Raja Ram Mohan Roy – The Powerful Social Reformer and Father of Bengal Renaissance

There have been several social reformers in India. Some famous social reformers who have contributed immensely for the upliftment of society are Mahatma Jyotiba Phule, Savitribai Phule, Baba Amte, Mother Teresa, Swami Vivekananda, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, and many others. Amongst these, was also a great social reformer, Ram Mohan Roy, who was born in Bengal (Radhanagore) on 22nd May 1772. Ram Mohan Roy was known as the Father of Bangla Renaissance because of his tireless efforts for the abolition of Sati practice and child marriage in India. Ram Mohan Roy was conferred the title of "Raja" by the Mughal Emperor Akbar II.

Ram Mohan Roy – Family Background and his learnings

  • Raja Ram Mohan Roy was born in a Hindu-Brahmin family.

  • Ramkanto was Ram Mohan Roy"s father. He was a scholar in English, Sanskrit, and Persian languages.

  • Tarinidevi was Ram Mohan Roy’s mother.

  • Ram Mohan Roy completed his formal education from a village school (pathshala). He also studied Bengali language in this village school.

  • Apart from English, Bengali, Sanskrit, and Hindi, he also learned other languages like French, Latin, Greek, Arabic, and Persian.

  • He was greatly influenced by the western culture and the education system that he was a part of.

Ram Mohan Roy and religion

  • Ram Mohan Roy wanted to purify the Hindu religion by eliminating the evil forces that had entered it.

  • For this purpose, Ram Mohan Roy brought the original religious text to the people of the Hindu religion.

  • He performed the difficult task of translating the Upanishads and Vedas into Bengali language.

  • He believed in universal religion and that the supreme power is one.

  • He was against idol worship and strongly condemned the rituals and malpractices performed in the name of religion.

Ram Mohan Roy and the Brahmo Samaj

  • The Brahmo Samaj was founded by Raja Ram Mohan Roy along with Dwarkanath Tagore in 1828.

  • The Brahmo Samaj was the first important organization for social and religious reforms in India.

  • The main purpose behind forming the Brahmo Samaj was to eradicate the practices of Sati, child marriage, and caste system in India.

  • The phrase "Brahmo Samaj" refers to One True God.

Ram Mohan Roy against the Sati practice in India

  • Sati was a custom followed in the Hindu community in ancient India, where the widow would immolate herself in the funeral pyre of her husband to end her life and the bond of marriage.

  • The greatest achievement of Raja Ram Mohan Roy as a social reformer was the abolition of the social evil of Sati in Bengal in 1829.

  • Ram Mohan Roy had himself witnessed how his elder brother’s wife was forced to commit Sati and immolated herself in her husband’s funeral pyre.

  • It was this incident that made Ram Mohan Roy raise his voice and fight against the evil tradition of Sati that existed in the society during those days.

  • It was due to the continuous efforts of Ram Mohan Roy that a law to ban the Sati tradition was passed in 1829 by Lord William Bentick, the then Governor-General of Bengal.

Work done by Raja Ram Mohan Roy

  • Ram Mohan Roy founded the Anglo Hindu School in 1822. This was the first English medium school in Bengal, where western science, reasoning, and writing were taught to students.

  • He translated the Sanskrit Upanishads into Bengali, English, and Hindi, and also wrote its summaries.

  • He also fought against child marriage, polygamy, dowry, and the purdah system.

  • He supported widow remarriages, education for women, inter-caste marriages, and equal rights for women in the inherited property.

  • In 1822, Ram Mohan Roy founded and published "Sambad Kaumudi", the Bengali weekly newspaper. This newspaper actively campaigned against abolition of the Sati tradition.

  • He also published "MIrat-ul-Akbar, the first Persian journal in India to make people aware about the problems impacting their daily life in British India.

Raja Ram Mohan Roy and his death

  • Ram Mohan Roy was sent to England by the Mughal Emperor as his ambassador to ensure that the Bengal Sati Regulation passed by Lord William Bentick was not revoked.

  • He campaigned for the ban of Sati even in England.

  • He died due to Meningitis on 23rd September, 1833 in Stapleton near Bristol in Britain.

  • He was originally laid to rest in the Stapleton Grounds, but was reinterred in the Arnos Vale Cemetery in 1843. His mausoleum still stands there, till date.

  • In honor of Ram Mohan Roy, there is a pedestrian path in Stapleton, Bristol that reads ‘Raja Ram Mohan Roy Walk’.


The contributions and valiant efforts of Raja Ram Mohan Roy as a social reformer laid the foundation of Modern India. He is also known as the ‘Father of Indian Renaissance’ because of the transformation and changes he brought about in Indian society in the 18th and 19th Century.