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The Conflict of Women in 20th Century India Throughout recorded history women all over the world have been held to a different standard than men They have consistently been oppressed in nearly all aspects of life from political to personal In the 20th century though great strides have been taken to end this oppression and level the playing field However in India a number of deeply rooted traditions have made this effort all the more difficult and as a result womens triumphs over oppression in India are all the more intriguing To understand the position Women found themselves in at the dawn of the 20th century one must have a general understanding of their numerous historical conflicts unique to the Subcontinent It took the overwhelming success of Gandhis nonviolent revolution to create the an atmosphere whereby women empowered by the times could take a stand for their equality The 1970s saw the beginning of a highly organized modern womens movement in India One of the main focuses of the movement was violence Harassment wife-beating rape and dowry deaths were all too common and police enforcement was ineffective as were most attempts at prosecution Commonly called atrocities against women these acts were very common Why then if these events were so common was there so much apathy towards them on the part of the courts and the police To understand this one must look back upon a history marked by religiously and culturally accepted forms of oppression such as female infanticide polygamy purdah and sati Purdah still practiced today in many Moslem societies is the act of covering a women in cloth to protect them from the gaze of non-family males in order to maintain their purity This practice became common in India in the days of the sultanate From a traditional western perspective this is a very repressive requirement Gandhi took a particular pleasure in bringing women out of purdah Sati is
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