SOCIO-RELIGIOUS MOVEMENTS

Brahma Samaj

  • In August 1828, Raja Rain Mohan Roy founded the Brahma Sabha, which was later renamed Brahma Samaj.
  • He defended Hinduism against the hostile criticism of the missionaries.
  • He re-interpreted Hindu doctrines and found ample spiritual basis for his humanitarianism in the Upanishds.
  • He started the campaign for the abolition of Sati, condemned polygamy and concubinage denounced casteism and advocated the right of Hindu widows to remarry.
  • He rejected Christianity, denied the divinity of Jesus Christ but accepted the humanism of Europe.
  • Ram Mohan Roy accepted the concept of one god as pronounced by the Upanishads.
  • There was no place for priesthood in Samaj, nor sacrifices of any kind, were allowed.
  • The orthodox Hindus led by Radhakant Deb organised the Dharma Sabha with the object of countering the propaganda of Brahma Samaj.
  • Debendranath Tagore joined the Samaj in 1872.
  • Tagore headed the Tattavabodini Sabha founded in 1839, which was en-gaged in search of spiritual truth. 
  • Keshab Chandra Sen joined the Brahma Samaj in 1858. Tagore appointed him the Acharya of the Brahma Samaj.
  • Keshab's liberal and cosmopolitan outlook brought about a split in the Samaj.
  • Tagore dismissed Keshab from the office of the Acharya in 1865.
  • Keshab and his followers left the parent body in 1866 and formed the Brahma Samaj of India. Debendranath's Samaj henceforth came to be known as Adi Brahma Samaj.
  • A further split in Keshab's Brahma Samaj of India came in 1878.
  • Most of Keshab's followers felt disgusted and set up a new organisation called the Sadharan Brahma Samaj.

Prarthna Samaj 

  • The Brahmo ideas spread in Maharashtra where Paramhansa Sabha was founded in 1849.
  • In 1867 under the guidance of Keshab, the Prarthna Samaj was established in Bombay by Atmaram Pandurang. 
  • Apart from worship of one God, in western India the main emphasis has been on social reform, upon works rather than faith.
  • In the field of social reform, the focus was on disapproval of caste system, rising the age of marriage for boys and girls, widow remarriage and women education.
  • Prominent leaders of the Prarthna Samaj were Mahadev Govind Ranade, Bhandarkar and N.G. Chandravarkar. 
  • In Punjab, the Dayal Singh Trust sought to implement Brahma ideas by the opening of Dayal Singh College at Lahore in 1910.

Arya Samaj 

  • It was revivalist in form though not in content.
  • It was founded by Swami Dayananda. He rejected western ideas and sought to revive the ancient religion of the Aryans.
  • His real name was Mul Shanker.
  • In 1875, Dayananda formally organised the first Arya Samaj unit at Bombay. A few years later the headquarters of the Arya Samaj was established at Lahore.
  • He looked on the Vedas at India's 'rock of the ages', the true original seed of Hinduism. His motto was 'Go back to the Vedas'.
  • He condemned idol worship and preached unity of God head.
  • His views were published in his work `satyartha prakash'.
  • He accepted the doctrine of Karma but rejected the theory of niyati (destiny).
  • He pleaded for widow remarriage and condemned child marriages.
  • Anglo-Vedic school was established at Lahore in 1886.
  • The orthodox opinion in the Arya Samaj which stands for the revival of Vedic ideal in modern life set up the Gurukul or Pathshala at Hardwar in 1902.
  • The Samaj started the Shuddhi Movement to convert non-Hindus to Hinduism.
  • Lala Hans Raj, Pandit Guru Dutt and Lala Lajpat Rai were prominent leaders.
  • Dayanand's political slogan was 'India for the Indians'.

