Socio religious movement

Spread the love

Socio-religious movement

Religion is not sterile. It brings social change. Functionalists have always spoken of religion as an agent of social change. There have been many religious movements in Europe. Catholicism has inspired a great deal of upheaval in Europe and America. Historians have recorded specific periods for social reform. Calvin, Martin Luther King and others have led many reform movements. There were socio-religious movements for religious conversion in India too. Bengal has been the cradle of religious movements. In Punjab and Haryana there was Dayanand Saraswati who rejected the caste system; Jyoti Ba Phule worked against the caste system in Maharashtra. Ambedkar himself as a social reformer. All movements reflect the dynamic aspect of religion. It should not be forgotten that from the Marxist point of view, religion comes in the way of social change. There is an anecdote that there was a famine in the USSR. Some charitable organizations distributed woolen shawls to poor people. This was reported to Lenin who responded: “Stop this charity immediately. It will draw the steam of revolutions from poor people. Let them suffer extreme hardships. And people will be ready to revolutionize.”

Socio-religious movements in India can be understood in the context of Indian nationalism. In pre-modern colonial India, the British also wanted to bring some reforms in the Indian society so that they could establish themselves. The British made some reforms. Even in the Mughal period, Akbar wanted to establish himself as a reformist leader. This country has a history of pluralism. Some reforms were necessary to bring about social unity and harmony in such a society. There were about 3000 castes that had to be brought together to establish an empire. Akbar’s attempt for Din-i-Ilahi was nothing but an attempt at socio-religious reform.

a R. Desai argued in his powerful book on the social background of Indian nationalism (1948) that the religious reform movements in India best reflect the expression of the national awakening. He sees:

The national democratic awakening of the Indian people found expression in the religious sphere as well. The contradiction between the old religious outlook, practices and organization on the one hand and the new social and economic reality on the other gave rise to various religious reform movements in the country. These movements represented attempts to modify the old religion in the spirit of the new principles of nationalism and democracy, which were the conditions for the development of the new society.

The spirit of nationalism was needed to unite the people in a joint effort to solve problems which, under British rule, became national due to the political and economic integration of the Indian people for the first time in history. To further the economic and cultural development of Indian society, now becoming a whole, as well as to counter the restrictions imposed on this development by British rule, constituted the major task set by the growing Indian nationalism. It is true that the early pioneers of Indian nationalism, the early social and religious

The reformers hoped to remove these restrictions under the guidance of British democracy. Nevertheless, he acknowledged that British rule, despite its initially progressive character, hindered Indian national development.

Democracy was another principle adopted by reformers, early leading nationalists like Ram Mohan Roy. Debendra Nath Tagore, Keshavchandra Sen, Telang, Ranade, Phulle, and the founders of the Arya Samaj, in varying degrees, expanded into the field of religion. The modern society established in India by the British conquest was a capitalist society based on the principles of individual liberty, freedom to compete, antitrust, and the freedom of the individual to own and manipulate property at will. Individualism was its main tone in contrast to pre-capitalist society which was authoritarian in character; Maintained social distinctions based on birth and sex and subordinated the individual to the caste and joint family system. The new society demanded the abolition of privileges based on birth or gender as a condition of its development.

The early religious reformers attempted to extend the principle of individual liberty to the field of religion. In fact, these religious-reform movements, the Brahmo Samaj, the Prarthana Samaj, the Arya Samaj and others, were in varying degrees attempts to transform the old religion into a new one to meet the needs of the new society. It is true that some of their leaders (especially those of the Arya Samaj) had a misconception that they were reviving the old primitive social structure of the Vedic period.

Aryans that they were returning to the Golden Age. in fact they were engaged in varying degrees


In adapting Hinduism to the social, political, economic and cultural needs of the contemporary Indian nation. History records instances where the consolidators of new societies imagined that they were returning to the past and reviving the best social forms that existed in older times. In fact, the early religious reform movements in India were attempting to create a religious outlook that would create national unity of all communities, Hindus, Muslims, Parsis and the rest, to solve common national tasks such as India’s economic development. On modern lines, the removal of restrictions imposed on the free development of people, the establishment of equality between man and woman, the abolition of caste, the abolition of Brahman as the monopoly of classical culture and the sole intermediary between God and the individual. Yet, like the leaders of other movements, including European Protestantism and the Religious Reformation, the Indian religious reformers were not rehabilitating any earlier period of society, but only strengthening the emerging new society.


