Raja Ram Mohan Roy
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India has witnessed the dawning of dignified men who have emerged as great reformers in the past. These social reformers were the torch bearers of enlightened India. On May 22, India celebrates the 246th birth anniversary of India’s most eminent and distinguished social reformer Raja Ram Mohan Roy. Popularly known as the ‘Maker of Modern India’ and ‘Father of Indian Renaissance’, Raja Ram Mohan Roy dedicated his life fighting the evils of the society. He was a Non-Conformist to many traditions of Indian culture.

Born in a Brahmin family on May 22, 1772, in Radhanagar village in Murshidabad district of West Bengal, Roy was against orthodox customs and idol worship from his early childhood days. He left home at a very young age due to extreme differences with his father on religion and faith and traveled extensively to Himalayas and Tibet.

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Raja Ram Mohan Roy was a noble reformer who stood up for the upliftment of women in the Indian society. He improved the position of Indian women by taking a stand against polygamy and fought for the rights of widows. He also vindicated the property inheritance rights for women. He was against illiteracy and infanticide which were customary in India at that time. He combated the 200-year-old evil practice of ‘Sati’, that forced a widow to burn herself alive at her husband’s pyre. Roy, throughout his life, fought for equal rights for women and advocated education as he believed that only education can enlighten and guide people to open their minds to a modern society.

 

Here are few things you need to know about the Maker of Modern India:

• He studied Persian and Arabic along with Sanskrit, which influenced his thinking about God. He read Upanishads, Vedas and the Quran and translated a lot of the scriptures into Bengali, Hindi, and English.

• Roy started the Braham Sabha in 1828 along with Dwarkanath Tagore, Rabindranath Tagore’s father, to fight against social evils which further gave birth to Brahmo Samaj, first Indian social-reform movement to expose the religious hypocrisies.

• In 1822, he founded a school based on English education. He had also studied Hindu philosophy in Varanasi.

• Roy dedicated his life for women’s rights. He has done a remarkable work to abolish Sati Pratha and child marriage.

• It was due to his endless efforts that Sati was declared illegal in 1829.

• Roy was a keen learner. At the age of 15, he was proficient in Bangla, Persian, Arabic, and Sanskrit.

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