educated Parsis from Bombay founded the
Bengali, the secretary. The latter was an ardent writer, whose main subjects
were the glories of ancient Iran and popularising the new western knowledge.
In 1850, he began publishing a monthly journal, Jagat Mitra (Friend of the
World), to further the acceptance of his ideas among literate Parsis. In 1851,
he started another journal, Jagat Premi (Lover of the World), for spreading
knowledge of ancient Iran. The Sabha also issued its own Journal, Rast
Goftar (The Truth Teller), as the main voice of their movement. The leaders
of the Sabha criticised elaborate ceremonies at betrothals, marriages, and
funerals. They opposed both infant marriage and the use of astrology.
But the activities of the Sabha divided the Parsis into two groups—those
who advocated radical change, and those who wished only limited alterations
in customs and rituals. The latter organised the Raherastnumai Mazdayasnan
Sabha in opposition to the radicals. In 1863 M. H. Kama founded the
orthodox journal, Suryodaya (Sunrise), edited by M.B. Minocheer. This
division between radical and orthodox Parsis continued into the 20th century.
Sikh Reform Movement
Baba Dayal Das (1783–1855) was the founder of this movement of
purification and return. In the 1840s, he called for the return of Sikhism to its
origins and emphasised the worship of God as nirankar (formless). Such an
approach meant a rejection of idols, rituals associated with idolatry, and the
priests who conducted these rituals. Stressing the importance and authority of
Guru Nanak and of the Adi Granth, he prohibited eating meat, drinking
liquor, lying, cheating, using false weights, etc. Before his death Dayal Das
named his son, Baba Darbara Singh (1814–70), as his successor.
Determined to cut all ties with Hinduism, Darbara Singh began to issue
hukamnamas (statements describing both doctrine and approved rituals).
Under him the Nirankaris had their most rapid period of expansion; for in
fifteen years he opened forty new subcentres.
Rattan Chand, younger brother and successor of Darbara Singh, also
established new centres and appointed biredars (leaders) for each
congregation or sangat. The biredars oversaw these groups and were charged
with reciting the hukamnamas every fifteen days. Thus they provided a tie