NCERT Class 8 History Chapter 9: Women, Caste and Reform YouTube Lecture Handouts

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  • Social reformer ("Crusader" and "meliorist") is anyone who advocates for reform of a certain area of society.

  • Reform movement: Social movement that aims to make gradual change

  • Revolutionary Movement: Aims to bring rapid or fundamental changes

Story 200 Years Back – State of Women & Caste

  • Early age of marriage

  • Polygyny (more than one wife) was prevalent in Hindus & Muslims

  • Sati was practiced (widows burnt with husband’s funeral) – as barbarism of the East

  • No access to education – if educated she would become widow

  • Caste divisions – upper caste vs. lower caste (who kept city clean were considered polluting or untouchables)

  • Untouchables – not allowed to enter temple, draw water from common wells, bath in common ponds and were considered inferior

Image of Socio - Religious Reform Movements

Image of Socio - Religious Reform Movements

Image of Socio - Religious Reform Movements

Working for a Change for Women

  • Changes from early 19th century - books, newspapers, magazines, leaflets and pamphlets were printed – much cheaper than manuscripts

  • Social, religious, economic and political issues could be debated

  • Hook swinging festival - Devotees underwent a peculiar form of suffering as part of ritual worship. With hooks pierced through their skin they swung themselves on a wheel

Raja Rammohan Roy

Image of the man abolished sati Raja Ram Mohan Roy

Image of the Man Abolished Sati Raja Ram Mohan Roy

Image of the man abolished sati Raja Ram Mohan Roy

Image of Raja Rammohan Roy

Image of Raja Rammohan Roy

Image of Raja Rammohan Roy

  • Founded Brahmo Samaj in Calcutta

  • Changes were necessary to remove unjust practices & adopt new way of life

  • Freedom and women equality

  • Campaign against practice of sati & in 1829 sati was banned

  • Well versed in Sanskrit & Persian

Ishwar chandra Vidhyasagar

Image of Ishwarchandra Vidhyasagar

Image of Ishwarchandra Vidhyasagar

Image of Ishwarchandra Vidhyasagar

  • Worked on widow remarriage – act passed in 1856 – spread to various parts of India

  • Set up schools for girl education

Veerasalingam Pantulu

Image of Veeresalingam Pantulu

Image of Veeresalingam Pantulu

Image of Veeresalingam Pantulu

In Telugu speaking Madras presidency – widow remarriage

Dayanand Saraswati

  • Founded Arya Samaj

  • Supported widow remarriage – those married were not easily accepted in society

  • Attempted to reform Hinduism

  • Opened girl schools in Punjab

Image of Dayanand Saraswati

Image of Dayanand Saraswati

Image of Dayanand Saraswati

Jyotirao Phule

Image of jyotirao phule

Image of Jyotirao Phule

Image of jyotirao phule

  • Opened girl schools in Maharashtra

  • Born in 1827 – studied in Christian Missionary school

  • Argued Aryans were foreigners and defeated true children of India

  • Upper caste has no right to land and power which belongs to indigenous people or low caste

  • Shudras (labouring castes) & Ati Shudras (untouchables) should unite to challenge caste discrimination

  • Formed Satyashodhak Samaj for caste equality

  • Critical of anti-colonial nationalism preached by upper caste leaders

  • Wrote book – “Gulamgiri” in 1873 and dedicated it to Americans who fought to free slaves (linking low caste in India to blacks in America)

  • Movement against caste was continued by Dr B.R. Ambedkar in western India and E.V. Ramaswamy Naicker in the south

Role of Women in Women Upliftment

  • Muslim women read Koran in Arabic – Mumtaz Ali reinterpreted verses from Koran to argue for women education

  • Urdu novel writings started in late 19th century

  • Begum of Bhopal promoted education and founded schools in Aligarh for girls

  • Begum Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain started schools for Muslim girls in Patna and Calcutta – critic of conservative ideas

  • Tarabai Shinde - educated at home at Poona, published a book, Stripurushtulna, (A Comparison between Women and Men), criticizing the social differences between men and women.

  • Pandita Ramabai – Sanskrit scholar against Hinduism – wrote a book about miserable lives of upper caste Hindu Women – founded women’s home at Poona to shelter women being badly treated by husband’s relatives

  • Push for laws for women right to vote – female suffrage, better health care – equality and freedom (in hand by JL Nehru & SC Bose)

  • 1929 – Child Marriage Act – minimum age for marriage for man (18 years) and women (16 years) later increased to 21 and 18 years respectively

Caste Reforms

  • Raja Rammohan Roy – translated Buddhist text critical of caste

  • Prarthna Samaj – adhered to bhakti movement – equality of all caste

  • 1840 – Paramhans Mandali founded in Bombay for caste abolition – reformers were people of upper caste – violate taboos on food and touch

  • Christian missionaries began setting up schools for tribal groups and “lower”-caste children

