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Essay on “Social Reforms in India” Complete Essay for Class 10, Class 12 and Graduation and other classes.

Social Reforms in India

Essay No. 01

Traditional Indian society was essentially agrarian, feudal, caste-ridden and superstitious.  Things  began  to  change  when the  British  took  over  the  reins  of  administration  in  their  own hands.  Post-Independence.  era,  however,  witnessed  a  tremendous change  in  the  social,  economic  and  political  spheres  and  a  new social  order  began  to  evolve.  Although  there  is  still  a  wide  gap between  our  ideal  and  performance,  the  picture  is  not  wholly dismal.

Traditional Indian society was essentially agrarian, feudal, cast-ridden and highly superstitious.  It  was  a  society  with  its  own  rigid  customs, manners  and  culture.  As  a  result  it  remained  static  and  could  not  evolve  a dynamic  character.  Religion played a  major  role  in  maintaining  the  social system.  The  whole  population  was  divided  into  four  classes—Brahmins, Vaishyas,  Kashatriyas  and  Sudras—on  the  basis  of  their  occupation.  A child  born  in  a  particular  family  was  obliged  to  take  the  family’s  profession irrespective  of  his.  inclinations.  Education  was  the  sole  privilege  of  the priestly  class  and  the exploited die  masses  by  exploiting  their  religious beliefs.  Their interpretation  of  the  Vedas,  etc.  was  simply  beyond  the understanding  of  the  illiterate  people  who  became superstitious  and  totally dependent.  on  the  Brahmins  for  their  liberation  from  the  bonds  of  this  life. The  rigidity  of  the  caste  system  and  ignorance  on  the  part  of  the  masses led  to  a  number  of  social  evils.  Child  Marriages,  denial  of  education  to women,  sati,  untouchability,  poverty,  illiteracy,  evil  social  practices,  etc. began  to  eat  into  the  very  fabric  of  the.  social  structure  and  became  a  big obstacle  in  the  process  of  growth  and  progress.

When  the  British  took  over  the  reins  of  this  country’s  administration  in their  hands,  they  brought  the  people  in  contact  with  a  whole  new  way  of life.  The  impact  of  Western  society—its  culture,  norms was  felt  in  all the  spheres  of  life.  A  change  came  in  terms  of  new  goals  and  aspirations. There  was  a  rapid  development  of  sciences,  industrialisation,  urbanisation, disintegration  of  the  joint  family,  expansion  of education,  etc.  All these factors  had  a  far-reaching  effect  on  the  existing  social  structure.

Many  reformation  movements  got  impetus  from  this  changing  social scenario.  Under   the able leadership  of people like Raja Ram Mohun Roy and  Swami  Dayanand,  who  were  great  scholars,  people  were  urged  to  free themselves  of  their  superstitions,  evil  social  customs  and  practices.  They pleaded  for  religious  tolerance,  condemned  the  caste  system,  favoured widow  remarriage  and  sought  to  abolish  Sati.  In  the  20th  century  Mahatma Gandhi  and  Dr.  Radhakrishnan  also appealed  to  people  to  shed  their ignorance  and  give  a  new  interpretation  to  the  traditional  values  in  keeping with the  changing  times.  Their  efforts  met  with  partial  success.  Gandhiji laid  stress  on  the  removal  of  untouchability  and  raised  his,  voice  against the  social  injustice  perpetrated  on  the  so-called  low  classes.

In  the  post-Independent  India,  our  Government  has  made  many  laws  to brine  about.  social  reforms.  Indian  society  as  envisaged  in  the  Constitution, is  to  be  nationally  homogeneous—a  society  in  which  there  is  to  be  no distinction  on  the  basis  of  race,  caste,  religion,  sex  and  colour. Untouchability  is  abolished  and    practice  forbidden.  Certain  fundamental rights  guarantee  people  freedom  of  speech,  movement,  religious  belief  and. practice,  education,  etc.  Indian society is to  be  multilingual,  multi-religions and  multi-racial.  The  government  took  the  pledge  of  making  India  a socialist,  democratic  republic.

