Essay on Social Reform
Man lives in the society. Man learns speech, manners and philosophy in his society. He works and moves in the society. He earns his livelihood in the society. Society gives protection to his life and property. But sometimes vices creep. into the society. An the society is guided by blind faiths and superstitions in this case, society does immense harm to its members. To make the society free of evils and vices, social reform is required.
Image Source: c2.staticflickr. com/6/5176/5537457507_1825d22e59_b. jpg
Society gets vicious:
Sometimes society becomes full of evils and vices. It is guided by blind faith and superstition. People do not try to know the relation between cause and effect. They believe in imaginary ghosts and spirits as the prime-mover of all social actions. They believe in animal sacrifice to please the deities. They also once believed in the human sacrifice. The social vices like childwives were in existence. The widows were not allowed to marry again. The wives were compelled to be burnt with their dead husbands and so on. untouchability disabled a big section of people. In order to eradicate all these things social reforms were necessary. Social reforms are necessary at all times in order to get the society purged off any vice that creeps into it.
Great reforms are born to reform the society and to reform the religion. Because many times religion is the basis of the social behavior. Martin Luther in Germany and John Wicliff in Great Britain were the great reformers in 18th century. In India we got Raja Ram Mohan Ray, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Swami Dayananda Saraswati, Ramakrisna, Paramhansa, Swami Viveknanda, Mahatma Gandhi as the great reformers. In ancient times we had Gautama Buddha and Mahavir as the great religious and social reformers. In Orissa Mr. Madhusudan Das, Pandit Nilakantha Das and Acharya Harihar Das made attempt to reforms the society.
Social reform is necessary, time and often. So we must reform our society whenever it is necessary. Social reform should base on science and morality. Social reform cannot be made by legislation, force or imposition. It can be made only by effective public education, though the necessity of legislation cannot be altogether ruled out.
604 Words Short Essay on Need For Social Reforms in India
Indian society suffers from a number of social evils. In the past these social evils stood in the way of our progress. Therefore, many religious and social reformers have, from time to time, been advocating the eradication of these evils. In the past, great religious men like Guru Nanak and Bhakt Kabir exhorted the people to remove all social evils, particularly communalism, casteism and superstitions.
Guru Nanak and Kabir also stressed the need for Hindu-Muslim unity. In fact, they preached that God is one, though different religions call Him by different names. Similarly, all mankind is one. Therefore, they believed in universal brotherhood. They opposed the ritualism of both Hindus and Muslims. They believed that reciting God’s name mechanically is a wrong way of offering prayer to God. They pointed out that bathing in sacred rivers does not absolve us of sins committed by us. They preached that to seek God, we should turn inwards.
Swami Dayanand Saraswati, the founder of the Arya Samaj, was another votary of religious and social reforms in India. He condemned idol worship and other evils which had crept into the Hindu religion. He opposed child marriage, casteism and untouchability. He favoured widow re-marriage. He commended the study of the Vedas. He was in favour of women’s education.
Image Source : img. topyaps. com
In modern times, Raja Ram Mohan Roy was the first person to raise his voice against social evils. It was at his instance that the evil practice of “Sati” was banned by Lord William Bentick, the then Governor-General of India. Mr. Roy had a modern outlook. He welcomed the introduction of English language in India because he thought that it gave Indians access to modern knowledge. He was in favour of women’s education. He wanted that widows should be free to remarry and lead a normal life.
Gandhiji, the Father of our Nation, worked for the removal of social evils throughout his life. He also preached Hindu-Muslim unity and laid down his life for it. Whenever there was an outbreak of communal violence, he undertook a ‘Padyatra’, addressed members of both communities and if necessary, went an indefinite fast.
Gandhiji also condemned untouchability among the Hindus. He regarded it as the worst evil. To set an example before others, he practised what he preached. Whenever he came to Delhi, he always lived in a Scheduled Caste Colony and addressed his daily prayers from there. He called the Scheduled Castes “Harijans” i. e., men of God. He wanted all Hindu temples to be thrown open to the Harijans. Gandhiji also preached removal of other social evils like child marriage, dowry, drinking, gambling, superstitions, etc.
In spite of the efforts made by these great men of the past and the present to rid the Indian society of the social evils, the evils continue to persist even after 63 years of Independence. In fact, the social evil of dowry has assumed gigantic proportions. Dowry deaths have become the order of the day.
