Indian History

Q. What were the contributions of the social reformers to the freedom struggle of India? 10

8 thoughts on “Indian History”

  1. Colonialism isn’t just the exploitation of a country’s resources it is also changes in traditional power structures and society and culture. The British empire attacked indian civilization at all levels the activities of missionary, the British education system,attack on indian religions etc all designed to show british superiority ti further their rule. In these circumstances the need of the hour was a cultural social and religious renaissance to infuse pride in indian culture address social evils and prejudices which helped British cause. Bramho samaj of Ram Mohan roy ,Satya shodhak samaj of Bombay , singh sabha of Sikhs, Rehnumai mazdayasan of Dada bhai Naoroji, Ahmediya movement and sir syed Ahmed khan and many other movements may have been religious and regional but always had a broader outlook of pan religionism and equality of all including lowercastes and women the emphasis was on modernisation not westernisation the source of revival was holy texts of the religions themselves thus came about a movement which created the new men and women who were not in awe of British but aware of their own culture armed with a new self belief and above prejudice these people would undermine colonialism that was the greatest contribution of social reformers to the freedom struggle.

    1. You rightly pinpointed the reasons for the reform but wrote little on how the reform contributed to the freedom struggle. Add more points on how…
      4.5 marks

  2. In 19 century various factors led to socio-religious reforms in indian society. Many of the reformers go through the movements like brahmo samaj by Raja Ram Mohan Roy , young bengal movement by Derozio, women empowerment by Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar and played vital role in freedom struggle. These reforms aimed to abolish Purdah system, Child marriage, Polygamy, restriction on widow marriage, sati etc. It also reformed religious rigidities,dogmas,superstitions, idolatory etc.

    Major contributions by reformers:

    – In liberating individuals
    – in strengthening secularism
    – In providing base for social modernisation
    – In reducing caste and religion based differences
    – In making worship and religion more personal affair

    Some legislations like Hindu Widow remarriage Act 1856, age of consent Act 1891, bengal regulation of 1829 banning sati ,etc; were the great contribution towards society by the social reformers, for the upliftment of nation at the time of freedom struggle.

    Concluding as a whole social reformers helped in raising the glory of nation by abandoning the social evils which were prevalent at the time where no other means were available.

  3. Many indians realised that social reformation was an essential condition for the all round development of the country on modern lines and for the growth of national unity and solidarity. This resulted in growth of nationalist sentiments, which is an important element for any freedom struggle, something lacked at the time of revolt of 1857.
    Since these movements fostered among indians greater self respect, self confidence and pride in their country, they made them active to seek freedom. Moreover it hampered the very base of British rule which was based on civilising the country.
    As social reforms caused emancipation of women, it caused women to play active role in the struggle for freedom. They participated in large numbers in the agitation against the participation of Bengal and in the home rule movement.
    The caste system was another evil in Indian society, which often caused social disintegration. It splintered people into numerous groups. Social reformations made the people understand that the national unity and national progress in political, social and economic fields could not be achieved so long as millions were deprived of their right to live with dignity and honour.
    However these social reformations were limited to a small percentage of population – the urban middle and upper classes.

  4. World events like Renaissance, French Revolution and Reformations in western and european nations had inspired educated middle class Indians to take lead in bringing positive contributions to indian society. Main issues confronting indian society were women empowerment and rigid caste hierarchy.

    Social reform movements were based on appeals of individualism and equality that helped in realization of fact that how a vast country like India could be ruled by handful of few foreign britishers. Social reformers like R.R. Mohan Roy, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar and Pandit Ramabai had focused on women upliftment and their education. Educated women became aware of their rights and many participated in Swadeshi, anti partition and home rule league movements, trade unions and even voted and occupied seats in legislatures. Women thus became active participants to freedom struggle. Intelligentsia class motivated people towards freedom struggle. Modernization meant becoming knowledgeable and development of secular and rational outlook that played potent role in creating social climate for demanding gradual changes from britisher’s in form of passing legislations and bringing administrative changes for removing inequality and enforcing rule of law.

    Social reformers acted as catalysts. E.V. Ramaswamy Naicker was one who raised his concern against Temple entry ban for untouchables. As a result rigid caste hierarchy was getting dismantled and people were coming together for addressing their common concerns.

    In nutshell people got mobilized by enlightened vision of social reformers ( not immune to resistance from orthodox sections of society ). Social reform movements aroused feelings of national consciousness by bringing shift in ideological base of its followers. Hence 19th century socio religious reform movements became precursors to future and more violent ( more inclusive ) forms of freedom struggle of 20th century.

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