CBSE Class 8 Social Science History Revision Notes Chapter 8

Class 8 Social Science History Revision Notes Chapter 8

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

In today’s society, women are respected and can work, study, and marry according to their own wishes. However, this was not the case around 200 years ago. The life of a woman was relatively difficult back then in comparison to the present times. Numerous limitations or constraints were placed upon women. Girls were frequently married off at an early age and did not have access to education. Over the majority of the country, women were also made to practice “sati”.

The caste system was also one of the biggest issues during those times. The Brahmins and the Kshatriyas were considered to be of the upper caste while artisans, peasants, weavers, and potters were categorised as Shudras or of the lower caste. The moneylenders and traders, followed by the Brahmins and Kshatriyas, were known as Vaishyas.

Class 8 History Chapter 8 Notes provided by Extramarks cover such social ills in-depth and explain how Indian society was freed from them. Prepared by subject-matter experts as per the latest CBSE syllabus, Class 8 History Chapter 8 Notes will help students get conceptual clarity of the chapter.

The chapter discusses the following topics.

Areas of Concern

The primary problem at the time was the gender discrimination that persisted in India. Before they turned 10, young girls were being married off to elderly men, and widowed women were being made to sit and die on the same pyre as the men. The dreadful practice of burning innocent women alive was known as “Sati Daha Pratha.”

The population was likewise divided into castes. Lower castes were considered “untouchables” by the higher classes, a practice that was extremely discriminatory.

The situation had already begun to shift when reforms were put into place in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Reformation, however, was not that easy. It was accomplished by movements and campaigns against the section of society that supported such evil and discriminatory practices.

Beginning of the Era of Change 

Numerous discussions and conflicts about social traditions and practices took place around the beginning of the nineteenth century. Books, newspapers, magazines, pamphlets, and other new forms of communication were published. The new communication methods were quite easy to utilise. Now, commoners could express their ideas.

Some individuals, including Raja Ram Mohan Roy, took the initiative and sparked a wave of change. He was the one who started promoting women’s education in India and expanding access to western education. He began a campaign against the “Sati” system, which was later also prohibited as a practice by William Lord Bentinck. Another eminent reformer of the period was Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, the main architect of the Widow Remarriage Act. He expressed his views through several anti-widow remarriage essays in ancient Sanskrit. In the southern part of India, Veersalingam Pantulu led the campaign for widow remarriage. The founder of the Arya Samaj and well-known social reformer Swami Dayanand Saraswati also advocated widow remarriage.

Women’s Education in India

Reformers had by this point realised how crucial women’s education was.

In Calcutta, Vidyasagar established several schools for girls, and other reformers followed suit in Bombay. The key obstacle to girls attending school was reforming the way their family members thought. Most of the families were afraid that the schools would take their daughters away. Girls were therefore educated by their fathers or spouse till the middle of the nineteenth century. By this time, Arya Samaj in Punjab and Jyotirao Phule in Maharashtra had each founded a number of schools for girls.

Then, women started teaching other women. The Begums of Bhopal worked with the Muslim community to advance girl education in India. Women’s educational opportunities increased after 1880. They began enrolling in colleges, and some of them even pursued careers in medicine. Starting around 1900, women were given access to educational opportunities and allowed to continue their studies. Begum Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain founded numerous girls’ schools in Patna and Calcutta.

Additionally, around the beginning of the 20th century, women formed political pressure groups to push for the passage of laws granting them the right to vote and to better the educational opportunities available to them in India.

Women, Caste and Reform – CBSE Class 8 History Chapter 8 Note

Access NCERT Social Science Class 8 History Chapter 8 – Women, Caste And Reform Notes

Working Towards Change 

Early in the 19th century, changes were observed as a result of the development of new communication methods. People studied the books, newspapers, magazines, flyers, and pamphlets that were accessible, and which discussed and argued the social traditions and practices, and promoted ideas to alter them.

Raja Ram Mohan Roy was one such person who was moved by the problems of the widows. In Calcutta, he started the Brahmo Samaj. He was outspoken in his opposition to taboo social customs including sati and caste-based discrimination. Additionally, he wanted to liberate and equalise women while promoting western education.

For thorough knowledge, students can refer to Chapter 8 History Class 8 Notes from Extramarks and cover all of this in great detail.

Changing the Lives of Widows

To counteract social vices, Raja Ram Mohan Roy founded the Brahmo Samaj. He launched a campaign against sati. The British condemned the customs and rituals of India. They supported Raja Ram Mohan, and as a result, sati was abolished in 1829. He was also an advocate for women’s education.

Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, one of the most well-known reformers, advocated widow remarriage using historical texts. The British officials approved a law enabling widow remarriage in 1856.

