Sample Material of Our IAS Mains History Study Kit
Subject: History (Optional)
Topic: The Indian Renaissance
During this period the awakening was made possible due to the
spread of Western education and ideas, emergence of a number of pioneering
individuals strongly imbued with the ideas of reforms, spread of Christianity
and the proliferation of newspapers and literary magazines.
Rammohan Roy (1772-1833)
He was born at Radhanagar in Bengal in 1772. He is regarded
as the first great leader of modern India. He opposed idol worship and pressed
on Doctrine of the Unity of God. He believed that basically all religions preach
a common message. He was deeply influenced by monotheism, anti-idolatry of
Islam, Sufism, and ethical teachings of Christianity & liberal & rationalist
doctrines of the west. He was one of the earliest propagators of modern
education. At the age of sixteen, he became convinced of the futility of idol
worship and to that effect wrote a treatise, Tuhfat-ul-Muwahhidin (Gift to
Monotheists) in Persian questioning the validity of the system of idol worship
and praising in its place the doctrine of monotheism. Annoyed at this, his
father drove him out of the house.
He Started the Atmiya Sabha in 1814, The Brahma Sabha in
1829, (Brahmo Samaj on 20th August,1828). Based on the twin pillars of-reason,
the Vedas and the Upanishads. Laid emphasis on human dignity, opposed idolatry,
and criticised social evils. Succeeded in persuading Lord Bentick to abolish
sati in 1829. He gave enthusiastic assistance to David Hare, who founded the
famous Hindu college in Calcutta. Established a Vedanta College (1825) in which
courses both in Indian and western social and physical sciences were offered.
Wrote in Persian his famous work ,4 Gift to Monotheists or Tuhafat-ul-Muwahidin—
Launched a movement for the abolition of Sati through his
journal Sabad Kaumudi (1819). Published his Precepts of Jesus in 1820. He
believed that the philosophy of Vedanta was based on this principle of reason.
He was opposed to Sanskrit system of education , because he thought it would
keep the country in darkness. According to the eminent writer Satyendra Nath
Majumdar, Ram Mohan was the first Hindu of his time to go abroad. Ram Mohan did
not shirk from establishing the superiority of the Hindu religion on the basis
of his interpretation of the Vedas and Upanishads.
This was the earliest reform movement of modern type. Founded
by Raja Rammohan Roy in 1828 under the name ‘Brahmo Sabha’. Devendranath Tagore
joined the Samaj in 1848. Keshab Chandra Sen joined the Samaj in 1858
The purpose of Brahmo Samaj was lo purify Hinduism & to
preach monotheism. It laid emphasis on human dignity, opposed idolatry &
criticized such social evils as the practice of Sati Preached by Raja Rama Mohan
Roy and later went through some changes. Brahmo Samaj Opposed idol worship,
priesthood and the ritualistic worship, Emphasized on worship through prayer,
meditation and reading from Upanishads. It emphasized on higher human qualities
like piety, virtue and benevolence
After the demise of Raja Ram Mohan Roy in 1833, the
leadership of Brahma Samaj was passed on to the hands of Maharishi Devendranath
Tagore (1817-1905), the grandfather of Rabindranath Tagore. In 1839, he had
founded the Tattvabodhini Sabha, which was merged with Brahmo Samaj in 1842. In
1846, Devendranath refused to perform the Antyeshti Samskara (death rites) of
his father on the grounds that such a rite was associated with the ritual of
idol worship. Devendarnath passed away in 1905.
Divisions in Brahmo Samaj
Keshav Chandra Sen (1838-1884) came in contact with the
Brahmo samaj at an age when he was only nineteen years old. In 1866 the Brahmo
Samaj was split into the Brahmo Samaj of India headed by Keshav Chandra Sen and
the Adi Brahmo Samaj, which remained under the guidance of Devendranath Tagore.
However, the solemnisation of Sen’s minor daughter’s marriage with the minor son
of the Maharaja of Cooch-Behar undermined his credibility, as he was himself
considered a great opponent of child marriage. The Brahmo Samaj was further
split into two groups. The group, which remained with Keshav Chandra Sen, was
called the Neo Brahmo Samaj while the break-away group came to be named as the
Sadharan Brahma Samaj.
The orthodox Hindus organised the Dharma Sabha under the
leadership of Raja Radhakant Dev. The chief objective of all the activities of
the Dharma Sabha was only to counter the propaganda of the Brahmo Samaj.
It was founded by Dadoba Pandurang & Bal Shastri Jambhekar in
1849. Founders believed in one god and were interested in breaking caste rules.
Members took food cooked by low caste people. They believed in permitting widow
remarriage and in education of women
It was founded in 1867 by Dr. Atmaram Pandurang. Mahadev
Govind Ranade, R G Bhandarkar and V G Chandavarkar were the prominent leaders.
Along with it’s reformist attitudes the Prarthana Samaj was also very much
attached with the Maharashtrian Bhakti Cult. The two main planks of the Samaj
were worship and social reform. It rejected idolatry, denied the Vedas and
adopted the method of congregational worship.
The first Arya Samaj unit was organised in Bombay in 1875, by
Swami Dayanand Saraswati. It stood for the Four-fold varna system determined by
merit and not by birth. It stood for equal rights for both men and women in
social and educational matters.It opposed untouchabiliry, caste discrimination,
child marriage, and supported widow remarriage and inter caste marriages. The
headquarter was later shifted to Lahore. Accepted the authority of the Vedas
(but sanctioned by rationalsm and utilitarianism). Preached father-hood of God
and brother hood of man. Equality of sexes, love and charily towards all.
DAV School was instituted at Lahore by Lala 1Hansrajin 1886
and Gurukula Pathsala at Hardwar was established in 1902. After the death of
Dayanand in 1883, differences occurred in the Gurukul section led by Swami
Shradhananda and DAV Section led by Lala Lajpat Rai and Lala Hansraj. While the
Gurkul section laid emphasis on the traditional pattern of education the
Dayanand-Anglo-Vedic section stood for the spread of English education. This led
lo the split of the Samaj in 1892. The Anglo-Vedic school established at Lahore
in 1886 provided the nucleus for Arya Samaj movement. Lala Hansraj started the
Gurukul near Hardwar to propagate the more traditional ideals of education. The
Samaj started the shuddhi movement to convert non-Hindus to Hinduism. This
became a contributory factor in the growth of communalism in India in the 20th
Parts of Arya Samaj
• Shudhi Sabha
• Gau Rakhshak Samiti
• Jaat-Paat Todak Mandal — by Bhai Parmananda
Swami Dayanand Saraswati (or Mula shankar) was born in 1824
in Gujarat. He received education from Swami Virajonanda at Math lira . Formally
organised the first Arya Samaj unit at Bombay in 1875. He was known as the
earliest Neo-nationalist. His ideal was to unite India religiously, socially and
nationally, lie looked on the Vedas as India’s “Rock of Ages,” the true original
seed of Hinduism. His motto was “Go back to Vedas”. He condemned idol worship
and preached unity of God. He decried untouchability and casteism and advocated
remarriage and a high status of woman in society. Denounced infinite number of
meaningless rues & launched a crusade against all religious superstitions.