Ram Mohan Roy was a pioneer of social and religious reform in India. He was born in an orthodox Brahman family of Bengal in 1772.
He went to England as an envoy of the Mughal Emperor Akbar II, who had given him the title ‘Raja’. Ram Mohan died in Bristol, England, in 1833.
As a religious reformer:
Ram Mohan Roy favored monotheism (the worship of one god). He opposed idol worship and meaningless rituals, which he believed gave rise to superstitions and social evils. He published Bengali translations of the Vedas and the Upanishads to prove his point. He organised the Atmiya Sabha in 1814 to spread rational religious ideas.
As a social reformer:
In 1828, Ram Mohan Roy founded the Brahmo Sabha (later called the Brahmo Samaj) to campaign against social evils such as sati,polygamy, child marriage, female infanticide and caste discrimination, and to demand the right of inheritance of property for women. The Samaj’s campaign against sati won the support of Governor-General William Bentinck, who made the practice illegal in 1829.
As an educationist:
Ram Mohan Roy has often been called the ‘Father of Modern India’. He dreamed of bringing together the positive aspects of Eastern and Western cultures. Hence, he supported the introduction of English education in India.
Along with the Scottish scholar David Hare and the Scottish missionary Alexander Duff, he established the Hindu College at Calcutta in 1817. In 1825, he founded the Vedanta College, which offered courses that combined traditional Indian learning with Western scientific studies.
As a journalist:
Rammohun Roy published many journals such as the Samvad Kaumudi to educate the public on issues like freedom of the press, appointment of Indians to high posts, and so on.