GS -1 2- Modern Indian history (from A.D.1757 to A.D. 1947): Significant events, personalities and issues, etc. RAJA RAM MOHAN ROY Roy was unquestionably the first person on the subcontinent to seriously engage with the challenges posed by modernity to traditional social structures and ways of being. He was also one of the first Indians whose thought and practice were not circumscribed by the constrains of kin, caste and religion. Rammohan Roy was born in the village of Radhanagar in Bengal in 1772. His family were of the Vaishnava sect of Hindus. Moderately prosperous landowners, they had served for several generations as revenue officials under the Mughals. He was formidably multilingual. Through his studies -wherever these may have been - Roy became less willing to accept the claim and prejudices of orthodox Hinduism. The disenchantment was confirmed by what he saw around him. His elder brother died, and the wife was forced to commit sati to Rammohan's dismay After he had finished with his studies, Rammohan Roy worked with the East India Company at various place in Bengal, before settling in Calcutta in the year of the Battle of Waterloo, 1815. By this time he had already published several books. His first book, written in Persian with a preface in Arabic, was an attack on idol worship. After he moved to Calcutta, Roy became increasingly involved in literary and social work. He translated the Upanishads from Sanskrit into Bengali. He published a tract in English against sati. He debated with orthodox scholars on the rights of Hindu Women. He also contested the Claim of Christian missionaries that their religion was superior to all others. In 1815 he founded an Atmiya Sabha or 'friendship association' which among other things, searched for elements common to different religious traditions. Roy himself had now come to believe that the omnipresent God, who is the only proper object of religious veneration, is one and undivided in person; He claimed this was the
message of the Vedas, and of the Bible and the Quran as well. Seeking to promote inter- religious understanding, Roy wrote a book on the precepts of Jesus, and began work on a life of Muhammad Roy and his circle were roundly abused by orthodox Hindus, who derided them as sinful atheists and moderns blinded by passion. However, the European Christians in India did not warm to him either. They complained that he opposed conversion and that his admiration for Jesus did not extend to acknowledging his divinity. In 1816 Roy opened a school for boys, whose medium of instruction was English. In 1821 he started a weekly newspaper in Bengali-one of the first such in any Indian language. They he started a paper in Persian (of which, as with its Bengali predecessor, he wrote all the contents). In 1828 he founded the Brahmo Samaj (the Society of God), which preached the worship of the One God on the basis of what its founder claimed were the original teachings of the Vedas. When the practice of sati was legally abolished in 1829, the credit for its abolition was given to the Governor General, William Bentinck. However, as a contemporary English observer-herself a woman- pointed our, the legislation could not have been brought about but for the powerful though unacknowledged aid of the great Hindu philosopher Rammohan Roy'. Roy's great contribution towards this reform was to demonstrate that sati was not a religious duty sanctioned or upheld by Hindu scriptural tradition. Through the 1820s, Roy's ideas were being propagated through his Bengali newspaper, which was called the Sangbad Kaumudi, or the 'Moon of Intelligence'. The historian A.F Salahuddin Ahmed quotes two remarkable contemporary testimonies to this paper's influence. In December 1921, the Calcutta journal, a periodical of (and for) the English in India, wrote of Roy's newspaper that 'she will be the means of the moral and intellectual renovation of India'. Nine years later, a London magazine described the Sangbad Kaumudi as 'the Morning Chronicle of India, advocating freedom, Civil and religious, opposed to corruption and tyranny, and laboring, we are happy to say effectively and extensively, to eradicate the idolatrous rites of the Brahmins and awaken the Hindus to a sense of the degradation and misery into which they been plunged Notably, Rammohan Roy had a keen interest in politics outside India as well. He welcomed the movements that delivered the countries of South America from Spanish colonial rule Within Spain, he supported the liberal opposition to an autocratic monarchy. He championed the emancipation of Catholics within the United Kingdom. This internationalist orientation set him apart from moralists and thinkers of the past - thus as C.A. Bayly has recently pointed out, Roy 'was the first Indian to represent the growth of freedom in India as an essential part of a wider transnational quest of humanity for self-realization'.
In 1830 Rammohan Roy was send by the now much-weakened Mughal emperor to England, to petition the King to increase his allowance and perquisites. Arriving in London in April 1831, Roy spent the next two years in the city. He met with officials of the East India Company, lobbied with members of Parliament, was granted an audience with the King and wrote and published books on Indian economics and law. He exchanged views with British Utilitarians and English Socialists and also travelled to Paris. His biographer Sophia Dobson Collet remarks that 'as he had interpreted England to India, so now he interpreted India to England' In London, he watched with interest from the sidelines as Parliament passed the Reform bill of 1831 which extended the franchise to a greater number of British men. After many months of patient lobbying, Roy was able to persuade the | British government to increase the stipend of the Mughal emperor by 30,000 pounds a year. However, he never saw the emperor again, nor his native Bengal. On a visit to English friends in Bristol Roy took ill and died on 27 September 1833. He was buried (there being no cremation facilities them in England) in Bristol itself. While it is perhaps too much to claim that Rammohan Roy was the 'Father of Moderrn India', he was nonetheless its first liberal thinker of consequence, without whose work and writings India's encounter with modernity would have been even more conflicted and painful than it has been RELATION BETWEEN MAN AND WOMEN In 1818 Rammohan Roy wrote a pamphlet in his native Bengali, opposing the practice of asking Hindu widows to immolate themselves on their husbands' funeral pyre. In the same year he published an English version entitled 'A Conference between an Advocate for and an Opponent of The Practice of Burning Widows alive. THE FREEDOM OF THE PRESS In 1824 the Government of Bengal (which was in the hands of the East India Company) issued an ordinance placing strict restrictions on the press. Newspaper and journal had to to obtain a license that could be granted or withdrawn at the government's discretio9n. A memorial protesting this move was drafted by Rammohan Roy and with the signatures of several other prominent Bengalis, send to the government.
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I did my btech from NIT Jalandhar. I gave UP PCS Interview in 2015 and 2016, along with gave UPSC mains multiple times.