Seeing Like a Sociologist

The making of MN Srinivas

In Rampura, the village detailed in MN Srinivas’s monograph, the sociologist often had comical interactions with the village’s residents, who perceived him as an eccentric Brahmin. COURTESY MN SRINIVAS LIBRARY
In Rampura, the village detailed in MN Srinivas’s monograph, the sociologist often had comical interactions with the village’s residents, who perceived him as an eccentric Brahmin. COURTESY MN SRINIVAS LIBRARY
01 March, 2016

TO BE MODERN, Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya thought, is to be serious, and the trouble with Indians is that they don’t know how. Engineer, scholar and statesman, Visvesvaraya was the very model of the modern Indian gentleman. “If we are to follow in the wake of other countries in the pursuit of material prosperity,” he said in a 1916 speech to the Mysore Economic Conference when he was the Diwan of Mysore, “we must give up aimless activities and bring our ideals in line with the standards of the West, namely, to spread education in all grades, multiply occupations and increase production and wealth.”

Visvesvaraya would have been proud of a certain boy born in Mysore the year he gave that speech. The career of MN Srinivas—as scholar, teacher and pioneering sociologist—reeks of the seriousness Visvesvaraya esteemed. Everything about it exudes purpose, design and achievement. But the dour facts of his professional CV conceal his true life, which was marked by quite different things: aimlessness, accident and luck.

Consider the near-legendary fire of April 1970. An anti-war protestor with a fondness for arson picked out Stanford’s Centre for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences for his target. The fire consumed large parts of the building, including the study where Srinivas, a visiting scholar there, had imprudently left all three copies of his fieldwork notes and analysis, accumulated over 22 years of fitful labour. 1970 was supposed to be the year his definitive monograph on south Indian rural life would finally get written. But, when the fire-engines had driven away, Srinivas was left, a balding man now well into his fifties, walking disconsolate among the charred Californian-redwood walls of his once study. His friends helped him sweep every scrap of paper on which any writing could be read into a sorry bundle. It was all that was left of his life’s greatest scholarly labour.

Two days later, the American anthropologist Sol Tax arrived at Srinivas’s house with a preposterous suggestion. No anthropologist, said Tax, has ever published more than the tiniest fraction of his data. The important thing about your fieldwork was that you did it. Forget that you ever made any field-notes. Do a book on your fieldwork site based on your memory of it. Distraught enough to try anything, Srinivas had a go. Dictaphone in hand, he willed himself back to that sunny day in February 1948 when he got off the tumbledown bus from Mysore to the village he called “Rampura.” After two days of drawing up a blank, the memories started to flood back. Six years later, the monograph appeared, none the worse for its peculiar origins. The Remembered Village has a faux dedication to the arsonist for the part he played “in the birth of this book.”

Srinivas seems the child of the age of Visvesvaraya, his story the quintessentially modern one of single-minded, productive labour receiving its just deserts. But India’s modernity has a second quintessence, embodied in a different man, born just six months after Visvesvaraya. In 1894, that man wrote:

The substance that one calls one’s mind is so authoritarian that when it awakens and emerges into the light of day, the greater part of the world within and outside us is obscured under its influence … When it sees, it does not properly hear; when it hears, it does not properly see; and when it thinks, it neither sees nor hears properly. It has the power to move all irrelevancies far away from the path of its set purpose.

These are the words of that other Indian knight, Rabindranath Tagore, from an essay on children’s rhymes, published in 1907. Tagore celebrates just the human capacities for idle observation that Visvesvaraya, dread enemy of “aimless activities,” condemns. The resistance to the unconscious, the aimless, the irrelevant, he finds “authoritarian.” Who is the modern one here and who the throwback? Srinivas comes down on Tagore’s side. “I have a great hesitation in listing the lessons I have learned,” he says, because of “the dominant part which chance has played in my life. I almost feel like a piece of driftwood, moved hither and thither, by wave and wind, till it, at last, reaches the temporary sanctuary of some beach.”

The Remembered Village is the work of a humanist in (social) scientist’s garb, at peace with the impossibility of a planned life. The book’s first epigraph, from the French sociologist Marcel Mauss, says the anthropologist must “be also a novelist.” The second, from Claude Lévi-Strauss, says that “in a science where the observer is of the same nature as his object, the observer is himself a part of his observation.” The book has what you would expect from an academic ethnography: genealogies, kinship charts, crop cultivation patterns. But Srinivas gave us something else too: a portrait of the sociologist as a young man.

