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Dharmaśāstra
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/23/21

Dharmaśāstra (Sanskrit: धर्मशास्त्र) is a genre of Sanskrit theological texts, and refers to the treatises (śāstras) of Hinduism on dharma. There are many Dharmashastras, variously estimated to be 18 to about 100, with different and conflicting points of view.[1][note 1] Each of these texts exist in many different versions, and each is rooted in Dharmasutra texts dated to 1st millennium BCE that emerged from Kalpa (Vedanga) studies in the Vedic era.[???!!!][3][4]

The textual corpus of Dharmaśāstra were composed in poetic verses,[5] are part of the Hindu Smritis,[6] constituting divergent commentaries and treatises on duties, responsibilities and ethics to oneself, to family and as a member of society.[7][8] The texts include discussion of ashrama (stages of life), varna (social classes), purushartha (proper goals of life), personal virtues and duties such as ahimsa (non-violence) against all living beings, rules of just war, and other topics.[9][10][11]

Dharmaśāstra became influential in modern colonial India history, when they were formulated by early British colonial administrators to be the law of the land[???] for all non-Muslims (Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, Sikhs) in South Asia, after Sharia i.e. Mughal Empire's Fatawa-e-Alamgiri[12][13] set by Emperor Muhammad Aurangzeb, was already accepted as the law for Muslims in colonial India.[/b][14][15][16]

The only means of penetrating into Indian antiquity, especially as far as history is concerned, is to have a great taste for this science, to acquire a perfect knowledge of samskret, and to incur expenses to which it is impossible. Only a great prince can provide; until these three things are found united in the same subject, with the health necessary to support the study in India, nothing, or almost nothing, will be known of the ancient history of this vast Kingdom.

Let us enter the sanctuary of the Bracmanes, a sanctuary impenetrable to the eyes of the vulgar. What, after the nobility of their caste, raises them infinitely above the vulgar, is the science of religion, mathematics, and philosophy. The Bracmanes have their religion apart; they are, however, the ministers of that of the people. The four vedan or bed, are, according to them, of divine authority: they are in Arabic in the King's library; thus the Bracmanes are divided into four sects, each of which has its own law. Roukou Vedan, or, according to the Hindustani pronunciation, Recbed and the Yajourvedam, are more followed in the peninsula between the two seas. Samavedam and Latharvana or Brahmavedam in the north. The vedam contain the theology of the Bracmanes; and the ancient puranam or poems, popular theology. The Vedams, as far as I can judge from what little I have seen of them, are but a collection of various superstitious, and often diabolical, practices of the ancient Richi (penitents), or Muni (anchorites). Everything is subjugated, and the very gods are subjugated to the Intrinsic force of the sacrifices, and the Mantrams, these are sacred formulas which they use to consecrate, offer, invoke, etc. I was surprised to find this one there; om, Santih, Santih, Santih, harih. You no doubt know that the letter or syllable, ôm contains the Trinity in Unity; the rest is the literal translation of Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus, Harih is a name of God which means Captor.

The Vedams, in addition to the practices of the ancient Risî and Muni, contain their sentiments on the nature of God, of the soul, of the sensible world, etc. From the two theologies, the bracmanic and the popular, we have composed the holy science or of the virtue of Harmachâstram [Dharmacastras???], which contains the practice of the different religions, of the sacred or superstitious, civil or profane rites, with the laws for the administration of Justice.[???!!!] The treatises of Harmachàstram, by different authors, have multiplied ad infinitum. I will not dwell any longer on a matter which would require a large separate work, and the knowledge of which will apparently never be more than superficial.

-- Letter From Father Pons, Missionary of the Company of Jesus, to Father Du Halde, of the same Company. At Careical, on the coast of Tanjaour; in the East Indies, November 23, 1740. From "Lettres Edifiantes Et Curieuses, Ecrites Des Missions Etrangeres", by Charles Le Gobien


History

Image
Copy of a royal land grant, recorded on copper plate, made by Chalukya King Tribhuvana Malla Deva in 1083

The Dharmashastras are based on ancient Dharmasūtra texts, which themselves emerged from the literary tradition of the Vedas (Rig, Yajur, Sāma, and Atharva) composed in 2nd millennium BCE to the early centuries of the 1st millennium BCE. These Vedic branches split into various other schools (shakhas) possibly for a variety of reasons such as geography, specialization and disputes.[17] Each Veda is further divided into two categories namely the Saṃhitā which is a collection of mantra verses and the Brahmanas which are prose texts that explain the meaning of the Samhita verses.[18] The Brāhmaṇa layer expanded and some of the newer esoteric speculative layers of text were called Aranyakas while the mystical and philosophical sections came to be called the Upanishads.[18][19] The Vedic basis of Dharma literature is found in the Brahmana layer of the Vedas.[18]

Towards the end of the vedic period, after the middle of the 1st millennium BCE, the language of the Vedic texts composed centuries earlier grew too archaic to the people of that time. This led to the formation of Vedic Supplements called the Vedangas which literally means ‘limbs of the Veda’.[18] The Vedangas were ancillary sciences that focused on understanding and interpreting the Vedas composed many centuries earlier, and included Shiksha (phonetics, syllable), Chandas (poetic metre), Vyakarana (grammar, linguistics), Nirukta (etymology, glossary), Jyotisha (timekeeping, astronomy), and Kalpa (ritual or proper procedures). The Kalpa Vedanga studies gave rise to the Dharma-sutras, which later expanded into Dharma-shastras.[18][20][21]

The Dharmasutras

The Dharmasutras were numerous, but only four texts have survived into the modern era.[22] The most important of these texts are the sutras of Apastamba, Gautama, Baudhayana, and Vasistha.[23] These extant texts cite writers and refer opinions of seventeen authorities, implying that a rich Dharmasutras tradition existed prior to when these texts were composed.[24][25]

The extant Dharmasutras are written in concise sutra format,[26] with a very terse incomplete sentence structure which are difficult to understand and leave much to the reader to interpret.[22] The Dharmasastras are derivative works on the Dharmasutras, using a shloka (four 8-syllable verse style chandas poetry, Anushtubh meter), which are relatively clearer.[22][5]

The Dharmasutras can be called the guidebooks of dharma as they contain guidelines for individual and social behavior, ethical norms, as well as personal, civil and criminal law.[22] They discuss the duties and rights of people at different stages of life like studenthood, householdership, retirement and renunciation. These stages are also called ashramas. They also discuss the rites and duties of kings, judicial matters, and personal law such as matters relating to marriage and inheritance.[23] However, Dharmasutras typically did not deal with rituals and ceremonies, a topic that was covered in the Shrautasutras and Grihyasutras texts of the Kalpa (Vedanga).[22]

Style of composition

The hymns of Ṛgveda are one of the earliest texts composed in verse. The Brāhmaṇa which belongs to the middle vedic period followed by the vedāṇga are composed in prose. The basic texts are composed in an aphoristic style known as the sutra which literally means thread on which each aphorism is strung like a pearl.[27]

