Indian Cultural Renaissance





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Indian Cultural Renaissance

The 19th century saw an age of Renaissance in Indian Culture. The article takes into account the meaning of Renaissance, why it was required and talks about prophets who carried this legacy.

The Indian Cultural Renaissance

The concept of Culture

Culture consists a harmonious and balanced cultivation of all the faculties of man: intellect and emotion, intuition and sense perception, flesh as well as spirit. It implies an integral personality and neither time nor eternity can be left out of it. A cultured man in his own way contributes to the society around him.Ancient Indian culture stood for an infinite variety of symbols and rituals ,and stressed the need for uniting with the divine that lay at the root. Unfortunately, in the Kali Yuga, the era of dissolution which characterises the imprisonment of spirit within the flesh. Literature and arts showed signs of degeneration. They spoke of the flesh with a fatal sense of fascination even when flesh figures were only a symbol of spirit as in the sculptures of Khajuraho or in the rhythms of Jayadevas Geeta Govinda. Indian culture was at its lowest ebb.[ref]

The Age of Renaissance

Cultural Renaissance is a time period from 12th century CE when art and literature revived in its true form. Renaissance is a word which means rebirth, rebirth of cultural art forms. Though the process of Renaissance began in 12th century , the term was later coined in 1858, by Jules Michelet . In the 12th century, the light of Renaissance kindled in the beautiful Italian town of Florence, which later came to be referred as the Athens of Middle Ages. It was from Florence , that Renaissance spread to Rome, Venice, Milan and other parts of Europe. The famous sculpture of David by Michelenagalo , The Last Supper and Mona Lisa by da Vinci were brought into reality. Milan Cathedral and the holy city of Vatican were architected. The reawakening call for Indian Culture came from the West. The soul of India responded deeply to this call of west and saw the glorious outburst of the Indian Renaissance and a succession of prophets who rediscovered the ancient Truth in a new grab, aspect by aspect, and layer by layer.Thus, Cultural Renaissance is the quest for a perfect blending of various faculties of mind.  [ref]

Pioneers of Renaissance

The first of the pioneers of Indian Renaissance were Raja Ram Mohan Roy and Swami Dayanand Saraswati, both helped to find a samaj Brahmo and Arya. Raja Ram was the morning star of the Indian Renaissance who worked for the eradication of social evils like Sati Pratha and widow remarriage. Unlike Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Swami Dayanand never came under Western Influence. He only studied Vedas, and was able to perceive the true Hinduism or the Vedic Religion which was free from idol worship, the caste system, child marriage, enforced widowhood, and untouchability. Swami Dayanand championed reason and rationalised religion, and lead the Hindus to a simple and rational life of devotion to God and service of mankind.[ref]

Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa, and Swami Vivekanand were next two blessed pair. The parables that fell from Ramakrishnas lips had astonishing clarity and illumination. Swami Vivekanand was the greatest apostle of spirit. In his brief but glorious saga of life , he saw clearly how India and West had to reinforce each other. This legacy was great Renaissance was taken ahead by another illustrious name , Sri Aurobindo. He established the unique laboratory of the spirit grew up in Pondicherry and established the ship of Auroville which the UNESCO had recognised as a nucleus for the coming together of humanity. His philosophy envisaged on the triune principle - existence , consciousness and bliss - sachidananda.[ref]

G.K. Gokhale and Lokmanya Tilak are an another pair of patriots of genius. Tilak contributed to the cultural as well as political reawakening. He founded the Ganapati Mahotsav to integrate the Indians in struggle for independence. Gokhale, founder of Servants of India, stood for the spirit of liberalism and parliamentary democracy. Gokhale handed over the great legacy to the Man of Millennium, Mahatma Gandhi which was then further carried by Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore , Dr. S.Radhakrishnan, Maulana Azad, C.V. Raman , Dadbhai Naoroji and many other notable people.[ref]

Key Takeaways

The religious for each day for every individual has to be revised in accordance with the needs and exigencies of our times. The doctrine of Secularism should not mean that all religions should be neglected and allowed to rot and decay. Since religions are going to stay, they have to be rationalised, revised and revived sooner rather than later.[ref]

The Renaissance was a movement in which the entire nation was involved. The Indian Renaissance has to be evaluated from all angles so that the total picture of national resurgence and reorientation may emerge in a clearer outline.[ref]

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