The difficulty is that people do not seem to be sincere. They are hypocrites. They condemn social evils in public but they follow them in private. Unless we give up our hypocritical approach, we will not be able to fight social evils.
Our country is still suffering from many social evils like communalism, untouchability, superstitions, dowry, drinking, etc. Lavish lifestyle, discrimination against women and large families are the other evils. It is high time that we remove all these evils. In so far as social evils are concerned, the Government cannot do much. At best, it can pass laws. It is, therefore, up to the people themselves to give up these evils for good.
Social Reformers of India
Mahatma Gandhi: (2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948) (Father of the Nation, Rashtrapita, . ) was the pre-eminent political and spiritual leader of India during the Indian independence movement. He was the pioneer of satyagraha—resistance to tyranny through mass civil disobedience, firmly founded upon ahimsa or total non violence—which led India to independence and inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. Gandhi led nationwide campaigns to ease poverty, expand women’s rights, build religious and ethnic amity, end untouchability, and increase economic self-reliance.
Above all, he aimed to achieve Swaraj or the independence of India from foreign domination. for main article go to Virchand Gandhi Virchand Gandhi:Virachand Raghav Gandhi (Gujarati: . . . ; VRG 1864–1901) was from Mahuva . He is 19th Century Indian patriot who was friend of Mahatma Gandhi and contemporary to Swami Vivekanand. He and swami vivekananda drew equal attention at the first World Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893 . He won a silver medal in same . His statue still stands at the Jain temple in Chicago. He was key member of Indian National Congress .
And as a reformer established a] Gandhi Philosophical Society, b] Society for the Education of Women in India (SEWI). Under the banner of SEWI, several Indian women came to U. S. A. for higher studies. c] School of Oriental Philosophy, d] Jain Literature Society in London. . And he delivered 535 lectures in USA and europe. He also died at young age of 37 alike Swami Vivekanand. Today Govt. of India has recognised his service by issuing Postal Stamp in his memory. for main article go to Swami Vivekanand Swami Vivekanand: (January 12, 1863–July 4, 1902) He was the founder of Ramakrishna Mission.
Vivekananda is considered to be a major force in the revival of Hinduism in modern India. He is considered a key figure in the introduction of Vedanta and Yoga in Europe and America. He introduced Hinduism at the Parliament of the World’s Religions at Chicago in 1893. for main article go to Swami Dayanand Saraswati Swami Dayanand Saraswati: (February 12, 1824 – October 31, 1883) was an important Hindu religious scholar and the founder of the Arya Samaj, “Society of Nobles”, a Hindu reform movement, founded in 1875. He was the first man who gave the call for Swarajay in 1876 which was later furthered by Lokmanya Tilak.
Himanshu Mishra Is also a Social Reformer Born in January 23, 1976 in Pilibhit District for main article go to Raja Ram Mohan Roy Raja Ram Mohan Roy: (August 14, 1774 – September 27, 1833) was a founder of the Brahma Sabha in 1828 which engendered the Brahmo Samaj, an influential Indian socio-religious reform movement. He is best known for his efforts to abolish the practice of sati, the Hindu funeral practice in which the widow was compelled to sacrifice herself on her husband’s funeral pyre. It was he who first introduced the word “Hinduism” into the English language in 1816.
For his diverse contributions to society, Raja Ram Mohan Roy is regarded as one of the most important figures in the Indian Renaissance. Ram Mohan Roy’s impact on modern Indian history was a revival of the pure and ethical principles of the Vedanta school of philosophy as found in the Upanishads. for main article go to Jamnalal Bajaj Jamnalal Bajaj: (4 November 1884 – 11 February 1942) was an industrialist, a philanthropist, and Indian independence fighter. Gandhi is known to have adopted him as his son. He is known for this efforts of promoting Khadi and village Industries in India.
With the intent of eradicating untouchability, he fought the non admission of Harijans into Hindu temples. He began a campaign by eating a meal with Harijans and opening public wells to them. He opened several wells in his fields and gardens. Jamanalal dedicated much of his wealth to the poor. He felt this inherited wealth was a sacred trust to be used for the benefit of the people. In honour of his social initiatives a well known national and international award called Jamnalal Bajaj Award has been instituted by the Bajaj Foundation. for main article go to Vinoba Bhave
Vinoba Bhave: (September 11, 1895 – November 15 1982) was an Indian advocate of Nonviolence and human rights. He is considered as the spiritual successor of Mahatma Gandhi. Vinoba Bhave was a scholar, thinker, writer who produced numerous books, translator who made Sanskrit texts accessible to common man, orator, linguist who had excellent command of several languages (Marathi, Hindi, Urdu, English, Sanskrit), and a social reformer. He wrote brief introductions to, and criticisms of, several religious and philosophical works like the Bhagavad Gita, works of Adi Shankaracharya, the Bible and Quran.
