Maharshi Dayananda (624) Hindi
By: Onkar Nath Sharma
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Swami Dayanand was born at a time when our country was under foreign domination. Most of the people were steeped in ignorance and poverty. Hypocrisy and corruption flourished in the name of religion....Read more
Swami Dayanand was born at a time when our country was under foreign domination. Most of the people were steeped in ignorance and poverty. Hypocrisy and corruption flourished in the name of religion. Women were not allowed to have formal education, nor those from the Scheduled Castes. They were required only to serve the rest of the community without ever being given the opportunity for development. Prejudices of creed, caste and community had corroded the social cohesion and the wily and the wicked were ruling the roost. Swami Dayanand was greatly shocked by this abominable state of affairs. He gave a clarion call to the nation to 'arise, awake and stop not' till the religious and social evils were mitigated. Priests and pandits were naturally alarmed by his zeal for social reform and national resurgence. He wrote 'Satyartha Prakash' which unfolded and interpreted the age-old wisdom of India, enshrined in the Vedas. He also exposed the diabolical and malicious designs of the priests and preachers who were fooling innocent people in the name of religion. He emphasised the importance of women's education. He raised his voice against bigamy and child marriage while fully supporting widow remarriage. A nationalist to the core, he urged the people to boycott foreign goods and style of living. He did not however propagate or establish a new creed or a new sect like many of his contemporaries. He founded the Arya Samaj to help make the people self-confident and self-reliant; and to uplift and reform the society. A large number of its branches sprang up throughout India. His main purpose behind establishing the Arya Samaj was to rid the society of evils and thereby build a free, strong and united nation. In fact, he prepared the psychological and social background for Mahatma Gandhi's subsequent political programmes. He was, truly speaking, one of the great builders of modern India.
About the author: Onkar Nath Sharma
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