Indian society suffers from a number of social evils. In the past these social evils stood in the way of our progress. Therefore, many religious and social reformers have, from time to time, been advocating the eradication of these evils. In the past, great religious men like Guru Nanak and Bhakt Kabir exhorted the people to remove all social evils, particularly communalism, casteism and superstitions.
Guru Nanak and Kabir also stressed the need for Hindu-Muslim unity. In fact, they preached that God is one, though different religions call Him by different names. Similarly, all mankind is one. Therefore, they believed in universal brotherhood. They opposed the ritualism of both Hindus and Muslims. They believed that reciting God’s name mechanically is a wrong way of offering prayer to God. They pointed out that bathing in sacred rivers does not absolve us of sins committed by us. They preached that to seek God, we should turn inwards.
Swami Dayanand Saraswati, the founder of the Arya Samaj, was another votary of religious and social reforms in India. He condemned idol worship and other evils which had crept into the Hindu religion. He opposed child marriage, casteism and untouchability. He favoured widow re-marriage. He commended the study of the Vedas. He was in favour of women’s education.
In modern times, Raja Ram Mohan Roy was the first person to raise his voice against social evils. It was at his instance that the evil practice of “Sati” was banned by Lord William Bentick, the then Governor-General of India. Mr. Roy had a modern outlook. He welcomed the introduction of English language in India because he thought that it gave Indians access to modern knowledge. He was in favour of women’s education. He wanted that widows should be free to remarry and lead a normal life.
Gandhiji, the Father of our Nation, worked for the removal of social evils throughout his life. He also preached Hindu-Muslim unity and laid down his life for it. Whenever there...
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