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Akshaykumar Ramanlal Desai

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Akshaykumar Ramanlal Desai( A.R.Desai) (26 April 1915-12 November 1994)was an Indian Sociologist[1]a Marxist,[2] Head of the Department of Sociology inBombay University in 1967.[3] [4], President of Indian Sociological Society| (1980-81).[5]and President of the fifteenth All India Sociological Conference held at Meerut in 1981.[6]He is particularly well known for his work Social Background of Indian Nationalism In which he offered a Marxist analysis of the genesis of Indian Nationalism making use of History which set up a path to Socialism in India.[7] He was honored with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Award for Social Sciences by Government of Madhya Pradesh in 1987.[8]

Akshaykumar Ramanlal Desai
Born26 April 1915
Died12 November 1994
EducationMA LLB PhD
Alma materUniversity of Mumbai
Spouse(s)Neera Desai
ChildrenMihir Desai
AwardsPandit Jawaharlal Nehru Award for Social Sciences by Government of Madhya Pradesh, India 1987
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Mumbai, Indian Sociological Society
Notable studentsManorama Savur, Indra Munshi

Early life and education[edit | edit source]

Desai was born in Nadiad to a Nagar Brahmin| family. His father Ramanlal Desai| was an eminent Gujrati writer and civil servant of the Baroda state whose nationalistic ideology to counter colonialism inspired him in his early years. Ever since teenage he took part in anti-imperialist student movements in Baroda,Surat and Bombay.In 1933 he became a political activist owing to C G Shah the learned Marxist of Bombay, as a result he was member of the Communist Party of India(CPI)in 1934 and the Trotskyist Revolutionary Socialist Partyin 1953 and was active in the labor Kisan and Trade Union|movements from 1932 to 1936. Having completed B A in 1935 in Political Science and Economics and MA and LLB from University of Bombay he obtained PhD under the supervision of Dr G S Ghurye in 1946 while practicing as a lawyer to help those in movement .[9]

Career[edit | edit source]

  • joined as a college lecturer in Sociology in Bombay in 1946
  • joined as a faculty member in the university in 1951 and taught Sociology.
  • in 1951 became Associate Director of the UNESCO project on Group Tensions in India .
  • in 1967 became Head of the Department of Sociology - Bombay University
  • Retired from the university in 1976
  • president of Gujarat Sociological Society from 1980 till 1990.
  • guided theses of 28 researchers from the Sociology Department in Bombay University.[4]

Recognition[edit | edit source]

Contributions[edit | edit source]

Studying Indian society from a Marxian perspective, he consistently applied Marxist methods in his treatment of Indian social structures and its processes as also advocated and applied dialectical historical model in his sociological studies.His studies on nationalism, examination of Community Development Programs, urban slums, peasant movements and relationship between state and society were all based on Marxist methods ofHistorical Materialism . He may be regarded as one of the pioneers in introducing modern Marxist approach to bibliographical and field research.Not only did he give notice to the mainstream that Marxism had a place in Indian sociology but also provided a forum for radical minded scholars to broaden their horizons of research .He edited , compiled and authored many volumes in Rural Sociology , urbanization ,labor movements , peasant struggles, modernization, religion , democratic rights and Political Sociology.In many of his works he discussed the repressive role played by the post independence capitalist state in India and its violation of democratic rights of women, press,slumdwellers,minorities, Adivasis and Dalits . His study of the inherent contradiction and class character of the Indian National Movement was his significant contribution and his edited volume on Rural Sociology was a major turning point and pacesetter in the field of agrarian studies.[10]

Personal life[edit | edit source]

He married Dr.Neera Desai in 1947. Their only son Mihir Desai is a Human Rights lawyer.[4]

Selected Publications[edit | edit source]

Books[edit | edit source]

  • DesaiA.R.(2019)Sage publications (first published 1948) Social Background of Indian Nationalism,Popular Prakashan BombayISBN 9386042258
  • DesaiA.R.(2005) Rural India in transition,Popular Prakshan, BombayISBN 9788171540167
  • DesaiA.R.(1984)India's Path of development - A Marxist approach.Popular Prakashan, BombayISBN 9780861320646
  • DesaiA.R.(1976)Essays in Modernization of Underdeveloped Societies ,Humanities Press,OCLC 6247475
  • DesaiA.R. Wilfred De'costa(1994)State and Repressive Culture-a case study of Gujrath, South Asia BooksISBN 8171547028
  • Desai A.R.(1990)A profile of an Indian Slum.ISBN 978-1125131183OCLC 810925
  • DesaiA.R.(1986) Agrarian Struggles in India after Independence,Oxford University PressISBN 978-0195616811
  • Desai A.R.,Uday Mehta(1993) Modern God men in India- A Sociological Appraisal, Bombay Popular PrakashanISBN 8171547087ISBN 9788171547081
  • DesaiA.R.(1960)Recent trends in Indian nationalism -supplement to social background of Indian Nationalism. Popular PrakashanISBN 8171540422
  • Desai A.R.(1990) Changing profile of rural India and human Rights of the agrarian poor-an assessment of strategy of rural development since independenceOCLC 831288893
  • Desai A.R.(2008)state and society in India -Essays in dissentASIN B073WYLW4F(First published 1975)
  • DesaiA.R.(1980) Urban Family and Family Planning in India.ISBN 0940500701ISBN 978-0940500709
  • Desai A.R.Sunil Dighe(1988)- Labor Movement in India-(1928-1930)vol.9,10,11ISBN 8173070881
  • DesaiA.R., Punekar, Vericayill, Savur, Dighe, Ganesh Labor Movement in India vol 5(1923-27)-Indian Council of Historical Research ISBN 8173070954

Edited volumes[edit | edit source]

Selected journal articles[edit | edit source]

Felicitation volumes[edit | edit source]

  • Desai A.R.,Shah Ghanashyam(1990) Capitalist Development-Critical Essays-Felicitation Volume in Honor of Prof.A.R.DesaiISBN 0861322703
  • Desai A.R.(ed.)Manorama Savur, Indra Munshi Contradictions in Indian Society- Essays in honor of ARDesai(1995)Rawat Publications.

External link[edit | edit source]

Professor Desai's Curriculum Vitae

Further reading[edit | edit source]

Mukherjee Arpita(2014) The Marxist Sociology in India :A study of the contribution of A.R.Desai Kolkata :K.P. Bagchi&company ISBN 8170743451ISBN 978-8170743453

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. "ARDesai". Library of Congress name Authority File.
  2. Parita Mukta, David Hardiman (1995). "A.R.Desai(1915-1994)". History Workshop Journal (40): 274–276.
  3. "ARDesai". University of Mumbai- Department of Sociology.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Chattopadhyaya, Kaushik. "Akshay Ramanlal Desai- An Anti-Imperialist Indian Sociologist". Academia.edu.
  5. "Office bearers over the years". Indian Sociological Society.
  6. "A Report of the All India Sociological ConferenceHeld Meerut". Sociological Bulletin. 30 (1): 89–94. 1981. JSTOR 23619213.
  7. Kar, Samit (2015). "Remembering ARDesai- Marxist Approach to Sociology". Economic and Political Weekly. 50 (17).
  8. "Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru National Awards Social Sciences" (PDF). Madhya Pradesh State Awards.
  9. A tribute to sociologist Akshay Ramanlal Desai K. chattopadhyaya
  10. Mondal, Puja (2014-04-11). "Akshay Ramanlal Desai-Biography and Contribution to Indian Sociology". Your Article Library.

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