In 1867, Keshab Chandra Sen assisted Atmaram Pandurang establish the Prarthana Samaj in Bombay. The Prarthana Samaj supported monotheistic while denouncing caste prejudice and the power of the priesthood. The Prarthana Samaj predated the Paramahansa Sabha, a sort of hidden organisation that supported liberal principles and the removal of caste and community barriers.
Mahadeo Govind Ranade (1842-1901), who joined the samaj in 1870, was largely responsible for the society’s success and the work it accomplished. His efforts helped the samaj develop a reputation throughout India. R.G. Bhandarkar (1837–1925) and N.G. Chandavarkar were additional samaj chiefs (1855-1923).
The Prarthana Samaj placed a strong emphasis on monotheism, although overall the Samaj was more interested in social transformation than it was in religion. Rather than challenging Hindu orthodoxy, the samaj relied on education and persuasion. Candidates Preparing for UPSC will get all the details about Prarthana Samaj in this article.
Read More: Arya Samaj
Prarthana Samaj History
Several socio-religious reform movements came into existence in India in the 19th century. This was mostly caused by exposure to democratic and individualistic liberal western beliefs. Indians with Western education were similarly eager to transform society from the inside out and had the insight to see how far Indian culture had fallen from the lauded piety and purity that were essential to the ancient Vedic religion.
The Prarthana Samaj was one such movement that originated in Bombay and afterwards exerted significant influence in western India and to a lesser extent in southern India.
The movement was started by Atmaram Panduranga, and after reformer and scholar Mahadev Govind Ranade joined it, it acquired speed and popularity. The Samaj was distinct from the Bengali Brahmo Samaj in that it was less extreme and approached reformist programmes with caution. It also earned better reviews from the general population as a result.
Read More: Brahmo Samaj
Prarthana Samaj Principles
The Prathana Samaj followed the guidelines of the Sadharan Barahmo Sabha and included the teachings of revered poets and saints from the history of Marathi literature into its worship. The Prathana Samajists believed in theism. They watched Hindu rituals without realising what they represented. They held the view that God is the architect of the cosmos. It is unbreakable, heavenly, and joyous. He brings delight to all who worship him. They should treat one another with brotherly love because all men are his children.
They were aware of the common misconception that Maharashtrians were fervent worshippers of particular deities. They did not defy the general consensus. They claimed that whatever worship they practised was worship of the only true God.
They accepted image worship but did not practise it. The Prathana Samajists made social improvements their top concern. By establishing a Night School for workers, labourers, and their kids, they started the mission of educating the community. The Prathana Samajists established social institutions including asylums and orphanages during pilgrimages for the underprivileged and children.
They established the Depressed Classes Mission and made every attempt to solve the issue in order to fight the cruel practise of untouchability. The Prarthana Samajists promoted female education, widow remarriage, and discouraged child marriages in order to improve the status of women.
Samaj has a distinct regional character. Even though Hinduism was the source of its theism, it did not see the Veda as divine. Additionally, it disapproved of the concepts of reincarnation and transmigration. It closely followed conventional paradigms and did not distance itself from Hindu components, both religious and social.
Read about: Mahajanapadas
Prarthana Samaj Four Point Social Agenda
- Criticism of the caste system
- Female education
- Remarriage of Widows
- Increasing the marriage age for both men and women
Dhondo Keshav Karve and Vishnu Shastri were social reformers. Ranade and Karva founded the Widows’ Remarriage Movement and the Widows’ Home Association to give widows the knowledge and skills they need to support themselves.
Read More: Raja Ram Mohan Roy
Prarthana Samaj UPSC
When Keshab Chandra Sen visited Maharashtra in 1867, Dr. Atmaram Pandurang established the Prarthana Samaj. R.G. Bhandarkar served as another Prarthana Samaj leader. Justice Mahadev Gobind Ranade joined this group in 1870, and he was largely responsible for the zeal and dedication of this society. It acquired an all-Indian flavour under Ranade. This article has all the details about Prarthana Samaj for UPSC Exam Preparations.
Read More: Dharma Sabha