Coupon Accepted Successfully!


Changing the Lives of Widows

Rammohun Roy was well versed in Sanskrit, Persian and several other Indian and European languages. Roy pointed out to the people that ‘sati’ was not practiced during the olden days. Through his writings he condemned the practice of ‘sati’. As the British were also opposed to the practice of ‘sati’ they supported Roy and a law was passed banning ‘sati’ in the year 1829.


The approach taken by Rammohun was used by later reformers as well. Whenever they wished to challenge a practice that seemed harmful, they tried to find a verse or sentence in the ancient sacred texts that supported their point of view. They then suggested that the practice as it existed at present was against early tradition.

Ishwarchandra Vidyasaga

Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar


Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was a Bengali scholar and a pillar of the Bengal Renaissance. He was an academic, philosopher, educator, printer, entrepreneur, writer, translator, reformer and philanthropist. His efforts to simplify and modernize Bangla prose were significant. He also rationalised and simplified the Bengali alphabet.

  • Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar suggested that widows could remarry.

  • His suggestion was adopted by British officials, and a law was passed in 1856 permitting widow remarriage.

  • Many were against the remarriage of widows. They opposed Vidyasagar and boycotted him.

  • During the second half of the nineteenth century, the movement in favour of widow remarriage spread to other parts of the country.

  • In the Madras Presidency, Veerasalingam Pantulu formed an association for widow remarriage.

                                                    Veerasalingam Pantulu

Veerasalingam Pantulu


Veerasalingam was one of the greatest personalities and earliest reformers in India to demand for radical changes in Telugu Indian society. He had a keen insight, great courage and dynamic energy. He fought against untruth and championed the cause of progress with vigour. He fought for education for women, and remarriage of widows. He started Vivekavardhini, a monthly journal, to point out and criticize the defects in the society.

In 1874, he established a girls school at Dhavaleswaram to encourage women's education. In 1884, he established another school for girls in Rajamundry.


At the same time reformers in Bombay also started advocating widow remarriage.

Swami Dayanand Saraswati, who founded the Arya Samaj, supported widow remarriage.

                                              Swami Dayananda Saraswati

Swami Dayanand Saraswati


Swami Dayananda Saraswati was an important Hindu religious scholar and the founder of the Arya Samaj, a Hindu reform movement, founded in 1875.

In spite of all the efforts made by the reformers the number of widows who actually remarried was very low. Those who married were not easily accepted in society. Many traditional groups continued to oppose the new law.

Test Your Skills Now!
Take a Quiz now
Reviewer Name