History of movemnets - 18

The one movement which makes the nearest ap­proach to an organization combining in itself all the local and provincial Samajes or Theistic Churches in this country is the All-India Theistic Conference and can be called a truly national movement. Brahmaism began as a metropolitan movement under the auspices of Raja Ram Mohan Roy, though the work of the great founder may be classed as not only national but even universal in its utmost reaches. And even at the close of the glorious career of the third great leader Keshub Chandra Sen, Brahmaism was in more than one sense only a provincial movement, i. e., conducted in different provinces on local lines and under local influences, but yet refusing to be consolidated into one visible representative body. The Brahma Samaj of India inaugurated by Keshub Chundra Sen in the early sixties or even the Sadharan Brahma Samaj that came into existence after the second great schism were only ideal names and could not actually extend their operation over, and comprehend the vast expanse of, India within their respective folds.

The Theistic Conference movement however in­directly owes its origin to the movement of the political National Congress which latter itself took its rtee after the death of Keshub Chandra Sen in 1884. “The presence of a large number of represen­tative Brahma gentlemen from various parts of the country at Allahabad on the occasion of the 4th annual Session of the Indian National Congress was taken advantage of and a Brahma Conference was organised there for the first time. Over a hundred Brahmagentlemen and some visitors attended the meeting which was held in the Colonelganja School premises. After a divine service conducted by Pandit Lachman Prasad, the Hon’ble Mr. M. G. Ranade was voted to the Chair. After several speeches on the work of the Brahma Samaj in different provinces, it was resolved that a Conference might be held every year in the place where the Indian National Con­gress happened to hold its session. Pandit S.N. Shastri was electedSecretary for the next year.” *

The Conference has not yet been able to stand on a footing independent of the National Congress. The second session was held in December 1889 in a more organized fashion in the Bombay Prarthana Samaj Hall when the Secretary Pandit Shastri had issued circular letters to all the Samajes. The most impor­tant resolution was for the establishment of a Theistic Union with the object of promoting co-operation amongst the different Theistio Bodies by means of—

(a) Holding United Services and Social Gatherings,

(b) Joint efforts for the propagation of the com­mon principles of Theism and also for the pro­motion of general interest of its members, (e) com­bining for the promotion of common philanthropic and charitable objects, (d) and such other means as may suggest themselves from time to time.
Pandit Nawin Chandra Rai was appointed Secretary of the Union, who however died during the next year and no effect could be given to the above resolution. The Third Session was held in Calcutta and was pretty successful. But since then the interest in the Conference began to wane. The following is the order of the sessions:—
(*Extracted from the “All-India Theistic Conference, Calcutta Seeeion, 1911,” published by H. C. Sarkar of the Sadharan Brahma Samaj.
The All India Theistic Conference (For PDF Click Here)