October 30, 2010
Raja Rammohun Roy insisted on equal regard from Lord William Bentick, Governor General
I've recently stumbled across THE LIFE AND LETTERS OF RAJA RAMMOHUN ROY. It is a shame how few of the works of India's great leaders of the past 200 years have been digitised so far (of course, Vivekananda's works and Gandhi's works are an exception). I'm converting this book into a readable Word document (the text file which is currently available is difficult to read since the footnotes are with the main text) that I'll share with you when I'm finished (severe eyestrain continues to block my work quite siginficantly).
I like this passage from the book that shows that Raja Rammohun Roy insisted on equal treatment from the British:
It is said that Lord William Bentick, the then Governor General, once had occasion to consult him on some important matter and so sent over one of his aides de camp for him. To this messenger from the Governor General Rammohun Roy made answer, “I have now given up all worldly avocations, and am engaged in religious culture and in the investigation of truth. Kindly express my humble respects to the Governor General and inform him that I have no inclination to appear before his august presence, and therefore I hope that he will pardon me.”
The aide de camp, wondering at the audacity of the man, reported the matter to Lord Bentick, who enquired what he had said to Rammohun Roy. The aide de camp replied. “I told him that Lord William Bentick, the Governor General, would he pleased to see him.” The Governor General answered, “Go back and tell him again that Mr. William Bentick will be highly obliged if he will kindly see him once.” This done, Rammohun Roy visited the Governor General, whose relations with him ever afterwards continued as respectful as they were cordial.