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Veda Samaj and Prathana Samaj
Formed along the lines of the Brahmo Samaj, the Veda Samaj of Madras and the Prathana Samaj of Bombay were founded in 1864 and 1866 respectively. An educated middle class had arisen there too and it sought the reform of society and religion. The real force behind the Veda Samaj was K Sridharalu Naidu and behind Prathana Samaj, M.G Ranade and R Bhandarkar.The Prathana Samaj emphasized more on social reforms.
Rama Krishna and Vivekananda
Ramakrishna Paramhansa, a priest at a temple in Dakshineshwar near Calcutta emphasized that there are many roads to God and salvation and that service of man was service of God, for man was the embodiment of God. His great disciple, Swami Vivekananda popularized his religious message. However he also called for social action to remove poverty. In 1896 Vivekananda founded the Ramakrishna Mission to carry on humanitarian relief and social work. The mission had many branches in different parts of the country. Vivekananda condemned the caste system and the current Hindu emphasis on rituals, ceremonies and superstitions and urged the people to imbibe the spirit of liberty, equality and free thinking.
The society was founded in United States by Madame Blavatsky and Colonel Olcott who later came to India and founded the headquarters at Adyar in Madras in 1886.The Theosophical movement grew in India as a result of the leadership given to it by Mrs Annie Besant who had come to India in 1893.As religious revivalists the theosophists were not very successful. But as a movement led by westerners who glorified Indian religion and philosophical tradition, it helped Indians recover their self –confidence. One of Mrs Besant’s many achievements in India was the establishment of the Central Hindu School at Benaras which was later developed by Madan Mohan Malaviya into Benaras Hindu University.
Sayyid Ahmad Khan and the Aligarh Movement
Movements for religious reform were late in emerging among Muslims. The Muslim upper classes had tended to avoid contact with western education and culture and it was mainly after 1857 that modern ideas of religious reform began to appear. A beginning in this direction was made when the Muhammaden Literary Society was founded at Calcutta in 1863 by Nawab Abdul Latif.It also encouraged upper and middle class Muslims to take western education. The most important reformer among the Muslims was Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan .he appealed to his people to return to the original Islamic principle of purity and simplicity. He declared that the Quran alone was the authoritative work for Islam and all other Islamic writing was secondary. He advocated English education for the regeneration of Muslims in India. He started building new schools and founded an association called the Scientific Society in 1864.The society published urdu translations of English books on scientific and other subjects and an English-Urdu journal for spreading liberal ideas on social reforms. His greatest achievement was the foundation of the Mohammadan Anglo-Oriental College at Aligarh in 1875.It mainly provided for education in the humanities and sciences through English medium. He was opposed to the participation of Muslims of Muslims in the activities of Indian National Congress. He wanted more time for the Muslims to organize and consolidate their position through good relations with British rulers. Besides introducing modern education among the Muslims Sayyid Ahmad Khan advocated the removal of many social prejudices that kept the community backward.