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HIST475Y Midterm 2

HIST475Y Midterm 2

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Published by: smratliff on May 01, 2011
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 Midterm Exam 2Question #2HIST475Y, ChatterjeeShannon Ratliff 
Ratliff 2In the 19
Century, the ³new´ Indian middle class that emerged in colonial India was,through implemented British policies, Western-educated and highly affluent. Their knowledge of the English language and understanding of Western-style thought separated them from their Indian ancestors because they lost the common thread language of Sanskrit. The Indian middleclass was centered in areas where Britain placed its first institutions of higher educationsuch asCalcutta, Madras, and Bombay. The mobility of the middle class was always a constant factor in pre-colonial Indian middle class families, but western education enabled an enhanced culturalmobility in colonial India. The attitude of the new Indian middle class, however, consisted of choosing not to fully embrace Western ideals and beliefs, but instead practicing selectiveassimilation in which many middle class Hindus and Muslims focused on applying Westernideals to revive traditional Indian culture that they believed had become degenerate. This drive toinvigorate a shared India is a manifestation of nation-building because it is evidence that thecultural and religious traditions of India were so communal and revered that they deserved to beupgraded and assimilated into a more modern context.It also evidence that a strong sense of prideexisted in traditional Indian customs that the new middle class were unwilling to give up in theface of western defiance. The desire to rejuvenate traditional India was manifested in thereformist organizations that were generally created of the middle class, by the middle class, andfor the middle class.In the late 19
century, Indian reformist organizations could be separated into twoseparate spheres of thought: moderate or militantly revivalist. Moderate organizations generallyfocused on reforming Hinduism as well as engaging in mass social reform in education. Therevivalist organizations felt that Indian culture as a whole was in decline and therefore called for the rejuvenation of Hinduism because to these scholars, India as a nation was Hindu. Militant
Ratliff 3Hindu organizations suggested the violent defeat of the common enemies: Muslims or theBritish. The moderate organizations, however, had the most impact on the middle classes and theBrahmo Samaj was the most influential moderate organization in the late 19
century.Beginning in 1828, the Brahmo Samaj was one of the earliest Hindu reform movementsin India under British colonial rule. The creator of the movement was Raja Rammohan Roy,known as the ³Father of Modern India´ because throughout his lifetime, he sought to integrateWestern culture with traditional India. He also revived the principle ethics of Vedanta philosophical thought that was stated in the Upanishadic texts. His view of a rationalist,³modern´ India led to the creation of Brahmo Sabha in Calcutta which was founded on the belief that Hinduism had become degenerate based on outdated cultural practices over time. Roy calledfor a return to pure Hinduism and a glorification of the Vedas. He based his beliefs on the viewof a monotheistic religion devoid of idolatry and far-fetched religious customs that no longer coincided with the more modern time period. The charter of the Brahmo Sabha, its name prior toTagore¶s revival of the organization and its name, reflected Roy¶s ideals and decreed amonotheistic faith and a denunciation of idolatry and traditional Hindu religious customs.The Brahmo Sabha, however, was revitalized in 1842 when Debendranath Tagorechanged its name to the Brahmo Samaj and the organization began to spread outside of Calcutta.Tagore¶s past organization, the Tattvabodhini Sabha, was established in 1839 and founded on the basis of religious discussion in which the superiority of Hinduism was accentuated through public debates with Christian missionaries. Once becoming the leader of the Brahmo Samaj,Tagore saw a new division in the association that diverged between religious matters and socialreform. Keshab Chandra Sen, a young member of the Brahmo Samaj, began to focus theorganization¶s scope to social reform, following in the footsteps of Roy, who is well-known in

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