The Arya Samaj was founded by Swami Dayanand Saraswati at Bombay in
1875. The most distinctive feature of Arya Samaj was the suddhi movement,
which means the reconversion of those Hindus who had once been willingly
or forcibly converted into other religions, but were now willing to come back
into the fold of Hinduism. It was considered by the Arya Samajists as a
potent instrument for effecting socio-religious and political unity of India.
The Arya Samaj, though founded in Bombay, became very powerful in
Punjab and spread its influence to other parts of north India like Uttar
Pradesh. Rajasthan, Gujarat, etc.
Swami Dayanand Saraswati (1824–83)
Originally known as Mula Shankara, Dayanand was born in 1824 in the town
of Tankara in Gujarat. He spent 15 years (1845-60) as a wandering ascetic
and later received education from Swami Birajananda at Mathura. He
founded the Arya Samaj at Bombay in 1875.
His religious and social ideas and reforms He considered the Vedas as
eternal and infallible. He was against idolatry, ritual and priesthood (in his
opinion priests had perverted Hinduism with the help of the Purallas which
were full of falsehood). He attacked child marriages and caste system based
on birth; encouraged inter-caste marriages and widow remarriage; favoured
the spread of western sciences; and organised social services during natural
calamities, etc. He started the shuddhi movement.
    He wrote three books, viz. Satyartha Prakash (in Hindi), Veda-Bhashya
Bhumika (partly in Hindi and partly in Sanskrit) and Veda-Bhashya (in
Sanskrit and toured India extensively to spread his teachings
    After the death of Dayanand (1883), serious differences arose between
two sections of the Arya Samaj over the question of the system of education
to be followed, resulting in a split in 1892. One section, known as the
Gurukula section led by Swami Shraddhanand, advocated the adoption of the
ancient system of Hindu education and established institutions for boys only,
the most important among them being the one at Hardwar. The other one
called the College section led by Lajpat Rai and Hans Raj, stood for the
spread of English education and established a number of Dayanand Anglo-
Vedic (DAV) schools and colleges both for girls and boys: the most
important being the one at Lahore.