Reforms Regarding Women In 19th Century


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It Gives information About Women's In 19th Ceuntury India

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Reforms Regarding Women In 19th Century

  1. 1. Socio-Religious Reform Movements in India were part of eighteenth century and twentieth-century India. During this time, on one side, India was suffering from stagnating traditional culture and society at very low ebb; while on the other hand, India possessed a still traditional society in the throes and the creative excitement of modernising and of emerging as a new nation. The nineteenth century initiated this process of transformation in the religious, social, economic, political, and cultural spheres. The impact of the British Empire influenced administration, legislation, trade, network of communications, industrialisation and urbanisation in India, affecting not only society as a whole, but also the traditional patterns of life. British scholars, educators and missionaries also impacted the cultural field. The reformers consciously reacted to the new situation and advocated deliberate changes in social and religious attitudes and customs....
  2. 2. In the 19th century the Industrial Revolution transformed life in Britain. It changed from a country where most people lived in the countryside and worked in farming to one where most people lived in towns and worked in industry. In that century women did gain more rights and some women became famous novelists.In the 19th century at least 80% of the population was working class. In order to be considered middle class you had to have at least one servant. Most servants were female. (Male servants were more expensive because men were paid higher wages). Throughout the century 'service' was a major employer of women. For working class women life was an endless round of hard work and drudgery. As soon as they were old enough they worked on farms and in factories. Even when they married and had children housework was very hard without electricity or modern cleaning agents. On the other hand in the 19th century working class girls began to get some education. In the early and mid 19th century the churches provided some schools. After 1870 the state provided them.
  3. 3. In the 19th century wealthy women were kept busy running the household and organising the servants. Well to do women often also did charitable work. In 1874 the first successful typewriter went on sale (It was invented in the USA by Christopher Sholes) and the telephone was invented in 1876. These two new inventions meant more job opportunities for women. At the end of the 19th century new technology created more jobs for women. meanwhile in the late 19th century contraception became easier. In 1877 Annie Besant and Charles Bradlaugh published a book on the subject called Fruits of Philosophy. They were both prosecuted by their sentences were quashed on appeal. Life became more comfortable for most women in the 19th century. James Simpson (1811-1870), who was Professor of Midwifery at Edinburgh University, began using chloroform for operations in 1847.
  4. 4. Hindu society in the 19th century suffered from religious illusions that Hindu scriptures did not sanction female education of girls wrought wrath of gods leading to their widowhood. The Christian missionaries, whatever their motive, were the first to set up o Calcutta Female Juvenile Society in 1819. However, the celebrated name 0f J.E.D. Bethune, President of the council of Education, will always be remembered with respect. In 1849 he founded a Girl's School in Calcutta. Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar also did a lot in popularising the cause of education and was associated with no less than thirty-five girl's schools in Bengal. In Bombay the students of Elphinstone Institute became the spearhead of the movement for women education and founded the Students Literary Society. Charles Wood's dispatch on Education laid great stress on the need for female education. In the broad perspective, women education became a part of the general campaign for amelioration of the plight of women in society.
  5. 5. Traditions such as sati, jauhar, and devadasi among some communities have been banned and are largely defunct in modern India. However, some instances of these practices are still found in remote parts of India. The purdah is still practised by Indian women in some communities, and child marriage remains prevalent despite it being illegal undeR current Indian law.
  6. 6. Sati was an ancient Hindu custom, according to which a wife immolated herself at the funeral pyre of her husband. In 1811, Roy witnessed his brother's widow being burned alive on her husband's funeral pyre. Three years later, he retired and concentrated on campaigning against the practice of women dying as Satis. Raja Rammohan Roy was the first Indian to protest against this custom. In spite of protests from orthodox Hindus, he carried on his propoganda against the custom
  7. 7. Jauhar refers to the practice of voluntary immolation by wives and daughters of defeated warriors, in order to avoid capture and consequent molestation by the enemy. The practice was followed by the wives of defeated Rajput rulers, who are known to place a high premium on honour. Evidently such practice took place, during the the Islamic invasions of India.
