Women, Caste and Reform Class 8 Questions and Answers History Chapter 9
History Class 8 Chapter 9 NCERT Textbook Questions and Answers
Imagine you are a teacher in the School set up by Rokeya Hossian. There are 20 girls in your charge. Write an account of the discussions that might have taken place on any one day in the school.
Students — “Sir/Madam are parents do not allow us to come to school”
Teacher — You should be bold”. “Tell them it is necessary to come to school”
Students — “But, Madam we are afraid”.
Teacher — “Do not be afraid. Be bold. God is with you”.
What social ideas did the following people support
These people Supported the following ideas :
- Spread of education among women
- Window remarriage
- Caste equality and justice
- Abolition of child marriage
- Social quality for untouchables.
State whether true or false:
1. When the British captured Bengal they formed many new laws to regulate the rules regarding marriage, adoption, inheritance of property, etc.
2. Social reformers had to discard the ancient texts in order to argue for reform in social practices.
3. Reforms got full support from all sections of the people of the country
4. The child marriage Restraint Act was passed in 1829.
How did the knowledge of ancient texts help the reformers promote new laws?
Knowledge of ancient texts did help the reformers promote new laws. Rammohan Roy used the ancient texts to show that the practice of sati had no sanction in those texts.
The strategy adopted by Rammohan was used by later reformers as well. Whenever they wished to challenge a practice that seemed harmful, they tried to find a verse or sentence in the ancient sacred texts that supported their point of view. They suggested that the practice as it existed at present was against early tradition.
For instance, one of the most famous reformers, Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar used the ancient texts to suggest that widows could remarry. This suggestion was adopted by British officials, and a law was passed in 1856 permitting widow remarriage. Those who were against the remarriage of widows opposed Vidyasagar, and even boycotted him.
What were the different reasons people had for not sending girls to schools?
In fact people were afraid of the schools that were opened in the mid 19th century. They had their own reasons :
- They feared that schools would take girls away from home and prevent them from doing their domestic works.
- As girls had to travel through public places in order to reach school many people began to feel that this would have a corrupting influence on them.
- Several people were of the opinion that girls should be stay away from public spaces.
Why were Christian missionaries attacked by many people in the country? Would some people have supported them too? If so, for what reasons?
Christian Missionaries were attacked because many orthodox Hindu believed that they were trying to convert people of the country specially tribals, from Hindu to Christian. Opening up of schools by missionaries also consolidated their feelings. However, there were some people too, who supported them. Raja Rammohan Roy supported western education.
In the British period, what new opportunities opened up for people who came from castes that were regarded as ‘low’.
The poor began leaving their villages to look for jobs that were opening up in the cities. There was work in the factories that were coming up and jobs in municipalities. The poor from the villages and small towns, many of them from low castes began moving to the cities where there was a new demand for labour some also went to work in plantations in Assam, Mauritrus Trinidad and Indonesia. Work in the new locations was often very hard. But the poor, the people from low castes, saw this as an opportunity to get away from the oppressive hold that upper—caste landowners exercised over their lives and the daily humiliation they suffered.
How did Jyotirao and other reformers justify their criticism of caste inequality in society?
Jyotirao attacked the Brahmans, claim that they were superior to others because they were from outside the sub-continent, and defeated and subjugated the true children of the country—those who had lived here free before the coming of the Aryans. These Aryans established their dominance and began looking at the defeated population as low caste people. Phule opined that the ‘upper’ castes had no right to their land and power. The land in fact, belonged to the natives, who were considered as low-caste people.
Why did Phule dedicate his book Gulamgiri to the American movement to free slaves?
In 1873, Phule wrote a book named Gulamgiri, meaning slavery. Some ten years before this, the American civil war had been fought leading to the end of slavery in America. Phule dedicated his book to all these Americans who had fought to free slaves thus establishing link between the conditions of the ‘lower’ castes in India and the black slaves in America.