religious reformation

There were religious reform movements before independence but they were typical for the rule of the aristocracy. Liberalism, the philosophy of capitalism, propagated democracy and government by the people. Medieval religion, including medieval religion, stood for privilege based on birth. Liberalism attacked all such privileges as unjust and proclaimed the principles of individual liberty, equal rights and pre-competition. Medievalism demanded from the people a belief in the divine origin of monarchy, in the sacred character of social structure, and in the God-ordained nature of all that exists. Liberalism substituted important religion for faith. Every institution and principle must stand the test of reason.

Sometimes the old gods and goddesses were interpreted in a suitable way to arouse national feelings and hopes among the people. This interpretation of old images of gods and goddesses has given a new meaning to the current rituals of the country, and the majority, while worshiping Jagat Dhatri or Kali or Durga, worship her with devotion…with inspiring slogans of “Bande Mataram”. address with. All of these are popular objects of worship among Indian Hindus … and the transformation of these symbols is at once the cause and evidence of the depth and strength of the present movement. This amazing transformation of old deities is giving the message of new nationalism to the women and people of the country.

Thus the religious revival movement, like the religious reform movement, was inspired by a national ideal.

Another characteristic of the religious reform movements was that their program was not confined to the task of religious reform but extended to the reconstruction of social institutions and social relations. This was due to the fact that religion and social structure were organically intertwined in India. Caste hierarchy, gender inequality, antisemitism and social taboos flourished due to the acceptance of religion. Social reform, consequently, became a part of the platform of all religious-reform movements. While rationalizing religion to a greater or lesser extent, these movements also aimed to rationalize social institutions and relations to a greater or lesser extent. Nowhere in the world did religion dominate and determine the life of an individual as it did in India. Their economic activities, their social life, their marriage, birth and death, their physical activities, were all strictly and closely controlled by Dharma. Religious reform movements had to have a comprehensive program of religious, social and even political reform. They are being practiced in a foreign country in the form of polytheism and idolatry.

Ti fought with the order and the Thebans. He attacked the monopolistic rights of the Brahmins in the field of religion as well as the caste privileges. He attacked all this because they were obstacles to national progress, for which, as necessary pre-conditions, there was national unity based on the principles of equality and liberty of individuals and groups.

The aim of the movements was national progress. The first national awakening of the Indian people took a predominantly religious form. This awakening deepened and expanded in later decades and found increasingly secular forms. We are discussing below some of the socio-religious movements launched against medieval religion.



Brahmo Samaj Movement

The Brahmo Samaj, founded in 1828 by Raja Ram Mohan Roy (1772–1833), who can rightly be described as the father of Indian nationalism, was the first such movement. The king was essentially a democrat and a humanist. In his religious-philosophical and social outlook, he was deeply influenced by the monotheism and anti-idolatry of Islam, the deism of Sufism, the moral teachings of the Krishs.


Fanaticism and the Liberal and Rationalist Theories of the West. He tried to interpret and assimilate the highest elements of Islam, Christianity and modern rationalism or humanism, and fuse them into a single creed, which he found in the ancient Upanishadic philosophy of his community.

He attacked the polytheistic degeneration of ancient Hindu monotheism. He denounced the idol worship of Hindus as derogatory and exposed the concept of one God of religions and humanity. His attack on polytheism and idolatry was motivated as much by national and socio-ethical considerations as by philosophical belief. ‘My constant reflections on the pernicious rites introduced by the peculiar practice of Hindu idolatry, which destroy the very fabric of society more than any heathen-worship, together with compassion for my countrymen, lead me to do everything possible forced so that they can contemplate. … the oneness and omnipresence of the God of Nature.’

Raja Ram Mohan Roy was in favor of a rational approach towards religion. One must study the scriptures directly without a priest and assess the rational character of a religious doctrine. He must subject religious doctrines to the test of his own moral reason and reject those which are contrary to the test.

