30. Reading Skills Comprehension: EMANCIPATION OF WOMEN

By | May 28, 2020

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Read the given passage carefully and answer e questions on the given answer sheet :

1. Undoubtedly women in ancient India enjoyed a much higher status than their descendants in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. From the earliest days, there had been many notable women in India – poets, scholars. capable administrators and leaders of religious movements. Even the eighteenth century produced women of the type of Ahilyabai Holkar whose administration of Indore State was considered a model for all India. But there is no doubt that, speaking generally, the condition of Indian womanhood had sunk low. Kept vigorously secluded behind the purdah in many parts of India, denied facilities of education and compelled under s system of child marriage, at least among some of the higher classes, to maternity when their sisters in other countries were in school, and kept under subjection during marriage and forced to live a life of misery during widowhood. Indian women at the beginning of the nineteenth century were probably among the most backward of their sex all over the world.
2. The Brahmo Samaj led the movement for emancipation. The ancient rules of purdah were broken and Brahmo women moved freely in society: but this was a false dawn as it was far in advance of popular opinion. As even the educated classes generally showed a disinclination towards the emancipation of their womenfolk, the movement for their uplift was slow in taking shape. By the beginning of the twentieth century, the position had begun to show some change. The education of women had gradually become popular, and some of those who had tasted the fruits of modern education had taken seriously to the work of women’s uplift. It was however only with Gandhiji’s non-cooperation movement that women were encouraged to come forward and participate in the life of the nation.
3. From the first days of his movement, Gandhiji realised that there was a source of immense untapped power in the womanhood of India which could most advantageously be turned to the work he had nearest to his heart – rehabilitation of the villages. His appeal was addressed directly to women. Originally he seems to have been uncertain of the response, or at least of the kind of work that women could do in the national movement, for though he was a passionate believer in the equality of women, lie seems to have been doubtful whether the women of India who had for so long a time been shut up in seclusion could shoulder the active leadership of a movement which called for so much physical suffering.
4. But when the movement was actually started, women, were everywhere at the forefront. In picketing liquor shops, in enforcing the boycott of foreign cloths, and in undertaking civil disobedience they shamed men in such a way that Gandhiji continually spoke of them as the main support of his movement. There were many prominent women associated with the movement everywhere, in villages and in towns. Women all over India came forward, defying all social taboos, sacrificing physical comforts, and denying the validity of all restrictions which had been enforced against them, to take up every kind of work connected with the national movement.

5. Equal participation of women in the struggle thus became the motto of satyagraha and this spirit of active interest in public life grew with the prolongation of the movement for over twenty-five years. It is the hardening effect of the continuing revolution and generation after generation of women growing up in an atmosphere not only of tension but calling for every sacrifice that gave women their present place in Indian life. There was no suffragette movement in India, no feminism, for the share of women in the battle of freedom gave them their position of equality without their having to fight for it separately. It was a matter of surprise to the outside world that independent India should have appointed women to the highest posts so freely, as members to the Cabinet, as Governors of Provinces, as Ambassadors and as leaders of delegations of international conferences, for in an oriental country such as India. Women are presumed to be held in subjection and therefore all this seemed to be unnatural.

 On the basis of your reading of the following passage, answer the questions in the given answer sheet.
(i) Why was Ahilyabai Holkar famous for?
(ii) Write two drawbacks that resulted in the position of women low of the eighteenth century.
(iii) How did the women come in the front of the life of the nation?
(iv) What did Gandhiji believe?
(v) Women in the movement participated in ___________________and __________________________
(vi) The outside world was surprised when ___________________________________________
Answers :

(i) Ahilyabai Holkar was famous for her adminisration of Indore State.

(ii) (a)Purdah System, (b) Facilities of education were denied to them.

(iii) The women came in the front of life of the nation due to non-cooperation movement started by Gandhiji when the women were encouraged to come forward to participate.

(iv) Gandhiji believed in the immense power of women and their equality.

(v) Women in the movement participated in picketing liquor shops and in enforcing the boycott of foreign cloth.

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