Raja Rammohan Roy, known as the father of modern India, was the initiator of the New Age in India. His contribution to the welfare of Swadesh India and the nation is unforgettable. His life philosophy once provided immense inspiration to the nation in India’s freedom struggle. He is considered as a great man. Rammohan Roy, the symbol of talent, scholarship, mind and efficiency, was the pioneer of India’s renaissance!
Raja Rammohan Roy was born on 22nd May 1772 in Radhanagar village in Hooghly district of West Bengal, India into a noble Brahmin family. Rammohan’s great-grandfather Krishnakant Bandyopadhyay served as Amin under the Subedar of Bengal during the reign of King Farrukhshiyar. It is from that source that the use of the surname Ray is prevalent in their family. Rammohan’s father’s name is Ramkant Roy and mother’s name is Tarini Devi.
Childhood and Education
Ramhon Roy had a keen interest in education from his childhood. According to the custom of those days, Rammohan took Arabic and Persian language lessons from a cleric in Patna. He then received education in Sanskrit language and literature and Vedanta Shastra from Supandit Nandakumar Vidyalankara or Hariharananda Teerthaswami near his home village. At the age of twelve he went to Kashidham to learn Sanskrit and studied there for four years. Besides, he also researched Vedanta Shastra. It was at this time that the seeds of spiritual thought were planted in him.
Ram Mohan along with his other brothers looked after the ancestral estate. Rammohan used to stay in Calcutta, Burdwan and Langulpara at different times for business purposes. At that time he had to come in the company of English civilians. Rammohan mastered the English language on this occasion. 1803 AD Rammohan took the job of Collector Woodford of Murshidabad and went to Jessore. However, this job was not possible for more than two months. Meanwhile, he became close to John Digby, a civilian employee of the East India Company. Rammohan worked as Dewan or Khaskarmachari under Digbi from 1805 AD to 1814 AD. His place of work was Rangpur. During this period Rammohan made considerable progress in affairs. Despite serving under the British, Ram Mohan always maintained his dignity. Once upon a time in employment with Sir Frederick Hamilton on this very question
His dispute appeared. On 12th April 1809 AD, Rammohan complained to Lord Minto against him. This charge sheet is said to be Rammohan’s first English work. He left his job and moved to Murshidabad for literary pursuits and social reform work.
Promotion of Mother Tongue
Earlier he formulated Gaudiya Grammar of Sanskrit Grammar in Bengali language to promote mother tongue education. That book was published by the Schoolbook Society in 1803 AD. In this book, he freed the Bengali language from the clutches of Sanskrit and gave it its own form. He was the first to stop the use of tadvabha words and the use of non-finite verbs and complex phrases in Bengali prose. Rammohan was the first to use words like father, masi, meso, gai, kaphachopar, bhai, pagal, pagli etc. which we use in oral language.
Establishment of ‘Atmiya Sabha’ and ‘Brahma Sabha’
1815 AD Rammohan bought a house in Maniktala, Calcutta and started living permanently. He established a Sangha called ‘Atmiya Sabha’ in this Manikatala house. Within some time he brought out two newspapers called ‘Brahman Patrika’ in Bengali and ‘East India Gazette’ in English. In 1827 he founded the religious critical organization ‘Brahmsabha’.
Proponent of Internationalism
Rammohan was a proponent of international thought and ideals in India in terms of political thought. He was the first Indian to show interest in events outside India and to voice his opinion against oppression of people in different parts of the world. It is known that he hosted lavish feasts at home in celebration of the liberation of South America from Spain. In 1822 AD he edited the weekly newspaper Mirat-ul-Akhbar and protested the oppression of the British government on Ireland.
Establishment of school
The country will remain in the dark if only poetry and grammar are covered in the traditional education system. In order to keep pace with the modern era, Rammohan was able to realize with all his heart that the people of India should be educated in English. He established the Anglo-Hindu School in 1822 to introduce education in English.
Foreign travel and reception
Before going abroad, on 19th November 1830 AD, the King of Delhi, Akbar II conferred the title of ‘Raja’ on Rammohan. Mughal Emperor Akbar II who was deposed by the British went abroad to increase his scholarship. He went abroad as a representative of King Akbar II and was able to increase the amount of the king’s scholarship by speaking on behalf of the king in the parliament. At that time Rammohan was the only suitable person in India for this job Abroad, Rammohan received reception from the Unitarian Association.
Rammohan preached his new doctrine through the Brahmasabha. He preached that God is one and unique, referring to the unique Brahman described in the Vedas. He is the Brahman of the Vedas. He is unique and formless. Those who worship this Brahman are Brahmans. This doctrine introduced by Rammohan created a special stir at that time. Today there are many followers of Brahminism in Bangladesh and West Bengal.
Rammohan was against the saka worship system of Hinduism. He did not believe in idolatry. He also wrote a book called ‘Pagan system of Hindus’. After reading this book and for various reasons, Rammohan’s father became very angry with his son and threw him out of the house. Rammohan went to Tibet to travel. After a few years in Tibet, he returned to India. Teach English language. Thus he learned ten languages by the age of twenty-three. Rammohan Roy could read and write in Bengali, English, Arabic besides Greek, Hebrew, Latin, Persian and Urdu languages.
Rammohan was very shocked by the barbaric Satidah practice of Hinduism. At that time, if a husband died in Hinduism, the wife also had to sacrifice herself in the burning pyre along with the husband. This was called co-death practice. Being chaste by committing self-immolation on her husband’s pyre. Ram Mohan started a strong movement against this superstition and superstition of Hinduism. Later in 1829, with the help of Lord William Bentinck, then Barlat of British India was able to pass the Satidah Practice Abolition Act. This is how the infamous barbaric practice of Satidah, practiced in Hindu society for ages in the name of religion, disappeared. Not only the Satidah practice, his tireless efforts also stopped other social evils like child marriage, virginity and child abandonment in the Ganga.
Rammohan’s biographer Nagendranath Chatterjee wrote about this, ‘Raja Rammohan Roy said that it would be very beneficial if the Government made such arrangements that if a person wished to remarry during the lifetime of one wife, he would have to prove to a magistrate or some other royal official that, His wife has a certain fault in the scriptures. If unable to prove, he will not be allowed to remarry.
Raja Rammohan Roy died on 27th September 1833 at the age of 61 in Bristol, England. He is buried in Stapleton Grove, Bristol. Later Rabindranath Tagore’s grandfather Dwarkanath Tagore went to Bristol and removed his holy body from that place and buried it in a place called ‘Arnovel’.