Women’s movement in india

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Women’s movement in india


The women’s movement in India can be seen in three “waves”. The first wave can be seen during the national movement, when there was mass mobilization of women to participate in the nationalist movement. Thereafter, for more than a decade, there was a lull in political activities by women. The late 1960s saw a resurgence in women’s political activity and can be called the second wave. In the late 1970s, a third wave of the women’s movement emerged, which focused on women’s empowerment.

Pre-independence women’s movement in India (first wave of women’s movement)

Reading of texts, religious, political, cultural, social oral stories, mythology.

Folktales, fables, songs, jokes, idioms and proverbs reveal that the subordination of women has existed in various forms since time immemorial. Of course, there have been acts of resistance at different times throughout Indian history, although these have been sporadic. There are many stories of how women questioned and went against the establishment in the works of Razia Sultana, Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi, Ahilyabai Holkar, Muktabai, etc. women across

History attempted to free them from the shackles of oppression they faced on the basis of their birth. Many women from different castes joined the Bhakti movement. The saint stood for equal rights for men and women. This resulted in some degree of social freedom for women. Women participated in Katha and Kirtan organized by various saints of the Bhakti movement. This helped to free women from the drudgery and restrictions of domestic life.

The Bhakti movement was an egalitarian movement that cut across gender and caste distinctions. Some women like Meera Bai, Akkamahadevi and Janaki became prominent poetesses. The saints of the Bhakti movement produced considerable literature in the vernacular, or language of the people. Indian culture became accessible to women as well: the sages also encouraged the worship of female counterparts of male deities (Narayana-Lakshmi, Krishna-Radha, Vishnu-Lakshmi), which indirectly helped raise the status of women .



The women’s movement in India began as a social reform movement in the nineteenth century. Western ideas of liberty, equality and fraternity were being assimilated by the educated elite through the study of English. Western liberalism was to extend to the question of women and translate into an awareness on the status of women.

India has a tradition of women’s struggles and movements against patriarchy

Institutions of gender injustice have been weak compared to women’s movements in Western and European societies. In fact, women’s fight against the oppression of patriarchy has been slow to emerge. Much of the women’s writing of the eighteenth century expressed disillusionment with the prevalence of patriarchy and gender injustice, rather than any active resistance or rebellion against them.

They are Women tried to go against the male-dominated world (for example, by joining the Bhakti movement). Women of the nineteenth century found themselves completely suppressed and subjugated by the male patriarchal ideologies and attitudes of the time, although there was a feminist identity consciousness and an awareness of their plight. However, this awareness did not turn into an open and organized struggle for self-interest and existence. Although there were feelings of deprivation and anger against the injustices meted out to women, these remained mostly unspoken and overblown. Sometimes slightly open. In today’s world, feminist movements have gained expression due to similar factors.

Social Reform Movement and Women


There are two distinct groups of progressive movements aimed at the emancipation of Indian women. Both groups recognized the restrictive and coercive nature of social customs and institutions. One group opposed these customs and institutions because they contradicted the democratic principles of freedom and liberty. This group was called the Reformers. The second group sought democratization of social relations and removal of harmful practices based on the revival of Vedic society in modern India, which according to them was democratic. This group became known as the Revivalists.

The social reformers believed in the principle of individual liberty, freedom and equality of all human beings irrespective of gender, colour, race, caste or religion. She attacked many traditional, authoritarian and hierarchical social institutions and initiated social reform movements to free Indian women from their shackles. Although many of the reformers were primarily men, the aim of the reform movement was to improve the status of Indian women.

Raja Ram Mohan Roy was one of the greatest social reformers of India.

He was concerned about the many evil customs that were planning the Indian society. These include “saha marana” or sati, female foeticide, polygamy, infant marriage, purdah, lack of education among women, and the devadasi system. Raja Ram Mohan Roy led a crusade against the practice of Sati, in which a widow was forced to immolate herself on the funeral pyre of her dead husband. Sati was practiced in many parts of India. This was accepted and waived on the grounds that it would secure “moksha” for the widows. It was also felt that if a woman survives the death of her husband she may go astray. This sentiment was contradicted by the king, who felt that a woman could be betrothed even during her husband’s lifetime. In fact, after the death of the husband, the woman is under the protection of her family, so she can be monitored more carefully. King strongly refuted the contention that sati was a free, voluntary act of the widow, and called it a monstrous lie. The king’s arguments and anti-sati activities inspired Lord William Bentinck to legislate for the prohibition of sati, resulting in the passing of the Sati Prohibition Act in 1829.

Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was another great social reformer who sought to improve the condition of widows by legalizing widow remarriage. Since he felt that his own life should set an example for others to follow, he vowed that he would allow his daughters to study, and would marry all of his daughters after the age of 16. He also vowed that if any of his daughters were widowed and wished to remarry, he would allow them to do so. He was also against the prevailing practice of polygamy.

Justice Mahadev Govind Ranade was instrumental in laying the foundation of the Indian National Social Conference—an all-India organization to fight for social reform. This organization was the first national organization to take forward the social reform movement collectively, in an organized manner and at the national level. He took up the problems of widow remarriage and was an active member of the society working for widow remarriage. In fact, Shankaracharya excommunicated him in 1869 for participating in the first widow remarriage. Ranade worked towards educating women. He and his wife started a school for girls in 1884.



Maharishi Karve expressed great concern for the plight of widows and the problem of widow remarriage. He revived the Widow Remarriage Association and started the Hindu Widows’ Home. Karve also made efforts to improve the education level of girls as well as widows. He created Kane Women’s University. Her efforts are of great importance in the Indian women’s emancipation movement, and her extensive and successful work brought about a change in people’s attitudes towards widows. To set an example for others, he married a widow after the death of his first wife.

Many institutions and organizations were established as a result of the social reform movement. The institutions started by the reformers covered the whole country with their activities. The institutions established during this period are as follows:

Gujarat Vernacular Society: This social institution was established in 1848. The purpose of this institution was to reduce the rampant illiteracy and superstitions that were a characteristic of Gujarati society. this gujarat

I was associated with all social reform activities related to women. The society worked for women through education. It started many co-educational schools. It published literature on women’s issues in the local press. It attempted to organize elocution competitions and provide a platform for women to talk about their issues and problems.

The Deccan Education Society: This society was formed in 1884. The Society started girls’ schools and encouraged women’s education in Maharashtra.

Ramakrishna Mission: The Ramakrishna Mission was established in 1897. It established homes for widows and schools for girls. It sheltered disabled and destitute women, provided prenatal and postnatal care for women, and provided training for women to become midwives.

Arya Samaj: Although started as a revivalist organization, the Arya Samaj laid emphasis on the education of women. Girls received instruction in home science and domestic affairs. Fine arts were also included in the curriculum for girls. This also




These included instruction in religion and religious ceremonies for women. It provided shelter to distressed women in times of distress.

Hingne Women’s Education Institute: This institute was started in 1896 to meet the demand of married, unmarried or widowed women. Tried to stop child marriage by giving training to unmarried girls in various fields. It attempted to provide skills and education to married women to enable them to lead a domestic life efficiently and economically. Provided training to widows

To make them financially independent.

SNDT Women’s University: This university was established to meet the higher education needs of women in a manner that caters to the needs of women. It provided education in the mother tongue. It was specially established for the education of women.

