June 1st - Today in History
SatyendranathTagore was the first Indian to join the Indian Civil Service. He was an author, song composer, linguist and made a significant contribution towards the emancipation of women in Indian society during the British Raj. In those days, only British officers were appointed to all covenanted posts. However, things started to change over time and Indians were allowed to participate in Indian Civil Service examinations, though, it was a daunting task. It was required that Indians should travel to England and there, they need to compete directly against the British officers. Satyendranath was selected for the Indian Civil Service in June, 1863. He completed his probationary training and returned to India in November 1864. He was posted to Bombay presidency, which then covered western parts of present-day Maharashtra, Gujarat and Sindh. After initial posting of four months in Bombay (now Mumbai), he had his first active posting at Ahmedabad. His posting outside Bengal helped him to learn several Indian languages. He translated Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s Geetarahasya and Tukaram’s Abhang poems into Bengali. He was also involved in founding the Hindu Mela at Belgachia, Calcutta, in 1876 and wrote patriotic songs for it. He was active in the Adi Brahmo Samaj and became its president and Acharya (religious guide). He played an important role in women’s emancipation in India and laid the foundations of freeing the upper and middle-class women from the ‘purdah’ system. He helped his wife to try and live in the manner of the other (English) officers’ wives. When they returned to Jorosanko in Calcutta for a holiday, she broke all the traditional rules and accompanied her husband to a party at the Government House. He also took out his sisters out in carriages despite being mocked.