Get here the summary, questions, answers, textbook solutions, extras, and pdf of Chapter 2 “Reform: Characteristics and Observations” of the West Bengal Board (WBBSE) Class 10 (Madhyamik) History (Social Science) textbook. However, the given notes/solutions should only be used for references and should be modified/changed according to needs.
Summary: In the 19th century, Bengal was the centre of the literary world. Bengali newspapers and journals have contributed mightily to the spread of information across India. Hickey’s Bengal Gazette was the first Indian newspaper. It came out in Calcutta in 1780. Bengali journalism dates back to 1818. The Serampore Baptist Mission put out periodicals like “Samachar Darpan” and “Digdarshan.” Under the patronage of Raja Rammohan Roy, “Sambad Kaumudi” was published in 1821. Later, newspapers and magazines like “Hutom Pyanchar Naksha,” “Nil Darpan,” “Hindoo Patriot,” “Grambarta Prakashika,” “Somprakash,” and “Sambad Prabhakar” wrote about the social and political problems of the time. To combat the many oppressive forces targeting women, the “Bamabodhini Patrika” spoke out.
As a company, the English East India Company did not care about the Indians’ academic progress. As the need for high-quality clerks with low salaries grew, the British set up a number of colleges and universities. Lord Wellesley started Fort William College in Calcutta in 1800 so that the city’s young people could get an education.
A significant contribution was made by Christian missionaries to the dissemination of western education. Western education flourished thanks to the work of Rammohan Roy, David Hare, and Radhakanta Deb. In the beginning, the Charter Act of 1813 mandated that the Company allocate one lakh rupees toward improving India’s educational system. The proposed use of such a large sum of money sparked an Anglicist-Orientalist debate. In the end, Bentinck, who supported the English-only education policy, prevailed in 1835.
It wasn’t until 1854 that the famous Education Despatch of Charles Wood appeared, outlining the principle of a “graded educational system from the primary to the university.” The Calcutta Medical College was founded in 1835. Calcutta University was founded in 1857. According to Wood’s Despatch, a commission led by W.W. Hunter was established in 1882, ushering in a pivotal period in the development of western education in India.
Female education was also prioritised and given a boost. In 1849, J.D. Bethune and Vidyasagar established what would become known as Bethune College in Calcutta as an institution dedicated to the education of women. Later, in 1890, the Brahmo Balika Shikshalaya was founded.
Casteism, untouchability, child marriage, polygamy, female infanticide, sati, etc. were just some of the religious and social ills that plagued Bengal in the nineteenth century. In the second half of the 19th century, there were social and religious reform movements that tried to fix what was wrong with society. The social and religious reform movements were led by figures such as Rammohan Roy, Derozio, Keshab Chandra Sen, and Vidyasagar, among many others. They spoke out against society’s harmful norms and practises.
Different Acts were passed to put an end to these evil customs after persistent opposition from the Brahmo Samaj. The Young Bengal, inspired by Derozio’s leadership, brought about an understanding of the need for social and religious changes. A cultural and intellectual reawakening occurred in 19th-century Bengal, comparable to the European Renaissance of the 16th century. Main manifestations of the renaissance in Bengal included the proliferation of newspapers, periodicals, and literary works as well as the introduction of western education and ideas.
In addition to Rammohan Roy, Akshay Kumar Dutta, Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar, Madhusudan Dutta, Hem Chandra Banerjee, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, Dinabandhu Mitra, etc., the history of Bengali literature is filled with illustrious names. Several Bengali scientists, most notably Satyendranath Bose, Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis, and Jagadish Chandra Bose, were instrumental in advancing scientific knowledge. Bengal’s part in the modern awakening is akin to Italy’s during the Renaissance in Europe.
Very short questions and answers
1. Who wrote ‘Hutom Pyanchar Naksha’?
Answer: Kaliprasanna Singha wrote ‘Hutom Pyanchar Naksha’.
2. Who wrote ‘Nil Darpan’?
Answer: Dinabandhu Mitra wrote ‘Nil Darpan’.
3. When was the National Theatre in Kolkata founded?
Answer: The National Theatre was founded in Kolkata in 1872.
4. When was the Vernacular Press Act passed?
Answer: In 1878, lawmakers enacted the Vernacular Press Act.
5. What was the name of the first newspaper published in Kolkata?
Answer: The first newspaper to come out of Kolkata was called the Bengal Gazette.
6. When and against whom did the indigo rebellion erupt?
Answer: In 1858–59, a revolt against British indigo planters known as the “Indigo Rebellion” took place.
