Young Bengal Movement

A radical trend arose among the Bengal intellectuals during 1802-30. The leader and inspirer was the young Anglo Indian Henry Vivian Derozio who taught at Hindu College from 1826-1831. Derozio promoted radical ideas through his class lectures and by organizing student societies for debates and discussions on various subjects. His students collectively called the Young Bengal ridiculed all kinds of old traditions defied social and religious conventions and demanded freedom of thought and expression and education for women.

Prathana Samaj

The Brahmo ideas spread in Maharashtra where the Paramhansa Sabha was founded in 1849.In 1867 the Prathana Samaj was established by Keshab Chandra Sen in Bombay. Its followers never looked upon themselves as adherents of a new religion or of a new sect outside and alongside of the general Hindu body but simply as a movement within it. They emphasized on the worship of one God, social reform and upon works rather than faith. Their approach was not confrontation with Hindu orthodoxy but they relied on education and persuasion. The prominent leaders of the Samaj were Justice Mahadev Govind Ranade, R.G Bhandarkar and N.G Chandavarkar.

In the field of social reform the focus was on four objects

  • Disapproval of caste system
  • Raising the age of Marriage for both men and women
  • Widow remarriage
  • Women education

Caste system was under attack. It was seen as a divisive factor weakening the bonds of humanity and deterring the growth of caste consciousness in India. It was viewed as a contributory factor in causing social stagnation and retardation of progress. Denouncing the Brahmin dominance Chandavarkar advocated the upliftment of the lower castes and depressed castes. Religious reform was taken to be the precondition of progress and enduring social change. Chandavarkar held that the material life and religious life were the two interrelated aspects of the same existence and a healthy social growth was not possible if it was not counter balanced by an enlightened religion. These reformers believed in an organic connection between religion and social life and advocated the renovation in the entire society