It is wrong to cross the ocean and go to
the other countries! Such a view appears laughable today.
But, a hundred and fifty year ago, it was believed that it was wrong and irreligious
for a Hindus to cross the seas.
Rammohan was one of the first Indians who rejected this idea and went to England. The
allowances granted by the British to the Mughal King of Delhi, Akbar the Second, was very
small. He had t submit a representation to the King of England to increase it. The Mughal
King decided to send Rammohan to England at his expense. Before he left for England, the
King gave him the title of Raja.
The second reason for Raja Rammohan Roys visit to England was to plead for the
abolition of Suttee before the Parliament.
Many people objected to Rammohans visit to England. Some British officers also
opposed his going to England. But his fame had already reached England.
When Rammohan landed at Liverpool, the leading citizens were there to welcome him. The
famous historian William Rathbone who was laid up with paralysis sent his son. He
fulfilled his last desire by inviting him to his house and by talking to him. Several
associations honored him. He visited France also. Everywhere scholars appreciated his
Though the allowances of the King was not finally settled, it was decided that he could
be given three lakhs rupees annually. Rammohans efforts for the abolition of
Sahagamana were also successful. On the day when the Bill was passed by the
Parliament, the joy of Rammohan knew no bounds.
Rammohan was very rich. He was a great man who spent his money for other people and for
his country. In Calcutta, even foreigners borrowed money from him in times of need. Such a
rich man was reduced in England to total dependence upon others, even for food. His health
broke down. The main reason for his financial difficulties was that the firm in which he
had invested his capital became insolvent.
Out of spite, some people filed a suit against Rammohan and his son accusing them of
misusing money. Rammohan had to spend money like water to prove that he was not guilty.
Though he got justice, he lost his entire honor and status in England. Even the financial
help from his son stopped. Moreover, one or two persons in England cheated him. He became
worried. He fell ill and became bed-ridden.
Some people, who had respect for him looked after him, like relatives. Reputed doctors
treated him. But his health did not improve.
Rammohan passed away on 27th of September 1833.
A friend of Rammohan visited England in 1843. He removed the coffin of Rammohan from
Stapleton Grove to Arnos Vale, the commentary on the outskirts of Bristol, and
buried it there. A memorial in Indian style was raised over his tomb.
It is a hundred and forty years since Rammohan died. But his memory is still green in
the minds of Indians. He was an intellectual who tried to lead India to modernity. He
taught the Hindus to give up meaningless beliefs and customs. He was the lamp that led
Hindus to the essence of Hinduism. His memory itself guides us to a noble life.