7. Who founded the Serampore Baptist Mission?
Answer: The Baptist Mission at Serampore was established by William Carey, Marshman, and Ward.
8. Who was the Calcutta Asiatic Society’s founder?
Answer: The Calcutta Asiatic Society was established by William Jones.
9. Name two books written by Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar.
Answer: Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar authored the books Varnaparichay and Kathamala.
10. Name the college founded by Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar.
Answer: Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar founded the prestigious Metropolitan College.
11. Who were Calcutta University’s first female graduates?
Answer: The first two women to graduate from Calcutta University were Kadambini Ganguly and Chandramukhi Basu.
12. Who was the first Indian to perform a human dissection?
Answer: Indian physician Madhusudan Gupta was the first to dissect a human body.
13. Who founded the Bharat Varshiya Brahmo Samaj?
Answer: It was Keshab Chandra Sen who established the Bharat Varshiya Brahmo Samaj.
14. Who started the anti-sati movement?
Answer: Rammohan Roy started the anti-sati movement.
15. When was the sati system abolished and by whom?
Answer: The sati system was abolished in the year 1829 by Lord William Bentinck.
16. When and who founded the Widow Remarriage Society?
Answer: Widow Remarriage Society was founded in 1850 by Vishnu Shastri Pandit.
17. Who established the Ramakrishna Mission?
Answer: Swami Vivekananda established the Ramakrishna Mission.
18. When was the Widow Remarriage Act passed?
Answer: In 1856, legislators enacted the Widow Remarriage Act.
19. Who wrote Anandamath?
Answer: The author of Anandamath is Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay.
Short questions and answers
1. How did ‘Hutom Pyanchar Naksha’ expose Calcutta’s Babu culture?
Answer: A vivid portrait of the mental decline of the Bengali middle class, or Babu, was painted by Kaliprasanna Singha in his classic work, Hutom Pyanchar Naksha. He had a lot of harsh words for the “Babus,” or English-educated, blind devotees of Western culture. The book pokes fun at the ‘Babus’ for their absurd fusion of eastern and western culture.
2. What were the highlights of the weekly newspaper ‘Hindoo Patriot’?
Answer: The main themes of the newspaper “Hindoo Patriot” were protests against the Vernacular Press Act and the Immigration Bill, as well as the exposure of oppression by indigo planters in Bengal. It helped sway public opinion against polygamy and in favour of equal education opportunities for women.
3. What sparked the nineteenth-century socio-religious reform movements in India?
Answer: Education from the West familiarised Indians with the more liberal and progressive ideas of the West. Reason and discretion had to take the place of their previously held beliefs. As a result of this shift in perspective, social and religious reform movements emerged in the nineteenth century.
4. Who were the Young Bengals? What were Young Bengal’s goals?
Answer: A group of Hindu College students, inspired by their professor Henry Louis Vivian Derozio, launched a vigorous rationalist reform movement in the 1920s. Krishna Mohan Banerjee, Rasik Krishna Mallick, Radhanath Sikdar, Ramtanu Lahiri, etc., were some of Derozio’s favourite students, and they were referred to as Young Bengal.
They fought back against social ills like sati, untouchability, casteism, and more. They hoped that by introducing Western ideas to India, they could help her develop more quickly. Their goal was to liberate the Indian people from poverty, illiteracy, and superstition so that they could be remade in the image of the West.
5. Who established the Brahmo Samaj? What social reform objectives did it pursue?
Answer: Raja Rammohan Roy is credited as the founder of the Brahmo Samaj. The Brahmo Samaj was a social reform movement that sought to increase religious tolerance and promote a shared belief in the oneness of God and man.
6. What exactly does ‘Nababidhan’ mean?
Answer: In the 19th century, Bengal saw great social reform from Keshab Chandra Sen. He was swayed by Ramkrishna Paramhansa. In an effort to reconcile the best of Christianity with the tenets of Hinduism, he founded a syncretic school of spiritualism known as the “Nababidhan,” or New Dispensation. This synthesis of religious ideas encouraged brotherhood and love while condemning societal ills. The doctrine “God is conscience” was thus formulated.
7. What doctrine did Swami Vivekananda present at Chicago’s Parliament of Religions?
Answer: At the Parliament of Religions (1893) in Chicago, Swami Vivekananda articulated the Hindu faith’s core principles. Essentially, he declared Vedanta to be the world’s greatest universal religion. He spoke about the inclusiveness of Indian culture and how it treats everyone as a brother, both friends and foes.
