Position of women in India, past and present!

Position of Indian women during the Bhakti and Sufi period!
However, during the fifteenth century The Bhakti and sufi movement organised by Ramanujacharya and Sant Kabir. During this period new trends came in to vogue in the social and religious life of Indian women. The saints like Chaitanya, Nanak, Kabir, Meera, Ramdas and Tulsi stood for the right and welfare of women to social, religious and cultural worship.

As a result, the women started securing certain social and cultural freedom. The saints encouraged women to read religious books and to educate themselves. Although the Bhakti and sufi movement gave a new life and rays of hope to women. However, this movement did not bring any substantial change in economic status of women and the women in India continued to struggle in the hardships punctured with religious, cultural and social restrictions and lost a dignified status in the society

Along-with the invasion of the country by the Muslims, the position of women declined further. The Muslim period witnessed several indicators of low status of women, particularly the Hindu women. The child marriage became a rule to safeguard the chastity and honour of the girls. In many cases the Hindu girls were given in marriage before the age of nine or ten. This clearly indicated that the Hindu girls were denied education.

Polygamy and ‘purdah’ system were ‘practiced during the Muslim period. Women were restrained through the ‘purdah’ system and the movement outside the home was checked. Thus the purdah system affected their education. It also made women dependent on men for external work.

Polygamy was very commonly practiced among the higher class Hindus. The Hindu widow spent her days in the most pathetic condition. The practice of child marriage resulted in rapid increase in the number of child widows. The death of a woman was preferred to her falling into evil hands. The practice of ‘Sati’ was encouraged and the widows who did not perform ‘Sati’ were looked down upon by the society.

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