Raja Ram Mohun Roy-A Social Reformer nay Deformer? Part 6

h) Remarks of Swami Vivekananda on Ram Mohan’s campaign against Sati:
Swami Vivekananda said“I have explored all the places of India but I never met with a single case which reveals the truth of the propaganda that young widows in India were burnt alive under the pressure of social and religious practice. In every instance
they courted death out of their own accord. When such incidents occurred, priests, sages
and saints tried their utmost to desist them from such deeds as all of them were opposed to the ghastly act of suicide. A Sati believes that self immolation with her husband in the pyre will bring Salvation to herself and her kith and kin.

A woman who self immolated on the burning pyre of her husband was honoured by all for her chastity. And some times, even after her death a structure is erected in honour of her sacred memory. (Vivekananda Rachanabali Vol. X Page 40, 44, 52,112 about Sati):

i) Dr. Nalini Ranjan Sengupta, ex-President, Shastra Dharma Prachar Sabha and eminent physician of India wrote:
Ram Mohan Roy actually petitioned the Governor General, earnestly entreating him not
to open the Sanskrit College which was being established by the then rulers (The East India Company) as a matter of policy. The Raja contended that to start Sanskrit College
would be a grievous blow to progress. It would encourage the study of Nyaya and
Sankhya System of philosophy which were worthless; it would mean that the study of
Vyakarna which would waste a young Lad’s life for 12 years over trifles. The study of
Vedanta would teach that all that you see is illusion or Maya and the result would be
to inculcate disobedience, and students would not acknowledge parental authority;
one would become like vagabonds and so on. This is surely utterly undiluted nonsense
and yet the man who said all this, is venerated as Raja Ram Mohan, the father
of the nation. If such nonsense could be solemnly put in a petition by one who was
supposed to be a foremost nationalist of his time, one can only imagine, the effect on callow youths studying in schools and colleges.

He was keen on British Culture and English education. The consequence of Raja Ram
Mohan Roy’s infatuation with English education and his consequent defection from Sanatan Hindu Dharma, were far reaching. He was a symptom of the Hindu mind slipping from its old moorings. The East India Company, who then ruled India, watched, with pleasant interest his attack on image worship, miscalled idolatry, on caste, on an institution like Satitwa (chastity) which had been the bete noire of all foreigners. Akbar had tried to suppress it, but ultimately failed, and at the end he decreed that anyone wanting to be burnt with the husband and on the same pyre, must inform the local
authorities. The English were naturally also totally against the practice. For after all, the ideal of Satitwa was too much for people with whom widow marriage was honourable and divorce was a natural process. They hated it. But it was not till Raja Ram Mohan Roy and others petitioned them that they could take action. Lord Bentinck was assured that the Hindu mind was divided on the subject.

Before Ram Mohan lashed out against image worship, which he called idolatry, The East
India Company used to offer Puja homage to our Gods and Goddesses. The band of Madras Governor regularly played music at dawn before the temple of Parthasarathi at Madras, an honour which the Christian Missionaries deeply resented, but could not prevent. During the Napoleonic war between England and France from1789-1815, there was one brief interlude. In 1802 the Peace of Amiens was signed. The East India Company passed a sigh of great relief and they celebrated the signing of the ‘Peace Treaty’ by offering a puja of Rs. 5000/- at the Kali Temple at Kalighat. Rs.5000/- then would be worth even more than Rs.5000,000/-now. One can only imagine
the stately procession or puja offering proceeding from the Government House,
Calcutta the seat of the Governor General to Kalighat. But alas, that respect for Partha
Sarathi or for Kali, wrung by Hindu devotion, disappeared when Ram Mohan and others
began to write that the image worship is against the Vedas; that the Puranas were a mass of fictitious talks of recent origin which deserved no respect. The foreign rulers now began to realize that the most enlightened Hindus were against the image worship, and that it was not necessary to show respect for Hindu Gods and Goddesses because the best minds among the Hindu themselves were against image worship. The Madras Governor’s band ceased to play at Partha-Sarathi temple in Madras. No more pujas from the East India Company were offered at the Kalighat temple. But even then in spite of Ram Mohan Roy and people like him the Hindu youths became less and less violently,
wrenched from the Hindu faith. The history of the decades from Ram Mohan Roy’s death in 1834 to the time of the first partition of Bengal, the Russo Japanese war in 1904-5, was a gradual reversion to Hinduism. By the end of the century, conversion to Christianity had long stopped, the enthusiasm for Brahmoism also had begun to wane.

