A Socio-Historical and Political Discourse on the Rights of Muslim Women: Concerns for Women's Rights or Community Identity (Special Reference to 1937 and 1939 Acts)

By Hussain, Sabiha | Journal of International Women's Studies, January 2015 | Go to article overview

A Socio-Historical and Political Discourse on the Rights of Muslim Women: Concerns for Women's Rights or Community Identity (Special Reference to 1937 and 1939 Acts)


Hussain, Sabiha, Journal of International Women's Studies


Women's Movement and Undivided Agenda of Women's Rights

From the early 19th century, the status of women became an issue of concern for uppercaste male and upper-class Hindu reformers. Early efforts by the reformers were against certain customs such as sati and the sanctions against widow re-marriage which were detrimental to the status of women. Later, they tried to educate women and bring them into public life. However, Indian men who encouraged women's education and the formation of social organization did not like women raising their voices about the ills of patriarchy (Forbes 1998:93). The women's movement in India emerged during the 1920s. The two organizations namely: Women's Indian Organization formed in 1917 and the All India Women's Conference (henceforth AIWC) by the Indian National Congress, formed in 1927 focused on the issues specific to women and their social and legal disabilities. And thus, started demanding for women's rights to divorce inherit, and control over property. The Begum of Bhopal, in her second annual meeting of the All-India Women's Conference in Delhi in 1928, strongly appealed the women to avoid the religious divisions and urged to work in solidarity to improve the quality of women's education, and rights for women. She particularly supported the Sarda bill, then in the legislature. Despite Muslim leaders opposing the amendment of this Act (to exclude Muslims from this Act), the women's organisations tried to remained united on this issue. Muslim women members of the AIWC presented a memorial in support of the Sarda Act and told the Viceroy:

'We, speaking also on behalf of the Muslim women of India, assert that it is only a small section of Mussalman men who have been approaching your Excellency and demanding exemption from the Act. This Act affects girls and women far more than it affects men, and we deny their right to speak on our behalf (Forbes 1998:89).

In 1931, Begum Shahnawaz reiterated the need for women's unity and appealed to Hindu and Muslim women to work together for the benefit of all Indian women. Thus, the women's movement in India tried to develop a broader political, social and economic agenda in which legislative changes have been the cutting edge of induced social change. Abru Begam urged women to support the campaign to raise the age of consent for marriage in 1929. Begum Jehan Ara Shahnawaz, passed a resolution against polygamy in the session held at Lahore in 1918. She pointed out that Indian unity was only possible through its women, and in a message to south Indian women, she made an appeal that all women work together for the upliftment of Indian women.

The women's organisations categorically advocated the issues of inheritance, marriage and guardianship of children. The ultimate goal was to have a new law (Renuka Ray, AIWC Files no. 84) for all women, irrespective of caste or religion. Hence, all through the 1930s women's organisations formed committees on legal status, undertook studies of the laws, talked to lawyers, published pamphlets on women's position and encouraged various pieces of legislation to enhance women's status. However, women realized that all Assembly bills that were introduced during the 1930s, was a piecemeal approach to improving women's status. Also it became apparent that male reformers and women's organisations had differing concepts of women's legal needs. For instance, 'For Muslim reformers, considerations of women's position in the family and plans for women's education was more on household customs and rituals, of purdah, and of Islamic law as it pertained to women' (Minault,1998:6). But the women's organisations were more concerned with the rights and protection of women without being affected by other considerations. Women like Muthulakshmi, Renuka, Mrs. Damle and Hamid Ali were not satisfied with these piecemeal acts and wanted comprehensive legislation accompanied by social and economic change instead (Forbes 1998). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

A Socio-Historical and Political Discourse on the Rights of Muslim Women: Concerns for Women's Rights or Community Identity (Special Reference to 1937 and 1939 Acts)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.