Social work and social welfare

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Shankar Pathak, of the Department of Social Work, Delhi University has made a commendable innovative attempt to study the growth and development of social welfare in India from the lowest rung of the ladder of civilization to its present plans of attainment….

Pathak comes out with great courage and individuality in his analysis of the contribution of social reformers like Ram Mohun Roy, Vidyasagar, Sasipada Banerjee, Jyotiba Phule and others…

Extracts from the Review of Social Welfare-An Evolutionary and Developmental Perspective. Macmillan-India 1981: Indian Express. N. Delhi

Your paper on social work manpower demand

presented at the conference of social workers... I need it for a course I am giving

-M.S. Gore You have done well in providing concise and lucid clarification of some of the ‘foggy’ areas of social policy....

It would be worthwhile continuing your scholarly and insightful writings on social policy in India.


anthropology. He obtained the post-graduate diploma in social work at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences and M.A at the Indiana University, U.S.A. He has widely read in social sciences, and social work, and uses this knowledge in all his writings. He has authored five books on social work, contributed articles to the Encyclopaedia of Social Work in India (1966 and 1987) and to several anthologies on social work. He is a founder member of I.A.T.S.W, its first President of the Delhi Branch and Editor of its quarterly journal-Social Work Forum (1969-71).

He was U.N.ECAFE (now ESCAP) Senior Lecturer at the Philippine School of Social Work, Manila and the International Association of Schools of Social Work Consultant on Family Planning, at the Faculty of Social Administration, Thammasat University, Bangkok, during 1973-74.

The book traces the changing concepts and contours of social welfare and social work practice in India from the Vedic times to the present day. Divided into two parts, the first part begins with a theoretical framework in a sociological perspective and then proceeds to trace the historical development of social policy and social welfare in India until the end of the colonial rule. Part two of the book begins with the evolu-tion of social welfare in India since independence. It then proceeds to discuss the quest for professional status and the practice of social work in a cultural perspective. It is also a critique of contemporary social work practice in India with suggestions for a new approach in a developmen-tal perspective.

The treatment is authoritative and perhaps the first book to study social work and social welfare in a cross-cultural perspective drawing upon the Indian history, tradition and practice. It is well annotated with a comprehensive bibliography.






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By: Shankar Pathak, Rtd. Professor, Department of Social Work, Delhi University, Delhi.

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© Shankar Pathak, 2012

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The views and opinions expressed in this book are the authors’ own and the facts are as reported by him which have been verified to the extent possible, and the publishers are not in any way liable for the same.

This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior written consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser and without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above-mentioned publisher of this book.



G.R. Banerjee

Pioneers of Social Work


1. Introduction

2. Towards a Theoretical Framework for the Study of Social Welfare

3. Social Change and Social Welfare in Ancient India 4. Social Policy and Social Welfare in Medieval India


5. Christian Missionaries and Social Reform in India 6. Social Reform During the Colonial Era

7. Social Policy and Social Welfare During the Colonial Period (1800-1947)

8. Social Welfare: A Comparative Historical Perspective

A Few Words About This Book xi

1 5 24 43 68 80 129 154



Social Policy And Social Welfare

A Social Historical Perspective



Social Work – Profession And Practice.

A Cultural Perspective

9. Evolution of Social Welfare in India 10. Professionalization of Social Work

11. Professional Social Work in India-1975 to 2012 12. Social Work Profession - A Provocation by S.S.Iyer 13. Voluntary Organizations and Social Welfare 14. An Indian Perspective of Social Work 15. Counselling in the Indian Culture 16. Helping Process in the Bhagawadgita 17. Sarvodaya Methods of Social Work

18. Developmental Perspective of Social Welfare 19. Roles and Functions of Social Welfare 20. Bhakti- Concept, Ideology And Spread Appendix

I. Gandhiji’s Views on Social Work-B.N.Ganguli

II. Social Workers' Pledge: A Gift to Gandhiji on his Last Birthday

Notes and References.

171 186 207 213 227 244 252 261 270 275 280 301 332 336 343



At this stage of my life (82 years), I had thought, I would not take any trouble, make any effort regarding my published work – collection of papers, books and subsequently published articles in academic journals. But certain events that took place about fifteen months back, prompted (tempted?) me to reconsider my earlier decision. The result is a selection of my published writings, mainly from two books and addition of four chapters specially written for this selection, and arranging them in one volume, grouped under a common theme. The entire part one of my book, Social Welfare-An Evolutionary And Developmental Perspective, Macmillan-India (1981) is included here as part one. In the second part, I have included selected writings from my other book – Social Welfare, Health and Family Planning in India, Marwah Publications, Delhi, 1979. I have also added four chapters especially written for this book recently (March, April 2012) namely, Helping Process in the Bhagavadgita, Bhakti: Concept, Ideology And Spread, Professionalisation of Social Work 1975-2012 and Develop-mental Social Welfare. The notes and reference have been retained, with appropriate deletions and renumbering, following the chapter numbers in this book.

All my books are out of print. There may be a demand for these books because the number of institutions providing social work education at the under-graduate and post-graduate levels has increased, and may be close to 200.

Having made the selection about a year ago, I had given up the idea of publishing it, mainly due to some practical difficulties. M.H Ramesha of Niruta Publications succeeded in persuading me in publishing this book, by offering the necessary help for revising and updating the previously published writings and in writing the new chapters.


August 15, 2012 Bangalore

Shankar Pathak work. I have tried to revise and update the previously published writings, by taking note of the relevant literature which I was aware of and which was available to me. In particular, I should mention the major academic project-Review of Fifty Years of Social Work Litera-ture, special issue of the Indian Journal of Social Work, April, 1997. Given my personal circumstances such as my location, age and related problems, computer illiteracy etc, I have done my best to improve the quality of the manuscript while revising and updating it. I am aware that there may be some deficiencies and I hope the readers will be indulgent and ignore them.


