Social Reformers are the activists that enhancement the certain area of society.
In any society, there are different types of people with different caste, religion, colour, gender and different beliefs.
Social reformers are likely to resolve the society and live without discrimination.
The ideal situation will be considered when there are equality, freedom and brotherhood in the society; however, human societies around the world show that many types of unfair actions are widespread.
This unequal thinking is born in the greed of human sovereignty, governance and power in society.
What do you mean by Social Reformers?
The person who is concerned about humanity and humankind in any way, who wants to change the environment, a person who has an educated ideological process, a person who cannot tolerate the suffering of people belonging to a weaker section.
In fact, social reformers are a common man, who wants to serve humanity in an extraordinary way.
Social Reformers of India:
India is blessed with numerous social workers who have dedicated their whole lives to the upliftment of the better and oppressed sections of society.
This discrimination forms the social evils for a long time and becomes like pigment in the face of any cultured society.
Upper-class people will exploit lower class people, white will exploit blacks, men will exploit women, and peoples have faith in one religion describes another religion as weak or wrong and calls their own religion superior.
In the history of every country, there are many such bright personalities who live and work for the development of the exploited people of the society.
With these meaningful efforts, it has been possible to eliminate social evils spread at a high level like casteism, Sati practice and all people who consider their service as their duty.
In this article, we had provided information about the great social reformers of India and their contributions.
Raja Ram Mohan Roy:
Raja Ram Mohan Roy was amongst the most famous Social Reformers in India.
In the mid-nineteenth century, Indian culture was included by numerous social evils like Sati system, religious superstitions, caste system, etc.
He was the first to identify such insensitive practices and promised to fight against them & considered as the architect of the Indian Renaissance and the “father of modern India”.
He was born on 22 May 1772 in Radhanagore (Radhanagar) in Hooghly district, Bengal and was related to a traditional Brahmin family.
Ramakant Roy was the father of modern India, he holds a decent position in the court of the Nawab of Bengal and Triveni Roy was the mother of the Raja Ram Mohan Roy.
Ram Mohan Roy completed his education in Patna and Varanasi. From 1803 to 1814, he also worked in the East India Company.
Raja Ram Mohan Roy was married at a very young age and he died on 27 September 1833 in Bristol City, England.
Raja Ram Mohan Roy Social Reformers:
Raja Ram Mohan Roy was very open-minded as well as his mind was very questioning.
He was greatly influenced by Western progressive thinking and was very capable of teaching many religions.
Raja Ram Mohan Roy was mostly influenced by the monotheism of Islam, philosophy of Upanishads, ethics of Christianity and Vedanta, elements of Sufi philosophy.
Their main objective was to eliminate the evil that spread around Hindu society such as:
He disapproved the idol worship of Hindus and tried to prove his point by the post of Veda.
Raja Ram Mohan Roy is remembered for special contribution to eliminating the practice of Sati.
When his elder brother died when his sister-in-law was stained, this incident had a profound effect on his brain, then Raja Ram Mohan Roy decided to fight against it.
He started a movement to end this cruel practice and at the same time persuaded the British Government to enact laws against it.
The Bengal Sati Practices Regulation Act was passed in 1829 by the General Governor Lord William Bentick.
Raja Ram Mohan Roy established the Brahmo Samaj on 20 August 1828, the main function of this association was to launch a movement that encourages the monotheism and criticized idol worship.
The society had to be brought out of Brahminical thinking and women out of their wretched condition and become famous as social reformers.
Raja Ram Mohan Roy literary works:
In 1820, he wrote a book, The Knowledge of Jesus: Guide to Peace and Happiness: Ram Mohan explains the simplicity and morality of Christians.
In order to spread his ideas and imagination among the common people, in the year 1821, he started two news magazines named Pragya Chand and Samvad Kaumudi and also the Persian news magazine.
Apart from all this, Roy established a Vedanta and a Hindu college in Calcutta.
Raja Ram Mohan Roy contribution to society:
The idea of modern India was first proposed by the work and efforts of Raja Ram Mohan Roy, who was revolving under the double burden of chronic British exploitation and social evil.
Perhaps the latest beginning of India’s long struggle for independence began by spreading the modern ideas of Raja Ram Mohan. Because of this, their contribution to creating modern India is like a cornerstone.
Swami Vivekananda was also one of the famous social reformers of India.
On 12 January 1863, Vishwanath Dutt and Bhuvaneshwari Devi in Kolkata gave birth to the superb child called as Vivekananda. Narendranath Dutt was his childhood name.
From his childhood, Narendra was a very promising student; His consciousness and ability to read were extraordinary; Narendra was a very enthusiastic reader.
