Ram Comul Sen

Ram Comul Sen (1783-1844) scholar, writer and lexicographer, was born on March 15, 1783 at Garipha village in Hughli district. His father, Gokulchandra Sen, was a Persian scholar. Ram Comul's schooling started at home; then he learnt English in a school run by a priest and at a school in Kolkata run by Ramjay Datta.

Ram Comul held various responsible positions in his life, starting with a job under the Chief Magistrate of Kolkata, Mr Nemy, for three years from 1800. He worked as a compositor at Dr william hunters's Hindustani Printing Press in 1804 and became the manager of the press in 1811. He even worked as accountant with the asiatic society (Kolkata) and the sanskrit college for some time. Later, he became secretary to the Asiatic Society, and secretary to and superintendent (1835) of Sanskrit College. Ram Comul became principal of hindu college in 1821. He then worked as a dewan (finance secretary) under Dr Wilson at the mint (1828) and the Bengal Bank (1832). He founded the Zamindar Sabha (Zamindars' Society) in 1838 and was elected president of the organisation; he also worked out guidelines for the society.

Ram Comul Sen was one of the founders of calcutta medical college. He was the lone Bengali member on the sub-committee of the government-run insurance company, a member of the Savings Bank committee and District Charitable Society, and principal of the Society hospital. With the help of the priest william carey, he set up the Agricultural and Horticultural Society and was elected its vice-president in 1837. It is with his assistance that a Danish botanist named Dr Walich started the Calcutta Museum.

Ram Comul worked to eradicate superstitions from society. He was instrumental in stopping the inhuman custom of putting the dying persons on a raft and let him or her float along the downstream of the Ganges until death. He was also against the custom of impaling a player at Chadak.

He was opposed to the Hindu College teacher derozio, because, to him his idea went against the cultural and other values undermining the heritage of a people with great social and cultural achievements of hundreds of years. He played a role in the dismissal of Derozio from his job.

Ram Comul made significant contribution towards the bangla language and literature. He compiled an English-Bangla dictionary, in two volumes, with the help of native scholars, working for seventeen years from 1817. He was helped by Felix Carey in this work. His other books inclue Nitikatha(Moral teachings, Vol. I, 1818), Ausadhsar Sangraha (Materia medica, 1819), Hitopadesh (Moral advice, 1820) etc. keshab chandra sen, one of the leaders of the Brahma Samaj, was his grandson. He died on 2 August 1844. [Md Harun-or-Rashid]