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Early life ( Make a very short Summary )

William Carey, (1761-1834) scholar, linguist, missionary, was born in the north of England and
had a humble beginning. He first earned his living as a shoemaker. But he was too gifted
intellectually to keep contented with the world he encountered. Carey had keen aptitude for
general learning, especially for acquiring knowledge of foreign languages. He learnt a number
of languages including English, Latin and Hebrew. He also acquired elementary knowledge
about botany, horticulture, zoology and geography. In 1789, Carey left shoe making for
becoming a Baptist missionary. When he came to know about the 'heathens', he published a
book on how to 'emancipate' them from 'eternal fire', and subsequently he arrived in Bengal
accompanied by his family and another Baptist missionary, named John Thomas, who had
previously lived in Bengal.' Carey arrived in Kolkata in November 1793, and almost
immediately started learning Bangla. He engaged Ramram Basu as his teacher. With his help,
Carey later started to translate the bible into Bangla. Steeped in extreme hardship, Carey was
forced to take a job at an indigo plantation in north Bengal. At the end of 1799, two other
Baptist missionaries, Joshua Marshman and William Ward, arrived in Kolkata, but were
obliged to take shelter in the Danish Settlement of Srerampore, as organized preaching
Christianity was not permitted by the East India Company for political reasons until mid-
nineteenth century.

Activities of Carey

Printing Press

Carey joined them in Srerampore in January 1800 and established the Srerampore mission and
more significantly its press, which later earned the reputation of becoming the first printing
press in Asia.

Bengali translation of Gospel

By the middle of the year, he published his Bangla translation of the Gospel of Mathew.

Head of the department of Bengali at Fort William College

Carey was appointed as the head of the' department of Bengali at the fort William college on 4
May, 1801.

Bengali textbook for classroom purpose, Bengali Grammar Dictionary also books in other
languages distribution of text books for schools
With the help of native scholars, Carey soon produced some Bengali textbooks for classroom
purpose. Carey alone compiled and published a grammar of Bangla language and a book of
model conversations in Bangla in different social settings.

He later compiled a Bengali-English Dictionary and a history book called Itihasmala


(1812).The textbooks written under his guidance set a model of, and a standard for formal
Bangla prose, which was at that time in its infant stage. He himself learnt quite a number of
other Indian languages and with the help of his colleagues, wrote grammars of some of those
languages and translated the Bible into those languages. He also compiled a polyglot
(multilingual) dictionary of thirteen Indian languages. That itself shows his linguistic ability
and great energy and scholarship.

He was also involved in the activities of the Textbook Society and helped distribute textbooks
for schools.

Development of Agriculture and Horticulture: In addition to his activities at the Fort William
College, Carey was also involved in the development of agriculture and horticulture in Bengal.
He established the 'Agri-horticultural' Society of Bengal in 1823 and in 1824 he was elected the
president of that society. He edited and published two monumental works by William
Roxburgh entitled Hortus Bengalensis(1814) and Flora Indica (1832). Various societies such as
Royal Agricultural Society and Royal Geological Society honoured him for his contributions to
oriental learning.

Social Activity: He urged the government to abolish the inhuman infanticide and sati systems.