Seva Sadan: Seva Sadan was started in 1908 with the objective of bringing together enlightened women from different communities who wished to work for the upliftment of backward women. Its main activity was to provide social and medical help to poor class women and children irrespective of their caste or creed. It also established a home for destitute and distressed women and children. It also provided training to poor women in household crafts to enable them to earn a livelihood. Seva Sadan was established in Poona to educate women in religious, literary, medical and industrial subjects. It also laid emphasis on the all round development of the personality of the woman. It emphasized the economic self-reliance of women.

Indian National Social Conference: Some of the activities undertaken by this organization were to deal with the issue of child marriage, sale of young girls, practice of polygamy and widow remarriage. It also raised the problem of women’s access to education.

All India Women’s Conference: The primary focus of this organization was women’s education as well as social reform. Its objective was to actively work for the general progress and welfare of women and children. It passed various resolutions in different sessions to uplift the status of women. also dealt with




Prohibition of the evils of early marriage, polygamy and divorce. It advocated full equality for women in matters of property. It sought to improve working conditions for women. It also agitated against the immoral trade of women and children and the inhuman practice of Devdas.



Women in the Indian National Movement


One of the pioneers of India’s struggle for independence was Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi, who became a towering figure in the history of Indian nationalism. Earlier, Mahatma Gandhi became the undisputed leader of the national movement; There were two prominent women who encouraged women to participate in the movement. One of them was Annie Besant, the leader of the Theosophical Movement in India. He advocated the emancipation of Indian women. In fact, many Indian women joined her Home Rule movement. According to her, the Home Rule movement was made ten times more effective by the participation of a large number of women, who brought to it the matchless valor, endurance and self-sacrifice of the feminine nature (Neera Desai, p. 135). , She considered child marriage as a social evil and wanted to remove it from the Indian society. For this he suggested that boys should not get married at an early age. He also supported the remarriage of child and young widows. He wholeheartedly supported the campaign to educate women and believed that this would help in successfully solving important problems of national life.

Sarojini Naidu was one of the pioneers of women’s participation in the national movement. Gopal Krishna Gokhale asked him to use his poetry and his beautiful words to rekindle the spirit of freedom in the hearts of the villagers. He asked him to use his genius to free Bharat Mata. In August 1914, she met Mahatma Gandhi, and from then on devoted her energy to the independence movement, Sarojini Naidu has established herself as an active politician and freedom fighter.

Worked in In 1917, she led a delegation to meet Mr. Montagu for women’s suffrage. In 1918, she passed a resolution at the special Congress session in Bombay supporting women’s suffrage. In 1919, she went to England as a member of the Home Rule League deputation to testify before a Joint Parliamentary Committee.




There, she pioneered the case for women’s suffrage. In 1919, she became a campaigner for the Women’s Satyagraha, traveling across India to promote the cause. He especially appealed to the women to agitate against the Rowlatt Act.

In 1920, Sarojini joined the Non-Cooperation Movement. In 1921, during the riots in Bombay, following protests against the visit of the Prince of Wales to the city, Sarojini Naidu toured riot-hit areas with the aim of persuading people for Hindu-Muslim unity. Similarly, she went to Mopla during the rebellion for its handling of a volatile situation and criticized government action. During the 1920s and 1930s, he supported the Akalis and opposed the ban imposed on them. In 1924, she went to South Africa, presided over a session of the East African Congress, and criticized the historic Antisemitism Bill. She went to jail several times and worked in various committees formed for independence. In September 1931, representatives of various women’s organizations in India met in Bombay, with Sarojini Naidu as its president, and drafted

A memorandum demanding “immediate acceptance of adult suffrage without distinction of sex”: the memorandum was accepted and women were given equal rights with men. This was a time when many other western countries were still fighting for gender equality.

When Mahatma Gandhi launched the Civil Disobedience Movement in 1930, Sarojini led from the front along with several other Congress leaders. However, the British responded by arresting most of them. At this point Sarojini took charge and continued the campaign. Jawaharlal Nehru writes in his book “The Discovery of India”, “It was not only a display of courage and courage, but what was even more surprising was the organizational power they showed.”

Sarojini was a great orator. Everyone who met him was impressed by his ability to speak. She had a unified personality and could enthrall the audience with pure sincerity and patriotism. Although a Congresswoman and personally close to Mahatma Gandhi, Sarojini Naidu’s nationalist outlook was far more militant than Gandhi’s. As a feminist, Sarojini Naidu would seem to speak in two voices, one through her poetry and the other as a public figure. this is duality




The feminist consciousness that is reflected in her portrayal of the Indian woman, in which Sarojini Naidu shows the world weary sensibilities, the stagnation, the intractable suffering of Indian women who have nowhere in the world to go. As Sarojini Naidu’s political exposure increased in 1925, when she became the first Indian woman to become the President of the Indian National Congress, a new portrayal of Indian womanhood entered her poetry. He also portrayed India as a sleeping mother who must be woken up by her daughter. In 1908, she laid the foundation for her great contribution to the women’s movement at a conference on widow marriage in Madras.

After the Jallianwala Bagh incident, in which hundreds of men, women and children were mercilessly gunned down, political consciousness grew among women. As a result, more and more women joined the national movement. Many women like Pandita Ramabai, Anandi Gopal and Savitribai Phule stood up against the colonial patriarchy. Gandhiji also had an important contribution in connecting women with the national movement. Gandhi ji believed that marriage should happen only when there is a desire for children. Her strong presence in the freedom struggle and her views on women greatly influenced her position in Indian society. He believed that child marriage is a cruel social practice which has a very negative impact on the physical and mental health of the child. Forced widowhood, especially for child widows, was sinful and irrational, and the parents of a child widow should make efforts on their own to get their daughter remarried. Gandhi was appalled by the widespread social evil of devadasis (religious prostitution of women), and believed that the majority of devadasis turned to religious prostitution because they were economically poor. He also condemned the purdah system as it is harmful to the mental and physical health of a woman. Gandhiji believed that women have a right to education and this education should not be limited to the three R’s. Education should help a man or woman to perform their duties effectively.

One of Gandhi’s greatest contributions to the emancipation of women was his emphasis on their participation in politics.


  Gandhiji believed that women should have an equal share like men in achieving Swaraj for India. In fact, a large number of women participated in India’s freedom struggle. Women could participate in the movement, and were in fact encouraged to do so, because no

Gharsh’s methods were mainly non-cooperation and non-violence. They were active in the Swadeshi movement, or boycott of foreign goods, non-payment of taxes, picketing liquor shops, etc.

There was widespread participation of women in the Non-Cooperation Movement of 1921 and the Civil Disobedience Movement of 1930. As a result of being associated with and participating in the freedom struggle, Indian women realized the importance of living life as conscious human beings. Several women activists such as Kamaladevi Ghattopadhyay, Kalpana Dutt and Madam Bikaji Cama also gained prominence.


Women’s Movement in India after independence I (second wave of women’s movement)

There is a difference between pre-independence and post-independence women’s movements in India. The pre-independence movements were essentially about social reforms and were initiated by men. In comparison, the post-independence movement demanded gender equality, questioned the gender-based division of labor, and highlighted the oppressive nature of the existing patriarchal structure. In the post-independence euphoria, it was believed that the status of women would improve dramatically along with other marginalized groups as they were now prominent

However to their fate, when this was not achieved various movements emerged which raised many issues around various topics such as land rights, wages, security of employment, equality, etc. Some of the issues on which women united were work, population policies, atrocities against women including rape and alcohol.