The Dharmasūtras are composed in sutra style and were part of a larger compilation of texts, called the Kalpasūtras which give an aphoristic description of the rituals, ceremonies and proper procedures. The Kalpasutras contain three sections, namely the Śrautasūtras which deal with vedic ceremonies, Gṛhyasūtras which deal with rites of passage rituals and domestic matters, and Dharmasūtras which deal with proper procedures in one's life.[28] The Dharmasūtras of Āpastamba and Baudhāyana form a part of larger Kalpasutra texts, all of which has survived into the modern era.[28]

The sūtra tradition ended around the beginning of the common era and was followed by the poetic octosyllable verse style called the śloka.[29] The verse style was used to compose the Dharmaśāstras such as the Manusmriti, the Hindu epics, and the Puranas.[29]

The age of Smṛtis that ended around the second half of the first millennium CE was followed by that of commentaries around the 9th century called nibandha. This legal tradition consisted of commentaries on earlier Dharmasūtras and Smritis.[29]

Authorship and dates

About 20 Dharmasutras are known, some surviving into the modern era just as fragments of their original.[30] Four Dharmasūtras have been translated into English, and most remain in manuscripts.[30] All carry the names of their authors, but it is still difficult to determine who these real authors were.[29]

The extant Dharmasūtra texts are listed below:

1. Apastamba (450–350 BCE) this Dharmasūtra forms a part of the larger Kalpasūtra of Apastamba. It contains 1,364 sutras.[31]
2. Gautama (600–200 BCE) although this Dharmasūtra comes down as an independent treatise it may have once formed a part of the Kalpasūtra, linked to the Samaveda.[32] It is likely the oldest extant Dharma text, and originated in what is modern Maharashtra-Gujarat.[33] It contains 973 sutras.[34]
3. Baudhāyana (500–200 BCE) this Dharmasūtra like that of Apastamba also forms a part of the larger Kalpasūtra. It contains 1,236 sutras.[31]
4. Vāsiṣṭha (300–100 BCE) this Dharmasūtra forms an independent treatise and other parts of the Kalpasūtra, that is Shrauta- and Grihya-sutras are missing.[30] It contains 1,038 sutras.[31]

The Dharmasūtra of Āpastamba and Baudhayana form a part of the Kalpasūtra but it is not easy to establish whether they were historical authors of these texts or whether these texts were composed within certain institutions attributed to their names.[29] Moreover, Gautama and Vasiṣṭha are ancient sages related to specific vedic schools and therefore it is hard to say whether they were historical authors of these texts.[35] The issue of authorship is further complicated by the fact that apart from Āpastamba the other Dharmasūtras have various alterations made at later times.[35]

Excellence

Practise righteousness (dharma), not unrighteousness.
Speak the truth, not an untruth.
Look at what is distant, not what's near at hand.
Look at the highest, not at what's less than highest.

— Vasishtha Dharmasutra 30.1 [36]


There is uncertainty regarding the dates of these documents due to lack of evidence concerning these documents. Kane has posited the following dates for the texts, for example, though other scholars disagree: Gautama 600 BCE to 400 BCE, Āpastamba 450 BCE to 350 BCE, Baudhāyana 500 BCE to 200 BCE, and Vasiṣṭha 300 BCE to 100 BCE.[37] Patrick Olivelle suggests that Apastamba Dharmasutra is the oldest of the extant texts in Dharmasutra genre and one by Gautama second oldest, while Robert Lingat suggests that Gautama Dharmasutra is the oldest.[38][33]

There is confusion regarding the geographical provenance of these documents. According to Bühler and Kane, Āpastamba came from South India probably from a region corresponding to modern Andhra Pradesh.[39] Baudhāyana also came from south although evidence regarding this is weaker than that of Āpastamba.[39] Gautama likely came from western region, nearer to the northwestern region to which Pāṇini belonged, and one which corresponds to where Maratha people in modern India are found.[32] Nothing can be said about Vasiṣṭha due to lack of any evidence.[40]

Scholars have varied opinions about the chronology of these documents. Regarding the age of Āpastamba and Gautama there are opposite conclusions. According to Bühler and Lingat Āpastamba is younger than Baudhāyana. Vasiṣṭha is surely a later text.[40]

Literary structure

The structure of these Dharmasūtras primarily addresses the Brahmins both in subject matter and the audience.[41] The Brahmins are the creators and primary consumers of these texts.[41] The subject matter of Dharmasūtras is dharma. The central focus of these texts is how a Brahmin male should conduct himself during his lifetime.[41] The text of Āpastamba which is best preserved has a total of 1,364 sūtras out of which 1,206 (88 per cent) are devoted to the Brahmin, whereas only 158 (12 per cent) deals with topics of general nature.[42] The structure of the Dharmasūtras begin with the vedic initiation of a young boy followed by entry into adulthood, marriage and responsibilities of adult life that includes adoption, inheritance, death rituals and ancestral offerings.[42] According to Olivelle, the reason Dharmasutras introduced vedic initiation was to make the individual subject to Dharma precepts at school, by making him a ‘twice born’ man, because children were considered exempt from Dharma precepts in the vedic tradition.[42]

The structure of Dharmasūtra of Āpastamba begins with the duties of the student, then describes householder duties and rights such as inheritance, and ends with administration of the king.[43] This forms the early structure of the Dharma texts. However, in the Dharmasūtras of Gautama, Baudhāyana and Vasiṣṭha some sections such as inheritance and penance are reorganized, and moved from householder section to king-related section.[43] Ollivelle suggests that these changes may be because of chronological reasons where civil law increasingly became part of the king's administrative responsibilities.[43]

The meaning of Dharma

Dharma is a concept which is central not only in Hinduism but also in Jainism and Buddhism.[44] The term means a lot of things and has a wide scope of interpretation.[44] The fundamental meaning of Dharma in Dharmasūtras, states Olivelle is diverse, and includes accepted norms of behavior, procedures within a ritual, moral actions, righteousness and ethical attitudes, civil and criminal law, legal procedures and penance or punishment, and guidelines for proper and productive living.[45]

The term Dharma also includes social institutions such as marriage, inheritance, adoption, work contracts, judicial process in case of disputes, as well personal choices such as meat as food and sexual conduct.[46]

The source of Dharma: scriptures or empiricism

The source of dharma was a question that loomed in the minds of Dharma text writers, and they tried to seek "where guidelines for Dharma can be found?"[47] They sought to define and examine vedic injunctions as the source of Dharma, asserting that like the Vedas, Dharma is not of human origin.[47] This worked for rituals-related rules, but in all other matters this created numerous interpretations and different derivations.[47] This led to documents with various working definitions, such as dharma of different regions (deshadharma), of social groups (jatidharma), of different families (kuladharma).[47] The authors of Dharmasutras and Dharmashastra admit that these dharmas are not found in the Vedic texts, nor can the behavioral rules included therein be found in any of the Vedas.[47] This led to the incongruity between the search for legal codes and dharma rules in the theological versus the reality of epistemic origins of dharma rules and guidelines.[47]

