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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], Marxist,[2]academician , social activist[3]Professor and Head of the Department of Sociology of theBombay University(1967) .[4] and President of Indian Sociological Society| (1980-81).[5]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 a path to Socialism in India.[6]

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

Life[edit | edit source]

Desai was born in Nadiad in the state of Gujrat, his father Ramanlal Desai| being a well known Gujrati writer from whom he acquired inspiration in his early years to study and explore facts of human society.[6] Ever since teenage he took part in social and political movements hence got suspended from college for participating in Student Movement in Baroda.In 1936 he participated in Kisan and Trade Union movements.He was a member of the Communist Party of India in 1934 and Trotskyist Revolutionary Socialist Partyin 1953. He completed graduation from University of Bombay and obtained law degree and PhD under the supervision of Dr G S Ghurye in 1946.After working as a lawyer to help those in movements, he joined as a college lecturer in Sociology in Bombay in 1946.in 1947 he married Neera Desai , pioneer of women's studies in India and fathered Mihir Desai , a Human Rights Lawyer and an advocate in Supreme Court of India. He officially joined as a faculty member in the Bombay university's Sociology Department in 1951 where he taught Sociology and guided theses of researchers.He authored books both in English and Gujrati which have been translated into other languages.[7] He retired from the university in 1976. [3]

Honors[edit | edit source]

  • President, Gujrat Sociological Society(1988-1990)
  • ICSSR Senior fellow (1973-75)
  • ICSSR National Fellow (1981-85) [3]
  • President, 15th All India Sociological conference held at Meerut (1981)[8]

Contributions[edit | edit source]

He adopted meso and macro sociological perspectives in his study of Indian Society and dealt with the macro structures and processes.[3] [9] He consistently applied Marxist methods in his treatment of Indian social structures and processes and 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 of Historical 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 on 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 violating the 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]

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(1995), Contradictions in Indian Society- Essays in honor of ARDesai,Rawat Publications.

External link[edit | edit source]

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
  • Patel Sujata(2011) Social Anthropology or Marxist Sociology -Assessing the contesting visions of M N Srinivas and A.R.Desai in Doing Sociology in India -Geneologies, Locations and Practices, New Delhi, Oxford University Press OCLC 693810865
  • Patel Sujata (2007)Towards a Praxiological Understanding of Indian Society - the Sociology of ARDesai in Satish Deshpande, Nandini Sundar and Patricia Oberoi (ed.)Anthropology of the East-Founders of Indian Sociology , Delhi, Permanent Black ISBN 978-1905422784ISBN 1905422784OCLC 894965118

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. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Chattopadhyaya, Kaushik (2015). "A Tribute To A Sociologist:Akshay Ramanlal Desai(1915-1994)" (PDF). Edulight. 4 (7): 59–70.
  4. "ARDesai". University of Mumbai- Department of Sociology.
  5. "Office bearers over the years". Indian Sociological Society.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Kar, Samit (2015). "Remembering ARDesai- Marxist Approach to Sociology". Economic and Political Weekly. 50 (17).
  7. Desai was a public intellectual who wrote pamphlets and booklets in regional languages for those who were struggling in addition to books and pamphlets for those in academia(Patel 2007b)
  8. "A Report Of The xv All India Sociological Conference". Sociological Bulletin. 30 (1): 89–94. 1981.
  9. Raman, Vasanthi (2013). "The Marxist Sociology of ARDesai and the BombaySchool :a Tribute and a Discussion". Sociological Bulletin. 62 (2): 254–268.
  10. Mondal, Puja (2014-04-11). "Akshay Ramanlal Desai-Biography and Contribution to Indian Sociology". Your Article Library.

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