Since Hindu society was governed and governed by the religious concepts of Hinduism, no religious-reform movement could avoid a social-reform clause in its programme. According to Raj Ram Mohan Roy and the early religious reformers, religious renewal was an important condition for modifying the social structure from a decaying to a healthy basis. That is why the social-reform program became a part of the overall program of the religious-reform movements.

The Brahmo Samaj under the leadership of Raja launched an aggressive campaign against the caste system, calling it undemocratic, inhuman and anti-national. It crusaded against sati and child marriage. It stood for the freedom of widow remarriage and equal rights for man and woman.

Brahmo Samaj gave importance to modern western culture and organized educational institutions in the country for its dissemination among the people. Raja Ram Mohan Roy was an admirer of the liberal democratic culture of the West.

The king considered British rule in India a good thing. He praised it for inaugurating progressive measures of social reform, such as the abolition of sati and infanticide, the establishment of modern educational institutions and a free press, among others. This was natural as British rule in India historically had a progressive aspect during the first half of the nineteenth century.

Despite his great admiration for the British, Raj Ram Mohan Roy organized a protest movement against the measure to restrict the freedom of the press. He also criticized the British government for excluding Indians from high positions.

Since the Brahmo Samaj was not only a religious movement but also included in its program items of social and political reform, it was similar to the later social reform movement started by Ranade and others and the political reform movement started by the early Indian National Congress. was the forerunner. , Thus the religious reform movement prepared for the purely secular social and political reform movements in the country. This is the historical significance of Raja Ram Mohan Roy and

He started the Brahmo Samaj. Raja Ram Mohan Roy inaugurated the modern era in


Debendra Nath Tagore (1817–1905), who succeeded him as leader of the Brahmo Samaj, developed doubts about the infallibility of the scriptures and eventually rejected it. He substituted intuition for the authority of the scriptures. Through intuition he unearthed sections of the Upanishads that served as the theological-ideological basis for the principles and programs of the Brahmo Samaj.

Keshab Chandra Sen (1838–84) was the next leader of the Brahmo Samaj. Under him, the doctrine of Brahmo Samaj was more and more compatible with the doctrine of pure Christianity. At a later stage, he propounded the doctrine of command, according to which God inspires knowledge in certain individuals, whose words are infallible.

and must be accepted as true. A section of Brahmos did not accept this doctrine, left the Samaj and called the Ordinary Brahmo Samaj.

The Brahmo Samaj was the forerunner of the nationalist movement, which began from the workings of history as a religious-reform movement aimed at freeing the individual from the deadening weight of an authoritarian religion that stifled his initiative and hindered individual and collective The mind tarnished both.

The Brahmo Samaj inaugurates a new era for the Indian public by proclaiming

The principles of individual liberty, national unity, solidarity and co-operation and the democratization of all social institutions and social relations. This was the first organized expression of his national awakening.


  prayer society

Prarthana Samaj was founded in 1867

7 MG in Bombay Ranade. It had a program of religious and social reforms like the Brahmo Samaj. Its founder Ranade was one of the leaders of the Indian National Congress and the Indian Social Conference, which held their first sessions in 1885 and 1888 respectively.

 The Arya Samaj

The Arya Samaj was founded in Bombay in 1875 by Dayanand Saraswati, although it was a movement of a very different kind, embodying the first surge of Indian nationalism. It had a more revivalist character. It declared the Vedas to be infallible and, an inexhaustible storehouse of all knowledge of the past, present and future. One must know how to understand and interpret the Vedas, which contain all philosophical, technical and scientific information. With enough effort one can find all modern chemistry, engineering and even military and non-military sciences in the Vedas.

Since the Vedas were declared infallible, the word of the Vedas and the judgment of the individual was not the final criterion. The Arya Samaj did not and could not allow it to override individual decisions by accepting the infallibility of the Vedas.

the denial of the authority of the Brahmanas, the condemnation of the infinite number of meaningless rites and the worship of images of various gods and goddesses, which divided the people into many warring sects, and the crusade against the mass of religious superstitions which had sustained it, for many centuries For, the Hindu mind was mentally beggar and in a state of spiritual decline – these were progressive elements in the program of the Arya Samaj. Its slogan Bark to Veda was inspired by the inspiration to bring about national unity and to awaken national pride and consciousness. However, since it retained its narrow Hindu base, the national unity it proclaimed could not bring non-Hindu communities such as Muslims and Christians into its fold. It became a semi-rational form of Hinduism.

