Question: Raja Ram Mohan Roy is Known as “Father of Indian Renaissance.” Elucidate (8 marks/ 120 words)
Raja Ram Mohan Roy is called the father of the Indian Renaissance due to the remarkable changes he instituted in 18th and 19th century India. Some of the remarkable changes he has made is as follows:
He has mastered Vedas and Upanishads. With the influence of foreign religions like Islam and Christianity, he defined religion with reason and opposed idol-worship and ritualism that existed in Hinduism. He believed that every religion has truth in it. At the same time, he criticised the ritualism of Christianity and rejected Christ as the incarnation of God. He always wanted to renovate Hinduism.
In 1828, Roy set up the Brahmo Samaj, a reformist movement of the Hindu religion that aimed at fighting social evils that were prevalent in the society. He opposed superstitious practices, customs such as Sati, polygamy, child marriage, the rigidity of the caste system and its excesses, and sought property inheritance rights for women. As a result of his hard work in fighting Sati, the governor of the Bengal Presidency, Lord William Bentinck, formally banned the practice on December 4, in the year 1829.
He was instrumental in setting up several institutions including the Hindu College in Calcutta in 1817, in collaboration with David Hare; the Anglo-Hindu School in 1822; and the Vedanta College, a synthesis of western and Indian learning, in 1826. He also helped establish the Scottish Church College in 1830. His journal, the Sambad Kaumudi that touched upon various topics was very popular.
He demanded the Indianisation of superior services and separation of the executive from judiciary. He demanded equality between Indians and Europeans.
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