Please name and explain various social reformers of india of 17 and 18 century

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Title: An Overview of 17th and 18th Century Social Reformers in India for UPSC Aspirants

As an aspirant preparing for the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) examination, it is crucial to have a comprehensive understanding of India’s socio-cultural transformation. One of the essential topics you should focus on is the contributions made by various social reformers during the 17th and 18th centuries in India. Let’s delve into some of the prominent figures from this period who played a significant role in shaping the society and outlook of the nation.

1. Raja Ram Mohan Roy (1772–1833)

Regarded as ‘The Father of Indian Renaissance,’ Raja Ram Mohan Roy was one of the leading social reformers of the 19th century whose work led to the abolishment of social evils such as sati and child marriage. A fierce advocate for women’s education, Roy also championed the cause of widow remarriage and propagated the idea of monotheism. His pioneering work led to the establishment of the Brahmo Samaj, a socio-religious reform movement in India.

2. Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar (1820–1891)

One of the main proponents of the Bengal Renaissance, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was a renowned scholar and a social reformer who made relentless efforts to empower women in society. His relentless advocacy led to the groundbreaking Widow Remarriage Act of 1856. He also made notable contributions to improving the education system and promoting literature in Bengal.

3. Swami Vivekananda (1863–1902)

Swami Vivekananda, an influential spiritual leader, played a pivotal role in introducing Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the Western world. His efforts centred around elevating the status of women, eradicating caste differences and working towards a unified India. He represented India at the first World Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893, promoting the idea of tolerance and universal acceptance.

4. Savitribai Phule (1831–1897)

Savitribai Phule was a pioneering figure who campaigned for women’s rights during the mid-19th century. Along with her husband, Jyotirao Phule, she started the first women’s school in Pune and worked tirelessly towards improving women’s rights. She is often referred to as the mother of Indian feminism.

5. Jyotirao Phule (1827–1890)

An eminent social activist, Jyotirao Phule relentlessly worked against caste and gender-based discrimination. He advocated for the rights of peasants and other low-caste individuals and sought to educate them.

6. Dayanand Saraswati (1824–1883)

Dayanand Saraswati, a prominent figure in the Hindu reform movements, founded the Arya Samaj, which sought to reform Indian society by reviving Vedic ideologies. His work included promoting women’s education, opposing idol worship, and advocating for the abolishment of caste.

In conclusion, these social reformers played a significant role in transforming Indian society during the 17th and 18th centuries. Their ideas and beliefs continue to shape modern-day Indian discourse on sociopolitical subjects, making their study highly relevant to any UPSC aspirant aiming to comprehend the depths of Indian history, culture, and society.

Prince Luthra (UPSC CSE AIR 577)

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