When the popularity of the bhakti movement in south India reached its peak, the doctrine of bhakti was expounded at the philosophical level by a series of Vaishnava scholars and saints. Ramanujar expounded the philosophy known as Vishistadvaita, or qualified monism. His teaching qualified Adi Sankara’s emphasis on absolute monism or the oneness of the ‘supreme’ and the ‘souls’. If the Bhakti movement flourished in the Tamil country from the seventh century, it was only from the fifteenth century that there was an extraordinary outburst of devotional poetry in north India. The society had degenerated into a caste-ridden community with practice of segregation, polytheism and idolatry. The religious minded saints raised their voice of protest against rites and ceremonies, superstitions, and unwanted formalisms. A popular monotheistic movement along with Vaishnava Bhakti movement came to be launched. The monotheists followed a path which was independent of dominant religions of the time, Hinduism and Islam. They denied their allegiance to either of them and criticized superstitious and orthodox elements of both the religions. The advent of Islam with the Turkish conquest posed a challenge to Vedic scholars and priests. By the end of the fourteenth century Islam had spread to large parts of India. A considerable section of the Indian population had taken to Islam. Combined with state power, the universal message of Islam with emphasis on equality attracted the lower sections of society. The new political and social situation created conditions for the growth of non-conformist movements with anti-caste, anti-vedic and antipuranic traditions. The resultant changes in the cultural sphere were: development of regional languages, the evolution of Hindustani, and of Indo-Muslim music and architecture. The Hindu response to Muslim political power was complex. While there was considerable hostility to the new religion there was also a tendency to internal reform to strengthen Hinduism so as to face the challenge. An important outcome of the encounter was the rise of syncretic sects and major poets and Saints such as Kabir, Guru Nanak, and Ravidas.
The Coming of the Europeans
Introduction The beginning of British rule in India is conventionally ascribed to 1757, after the Battle of Plassey was won by the English East India Company against the Nawab of Bengal. But the Europeans had arrived in India by the beginning of the sixteenth century. Their original intention was to procure pepper, cinnamon, cloves and […]
Renaissance in Italy and its Spread in Western Europe
Significance of Renaissance The word Renaissance, of Latin origin, means rebirth or revival. It signifies the sudden revival of interest in the classical learning of Greece and Rome. In the course of development, however, the Renaissance became more than a mere revival of classical learning. It included an impressive record of new achievements in art, […]
(Mahatma Gandhi) National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005 (MGNREGA)
Over the years, due to concerted efforts, the percentage of households below the poverty line has come down substantially in India. It is now widely recognized that eradicating rural poverty can be achieved only by expanding the scope for non-agricultural employment. Many programmes to generate additional employment had been introduced over the years. Many were […]