Sociology in Bangladesh by: Dr. Rangalal Sen
Regular evaluation of developments in a discipline and their adequacy and relevance in terms of societal needs and aspirations is a sine qua non for the healthy growth of all sciences. In Sociology, this is even-more necessary because all discoveries and inventions, whether in the Social Sciences, or in other Sciences, have sociological implications, and all problems in the ultimate analysis have some social dimensions. Viewed this way, Sociology of any country can be made more responsive to societal needs and more humanistic, which, in reality, is the goal of ail knowledge. With this end in view, the Second National Conference of the Bangladesh Sociological Association is now being, held.
A continuous study of Social Conditions seems to be imperative in any society that aspires to improve its standard of living. Such study must be dispassionate objective and at the same time critical. Sociological studies assume a particular importance in a developing country like Bangladesh which introduces, certain development programmes. And these programmes must be based on social and cultural realities and must take into account the wishes and the abilities of the people concerned. Sociologists can play a vital role, in the formulation of appropriate development programmes.
The origin of Sociology in the Indian Subcontinent as a distinct discipline can be traced around the year 1920 in the wake of the Great October Socialist ‘Revolution of Russia in 1917. The famous rationalist scholar Brajendra Nath Seal was instrumental in introducing Sociology in 1917 in the post-graduate courses in the University of Calcutta. The M. A. course in Economics of that University involved specialization in Political Science and Sociology. Sociology as a separate subject in Bangladesh was first introduced in the University of Dhaka which came into being in 1921. Sociology began to be taught in the B. A. (Hons) courses in Philosophy in the mid-twenties and then it was included in the B. A. (Hons) courses in Political Science in early forties. In 1957, with UNESCO’s help, the University of Dhaka set up an independent department of Sociology. The discipline has since been making steady progress and has been subsequently introduced into the Universities of Rajshahi and Chittagong. Sociology is now being taught in quite a good number of colleges and institutes including the University of Engineering and Technology at Dhaka and the Agricultural University of Mymensingh. But the state of curricular development in sociology 4s yet to achieve a satisfactory level of excellence.
The Sociologists of Bangladesh seem to have suffered from an absence of a relatively appropriate theoretical approaches. They generally follow the equilibrium model of the west in their analysis of Bangladesh Society. But our society demands an interpretation of its own. It must not be judged only in the context of set theories and methods developed in the advanced western capitalist countries. The recent changes in the Bangladesh Society can be meaningfully analysed from a multidisciplinary point of view. For this purpose, the sociologists first emphasize the fact of change in society rather than its continuity.