He was a capable student who had an interest in the wide range of subjects, such as science, philosophy, culture, music, and sociology, biology, art, etc.
Vivekananda was interested in the philosophy and religious subject matter
He used to peruse Western scholars and philosophers, such as Kant, Hegel, Auguste Comte and Charles Darwin, etc.
He was also capable in all religious and philosophical subjects of Hinduism, whether it was Upanishads, Ramayana, Vedas and Mahabharata.
All these studies made him a curious person & Social reformers in India.
His desire to know reality and gain knowledge took him to Swami Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Narendranath, they changed him into Swami Vivekananda.
Swami Vivekananda Social Reforms:
Vivekananda did not initiate any social change, his speeches and writings gave a message against the broad scope of social and religious evils.
Vivekananda’s main goal was to remove the weakness in India society, both physically and mentally.
For them, strength is life and weakness is death.
For all the social or political problems of India, its solution lies in the culture and philosophy of India.
Vivekananda was against religious belief and superstition & in his speeches, he used to claim enthusiastically against social evils & became one of the important social reformers in India.
He believes that ladies can change India; He asserted that with the assistance of 50 ladies, he can change India into a modern country.
However, his genuine effect on India was to restore the genuine significance of Hinduism.
In 1893, Swami Vivekananda spread the real culture and philosophy of India to the world at the World’s Religion Conference in Chicago.
With constant efforts, he explained the pride and importance in the minds of the youth of the country, so that they can face the world with full confidence.
He stood fast against all kinds of religious intellectual and all kinds of social evils issued by the orthodox and believed that untouchability would have to be eliminated if the nation had to move forward.
Further, his speeches inspired the national development for freedom and his life and instructing is still a wellspring of motivation for the nation.
Swami Vivekananda passed away on 4 July 1902 in Belur, West Bengal, India.
Swami Dayanand Saraswati Social Reformers:
Dayanand Saraswati was one of the well known social Reformers of India.
Moolshankar was childhood name of the Swami Dayanand Saraswati.
Dayanand Saraswati was born on 12 January 1824 in Tankara, Gujarat.
At the age of 21, he left his home and went on an excursion with Dandi Swami Purnananda, who named him Swami Dayanand Saraswati from Mulshankar.
Swami Dayanand Saraswati Social and Religious reforms:
Swami Dayanand Saraswati was very confident in the teaching of the Vedas; He gave a slogan: ‘Return of the Vedas’.
In order to spread idolatry and other superstitions, they have opposed the theme of Hindu religion ‘Puran’.
He used to argue against all the wrong things going on in the name of Hinduism and tried to promote Hindu philosophy again.
He was very aggressively opposed to all social evils like caste system etc. But he believed that it should be based on profession and work.
He was a supporter and advocate of women’s right to education and equal social status, as well as campaign against untouchability and child marriage etc.
He was a supporter of endogenous marriage and widow marriage, as well as freedom of the Shudras and women to read the Vedas and higher education.
Swami Dayanand Saraswati founded the Arya Samaj in 1875 to further his ideas.
Their main goal was to propagate and reform Hindu religion and to reestablish Vedic religions in true form.
Uniting India socially, religiously and politically and preventing the western influence on Indian civilizations and culture.
However, despite all the good work of the Arya Samaj, he was also disputed about his Shuddhi movement under which a person who has gone to other religions can return to Hinduism again.
But in spite of all this, they have a valuable contribution in removing the social evils of India, especially the evil within Hinduism.
Annie Besant said that Dayanand Saraswati was only the person who acknowledged that the “India is for Indians”.
Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar:
Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was amongst common social reformers in the 19th century.
He was born on 26 September 1820 in West Midnapore, Bengal, Thakurdas Bandhopadhyay was a father and Bhagwati Devi was a mother.
His childhood was spent in extreme poverty without any basic facilities.
Vidyasagar was a talented student. He always studied in the street lights because there was no light in his house.
He received a number of scholarships due to his exceptional performances in schools and colleges.
Also, he used to do part-time teaching to help himself and his family. From the Sanskrit College of Calcutta, he studied the law, literature, astronomy and Sanskrit grammar.
Vidyasagar was a very strong social reformer who was not afraid to fight against any social evil.
Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar Reforms:
Their main contribution was in raising the status of women. These widows were great supporters of marriage.
In those days the condition of widows was very wretched among Hindus, Vidyasagar continuously worked for the honour of women.
For this, he talked about making laws for widow remarriage.
This led to the passing of the Widow Re-marriage Act of 1856, which gave widows the freedom to marry again and justified their child.
