What is Sanskritization?

The term ‘Sanskritization‘ refers to the phenomenon by which the behavior of a person or group in a society in influenced and guided by a ‘reference group’. In sociological jargon a reference group is a group in society which is used as a standard to evaluate one’s attitude, customs, rituals etc.

In the Indian context, it is assumed that some of the so-called low caste Hindus or tribal’s ape the customs, rituals and ways of life of the ‘twice-born’ castes, particularly the Brahmins. The sociologists are agreed that this process has very limited scope and utility.

Basic differences between Sanskritisation and Westernization are clear. Sanskritisation promotes a sacred outlook and gives additional importance and respectability to the caste system, whereas Westernization promotes a secular outlook. Sanskritisation is, in fact, a retrograde process.

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