Essay Sample on Culture and Bias In "Married Life" By Pandita Ramabai

Published: 2023-10-09
Essay Sample on Culture and Bias In "Married Life" By Pandita Ramabai
Essay type:  Book review
Categories:  Women Culture Books Essays by pagecount Historical & political figures
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1740 words
15 min read

Pandita Ramabai has been an iconic woman in her profession. Her writings still critique the Hindu society years after her death. Throughout "The High-Caste Hindu Woman," Pandita presents quite a sharp argument and criticizes the gender and caste divisions that are visible in the Hindu society. Pandita Ramabai was a lecturer who founded the Arya Mahila Samaj. That was a foundation that she used to prevent the early marriages of children and promote the education of women in general.

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The "Married Life" by Pandita Ramabai is the third chapter in her book "The High Caste Hindu Woman." The book published in 1887 was a highlight of Hindu women's conditions during the period. However, more than a century later, the conditions addressed by Pandita Ramabai are still being experienced by the Hindu woman (Sarasvati 30). The paper will analyze the author's thoughts about how the Hindu culture is biased towards the girl child. So much is expected from a girlchild compared to their male counterparts.

The author furthermore analyzes how the Hindu culture has taken advantage of the ladies with them cooperating under the veil of ignorance. The society has made the Hindu woman believe that this veil that they view as honorable is worthy of being worn with uttermost pride. The paper will further analyze Pandita Ramabai's view on topics like the marriage age, trends, partner choice, and marriage according to the classification of class. The author of the book, born to a high caste Hindu family, discusses just how the society viewed her after she decided to marry a person from a lower caste. This research paper will examine culture and bias experienced in "Married Life" by Pandita Ramabai and how it relates to the daily life of a Hindu woman.

Background of The Author and Book

Married life consists of a union between two people who come together intending to become a family. "Married Life" is the third topic of the book "The High Caste Hindu Woman" by Pandita Ramabai. The book, published in 1887, highlights the conditions of Indian women as of that time. Pandita was one of the Indian social reformers who dedicated her efforts to the emancipation and education of women in India. She was born into a high caste but later married a man in a lower caste than hers. That provided a basis for her exploration of a Hindu woman's position in the institution of marriage (Wesley 53). She analyses the culture's bias in the expectations that they have for the women in relevance to marriage.

Pandita Ramabai created a society "Arya Mahila Samaj," which promoted women's education and was dedicated to the deliverance of children from early marriage. In her book, she examines how some of the practices have been outlawed like the marriage age, marriage according to the social class of people, the trends of marriage available in that period, and the choice that a person ahead of a partner (Brooks et al., 11387). She draws comparisons from the culture in America of how things are done there compared to how they are handled in India. This paper will consider these conditions and analyze them in detail, providing shreds of evidence of the cultural bias that is evident in how women and children are portrayed in "married life" in comparison to their fellow counterparts.

The High-Caste Hindu Woman

Social class or caste, as it was known in the Indian society was something that was widely observed by the Hindus. That is a culture that has been embraced for an extended period. It was unfair to the lower caste of Hindu compared to other religions that do not limit whom one can associate with or fall in love with. It was quite uncommon to see a person from a higher caste of Hindu marrying a partner from a lower-case Hindu (Wesley 64). The differentiation of classes was quite evident in that the parents would not search for their children's partners from a type of people below theirs. That is evident in the background of the author in her book. She was born into the higher caste of Hindu, who was viewed highly by society as people at an upper level.

However, after her parents' death, she was a shocker to the whole community by marrying a lower caste Hindu. She was introduced to Christianity after reading the book of Luke from her husbands' library. After his death, she moved to America and wrote her book "The High Caste Hindu Woman." The book was aimed at shedding light on the atrocities that the women in India faced (Puchner et al., 506). Her example of marrying against society's expectations was a good example of defying a culture that was not entirely healthy for the growth of a community. Few suitors would offer to marry women from a poor background, which brought a sort of bias to the societies even though they were of a higher caste.

