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One cannot deny that the modern Bengali bhadralok culture was shaped largely in the image of the Brahmo Samaj. No middle class Hindu would today would deny that much of what he accepts as his normal beliefs and attitudes - from his liberal religious outlook to his appreciation of a certain style of literature, song and dance was largely a result of Rabindranath Tagore's Hindu Brahmo synthesis. It was Tagore's Brahmo universalism and not simply his Bengali literature that has made him a revered hero and whose ideas serve as a symbolic bridge between modern Bangladesh and West Bengal.

What was Brahmo Samaj's total impact on the Indian mind? It has been said by some that Rammohun Roy's social and religious reform movements did not influence the people very much and were limited to a small minority of the Hindu society. It could not have been otherwise. History shows that all great thought-movements are initially minority movements. They are generated by a creative elite and then gradually percolate downwards and then permeate the society. As Arnold Toynbee says in his Study of History : "In all acts of social creation, the creators are either creative individuals or, at most, creative minorities..."

If we study the history of any great thought movement, we shall see the truth of this statement. Minority or majority cannot be a criterion of judging the historical importance of a social movement. Buddhism, for instance, was a minority movement when it began its historical march. So was the Vaisnava movement of Chaitanya Maháprabhu.

The religious and social thinking and opinions of the generations immediately following Rammohun, so that a true assessment can be made as to what extent his ideas influenced those who moulded the opinion of the society and brought about social changes. The Tattwabodhini Sabha, the largest and most influential cultural organization of Bengal (1839 - 1854), which came into existence immediately after the death of Rammohun and which, without any doubt, was inspired by his ideas. This was made clear in the declared objective of the Sabha, which was to revitalize the "religion of Rammohun Roy" and other social movements initiated by him. The nature and influence of the Sabha can be judged by the quality of its membership. Among the members were men like Maharshi Debendranath Tagore, Pandit Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, who was also Secretary of the Calcutta Brahmo Samaj for a while, Pandit Madan Mohun Tarkalankar, Tarachand Chakravorty, Ramgopal Ghosh, Bhudev Mukherjee, Raja Rajendralala Mitra, Sambhunath Pandit, Pyarichand Mitra, Kissory Chand Mitra, Ishwar Chandra Gupta, Hemchandra Bandyopadhyay, Madhusudan Dutta, Askay Kumar Dutta, Maharaja Mahtab Chand of Burdwan, Raja Srichandra of Nadia, and others.

During the Tattwabodhini period - a period spread over at least twenty years - was indeed the formative and most productive period of Bengal Renaissance. The influence of the Tattwabodhini Sabha was not limited to Bengal only. The journal published by the Sabha had an all-India circulation, as the Tattwabodhini Patrika was published in five different languages from five different centres - in Bengali from Calcutta, in Tamil and English from Madras and in Hindi and Urdu from Bareilly.

The declared adherents of Rammohun's Brahmavad - the Brahmos - might have been small in number, but it cannot be denied that a large section of the educated, enlightened people was greatly influenced by Rammohun. Even those great men who brought about reforms in the Hindu Society from within like Swami Vivekananda were greatly influenced by him. In the Census Report of 1921, Mr W J Thomas writes: "Though the number of progressive Brahmos is small and increased by little in the last 20 years, thousands of intellectual Hindus of Bengal have been so profoundly influenced by the monotheistic ideas of the Brahmo Samaj as really to be Brahmos at heart, though they have not actually joined the Samaj."

This will be clear if we look at list of the most outstanding Brahmos in the Arts, Sciences and Professional during the turn of the millenium, circa 2000.
Name Birth & Birthplace Higher Education Profession Major Achievements Awards / Distinctions
Ananda Mohan Bose Mymensingh, 1847 Presidency College, Cambrige Barrister Founder City College, Indian Association President Indian National Congress, Premchand Raychand Fellowship
Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Vikrampur, 1858 St. Xaviers College, Cambrige Professor of Physics With Marconi breakthrough in radio telepathy; study of life in inorganic substances International recognition as a scientist - Knighted
Bankura, 1865 Presidency College, City College Journalist Editor of Prabasi and Modern Review National recognition as first journalist of India
Pratap Chandra Moozomdar Hooghly, 1840 Presidency College Author, Scholar, Missionary Author Oriental Christ, help initiate the first Parlaiment of Religions in Chicago, USA Lifetime fellowship by the United States Unitarians
Bipin Chandra
Sylhet, 1858 Presidency College, Manchester College Journalist, Missionary Moderniser of Vaishnava tradition, all India Swadeshi leader Unitarian Fellowship of England
Acharya Prafulla Chandra Ray Jessore, 1861 London University, Edinburgh Professor of Chemistry Founder Bengal Chemical Pharmaceutical Works, Author - History of Chemistry in Ancient India International recognition as a scientist, Knighted
P K Roy -- London University, Edinburgh Professor of Philosophy Brilliant exponent of neo-Vedantism and Hegelianism Fellowship - London University
Dr Brajendranath Seal Calcutta, 1864 Scottish Church College Professor of philosophy Works in comparatve religion, pioneer in philosophy of science, wrote epic Quest Eternal Greatest Brahmo thinkers, First Vice Chancellor of Viswa Bharati when it was opened in December 22, 1921
S P Sinha Birbhum, 1864 Presidency College Law, Administration Calcutta High Court first Indian governor, Advocate General of Bengal Knighted and later known as Lord Sinha
Nilratan Sircar Diamond Harbour, 1861 Calcutta Medical School, Calcutta University Medical practitioner Started tubercular hospital and school for surgeons, editor Journal of Indian Medical Association Knighted
Calcutta, 1861 Irregular Poet, Philosopher, Educationist Most prolific Indian writer of poetry, plays, novels, music essays. Founder Viswa Bharati University in Shantiniketan First Asian recepient of the Nobel Prize in literature, Knighted
Sitanath Tattwabhushan Sylhet, 1856 Scottish Church College, City College Philosopher, Theologian Systematised the Brahmo religion into theology; author Philosopy of Brahmoism and other books Official philosopher - Sadharan Brahmo Samaj
Chittaranjan Das Calcutta, 1870 Presidency College, Inner Temple, UK Politician, Social Reformer, author Great jurist, nationalist, Defended Aurbindo in Alipore bomb case and defender in Dacca Conspiracy Case. Calcutta's first Mayor. Founder Swaraj Party
Bidhan Chandra Roy Patna, 1882 Patna College, Calcutta Medical College, St. Bartholomew's College, UK Physician, Politician, Philanthropist Architect of Modern West Bengal in social, industrial and structural dimension Bharat Ratna. Chief Minsiter of West Bengal
Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis Calcutta, 1893 Presidency College, Kings College, Cambridge Statistician Discovered Mahalanobis distance, a statistical measure. Pioneering work on anthropometric variation in India and sample surveys Padma Vibhushan. Founder of Indian Statistical Institute in 1931.
Fellow of the Royal Society
Satyajit Ray Calcutta, 1912 Presidency College, Shantiniketan Filmmaker, Author and Musician India's first internationally recognised film- maker. Editor - Sandesh and author of children's tales. Bharat Ratna. Founder Calcutta's first film society. Awarded Lifetime Achievement Oscar.
Acknowledgement : David Kopf - The Brahmo Samaj and the Shaping of the Modern Indian Mind