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Kerala PSC Indian History Book Study Materials Page 1801Book's First Page
the triple vow of the modern man. But Vivekananda regarded most of the social reform programs of his contemporaries as inadequate to the great task of “national reconstruction.” Change was essential but not through reliance on Western guidance. It must come from the people, guided and educated by the intelligentsia. Age of Consent Act The debate over the Age of Consent Act in 1891, an Act to raise the age of consent from ten to twelve, degenerated into a battle for control of Indian women’s sexuality. By this time, many of the best- educated and influential men were involved with nationalist politics and the “woman question” was no longer a subject on which educated Indians and British rulers could agree. But these issues were not discarded as the “new women” moved forward to set up their own organisations and reorganise social reform priorities. Linking Women’s Emancipation with Modernisation The changes these male reformers proposed could not resolve the “woman question.” They had little understanding of women’s lives beyond those of women in their own families. Moreover, many of them doubted the efficacy of legal measures even as these changes were enacted. Nevertheless, the steps taken by these respectable and well-educated Indian men linked improving women’s status with the modernisation agenda. Their campaign set in motion, further attempts to establish institutions that would be supportive of a new generation of women leaders. CHRISTIAN MISSIONARY ACTIVITIES Arrival of Missionaries Christianity came to India with St. Thomas in 52 AD. When Portuguese traders came to India in the 16th century, the total number of Indian Christians was not less than one and a half lakh. After British acquired political control in India, demand for spreading Christianity in India started in England. Religious-minded civil servants felt that Indian society was haunted by idolatry and other superstitions and thought that only salvation to this society was to turn it to Christianity.