INDIAN SOCIAL REFORMERS
India has produced numerous social reformers who have played a significant role in making India a more progressive and forward looking country. These social reformers have fought against several social evils such as Sati, widow remarriage, child marriage, casteism et al. Here is a brief profile of famous Indian social reformers.
Dayanand Saraswati was one of the most radical socio-religious reformers in the history of India. Swami Dayanand Saraswati was the founder of Arya Samaj and propagated egalitarian approach of the Vedas at a time when widespread casteism was prevalent in the society.
Raja Ram Mohan Roy
Raja Ram Mohan Roy is known as the ‘Maker of Modern India’. He was the founder of the Brahmo Samaj, one of the first Indian socio-religious reform movements. He played a major role in abolishing the role of Sati. Raja Rammohan Roy was a great scholar and an independent thinker.
Ramakrishna Paramhansa was one of the foremost Hindu spiritual leaders of the country. His teachings are still deeply revered by the people. He also played a key role in the social reform movement in Bengal in 19th century.
Swami Vivekananda was one of the most influential spiritual leaders of Vedanta philosophy. He was the chief disciple of Ramakrishna Paramahansa and was the founder of Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission. Swami Vivekananda was the living embodiment of sacrifice and dedicated his life to the country and yearned for the progress of the poor, the helpless and the downtrodden.
Vinobha Bhave’s original name was Vinayak Narahari Bhave. He was born in a Brahmin family on September 11, 1895 at the village of Gagoda in Kolaba district of Maharashtra. He was greatly influenced by his mother Rukmini Devi. Vinoba Bhave was well-read in the writings of Maharashtra’s saints and philosophers.
Kiran Bedi is truly an icon of heroism. She was the first Indian woman to join the Indian Police Services. She was born on June 9, 1949 at Amritsar in Punjab. She is one of the most renowned police officers, who have put in their whole hearted effort in serving the society.
Medha Patkar is a well known social activist of India. She was born on 1st December in the year 1954. Prior to becoming a social reformer, she completed her M.A. in Social Work from Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS).She left Ph. D. in the midst and got actively involved in the agitations conducted by tribals and peasants of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.
Shanta Sinha, the Ramon Magsaysay award winner, has recently been appointed for the post of chairperson of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights. She is the founder secretary trustee of the Mamidipudi Venkatarangaiya (MV) Foundation, Secunderabad.
Baba Amte is one of the greatest social reformers India’s ever had. He gave his lucrative career as barrister for social service. He was so great a person that he dedicated his entire life to the care and rehabilitation of leprosy patients.
Jyotirao Govindrao Phule, who was a prominent activist, thinker and social reformer from the Indian state of Maharashtra during the 19th century, was also famous by the name of Mahatma Jyotiba Phule. During his time, he tried bringing in positive renovations in the spheres of education, agriculture, caste system, social position of women et al.
Shahu Chhatrapati was the Maharaja or the king of the Indian princely state of Kolhapur. Also known by the name of Rajarshi Shahu, he was known to be a great social reformer of his time. Shahu Chhatrapati was born on 26 June in the year 1874 as Yeshwantrao Ghatge.