Google honours Raja Ram Mohan Roy: What is Brahmo Samaj?
On Tuesday, May 22, Internet giant Google celebrated the 246th birth anniversary of Raja Ram Mohan Roy, the 19th century pioneer of Indian renaissance. Roy's greatness lied in the role he played to show the path ahead in the pitch black darkness of socio-economic inertia. He did not care for the gigantic obstacles that he countered from his contemporary society and stood his ground to effect social reforms, even if that required cooperation from the British rulers of the day.
When one talks about Ram Mohan Roy, a special mention should be made about Brahmo Samaj which was formed in 1828. It was a monotheistic religious reform movement among the Hindus. It was a call by Roy and his like-minded peers for reforms in thinking of the elitist (Kulin) Brahminism of the time which represented the highest order of Brahmins in the caste system.
By stressing on social reforms like women's education, abolition of social evils like caste and even universal adult franchise at a time when independence was long distant, the Brahmo Samaj sowed the seeds of Bengal Renaissance and it eventually led to a complete social, religious and educational advancement of the Hindu religion.
The Brahmo Samaj was publicly inaugurated in January 1830 and it subsequently gave birth to Brahmoism.
The Brahmo Samaj reflected Bengal's Renaissance and also actively participated in social emancipation like scrapping of evil rituals like sati, dowry, child marriage and overall betterment of the women.
The Samaj believed that all human beings are human first and should not be discriminated on grounds of caste, religion or gender. It spoke about the oneness of god and brotherhood and rejected idol worship and mundane rituals.
The Brahmo Samaj succeeded in delivering a body blow to various social evils and Roy envisioned education as the best way forward for the society. To back his idea, Roy also established various colleges and contributed towards the development of various languages. Roy himself was a polyglot and mastered a number of European languages besides Urdu, Sanskrit and Persian.
Roy's successful mission in banning the inhuman ritual of sati was assisted by Lord William Bentinck, the then governor general of India, in 1833.
After the death of Roy, Brahmo Samaj suffered a split and two factions - led by Maharshi Debendranath Tagore and Keshab Chandra Sen - were formed.