Ramkrishna Movement

  • The Ramkrishna Mission was conceived and founded by Swami Vivekananda in 1897. Its headquarters were Belur (Bengal) and Mayavati (Almora).
  • Ram Krishna Paramhansa (1834-86) was a priest at the Kali temple in Dakshineswar near Kolkata.
  • He considered and emphasised that Krishna, Hari, Ram, Christ, Allah are different names of the same God. 
  • Unlike Arya Samaj, Ram Krishna Mission recognises the utility and value of single worship in developing spiritual fervor and worship of the Eternal Omnipotent God.
  • Vivekananda emerged as the preacher of new-Hinduism.
  • He attended the parliament of Religions held at Chicago in 1893.
  • He decried caste system and un-touchability.
  • Subhas Chandra Bose said that Vivekananda might be regarded as the spiritual father of the modern nationalist movement.
  • The famous magazines of Ram Krishna Mission were Prabudh Bharat and Ubbodhan.

Theosophical Movement 

  • Madam H. P. Blavatsky laid the foundation of the movement in the United States in 1875. Later Colonel M.S. Alcott joined her.
  • In 1882 they shifted their headquarters to India at Adyar.
  • The members of this society believe that a special relationship can be established between a person's soul and god by contemplation, prayer, revolution, etc.
  • The society believes in re-incarnation, karma and draws from the philosophy of the Upanishads and Samkhya, Yoga and Vedanta schools of thought.
  • The theosophical movement came to be allied with Hindu renaissance.
  • After the death of Alcott in 1907 Annie Besant was elected as its President. She had joined the society in 1889. 
  • Besant laid the foundation of the central Hindu College in Banaras in 1898 where both Hindu religion and western scientific subjects were taught. The college became the nucleus for the formation of Banaras Hindu University in 1916.
  • Besant also formed the home rule league on the pattern of Irish home rule movement.

Aligarh Movement

  • It was founded by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan.
  • He established two madarasas at Muradapur and Gazipur.
  • In 1870 he published Tahzib-ul-Akhalaq and Asbad-i-Bhagvati.
  • W.W. Hunter wrote the book The Indian Musalman.
  • Sir Syed Ahmad Khan was in the judicial services of the company at the time of rebellion of 1857 and stood loyal to the government.
  • He became a member of the Imperial Legislative Council in 1878.
  • He tried to reconcile his co-religionists to modern scientific thoughts and to the British rule and rugged them to accept services under the government.
  • He condemned the system of piri and muridi.
  • He opened the Mohammadan Anglo Oriental College at Aligarh in 1875. The school became the nucleus of the formation of the Aligarh Muslim University in 1920.
  • Theodore Beck was his associate and was first principal. Beck founded the united Indian Patriotic Association, Aligarh.

Deoband Movement

  • The orthodox section among the Muslim Ulema organised the Deoband Movement.
  • It was a revivalist movement where objectives were to propagate among the Muslims, the pure teachings of the Quran and the Hadis and to keep alive the spirit of Jihad against the foreign rulers.
  • The Ulema under the leadership of Mohammad Qasim Wanotavi and Rashid Ahmad Gangohi founded the school of Deoband in the Saharanpur district of UP in 1866.
  • The school curriculum shut out English education and western culture.
  • Deoband School welcomed the formation of the Indian National Congress in 1885 and in 1888 Deoband Ulayma issued a religious decree against Syed Ahmd Khan's organizations 'The united patriotic Association' and the 'The Mohammadan Anglo Oriental Association'.
  • The new Deoband leader Mahmud-ul-Hasan sought to impart political and intellectual content to the religious ideas of the schools.

Sikh Reform Movement

  • In 1873, the Singh Sabha Movement was founded at Amritsar. It planned to bring to the Sikh community the benefits of western enlightenment through modern education. It also countered the proselytising activities of the Christian missionaries as well as Hindu revivalists.
  • Sabha opened a network of Khalsa school and colleges throughout the Punjab.
  • The Akali Movement aimed at liberating the Sikh Gurudwaras from the control of corrupt mahants who enjoyed the support of the government.
  • In 1921, the Akalis launched a non-violent non-cooperation Satyagrah movement against the Mahants. 
  • Government passed the Sikh Gurudwaras Act in 1922 which was later amended in 1925.
  • The Akali Movement was a regional movement but not a communal movement.

