(Sample Material) UPSC IAS Mains History (Optional) Study Kit "The Indian Renaissance"

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— 1809.

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.

Brahmo Samaj

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

Brahmo Ideas

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

Devendranath Tagore

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.

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Dharma Sabha

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.

Paramahansa Mandali

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

Prarthana Sabha

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.

Arya Samaj

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 century.

Parts of Arya Samaj

• Gurukul
• Shudhi Sabha
• Gau Rakhshak Samiti
• Jaat-Paat Todak Mandal — by Bhai Parmananda

Swami Dayananda

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.

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