Status of Women in Indian Society
Abstract: The worth of a civilization can be judged by the place given to women in the society. One of several factors that justify the greatness of India's ancient culture is the honorable place granted to women. The Muslim influence on India caused considerable deterioration in the status of women. They were deprived of their rights of equality with men. Raja Ram Mohan Roy started a movement against this inequality and subjugation. The contact of Indian culture with that of the British also brought improvement in the status of women. The third factor in the revival of women's position was the influence of Mahatma Gandhi who induced women to participate in the Freedom Movement. As a result of this retrieval of freedom, women in Indian have distinguished themselves as teachers, nurses, air-hostesses, booking clerks, receptionists, and doctors. They are also participating in politics and administration. But in spite of this amelioration in the status of women, the evils of illiteracy, dowry, ignorance, and economic slavery would have to be fully removed in order to give them their rightful place in Indian society. But in the later period the position of women went on deteriorating due to Muslim influence. During the Muslim period of history they were deprived of their rights of equality with men. They were compelled to keep themselves within the four walls of their houses with a long veil on their faces. This was definitely due to Islamic influence. In India the Muslim women are far more backward than their Hindu, Christian and Sikh counterparts. The sight of Muslim women walking with long 'Burkas' (veils) on their person was not very rare. The women are, as a matter of fact, regarded as captive and saleable commodities in Muslim families. One man is allowed to have so many wives with the easiest provision of divorce. The husband can divorce a wife just by saying 'I divorce you' under the provision of Muslim laws. This is what the emperors did hundred years back and the men are doing it even now in almost all Islamic countries. It was natural outcome of the Muslim subjugation of India that woman was relegated to a plaything of man, an ornament to decorate the drawing room. Serving, knitting, painting and music were her pastimes and cooking and cleaning her business. In the wake of Raja Ram Mohan Roy's movement against women's subjugation to men and British influence on Indian culture and civilization the position of women had once again undergone a change. Indeed, reformist stalwarts like Raja Ram Mohan Roy formed a coalition power with the British to abolish the social abuse, Sati. Again, Pundit Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar consolidated the way for the remarriage of socially forsaken widows through the Widow Remarriage Act no XV of 1856.He empathetically lamented the deep distress of Indian womanhood, while campaign: "The country, whose male population is unkind, unreligious and unaware of the distinction between the good and the evil and don’t care about justice and fairness and where abiding the rituals is the chief preoccupation of religion, should not give birth to girls!" The air of reformation held high the urgency for casting the enlightenment of education on women. The erudite and social-activist, Vidyasagar inundated the nation with the deluge of education. He opened 30 schools for girls in Bengal to promote the betterment of the feminine community. Similar to him was the Telugu feminism-enthusiast, Kandukuri Virasalingam Pantulu of Andhra Pradesh. In fact, the Bengal Renaissance of Consciousness, Intellectuality and Cultural pursuits ushered in a phenomenal rebirth or Renaissance of the Consciousness of Women’s Well-being amidst the prevalent tyrannical society. The British government eager to prove their liberal, ethical and pro-modernity attitude resorted to the "woman question". This is the fundamental feminist question concerned with the rights and progress of women. British...
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