The average BA sociology student in India today still needs to imbibe a fair amount of Srinivas, but usually in photocopied crib notes with definitions of such terms as “Sanskritisation,” “dominant caste” and “vote bank”—that latter phrase his most viral coinage—all important, provocative ideas that set the agenda for several decades of social science research in India. But theoretical advances are eventually superseded. With more data come revisions and qualifications. The demographics of universities too are changing; the work of social scientists from communities underrepresented in academia has started to unsettle theories first put forth by Brahmin men. Srinivas would have welcomed this change. Acutely aware of the limits of his own perceptions, he would not have wanted his theories to be the final word on Indian society.

No one should read Srinivas looking for objective and authoritative judgements about India. What is most interesting about his writings is the human voice that animates them, tentative and uncertain. It will be a monumental shame if the only people who read The Remembered Village are academic sociologists (and social anthropologists—Srinivas was in favour of uniting the two disciplines). Its story is too interesting, its prose too accessible, its author too personably human for it to deserve the fate of so much research—to be read, paraphrased, argued over, a couple of ideas taken up until they are overthrown by new ones, then to moulder unwept. This year marks the centenary of Srinivas’s birth.

Seventeen years after his death, in 1999, his voice survives in his lapidary prose, showing us yet another way of being a modern Indian—one that consists in an endless, aimless sensitivity to the world.

THE CITIZENS OF ATHENS thought no one had any chance of being a great man who wasn’t born in a great city. MN Srinivas’s very name bears the impress of the (fleetingly) great city in which he was born: Mysore. Some time in the mid-to-late nineteenth century, Srinivas’s ancestors had travelled westward from Tamil country, a week’s journey in an oxcart, into rural southern Mysore—hence Srinivas’s first initial. There they, like countless other Brahmins, quietly violated the ancient laws of Manu by joining their tenants and servants in working the land. But literate and moderately well-off, they were quick to see the advantages of the city only a day’s journey to the north, with its new colleges offering a modern, English-language education in the humanities and sciences. Srinivas’s father, Narasimhachar—whose name became, in the standard way, his son’s second initial, N—was one such emigrant. He left his natal village and moved to Mysore city, the capital of what the British called, with a weary condescension, a “princely state.”

After the final defeat of that cruel, complicated, military genius Tipu Sultan at the hands of the British, Mysore fell, nominally, back into the hands of its old rulers, the Wodeyar dynasts. The Wodeyars proved willing to experiment with new ideas within the limits of the power the British allowed them. The Wodeyar maharajas and the Diwans they appointed used what power, wealth and influence they had to get local industry on its feet, building steel mills, running an efficient system of railways, expanding the network of irrigation canals, providing musicians and artists with royal patronage, and nurturing schools and colleges where the humanities and the sciences carried equal prestige.

A generation of Mysoreans stepped up to the plate. Srinivas’s father landed a job at the evocatively named Mysore Power and Light—later, the Department of Electricity. Yet, it took all of one generation for the professional man to give way to the drifter and the dreamer, who entered Visvesvaraya’s institutions of education only to fall into such lamentably aimless activities as literature, history and anthropology in the classrooms where his sober father had studied law or the sciences.

The novelist RK Narayan, a friend of Srinivas’s and an eminent Mysorean who came of age at roughly this time, wrote fiction filled with such fathers. Think of the earnest, sloth-hating fathers of Swami and Chandran, the young heroes of Narayan’s first two novels, Swami and Friends and The Bachelor of Arts, published in 1935 and 1937 respectively, ever in despair at the shirkers they have for sons. In this respect, those sons take after their creator, whose memoirs tell us he “instinctively rejected” the “unwarranted seriousness and esoteric suggestions” of examinations. Swami and Chandran’s, and Narayan’s, preference for cricket, long walks by the lake, books not on the school curriculum and endless chit-chat over coffee, represents not the failure of modernity to take root in the Indian soul, as Visvesvaraya might have grumbled, but another, more Tagore-like, strand within modernity itself.

