Few Rare Copies

The Census of India prior to independence was conducted periodically from 1865 onward to 1941. The censuses were primarily concerned with administration and faced numerous problems in their design and conduct ranging from absence of house numbering in hamlets to cultural objections on various grounds to dangers posed by wild animals to census personnel. The censuses were designed more for social engineering and to further the British agenda for governance rather than to uncover the underlying structure of the population. The sociologist Michael Mann says that the census exercise was "more telling of the administrative needs of the British than of the social reality for the people of British India. The difference of the nature of Indian society during the British Raj from the value system and the societies of the West were highlighted by the inclusion of "caste", "religion", "profession" and "age" in the data to be collected, as the collection and analysis of this information had a considerable impact on the structure and political overtones of Indian society.


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