8. Who was Haji Muhammad Mohsin?
Answer: Haji Muhammad Mohsin was a major contributor to the Bengali community. He went on a spiritual quest that took him to Mecca, Medina, Kufa, and Karbala. He became known as “Haji” after completing the Hajj. He invested heavily in bringing quality education to the Muslim world. When he had extra cash, he donated it to charities that helped the less fortunate.
9. Write a note on Lalon Fakir?
Answer: Lalon Fakir was a mystic, songwriter, philosopher, and social reformer from Bengal. He is revered as a symbol of religious tolerance because his music influenced the likes of Rabindranath Tagore, Nazrul Islam, and other prominent poets, thinkers, and religious figures. He did not discriminate based on religion or social status, and the songs he wrote were about universal issues.
Long questions and answers
1. Discuss the role of the ‘Bamabodhini Patrika’ in bringing about women’s empowerment.
Answer: Following are some ways in which the “Bamabodhini Patrika” contributed to the empowerment of women.
i. Published in Bengali for the first time in 1863, “Bamabodhini Partika” was a colonial Bengali periodical that focused primarily on issues affecting women. “Nurture the girl and educate her with care” was the opening line of each issue.
ii. Each piece focused on empowering female readers in some way. According to the available issues of the patrika, the publication cared deeply about empowering women economically and socially, especially through education.
iii. The essays highlighted the plight of women in society and education, and offered solutions to help women catch up.
iv. The changing roles of women in society and the home were chronicled in ‘Bamabodhini.’ Some of the essays discussed the roles that educated women should play in society, while others discussed the concept of the “ideal woman” in Bengali culture.
v. The importance of girls’ education, housework, the characteristics of a good mother, the institution of marriage, the status of widows in society, and widow remarriage were also discussed.
vi. It spoke out against all groups that sought to subjugate women. The patrika was instrumental in bringing about a dramatic shift in social norms.
2. What role did “Hindoo Patriot” play in raising national consciousness?
Answer: English-language weekly ‘Hindoo Patriot’ appeared in Calcutta in the second half of the nineteenth century. While Harish Chandra Mukherjee was the magazine’s editor, it became a platform for criticising imperial policies. It became famous for its efforts to shed light on the mistreatment of indigo workers in Bengal. Educated Indians voiced their disapproval of the government’s treatment of the poor indigo ryots in editorials published on a regular basis. When one Jagadananda Mukherjee hosted the Prince of Wales in late 1875, the ‘Hindoo Patriot’ wrote in his paper about the national sentiment behind laws like the Immigration Bill, the Vernacular Press Act, and the Ilbert Bill. He spoke out against the Immigration Bill, which he compared to the Slave Law of India, for its treatment of tea workers.
3. What was Grambarta Prakashika’s depiction of society?
Answer: Grambarta Prakashika, edited by Harinath Majumdar in 19th-century Bengal, was a crucial publication in documenting the social climate of the time. The following are examples of aspects of society that “Grambarta Prakashika” depicts:
i. Grambarta Prakashika depicted the plight of society and its people as a result of the severe social and economic oppression imposed by the British Raj.
ii. The Zamindars and the moneylenders backed the British in their oppression of the common people. ‘Grambarta Prakashika’ painted a bleak picture of the state of affairs that these oppressions had brought about in Bengal.
iii. It all started in 1873 in Sirajganj, with a revolt of the common people. For the afflicted masses, “Grambarta Prakashika” provided a voice of protest. The ‘Grambarta Prakashika’ newspaper was instrumental in informing the public about the plight of the people, even during the famines of 1876.
iv. For a short time, Harinath Majumdar was employed at an indigo farm. In his time there, he witnessed firsthand the cruelty the indigo plantation owners showed to the local ryots and farmers. Harinath’s ‘Grambarta Prakashika’ was full of reports of oppression and torture like this.
v. Grambarta Prakashika painted a harrowing picture of the inhumane treatment and endless torture endured by the common people of rural Bengal and the condition of their lives under the oppression of the British Raj.
vi. The pages of “Grambarta Prakashika” depicted the brutality of the British Raj, but they also featured articles on literature, philosophy, science, news of revolutionary activities, etc. Grambarta Prakashika was also the first publication to feature Lalon Fakir’s music.
