What were the Indian Relegious movements organised in British Era? FOLLOWED BY MCQs WITH SOLUTION

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What were the Indian Relegious movements organised in British Era? FOLLOWED BY MCQs WITH SOLUTIONTitle: The Indian Religious Movements during the British Era


India, a secular nation endowed with rich cultural diversity and pluralism, has become a cradle for various religions and traditions. This amalgamation of diverse faiths, spurred multiple reform movements, especially during the British era. These movements aimed at reforming and modifying the religious practices and thoughts prevalent at that time. Let’s delve into the details of these movements that greatly influenced India’s socio-religious fabric.

1. The Brahmo Samaj:

The Brahmo Samaj, founded in 1828 by Raja Ram Mohan Roy, challenged the orthodox Hinduism and effectively embarked on radical religious reforms. It staunchly believed in monotheism and renounced idol worship, caste system, sati, child marriage, and other inhuman practices. By focusing on rationality and human dignity, it initiated a reinterpretation and revisualization of Hindu scriptures and rituals.

2. The Arya Samaj:

Swami Dayanand Saraswati established the Arya Samaj in 1875, which strove to reassert the Vedic values and ideals rejecting priestly intervention and rituals. Arya Samaj promoted a more well-grounded and scientific understanding of Hindu scripture, the Vedas, and strongly advocated for the eradication of social evils such as untouchability and gender inequality.

3. The Prarthana Samaj:

Founded by DR. Atmaram Pandurang in 1867 in Bombay, the Prarthana Samaj merged spirituality and social reforms, emphasizing the universal brotherhood and fatherhood of God. The introduction of prayer meetings in vernacular languages for both men and women was one of its significant breakthroughs.

4. The Ramakrishna Mission:

Established in the late 19th century by Swami Vivekananda under the spiritual guidance of his teacher Ramakrishna Paramhansa, the Ramakrishna Mission aimed to propagate the universal messages of Vedanta and to provide spiritual fulfilment alongside social service.

5. The Theosophical Society:

Annie Besant and Colonel Olcott founded The Theosophical Society in 1875 in the US, which later moved its headquarters to Adyar, Madras, India. The society instilled a universal brotherhood transcending race, creed, sex and colour, and recognised the value of studying comparative religions, science, and philosophy.

6. The Aligarh Movement:

The Aligarh movement (1858 – 1898), initiated by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, has influenced the socio-religious awakening among Indian Muslims. He advocated Western education and scientific temperament, focusing on liberating Muslim consciousness from traditional orthodoxy to reform Westernised Islam.

7. The Deoband Movement:

Established in 1866 in Deoband, Uttar Pradesh, the Deoband School or the Deoband Movement aimed to educate Muslims in classic Islamic traditions and propagate Islamic sciences and jurisprudence.


The renaissance movements during the British era strove for religious, social, and cultural reforms that played a vital role in India’s nationalist aspirations. As UPSC aspirants, an in-depth understanding of these religious movements will provide a holistic perspective on India’s socio-cultural metamorphosis.

Multiple Choice Questions:

1. Who was the founder of the Brahmo Samaj?
a) Swami Vivekananda
b) Swami Dayanand Saraswati
c) Sir Syed Ahmed Khan
d) Raja Ram Mohan Roy
Answer: d) Raja Ram Mohan Roy

2. The Deoband Movement mainly focused on __________.
a) The study of Vedas
b) Islamic sciences and jurisprudence
c) Spiritual fulfilment alongside social service
d) Establishment of universal brotherhood
Answer: b) Islamic sciences and jurisprudence

3. The movement that focused on liberating Muslim consciousness from traditional orthodoxy is __________.
a) The Aligarh Movement
b) The Brahmo Samaj
c) The Prarthana Samaj
d) The Theosophical Society
Answer: a) The Aligarh Movement

4. Who founded Arya Samaj in 1875?
a) Swami Vivekananda
b) Swami Dayanand Saraswati
c) Annie Besant and Colonel Olcott
d) DR. Atmaram Pandurang
Answer: b) Swami Dayanand Saraswati.


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