The Hindu scholar Āpastamba, in a Dharmasutra named after him (~400 BCE), made an attempt to resolve this issue of incongruity. He placed the importance of the Veda scriptures second and that of samayacarika or mutually agreed and accepted customs of practice first.[48] Āpastamba thus proposed that scriptures alone cannot be source of Law (dharma), and dharma has an empirical nature.[48] Āpastamba asserted that it is difficult to find absolute sources of law, in ancient books or current people, states Patrick Olivelle with, "The Righteous (dharma) and the Unrighteous (adharma) do not go around saying, 'here we are!'; Nor do gods, Gandharvas or ancestors declare, 'This is righteous and that is unrighteous'."[48] Most laws are based on agreement between the Aryas, stated Āpastamba, on what is right and what is wrong.[48] Laws must also change with ages, stated Āpastamba, a theory that became known as Yuga dharma in Hindu traditions.[49] Āpastamba also asserted in verses 2.29.11–15, states Olivelle, that "aspects of dharma not taught in Dharmasastras can be learned from women and people of all classes".[50]

Āpastamba used a hermeneutic strategy that asserted that the Vedas once contained all knowledge including that of ideal Dharma, but parts of Vedas have been lost.[49] Human customs developed from the original complete Vedas, but given the lost text, one must use customs between good people as a source to infer what the original Vedas might have stated the Dharma to be.[49] This theory, called the ‘lost Veda’ theory, made the study of customs of good people as a source of dharma and guide to proper living, states Olivelle.[49]

Testimony during a trial

The witness must take an oath before deposing.
Single witness normally does not suffice.
As many as three witnesses are required.
False evidence must face sanctions.

— Gautama Dharmasutras 13.2–13.6 [51][52]


The sources of dharma according to Gautama Dharmasutra are three: the Vedas, the Smriti (tradition), acāra (the practice) of those who know the Veda. These three sources are also found in later Dharmashastra literature.[49] Baudhāyana Dharmasutra lists the same three, but calls the third as śiṣṭa (शिष्ट, literally polite cultured people)[note 2] or the practice of cultured people as the third source of dharma.[49] Both Baudhāyana Dharmasutra and Vāsiṣṭha Dharmasutra make the practices of śiṣṭa as a source of dharma, but both state that the geographical location of such polite cultured people does not limit the usefulness of universal precepts contained in their practices.[49] In case of conflict between different sources of dharma, Gautama Dharmasutra states that the Vedas prevail over other sources, and if two Vedic texts are in conflict then the individual has a choice to follow either.[54]

The nature of Dharmasūtras is normative, they tell what people ought to do, but they do not tell what people actually did.[55] Some scholars state that these sources are unreliable and worthless for historical purposes instead to use archaeology, epigraphy and other historical evidence to establish the actual legal codes in Indian history. Olivelle states that the dismissal of normative texts is unwise, as is believing that the Dharmasutras and Dharmashastras texts present a uniform code of conduct and there were no divergent or dissenting views.[55]

The Dharmaśāstras

Written after the Dharmasūtras, these texts use a metered verse and are much more elaborate in their scope than Dharmasutras.[56] The word Dharmaśāstras never appears in the Vedic texts, and the word śāstra itself appears for the first time in Yaska's Nirukta text.[57] Katyayana's commentary on Panini's work (~3rd century BCE), has the oldest known single mention of the word Dharmaśāstras.[57]

The extant Dharmaśāstras texts are listed below:

1. The Manusmriti (~ 2nd to 3rd century CE)[58][59] is the most studied and earliest metrical work of the Dharmaśāstra textual tradition of Hinduism.[60] The medieval era Buddhistic law of Myanmar and Thailand are also ascribed to Manu,[61][62] and the text influenced past Hindu kingdoms in Cambodia and Indonesia.[63]
2. The Yājñavalkya Smṛti (~ 4th to 5th-century CE)[58] has been called the "best composed" and "most homogeneous"[64] text of the Dharmaśāstra tradition, with its superior vocabulary and level of sophistication. It may have been more influential than Manusmriti as a legal theory text.[65][66]
3. The Nāradasmṛti (~ 5th to 6th-century CE)[58] has been called the "juridical text par excellence" and represents the only Dharmaśāstra text which deals solely with juridical matters and ignoring those of righteous conduct and penance.[67]
4. The Viṣṇusmṛti (~ 7th-century CE)[58] is one of the latest books of the Dharmaśāstra tradition in Hinduism and also the only one which does not deal directly with the means of knowing dharma, focusing instead on the bhakti tradition.[68]

In addition, numerous other Dharmaśāstras are known,[69][note 3] partially or indirectly, with very different ideas, customs and conflicting versions.[72] For example, the manuscripts of Bṛhaspatismṛti and the Kātyāyanasmṛti have not been found, but their verses have been cited in other texts, and scholars have made an effort to extract these cited verses, thus creating a modern reconstruction of these texts.[73] Scholars such as Jolly and Aiyangar have gathered some 2,400 verses of the lost Bṛhaspatismṛti text in this manner.[73] Brihaspati-smriti was likely a larger and more comprehensive text than Manusmriti,[73] yet both Brihaspati-smriti and Katyayana-smriti seem to have been predominantly devoted to judicial process and jurisprudence.[74] The writers of Dharmasastras acknowledged their mutual differences, and developed a "doctrine of consensus" reflecting regional customs and preferences.[75]

Of the four extant Dharmasastras, Manusmriti, Yajnavalkyasmriti and Naradasmriti are the most important surviving texts.[76] But, states Robert Lingat, numerous other Dharmasastras whose manuscripts are now missing, have enjoyed equal authority.[76] Between the three, the Manusmriti became famous during the colonial British India era, yet modern scholarship states that other Dharmasastras such as the Yajnavalkyasmriti appear to have played a greater role in guiding the actual Dharma.[77] Further, the Dharmasastras were open texts, and they underwent alterations and rewriting through their history.[78]

Contents of Dharmasutras and Dharmaśāstra

Image
A facsimile of an inscription in Oriya script on a copper plate recording a land grant made by Rāja Purushottam Deb, king of Odisha, in the fifth year of his reign (1483). Land grants made by royal decree were protected by law, with deeds often being recorded on metal plates

All Dharma, in Hindu traditions, has its foundation in the Vedas.[19] The Dharmashastra texts enumerate four sources of Dharma – the precepts in the Vedas, the tradition, the virtuous conduct of those who know the Vedas, and approval of one's conscience (Atmasantushti, self-satisfaction).[79]

The Dharmashastra texts include conflicting claims on the sources of dharma. The theological claim therein asserts, without any elaboration, that Dharma just like the Vedas are eternal and timeless, the former is directly or indirectly related to the Vedas.[80] Yet these texts also acknowledge the role of Smriti, customs of polite learned people, and one's conscience as source of dharma.[79][80] The historical reality, states Patrick Olivelle, is very different than the theological reference to the Vedas, and the dharma taught in the Dharmaśāstra has little to do with the Vedas.[80] These were customs, norms or pronouncements of the writers of these texts that were likely derived from evolving regional ethical, ideological, cultural and legal practices.[81]