Arya Samaj also had a program of social reform. In opposition to the hereditary caste system, it stood, however, that the four-caste division of society should be determined by merit and not by birth. Since the Vedas made such a division and since the Vedas were infallible, the Arya Samaj itself could not declare the death of the caste system.

Arya Samaj stood for equal rights of man and woman in social and educational matters. It was a different democratic concept. However, it opposed co-education as co-education did not exist during the Vedic period.

The Arya Samaj created a network of schools and colleges for both boys and girls in the country, where education was imparted in the mother tongue. Dayanand Anglo-Vedic College was established in 1886.

The orthodox section of the Arya Samaj thought that the education imparted in this college was not sufficiently Vedic in character. Therefore, its members under the leadership of Munshi Ram started a Gurukul at Hardwar, where education was imparted in the ancient Vedic way, both in content and method.

In all its activities, the Arya Samaj was generally inspired by the spirit of nationalism and democracy. It attempted to integrate Hindus by eliminating sub-castes. It spread education among the people, proclaimed the principle of equality without distinction of caste, creed, community, race or gender. It sought to destroy their inferiority complex, which was an inevitable product of their status as a subject nation.

The Arya Samaj, despite its narrow Hinduness, as its rational declaration that all knowledge is contained in the Vedas, attracted hundreds of nationalist Indians to its fold. In fact, the Arya Samaj was once one of the main targets of political repression. It is therefore not surprising that when Sir Valentine Chirol visited India on behalf of The Times after 1907 to investigate the causes of the unrest, he presented the Arya Samaj as a serious threat to English and British sovereignty. saw.

Arya Samaj represented a form of national awakening of Indians

people. Limited to a narrow Hindu base and with a negative attitude towards Islam, it over time led Muslims to mobilize on a similar communal basis. It played a progressive role in the early stages when the national awakening was just budding. The Arya Samaj had two aspects, one progressive and the other reactionary. He played a progressive role when he attacked religious superstitions and the sacred tyranny of the Brahmins, when he condemned polytheism, and when he later adopted a program of mass education, abolition of sub-castes, equality of man and woman. But when he considered the Vedas to be infallible and the source of the universe.

Declared the treasure house of all knowledge of the past, present and future, he was playing a progressive anti-semitism when he stood for dividing the society into four castes on the basis of merit. No knowledge can ever be final in an infinite and ever-evolving social and natural world

Therefore Veda could not be the embodiment of all knowledge. In addition, all knowledge is historically conditioned and limited by the level of social and economic development of the era in which it originated. In this way, subsequent generations have to take all inherited past knowledge seriously and subject it to the test of reason and social utility. Here comes the role of personal judgment. While the Vedas were glorified as infallible, the individual as well as the generation to which they belonged were denied the right to make their own independent decisions and pronounce upon the ancient scriptures. It was the intellectual slavery of the scriptures to the individual and the generation. This was a departure from the principles of liberalism.

Again, the Arya Samaj could not be a national or worldwide religion as it demanded from its followers the recognition of the principle of infallibility and omniscience of the Vedas.

However, as mentioned above, the Arya Samaj played a progressive role in the early stages of Indian nationalism. However, as the national awakening broadened and deepened, as the national movement rose to more and more secular heights, it inadvertently hindered the growth of Indian nationalism by contributing to the creation of a belligerent religious-communal atmosphere.




Ramakrishna Mission Movement

The national awakening of the Indian people found expression in the movement

Inspired by Ramakrishna, a great Hindu saint, in direct line with saints like Chandidas and Chaitanya. It is mainly based on the principle of bhakti bhakti. Its chief propagator was Swami Vivekananda, a follower of Ramakrishna and an intellectual of very high caliber, who, after the saint’s death, founded the Ramakrishna Mission to propagate his teaching.

The aim of the Ramakrishna Mission was to protect India from the ‘materialistic’ influence of Western civilization. It idealized Hinduism, including its practice of idol worship and polytheism. Its objective was the spiritual conquest of the world for the revived Hinduism.

One of the harmful consequences of foreign rule in India has been the tendency to alienate Indians from modern Western culture, which is historically a higher form of culture than the pre-capitalist culture to which the average Indian is conscious. life was. based.

