Google on Tuesday marked the 246th birth anniversary of celebrated social reformer Raja Ram Mohan Roy, who is known as the father of the Indian Renaissance with a doodle designed by Toronto-based artist Beena Mistry.
Roy was born on May 22, 1772, in Radhanagar village in West Bengal’s Murshidabad district. He was a non-conformist from a young age, and shunned orthodox Hindu rituals and idol worship.
He left home early in his life because of his differences with his father Ramakanta Roy who was a Brahmin. He studied Persian and Arabic along with Sanskrit, which influenced his thinking about God. He translated a lot of Vedic scriptures into English. After his father’s death in 1803 he moved to Murshidabad, where he published his first book Tuhfat-ul-Muwahhidin (A Gift to Monotheism).
Ram Mohan Roy 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.
Ram Mohan Roy was also one of the pioneers of Indian journalism. He published several journals in Bengali, Persian, Hindi and English to propagate social reforms. Bengali weekly Samvad Kaumudi was the most important journal that he published. The Atmiya Sabha published an English weekly called the Bengal Gazette and a Persian newspaper called Miratul-Akbar.
In 1830, he travelled to the United Kingdom as the Mughal Empire’s envoy to ensure that Lord William Bentinck’s law banning the practice of Sati was not overturned. He died in a village near Bristol three years later of meningitis, and was buried there.