The Dharmasutra and Dharmaśāstra texts, as they have survived into the modern era, were not authored by a single author. They were viewed by the ancient and medieval era commentators, states Olivelle, to be the works of many authors.[82] Robert Lingat adds that these texts suggest that "a rich literature on dharma already existed" before these were first composed.[83] These texts were revised and interpolated through their history because the various text manuscripts discovered in India are inconsistent with each other, and within themselves, raising concerns of their authenticity.[84][85][86]

The Dharmaśāstra texts present their ideas under various categories such as Acara, Vyavahara, Prayascitta and others, but they do so inconsistently.[87] Some discuss Acara but do not discuss Vyavahara, as is the case with Parasara-Smriti for instance,[88] while some solely discuss Vyavahara.[74]

Āchara

Main article: Āchara

Āchara (आचार) literally means "good behavior, custom".[89][90] It refers to the normative behavior and practices of a community, conventions and behaviors that enable a society and various individuals therein to function.[91][92]

Vyavahāra

Main article: Vyavahāra

Vyavahāra (व्यवहार) literally means "judicial procedure, process, practice, conduct and behaviour".[93][94] The due process, honesty in testimony, considering various sides, was justified by Dharmaśāstra authors as a form of Vedic sacrifice, failure of the due process was declared to be a sin.[95][96]

The Vyavahara sections of Dharma texts included chapters on duties of a king, court system, judges and witnesses, judicial process, crimes and penance or punishment.[94] However, the discussions and procedures in different Dharmasutra and Dharmaśāstra texts diverge significantly.[94]

Some Dharmaśāstra texts such as that attributed to Brihaspati, are almost entirely Vyavahāra-related texts. These were probably composed in the common era, around or after 5th-century of 1st millennium.[74]

Prāyaśchitta

Main article: Prāyaśchitta

Prāyaśchitta (प्रायश्चित्त) literally means "atonement, expiation, penance".[97][98] Prāyaśchittas are asserted by the Dharmasutra and Dharmashastra texts as an alternative to incarceration and punishment,[98] and a means of expiating bad conduct or sin such as adultery by a married person.[99] Thus, in the Apastambha text, a willing sexual act between a male and female is subject to penance, while rape is covered by harsher judicial punishments, with a few texts such as Manusmriti suggesting public punishments in extreme cases.[98]

Those texts that discuss Prāyaśchitta, states Robert Lingat, debate the intent and thought behind the improper act, and consider penance appropriate when the "effect" had to be balanced, but "cause" was unclear.[100] The roots of this theory are found in the Brahmana layer of text in the Samaveda.[101]

Secondary works

The Dharmasutras and Dharmasastras attracted secondary works called commentaries (Bhashya) would typically interpret and explain the text of interest, accept or reject the ideas along with reasons why.[102]

Commentaries (bhasya) on Dharmasastras

Dharmasastra / Author of Commentary


Manusmriti / Bhāruci (600–1050 CE),[103] Medhātithi (820–1050 CE),[104] Govindarāja (11th-century),[105] Kullūka (1200–1500 CE),[105] Narayana (14th-century),[105] Nandana,[105] Raghavananda,[105] Ramacandra[105]

Yajnavalkya Smriti / Visvarupa (750–1000 CE), Vijanesvara (11th or 12th century, most studied), Apararka (12th-century), Sulapani (14th or 15th century), Mitramisra (17th-century)[106][107]

Narada-smriti / Kalyāṇbhaṭṭa (based on Asahaya's work)[106][107]

Visnu-smriti / Nandapaṇḍita[106]


Another category of secondary literature derived from the Dharmasutras and Dharmasastras were the digests (nibandhas, sometimes spelled nibhandas). These arose primarily because of the conflict and disagreements on a particular subject across the various Dharma texts.[108] These digests attempted to reconcile, bridge or suggest a compromise guideline to the numerous disagreements in the primary texts, however the digests in themselves disagreed with each other even on basic principles.[109] Geographically, the medieval era digest writers came from many different parts of India, such as Assam, Bengal, Bihar, Gujarat, Kashmir, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, and Uttar Pradesh.[110] The oldest surviving digest on Dharma texts is Krityakalpataru, from early 12th-century, by Lakshmidhara of Kannauj in north India, belonging to the Varanasi school.[111]

The digests were generally arranged by topic, referred to many different Dharmasastras for their contents. They would identify an idea or rule, add their comments, then cite contents of different Dharma texts to support or explain their view.

Digests (nibhandas) on Dharmasastras

Subject / Author of Digests


General / Lakṣmīdhara (1104–1154 CE),[111] Devaṇṇa-bhaṭṭan (1200 CE), Pratāparuda-deva (16th-century),[112] Nīlakaṇṭha (1600–1650),[113] Dalpati (16th-century), Kashinatha (1790)[114]

Inheritance / Jīmūtavāhana, Raghunandana

Adoption / Nanda-paṇḍita (16th–17th century)[115]

King's duties / Caṇḍeśvara, Ṭoḍar Mal (16th century, sponsored by the Mughal emperor Akbar)[116]

Judicial process / Caṇḍeśvara (14th century), Kamalākara-bhatta (1612), Nīlakaṇṭha (17th century),[113] Mitra-miśra (17th century)


Women jurists

A few notable historic digests on Dharmasastras were written by women.[117][118] These include Lakshmidevi's Vivadachandra and Mahadevi Dhiramati's Danavakyavali.[117] Lakshmidevi, state West and Bühler, gives a latitudinarian views and widest interpretation to Yajnavalkya Smriti, but her views were not widely adopted by male legal scholars of her time.[118] The scholarly works of Lakshmidevi were also published with the pen name Balambhatta, and are now considered classics in legal theories on inheritance and property rights, particularly for women.[119]

Dharma texts and the schools of Hindu philosophy

The Mimamsa school of Hindu philosophy developed textual hermeneutics, theories on language and interpretation of Dharma, ideas which contributed to the Dharmasutras and Dharmasastras.[120] The Vedanga fields of grammar and linguistics – Vyakarana and Nirukta – were the other significant contributors to the Dharma-text genre.[120]

Mimamsa literally means the "desire to think", states Donald Davis, and in colloquial historical context "how to think, interpret things, and the meaning of texts".[120] In the early portions of the Vedas, the focus was largely on the rituals; in the later portions, largely on philosophical speculations and the spiritual liberation (moksha) of the individual.[120][121] The Dharma-texts, over time and each in its own way, attempted to present their theories on rules and duties of individuals from the perspective of a society, using the insights of hermeneutics and on language developed by Mimamsa and Vedanga.[120][121][122] The Nyaya school of Hindu philosophy, and its insights into the theories on logic and reason, contributed to the development of and disagreements between the Dharmasastra texts, and the term Nyaya came to mean "justice".[123][124]

Influence

Main article: Hindu law

Dharmaśāstras played an influential role in modern era colonial India history, when they were used as the basis for the law of the land for all non-Muslims (Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, Sikhs).[15][16][125]

In 18th century, the earliest British of the East India Company acted as agents of the Mughal emperor. As the British colonial rule took over the political and administrative powers in India, it was faced with various state responsibilities such as legislative and judiciary functions.[126] The East India Company, and later the British Crown, sought profits for its British shareholders through trade as well as sought to maintain effective political control with minimal military engagement.[127] The administration pursued a path of least resistance, relying upon co-opted local intermediaries that were mostly Muslims and some Hindus in various princely states.[127] The British exercised power by avoiding interference and adapting to law practices as explained by the local intermediaries.[126][127][128] The colonial policy on the system of personal laws for India, for example, was expressed by Governor-General Hastings in 1772 as follows,

That in all suits regarding inheritance, marriage, caste and other religious usages or institutions, the law of the Koran with respect to Mahometans, and those of the Shaster [Dharmaśāstra] with respect to Gentoos shall be invariably be adhered to.