I am grateful to Nirmala .L, for her help in computer printings of drafts; struggling patiently with my handwriting, T.F. Hadimani for preparing a very attractive design for the cover of the book and M H Ramesha for daring to publish it. Ponnaswamy .N, Venkatesh .K, K.Anantha Murthy and Nayana M.K have also done computer printing of some parts of the manuscript and I thank them. Pamela Singla of the Department of Social Work, Delhi University, has taken much trouble in securing for me the copies of the printed versions of the talk, by B.N. Ganguli and Elmina Lucke which appear as Appen-dix I&II and I greatly appreciate her help. Ms. Zakia S. Pathak had gone through some of the chapters in the second part of this book and made editorial improvement of the manuscripts when they were first published; she also provided me with two books for my reading which I appreciate. K.S. Ramesha has done the final typesetting of the computer-script of this book very competently and I thank him. M.A. Boratti translated a few lines of the vachana by Chennabasavanna and I am greateful to him.



Social Policy And Social Welfare

A Social Historical Perspective



In this brief opening chapter I propose to explain my approach in studying the evolution of social welfare in India and the rationale for it. In the process, I hope to alert the reader to the value-orientation behind this approach, which is vitally important, because I strongly


believe that all intellectual endeavors are influenced by ideology. It is helpful to start with the definition of the terms 'social welfare' and 'social work'. The task is not easy. There have been several unsuccessful attempts to define these terms so that a uniform mean-ing is attributed to them, both nationally and internationally. Social welfare is used here as a term which is broader in scope than social work. It may be defined as the organised provision of resources and services by the society to deal with social problems. These services may be provided by the state or by voluntary organisations, with a view to ameliorating the conditions of the people affected by the problems as well as to protect others who are likely to be affected in the future. This definition is wide enough to include the traditional and modern views of social welfare, i.e. the residual and develop-mental concepts of social welfare. It also includes social work. The term 'social work' refers to the work of voluntary social workers, professional social workers and other social work personnel employed in the field of social welfare.

The first part of this book deals with the history of social welfare in India. The subject matter of history is not the frozen and mummi-fied past, but the change and evolution of society. History 'is a


continuous process of interaction between the historian and his facts,


an unending dialogue between the present and the past'. The study of any history poses a serious problem because we look at past events


through contemporary concepts and mental framework. This tendency cannot altogether be avoided (though it could be kept under check by our awareness of its existence) because 'we can view the past and achieve our understanding of the past, only through the eyes of the present'.

Ahistoricity, both in a literal and a Marxist sense, is characteristic of social welfare literature. It may be asked why one should study history, which is concerned with the 'dead past'. It may even be argued that such an endeavour is undesirable for two reasons: it may lead to nationalistic chauvinism by glorification (even mythologisation) of the past; and it may reinforce the existing orientation to the past when we need an orientation to the future to bring about planned social change. These questions raise very pertinent issues because the dangers referred to are real and not imaginary. Yet, it is both necessary and desirable that we study aspects of Indian history because it provides us 'the key to the under-standing of the present'. As pointed out by E.H. Carr, 'The past is intelligible to us only in the light of the present; and we can fully understand the present only in the light of the past. To enable man to understand the society of the past, and to increase his mastery over


the society of the present, is the dual function of history.’

There is a special reason why one should study the history of social welfare, 'even if the past does not provide easy and clear lessons'. Clarke Chambers has observed:

Historical study may, for example, remind us of experiments in social welfare or in the delivery of social services which we have forgotten or never fully under-stand. It may provide educators, administrators, and practitioners with profes-sional models drawn from the past. Apprentice social workers especially, I imagine, need to know that social concern did not begin with themselves ... it is important to sense in both heart and mind that others have gone before, that one


prophecy, for many early social workers laboured to serve those in need while, at the same time, they moved to elaborate public policies which might alleviate and perhaps even resolve [and prevent] the complex social problems which were the


source of human need.

In studying the evolution of social welfare in India from ancient times to the present, I have broadly adopted the approach and method of social history. According to Hobsbawm 'social history is at


present in fashion', and 'it is a good moment to be a social historian'. But it is not for these reasons that I have tried to follow the approach of social history. An aspect of the tradition of social history is that 'it referred to the history of the poor or lower classes, and more specifi-cally to the history of the movements of the poor ["social


ments"]’. In recent years it is also concerned with the study of social structure and its transformation, i.e. the history of societies rather than the dynastic history of rulers, their conquest of new territory and their exploits in war. It is based on the conviction that 'the social or societal aspects of man's being cannot be separated from the other aspects of his being. They cannot, for more than a moment, be separated from the ways in which men get their living and their material environment. They cannot, even for a moment, be separated from their ideas since their relations with one another are expressed and formulated in a language which implies concepts as soon as they


open their mouths.’

The study of social structure in its totality is the essence of social history. This is elaborated in the next chapter, which provides the theoretical framework for the remaining chapters (Chapters 3 to 7) which cover the evolution of social welfare in India. If the reader is disappointed in the application of the approach, it is not only due to the lack of time and space, and my intellectual limitations, but also because of the extreme paucity of historical evidence which enable the historian to write reliable social history of the life and movements


of the poor. This deficiency is especially marked in relation to the


ancient period and to a lesser extent to the medieval period.

An evolutionary and developmental perspective, is another major aspect of the theoretical approach. Hoogvelt mentions three focal elements of the concept of development:

Development as Process, i.e. as an evolutionary process of growth

and change of man's social and cultural organisation (that is of society).

Development as Interaction, i.e. as a process of growth and

change of societies under conditions of interaction with other societies; and

Development as Action, i.e. as a consciously planned and monitored


process of growth and change.

The theoretical framework as presented in Chapter 2 is based on Hoogvelt's ideas of development as a process, i.e. as an evolutionary process of development, and development as interaction. I believe that the integration of these two theoretical aspects of development is both appropriate and necessary for the study of the evolution of social welfare in a society which has undergone the process of colonisation. Hoogvelt's concept of development as action forms the basis of the theoretical discussion in Part II.


