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The women’s questions arose in modern India as a part of the 19th-century social reform movement. What are the major issues and debates concerning women in that period? (250 words)

The 19th-century social reform movement in India aimed to address various issues and debates concerning women. At the time, women faced numerous challenges, including harmful practices, inequality, and limited opportunities. The major issues and debates of that period include:

  • Sati: The practice of widows immolating themselves on their husband’s funeral pyre was widespread and deeply ingrained in society. Reformers like Raja Ram Mohan Roy campaigned against this practice, leading to its eventual abolition.
  • Child marriage: Early marriages were common, often leading to health complications and denying girls the opportunity for education and personal growth. Reformers like Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar advocated for raising the minimum age of marriage.
  • Female infanticide: The preference for male children led to the killing of female infants. Social reformers raised awareness about the value of female lives and the need to protect them.
  • Purdah system: The practice of secluding women and requiring them to cover themselves in public limited their mobility and access to education and employment opportunities. Reformers sought to challenge this practice and promote women’s rights.
  • Education: Women were largely denied access to education, which hindered their social and economic progress. Reformers like Jyotirao Phule and Savitribai Phule established schools for girls and encouraged female education.
  • Widow remarriage: Widows were often ostracized and subjected to harsh living conditions. Reformers like Veerasalingam Pantulu worked to promote widow remarriage and improve their social status.
  • Polygamy: The practice of men having multiple wives was prevalent, leading to the subjugation of women. Social reformers advocated for monogamy and equal rights within marriage.

In conclusion, the 19th-century social reform movement in India aimed to address various issues concerning women, including harmful practices, inequality, and limited opportunities. The efforts of reformers led to significant changes in society, laying the foundation for the women’s rights movement in India.

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