Friday, September 23, 2011

Hindu Revivalism

Many of the educated sections among the people of India who were within the sphere of influence of the British rulers were sympathetic to Christianity and the missionaries who were propagating this religion.
Rammohan Roy was not one among them. On the contrary, he even opposed the religious preachings of the Christian missionaries and their attempts at proselytizing. He did not conceal his faith in the Vedas and Upanishads which were considered to be the foundation of the doctrines of Hinduism, either. He advised the Hindus to wholly imbibe the doctrines contained in the Vedic literature, and put them into practice.
He also ensured that this distinction was brought to the attention of others. He believed that the caste rules, and the caste-based customs and practices were fundamentally opposed to the Hindu religious faith and that they prevented the Indian people, including Hindus, from reaching the level of other civilised peoples.
Rammohan Roy wielded his sword mainly against the ill treatments towards woman and low caste people in the Hindu society.    
Brahmo Samaj
The first phase of its history is intimately linked with the career of its founder Rammohan Roy (1777-1833). The Brahmo  Samaj which was launched into its eventful career on 20 August, 1828, gave a concrete expression to Rammohan's concept of Universal Worship. Tarachand Chakraborti one of the leaders of  the "Young Bengal" group was appointed the secretary of the organisation.
After the departure of Rammohan Roy for England (Nov. 1830)and his death there (Sept. 1833), the Brahmo Samaj as an organisation gradually reached a moribund condition though its name, theology and social ideals continued to live and prosper among certain groups in Calcutta. The munificence of Rammohan's friend Dwarakanath Tagore and the single minded devotion of Pandit Ramchandra Vidyavagis enabled it however to tide over the period of crisis  to new life was infused into the Brahmo movement by Debendranath Tagore (1817-1905), Dwarakanath's eldest son who is to be reckoned as the second great leader of the Samaj.Debendranath's interest in Brahmoism found its earliest expression in his foundation of the Tattwabodhini Sabha in 1839. He joined the Samaj in 1842 and was formally initiated into Brahmoism by Ramchandra Vidyavagis, along with twenty other young men on Dec 21, 1843 (7 Paush, 1765 Saka), a memorable day in the cultural history of Bengal, still celebrated annually at Santiniketan.
Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, rationalists and free-thinkers like Akshoy Kumar Dutta , Rakhal Das Haldar, Anangamohan Mitra, Kanailal Pyne, and others all with a common ideal and programme in harmony with the religious and social ideals of Rammohan Roy. The era of Tattwabodhini Sabha (1839-1859) ushered in a significant and creative epoch in the history of Brahmo Samaj. 
The next phase of the Brahmo movement is dominated by the  dynamic personality of Keshab Chandra Sen (1838-1884) who joined the Samaj in 1857. But due to some difference of opinion with Debendranath, the Samaj was divided into Adi Brahmo Samaj, headed by Debendranath and Brahmo Samaj of India guided by Keshab Chandra. On May 1878 a band of Keshab Chandra's followers left him to start Sadharan Brahmo Samaj who took active part  in forming Indian League (1878), Indian Association the nascent stage of Indian National Congress.