Rajasthan Board RBSE Class 8 Social Science Notes Chapter 19 Social reforms and Ideological changes in India
Since times immemorial India has been known in the world for its progressive cultural heritage. As the time elapsed many evils erupted in the society. Almost 2500 years ago Gautama Buddha and Mahaveer Swami, and later the Hindu saints made efforts in the medieval period to free society from the orthodox beliefs and rigidities.
In the nineteenth century the British empire had set up its hold over India. It was the time when in India evils of Sati Pratha, child marriage, female infanticide etc. were praticed.
British started criticizing Indian civilization and culture in the shadow of these evils. They put stress in exposing evils of Indian culture’s rites and rituals rather than it’s gooners. By copying them some educated Indian youngsters also started finding rituals in the Indian society. It created a feeling of anxiety in the Indian society. In such time some Indian intellectuals attempted to eradicate negative rituals which were spread in the society. These people who studied ancient Vedic literature told people that their civilization and culture is the best. These evils had no existence in ancient religion and literature. These evils were exist in the society due to lack of knowledge and situations should be eliminated.
These intellectuals and social reformers pressurised the British Government to control people for following such rituals by enacting laws. While some believed that these evils could be controlled only by making people understand in this way. In modern India many social reformers put their efforts to reform society. Amongst them some social reformers and their contribution is discussed below:
Prominent Social Reformers were:
1. Raja Ram Mohan Roy
2. Ishwar Chandra Vidhya Sagar
3. Jyotiba Phule
4. Syyed Ahmad Khan
5. Swami Dayanand Saraswati
6. Swami Vivekanand
7. Anne Besant
- Raja Ram Mohan Roy: The wave of reformers which emerged in Bengal in 19th century was named as Renaissance. In the beginning of the 19th century there was a very evil system in practice people of Bengal made it popular by saying it Sati Pratha.This system was discussed seldom in ancient period also, In the medieval period its trend increased but in 19th century Bengal it took a very fierce form. In high class families newly widows were forced to sacrifice their life in the name of Sati. It was a very dreadful condition, which was followed by the people in the shadow of custom. Raja Ram Mohan Roy of Calcutta (Kolkata) started a campaign against this social evil.Raja Ram Mohan Roy took birth in Radha Nagar of Bengal in a Brahmin landlord family. He studied many languages and Vedic scriptures and translated Vedic literature in common language. Raja Ram Mohan Roy analysed the Indian scriptures and said that no where it is mentioned that a woman should sacrifice her life in the pyre of her husband’s death. On the basis of his arguments Raja Ram Mohan Roy pressurised British government to agree.In 1828 with his associates, he organized ‘Brahma Sabha’. Next year it was renamed as ‘Brahma Samaj’. In the end under the pressure of Brahma Samaj, Government enacted a law in which punishment was suggested to the person who supported Sati Pratha. Those who helped in performing Sati were severely punished. Thus, the evil of Sati Pratha was disappear from the society.
- Ishwar Chandra Vidhyasagar: He was one of the social reformers of Bengal. He took birth in a poor family and got higher education on his own efforts. Ishwar Chandra Vidhyasagar worked in the field of women education. Many girl’s schools were opened with his initiative.He was a great supporter of widow remarriage. He set an example by marrying his son to a widow. With his efforts the Widow Remarriage Act was passed in 1856.
- Jyotiba Phule: Beside Bengal efforts were being made for reforming the society. In Pune city of Maharashtra ‘Prarthna Samaj’ was organized to discuss on religion. Satya Shodak Samaj was set up in the guidance of Jyotiba Phule. He fought strongly against caste system and wrote the book ‘Gulamgiri’. He opened school for educating girls. When no able woman was found to teach in the school he made his wife Savitri Bai to run the school. He had a great contribution in widow remarriage also.
- Sir Ahmed Khan: He was born in Delhi in 1817 A.D. After his father’s death, due to economic difficulties, he joined the East India Company for living. By seeing the backwardness of Muslim society, he launched a campaign to educate the Muslim Samaj in a modern way and make it progressive. His aim was to modernize the Muslim society through education and insisted upon them to give up their conventional rhetoric attitude. For this objective, he opened a school in Delhi and in 1875 he set up the Mohamedan Anglo Oriental College in Aligarh near Delhi. This college was later converted to the Aligarh Muslim University. He is credited for spread of education in the Muslim society. In the early years he also emphasised the need for unity among communities (Communal unity). He very often said that the Hindus and the Muslims are the two eyes of Mother India. He had set up the Scientific society. He died at Aligarh in 1898.