Towards A Theoretical Frame Work For

The Study Of Social Welfare


A survey, whether in India or abroad, reveals the relative absence of theoretical and analytical literature dealing with social welfare-its


nature, goal, function and evolution. This is more so with regard to the Indian situation. A limited attempt at the theoretical analysis of social welfare in the Indian social context has been made by only Gore. Explaining his approach to social welfare, Gore makes refer-ence to the relationship between social welfare and social structure in


some of his writings. He also states that his approach is sociological. The main problem in these brief discussions on social structure and social welfare is the lack of a definition of the concept of social structure. Blau writes:

The concept of social structure is used widely in sociology, often broadly, and with a variety of meanings. It may refer to social differentiation, relations of production, forms of associations, value integration, functional interdependence, status and roles, institutions, or combination of these and other factors. A generic difference is whether social structure is conceived explicitly as being composed of different elements and their interrelations or



We shall view social structure in concrete terms and not as an abstract


concept only. In other words, social structure has its parameters. A study of Gore's writings reveals slightly varying views of social structure at different places. In one of his later writings he has used


cultural themes in Indian social work as the basis of his discussions. One gets the impression that social structure is conceived in func-tional terms and that too with great emphasis on norms and norma-tive behavior in society. This is broadly in keeping with the Parsonian functionalist view of social structure.


In our opinion, the Parsonian view of social structure with its emphasis on the normative system is inadequate for the analysis of social welfare. Firstly, this view of social structure excludes from its considerations the political and economic components which in our view are the most important and dynamic elements. Also, its concern has been with social equilibrium and social order which introduce an implicit and continuing bias towards stability and order as against


conflict and change.

The concept of culture is equally, perhaps more, inadequate as an analytical tool for the study of social welfare. In the words of Mills,


culture is a spongy concept. What is more, culture as a concept originated in a certain historical context which has influenced its subsequent evolution considerably.

The concept of culture, as used in the parlance of the human science, arose from a great human confrontation. The idea of culture was one of the principle intellectual outgrowths of the worldwide meeting between the expansionist West and exotic non-Western peoples. The configuration began with the contacts of exploration and matured into the relationships of empire. From this experience the West derived a growing need to find order in its increasing knowledge of immensely varied human lifeways. As the emerging science of anthropology developed the culture concept, it thereby provided an important


means to this end of discovering order in variation.


Welfare In Ancient India

In Indian literature on social reform and social work it is customary to trace the heritage of modern social welfare to the beginning of the nineteenth century, especially to the time of Rammohun Roy. If at all any reference is made to an earlier period, it is by way of stray remarks in passing about the social reform activities of some Muslim


or Maratha ruler. Occasionally one comes across, however, vague, global reference to social welfare in ancient India-mostly as a


cation of the past.

Periodisation of Indian history is a complicated and controversial issue. The popular classification is based on the religion of the rulers. Accordingly, 2500 B.C. to A.D. 1000 is treated as the ancient period, A.D. 1100 or 1200 to A.D. 1800 as the medieval period and the period from A.D. 1800 onwards as the modern period. Thapar is of the view that the end of the ancient period should be roughly eighth century


A.D. or possibly a little earlier. There is however, a rather more specific problem in studying ancient Indian history. It covers a vast period of more than three thousand years for most of which there is little historical evidence, especially about the social structure. Precisely for this reason, the approach here is chronological only in a very broad sense and rather like a frog-leap through history, skipping periods and details either because of the absence of adequate mate-rial or their relative unimportance for our purpose.



The earliest of the Indian civilisations is the Indus valley culture of Harappa and Mohen-jo-daro (now in Pakistan) which was in exis-tence roughly about 3000 to 2000 B.C. It ended about 1750 B.C. The Indus civilisation is characterised by a high level of urbanisation and affluence. Kosambi writes:

The Indus cities show town planning of a truly amazing nature. Besides the straight streets meeting at right-angles, there was a superb drainage system for carrying away rainwater and cesspools for clearing the sewage. No Indian city possessed anything of the sort till modern times, far too many still lack these amenities. There were enormous granaries far too large to be in private posses-sion. They were accompanied by small tenement houses in regular blocks which must have accommodated the special class of workers or slaves who pounded and stored the grain. There was evidence of considerable trade, some of it across


the ocean.

This indicates a well-developed agricultural system which could support the population of large cities with surplus food, the presence of a state, a system of government and the existence of a class-based society where there was the rule of a few over many. Some kind of slavery seems to have been practised. When we consider that the Indus people were essentially peaceful and not violent, we can assume that some type of social welfare was in existence which took care of the minimum needs of the slaves and other lower classes. Unfortunately, we know very little of their social structure, so that any more conjecture will be historical fiction of little relevance. THE VEDIC PERIOD (1700 TO 600 B.C.)

Sometime toward the end of the second millenium came from the north-west, perhaps from Persia, a hymn-singing, pastoral nomadic tribe, speaking an Indo-European language, and known in history as the Aryans. From the first wave of the Aryans to the Buddhist period-approximately one thousand years-we can observe the progress of

25 Social Change And Social Welfare In Ancient India


Social Policy And Social Welfare

In Medieval India (1206-1706)

Historical literature on the evolution of social welfare generally deals with the modern period from the time of Rammohun Roy and occasionally with the ancient period before the advent of Muslim


rule in India. This is a sad commentary both on the secularism of modern, post-independent era of Indian society and in particular on the tradition of scholarship among writers on social welfare. It is well known that the British colonial administration was based on the administration as it had evolved during the Mughal rule and that in turn was influenced by the contributions of the Sultanate period. For a proper understanding of the present social policy, a historical perspective is necessary and desirable because it would reveal a thread of continuity in social policy as a response to the prevalent social structure.

This chapter deals with social welfare from the early thirteenth century to the beginning of the eighteenth century, covering the Sultanate and Mughal periods. The approach to the study of the period is according to the method of social history. The focus is not on individual kings and their achievements except to the extent they contributed significantly to the changes in social institutions and social policy. It is, for this reason, not strictly chronological, but sequential. The institutional approach is also justified for another practical reason. 'Chronologically, the Sultanate does not possess


continuity; geographically it lacks territorial definition, for its boundaries constantly changed. It is only in the smooth evolution of


institutions that the Sultanate is revealed as a political entity.’ These observations hold good equally for the Mughal rule which is inter-rupted by the brief rule of Sher Shah and his son Islam Shah Suri. And the territorial boundaries kept changing even after the long reign of Akbar.

