Raja Ram Mohan Roy was a social and educational reformer who strived to work for the betterment of Indian society. He wanted to make India a better place to live in for future generations. He was born in a Bengali family before India got independence from the British government. He joined hands with other social reformers like Dwarkanath Tagore to establish a socio-religious organization, Brahmo Samaj. Raja Ram Mohan Roy hailed from a family with religious diversity, thus he learned to respect all religions. However, he was deeply disturbed by the malpractices prevalent in society. One such practice that disturbed him was the ‘Sati Pratha.’ Sati was a practice in which a widow had to immolate herself at the pyre of her husband. In addition to working for the societal reforms, he also worked for the betterment of the education sector. Moreover, he also actively participated in politics.
Raja Ram Mohan Roy was born in a high-ranking Bengali family. However, his parents were from different religious sub-sects. Hailing from such a family was highly uncommon at that time. His family worked for Mughal emperors and served them for three generations. During the early days of his life, Raja Ram Mohan Roy received a basic education in Sanskrit and Bengali from his village school. Later, he was sent to Patna where he gained knowledge of Persian and Arabic from a madrasa. However, to deepen his understanding of Sanskrit and Hindu scriptures, he moved to Kashi. After arriving in that city, Raja Ram Mohan Roy learned Vedas and Upanishads. He gained knowledge of the English language after he turned 22 years old.
After gaining knowledge of different subjects, Raja Ram Mohan Roy found a job in the East India Company where he served for several years. During his professional career, he achieved the position of revenue officer in 1809. However, he was not satisfied with the working style of the British government and raised his voice against them. He was a religious person but hated when common people were forced to follow the malpractices in the name of religion. One of the family incidents forced him to take action against the malpractices prevalent in Indian society. In 1812, Raja Ram Mohan Roy lost his brother and during his cremation, his brother’s widow was forced to follow the ‘Sati Pratha.’ This incident left a deep impact on his life, and he decided to fight against this cruel practice. His plan to stop Sati failed miserably but to stop this mistreatment, he decided to support the media. He believed that the press could handle this issue without getting affected by external forces. Moreover, he advocated the importance of education in eradicating Sati Pratha.
Raja Ram Mohan Roy set up an English school in Calcutta with his funds to spread education. Such was his dedication towards the upliftment of mankind and contributing to society through education. During his time, the government used to give licenses for Sanskrit schools. However, he felt the need to establish a school that could provide lessons on other subjects. He believed that knowledge of subjects like mathematics, geography, and others would help Indians keep pace with the rest of the world.
In 1828, Raja Ram Mohan Roy founded the Brahmo Samaj, which worked to ban the practice of Sati. He started a movement that included people from different religions, caste, and sections of society. Looking at his work, the British government banned this evil practice on 4th December 1829.
Apart from being a social reformer, Raja Ram Mohan Roy was a journalist and published various journals in languages like English, Hindi, Persian, and Bengali. He is a source of inspiration for everyone. His life events teach us that if you have determination, you can achieve anything and everything you want.
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