The 19th century was special in Gujarat because of its results. This century marked the end of Maratha rule and the rise of the British Sun. the Gujarat Verancular Society was established due to the newly educated class, liberal bureaucracy. The main objective of the G.V.S was to develop Gujarati language, to create public awareness against the burning issues of the society. Forbes was its Foundation and the Society’s Propagandist was Dalpatram. Dalpatram had the support of the newly educated class, merchants and mahajans of Ahmedabad.
The 19th century is very significant in terms of social reforms in Gujarat it is because the British rule established in 1818 AD had a great influence on Gujarat especially ideological and materialistic trends. Several individuals contributed to the social reform under that influence in the late 19th century. Many social reformers like Durgaram Mehtaji, Mahipatram Rupram, Narmad, Dalpatram, Karshandas Moolji, Navalram Pandya, and Hargovind Das Kantawala Rao Bahadur Bechardas Laskari emerged on the larger societal platform of Gujarat and waged a battle against a range of social ills. As a response to the movement, a class of Pundits also emerged including Manilal Nabhubhai Dwivedi and Ichharam Suryaram Desai who advised people on how to bring about reforms with respect to the unique culture and rituals of Gujarat. Any society can embrace change by taking into consideration its traditions and history. Thus, we have so many social reformers in Gujarat who founded their reforms on these two strands of social change.
There are institutes that played an equally important role in the social reforms as individuals. Many attempts have been made in Gujarat to instigate reforms through such organizations. For example, various organizations and groups arose such as Manavdharma Sabha in 1844 (Surat), Gujarat Vernacular Society in 1848, Bal Lagna Nishedhak Mandal (Society for Stopping Child Marriages) and Punarvivah Uttejak Mandal (Society for Promoting Widow Remarriages), etc.
The article aims at studying how various activities of such institutes made social reforms possible. Hence, we are looking at Gujarat Vernacular Society as a case study.
KEYWORDS : Social reform, Gujarat Vernacular society, Buddhi Prakash – Magazine
Dr. Vijay Kumar C. Patel
Assistant Professor of History
Gujarat Arts and Commerce College, Ellis Bridge, Ahmedabad – 380 006