What were the famous Social movements in pre independence era in india?

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What were the famous Social movements in pre independence era in india?Title: Famous Social Movements in Pre-Independence Era in India


India’s rich history is a testament to a multitude of social movements that were initiated for societal changes and justice for centuries of exploitation, discrimination, and suppression. The pre-independence era in India especially witnessed several significant social movements, which were instrumental in shaping India’s present socio-political and cultural milieu. UPSC aspirants can explore all these social reforms in their preparations to form a nuanced understanding of the Indian society.

1. Brahmo Samaj (1828)

Founded by Raja Ram Mohan Roy in 1828, the Brahmo Samaj emerged as a significant social reform movement in the early 19th century. Being a true expression of renaissance in India, this movement aimed at eradicating social and religious evils like Sati, Caste System, Polygamy, and Child Marriage from Hindu society. It also advocated women’s education and widow remarriage.

2. Prarthana Samaj (1867)

Balanced between tradition and modernity, the Prarthana Samaj movement was launched in 1867 by admirers like Dadoba Pandurang, Dr. Atmaram Pandurang, and R.G Bhandarkar. It proposed critical reforms in religion, society, and education. The Samaj strongly condemned caste inequality, child marriage, and women seclusion, and endorsed widow remarriage, female education, and intercaste dining.

3. Arya Samaj (1875)

Started by Swami Dayanand Saraswati in 1875, Arya Samaj not only aimed at reforming Hinduism but also sought to strengthen the religion’s foundations by reverting to the ‘essence of the Vedas.’ Its reformative approach included abolishing the caste system, advocating girls’ right to education, and encouraging widow remarriage.

4. The Theosophical Society (1875)

Founded by Madame H.P Blavatsky and Colonel H.S Olcott in New York, the Theosophical Society started its activities in India in the late 19th century with the arrival of Annie Besant. Its primary objectives were to form the nucleus of universal brotherhood, encourage the study of comparative religion, philosophy, and science, and investigate unexplained laws of nature and powers latent in humans.

5. Satya Shodhak Samaj (1873)

Established by Jyotiba Phule in Maharashtra in 1873, Satya Shodhak Samaj was an anti-caste social reform movement. Phule began this movement to liberate the Shudras and Ati Shudras from the oppression of the upper-caste Brahmins. The movement advocated for girl’s education and widow remarriage, nurturing the values of social equality and justice.

6. Ramakrishna Mission (1897)

Founded by Swami Vivekananda, a disciple of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, the Ramakrishna Mission was established to carry out an efficient and organized form of humanitarian work. It initiated social reforms in the fields of education, health, women’s emancipation, rural development, and interfaith understanding.

7. All India Women’s Conference (1927)

The All India Women’s Conference marked the beginning of a new era in terms of women’s emancipation. It sought to represent Indian women’s issues related to education, empowerment, and political representation. The movement led to several legislative successes, including the Sarda Act of 1929, which increased the age of marriage for girls.


The social movements in the pre-independence era not only sought to reform the Indian society but also created a new consciousness and awareness among the Indians. As UPSC aspirants, this understanding is crucial to appreciate India’s struggle for independence and changes in post-independence India.

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