Raja Ram Mohan Rai was an Indian religious, social, and educational reformer who challenged traditional Hindu culture and indicated the lines of progress for Indian society under British rule.He was the ray of light which could dispel the thick layer of darkness from the lives of millions of Hindu people. When India was passing through a critical period of social and religious decadence he attacked some Hindu traditions like Caste system, Child marriages, Sati system and idolatry etc. and claimed that unscrupulous and self-centered people had mutilated the very figure of religious beliefs and the popular Hindu traditions were different from the real Hindu beliefs.He is also called the "Maker of Modern India"and"Father of Modern India". He was the founder of the Brahmo Samaj, one of the first Indian socio-religious reform movements.He was given the title 'Raja' by the Mughal Emperor.
Raja Ram Mohan Roy was born on May 22, 1772 in village Radhanagar in the District of Hooghly in Bengal. His father Ramkanto Roy was a Vaishnavite, while his mother, Tarini, was from a Shakta background. Ram Mohan himself was also devoted to lord Vishnu and in his 14th year, he wanted to become a monk but his mother, Tarini Devi objected to his desire.
Though his father Ramakanto was very orthodox but he wanted his son to have higher education and after the basic formal education in Sanskrit and Bengali in the village school, Ram Mohan was sent to Patna to study Persian and Arabic in a madrasa. After that he went to Benares (Kashi) for learning the intricacies of Sanskrit and Hindu scripture, including the Vedas and Upanishads. He learnt English language at the age of 22 years.
Raja Ram Mohan Roy was against idol worship and orthodox Hindu rituals. He stood firmly against all sort of social bigotry, conservatism and superstitions. But his father was an orthodox Hindu Brahmin. This led to differences between Raja Ram Mohan Roy and his father. Following differences he left the house. He wandered around Himalayas and went to Tibet. He traveled widely before returning home.After his return Raja Ram Mohan Roy's family married him in the hope that he would change. But this did not have any effect on him. Raja Ram Mohan Roy went to Varanasi and studied the Vedas, the Upanishads and Hindu philosophy deeply. When his father died in 1803 he returned to Murshidabad. He then worked as a moneylender in Calcutta, and from 1809 to 1814; he served in the Revenue Department of the East India Company.
In 1814, Raja Ram Mohan Roy formed Atmiya Sabha. Atmiya Sabha tried to initiate social and religious reforms in the society. Raja Ram Mohan Roy campaigned for rights for women, including the right for widows to remarry, and the right for women to hold property. He actively opposed Sati system and the practice of polygamy.He also supported education, particularly education of women. He believed that English-language education was superior to the traditional Indian education system, and he opposed the use of government funds to support schools teaching Sanskrit. In 1822, he founded a school based on English education.
In 1828, Raja Ram Mohan Roy founded the 'Brahma Samaj'. Through 'Brahma Samaj, he wanted to expose the religious hypocrisies and check the growing influence of Christianity on the Hindu society. Raja Ram Mohan Roy's efforts bore fruit when in 1929, the Sati system was abolished.
In November 1830Raja Ram Mohan Roy, during his visit to United Kingdom as an ambassador of Akbar- the second to plead for his pension and allowances.Raja Ram Mohan Roy passed away on September 27, 1833 at Stapleton near Bristol due to meningitis.