In the early nineteenth century, many educated Indians began to feel that western culture and the rising tide of Christianity posed a challenge to their age old traditions and beliefs. In their attempt to remedy the situation, many reformers became critical of the past and began to look for ways to rid the society of its evils, such as caste distinction, purdah system and the custom of Sati. They wanted a new social order in keeping with the traditional values and modern development. Many Indians were impressed by progress made by science as well as the doctrine of reason and humanism of the West. The social conditions of the 19th century led to socio-religious reform movements. One of them was Brahmo Samaj.
The Brahmo Samaj or the society of the God was founded in 1828 by Raja Rammohan Roy (1772-1833). He was a scholar and was well-versed in Sanskrit, Persian, English, Hindi and Bengali. He made an intensive study of Christianity and other religions. After that he came to the conclusion that the Hindu society needed reform and India had to learn a lot from the West.
Ram Mohan Roy was born in Burdwan in Bengal. Raja Rammohan Roy served the East India Company for a number of years and became a revenue officer in 1809. He was a critic of the unjust actions and policies of the British Government in India. He protested against the curbs on the freedom of the press. His progressive views helped to change Hindu society but these views were bitterly opposed by the orthodox Hindus. He was a social and religious reformer, an educationist and a political leader. He is remembered for his help in the abolition of Sati and in modernization of educational practices. His ideas on social and religious reforms constitute the ideals of the Brahmo Samaj founded by him in 1828.
Rabindranath Tagore said, "Raja Rammohan Roy inaugurated the modern age in India. He was the father of Indian Renaissance and the prophet of Indian nationalism." One of his greatest achievements is the uplift of the position of women in India. First of all, he tried to give women proper education in order to give them better social status in society. His effort in the abolition of Sati made him immortal as a social reformer.
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