Ram Mohan Roy (22 May 1772 – 27 September 1833) was born in Radhanagar, Hooghly District, Bengal Presidency. His great grandfather Krishnakanta Bandyopadhyay was a Rarhi Kulin Brahmin. Among Kulin Brahmins – descendants of the six families of Brahmins imported from Kannauj by Ballal Sen in the 12th century – those from the Rarhi district of West Bengal were notorious in the 19th century for living off dowries by marrying several women. Kulinism was a synonym for polygamy and the dowry system, both of which Rammohan campaigned against. His father, Ramkanta, was a Vaishnavite, while his mother, Tarini Devi, was from a Shaivite family. He was a great scholar of Sanskrit, Persian and English languages and also knew Arabic, Latin and Greek. One parent prepared him for the occupation of a scholar, the Shastri, while the other secured for him all the worldly advantages needed to launch a career in the laukik or worldly sphere of public administration. Torn between these two parental ideals from early childhood, Ram Mohan vacillated between the two for the rest of his life.
He was given the title of Raja by Akbar II, the Mughal emperor. His influence was apparent in the fields of politics, public administration, education and religion. He was known for his efforts to abolish the practices of sati and child marriage. Roy is considered to be the “Father of the Bengal Renaissance” by many historians.