Photo: Wikipedia
Photo: Wikipedia

Social reformer Raja Ram Mohan Roy, often dubbed as the Father of the Indian (or Bengali) Renaissance, had passed away on September 27, 1833. One of the founders of the Brahmo Sabha, his contributions are celebrated to this day. Roy's influence was prominent in many a field - be it politics or education or even religion. As many of you might already know, he had worked to abolish social evils. Roy campaigned for rights for women, including the right for widows to remarry, and the right for women to hold property. He actively opposed Sati system and the practice of polygamy.

But there are also many fascinating nuggets of information that most don't know about the Bengali reformer. And what better time than his death anniversary to look back at his fascinating life? To this end, we've put together a list of five points that you probably didn't know about him.

1. He was given the title 'Raja' by the Mughal Emperor Akbar Shah II who then sent him as a representative to Britain. Keep in mind that this was well into the era of British rule in India and thus, the Mughal ruler did not have much by way of power.

2. Proficient in Sanskrit, Persian, Arabic, English, Bengali and Hindi, Roy had written his first book Tuhfat-ul-Muwahhidin (A Gift to Monotheists) in Persian with an introduction in Arabic. At the time, he had been living in his hometown of Murshidabad in Bengal. Alongside books, he had also published the Persian journal Mirat-ul-Akbar and founded the newspaper Sambad Koumudi.

3. He started the Atmiya Sabha in Kolkata in 1815. It ran till 1823 and was a philosophical discussion circle. As a page on the official website of the West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education notes, "Atmiya Sabha tried to initiate social and religious reforms in the society". Dwaraka Nath Tagore is believed to have been a member.

4. Having left home after ideological differences with his father, Roy had travelled widely, wandering around the Himalayas and even went to Tibet.

5. Having passed away from meningitis, Roy was first buried at Stapleton Grove in Bristol. Later however, he was relocated in 29 May 1843 to the Arnos Vale Cemetery, in Brislington.

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