CBSE Class 8 History Chapter 8 Notes - Women, Caste and Reform

Women, Caste and Reform Class 8 Notes History Chapter 8 - PDF Download

In today’s world women are respected; they can work, study and even get married when they are mature enough to understand. But this was starkly different 200 years ago. The lives of women were comparatively difficult from what it is now. There were various limitations or restrictions imposed on women. Girl children had no access to education; they were married at an early age. In most parts of the country, women were forced to practice ‘sati’.


The caste system was also one of the biggest issues during those times. The Kshatriyas and Brahmins considered themselves of upper caste, the moneylenders and traders followed them and were referred to as Vaishyas and the artisans, peasants, weavers, and potters were considered as Shudras, the lower caste.


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CBSE Class 8 History Chapter 8 Notes - Women, Caste and Reform part-1

Working Towards Change

During the early nineteenth century, changes were observed because new forms of communication were developed. Books, newspapers, magazines, leaflets and pamphlets were available, and people read them and discussed and debated about the social customs and practices and came up with ideas to change them.


One such person was Raja Ram Mohan Roy who was moved by the problems faced by widows. He founded the Brahmo Samaj in Calcutta. He was vocal against social practices such as discrimination based on caste, superstitions and the practice of ‘sati’. He also wanted to spread the knowledge of western education and bring freedom and equality for women.


Changing the Lives of Widows

Raja Rammohan Roy founded the Brahmo Samaj to fight against social vices. He started a campaign against sati. The Britishers censured Indian customs and traditions. They supported Raja Rammohan, and in 1829, sati was outlawed. He also encouraged women’s education.


Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was also one of the most prominent reformers, and through ancient texts, he proposed widow remarriage. In 1856, British officials passed the bill allowing widow remarriage.


Girls Started Going to School

Education was the only way through which the girls could have a better future. In the mid-nineteenth century, schools were opened. Many fretted that schools would take girls away from home and stop them from doing their household chores. Girls had to travel through public places to reach schools which were not liked by most people, So most women were taught at home by their comparatively liberal fathers or husbands.


Later the Arya Samaj established schools for girls in Punjab, and Jyotirao Phule founded schools in Maharashtra. In well-bred Muslim homes, women were taught at home to read Koran in Arabic. During the late nineteenth century, Urdu novels were first written. These were intended to support women to understand about religion and household management in a language they could understand.


Women Write About Women

During the early twentieth century, the Begums of Bhopal played an essential role in supporting education amongst women. They built a primary school for girls at Aligarh. Begum Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain started schools for Muslim girls in Calcutta and Patna. By the 1880s, Indian women began going to universities, where they became doctors, and teachers.


Pandita Ramabai penned a book about the suffering of upper-caste Hindu women. In the twentieth century, Subhas Chandra Bose and Jawaharlal Nehru extended their support for greater equity and freedom for women.


Caste and Social Reform

In 1840 Paramhans Mandali was founded in Bombay to toil for the abolition of caste.  The Prarthana Samaj adhered to the idea of Bhakti that considered religious equality of all castes. Christian missionaries began to set up educational institutes for tribal groups and “lower”-caste children, during the nineteenth century.


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Demands for Equality and Justice

Over the second half of the nineteenth century, people of lower castes started organising movements against caste discrimination and demanded social justice and equality. Ghasidas founded the Satnami Campaign, and served as the leather workers and organised a movement to enhance their social status. Shri Narayana Guru declared the paragons of unity for his people. He contended against mistreating people based on caste differences.


Class 8 History Chapter 8 Notes

The notes of History for Class 8 CBSE deals with the theories related to Caste, Women, and Reforms. It describes elaborately about the status of women, how people were discriminated against based on their gender, their caste, girls getting educated and the Non-Brahman movements. The Class 8 History Notes by Vedantu will make students realise how things were different two hundred years ago and how the attitude towards social customs and women began to change from the early 19th century. To get good grades in the exam students can download the Class 8 History Notes PDF available free of cost.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. Illustrate Jyoti Rao’s Justification for Criticising Caste Inequality.

Ans: Jyotirao Phule was born in 1827. He was known as the leader of the Low-caste. He was highly critical of the Brahmans’ claim of their supremacy to others. According to Phule, the “upper” classes had no right to their power and land. He believed that the land belonged to the indigenous people who were referred to as the low castes.  Phule claimed that before Aryan rule, there thrived a golden age when warrior-peasants cultivated the land and ruled the Maratha countryside. He suggested that the Shudras and Ati Shudras should join and unite against caste discrimination. The Satyashodhak Samaj association founded by Phule worked towards bringing down caste inequality.

Q2. What were the Opportunities Available for People Who came from the Lower Caste?

Ans: With the development of cities, new requirements for labour were required. Drains had to be cleaned, buildings were constructed, and for this work carriers, diggers, bricklayers and sweepers, where needed. This labour came from people who were from the low caste. They moved out of their villages and small towns and shifted to the cities to get work. Some went to work in the plantations in Mauritius, Assam, Trinidad, and Indonesia. Although it was not comfortable to work in the new locations, poor people saw this as an opportunity to get away from the upper-caste exploitations.

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