Reformers for Women’s Rights
India is a country which has a very rich culture and historical heritage. It has a history of abuse & oppression of women. From Ancient times to 19th century women’s condition deteriorated with time.
Women generally considered low status and inferior to the men. They were considered second class citizens of society. Some documented events shows that they were not even considered as human being. Education was denied to women. Child marriages were common. Windows were not allowed to remarriage. In fact Sati pratha prevailed. Wife and mother was only way in which society recognised their contribution. Women were depended on father before marriage, after marriage on husband and at old age on sons. Their life, death, status, finance were depended on their male relatives i.e father, husband & son.
19th century witnessed the birth of a new vision in India. That was a time when visionaries and reformers started emerging. Reformers started questioning with a basic i.e right to have a life.
Raja Ram Mohan Roy started social campaign against sati in 1818. Because of this campaign, sati was banned in 1829 (Regulation XVII A.D 1829 of Bengal code) by British government. The Bengal regulation 1795 declared Female Infanticide illegal and equivalent to murder.
To improve the condition of widows reformers like Pandit Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar, Professor D.K Karve and others pressurized British government to form the law in support of widows Remarriage. Because of that widows Remarriage Act 1856 was passed by British government.
In case of child marriage reformer B.M Malabari put relentless efforts and these efforts resulted with enactment of age of Consent Act (1891) which forbade girls marriage below age 12 years.
Reformers work against great odds. Reformers were not welcomed in society and in many cases their own family boycotted them. They were abused physically and emotionally. Their life was threatened by orthodox people. They were repeatedly called Agent of western culture, Anti religion and godless people. But their efforts helped greatly to shape the Modern India and constitution.
These History of struggle should be known to people because every right that we have as citizens are earned with sweat and blood. There was a time when women even didn’t considered as human beings. All decisions related to women was taken by others. Women were heavily discriminated . And now because of work of reformers and Constitution women are guaranteed equal rights in the country. Everyone should remember that the rights that they have is because of centuries struggle of reformers.
I am Anas Zaid Khan. I am an Electrical engineer. I like reading books and i am learning how to write.
Anas Zaid Khan