— Warren Hastings, August 15, 1772[125]


For Muslims of India, the Sharia or the religious law for Muslims was readily available in al-Hidaya and Fatawa-i Alamgiri written under the sponsorship of Aurangzeb. For Hindus and other non-Muslims such as Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis and Tribal people, this information was unavailable.[126] The British colonial officials extracted from the Dharmaśāstra, the legal code to apply on non-Muslims for the purposes of colonial administration.[129][130]

The Dharmashastra-derived laws for non-Muslim Indians were dissolved after India gained independence, but Indian Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act of 1937 continued to be the personal and family law for Indian Muslims.[131] For non-Muslims, a non-religious uniform civil code was passed by Indian parliament in the 1950s, and amended by its elected governments thereafter, which has since then applied to all non-Muslim Indians.[131]

Major English translations

For beginners


• Olivelle, Patrick. 1999. Dharmasūtras: The Law Codes of Āpastamba, Gautama, Baudhāyana, and Vāsiṣṭha. New York: Oxford UP.
• Olivelle, Patrick. 2004. The Law Code of Manu. New York: Oxford UP.

Other major translations

• Kane, P.V. (ed. and trans.) 1933. Kātyāyanasmṛti on Vyavahāra (Law and Procedure). Poona: Oriental Book Agency.
• Lariviere, Richard W. 2003. The Nāradasmṛti. 2nd rev. ed. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass.
• Rocher, Ludo. 1956. Vyavahāracintāmani: a digest on Hindu legal procedure. Gent.

Early translations with full-text online

• Jha, Ganganath (trans.), Manusmṛti with the Manubhāṣyya of Medhātithi, including additional notes, 1920.
• Bühler, Georg (trans.), The Laws of Manu, SBE Vol. 25, 1886.
• Bühler, Georg (trans.), The Sacred Laws of the Āryas, SBE Vol. 2, 1879 [Part 1: Āpastamba and Gautama]
• Bühler, Georg (trans.), The Sacred Laws of the Āryas, SBE Vol. 14, 1882 [Part 2: Vāsiṣṭha and Baudhāyana]
• Jolly, Julius (trans.), The Institutes of Viṣṇu, SBE Vol. 7, 1880.
• Jolly, Julius (trans.), The Minor Law-Books, SBE Vol. 33. Oxford, 1889. [contains both Bṛhaspatismṛti and Nāradasmṛti]

See also

• Dhammasattha
• Tirukkural

Notes

1. Pandurang Vaman Kane mentions over 100 different Dharmasastra texts which were known by the Middle Ages in India, but most of these are lost to history and their existence is inferred from quotes and citations in bhasya and digests that have survived.[2]
2. Baudhayana, in verses 1.1.5–6, provides a complete definition of śiṣṭa as "Now, śiṣṭa are those who are free from envy and pride, who possess just a jarful of grain, who are without greed, and who are free from hypocrisy, arrogance, greed, folly and anger."[53]
3. Numerous Dharmasastras are known, but most are lost to history and only known from them being mentioned or quoted in other surviving texts. For example, Dharmasastras by Atri, Harita, Ushanas, Angiras, Yama, Apastamba, Samvartha, Katyayana, Brihaspati, Parasara, Vyasa, Sankha, Likhita, Daksha, Gautama, Satatapa, Vasistha, Prachetas, Budha, Devala, Sumantu, Jamadgni, Visvamitra, Prajapati, Paithinasi, Pitamaha, Jabala, Chhagaleya, Chyavana, Marichi, Kasyapa, Gobhila, Risyasrimaga and others.[70][71]

