Class 8 History Chapter 8 Women, Caste and Reform Extra Questions

Class 8 History Chapter 8 Women, Caste and Reform Extra Questions and Answers are provided here. These Extra Questions with solution are prepared by our team of expert teachers who are teaching in CBSE schools for years. Extra questions for Class 8 History Chapter 8 will help you to properly understand a particular concept of the chapter.

Women, Caste and Reform Class 8 History Extra Questions and Answers

Very Short Answer Type Question

1. Which social reformer was popularly called as Periyar?

Answer: E.V. Ramaswamy Naicker

2. Who were Shudras?

Answer:  They belong to labouring castes.

3. Who were Ati Shudras?

Answer:  They were untouchables.

4. Who were known as Vaishyas?

Answer: Traders and moneylenders often were known as Vaishyas.

5. What was the Satyashodhak Samaj? Who had founded it?

Answer:  The Satyashodhak Samaj, an association Phule founded, propagated caste equality.

6. Who was Mumtaz Ali?

Answer:  Mumtaz Ali was a social reformer who reinterpreted verses from the Koran to argue for women’s education.

7. Why do people view leather workers with contempt?

Answer: Leatherworkers have been traditionally held in contempt since they work with dead animals which are seen as dirty and polluting.

8. How did reformers bring changes in society?

Answer: Reformers bring changes in society by persuading people to give up old practices and adopt a new way of life.

9. Why were untouchable students not allowed to enter the classrooms where upper-caste boys were taught?

Answer:  There was a false notion among the upper-caste that untouchable would pollute the classroom where their children are taught.

10. Write a short note on Satnami movement?

Answer: The Satnami movement in Central India was founded by Ghasidas who worked among the leatherworkers and organised a movement to improve their social status.

Short Answer Type Questions

1. Why people such as Rammohun Roy are described as reformers?

Answer: People such as Rammohun Roy are described as reformers because they felt that changes were necessary in society, and unjust practices needed to be done away with.

2. Who was Raja Rammohun Roy?

Answer: Raja Rammohun Roy was a social reformer. He founded a reform association known as the Brahmo Sabha (later known as the Brahmo Samaj) in Calcutta.

3. Who were Madigas?

Answer: Madigas were an important untouchable caste of present-day Andhra Pradesh. They were experts at cleaning hides, tanning them for use, and sewing sandals.

4. Name the Hindu scriptures which were criticized by Periyar.

Answer: Periyar was an outspoken critic of Hindu scriptures, especially the Codes of Manu, the ancient lawgiver, and the Bhagavad Gita and the Ramayana.

5. What is Hook swinging festival?

Answer: In this popular festival, devotees underwent a peculiar form of suffering as part of ritual worship. With hooks pierced through their skin they swung themselves on a wheel.

6. Who published the book named Stripurushtulna? What is it about?

Answer: Tarabai Shinde, a woman educated at home at Poona, published a book, Stripurushtulna, (A Comparison between Women and Men), criticizing the social differences between men and women.

7. Why did E.V. Ramaswamy Naicker leave the congress?

Answer:  He left it in disgust when he found that at a feast organised by nationalists, seating arrangements followed caste distinctions – that is, the lower castes were made to sit at a distance from the upper castes.

8. ​How did widow’s home at Poona help the widows?
Or
How was widow’s home at Poona helpful?

Answer:  Pandita Ramabai founded a widows’ home at Poona to provide shelter to widows who had been treated badly by their husbands’ relatives. Here women were trained so that they could support themselves economically.

9. What was the contribution of the Christian missionaries in spreading education among the tribal group and the lower caste?

Answer:  Christian missionaries set up schools for tribal groups and “lower”-caste children. These children were thus equipped with some resources to make their way into a changing world.

10. What do you mean by ‘sati’?

Answer: In some parts of the country, widows were praised if they chose death by burning themselves on the funeral pyre of their husbands. Women who died in this manner, whether willingly or otherwise, were called “sati”, meaning virtuous women.

