Today, Google has dedicated a doodle on its homepage to Raja Ram Mohan Roy. Widely regarded as the ‘father of Indian Renaissance’, today’s doodle marks what would have been Roy’s 246th birth anniversary.
Today’s Google doodle has been illustrated by Beena Mistry, a UX Designer, and Illustrator based out of Toronto. The doodle depicts Roy preaching the simple folks of rural India. Roy’s many contributions to the Indian society includes taking on orthodoxy, power, religion, and campaigned against the practice of Sati.
Roy was born on May 22, 1722 in Radhanagar village, West Bengal. From an young age, Roy had differences with his father, Ramkanto Roy, who was a Hindu Brahmin. Roy was against most orthodox Hindu rituals, and idol worship. These differences led to him leaving home at an young age, and he traveled to the Himalayas and Tibet. He also learnt Persian, Arabic, and Sanskrit, which would eventually help him translate Vedic scriptures into English.
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On return, Roy was married, but he would continue to explore Hinduism. In 1803, Roy would publish his first book, a Persian treatise with an Arabic preface, Tuhfat-ul-Muwahhidin or A Gift to Monotheism. Roy also took a keen interest in European politics, and closely followed the French Revolution.
In 1815, Roy found Atmiya Sabha, and in 1828 he established the Brahmo Samaj, which is said to be one of the first Indian socio-religious reform movements. As a part of the Samaj, Roy “gave a Unitarian reaction of the Hindu Shastras from the Vedanta and the Mahanirvana Tantra. As a Muslim defender of the faith, he wrote the Tuhfat-Ul-Muwahhiddin and the Monozeautul Adiyan, which were polemical works, and as a Christian, he gave a Unitarian version of the entire body of scriptures, old and new, in his controversies with the Christian Missionaries.”
In 1830, he also traveled to the UK as an ambassador of the Mughal Empire to ensure that Lord William Bentinck’s Bengal Sati Regulation, banning the practice of Sati, was not overturned.