References

1. John Bowker (2012), The Message and the Book: Sacred Texts of the World's Religions, Yale University Press, ISBN 978-0300179293, pages 179–180
2. Kane, P.V. History of the Dharmaśāstras Vol. 1 p. 304
3. James Lochtefeld (2002), "Dharma Shastras" in The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Vol. 1: A-M, Rosen Publishing, ISBN 0-8239-2287-1, pages 191–192
4. Patrick Olivelle 1999, pp. xxiii–xxv.
5. Robert Lingat 1973, p. 73.
6. Patrick Olivelle 2006, pp. 173, 175–176, 183.
7. Patrick Olivelle, Manu's Code of Law: A Critical Edition and Translation of the Mānava-Dharmaśāstra (New York: Oxford UP, 2005), 64.
8. Ludo Rocher, "Hindu Law and Religion: Where to draw the line?" in Malik Ram Felicitation Volume, ed. S.A.J. Zaidi. (New Delhi, 1972), pp.167–194 and Richard W. Lariviere, "Law and Religion in India" in Law, Morality, and Religion: Global Perspectives, ed. Alan Watson (Berkeley: University of California Press), pp.75–94.
9. Patrick Olivelle (2005), Manu's Code of Law, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195171464, pages 31–32, 81–82, 154–166, 208–214, 353–354, 356–382
10. Donald Davis (2010), The Spirit of Hindu Law, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0521877046, page 13-16, 166–179
11. Kedar Nath Tiwari (1998). Classical Indian Ethical Thought. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 88–95. ISBN 978-81-208-1607-7.
12. Jackson, Roy (2010). Mawlana Mawdudi and Political Islam: Authority and the Islamic State. Routledge. ISBN 9781136950360.
13. Chapra, Muhammad Umer (2014). Morality and Justice in Islamic Economics and Finance. Edward Elgar Publishing. pp. 62–63. ISBN 9781783475728.
14. Rocher, Ludo (July–September 1972). "Indian Response to Anglo-Hindu Law". Journal of the American Oriental Society. 92 (3): 419–424. doi:10.2307/600567. JSTOR 600567.
15. Derrett, J. Duncan M. (November 1961). "The Administration of Hindu Law by the British". Comparative Studies in Society and History. Cambridge University Press. 4 (1): 10–52. doi:10.1017/S0010417500001213. JSTOR 177940.
16. Werner Menski (2003), Hindu Law: Beyond tradition and modernity, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-569921-0, Chapter 1
17. Patrick Olivelle 1999, pp. xxii.
18. (Patrick Olivelle 1999, pp. xxiii)
19. Robert Lingat 1973, pp. 7–8.
20. Robert Lingat 1973, p. 12.
21. Rajendra Prasad (2009). A Historical-developmental Study of Classical Indian Philosophy of Morals. Concept. p. 147. ISBN 978-81-8069-595-7.
22. Patrick Olivelle 1999, pp. xxiv–xxv.
23. (Patrick Olivelle 1999, pp. xxiii–xxv)
24. Robert Lingat 1973, pp. 19–22, Quote: The dharma-sutra of Apastamba suggests that a rich literature on dharma already existed. He cites ten authors by name. (...).
25. Patrick Olivelle 2006, pp. 178, see note 29 for a list of 17 cited ancient scholars in different Dharmasutras.
26. Patrick Olivelle 2006, p. 178.
27. Patrick Olivelle 1999, pp. xxiv.
28. (Patrick Olivelle 1999, pp. xxiv)
29. (Patrick Olivelle 1999, pp. xxv)
30. Robert Lingat 1973, p. 18.
31. Patrick Olivelle 2006, p. 185.
32. Robert Lingat 1973, p. 19.
33. Robert Lingat 1973, pp. 19–20.
34. Patrick Olivelle 2006, p. 46.
35. Patrick Olivelle 1999, pp. xxvi.
36. Patrick Olivelle 1999, p. 325.
37. Patrick Olivelle 1999, pp. xxxi.
38. Patrick Olivelle 2006, p. 178 with note 28.
39. Patrick Olivelle 1999, pp. xxvii.
40. Patrick Olivelle 1999, pp. xxviii.
41. Patrick Olivelle 1999, pp. xxxiv.
42. Patrick Olivelle 1999, pp. xxxv.
43. Patrick Olivelle 1999, pp. xxxvi.
44. Patrick Olivelle 1999, pp. xxxvii.
45. Patrick Olivelle 1999, pp. xxxviii–xxxix.
46. Patrick Olivelle 1999, pp. xxxviii–xxxix, 27–28.
47. Patrick Olivelle 1999, pp. xxxix.
48. Patrick Olivelle 1999, pp. xl.
49. Patrick Olivelle 1999, pp. xli.
50. Patrick Olivelle 2006, pp. 180.
51. Robert Lingat 1973, p. 69.
52. Patrick Olivelle 1999, pp. 100–101.
53. Patrick Olivelle 2006, p. 181.
54. Patrick Olivelle 1999, pp. xlii.
55. Patrick Olivelle 1999, pp. x1ii.
56. Robert Lingat 1973, pp. 73–77.
57. Patrick Olivelle 2006, pp. 169–170.
58. Timothy Lubin, Donald R. Davis Jr & Jayanth K. Krishnan 2010, p. 57.
59. Patrick Olivelle (2005), Manu's Code of Law, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195171464, pages 24–25
60. See Flood 1996: 56 and Olivelle 2005.
61. Steven Collins (1993), The discourse of what is primary, Journal of Indian philosophy, Volume 21, pages 301–393
62. Patrick Olivelle 2005, pp. 3–4.
63. Robert Lingat 1973, p. 77.
64. Lingat 1973: 98
65. Timothy Lubin, Donald R. Davis Jr & Jayanth K. Krishnan 2010, pp. 59–72.
66. Robert Lingat 1973, p. 98.
67. Lariviere 1989: ix
68. Olivelle 2007: 149–150.
69. Robert Lingat 1973, p. 277.
70. Mandagadde Rama Jois 1984, pp. 22.
71. Benoy Kumar Sarkar (1985). The Positive Background of Hindu Sociology. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 192–194. ISBN 978-81-208-2664-9.
72. Robert Lingat 1973, pp. 195–198.
73. Robert Lingat 1973, p. 104.
74. Patrick Olivelle 2006, p. 188.
75. Robert Lingat 1973, pp. 14, 109–110, 180–189.
76. Robert Lingat 1973, p. 97.
77. Robert Lingat 1973, pp. 98, 103–106.
78. Robert Lingat 1973, pp. 130–131.
79. Robert Lingat 1973, p. 6.
80. Patrick Olivelle 2006, pp. 173–174.
81. Patrick Olivelle 2006, pp. 175–178, 184–185.
82. Patrick Olivelle 2006, pp. 176–177.
83. Robert Lingat 1973, p. 22.
84. Patrick Olivelle (2005), Manu's Code of Law, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195171464, pages 353–354, 356–382
85. G Srikantan (2014), Entanglements in Legal History (Editor: Thomas Duve), Max Planck Institute: Germany, ISBN 978-3944773001, page 123
86. Robert Lingat 1973, pp. 129–131.
87. P.V. Kane, History of Dharmaśāstra: (ancient and mediaeval, religious and civil law). (Poona: Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, 1962 – 1975).
88. Robert Lingat 1973, pp. 158–159.
89. Robert Lingat 1973, p. 103, 159.
90. Patrick Olivelle 2006, p. 172.
91. Patrick Olivelle 2006, pp. 172–173.
92. Robert Lingat 1973, pp. 14–16.
93. Robert Lingat 1973, p. 285.
94. Patrick Olivelle 2006, pp. 186–188.
95. Robert Lingat 1973, pp. 149–150.
96. On this topic, see Olivelle, Patrick, Language, Tests, and Society: Explorations in Ancient Indian Culture and Religion. p. 174
97. Robert Lingat 1973, pp. 98–99.
98. Patrick Olivelle 2006, pp. 195–198 with footnotes.
99. Kane, P.V. History of the Dharmaśāstras Vol. 4 p. 38, 58
100. Robert Lingat 1973, pp. 54–56.
101. Robert Lingat 1973, p. 55.
102. Robert Lingat 1973, p. 107.
103. J Duncan J Derrett (1977), Essays in Classical and Modern Hindu Law, Brill Academic, ISBN 978-9004048089, pages 10–17, 36–37 with footnote 75a
104. Kane, P. V., History of Dharmaśāstra, (Poona: Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, 1975), Volume I, Part II, 583.
105. Patrick Olivelle 2005, pp. 367–369.
106. Ludo Rocher (2008). Gavin Flood (ed.). The Blackwell Companion to Hinduism. John Wiley & Sons. p. 111. ISBN 978-0-470-99868-7.
107. Sures Chandra Banerji (1999). A Brief History of Dharmaśāstra. Abhinav Publications. pp. 72–75. ISBN 978-81-7017-370-0.
108. David C. Buxbaum (2013). Family Law and Customary Law in Asia: A Contemporary Legal Perspective. Springer. pp. 202–205 with footnote 3. ISBN 978-94-017-6216-8.
109. Sures Chandra Banerji (1999). A Brief History of Dharmaśāstra. Abhinav Publications. pp. 5–6, 307. ISBN 978-81-7017-370-0.
110. Sures Chandra Banerji (1999). A Brief History of Dharmaśāstra. Abhinav Publications. pp. 38–72. ISBN 978-81-7017-370-0.
111. Maria Heim (2004). Theories of the Gift in South Asia: Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain Reflections on Dāna. Routledge. pp. 4–5. ISBN 978-0-415-97030-3.
112. Robert Lingat 1973, p. 116.
113. Sures Chandra Banerji (1999). A Brief History of Dharmaśāstra. Abhinav Publications. pp. 66–67. ISBN 978-81-7017-370-0.
114. Sures Chandra Banerji (1999). A Brief History of Dharmaśāstra. Abhinav Publications. pp. 65–66. ISBN 978-81-7017-370-0.
115. Robert Lingat 1973, p. 117.
116. Sures Chandra Banerji (1999). A Brief History of Dharmaśāstra. Abhinav Publications. p. 71. ISBN 978-81-7017-370-0.
117. Mandagadde Rama Jois (1984). Legal and Constitutional History of India: Ancient legal, judicial, and constitutional system. Universal Law Publishing. p. 50. ISBN 978-81-7534-206-4.
118. Sir Raymond West; Georg Bühler (1878). A Digest of the Hindu Law of Inheritance and Partition: From the Replies of the Sâstris in the Several Courts of the Bombay Presidency, with Introductions, Notes, and an Appendix. Education Society's Press. pp. 6–7, 490–491.
119. Maurice Winternitz (1963). History of Indian Literature. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 602 with footnote 2. ISBN 978-81-208-0056-4.
120. Donald R. Davis, Jr 2010, pp. 47–49.
121. Francis Xavier Clooney (1990). Thinking Ritually: Rediscovering the Pūrva Mīmāṃsā of Jaimini. De Nobili, Vienna. pp. 25–28. ISBN 978-3-900271-21-3.
122. Kisori Lal Sarkar, The Mimansa Rules of Interpretation as applied to Hindu Law. Tagore Law Lectures of 1905 (Calcutta: Thacker, Spink, 1909).
123. Ludo Rocher 2008, p. 112.
124. Mandagadde Rama Jois 1984, pp. 3, 469–481.
125. Rocher, Ludo (1972). "Indian Response to Anglo-Hindu Law". Journal of the American Oriental Society. JSTOR. 92 (3): 419–424. doi:10.2307/600567. JSTOR 600567.
126. Timothy Lubin et al (2010), Hinduism and Law: An Introduction (Editors: Lubin and Davis), Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0521716260, Chapter 1
127. Washbrook, D. A. (1981). "Law, State and Agrarian Society in Colonial India". Modern Asian Studies. 15 (3): 649–721. doi:10.1017/s0026749x00008714. JSTOR 312295.
128. Kugle, Scott Alan (May 2001). "Framed, Blamed and Renamed: The Recasting of Islamic Jurisprudence in Colonial South Asia". Modern Asian Studies. Cambridge University Press. 35 (2): 257–313. doi:10.1017/s0026749x01002013. JSTOR 313119.
129. Ludo Rocher, "Hindu Law and Religion: Where to draw the line?" in Malik Ram Felicitation Volume. ed. S.A.J. Zaidi (New Delhi, 1972), 190–1.
130. J.D.M. Derrett, Religion, Law, and the State in India (London: Faber, 1968), 96; For a related distinction between religious and secular law in Dharmaśāstra, see Lubin, Timothy (2007). "Punishment and Expiation: Overlapping Domains in Brahmanical Law". Indologica Taurinensia. 33: 93–122. SSRN 1084716.
131. Gerald James Larson (2001). Religion and Personal Law in Secular India: A Call to Judgment. Indiana University Press. pp. 50–56, 112–114. ISBN 0-253-21480-7.

