History of movemnets -8

When matters were drifting in this unsatis­factory fashion, in the beginning of 1878, the Brahma community was taken by surprise by the intelligence that Mr. Sen’s eldest daughter, who had not till then completed the age required by Brahma law, was going to be married to the young Maharajah of Cooch Behar, who himself was till then a minor. The surprise was soon converted into active opposi­tion by the further news that the marriage was going to be celebrated according to the old Hindu rituals of the Raj family of Cooch Behar with a few modi­fications and earnest protests poured in from many Samajes and individual Brahmas expressive of the wide-spread concern of the whole Brahma commu­nity occasioned by the news. Mr. Sen gave no heed to the protests and proceeded to celebrate the marriage. When it actually came off, it was found that most of the requirements of a Brahma marriage were neglected, and there were other features, which were highly objectionable in the eyes of Brahmas. When Mr. Sen returned to Calcutta from Cooch Behar the protesters wanted to consider his conduct by calling a meeting of the Brahma Samaj of India, which Mr. Sen did not allow, and they actually moved a resolution deposing him from the post of minister of the Brahma Mandir Congregation at a meeting called by Mr. Sen. But in spite of it, Mr.Sen took forcible possession of the pulpit with the aid of the police, the next Sunday, whereon the protesters in a body seceded from the Mandir Service and organised a weekly Service of their own. All this necessarily led to a wide-spread agitation, the consequence of which was the foundation of the Sadharan Brahma Samaj in May 1978.

The Sadharan Brahma Samaj.

The first duty to which the Sadharan Brahma Samaj addressed itself after its formation, was the drafting of rules and the foundation of a constitution on which the future work of the Samaj was to be based. From the time of the commencement of the agitation, they had started a weekly English Journal called the Brahma Public Opinion, and which sub­sequently changed its name into “The Indian Messenger,” and is doing its valuable work even now, and also a weekly Bengali journal called Samalochak and a fortnightly Bengali journal called “Tatwa-Koumudi” was also brought into existence from May 1878. The two journals became the organs of the Samaj and carried its message far and wide. Before the year was over, they ordained their first four missionaries, whose present strength, after many deaths and other accidents, consists of six ordained missionaries and nearly a dozen unordained mission-workers. They soon laid the foundation of their present spacious Mandir on the occasion of the Anniversary Festival of 1879. Funds were collected from all parts of India, and the Mandir was completed wthin a year, and duly consecrated in the year 1880.In the beginning of 1879, some prominent members of the Samaj established an Anglo-Sanscrit school, called the “City School”, which formed a rendevous for the party, and gave employment as teachers to many of its leading and active members. In the course of a few years, this school was raised into the status of a first Grade College, and became one of the most influential educational institutions of the city. The late Mr. A. M. Bose had a leading hand in the foundation of this college and was its main Stay throughout his life. He provided the initial expenses, lent it the valuable aid of his vast educational experience, and presided at its council meetings, and always helped its work by his sage coun sels. Towards the end of his life, he made over the College, of which he was the virtual proprietor, to a body of trustees, with a constitution, that may justly be regarded as a model one for such educational institutions.

In the summer of 1879, a new institution called the Students’ Weekly Service was brought into existence, with the object of supplementing the secular education of the colleges by affording to the students such moral and spiritual culture, as was calculated to lay secure the foundations of a noble and worthy character- The Students’ Service attra'ci- ed from its beginning a large number of College students, many of whom have subsequently joined the Brahma Samaj. In course of time, the Samaj members brought other institutions into existence, as carrying on the traditions of the old Brahma Samaj of India.

They revived the Sangat Sabha, which exists till now and regularly carries on its weekly meetings. Besides the Sangat, some of the mem­bers of the Samaj, both ladies and gentkmen combined to start a Sunday school for children, which is regularly held every Sunday morning, and moral and spiritual instruction is given to its pupils. ^In the course of a few years, the managers of the Sunday School started a monthly magazine for children, called the “Mukool” or the Bud, which is still doing its excellent work. From 1893, the Cal­cutta Congregation of the Samaj was organised under a new system, and a public library and read­ing room called the Brahma Samaj Library was opened as a part of its work with the object of pro­moting the general intellectual and spiritual culture of its members.

Another important institution connected with the Samaj is the Sadhan Ashram, which was established in 1892 to form a shelter for Brahma workers, who gave up their secular employments and wanted to be trained as preachers of Brahmaism. Some of these workers reside in the Ashram. Divine Service is held every morning, and devotional and spiritual exercises are at times instituted for the spiritual training of the inmates. It is intended to be the missionary training ground of the Sadharan Brahma Samaj. At present the Ashram has branches at Bankipur, Allahabad and Lahore, where preachers are stationed to carry on the work of propagation. The members of the Bankipore Sadhan Ashram started some years ago a bearding school at Banki­pore, called the Ram Mohan Ray Seminary, which is a great centre of moral influence and has attracted public notice and has secured official support. Besides the school, the members of the Ashram are useful to the local public in various other ways.

Besides these institutions, the members of the Samaj started another important institution in Cal­cutta. The Brahma Balika Shikshalaya” or the Brahma Girls’ School. It is a boarding institute for Brahma girls, established as early as 1891, and has been maintained up to the present time and a spacious house has been built for it, and it is regarded as one of the best girls’ High Schools in the Presidency.