Ramanath Tagore (archaic spelling: Roma Nath Tagore) was one of the leading social figures in 19th century Kolkata (then Calcutta). The son of Rammani Tagore of the Jorasanko branch of the Tagore family, he was younger brother of Dwarkanath Tagore and a cousin of Prasanna Coomar Tagore. Later, he acquired the family property at Battala, one of the Kolkata neighbourhoods
He became dewan of the Union Bank in 1829 and remained with the bank until it was wound up. In his younger age, he was attracted towards the ideas of Ram Mohan Roy and was one of the original trustees of the Brahmo Samaj. Ramanath was one of the persons who initiated the establishment of the British Indian Association and was its president from 1867 to 1877.
The Indian Association, along with its more moderate contemporary, the British Indian Association, played a catalytic role in building up political consciousness. ‘We are told in Bipin Pal’s memoirs that during the seventies Calcutta student community was a honeyomber with several societies. Next to Surendranath, there were several leaders like Kristo Das Pal, Rajendra Lala Mitra, Ramanath Tagore, Digamber Mitra, Rev K.M.Banerjee and Lalmohan Ghosh.’
He was one of the patrons of Hindu Mela. One of the rare persons in that age to appreciate western art, he was one of the early collectors of paintings.
As a member of the Bengal legislative council to which he was appointed in 1866, he so stoutly advocated the rights of the tenants that he was named the ‘Ryots Friend.’ He played a prominent part in municipal matters and it was chiefly because of his efforts that a proposal to shift the Nimtolla cremation ground was retained at its original location. He was nominated to the Viceroy’s Council in 1873 and created a Raja. In 1874, he was made a Companion of the Star of India by Lord Northbrook, in recognition of services rendered by him during the famine. At the Proclamation Durbar of 1877, he was made a Maharaja by Lord Lytton, viceroy of India
In association with Prasanna Coomar Tagore, he started the Indian Reformer. He contributed extensively to the Harkara and Englishman under the pseudonym “Hindu.”