The dawn of the 19th century witnessed the birth of new vision- a modern vision among some enlightened sections of the Indian society. This enlightened vision was to shape the course of events for decades to come and even beyond. Here, we are giving a complete overview on the Socio-Religious Reform Movements and Reformers in India that will enhance the knowledge of readers to understand, how Indian Society transformed after reform movements.
The Theosophical Society was founded by Madame Blavatsky and Col. Olcott in 1875 in New York. It was only in 1879, that this ideology gained its roots in the Indian culture and Society. It was crystallised in the Madras Presidency with its headquarters in Adayar. The movement was popularised by Annie Besant in India.
In the early 19th century, the first signs of Muslim awakening appeared under the leadership of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan of Bareilly in U.P. and Shariatullah of Bengal. This was happening due to the Christian Missionaries, influence of western ideas and modern education.
Sir Syed Ahmed Khan was one of the greatest Muslim reformers of India. He interpreted Quran in the light of modern rationalism and science. His greatest achievement was the establishment of the Mohammedan Anglo Oriental College(Also known as Aligarh Muslim University) at Aligarh in 1875.
The Prarthana Samaj is one of the prominent reform movement in western India which was founded in 1867 by Dr. Atmaram Pandurang, Mohadev Govind Ranade and Ramakrishna Bhandarkar against the caste system and the practice of untouchability.The leaders of the Prathana Samaj were influenced by the Brahmo Samaj.
The Reform Movements in Southern India draws inspiration from the Brahmo Samaj, Arya Samaj and other northern reforms movements. Chembeti Sridharalu Naidu, Narayan Guru,Kandukuri Veeresalingam were the most prominent leader of the Reform Movements in Southern India.
In the begining of the 19th century, Britishers injected various social legislation & the policies though helped in abolition of social evils prevalent at that time but gradually led to breach the socio-religious fabric of India since they were mainly focused and based on the English perception and attitude.
The Revolt of 1857 (Also regarded as India's First War of Independece) was an extremely important event in Indian history. It was initiated by the sepoy of the company which arouses the accumulated grievances of the people against the Company’s administration and of their dislike for the foreign regime.
Raja Ram Mohan Roy is regarded as "Father of Modern India" who founded the first religious reform organisation i.e. Brahmo Samaj in 1828.The two most prominent leader of the Brahmo Samaj were Debendranath Tagore and Keshab Chandra Sen.
During the late 1820s and early 1830s, there was emergence of a radical and intellectual trend among the youth in Bengal, which came to be known as the ‘Young Bengal Movement’. A young Anglo-Indian, Henry Vivian Derozio, who taught at the Hindu College from 1826 to 1831, was the leader as well as inspirer of this progressive trend.
Ishwar Chandra Vidhya Sagar was born in a poor Brahman family in 1820, and had a brilliant career as a student of Sanskrit. For his great learning, the Sanskrit College in Calcutta, of which he was the principal for a few years, conferred on him the title of ‘Vidyasagar’.
The 19th century God-man of India was- Ramakrishna Paramhansa and Vivekananda. Ramkrishna Paramhansa’s and Vivekananda’s philosophies moved around harmony of religions. Ramakrishna Mission was founded in 1897 by the favourite disciple of Ramkrishna Paramhansa i.e. Vivekananda.