There were other religious-reform movements of smaller magnitude, which also expressed the New Awakening. Hinduism began to organize itself nationally in revivalist or reformist forms. These movements spread to various groups including the Hindu society.

Thus, the Bharat Dharma Mahamandal Society for its programs to reform Hinduism and spread religious and non-religious education among Hindus began in 1902. Formed one of the lowest castes of Hindu society, with programs of building temples and establishing schools for the rakshasas and the community.





Theosophy, introduced in India by Madame Blavatsky and Henry Steel Olcott in 1879 and mainly popularized by Mrs. Annie Besant, was another religious-reform movement initiated in India under the influence of new Indian and international conditions. The uniqueness of this movement lay in the fact that it was inaugurated by a non-Indian who was a great admirer of Hinduism. Theosophy subscribed to the metaphysical philosophy of ancient Hinduism and recognized its doctrine of transmigration of the soul. It preached universal brotherhood of men irrespective of caste, creed, race or gender. It stood for the development of a national feeling among Indians. Mrs Besant wrote in 1905, India needs, among other things, the development of a national spirit, an education founded on Indian ideals and not enriched by the thought and culture of the West. Theosophy stood for the comparative study of all oriental religions. However, it considered ancient Hinduism to be the most deeply spiritual religion in the world. However, Theosophy failed to take deep roots in the country. There were smaller religious-reform movements aimed at readjusting Hinduism to the social needs of contemporary Indian people, such as the Dev Samaj and the Radha Swami Satsang. Like their major counterparts, these movements also aimed at integrating Hindus with the core tenets of Hinduism, democratizing social relations among them, and instilling a sense of nationalism among them. He represented the new national awakening of the Hindus in a religious form.

Religious reforms by eminent political leaders

In addition to these organized national religious-reform and religious-revivalist movements, individuals of outstanding ability and political eminence, such as Bipin Chandra Pal, Aurobindo Ghosh, Tilak and Gandhi, contributed without organizing any specific movements.

Religious reform work. Nationalism in Bengal, however, was becoming increasingly secular, for the time being religious in character. It was influenced by the Neo-Vedantic movement of Swami Vivekananda. Therefore, the movement for Swaraj on the part of Bengali nationalists was called Prachi.

Nor was an attempt to discover the spiritual Absolute in one’s innermost self based on the ideal of the Upanishads. Hence, the worship of the mother – the country is depicted in the form of Goddess Kali.

Tilak reinterpreted the Gita and declared karma as its central precept. The basic essence of the Gita’s philosophy, he said, had been missed by the Indian people who, as a result, had sunk into inertia and a fatalistic mood. The Indian nation can wake up to dynamic endeavor only when they recognize it.

Thus the national movement was aimed at national independence from British rule and the establishment of an Indian society and state on a democratic basis and on the basis of a religious movement. Nationalism was expressed in religious terms and clothed in a religious-mystical form. However, Indian nationalism, with its further development, gradually freed itself from the religious element with which it was imbued. It became increasingly secular.




  Socio-religious movement among Muslims

Islam out of the democratic ferment of the common people of Arabia against the privileged strata of the society. As such, it has a democratic ring to it. Islam propagates the principle of social equality. This makes the promotion of International Socialism among the Muslim rank and file more successful.

Despite this relative inertia of the Muslims, several religious-revivalist and even religious-reform movements emerged among them in course of time, with a view to their development along nationalist lines. However these movements were not as powerful as their counterparts among the Hindus. Furthermore, most of them lacked a national note. Four main such movements were started by (1) Shah Abdul Aziz of Delhi, (2) Sayyid Ahmad of Bareilly, (3) Shaikh Karnamat Ali of Jaunpur and (4) Haji Shariat-Ullah of Faridpur. All these four movements were more of a revivalist character.

52.8 Ahmadiyya Movement

The Ahmadiyya movement, founded by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in 1889, was based on more or less liberal principles. It described itself as the standard bearer of the Muslim renaissance. It bases itself, like the Brahmo Samaj, on the principles of the universal religion of all humanity. The founders were strongly influenced by Western liberalism, theosophy and the religious-reform movements of the Hindus.

