Swami Shraddhanand (July 2007)
Born on February 22, 1856 at village Talwan in Jalandhar district of the Punjab province, Swami Shraddhanand ji was named as Brihaspati and Munshiram. The young boy, a pampered child, moved from place to place on his dad’s transfers and was bereft of formal education in the formative years of life. Nonetheless, he learnt a lot in the school of life and, therefore, developed a pragmatic approach to life’s problems and their solutions.
Munshiram gave the credit to Swami Dayanand Saraswati for putting him back on the rails. Munshiram was a young boy when Swami Dayanand Saraswati had visited Benares . That was indeed a turning point in the life of Munshiram. After a long intellectual discourse with Swami Dayanand Saraswati there was a gradual change of heart in Munshiram. Munshiram was transformed into a man with a mission who ascended the pedestal of a Mahatma. It was also a turning point in the religious and political history of India which was struggling for freedom from the British Empire .
He became a successful lawyer and earned name and fame. He was quite active in the Arya Samaj circles and took the Reformation movement seriously. He promoted movement of education of girls. The Gurukul system of education was the new mission of Munshiram. He founded many institutions and established Arya Samajes for the upliftment of the people. He was pragmatic in his approach
Mahatma Munshiram made a debut in the world of journalism with his writings in Urdu and Hindi on both religious and social subjects. Propagation of the Vedic Dharm was his mission and he never deviated from this path. Following in the footsteps of his mentor, Swami Dayanand Saraswati, the Mahatma gave precedence to Hindi in Devnagari script in his writings. He stuck to Truth, come rain come shine.
Swami Shraddhanand died on 23 December 1926. He made the supreme sacrifice in the cause of religion. The name of this martyr will remain immortal in Hindu world..
Contributions of Swami Shraddhanand:
- He assisted in the formation of International Aryan league in Delhi .
- He fought against Purdah System and established a kanya (girls) Vidhalaya in Punjab , in 1890.
- He founded the Gurukul Kangari in Hardwar followed by Kanya Gurukul for girls in Dehradun. It was the first institution to offer education in the mother tongue up to college level.
- He helped in times of earthquakes, floods and famines by volunteering with his band of helpers.
- Cooperated Mahatma Gandhi in the struggle for freedom of India .
- He started the Shuddhi movement. Any person desirous of becoming a Hindu was accepted as such after the prescribed ceremony.