Arya Samaj Singapore was founded in 1927 by Dr. Bhagat Ram Sahgal. Since it did not had a permanent building for many years to Come, the activities of the Samaj were conducted in the homes of well-to-do members or wherever there were clusters of Hindustani Community. In the early years, members gathered for Vedic Satsang and listened to religious and moral discourses by prominent preachers and leaders from India and neighbouring countries like Siam (Thailand), Burma (Myanmar) and Indonesia.
After Several years of searching, community leaders obtained the Samaj’s first permanent meeting place in the heart of Little India, at 42, Rowell Road in 1930s. Through donations that were collected, the land at 113 Syed Alwi Road was purchased. The prayers at wooden house a1 113 Syed Alwi Road began to take place. D. A. V. Hindi Schools started Hindi, English and Maths classes in 1957. The 1950s marked a period of great expansion for the Samaj. Having registered as a religious organisation with the Registrar of Societies, committee launched a project to collect the donation sum of S$150,000.00 that was needed to build a concrete building in place of attap structure. The foundation stone was laid by the High Commissioner for India Shri Y.K. Puri at 113 Syed Alwi Road. The Management Committee decided that the building was to be made and named Arya Samaj Mandir and D. A. V. Hindi School. The Arya Samaj is to do all Hindu rites at this permanent place. Satsang by great leaders, preachers and visitors began to spread wisdom and many of them began to arrive from India and other countries. A library was made for the benefit of members and the students. As Arya Samaj funds grew, the Management Committee was able to purchase another plot of land, the corresponding no. 114 Syed Alwi road.About Dr. Bhagat Ram Sahgal:
Arya Samaj Singapore was founded by Dr. Bhagat Ram Sahgal in 1927. He was a great social reformer and educationist who was a notable figure in the Indian Nationalist Movement. He took the task of educating people around the world of the true picture of Indian Culture. Since he was a Vedic missionary, wherever he went he founded an Arya Samaj. This included not only in Singapore, but many countries like, England, Africa etc. In India he founded a chain of schools by the name Adarsh Model School. Dr Bhagat Ram Sahgal expired on 15th December 1968 and his wife Mrs Gyan Devi Sahgal expired on 17th November 1998.About Swami Dayanand Saraswati:
Arya Samaj is a Hindu reform movement founded in India by Swami Dayananda in 1875. He was a sannyasi (renouncer) who believed in the infallible authority of the Vedas. Dayananda advocated the doctrine of karma and reincarnation, and emphasized the ideals of brahmacharya (chastity) and sanyasa (renunciation). There are approximately 3-4 million followers of Arya Samaj worldwide.
He was born in a humble family in Gujrat. As a young boy, his spirits were awakened on the night of Shivratri. Rejecting the ways of the householder, he left his parents home never to return. He went fearlessly travelling around the banks of Narmada and the Ganga on foot. That was when he met his Guru, the blind Swami Virijanand, who emphasized to him the importance of studying the Vedas. After completing his education at Swami Virijanand’s ashram, Swami Dayanand continued his travels whilst researching the Vedas. By engaging in debates on Dharma with prominent saints, Swami Dayanand’s fame as an enlightment guru spread all over northern India.
Yet it was not the fame that Swami Dayanand sought, rather his aim was to reform Indian Society so as to aid it of its social ills. Swami Dayanand was greatly grieved by the adominable state of social and religious affairs. The vast majority of people were steeped in ignorance and poverty; hypocrisy and corruption flourished in the name of religion. Neither women nor scheduled castes were allowed to have formal education. They were required only to serve the rest of the community without any opportunity being given to them for their development. Prejudices of creed, caste and community had corroded the social cohesion and the wily and the wicked were ruling the roost.
To aid him in the efforts to reform the society Dayanand established the Arya Samaj in Bombay (Mumbai) in 1875. Soon after his foundation, a large number of its branches sprang up throughout India.
His aim was for the Arya Samaj to make people self-confident and self-reliant. In his teachings, Swami Dayanand emphasized the importance of Vedas and how false priests and pundits had misuse their power. These priests and pundits were naturally alarmed by his zeal for social reform, and national resurgence. He wrote “Satyartha Prakash” which unfold and interpreted the age-old wisdom of India, enshrined in the Vedas. He also exposed the diabolical and malicious designs of the priests and preachers who were fooling the innocent people in the name of the religion. He emphasized the importance of women’s education. He raised his voice against bigamy and child marriages while fully supporting widow-remarriage. A nationalist, he urged upon the people to boycott foreign goods and style of living.