We  witnessed  a  profound’ social  change  after  Independence  in  1947.  This change  which  began  with  the  advent  of  the,  British  in  India  and  the introduction  of   Western  system  of  education,  has  now  gained  momentum. The  British  did  not  introduce  any  major  social  change  for  fear  of  annoying orthodox  and  princely  classes  who  sustained  them.  With  the  achievement of  freedom,  the  government  began  to  implement  with  enthusiasm  their programme  for  major  socio-economic  reforms.  However,  the  old  order  does not  yield  to  the  new  so  easily.  Societies  deeply  rooted  in  tradition  resist change.  Nevertheless,  the  government  went  ahead  With  its  programme  to eradicate  the  social  evils  which  were  eating  into  the  very  vitals  of  the fabric  of  our  society.

From  time  immemorial  women  had  been  relegated  to  a  secondary  position and  had  a  low  social  status.  Of  course,  women  were  respected  as  mothers .and  wives.  In  the  changing  social  scene,  where  more  and  more  women began  to  opt  for  education  and  careers,  they  became  aware  of  their  rights and  started  demanding  these  vociferously.  They  raised  their  voice  against child  marriages,  dowry  systems Sati  or  bride burning  and  demanded  equality with  men.  Our Constitution  guaranteed-  equality  to  women  in  all  ways.  It introduced  universal  adult  franchise  giving  women  the  right  to  vote, declared 18  years  as  the  Minimum  age  for  a  girl  before  marriage,  made law  against  dowry  and  sail.  Women  are  now  entitled,  to  their  Husband. property  and  to  a  share  in  the  property  of  the  parents.  Prostitution  was prohibited  by   law.  Polygamy among the  Hindus  was  abolished.  A  Central Social  Welfare  Board  was  set  up  under  the  Department  of  Women  and Child  Development.  National  Commission  for  Women  has  been  set  up  in 1992  for  safeguarding  the  rights  of  women.  Programmes  like  Rashthya Mahila  Kosh,  Mahila  Samridhi  Yojana,  Women’s  Development  Corporation were  introduced.  The  adult  education  centres  for  women  were  opened.

In  spite  of  these  endeavours,  the  status  of  India  women  is  still  lower than  that  of  men.   Although  we  see  women  rubbing  shoulders  with  men  in all  walks  of  life,  they  are  still  far  behind  men  in  the  social,  economic, educational  and  political  spheres.

In  spite  of  government  regulations  and  measures,  there  are  still  glaring economic  and  social  disparities.  There  are  still  millions  of  people  in  our country  who  live  below  the  poverty  line,  are  steeped  in  ignorance,  illiteracy and  cannot  even  provide  two  square  meals  a  day  for  their  families.  They live  in  unhygienic  conditions  in  the  midst  of  squalor  and  dust.  Such miserable  conditions  lead  to  begging,  petty  crime  and  child  delinquency. To  check  all  these  the  first  step  should  be  to  implement  compulsory  free primary  education  and  ensure  that  the  drop-out  rate  is  not  high  A  serious study  should  be  made  of  the  reasons  behind  children  dropping  out  of  school, opportunities  should  be  provided  for  adults  to  continue  their  education. Most important  of  all,  Government  should  take  remedial  and  preventive measures  to  check  begging,  and  open  beggars-homes  where  these  people could  be  taught  some  craft  and  made  self-reliant.  We  cannot  overlook  the fact  that  these  vast  disparities  between  the  haves  and  have nots  breed discontent  and  lead  to  violence.

There  is  a  dire  need  for  the  vocationalization  of  our  education  system. There  are  thousands-of unemployed  youth,  who  in  spite  of  acquiring  college degrees  are  unable  to  procure  jobs.  This  makes  them  restless  and  resentful of  the  government  and  at  times  they  try  to  take  the  law  in  their  own  hands.

Ours  is  a  secular  country  committed  to  the  goal  of  religious  tolerance  and guarantees  freedom  to  profess  and  practise  any  religious  faith.  In  order  to Make  it  a  reality,  it  is  important  that  people  learn  to be  tolerant  of  each other’s  beliefs.  People  should  be  made  aware  of  their  duties.  We  are  yet far  from  this  ideal, Communalism  keeps  raising  its  ugly  head  and  leads  to violence  and  killing.  Such  riots  case  tremendous  loss  of  life  and  property. People  should  lean  to  co-.exist  and  live  in  harmony  with  each  other gains  in  We  larger  interest  of the  nation.