Bibliography

• Donald R. Davis, Jr (2010). The Spirit of Hindu Law. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-1-139-48531-9.
• Mandagadde Rama Jois (1984). Legal and Constitutional History of India: Ancient legal, judicial, and constitutional system. Universal Law Publishing. ISBN 978-81-7534-206-4.
• Kane, P.V. (1973). History of DharmaŚãstra. Poona: Bhandarkar Oriental research Institute.
• Translation by Richard W. Lariviere (1989). The Nāradasmr̥ti. University of Philadelphia.
• Flood, Gavin (1996). An Introduction to Hinduism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-43878-0.
• Timothy Lubin; Donald R. Davis Jr; Jayanth K. Krishnan (2010). Hinduism and Law: An Introduction. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-1-139-49358-1.
• Robert Lingat (1973). The Classical Law of India. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-01898-3.
• Patrick Olivelle (1999). Dharmasutras: The Law Codes of Ancient India. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-283882-7.
• Patrick Olivelle (2005). Manu's Code of Law. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-517146-4.
• Patrick Olivelle (2006). Between the Empires: Society in India 300 BCE to 400 CE. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-977507-1.
• Ludo Rocher (2008). Gavin Flood (ed.). The Blackwell Companion to Hinduism. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-0-470-99868-7.

External links

• Various Dharma Shastras Vol 1, MN Dutt (Translator), Hathi Trust
• Various Dharma Shastras Vol 2, MN Dutt (Translator), Hathi Trust
• The Cooperative Annotated Bibliography of Hindu Law and Dharmaśāstra
• Alois Payer's Dharmaśāstra Site (in German, with copious extracts in English)
• "Maharishi University of Management – Vedic Literature Collection" A Sanskrit reference to the texts of all 18 Smritis.
• History of Dharmashastra, PV Kane
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Postby admin » Tue Mar 23, 2021 8:26 am

Hariharananda Vidyabagish [Hariharananda Bharati] [Hariharananda Tirthasvami] [Nandakumar Vidyalankar] [Kulavadhuta Shrimad Hariharananda Tirthasvami] [Utsabananda Vidyabagish?] [Mrityunjay Vidyalankar (c 1762-1819)?]
Excerpt from Raja Ram Mohan Roy - biography of Muslim and Bengali
by Londoni Worldwide Limited
© Londoni Worldwide Limited

Christianity and the 'Maha Nirvana Tantra' (Book of the Great Liberation)

In 1792 the British Baptist shoemaker William Carey published his influential missionary essay 'An Enquiry of the obligations of Christians to use means for the conversion of heathens'. The following year Carey landed in India to settle. His objective was to translate, publish and distribute the Bible in Indian languages and propagate Christianity to the Indian peoples. He realised the "mobile" (i.e. service classes) Brahmins and Pundits were most able to help him in this endeavour, and he began gathering them. He learnt the Buddhist and Jain religious works to better argue the case for Christianity in the cultural context.

In 1795, Carey made contact with a Sanskrit scholar, the Tantric Hariharananda Vidyabagish, who later introduced him to Ram Mohan Roy, who wished to learn English. Ram Mohan began learning English in 1796 and took him six years to master it.

Between 1796 and 1797, the trio of Carey, Vidyavagish and Roy created a religious work known as the "Maha Nirvana Tantra" (Book of the Great Liberation) and positioned it as a religious text to "the One True God".
Carey's involvement is not recorded in his very detailed records and he reports only learning to read Sanskrit in 1796 and only completed a grammar in 1797, the same year he translated part of The Bible from Joshua to Job, a massive task. For the next two decades this document was regularly augmented. Its judicial sections were used in the law courts of the English Settlement in Bengal as Hindu Law for adjudicating upon property disputes of the zamindari. However, a few British magistrates and collectors began to suspect and its usage (as well as the reliance on pundits as sources of Hindu Law) was quickly deprecated. Vidyavagish had a brief falling out with Carey and separated from the group, but maintained ties to Ram Mohan Roy...

