Romesh Dutt was born on 13th August, 1848 in the soil of Bengal in a Kayastha family, who had their roots deep delved into the domain of academic and literary achievements. His parents, Isam Chunder Dutt and Thakamani were distinctive inhabitants of Ramnagar located in Kolkata. His father was a Deputy Collector in Bengal as a result of which Dutt was educated at various Bengali District schools as well as Hare School at Kolkata. 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. . Later he studied at University of Calcutta; Presidency College in 1864. Thereafter he passed the First Arts examination in 1866. He entered the Indian Civil Service as an Assistant Magistrate of Alipore in 1871. He served as an administrator for Backerganj, Mymensingh, Burdwan, Donapur and Midnapore.
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).As he came out with flying colours in the ICS exam, Dutt was appointed as the Assistant Magistrate of Alipur in 1871. His service period witnessed him using fair means to render aid to the needy irrespective of the boundaries of caste and creed. During 1874 and 1876, there were famines in Meherpur, Nadia District and in Dakhin Shahbazpur, Bhola District respectively. Call for relief became the need of the hour from the Government headquarters, and the crisis was well-managed by Romesh Chunder Dutt.
This example of proficiency with deft excellence earned him his much deserved promotion to the post of Executive. His promotion became a landmark in the history of Indian history as he was the first Indian to achieve this rank in the colonial soil. 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, the highest rank ever attained by any "kala admi", as Indians were looked down upon by the British Empire.
Romesh Dutt nurtured the impression that Civil Services were the best way to influence the Indian Government system which he showcased 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. 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.
Politics and Literature
Dutt had been the President of Indian National Congress in 1899; yet he never got involved in active politics. Utilizing his power and position towards the betterment of the country he aimed at creating India the land of dream and accomplishment. He took up pen with the sole motivation to ensure Indians were thoroughly acknowledged with the socio economic paraphernalia of the nation. His body of literary mass is vociferous about the contemporary financial situations and how the same improved after the British rule. His pen revealed his juxtaposed vagaries of intrepid mind. On one hand, he expressed positive views on the British Government, while on the other hand, Romesh was critical 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'. Major B. D.Basu ,Dadabhai Naoroji, and Dutt formulated what is conceptualised as the archetypal diagnosis of the Indian economic problem under colonial rule with the emphasizing of the 'drainage of wealth' from India through home charges payable to Britain and unrequited exports, the absence of protection for India's infant industries, and the negative implications of even constructive efforts like the railways, which deprived many providers of traditional transport services and facilitated the import of British manufactured goods.
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.
Dutt' wrote The Literature of Bengal that presented the literary and intellectual progress in Bengal over eight centuries. It commenced from Jayadeva. He is noted for his English and Bengali works. On Bankim Chandra Chatterjee's advice he started writing in Bengali. It is also evident in his first two novels. Vangavijeta and Madhavikankan are romantic tales which has a historical background. However in his Rajput Jivansandhya and Maharashtra Jivanprabhat his individuality was visible. These are historical novels. These four novels span a hundred years of Indian history starting from the middle of the sixteenth century to the middle of the seventeenth. The last two are patriotic in nature.
Rajput Jivan sandhya speaks about the decline of Rajput power and Maharashtra Jivan Prabhat describes ascend of the Marathas under Shivaji. These works represent the author's cultivated mind. The materials are presented with a historian's knowledge. A sense of discipline is displayed in his writings. He does not allow the economy and clarity of his style to be spoilt by sentimentality in his works. However he lacks colour and imaginative vision. He never descends below a certain level and never rises far above it. His best works are Samsar and Samaj. They are social novels. The themes are slender though descriptions of village life are very enjoyable.
(Last Updated on : 28-12-2012)
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