Social and Religious reform movements in the 19th and 20th century.

Rajaram Mohan Roy :-Laid stress on the study of English & established the Hindu College in Calcutta
alongwith David Hare.

Maharishi Devendranath Tagore :-The grandfather of Rabindranath Tagore. He inspired a number of thinkers like Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar & Akshay Kumar Datta who became Brahmo Samaj  members. He din’t perform his fathers antyeshti samskara as it involved idol  worship.

Keshav Chandra Sen He was greatly inspired with the lives of John the Baptist, Jesus Christ & hence he came in confrontation with Devendranath Tagore. Consequently the Brahmo Samaj was split into the Brahmo Samaj of India under him & Adi Brahmo Samaj under  Devendranath. He opposed child marriage but married her own minor daughter to  Maharaja of Cooch-Behar. Hence there was a further split into Neo Brahmo Samaj under him & Sadharan Brahmo Samaj

Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar:-Became principal of Sanskrit college in Calcutta. Opened the Sanskrit college for
non Brahmin students. He founded ‘Bethune School at Calcutta’ to encourage female education.

Bankim Chandra:- First graduate of Calcutta University which was estd in 1857 based on the lines of  Macaulay Minute. He became a deputy collector. Wrote the famous Bande Matram (Anand Math) & published Banga Darshan magazine.

Ramakrishna Paramhamsa (1836-86) Became a priest in the temple of Goddess Kali at Dakshineshwar.

Swami Vivekanand(1863-1902):-In 1893 he attened the Parliament of Religions at Chicago. In 1897 he established the Ramakrishna Mission. His disciple, Sister Nivedita even helped many revolutionaries from Bengal directly.

Swami Dayananda 1824-83:-Known in early life as Mul Shankar & born in Gujarat. Received his education at
the feet of Swami Virajananda at Mathura. Founded Arya Samaj in 1875 based on a set of 28 principles (later 10). He estd the HQ of Arya Samaj at Lahore. Passed away on Diwali at Jodhpur following the mixing of glass powder in his drink. Through his Satyartha Prakasha he emphasized Vedas. He laid emphasis on the worship of a formless god & abandonment of idolatory. He emphasized on Ashrama system of education. He stressed on swadeshi, swadharma, swabhasha & swarajya. He considered Vedas as infallible.

Jyotibha Phule :-In 1873 he founded Satya Shodhak Samaj. Gave testimony before Hunter Commission against Christian missionaries. Later given the title ‘Mahatma’.

Sayyid Ahmad Khan:-In 1875 founded the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College at Aligarh which later
became Aligarh University. Opposed polygamy, purdah, abolition of the practice of  easy divorce, reform in madrasa.

  • The socio-religious reforms are also referred to as the Indian renaissance
  • The socio-cultural regeneration in nineteenth century India was occasioned by the colonial presence, but not created by it.
  • Formation of the Brahmo Samaj in 1828.
  • Paramhansa Mandali, Prathna Samaj, Arya Samaj, Kayasth Sabha: UP, Sarin Sabha: Punjab, Satya Sodhak Samaj: Maharashtra, Sri Narayana Dharma Paripalana Sabha: Kerala
  • Ahmadiya and Aligarh Movements: Muslims, Singh Sabha: Sikhs, Rehnumai Mazdeyasan Sabha: Parsees
  • Their attention was focused on worldly existence.
  • The idea of otherworldliness and salvation were not a part of their agenda.
  • At that time the influence of religion and superstition was overwhelming. Position of priests strong; that of women weak.
  • Caste was another debilitating factor
  • Neither a revival of the past nor a total break with tradition was contemplated.
  • Rationalism and religious universalism influenced the reform movement.
  •  Development of universalistic perspective on religion
  • Lex Loci Act propsed in 1845 and passed in 1850 provided the right to inherit ancestral property to Hindu converts to Christianity.
  • The culture faced a threat from the colonial rule.




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