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Keshab Chandra Sen

Radical Reformist Keshab Chandra Sen 1838 - 1884

Keshab Chandra SenKeshab Chandra Sen was born in Calcutta. He joined the Brahmo Samaj in 1857 and launched a dynamic programme of social reform like emancipation of women, education of the working class and charitable works. In 1862 Devendranath Tagore gave him the title of `Acharya` of the `Brahmo Samaj`. But there was lots of differences in thoughts and philosophy between the two, which led to the spilt of Brahmo Samaj. Keshab Chandra Sen was born in 1838 in a family of Calcutta, which traced its descent from the medieval Sena kings of Bengal. He had his education from Hindu College. While he was in college, he came in contact with the work of Rajnarayana Basu an activist of the Brahmo Samaj. He was very much impressed by the ideas of Brahmo Samaj; so he joined the Brahmo Samaj in 1857.

However a difference of views between Devendranath Tagore and Keshab Chandra Sen aroused. Keshab wanted to rationalise the Brahmo ideas and to bring social reforms while Devendranath, though, he was not against social reform but he wanted to concentrate on spiritual values. Besides this both of them had different concepts of Christ. This resulted into a spilt in the Brahmo Samaj.

Keshab Chandra, in one of his lecture on "Jesus Christ, Asia and Europe", challenged the Christian Missionaries who mistreated India, Indians and Asiatics. His retort was,"Christianity was founded and developed by Asiatics in Asia. In Christ, we see not only the exaltedness of humanity but also the grandeur of which Asiatic nature is susceptible… Thus in Christ, Europe and Asia, the East and West may learnt to find harmony and unity" Brahmo Samaj of India, under Keshab Chandra Sen undertook a number of reform activities in the social field. It took steps for emancipation of women, education of the working class, charitable works etc. Sen`s Brahmo Samaj faced another jolt when some radical Brahmos being irritated by Keshab`s concentration on mysticism, formed their own Brahmo Samaj, "the Sadharana Brahmo Samaj" in 1878. Keshab became a passionate advocate of bhakti, deriving inspiration from both Chaitanya and Christ. It was Brahamo Samaj, first under Raja Ram Mohan Roy and later on under Keshab Chandra Sen heralded the Renaissance in Bengal and spread it to the other parts of the country. It was chiefly responsible for awakening India and guide towards the truth and peace.

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