Famous Indian Social Reformers

Right IconThis ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

They came, they saw, they changed and they went away – great souls who left behind their heroic deeds that transformed the society for good. It is to these extraordinary souls that we owe much of our current society. India has been the land of rich cultural heritage and legacy. Once a conservative society, the country today is at par with the most contemporary countries and cities of the world. But much of that has been possible due to its long list of social reformers who fought relentlessly till death to bring about social justice in the country. It is to these reformers that we credit breaking away our society from the traditional jinx and opening up to new societal bliss that allowed girl education, right of women to vote, child upliftment, widow remarriage, abolishment of caste system, child-marriage, polygamy and untouchability, helping the needy and the downtrodden, and so on. Mother Teresa, Swami Vivekanand, Dr BR Ambedkar, Ishwar Chand Vidyasagar, Baba Amte, Swami Dayanand Saraswati, Raja Ram Mohan Roy, are some of the famous Indian social reformers. Check this section and find out about the life and revolutionary deeds of these noble social reformers of India.
Vote for Your Favourite Indian Social Reformers
 1 
B. R. Ambedkar
(One of the Architects of the Indian Constitution)
B. R. Ambedkar
46
Birthdate: April 14, 1891
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Madhya Pradesh, India
Died: December 6, 1956

India's first Minister of Law and Justice, B. R. Ambedkar inspired the Dalit Buddhist movement. He also fought against social discrimination prevalent in India at that time. Widely regarded as the chief architect of the Constitution of India, Ambedkar was posthumously honored with India's highest civilian award - The Bharat Ratna.

 2 
Savitribai Phule
(Social Reformer, Poet)
Savitribai Phule
33
Birthdate: January 3, 1831
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Naigaon, British India (now in Satara district, Maharashtra)
Died: March 10, 1887

Savitribai Phule was a revolutionary social reformer who dedicated her life to educate girls and bring about gender equality in the face of resistance from the conservative Indian society. Phule, who was illiterate till her marriage, went on to become a teacher, a feat considered first by an Indian woman. With her husband, she established schools for girls in Maharashtra.

 3 
Raja Ram Mohan Roy
(Socio-religious Reformer)
Raja Ram Mohan Roy
42
Birthdate: May 22, 1772
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Radhanagore, West Bengal, India
Died: September 27, 1833

Raja Ram Mohan Roy was an Indian social and religious reformer. He is credited with co-founding the Brahmo Sabha, a social-religious reform movement. Often referred to as the Father of the Bengal Renaissance, Roy has had an influential role in fields like politics, education, and religion. In 2004, he was ranked 10th in BBC's Greatest Bengali of all time poll.

Recommended Lists:
 4 
Jyotiba Phule
(Social Reformer)
Jyotiba Phule
12
Birthdate: April 11, 1827
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Satara, Maharashtra, India
Died: November 28, 1890

Jyotiba Phule was an Indian thinker, social activist, writer, and anti-caste social reformer. During his lifetime, he worked towards eradicating the caste system and untouchability in India. He was also a pioneer of women education in India and began his first school for girls in Pune in 1848. B. R. Ambedkar had often cited Jyotiba Phule as an inspiration.

 5 
Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar
(Educator & Social Reformer He is Considered the "Father of Bengali prose")
Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar
20
Birthdate: September 26, 1820
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Birsingha, West Bengal, India
Died: July 29, 1891

Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was an Indian social reformer and educator. He is best remembered for his efforts to modernize and simplify Bengali prose for which he is widely regarded as the father of Bengali prose. As a social reformer, Vidyasagar played a crucial role in enacting the Hindu Widows' Remarriage Act, which legalized the remarriage of Hindu widows in India. 

 6 
Sir Syed Ahmad Khan
(Indian Islamic Reformer and Educationist Who Founded the ‘Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College’, the First Muslim University in Southern Asia)
Sir Syed Ahmad Khan
6
Birthdate: October 17, 1817
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Delhi, India
Died: March 27, 1898
Sir Syed Ahmad Khan was the founder of the Aligarh Muslim University. He is accredited as the father of Two-Nation Theory and is regarded as the originator of Muslim nationalism in India. A proponent of freedom of speech and democratic ideals, he propelled social and educational reforms.
 7 
Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi
(Islamic Scholar, Reformer)
Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi
7
Birthdate: June 14, 1856
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bareilly
Died: October 28, 1921

Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi, also known as Ala-Hazrat, was a renowned Islamic scholar and an Urdu poet. Born in Bareilly, British India, he belonged to a family of Rohilla Pushtuns who had migrated from Qandahar. He wrote about various subjects such as philosophy, science, and astronomy.

 8 
Baba Amte
(Indian Social Worker Who was Known for his Work for the Rehabilitation of People Suffering from Leprosy)
Baba Amte
8
Birthdate: December 26, 1914
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Wardha, Maharashtra
Died: February 9, 2008

Baba Amte was an Indian activist and social worker best remembered for his work that aimed at empowering people suffering from leprosy. Dubbed the modern Gandhi of India, Amte received several prestigious awards, such as the Gandhi Peace Prize, Dr. Ambedkar International Award, Ramon Magsaysay Award, and the Padma Vibhushan.

 9 
Narayana Guru
(Spiritual Leader, Social Reformer)
Narayana Guru
11
Birthdate: August 20, 1856
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Chempazhanthy, Thiruvananthapuram, India
Died: September 20, 1928

Born in Travancore in India, Narayana Guru was the son of a teacher and studied in a gurukula. He grew up to lead a social reform movement against the caste system that he saw in erstwhile Kerala. He believed in the motto One Caste, One Religion, One God for All.

