Raja Ram Mohan Roy – A Social reformer
Popularly known as the “Maker of Modern India” and “Father of Modern India”, Raja Ram Mohan Roy, a social and educational reformer, was an idealist who contributed immensely in eradicating social evils prevalent in the society during the 18th century. He made every possible effort to make his motherland a better place for the future generations to come.
About Raja Ram Mohan Roy
He is a great historical figure, who put laudable efforts to transform the face of India and dared to defy the age-old Hindu traditions. A modernist by virtue, he undertook a lot of social reforms to change the society and worked for the upliftment of the status of women in India. He was also a great scholar who translated many books, religious and philosophical work and scriptures into Bengali and also translated Vedic scriptures into English.
Early Life and Education of Raja Ram Mohan Roy
Raja Ram Mohan Roy was born into an elite Bengali Hindu family on May 22, 1772, in Radhanagar village of Hoogly district, Bengal Presidency. He was born to Ramkanto Roy, his father and Tarinidevi, his mother in the darkest era in the history of India. At that time, The country was suffering from numerous socio-economic and political problems which created disarray in the name of religions.
He did his schooling in Sanskrit and Bengali languages in the village school after which he was sent to Madrasa in Patna where he learned Persian and Arabic. Later on, he moved to Kashi to learn the complexity of Sanskrit and Hindu scriptures like the Vedas and Upanishads. He learned the English language at the age of 22.
Later Life of Raja Ram Mohan Roy
He extensively studied Christianity and the other religions. This made him realize that some Hindu traditions and superstitions were required to be reformed while working for the East India Company. Apart from this, he was born into a family with religious diversity which probably controlled his thinking. Roy was against the idol worship and propagated the idea of oneness of God through Brahmo Samaj.
He was the founder of the Brahmo Samaj at Kolkata in 1828. His efforts actually led to the resumption of the ethical principles of the Vedanta school of philosophy. He co-founded the Calcutta Unitarian Society.
The title ‘Raja’ was bestowed upon him by the Mughal Emperor, Akbar II. Raja Ram Mohan Roy was the first educated Indian to travel to England and went on to become an ambassador of the Mughal emperor, Akbar II.
The Bengal society was weighed down with an array of evil customs and regulations. There was a huge prevalance of intricate rituals and scrupulous moral codes which were largely modified and badly elucidated ancient traditions. He was against traditional Hindu practices and echoed his voice against Sati system, polygamy, caste rigidity and child marriage. His biggest achievement was the prohibition of the “sati pratha”, a practice in which a widow was made to immolate herself at the funeral pyre of her deceased husband. He struggled for years to get this evil legally eradicated.
He established the Brahmo Samaj along with the other enlightened Bengalis. The samaj was a highly influential socio-religious reform movement which raised its voice against evils like caste system, dowry, ill-treatment of women, etc.
He put remarkable efforts in the education system of India. To modernize the education system, Raja Ram Mohan Roy established many English schools. He revolutionized the education system in India by setting up Hindu College at Calcutta in 1817, which went on to become one of the best educational institutions in the country. Roy promoted and urged teaching of the scientific subjects like Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and even Botany. He promoted technology, western medicine and English to be taught at Indian schools.
To politically educate people, Raja Ram Mohan Roy even published magazines in different languages including English, Hindi, Persian, and Bengali. Noticeable magazines published by him were the Brahmanical Magazine, the Sambad Kaumudi, and Mirat-ul-Akbar. His most popular journals covered socio-political issues in India which helped Indians to rise above their current state.
The news and articles before being published had to be approved by the government in those days. Raja Ram Mohan was against this idea and protested on the basis of the argument that the newspaper should reflect the truth and the truth should not be suppressed simply on the grounds that the government is not liking it.
Death of Raja Ram Mohan Roy
Raja Ram Mohan Roy died of meningitis on September 27, 1833, in Bristol. The British government has named a street in Bristol as ‘Raja Rammohan Way’ in the memory of Raja Ram Mohan Roy.
Despite a lot of progress has been made by Indians in many areas, but the condition of women is still far behind of what it should be. Reformists like Raja Ram Mohan Roy should be born again in India to remove all sorts of evils from the society.
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