensure that each sentence contains only one main concept.
  • Express concepts at a literal level.
  • Highlight important information for easy recognition.
  • Provide clear structure and appearance, focussing student attention to key ideas.
  • Provide clear, simple instructions that can be broken down into component steps.
  • Provide organizers, in advance, as well as definitions of key vocabulary, with illustrations.
  • Use simplified vocabulary, avoiding excessive dialect or idioms.


• Include illustrative material (pictures, graphs, etc.) that supports text.

• Use real life pictures where possible.


  • Avoid unnecessary complexity in activities.
  • Be conscious of spacing of print (lots of white back ground, large margins) and font size.
  • Ensure age appropriateness, even if adapted in language, conceptual complexity, and structure to meet intellectual ability.
  • Illustrate concepts by real-life examples connected to students’
  • Include explicit aids for memorization and review, and “how-to” instructions.
  • Offer group work and paired peer activities.
  • Provide multi-sensory instruction.
  • Provide opportunities for approaching concepts at various levels of complexity.
  • Provide summaries of important information.
  • experiences.

B. Students with Learning Disabilities

Language and Text Organization

  • Avoid excessive dialect or idioms.
  • Define and bold new vocabulary in text.
  • Highlight key information.
  • Note use of subtitles in nonfiction materials.
  • Provide clear structure and appearance, focussing student attention to key ideas.
  • Provide simple, clear instructions that are broken down into component steps.
  • Vary font styles for concept purposes, not just for variety.


  • Illustrate important concepts both visually, and through sound.
  • Illustrate main idea with action that is central and attention grabbing.
  • Show single actions that focus attention.
  • Use clear, uncluttered illustrative material (pictures, graphs, etc.).


• Allow for processing time, and time to use compensatory strategies.

• Express concepts, and provide opportunities for approaching them

• Illustrate concepts by real-life examples connected to students’ experiences.

• Provide explicit aids for memorization and review, and “how-to” instructions.

• Provide means other than print to access information (e.g., support

• Provide multi-sensory instruction.

• Provide opportunities for group work and paired peer activities.

• Provide organizers that structure the learning task for the student.

• Provide, in advance, organizers to support information on video.

• Review and summarize key concepts using tools such as graphic organizers.

• Suggest various means students may use to demonstrate understanding of concepts (e.g., oral or written material, including work done with a word processor; tapes, and video, demonstrations or performances, portfolios).

at various levels of complexity.

materials on tape or video).

C. Students with Visual Impairments

Language and Text Organization

• Avoid columnar presentation.

• Avoid hyphenated text.

• Avoid random shifting of print sizes.

• Consider clarity of print quality, as many materials will require enlargement by a factor of up to six.

• Have wide margins.

• Provide either tactual (braille, tactual drawings) or auditory (books on tape, e-text, sighted) materials for students who are totally blind

• Provide predictable, consistent placement of print on the page or screen.

• Provide strong contrast between print and background, use white or pastel backgrounds.

• Separate print from visuals.

• Use clear pronoun referents that do not require visual supports for clarity.

• Use large type.

• Use simple fonts with no overlap or running together of letters.

• Use well-spaced text.


• Avoid clutter and glare on the page (glossy/laminated paper and charts).

• Do not rely on colour between letters, numbers, or objects to aid comprehension (colour differences may not be perceivable).

• Portray action centre/front with characters in foreground.

• Use clearly shaped illustrations, avoid shadows.

• Use illustrations that are directly relevant to text rather than peripheral.

• Use less, rather than more, image detail.

• Use photographs that show single-focus events.


• Avoid background sound that competes with significant aspects.

• Avoid distortion of sound, especially speech.

• Use distinctly different and contrasting voices to allow distinction of characters.

D. Students with Language Difficulties


• Place illustrations as close as possible to relevant text.


• Ensure that context increases rather than decreases clarity.

• Caption all dialogue.

E. Students with Hearing Impairments

Language and Text Organization

• Avoid, or use minimally, passive voice verbs, expressions of negation, multiple modifying phrases in one sentence, colloquial or idiomatic expressions.

• Provide chapter titles that match main idea.

• Provide clear sentence structure.

• Provide contextual clues.

• Provide paragraph development.

• Use clear pronoun referents or antecedents.

• Use controlled vocabulary.

• Use identification of subtopics.

• Use logical and clear development of main ideas supported by relevant details.

• Use of signal words (ordinals) for sequence, emphasis, and comparison.

• Use overviews or advance organizers.

• Use tables of contents, indices, glossaries, summaries.


• Provide clarity of video images such that room lighting will allow for sign language interpretation of dialogue.

• Provide useful graphics (not just pictures).

• Provide various graphics and illustrations to support concepts and thought processes.

• Use graphics located near relevant text.

• Use graphics that support, enhance, and re-explain main ideas.