Caste was viewed as of more importance compared to wealth since a man would not accept to wed his daughter to a low caste family. According to the married life", in the selection of a partner for their daughter, parents would always consider choosing a wealthy suitor for their daughter. The man's preference would be over and above the fundamental merits that one may look for in a man like the ability to provide, respectable character, and the possession of good qualities. That was mainly because the children were often selected when still so young (Puchner et al., 510). The women's parents were okay as long as their daughter would be married off to a household that could cater to her.

Marriage Age

The perfect age for a person to settle down and get married has been quite a subject for argument across the various groups. According to "Married Life" by Pandita Ramabai, there are claims about the existence of a culture of marrying off girls between eight and twelve years. This culture has been in place for more than half a century, and the people were getting quite used to it. The younger she is when she was being given away, the more the society accepted the marriage. It was so viral until the young girls in the were often dreaming of being wed off since it was a massive event (Puchner et al., 510). According to Ramabai, her depiction of this Indian culture compared to the American ways of treating children and women shows that the Hindu women were not wholly given a chance to express themselves.

The culture that dictated the marriage age was quite biased toward the women and children since it was quite demanding of them. The younger the lady was, the easier it was for her to secure a husband marry her. It was often that fathers gave away their daughters at just a mere assurance from a stranger who wants to marry them. The agreement would be completed in a little while, and the fate of a young child decided just like that (Puchner et al., 511). The only time a woman was free in that society was when they had termed a child since they could move freely. However, as soon as the yoke of marriage is placed upon them, they, in turn, have to forfeit their childhood and serve their husband.

According to today's standards, many of the young marriages described in "Married Life" by Pandita Ramabai would be termed pedophiliac. Years back, while the average age of marriage was about 20 and 22 in America, Indian women tied a knot. At the same time, they were a lot younger (Puchner et al., 508). Even though the author tries explaining that a second ceremony to unite the child to the groom is done as soon as the child attains puberty, she is still too young to be engaged.

Choice of A Partner

Ramabai explains clearly in "Married Life" that quite a several men and women chose whom they wanted to marry. For those who chose their partners, the society was lenient on them; however, the customs were slightly different from those in America since a woman in Hindu was not judged for starting a marriage decision. However, many Hindu girls did not quite have this privilege since they were promised to a man as soon as they were born. There was a belief that the parents were rewarded in heaven for successfully finding their daughter a good husband at a young age (Puchner et al., 510). That contributed to the arrangement of many marriages at a young age by the family barber. The salvation of women depended on them getting married compared to the men who could remain single through some loopholes.

The lower caste families are often forced to marry off their daughters to middle-aged men in situations where there are no many young men to marry their daughters. However, there was a custom of astrological readings. Some pairings were rejected because the horoscopes revealed the incompatibility of their guardian planets (Puchner et al., 511). However, in other cultures like America, people are not accustomed to horoscopic readings and arranged marriages. There is much bias in this culture because the ladies and children are not allowed to decide their marriage partners. However, instead, their parents take it upon themselves.


The "Married Life" by Pandita Ramabai was one of the avenues that the writer used to address the various mishaps in her Hindu society. According to caste, the segregation, the selection of partners, and the marriage age were among the issues that she addressed in her book. The liberation of society's culture and bias of Hindu women has taken some strides since the author's advocation. However, there are still many things that the Hindus can borrow from other cultures concerning how they partake in some of their cultures.

Works Cited

Brooks, Benjamin A., Karla Hoff, and Priyanka Pandey. "Cultural impediments to learning to cooperate: An experimental study of high-and low-caste men in rural India." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 115.45 (2018): 11385-11392.

Puchner, Martin, et al., eds. The Norton Anthology of World Literature. London and New York: WW Norton, 2018.https://pdfs.semanticscholar.orgSarasvati, Ramabai. The high-caste Hindu woman. No. 2307. Press of the JB Rodgers Print. Company, 1888

Wesley, Y. Samuel Y. Samuel P. "SOCIAL REFORM MOVEMENT FOR EMANCIPATION OF WOMEN IN 19TH AND 20TH CENTURY INDIA: A STUDY OF PANDITA RAMABAI." PEOPLE: International Journal of Social Sciences 3.2 (2017).

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