The Arya Samaj was another important socio-religious reform movement of the 19th century. It was founded in 1975 by Swami Dayanand Saraswati in Bombay.
Like other organizations, the main aim was to reform Indian society by cleansing the social evils that were prevalent in the society, i.e. superstitious beliefs, idolatry, the dominance of the Brahmins, etc.
The Samaj was able to have a significant impact on Indian society because apart from fighting against the corruption in Indian society, it also contributed significantly towards the development of nationalism as well as education.
The Basic Principles of Arya Samaj
There were 10 basic principles. They are as follows:
- God is the main source of all true knowledge.
- God who is all truth, all knowledge, immortal, creator of the universe, alone is worthy of worship.
- The Vedas are books of true knowledge.
- It promotes and encourages the truth.
- All actions must conform to Dharna, which means after due consideration of right and wrong.
- Promotion of the world’s well-being – material, spiritual, and social.
- Promotion of love and justice.
- Ignorance should be dispelled and knowledge diffused
- No one should be content with his own good, but everyone should regard his own prosperity.
Swami Dayanand Saraswati and his Arya Samaj while contributing positively towards the growth of the Indian nation, it simultaneously played a part in the growth of the poison known as communalism. This was so because the Muslims reacted to the programs of the Arya Samaj by mobilizing themselves along communal lines. Thus, the narrow approach and militant’s outlook of the Arya Samaj had a negative impact on Indian Society.
Contributes Towards the Growth of Nationalism
The Arya Samaj also played a positive role in the growth and development of Nationalism in the country. It used terms such as Swadharma (Our religion), Swabhasha (Our language), and Swarajya (Our Government). these terms have contributed to national consciousness among the people.
Many national leaders such as Tilak and Lala Rajput Rai are inspired by the philosophy and principles of the Arya Samaj.
In this way, the Arya Samaj played its part in the growth and development of India. One has to remember that the Arya Samaj has a positive as well as a negative impact on the country.
Positive Impact – It fought against social evils and promotes education.
Negative Impacts – it contributed towards communalism and therefore it divides Indian society.