Question What is “REET”, What implication does it have on the women of Himachal Society? (8 marks 120 words)
|Understanding of question: what means to define reet straight forward and note its effects on himachali women .
|Reet may be defined as a form of marriage without any ritual or ceremony and was contracted by paying a price. Under this custom, girl and young women were allowed to go for sums usually ranging from rs. 100 to rs. 500 but sometimes going up to rs. 2000 by the parents or other guardians and by husband in the case of married ones. Thus the amount paid was known as Reet money. After the payment of this money the first marriage was annulled and concubinage with the second man became a marriage.
| The implications on women are:-
1. There was no limit to the number of women, that one might get under Reet nor any restriction as to leaving any of them again, and in this they might change hands any number of times, Therefor the marriage under Reet could be dissolved as easily as it was contracted. From this it is clear that woman was treated as a chattel, a commodity to be brought and sold time and again.
2. The domestic ties became loose and marriage came to have very insignificant position in the stability of society.
Indiscriminate relations of a woman with many men often resulted in her catching syphilla ( sexual transmitted disease ) and in return, she transmitted the disease to many persons.
By the turn of 20th centuary, some social reformers and public organizations of the hills were alarmed at the evil result of Reet and started vigorous propaganda for its abolition. Substantial work in creating public opinion was done by the organizations like the Rajput sthania Sabha and the Himalya Vidhya Prabandini Sabha, Shimla particularly the latter, which volunteered, its services for the cause of the people of the hills. Dalip singh, the Rana of Bhagat, issued an order for the ‘Abolition of Reet custom’ and it was enforced with effect from 23 July 1917. In order to discourage the custom, some states imposed tax on Reet marriage. Sirmaur, for example levied 5 % levy on the Reet money in 1855.
|In modern India we have constitutional safeguards like article 39A, article 46 and article 51 , which safeguards the dignity of women.
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