The Turkish and Afghan invasions of India and the establishment of the Sultanate introduced a major new element in Indian society-foreign conquerors with a new religion, which was so different from the then prevalent Brahmanism as to be called by one eminent


historian as 'a complete antithesis of their whole system.’ SOCIAL STRUCTURE AND SOCIAL WELFARE


The political structure was characterised by the autocratic rule of the Sultan, whose word was law. This is best illustrated in the statement of Muhammad Tughlak that 'He who obeys the Sultan, obeys the Lord Merciful'. Though the Islamic tradition of polity was essentially a republican system of government, in theory at least, the character of the state during the Sultanate was contrary to the teachings of


Islam. Legally, the society was divided into two classes, i.e. the king or the ruler and the subjects (riayya). In reality, there were many classes such as the theologians (ulamas), the nobility (umrahs), the slaves, the artisans and the peasants, the last two constituting the mass of the people.

Very early during the Sultanate, the practical needs of consolidat-ing conquered territory and providconsolidat-ing effective administration in a foreign country, where the mass of population followed the native religions, impressed upon the rulers the wisdom of introducing certain changes in the roles and functions of the king. These were divided into two broad categories-one in his traditional capacity as


Christian Missionaries And

Social Reform In India

The official religious policy of the East India Company was one of neutrality towards the native religions. This was a continuation of the policy followed by the Muslim rulers during the medieval period. Their reason for continuing this policy was the belief that the earlier Portuguese rule had come to an end because of attempts to forcibly convert the Indian people to Christianity. As a result of this concern, the Company government prohibited both the entry of missionaries into the territories under their control and any attempts at conversion


of their subjects to Christianity. However, in 1793 two English missionaries, William Carey and John Thomas, both Baptists, set out to India with the clear intention of starting a mission. In view of the ban on missionary activity they settled down in the Danish Colony of Serampore, north of Calcutta. William Carey, along with two other missionaries, Joshua Marshman and William Ward established the


Serampore mission in 1799. These three missionaries who were to play a major role in the renaissance of Bengal were known as the 'Serampore Trio'.

The Serampore missionaries were the first evangelical Baptist missionaries in India. They were followed later by other missionary groups belonging to different Protestant denominations. Before the arrival of the Serampore missionaries, several centuries earlier, there were Christian missions in the Portuguese territory of Goa, and also


on the Malabar coast. The work of the earlier missionaries was limited both geographically and in terms of the number of conver-sions to Christianity. Thus the major attempt at proselytisation began during the nineteenth century with the establishment of the first Baptist mission in Serampore.

The main aim of the missionaries was converting the native heathans to Christianity, which they considered as the nobler object. It was as an adjunct to this major activity that the missionaries began their work of social reform and social service. The main missionary attack against the native religions of Islam and Hinduism was aimed at a variety of superstitious religious practices. The criticism of the missionaries was particularly directed against the Hindus who believed in idol worship and in several gods and observed a variety of practices, some of which like the sati created a moral revulsion in the minds of the missionaries. The proselytisation work of the mission-aries did not succeed much. Firstly, the preaching of Christianity was based on a negative approach. It involved crude and harsh criticism of the religious convictions, superstitions and practices of the local people. Secondly, the age-old resilience of Hinduism to adapt itself to changing times by first permitting protestant sects to emerge and then later absorbing these also, was a major factor.

A direct result of the proselytisation activities of the Serampore missionaries was the birth of the Brahmo Samaj under the leadership of Rammohun Roy. The Brahmo Samaj absorbed the best of Chris-tian ethics and shed the earlier orthodox religious practices such as idol worship and caste discriminations, which were the main targets of the missionary attacks. While the Serampore and other mission-ary groups who spread out in different parts of the then Bengal province and southern India failed in their evangelical work, they achieved great success in the spheres of social reform and social work. In these two areas they made a lasting contribution, which is acknowledged even today by discriminating and fairminded



69 Christian Missionaries And Social Reform In India


Social Reform During The Colonial Era

The long period of Mughal rule which is described as the golden era of medieval India came to an end in 1757 with the victory of the British army under Robert Clive at the Battle of Plassey in Bengal. This event marks the beginning of colonial rule, though it took another sixty years before the process of conquest could reach a decisive phase following the defeat of the Peshwa army at Panipat in 1818. The colonial period represents an altogether new phase in the life of the country. There had been invaders and conquerors before, but they soon settled down as the natives of the country. The govern-ments changed at the political centre of the time without disturbing the continuing features of society, especially in the countryside. The colonial rulers were different in this respect and with them came a variety of new social forces like religion, technology, education, a system of law and judicial administration, etc.


Contact with the new culture (which was linked to politically power-ful rulers) initiated a series of wide-ranging changes in Indian society which began around the beginning of the nineteenth century, gradually gained momentum and culminated in the achievement of Independence by about the middle of the next century. While the colonial rule lasted for practically two centuries, it is the nineteenth century and the first three or four decades of the twentieth century


which have been the favourite periods of study for scholars from India and abroad. Also, it has been studied by scholars from a variety of disciplines. In the process, there has been a fragmentary analysis of what in effect was an interlinked series of social changes. This brings to mind the parable of the six blind men and the elephant. Thus, for example, certain social movements have been labelled as religious reform movements by some, social reform movements by others and social changes associated with or part of national move-ment by yet another group of scholars.

