Indian Renaissance-PUC History Notes - MahitiLok

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Indian Renaissance-PUC History Notes

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Indian Renaissance
19th century

The 19th century is very important period in history of India. It was a period during which English educated Indians were determined to reform Indian culture, society and religion. The English educated Indians, sought inspiration from Vedas and Upanishad. They were also influenced by western scientific thoughts the Hindu leaders kike raja ram Mohan Rai, Debendranath Tagore, Keshav Chandra Sen, M.G Ranade, Atmaram Pandurangan, Swami Dayanand Saraswathi, swami Vivekananda and a host of others set out to reform Hindu religion and society. They condemned evils and abuses that had crept into Hinduism. The regality of caste system, sati, child marriage, unsociability, ideal worship, polytheism etc. they wanted to purge Hinduism of all these social evils and thus restore its pristine purity and ancient glory. The movement towards this goal is called, as “the Indian renaissance” was to prepare the ground for nationalism.


There were several caused which were responsible for Indian renaissance. The British colonial role:
1.    The Indians realized that a handful of E Englishmen conquered India.  The leaders of Indian Renaissance wanted to create oneness by removing social evils and abuses of Indian society.

2.    The uniformity of British administration and political integration and transport and communication brought Indians together.

3.    Research on Indian history and study of Indian History created a sense of pride among Indians. The Christian missionaries played an important role in this respect.

4.    The most important cause is the study of English language and western sciences, which made Indians, develop human resources and modern scientific thought.


Raja Ram Mohan Roy is the foremost leader of Indian Renaissance. He was born in 1774
In an orthodox Bengali Hindu family at a place called ’Radharpur’.  His father was employed in the Kingdom of a local Nawab this father’s name is “Ramakanth Rai” He was a precautious child he had the knowledge of Sanskrit, Bengali, Hindu Persian, Arabic, English, French, Greek and Pique.
He studied Sanskrit literature, Hindu Philosophy and Arabic and Persian.  He made a deep study of Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity.

He was employed in the English East India Company. He was in pursuit of a comparative study of different religions.  He thus gave up his job.
In 1817, Ram Mohan Roy started the “Atmiya Sabah” in Calcutta were he preached against social events like the caste system, sati, child marriage and untouchability.  He attacked ideal worship and polytheism
Oxen when he was 15years old, he called for preaching Monotheism.  His article, the gift to monotheism

 In Persian became famous.  He condemned priestly class and held them responsible for sacrifices, rituals and ceremonies.

In 1829, R.R.M.R founded the Brahma SAMAJ in Calcutta.  The Brahma Samaj stood on the twin pillars of human reason, and Vedas and Upanishads.  He thus, wanted to restore Hinduism to the position of ancient glory a society with no caste, no ideas worship, no child marriage no untouchability no sati, no priestly class and such other exile.

In the Brahma Samaj R.R.M.R Adopted the best practices of all religious. He believed in the lofty ideals of Christianity and Islam. He wrote a book called the precepts of Jesus. He thus stood for a synthesis of the east and the west.

R.R.M.R was a champion of the cause of women. He encouraged women’s education and even encouraged widow remarriage. He was in favour of English education and western sciences. He opened the Anglo Hindu College and Vedanta college were both Indian and western subjects were thought. 

He condemned the British policy free trade, duties on Indian exports and Zamindari system of land revenue collection. He even called for establishing or reforming the English Judicial system. He kept themselves abreased with all development in international field.

R.R.M.R thus had a deep love for his country and his people. He was a champion of liberty. He was the brightest star in the Indian sky in 19th century. He is rightly called as the father of modern India. He died in 1833 at “Bristol” in England. He published two journals-“the Sam band Koumudi” in Bengali and “the Mirat-ull-akbar” in Persian.


Debendranath Tagore and later Keshav Chandra Sen are the two important leaders of Brahma samaj after R.R.M.R. The teaching of the Raja was continued. However there was a split. Debendranath Tagore and his followers broke away and established the “Aadi Brahma samaj”. There was another split when Anand Mohan Bose and his followers formed the “Sadharana Brahma samaj”.


Atmaram Pandurang founded it in 1867 in Bombay MG.Ranade and RG. Bhandarkar were the other architects of the Prarthana Samaj like the Brahma samaj it wanted to remove corrupt practice of Hinduism like caste system, child marriage, untouchability and soon. The Prarthana Samaj championed the cause of widows. MG. Ranade even established the “Widow Home Association” where widows were helped in self-supporting by giving training as teachers and nurses. The Prarthana Samaj encouraged education-especially English and western Subjects. He published a journal called “Subodh Patrika”.

