Born On: 13th August, 1848
Born In: Ramnagar in Kolkata
Died On: 30th November, 1909
Career: Civil Servant, Economist, Politician and Linguist
Romesh Chunder Dutt was a famous Bengali writer, civil servant, linguist, economist and translator of Indian epics such as Ramayana and Mahabharata. He is better known as the historical novelist of Bengal. After clearing the Indian Civil Service Exam, Dutt dedicated himself to serving the people of India. In fact, he received great accolades for his administrative services. After retirement, he showed interest in politics and was elected as the President of the Indian National Congress twice. During his active years in politics, Romesh Dutt wrote several books on history and the Indian economy so as to familiarize the citizens about the country's socio-economic status. As a scholar and linguist, he showed a keen interest in literature. He has drafted several novels and books that stand as a witness to his brilliancy. Even today, he is remembered more for his literary works. Read on to learn more about his early life and career.
Romesh Dutt was born on 13th August, 1848 into a respectable Bengali Kayastha family, known for their academic and literary achievements. His parents, Isam Chunder Dutt and Thakamani were well-known people in Ramnagar located in Kolkata. His father was a Deputy Collector in Bengal. As a child, Dutt was educated at various schools. After his father's death, Romesh was looked after by his uncle, Shoshee Chunder Dutt, a renowned writer. From here, he developed interest in literature and writing.
In 1864, he joined Presidency College in Kolkata and passed his first Arts Examination in 1866. Dutt was inspired by Satyendra Nath Tagore, the first Indian to qualify for Indian Civil Services (ICS). He migrated to London in 1868 along with his friends, Surendranath Banerjee and Beharilal Gupta. Here, Romesh Dutt wrote the ICS exam and passed in 1869.
After the ICS exam, Dutt was appointed as the Assistant Magistrate of Alipur in 1871. During his service, he used fair means to render help to the people, irrespective of caste and creed. During 1874 and 1876, there were famines in Meherpur, Nadia District and in Dakhin Shahbazpur, Bhola District respectively. There was an immediate requirement for relief from the Government and this situation was well-managed by Romesh Chunder Dutt.
Owing to the excellent work done by Dutt, he was promoted to the post of Executive. In fact, he was the first Indian to achieve this rank. Later, he served as an administrator for Donapur, Burdwan, Midnapore, Mymensingh and Backerganj. In 1893, he was appointed as the District Officer of Burdwan, Commissioner of Burdwan Division (1894) and Divisional Commissioner of Orissa. Again, this was the highest rank reached by any Indian until then.
Romesh Dutt was under the impression that Civil Services were the best way to influence the Indian Government system. He demonstrated this concept effectively during his service. In 1897, at the age of 49, he retired.
After his retirement, he went to London in 1898 and worked as a lecturer of Indian History at the University College. Here, he completed his thesis on economic nationalism. After a staying in England for a short time, he returned to India as the Dewan of Baroda. This post earned him respect and popularity. The Maharaja of Baroda, Sayajirao Gaekwad III, and his staff referred to him as Babu Dewan. In 1907, Romesh Dutt became a member of the Royal Commission of Indian Decentralization.
Politics and Literature
Although Dutt was the President of Indian National Congress in 1899, he was never involved in active politics. Instead he utilized his power and position towards the betterment of the country. Through his writings, Romesh Dutt helped Indians to learn about the economic and social conditions of the nation. Most of his works talk about financial situations and how it has improved after the British rule. Even though, he expressed positive views on the British Government, Romesh wrote about high revenue rates, deindustrialization and frequent natural calamities. Some of his works related to Government and its rule are 'The Economic History', 'Famines in India' and 'England & India'.
Dutt's passion towards literature can be explored in some of his famous works such as 'Three Years in Europe', 'Rajput Jiban Sandha', 'Maharastra Prabhat' and 'Madhabi Kankan'. Other major works of this famous personality are translations of the 'Rig Veda' into the Bangla language. Apart from this, he has also translated Indian epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata into English.
Romesh Chunder Dutt passed away in Baroda on 30th November, 1909 at the age of 61.
1848: Romesh Chander Dutt was born in Kolkata.
1868: He travelled to London, along with his friends.
1869: Cleared the Indian Civil Service Exam.
1871: He was appointed as the Assistant Magistrate of Alipur.
1893: Dutt was allotted the position of District Officer of Burdwan.
1894: He became Divisional Commissioner of Orissa.
1897: Dutt retired from the Civil Services.
1899: Became the President of the Indian National Congress.
1909: He died at the age of 61 in Baroda.