An attempt is made here to study these social movements, which are more often described as social reform movements, in a wider holistic perspective by a social structural approach. In other words, these movements are studied by viewing them in their total social structural context. To borrow a phrase from Smelser, this is applica-tion of a fragment of social theory to a period in history. The period covered is a long one, from 1800 to 1947. Emphasis is given to the years 1815 to 1920. The social reform movements of this period can be divided into three phases: The first phase covers 1815 to 1860, during which the reform 'movements' originated as a response to or as a result of interaction of several social changes. This may be called


as the individual reform phase. The second phase, which covers 1860 to 1920, may be described as the associational or organisational phase. The last phase which encompasses nearly a quarter century from 1918-1920 to 1947-48 may be designated as the independence movement or the Gandhian phase. This three-fold classification of the total period is based on a set of major criteria which are relevant for the study of the social reform movement. Each phase is character-ised by significant political, economic and other social events.

It was during the first phase that the Christian missionaries began their attack on native religions as part of their proselytising work and along with it, or as part of it, initiated their social reform campaign and social service. The period also witnessed the birth of indigenous 81 Social Reform During The Colonial Era


Social Policy And Social Welfare During

The Colonial Period (1800-1947)

The East India Company was established in 1600 and began its trading activities in the southern part of India soon after wards. With the acquisition of Diwani rights in Bengal in 1765, the Company took on a new role as the colonial ruler of a part of the country. But the Company had little interest in framing a social policy towards its subjects, because of its preoccupation with maintaining and expand-ing colonial territory. It was only by the beginnexpand-ing of the nineteenth century that it was compelled to devote some attention to the other aspects of administration, apart from the collection of revenue and the maintenance of law and order. In this chapter we will discuss the colonial government's social policy in broad outline from the begin-ning of the nineteenth century. Social policy, in the final analysis, pertains to governmental policy. When we take into account the nature of colonial society and the government, it includes the policies of the government in such areas as religion, social welfare and social legislation, education and medical care.

Perhaps the most prominent area where a social policy existed was in the field of education. No other social policy was subjected to such detailed debate as the educational policy. Also, from the middle of the nineteenth century onwards education claimed the lion's share of the governmental expenditure as compared to other social sectors like medical relief, famine relief and social work. Before the Charter


Act of 1813, the Company administration took hardly any interest in providing education to its subjects. Until then what little was done in this area was mostly due to the work of Christian missionaries. By this Act, the Company had to accept responsibility for the education of Indians and 'this was the beginning of the state system of educa-tion in India under the British rule'. During the period 1813-54, very little was in fact done by the colonial government to discharge this responsibility. So the missionaries continued to be the main agency to provide education to the people. This period, however, was character-ised by many violent controversies which centred around the object of the educational policy, medium of instruction and the method and agency for the spread of education. The participants in the debate included the emerging Indian leaders, Christian missionaries, and officials of the government. Wood's Education Despatch of 1854 set the controversies at rest, at least for some time, by declaring that the main object of the educational system was to spread western knowl-edge and science, and by acknowledging the inability of the govern-ment to provide for all the educational needs of the country. So it ernphasised that the bulk of the country's educational institutions would have to be organised by private bodies and instead of the education of the minority elite by the government, the education of the masses should be the duty of the state.

Until 1854, the Company did not accept direct responsibility for the education of the masses and its educational policy was influenced by what is known as the Downward Filtration Theory. According to this, the Company was expected to give a good education to only a few persons and they were in turn expected to educate the masses. The choice of the Downward Filtration Theory was dictated more by the limitation of funds at the disposal of the government than by any ideology.

Wood's Despatch stated that the education of the masses was the duty of the state, and both English and vernacular languages should


Social Welfare: A Comparative

Historical Perspective

In recent years there has been an increasing interest in social change in many countries of the world. This interest is not confined to developing countries engaged in the task of national development (the socalled Third World) which are characterised by mass problems of poverty, disease, illiteracy, etc. It is also evident in the affluent, industrially advanced countries which are discovering problems of persistent poverty amidst national affluence. The field of social welfare is not unaffected by this resurgence of interest in social change. Is this, then, an unthought of response to a currently popular international trend or is this the result of certain developments that have been taking place over the years? This is the question that merits discussion.


Social welfare which began as a religious, humanitarian activity to provide relief to the poor, under-privileged and handicapped sections of society, gradually emerged as a systematic organised service by society to some of its unfortunate members. In this process, later emerged a group of people who took to social welfare as full time work, characterised by 'scientific' knowledge and methods of work-ing with people. The latter development, briefly stated, is what is


called professionalisation of social work and the emergence of social work as a profession. Though the seeds of professionalisation of social work were to be found in the activities of the Charity Organisa-tion Society in the U.K., the conscious attempt in developing it as a profession started in the U.S.A. in the early twenties of the last century.

The social welfare model, including the professional model of social work as evolved in the U.S.A., has been influenced by a variety of factors. These include early Judaeo-Christian ethics, particularly the puritan ethic which emphasised individualism, self-help and the moral character of the individuals; the liberal social and political philosophy which advocated laissez faire approach by the state; unexploited natural resources which seemed to provide plenty of opportunities for anyone to make 'good' in life; a buoyant and expanding industrial economy which made full use of the new scientific discoveries by developing industrial technology, and a mass consumption society which provided a demand for the products of the growing industrial economy as well as benefited by the mass-produced goods, which in turn led to a progressive increase in the standard of living of the people. The great economic depression of the 1930s came as a jolt which shook the very foundations of the American society and led to some rethinking of the social and political philosophy in that country. In the field of social welfare, this led to the growing involvement of the government, particularly in initiating legislative measures for social security. Yet, curiously, the


field continued to be dominated by the philosophy of individualism. This may be explained in some detail.

Due to a variety of factors which need not detain us here, collectivistic political and economic theories did not emerge as strong forces in the U.S.A. to shape the minds of the population as they had done in the U.K. The political and economic philosophy continued to be conservative-liberal in outlook rather than radical. This meant 155 Social Welfare: A Comparative Historical Perspective


A human being is like all human beings,

Like some human beings and,

Like no other human being.


Evolution Of Social Welfare In India

In the evolution of social welfare in India, like in many countries, two broad trends can be noticed: reform of the society and the provision of specific services to the handicapped and disadvantaged individuals and groups. Much before the beginning of social reform during the nineteenth century, there were several religious reform movements by the saints. They were revolting against the religious inequality and in some cases against social inequality as well. They fought against the prevalent practice of excluding the lower groups in society from opportunities to worship God, and their access to religious knowledge. Some of them attempted to remove the social discrimination by preaching that all human beings were equal before God.

