Sociology Daily Answer Writing (19-09-2022)

Topics: Protest and Agitation, GS Ghurye, Caste System in India | Sociology Answer Writing for UPSC


  1. Protest and agitation are nearly indistinguishable. Discuss. Do you see recent opposition to farm bills as a protest or agitation?       20
  2. Ghurye offered a comprehensive definition of caste. Examine.   20

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Model Solutions

Q1. Protest and agitation are nearly indistinguishable. Discuss. Do you see recent opposition to farm bills as a protest or agitation? (20)

Model Structure

  • Agitation and protest both are a way of opposition and tactics to fulfil one’s demand.

Main Body

  • Protest is a social process of opposition against any person, group or even wider society. Whereas, agitation involves intense activity undertaken by an individual or group, in order to fulfil a purpose.
  • Both the terms are used interchangeably, but have a very thin line of separation between them.
  • In protest there is opposition as a central tenet of it, whereas purpose is central in an agitation.
  • It can also be argued that dissatisfaction is associated with agitation and dissent with protest.
  • Agitations are mostly organised in nature but protests may be sporadic in origin.
  • Agitations may demand authority over state or organisation but protests mostly are bare opposition to them.
  • They overlap in their characteristics sometimes for example:
    • Both protests and agitations may develop into social movements.
    • They both depend on the structure of the society.
      Farm bills and the opposition:
  • The government launched three farm bills to cater the long due reforms in the agriculture sector. But they were met with massive opposition by the masses.
  • The opposition started as a protest against the farm laws as the farmers were opposing some of the sections of the act.
  • But as the time passed, protest transformed itself into an agitation and in further time it transformed into a social movement, which was spread across the country.
  • In protest the farmers were just opposing the steps taken by the government but when it turned into an agitation they started asking for the repealing of the bills.
  • Many manifestations of agitation like strikes, rasta roko, picketing etc. were conspicuous during this period.
  • The agitation further got institutionalised and a greater degree of organisation was seen in due course of time, which led it in the direction of social movement.


  • Be it protest or agitation, both are ways of opposition and making the state listen to the demands of the masses. The only difference can be seen in the structure, but the end goals are mostly the same.

Q2. Ghurye offered a comprehensive definition of caste. Examine. 20

Model Structure

  • Ghurye in his “Caste and race in India” examined caste from a historical Indological, comparative and integrative perspective. He argued that caste played an integrative role in Indian society.

Main Body

  • Initially, Ghurye was influenced by the diffusionist approach and also partially supported Risley's view of racial origin of the caste system.
  • His definition of caste system emphasises six features, which were derived from various Indological studies done by him:
    • Segmental Division: He argued that caste is divided into a number of closed, mutually exclusive segments. It is closed because caste is decided by birth.
    • Hierarchical Division: Not two castes are equal in hierarchy and are arranged in a top-down fashion.
    • Restricted: The institution involves restrictions on feeding and social interactions. These are governed by the idea of purity and pollution.
    • Disabilities and privileges: Caste involves differential rights and duties for different castes along with civil and religious disabilities and privileges.
    • Choice of occupation: It is restricted by caste and is decided by birth and is hereditary.
    • Marriage restrictions: Caste endogamy is a conspicuous feature of the caste system.
  • Ghurye analysed the changing pattern of caste system and argued that it will diminish with the rise of modern education, but it won't be easy to eliminate it soon.
  • He also acknowledged the disharmonious role of the caste system.
  • Ghurye’s views are criticised:
    • Beteille contends that Ghurye is unsure about his approach as he continuously makes shifts from diffusionist to indology to comparative.
    • Srinivas argues that caste is dynamic in nature and not necessarily rigid.
    • Ghurye is accused of taking a Hindu centric view of society.


  • Ghurye’s conceptual definition was mostly based on the classical texts and in practice many features were changing, though all the features of the caste system still exist in one or the other form.

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