A Brief History of Aryasamaj


The Arya Samaj was founded on 10th April 1875 at Bombay with the following rules governing it functioning:

"There shall be in each province a principal Samaj, of which the others shall be branches. The branches. The branch Samajas shall be managed on the lines of the principal Samaj. Each Samaj shall have a president and secretary (both men and women). The president shall look after the affairs of the Samaj, and the secretary maintain members' register and take care of correspondence. Those people who are truthful, upright, and have good moral character and good of the world at heart shall be enlisted as members of the Samaj. The President and other members shall practice friendliness and helpfulness towards each other.

Every eight* day the president, the sectary, and the members shall gather in the Samaj hall, and they shall give this function precedence over all other work. Decisions of the Samaj shall be made with justice and careful consideration for the good of one and all. The decisions shall be made known to all the members.

Each member shall contribute to the Samaj fund one - hundredth part of his honest earnings for the running and progress of the Samaj, the schools, and the periodical. The person who hehaves according to these rules, and is religious and virtuous, shall be made a memberof the higher order of the Samaj. The rest shall be ordinary members. A wicked person shall be expelled from the Samaj but this shall be done only after due deliberation on the part of the mebers, not otherwise.

The President and other members shall do their utmost to promote the Arya Samaj, the schools run by it and its periodical, and the Arya Samaj fund.

The Samaj proved to be a popular organization with the people. In a short span of time, about 131 branches were established in the lifetime of Swami Dayanand himself. A state-wise break-up of these Samajas is as follows:

Numbers of Branches in each states Uttar Pradesh - 74 Punjab - 35 Rajasthan - 8 Madhya Pradesh - 5 Bihar - 4 Maharashtra - 2 Karnataka - 1 Bengal - 1 Assam - 1 ---- Total: 131

The great reformer died in 1883 but the work of the Samaj did not stop as usually happens with most of such institutions. His dynamic followers carried his message to the people with great enthusiasm and force and soon afterwards the number of the Samajas actually increased manifold.

A modernized, workable organizational apparatus were created for the Samaj in 1886 which was, briefly, as follows:


The most striking features in connection with the Arya Samaj, which makes it at once the most powerful and the most influential of all reformmovements in the country, is its complete and unique organization. Every Arya Samaj is a unit in itself. Generally, there is one in every city or village which has come under its incluence, but in some cities there are morel, either because of the distances separating the different parts of the same city, or of some slight variations in principle. The latter distinction is mostly confined to the Punjab.


Effective membership involves (a) the acceptace of the Ten Principles; (b) the payment of one per cent of one's income, either monthly or yearly, towards the revenues of the Samaj; (c) attendance at meetings; (d) upright conduct.

Weekly Services

The Samaj meets once a week for congregational service, which consists generally of (a) Homa; (b) singing of hymns; (c) prayer and sermon; (d) lecture. The service can be conducted by any member, regardless of caste, whom the offcicers of the Samaj select for the purpose. The Samaj does not ordain ministers or priests. Any layman can officiate at the services or at ceremonies and be asked to lecture. The weekly service meetings are open to the public, and no distinction is made between membercs and non-members, or between Hindus and non - Hindus. Anybody can come into the Church of God and occupy whatever seat he likes.

Executive Committee

The affairs of each Arya Samaj are controlled by an executive committee comprising elected officers and as many members as may be elected in proportion to the size of the Samaj. Only effective members can vote in the election of officers and the committee. The officers are: (a) President; one or more Vice- Presidents; (c) one or more Secretaries; (d) Accountant; (e) Librarian. They must be effective members themselves. They are elected for the year at an annual meeting convened for the purpose, where the voting is by ballot. At this annual meeting the outgoing officers and the committee render to the general body an account of the income and expenditure of the Samaj during the year together with a report of the year's working: after which the meeting proceeds to elect officers and committee for the coming year. The outgoing officers and committee are eligible for re-election. In the larger Samajas, the general body of members is divided into groups of ten, for electing representatives on the committee. This is in addition to a few members, not exceeding five, who are elected by the whole body of members. The Samaj may meet for the transaction of such business as may be referred to it by the committee, ior by the officers, or on the requisition of a certain number of members, for the consideration of such proposals as they wish to bring under purview by the general body. Failure to pay the stipulated one per cent of income, or any other misconduct, may lead to suspension of a member by the Samaj, or to the removal of his name altogether from the register of effective members. This is no bar to readmission at the at the discretion of the committee, from whose decisions in all matters there is, moreover, the right of appeal to the general body. Neither the committee nor the general body is empowered to make changes in the creed, or the constitution, of the Samaj.

Meeting Places

Every Arya Samaj has its meeting place. In the principal cities all over India, it owns palatial buildings, containing lecture halls, committee rooms, etc. In smaller places it hires rooms for meetings. The young men's Arya Samajs generally use the premises of the main body, but occasionally have separate rooms of their own. In some places the premises are utilized for daily prayers and for club amenities as well. Every Arya Samaj is supposed to arrange for the teaching of Hindi and Sanskrit to such members as are unacquainted with those languages.

Arya Samajas organized on the above lines progressed very well. But this did not satisfy the Aryas. The provincial level organization as provided by Dayananda in the beginning had not yet been established. In consequence, a voice was raised for creation of provincial level organizations in late eighteen eighties.

After some serious efforts the dream was realized and the provincial apex bodies, called Prantiya Sabhas (Provincial Associations) or Pratinidhi Sabhas (Representatives' Associations) were formed in different provinces. To run its affairs, each Sabha had: 1 President; 1 or more vice-presidents; 1 secretary; 1 or more join secretaries; 1 treasurer, 1 librarian, and 7 to 21 members of the executive committee who were elected periodically by the elected delegates of all the Samajas in the province (state).

The office bearers and the executive committee conducted the affairs of the Samaj at the provincial level the way the individual Samajas conducted their affairs in their respective villages, towns or cities. The sabhas controlled and supervised the affiliating Arya Samajs and gave them directions whenever needed. They took care of the province level problems concerning the Samaj and its members. They organized research activities of the Samaj, appointed preachers and published periodicals/newspapers and literature for popularizing it among the masses. By 1902, Pratinidhi Sabhas had been established in most of the provinces (stats). There was a phenomenal growth in membership of the Samaj. It grew 131 per cent in the first ten years (from 1891 to 1901). The position improved still further in the succeeding decade when the growth rate reached 163 per cent. In subsequent years even this limit was crossed. Although no figures are given in the census reports after 1931, yet it could be guessed that the Aryas in 1947 were over two million mark. The total number of Samajs all over the country was over 2,000.

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