 10 
Vinoba Bhave
(Indian Social Reformer and Philosopher Best Known for the 'Bhoodan Movement')
Vinoba Bhave
11
Birthdate: September 11, 1895
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Died: November 15, 1982

Vinoba Bhave was an Indian social reformer and advocate of human rights and nonviolence. A close associate of Mahatma Gandhi, Bhave played an important role in the Indian freedom movement. In 1958, he became the first person to receive the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership. In 1983, Vinoba Bhave was posthumously honored with the prestigious Bharat Ratna award.

 11 
Basava
(Indian Saint, Philosophers, Poet, Theologian and Social Reformer During the Reign of the Kalyani Chalukya)
Basava
3
Birthdate: 1131 AD
Birthplace: Basavan Bagewadi, India
Died: 1196 AD

Basava was an Indian poet, philosopher, social reformer, statesman, and saint who lived in the 12th century AD. He is credited with spreading social awareness through his poems. Although hagiographic texts and traditional legends claim that Basava founded Lingayatism, modern scholars believe that he refined and popularized the already existing religious tradition, which is popular in Karnataka, South India.

 12 
Mahadev Govind Ranade
(Judge, Social Reformer)
Mahadev Govind Ranade
3
Birthdate: January 18, 1842
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Niphad
Died: January 16, 1901

Mahadev Govind Ranade was an Indian social reformer, scholar, author, and judge. Ranade is credited with co-founding the Indian National Congress as well as founding several organizations like the Poona Sarvajanik Sabha, Widow Marriage Association, and Vaktruttvottejak Sabha. He also contributed as an editor of a nationalist publication named Induprakash.

 13 
Dhondo Keshav Karve
(Social Reformer and Educator)
Dhondo Keshav Karve
11
Birthdate: April 18, 1858
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ratnagiri
Died: November 9, 1962

Dhondo Keshav Karve was an Indian social reformer who worked for women's welfare in India. A pioneer in supporting widows' education, Karve also promoted widow remarriage. He also walked the talk by marrying a widow. Karve is credited with founding SNDT Women's University, India's first women's university. In 1958, he was honored with India’s highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna.

 14 
Kanshi Ram
(Indian Politician and Founder-President of the 'Bahujan Samaj Party', a National Level Political Party)
Kanshi Ram
6
Birthdate: March 15, 1934
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Rupnagar district, Punjab, India
Died: October 9, 2006

Kanshi Ram was an Indian social reformer and politician who worked for the betterment of the lower caste people in India. As part of his work, Ram established the Dalit Shoshit Samaj Sangharsh Samiti in order to help the oppressed people. Kanshi Ram is also credited with founding the Bahujan Samaj Party which represents the backward class, including the untouchables.

 15 
Kumaran Asan
(Writer, Activist)
Kumaran Asan
0
Birthdate: April 12, 1873
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Trivandrum, Travancore, Kerela, India
Died: January 16, 1924

Indian social reformer and Malayali literary icon Kumaran Asan is known for his revolutionary impact on Malayali poetry. He died when the boat carrying him from Kollam to Alappuzha met with an accident midway. He is remembered for his works such as his iconic narrative poem Duravastha.

 16 
Keshab Chunder Sen
(Indian Philosopher and Social Reformer Known for Incorporating Christian Theology in Hindu Framework)
Keshab Chunder Sen
7
Birthdate: November 19, 1838
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kolkata, India
Died: January 8, 1884

Keshab Chunder Sen was an Indian social reformer and philosopher. Although he was born a Hindu, Sen thought highly of Christian theology and wanted to incorporate the theology of Christian practice into the framework of Hindu thought. By the use of Christian missionary methods, Keshab Chunder Sen effected several social reforms in India.

 17 
Bindeshwar Pathak
(Founder of Sulabh International)
Bindeshwar Pathak
2
Birthdate: April 2, 1943
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Rampur, Bihar, India

Bindeshwar Pathak is an Indian social entrepreneur and sociologist. He is known for founding Sulabh International, a social service organization that aims at promoting environmental sanitation, human rights, waste management, non-conventional sources of energy, and social reforms through education. Pathak's work is regarded as pioneering in the field of hygiene and sanitation. In 1991, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan.

 18 
Freda Bedi
(British woman who was jailed in India as a supporter of Indian nationalism)
Freda Bedi
7
Birthdate: February 5, 1911
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Derby, England
Died: March 26, 1977
 19 
Shiv Narayan Agnihotri
(Hindu social reformer)
Shiv Narayan Agnihotri
3
Birthdate: December 20, 1850
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Kanpur, India
Died: April 3, 1929

Hindu spiritual leader Shiv Narayan Agnihotri was initially part of the Brahmo Samaj reform movement and later launched his own movement known as the Dev Samaj. He had also briefly taught at the Government School of Lahore and was also a prolific writer and speaker.

 20 
Abdul Bari
(Educator, Social reformer)
Abdul Bari
2
Birthdate: 1892 AD
Birthplace: Kansua, Bihar, India
Died: March 28, 1947

Indian academic and labor leader Abdul Bari is remembered for his involvement in the freedom struggle, his historic deal with the Tatas, and his efforts to curb slavery and other social ills. He was shot dead while on his way home while serving as the Bihar Provincial Congress Committee president.

 21 
Madeleine Herman de Blic
(Founder of Volontariat, a Puducherry-based non governmental organization engaged in social welfare activities since 1966)
Madeleine Herman de Blic
0
Birthplace: Liège, Belgium