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Rise of Nationalism in India: Social and Religious Reforms

Social and Religious Reforms

The English educated intelligentsia felt the need for reforming the society before involving the people in any political programmes. The reform movements of nineteenth century are categorised as 1. Reformist movements such as the Brahmo Samaj founded by Raja Ram Mohan Roy, the Prarthana Samaj, founded by Dr Atmaram Pandurang and the Aligarh Movement, represented by Syed Ahmad Khan; 2. Revivalist movements such as the Arya Samaj, the Ramakrishna Mission and the Deoband Movement. 3. There were social movements led by Jyotiba Phule in Pune, Narayana Guru and Ayyankali in Kerala and Ramalinga Adigal, Vaikunda Swamigal and later Iyothee Thassar in Tamilnadu. All these reformers and their contributions have been dealt with comprehensively in the XI Std. text book.

The reformers of nineteenth century responded to the challenge posed by Western Enlightenment knowledge based on reason. Indian national consciousness emerged as a result of the rethinking triggered by these reforms. The Brahmo Samaj was founded by Ram Mohan Roy in 1828. Other socio-cultural organisations like the Prarthana Samaj (1867), the Arya Samaj (1875) were founded subsequently. Roy’s initiative was followed up by reformers like Keshav Chandra Sen and Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar. Abolition of sati and child marriage and widow remarriage became the main concerns for these reformers. The Aligarh movement played a similar role among the Muslims. Slowly, organisations and associations of political nature came up in different parts of British India to vent the grievances of the people.

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