What did Ambedkar want to achieve through the temple entry movement?
Ambedkar led three temple entry movements between 1927 and 1935. His sole purpose behind these movements was to make people see the power of caste prejudices within society.
Why were Jyotirao Phule and Ramaswamy Naicker critical of the national movement? Did their criticism help the national struggle in any way?
They were critical of the national movement because the nationalists often made seating arrangements following caste destinations at feasts. The lower castes were made to sit at a distance from the upper castes.
Their criticism helped the national struggle to a great extent. Ramaswamy Naicker inspired the untouchables to fight for their diginity by initiating the self respect movement.
Can you think of the ways in which social customs and practices were discussed in the pre-priniting age when books, newspapers, and pamphlets were not readly available.
In those days social costoms and practices were verbally done in temples for passing important messages, drums were beaten and announcements made to the people.
This argument was taking place more than 175 years ago. Write down the arguments you may have heard around you on the work of women. In what ways have the views changed?
Now-a-days women are similar to men in all respects, be it office, post administration, etc. Even our president is a women. Today’s women are educated and parents give equal opportunity to the girl child. Girls are not considered ‘inferiors’ or neglected.
“We first tie them down to the pile”
Rammohan Roy published many pamphlets to spread his ideas. Some of these were written as a dialogue between the advocate and critic of a traditional practice. Here is one such dialogue on sati:
Advocate of sati :
Women are by nature of inferior understanding without resolution, unworthy of trust ……….. Many of them, on the death of their husbands, become desirous of accompanying them; but to remove every chance of their trying to escape from the blazing fire, in burning them we first tie them to the pile.
Opponent of sati :
When did you ever afford them a fair opportunity of exhibiting their natural capacity? How then can you accuse them of want of understanding? If, after instruction in knowledge and wisdom, a person cannot comprehend or retain what has been taught him, we may consider him as deficient; but if you do not educate women how can you see them as inferior.
No place inside the classroom :
In the Bombay Presidency, as late as 1829, untouchables were not allowed into even government school. When some of them pressed hard for that right, they were allowed to sit on the veranda outside the classroom and listen to the lessons, without ‘polluting’ the room where upper-caste boys were taught.
Imagine that you are one of the students sitting in the school veranda and listening to the lessons. What kind of questions would be rising in your mind?
Would only think that God has made us equal, then why this injustice! Who has given the right to divide people into different castes? We are equal and should get equal rights.
Some people thought this situation was better than the total lack of education for untouchable people. Would you agree with this view?
No, I would not agree with this statement. If untouchable are allowed to study, then give them equal opportunities.
“Me here and you over there”
Phule was also critical of the anti-colonial nationalism that was preached by upper-caste leaders. He wrote :
The Brahmans have hidden away the sword of their religion which has cut the throat of the people’ prosperity and now go about posing as great patriots of their country. They ……….. give this advice to ……….. our Shudra, Muslim and Parsi youth that unless we put away all quarrelling amongst ourselves about the divisions between high and low in our country and come together, our country will never make any progress …. It will be unity to serve their purposes, and then it will be me here and you over there again.
Jyotiba Phule, The cultivator’s Whipcord
Carefully read Source 3. What do you think Jyotirao Phule meant by “me here and you over there again”?
‘Me’ refer to the lower castes and ‘there’ refer to the Brahmins. Phule uttered that as long as the different between the high and low castes remains, are country cannot progress.
Why does caste remain such a controversial issue today? What do you think was the most important movement against castes in colonial times?
Even today caste system remains a controversial issue today. Many people are killed because of caste differences. For example a young couple was killed in the very heart of an capital (New Delhi) because of caste difference. It was an honour killing done by the girl’s family. Such evil practices should be stopped.
According to me the most important movement against castes in colonial time was the Non-Brahmin movement. The Brahmins were more cruel to the lower castes. They were the one who forbid the lower-caste from entering temples and fetching water from the wells.