3. NOTES AND QUERIES ON THE J. V. FERREIRA SOCIO-CULTURAL ASPECTS...
3. NOTES AND QUERIES ON THE
J. V. FERREIRA
SOCIO-CULTURAL ASPECTS OF
URBAN DEVELOPMENT IN INDIA
Under the theme 'Socio-cultural Aspects
Another important question is: Does the
of Urban Development in India', the attitude of fatal immediacy, as the Vien-
following sub-themes have been listed:
nese sociologist Leopold Rosenmayr calls
it, that is the propensity for immediate satis-
factions rather than postponed gratifications,
2. Arts and Entertainment (including among the lower levels of the city's popu-
Leisure and Recreation)
lation interfere with their utilisations of
3. Family Life
educational, recreational and other Socio-
4. Urban Tensions (including linguistic and cultural facilities?
Thus Bernard Lamy made a study
5. Social Problems.
(Urban Core and Inner City)
of the interest
I should like to begin by raising a taken in cultural activities by different
groups — workers, professionals and so on
It is no doubt true that the social and — in Paris and found that the workers
cultural potentialities of cities depend on were completely content with their isolated,
several dimensions of the inner state
of closely circumscribed environment and that
they did not even take advantage of what
For example: the attitudes, moods, edu-
was offered to them by way of recreation
cation, aspirations and the like of leading and education in the suburbs.
politicians, businessmen, labour leaders
I doubt if any such studies have been
and so on.
made in India.
Or again, educators, religious leaders,
The hypothesis that I offer is based on
artists and scientists have a crucial the centrality of creativity (which, as I
role in shaping motives and aspirations.
said, would include intellectual originality,
Where, then, does urbanization and urba-
economic productivity, and all-round inno-
nism come in? Is the quality of life or vativeness).
creativity (which would include economic
I further base myself on the belief that
productivity, intellectual originality and all-
cultural and social values are key deter-
round innovativeness) an independent vari-
minants and not objective conditions like
able, or does it depend in some way or the environment, production relations and
other, partly or fully on urbanization and so on.
Since the city often attracts the most
This is an important problem which active, the most dynamic and the most
needs precise clarification. A precise clari-
enterprising people, one could begin to
fication would give us the levers to pro-
heighten creativity in the first instance
mote creativity and, therefore, the quality through a reconstruction of education at all
of life. To what extent are the quality of levels in the city.
life and creativity dependent on the histori-
Creativity, I firmly believe, can have a
cal, economic and cultural conditions of remarkable multiplier effect, as so many
the wider society and to what extent on examples abundantly demonstrate.
the urban population itself?
Furthermore, the heightening of creati-
J. V. FERREIRA
vity will increase productivity, reduce ten-
are other families that do not take ad-
sions, decrease the pathologies and make vantage of such opportunities despite many
for all-round progress.
incentives. Research into such conditions
A creative and progressive city should and families have not been undertaken in
also engender transformations in the sur-
India and should be, since the family is
rounding countryside through percolation a basic unit in society or in the city.
Vijay Tendulkar's play The Vultures
Turning to sub-themes, we have first depicts the internal tensions and conflicts
education: Daniel Bell has pointed out within the family as a result of the clash of
that the universities will play a central cultural values. Since the city presents this
role in the post-industrial age. This will hap-
clash in its most acute form, this becomes
pen in India only if we heighten creativity an urban problem demanding careful in-
in our universities instead of merely quiry. Note the analyses of Laing, Esteron
playing an imitative and provincial and Cooper for example.
role to the west. Since our universities are
A study undertaken in a suburb of Bom-
by and large located and fed by the city, bay on small family norms by a colleague
this becomes an urban problem. As Patrick of mine shows that the aged are emotion-
Geddes has pointed out, the university in ally and financially dependent on their
turn feeds the city in which it is located children. I doubt if the problem of the aged
through its intellectual and artistic pursuits. has been studied adequately in our cities.
If it is to feed the surrounding rural areas,
The family, it has been said, and urbani-
the illiterate in the city must be made lite-
sation can only be studied if we widen
rate by every means at our disposal.
the meaning of family and look on it as
Next the Arts and Entertainment (leisure a process which is occurring in the lives
and recreation). I do not have much to of individuals. This is being done by the
say on this sub-theme. The arts and enter-
psychiatrists but not by urban sociologists.
tainment become an urban problem in so
Finally, has the family really lost much
far as they are not innovative. If they are in urban society, as Louis Wirth maintain-
not innovative, they become a form of ed? Have we sought to test this affirma-
escapism, a metaphor, for instance, of drug-
addiction. Research should be directed on
So far as urban tensions are concerned,
ways and means of making our arts and I shall very briefly touch on P. K. Muttagi's
entertainment more creative, more innova-
paper. He points out that urban tensions
tive. Thus leisure and recreation will serve are due to the size, density and hetero-
to enhance the quality of life.
geneity of the population in the cities and
What of family life? I think more re-
to social change. He suggests that a re-
search could be directed to the problem of search model to study all types of social
the joint versus the nuclear family and the unrest is difficult to achieve because we
growth of individualism. Perhaps compro-
have no knowledge of the exact relation-
mise forms would best serve India today.
ship among different kinds of tensions. His
According to Jean Floud there are fami-
view that research should be undertaken
lies which know about the value of educa-
to identify the similarities and dissimilari-
tion and strive to give their children the ties between all types of social tensions and
fullest advantages of the available educa-
the urban areas is worthy of endorsement.
tional and cultural opportunities. He calls
Turning lastly to
urban problems, can
such families educogenous families. There we regard the city, as Lewis Mumford
SOCIO-CULTURAL ASPECTS OF URBAN DEVELOPMENT IN INDIA 303
maintains, as a neurotic person?
the city-dweller does not suffer from loneli-
The beggar problem, the masculiniza-
ness; he prefers the city except when he
tion of cities and prostitution, drug-addic-
is a recently arrived migrant. I am sure
tion and alcoholism, increasing rates of there is no research on urban loneliness
crime are all old problems which have in India-
been much studied. Is there a possibility
Marshal Clinard has pointed out that
beyond social work and social service and there is a definite connection between ur-
other such ameliorative measures to tackle banism and deviance. Has this been check-
these problems? Or must we necessarily ed in India, specially if we bear in mind
fall back on the total solution, a radical that urbanism (as distinguished from urba-
over-hauling of society? What precisely is nisation) is shot through by the Indian
the connection between urbanization and socio-culture, the reinforcing tensions, in-
urbanism on the one hand and these pro-
creasing frustrations and intensifying social
blems on the other?
Urbanization and psychiatric disorders
I shall end with a futurological question:
have likewise not been sufficiently studied. It has been said that the city in the new sense
Janowitz showed that rootless individuals will be above all an abstract centre of
are not significantly numerous in the cities, information, a launching place of concepts
thus refuting Louis Wirth's hypothesis of and a gathering-point of data for guiding
rootlessness as the cause of social problems and coordinating measures for coping with
and disorders. I doubt if urban studies of human existence.
this nature have been carried out in the
Are our cities anywhere near this futu-
cities of India.
rological ideal? If not what are our plan-
Again, Schelsky has demonstrated that ners and urbanologists doing about it?