After India gained independence from British rule in 1947, it was the Congress party that came to power and formed the government. The government made some efforts to fulfill the promises made to women before and in the early post-independence period as well. While making the constitution of India, the very important aspect of equality was included in it.




of men and women in all walks of life.


Article 14 of the Constitution of India states that “the State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India”. Article 15 states that “the State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, sex, place of birth or any of them.” any special provision for women and children”. Article 16 states that “there shall be equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State.” According to Veena Majumdar, “by inheritance The Constitution’s fundamental departure from social values represented its greatest intrinsic quality to the women of that generation.


For women with definite memories of pre-independence society and the freedom struggle, the acceptance of gender equality in the Constitution was the fulfillment of the dream of women’s entitlement to an independent identity. Creation of opportunities for women Many women were included in the government.

In the two decades that followed, in the 1950s and 1960s, there was a lull in feminist activities and women’s movements in India. However, women began to realize that the constitutional promise of equality by itself does not solve questions of equality, especially in a country as diverse as India, which includes different religions and cultures. The challenge of addressing inequality within women remains today. The women’s movement has not been able to “de-communalize” the issue. “Women’s organizations and feminists did not know how to deal with the problems of women belonging to different religious groups. When the feminist movement began in the 1970s, minority identities began to harden. This divisive environment affected Muslim women Religious fundamentalists tried to put the onus on women to maintain a religio-cultural identity.

Being a secular movement, the women’s movement found itself facing a formidable challenge that it did not know how to handle. At the conceptual level,




Indian feminists were in a dilemma: how to integrate Muslim women’s issues into wider feminist issues and at the same time protect their religious and cultural identity. This has been most evident in the case of Muslim personal law.

Placing Muslim women’s issues within the confines of religion has marginalized them, and has led to a reluctance among secular feminists to address their problems for fear of hurting religious sentiments.

The 1970s also witnessed a split in the Indian Left Front. This raised many doubts about his earlier analysis of the revolution. New leftist movements and ideas emerged. Certain streams of feminist movements also developed. Such as the Shahada movement, which was a movement of Bhil tribal landless laborers against the exploitation of tribal landless laborers by non-tribal landowners. It began as a popular protest, and became militant with the involvement of the New Left Party. It has been said that women were more active in the movement, and as their militancy grew, they sought direct action on issues specific to them as women, such as physical violence and abuse as a result of alcoholism. Groups of women went from village to village, entering wine shops

and destroyed the vessels and containers of wine. If a woman reports physical abuse by her husband, all the other women surround her, beat her up and force her to publicly apologize to his wife.

The formation of the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) was probably the first attempt to form a trade union affiliated to the Textile Workers Union in Ahmedabad. It was formed in 1972 on the initiative of Ela Bhatt, and was an organization of women who were involved in different occupations but shared many common characteristics and experienced work conditions such as low income, extremely poor working conditions (

some worked at home, and others worked on the streets as vendors or hawkers), harassment from authorities (contractors, police, and so on), and lack of recognition of their efforts as socially useful work . SEWA aims to improve women’s working conditions through training, technical assistance, legal literacy, the process of collective bargaining, and teaching the values of honesty, dignity and simplicity, Gandhian goals to which SEWA subscribes.




The anti-price rise agitations in Maharashtra were a direct result of the drought and famine conditions affecting rural Maharashtra in the early 1970s. This led to a sharp rise in prices in urban Maharashtra. In 1973, the United Women’s Anti-Prices Front was formed to mobilize women against inflation. Within no time, it “turned into a massive women’s movement for consumer protection and a demand that the government fix minimum prices and distribute essential commodities. Huge groups of women, between 10,000 and 20,000, thronged government offices.” , would demonstrate at homes. MPs and traders, and those who could not step out of their homes, would express their support by banging thalis (metal plates) with sticks or belans (rolling pins).


This movement spread to Gujarat, where it was called Nav Nirman Andolan. In Gujarat, the movement began as a student movement against rising costs, corruption and black marketing. Soon, it became a mass middle-class movement and thousands of women joined it. Rituals included mock courts where judgments were passed on corrupt state officials and politicians, mock funeral processions, and marches to greet the dawn of a new era.

Women began participating in increasing numbers in the Naxalbari movement in West Bengal and the Naxalite movement in Andhra Pradesh, the Navnirman youth movement in Gujarat, and the Chipko movement. Shramik Mahila Sangathan (Working Women’s Organization), Progressive Organization of Women, and Mahila Samata Sainik Dal (League of Women Soldiers for Equality) were some of the organizations that emerged during this period.

























Women’s movement in india


  • movement against dowry
  • movement against rape
  • anti toddy movement
  • Ecology-Feminism-Women and the Environment




  • Such movements which work towards the liberation of women in one way or the other are called women’s movements. These are conscious and collective movements that seek to address the specific needs of women, and aim to improve their public life, educational sphere, workplace and home.
  • The women’s movement in India can be divided into three phases or waves – the first wave can be seen in the pre-independence reform movements, the second wave in the post-independence women’s movements and the third wave in the contemporary feminist movement. Is.
  • The women’s movement in India has its roots in the social reform movement of the late 18th and early 19th centuries in the pre-independence era, the period saw the efforts of reformers and revivalists to improve the lives of Indian women and It has been improved. their position. Reformers such as Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Mahadev Govind Ranade and Maharishi Ranade and revivalists such as Swami Vivekananda, Swami Dayanand Saraswati and others made efforts to improve the status of women in India.
  • Women were active participants in the national movement mainly due to the efforts of Mahatma Gandhi and Sarojini Naidu.


  • The Shagun Movement during the 1950s and 1960s. This can be called a period of latency or stagnation in the history of the women’s movement in India.
  • In the mid-1970s, there was a renewed interest in the status of women. In December 1974, the Committee on the Status of Women in India submitted its report to the Government of India ahead of the International Women’s Year in 1975. The Status Report brings to the fore almost the full range of issues and contexts affecting women and reveals that the status of women in India has not changed much since independence.
  • The post-independence women’s movement has been most visible and heard in the public sphere. Dowry, domestic violence, alcoholism, rape and custodial violence became the basis of various women’s movements.
  • Women’s rights as human rights were emphasized in the 1990s. The focus of women’s movements shifted from dealing with purely “gender” issues to national integration, environmental issues, natural disaster issues, and peace issues. Various issues are being tackled by women, and they are responsible for sustainable development, regional peace and human rights on earth.

New methods of mobilization for resistance and change are being adopted with an emphasis on improving lives.

  • Despite the fact that women’s participation in many social movements is not being given due recognition, women continue to be active participants in these movements.


