’’Civilization” and "Development”: some critical reflections on the understanding of terms - Case of India

  • Dirk Bronger (Autor/in)


The starting point of this paper is that the two terms "civilization" ("Hochkultur") and "development" should be seen and treated as interdependent. As "participation" is considered as an integral part of "development" if not its key indicator, we have to ask: Who and how many of which social strata really participated in the "highly developed civilization" ("Hochkultur")? In this paper the qualitative as well as the quantitative participation of the different social strata is proven by two different "glorious periods" of Indian history, the Maurya Empire (321-185 B.C.) and during the reign of Akbar the Great (1556-1605 A.D.). On the whole we can summarize that only a (small) minority of the people did participate in the economic and social development during these "glorious periods of civilization". Consequently the often used term "civilization" resp. "advanced civilization" ("Hochkultur") should be thought over much more differentiatedly and thus used much more carefully — in history as well as in present.