SWAMI DAYANAND SARASWATI JI (1824-1883)
“Give the world the best you have, and the best will come back to you.”
The Indian society was in the state of cultural, social and political flux when Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati was born in 1824. He grew up in an environment of changing cultural values, political subjugation, social discrimination where he witnessed abject poverty, caste inequity, superstition, religious bigotry and social oppression of women and marginalized sections of society. He observed the evil shackles that bound the nation and began to question the authenticity and authority of all the dogmatic beliefs and ideas, thus paving a way for scientific rational approach to life, based on free thinking and social justice. The courageous young man stood up openly against all the social evils such as discrimination on grounds of caste, creed, sex, economic status and social bigotry, male chauvinism and religious dominance of higher castes over the backward castes and classes.
What Martin Luther (1483-1546) and John Calvin (1509-1564) were to Protestant Reformation in Europe, Swami Dayananda was to the Indian Renaissance in the 19th century. He founded the first Arya Samaj at Bombay in 1875. The Arya Samaj brought about a resurgence of Vedic values castigating religious and social evils ranging from idolatry, superstition, rigidity of caste and untouchability to polygamy, child marriage, ill-treatment of widows, custom of Purdah, and general inequality between the sexes.
Considering education to be a catalyst of social transformation he laid emphasis on teaching both boys and girls in the art and science of life, and in technical skills so as to broaden their mental horizons, unfold their innate abilities, and cultivate virtue. He fought for the rights of women and opened " Kanya Vidyalayas" to empower and enlighten them. Unfortunately, the task of social resurgence was too vast to be completed during his lifetime and when Maharishi attained Samadhi in 1883, the Indian society was only partially reformed, with the onus of completing this unfinished task falling on his followers.
The vision of a powerful and enlightened India had been conceived by Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati. He devoted his whole life to awaken the ignorant, illiterate masses of this country. He knew that it could be possible only through education and literacy. The vision and philosophy of the fearless reformer, Maharshi Dayanand, was given a practical shape by Mahatma Hans Raj, who led the educational renaissance in India.
MAHATMA HANS RAJ JI (1864–NOVEMBER 14, 1938)
Lala Hansraj, also known as Mahatama Hansraj, was an Indian educationist and a follower of Arya Samaj movement founder, Swami Dayanand. He founded, with Gurudatta Vidhyarthi, the Dayanand Anglo-Vedic Schools System (D.A.V.) in Lahore in 1886, where the first D.A.V. school was set up in memory of Dayanand who had died three years earlier. He was also a compatriot of freedom fighter Lala Lajpat Rai. Hansraj served as the principal of D.A.V. College for 25 years, and committed the rest of his life in social service.
Hansraj was born in a small town, Bajwara, in Hoshiarpur district, Punjab on 19 April 1864. His father died before Hansraj was 12 and thereafter he was looked after and educated by his elder brother. Subsequently his family moved to Lahore where he joined a missionary school. Meanwhile, he heard the lecture of Swami Dayanand and this changed his life course forever. As his most important legacy, the Mahatma left behind a pragmatic and enlightened approach to education. One aspect of his approach was his choice of English- oriented Science-based education with a blend of Vedic values. Another was the great emphasis he laid on women education. Lastly, true to the egalitarian basis of Arya Samaj philosophy (as conceived by Maharishi Dayanand), Mahatmaji believed in equality for all students irrespective of their caste, colour or creed were welcome to join the DAV institution. The first institution was established at Lahore in 1886 with Lala Hans Raj (Later Mahatma Hansraj) himself as the dedicated Headmaster. Today, the movement is led by DAV veterans like Shri Punam Suri and his team of dedicated Office Bearers, who have a progressive vision. It is due to their dedication and farsightedness that every year DAV CMC is opening new schools in various parts of India.
Mahatma Hans Raj ji laid the foundation of this institution in the year 1927 at Lahore. Later, after partition the college was shifted to Bikrampura, Jalandhar.
MAHATMA ANAND SWAMI JI (1883-OCTOBER 24, 1977)
Mahatma Anand Swami, earlier named as Khushal Chand born at Jalalpur Jattan, in Pakistan. His name needs no introduction, as he raised himself to the fame at International level because of his unparalleled contribution to the cause of spirituality. He was a strong pillar of Arya Samaj and DAV movement in the country. He was a well known personality who became instrumental in spreading the principles of DAV throughout the country. He was the leader, facilitator, editor, architect of DAV movement of his times. He served the community on behalf of DAV and Arya Samaj at the time of Moplah riots (1921) and Kohat riots (1921). He organized relief camps at Quetta and Bihar (1934-35). He was the third dictator of Hyderabad Satyagrah (1937). He worked as President APP Sabha for more than 25 years and as secretary for more than 20years.He collected lakhs of rupees for Arya Samaj and DAV institutions. He founded Daily Milap in 1923 and Hindi Milap in 1928 and authored more than 30 books on different aspects of religion and life. He was among the chosen few in the world who took the Sanyas Ashram when he was at the zenith of prosperity. He devoted his whole life to “Ved Prachar”. Such a stalwart, is our constant inspiration for achieving greater heights while remaining grounded in our traditions and culture.