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Day 37 – Q 1.Many institutions were established by reformers in the 19th century. What were their characteristics? What did they intend to achieve? Discuss.

1. Many institutions were established by reformers in the 19th century. What were their characteristics? What did they intend to achieve? Discuss. 

य19वीं शताब्दी में सुधारकों ने कई संस्थान स्थापित किए थे। उनकी विशेषताएं क्या थीं? वे क्या हासिल करने का इरादा रखते थे? चर्चा करें।


  • Introduction
  • Prominent institutions- example.
  • Characteristics of the institutions
  • Objectives
  • Analysis- effect on Indian society. How far were the institutions successful?
  • Conclusion


Indian Society in the 19th century was caught in a vicious web created by religious superstitions and dogmas.  Social Conditions were equally depressing. Distressing position of women- The birth of a girl was unwelcome, her marriage a burden and her widowhood inauspicious. Another debilitating factor was Caste.
Rejecting above as features of a decadent society, the reform movements sought to create a social climate for modernization. The reformers of 19th century laid the foundation of “Indian renaissance”.

Prominent institutions:

Prominent institutions established by reformers includes Brahmo Samaj (Raja Rammohan Roy), Arya Samaj (Swami Dayanand Saraswati), Theosophical society (Madame Blavatsky, Annie Besant), Ram Krishna Mission, Young Bengal movement (Henry V. Derozio) and Aligarh movement (Sir Syed Ahmed Khan).


  • Reform movement started in different parts of India in different period but having considerable similarities. They were link with one region or one caste.
  • It was clear to them that without religious reformation, there cannot be any social reformation.
  • Leadership by wide emerging Intellectual middle class.
  • The targets of the intellectual attack were the existing socio-cultural evils and malpractices such as obscurantism, superstitions and irrationality imbedded in the Society.  The did not attack the social system as a whole; their attack was mainly only on the perversions and distortions that had crept into it.
  • The course they delineated for transformation was to be evolutionary, and not revolutionary.


  • Rationalization of Indian values along with reform on modern lines. Reforming Indian culture- eradicating superstitions.
  • The basic objectives of these institutions were to bring about social-religious reform:
    Social reform- Ban on Sati, Child marriage etc. While Raja Rammohan Roy strived for abolition of sati, Ishwar Chandra Vidya Sagar strived for child marriage etc.
    Religious reform- Against idol worship.
  • An egalitarian society- gender equality, economic equality.
  • Education of masses- They wanted to educate Indians to think reasonably.
  • Women empowerment- abolition of sati, child marriage and promoting child education, polygamy etc.
  • Cultural awakening- Spreading glory of Indian culture. Synthesis of Indian culture with that of western culture.

Effects of The Reform Movements:

  • The movement gave the upcoming middle-class cultural roots and reduced the sense of humiliation that the British powers had created.
  • The reform movements helped in the revival of the past glory.
  • It led to the progress of literature in different regional languages.
  • The caste system began to lose its hold on the society.
  • There was a significant achievement in the field of emancipation of women. Some legal measures were introduced to raise their status.


  • Narrow Social Base Reform in practice in any case affected a very small minority.
  • Movement did not reach rural India.
  • Casteism remained strong.
  • Overemphasis on religious, philosophical aspects of culture while underemphasizing secular aspects.


Overall, the institutions contributed for the growth of Indian Nationalism as the reform activities united the people all over India and created a feeling of oneness.

Best answer: GOG

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