He stressed on the ideas of scientific Hinduism and shunned the theories of superstition. This re-ignited the pride amongst the followers of the Hindu religion which also played a key role in the independence movement against the British. The religion which was being humiliated during this time regained its pride and glory through Swami Dayanand’s scientific interpretation of the Vedas.
In addition, Swami Dayanand was convinced that a common language was imperative in unifying disparate groups in Indian society. He, therefore, was of the opinion that Hindi should be given the place of the national language although he was himself born in Gujarat and had a fine command over Gujarati language. Even in Gujarat, he use to make speeches in Hindi instead of Gujrati. To achieve his aims in spreading knowledge of Hindi he wrote all his book sin the Hindi language and Dayanand Anglo Vedic Schools were established not only in India but all over the world.
When Swami Dayanand passed away in 1983, he had laid the foundations of India’s future social awakening. Although many great sages have come forth since then, his reforms continue to be relevant even 120 years after his passing.About DAV Hindi School:
Dayanand Anglo-Vedic School or 'DAV" in short, was named after the founder of the Arya Samaj Movement in India - Swami Dayanand Saraswati (1824-1883). A renowned Hindu reformist in the late 19th century, Dayanand was of the view that the most crucial factor in uplifting society was education. He organized schools to provide education for all, regardless of religion, caste or gender. This may seem a small achievement today, but at that time, and in the world he lived, the idea of educating "women" or "untouchables" was revolutionary, even 'radical'. By the beginning of 20th century DAV Hindi Schools could be found in many parts of the Punjab, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.
In the life of the individual the 50-year milestone is often seen as a marker of wisdom. So too in the history of an organization or a nation. Few non-governmental organizations are able to complete half a century.Vedic Schools:
Between 1869 and 1873, Swami Dayanand, a native of the Princely State of Gujarat, made his first earnest attempt at affecting a substantial and lasting reform in his native India. This attempt tookthe form of the establishment of several so-called "Vedic Schools" which, in contradistinction to other public schools at the time, put a marked emphasis on attempting to impart Vedic values, culture and religion to its students. The first was established at Farrukhabad in 1869 and reported 50 students as being enrolled in its first year. This initial success led to the founding of four additional schools in rapid succession at Mirzapur (1870), Kasganj (1870), Chhalesar (1870) and Varanasi (1873).
The Vedic Schools represented the first practical application of Swami Dayanand’s vision of religious and social reform. They enjoyed a mixed reception. On the one hand, students were not allowed to perform traditional idol worship (murtipuja in hindi) at the school, and were instead expected to perform sandhya (a form of meditative prayer using mantras from the Vedas) and participate in agnihotra twice daily. Also, disciplinary action was swift and not infrequently severe. On the other hand, all meals, lodging, clothing and books were given to the students free of charge, and the study of Sanskrit was opened to non-Brahmins. The most noteworthy feature of the Schools was that only those texts which accepted the authority of the Vedas were to be taught. This, in the opinion of Swami Dayanand, was critical for the spiritual and social regeneration of Vedic culture in India.
Due primarily to organizational problems, the Vedic Schools soon ran into many difficulties. Swami Dayanand had considerable trouble finding qualified teachers who agreed with his views on religious reform, and there existed a paucity of textbooks which he considered suitable for instruction in Vedic culture. Funding was sporadic, attendance fluctuated considerably, and tangible results in the way of noteworthy student achievement were not forthcoming. Consequentially, some of the schools were forced to close shortly after opening. As early as 1874, it had become clear to Swami Dayanand that, without a wide and solid base of support among the public, setting up schools with the goal of imparting a Vedic education would prove to be an impossible task. He therefore decided to invest the greater part of his resources in the clear formulation and widespread propagation of his ideology of reform. Deprived of the full attention of Swami Dayanand, the Vedic School system all but collapsed shortly thereafter, and the last of the remaining schools (Farrukhabad) was finally closed down in 1876 due to Muslim takeover.
Later, Swamiji's disciples Swami Shraddhanand, who established Gurukuls like Gurukul Kangri University Haridwar and many others, and Guru Datt Vidyarthi, Mahatma Hansraj established Dayanand Anglo-Vedic Schools System (D.A.V.) Schools and Colleges in India to spread the Arya Samaj Principles, Mission and Vedic education based on Vedas. These Gurukals and DAV schools are now spread over the whole world for Vedic preachings.