DMPQ- Trace the steps taken by Indian Intellectuals and British governments for Gender rights in 19th century.

. Because of the indefatigable efforts of the reformers, a number of administrative measures were adopted by the government to improve the condition of women.

Abolition of Sati Influenced by the frontal attack launched by the enlightened Indian reformers led by Raja Rammohan Roy, the government declared the practice of sati illegal and punishable by criminal courts as culpable homicide. The regulation of 1829 (Regulation XVII, A.D. 1829 of the Bengal Code) was applicable in the first instance to Bengal Presidency alone, but was extended in slightly modified forms to Madras and Bombay Presidencies in 1830.

Preventing Female Infanticide The practice of murdering female infants immediately after their birth was a common practice among upper class Bengalis and Rajputs who considered females to be an economic burden. The Bengal regulations of 1795 and 1804 declared infanticide illegal and equivalent to murder. An Act passed in 1870 made it compulsory for parents to register the birth of all babies and provided for verification of female children for some years after birth, particularly in areas where the custom was resorted to in utmost secrecy.

Widow Remarriage The Brahmo Samaj had the issue of widow remarriage high on its agenda and did much to popularise it. But it was mainly due to the efforts of Pandit Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar (1820-91), the principal of Sans- krit College, Calcutta, that the Hindu Widows’ Remarriage Act, 1856, was passed; it legalised marriage of widows and declared issues from such marriages as legitimate. Vidyasagar cited Vedic texts to prove that the Hindu religion sanctioned widow remarriage.

The Native Marriage Act (or Civil Marriage Act), 1872 signified legislative action in prohibiting child marriage. It had a limited impact as the Act was not applicable to Hindus, Muslims and other recognised faiths. The relentless efforts of a Parsi reformer, B.M. Malabari, were rewarded by the enactment of the Age of Consent Act (1891) which forbade the marriage of girls below the age of 12.

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