Modernity elsewhere was divided in exactly the same way. Think of the flâneur whom Baudelaire describes walking idly on the streets of Paris, or the loitering Dubliners in Joyce. Nearer home, think of the young men of colonial Calcutta in their interminable addas. Mysore’s other great sons of these years include Narayan’s cartoonist brother, RK Laxman, the photographer TS Satyan, the literary critic CD Narasimhaiah and the poet AK Ramanujan, among many others. It seems that the relative prosperity and freedom from manual labour that modernity brought for a narrow social group made possible a fertile unseriousness in which a young man of a certain caste and class could dream of careers inconceivable only a generation earlier.

COLLEGE ROAD, IN MYSORE, was a Brahmin neighbourhood, but even that was enough to quicken the young Srinivas’s faculties of observation. The families who lived to both sides of Srinivas’s were, like his, Iyengars, but these neighbours spoke Telugu rather than Tamil, and took their Vaishnavism to fanatical heights, insisting they would not step into a temple to Shiva even if they were dragged there by elephants. Srinivas’s household, by contrast, was progressive enough to celebrate the annual Ganesha festival; even more eccentrically, his mother’s relatives had violated Brahmin norms by studying abroad and, what was worse, marrying Bengalis.

The young Srinivas’s real induction into anthropological diversity came from his illicit glimpses into Bandikeri, an area of narrow streets behind his house. The itinerant Kurubas—shepherds and weavers—were meat-eaters who worshipped the stern, puritanical deity Madeshwara, buried their dead, and had elaborate funeral rituals that looked nothing like the Brahminical rites Srinivas knew. Reflecting in later years on his sheltered childhood on College Road, Srinivas writes:

I experienced my first culture shocks not more than fifty yards from the back wall of our house. I have narrated only a couple of incidents but the entire culture of Bandikeri was visibly and olfactorily different from that of College Road. Bandikeri was my Trobriand Islands, my Nuerland, my Navaho country and what have you. In retrospect, it is not surprising that I became an anthropologist, an anthropologist all of whose fieldwork was in his own country.

The reaction of the young Srinivas to the experience of human difference was visceral—“visibly and olfactorily different.” But successive twists of fate took him to the academic study of these differences. A delicate boy, his adolescence was blighted by chronic malaria. His family could not see this dangerously underweight boy becoming a doctor or engineer; nor could Srinivas himself, who loathed mathematics. His father died in November 1934, when Srinivas was just 18. Decisions about his education were thus deferred to his eldest brother, MN Parthasarathy, a schoolteacher with an MA in English literature. A wilful bachelor and a rebel who rejected Brahmin orthodoxy, Parthasarathy put the choice of Srinivas’s university course in the hands of a Marxist friend who, flipping through Mysore University’s handbook, decided that a new honours programme in “social philosophy” would be just right.

This programme was the brainchild of a colourful character, AR Wadia. A debonair Parsi, resplendent on campus in his white trousers and silk jacket, Wadia thought the scrawny Brahmin boy under his tutelage had potential, and remained a lifelong mentor to Srinivas. The boy proved a brilliant student, but—like so many such—a poor examinee, so his second-class degree in the final examination turned out to be another stroke of luck. Ineligible for the school-teaching and civil-service jobs restricted to first-class graduates, Srinivas applied—again, at his brother’s urging—to the MA programme in sociology at the University of Bombay. Once there, and with typical middle-class prudence, Srinivas attended lectures on law in the evenings.

His years in Bombay brought him under the tutelage of yet another striking character: the pioneering sociologist Govind Sadashiv Ghurye. A Sanskrit scholar of distinction as a student, Ghurye discovered social anthropology relatively late in life, studying the subject with the trailblazing British academics AC Haddon and WHR Rivers. Srinivas was convinced Ghurye found him “naïve and woolly, with my mind full of half-digested ideas from the books that I had read.” But it seems that the senior academic was moved by his 20-year-old student’s enthusiasm and initial show of promise to waive the MA examinations and let him write a thesis instead. Ghurye was no great fieldworker himself, but was convinced in principle that fieldwork should be done, and often sent off his students on extended field trips. Srinivas’s thesis was completed in 1938, and published a few years later, in 1942, as Marriage and Family in Mysore.