  8. 8. Devadasi is a religious practice in some parts of southern India, in which women are "married" to a deity or temple. The ritual was well-established by the 10th century A.D
  9. 9. Contrary to common perception, a large percentage of women in India work National data collection agencies accept that statistics seriously understate women's contribution as workers. However, there are far fewer women than men in the paid workforce. In urban India, women participate in the workforce in impressive numbers. For example, in the software industry 30% of the workforce is female. In the workplace women enjoy parity with their male counterparts in terms of wages and roles. In rural India in the agriculture and allied industrial sectors, females account for as much as 89.5% of the labour force.In overall farm production, women's average contribution is estimated at 55% to 66% of the total labour. According to a 1991 World Bank report, women accounted for 94% of total employment in dairy production in India. Women constitute 51% of the total employed in forest-based smallscale enterprises.
  10. 10. In 1961, the Government of India passed the Dowry Prohibition Act, making dowry demands in wedding arrangements illegal. However, many cases of dowry-related domestic violence, suicides and murders have been reported. In the 1980s, numerous such cases were reported. In 1985, the Dowry Prohibition (maintenance of lists of presents to the bride and bridegroom) Rules were framed. According to these rules, a signed list should be maintained of presents given at the time of the marriage to the bride and the bridegroom. The list should contain a brief description of each present, its approximate value, the name of who has given the present, and relationship to the recipient. However, such rules are rarely enforced. A 1997 report claimed that each year at least 5,000 women in India die dowry-related deaths, and at least a dozen die each day in 'kitchen fires' thought to be intentional. The term for this is "bride burning" and is criticized within India itself. Amongst the urban educated, such dowry abuse has reduced considerably.
  11. 11. There is one such striking example from India: Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar and the campaign for Hindu widow remarriage during the great Indian social reform movements of the 19th century. Ishwar Chandra Bandyopadhyay, known as Vidyasagar ["Ocean of learning"], is an iconic figure in the history of Indian social reform. He was a Bengali Brahmin Sanskrit scholar. His image is that of a quintessential pandit, traditionally dressed in dhuti-chador. This was no Anglicised "brown sahib". Yet this Sanskrit scholar battled to end child marriage and high-caste polygamy, and to enable Hindu widows to re-marry. He succeeded in getting legislation passed to permit Hindu widow remarriage, despite fierce opposition from many within his own community - and married his own son to a widow as an example. In our times, this might be the equivalent of a Quranic scholar leading a feminist revolution in an Islamic country. Was this just an exceptional individual and a fortunate turn of events? Or are there relevant political lessons that we might draw in terms of motivation, timing, negotiation and external intervention, that culminated in the Hindu Widow's Re-marriage Act in 1856?
  12. 12. The plight of Hindu widows in India gained international notoriety recently when Indian film-maker Deepa Mehta tried to shoot her film Water in Varanasi, one of the "holy" cities to which widows were traditionally packed off to live out their lives in penury, often preyed upon by the hypocritical lechery of patriarchal societies. Even though Mehta had been given permission to shoot her film there by the Indian government, which had first inspected the script, she and her crew faced angry mobs accusing her film of being "anti-Hindu". She had to abandon filming in India, and eventually, shot the film several years later in Sri Lanka. Mehta's film was set in the 1930s, nearly 80 years after Vidyasagar's successful campaign to change the law. But stories about the ill-treatment and marginalisation of widows in India appear in the media even today. As we all know, legislation does not change society; the real revolution is that one within people’s minds.
  13. 13. Decades come and go but what remain are the impression and great acts of the social reformers. India is privileged to have number of great souls like Dayanand Saraswati and Raja Ram Mohan Roy They managed to bring revolutions by making radical changes in the society. Some of the reformers took up the challenges of breaking the jinx of prevailing caste-system while some fought for the introduction of girls'-education and widow remarriage. The contributions, made by these, simple yet eminent souls towards humanity are really extraordinary. Their activities and thoughts guided the nation to a new beginning.
