This independent study attempts to examine the motives behind several movements for policy changes in colonial India between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries. Movements for policy changes included a delegation of Indian women advocating for their right to vote, the ban on a ritual known as sati, and the promotion of female education to Indian women. Those who advocated for these changes included Indian reformists, British colonial politicians, and British Christian missionaries. I argue that British politicians were motivated by the desire to maintain colonial rule in India, as well as to enforce Christian values on India’s population. British missionaries were motivated to educate Indian women and convert them to Christianity due to the literature written about Indian Hindu women in Britain during the 1800’s that portrayed Indian Hindu women as violent and uncivilized. Indian reformists were motivated to change policies surrounding Indian women due to their ideal visions of what a women’s place should have been in Indian society. Other possible influences in Indian reformists’ motivations were the societal and political changes that occurred due to the British presence in India, as well as the desire to maintain high societal status under the colonial rule.


Ng, Margaret




Social and Behavioral Sciences


India, women

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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