There  is  a  glaring  contrast  between  the  ideals  and  the  reality.  Although, our  Constitution  has  declared  India  to  be a  Socialist,  Democratic  Republic and  our  government  has  taken  the  pledge  of  establishing  a  casteless,  classic society,  we  are  still  divided  by  class,  caste,  religious,  regional  and  linguistic loyalties.  We have failed  to  introduce  a  uniform  civil  code.  There  is virtual  breakdown  of  law  and  order  machinery.

In  every  country  there  are  numerous  laws  on  the  statute  book  again social  vices,  but  they  have  not  been  really  effective  in stamping  out  -six evils.  In  India  too,  though  the  government  has  made  many  laws  and  set  u many  cells  to  look  into  social  evils  it  has  not  met  with  much  success.  Law is  just  one  of  the  means  of  combating  such   evils.  Social  reforms  can be  effected  only  through  awakening  finer  instincts  of  man.  Therefore, unless. social  reformers,  government,  parents,  educational  institutions—all  work with  a  common  objective  in  mind,  .there  cannot  be  much  change  in  society.  A  sense  of  social  responsibility  should  be  instilled  in  the  people.  The process  should  start  early  in  childhood.

However,  it  has  to  be  borne  in  mind  that  beliefs,  habits  and  ideas  that have  been  held  for  centuries,  cannot  be  changed  overnight.  People  resist change.  The  cling  to  tradition.  Hence  a  new  social  equilibrium  can  be achieved  by  preserving  the  traditional  values  that  have  stood  the  test time  and  adapting  others  to  the  needs  of  the  changing  times.


Essay No. 02


Social Reforms

We learn in history about several social reformers, who tried to persuade the people to give up bad habits and customs. The names of Guru Nanak, Kabir, Raja Rammohan Roy, Swami Dayanand, Mahatma Gandhi and others are well known to everybody.

Unfortunately, no social reformer of a matching stature his emerged after Independence. After Independence, power passed into the hands of politicians who have often looked their own interests. At earlier stages, there appeared certain upright stalwarts like Jawaharlal Nehru, Rajendra Prasad, Raja Gopaiacharya, Dr. S Radhakrishana, Lal Bahadur Shastri and some others, but then degeneration started. Pre-Independence leaders like LAW Lajpat Rai and Mahatma Gandhi persuaded us to lead a life of simplicity, service and sacrifice.

As time passed, there emerged a situation in which nicknamed politician-bureaucrat-industrialist came up. The politicians provided benefits to the industrialists in the day-to-day government policies and the industrialists gave them money for party and other purposes. The bureaucrats became corrupt besides acting as conduits between the politicians and the industrialists.

Industry flourished and India progressed. There is nothing bad in it. However, it all happened at the cost of the moral values and cultural traditions. A new rich class emerged and wealth started concentrating in a few hands, reducing the common people to an insignificant host of mere spectators of social decay.

The present state of affairs can be judged from a sight outside a marriage palace. You can at once see rows of cars parked outside and obscene music blaring at full pitch, violating all directions of the Supreme Court, Pollution Boards and other authorities.

Inside, the atmosphere is “hot” as you see semi-clad girls dancing to the tunes of music. Others are offering costly liquor, shahi kabab, tikkas, tandoori chicken and fish fingers to guests. The horrible function goes on till midnight. In the morning if you pass by the same palace, you see a lot of litter comprising empty whisky bottles, chicken bones, glasses, heaps of sweets and other eatables. Surely, this is only a glimpse of the marriage ceremony of a VIP’S son or daughter.

In the modern society, it is only show-off of wealth, power and status. There is a rat race for obtaining wealth by hook or by crook.

What about social evils like dowry system, bride burning, drug-taking female foeticide, drinking, smoking, etc ? No doubt, there are, laws but these are hardly implemented. Mere laws are not enough unless they are backed by socially acceptable mandates. Our education system is not of much help for these social reforms. At some places women have risen to force the authorities to close wine shops and liquour bars close to residential areas. In some cases, girls have refused to marry dowry seeking boys.


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