Of the several evils cording the Indian society in the nineteenth century, the most growing with the stunting the women.
For countless cents wise, women in India had been subordinated to men and severally opposed. The various religions practiced in India as well as the personal laws based on them cognized women to a status inferior to that of men. The condition of upper class women was in this regard worse than that of peasant women.
The traditional view often praised the role of women as wives and mothers but as individuals they were assigned a very lowly social position.
They were supposed to have no personality of their own apart from ties to their husbands. They could not find any other expression to their in boon talents or desires except as housewives. In fact, they were seen as adjusts to men. A women could only marry only once, a man was permitted have more than one wife. Among Muslims, too this custom of polygamy practiced. In large parts of the country, woman had to have behind the purdah.
The custom of early marriage prevailed, and even children of eight or nine were married. Widow could not remarry and had to reap as ascetic and restricted life. In many parts of the country, the horrifying custom of sati was or self-immolation of widows prevailed.
Hindu women had no right to inherit property, nor did they enjoy the right to geminate an undesirable marriage. Muslim women could inherit property but only half as much as a man could, and in matter of divorce even theoretically there was no igniting between husband and wife. In facts, Muslim women headed divorce.
The social positions of Hindu and Muslim women as well as their values were similar. Moreover in both the cases they were economically and socially totally dependent on man. Lastly, the benefit of education was derived to most of them. In addition, women were taught to accept their subjugation and even to welcome it as a badge of honour.
It is true that occasionally woman of the personality of Razia, Chandbibi or Ahalyabai arose in India, but they were exceptions to the general pattern and do not in any way change the picture. Moved by the humanitarian and egalitarian impulses of the 19lh century, the social reforms started powerful movement to improve the position of women. Notable in this regard was role of All India Women’s Conference as well as the efforts of and others.