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...Who are these women you give such names to? Whose womb did you take your birth in? Who carried the killing burden of you for nine months? Who was the saint who made you the light in her eye, …How would you feel if someone said about your mother, “That old chap’s mother, you know, she’s a gateway to hell’. Or your sister, “That so-and so-s’ sister, she’s a real storehouse of deceit’. …Would you just sit and listen to their bad words?… …Then you get blessed with a bit of education and promoted to some important new office- and you start feeling ashamed of your first wife. Money works its influence on you and you begin to say to yourself, what does a wife matter after all? Don’t we just give them a few rupees a month and keep them at home like any other servant, to do the cooking and look after the house? You begin to think of her like some female slave you’ve paid for….If one of your horses died it wouldn’t take long to replace it, and there’s no great labour needed to get another wife either. ..The problem is Yama hasn’t got time to carry off wives fast enough, or you’d probably get through several different ones in one day! 

(a) Were social reform movements fought only by males? Give reasons for your answer. 

(b) Name any two women’s organisations.

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(a) No, social reform movements were not fought by males only. This can be justified by citing the literary works of two women authors Tarabai Shinde and Begum Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain. 

Stree Purush Tulana (or Comparison of Men and Women) was written by a Maharashtrian housewife, Tarabai Shinde, as a protest against the double standards of a male dominated society. A young Brahmin widow had been sentenced to death by the courts for killing her newborn baby because it was illegitimate, but no effort had been made to identify or punish the man who had fathered the baby. Stree Purush Tulana created quite a stir when it was published. Begum Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain was born in a well-to-do Bengali Muslim family, and was lucky to have a husband who was very liberal in outlook and encouraged her education first in Urdu and later in Bengali and English. She was already a successful author in Urdu and Bengali when she wrote Sultana’s Dream to test her abilities in English. This remarkable short story is probably the earliest example of science fiction writing in India, and among the first by a woman author anywhere in the world. In her dream, Sultana visits a magical country where the gender roles are reversed. Men are confined to the home and observe ‘purdah’ while women are busy scientists vying with each other at inventing devices that will control the clouds and regulate rain, and machines that fly or ‘air-cars’. 

(b) All-India Muslim Ladies Conference (Anjuman-E-Khawatn-E-Islam)

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