  • Poor moving for jobs from villages to cities (new demand for labour – sewage cleaner, sweeper, rickshaw puller etc.), some went to work in plantations in Assam, Mauritius (Coolie Ship named John Allen carried workers there), Trinidad and Indonesia

  • Madigas (AP) – tribe (untouchables) to clean hides, tan and sew sandals – in WW-I, demand for leather increased & made high profits

  • Mahar (untouchables) – got job in Mahar regiment in army

  • Dublas (Gujarat) – labored fields of upper caste

  • 1829 – Bombay Presidency – untouchables were not allowed – sit outside classroom and listen

Demand for Equality and Justice

Non-Brahmins organized against caste discrimination, social equality and justice

Ghasidas

Image of Ghasidas

Image of Ghasidas

Image of Ghasidas

  • Worked among leatherworkers

  • Satnami movement in Central India

  • Improve social status

Haridas Thakur

Image of Haridas Thakur

Image of Haridas Thakur

Image of Haridas Thakur

  • His Matua sect worked among Chandala cultivators

  • He questioned Brahmanical texts that supported the caste system.

Narayan Guru

  • Guru from Ezhava caste in Kerala

  • Ideas for unity for people

  • Against treating people unequally for caste system

  • oru jati, oru matam, oru daivam manushyanu (one caste, one religion, one god for humankind)

  • Create a sense of self-esteem among the subordinate castes

Image of Narayan Guru

Image of Narayan Guru

Image of Narayan Guru

B. R. Ambedkar

Image of B. R. Ambedkar

Image of B. R. Ambedkar

Image of B. R. Ambedkar

  • Leader of Dalit movement

  • Taught at army school

  • Born in Mahar family

  • Experienced caste prejudice – sit outside class, not drink water from taps

  • Went to fellowship in USA for higher studies

  • In 1919 – returned back and wrote on upper caste power

  • 1927 – temple entry movement (Dalits also used water from tanks), led 3 movements b/w 1927 to 1935 & make everyone see power of caste prejudice

Non-Brahman Movement

Brahmans were heirs of Aryan invaders from north who had conquered southern lands from the original inhabitants of the region – the indigenous Dravidian races

E.V. Ramaswamy Naicker or Periyar

Image of E.V. Ramaswamy Naicker

Image of E.V. Ramaswamy Naicker

Image of E.V. Ramaswamy Naicker

  • From middle class family

  • Studied Sanskrit

  • Became member of Congress (against the fact that low caste was asked to sit away from upper caste)

  • Untouchables have right for dignity as they are true upholders of Tamil and Dravidian Culture

  • Started Self Respect Movement

  • Critic of Codes of Manu, Bhagavad Gita & Ramayana

  • Orthodox Hindu society reacted by founding Sanatan Dharma Sabhas and Bharat Dharma Mahamandal in north & Brahman Sabha in Bengal

Black Slaves and White Planters

  • From 17th century – Blacks were captured from Africa to America to work in plantations

  • American Revolution of 1776

  • Abraham Lincoln - those who had fought slavery had done so for the cause of democracy

Major Reforms

Brahmo Samaj

  • Keshab Chandra Sen – main leader

  • Founded in 1830

  • Prohibited idolatry and sacrifice

  • Believed in Upanishads

  • Critically drew ideals from Hinduism & Christianity

Young Bengal Movement

  • Henry Louis Vivian Derozio – teacher at Hindu College, Calcutta

  • Radical ideas

  • Attacked customs

  • Demand for women education

Ramakrishna Mission

  • Named after Ramakrishna Paramhansa (Swami Vivekananda’s guru)

  • Social service

  • Selfless action

Prarthana Samaj

  • Established in 1867 in Bombay

  • Remove caste restrictions

  • Abolish child marriage

  • Encourage women education and widow remarriage

Veda Samaj

  • In 1864 in Madras

  • Inspired by Brahmo Samaj

  • Abolish caste system

  • Promote widow remarriage and women education

  • Believed in one God

  • Condemned superstitions & orthodox Hinduism

Aligarh Movement

  • Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College - founded by Sayyid Ahmed Khan in 1875 at Aligarh – later as AMU

  • Modern education with Western science

Singh Sabha Movement

  • Reform organization of Sikhs

  • 1st in Amritsar in 1873 & Lahore in 1879

  • To rid Sikhism of superstitions, caste distinctions and practices seen by them as non-Sikh

  • In 1892 – Khalsa College in Amritsar was established

  • Combine modern teachings with Sikh teachings

Other Important Reformers

  • Swami Sahajanand Saraswati

  • Shahu Maharaj

  • T. K. Madhavan

  • Tukojirao Holkar II

  • Gopal Ganesh Agarkar

  • Dhondo Keshav Karve

  • Vitthal Ramji Shinde

  • Justice Ranade

  • Virchand Gandhi

  • Vinoba Bhave

  • Baba Amte

  • Acharya Balshastri Jambhekar

  • Gopal Hari Deshmukh

  • Pandurang Shastri Athavale

  • Basavanna

  • Mirza Ghulam Ahmad