Historical story

Chapter-46 - Social Reform Movements of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (R)

Other Reform Movements

There were many religious-social reform movements in India whose tasks and objectives were limited to a very small area. The Parsis established the Religious Reform Community to reform their religion and society. Dada Bhai Naoroji belonged to a Parsi priestly family. He did important work for the reform of Zoroastrianism.

Mahadev Govind Ranade did important work in the field of education by establishing Duncan Education Society along with social reforms. There were also some religious movements in the Vaishnava sect of Hindus. The Madhava sect formed its own religious reform assembly. Supporters of Shankaracharya propagated their opinion differently.

Jyoti Ba Phule and Satya Shodhak Samaj

Jyoti Ba Phule was born in AD 1828 in a Mali family. He gave birth to a powerful non-Brahmin movement and opposed the practices prevalent in Hinduism. In AD 1854, he opened schools for the untouchables and established orphanages for widows.

Jyoti Ba Phule was deeply disgusted by the priesthood of Brahmins. For the upliftment of the downtrodden classes, he founded the Satya Shodhak Samaj in AD 1873. To spread anti-Brahmin activities in an organized form, he wrote two books - Public Satya Dharma Book and Ghulamgiri.

Radhasoami Satsang

In AD 1861, Shiv Dayal (AD 1818-1878) established Radhasoami Satsang in Agra. The Guru of Radhaswami Satsang was considered an incarnation of God. Therefore, in this institution, the predominance of guru-bhakti was there. The followers of this institution used to worship God without any discrimination of caste and creed. He believed in God, the soul and the world as truth. The speeches of saints like Kabir, Dadu, Nanak etc. were their religious texts.

He considered all religions equal and preached love and fraternity. Radhasoami Satsang was a mixture of Bhakti-Marga and Yoga-Marga. This organization did the work of religious awakening. Also boycotted caste-restrictions, made valuable contribution in the work of cultural awakening and nation building by spreading education.

Reform Movement in Parsi Society

Dadabhai Naoroji and S. s. Bengali did a lot of work to bring reforms in Zoroastrianism and society. He founded the Rahnumai Majdyasana Sabha in AD 1851 with the aim of improving the social condition of the Parsis and the revival of the Parsi religious. In AD 1910, with the encouragement of the Parsi religious leader Dhola, a Parsi convention was inaugurated, which served the Parsi class a lot.

The Parsis, along with their reforms, also contributed to the social and political upliftment of the country. Many Parsi organizations of the country are a testimony to the charity and piety of the Parsi class. Parsi leaders like Dadabhai Naoroji, Sir Ferozeshah Mehta, Sir Deen Shardulji etc. made valuable contributions to the social, economic and political progress of India.

Reform Movement in Sikh Society

In the nineteenth century, institutions named Singh Sabha and Pradhan Khalsa Diwan were established in Punjab. These institutions opened many Gurdwaras and colleges in Punjab. Progressive Sikhs established Khalsa College in Amritsar. The Sikhs tried to make their religious and social life pure.

In AD 1921, the Sikhs started the Satyagraha movement under the leadership of the Akalis. Their main objective was to free the gurudwaras from corrupt mahants. The government was supporting the Mahants but in the end the government had to bow down. As a result, Sikh Gurdwara Act was enacted in AD 1922 and it was amended in AD 1925.

Reform Movement in Christian Society

The work of renaissance took place among Indian Christians also during this period. They had less superstition and orthodoxy as compared to other religions. Therefore, improvements and changes were also relatively less in them. Discreet Christian clergy and visionary religious leaders tried to establish a large organization by filling the gap between many religious practices prevalent among Indian Christians, which were different from Western practices.

Christian missionaries established schools for the spread of Western education and under the guise of these, tribals and Dalits were included in Christianity. Efforts were made to improve their condition by providing education facilities to these new Christians. Through charitable organizations like orphanages, dispensaries, schools etc., Christian missionaries earned the trust of the common man and did great service to human society.

Evaluation of Social Reform Efforts

In the middle of the 19th century, the social reform movement was limited to individual efforts, but after AD 1880 some organized efforts were made. The reformers got some success in the field of widow-marriage and women's education. As education spread, these evils became less. Lord William Bentinck declared the practice of Sati illegal. Raja Rammohun Roy and Dwarkanath Tagore had an important contribution in this work.

With the support of the law, this practice gradually ended in India, but due to the closure of the practice of Sati, the problem of widows became more serious than before because the number of child widows in the country was also very high. So the social reformers started a movement for widow remarriage. Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar started the movement for the remarriage of widows.

