Raja Ram Mohan Roy, also called the father of Modern India, was born on 22 May, 1772. But unlike most people who choose to be a product of their times, Ram Mohan Roy since a very young age had developed the knack of questioning tradition and unorthodox traditional practices. He was born in a wealthy Brahmin family and hence was entitled to a higher education in the caste infected Indian society, but he never took the privilege of education for granted. Instead, like all original minds, he made it a point to educate himself about the various branches of knowledge and experimented it in social life. He founded the Brahmo Samaj, a social-religious reform movement and fought against Sati Pratha (voluntary self-immolation by wife after the death of husband) ultimately playing a key role in getting the cruel practice abolished.
Born in Radhanagar of then Bengal Presidency in British India, Ram Mohan Roy's father, Ramkanta was a Vaishnavite (a sect in Hindu religion which considers Lord Vishnu to be supreme God) and mother Tarinidevi was a Shivaite (a sect in Hindu religion which considers Lord Shiva to be supreme God). Ram Mohan Roy himself read, translated and interpreted religious texts in Bengali from Sanskrit and other languages and experimented with religion. He was a polyglot who was proficient in at least five languages.
Facts about the life of the social reformer who was also a scholar and an original mind that transcended his time:
1.) Ram Mohan Roy translated the huge religious text namely the Vedas and Upanishads into Bengali, Hindi and English from Sanskrit. He was elected in the French Societe Asiatique in the honour of his translations.
2.) Ram Mohan Roy was a polyglot with command over various languages such as Sanskrit, Persian, Arabic, English and Bengali.
3.) He founded the Brahmo Samaj, a socio-religious movement to modernise and reform the Indian society.
4.) He opposed idol worship and orthodox religious rituals.
5.) Opposed and denounced the caste system
6.) Established the Anglo- Hindu school in the year 1822
7.) The title of Raja was conferred on him by the titular king of Delhi when he visited England in 1829 on an unofficial trip.
Besides these achievements, Raja Ram Mohan Roy also founded and published several newspapers and journals. Most prominent among them was the Sambad Kaumudi. He was also one of the first Indians who voiced his opinion in favour of English being made as the language of instruction in Indian schools. Raja Ram Mohan Roy imbibed the best of the Western world and measured it along with the enormous scale of the wisdom in the eastern world to emerge as both, a man of knowledge and wisdom.