He also raised his voice against polygamy and child marriage and said that it is not mentioned anywhere in Hindu scriptures.
Vidyasagar has a massive contribution to the field of education.
By simplifying his famous book ‘Burno Pourichay’ (introduction of letters), he purified the Bengali language and made it accessible to the common man.
This book is still considered an excellent book in the Bengali language.
Vidyasagar was also famous for his kindness and helped the poor people who lived on the side of the roads.
He continued with the social change initiated by Raja Ram Mohan Roy and remained aware of the activities of the Brahmo Samaj.
Swami Dayanand Saraswati died on 18 July 1891 in Calcutta.
Mahatma Jyotiba Phule:
Mahatma Jyotiba Phule was also the most famous social reformers in India.
On 11 April 1827, Jyotirao Govindrao Phule was born in Satara, into a vegetable merchant family.
Due to family poverty, they could not complete their education, but later they completed their education with the help of some people, they recognized the potential inside him.
At the age of 12, Jyotirao was married to Savitribai Phule.
A significant change in his life came when he was offended by one of his Brahmin companions when Jyotiba Phule came to think about the caste division and discrimination in society.
Then they spread society and realized the evils and decided to fight against them all.
The book ‘Rights of Men’, written by Thomas Payne, led him to agitate against social evils like casteism, untouchability, pathetic condition of women, bad condition of peasants etc.
Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Social Reforms:
Mahatmaji first and most important work was for the education of women.
And his first follower was his own wife, who always shared his dreams and supported him throughout his life.
In 1848 Jyotiba opened a school for girls, to create an equal society for her fantasies and aspirations; it was the first girls’ school in the country.
His wife Savitribai used to work there as a teacher. An attempt to educate the girls, at the time a much-unexpected event took place, Jyotiba was forced to leave the house.
However, despite such pressure and threats, he did not diverge from his goal and continued to fight against social evils and spread awareness among peoples against it.
In 1851, he started an enormous school.
There was no discrimination on the basis of caste, creed, religion, creed, etc.
Jyotiba Phule was against the child marriage as well as an enthusiast for the widow re-marriage.
He was very sympathetic to such women who have been victims of exploitation or are troubled for some reason, so they kept the doors of their houses open for such women where they could be looked after.
Jyotiba was actively engaged for the salvation of the so-called low caste, especially for the untouchables.
Rather, he was the first to give untouchables the name ‘Dalit’, which is broken, disturbed and exploited and outside is called the Varna system.
On 24 September 1873, he founded the Satyashodhak Samaj (of the true investigative society) to uplift the lower castes and untouchables.
The main objective of this society was that no one should be discriminated against on the basis of caste, religion and gender and an equal society should be created.
Satyashodhak Samaj was also against religious practices and superstitions like idolatry, priests as a middleman between men and god in religious rituals and ceremonies etc
Jyotiba Phule gave his whole life to the weak and backward of the society; He was very much ahead in his time because of his thoughts and actions.
Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar:
Babasaheb Ambedkar was one of the also well-known social reformers of India.
Bhimrao Ambedkar was born on 14 April 1891 in Mhow, Army Cantonment.
He was also famous by the name of Babasaheb. Ramji Maloji Sakpal was a father and Bhimabai was a mother of the Babasaheb.
He belonged to the Mahar caste, since childhood they were treated as untouchables, he faced many types of social discrimination.
But despite all the discrimination from the society, his father, being in the army, had the ability to provide a good education to his children.
Bhimrao Ambedkar was treated as untouchables in school; they could not sit with the upper caste children, nor do they not have the freedom to drink water from the same tap.
Ambedkar was very good at reading and after taking his early education from Bombay (Mumbai) went to America for higher education and research.
Ambedkar completed his postgraduate and research from Columbia University in New York City, after which he studied at the London School of Economics for further studies and got his Masters and Doctorate degrees from here too.
Bhimrao Ambedkar work and social reforms:
The main objective of Dr Ambedkar was to fight for the rights of the lower castes and the untouchables and to root out this evil.
Under section 1919 of the Government of India at that time, Ambedkar demanded separate elections for the lower castes and the untouchables.
He also demands the reservation for such communities.
Ambedkar started several publications by himself such as the weekly, Silent Nayak; Excluded India, a regular magazine aimed at spreading awareness to fight for the rights of lower castes and untouchables.
In order to generate socio-political awareness among the untouchables, on 20 July 1924, the Bahishkrit Hitkarni Sabha was established in Bombay.
And asked the government to ‘educate, rebel and organize’ Dalits and untouchables to get their rightful place in the society to pay attention to their issues.
