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Women and Social Change in Modern India

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Analyzed are the striking changes that have taken place in the position of women of the Kayasth caste in Hyderabad. The variables that give a reliable index of change for women are: (1) age of marriage, (2) amount & kind of education, (3) employment outside the home, both before & after marriage & motherhood, (4) naming patterns, (5) marriage across subcaste & caste lines, (6) marriage out of birth order, & (7) ratio of never-married women. Specific findings for the Hyderabad Kayasths demonstrate the usefulness of these variables to give a reliable index of social change, not only for women but also for the entire caste population. Since control of women at all stages of their life cycles is necessary for the continuation of traditional family & caste patterns, women constitute the single most sensitive index of social change in modern India. Comparison & generalizations await further studies of other castes using the same variables. AA.

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