Swami Dayanand Saraswati (March 2007)
Swami Dayanand Saraswati (1824 – 1883) was an important Hindu religious scholar born in Gujarat, India. He was known as the founder of Arya Samaj. He was a sanayasi from his boyhood. Throughout his life, he preached against many Hindu traditions, which he felt were dogmatic and oppressive. These included traditions like child marriage, caste by birth, exclusion of females from the study of Vedas etc.
Due to his radical thoughts, he acquired enemies from all spheres of life. On the occasion of Deepawali in 1883, he was poisoned during the festival meal. Swami Dayanand breathed his last chanting “Om”
Some of his main contributions:
1. Founded Arya Samaj in 1875. Established ten rules of Arya samaj.
2. Equal rights for woman – such as their right to education and reading of Hindu scripture.
3. First great Indian who popularized the concept of Swaraj-that is, right to self determination, when India was ruled by British
4. Wrote Satyarth Prakash.
5. Fought against the caste system and child marriage in India.