11. What did Ambedkar want to achieve through the temple entry movement?

Answer: In 1927, Ambedkar started a temple entry movement, in which his Mahar caste followers participated. Brahman priests were outraged when the Dalits used water from the temple tank. Ambedkar led three such movements for temple entry between 1927 and 1935. His aim was to make everyone see the power of caste prejudices within society.

12. How did the knowledge of ancient texts help the reformers promote new laws?

Answer: Whenever reformers wished to challenge a practice that seemed harmful, they tried to find a verse or sentence in the ancient sacred texts that supported their point of view. They then suggested that the practice as it existed at present was against early tradition. Thus, the knowledge of ancient texts helped the reformers promote new laws.

 13. Write a short note on Ambedkar?

Answer:  Ambedkar was born into a Mahar family. In 1927, Ambedkar started a temple entry movement, in which his Mahar caste followers participated. Brahman priests were outraged when the Dalits used water from the temple tank. Ambedkar led three such movements for temple entry between 1927 and 1935. His aim was to make everyone see the power of caste prejudices within society.

14. What social ideas did the following people support?

Answer: Rammohun Roy – Ban on Sati
Dayanand Saraswati – Widow Remarriage
Veerasalingam Pantulu – Widow Remarriage
Jyotirao Phule – Caste Equality
Pandita Ramabai – Equality and Freedom for Women
Periyar – Equality for Untouchables
Mumtaz Ali – Women’s Education
Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar – Widow Remarriage

15. What were the different reasons people had for not sending girls to school?

Answer: The following were the reasons people had for not sending girls to school.

  • They feared that schools would take girls away from home, prevent them from doing their domestic duties.
  • Moreover, girls had to travel through public places in order to reach school.
  • Many people felt that this would have a corrupting influence on them.
  • They felt that girls should stay away from public spaces.

Long Answer Type Questions

1. Why did Phule dedicate his book Gulamgiri to the American movement to free slaves?

Answer: In 1873, Phule wrote a book named Gulamgiri, meaning slavery. Some ten years before this, the American Civil War had been fought, leading to the end of slavery in America. Phule dedicated his book to all those Americans who had fought to free slaves, thus establishing a link between the conditions of the “lower” castes in India and the black slaves in America. This comparison also had the expression of hope that one day, like the end of slavery in America, there would be an end to all sorts of caste discriminations in Indian Society.

2. What did Raja Ram Mohan Roy do to end the practice of sati?
Or
How did Raja Ram Mohan Roy abolish sati system?
Or
What steps did Raja Ram Mohan Roy take to eradicate sati?

Answer:  Rammohun Roy was particularly moved by the problems widows faced in their lives. He began a campaign against the practice of sati. Rammohun Roy was well versed in Sanskrit, Persian and several other Indian and Europeon languages. He tried to show through his writings that the practice of widow burning had no sanction in ancient texts. By the early nineteenth century, many British officials had also begun to criticise Indian traditions and customs. They were therefore more than willing to listen to Rammohun who was reputed to be a learned man. In 1829, sati was banned.

3. What do you know about Tarabai Shinde and Pandita Ramabai? What did they do for improving the condition of women?

Answer: Tarabai Shinde, a woman educated at home at Poona, published a book, Stripurushtulna, (A Comparison between Women and Men), criticizing the social differences between men and women.

Pandita Ramabai, a great scholar of Sanskrit, felt that Hinduism was oppressive towards women, and wrote a book about the miserable lives of upper-caste Hindu women. She founded a widows’ home at Poona to provide shelter to widows who had been treated badly by their husbands’ relatives. Here women were trained so that they could support themselves economically.

4. How did Jyotirao the reformers justify their criticism of caste inequality in society?

Answer: Jyotirao developed his own ideas about the injustices of caste society. He did not accept the Brahmans’ claim that they were superior to others, since they were Aryans. Phule argued that the Aryans were foreigners, who came from outside the subcontinent, and defeated and subjugated the true children of the country – those who had lived here from before the coming of the Aryans. As the Aryans established their dominance, they began looking at the defeated population as inferior, as lowcaste people. According to Phule, the “upper” castes had no right to their land and power: in reality, the land belonged to indigenous people, the so-called low castes.