- Swami Dayanand Saraswati: He was born in Gujarat. His childhood name was Mool Shankar’. He left his house at the age of 14 years and attained knowledge from Swami Vrijananda in Mathura. He spoke of understanding Vedas in the righteous way. He and his followers considered that if the extract of Vedas is understood in a right manner then solution would be got of all the problems of Hindustan.
- Swami Dayanand usually speak:
- To accept truth and one should be always ready to sacrifice the lives.
- We should behave with love according to religion and deserveness.
- Knowledge should be encouraged and develop non-knowledge should be destroyed.
He considered foreign rule as curse. He was the one who used the words Swadharma, Swadesh, Swabhasha, the foremost. He established Arya Samaj and propagated these thoughts.
- Achievements of Arya Samaj
- To provide rights to study Vedas to women and Dalits.
- Opposing child marriage.
- Spread and propagation of education.
- Their Arya Gurukuls and D.A.V schools are playing an important role in spreading of education even today. In national movement also the role of members of the Arya Samaj is important.
- Swami Vivekananda:
In the end of the last decade of the 19th century the name of Vivekananda was a very well known. He took birth in Calcutta of Bengal on 12th January 1863 A.D. His childhood name was Narendra Dutta. He did B.A. from English college. He was impressed by western intellectualism but he didn’t get spritual peace. Afterwards he made Ram Krishna Paramhansa, his Guru and received knowledge of Vedanta from him. Ram Krishna gave him name ‘Vividisha nanda’. Later after the saying of Maharaja of khetri Rajasthan, he adopted his name Vivekananda.He took part in the parliament of world religions held at Chicago in September 1893 A.D. Vivekananda explained the Hindu dharma continuous for two days to all intellectuals of the world and everyone was impressed by his talks.He was grieved of poverty and poorness of India. According to him service of sufferers and poor is the true service to God. He wanted to eliminate poverty and untouchability from the society. According to him religion is the development of the conscience or goodliness present inside the man. Religion is neither in the books nor in religious principles. Through his message he developed the feeling of nationalism in people. He established Ramkrishna Mission in the name of his Guru. Ramkrishna Mission is servicing society in the whole country even today.
- Anne Besant:
She set up the ‘Theosophical society in India. She was an Irish lady. She studied Hindu religion and culture. She travelled the Hindu pilgrims and worked for social reforms in Benaras. The central Hindu College, Benaras was set up by her and later it was upgraded to the Benaras University.
Social Reforms in Rajasthan:
Swami Dayanand Saraswati visited many places in Rajasthan as Karauli, Ajmer, Chittorgarh, Udaipur, Jodhpur etc. Swami Vivekanand visited Alwar and he had good relations with Khetari Maharaja. Swami Dayanand Sarswati set up Paropkarni Sabha at Udaipur in 1883.
He came from Banjara family and did many social reforms for the scheduled castes. In 1883 he set up Samp Sabha. He aimed at eliminating the blind beliefs and promoting the spirit of self confidence and self-dependence. His main priorities were opening schools and eradicating evils of drinking, dacoity etc. His economic reforms included using more of local products and contempt for beggary. He was opposed by the British. In 1913 the British army attacked the meeting being held at Mangarb hill in which about 1500 people were killed and Govind Guru was arrested.
Other Social Reformers of Rajasthan and their Reform Works:
- Surji Bhagat (Surmal Das) from Kharadi family of Lasoriya village worked for reforms in the tribal class.
- Laws were enacted by many rulers for social reforms as, for ban on Sati Pratha in Bundi in 1822, girl child killing in Kota in 1834, renunciation pratha in Jodhpur in 1841, Human trade in Jaipur in 1847 and witch tradition in Udaipur in 1853.
- In 1889 Rajput Hitakarini Sabha was formed. It attempted to check polygamy and dowry system.
- In Ajmer on the initiative of Harvilas Sharda, Anti-child Marriage Act was passed by the government in 1929. Chandkaran Sharda and his wife Sukhada Devi worked for the uplift of the Dalits. In Alwar Pt. Harinarayan Sharma, in an attempt to end the caste distinction, opened the gates of the door of temple in his own house for the Harijans. Impressed by his works, Maharaja Jai Singh of Alwar appointed him (Pt. Harinarayan) his advisor. In other parts of Rajasthan social reform works were done by Thakkar Bapa, Kunwar Madan Singh, Mama Baleshwar Dayal etc.