Raja Ram Mohan Roy, also the initiator in the Indian Renaissance ( a period in History that sees the transition in terms of Art and Literature) brought a revolution in society because of his positive approach towards life. The title ‘Raja’ was bestowed upon him by the Mughal emperor Akbar II, in 1831. From his early childhood only he was outward and had a different perspective of seeing life. Raja Ram Mohan Roy was born on August 14, 1774, to Ramakanta Roy and Tarini Devi in Radhanagar village of Hoogly district, Bengal Presidency. He belonged to a wealthy Brahmin family but his father was orthodox. At the early age of 14 yrs only he wanted to become a monk but his mother simply denied it.
He married thrice and had two sons from his second wife. His first two wives died early but his third wife survived even after his death. He got his education in Bengali and Sanskrit from his village school. Later he was sent to Patna for higher education and to learn Persian and Arabic languages which were a part of the Mughal court. He was fond of studying and read Quran. Further, he went to Kashi to master Sanskrit and in no time he learnt it and started reading scriptures, Vedas and Upanishads. After attaining knowledge in these languages he started studying English. Euclid and Aristotle had a huge impact on his thinking. After attaining so much knowledge from various sources gave a new dimension to his life which even he was not aware of. He had never thought that because of him, society will change he will become the creator of the new modern society. After getting his education, he started working as a clerk under the service of East India Company. Later he was promoted to the position of Diwan. This was all due to his dedication to his work.
Abolition of Sati Pratha
While the society saw a lot of changes and barbarism, Raja Ram Mohan Roy thought of changing the society so he talked to Lord William Benedick who helped him after seeing his plea. He made a rule that Sati Pratha would not be followed anymore. Those who tried doing so would be prosecuted. It was very difficult to accept the new normal but it proved to be a blessing in disguise for the girls.
The time when wearing a mask in hot weather is so difficult, we can understand how difficult it must have been for women to cover themselves or to keep a veil around them, But it was done. The time when trying to change society was almost impossible, Raja Ram Mohan came up with the idea of changing the mentality. He opposed the idea, brought a revolution, and unveiled an era of freedom for women for which women are still thankful to him that he understood the problems of a woman in spite of being a man.
These days it is very common not to be married even at the age of 30 yrs and during the Eighteenth century… children were married at an early age of 8-9 yrs. It was important for people to understand that a child does not have the mental capacity to understand relations till the time he/ she attains maturity and he/she needs to understand himself first. During that period Raja Ram Mohan Roy stopped this corruption in the society as he himself was a sufferer in the hands of fate due to his three marriages.
He founded the Brahmo Samaj in 1828, Its chief aim was the worship of the eternal God. It was against priesthood, rituals, and sacrifices. It focused on prayers, meditation, and reading of the scriptures. It was against idol worship and followed the British learnings. Today it exists in the name of Adi Dharma.
We learn from him that it is very important to raise our voice against misdeeds and injustice…we expect a change in society but we ourselves are not ready to change. It is mandatory as said by Gandhiji “ to be the change that you wish to see in the society .’’