4. What were the consequences of Western education’s spread in India in the nineteenth century?
Answer: Multiple shifts occurred in Indian society after the introduction of western education, some of which were:
i. The widespread adoption of western education woke Indians up from their slumber during the middle ages.
ii. The spread of Western ideas about democracy, freedom, equality, secularism, nationalism, etc. among educated Indians proved to be a boon.
iii. It established a rigorous standard of rational thought, ushering in an era in which scientific scepticism supplanted religious dogma and irrational superstition gave way to empirical evidence.
iv. The Brahmo Samaj, Prarthana Samaj, Arya Samaj, and other reform groups thus emerged in the early 19th century.
iv. The Indian people developed a strong interest in learning about their past and culture. The study of India’s history and culture was given a significant boost.
v. The middle class was a direct result of the proliferation of western education, and it was the middle class’s growing political awareness that helped to spread the idea of national solidarity.
vi. The introduction of Western education also had some unintended consequences. The educated youth looked down on their own culture, and a wide chasm opened up between them and the rest of India.
5. Give a brief history of Vidyasagar’s Widow Remarriage movement.
Write about the contribution of Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar.
Answer: A great social reformer, Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar, fought for widow remarriage and worked to better the lives of widows in Hindu society. Seeing the plight of widows and wanting to do something about it, Vidyasagar began a campaign to encourage widows to remarry. His various essays in the Tattwabodhini Patrika aimed to shift public opinion in favour of widow remarriage. He petitioned the British government for a law allowing widows to remarry, gathering nearly a thousand signatures. A law was passed in 1856 called the Hindu Widow Remarriage Act, which made it possible for Hindu widows to remarry. When it came to passing the act, Vidyasagar was instrumental.
The first legal Hindu widow remarriage took place on December 7, 1856, under the close supervision of Vidyasagar. Twenty-five widows remarried between 1856 and 186.
6. Why is Rammohan Roy known as India’s “First Modern Man”?
Answer: For many reasons, Rammohan Roy is considered the “First Modern Man of India.” Numerous rationalist and reform movements can trace their origins to him, and they are largely responsible for India’s Modern’ status today. He was, in a sense, India’s “First Modern Man.” Throughout the nineteenth century, Indian society was plagued by a number of social and religious ills. Many activists worked to eradicate these ills from society. One such social activist is Raja Rammohan Roy. Rammohan was a pioneer in every field of contemporary life, from science and education to literature and religion to politics. When it came to promoting the importance of educating women and adopting western education methods, he was a pioneer among Indians. He was well-informed about India’s plight under British rule. Yet he believed that the Indians’ failure to cultivate Western knowledge and technology would prevent them from establishing a progressive, modern society and culture.
7. Examine the Brahmo Samaj’s role in 19th-century social reform movements.
Answer: Following are some ways in which the Brahmo Samaj’s significant contribution to 19th-century social reform movements can be discussed:
i. The Brahmo Samaj, established in 1828 and led by Rammohan Roy, was a major force in the social reform movements of the nineteenth century.
ii. At the time, evils such as sati, female infanticide, child marriage, the purdah system, caste divisions, and untouchability were commonplace. Common social norms were criticised by the Brahmo Samaj.
iii. Various acts, advocated by the Samaj, were passed to put an end to these evils after they were met with staunch opposition from the Brahmo Samaj. A law prohibiting the practise of sati was enacted in 1829. The practise of female infanticide, child marriage, and the caste system were all outlawed as well.
iv. As a result of Rammohan Roy’s teachings, remarriage among widows and unions between members of different castes became more common. The rigidity of the caste system was weakened by inter-caste marriages as well. There is much that can be attributed to the Brahmo Samaj in terms of democratising access to education for women and the working class.
8. Write about the Bengal Renaissance?
Answer: The 19th century in Bengal saw a cultural and intellectual rebirth that echoes the European Renaissance of the previous century. Contact with the West played a significant role in fostering this phenomenon. Bengal experienced a period of great cultural, literary, religious, and political growth during this time. The transition from the Middle Ages to the Modern Era in Bengal was marked by the rise of many influential figures, including religious and social reformers, writers, scholars, journalists, scientists, and patriots. The emergence of many periodicals, journals, and newspapers, literary works, the development of many associations and societies, and the proliferation of western education, ideas, and beliefs were all significant outward manifestations of the renaissance in Bengal.
Legends like Rammohan Roy, Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar, Akshay Kumar Dutta, Michael Madhusudan Dutta, Hem Chandra Banerjee, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, Dinabandhu Mitra, etc., have all made their mark on Bengali literature. They were the first to write fiction, drama, and poetry in Bengali. There were also movements to end religious superstitions and to empower women, as well as reform movements in other areas of society. A number of Bengali scientists, including Anil Kumar Gayen, Satyendranath Bose, Jagadish Chandra Bose, and Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis, were instrumental in pushing scientific progress forward.
As Italy was to the European Renaissance, so was Bengal to the Indian awakening.
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