The Ahmadiyya movement opposed jihad or holy war against non-Muslims. It stood for fraternal relations among all people. This movement spread western liberal education among Indian Muslims. It started a network of schools and colleges for that purpose and published periodicals and books in both English and local languages. Despite its liberalism, the Ahmadiyya movement, like Baha’ism, which flourished in West Asian countries, remained obsessed with mysticism. However, it represented an attempt on the part of Islam to assimilate the principles of Western liberalism.

For historical reasons, the Muslim community initiated national democratic progress later than the Hindus. The tragedy of the Great Revolt in 1857–8 marked the death of the old order, and brought political, economic and cultural devastation to Indian Muslims. It marked more than ever his sadness, his isolation, his suppressed hatred for the new system… The key to the whole situation was the adaptation to the new environment, the use of the new forces coming into play, the new means. Acceptance Progress that was made through English education.

This withdrawal from the new reality cannot last forever. Soon, the Muslims took up education and created an intelligentsia. They also appeared in the field of commerce and industry. The progressive elements among these newly educated Muslims and Muslim businessmen and industrialists steadily developed a national outlook and embarked on the path of nationalism in politics and democratic reform in social affairs.



Aligarh Movement

The first national awakening among Muslims found expression in a movement aimed at making Indian Muslims politically aware and spreading modern education among them. Syed Ahmed Khan was the founder of this movement. He had able allies like the poet Khwaja Altaf Hussain Hali, Maulvi Nazir Ahmad and Maulvi Shibli Numani.

The liberal social reform and cultural movement founded by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan is known as the Aligarh Movement because it was in Aligarh that the Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College was established in 1875. This college developed into Aligarh University in 1890.

The aim of the Aligarh Movement was to spread Western education among Muslims without weakening their allegiance to Islam. Religious temptation reinforced secular education, which was

It was provided in the educational intuition introduced. The aim of this movement was to develop a separate social and cultural community among the Indian Muslims on more or less modern lines. It condemned the social ban on polygamy and widow-remarriage, though permitted by Islam, but among certain sections of Muslims who were recent converts from Hinduism.

After the beginning of the Aligarh movement, more or less independent progressive movements started in Bombay, Punjab, Hyderabad and elsewhere.

Sir Mahmood Iqbal

Sir Mahmood Iqbal, a poet of world repute, played an important role in the history of Indian Muslims. even though they

He supported the liberal movement, calling on Muslim liberals to be careful not to push the broad humanitarian principles that Islam stood for into the background by emphasizing nation and race. Iqbal described European civilization as inhuman, greedy, predatory and decadent. He even quoted authors such as Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Spengler and Karl Marx taking conflicting viewpoints to condemn its various aspects. He made passionate attacks on European civilization in poems which are pearls of Persian and Urdu poetry. He was essentially a humanist and regarded Islam as a religion of comprehensive humanism. In the later phase of his life, Iqbal displayed reactionary tendencies. He opposed democracy as a system and became hostile to the Indian nationalist movement.

Other Muslim Reform Movements

Over time, movements came into existence for the emancipation of Muslim women and to fight against institutions like purdah. Tyabji, an enlightened and progressive Muslim, was the founder of this movement in Bombay. Sheikh Abdul Halil Sharar (1860–96), an outstanding writer and journalist, organized a veritable crusade against purdah in the United Provinces.

With the spread of liberal ideas among Muslims, the movement to improve the social status of Muslim women and abolish the customs prescribed for them began to gain strength. Along with child marriage, polygamy also started decreasing. Individual Muslims and Muslim organizations established an increasing number of educational institutions for Muslim women across India. Education started spreading among Muslim women. In this way religious-reform and social-reform movements increased and gained momentum among the Muslims as well. The rise of Turkish and Arab nationalism and the establishment of a national secular state in Turkey had the effect of broadening the outlook of Indian Muslims. The rise and growth of the Indian National Movement also increasingly brought Muslims into the orbit of Indian nationalism. The independent labor and peasant movements that later developed rapidly in India and were mostly led by communists, socialists and left-wing nationalists such as Nehru had the effect of making the Muslim masses nationalistic and class-conscious. These movements became the training grounds for people from both communities and areas of cooperation to carry out national and general class tasks. The economic structure and the existing foreign rule urged them to come together and cooperate for common liberation.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.