The Indian Social Conference was founded by justice Ranade in 1887 for undertaking social reforms in India, because the country had several outdated traditions and customs, which kept out side two major sections of society. Mahadev Govind Ranade was born on 18 January, 1842 at Niphad in Nasik District. He was graduated in 1862 and secured M. A. degree in 1864. He also secured the degree of Law in 1866 and became oriental translator to the Government of Mumbai. Although he was appointed as profession at Elphinstone College, Mumbai and subsequently First Class judge, he did not give up his bent for social reforms.
At the outset of the Indian National Movement there was a controversy regarding social and political reforms in the country. The leaders like Bal Gangadhar Tilak had their own group that supported the political movement to gain independence first on the other hand all moderates wanted to follow social reforms first. In the year when the Congress was founded in 1885 in Mumbai, some of the Congress members, who were in favour of social reforms met separately after the Congress session was over to discuss about the social reforms. This practice was continued till the formal foundation of the Indian social conference in 1887 and discussed the modalities of social reforms and involvement of the British Government in it.
Justice Ranade lamented that there were many leaders who articulated political movements and secured support from the common people. But there were very few people who talked and undertook the task of social awareness and social reforms but found no support from the people. Ranade wanted the social health and social harmony to be achieved and maintained before the political movement in the country. He therefore established and promoted several social organizations for undertaking social reforms. He was associated with many socio-political bodies to facilitate social reforms. Due to his social reform bent up mind he was transferred from place to place and he was not raised from the First Class Judge to a High Court judge for more than twenty three years. In nutshell, justice Ranade was a social reformer of great caliber and devoted his whole life for social reforms.