Raja Ram Mohan Roy

Raja Ram Mohan Roy was the father of the Renaissance of modern India and a tireless social reformer who inaugurated the era of Enlightenment and liberal reformist modernization in India.


  • Raja Ram Mohan Roy was born on May 22, 1772 in Radhanagar, Bengal, into an orthodox Brahmin family.
  • Raja Ram Mohan Roy’s early education was in Persian and Arabic languages ​​in Patna, where he studied the Quran, the works of Sufi mystic poets and the Arabic translation of the works of Plato and Aristotle. In Banaras, he studied Sanskrit and read the Vedas and Upanishads.
  • Returning to his village at the age of sixteen, he wrote a rational critique on Hindu idol worship.
  • From the year 1803 to 1814, he worked for the East India Company as a private diwan under Woodford and Digby.
  • In the year 1814, he resigned from his job and moved to Calcutta to devote his life to religious, social and political reforms.
  • In November 1830 he went to England with a view to counteract the possible unrest created by the banning of the Act on Sati.
  • Ram Mohan Roy went to England for complaints related to the pension of Mughal Emperor Akbar II of Delhi when he was conferred the title of ‘King’ by Akbar II.
  • In his address, ‘Tagore called Ram Mohan Roy’ a bright star in Indian history as the inaugurator of the modern era in India.


  • Ram Mohan Roy was very much influenced by western modern ideas and stressed intellectualism and modern scientific outlook.
  • Ram Mohan Roy’s immediate problem was the religious and social decline of his native Bengal.
  • He believed that religious conservatism hurts social life and makes people more upset rather than improving the condition of society.
  • Raja Ram Mohan Roy concluded that religious reform is both social reform and political modernization.
  • Ram Mohan believed that every sinner should atone for his sins and this should be done through self-purification and repentance and not through hypocrisy and rituals.
  • He believed in the social equality of all human beings and was thus a strong opponent of the caste system.
  • Ram Mohan Roy was attracted to Islamic monotheism. He said that monotheism is also the basic message of Vedanta.
  •  He considered monotheism to be a corrective step towards polytheism and Christian theism of Hinduism. He believed that monotheism supported a universal model for humanity.
  • Raja Ram Mohan Roy believed that Hindu society cannot progress until women are freed from inhuman forms like illiteracy, child marriage, sati practice.


Religious Reforms:

  • Raja Ram Mohan Roy’s first publication Tuhfat-ul-Muwahideen (a gift to the gods) appeared in the year 1803 exposing the irrational religious beliefs and corrupt practices of the Hindus.
  • In the year 1814, he founded the Atmya Sabha in Calcutta to protest against idol worship, caste rigidity, fruitless rituals and other social evils.
  • He criticized the ritual of Christianity and rejected Jesus as an incarnation of God. In the Precepts of Jesus (1820) he tried to separate the moral and philosophical messages of the New Testament that were conveyed through miraculous stories.

Social reforms:

  • Raja Ram Mohan Roy conceived reformist religious associations as instruments of social and political change.
  • He founded the Atmya Sabha in the year 1815, the Calcutta Unitarian Association in the year 1821 and the Brahm Sabha (which later became the Brahmo Samaj) in the year 1828.
  • He campaigned against caste system, untouchability, superstition and drug use.
  • He was known for his pioneering thoughts and action on women’s freedom and in particular the abolition of sati and widow remarriage.
  • He protested against child marriage, illiteracy of women and abusive status of widows and demanded the right of inheritance and property to women.
Raja Ram Mohan Roy
Raja Ram Mohan Roy

Brahmo Samaj

  • Raja Ram Mohan Roy established the Brahma Sabha in the year 1828 which was later renamed the Brahmo Samaj.
  • It was against priesthood, rituals and sacrifices etc.
  • It focused on prayer, meditation and reading the scriptures. It believed in the unity of all religions.
  • It was the first intellectual reform movement in modern India. This led to the rise of rationalism and enlightenment in India which indirectly contributed to the nationalist movement.
  • It was the forerunner of all social, religious and political movements of modern India. It split into two parts in the year 1866, namely Brahma Samaj of India led by Keshav Chandra Sen and Adi Brahma Samaj led by Debendranath Tagore.
  • Key Leaders: Devendranath Tagore, Keshav Chandra Sen

Educational Reforms:

  • Rai made a lot of efforts to spread modern education among the countrymen. He supported David Heyer’s efforts to find a Hindu college in the year 1817, while Rai’s English school taught mechanics and philosophy of Voltaire.
  • In the year 1825 he established Vedanta College where both Indian teaching and Western social and physical science courses were taught.

Economic and Political Reforms:

Civil liberties: Roy was highly influenced by and praised the civil liberties granted to the people by the constitutional government of the British system. He wanted to extend the benefit of that system of government to the Indian people.

freedom of press: 

  • Through writing and other activities, he supported the movement for independent press in India.
  • When the press censorship was relaxed by Lord Hastings in the year 1819, Ram Mohan Roy wrote three journals – the Brahmanical journal (1821); Published the Bengali weekly- Samvad Kaumudi (year 1821) and Persian weekly- Mirat-ul-Akbar.

Taxation Reforms: 

  • Rai condemned the oppressive practices of Bengali landlords and demanded fixation of minimum rent for the land. He also demanded the abolition of tax-free land and taxes.
  • He called for the reduction of export duty on Indian goods abroad and the abolition of the trading rights of the East India Company.

Administrative reforms: They demanded Indianisation of higher services and separation of executive and judiciary. He also demanded equality between Indians and Europeans.

Literary works of Raja Ram Mohan Roy

  • Tuhfat-ul-Muwahideen (1804)
  • Vedanta saga (1815)
  • Translation of the abbreviation of Vedanta Saar (1816)
  • Kenopanishad (1816)
  • Ishopanishad (1816)
  • Kathopanishad (1817)
  • Mundak Upanishad (1819)
  • Defense of Hinduism (1820)
  • The Precepts of Jesus – The Guide to Peace and Happiness (1820)
  • Bengali Grammar (1826)
  • The Universal Religion (1829)
  • History of Indian Philosophy (1829)
  • Gaudiya Grammar (1833)

Raja Ram Mohan Roy was one of the few people of his time who realized the importance of the modern era. He knew that the ideal of human civilization is not in isolation from freedom, but in the mutual cooperation of nations as well as the inter-dependence and brotherhood of individuals. 


What was Raja Ram Mohan Roy famous for?

Creator of modern India. Known as the father of Indian innovation, this multifaceted social, religious and educational reformer is renowned for his leading role in opposing practices such as sati, child marriage and the social sector, and educational advocacy.

Why Raja Ram Mohan Roy is called the father of modern India?

Born on May 22, 1772, into a Bengali-Brahmin family, the social reformer Raja Ram Mohan Roy is known as the 'Creator of Modern India' and the 'Father of the Indian Renaissance'. He campaigned for the abolition of sati and caste system and demanded property rights for women.

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