The social reformers from Ram Mohun Roy to Gandhi also aimed at reforming the Hindu society. They focussed their attention on the abolition of some religious or social practices which were detrimen-tal to the welfare of certain segments of the Hindu society, such as sati, prohibition of widow remarriage, child marriage, idol-worship and some features of the caste system. They approached their task of reform, which concerned mostly women and children, from a rational and critical analysis of the social system of the day. To achieve their goal they relied heavily on state intervention and the instrument of social legislation. The reform activities which began in Bengal spread to several parts of the country. It was an elitist reform


movement confined mainly to the western educated, urban middle class. It did not become a mass movement until the entry of Gandhi on the social reform arena. The point to note here is the fact that many of these social reformers who began their work with a broad orientation to social problems and the need to change society in certain respects, very soon found it necessary to provide specific services to individuals affected by the harsh features of the society. Thus institutions were established to provide shelter and education for widows, orphans, and destitutes.

With the entry of Gandhi on the political and social scene of India, we see the beginning of a new phase in social reform. For Gandhi, the struggle against social inequality could not be separated from the fight for political freedom. At the same time, he felt that the fight for freedom and political equality has no meaning without fighting for social equality. Gandhi was not content with his efforts to change the society. He also established organizations to provide services and to work for the welfare of the weaker sections of the society. Unlike the social reformers before him, Gandhi's field of action was not limited to urban areas. His analysis of rural poverty led him to initiate measures for rural development through self-sufficiency of the villages. While not agreeing with all the Gandhian ideas and programmes, it must be pointed out that there was none before him (and none after him so far) who had his breadth of vision, the integral view of society (social and political, rural and urban) and who had realised the value of' people's participation in the struggle for social and political reform. For the first time social reform became a mass movement drawing in its fold large number of men and women from all strata of society.

I. Evoluation of the Role of Government in Social Welfare

Before India came under the British rule, social welfare activities such as care of the handicapped and the destitutes, were the


Professionalization Of Social Work

There is a widespread belief among professional social workers that social work in India had attained the status of a profession on the eve of the Independence of the country. The assumption that social work in India became a profession many years ago, deserves to be carefully tested. This chapter attempts to discuss the professionalization of social work in India, particularly during the past thirty years, in historical perspective. The label 'professional social workers' is used here in a broad sense to distinguish a group of social workers from other types of social workers, such as sarvodaya social workers, voluntary social workers and paid social workers who have had no education in schools of social work. The analysis will focus on the group of social workers who have completed their education at the post-graduate schools of social work and have worked or are cur-rently working in the field of social work in India; their impact on the field of social work; and their achievements and failures in their quest for professional status.

The terms 'profession' and 'professionalization' are used in a specific sense in sociological literature. Professionalization is defined as "the dynamic process whereby many occupations can be observed to change certain crucial characteristics in the direction of a 'profes-sion' and profession is defined as 'an ideal type' of occupational organization which does not exist in reality, but which provides the model of the form of occupational organization that would result if



any occupational group became completely professionalized". These crucial characteristics are variously stated by different authors. The most commonly stated characteristics include a specific area of operation, a specialized body of knowledge and techniques, the establishment of educational programmes usually in the universities, development of a code of ethics, establishment of a professional organization, ideal of service, and public recognition of the profes-sional status of the occupation.

Goode has stated that there are some characteristics which are core or generating traits and the rest derive from these. According to him, a basic body of abstract knowledge and the ideal of service are


the two generating traits. As Parsons and others have pointed out, it is not helpful to differentiate occupations and professions on the basis of the criterion of service, because both self-interest and the ideal of service interpenetrate whether in the commercial occupations or professions. In any case, the ideal of service has always been the hall-mark of social work and in fact, the over-emphasis on this ideal has proved to be a serious barrier to the professionalization of social work in India. In our view, the three core traits of a profession are: (1) a specific area of operation, (2) a basic body of knowledge and skills, (3) and public recognition of the claim of the occupation for profes-sional status. Other characteristics are derived from these core traits. The public recognition is the most important of the three traits. Because in the final analysis it is a political process. If an occupa-tional group somehow succeeds in persuading or pressurizing the government to act in favour of its claim, irrespective of the presence or absence of the other two traits, it will achieve professional status.

Some sociologists have identified a sequence of steps in the professionalization of occupations. As Goode has commented, this


is neither empirically correct, nor theoretically convincing. Because most of these processes are going on simultaneously and it is difficult to state whether one actually began before another.

187 Professionalization Of Social Work


Professional Social Work In India

-1975 To 2012

After reviewing the literature for fifty years, pertaining to social welfare, social work and development it was observed that

some key concepts like social change, macro-micro levels and structures, and problem of inter-linkages between them, empowerment and so on, have neither been adequately and clearly conceptualized nor discussed in operational terms”….and the literature failed to provide guidelines for practice or testable propositions which can be the basis for the further development of usable theory, discovery of operational procedures and techniques for practice”. There has been very little research on the theory building and practice of social development and social welfare “(Pathak, 1997)

Reviewing the literature on group work Joseph observed that

“the written contribution of Indian authors to the literature of group work has been extremely sparse or limited ….. There has very rarely been any addition or challenge to the western literature on group work from the experience of social work in India, though the reality in India is significantly different in many ways”(Joseph, 1997).

Reviewing the literature on social action as a method, the author concluded that

The changing social characteristics of social work, together with the reorganiza-tion of the work and the market situareorganiza-tion of social work, seem to suggest that the scale of militancy in the profession will decrease rather than increase…. Social action as a method, therefore will remain on the periphery rather than become a central mode of intervention in India”(Siddiqui, 1997).


