Father of Indian Renaissance
Raja Ram Mohan Roy
1774 - 1833
Raja Ram Mohan Roy was one of the greatest social reformer that India has produced. He was instrumental in eradicating social evils like Sati, Purdah and child marriage from the Indian soil. He was a staunch supporter of English education for Indians, to bring them in contact with the advanced scientific ideas of the west. His crowning achievement of his organizational effort was the foundation of the "Brahmo Samaj" in 1828. He was hailed as the "Morning Star of the Indian Renaissance"
Raja Ram Mohan Roy, a towering personality was born in a Brahmin family of Bengal in 1774. He was deeply versed in Indian thought and philosophy and a scholar of Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit and English. He believed in the colourful culture mixed with Hinduism and Islam. He made a comparative study of all the religions prevailed all over the world. The Mughal Emperor Akbar II conferred him the title of `Raja` for the service rendered by him.
Roy was anxious to modernise education and take it out of the grip of old scholastics. He was in favour of scientific approach to education. He wrote to the Governor - General emphasizing the need for education in Mathematics, natural philosophy, chemistry, Anatomy and other useful science. He was a staunch supporter of female education.
Raja Ram Mohan Roy was not only a scholar but also a great reformer. Roy began his reforming activities by preaching the unity of all religions and he guided Hinduism towards the modern age. It was his belief that the philosophy of Vedanta was based on the principals of reason, which was the final touchstone of the truth of any doctrine either eastern or western.
In 1809 Roy wrote a book in Persian the `Gift of Monotheists". He preached that `God in one` and he believed in universal brotherhood. In one of his book "Precepts of Jesus", which was published in 1820, he tried to clear the difference between the moral and philosophic message of the New Testament.
As a Social reformer, Roy rendered an outstanding service to the emancipation of Indian woman. His endless campaign for the eradication of Sati. (self - immolation of widows on funeral pyres of their husbands) is a landmark in the history of India. He saved a number of widows from self-destruction. His fighting was also aimed against child marriage.
Roy was one of the founders of the Indian press. Being associated with several newspapers, he also published a bi-lingual Bengali-English magazine. His article on various social problems appeared in these journals, which created consciousness among the people and helped in the growth of nationalism in India.
By 1828, Roy built-up a circle of followers and founded the Brahma Sabha, which later was called Brahmo Samaj. It was a cosmopolitan religious organization based on the good points of all the prevailing religion. The Samaj condemned idol worship. It was concerned about human rights. Ram Mohan Roy`s ideology based on western values fascinated the sentiments of the people of India and developed the feeling of nationalism.
Raja Ram Mohan Roy died at Bristol in 1883.