Class 8 History Chapter 8 Women, Caste and Reform Important Questions and Answers

CBSE Class 8 History Chapter 8 Women, Caste and Reform Important Questions cover the major concepts of the chapter. Solving answers of these important questions help students to revise the Chapter most competently. We prepared these questions as per the latest NCERT book and CBSE syllabus. Practising the questions before the exam will ensure excellent marks in the exam.

CBSE Class 8 History Chapter 8 Important Questions PDF

Very Short Answer Type Questions

1: Why are social reformers described so?
Answer: Social reformers are described so because they felt that some changes were essential in society and unjust practices needed to be rooted out.

2: How did reformers bring changes in society?
Answer: They brought changes in society by persuading people to give up old practices and adopt a new way of life.

3: What do you mean by ‘sad’?
Answer: Widows who chose death by burning themselves on the funeral pyre of their husbands were known as ‘sati’, meaning virtuous woman.

4: Who were known as Vaishyas?
Answer: Traders and moneylenders were known as Vaishyas.

5: Who was Raja Rammohun Roy?
Answer: Raja Rammohun Roy was a learned social reformer. He was well versed in Sanskrit, Persian and several other Indian and European languages. He raised voice against the practice of sati and got it rooted out.

6: What was hook swinging festival?
Answer: It was a popular festival in which devotees underwent a peculiar form of suffering as part of ritual worship. With hooks pierced through their skin they swung themselves on a wheel.

7: Who was Mumtaz Ali?
Answer: Mumtaz Ali was a social reformer who reinterpreted verses from the Koran to argue for the education of women.

8: Who published the book named Stripurushtulna? What is it about?
Answer: Tarabai Shinde published Stripurushtulna. It is about the social differences between men and women.

9: How did widow’s home at Poona help the widows?
Answer: It trained them so that they could manage financial support for themselves.

10: What was the contribution of Christian missionaries in spreading education among tribal groups and lower castes?
Answer: These missionaries set up schools for tribal groups and lower caste children. Here, they were equipped with some skills to make their way into a new world.

11: Why do people view leather workers with contempt?
Answer: Leather workers work with dead animals which are seen as dirty and polluting. Hence, people see them with contempt.

12: Who were Madigas?
Answer: They were experts at cleaning hides, tanning them for use and sewing sandals.

13: Who were Shudras?
Answer: They belonged to labouring castes.

14: Who were Ati Shudras?
Answer: They were untouchables.

15: What was the Satyashodhak Samaj? Who founded it?
Answer: The Satyashodhak Samaj was an association that propagated caste equality. It was founded by Jyotirao Phule.

16: Why did E.V. Ramaswamy Naicker leave the Congress?
Answer: He left the congress because he found nationalists adhering to caste distinctions. At a feast organised by them, the lower castes were made to sit at a distance from the upper castes.

17: Name the Hindu scriptures which were criticised by Periyar.
Answer: The codes of Manu, the ancient lawgiver and the Bh^gavad Gita and the Ramayana.

18: 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 untouchables would pollute the rooms where their children were taught.

Short Answer Type Questions

1: What did Raja Rammohun Roy do to end the practice of sati?

Answer: Raja Rammohan Roy was a great social reformer. He moved to see the tyranny of old practices that were deeply rooted in the Indian society. Burning of widows on the funeral pyre of their husbands was one such old practice which, Rammohan Roy felt, needed to be rooted out immediately. He began a campaign against this. As he had deep knowledge of Sanskrit, Persian and several other Indian and European languages, die tried to show through his writings that the practice of sati had no sanction in ancient texts. He got support from the British officials who had also begun to criticise Indian traditions and customs by the early 19th century. Finally, in 1829, the practice of sati was banned.

2: 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: The movement in favour of widow remarriage spread in different parts of the country by the second half of the 19th century. Veerasalingam Pantulu formed an association for widow remarriage in the Telugu- speaking areas of the Madras Presidency. Around the same time young intellectuals and reformers in Bombay pledged themselves to work for the same cause. In the north the founder of the Arya Samaj Swami Dayanand Saraswati also supported widow remarriage.

However, the movement did not get much success. The number of widows who actually remarried remained low. Those who remarried were not easily accepted in the society. The conservative people never approved the new law.

