Competitive Exams: Social and Cultural Uprising

Brahmo Samaj

  • Founded by Raja Ram Mohan Roy in 1828.

  • Criticized Sati Pratha, casteism and advocated widow remarriage.

  • He was opposed to Sanskrit system of education, because he thought it would keep the country in darkness.

  • Other important leaders were Devendranath Tagore (father of Rabindranath Tagore) and Keshap Chandra Sen.

Arya Samaj

  • Founded by Swami Dayanand (or, Moolshankar) in 1875.

  • His motto was ‘Go back to the vedas’ & ‘India for the Indians’ He disregarded Puranas, idol worship, casteism and untouchability. He advocated widow remarriage.

  • Dayanand's views were published in his famous work, Satyarth Prakash. He also wrote Veda Bhashya Bhumika and Veda Bhashya.

Ramakrishna Mission

  • Founded by Vivekanand (earlier, Narendranath Dutta) (1863 − 1902) in 1897, 11 years after the death of his guru Ram Krishna Paramhans.

  • Vivekanand attended the Parliament of Religion at Chicago in 1893.

  • Irish woman Margaret Nobel (Known as sister Nivedita) popularized it.

Young Bengal Movement

  • Founded by Henry Louis Vivian Derozio (1809 − 31). He was a teacher in Hindu College in Calcutta.

  • He urged the students to live and die for truth. He also supported women's education and their rights.

Veda Samaj

  • Veda Samaj called Brahmo Samaj of South. Started by Sridharalu Naidu.

  • He translated books of Brahmo Dharma into Tamil and Telegu.

Dharma Sabha

  • Initiated by Radhakant Deb in 1830.

  • Was opposed to reforms and protected orthodoxy, but played an active role in promoting western education even to girls.


  • Started by Gopal Hari Deshmukh. Advocated western education and a rational outlook. He advocated female education for the upliftment of women.

  • As a votary of national self-reliance, he attended Delhi durbar in 1876, wearing handspun khadi cloth.

Servants of India Society

  • Formed by Gopal Krishna Gokhale in 1915.

  • It did notable work in providing famine relief and in improving the condition of the tribal.

Radhaswami Movement

  • Founded in 1861 by a banker of Agra, Tulsi Ram, popularly known as Shiv Dayal Saheb or Swami Maharaj.

  • The sect preached belief in one supreme being, the Guru's supreme position and a simple social life for the believers (the Satsangis).

Theosophical Society

  • Founded by Westerners who drew inspiration from Indian thought and culture.

  • Madam H P Blavatsky laid the foundation of the movement in US in 1875. Later, Col. MS Olcott of the US Army joined her.

  • In 1882, it was shifted to India at Adyar (Tamil Nadu).

  • Annie Besant was elected its president in 1907. She founded the Central Hindu College in 1898, which became Banaras Hindu University in 1916.