Collecting Data without a Theory – Colonizers in India

Image of Sir Denzil Ibbetson

Image of Sir Denzil Ibbetson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last weekend I came across the following in an introduction to a Nineteenth Century ‘Ethnographic Survey’ of India.  The fact that the author’s selection and organization of ‘the facts’ in itself constitutes an act of ‘theorizing ‘ is not recognized; his ‘social facts‘ – are embedded within a paradigm of  ‘scientific racism’:

This Glossary embodies some of the materials collected in the Ethnographic Survey of India which was begun in 1900, under the scheme initiated by Sir Herbert Risley, K.C.I.B., C.S.I. , but it has no pretensions to finality.

H.H. Risley – notable for the formal application of the caste system to the entire Hindu population of India in the 1901 census, of which he was in charge. Source: Wikipedia

The compiler’s aim has been to collect facts and record them in the fullest possible detail without formulating theories as to the racial elements which have made the population of the modern Punjab, the growth of its tribes or the evolution of caste. For information regarding the various theories which have been suggested on those topics the reader may be referred to the works of Sir Alexande^ Cunningham,* Bellewf and Nesfield.J

A GLOSSARY OF THE TRIBES AND CASTES OF THE Punjab and North-West Frontier Province, vol-II.  By Based on the Census Report for the Punjab, 1883,by the late Sir DENZIL. IBBETSON, K-CSL,and the Census Report for the Punjab, 1892,by the Hon. Mr. E. D. MacLAGAN, C.S.I., and compiled by H. A. ROSE.

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About dianabuja

With a group of BaTwa (pygmy) women potters, with whom we've worked to enhance production and sales of their wonderful pots - fantastic for cooking and serving. To see the 2 blogs on this work enter 'batwa pots' into the search engine located just above this picture. Blog entries throughout this site are about Africa, as well as about the Middle East and life in general - reflecting over 35 years of work and research in Africa and the Middle East – Come and join me!
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