Day 3 – Q 2.The Indian elites in the 19th century argued for and launched a movement to reform Hinduism from within in the light of post- Enlightenment rationalism. This phenomenon is referred as ‘Bengal Renaissance’ or ‘Nineteenth Century Indian Renaissance’. Who were the main proponents of this movement and what did they strive for? Analyse.
2. The Indian elites in the 19th century argued for and launched a movement to reform Hinduism from within in the light of post- Enlightenment rationalism. This phenomenon is referred as ‘Bengal Renaissance’ or ‘Nineteenth Century Indian Renaissance’. Who were the main proponents of this movement and what did they strive for? Analyse.
19 वीं शताब्दी में भारतीय कुलीन वर्ग ने हिंदु धर्म को अंदर से सुधारने के लिए कई तर्क दिये तथा एक आंदोलन भी शुरू किया। इस घटना को ‘बंगाल पुनर्जागरण’ या ‘उन्नीसवीं सदी के भारतीय पुनर्जागरण’ के रूप में जाना जाता है। इस आंदोलन के मुख्य प्रस्तावक कौन थे और उन्होंने इसके लिए क्या प्रयास किया? विश्लेषण करें।
The Bengali Renaissance time of transition from medieval to modern in a number of fields, including literature, religion, social reform, political leanings and scientific discoveries in Bengal region in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent during the period of the British Indian Empire, from the nineteenth century to the early twentieth century dominated by Bengalis.
The main proponents of Bengal Renaissance were:
- Raja Ram Mohan Roy.
- Ishwar Chandra vidya sagar. (These two the flag bearers of Bengal renaissance, the other followed them in various fields).
- Bankim Chandra chattarjee.
- Rabindranath Tagore.
- J C Bose.
- Sathyendra nath bose.
There main aims were around religious reforms and modernization:
- Education: They realized that the society could not develop if women were denied the values of education. Some like Vidya sagar, personally met the parents of girls and requesting them to send their daughter to school for education. He donated his large portion of salary to educational reforms.
- Schools: They opened a number of new schools, including girls’ schools. Vidya Sagar started the first school for girl’s education in Calcutta in 1849.
- Widow Remarriage and Abolition of Sati: a great role in the passing of the law which made the marriage of widows legal, The Hindu Widows’ Remarriage Act, 1856. They argued, on the basis of scriptures and old commentaries, in favour of the remarriage of widows and for the abolition of Sati. They took authoritative texts like Manu Smriti and Puranas to show that there was no prohibition on widows remarrying in the entire body of ‘Smriti’ literature (the Sutras and the Shastras).
- Child marriage: They launched a powerful attack on the practice of marrying off girls aged 10 or even younger, pointing to social, ethical, and hygiene issues, and rejecting the validity of the Dharma Shastras that advocated it.
- Awareness: They created many journal houses and associated with many newspapers, journalistic publications like Tattwabadhini Patrika, samprakash, sarbashubhankarr Patrika and Hindu patriot to bring social and educational reforms with regards to the women.
- Tribal women: Vidyasagar spent the last 18 years of his life living among Santhal tribals in present day Jharkhand, where he started what is possibly India’s first school for Santhal girls.
- Radical Ideas: They wanted to promote radical ideas through teachings and by organizing debates and discussions on Literature, History, Philosophy and Science.
- Modern ideas: Spreading ideas of French revolution like liberty, fraternity and equality.
They did not achieve the success at first instances, infact they faced lot of threats from oxthodoxy elements, societal groups and from their own family members. But with sustained efforts, they were able to bring about a change in society, reforms customs and put a full stop to evil practices prevalent in the society.