The contribution of reformists during the national movement in the British era.
- Raja Ram Mohan Roy: One of the greatest pioneers and a very famous personality who has contributed insignificantly towards the Indian nationalism movement is Raja Ram Mohan Roy. These reforms were very prominent around the 18th and 19th century. This man, although had his roots in India, yet unlike many other people have a good sense of practicality. Not only he avoided idol worship and sati practise but was also having a strong objecting view against the caste discrimination which was practices. In 1828, Raja Ram Mohan Roy settled a institution which went by the name of Bramho Samajh. The main motive was to unite the brahmans living in Calcutta. These people who were a part of the institution were also the staunch believer of no idol worship and caste system. Ram Mohan Roy seemed to create a deep impact and also faced a lot of criticism when he started raising his voice against the inhumane practices of that time, popularly known as Sati. In this system, if a man died, the wife had to lie on his funeral pyre. It raised a lot of hate against him since the early people basically those belonging from the religious institution addressed these practices as their culture. He also fought gallantly against the purdah system and child marriage.
Raja Ram Mohan Roy was a person who belied in practicality and similarly encouraged the introduction of modern English Educational System. When he actively advocated in the introduction of subjects like Maths, Physics and Chemistry, people could not believe their eyes. This was also widely criticized because the brahmans and maulvis were losing their followers and most people were turning hostile to the impractical advances which the religious institution was making.
In around 1817, he laid the foundation of Hindu College and paved a way to introduce modern educational system in a systematic way in India. The Hindu College which was set up 1817, brought forward a lot of best minds existing in India. With the establishment of these schools and colleges on a regular basis, rationalism crept in the veins of the people. Since a very early time, Raja Ram Mohan Roy was a staunch supporter of free speech and expression. It was then he started his fight for free vernacular speech so that it aids the people who are not well versed with the English language. With the spread of newspaper and printing press, people became mire aware of what’s happening and what is not around. They grew more cooperative and conscious towards the happenings in and around the nation. They grew more informative of the different policies which the British was laying and practicing. This collective outburst helped in playing a vital role during the independence movement.
Raja Ram Mohan Roy also helped in introduction of newspapers in different languages like Mirat ul Akbar and Sambad Kaumudi which were printed in Persian and Bengali languages respectively. Along with the divine knowledge and practicability, he was an ideal for thousands of people who believed in rationality. The contribution of Raja Ram Mohan Roy has been inevitable and such contribution cannot be forgotten by the people ever. Not only he brought the nation together but tried his best to remove and eradicate the social evils existing in the society.
Dayanand Saraswati was born in a very conservative Brahmin family. Staunch follower of Vedas and his father’s words, the situation existing in the midst of 1800s moved him and gradually changed his outlook towards India slowly and steadily. Dayanand Saraswati was a very strong believer of God and also followed idol worship. But when he came face to face with the rationality and practicality existing in the society, he stopped idol worship and only possessed faith and believe without any form.
The contribution which Dayanand Saraswati had cam out mainly when he established the Arya Samaj in around 1875. The institution was created to bring about a sense of national feeling. Places like Punjab and Uttar Pradesh mainly could sense the different effects that Arya Samaj started spreading. It brought about various reforms in the society and also propagated Vedic teachings and religion among the masses. When he sensed that the Indians are losing their touch from the Vedas, he started raising the slogan, “Back to Vedas”.
In spite of having so much faith in God he was totally against the idol worship and propagated the ideals of equal rights and equal opportunities. He did a commendable job in the field of spreading and propagating religion. In and around 1900s he established his own institution. The lessons in these institutions laid more stress on personal development, development of body, mind and character of the person.
In 1883, Dayanand died yet left a vast following in the Arya Samaj. The institution ran in full vigour. There was a sense of rationalism and pride among the people of Arya Samaj. With the setup, there was a close contact of people of different place and thinking. Exchange of ideas and thoughts helped in building of national unity. One of the most striking features was that there was no distinction on the basis of caste, creed, colour, sex and religion. It created such an impact that the British Government started looking to it as a threat and started to take control over the movement and discussion of people.
Hence, it can be very well highlighted that these two personalities mentioned above, namely Dayanand Saraswati and Raja Ram Mohan Roy, created an impact which lasted in the society for a considerably long term.
Author- Nidhi Paul,
ALL INDIA LEGAL FORUM