Reform Movements and their contribution to Social Welfare: A Conceptual Exposition
Keywords:Social Reform, Social Welfare, Protest militancy, Charismatic spiritualism, Social philanthropy, Compassionate humanism
Social Reform aims at introducing radical changes in the existing social order either because certain practices have become redundant or because it is harmful to a specific section of the population. Reforms are achieved through a range of means, from protest militancy to charismatic spiritualism, compassionate humanism, or social philanthropy. It is closely connected with social welfare. Attainment of welfare follows desired groundwork achieved through reforms. Rather, dispelling evil is the function of reform while sustaining the change that has been achieved, and building on it through improving well-being is the task of welfare. Social reform in that sense is a pre-runner of social welfare. Reform targets practices that are grounded in beliefs. These beliefs are nurtured by tradition, custom, and religion. Tradition gives continuity to the practices; customs give sanctity and religion endorses them. All three are mutually complementary. Practices that are widely shared reflect the tenacity of beliefs that reinforces the social order of any given point in time. Reform does not negate the prevalence of a social milieu, instead recognizes its existence as an entity. It aims at changing certain practices which might have originated as a custom through tradition, within the framework of an established social order. In this way, the results of reform are integrated into the value framework of society. Over a period of time, it becomes a universal practice. Thereby change paves the way for stability. This study aims at drawing the instances of the Ezhava community and the Pulaya community who in traditional Kerala suffered injustice through discrimination and social ostracism in the caste-ridden society of ancient India. An extensive review of the literature and focus group discussions with resourceful respondents was undertaken for the collection of data.
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This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0).