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General History of The Brahmo Samaj
The first phase of the history of the Brahmo Samaj is inextricably associated with the name of Raja Rammohan Roy (1772- 1833). The Brahmo Samaj, launched on August 20, 1828, gave a concrete expression to his concept of universal worship. Their liberal approach is reflected in the fact that they arranged to have the Upanishads read and explained before the entire body of worshippers, which, besides the non-Brahmins, sometimes included Christians and Muslims.

After the departure of Raja Rammohan Roy for England (November 1830) and his death there (September 1833), the Brahmo Samaj as an organization faced a severe crisis for survival. However, the selfless efforts of Dwarakanath Tagore and Pandit Ram Chandra Vidyavagis enabled the Samaj to tide over the crisis. After founding the Tattwabodhini Sabha in 1839, Debendranath Tagore joined the Samaj in 1842 and it became the common platform for the intellectual and cultural elite of the mid-19th century Bengal. The era of the Tattwabodhini Sabha (1839- 1859) thus marks a creative phase in the history of the Brahmo Samaj.

The Brahmo Movement gained further momentum when the dynamic Keshab Chandra Sen (1838-84) joined the Samaj in1857. However, serious differences regarding ideology and attitude cropped up between Debendranath and Keshab. It came to a head at the close of 1866 with the emergence of two bodies, the Calcutta or Adi Brahmo Samaj and the Brahmo Samaj of India. A number of radical and far-reaching social reforms like female education and total eradication of class distinctions led to the formation of the Indian Reform Association in 1870 and the enactment of the Indian Marriage Act, initially drafted as Brahmo Marriage Act, in 1872, which validated inter-caste marriage. Again, Keshab’s reverence towards all faiths allowed him to achieve a rich synthesis of all religions, which he proclaimed under the title of ‘New Dispensation’ (Navavidhan) on January 25, 1880.

In spite of all such developments, a second schism took place in the Samaj in May 1878, when a band of Keshab Chandra Sen's followers left him to start Sadharon Brahmo Samaj. Led by Shiv Chandra Deb, the body consisted of some brilliant names like Sivanath Sastri, Ananda Mohan Bose, Vijay Krishna Goswami and others. It has proved till now a powerful branch of the Bramho Samaj in India. Presently both the wings, viz., the Brahmo Samaj of India and the Sadharan Brahmo Samaj, contribute immensely to the well-being and needs of the entire Brahmo community in India.
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