Socio-religious Reform Movements in 19 and 20 Century

Reformers like Raja Rammohan Roy, Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar, Swami Dayanand Saraswati, Jyotiba Phule, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and Pandita Ramabai understood that ignorance and backwardness in the society was responsible for hindering its progress and development. They studied the religious scriptures and criticized the prevalent religious and social practices. According to them, society should be based on the concepts of liberty and equality both for men and women and this was possible only by the spread of modern and scientific education especially among the women.These movements came to be called socio-religious movement because the reformers felt that no change is possible in a society without reforming the religion.

Raja Rammohan Roy’s  efforts to fight the social evils were  supported by the then Governor General of India, Sir William Bentinck. A law was passed in 1829 making Sati illegal and punishable. He also made efforts to advocate widow re-marriage and condemned child marriage. He advocated the importance of Vedas in reforming religion and upheld the fundamental unity among all religions.He started a campaign for the abolition of sati, condemned polygamy and concubinage, denounced casteism, advocated the rights of Hindu widows to remarry. He rejected Christianity . denied the divinity of Jesus Christ , but accepted the humanism of Europe Thus, Rammohan Roy sought to effect a cultural synthesis between the East and the West.

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