Social Reformers of India

Let’s know about the Social Reformers of India who fought for deprived sections of the society and formed a new India and showed its people the right direction…

Social Reformers of India

Who are known as Social reformers?

Social Reformers are activist who works for the betterment of their society. They work for the upliftment of the poor and marginalized sections. They fight for their rights and ensure justice, liberty, fraternity, etc.

In any society, there are different types of people with different caste, religions, colors, gender, and different beliefs. Social Reformers want a society without discrimination. They want equal opportunity for all.

There are many Social Reformers in India who fought against ill practices of the society such as child marriage, Sati practices, caste discrimination, etc. They encourage women’s education, widow remarriage, inter-caste marriage, etc.

India is blessed with numerous Social Reformers who dedicated their whole lives to the upliftment of society. Social Reformers like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Vivekananda, Dayanand Saraswati, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, B.R. Ambedkar, Jyotiba Phule, etc. played a crucial role in Indian history. They worked against the religious superstitions and social evils of society.

Social Reformers of India-

The life journey of Social reformers of India are as follows-

Raja Ram Mohan Roy-

Raja Ram Mohan Roy was amongst the prominent Social Reformers of India. He was known as the ‘Father of Indian Renaissance and the maker of modern India.

Early Life-

He was born on 22nd May 1772 in a traditional Brahmin family of Bengal. His father Ramakant Roy holds a decent position in the court of the Nawab of Bengal and his mother Triveni was a religious woman.

His Contribution to the Society-

In the mid 19th century Indian culture was included by numerous social evils like Sati practices religious superstitions caste system. Raja Ram Mohan Roy fought against these notions and formed a better society. He was greatly influenced by western progressive thinking and believed in the modern scientific approach. He always worked for human dignity and social equality. He put the philosophy of Upanishad and Christianity.

In 1814 he set up the “Atmiya Sabha” (Society of Friends) in Calcutta to propagate monotheistic ideals. He campaigned against idol worship of Hindus, caste rigidities, superstitious rituals, and other social evils. Raja Ram Mohan Roy founded the “Brahmo Sabha” in August 1828; it was later renamed Brahmo Samaj. Through the Sabha, he wanted to propagate his ideas and missions. The main objective of the brahmo Samaj is to purify Hinduism and to preach monotheism based on the Vedas and the Upanishads.

“Raja Ram Mohan Roy and his brahmo Samaj form the starting point for all the various Reform movements…”

The features of brahmo Samaj are-

  • It discarded the notion of polytheism and Idol worship. It didn’t believe in incarnation.
  • It criticised the caste system, started anti-Sati struggle, campaigned for women’s rights.
  • Roy attacked polygamy and supported widow remarriage.

Ram Mohan Roy was a linguist who knew more than a dozen languages including Sanskrit, Persian, French, Latin, English, Greek, and Hebrew which held him enhancement of his knowledge. He was a bold supporter of freedom of press. Roy bought out journals to educate and inform the public. His understanding of the principles of liberty, equality, and justice indicated the significance of the modern age.

Ram Mohan Roy’s contribution to shaping modern India is incredible.

Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar-

Early Life-

Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was a great scholar and reformer of 19th century India. He was born on September 1820 in Bengal. His father’s name was Hukurdas Bandopadhyay and his mother was Bhagwati Devi. He played a remarkable role in Bengal Renaissance.

His Contribution to the Society-

Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar fought against the priestly monopoly of scriptural knowledge. He opened the Sanskrit college for non-brahmins. His ideas were a blend of Indian and western thought. He introduced western thought is Sanskrit college to provide both Indian and Western learning. Vidyasagar started a movement in support of widow remarriage and women’s education.

He was a well-known writer. He reformed the Bengali education system. The title Vidyasagar (ocean of knowledge) was given to him due to his vast knowledge in several subjects. His publications include- ‘Betal Panchabinsati’, ‘Jeebancharit’, ‘Sitar Banobash’, etc. Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, the great revivalist passed away in 1891.

Jyotiba Phule-

Early Life-

Jyotiba Govindrao Phule was born in 1827 in Satara, Maharashtra. He belonged to the Mali (gardener) community. His father’s name was Govind Rao Phule and his mother was Chimnabai. Jyotiba Phule was a prominent social reformer and thinker. He organised a powerful movement against upper caste domination and brahminical supremacy.

His Contribution to the Society-

Phule founded “Satyasodhak Samaj” in 1873 with the aim to spread education among women and lower caste people. Phule’s literary works include ‘Sarvajanik Satya Dharma’ and ‘Gulamgiri’. Phule aimed at the complete abolition of the caste system and socio-economic inequalities. He was a firm believer of gender equality. He with the help of his wife, Savitribai, opened a girls school at Pune. Phule was awarded the title Mahatma for social reform works.

He revolted against the domination of the Brahmins and struggled for the rights of peasants and other low-caste people. He was a revivalist against caste discrimination. He attacked the orthodox Brahmins and other upper castes.

Swami Vivekananda-

Early Life and Contribution to the Society-

Narendra Nath Dutta (1862-1902)  who later came to be known as Swami Vivekananda spread Ramkrishna’s message to the world. He emerged as the preacher of neo-Hinduism. Vivekananda believed in human values and spiritual life. His mission was to bridge the gulf between Paramartha (service) and Vyavahara (behavior). Vivekananda believed in the fundamental Oneness of God and said, “for our own motherhood a junction of the two great systems, Hinduism and Islam is the only hope.”

Emphasizing social action, he declared that knowledge without action is useless.  he pointed out that the masses needed two kinds of knowledge- secular knowledge about how to work for their economic upliftment and Spiritual knowledge to have faith in themselves and strengthen their moral sense. He believed in the spirit of liberty, equality, and free-thinking.

He said, “A country where millions have nothing to eat and where few thousand holy men and brahmins suck the blood of the poor and do nothing at all for them, is not a country but a living hell, is this religion or a dance of death?”

Swami Dayanand-

Early Life and Contribution to the Society-

Swami Dayanand Saraswati born in 1824 in Gujarat in an affluent Brahmin family. His father was Karshanji Lali Tiwari, and his mother was Yashoda Bai. His childhood name was Moolshankar. He initiated a movement Arya Samaj, the Shuddhi movement, and urge the people to back to the Vedas. His publications include ‘Satyarth Prakash’, ‘Sanskarvidhi‘, etc.

He raised his voice against idolatry and empty ritualism. He came in contact with his guru, Swami Virajanand. Mool Shankar became his disciple and acquired the knowledge of Vedas. Swami Virajananda gave him the task of spreading Vedic knowledge throughout society and gave him the title of Rishi Dayanand.

Thank you. 

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