  • The women’s movement in India has an important legacy in the social reform movements of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. With the emphasis on education for women, many evil practices were banned and women became self-reliant and empowered. Women made significant contributions to the nationalist movement, particularly the Swadeshi and Satyagraha movements (Forbes 1996). Women participating in the nationalist struggles formed women’s organizations at the national level. For example Indian Women’s Association in 1917, All India Women’s Conference (AIWC) in 1924. Women participated in leftist groups, activist movements, Ambedkarite and self-respect movements. However, women’s participation in the freedom movement along with men was emphasized, while at the same time they lived within the family and limited social circle. Thus without fundamentally challenging the patriarchal social order, women could access the public world.
  • In the post-independence era, the optimism that independence would mean the end of gender inequalities inspired women’s groups to take up more welfare work. Welfare-oriented and reformist programs were also encouraged by the state.
  • One of the most important achievements for women’s rights was the guarantee provided by the constitution in the form of universal adult suffrage along with equal rights with men and in doing so raised the standards with which we can see the all-round development of Indian women. Let’s assess the situation. , However, it must be said that these changes did not lead to any substantial change in their social and material life. While the constitution assured rights, women who began to explore economic and political mobility in the post-independence period faced obstacles. The new rights clashed with the patriarchal mindset that had pervaded social life in India for generations. With the end of the national movement in the 50s and 60s, the most important reasons for involving and organizing women disappeared. The government itself supported the development of ‘mahila mandals’ and reformist programs to address women’s issues. AIWC, for example, transformed itself from a


  • Mahila Sangathan is primarily a social organization running schools and hostels rather than organizing women’s struggle. The 1950s was marked by a lull in the women’s movement. The main focus at this time was on nation-building and the accompanying social inefficiencies it faced resulted in the movement becoming fragmented. Women’s issues no longer held much importance in the public sphere.
  • The module follows a timeline format to chart the progress of the women’s movement.
  • This period of peace did not last long. 15 years later, beset by myriad problems the new democratic government refused to deal with, people began to organize politically with women playing a central role in these struggles. The 60s and early 70s also saw radical social movements – student revolts, worker and peasant protests, and tribal and anti-caste movements.


  • These movements covered a vast range – from Gandhian-Socialist non-violent protest to extreme leftist Maoist insurgency. Many of the first women’s movements in post-independence India were started by Gandhian-socialists – the anti-liquor movement in North India and the anti-corruption movement among others. The new women’s groups clearly understood and analyzed women’s issues. Different from those before them. Their emphasis was no longer on charity and social work – a common feature among women’s groups in the post-independence era.
  • Indu Agnihotri and Veena Majumdar in their article titled ‘Changing Terms of Political Discourse – Women’s Movement in India, 1970 – 1990’, write that the resurgence of the women’s movement in contemporary India “(1) has been affected by the crisis of the state. and the government in the Emergency in the 70s; (2) the post-Emergency upsurge in favor of civil rights; (3) the rapid emergence of women’s organizations in the early 1980s and women’s issues coming on the agenda; (4) the mid-1980s, marked by a radical progress; and the 1990s, when the crisis in relation to the state, government and society deepened. (Agnihotri and Majumdar, (1995), p. 1869)


  • The women’s movement in India gained any real traction only after the 1970s. Price hikes and anti-liquor activities, along with protests in Maharashtra at this time, contributed to its growth. Two women’s groups that emerged at this time undertook to study the causes of women’s oppression. Both come from the far left Maoist – The Progress
  • Women’s Organization and League of Women Soldiers for Equality. The women’s movement began questioning the state on legal issues ranging from land rights to rape, dowry and personal law.


  • The movement is also raising questions on the path of development of the government.

were accusing him of being gender-blind. Even though these protests and movements could not claim women leaders as they were mainly organized by men and political parties, women became aware of their collective power. Radha Kumar (1990) argues that the most important movements at this time were Shahda1 and the anti-price-rise movement in Maharashtra and SEWA2 and Nav Nirman in Gujarat. The anti-price hike movement was started in 1973 by two socialist and one communist party together to mobilize the women of the city. In 1974, a large number of middle-class women also joined the Nav Nirman movement launched by students to protest against the rapidly rising prices in Gujarat. The movement was not particularly anti-patriarchal, in contrast to domestic spending and by extension the family and home as a woman’s sphere. Women students in Hyderabad, who were part of an organization called Progressive Women’s Organization (POW), started a campaign against dowry and sexual harassment. However, the fact that women joined the public protest in large numbers was in itself a threat to patriarchy, and Radha Kumar believes that this laid the foundation for the anti-patriarchal sentiments that would permeate the feminist movements of the late 70s. will follow.

  • In the mid-70s, the United Nations declared 1975 as the International Women’s Year and 1975–1985 as the International Decade for Women. It gave a mandate to the governments of the member countries that they need to conduct research into the condition of women so that they can critically evaluate it. A special committee called the Committee on the Status of Women in India (CSWI) was appointed for the purpose and consisted of activists, academics and members of parliament.
  • 1 The Shahada movement was a rebellion of tribal landless laborers in Maharashtra against landlords who were extorting money from them and treating them inhumanely. Women played a major role in this movement and once they
  • Developed a ‘women’s consciousness’, he was also ready to raise issues like wife beating which he himself was facing. The anti-alcohol protests stemming from the Shahada movement also expressed patriarchal sentiments.


  • 2SEWA or Self-Employed Women’s Association, formerly a wing of the Textile Labor Association, was an organization made up of women working in various occupations in the informal sector, but all facing low wages, miserable working conditions, etc. Had a similar experience.


  • ‘Towards Equality’, the report of the Committee on the Status of Women in India which was completed just before the National Emergency in 1974, and is considered to be the foundation of the women’s movement in India as it opened up discussion about the ‘women’s question’ Started again. And what it means for policy makers and the state as well as for activists and researchers. Issues like gender inequality were brought to the fore through imbalance in sex ratio, mortality and trials faced by women at the social and cultural level like dowry, child marriage etc. It marked legal practices that were discriminatory, economic practices that failed to disadvantage girls and women, as well as women’s contributions to the education system and political system. The report served as an eye-opener and inspired many groups to take action. It effectively explored and showcased the devastating ground realities for women in India. The reality was, in fact, far from the constitutional mandate.


  • The report gave rise to parliamentary debates which recognized that women were not only beneficiaries of policy but could also make significant contributions to the policy making process as policy makers. The press, through its coverage of dowry deaths and rapes such as the Mathura rape case, created awareness among civil society about these issues. In fact, the women’s movement and the media, working together, played an important role as far as the generation and dissemination of information is concerned.
  • As far as the state is concerned, the decade of 70s was a time of ‘profound crisis’ within the society and the state, more so when the Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi declared Emergency in 1975. government that led civil movements across the country to restore democracy. The women’s movement was one of the many movements that allowed citizens to play a participatory role in the political and development processes in the country. So when the emergency forcefully quelled the protest and agitation, the ideological discussions continued and by the time the emergency was lifted in 1977 many women’s organizations had already started talkies.
  • ng size. Most of these groups were located in the big cities of Bombay, Delhi, Aurangabad and Madras.
  • After 1975, the women’s movement felt the need to organize itself effectively and also started taking cues from public interest and popular politics. In the mid-70s, many middle-class educated women attempted to analyze the oppression of women as well as resort to radical politics. Many political parties started women’s wing – Congress had Mahila Congress


  • And the Janata Party started the Women’s Efficiency Committee which led protests on various issues related to women. Gail Omvedt calls these ‘pre-movements’ because

They are important because while they show the power of women in society and ultimately lead to the development of women’s movements, they raise the issues of the entire class and society rather than just women’s issues. Acting as a starting point i.e. bringing a large number of women into mass movements, the 70s was a milestone in the history of the Indian women’s movement.



