On Tuesday, Google decided to honour social reformer Raja Ram Mohan Roy on his 246th birth anniversary with a doodle. Raja Ram Mohan Roy was known as the father of Indian Renaissance and his doodle was designed by a Toronto-based artist Beena Mistry.
Born on May 22, 1772, in West Bengal’s Murshidabad district’s Radhanagar Village, Roy was a nonconformist from a very young age. He wanted to know and learn more due to which he studied Persian, Arabic, along with Sanskrit in order to understand the Vedas and transcriptures in a better way. The learning of these languages influenced his thinking about God so heavily that we went on to follow Monotheism. This had caused some differences between him and his father due to which he left his home at a very young age. Later, he translated a lot of Vedic scriptures in English for the world to learn about.
After his father’s death in 1803, Roy moved back to Murshidabad and it was here where he published his first book Tuhfat-ul-Muwahhidin (A Gift to Monotheism).
The man also took a keen interest in European politics and followed the course of the French Revolution. In 1814, he settled in Calcutta, and the following year he founded the Atmiya Sabha. He established the Brahmo Samaj, which is considered to be one of India’s first socio-religious reform movements, in 1828.
Raja Ram Mohan Roy has done a lot for this country and his legacy continues to live on. He had a very huge role to play in terms of banning of the Sati practice in the country. Sati was a regressive Hindu funeral practice in which a widow had to sacrifice herself on her husband’s funeral pyre, in some parts of Bengal. He even traveled to the UK in 1830 as an ambassador of the Mughal Empire to ensure that Lord William Bentinck’s Bengal Sati Regulation, 1829 banning the practice of Sati was not overturned.
Apart from Sati, Roy also worked a lot against other social evils like child marriage, polygamy, infanticide and the caste system. He was also the man who first asked for property inheritance rights for women.