[Answered]Trace the rise and growth of socio-religious reform movements with special reference to Young Bengal and Brahmo Samaj.

Socio-religious reform movements arose in India during 19th century not only facilitated bybut also as a reaction to colonial rule, after the establishment of British political supremacy in India. Young Bengal and Brahmo Samaj represent two important points of these reformist movements.  

The rise and growth of socio-religious reform movements in India can be traced in following points:  

  1. People from elite class who were educated through modern English education provided the backbone of religious reform movements. For example, Raja Ram Mohan Roy, the founder of Brahmo Samaj. 
  2. Radical intellectual movement inspired by the Frenchrevolution emerged under Derozio as Young Bengal movement. It challenged orthodox restrictions on diet and social interactions and promoted free thinking, rationality, questioning the authority and ideals of liberty, equality and freedom.  
  3. Work of Missionaries was crucial in spreading alternate system of education, which would soon become mainstream.  
  4. Orientalism was pursued to understand local culture, but it soon drew antagonism and disgust for native traditions in face of superiority of the colonial class and its culture. 
  5. Hegemony of ideas like monotheism and cultural backwardness of Indian society paved way for prescription of new norms in public culture about rituals, conditions of women etc.  
  6. Colonial support for individual reformists, common class-interests between the prospering Zamindars and the British, creation of a public sphere of debate through influence of Derozio’s Young Bengal completed the rise of socio-religious reform movements of 19th century.  

Socio-religious reforms were a reaction against colonial judgement and native backwardness. The movement arose and declined, but with lasting impact on society and the public sphere of ideas. (270 words) 

 

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