The book was an unusual thing, a study of a community by an insider trained in the ways of objectivity. Its subjects were varied: the differences between caste communities in their attitudes towards dowry, the slow shift in Brahmin feelings on the remarriage of widows, and the newfound craze for “England-returned” sons-in-law. Srinivas was stoutly commonsensical in his dismissal of outlandish historical hypotheses about Indian practices. Did Indian brides cry at their weddings, as previous writers had suggested, because of some forgotten tradition of marriage-by-abduction? Could it just be, Srinivas wondered, that they were sad about leaving the parental home? Or anxious that the still unknown husband would be cruel or lecherous? Srinivas would come to be embarrassed by the book’s style, “immature” and “brash.” But it gave his Anglophile teacher Ghurye great delight when the venerable British journal Nature commended Srinivas for his “sympathetic understanding of Hinduism and of the traditional values expressed in the customs of Mysore related to the family, and appreciating, with the objective view of the anthropologist, its social structure.”

It was this sympathy that was new in the anthropology of Indian society. There had been anthropologists of one kind or another studying Indians as far back as 1769, when Henry Verelst, Governor of Bengal and Bihar, had his officials write reports of the customs of influential families, the better to tax them. In the twentieth century, Indians had slowly taken to what was, in Britain, turning into a systematic academic discipline; Ghurye’s mentor, WHR Rivers, was the author of The Todas, a study published in 1906, and one of the first to be based on what the discipline would later term “participant observation.” Caste in Mysore was to be the object of a study by LK Ananthakrishna Iyer, a professor at Calcutta University, whose writings were among Srinivas’s targets in his own Master’s thesis. These were all studies by outsiders of one sort or another, who took as their subject people they regarded as exotics, strangers or, at best, neighbours. By contrast, the tone of Srinivas’s study got its peculiar mixture of alienation and solidarity from the fact that he was, after a fashion, going home.

GHURYE SENT SRINIVAS for his doctoral fieldwork to Coorg, in what is now the state of Karnataka, in part to test a theory of his—founded on one of Rivers’s wilder speculations—that the Coorgs’ ancestor shrines might show the influence of the Egyptian pyramids. Srinivas’s fieldwork in Coorg, interspersed with severe bouts of diarrhoea, was unpleasant and lonely, though he managed to collect a formidable amount of data about social structures and kinship; naturally he found no evidence at all for any pharaonic influences. He longed for Bombay, a city he had come to love. As he put it in an essay written in 1941 for his friend RK Narayan’s short-lived little magazine Indian Thought:

Girgaum, that synonym for dirt and noise and crowd—I felt a homesickness for it. The trams and buses going their noisy way, men and women jostling one another for want of space. The brilliant neon signs, hoots of motor horns, the cries of gharry wallahs ... Solitude and loneliness are attractive to those who don’t know either ... The beauty of a crowd on Chowpatty sands—I felt I would not exchange it for all the beauty of nature.

We have some of the conventional markers of modernity here—trams, neon signs, the estrangement from “the beauty of nature”—but what Srinivas craved were the sights, the sounds, the smells of the human. Anthropology for Srinivas was a sweaty, unromantic business; it was no profession for those who like their solitude.

A couple of years later, Srinivas received a much awaited letter from Oxford, offering him a place as a doctoral student, and an assurance from his ever generous elder brother of money for the passage to England. His relations with Ghurye had begun to sour: Srinivas felt like a magpie, constantly tasked by Ghurye with finding this or that bit of data but unable to do anything with what he collected. “My interest in ideas,” he wrote, “had been starved.” But at Oxford, he was to work with a giant of the discipline, AR Radcliffe-Brown, generally called “R-B”—like Ghurye, a student of Rivers.

On 11 May 1945, Srinivas reached Oxford, “a black man in a white country walking around with a cracked eye-piece”—his spectacles had been shattered in a raucous game on the deck of his ship, en route to England. R-B, just back from fieldwork in Brazil, looked at him coldly, assuming he had another Indian troublemaker on his hands. (His last Indian student had been a moneyed lout with little interest in anthropology.) He did not find Srinivas’s description of his proposed research on what he called “culture patterns” among the Coorg, Toda and Chenchu communities at all promising, regarding the very idea that a culture had a “pattern” as unscientific nonsense. Instead, he suggested—wisely, as it turned out—that Srinivas revisit his material on religion in Coorg in the light of more sophisticated recent theories. He added, with the patronising air of the native speaker, that the Bombay thesis was written in very good English: where ever had he learnt it? A little at the school down the road from his home, said Srinivas, and the rest piecemeal as he went along.