He started a public movement against discrimination that was being tolerated by untouchables.
Ambedkar opened the public water to all untouchables, burnt Manusmriti, an ancient Hindu scripture that approved the caste-system and the right of low-caste people to visit temples.
At the Third Round Table Conference in 1932, Britain, in which Dr Ambedkar had participated, the British Government announced the disputed Community Award according to which there was a provision for separate elections for individual communities in British India.
This meant that only untouchables had the right to vote in the seat where the untouchables fought.
Being communal and divisive by nature, this system was strongly opposed by Gandhiji and other Congressmen who would divide Hindus into two parts.
But Dr Ambedkar was in favour of this system because he thought that more and more Dalit people would be selected for the assembly.
Ambedkar and the Congress leader, Poona pact on 25 September 1932 amid long and tedious discussions according to which the system of separate Electoral College was abolished but the reservation of seats for the Dalit class remained.
Later, the untouchables would not separate from the Hindu, but seats would be reserved for them.
Distinguishing the political rights for untouchables was a major step under the wrinkles of Hindu society.
On the same guidance, the Constitution of India in 1950 gave the benefit of reservation for Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST).
He has contributed immensely in creating a modern India, as Ambedkar was the chairman of the drafting committee.
The most important aspect of this constitution was the social, political and economic fairness and equality in it.
They are emphatically women and scheduled castes and scheduled tribes and OBCs; Special provisions were added for their rise and many of the discrimination that was faced by them was eliminated.
Later, Dr Ambedkar converted himself to Buddhism after being insulted by the caste system, superstition, custom and discrimination.
So she continued her political war with the social against the social evils of our country throughout her life; His main contribution was to lead the downtrodden towards self-respect.
He was one of the truly great humans born in India. Ambedkar died on 6 December 1956 in Delhi due to diabetes.
Baba Amte was one of the most well-known social reformers of modern India. Devi Lal Singh was his father and Lakshmibai Amte was his mother.
Baba Amte’s childhood name was Muralidhar and he was born on 26 December 1914 in Wardha district of Maharashtra.
His father holds a high position in the British government, for this reason, he was from a wealthy family and lived a luxurious life in his younger days.
But he was very generous and lived with people of all religions and castes.
He studied law and was part of the several movements against the British government, which was led by Mahatma Gandhi.
He was deeply influenced by Mahatma Gandhi and followed his principles and ways of living his life.
Baba Amte social work:
He contributed significantly for India and its society in the form of service, rehabilitation and empowerment of people suffering from leprosy (A chronic, curable infectious disease mainly causing skin lesions and nerve damage).
Baba Amte very emphatically spread awareness that it is not an infectious disease and to prove his point by injecting leprosy virus into his body Inserted & became the best social reformers in India.
Providing treatment, service and rehabilitation for the leprosy patients abandoned by the society and their families, he established three ashrams in Maharashtra, for this purpose Baba Amte also established a hospital on 15 August 1949.
In addition, he had created awareness about forest, ecological balance and wildlife conservation among the people.
He had also joined the Narmada Bachao Andolan and fought for the rights of the displaced due to Sardar Sarovar Dam.
That is why he devoted his entire life for the social welfare of India. He died on 9 February 2008 in Anandvan, Maharashtra.
Acharya Vinoba Bhave has been one of the significant humanists and social reformers of India.
He was born on 11 September 1895 in the village of Gagode in Raigad district, Maharashtra, to a Brahmin family, his father was Narhari Shambhu Rao and mother was Rukmani Devi.
His original name was Vinayak Rao Bhave and he was greatly inspired by the Bhagavad Gita.
He had a great inclination towards spirituality and believed in the goodness of all religions.
He was inspired by Gandhi’s speeches and joined them in Ahmedabad and began promoting his creation programs such as teaching, cleaning India and his khadi cloths.
Vinoba Bhave social work:
His main contribution was in the Bhumi-dan movement which started from Pochampally in Telangana on 18 April 1951.
Gradually this movement gained momentum and roamed all over India and asked the landlords to give land to the poor farmers, became famous social reformers of India.
After receiving the land as a gift, they gave their land to the poor people to cultivate. Therefore, his Bhoodan movement was a different way of providing social justice to the people.
He established an ashram and community to make women self-sufficient in food production, Gandhian and non-violent way.
He was also an abundant believer of religious generosity and tried to convince the common people with his writing and teaching.
He was very impressed with the Gita and converted it into the Marathi language. He required and interpreted many religious writings such as the Gita, Quran and Bibles.
He had criticized and opposed the Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi. He called it the festival of discipline. However, his real idea was to tell that everyone should follow the rules, even if he is the one who rules.