• Use captioned dialogue.

• Provide context that increases rather than decreases clarity.

Students are considered gifted when they possess demonstrated or potential high capability with respect to intellect, or creativity, or have skills associated with specific disciplines (e.g., music). They may need instruction with approaches that allow for faster pace, greater scope and complexity, more variety, or opportunities for more independent learning. They can engage in analysis, synthesis, and evaluation at a greater depth than age peers.

F. Students with Special Gifts and Talents

When choosing resources for these students, consider the following approaches:

• Encourage flexibility and creative problem solving.

• Encourage higher-level thinking (analysis, synthesis, evaluation).

• Include jumping off points for independent study.

• Provide opportunities for open-ended and divergent thinking.

• Provide options for choice and decision making.

• Provide options for increased pace.

• Refer to other sources of information for extended learning.

• Use a discovery learning approach.

There are numerous matters for consideration that are unique to print resources,

most of which relate to readability.


• Consider the amount of technical vocabulary used, and the devices used to interpret, explain, and define technical terms.

• Consider the general level of difficulty of non-technical words used (in terms of familiarity and abstractness).

• Realize that excessive use of idioms and dialect increase reading difficulty.

Sentence Structure

• Consider frequency of pronoun use, especially where referents are ambiguous.

• Consider the complexity of sentence patterns typically used (simple, compound, complex), but be alert to attempts to simplify by omitting needed connections between ideas.

• Note that unusual or unpredictable sentence patterns and use of long, involved sentences will increase the reading difficulty; signal words associated with contrast, negation, and time (e.g., but, although, since, except, nevertheless) are not well understood by many students in special audiences.

2. DVD/Video and Digital Resources

Does this resource have significant added value or capability over a non-digital resource? Does it include

  • Constructive engagement (e.g., will it engage students in a meaningful way over an extended period of time)
  • Interactive features
  • Is the resource designed for educational use, or is it more appropriate for home use?
  • Is there some assurance of ongoing availability?
  • Possibilities for customizing content, environment, and pathways according to user needs?
  • Possibilities for feedback for the student and for the teacher
  • Would this resource be usable for the majority of the target audience given considerations of support, training, and facilities available?

The Internet

For all its mystique, the Internet is just another medium to be understood. It does, however, require sharper critical thinking skills than other media, for the

following reasons:

• The Internet is interactive, absorbing users in two-way communication.

• It is full of commercial environments that blend entertainment and advertising in subtle ways.

• Because it often lacks traditional editors or gatekeepers, all viewpoints appear to have equal weight.

Since the explosion of the World Wide Web, (with easy-to-use HTML editors, access to “free” home page space for anyone who has an Internet account, and the influx of commercial sites and advertisements) evaluation of Web sites has become much more difficult. With the huge amount of information available, it is imperative that students and teachers learn how to critically evaluate a site.

Three basic aspects of a web site should be considered during any evaluation. These are navigation and usability, authorship, and validity of content.

4. Web Resources

A. Navigation and Usability

In order to use a site effectively, and in order to get to the important information, a student must find a site navigable and easy to use. A site should provide for all types of learners. This can be done by offering hypertext links, so users can jump around, and a site map for the left-brained or concrete-sequential user.

B. Authorship

Sites should enable users to easily find out about the authors (where they work, what credentials make it appropriate for them to write about the topic, and how to get in touch with them for further questions). Web page authors have to expect that they will get e-mail from interested students asking for further explanation of a topic covered.

C. Validity of Content

The most important factor to consider when evaluating a Web site is the content. Students need to be able to recognize when a Web page is a thinly disguised commercial or opinion page, or when it is strictly a source of information. More importantly, the student needs to realize when each type of page is appropriate for his/her purpose or task. If possible, all information should be verified in a traditional edited print/electronic resource.

The following specific criteria to evaluate learning resources have been grouped under four main headings:

1. Content is current.

2. Content is accurate.

3.  Scope (range) and depth of topics are appropriate to student needs.

4. The level of difficulty is appropriate for the intended audience.

5. Content integrates “real-world” experiences.

The instructional design

Evaluation of the instructional design of the resource involves an examination of its goals, objectives, teaching strategies, and assessment provisions.

2. The resource is suitable for a wide range of learning/teaching styles.

3. The resource promotes student engagement.

4. The methodology promotes active learning.

5. The methodology promotes development of communication skills.

6. The resource encourages group interaction.

7. The resource encourages student creativity.

8. The resource allows/encourages student to work independently.

9. The resource is suitable for its intended purpose.

10. Materials are well organized and structured.

11. Materials have unity/congruency.

The resource holds together as a self-contained unit. Content, methodology, and means of evaluation correspond to the overall purpose.

12. Concepts are clearly introduced.

The progression of the presentation is smooth and logical, with new concepts

identified in a clear and consistent manner.

