Raja Ram Mohan Roy| Brahmo Samaj: Significance & Objectives

Raja Ram Mohan Roy, the founder of the Brahmo Samaj Movement, is considered the Father of the Indian Renaissance for bringing about a number of social reforms, thereby putting an end to social evils, superstitions, inhuman practices and customs.
Ram Mohan Roy| Brahmo Samaj:  Significance & Objectives
Ram Mohan Roy| Brahmo Samaj: Significance & Objectives

Beginning with the reform of certain aspects of religious and social life, this awakening, in course of time, affected every aspect of the social, economic, cultural and political life of the country. From the late 18th century, a number of European and Indian scholars began the study of ancient India’s philosophy, science, religions and literature. This gave Indians a sense of pride in their civilization.

The study of ancient India's philosophy also helped the reformers in their struggle against social evils, superstitions and inhuman practices and customs as they used the authority of the ancient texts to put an end to these evils. While doing so, most of them cited reasons rather than mere belief and faith. 

Raja Ram Mohan Roy

Raja Ram Mohan Roy was born in a well-to-do family in Bengal, probably in 1772. He received his traditional Sanskrit learning at Banaras and Arabic and Persian learning at Patna. Later, he learnt English, Greek and Hebrew. He also knew French and Latin. He made a deep study not only of Hinduism but also of Islam, Christianity and Judaism.

He wrote a number of books in Bengali, Hindi, Sanskrit, Persian and English. He started two newspapers, one in Bengali and another in Persian. He was given the title of Raja and sent to England by the Mughal Emperor as his envoy. He reached England in 1831 and died there in 1833. He supported the introduction of English education in India, which was necessary to promote enlightenment and knowledge of science. He was a great believer in the freedom of the press and campaigned for the removal of restrictions on the press.

Ram Mohan Roy was convinced that to purify the Hindu religion of the evils that had crept into it, it was necessary to bring to the knowledge of the people the original texts of their religion. For this purpose, he took up the hard and patient job of publishing the Bengali translations of the Vedas and Upanishads.

He advocated belief in a universal religion based on the principle of one supreme God. He condemned idol worship and the rites and rituals.

Socio-Religious Reform Movements and Reformers in India

Brahma Samaj

His greatest achievement in the field of religious reform was the setting up of the Brahmo Sabha in 1828 and the Brahmo Samaj was the first important organization of religious reforms. It forbade idol worship and discarded meaningless rites and rituals. The Samaj also forbade its members from attacking any religion.

The greatest achievement in the field of social reform was the abolition of Sati in1829. He had seen how the wife of his elder brother was forced to commit Sati. His campaign against Sati aroused the opposition of the orthodox Hindus who bitterly attacked him. Ram Mohan Roy realized that the practice of Sati was due to the extremely low position of Hindu women. He advocated the abolition of polygamy and wanted women to be educated and given the right to inherit property.

The influence of Brahmo Samaj spread and branches of the Samaj were opened in different parts of the country. The two most prominent leaders of the Brahmo Samaj were Debendranath Tagore and Keshab Chandra Sen. To spread the message of Brahmo Samaj Keshab Chandra Sen travelled throughout Madras and Bombay presidencies and, later, northern India.

In 1866, there was a split in the Brahmo Samaj when Keshab Chandra Sen and his group held views that were more radical than those of the original Brahmo Samajists. They proclaimed freedom from the bondage of caste and customs, and from the authority of scriptures. They advocated and performed inter-caste marriages and widow remarriages, opposed the custom of purdah and condemned caste divisions. They attacked caste rigidity, started taking their food with the people of the so-called lower castes and other religions, opposed restrictions about food and drink, devoted their lives to the spread of education and condemned the old Hindu opposition to sea voyages. This movement influenced similar movements of reforms in other parts of the country. While this group rose in prominence, the influence of the other group, which showed little interest in social reforms, declined.

History of Modern India: Study Material


Who is the Father of the Indian Renaissance?

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.

When was Brahmo Samaj founded?

Brahmo Samaj was founded on 20 August 1828 in Kolkata.

Who founded the Brahmo Samaj?

Brahmo Samaj, a monotheistic sect of Hinduism, was founded by Raja Ram Mohan Roy.
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