New Delhi: Tuesday marks the 246th birth anniversary of India's most celebrated social reformer Raja Ram Mohan Roy, remembered best as the "Maker of Modern India" and "father of the Indian Renaissance". Today's Google doodle reminds of his many contributions to the society.
A non-conformist in his own right, Raja Ram Mohan Roy was born on May 22, 1772, in Radhanagar village in Murshidabad district of West Bengal. A staunch supporter of monotheism, Raj Ram Mohan Roy shunned the orthodox Hindu rituals and idol worship right from the childhood even though his father, Ramkanto Roy, was a Hindu Brahmin.
At a very young age, he left home over differences with his father on religion and faith and travelled widely to Himalayas and Tibet. When he returned, his parents married him in a bid to change his outlook. Yet Raja Ram Mohan Roy continued to explore depths of Hinduism only to highlight the hypocrisy of the many practitioners of the religion.
He read Upanishads and Vedas and went on to write "Tuhfat al-muwahhidin", his first book where he advocated for reason in religion and opposed ritualism.
Women are struggling even in the present day trying to be equal to men. But nearly 200 years ago, when evils like "Sati" plagued the society, social reformers like Raja Ram Mohan Roy played a critical role to bring about a change. He opposed "Sati", the regressive practice that forced a widow to immolate herself on husband's pyre. He campaigned for equal rights for women, including the right to remarry and the right to hold property.
In 1828, Raja Ram Mohan Roy founded the "Brahmo Samaj", which is said to be one of the first Indian socio-religious reform movements.
Raja Ram Mohan Roy shares his birthday with many prominent personalities including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - a Scottish author remembered for his stories on legendary detective Sherlock Holmes - and Georges Prosper Remi, known by the pen name Herge, who created "The Adventures of Tintin".
Today's doodle dedicated to Raja Ram Mohan Roy has been created by Beena Mistry, a designer based out of Toronto. Today's Doodle by guest artist Jayesh Sivan depicts Selvon and other members of the Caribbean migrant community set against the backdrop of London, which served as the inspiration and setting for much of his works.