Raja Ram Mohan Roy – Social & Religious Reforms

Raja Ram Mohan RoySocial & Religious Reforms

social and religious reforms of Raja Ram Mohan Roy
Raja Ram Mohan Roy

India made a tremendous progress both in the religious and the social fields during the 19th century and after with the help of some eminent personalities. Raja Ram Mohan Roy was one of them.

The name of Raja Ram Mohan Roy stands foremost in the field of religious and social development. He was born in 1774 in an old-fashioned and well-to-do Brahmin family in Bengal. When he was hardly 15, he wrote a pamphlet in Bengali in which he denounced idol-worship which, he asserted, was not recognized in the Vedas. Young Raja Ram Mohan Roy had to pay very heavily for it. He was turned out from his orthodox family and he had to live in exile. However, he made the best of the opportunity offered to him by providence. He traveled far and wide and thus was able to gather a lot of experience and learning. He already knew Arabic and Persian and now he was able to master Sanskrit. He also picked up some knowledge of English, French, Latin, Hebrew and Greed. As he was able to study in original the scriptures of the important religion of the world, he was in a position to have a comparative idea of religions as such. No wonder, his concept of universal religion was not based on any abstract principals but on a profound knowledge of the various religions. 

In 1805, Raja Ram Mohan Roy joined the service of the East India Company in Bengal, and continued to work there up to 1814. After his retirement, he settled in Calcutta and devoted himself entirely to the service of the people. In 1814, he started the Atmiya Sabha. In 1828, he founded the Brahmo samaj. He went to England in 1831 on a special mission to plead the cause of the Mughal Emperor of Delhi. While he was still busy in that work, he died at Bristol on 27th September 1833. He was given the title of Raja by the Mughal Emperor.

In all his activities, Raja Ram Mohan Roy was actuated by a deep love of his motherland and an intense sympathy for the ignorant and the poor. As it was not possible to have an armed rebellion against the Englishmen, he continued to educate the public opinion and thereby encouraged political consciousness among his countrymen. He adopted all possible means to raise the morale of the people.

Although he himself was one of the foremost orientalists of the age, his conviction was that India could progress only through liberal education covering all the  branches of Western learning. No wonder, he gave all his support to those who stood for the introduction of the study of English language and Western science in India and he was ultimately successful in his efforts. He helped in the fuoundation of the Hindu college which was the best modern institution of its time in those days.

The Raja fought for the freedin if the press. He himself founded and edited a Bengali journal called the “Samvad Kaumudi” which was among the earliest Indian-edited newspapers. He carried one vigorous agitation against the press Regulations of 1823. He submitted a memorial to the Supreme Court in which he dwelt on the benefits of a free press. His agitation for the freedom of the press must have paved the way for the final emancipation of the press in 1835.

The Raja stood for the abolition of “Sati”. He carried on ceaseless propaganda against this inhuman custom both in the press and on the platform. The opposition was so great that there was a time when his very life was in danger. However he was not intimidated by the attacks of his enemies. It was his consistent support which enabled Lord William Bentinck to ban “Sati” in 1829. When the orthodox people put in a petition before the Privy Council in England he put in a counter petition before the British Parliament on behalf of his progressive friends and co-workers. He was happy when the Privy Council rejected the petition. The abolition of Sati put the Raja in the front rank of the World’s humanitarian reformers.

During his stay in England from 1831 to 1833, the Raja agitated for reform in the administrative system of British India. He was the first Indian to be consulted on Indian affairs by the British Parliament. While giving his evidence before a select committee of House of Commons, he suggested reforms in practically all branches of Indian administration. The political ideas of the Raaja were influenced by European Philosophers and jurists like Bacon, Hume, Bentham, Blackstone and Montesquieu. He advocated the peaceful settlement of international disputes through the mediation of a congress composed of an equal number of members from the Parliaments of the countries concerned.

Before everything else, Raja Ram Mohan Roy  was a religious reformer and seeker after-truth. His study of Christianity, Islam and Hinduism brought him to the conclusion that there was the prevalence of the monotheistic principle in all religious. This helped him to create house and endow the first theistic church at Calcutta. The Raja was friendly to all religions. He was stirred by the monotheism of Islam and ethical and moral principles of Christianity. No wonder, the Muslims regarded him as a Muslim, Christians as a Christian, Unitarian as a Unitarian and Hindus as a Vedantist. As a matter of fact, he was none of these in a in conventional sense. He believed in the fundamental truth and unity of all religions. He was not prepared to allow any form of worship to be criticized. Worship in the Brahmo Samaj was conducted in such a way as to strengthen the bonds of union between men of all faiths, persuasions and creeds. The Raja was not a prophet but a reformer who tried to preserve all that was true and pure and removed all that was false and superstitious.  His ideas were welcomed by the Unitarian and theistic circles in the west.

The Raja made his contribution to literate also. He was a prolific writer in many languages. He was one of the greatest savants of his age. He was a great linguist and master of style. He is known as one of the creators of modern Bengali prose.

 The Raja has been rightly called “the herald of a new age”. According to Monier-Williams, the Raja was “Perhaps the first earnest-minded investigator of the science or comparative religions that the world has produced.”

According to Seal, the Raja was “the harbinger of the idea of universal humanism, the humanist, pure and simple, watching from his conning tower the procession of universal humanity in universal history.”

According to Miss Colet, “Ram Mohan stands in History as the living bridge over which India marches from her unmeasured past to her incalculable future.  He was the arch which spanned the gulf between ancient caste and modern humanity, between superstition and science, between despotism and democracy, between immobile custom and conservative progress, between a bewildering polytheism and a pure, if vague, theism.”

According to Nandalal Chatterjee, “Raja Ram Mohan Roy was the human link between the unfading past and the dawning future, between vested conservatism and radical reform, between superstitious isolationism and progressive synthesis, in short, between reaction and progress.”

According to Rabindranath Tagore, “Raja Ram Mohan Roy inaugurated the modern age in India”. He has also been described as the Father of Indian Renaissance and the Prophet of Indian Nationalism. Behind all of his ideas of social and religious reforms, there lay the thought of bringing about the political regeneration of his countrymen. To quote him, “I regret to say the system adhered to by the Hindus is not well-calculated to promote their political interest. The distinction of castes, introducing division and sub-division among them, has entirely deprived them of political feeling, multitude of religious rites and ceremonies and the laws of purification have totally disqualified them from undertaking any difficult enterprise. It is, I think, necessary that some change should take place in their religion at least for the sake of their political advantage and social comfort.”

The work of Raja Ram Mohan Roy was in the nature of the preparation of this country for political advancement in the future. By removing the social and religious evils, he prepared the Indians for political consciousness. He was undoubtedly the pioneer in this field and no wonder he has been rightly called the father of Indian Nationalism.


Milan Tomic

Hi. I’m Designer of Blog Magic. I’m CEO/Founder of ThemeXpose. I’m Creative Art Director, Web Designer, UI/UX Designer, Interaction Designer, Industrial Designer, Web Developer, Business Enthusiast, StartUp Enthusiast, Speaker, Writer and Photographer. Inspired to make things looks better.

  • Image
  • Image
  • Image
  • Image
  • Image
    Blogger Comment
    Facebook Comment

0 टिप्पणियाँ:

एक टिप्पणी भेजें


टिप्पणी: केवल इस ब्लॉग का सदस्य टिप्पणी भेज सकता है.