In her overview of all the reviews of social work literature during the period of fifty years (1940-1996). Desai noted a declining ten-dency in the articles published by social work writers in the Indian Journal of Social Work. She concludes “one still comes across masters and doctoral dissertations, which state that these are explor-atory studies because no previous literature exists in that area!” (Desai, 1997). If they are not exploratory studies, they may be survey type of research of a field of social work, though this is also rare. A study of medical social work in Bombay by Gita Shah and a study of psychiatric social work in India by Ratna Verma are worth mention-ing here. There has not been a smention-ingle experimental research or evaluative research of the quality and impact of social work interven-tion. Even in U.K and U.S.A. this is very rare. There has been one modest experimental research in the mental health field as part of an M.Phil dissertation by an Iranian student (!) at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences and it has not been published. Practice wisdom has been talked about for a long time, both in the West and in India, but remains elusive or even invisible to the eyes of the academic research-ers. The need for documentation of the field experience and experi-ment, and to attempt at conceptualization and testing has been advocated (Joseph, 1997; Pathak 1997). Both of them have lamented the loss of such valuable knowledge. Practitioners rarely write and when they do, they tend to be either descriptive or recycle what has been written and published before, mostly by the western academics. One exceptional piece of publication of a very high quality of an experiment of social work intervention in field practice, with a family of a schizophrenic patient by Rima Balachandran, perhaps, remains unnoticed and unutilized by social work educators. And the author, alas passed away at a very young age, thus depriving us a possible future contribution to knowledge based on social work practice in India.

Finally, about the professional associations. The I.A.T.S.W went


Social Work Profession -A Provocation

By S.S.Iyer

The profession of social work in India is more than thirty years old. Yet, I am afraid, it does not seem to have come of age. Mature thinking, broad perspective, sobriety born of the felt responsibilities of work in a problem-ridden society, a sense of identification with progressive thought, of belongingness to the community and the culture of which it is a part, and a sense of mission and creative innovation in the realm of thought and action-all these are the hall-marks of a mature profession where clients are human beings as individuals and as collectivities. We may scan the social work horizon to discern the evidence of these, but we see a disappointing and depressing picture. Professional social workers have not shown themselves to be vitally concerned with the serious issues of our time and our society. They are in a state of peace and contentment; they have no right to be, given the living conditions of people in our country today.

What are those conditions? A vast expanse of poverty and depri-vation, millions on the verge of stardepri-vation, economic exploitation and social degradation for the many, and power and luxury for a small group, ranging from pedlars of potatoes to pedlars of the intellect. This inhuman situation of apocalyptic contradiction will *


confront the social worker, wherever he may choose to work. Here, in brief, we give an idea of the character and size of the human prob-lems social worker have to deal with.

At the outset, let me say a few words about the nature of a profes-sion. The words are provoked by the constant emphasis laid by the majority of professionals as well as non-professional social workers, on one aspect of a profession, which is least important and not unique; the question of remuneration. It is very tragic and unfortu-nate that whenever social workers start discussing the nature of the profession, this aspect is brought to the fore, to the exclusion of many other vital issues pertinent to the discussion. I think it needs no serious discussion to see that the social worker, like any other human being, has certain natural, therefore, normal animal and human urges and needs, which call for satisfaction and so he should have a minimum of material well-being. Whatever may be said in theory, I can say, with all the authority of my personal experience of twelve years in the company of social workers of all types, Sadhus, Sarvodayites, Quakers, Christian missionaries, professionals per se and so on, that, whether formally drawing a salary or not, one and all without exception, make a call on the resources of the community in return for the services they render. If anybody, anywhere, at any time, has made or still makes a statement to the contrary, a little searching of his conscience is the only prescription for this malady!

Here, I would like to record a discussion I had recently with Shri Dhiren Majumdar, the veteran Sarvodaya thinker, who, in spite of his old age, continues to be a field worker. I requested him to throw some light on the question of a social worker's standard of living. On this issue, there is as much enervating confusion and contradiction among Sarvodayites as among profesional social workers, because of the religious insistence of the former on austerity in principle, most often violated in actual practice. Dhiren Da, as he is affectionately called, declared without reservation:


Voluntary Organizations And Social Welfare

There has been considerable discussion in recent years regarding the role of voluntary organizations in social welfare in India. An indica-tion of the rethinking that is going on in the field is a recent spurt in the publication of articles in the popular press and the discussion following these publications. The debate seems to centre around the roles of voluntary organizations in the changing social context, and the national goal of the welfare state. There is also a feeling of dissatisfaction about the role played by voluntary organizations since Independence. Disappointment is expressed that inspite of consider-able financial support by the government, the performance of voluntary organizations in social welfare has been far from satisfac-tory.

Before proceeding to discuss the new roles of voluntary organisa-tions in social welfare, it is appropriate to define a voluntary organi-zation. A voluntary organisation is an association of people orga-nized to meet the needs of a section or the whole of that community. In other words, the voluntary organizations originate in the sponta-neous, altruistic, humanitarian feelings of a few leaders in the community, who are concerned for the welfare of the disadvantaged among their fellow human beings. A corollary to this definition is the support extended to the voluntary organizations by the local commu-nity. The financial resources that are necessary for the existence of voluntary organizations and for the services rendered by them are to be collected from within the local community. The reference to the


local community need not exclude large-scale state or national level organizations. Such large-scale organizations may result through a process of federation or affiliation of a number of local level volun-tary organizations working in a particular area of welfare. It is also possible that a national or state level voluntary organization may be first established with a clear intention to work for the welfare of a certain group of people, and this may be followed by the opening of branches or local units of these large-scale organizations in different parts of the country.

The voluntary organizations as defined above needs to be distin-guished from the non-official organizations. As the Study Team Report has rightly pointed out, a voluntary organization is spontane-ous in its origin, while a non-official organization is sponsored by the


government. A sponsored non-official organization may not have roots in a local community as a voluntary organization would. As a result, the non-official organization may fail to arouse popular support. In other words, the non-official organization is an instance of induced voluntarism by the state which may or may not secure popular support.

