NCERT Solutions for Class 8 History Chapter 9 - Women, Caste and Reform
Go through important questions with NCERT Solutions for CBSE Class 8 History Chapter 9 Women, Caste and Reform by TopperLearning’s subject experts. In the chapter solutions, read about Jyotirao Phule’s thoughts on the original inhabitants of India. The chapter takes you through the reasons why people were reluctant to send girls to school earlier.
In Chapter 9 of the CBSE Class 8 History syllabus, you will also get to learn about reformers who encouraged people to let go of unjust rituals and practices. To score high marks in the exam, you may practise the NCERT textbook solutions and perform self-assessments using our online practice tests.
Chapter 9 - Women, Caste and Reform Exercise 121
Rammohun Roy: He started campaigns for the abolition of the practice of ‘Sati’. It was largely due to his efforts that sati was abolished in India.
Dayanand Saraswati: He supported education for girls.
Veerasalingam Pantulu: He advocated the education of women.
Jyotirao Phule: He believed in equality of all castes and advocated education of the girls and women belonging to lower caste.
Pandita Ramabai: She advocated women education and remarriage of the widows.
Periyar: He criticised the caste system the advocated equality of all people.
Mumtaz Ali: He argued for the education of women among the Muslims.
Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar: He advocated education of women and campaigned for the rights of widows to remarry.
Chapter 9 - Women, Caste and Reform Exercise 122
Both Jyotirao Phule and Ramaswamy Naicker were critical of the national movement. Phule believed that mostly the upper caste leaders were involved in the nationalist movement against the British. He believed that once the British would leave, the people of upper caste would again use their power and authority oppress and subjugate the people belonging to lower castes. This would result in division amongst the people.
Naicker had joined Congress early in his years. He gradually realised that even Congress was not free from the evil practice of casteism. When a feast was organised by the nationalists within the party, different seating arrangements were made for the people of upper and lower castes. This made Naicker to believe that the lower castes have to fight their own battle.
Their criticisms did help in the nationalist movement. The nationalist leaders assimilated the national movement with reform various reform movements. They not only wanted the country to become independent of the British control but also from various evil practices which had crept in the society. It was due to their and the views of many reformers that caste system was denounced and untouchability was abolished from the country after its independence.
In the Indian society, the people of lower caste were denied entry into most of the temples. Ambedkar started the temple entry movement in 1927, in which people of lower caste not only entered into the temples but also drew and used water from the temple wells. This created outrage amongst the people of upper castes in the society. Through this movement, he wanted to proclaim equal status for the people of lower castes and their right to enter into temple and use water from public wells and tanks.The aim of such a movement was also to reform the Hindu society.
Jyotirao Phule dedicated his book ‘Gulamgiri’ to the American movement to free slaves as he found similarities between the condition of slaves in America and the condition of low caste people in India. To him, both the communities were dominated and subjugated. By dedicating this book to the American movement to free slaves, he also expressed hope that one day caste system in India like slavery in America would also come to an end.
Jyotirao and other reformers questioned the ancient religious texts which had supported the inferiority of the people belonging to lower caste and superiority of the people belonging to the upper castes.
Jyotirao Phule claimed that the people of lower castes were the original inhabitants of India. According to him, the Brahmans, who traced their genealogy back to the Aryan Age were foreigners as they had come from outside the subcontinent. They had then defeated and subjugated the original inhabitants of the country –those who had been living here before the arrival of the Aryans. Once they established their dominance, they began looking at the defeated population as inferior. He felt that the upper castes had therefore no right to the land and power. The land belonged to the indigenous people who belonged to the low castes.
Like Birsa Munda who envisioned a golden age free from diksus and all other forms of evil, Jyotirao Phule too believed in a golden age free from the Aryans and their ideas of caste. He also extended his criticism of the caste system and linked it with all other forms of inequalities and injustices prevalent not only in Indian society but also in Western society. He linked the miseries of the black slaves in America with those of the lower castes in India.
Shri Narayana Guru, another reformer who criticised caste inequality in society, proclaimed the ideals of unity of all people within one sect or caste and inspired them to have faith in one guru-himself .
Ambedkar criticised caste inequality and advocated that all humans are equal whether they are men or women, high castes or low castes.
E. V. Ramaswami Naicker (or Periyar) contended that Brahmins were the heirs of the Aryans who had invaded north India. They later moved to south India and suppressed the Dravidians, who were the original inhabitants of the land. Like Jyotirao Phule, he too saw the Brahmins as having no claims to the power which they used for oppressing the lower castes. He pointed out that social divisions and inequalities were not God-given. Periyar criticised Ramayana, Bhagvad Gita and the Codes of Manu. According to him, these texts were used for establishing the authority of the Brahmins over the people of lower castes.
Many new opportunities for the people belonging to lower castes came up during the British period. They worked in municipal corporations as sweepers and sewage cleaners. They also involved in the building of roads, digging of drains etc. Many of them also went to find work in plantations and mines in Assam, Bihar, Trinidad and Mauritius. This was an opportunity to them to move away from the hold of the upper caste people residing in villages. They also found opportunities in the army.
Christian missionaries had set up schools for the children of tribals and lower castes in various parts of the country. They were also involved in reform activities as they denounced caste system, sati and advocated education of girls. They were opposed by the orthodox section of the society as they believed that they were trying to interfere in their religious matters. Many people also believed that the ultimate motive of the Christian missionaries was to convert the people into Christianity. Thus, they were attacked mainly be conservative section of people in the society.
Christian missionaries were supported by many progressive Indians like the reformers and the intellectuals who wanted the Indian society to reform. Many people who had benefitted from the reform activities of the missionaries like the people belonging to various tribes and lower castes also supported them.
The following were the different reasons people had for not sending girls to school:
(a) They feared that if girls attend schools regularly, then they may not be able to fulfill their domestic duties.
(b) Girls had to travel through public places in order to reach school. People felt that this would have a corrupting influence on girls.
(c) In many parts of the country, it was believed that if a girl or a woman was educated, she would become widow in future.
The reformers wanted to reform people by encouraging the people to discard unjust practices and rituals which were prevalent in the society. Reformers believed that if they take the help of the ancient religious texts to support their point of view, their ideas will get a kind of sanctity. Thus, whenever the reformers wished to challenge a practice, they tried to find a verse from the religious texts which supported their ideas. Raja Ram Mohan Roy used ancient texts to show that the practice of sati never had any sanction.
(b) Social reformers had to discard the ancient texts in order to argue for reform in social practises.
(c) Reformers got full support from all sections of the people of the country.
(d) The Child Marriage Restraint Act was passed in 1829.
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