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

Answer: Tarabai Shindewas a woman who got education at home at Poona. She is better known for publishing a book named Stripurushtulna meaning a comparison between women and men. She, in this book, criticises the social differences between men and women. Pandita Ramabai was a great scholar of Sanskrit. She found Hinduism very oppressive towards women and wrote a book about the pathetic condition of Hindu women belonging to upper caste. She started a widow’s home at Poona to provide shelter to widows who had been maltreated by their husband’s relatives. Here women were given training to make them self-dependent.

4: Give a brief description of movements that were organised by people from within the lower castes against caste discrimination.

Answer: By the second half of the 19th century, people from within the lower castes began to raise voice against caste discrimination. They organised movements against this practice and demanded social equality and justice. The Satnami movement became famous in Central India. It was initiated by Ghasidas, who came from a low caste, worked among the leather workers and organised a movement to improve their social status.

In Eastern Bengal, Haridas Thakur’s Matua sect worked among low caste Chandala cultivators. Haridas questioned Brahmanical texts that supported the caste discrimination. Shri Narayana Guru belonged to Ezhavas, a low caste in present-day Kerala. He proclaimed the ideals unity of all people within one sect, a single caste and one god. By organising these movements the leaders coming from low-caste tried to create awareness amongst the lower castes.

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

Answer: E.V. Ramaswamy Naicker belonged to a middle-class family. He had been an ascetic in his early life and had studied Sanskrit scriptures carefully. Afterwards, he became a member of the Congress but quit it when he found that at a feast organised by nationalists, seating arrangements followed caste discrimination, i.e., the lower castes were made to sit at a distance from the upper-castes. He founded Self Respect Movement which inspired untouchables to fight for their dignity. 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 from all religions to achieve equal social status.

Long Answer Type Questions

1: Why were changes necessary in Indian society?

Answer: Indian society had been a prey to many evil practices for a long time. Men and women were treated differently. Women were subjected to many restrictions. They were not allowed to go to schools. They were not allowed to choose their husbands. Child-marriage was an established custom in the society. Most children were married off at an earl age. Both Hindu and Muslim men could many more than one wife. In some parts of the country, sati was in practice. Those widows were praised who chose death by burning themselves on the funeral pyre of their husbands. Women’s rights to property were also restricted.

One more evil practice that had crippled Indian society was that all people did not enjoy equal status. The upper-caste, consisted of Brahmans and Kshatriyas, availed all privileges. But other than these people were subjected to exploitation. The untouchables, who did menial works, were considered polluting. They were not allowed to enter temples, draw water from the well used by the upper castes. They were seen as inferior human beings.

These evil customs and practices had eclipsed the progress of society. Hence, debates and discussions began to take place from the early 19th century, with the development of new forms of communications. For the first time, books, newspapers, magazines, leaflets and pamphlets were printed. They spread awareness among the common mass.
Social reformers like Raja Rammohun Roy, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, came forward and took initiatives to bring changes in society by abolishing the evil practices one after Another.

2: How did women involve themselves in their upliftment?

Answer: By the end of the 19th century, Indian women themselves began to work for their upliftment. They began to get higher education in universities. Some of them trained to be doctors, some became teachers. Many women began to write and publish their critical views on the status of women in society. The name of Tarabai Shinde is worth-mentioning here. She got education at home at Poona. She published a book, Stripurushtulna, meaning a comparison between men and women. She criticised the social differences between men and women. Another woman, Pandita Ramabai, was a great scholar of Sanskrit.

She criticised Hinduism which was so oppressive towards women. She wrote a book about the miserable lives of upperrcaste Hindu women. She established a widow home at Poona to provide shelter to widows who had been ill-treated in their families. From the early 20 th century, Muslim women such the Begums of Bhopal and Begum Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain played active role in spreading education among Muslim girls. They founded schools for them. Begum Rokeya Sakhawat Hossairi fearlessly criticised the conservative ideas. She argued that religious leaders of every faith accorded an inferior position to women.

The orthodox Hindus and Muslims got alarmed to see all this. Several Hindu nationalists felt that Hindu women were adopting Western ways which would corrupt Hindu culture and erode family values. Orthodox Muslims were equally worried about the impact of these changes. Unaware of all these, women, from the early 20th century, began to form political associations, pressure groups to push through laws for female suffrage and better health care and education for them. Some of them even joined various kinds of nationalist and socialist movements from the 1920s.