His criticism of Dnyaneshwar’s poetry as also the output by other Marathi saints is quite brilliant and a testimony to the breadth of his intellect. A university named after him Vinoba Bhave University is still there in the state of Jharkhand spreading knowledge even after his death. for main article go to Baba Amte Baba Amte: (December 26, 1914 – February 9, 2008) was an Indian social worker and social activist known particularly for his work for the rehabilitation and empowerment of poor people suffering from leprosy.
He spent some time at Sevagram ashram of Mahatma Gandhi, and became a follower of Gandhism for the rest of his life. He believed in Gandhi’s concept of a self-sufficient village industry that empowers seemingly helpless people, and successfully brought his ideas into practice at Anandwan. He practiced various aspects of Gandhism, including yarn spinning using a charkha and wearing khadi. Amte founded three ashrams for treatment and rehabilitation of leprosy patients, disabled people, and people from marginalized sections of the society in Maharashtra, India. for main article go to Shriram Sharma Acharya
Shriram Sharma Acharya: (September 20, 1911 – June 2, 1990) was an Indian seer, sage, Indian social worker, a philanthropist, a visionary of the New Golden Era and the Founder of the All World Gayatri Pariwar. He devoted his life to the welfare of people and the refinement of the moral and cultural environment. He pioneered the revival of spirituality, creative integration of the modern and ancient sciences and religion relevant in the challenging circumstances of the present times. To help people, his aim was to diagnose the root cause of the ailing state of the world today and enable the upliftment of society.
Acharyaji recognized the crisis of faith, people’s ignorance of the powers of the inner self, and the lack of righteous attitude and conduct. During 1984-1986, he carried out the unique spiritual experiment of sukshmikarana, meaning sublimation of vital force and physical, mental and spiritual energies. for main article go to Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar: (1820-1891) Vidyasagar was a philosopher, academic, educator, writer, translator, printer, publisher, entrepreneur, reformer, and philanthropist. His efforts to simplify and modernize Bangla prose were significant.
He was a Bengali polymath and a key figure of the Bengal Renaissance. Vidyasagar championed the uplift of the status of women in India, particularly in his native Bengal. Unlike some other reformers who sought to set up alternative societies or systems, he sought, however, to transform orthodox Hindu society from within. Vidyasagar introduced the practice of widow remarriages to mainstream Hindu society. In earlier times, remarriages of widows would occur sporadically only among progressive members of the Brahmo Samaj. for main article go to Dhondo Keshav Karve
Dhondo Keshav Karve: (April 18, 1858 – November 9, 1962) was a preeminent social reformer of his time in India in the field of women’s welfare. Karve was one of the pioneers of promoting women’s education and the right for widows to remarry in India. The Government of India recognized his reform work by awarding him its highest civilian award, Bharat Ratna, in 1958 (Incidentally his centennial year). The appellation Maharshi, which the Indian public often assigned to Karve, means ”a great sage”. Those who knew Karve affectionately called him as Anna Karve. In Marathi-speaking community, to which Karve belonged, the appellation Anna is often used to address either one’s father or an elder brother. ) for main article go to Balshastri Jambhekar Balshastri Jambhekar: (January 6, 1812– May 18, 1846) is known as Father of Marathi journalism for his efforts in starting journalism in Marathi language with the first newspaper in the language named ‘Darpan’ in the early days of British Rule in India. He founded Darpan as the first Marathi newspaper. He was editor of this newspaper during the British rule in India.
This turned out to be the beginning of Marathi journalism. He had mastery in many languages including Marathi, Sanskrit, English and Hindi. Apart from that he also had a good grasp of Greek, Latin, French, Gujarati and Bengali. for main article go to Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar B. R. Ambedkar: (14 April 1891 — 6 December 1956) was an Indian jurist, political leader, Buddhist activist, philosopher, thinker, anthropologist, historian, orator, prolific writer, economist, scholar, editor, revolutionary and the revivalist of Buddhism in India. He was also the chief architect of the Indian Constitution.
