Social and Religious Reform in British India
By Globus Press
Britain actually brought a multitude of positive things to India when it imposed its rule upon the native Indians. The best things that the British accomplished in India were social reforms, including a better environment for women. Women were treated quite poorly in native India before the British. The custom of âsutteeâ was prohibited, thankfully, with the invasion of the British. Also, the killing of female infants was monitored and measures were taken to stop it. The British introduced a multilevel educational system to India, including basic schooling for females in the lower grades. Higher health standards and better water systems were also results of Britainâs reign. They were, in terms of general physical health, the most positive things that the British brought. In general, India became more âcivilizedâ, butÂ socially, India lost itâs identity by being conquered, as did any nation that became a European colony. When Britain originally assumed control of India, some Britons assimilated into the Asiatic culture, or even intermarried. The 19th Century India witnessed a strong wave of reformation activities in religion and society. There were attempts made by the educated young Indians to end the evils and abuses in religion and society. Western ideas of reason, equality, liberty and humanity inspired them. They tried to remove the defects in their culture. They wanted to revive the glory of Indian culture. Hence we call the socio-religious reform movement of the 19th century India as the Indian Renaissance movement. Raja Rammohan Roy was the pioneer of this movement. However there was opposition from both Muslim and Hindu elements who complained that the new procedures for census-taking and registration threatened to uncover female privacy. Purdah rules prohibited women from saying their husbandâs name or having their photograph taken. An all-India census was conducted between 1868 and 1871, often using total numbers of females in a household rather than individual names. Select groups which the Raj reformers wanted to monitor statistically included those reputed to practice female infanticide, prostitutes, lepers, and eunuchs. Increasingly officials discovered that traditions and customs in India were too strong and too rigid to be changed easily. There were few new social interventions, especially not in matters dealing with religion, even when the British felt very strongly about the issue (as in the instance of the remarriage of Hindu child widows). Indeed, Murshid argues that women were in some ways more restricted by the modernisation of the laws. They remained tied to the strictures of their religion, caste, and customs, but now with an overlay of British Victorian. The book discusses all basic concepts in a simple way through extensive examples. The presentation of subject and its complex concepts are analysed from all practical point of view. This book is extremely beneficial for the students and research scholars working in this field.