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Social Reforms Movement (Part -1)

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A number of variables contribute to the desire for social improvement. Earlier conquerors were absorbed by India’s superior culture, but by the time the British arrived, Indian civilization had become stagnant, enmeshed in backward traditions with a bad scientific approach. Religious and societal ills, women’s oppression, and caste issues are all factors in the movements. The British show their culture as superior & dominant. This motivated individuals to re-energize our historic institutions and cultures in order to realize their full potential.

Types of Social Reform Movements: 

1. Reformist movements- Brahmo Samaj, Aligarh Movement, and Prarthana Samaj

2. Revivalist movements- The Arya Samaj and the Deoband Movement.

Important Movements and Associate Leaders:

Leader Name of Movement/ Organisation and Place Works and Objective Significance and Features

Raja Ram Mohan Roy (1772-1833)

He was known as the father of the Indian Renaissance and the maker of Modern India.

His associates were Alexander Duff, Debendranath Tagore, Chandrashekhar Deb, Tarachand Chakraborty

  • He founded Atmiya Sabha- Calcutta (1814).
  • Brahmo Sabha was founded in August 1828 and renamed Brahmo Samaj afterwards.
  • He also set up the Calcutta Unitarian Society.
  • David Hare builds a Hindu College with help of Ram Mohan (1817).
  • Vedanta College 1825.
  • Books are written by him- 
  • A gift to Monotheists (1809), Precepts of Jesus (1820). Newspapers like Mirad-ul-Akhbar, Samvad Kaumudi, Brahmanical.
  • He condemned polytheism and idolatry.
  • He defended polygamy, degraded widows’ status, and sought women’s inheritance and property rights.
  • He began his anti-sati campaign in 1818, which was rewarded by a government regulation making sati illegal in 1829.
  • Akbar II bestowed the title of ‘Raja’ on him.
Debendranath Tagore (1817-1905)
  • He became the Tattwabodhini Sabha’s chief after joining the Brahmo Samaj in 1842. (founded in 1839).
  • Debendranath Tagore’s Samaj was renamed Adi Brahmo Samaj when Keshab was banished in 1865.
Tattwabodhini Patrika in Bengali
  • Brahmo Samaj was a reformist movement within Hinduism.
  • He put great emphasize on widow remarriage, women’s education, the eradication of polygamy, and better ryot conditions.
Keshub Chandra Sen (1838-1884) Made acharya by Debendranath Tagore. 
  • In 1858, he enrolled in the Brahmo Samaj.
  • In India, he founded the Brahmo Samaj (1866).
  • In 1868, he established the Tabernacle of the New Dispensation.
  • He moved to England in 1870 to reform Hinduism. He returned to India and established the Indian Reform Association after that.
  • Disgruntled supporters of Keshub (who married his 13-year-old daughter to a King through conventional protocols) created the Sadharan Brahmo Samaj after Ananda Mohan Bose, Shibchandra Deb, and Umesh Chandra Datta founded it in 1878.
  Keshub Chandra Sen’s efforts made the passage of the ‘Special Marriage Act’ in 1872, which legalised civil marriage and marriage between different castes.
Henry Vivian Derozio (1809-31) Young Bengal Movement – late 1820s and early 1830s. Indian Gazette He taught at Hindu College from 1826 to 1831. 
Dayananda Saraswati or Mulshankar (1824-1883)
  • In 1872, “Special Marriage Act,” with help of Keshub Chandra sen that legalised civil marriage and marriage between distinct castes.
  • In 1875, the first Arya Samaj was set up in Bombay, with headquarters in Lahore.
  • To emphasise the importance of Western education, he founded D.A.V schools, the first of which was in Lahore in 1886.
  • He founded the Revitalise Moorings Shuddhi Movement.
Satyarth Prakash (The True Exposition), Vedanga Prakash, Ratnamala, Sankarvidhi, Bharatinivarna, and many other works were written by him. Back to the Vedas was his slogan.
  • The four pillars of Hinduism are Satya (universal existence), Rita (the natural order of existence), Dharma (responsibility to uphold Rita), and Kama (the natural order of existence) (Action to perform duty). All of these concepts guide Dharma.
  • Lala Hansraj, Pandit Gurudutt, Lala Lajpat Rai, and Swami Shraddhanand, among others, continued on Swami’s mission after his death.
Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (1836-1886) Ramakrishna movement Ramkrishna Mission’s English newspaper was called Prabuddha Bharata, or Awakened India.  Paramahansa formed Ramakrishna Math to continue his humanitarian efforts, while Vivekananda founded Ramakrishna Mission after Ramakrishna’s death in 1897. It is a religious organisation, although it does not proselytise.
Narendranath Datta or Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902) In 1897 he founded the Ramakrishna Mission.
  • Udbodhan, Bengali Monthly was started by Vivekananda in 1899. 
  • Vedanta Kesari, the English magazine in 1914. 
  • Sri Ramakrishna Vijayam — Tamil monthly in 1921.
  • The goal was to get the word out about Ramakrishna. To close the gap between paramartha (service) and vyavahara (conduct), as well as between spirituality and everyday life.
  • His Memorable Speech was at Parliament of Religions held in Chicago in 1893. 
Balshastri Jambhekar (1810-1846)

