History of movemnets - 17

In the report for 1879 occurs: “ Sermons and lectures exposing the falsehood of the Mahatmas, rivers, vratas., &c, were given in 1877 and 1878 and some of them published in tracts,” All this destructive criticism would have perhaps served a useful purpose had there been side by side a constructive work and practical life on the new lines of the Samaj. But from the beginning till the present time we receive the one continued confession from this Samaj, “We have no Anusthanic members yet.” As a principle the Samaj prohibits idolatry on the part of its members in their daily worship only, im­plying thereby that it may be allowed on the occa­sions of marriages and other ceremonies. A sensitive people as that of Gujarat naturally felt this contrast between harsh preaching of the leaders and slack practice of the members, and did not trouble them­selves about benefiting by some very sterling virtues and deeds of the leaders of the Samaj but only satisfi­ed themselves by singing some of the sweet hymns of the Prarthana Mala in their temples. In the latter years of the Samaj, however what the little community as a body failed to achieve has been more than com­pensated for by the worthy heads of the Samaj both by their exceptional purity of private character and ex­ceeding utility of public career. For the last twenty-twoyears the late lamented Rao Bahadur Lalshankar Umiyq, Shankar who departed only last month, was at the helm of this Samaj and was devotedly assisted by his lieutenant Mr. Ramanbhai Mahipatram the present Secretary of the Samaj and the son of the first Secre­tary Rao Saheb Mahipatram Rupram. Sir N. G. Chandavarkar wrote in the Times of India, “ The cause of religious and Social reform among Hindus and indeed all good and noble causes in Gujarat in particular, have lost a most devoted leader by the death of Rao Bahadur Lalshankar Umiyashankar. His name stands identified with a number of institutions. The Widow Marriage Association, the Anti-child marriage Society, the Gujarat Social Reform Associa­tion, Widow’s Home, the Prarthana Samaj School, the Dewabhai Girls School, the Schools for the Depressed Classes, the Mahipatram Rupram Orphan­age and the Foundling Asylum, the Ladies’ Club, the Bholanath Institute,the Gujarath Vernacular Society, the Sewa Sadan, the Anjuman Islam—all these were his creations and they meant activities in educational, religions and social matters without Reference to caste or creed. He was Secretary of the Aujumani Islam of Ahmedabad—the Mahomedans owned him as their own as did the Hindus.”

Hyderabad (Sind). Diwan Nawalrai and Sadhu Hiranand are the two names that hail from the North West when we think of Theism in Sind. Pandit Shivnath Shastri described his visit to Sind in the Brahma Public Opinion of September 11, 1879.”Hera in this remote corner cf India there are a number of tbeists who deserve a few words of respectful appre­ciation. The number of members in the local Samaj (Hydera­bad) does not exceed 14 or 15. Some four or five members daily hold a sort of prayer meeting in the Mandir...Just fancy the picture of a number of men walking silently and bare-footed into the open space before the hall taking their seats in the dark on the bare uncovered ground and singing the name of God with one voice. After one or two hymns, one or two short prayers are offered after which the members disperse with the same silence that characteris­ed their entrance. No light, no carpet, no preliminary preparation is necessary for these meetings. In darkness they assemble, on the bare ground they sit and have nothing external to please the eye or the ear; yet day after day for the last six years have these humble worshippers of God daily met and offered their prayers in this striking fashion. There is another good thing about the Samaj. It is a custom with the Minister, Mr. Navalrai Shonkiram to visit the jail every Sunday and deliver an oral discourse to the prisoners for the last three or four years. Last Sunday there were assembled 400 prisoners ranging from youths of 16 or 17 to men of good old age. I was told that with some they have been found to be productive of some real good but the percentage of such men is small...Mr. Nawalrai was once unexpectedly accosted by a man in a lonely forest. “Come and see “he said “how I keep my house in my little hut. Since I left the jail, I have all along considered it a sin to touch another’s property; and this truth I owe to you.”

The,Hyderabad Brahma Samaj was started in about 1868 then known by the name “ Sikh Sabha.’' Diwan Nawalrai, personally inflneuced by Keshub Chandra Sen, joined this Sabha and gave it a definite organiza­tion. The present Mandir was opened on the 3rd Sunday of September 1875.

When abont 600were present at the Sindhi Service in the morning and the same number at the English Service in which Babu Satyendranath Tagore delivered an inspiring address.

At Karachi a few Deccani gentlemen started a Prarthana Samaj in which the late Rajah of Satara sailed the Jangli Maharaj took keen interest. But it was not well-organized till 1884 when Sadhn Hiranand went to Karachi and took up the work. In 1886 Hiranand begged from door to door for funds for a Mandir and built it. In 1894 the name was changed into Brahma Samaj but in spite of the saintly endeavours of the good Hiranand the Samaj seems to have never made any great progress. At present there are twelve members. The present work in Sind seems to be confined to the energetic educa­tional activities of Mr. Pribdas Advani who is conducting a very successful High School at Hydera­bad. Professor L. T. Waswani recently did very good work among the college students and the public at large by his eloquent addresses. But while there were signs of new life coming into these Samajes Prof. Waswani suddenly left Karachi in May 1912 for Lahore as the Principal of the Sirdar Dayal Sing Theistic College in that city.