  • 80s


  • Careful analysis of women’s issues and oppression and the steps taken to improve their condition took the form of ‘Autonomous Women’s Movement’. By the 1980s, women’s organizations were not only evolving but forming alliances and defining their identity, purpose, and strategies. However, to emphasize that all women faced a common oppression was not sufficient as in reality intersecting systems of class, ethnicity, caste and power relations created differences. This is the reason why the women’s movement came to be seen as a middle class phenomenon. To compound these issues, by the mid-1980s women’s rights were also being attacked by using tradition and culture to emphasize that women’s natural historical role lay in reproduction.
  • Autonomous women’s groups differed from older women’s organizations in that they were analyzing the root of women’s oppression and fighting for women’s rights and issues they considered important, from a new perspective and By employing militant means. ‘Autonomous’, in this context does not mean that the women’s question was depoliticised, but that the groups had no affiliation to any political parties, government or any political connections. Their members were far from apolitical and their leaders were young, dedicated to the cause, educated middle-class women who grew out of mass organisations. While mass-based movements focused on the problems of the poor and highlighted issues such as caste and communalism, they failed to recognize the oppression of women and the fact that they were perpetuating patriarchal norms in both the political and personal spheres.


  • One of the most important issues the women’s movement began to address in the late 70s and 80s and continues to address today is violence against women within the family, community, society and state. This was done through campaigns against rape, dowry and new social evils such as amniocentesis3 and sex selection, as well as more general issues such as population control and political violence. The women’s movement in general has used legislation to effect social change.


  • In the 1980s women’s organizations not only demanded legislative changes but also took action to challenge existing archaic and inequitable laws. The Mathura rape4 and its aftermath – The acquittal of the policemen of the rapists led to a nationwide movement to review the pro-rapist rape laws that existed at the time, along with the reopening of the case in the Supreme Court. The case became the spark that inspired women’s groups to organize against sexual assault in the 80s, especially of lower-class women who were particularly vulnerable to custodial rape, sexual assault and gang rape. Was An organization named Forum Against Rape was started in Mumbai. He publicly opposed it and demanded legal action. Their work paid off – rape laws were passed thanks to anti-rape campaigns in the late 70s and early 80s. The first women-specific report the government requested from the Law Commission was on rape. The commission considered the arguments and points raised by various women’s organizations and activists and finally recommended not only to change the substantive law but also to make changes in procedure and evidence a part of the law. In 1983, the Criminal Law Amendment Act was passed which made it a crime to disclose the identity of a rape victim and ‘custodial rape’ was made a new category of crime which puts the burden of proof on the rape accused . Anti-dowry campaigns run by the media in the 80s also helped in spreading awareness about this social problem. Organizations such as the ‘Dowry Anti-Dowry Chetna Manch’ in Delhi consisting of women’s rights organizations and other civil rights groups campaign to bring attention to one of the most extreme forms of domestic violence through street plays, posters and demonstrations have been
  • Violence manifested in dowry death. The violence that women experience in the private sphere of the home is often hardest


  • 3 A medical procedure in which amniotic fluid is removed from the amniotic sac that surrounds the unborn fetus. This procedure is ideally used to screen for prenatal chromosomal/genetic abnormalities or fetal infection, but is also used to determine fetal sex before birth.


  • 4 The Mathura rape took place in 1972 when a young tribal girl was allegedly raped by two policemen in the premises of a police station in Chandrapur, Maharashtra. The Supreme Court acquitted the policemen who caused the agitation and protests

Eventually the criminal law relating to rape was amended in 1983.


  • Reach and stop. A Joint Select Committee of Parliament appointed in 1981 looked into the issue. The Law Commission was also conducting an inquiry into the issue at the same time and submitted a report in 1983 with its recommendations for making changes to both the substantive law and the Evidence Act in relation to dowry deaths. Incidents of violence against women such as the rape of Mathura or Ramizabi5 as well as sati in the case of Roop Kanwar served as a rallying point for women’s groups and as a starting point for ordinary women to join the women’s movement. Worked in
  • Some women who were part of the leftist movement in the late 70s and early 80s began to feel alienated and branched out from autonomous feminist groups that at that time focused on poverty, class and caste took up the causes of other social movements regarding the issues of In Hyderabad the POWs were replaced by the Stree Shakti Sangathan, which in turn influenced the formation of the pioneer organization in Pune. Stree Sangharsh and Women’s Efficiency in Delhi and Vimochana in Bangalore are among other major organizations started at this time. Magazines and magazines were developing and spreading the message of women’s equality in English as well as regional languages. Feminist Network in English from Bombay, Ahilya and Pratiwadi Chetna in Bengali from Calcutta, Baija in Marathi from Pune are just a few. The famous feminist magazine, Manushi was started in 1977 by a group of women in Delhi. The 80s saw a rise in feminist literature as feminist literary critics realized that women needed literature to have their own say – a space in which they could do so. Fully express their experiences and consider their feminine problems. This writing expressed feelings of anger, oppression, exploitation and hatred. A feminist consciousness was emerging from the participation of women in various mass movements.
  • Attempts were also made to organize trade unions for women workers in the 80s. In Bombay he was particularly against the retrenchment of women mine workers and textile workers. At a time when work was hard to come by and unemployment was high, these efforts were not
  • 5 Ramizbi (26) was a woman brutally raped by several policemen in Hyderabad in 1978, while her husband, a rickshaw puller, was killed as he tried to protest. During the legal proceedings allegations were made concerning the validity of her marriage and that she was in fact a prostitute. Her rapists were eventually acquitted.


  • 6 Roop Kanwar (18) was a young Rajasthani bride who had barely been married for eight months when her husband of 24 years passed away. Roopkanwar immolated herself on her husband’s funeral pyre. While some reports claim that the act was voluntary, others say that she was forced to commit sati. After her Sati she was glorified for her deed and revered as ‘Sati-Mata’. 11 people were accused of ‘glorifying Sati’ and a special court in Jaipur acquitted all 11 of them in 2004.


  • Was quite successful as expected. Women stood by their men demanding at least one wage per household, even if that wage was earned by a man. Feminists who attempted to organize these workers realized that women were more likely to become extremists if the cause was one that affected their families, rather than causes that specifically affected them as women. Were. Some women’s organizations also emerged from women’s participation in the wider peasant struggles, during which they began to recognize their own oppression. However, as we have seen in the case of women workers, their development was not smooth. While women were a central part of militant struggles, they did not succeed in changing the patriarchal basis of these organizations.


  • For example, the status of women in the Mahila Mukti Morcha in Madhya Pradesh has always focused more on class than sex. The issues she focused on were mostly class and status specific, except in a few cases where discussions about the lack of women trade union leaders pushed gender discussions to the forefront. However, patriarchy was never a subject of contention in the Mahila Mukti Morcha as they believed that exposing the inequality in power relations between men and women would lead to a general weakening.
  • Instead of strengthening the movement. The Chhattisgarh Mines Workers Union is a good example of this as their women members were more likely to organize successfully when the union was conscious of issues such as housing and schooling and health services for labor families. City-based feminists doing organizing work in these cases were learning valuable lessons. They were venturing into unfamiliar territory and sometimes coordinating activities with groups that had never been exposed to feminist ideas or activities. The women’s movement in the 1980s can, therefore, count among its successes an evolved understanding of rural women’s issues, even as it faces persistent criticism that it

There was a more urban movement in scale.

  • An important question arises here. Will issue-based movements ever help create a broad-based women’s movement? Do we rely too much on legislative measures and militant activism as mere short-term solutions rather than on dismantling the larger structure of oppression? Will eventually the enthusiasm of the people in the movement decrease? In this regard, Kishwar argues that choosing only women’s issues narrows the scope of politics. Instead she suggests organizing as women, but also joining hands with other groups because women are always at least half of all oppressed groups. We should generally be present in movements when we fight for our own rights.


