During nineteenth century the society of India was caught in a vicious web of religious superstitions and social obscurantism.Hinduism had become a compound of Magic ,animism and superstition.The priests exerted an unhealthy influence in the minds of people .the social conditions were very depressing.
The most common was the status of women. “Their glorification as wives and mothers was the only way in which socirty recognised the contribution of women as members of society”.The birth of a girl child was unwelcome,her marriege was considered to be an economic burden.
Sati pratha which Raja Rammohan Roy described as murder according to every shastra was a common practice among hindus, according to this system a married women has no right to live if her husband died ,she must be buried alive with her husband .If anyhow she succeeded in overcoming sati pratha ,she was condemned as widow in rest of her life .Purdah among muslim women was mandatory .women were denied from education. Female infanticide was common among upper class
Child marriage was a common practice among all the sections of society ,though “Civil marriage act was passed in 1872 it prohibited child marriage but it has limited impact as it was not applicable to Hindus ,Muslims and other recognized faiths.
verna system was one of the strong reason which lead to social reforms ,it was a system of segregation of caste on the basis of ritual status,at the bottom of the ladder came the untouchables or scheduled caste[shudras] ,the untouchables suffered from numerous disabalIties and restrictions they were not even allowed to walk on the general roads ,they were prohibited from coming out during morning and evening hours.
All these reasons were the major contributor to India’s backwardness ,and undoubtfully the reason that such a wast country like India was ruled by handful of Britishers.