  14. 14. Acharya Vinoba Bhave Acharya Vinoba Bhave was a freedom fighter and a spiritual teacher. He is best known as the founder of the 'Bhoodan Movement' (Gift of the Land). The reformer had an intense concern for the deprived masses. Vinoba Bhave had once said, "All revolutions are spiritual at the source. Baba Amte From a child born with a silver spoon in his mouth, Baba Amte later transformed his life into a social activist. He devoted his entire life to serve the downtrodden people of the society. He left his lucrative profession to join India's struggle for independence. Dr. B. R. Ambedkar Biography Dr B R Ambedkar, popularly known as Babasaheb Ambedkar, was one of the architects of the Indian Constitution. He was a well-known politician and an eminent jurist. Ambedkar's efforts to eradicate the social evils like untouchablity and caste restrictions were remarkable.
  15. 15.  Mother Teresa was a true follower of humanity. Many people considered Mother as the "reincarnated form of Lord Jesus". Mother Teresa devoted her entire life in serving the needy and abandoned people of the society. Although her mission started in India, she succeeded in bringing the people of all societies under one roof, i.e. humanity.
  16. 16. Dayanand Saraswati was a reformer and believed in pragmatism. He preached against many rituals of the Hindu religion such as idol-worship, caste by birth, animal sacrifices and restrictions of women from reading Vedas. He was not only a great scholar and philosopher but also a social reformer and a political thinker.
  17. 17.  Swami Vivekananda is known for his inspiring speech at the Parliament of the World's Religions at Chicago on 11 September, 1893, where he introduced Hindu philosophy to the west. But this was not the only contribution of the saint. He revealed the true foundations of India's unity as a nation. He taught how a nation with such a vast diversity can be bound together by a feeling of humanity and brother-hood.
  18. 18. As a result of reform movements significant advances were made in the field of emancipation of women. Legal measures were introduced to elevate their status. The practice of sati and infanticide were made illegal. In 1856 a law was passed permitting widow remarriage .Another law passed in 1860 raised the marriageable age of girls to ten which was a significant advance in those days. Many superstitions also began to disappear. The reform movements that grew differed from each other in many parts but they all helped in awakening the people to the need for change. The reform movements contributed a great deal to the birth of Indian nationalism. These were country-wide movements influencing people everywhere and not just in isolation. The reform activities united people and the attack on institutions like caste which hampered social unity created a sense of oneness in the people. But most of these reform movements had certain limitations. The questions to which they gave primacy concerned only small sections of Indian society. Some of them failed to emphasize or even recognize that colonial rule was inimical to the interests of the Indian people.
  19. 19. Most of them worked within the framework of their respective communities in a way tended to promote identities based on religion or caste. Many of these limitations were sought to be overcome during the course of the national movement with which many social and religious reformers were closely associated. Indian nationalism aimed at the regeneration of the entire Indian society irrespective of caste and community. It was no longer necessary to confine the movement of social reform to one’s own community.
  20. 20. Social evils against which the Reform Movement was directed : There were several evil customs and practices which had become a part of Hindu social system. They were : (i) Casteism, (ii) Sati, (iii) Infanticide, (iv) Child marriages and (v) Belief in superstitions. Muslims were also divided by castes, sectarian and tribal differences. Social and religious reform movements arose among all communities of the Indian people. In religion, they attacked bigotry, superstitions and the hold of the priestly class. In social life, they aimed at the abolitions of castes, child marriage and other legal and social inequalities. These social evils were fought with firm determination by numerous reformers like Raja Rammohan Roy, Rama Krishna Paramhans, Swami Dayanand, Swami Vivekananda, Sir Sayed Ahmed Khan and others. As a result of these movements, sig-nificant advances were made in the field of emanci-pation of women. With their efforts, the practice of Sati and infanticide had been made illegal. Law was passed for widow-remarriages. Many superstitions began to disappear. The Reform Movement contributed a great deal to the birth of Indian nationalism. It influenced people everywhere.