Thus the ding-dong struggle for the possession of the soul of India had been going
on for over hundred years. While English education continued to poison the minds of the English educated youths against the principal Hindu tenets of caste, of Satitwa, of murti
puja Hindu society continued to throw up giants of galaxy of saints from Nanak, Meera Bai, Tulsidas, disciples of Chaitanyna Mahapravu, Shyama Charan Lahiri and later on Sri Ram krishna Pramhansa, Bijay Krishna Goswami and they gradually brought back the errant Hindus to the path of their forefathers, Sanatan Hindu Dharma began to assert itself.

j) Hindusthan Times dated 24.10.79, published the following news :–
To mark the International Archives Week, Mr. Sharungare, Minister of State for communication of Government of India spoke of 150 years old paper sheet in
possession of National Archives.The paper had thrown up what till today remains a
mysterious possibility that Raja Ram Mohan Roy, the great advocate of women’s right had a Muslim concubine though he had three wives.The paper shown a routine entry about three personal servants, Mukherjee, Dass and Sheikh Baksee, who, had sailed to the U.K. with their masters. A historian propounded that Seikh Baksee was the son of Raja Ram Mohan Roy from a Muslim concubine. There are also records of one Mary Carpenter who said she had seen Roy with Mukherjee, Dass and his son Baksee in U.K. Again the Captain of the ship signed a copy which mentions that Baksee had gone to England with Roy– found in archivists. Again in 1834, when he was dying at Bristol in meningitis, he did not hesitate to say, “I forbid anybody not possessing the sacred thread on him to touch his dead body”.(Book Reference: Raja Ram Mohan Roy– First
Phase by Iqbal Singh- reviewed in The Statesman). To any other person we would
have attached the objective unprincipled. But no, not to Raja Ram Mohan who was almost all through his life consistently inconsistent. But we know he bitterly attacked Hindu Caste System. He was well versed in Sanskrit but he opposed foundation of Sanskrit College by Lord Bentink. In Dinajpur when he was a Seristadar, he was very rich, he was made Raja by Mughal Emperor, but his father and elder brother were in jail for non-payment of debt.

k) Conclusion:-
Raja Ram Mohan Roy was the mouth piece of the then British Government for the natives of India. The government induced him to advocate and put into his mouth as his own words, that superstitious practices like caste rigidity, Sati and early marriage amongst Hindus must be changed and practised as per Christian ideas. He did it with heart and soul, He sold his wisdom to his benevolent English Government.
He published magazines in English, Hindi, Persian (Mirat-ul-Akbar), Bengali (Sambad
Kaumudi) to propagate the views of his English masters. His efforts gone futile, his miscalled superstitious Hindu mass did not care to notice his doctrine. The vast unlettered mass of people were always firm in their faith, in the tradition of old Sanatan Hindu Dharma, and all the restlessness generated, troubled the English educated Class, but they still remained attached to the old tradition.

The Hindu mass realized that Raja Ram Mohan Roy was a close friend of British Government, and fighting against the pristine Sanatan Hindu Dharma which is rich with inner vitality, and has the strength to thwart the Raja’s view. He deliberately ignored the soul of the nation.

A crow remains a crow even after ornamental decoration, its character remains
unchanged, so of Raja Ram Mohun. Really, Success in an alien path is successful suicide.
(Concluded)

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