Biography of Raja Rammohun Roy

Honored with so many epithets such as "Morning star of Indian Renaissance" and "Maker of Modern India",Raja Rammohun Roy is one of the most prominent reformers India has ever produced.His persistent campaign for elimination of sati,the self-immolation of widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands,and various such dark social evils rampant in his time,is indeed noteworthy.

The lifetime of Raja Rammohun Roy saw,possibly the darkest age in the history of modern india.This fact makes it all the more relevant and worthwhile to be acquainted with the life and times of Raja Rammohun Roy.All those contribute to him to have been misunderstood for his bold and enlighting acts bringing light amidst the dark Indian society of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries,warped with blind beliefs and senseless practices.

Raja Rammohun Roy was born in the village of Radhanagar in Hoogly district to conformist bengali Brahmin parents,Ramkanta and tarinidevi on May 22,1772.He was a precocious child.He was knowledgeable about bengali,Sanskrit and pesian-all accquired from the village pathsala.Later he learnt persian and Arabic in a madrasa in patna at the age of nine after which he was led to Benaras to dwell on the finer aspects of Sanskrit and Hindu scriptures,including the Vedas and Upanishads.It was at Benaras that Raja Rammohun Roy transformed into an educated,rational,free-thinking individual breaking away from the barbaric knots of religion.He started learning English when he was 24 years old.

In 1803,he secured a job with the East Inia Company.In addition to his business and materialistic pursuits,Rammohun Roy devoted his thoughts to his studies and erudition.That is when he wrote a Persian thesis "Tuhfat-ul-Muwahhidin"(A Gift to Monotheists)in 1803.

Rammohun's in-depth knowledge of differnt religions of the world helped him to become a better individual as well as a better human being.The spiritual realization he had gleand over time led him to put an end to ll the socially barbaric and blind rituals in vogue in india at that time.

One of the most arresting episodes that had a remarkable influence on the preliminary period of Rammohun Roy's life was that of the passing away of the elder brother in 1811.What struck him most was the act of sister-in-law performing sati.It is to be noted that Rammohun was the sole person to have felt indignationin order to have raised voice against such abhorrent rituals.this event filled Rammohun Roy not only with explicable pity and helplessness but also with a firm resolve to get it abolished.He did accomplish this goal and thus managed to save number of widows from self-destruction when William Bentinck aministration passed a law in in 1829 prohibitnig the system of sati.He advocated for the eradication of not only sati but other socia;l iniquities like child marriage,purdah and ploygmy from the indian soil.

Rammohun Roy was not only a reformer but also great scholar and educationist.He encouraged inclusion of western learning as english,science,medicine and technology.In 1817,an alliance with David Hare,he institued the Hindu college at calcutta.By 1828,Roy has inspired a clusters of followers and hence founded the Brahmo samaj.It was a pluralistic religious organisation based on the underlying value of all religions.The samaj deprecated idolatry.Rammohun Roy had always been a towering personality,enough for dedicating a major part of his life for the emancipation of women as well as for their education.In the end,the Mughal emperor Akbar II bestowed him with the title of "Raja" for the life lonf service rendered by him.

It is pertinent to note that a hundred years before the birth of the league of nations,Raja Rammohun Roy had articulated the prerquisite for such an institution.Raja Rammohun Roy had gone to the United kingdom and France as an ambassador of Mughal Empire.While at Bristol(England),he fell ill with meningitis and died on september 27,1833 and his bodily remains rest peacefully in Arnos Vale cemetery in Bristol.In 1997 a statue of Raja Rammohun Roy was also built at Bristol.Truly as the "Morning star of Indian Renaissance",Raja Rammohun Roy has excelled as a socio-religious reformer,educationist,journalist and above all,as a true indian citizen.


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