Many Indians realized that the reform of social institutions and religious outlook of people was a necessary pre-condition for the growth of national unity. Through successive movements they carried forward the pioneering work started by few enlightened Indians. This was a difficult task as orthodox elements formed large and strong groups in the country. During the second half of 19th century only two important laws were passed by the British government. One of these passed in 1872 sanctioned inter-caste and inter-communal marriages. The other passed in 1891 aimed to discourage child marriage.