Ambedkar spent his whole life fighting against social discrimination, the system of Chaturvarna — the Hindu categorization of human society into four varnas — and the Hindu caste system. He is also credited with having sparked the bloodless revolution with his most remarkable and innovative Buddhist movement. Ambedkar has been honoured with the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award. for main article go to Annie Besant Annie Besant: (October 1 , 1847 – September 20, 1933) was a prominent Theosophist, women’s rights activist, writer and orator and supporter of Irish and Indian self rule.
In 1908 Annie Besant became President of the Theosophical Society and began to steer the society away from Buddhism and towards Hinduism. She also became involved in politics in India, joining the Indian National Congress. When war broke out in Europe in 1914 she helped launch the Home Rule League to campaign for democracy in India and dominion status within the Empire which culminated in her election as president of the India National Congress in late 1917. After the war she continued to campaign for Indian independence until her death in 1933. for main article go to Vitthal Ramji Shinde
Vitthal Ramji Shinde: (April 23, 1873 – January 2, 1944) He was a prominent campaigner on behalf of the Dalit movement in Maharashtra and established the Depressed Classes Mission to provide education to the Dalits in Maharashtra. for main article go to Gopal Hari Deshmukh Gopal Hari Deshmukh: (1823-1892) was a social reformer in Maharashtra. Deshmukh started writing articles aimed at social reform in Maharashtra in the weekly Prabhakarunder the pen name Lokhitwadi. In the first two years, he penned 108 articles on social reform. That group of articles has come to be known in Marathi literature as Lokhitwadinchi Shatapatre. or main article go to Pandurang Shastri Athavale Pandurang Shastri Athavale: (October 19, 1920–October 25, 2003) was an Indian philosopher, spiritual leader, social reformer  and Hinduism reformist, who founded the Swadhyay Movement and the Swadhyay Parivar organization (Swadhyay Family) in 1954 , a self-knowledge movement based on the Bhagavad Gita, which has spread across nearly 100,000 villages in India , with over 5 million members . He was also noted for his discourses or “pravachans” on Srimad Bhagawad Gita and Upanishads. for main article go to Kandukuri Veeresalingam
Kandukuri Veeresalingam: (16 April 1848 – 27 May 1919) was a social reformer who first brought about a renaissance in Telugu people and Telugu literature. He was influenced by the ideals of Brahmo Samaj particularly those of Keshub Chunder Sen. He got involved in the cause of social reforms. In 1876 he started a Telugu journal and wrote the first prose for women. He encouraged education for women, and started a school in Dowlaiswaram in 1874. He started a social organisation called Hitakarini (Benefactor). for main article go to Swami Ramdev Swami Ramdev: Ramkishan Yadav popularly known as Swami Ramdev (Hindi: . . ), is an Indian Hindu swami. He is known for his efforts in popularizing yoga as it is enunciated in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. He is also one of the founders of the Divya Yog Mandir Trust headquartered in Haridwar, that aims to popularize Yoga and offer Ayurvedic treatments. The New York Times calls him an “Indian who built Yoga Empire”, “a product and symbol of the New India, a yogic fusion of Richard Simmons, Dr. Oz and Oprah Winfrey, irrepressible and bursting with Vedic wisdom”. for main article go to Jawaharlal Nehru Jawaharlal Nehru:Jawaharlal Nehru (Hindi/Kashmiri: . . , pronounced [d. a. r? la? l ? ne?? ru]; 14 November 1889–27 May 1964) was an Indian statesman who was the first (and to date the longest-serving) prime minister of India, from 1947 until 1964. One of the leading figures in the Indian independence movement, Nehru was elected by the Congress Party to assume office as independent India’s first Prime Minister, and re-elected when the Congress Party won India’s first general election in 1952. As one of the founders of the Non-aligned Movement, he was also an important figure in the international politics of the post-war era.
He is frequently referred to as Pandit Nehru (“pandit” being a Sanskrit and Hindi honorific meaning “scholar” or “teacher”) and, specifically in India, as Panditji (with “-ji” being a honorific suffix). Periyar E. V. Ramasamy Thanthai Periyar or E. V. R. , was a businessman, politician, Indian independence and social activist, who started the Self-Respect Movement or the Dravidian Movement and proposed the creation of an independent state called Dravidasthan comprising South India. He is also the founder of the socio-cultural organisation, Dravidar Kazhagam.