  • The 80s was also a time when the state began to use the language of the women’s movement – saying that women’s groups needed to organize themselves and that women needed to fight for their rights. In early 1987, the Government of India set up a commission, The National Commission on Self-Employed Women and Women in the Informal Sector, with Magsaysay Award winner Ela Bhatt, who was also a member of the Rajya Sabha at that time. , on top. The ‘Shram Shakti Report’ submitted by the five-member commission describes an in-depth study of ‘self-employed’ and unorganized women workers. It details the resilience of these women amid government insensitivity and lack of infrastructure. The report was vast in its scope and proved equally useful to both bureaucrats/planners and women activists.


  • Women working as fishermen, rag pickers, construction workers in tea gardens or selling small wares on the footpath have always been marginalized – sidelined by the development process. Women in the informal sector often perform ‘male’ activities such as planting, harvesting, threshing and stone breaking, yet the census identifies them as housewives and nothing more. According to the commission’s findings, 60% of women were the sole earners for the family, but survived on half the wages of men. Commission chairperson Ela Bhatt said in the report’s foreword, “I have learned that these women are better fighters against poverty than their men, they have more calculative, stable, far-reaching strategies for dealing with their own environment, Yet women are poor. ..” (Sharma, (n.d.), p. 7) Failure to enforce the already existing laws only worsens the situation. The Shram Shakti Report therefore includes the recommendations made by the committee to maintain and promote grassroots organizations, inter alia, to improve the conditions of women in informal employment in India.


  • A National Perspective Plan was also prepared in 1988 for the betterment of women. State support, which created plans to improve women’s lives in the areas of education, health, and participation in politics. All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA), Center for Women’s Development Studies (CWDS), National Federation for Working Women (NFWW), All India Coordination Committee for Working Women (AICCWW), United Women’s Program and YWCA of India all shared a thread Prepared a document in 1988 criticizing the NPP on the grounds that it was superficial and did not go to the root of women’s oppression.
  • Celebrations marking the end of the decade for women in 1985 included a convention in Pune and an ideologically focused convention in Trivandrum organized by the All India Democratic.









  • The question of women.


  • Another challenge faced by the movement was fragmentation within autonomous groups – urban groups with a focus on issues such as division between activists and non-activists, domestic violence and oppression among the poor in both urban and rural areas, and understanding grassroots programs Areas competing for their existence in which gender issues form a part. Landlessness, poverty, bondage etc. are not only class issues but also gender issues as women suffer twice as much oppression than men in these matters. Compounding the problem of class and culture is the problem of communication between workers and non-workers. There exists a lack of communication between English Upper and Middle C.
  • Fewer English speaking women and majority who are poor and Hindi speaking. This barrier ranges from language, dress and lifestyle to perceptions, attitudes and the kind of politics they use for their struggle and what will be its focus. This makes it difficult for a camp



  • and which are completely related to feminist politics. will it ever be possible to heal the divide


  • Benefits everyone?


  • There has been an important relationship between women’s studies and the women’s movement. Women’s studies exposed women to scholarship and widened the scope of the struggle. Its attempt to understand women’s issues using economics, politics and an understanding of knowledge and power better equips women to transform their consciousness and give them a sense of identity and purpose. Women’s studies are not ‘value neutral’ like other social sciences. It seeks to bring about social change by clarifying gender inequalities and finding the roots of oppression of women.

There is wisdom in the form of interference to not bring. The Third National Conference of Women’s Studies in 1986 addressed the burning issues of the time – religion, secularism and women’s rights. There was a need to appreciate the close relationship between religion and patriarchy


  • Was. “The two important issues raised during the discussion were at what point religious identity


  • Identity gets contained within it. (Sharma, (n.d.), pp. 18)




  • As mentioned earlier, the 80s was a time when traditional roles of women were emphasized. Resurgent forces were gaining power and secularism was under fire. When religion, which was gaining importance at such times, started taking precedence over their rights, women were the biggest losers, resulting in further inequality. Radicalism in the 80s in some ways pushed back the fight for women’s equality. It was reported only in 1975




  • Secularism is justified with emphasis on science and modernisation.


  • Violates the fundamental rights and the Preamble of the Constitution which promises to secure


  • Secularism.” (Sharma, (n.d.), pp. 18)


  • The often cited case of a Muslim woman, Shah Bano is a perfect example to illustrate the relationship between communalism, fundamentalism and women’s rights. Before Shah Bano




  • The rights as citizens of the country were violated. Within Muslim society itself, there existed many


  • And his comments on Muslim personal law angered fundamentalists who used it as a law


  • On the one hand and his gender identity on the other were at opposite objectives to each other. One



  • Loyal to the Muslim fold. Fearing alienation of a large and loyal Muslim vote bank, the new


  • The Right to Divorce) Act (1986) took away the right of Muslim women to maintenance beyond the Iddat period.
  • The women’s movement, which had begun to recognize the differences between women on the basis of caste, class, region and culture, was now forced to recognize religious differences as well. The category of ‘Indian woman’ now included an important component of communal identity. Any attempt to improve the status of women within a religious community was termed as ‘interference’ and going against the principle of secularism.



  • With the dawn of independence came the promise of equality of all Indian women with men supported through a progressive and constitution. By the 1970s it was becoming clear that the reality of the situation would not be so reassuring. Joining the mass movements, which emerged as a result of dissatisfaction with issues in the 70s, with gross civil rights violations during the Emergency, upper, middle and lower class women in India about their power as a demographic Made aware. The anti-liquor and anti-price rise movements may not have been inherently anti-patriarchal, but they were nevertheless


  • Helping women realize that they can actually contribute to a better life for themselves. ‘Autonomous women’s groups’ emerged in the late 70s and early 80s

– who had no political connections or affiliations. The ‘women’s question’ again came into focus with serious attempts to analyze and study the oppression of women and the role played by patriarchy. Various forms of violence against women like rape, sati, dowry death, female feticide etc. were all protested in different ways and through different media. Several violent incidents against women, which led to cases reaching the highest levels of the judicial system and their decisions mobilized women and further unified their cause of fighting the unequal system. A part of these protests also included demands to reform old laws and bring new laws in the interest of women. Another notable feature of the women’s movement in the 80s is the rise of fundamentalism and communalism and the price that women were paying at the cost of religious fundamentalism.















  • There are various threads of thought and activism that have come together to form the contemporary women’s movement in India. These movements were initiated by the declaration of the United Nations Women’s Year in 1975. The status report of the Women’s Committee was also released this year. The report was a huge amount of data compiled on various indices indicating the status of women in India. The report directly attacked the myth that women in post-independence India were making “progress”: it revealed that most Indian women suffered from poverty, illiteracy and poor health, as well as discrimination in both the domestic and public spheres. She was suffering. This resulted in movements and campaigns by middle class women against the worst manifestations of sexism and patriarchy.




