What was the character of social religious reforms in the 19th Century and how did they contribute to the national awakening in India?. (250 Words)


  • Social religious reforms in the 19th Century were oriented toward a re-structuring of the Indian society along modem lines.
  • These socio-religious movements can be viewed as the expression of the social aspirations of the newly emerging middle class in colonial India.
  • These were basically stimulated by almost exclusively Western forces namely, English education and literature, Christianity, Oriental research, European science and philosophy and the material elements of Western civilization.
  • Each of these reform movements was confined, by and large to one region or the other. Brahamo Samaj and the Arya Samaj did have branches in different parts of the country yet they were more popular in Bengal and Punjab respectively, that anywhere else.
  • They were confined to a particular religion or caste.
  • They all emerged at different points of time in different parts of the country. For example in Bengal reform efforts were a foot at the beginning of the nineteenth century, but in Kerala they came up only towards the end of the nineteenth century.

Contribution to the national awakening

     Though these movements were not primarily aimed at national awakening, these movements ignited a spark for the spirit of nationalism.

  • United the people by attacking many of the social evils like castes, of child marriage and of other legal and social inequalities.
  • Reform legislation and attitudinal changes among Indians were the major impact of the reform movements.
  • People became aware of the exploitative nature of the colonial rule under the leadership of Dadabhai Nauroji, M.G. Ranade, G.V. Joshi and RC. Duff.
  • Created a political awareness and exposed Indian masses to the political ideas of liberalism.

These movements spread education and hence a new educated elite emerged up who provided leadership to the Indian National movement.

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