5. In the British period, what new opportunities opened up for people who came from castes that were regarded as “low”?

Answer: Many new opportunities opened up for people who came from castes that were regarded as “low” during British period.

  • There was work in the factories that were coming up, and jobs in municipalities.
  • Expansion of cities in created new demands of labour. Drains had to be dug, roads laid, buildings constructed, and cities cleaned. This required coolies, diggers, carriers, bricklayers, sewage cleaners, sweepers, palanquin bearers, rickshaw pullers.
  • Some also went to work in plantations in Assam, Mauritius, Trinidad and Indonesia.
  • The army, for instance, offered opportunities. A number of Mahar people, who were regarded as untouchable, found jobs in the Mahar Regiment.

6. Give an account of the movement that spread in different parts of the country in favour of widow remarriage. Did the movement get success?

Answer: By the second half of the nineteenth century, the movement in favour of widow remarriage spread to other parts of the country. In the Telugu-speaking areas of the Madras Presidency, Veerasalingam Pantulu formed an association for widow remarriage. Around the same time young intellectuals and reformers in Bombay pledged themselves to working for the same cause. In the north, Swami Dayanand Saraswati, who founded the reform association called Arya Samaj, also supported widow remarriage.

The movement did not get much success. The number of widows who actually remarried remained low. Those who married were not easily accepted in society and conservative groups continued to oppose the new law.

7. ‘Movements were organised by people from within the lower castes against caste discrimination’. Explain.
Or
Give a brief description of movements that were organised by people from within the lower castes against caste discrimination.

Answer: Gradually, by the second half of the nineteenth century, people from within the Non-Brahman castes began organising movements against caste discrimination, and demanded social equality and justice. The Satnami movement in Central India was founded by Ghasidas who worked among the leatherworkers and organised a movement to improve their social status. In eastern Bengal, Haridas Thakur’s Matua sect worked among Chandala cultivators. Haridas questioned Brahmanical texts that supported the caste system. In what is present-day Kerala, a guru from Ezhava caste, Shri Narayana Guru, proclaimed the ideals of unity for his people. He argued against treating people unequally on the basis of caste differences.

8. Why were changes necessary in Indian society?

Answer:  Indian society had been a prey to many evil practices for long time. Some were:

  • Most children were married off at an early age. Both Hindu and Muslim men could marry more than one wife.
  • In some parts of the country, widows were praised if they chose death by burning themselves on the funeral pyre of their husbands.
  • Women’s rights to property were also restricted.
  • Besides, most women had virtually no access to education.
  • In most regions, people were divided along lines of caste. Brahmans and Kshatriyas considered themselves as “upper castes”.

The above mention social customs and practices made the changes necessary in Indian society.

9. How did women involve themselves in their upliftment?

Answer:  By the 1880s, Indian women began to enter universities. Some of them trained to be doctors, some became teachers. Many women began to write and publish their critical views on the place of women in society. Tarabai Shinde, a woman educated at home at Poona, published a book, Stripurushtulna, criticizing the social differences between men and women.

Pandita Ramabai founded a widows’ home at Poona to provide shelter to widows who had been treated badly by their husbands’ relatives. By the end of the nineteenth century, women themselves were actively working for reform. They wrote books, edited magazines, founded schools and training centres, and set up women’s associations. From the early twentieth century, they formed political pressure groups to push through laws for female suffrage (the right to vote) and better health care and education for women.

10. Who was E.V. Ramaswamy Naicker? What did he do to improve the condition of untouchables?

Answer:  E.V. Ramaswamy Naicker, or Periyar, as he was called, came from a middle-class family. Interestingly, he had been an ascetic in his early life and had studied Sanskrit scriptures carefully. Later, he became a member of the Congress, only to leave it in disgust when he found that at a feast organised by nationalists, seating arrangements followed caste distinctions – that is, the lower castes were made to sit at a distance from the upper castes.

