Google Doodle salutes Raja Ram Mohan Roy, The "Father of the Indian Renaissance"
Tuesday marks the 246th birth anniversary of India most celebrated social reformer Raja Ram Mohan Roy, remembered best as the Maker of Modern India and father of the Indian Renaissance.
A non-conformist in his own right, Raja Ram Mohan Roy was born on May 22, 1772, in Radhanagar village in Murshidabad district of West Bengal. A staunch supporter of monotheism, Raj Ram Mohan Roy shunned the orthodox Hindu rituals and idol worship right from the childhood even though his father, Ramkanto Roy, was a Hindu Brahmin.
Women are struggling even in the present day trying to be equal to men. But nearly 200 years ago, when evils like "Sati" plagued the society, social reformers like Raja Ram Mohan Roy played a critical role to bring about a change. He opposed "Sati", the regressive practice that forced a widow to immolate herself on husband's pyre. He campaigned for equal rights for women, including the right to remarry and the right to hold property.
In 1828, Raja Ram Mohan Roy founded the "Brahmo Samaj", which is said to be one of the first Indian socio-religious reform movements. Besides sati, Roy also crusaded against several other social evils such as polygamy, infanticide, child marriage and the caste system. He also demanded property inheritance rights for women.
He paved the way to revolutionizing education system in India by establishing Hindu College in 1817 in Calcutta along with David Hare which later went on to become one of the best educational institutions in the country producing some of the best minds in India. His efforts to combine true to the roots theological doctrines along with modern rational lessons saw him establish the Anglo-Vedic School in 1822 followed by the Vedanta College in 1826. He also wrote a journal called Sambad Kaumudi, which covered topics like freedom of the press.
In 1830, Roy travelled to England as a representative of the Mughal Empire and he managed to convince the British government to increase the stipend of the Mughal Emperor. Roy died near Bristol in 1833 and a statue of him stands in that city.