Prārthanā Samāj

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A still extant Hindu society with aspirations for social reform—chiefly improvement in the status of women, universal education, and an end to caste discrimination—similar to those of the Brāhmo Samāj (Keshub Chandra Sen had been an early influence). The Prārthanā Samāj was founded in Bombay in 1867 by Dr Atmaram Pandurang (1823–1898), initially drawing its membership from two western Indian secret societies, which had been experimenting with food preparation and other practices that cut across orthodox notions of purity and pollution. It differed from the Brāhmos in grounding its theistic worship in the bhakti poetry of the Maharastrian Vārkarī Panth, especially that of Tukārām, and in generally taking a less uncompromising attitude in its reforms. Its most prominent early leaders were the High Court judge, M. G. Ranade, and the paṇḍit and Indologist, Sir Ramkrishna Gopal Bhandarkar.

Subjects: Hinduism.

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