Convinced that untouchables had to fight for their dignity, Periyar founded the Self Respect Movement. He argued that untouchables were the true upholders of an original Tamil and Dravidian culture which had been subjugated by Brahmans. He felt that all religious authorities saw social divisions and inequality as God-given. Untouchables had to free themselves, therefore, from all religions in order to achieve social equality.

11. Why were Christian missionaries attacked by many people in the country? Would some people have supported them too? If so, for what reasons?

Answer: Christian missionaries began setting up schools for tribal groups and “lower”-caste children. They were also involved in reform activities as they denounced caste system, sati and advocated education of girls. They were opposed by the orthodox section of the society as they believed that they were trying to interfere in their religious matters. Many people also believed that the ultimate motive of the Christian missionaries was to convert the people into Christianity. Thus, they were attacked mainly by conservative section of people in the society.

Christian missionaries were supported by many progressive Indians like the reformers and the intellectuals who wanted the Indian society to reform. Many people who had benefitted from the reform activities of the missionaries like the people belonging to various tribes and lower castes also supported them.

12. Why were Jyotirao Phule and Ramaswamy Naicker critical of the national movement? Did their criticism help the national struggle in any way?

Answer: Both Jyotirao Phule and Ramaswamy Naicker were critical of the national movement. Phule believed that mostly the upper caste leaders were involved in the nationalist movement against the British. He believed that once the British would leave, the people of upper caste would again use their power and authority oppress and subjugate the people belonging to lower castes. This would result in division amongst the people.

Naicker had joined Congress early in his years. He gradually realised that even Congress was not free from the evil practice of casteism. When a feast was organised by the nationalists within the party, different seating arrangements were made for the people of upper and lower castes. This made Naicker to believe that the lower castes have to fight their own battle.

Their criticisms did help in the nationalist movement. The forceful speeches, writings and movements of lowercaste leaders did lead to rethinking and some selfcriticism among upper-caste nationalist leaders.

13. Write a short note on the following: The Brahmo Samaj, Derozio and Young Bengal, The Ramakrishna Mission and Vivekananda, The Prarthana Samaj, The Veda Samaj, The Aligarh Movement, The Singh Sabha Movement

Answer:  The Brahmo Samaj – The Brahmo Samaj, formed in 1830, prohibited all forms of idolatry and sacrifice, believed in the Upanishads, and forbade its members from criticising other religious practices. It critically drew upon the ideals of religions – especially of Hinduism and Christianity – looking at their negative and positive dimensions.

Derozio and Young Bengal –  Henry Louis Vivian Derozio, a teacher at Hindu College, Calcutta, in the 1820s, promoted radical ideas and encouraged his pupils to question all authority. Referred to as the Young Bengal Movement, his students attacked tradition and custom, demanded education for women and campaigned for the freedom of thought and expression.

The Ramakrishna Mission and Vivekananda – Named after Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Swami Vivekananda’s guru, the Ramakrishna Mission stressed the ideal of salvation through social service and selfless action.

The Prarthana Samaj – Established in 1867 at Bombay, the Prarthana Samaj sought to remove caste restrictions, abolish child marriage, encourage the education of women, and end the ban on widow remarriage. Its religious meetings drew upon Hindu, Buddhist and Christian texts.

The Veda Samaj – Established in Madras (Chennai) in 1864, the Veda Samaj was inspired by the Brahmo Samaj. It worked to abolish caste distinctions and promote widow remarriage and women’s education. Its members believed in one God. They condemned the superstitions and rituals of orthodox Hinduism.

The Aligarh Movement – The Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College, founded by Sayyid Ahmed Khan in 1875 at Aligarh, later became the Aligarh Muslim University. The institution offered modern education, including Western science, to Muslims. The Aligarh Movement, as it was known, had an enormous impact in the area of educational reform.

The Singh Sabha Movement – Reform organisations of the Sikhs, the first Singh Sabhas were formed at Amritsar in 1873 and at Lahore in 1879. The Sabhas sought to rid Sikhism of superstitions, caste distinctions and practices seen by them as non-Sikh. They promoted education among the Sikhs, often combining modern instruction with Sikh teachings.

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