  • The Report of the Committee on the Status of Women proved to be a turning point in the course of contemporary women’s movements in India. The report made the following recommendations:
  • Equality not just for justice but for development;
  • Attention should be paid to the economic empowerment of women;
  • Childbirth should be shared as a social responsibility;
  • Recognition of domestic work as a form of national productivity;
  • Marriage and Motherhood

and should not have a disability;

  • Women’s emancipation must be linked to social emancipation; And
  • Special temporary measure for real equality.
  • The year 1975 saw the growth of several feminist movements in different parts of the country, especially in Maharashtra. This is seen as an indirect result of the United Nations declaring 1975 as the International Women’s Year. Since the early 1970s there was a growing interest in women’s issues and problems in Maharashtra. Inspired by the formation of Progressive Organization of Women (POW) in Hyderabad, Maoist women formed Purogami Stree Sangathan (Progressive Women’s Organization) in Pune and Stree Mukti Sangathan (Women’s Liberation Organization) in Bombay. On 8 March 1975, International Women’s Day was celebrated for the first time by both party-based and autonomous organizations in Maharashtra. In September a convention of Devadasis was held. In October, a United Women’s Liberation War Conference was held in Pune. A link was established between the anti-caste Dalit movement and feminism. Dalits were
  • They were kept as untouchables because of their activities like tannery or scavenging. Dalits were agitating against social acceptance, women’s right to education, widow remarriage and purdah system. The women of the Dalit movement formed the Mahila Saranta Sainik Dalam (League of Women Soldiers for Equality). It emphasized equality, and highlighted the oppression of women, especially the oppressive character of religion and the caste system. ,

    SOCIOLOGY IN ENGLISH: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLuVMyWQh56R3KgAeBpmbY8Gv6201xh2dQ


  • In 1975, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declared a state of emergency throughout the country. This hindered the growth of the women’s movement. Many political organizations were forced to go underground. Many activists were persecuted and arrested. During this period, the focus of activists shifted to civil rights such as freedom of speech and association, the rights of political prisoners, the right to liberty and freedom, etc. Emergency was lifted in 1977. This revived some of the women’s movements which had come to a standstill due to the declaration of emergency. Women’s groups were formed in most parts of the country.
  • The 1980s saw a transformation of the women’s movement. Organizations broadened their focus from one or two issues to tackling the overall issue. There were three distinct streams of feminist leanings:
  • I. The Liberal stream focuses on seeking reform in those aspects of politics that particularly affect women.
  • Second. Left currents situate the oppression of women within a holistic analysis of the general structure of oppression and call for the coming together of specific movements for social change to effect a radical transformation of society.
  • Third. Radical feminists focus on defining the development of femininity and masculinity as fundamental polarities in society, and experiment with reclaiming traditional sources of women’s power, creativity, etc.
  • Women’s organizations have been associated with political parties since the pre-independence period, in the freedom struggle and thereafter. In the 1980s what came to be known as “autonomous” groups or organizations were not affiliated with political parties. The new women’s groups formed in the late 1970s had many members who held leftist ideologies. Despite being affiliated with different political parties, they declared themselves autonomous. They quickly networked with each other despite ideological differences. The fact that most members of these groups had leftist affiliations and belonged to the urban educated middle class influenced the feminist movement of the late 1970s and early 1980s. The groups of the 1970s were loosely organized and without formal structure or funding. many groups chose




  • Wanted to be separate, women-only groups for autonomy and without any party affiliation or link, as these were walled off in hierarchical, competitive and self-interested. Feminists criticized party politics, but recognized their importance. She felt that parties could help implement reforms and fulfill feminist goals.
  • Even though many feminist movements and campaigns of the late 1970s and early 1980s were city-based movements and dominated by urban groups, feminist consciousness was penetrating rural movements as well. In Andhra Pradesh, the sharecropper movement of the 1950s in Telangana was revived in the late 1970s. Women in Telangana’s Karimnagar district have been very active in the landless laborers’ movement since the 1960s. The abduction of a woman, Devamma, by a local landlord and the murder of her husband sparked a new wave of agitation. The Stree Shakti Sangathan was formed in Hyderabad in the late 1970s because of the demand for an independent women’s organization by the women themselves. Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Vahini (youth student struggle organization) was formed in Bihar and the women of the organization took up feminist issues. This organization was involved in the movement of agricultural laborers for land reform from the temple priest who owned most of the land. Women were actively involved in this movement and it was decided that the reclaimed plots of land would be demanded to be registered in the names of men and women.



  • Movement against dowry
  • family

The deaths of young married women inside were for a long time regarded as “accidents” and were recorded as “suicides”. The women’s movement established a link between dowry demands and deaths. He demanded reclassification of such deaths as “murder” and not “suicide”.

  • The first campaign of the contemporary feminist movement was against dowry. Dowry is the sum of all the money given by the bride’s family to the groom and his admirers along with other items like jewellery, car, furniture and house etc. In 1975, a progressive organization of women in Hyderabad organized a formal protest against dowry. these protests were not allowed
  • The imposition of Emergency in 1975 developed into a full-fledged campaign. After the Emergency was lifted in 1977, a new movement against dowry started in Delhi. The movement focused on violence against women for dowry, including bride burning and abetment to suicide. Delhi is left




  • Space for sustained agitation against dowry and related issues. This could be because Delhi has witnessed a high number of dowry deaths and dowry harassment cases. There have been protests and agitations against dowry demands and dowry deaths in several states across India.
  • Mahila Sakshyat Samiti was the first women’s organization in the contemporary feminist movement of Delhi to raise the issue of dowry harassment and dowry deaths. In June 1979, Stree Sangharsh, another women’s organisation, drew public attention to the problem of dowry and dowry-related crimes by holding a demonstration against the death of Tarvinder Kaur, who had blamed her in-laws for her murder. The dying declaration was given. Her parents could not meet her ever-increasing demands for dowry. The demonstration gained wide publicity, and resulted in several demonstrations against dowry deaths, including a large one led by the Nari Raksha Samiti (Women’s Defense Committee). These demonstrations sparked a public debate on dowry and dowry-related crimes.
  • Deaths of women by fire (drowsed in kerosene and set on fire) were ruled suicides, and many of these cases went unreported. Even suicides were not considered to be the result of dowry harassment. These deaths were neither investigated nor classified by the authorities. They were treated as private family matters, and officials did not interfere in such family matters. But as a result of demonstrations and agitations in Delhi and other parts of the country, the problem was brought to the notice of the authorities as well as the public. This made the public realize that many official female suicides were actually deaths due to dowry harassment. There has been an increase in the number of dowry harassment complaints with the police. Feminist organizations tried to help women by recording dying declarations, testimony from family members, and encouraging friends and neighbors to come forward with their testimony and evidence.
  • Feminist groups devised strategies to raise public awareness about the problem of dowry, dowry harassment and dowry deaths. This included organizing debates, public demonstrations and staging street plays. The Delhi-based feminist magazine Manushi organized several public meetings. People, both women and men, were encouraged to take a vow that they would neither give nor take dowry.
  • The government passed a law against dowry and related offenses in 1980. this law




  • Abetment of suicide arising out of demand of dowry declared/considered as a special offence. It mandated a police investigation into the death of any woman within five years of marriage. However, although the law recognized that dowry harassment could be treated as abetment, it did not specify the type of evidence that could be used to prove harassment, nor did it make abetment a cognizable (judicial) liable to inquiry or trial) committed the offence. In 1982, the first positive decision of this law took place. The magistrate of the Delhi Sessions Court found two people guilty of dowry death and sentenced them to death. In 1983, the Delhi High Court overturned this decision.


