The religious reform movement’s fall in two broad categories: one, reformist movements like the Brahma Samaj, the Prathna Samaj and the Aligarh movements, two revivalist movements like the Arya Samaj, the Ramakrishna Mission and the Deoband Movement.

Both the reformist and revivalist movement depended on a varying degree on an appeal to the lost purity of the religion they sought of reform.

The only difference between one reform movement and the other lay in the degree to which it relied on tradition or in reason and conscience. Another significant aspect of all the reform movements was their emphasis on both religious and social reform. This link was primarily due to two main reasons.

(a) Almost every social custom and institution in India derived sustenance from religious injunctions and sanctions. This meant that no social reform could be undertaken unless the existing religion nations which sustained the social customs were also reformed.


Indian reformers well understand the close centralisation between different aspects of human activities. Ram Mohan Ray for example, believed that religious reform must precede demand for social reformers or political rights.