He proved by quoting from the scriptures that there is no prohibition of widow remarriage in the scriptures. Due to his efforts, in AD 1856, the government declared widow-marriage legal. Gradually Indians accepted this change. In AD 1872, the Brahma Marriages Act was passed, in which widow-marriage and inter-caste marriage were accepted as valid.

Cohabitation Act was passed to prevent child marriage. Although all these efforts did not have immediate effect, people started to understand that child marriage is inappropriate and widow marriage is proper.

Maharashtra was at the forefront of social reform. In Maharashtra, there was a tradition of re-incorporating Hindus converted to Christianity in Hinduism. Apart from child-marriage and widow-marriage, the condition there was not as backward as in Bengal. There were caste-caste bonds, but in the middle of the 19th century, a movement had started to reduce these bonds.

The biggest weakness of the social reform movement was that the reformers themselves could not follow the principles of social reform which they propagated, which did not have a good effect on the society. Apart from this, it was not necessary for all the reformers to agree with everything about social reform.

Among those who were supporters of women's education, there was a difference of opinion on what kind of education should be given to women. Some reformers were in favor of implementing the reforms by getting the government to make laws. On the contrary, some reformers firmly held that government interference in social matters was undesirable.

The question that often arises about the success of the social reform movement is whether this movement was successful in eradicating all the evils of the society? In fact, Indian Hindu society was bound by a system for centuries. Therefore, it was impossible to make a sudden change by breaking that periphery. Even today child marriages take place in India, some people still consider widow-marriage as a derogatory, so it cannot be said that these practices are recognized by the society. But this does not mean that the social reform movements of the 19th-20th century were in vain.

The reform movements started from Bengal and its leader was Raja Rammohan Roy. A hundred years after the death of Raja Rammohun Roy, when the centenary of his death-day was celebrated in the presence of prominent figures of the Renaissance of Bengal in AD 1933, a glorious picture of the history of the Renaissance period was drawn, in which Raja Rammohun Roy was depicted as a 'Shining Star' As shown.

Some scholars have collectively called these efforts of social reform 'Indian Renaissance' Said. According to him, many such elements like rationalism, science, humanism were present in these movements, which were also present in the European Renaissance, but on the basis of facts, this assumption does not appear to be completely true. The approach of these movements was based on pseudoscientificism and the practical side of humanism was very narrow.

It completely lacked many elements of the European Renaissance. Geographical discoveries, scientific inventions and unprecedented progress in the field of art and literature were important achievements of the European Renaissance, but these elements were completely lacking in the Indian Renaissance. Thus the Indian Renaissance differed from the European Renaissance in many respects. Nevertheless, as a process of social change, these movements are referred to as 'Renaissance' There is no objection in accepting it.

Some scholars are of the view that this renaissance led to the modernization of India, because at the root of the Renaissance was rationalism, scientific approach and those modern ideas which have been the carriers of modernity everywhere. Supporters of British imperialism also considered these movements to be the beginning of the modern era in India.

According to these people, these reform movements opposed religious and social superstitions, conservatism and cruel and inhuman practices, supported social equality and especially women's freedom and through education to establish modern knowledge, ideas and scientific outlook in the public mind. Tried but some thinkers do not agree with this.

According to him, the movements may have brought about some fundamental changes but they did not modernize the country. In fact, what was considered to be the modernization of the country was nothing more than westernisation.

It is true that as a result of these movements, the spread of English education and western ideas started in the country, but it cannot be assumed that the country has become modern. The main bases of modernity are human conscience, knowledge, scientific approach and humanism etc. But all these elements can make a particular society or country modern only when they develop naturally and judiciously use them in the context of that society.>

The process and dimensions of modernization may be different in different countries. The background of British and Indian life was completely different from each other. In such a situation, it was not necessary that India should be modernized on the same model as Britain. Modernity in India could have come not only through English, but also through Sanskrit or Hindi and through the study and development of India's traditional knowledge-sciences (like Ayurveda, mathematics, astrology, astronomy etc.) Could have been modernized from

Modernization of Japan and China are successful examples of this fact. These countries were modernized through indigenous language and indigenous means. From this point of view, the western influence prevailing in the Indian Renaissance had blocked the process of modernization of India to some extent.

During these movements, Western liberalism was propagated in India. In practice, the underlying result of supporting liberalism was the nurturing and exploitation of capitalism. Whatever utility liberalism could have had, in the midst of Indian conditions, it also remained dormant and ineffective. In such a situation, the efforts of Raja Rammohun Roy or Sir Syed Ahmed Khan were limited to harmonizing the colonial structure of British imperialism.