13. Concepts are clearly developed.

14. Concepts are clearly summarized.

15. Integration across curriculum subjects is supported.

16. Non-technical vocabulary is appropriate.

17. Technical terms are consistently explained/introduced.

18. Pedagogy is innovative.

19. Adequate/appropriate pre-teaching and follow-up activities are


20. Adequate/appropriate assessment/evaluation tools are provided.

21. Text relates to visuals.

1. Appropriate support materials are provided.

2. Visual design is interesting/effective.

3. Illustrations/visuals are effective/appropriate.

4. Character size/typeface is appropriate.

5. Layout is logical and consistent.

6. Users can easily employ the resource.

7. Packaging/design is suitable for the classroom/library.

8. The resource makes effective use of various mediums.

Some media choices are inappropriate:

• a slide show on video

• “electronic page-turner” digital resource programs

• an overhead transparency of a large body of small print text

Some media choices are appropriate:

• video combining contemporary or historical footage with live drama

• digital resources that simulate activities too expensive or dangerous for the classroom Digital resources should also consider the following questions:

• whether it can store responses, and students’ marks, create reports,

provide analysis, etc.

• whether it can be customized by the student and/or teacher to better meet a student’s needs

• whether it can identify student weaknesses and strengths to assist teacher in assessment and planning for future work, etc.

Controversial or offensive elements that may exist in the content or presentation,

Examining a resource to see how it handles social issues helps to identify potentially controversial or offensive elements that may exist in the content or presentation, and highlights where resources might support pro-social attitudes and promote diversity and human rights.

Specifically, the way in which the resource treats/handles a number of social issues should be examined.

1. Gender/Sexual roles

Any portrayal of gender issues in approved resources should be relevant to the curriculum for which the resource is being considered, and appropriate for the age level of the intended audience.


• whether portrayal of the sexes is balanced

• whether diverse roles and relationships are portrayed

Social Considerations

• whether contributions, experiences, and perspectives of various individuals and groups are acknowledged

• whether tone and language are appropriate (and sexist, abusive, and/or derogatory reference to gender are avoided)

• whether gender stereotypes are avoided.

2. Sexual orientation

Resources should reflect positive awareness and sensitivity in the portrayal of diverse sexual orientations. Any reference to sexual orientation should be in the context of the curriculum for which the resource is being considered, and appropriate to the age level of the audience.


• whether tone and language are appropriate (e.g., stereotypes and derogatory language are avoided)

• whether diverse sexual orientations are portrayed

• whether transgendered individuals are recognized

• whether diverse relationships (e.g., couples, families) are portrayed

• whether references to sexual orientation or sexual identity are relevant in the context.

3. Belief systems

A belief system is an organized set of doctrines or ideas (philosophy, religion, political ideology). Approved resources should neither overstate nor denigrate any belief system.


• how individuals or groups are presented (e.g., appearance, attitudes, socio-economic status, activities)

• whether descriptive language is appropriate

• whether generalizations (e.g., all liberals; all politicians) are avoided

• whether clear distinction is made between fact and opinion

• whether “groups” or “classes” are stereotyped.

4. Age

Resources should portray different age groups, and reflect society’s treatment of them.


• whether different age groups are represented

• whether descriptive language avoids stereotypes

• whether views of and about older people are included

• whether relationships between different age groups (e.g., parent/child) are depicted, and age-integrated activities included

• whether the aged are positively portrayed (e.g., as valuable contributors to society).


5. Socio-economic status

Resources should address socio-economic issues, including biases, values, and perspectives related to income.


• whether stereotypes are perpetuated, or innappropriate assumptions are made .

6. Political bias

Resources should avoid political bias. Some topics may be particularly sensitive.

7.  Multiculturalism (and anti-racism)

The perspective from which information is presented in resources is important. It is not sufficient to merely include in texts or videos pictures of multicultural people. They must have valid roles and be seen to be participating in ways that recognize their value and meaning.


• that culture is about the way we live our lives.

• whether the culture is examined from within, rather than from the point of view of an observer

• whether visuals present a variety of cultures, ethnic backgrounds, and visible minorities

• whether stereotyping (e.g., socio-economic, personal, linguistic) is avoided, both negative and positive.

• whether the level of respect shown for the language and culture of all people is appropriate (e.g., dialects, dress, diets are seen as positive reflections of a diverse, pluralistic society—not as deficits to overcome)

• whether the customs, lifestyles, and traditions of all races, religions, and cultures are presented in a manner that articulates their role, value, and meaning

• whether people of all races, religions, and cultures are shown as capable of understanding and making decisions about their own development and the important issues that affect their lives.

• whether members of minority groups are portrayed as positive role models (e.g., holding a variety of positions at every level of society)

• whether similarities among cultures and differences within ethno-specific group are acknowledged.