Founded Bombay Native General  Library. 

He started Native Improvement Society.

  • Darpan, the first Marathi newspaper, was founded in 1832.
  • In 1840, he founded the first Marathi monthly magazine  Digdarshan, which published scientific and historical papers.
  • Defended brahminical orthodoxy while attempting to change common Hinduism.
  • He is often regarded as the founder of Marathi journalism.
  • He became a director of Colaba Observatory and the first professor of Hindi at Elphinstone College.
Atmaram Pandurang (1823-1898)
  • With the help of Keshub Chandra Sen, the Prarthana Samaj was created in Bombay in 1867.
  • Paramahansa Sabha, a secret club that promoted liberal ideas and broke down caste and communal boundaries, was a forerunner of Prarthana Samaj.
  • Bombay Native History Society was founded by two Indians.
  • In 1870, MG Ranade (1842-1901) joined the Prathna Samaj.
  • R.G. Bhandarkar, N.G. Chandavarkar, Dhondo Keshav Karve, and Vishnu Shastri were among the samaj’s other leaders.
  • Maharashtra’s bhakti cult is represented by the Prarthana Sabha.
  • With Ranade, DK Karve and Vishnu Shastri are proponents of social reform.
Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar [1820-1891] Also called Karunasagar
  • He started movement in support of widow remarriage. 
  • He was among 1st to be associated with Tattwabodhini Sabha. 
  • He founded Shome Prakash, a Bengali newspaper.
  • Borno Parichay — Letter Introduction (elementary book for learning Bengali alphabets).
  • He translated literature such as Betaal Panchabinsati, Bangalar itihaas, and Sitar Bonobas from Sanskrit to English.
  • Widows’ remarriage rights, polygamy, and Balya bivah (child Polygamy)
  • As a government inspector of schools, he was a pioneer for the cause of women’s education, organising 35 girls’ schools, several of which he managed on his own dime.
  • He became the principal of Sanskrit College in 1850 and was given the title of ‘Vidyasagar’ by Sanskrit College.
  • In Calcutta, he founded the Metropolitan Institution.
M G Ranade [1842-1901]
  • He formed Poona Sarvajanik Sabha and Prathna Samaj to promote widow remarriage and women’s education, along with Kesub Chandra Sen and Atmaram Pandurang.
  • He was a member of the Indian Social Conference’s founding committee in 1887. (INC).
  • He was a founding member of the Widow Remarriage Association in 1861, alongside DK Karve, who had married a widow.
Indu Prakash
  • Tilak and Gokhale regarded him as a guru.
  • Maharashtra Girls Education Society and Huzurpaga, Maharashtra’s oldest girls’ high school, were founded in 1885 by Ranade, Vaman Modak, and R G Bhandarkar.
  • Within ISC, he created the pledge movement.
Dadoba Pandurang, Bal Shastri Jambhekar , Mehtaji Durgaram etc Paramahansa Mandali in Maharashtra 1849   Food prepared by members of the lower caste is served at their gatherings.

Swami Sahajanand (originally Gyanashyama) 1781-1830

Early 19th century

Swaminarayan Sampradyaga, Gujarat,   Belief in a theistic god, opposition to Vaishanavism’s epicurean customs, and a moral code. emphasise the a 

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Last Updated : 23 Dec, 2022
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