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Impact of the Reform Movement

As a result of reform movements significant advances were made in the field of emancipation of women. Legal measures were introduced to elevate their status. The practice of sati and infanticide were made illegal. In 1856 a law was passed permitting widow remarriage .Another law passed in 1860 raised the marriageable age of girls to ten which was a significant advance in those days. Many superstitions also began to disappear. The reform movements that grew differed from each other in many parts but they all helped in awakening the people to the need for change. The reform movements contributed a great deal to the birth of Indian nationalism. These were country-wide movements influencing people everywhere and not just in isolation.

The reform activities united people and the attack on institutions like caste which hampered social unity created a sense of oneness in the people. But most of these reform movements had certain limitations. The questions to which they gave primacy concerned only small sections of Indian society. Some of them failed to emphasize or even recognize that colonial rule was inimical to the interests of the Indian people. Most of them worked within the framework of their respective communities in a way tended to promote identities based on religion or caste. Many of these limitations were sought to be overcome during the course of the national movement with which many social and religious reformers were closely associated. Indian nationalism aimed at the regeneration of the entire Indian society irrespective of caste and community. It was no longer necessary to confine the movement of social reform to one’s own community.