Girls Started Going to School

People began to realise that education was the only way for girls to have a brighter future. In the middle of the 19th century, schools were first opened. Many people believed that sending girls to school would prevent them from taking care of household chores. Most women were educated at home by their similarly liberal fathers or husbands because most people disliked that ladies would have to travel to reach schools.

Later, Jyotirao Phule launched schools in Maharashtra, and Arya Samaj opened schools for girls in Punjab. Women were trained at home to read the Koran in Arabic in well-educated Muslim houses. Urdu novels were initially created in the latter part of the 19th Century. All this was done to support women so that they could learn about household management and religion in a language they could understand.

Women Write About Women

Early in the 20th century, the Begums of Bhopal played a crucial role in supporting women’s education. In Aligarh, they constructed a primary school for girls. In Calcutta and Patna, Begum Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain established schools for Muslim female students. Indian women started attending universities by the 1880s, where many went on to become teachers and doctors.

A book about the suffering of Hindu women from upper castes was written by Pandita Ramabai. Subhas Chandra Bose and Jawaharlal Nehru expanded their advocacy for more equality and freedom for women in the 20th Century.

Caste and Social Reform 

The Paramhans Mandali was established in Bombay in 1840 to work on caste abolition. The Prarthana Samaj upheld the Bhakti principle that all castes should have equal access to religion. During the 19th century, Christian missionaries started establishing educational institutions for children from “lower” castes and tribal tribes.

Demands for Equality and Justice

Over the second half of the 19th Century, people of lower castes started organising movements against caste discrimination and demanded social justice and equality. Ghasidas founded the Satnami Campaign, and organised a movement to enhance the social status of leather workers. Shri Narayana Guru said that his people were the model of community. He spoke against treating individuals unfairly due to caste-based prejudice.

Caste and Social Reform 

The phrase “women’s empowerment” is one of the most used phrases today. Whether it is the military, the medical industry, or the field of scientific study, women are now in charge of all these fields.

But 200 years ago, things were different. In the past, women were subjected to a lot of humiliation. Women had to overcome several obstacles. Polygamy, child marriage, and widow humiliation were all quite typical practices of the period. One of the customs at the time was the “Sati Daha Pratha,” or simply “sati,” which required a woman to burn to death in the same pyre as her husband. Things have significantly improved because of the caste and social reforms that came in India.

Initially, the caste system was reformed by Prarthana Samaj and Raja Ram Mohan Roy.

Christian missionaries established schools for children from lower castes and indigenous communities.

The need for workers grew as the cities expanded. The majority of the workers came from lower castes. A few of these people emigrated to other countries to escape upper caste oppression.

There have been movements to combat caste-based society and inequality in India. Ghasidas’s Satnami movement was one of these movements.

The Matua Movement of Haridas Thakur was another effort to raise the social standing of Chandala cultivators. Every single movement was headed by non-Brahmin individuals. Their primary goal was to help those from lower castes develop a sense of self-worth.

Jyotirao Phule was the driving force behind one of the most well-known movements for lower castes. His book “Gulamgiri,” which was based on slavery, made him famous during the movement. His moral philosophy sought to establish a connection with the black slaves in America and the members of lower castes in India.

B.R. Ambedkar was a well-known anti-caste activist as well. He participated in a number of campaigns from 1927 to 1935 to allow lower-caste people to enter temples.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is NCERT History Chapter 8 - Women, Caste and Reform of Class 8 about?

This chapter discusses the status of women, how people were discriminated against on the basis of their gender, caste, girls’ education, and the Non-Brahman movements. The Class 8 History Chapter 8 Notes will make students realise how the situation was different in India two hundred years ago and how the attitude of society towards social customs and women changed from the early 19th century.

2. Highlight Jyoti Rao’s justification for criticising caste inequality.

Born in the year 1827, Jyotirao Phule was famously known as the low-caste leader. He was quite critical of the Brahmans’ assertions of others’ inferiority. Phule believed that the “upper” classes had no claim to their wealth and influence. He claimed that the indigenous people, referred to as the low castes, were the rightful owners of these lands. According to Phule, the Maratha countryside prospered before Aryan supremacy during a golden age when warrior-peasants farmed and dominated the land. He recommended that the Shudras and Ati Shudras should collectively fight against caste prejudice. Phule formed the Satyashodhak Samaj, which advocated against caste inequality.

3. Discuss the opportunities available for people belonging to the lower caste.

There were new requirements for labour with the development of cities. Haulers, diggers, bricklayers, and sweepers were needed as drains had to be cleaned and buildings needed to be built. People from the lowest caste were assigned to this kind of labour. To find work, many left their small towns and villages and moved to the cities. Some of them travelled to work on plantations in Assam and also in Indonesia, Trinidad, and Mauritius. The lower castes saw this as a chance to escape upper-caste exploitation, although working in these new locations was challenging for them.