Immense intellectual and cultural stirrings characterised nineteenth century India. The impact of modern Western culture and consciousness of defeat by a foreign power gave birth to a new awakening.

There was awareness that a vast country like India had been colonised by a handful of foreigners because of internal weaknesses of Indian social structure and culture.

Thoughtful Indians began to look for “strengths and weaknesses of their society and for ways and means of removing the weaknesses.

While a large number of Indians refused to come to terms with the West and still put their faith in traditional Indian ideas and institutions, others gradually came to hold that elements of modern Western thought had to be imbibed for the regeneration of their society.


They were impressed in particular by modern science and the doctrines of reason and humanism. While differing on the nature and extent of reforms, nearly all nineteenth century intellectuals shared the conviction that social and religious reform was urgently needed.