Brahmo Samaj

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Brahmo Samaj

Brahmo Samaj (bräˈmō səmäjˈ) [Hindi,=society of God], Indian religious movement, founded in Kolkata (Calcutta) in 1828 by Rammohun Roy. It promoted a monotheistic, reformed Hinduism with strong Islamic and Christian overtones, support for the rights of women, and opposition to such aspects of Hinduism as idolatry and animal sacrifice. Under Roy the organization attained considerable importance in E India until his death in 1833. After a decade of decline, it was revived by Debendranath Tagore in 1843. A schism divided the organization in 1865, when Keshub Chunder Sen split with Tagore and formed the Adi Brahmo Samaj, and in 1878 Sen's group itself divided. Sen's followers formed a new church, the Nava-Vidhana, while the dissidents founded the Sadharan Brahmo Samaj, which became dominant. The Brahmo Samaj movement had great influence in the 19th cent., but although it still exists, it has had little impact on 20th-century Hinduism.


See P. K. Sen, Biography of a New Faith (2 vol., 1950–54); K. C. Sen, The Voice of Keshub (1963); P. V. Kanal, An Introduction to Dev-Samaj (1965).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Brahmo Samaj


(Bengali, “Society of Brahma”), a reformatory and instructional religious society founded in Bengal (India) in 1828 by Rammohan Roy. The society campaigned against the caste system, early marriages, and other foundations of Hinduism and feudalism, and favored the spread of European enlightenment throughout India and the encouragement of industrial and scientific progress. With the development of the bourgeois nationalist movement early in the 20th century, the movement ceased to play an important role in the social life of Bengal.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Starting from Rammohan Roy and his Brahmo Samaj founded in 1928 aimed at modernizing Indian society by reforming social customs of caste Hindus.
There he came under the influence of his teachers Pandit Narain Agnihotri and Pandit Navin Chandra Rai, who was to go on to form the Brahmo Samaj in Lahore.
On 20 August, 1828, The Brahmo Samaj was started by Raja Ram Mohan Roy and Debendranath Tagore.
He is the founder of Brahmo Samaj (1828), one of the first Indian socio-religious reform movements.
The autobiography speaks of Professor Sahni's public involvement in the form of lectures and displays to popularize the sciences, advance new ideas, question social customs and help spread Brahmo Samaj's message.
Roy, who founded the Brahmo Samaj, a synthesis of everything great in the eastern and western traditions of faith, took a cue from Carey's editorial and argued for the abolition of Sati.
The college became a catalyst for change in Bengal society and led to a 'Bengal renaissance', as Kopf puts it.21 The founding and progress of the Fort William College caused reform movements in Hinduism spearheaded by Rannohan Roy and his Brahmo Samaj. It increased the awareness of European culture and civilization among educated Indians.
Among these groups were quasi-religious/political movements such as the Brahmo Samaj, (53) the Arya Samaj, (54) and the Ad Dharm (55) movement in Punjab.
Brahmo Samaj was formed in Lahore in 1863 by Babu Novina Chandra Roy, a Bengali Brahmo, with the help of other educated Bengali Brahamo Samajis and it was soon extended to other cities of Punjab.51 Professor K Mukerji sees Brahmo Samaj's appearance on Bengal socio-intellectual horizon as a result of the rise of urban bourgeoisie that was 'sustained by trade and foreign commerce'.52
Two major reform movements, the Brahmo Samaj and the Arya Samaj, went further, offering critiques of religious, caste, and gender hierarchy and promoting a vision of a more egalitarian and communal faith.
The following year, Debendranath Tagore established an "Ashram" at that place and he himself became the initiator for the Brahmo Samaj - the worshiper of one supreme God.
Later, while those from the Brahmo Samaj (5) referred to the new style of wearing the sari with blouse and chador as the "Thakurbarir sari" (sari worn in the style of the Tagores, a leading Brahmo family), as more and more Brahmos started wearing the sari in this manner, it came to be popularly known as the "Brahmika sari" throughout India.