The immediate problem was not the worship of one Brahman, the practice of sati or child-murder, but economic, social and political exploitation and poverty. These fundamental questions received only a nominal attention from the reformers. Most of the attempts in this direction were vague and unsuccessful. On the other hand, the overwhelming influence of Western culture on the movements and belief in liberal ideas blocked India's opportunities for modernization through indigenous means and the country was under the glare of Western civilization 'modernity' Started living in the illusion of.

Consciousness was awakened in a very small part of Indian society as a result of the reform movements, but there was no widespread change. The real nature of the movement remained middle class and its scope was confined to the cities. The reformers did not try to reach out to the farmers or the common man. His ideas did not start the process of reforms among the illiterate people.

If these reformist movements were progressive in the true sense, they could have concocted widespread social change from every section of the society and from cities to villages, but in spite of the strength of modernity, these movements were also nurturing pseudo-scientific and to some extent conservative. . No movement of the Renaissance period could rise above religion.

The entire thinking of Brahmo Samaj, Arya Samaj, Ramakrishna Mission etc. was based on Hinduism and the Aligarh movement was based on Islam. None of these movements could make the entire Indian society its sphere of action. The issues of all the movements were different. Child marriage, sati-practice and widow-marriage were the defects of Hindu society, with which Muslims had no relation. इसी प्रकार बुरका-प्रथा एवं तीन तलाक से हिन्दुओं का कोई लेना-देना नहीं था।

बाल-विवाह और विधवा-विवाह के सम्बन्ध में हिन्दू सुधारकों में मतभेद थे। केशवचन्द्र सेन एवं उनके समर्थक बाल-विवाह के विरोधी थे किंतु स्वयं केशव चन्द्र सेन ने अपनी 13 वर्षीय पुत्री का विवाह पूरे वैदिक कर्मकाण्ड के साथ कूचबिहार के राजा के साथ कर दिया। अंतद्र्वद्व से राजा राममोहन राय भी मुक्त नहीं थे। उनके पास दो घर थे।

एक में स्वयं राजा राममोहन राय को छोड़़कर सब कुछ विदेशी था, दूसरे में राजा साहब को छोड़़ कर सब कुछ देशी था। वैसे ही सर सैयद अहमद खाँ पश्चिम के आधुनिक विचारों से प्रभावित तो थे किन्तु पर्दा प्रथा जैसे कई मुद्दों पर उनका दृष्टिकोण स्पष्ट नहीं था।

इन आन्दोलनों की विफलताओं का एक बड़ा कारण भारत का पराधीन होना भी था। साम्राज्यवादी शोषण और औपनिवेशिक ढांचे के भीतर होने वाले इन आन्दोलनों को बहुत अधिक सफलता मिल भी नहीं सकती थी। समस्त तरह की स्वतंत्रताओं की सबसे महत्त्वपूर्ण शर्त आर्थिक एवं राजनैतिक शोषण से मुक्ति थी। भारत का तात्कालीन शासन तन्त्र ऐसी स्वतंत्रता के पक्ष में नहीं था। ऐसी परिस्थितियों में सीमित उदारवादी सुधार ही हो सकते थे, कोई सामाजिक या सांस्कृतिक क्रांति नहीं।

आन्दोलन के परिणामस्वरूप अंग्रेजी शिक्षा और पश्चिमी विचारों का भारत में तेजी से प्रसार हुआ। इस काम में अंग्रेजों ने पश्चिमी विद्वानों तथा ईसाई पादरियों के साथ-साथ भारतीय सुधारकों के सहयोग एवं समर्थन का भी उपयोग किया। इससे देश में ब्रिटिश शासन के प्रति विरोध थमा रहा। राजा राममोहन राय और सैयद अहमद खाँ आदि ने अंग्रेजों का समर्थन भी किया।

सुधार आन्दोलनों पर पश्चिमी तत्त्वों का प्रभाव होने के कारण देश की वास्तविक सामाजिक एवं सांस्कृतिक समस्याओं को ठीक से समझ पाना कठिन हो गया जिससे अधिक महत्त्वपूर्ण मसलों को छोड़़कर सुधारक छोटे-छोटे मसलों से उलझते रहे। इस प्रकार पश्चिमी प्रभाव ने सुधारकों में स्वतन्त्र चिन्तन की प्रक्रिया को कमजोर किया और देश की तत्कालीन वास्तविकताओं की पृष्ठभूमि में पुनर्जागरण के आन्दोलन को स्वतंत्र रूप से विकसित नहीं होने दिया।