Rammohan joined service in the Revenue Department of the East India
Company. He was an assistant to Mr. John Digby, an English officer, from 1809-14 at
Rangpur. Digby appreciated his efficiency.
Though he held a high post on a andsome salary and had property in his village, he did
not seek a life of luxury.
Rammohan was six feet tall. He had a well-built body and a handsome and bright face. He
was a highly cultured man. He had an exceptional personality.
Rammohan began the study of English in his 22nd year. He used to read books.
He also used to read English newspapers received by Digby from England. Therefore, he knew
much that many Indians knew nothing about. He knew about the French Revolution (1789 to
1795) which had just then ended. He saw that the stock of knowledge was growing rapidly in
Europe. He knew what thepeople and the Scholars of Europe felt about the ideals of
Liberty, Equality and Democracy.
Digby used to have visitors from several foreign countries. Rammohan mixed with t hem
freely and learnt how to converse fluently and how to write good English. He developed an
elegant and forceful English style.
Rammohan loved knowledge. How much knowledge he amassed! With the help of Jain
scholars, he studied books on Jainism. From Muslim scholars, he learnt Sufism. He was
already well versed in the Vedas. He used to arrange meetings of learned men in his house
and exchange ideas. This widened his knowledge.
Rammohan spent his leisure in learning new subjects and doing social service. He
translated the Upanishads and other sacred books into English and Bengali and got them
He wished to go abroad and learn more. But his own relatives filed a suit in the court.
This came in the way of his visit to other countries.
Digby, who had gained the confidence of Rammohan, returned to England in 1814. Rammohan
returned to England in 1814. Rammohan resigned his post and settled in Calcutta. He
devoted the rest of his life to public service.
That India should prosper was Rammohans ardent desire. But the people had to be
cured of ignorance, they needed education. He dedicated himself to this task.
A mighty task calls for earnest mighty preparation, does it not? Rammohan prepared
himself in every way toundertake this big task. He had understood the essence of all
religious books. He had first to remove the dirt of superstitions and bad customs, which
had dimmed thebrightness of Indian culture. Then he had to learn how the educational
system had developed in other countries, the ways of life there and what efforts were made
to put an end to poverty. What was good in other countries had to be learnt and to be
followed here. In this way Rammohan began the work of reformation.
But he did not believe that all old customs in India should be given up and that
Indians should blindly imitate the foreigners. He did not condemn all the religious
customs; but he said that they should use their discretion in following them. Many times
people do wrong things without knowing what has been said in the scriptures. They can read
these holy books if they are available in the language of the people. When other people
say This is what the scriptures say, that is what the scriptures say, people
can find out for themselves what these books say. The holy books of the Hindus were in
Sanskrit. Rammohan translated them into Bengali. In his preface, he said, We should
understand correctly what is said in our religious books and what is relevant to our
Rammohan was a firm believer in truth. He would admit his faults. He used to quote the
words of Vasishta: Words of wisdom should be accepted even if they come from a child; but
even if Lord Brahma utters unwise words, they should be ignored as a blade of straw.