9.  Special needs

The effective promotion of awareness of the capabilities and contributions of children and adults with special needs is important. Their integration into education as fullfledged, respected, participating members of society is desirable. It is also of note that students with special needs have diverse backgrounds. These additional diversities and challenges need to be acknowledged.


• the nature of the special need presented

• a representation of natural proportions found in the population

• the contexts in which people with special needs are presented.

11.  Language

The use of specialized language should be suited to the context, maturity, and intellectual level of the audience.


• gender-biased language (e.g., chairman, constant “male first” order— he/she, boys and girls, men and women)

• incorrect grammar

• profanity

• racist, sexist, homophobic, and other pejorative terms

• slang, jargon, or dialect

• trendy language that may date quickly

The frequency of use of some language (e.g., frequent, occasional, seldom) is a factor in judging its suitability, but even one occurrence may preclude use of the resource, depending on the nature of the language.

13. Violence

Incidences of violence, where present, should be suited to both the context and the maturity level of the audience.


• a continuum of violence and bullying from putdowns, pushes, exclusion, and ridicule, to harassment, intimidation, physical threats, and assault

• explicitness of violence (e.g., inferred, graphic)

• presentation (e.g., discrete, sensationalistic), and function of violence

• stereotyping of participants.

• type of violence (e.g., physical/emotional, shock or horror, verbal abuse, violence against animals)

• variety of participants

14. Safety standards compliance

Activities portrayed should comply with legal and community standards of safe practice and common sense.


• adequacy of directions/instructions for safe use of materials

• equipment use (e.g., in physical education class )

• ergonomics for computer use.

• lab procedures

• materials handling (e.g., chemicals, pottery, electronics)

• modelling of safe practices (e.g., wearing helmets, seatbelts)

Instructional Design

WEB-1 Reliability/Validity of the site is clearly stated.

The site should clearly indicate who is responsible for the contents of the page, author qualifications, contact information, latest revisions/updates, and copyright information.

WEB-2 Sources of information are clearly listed.

Sources of factual information should be clearly listed for verification purposes. Clear distinctions should be made between internal links to other parts of the resource and external links that access other resources.

WEB-3 Instructional prerequisites are clearly stated, or easily inferred.

The background required to use the site should come from common knowledge or previous instruction. The information should be consistent with what is already known or found in other sources. The title page should be indicative of the content, and the purpose of the page should be indicated on the home page.

WEB-4 Opportunities are provided for different levels of instruction and/or interactivity.

Students should be able to progress through the material at rates suitable to their physical and intellectual maturity, abilities, and styles. Links should be provided to other sites to support or enhance the information presented.

WEB-5 Interaction promotes meaningful learning.

The site should provide information that is useful to the student’s specific purpose and/or bring some added value to learning that is not present in other formats. The site should offer more than one point of view and/or include links to other or alternative viewpoints.

WEB-6 Content chunking and sequencing are appropriate.

The content and concepts of the site should be organized logically into segments appropriate to the student’s abilities.

WEB-7 The site promotes active learning and student engagement.

The site should incorporate a variety of focussing techniques and cueing devices, as well as accessibility to advanced organizers and/or summaries. Information should be presented in such a way that it stimulates imagination and curiosity as well as encouraging self expression and group interaction.

WEB-8 Non-technical vocabulary is appropriate.

The site should model correct use of grammar, spelling, and sentence structure, and the sophistication of the ideas presented should be appropriate for the intended audience.

WEB-9 Accessibility is timely.

The site/page should take a reasonable amount of time to load/download. Links should be readily accessible.

WEB-10 Navigation aids are in place.

Internal and external links should be clearly visible and annotated or explanatory. On supporting pages there should be a link back to the home page.

WEB-11 The site makes a balanced use of text, graphics, and images.

The site should incorporate a mixture of various visual presentations to supplement/enhance the content/information. The use should be balanced to enhance learning rather than overwhelm the presentation.

Guiding Principles

1. Any staff member, student, parent/legal guardian of a student or member of the community may question the appropriateness of learning resources used in a school’s educational program. Questions may arise despite the fact that the individuals selecting such resources were qualified to make the selection, followed the proper procedures, and observed the criteria for selecting learning resource.

2. The principal should review the Evaluation and Selection of Learning

Resources: A Guide document with the staff annually. The staff should be reminded that the right to challenge exists.

3. Parents/Guardians have the right to question reading, viewing, or listening resources for their own children, not for other students.

4. Although a learning resource is being questioned, the principles of the freedom to read/listen/view must be defended.

5. Access to challenged material shall not be restricted during the reconsideration process.

6. The major criterion for the final decision is the appropriateness of the material for its intended educational use.

7. A decision to sustain a challenge shall not be interpreted as a judgement of irresponsibility on the part of the professionals involved in the original selection and/or use of the material.

The school receiving a complaint regarding a learning resource should try to resolve the issue informally.


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