The Arya Samaj Movement is a significant Hindu reform movement that emerged in 19th-century India. Founded by Dayananda Saraswati, it sought to revive and reform Hinduism in response to the challenges posed by British colonial rule and the changing social and religious landscape of the time. This article explores the genesis of the Arya Samaj Movement, its contributions to various aspects of Indian society, and its character, which encompasses both progressive and reactionary elements.
Genesis of the Arya Samaj Movement
Social and Religious Conditions of 19th Century India:-
The genesis of the Arya Samaj Movement can be understood in the context of the social and religious conditions prevalent in 19th-century India. British colonial policies, including western education, missionary activities, and social reforms, had a profound impact on Indian society. These influences created a sense of cultural crisis and identity loss among many Hindus, leading to a desire to revive and reform their ancient faith.
The Founder of Arya Samaj Dayananda Saraswati, born in Gujarat in 1824, was a prominent figure in the reform movement. Well-versed in Sanskrit and the Vedas, he criticized idolatry, the caste system, superstitions, and ritualism. Seeking to return to the pure teachings of the Vedas, he founded the Arya Samaj in Bombay in 1875, with the motto "Krinvanto Vishvam Aryam" ("Make all men noble"). Dayananda Saraswati traveled extensively across India, spreading his message, establishing branches of Arya Samaj, and defending his views against opponents. However, he faced opposition from orthodox Hindus and was poisoned in 1883.