Suppression of Thuggee
Bentinck set up a special department under Sleeman in 1835.
During 1831-37 more than 3000 Thugs were convicted.
Aboliltion of Sati
In 1803 Wellesley proposed to abolish it, but failed.
In 1829, sati was declared illegal by Bentinck.
Emancipation of Women
Indian pressures to raise minimum marrige age, and to permit remarriage of
Government was persuaded by Vidyasagar to pass Hindu Widows
Remarriage Act of 1856.
Age of Consent Act (1891) by Lansdowne fixing 12 yrs for girls as
consummation age & Child Marriage Restraint or Sharda Act (1929) by Irwin
fixing marriageable age as 14 yrs for girls.
OBJECTS OF OFFICIAL SOCIAL LEGISLATION
The British government was anxious to avoid interfering in social order.
The Court of Directors put it in a dispatch sent in 1808 to Minto on the
subject of Christian missions. According to them, it was the government"s
function to preserve social order rather than to reform it.
But towards the end of 18th century, there had begun to grow in Britain, a
degree of pressure in favour of opening up Company"s dominions to
Christian proselytism. Evangelicals, like William Wilberforce in Britain
and Charles Grant in India, believed that government of India should
proceed against social evils.
The Company resisted both missionaries and reform, but terms of the
Charter Act of 1813 compelled it to allow some Christian activity in
Company territories. And government"s policy could not fail to be
influenced by general pressure against its toleration of less humane
practices of Hindu society.
Human Sacrifice and Female Infanticide