A year later, R-B left Oxford, but he had read enough of Srinivas’s work by then to commend him highly to the successor to his professorial chair, who would become Srinivas’s most abiding intellectual influence, EE Evans-Pritchard—inevitably, “E-P.” E-P was a recent convert to Catholicism, and much celebrated for his field study of witchcraft and oracles among the Azande people of Sudan. Srinivas took to his new supervisor straightaway, finding in him an unusual capacity for imagination, acceptance and empathy. “He was a conservative Englishman at heart,” Srinivas would muse years later in an autobiographical essay, “but an odd conservative who could place himself in the position of the black man, the transhuman, Nuer, and the feuding Sanusi chief.”

In 1970, Srinivas’s office in Stanford’s Center for the Study of Behavioral Sciences was burned down in a fire ignited by an anti-war protestor. COURTESY MN SRINIVAS LIBRARY

Srinivas found E-P a vastly more congenial interlocutor than either the shy, dogmatic R-B or his earnest left-wing colleagues, ever anxious to let the doctoral student know the Indian nationalist cause had their support. E-P was an unenthusiastic lecturer and a reluctant seminar leader, but he flowered in intimate, unstructured, non-hierarchical settings where a tankard of beer was an order away. Srinivas thrived there, with the freewheeling conversational style of the Mysore coffee-house recreated in a cold climate, where talk about anthropology could lead without warning into matters both political and personal. It was at these pub gatherings that Srinivas came to feel at home in Oxford.

Srinivas, who thought himself simultaneously “a rationalist and an atheist” and a “Hindu and a Brahmin,” found E-P’s humane, sceptical conservatism agreeable, and its presence in his own writings would later win him radical detractors. Srinivas dutifully, and doubtless sincerely, condemned the things his future socialist colleagues in India expected all right-thinking people to condemn—caste, dowry, superstition. But his own stance was foremost that of the intrigued, oftentimes horrified, observer, half-admiring of the complexity and resilience of institutions that the zealous reformers in independent India expected to wilt in the cold light of modernity.

E-P, pleased with the final shape of Srinivas’s Oxford thesis but understanding that he wanted to return to India, invited him to stay on a couple of years more in a lecturing position created for him, which also allowed him the period of paid fieldwork in a Mysore village he had craved. Srinivas accepted with pleasure. He didn’t stay in Oxford long, deciding after much deliberation that his true work was in India. His subsequent career in the universities of independent India (he taught at Baroda and Delhi, and was later at the National Institute of Advanced Study in Bangalore) was marked by an unstinting commitment to teaching and administration. But it wasn’t patriotic obligation that brought him back to India. It was, he wrote in an autobiographical essay, simply the excitement of living in and observing a newly independent country and a deep anxiety about the “emotional and spiritual desiccation” he thought inevitable in an émigré existence.

IN AUGUST 1947, Srinivas was back in India, his second doctorate in hand. On the evening of the fourteenth, he was at Mysore’s Subbarayana Kere, a park where nationalists used to gather, listening to the first vice president of India, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, address an assembled crowd. Over the next few months, he began looking for a suitable village to study. It had to be relatively small and secluded, to have rice fields and a number of caste communities. The village that eventually fit the bill was Rampura, and his 10 months there furnished him with material for a lifetime’s analysis and study.

Srinivas arrived at Rampura in February 1948, with 26 pieces of luggage and a teenaged Brahmin cook in tow. He moved into the “Bullock House,” one of five properties belonging to the village headman. The digestive nightmare of his Coorg fieldwork still fresh in his mind, he insisted on having all well-water boiled, and mixed with lemon to dull the brackish taste. This was put down to the eccentric fastidiousness of the Brahmin. The headman’s eldest son directed him to the tree under which he was, as Srinivas delicately reports it, to “answer calls of nature.” This was, he said, “the first of many occasions when I ran up against the total but implicit acceptance of the biological dimension of life which characterized rural culture.”

