Q. Consider the following statements about the status of women during sultanate period:
1. Muslim women had right to obtain divorce.
2. Islam was against women being taught to read and write.
3. Hindu women had the right to inherit property.
Which of the statements given above is/are NOT correct?

[A] 1 and 3 only

[B] 2 and 3 only

[C] 1 only

[D] 1, 2 and 3

Answer: B

The Sultans did not alter many of the social institutions inherited from ‘Indian Feudalism’.

  • Slavery, though it had already existed in India, grew substantially in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.
  • Both in war and in the event of default in payment of taxes, people could be enslaved. They were put to work as domestic servants as well as in crafts.
  • The village community and the caste system remained largely unaltered. Gender inequalities remained practically untouched.
  • In upper class Muslim society, women had to observe purdah and were secluded in the zenana (the female quarters) without any contact with any men other than their immediate family. Affluent women travelled in closed litters.
  • Muslim women, despite purdah, enjoyed, in certain respects, higher status and greater freedom in society than most Hindu women.
  • They could inherit property from their parents and obtain divorce, privileges that Hindu women did not have.
  • In several Hindu communities, such as among the Rajputs, the birth of a girl child was considered a misfortune.
  • Islam was not against women being taught to read and write. But it tolerated polygamy.

Source: Tamil Nadu state board.