Parsi Reform Movement

  • In 1851 a group of English educated Parsis set up the Rahnumai Mazdayasana Sabha or the Religious reform association for the subject of regeneration of the social conditions of the Parsis and the restoration of the Zoroastrian religion to its pristine purity.
  • N. Furdonji, Dadabhai Nauroji, K. R. Cama were in the forefront of the movement.
  • The newspaper Rast Gofter propagated the message of the Association.

Young Bengal Movement

  • The leader of this movement was Anglo-Indian Henry Vivian Derozio.
  • He carried out public agitation on the freedom of press, trial by jury, protection of the Ryots from the oppression of the zamindars and employment of Indians in the higher grades of government services.

Trade Union Movement in India

  • The first textile mill was started in Bombay in 1853 and the first jute mill was started in 1855 at Rishra in Bengal.
  • The first industrial commission was appointed in 1875.
  • The first factory act was passed in 1881. The act prohibited the employ-ment of children below the age of 7, limited the number of working hours for children below the age of 12 and provided that dangerous machinery should be fenced.
  • The second Factory Act, 1891 limited the working day to 11 hours with an interval of 1-1/2 hours for women labour, increased the minimum and maximum ages of children from 7 and 12 to 9 and 14 years.
  • The Bombay workers went on a political 6-day strike over the conviction and imprisonment of Lokmanya Tilak in 1908.
  • In Bombay, N. M. Lokhande started the weekly Dinabandhu in 1880 and organised labour meetings to demand shorter hours of work. In 1890, he started the Bombay Millhands Association.
  • The first real labour union was formed in October 1901 in Calcutta called the Printers Union.
  • The Madras Labour Union was the first organisation with regular member-ship lists and subscriptions and was started by G. Ramanujalu Naidu, G. Chvalpathi with the aid of Mudaliar and was presided over by B.P. Wadia in 1918.
  • The All India Trade Union Congress was founded in 1920. The Indian Na-tional Congress President of the year was Lala Lajpat Rai,who was elected its President.
  • The Trade Union Act of 1926 recognized trade unions as legal associations.
  • The Jamshedpur Labour Association was founded by S. N. Haldar and Byomesh Chakravarty in 1920.
  • In 1929, All India Trade Union Federation was formed under the leadership of N. M. Joshi.
  • The Trade Disputes Act 1929 provided among other provisions for com-pulsory appointment of courts enquiry and conciliation boards for settling industrial disputes, made strikes illegal in public utility services.
  • In the Meerut conspiracy trial (1929-33), 31 trade union leaders were ar-rested. The charge against them was of conspiring to deprive the king of his sovereignty of India. Muzaffer Ahmad, Dange, Joglekar, Spratt, Bradley, Usmani and others were convicted.
  • The Congress Socialist Party was founded in 1934.
  • Kanpur labour enquiry committee was founded under the chairmanship of Rajendra Prasad.
  • M. N. Roy founded the Indian Federation of Labour.
  • In 1944, national leaders led by Sardar Patel organised the Indian National Trade Union Congress.

Indian Left Movement 

  • The idea of socialism gradually gained ground in India's National Movement. The Russian revolution had made a deep impact on the thinking of many nationalist leaders. The most outstanding of these leaders were Jawaharlal Nehru and Subhash Chandra Bose.
  • In 1920, M. N. Roy at Tashkent announced the formation of Communist Party of India. In India in 1924 Satyabhakta announced that he had formed the Communist Party of India with himself as the secretary.
  • The Communists were involved in the Peshawar, Kanpur and Meerut conspiracy trials.
  • In 1934, C. P. I. was declared as an illegal organisation.
  • In 1934, Jaiprakash Narayan & others founded the Congress Socialist Party.
  • In 1942, the CPI adopted a resolution declaring India to be a multinational State and identifying as many as 16 Indian nations. Subhash Chandra Bose formed the Forward Bloc in 1939.