- Prof M.N Srinivas introduced the term 'sanskritization' in context to Indian society.
- Sanskritization is not a new concept in sociological literature but M.N. Srinivas has used this concept in a peculiar way.
- The term refers to a process whereby people of lower castes collectively try to adopt upper caste practices and beliefs to acquire higher status.
- It indicates a process of cultural mobility that was taking place in the traditional social system of India.
Through this process, Srinivas found that lower castes in order to raise their position in the caste hierarchy adopted some customs and practices of the Brahmins and gave up some of their own which were considered to be impure by the higher castes.
- Sanskritization has occurred usually in groups who have enjoyed political and economic power but were not ranked high in ritual ranking.
- Thus after gaining political and/or economic strength these groups tried to imitate certain rights, practices and rituals to gain upward social mobility.
However off late because of reservation and political mobilization correlated with the caste identities, the trend has reversed. This trend is exactly opposite to sanskritization, thus can be termed as de-sanskritization.
- In the recent past, there has been a increasing tendency among various social groups to project themselves as “backward” in order to accrue the benefits of the reservation.
- The agitation by Gujjars in Rajasthan to claim the status of Schedule Tribe and by Jats in north western part of the country to include them in the list of backward class truly exemplifies this novel trend.