ARYA SAMAJ  (1875)

The Swami Dayananda Saraswathi founded the Arya Samaj. His real name is Mull Shankar. He left his house and became an ascetic. He wondered for sometime later he perused his religious studies under his teacher “Virajananda Saraswathi” who gave him the mane “Dayananda Saraswathi”

Swami Dayananda Saraswathi like RRMR wanted to purge the Hinduism of all evils and corrupts practices like ideal worship child marriage sati unsociability, the cast system, priestly domination and animal sacrifices. He sought inspiration from the Vedas. He considered the Vedas an infallible and as the fount of all the knowledge. He even said, “the Aryans are the chosen people”, the Vedas, the chosen Gospel and India the chosen land. His famous slogan was “Back to the Vedas” he thus wanted to restores Hinduism to position of Vedic age. Hi is the author book like Satyarta Prakash, Vedya Bhashya etc.

Dayananda Saraswathi in order to realize his objectives founded the Army Samaj in 1875 with braches on Lahore and Bombay. This army Samaj carried on the reform movements in North India apart form social reforms, the spread of English education and Western science like RRMR Swami Dayananda Saraswathi was a champion of woman’s rights. He championed widow remarriage. The Arya Samaj was fortunate to have some leaking personalities like Lala Lajpat Rai and Swami Shradananda as its member

The Army Samaj began the “Shoddi Movement” to bring to the Hindu fold Hindu convert. It’s also begun the cow protection movement. It’s thus began to show communal colour in its later stages  


It was actually founded in New York in 1875 by Madam Blauatsky and by Henry Leott. The Theosophists stood for reviving and strengthening ancient religious like Hinduism, Zorastaraniom and Buddhism. They wanted to foster universal bother hood. They made a comparative study of religions, philosophy, science and law of nature

In India a branch of the theosophical society was stated at Adyar in 1886. Annie Bezant an English woman rendered a memorable Service to the theosophical society of India she played and active role in the educational, social and religious spheres. She actively participated in the Hindu revivalist movement a great champion of women’s right; she fought against child marriage and encouraged widow remarriages. She stared the central Hindu school at Banaras, which later becomes the Banaras Hindu University under Mahan Mohan Malavia. By taking part in the mone role movement and by writing articles she fostuied national consciousness among the Indians

The Aligarh Movement

Renaissance among the Muslims dawned much late because they were not in favors of English education. It was Sir Syed Ahmed Khan an English educated Muslim who was responsible for inspiring the Muslims and for developing western scientific thoughts among the Muslims.

Sir Syed Ahmed Khan (1819-1898)

Functioned as a lawyer under the English. He wanted to reform the Islamic community. He was strongly infavour of the Muslims learning English and developing western scientific thought at the same time he held the Quran as the only authoritative Islamic texts. He was against blind obedience of customs, rituals and blind believes in rationalism and freethinking. He was also strong advocate of Hindu –Muslim unity. He said that Hindus and Muslims are the two-glimming eyes of the bride that is India

As Sir Syed Ahmed Khan believed that education especially English and western subjects alone would reform and rationalize the Islamic society. He started schools one such schools is the Mohan Madan Anglo oriental school which later became the Aligarh Muslim university. Its first principal was an English man Theodore beck. English support of education land question representative institute made Sir Syed Ahmed Khan a loyal supporter of the English, which made him communal and develop separatist tendencies. He even called the Muslims as separate nation.

Sir Syed Ahmed Khan who wanted the Muslims inculcate western scientific thought. Thus began the Aligharh movement. The center of its activities was Aligharh in Uttar parades. The movement was against worshiping of saint that is Monds and peers the movement fought for improving the status of women by encouraging education by criticizing polygamy, child marriage, polygamy and divorce

Reform Movement among the SIKHS: -

Dayad das began the SIKH reform movement by starting Khalsa schools in Amritsar and Lahore.  The movement fought against caste system, child marriage and inequality Indian National Movement (1885-1947)

The Indian national movement, which began in 1885 with the foundation of the Indian national congress and culminated with India becoming independent in 1947, is a glorious chapter in the history of India. There are several causes, which led to the rise of Indian National Movement

Causes for the rise of Nationalism

1.    British imperialism: The first foremost cause is British imperialism. Under the British the whole sub continent was called as British India Empire. India and Indians were politically integrated. Indians were regarded as the subjects of British Empire. British imperialism was a blessing in disguise as the give India political unity.

2.    Modern Means of Transport and Communication:    modern means of transport and communication led to social and integration. The railways, roadway and port and telegraph reduced the distance ad saved time and thus the Indian nationalist could frequently meet to chalk out polices and programmer.

3.    Research on Indian history made the Indians proud of their glorious heritage with the establishment of the ascetic society






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