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The Indian Nationalist Movement and Gender Relations

            India's nation-state is widely inhomogeneous throughout history between both male and female social status in society. In order to fathom the extent of gender inequalities, a chronological view over three distinct phases ensues. The Women's Movements; Nineteenth Century Social Reform Movement, Twentieth Century Freedom Movement and Women's Rights Movement in post 1975 period, have brought to the forefront a wide range of gender relations. The focused Nationalist Movement was a step forward for women through infinite policies, however it is evident that positive change can only be achieved through such practicalities. Within this essay the extent of change will be realized, yet limited to continued male empowering traditions. These traditions will be exemplified and contrasted to successes as a result of the movement, portraying whether the amount of change outweighs the continued inequalities in Modern India. .
             To understand a change in gender relations, women's preliminary societal positions must be underlined. Ironically, women in ancient India were held in high esteem. Old writings within the 'Vedas and the Upanishads' label women as 'maata (mother) or Devi (goddess)', denoting worth and preciousness for women.1 It was male responsibility to look after women, brothers and husbands would look after their women by any means. Numerous scholars also attribute women as being intellectuals, with vast females being educated. Ancient Indian Grammarians, such as 'Patanjali and Katyayana' write that women were educated in many ways early in the Vedic period.2 This education coincided to women having a voice, the power of important decision-making, including free will to choose their husband. The ancient system of "Swayamyara" amplifies the right of free choice for a female, portraying equilibrium of sorts between man and woman. However, with all various forms of prestige for women, men were distinctly superior.

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