  • There were widespread protests and demonstrations against this decision. In 1985, the Supreme Court upheld the verdict, but commuted the sentence from the death penalty to life imprisonment. In the same year, the Criminal Law (Second Amendment) Act was passed. It made cruelty to wife a cognizable, non-bailable offence, punishable with imprisonment of up to three years and fine. The Act redefined cruelty to include mental and physical torture. Section 113-A of the Evidence Act was also amended to enable the court to infer abetment to suicide. Technically, it shifted the burden of proof and thus reduced the burden on the complainant. The Act also amended section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which makes postmortem mandatory of the body of a woman who dies within seven years of marriage.
  • Despite the passage of these laws, it has become difficult to punish for dowry deaths. This evidence is not sufficient to be accepted as evidence for conviction. Women themselves, their husbands and in-laws

Hesitates to accuse. Also, proof of murder is not necessary in the postmortem report. It is difficult to prove that kerosene burning is the result of intent to kill. Moreover, there are still many loopholes in the laws regarding dowry, and most of the offenders manage to escape undetected. Feminists found that although they could mobilize mass public support for campaigns against certain crimes against women, it was true

  • It is difficult to get support from the legal system for their efforts.



  • Movement against rape
  • There was a movement against rape of women by police, government officials and landlords in rural and urban areas. The issue gained prominence due to the Rameeza Bi incident in Hyderabad. Rameeza Bi was raped by several policemen. His




  • Rickshaw puller husband was murdered for opposing the rape of his wife. In response, thousands of people went to the police station, placed the man’s body on the police station’s porch, blocked the road, pelted stones at the building, and set some vehicles on fire. The army was called in and the demonstrations and protests were quelled only after the state government was dismissed and an inquiry commission was appointed to investigate the rape and murder.
  • There were several demonstrations against police and landlord/employer rapes in different parts of the country. In 1980, a 16-year-old girl from Mathura was raped by local policemen in Maharashtra. A case was registered against the policemen, who were acquitted by the Sessions Court and the Supreme Court based on the argument that Mathura had a lover, and was a promiscuous woman, who by definition could not be raped Was.


  • An open letter by four senior lawyers against the Supreme Court’s decision sparked a campaign by feminist groups. The Bombay-based feminist group Forum Against Rape (now called the Forum Against Violence against Women) decided to campaign for the case to be reopened. Feminist groups across the country were contacted and called for a re-hearing of the case during demonstrations held on 8 March, International Women’s Day. There was also a demand for enforcement of relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and changes in the rape law. Joint Action Committees were formed, consisting of Socialist and Communist Party members, to coordinate the campaign. In fact, it was the first time feminist groups coordinated a nationwide campaign.
  • In another incident in 1980, policemen arrested Maya Tyagi in Baghpat, Haryana, stripped her naked, raped her and paraded her through the streets. This resulted in widespread protests by political parties and women’s organizations across the country. A judicial inquiry into the incident was ordered, and there was a parliamentary debate on the massive increase in incidents of rape and atrocities against women. The government introduced a bill defining categories of custodial rape and a mandatory punishment, often years’ imprisonment, and the onus of perjury on the accused. This clause shifting the burden of proof onto the accused raised a lot of controversy, as it stated that if the woman can prove forcible sexual intercourse with the accused at the said time and place, the accused would be deemed guilty unless He cannot prove otherwise. However, the issue was politicised, and various political parties tried to take political advantage of it.




  • However, another judgment brought to light some of the factors associated with rape – the social sanction given to it, and the difficulties of obtaining medical evidence to prove that a woman had been raped. In 1988, in Suman Rani’s case, the sentence against the rapists was commuted because of the victim’s conduct—she was having sex with a man. The judgment sparked a fresh debate on the definition of rape. Feminists said that the technical definition of rape did not take into account the fact that it was an act of violence against a woman’s privacy.



  • Anti-Toddy Movement
  • Women have been at the forefront of movements against the social evils associated with alcohol. Women started an anti-liquor movement in Patad village of Uttar Pradesh. Liquor shops, a temple and a mosque located near the bus stop were vitiating the social atmosphere of the area. Drunken brawls were common and an atmosphere of intoxication prevailed. Women were finding it difficult to board buses, wash clothes in the pond and move freely in the village. The women of the village, with the support of Disha, an NGO, launched a three-month-long agitation, which eventually forced the administration to order the closure of the liquor shop. In 1996, the Government of Haryana banned the sale and purchase of liquor in Haryana.
  • Arak is a refined spirit obtained by distillation of fermented molasses. As a result of the Green Revolution, the cultivation of sugarcane in India increased, leading to an increase in the production of sugar and its byproduct, molasses. Jaggery is used to make arak. The people of Andhra Pradesh were struggling against the sale of arrack or local liquor, which was being supported by several governments over time. income from the production and sale of arrack in the state to governments to prevent its production or sale

It was too big to take any action. Several liquor contractors were closely associated with Poe.

  • There was a close relationship between the politician and crime and politics.
  • The anti-toddy movement started in Nellore district in 1992, and quickly spread to other parts of the state. Poor rural women of the district started the movement. The fight against alcohol soon turned into a full-fledged women’s movement. The rural women of Andhra Pradesh were marginalized from every walk of life for centuries. They were illiterate, exploited by landlords, and targets of domestic and social violence. they




  • Suddenly there was a rebellion against police officers, government officials, the Home Minister and in fact the Chief Minister himself. Their only demand was that liquor should not be sold or consumed in the village. This simple demand gave rise to a movement involving thousands of women and spread to urban areas and turned into a movement.
  • The money earned from the sale of contractor liquor is used by mercenary gangs of musclemen to maintain their monopoly in the liquor trade, to bribe police and excise officials, and to invest in real estate, building construction, finance, films and politics. spend to maintain. In fact, many of the liquor contractors are today’s politicians and there is a close relationship between crime and politics.
  • Arrack shops in the village were at some distance from the village. People had to go to sara or liquor compound to drink liquor. This was usually done in the evening after they had finished their daily labour. The Varun Vahini program ensured that toddy was packed in pouches and brought to the village at the village’s doorstep. A person could drink all day within the four walls of his house. As time went on, this drink increased in quantity and the men drank more and more. This affected the family as well as the economy. Women bore the brunt of alcohol-fuelled violence.
  • In many districts, women decided enough was enough. The women spoke to other women who were harassed under the influence of alcohol and with the help of the District Magistrate and the Sarpanch, started an anti-toddy movement. Another factor that prompted the women to start the movement was the death of several villagers due to drinking illegal brew. The women started their cleaning campaign by destroying the items used for distilling arak in many houses. The police helped them by arresting some of the brewers and confiscating the ration cards of others. The cards were returned only when he promised to quit the profession. The women involved in the “rampage” were also supported by the officials of the village panchayat.
  • The women of Medepally were able to get liquor shops closed in the village, but shops remained open in Mudigonda village, a kilometer away. The men of Medpalli used to enter the watering hole in Mudigonda and return drunk. The women would fearlessly wait at the entrance, force him to sit down and ask him to cover his ears. Soon the men stopped going to Mudigonda and gradually stopped drinking toddy. This is how women succeed
  • In their efforts to force the men to drink arrack.
  • The anti-tadi movement was based on several factors. The Akshar Deepam (Literary Lamp) program was a program launched by the government, aimed at eradicating illiteracy. Women participated enthusiastically in the program. One of the sources used to educate the people were neoclassical books and these included narratives of women’s achievements. This probably inspired women to fight for their rights. The government banned the sale of liquor in the state and prohibition was implemented. However, due to financial constraints, the government had to modify its policy of complete ban and allowed the sale/purchase of Indian Made Foreign Liquor, although the ban on Arak continued. In 1996, Kerala also banned liquor within the state.


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