He died on 15 November 1982 in Wardha, Maharashtra. Throughout his life, he continued to follow Gandhi’s principles and served society.
Mother Teresa was the most famous social Reformers in India.
Mother Teresa was born on 26 August 1910 in Skopje, Macedonia.
“Never worry about numbers, help one person at a time and start from close quarters”.
As stated above, we had to understand the feeling of their poor, unable and needy people.
Her childhood’s name was Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, a Roman Catholic religious sister. His parents were named Nikollë Bojaxhiu and Dranafile Bojaxhiu.
He completed his education at Loretto Abbey of Rathfarnham (1928–1929) and the Blessed Virgin Mary Institute.
From the very young age of 12, he realized a religious voice. At the age of 18, she decided to become a nun and became involved with Dublin’s Loreto Sister.
She got the new name, Mother Teresa, after working for many years, she came to travel in Darjeeling, India.
From there she went to Calcutta and started teaching at St. Mary’s High School there. This school was dedicated to the girls of the poor Bengali family of the city.
After working here for 6 years, on 24 May 1937, she was given the title of ‘Mother’ as a tradition of Loreto nuns and after that, she was known by the world as “Mother Teresa”.
In August 1948, they left the Loreto Convent.
After this, he learned 6 months of medical education and gave his whole life to untouchables, unwanted and unpleasant people of Calcutta.
Mother Teresa Social Reformers:
Mother Teresa devoted her entire life for the needy and poor peoples in the society.
He started his mission from India (Calcutta) in 1948.
She succeeded in bringing the people of different religions and castes together for helping the poor and needy people of India & she is also considered as the most famous social reformers.
Low caste and untouchable people who are not touched by doctors and physicians etc. and not served by their own people, they died due to lack of medicine.
After seeing the situation of the poor people in the city, and decided to open a school and built a house for those left by the family for fear of infectious diseases. In 1950, he formed the “Missionaries of Charity” consisting of 12 peoples.
She served the poor, the weak and the dying. Mother Teresa and her organization used to go out on the streets and pick up people whose families have abandoned them.
She wanted to fulfil all the necessities of her life so that she could live with respect until the last moment of her life.
Mother Teresa built 20 such missionary homes for the children living on the streets.
He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for his valuable contribution to humanity and was awarded the Bharat Ratna in India in 1980.
He died on 5 September 1997 at the age of 87.
Medha Patkar is known as well-known social reformers of India. He is known all over the world as the ‘voice of the Narmada Valley’.
Influenced by Gandhian ideology, Medha Patkar fought for the rights of the people of about 37 thousand villages affected by the ‘ Sardar Sarovar Project’.
He also led the movement of displaced Maheshwar Dam. Writers like Arundhati Roy have been his close associates.
Medha Patkar Social Reformers:
Medha earned a master’s degree in social service in 1976 from Tata Institute of Social Science, Mumbai due to her interest in social work from the beginning.
After that, for five years, he started working with some voluntary organizations of Mumbai and Gujarat.
Also started teaching postgraduate students at Tata Institute of Social Science. Three years 1977– 1979Till then he worked as a teacher in this institute.
He also taught the students how to work in the field of social science.
Registered for PhD in urban and rural community development during teaching.
Meanwhile, they tied the knot, but this relationship did not last long and the two separated by mutual consent.
Preparation for PhD in active work in social work was also going on, but seeing education becoming an obstacle in his work, he quit his studies and got fully engaged in social service.
Medha Patkar’s vitality is a living example of energy and ideological sublime.
His struggling life has made him one of the important social reformers of the whole world.
In 1991, he went on a 22-day hunger strike, when his condition deteriorated. In 1993 and 1994 too, he fasted for a long time.
On 5 June 1995, Medha Patkar, who was going to meet Tehri on completion of 51 days of Uttarakhand’s Chief Sarvodayi Leader Shri Sunderlal Bahuguna, was arrested by a local administrative officer at a place called Narendranagar before reaching Tehri.
People of the valley have been jailed many times. His fight is with the Government of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra and also with the World Bank.
Medha Patkar, who openly challenged the World Bank, has now been made a member of one of its advisory committee by the World Bank.
His organization has done a lot of work to improve basic education, health and drinking water conditions.
He is also credited by Medha Patkar for connecting all the people’s movements in India with each other. He started a network called National Alliance for People’s Movement.
Medha Patkar is one of the leaders in redefining the mass movement in the country.
Conclusion on Social Reformers:
The Social Reformers of India were among those who inscribed their names in a historical book. Hats off to those who struggle in the revolution of India.