Historically, the origin of voluntary organizations in India may be traced to the period when the Indian society started to undergo certain significant changes coincident with the establishment of the rule of the East India Company towards the end of the 18th century. In a feudal society where primary group ties are very strong, such groups predominate in the life of the people. The family, the kinship group, the caste and the village community have been powerful and familiar primary groups in the Indian society. In the past they have generally performed the functions which we now define as social welfare functions. Following the establishment of the East India Company rule, certain changes took place in the political and economic life of the country.

Broadly speaking, there were three major factors which led to a


An Indian Perspective Of Social Work

During the past two or three decades, there has been much talk of the need for developing an indigenous model of social welfare. Very rarely this idea has been pursued seriously to the point of making a beginning in that direction. The reason for this is obvious; it is easy to criticise but difficult to create. G.R. Banerjee is one of those very few Indians who has tried patiently and persistently to be creative by continually thinking and writing on an Indian perspective of social work. Her contributions have been brought together in a book of essays-Papers on Social Work-An Indian Perspective. In the first thirteen papers, she propounds the basic concepts which form part of Indian social work. They are: concepts of social welfare as kalyan or

mangal; concepts of love, duty or Dharma and Ahimsa; Concept of

detachment or Nishkama Karma; concepts of self, professional self, self-help, and Karma theory; concept of social functioning and social consciousness. According to Banerjee, the ancient Indian concept of social welfare was broader in scope than the western concept. It included not only remedial but also preventive measures. It was not restricted to a particular group or class but was meant for all, rich, or poor, normal or handicapped. The goal of human activity was the welfare of all human beings; i.e. loka sangraha. It was the duty of human beings, particularly the leaders to work for the welfare of society.

Banerjee is critical of the overemphasis on the rights of an individ-ual in western societies. She equates rights with concern for material


comforts, though it implies obligations or duty, which is neglected. She asks whether this extreme craving for material comforts based on conviction of individual rights, can bring about human happiness. An individual cannot be made to love another person by emphasizing the right or by legislation. The Indian concept of duty or dharma is superior to the concept of right. While right makes people selfish and thus divides them, the concept of duty with its emphasis on obliga-tion, unites people. But the concept of duty is not based on social pressures. In that case it will be bitter. It becomes sweet when "love


greases its wheels". Duty also implies self-denial.

Self is an indivisible whole which provides continuity to the otherwise changing personality. It includes body, mind, intellect and awareness or consciousness. It has a spiritual element, the soul, which is immortal. Dichotomy of self, as professional self which operates in one's work life from the 'other' self is not valid. It is the same self whether in private life or professional sphere. When we speak of professional self we refer to the manifestation of self in our work life. Self cannot have a different set of values and behaviour in private life and in professional work. Love is not a quantity or a thing to be bargained or negotiated. It is a quality of the self developed on the basis of awareness of its identity with the whole of humanity. It implies imaginative emphathy. Ahimsa is an aspect of love. It does not mean non-killing or avoidance of physical violence. It has a positive meaning. Ahimsa is not possible without love. It is akin to the western social work concept of acceptance.

Banerjee's description of the concept of rights is too narrow. It is not correct to say that the rights emphasize only the privileges and comforts of the individual. The concept of rights of man originated in the context of a social philosophy based on man as a rational being, capable of taking decisions in his best interests. It implied freedom of action consistent with the rights of other men. As noted by Banerjee, it implies obligations or duty. Such rights as freedom of speech and 245 An Indian Perspective Of Social Work


Counselling In The Indian Culture

Counselling is a form of psychological help provided by profes-sional persons to people who need it in order to cope with their problems. Such help is offered in a face-to-face relationship through discussion between the counsellor and the counsellee. There is no agreement on what constitutes counselling and how it is different from case work and psychotherapy. And there are different types of counselling based on a large number of psychological theories. The term counselling has been in use in social work literature since the early thirties. Almost all authors on case work consider counselling as a part of case work. It was classified as one of the techniques of


direct treatment (psychological help) by Hamilton.

Aptekar, however, refers to case work, counselling and psycho-therapy as three distinct independent forms of helping. According to him counselling is and could be practised by social workers. But it is different from both case work and psychotherapy. Case work is geared to the provision of a concrete service such as financial relief, adoption and foster placement. Psychological knowledge and skills may be necessary for administering a concrete service. But it is different from counselling which is discussion of personal or inter-personal problems of individuals. On the other hand, psychotherapy which is also a form of psychological service, and has personality


change as its goal. Rogers who propounded 'non-directive counsel-ling', does not make any distinction between psychotherapy and


counselling, and uses these two terms synonymously. He considers environmental help as outside the scope of counselling and thus takes


the same position as Aptekar. It is generally accepted that counsel-ling requires psychological knowledge and skills. Depending on one's preference,a counsellor may choose anyone of the major psychologi-cal theories: Freudian, Neo-Freudian, Adlerian, Jungian, Rankian etc. or he may be an eclectic choosing concepts and skills useful from any of these. In addition, a counsellor needs knowledge pertaining to the problems characteristic of a field e.g. educational problems, problems of employees in industry, vocational problems, marital problems etc. There are two broad types of counselling- directive and non-directive counselling. A prominent advocate of non-directive counselling is Carl Rogers. Most Freudians and other psychoanalyti-cally oriented counsellors also believe in non- directive counselling.

The objective of counselling is stated variously as personality growth, developing self-knowledge and self-awareness, strengthen-ing the capacity to perceive the problem realistically and deal with it, enabling the person to learn to exercise the choice wisely etc. This is to be achieved by discussion between the person and the counsellor. The discussion is focussed on the feelings and attitudes of the person. There is greater emphasis on emotions and comparatively less attention to the need for providing knowledge through information and explanation. The establishment of rapport or relationship is considered as an essential and vital element. Self-determination is a cardinal principle for most writers on counselling. The counsellee should be left free to select his own goal in relation to the solution of the problem. The non-directive group takes an extreme position on this point. In fact, if we have to select one single characteristic that distinguishes non-directive counselling from directive counselling, it is the great value attached to this principle. Other distinctive features of non-directive counselling include: the emphasis on minimal activity by the counsellor; authority as incompatible with

counsel-253 Counselling In The Indian Culture