If woman today are able to avail right to re-marry, right to education, right to property and more in the queue then we owe to one man – Raja Ram Mohan Roy, the man recognised as ‘Father of Indian Renaissance’. He tirelessly fought against the social evils prevailing in the Indian society and worked as the messenger for modern education in India during the British period.
Raja Ram Mohan Roy was born in Radhanagar in Bengal Presidency in 1772 to a Brahmin family. He did formal education from his village ‘Pathshala’, where he learned Bengali, Sanskrit and Persian. He also mastered in-depth knowledge of Hinduism, Islam, Christianity and Buddhism.
During his studies, he was influenced by western culture and education system. He left home at an early age and shunned the prevalent practices of idol worship and several orthodox practices of the time.
Roy believed the extremely low position of Hindu women was responsible for practices like Sati Pratha. He advocated the abolition of polygamy and wanted women to be educated and given the right to inherit property. He established a number of schools to popularise a modern education system in India.
Raja Ram Mohan Roy’s greatest achievement was that of setting up of the Brahmo Samaj in 1828. It is considered to be one of India’s first socio-religious reform movements. Brahmo Samaj believed in the fatherhood of God and brotherhood of mankind. It not only discarded meaningless rites and rituals but also forbade idol-worship. Raja Ram Mohan Roy believed in the oneness of God and preached the same.
Roy is also remembered as one of the pioneers of Indian Journalism. He propagated social reforms through his various journals published in Hindi, English, Bengali and Persian.
Roy died on September 26, 1833 in a village near Bristol and was buried at the Arnos Vale Cemetery in England.