a. The Objectives of the Nineteenth Century Social Reform Movements:
The Indian society had remained stagnant for many years. Some degrading and also inhuman social customs crept into the society.
The weak and the people belonging to the so-called low caste were the victims of such customs. Infanticide, system of Sati, polygamy, etc. were the evils from which the Indian society suffered.
The English-educated middle class realized that if a new India was to be born the country must have to get rid of irrational social customs.
Hence the social reform of the nineteenth century aimed at relieving the Indian society of all the rigid social conventions and out-dated customs. As society was an integral part of religion so the nineteenth century social reform movement was also associated with the religious reform.
Thus nearly all the religious reformers contributed to the social reform movement of the nineteenth century. Social reform was a precondition for the reawakening of the people of India and the growth of nationalism.
This is evident from the fact that many prominent persons who worked for the growth of nationalism became the main propagator of social reform.
In short, the social reform movement of the nineteenth century tried to achieve three main objectives: (1) Emancipation of women (2) Removal of caste distinction and (3) Abolition of untouchability.
b. Reforms of the Brahmo Samaj:
The Brahmo Samaj made an earnest effort to reform the Hindu religion.
The Brahmos were also great social reformers they actively opposed the caste system and that are why in Brahmo Samaj members were accepted without any distinction of caste or creed.
The Brahmo Samaj also launched movement for general uplift of women propagating in favour of widow remarriage and spread of education among women.
c. Veersalingam :
Like Raja Rammohan Roy, Veersalingam of South India was pioneer for bringing radical changes in the society. As a social reformer he laid emphasis on the emancipation of women.
In 1880 he established the Widow Remarriage Association. Not only that he publicized forthe remarriage of widow but at the same time he took initiative in arranging such remarriages.
It may be said that by his social reforms he gave an altogether modern, progressive and humanistic turn to the life and thought of the people of Andhra.