The great Indian tradition consists of ancient literary tradition, regional traditions and local or little traditions. The great Indian tradition encompasses the whole universe from Kashmir to Kanniyakumari and from Puri to Guwahati. Study of Indian tradition is difficult and complex as its composition. Social change in India has been natural as well as planned or sponsored. Both types of changes have been simultaneous, mutually reinforcing and yet distinct.
With the passage of time, history has witnessed rise of individualism, “atomism”, ‘secularism’ and ‘scientism’. These concepts are opposed to the traditional nature and structure of Indian society. Indian society (Hindu India) is based on caste system. Caste society is integrative, hierarchic and yet discriminatory. In Indian society individual though is the bearer of social values, one is a part and parcel of the social system that bears round caste system. The contrast between caste society contrasts with the non-hierarchic, egalitarian or class- based societies. In caste society there are certain restrictions, compulsions and has ritual code of conduct. In contradistinction to this casteless societies, cherish liberty, equality and mobility. Caste societies are based upon ascription values and positions. In casteless society there is scope for mobility, hence positions are achievable.
The classical Hindu Indian society is based upon certain eternal values, such as dharma, artha, karma, papa, punya and moksha. Indian society has been continuing amidst several natural, religious . social and political upheavals. In contrast to is in Indian subcontinent modern society has evolved from the middle ages; may from the invasion of India by certain Greek rulers, namely, Darius-1 and Alexander the Great. Modern Indian society emerged conspicuously from the time of Muslim rule in India. The Hindu conception of universities, i.e. social bodies was conceptualized as a whole, of which living humans were merely parts.
Many elements of Indian culture are treated as unique and their distinctiveness is considered as cultural systems. For instance, dhrama is a normative order, karma is the moral commitment of jati or caste as hierarchical principle operative in the society. Caste is both a structural and a cultural concept, The cultural dimension is more important then the structural dimension, because structural counterparts of the caste system are also found outside the Indian tradition and not the cultural elements.
Society is a persistent configuration of elements and consensus is a universal element in the social system. This is the functionalistic view. The dialectical approach treats society as a dynamic entity, i.e. change inherent. The functional approach treats, change as slow, cumulative, adjustive and situation – specific, whereas the dialectical approach treats changes as revolutionary, as cataclysmic and qualitatively significant. Functional approach treats social changes as constant in social systems. Through internal growth and adjustment with forces from without, whereas the dialectical approach treats social change as eminent in the system itself.