Modernization means to adopt modern ways, to have a modern spirit and character based on rationalism and scientific thinking. In the nineteenth century many educated Indians were impressed by modern science and the doctrines of reason and humanism of the West. They demanded modernization, which they felt would serve as the key to the regeneration of their decaying society.
Indian society was not modern in the following respects:
It was feudal, backward, stagnant and corrupt. It was dominated by hierarchical and hereditary castes that fragmented and disunited society. Traditional conventions restricted the mobility of castes and prevented contact with new ideas. Religion was full of superstition and was exploited by ignorant and corrupt priests.
People worshipped many idols and performed meaningless religious rituals. Children became the victims of infanticide and child marriages. The inhuman social evil of sati was prevalent. Women were subjugated and treated as inferior to men in intellect and moral sense.
Polygamy was widely practiced and widows were ill-treated. Women were denied education and property rights. The upper classes were selfish and sacrificed social interests to their own narrow interests. People were orthodox and did not encourage any departure from their holy books and inherited traditions, even if it was harmful to society. Indian society lived in isolation and did not realize the significance of the modern age, where the ideal of human civilization lay in interdependence of individuals and nations in all spheres of thought and activity (Rabindranath Tagore).