Socio - Religious Reform Movements Of India : Art & Culture for UPSC Exams

UPSC Exam Art & Culture
Arya Samaj
Arya Samaj is a Hindu reform movement in India that was founded by Swami Dayananda in  18 75.  Swami Dayananda  Sa ras wat hi rejected all non vedic beliefs. Arya Samaj condemned  idolatry,  animal  sacrifices , ancestor worship, pilgrimages, offerings made in  temples, the caste system, untouchability and child marriage. The primary aim of the Arya Samaj is to do good for all, that is promote physical, spiritual and social well being. Now Arya Samaj had set up schools and missionary organizations and extended its activities outside India.
Brahmo Samaj
Br ahmo Sa maj is  a religious  movement founded by Raja Ram Mohan Roy in 1828. The Brahmo Samaj believed  in the existence of one God, who is omni - present a nd omni s cient . It condemned some of the evil practices of Hinduism like caste system, Sati, Child Marriages etc. Brahmo Samaj evoked iss ues that were common to people all around the Indian sub -continent . The Brahmo Samaj has played a significant role in  the  rena is sance  of India and the root s  of much of the  modern thinking in India canbetraced back  to Brahmo Samaj.
The Theosophical Society
The Theosophical Society was founded in the United States by Madam H.P Blavtsky and Colonel H.S. Olcott who later came to India and founded the head quarters of the Society at Adyar near Madras in 1882. The Theosophist movement soon grew in India  as a result of the leadership given to it by Mrs. Annie Besant who  ha d come  to  Indi a  in 1893 .  The Theosophical society was formed to advance the spiritual principles   and search for truth known as Theosophy. They recognised the doctrine of the transmigration of the soul.
Prarthana Samaj
Prarthana Samaj was founded in 1867 in Mumbai by Dr.  Atmaram Pandurang as an off shoot of the Brahma Samaj. It was  later joined by M.G. Ranade and R.G. Bhandarkar. It aimed at removing the evil social customs. It preached the worship of one God and tried to free religion of caste orthodoxy and priestly domination.
Aligarh Movement
Aligarh Movement was started by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan to educate the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent after the defeat of the rebels in Indian rebellion of 1857. It had enormous success and had a profound impact on  the future of the subcontinent. In 1875, syed Ahmad Khan founded the Muhammedan Anglo - Oriental College at Aligarh as a centre for  spreading western sciences and culture. Later this College grew into the Aligarh Muslim University.
Ramakrishna Mission is a humanitarian organisation founded by Sri Rama Krishnan Parama hamsa’s Chief disciple Swami Vivekananda in 1897. The aims and ideals of the mission are purely spiritual and humanitarian and has no relation with politics. The principles of Karma Yoga in Bhagavad Gita are one of the main source of inspiration for the Ramakrishna Mission. The Mission conducts exten sive work in heatlhcare, disaster relief, rural management, tribal welfare, elementary and higher education and culture. The headquarters of the Ramakrishna Mission is at Belur Math near Kolkata.
Shuddhi Movement
Shuddhi Movement was started by Arya Samaj in early 20th Century to bring back the people who transformed their religion to Islam and Christianity from H i ndui sm. Is l am and Christianity claim divine authority for their Koran and Bible but the Hindus does not put up  such claims for Vedas. Founder of Arya Samaj, Dayananda strived  to give Vedas the similar degree of supernatural authority. The process of reconverting Hindus from Islam and Chr istia nity was  accompani ed b y a Sanghathan movements, which was launched to unify the Hindus and organise them in self - defence
Young Bengal Movement
Young Bengal Movement was started by Sir Henry Louis Vivian Derozio, teacher of Hindu  College. The supporters of Young Bengal Movement were influenced by the idealy of the French Revolution. They preached the ideals of liberty, equity and fraternity. Derozio’s teachings questioned the existing superstitions and age - old beliefs. He taught his followers to live and die for truth.  They emphasized on female education and rights of woman. They supported the freedom of press and favoured better treatment for Indian labour abroad.
Dev Samaj
Dev Samaj one of the important religious and social movements in Bengal was founded in 1887 by Satyananda Agnihotri (Pandit Shiv Narayan Agnihotri). Sathyananda Agnihotri initiated the dual worship of himself and God in 1892 and three years later,  the worship of God was discarded. The Dev  Samaj strongly opposed the caste system and it laid emphasis on maintaining a strict moral standards and a significant moral standard. The Dev Samaj encouraged the education of woman.
The Servants of India Society
The Servants of India Society was formed in Pune, Maharashtra on June 17, 1905 by Gopal Krishna Gokhale. The Society organised many campaigns to promote education, sanitation, health care and fight the social evils of untouchability and discrimination, alcoholism, poverty, oppression of women and domestic abuse. It chose to remain away from political activities and national organisations like the Indian  National  Congress . Though the servants of India Society declined after the death of Gokhale it still continues its activities with  a small  membership in  Mumbai , Maharashtra.
Akali Movement
The  Akal i  Movement  wa s  a nother  for Gurdwara Reform Movement. The property and wealth of the Sikh temples were being misused by the Mahants and Priests of the temple. Mahants considered the Gurudwara as  their personal poverty and misused the income  of Gurudwara on drinking and loose living. Thus these Mahants used  the sacred Gurudwaras to centres for immoral life. Thus Akali Movement was  a struggle for freedom and purification of Sikh historical places of worship. It came into full swing from the early 1920 ’s. It produced tr emendous and far reaching effects on the social and religious life of the Sikhs and brought them into the political movement for freedom of India.
Kuka Movement
Namdhari Movement popularly known as Kuka Movement was launched on the Baisaki day in April 1857 in Ludhiana District of Punjab by Guru  Ram Singh as  an  offshoot  of Sikhism. The Kuka movement marked a significant stage in the development of national consciousness in the country.   Guru Ram Singh adopted non - violence and non - cooperation as the two weapons against British.  They  boycotted  British goods , government schools, law courts, mill made cloth etc. They avoided the use of Post Offices and depended upon their own postal system. They adopted their own legal system and rejected the British system.  The Kukas had thrice revolted against the British. But the movement was ruthlessly suppressed by the British.
Ahamadiyya Movement
Ahamadiyya Movement is an Islamic religious movement founded in India by Mirza Ghulam Ahamad on 23 March 1889. Ahmadis consider themselves Muslims and claim to practice Islam in its pristine forms. Ahmadis opposed Islamic orthodoxy. Ahamadiyya views on certain beliefs in Islam have been controversial to mainstream Muslims since the movement’s birth. In several Islamic countries because of severe persecution and systematic oppression Ahmadis   have   emigrated  and   settled elsewhere.
Wahabi Movement
Wahabi Movement was founded by Syed Ahmed in 1820 at Rohikhand. The Wahabi movement  condemned  all  cha nges  a nd innovations to Islam. Wahabi Movement was revivalist movement which held that the return to the true spirit of Islam was the only way to get rid of the socio - political oppression. The missi ons  of  the Wahabi’s  were  mainly concentrated in the region of Hyderabad, Chennai, Bengal, Uttarpradesh and Mumbai. Wahabis played a major part of the Indian freedom movement. During the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, the Wahabis played a notable role in spreading anti- British Sentiments. The British took up brutal measures and many principal l eader s  of t he Wahabi  movement  were arrested.

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