Initially complacent about his intuitive understanding of his subjects, he came swiftly to see just “how far I (and my family) had travelled away from tradition.” His early weeks in the village were full of social solecisms. The headman and his sons were appalled that he could joke about matters of religion, that he shaved after rather than before his bath, and about his bathing habits the less said the better. Baffled by his insistence on privacy during this obviously public ritual, they asked him why he couldn’t bathe in the open, as normal men did? Was he, they asked, in the habit of bathing in the nude? Sheepishly, Srinivas

confessed to the depravity but in order to remove inconvenience … I decided on having a booth of woven, split bamboo erected in the courtyard. The idea was at once pronounced prodigal though typical of me. I had my way, though, and one of the attractions of the idea was that it brought me into contact with the Medas (Basketry-makers) in Rampura.

The prose here, too, is typical of Srinivas. Note the instinctive use of the free indirect style to convey simultaneously two discordant perspectives (“confessed to the depravity” and “prodigal though typical of me”). Note also the air of self-deprecation and accommodation (“in order to remove inconvenience”). Most of all, note the gift for making an anthropological virtue of necessity, of making pure chance seem like the hand of fate itself.

The many delights of The Remembered Village are best experienced in an encounter with Srinivas’s own words. The book is engagingly written, frequently funny at his own expense, and studded with acute observations on everything from agriculture and caste relations to marital infidelity and the castration of bulls. One long quotation, more or less verbatim from a diary Srinivas kept at the time and, luckily, did not take with him to Stanford, will give a flavour of the book’s tone.

Monday, 3 May 1948: Today some elders went to Basava to find out (ask the deity) whether it was going to rain (or not). … The image [of Basava, represented as a recumbent bull] had been washed etc., decorated with daubs of sandalwood paste, and flowers and bilva (Aegle marmelos) leaves, still wet with water, had been placed all over the face and neck. (Care had been taken to see that none was likely to slide down easily.)

… Made Gowda stood up and said, “You are famous as Rampura Basava. Do you wish to retain your reputation or not? Please give us a flower. … It has rained all around us, in Hogur, Hundi, etc. Why has it not rained here? Tell us if you are angry. Why should you be angry with us? … Give us a flower on the left side if you so wish. Why do you sit still? Are you a lump of stone or a deity?”

Someone chimed in, “He is only a lump of stone; otherwise, he would have answered.”

… Someone else took a different line: “We are not entirely dependent upon you. On 10 June, canal water will be released by the government …”

… They were all in earnest (but) the atmosphere was not that of a group of men in awe of a great god but that of a number of reasonable men trying to coax a man lacking in good graces into right behaviour.

This is all reported deadpan. Srinivas is fascinated, amused, but ultimately respectful. His anthropological analysis of the incident in terms of the social relations it embodied would have made that arch-rationalist R-B proud; as he later comments, “The villagers’ relations with deities paralleled ... their relation with patrons.” But the virtues of the writing go well beyond its contribution to the academic understanding of Indian religions. Ironic but affectionate, The Remembered Village is an instance of the almost limitless capacity of human beings to be interesting to other human beings. The non-fictional Rampura was to Srinivas what the fictional Malgudi was for RK Narayan, a site for a lifelong series of transactions between observer and observed, its meanings ramifying well beyond anything Srinivas wrote.

For much of his professional life, Srinivas decried his colleagues’ fondness for quantitative research based on large-scale surveys conducted by their poorly trained minions. He didn’t think one understood India any more deeply simply because one had a larger data set, and it troubled him that civil servants of Nehru’s India were uninterested in any fact that couldn’t be captured in numbers. In the face of changing academic fashion, he never stopped insisting that his students do intensive fieldwork in a single place. He feared that social scientists too easily assumed, in arrogance, that they understood a way of life better than those living it. Fieldwork taught patience, humility and constant attentiveness to the human facts that numbers do not show. Fieldwork taught the social scientist to see a world in a single village.

Srinivas’s periods of fieldwork were the making of him. They took the underweight Brahmin boy out of his cosseted existence into the welter of Indian life. They put him in conditions of physical and psychological hardship just intense enough to sharpen his perceptions, both of the world and of himself. Most of all, they taught him never to presume that he knew better. So many serious young men of Srinivas’s generation, fancying themselves rather modern, headed out into the villages of India with a dogma and a mission, convinced they had everything to teach and nothing to learn. Srinivas went to Rampura with a cook, medicine for diarrhoea, and a bundle of empty notebooks. Once there, he followed his nose, although unsure where it would lead him. In sociology, as in life, it doesn’t do to force it.