Ram Mohan Roy

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Raja Ram Mohan Roy
Raja Ram Mohan Roy.jpg
Ram Mohan Roy, portrait by Atul Bose
Born (1772-05-22)22 May 1772
Radhanagore, Bengal, British India
Died 27 September 1833(1833-09-27) (aged 61)
Stapleton, Bristol, England
Cause of death
Resting place
Arnos Vale Cemetery, Bristol, England
Other names Rammohun, Rammohan, or Ram Mohan
Ethnicity Bengali Hindu
Occupation Social reformer
Employer Y
Known for Bengal Renaissance, Brahmo Samaj
Height 1.80 m
Weight 56 kg
Successor Dwarkanath Tagore
Religion Hinduism
Spouse(s) Uma Devi

Ramakanta Roy (father)

Tarinidevi (mother)
Signature Ram_Mohan_Roy_Signature.jpg

Ram Mohan Roy, Ram Mohun also spelled Rammohun, Rammohan, or Ram Mohan (Bengali: রাজা রামমোহন রায়; 22 May 1772 – 27 September 1833)[1] was an Indian religious, social, and educational reformer, and humanitarian, who challenged traditional [Hindu culture such as 'Sati' killing of a widow] and indicated the lines of progress for Indian society under British rule. He is called the "Maker of Modern India," and also the "Father of Modern India."[2] He is also regarded as the "Father of the Bengal Renaissance." He, along with Dwarkanath Tagore and other prominent Bengalis of the early 19th century, founded the Brahmo Sabha in 1828, which engendered the Brahmo Samaj, an influential Indian socio-religious reform movement during the Bengal Renaissance. His influence was apparent in the fields of politics, public administration, and education, as well as religion.


Early life and education (1772–1792)[edit]

Rammohan Roy was born on May 22, 1772 into a family of high-ranking (kuli) Brahmin family of Radhanagar, Hooghly district, W. Bengal that had the distinction of serving the imperial Mughals for three generations. His great grandfather Krishnachandra Roy was in the service of Murshid Quli Khan, Subedar [governor] of Mughal Bengal. Rammohan's grandfather, Brojomadhab, served Alivardi Khan, Murshid Quli's successor in office. Rammohan himself went as the emissary of the Emperor Akabar II before the Court of Directors of East India Company in London. His family background displayed unusual religious diversity; his father Ramkanto Roy was a Vaishnavite, while his mother Tarinidevi was from a Shaivite family. This was unusual, as Vaishanavites did not commonly marry Shaivites at that time. Thus, one parent dedicated to the laukik, which was secular public administration.[3] He wandered around the Himalayas and went to Tibet.

Early political and religious career (1792–1820)[edit]

Raja Rammohan Roy's impact on modern Indian history concerned a revival of the ethics principles of the Vedanta school of philosophy as found in the Upanishads. He preached about the unity of God, made early translations of Vedic scriptures into English, co-founded the Calcutta Unitarian Society, founded the Brahmo Samaj, and campaigned against sati. He sought to integrate Western culture with features of his own country's traditions. He established schools to modernise a system of education in India.

During these overlapping periods,[when?] Ram Mohan Roy acted as a political agitator and agent[4] while being employed by the East India Company and simultaneously pursuing his vocation as a Pandit.

In 1792, the British Baptist shoemaker William Carey published his missionary tract An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens. In the following year, William Carey landed in India to settle. His objective was to translate, publish and distribute the Bible in Indian languages and propagate Christianity among the Indian peoples.[5] He believed the "mobile" (i.e. service classes) Brahmins and Pundits were most able to help him in this endeavour, and he began gathering them. He learned the Buddhist and Jain religious works as a means of improving his arguments for promoting Christianity in a cultural context. In 1795, Carey made contact with a Sanskrit scholar, the Tantric Hariharananda Vidyabagish,[6] who later introduced him to Ram Mohan Roy; Roy wished to learn English.

In 1799, Carey was joined by missionary Joshua Marshman and the printer William Ward at the Danish settlement of Serampore.

From 1803 to 1815, Rammohan served in the East India Company's "Writing Service", commencing as private clerk "munshi" to Thomas Woodforde, Registrar of the Appellate Court at Murshidabad,[7] whose distant nephew, also a Magistrate, later made a living off the spurious Maha Nirvana Tantra under the pseudonym Arthur Avalon. In 1815, Raja Ram Mohan Roy formed "Atmiya Sabha", and spent many years[when?] at Rangpur and elsewhere with Digby, where he renewed his contacts with Hariharananda. William Carey had, by this time, settled at Serampore and the trio renewed their association with one another. William Carey was also aligned with the English Company, then headquartered at Fort William, and his religious and political ambitions were increasingly intertwined.

The East India Company was taking money from India at a rate of three million pounds a year in 1838. Ram Mohan Roy estimated how much money was being driven out of India and where it was headed. He predicted that around half of the total revenue collected in India was sent out to England, leaving India to pay taxes with the remaining money.[8]

Middle period (1820–1830)[edit]

He started as a journalist at The Calcata Journal , Commenting on his published works, Sivanath Sastri wrote that Roy was part of a second appeal to the Christian Public. Brahmanical Magazine Parts I, II and III, with Bengali translation and a new Bengali newspaper called Sambad Kaumudi, was processed in 1821. In 1822, a Persian paper called Mirat-ul-Akbar contained a tract entitled "Brief Remarks on Ancient Female Rights"; a book in Bengali called Answers to Four Questions was released the same year. The third and final appeal to the Christian public took place in 1823. Roy wrote a letter to Rev. H. Ware on the "Prospects of Christianity in India" and an "Appeal for Famine-Smitten Natives in Southern India" in 1824.

A previously missing (and unknown) exquisite miniature ivory portrait bust of Raja Rammohun Roy was unveiled at the annual commemoration of the death of the Indian religious, social, and educational reformer, and humanitarian, at Arnos Vale cemetery in Bristol, on 22 September 2013. Rammohun Roy challenged traditional Hindu culture and indicated the lines of progress for Indian society under British rule. The ivory portrait bust of Rammohun Roy made in London in 1832 by the famous ivory carver Benjamin Cheverton (1796-1876), is based on a bust made around the same time by the gifted sculptor George Clarke (1796-1842). The bust is exceptional because Rammohun Roy gave sittings to Clarke (the only time he did this for a sculptor) to enable the bust to be modelled, and Cheverton copied the bust in ivory for George Clarke, who lent his model to Cheverton to enable this to be done. The process employed by Cheverton to make the copy means that it is identical with Clarke’s bust, save that it is on a reduced scale. Clarke’s bust is missing, and this small ivory bust is the finest three-dimensional representation of Rammmohun Roy that exists, since it reflects exactly what was observed when the great man sat to Clarke to have his bust modelled.[9]


  1. ^ "Ram Mohun Roy". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2 August 2014. 
  2. ^ Beck, Rodger B. et al. Modern World History: Patterns of Interaction.
  3. ^ page 8, Raja Rammohun Roy - The Renaissance Man, H.D. Sharma, 2002
  4. ^ Biography published in the Atheneum 1834.
  5. ^ William Carey University
  6. ^ Kaumudi Patrika, 12 December 1912.
  7. ^ S.D. Collett
  8. ^ Roy, Rama Dev. "Some Aspects of the Economic Drain from India during the British Rule", Social Scientist, Vol. 15, No. 3. March 1987.
  9. ^ Basu, Shrabani (29 September 2013). "Portrait of a reformer". The Telegraph (Calcutta). Retrieved 17 October 2013.