Learning 'modern Tantric works' and Jainism in Rangpur

One of Ram Mohan's significant period was between 1809 -1814 when he was posted in Rangpur. There he studied 'modern Tantric works' with the aid of Hariharananda Vidyabagish and learnt about Jainism and studied the Jain texts from the Marwaris of Rangpur. Within two years of leaving Rangpur Ram Mohan would go on to publish a work on the Vedanta-sutra and find the 'Atmiya Sabha', the first of his societies with a religious object.

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Raja Rammohun Roy and the Status of Women in Bengal in the Nineteenth Century
https://openjournals.library.sydney.edu ... /7496/7872

Rammohun Roy like most boys of his generation and class received a very traditional education. He learnt Bengali and basic mathematics and then Persian perhaps at home with a munshi. It is not clear where and when he learnt Sanskrit and Arabic. It seems most likely that he learnt
Sanskrit from Hariharananda Tirthasvami. A friend and a tantrik Sadhu, Hariharananda profoundly influenced Rammohun's view of God and interpretations of the Upanishadas. I

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Ram Chandra Vidyabagish [Ramachandra Vidyavagisa] [Brother to Hariharananda Vidyabagish [Hariharananda Tirthasvami]]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/24/21

Ramchandra Vidyabagish (Bengali: রামচন্দ্র বিদ্যাবাগীশ) (1786 – 2 March 1845) was an Indian lexicographer and Sanskrit scholar. He is known for his Bangabhashabhidhan, the first monolingual Bengali dictionary, published in 1817. He taught at the Vedanta College established by Raja Rammohun Roy, and later at Sanskrit College from 1827-37. Closely associated with the work of Raja Rammohun Roy in Kolkata, he was the first secretary of the Brahmo Sabha established in 1828 and initiated Debendranath Tagore and 21 other young men into Brahmo Samaj in 1843. After Raja Rammohun Roy went to England, his unparalleled erudition and the devotional singing of Bishnu Chakraborti helped in the survival of the Brahmo Samaj.

References

Sengupta, Subodh Chandra and Anjali Bose (1988) (ed.) Sansad Bangali Charitabhidhan (Biographical dictionary) (in Bengali), Calcutta: Sahitya Sansad, p. 482.

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Ram Chandra Vidyabagish
by Wiki Data
Accessed: 3/24/21

Ramchandra Vidyabagish was an Indian lexicographer and Sanskrit scholar. He is known for his Bangabhashabhidhan, the first monolingual Bengali dictionary, published in 1817. He taught at the Vedanta College established by Raja Rammohun Roy, and later at Sanskrit College from 1827-37. Closely associated with the work of Raja Rammohun Roy in Kolkata, he was the first secretary of the Brahmo Sabha established in 1828 and initiated Debendranath Tagore and 21 other young men into Brahmo Samaj in 1843. After Raja Rammohun Roy went to England, his unparalleled erudition and the devotional singing of Bishnu Chakraborti helped in the survival of the Brahmo Samaj. Although he was opposed to Raja Rammohun Roy’s move to abolish the practice of sati, he extended support to Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar in his move for remarriage of widows. He spoke strongly against the system of polygamy, then prevalent in Hindu society, primarily amongst the Brahmins. He was associated with the Tattwabodhini Sabha and aimed at the advancement of Bengali language through it. He worked for some time on the government’s desire to replace Persian by Bengali as language of the courts. In this he had the active support of both David Hare and Prasanna Coomar Tagore. He strived hard for the use of Bengali as medium of education. He was the younger brother of Nandakumar Vidyalankar later Kulavadhuta Shrimad Hariharananda Tirthasvami, a wandering hermit, who had acquaintance of Raja Rammohun from his younger days. He was the worshipper of One True God according to the Mahanirvana Tantra.

1. Works

Vidyabagish compiled the first monolingual dictionary in Bengali in 1817 and was author of several books. His works include:

• Barnamala
• Shishusebadhi 1840
• Bangabhashabhidhan 1817
• Parameshvarer Upasana Bishaye Pratham Bakhyan
• Bachaspati Mishrer Vivadachintamanih
• Nitidarshan
• Jyotish Sangrahasar

• Rabindra Sarani Kolkata, India with Ram Chandra Vidyabagish as first resident superintendent. In November 1830, Ram Mohan Roy left for England, leaving
• worship on Chitpore Road now Rabindra Sarani Kolkata, India with Ram Chandra Vidyabagish as first resident superintendent. On 23 January 1830 or 11th Magh
• Girish Chandra Sen c. 1835 15 August 1910 was a Bengali religious scholar and translator. He was a Brahmo Samaj missionary and known for being the
• Devendranath Tagore with twenty followers accepted the Brahmo creed from Ram Chandra Vidyabagish on 21 December 1843 7 Poush 1250 according to the Bengali calendar
• Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, alternatively spelt as Sarat Chandra Chatterjee 15 September 1876 16 January 1938 was a Bengali novelist and short story
• Bipin Chandra Pal Bengali: ব প ন চন দ র প ল, Sylheti: ꠛ ꠙ ꠘ ꠌꠘ ꠖ ꠞ ꠙ ꠟ, pronunciation help info 7 November 1858 20 May 1932 was an Indian nationalist
• Vivekananda, Acharya Prafulla Chandra Ray, Keshub Chandra Sen, Acharya Jadunath Sarkar, Ram Manohar Lohia, Jagjivan Ram and many others who made immense
• Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar CIE 26 September 1820 29 July 1891 born Ishwar Chandra Bandyopadhyay Ishshor Chondro Bondopaddhae was a Bengali polymath
• Nityananda Six Goswamis of Vrindavana Ramprasad Sen Raja Ram Mohan Roy Ram Chandra Vidyabagish Debendranath Tagore Keshub Chunder Sen Ramakrishna Sarada
• writings, and provided an inspiration for authors across India. When Bipin Chandra Pal decided to start a patriotic journal in August 1906, he named it Vande
• Krishna Chandra Bhattacharya, also known as K.C. Bhattacharya, 12 May 1875 11 December 1949 was a philosopher at the University of Calcutta known

• Chandra Ray also spelled Prafulla Chandra Ray and Prafulla Chandra Roy CIE, FNI, FRASB, FIAS, FCS Bengali: প রফ ল ল চন দ র র য Praphulla Chandra Rāy
• Akshay Chandra Sarkar Bengali: অক ষয চন দ র সরক র 11 December 1846 2 October 1917 was a poet, an editor and a literary critic of Bengali literature
• Keshub Chandra Sen Bengali: ক শবচন দ র স ন, Keshob Chondro Shen also spelled Keshab Chunder Sen 19 November 1838 8 January 1884 was an Indian Bengali
• Rai Bahadur Dinesh Chandra Sen Bengali: দ ন শ চন দ র স ন 3 November 1866 20 November 1939 was a Bengali writer, educationist and researcher of Bengali
• Raja Ram Mohan Roy 22 May 1772 27 September 1833 was one of the founders of the Brahmo Sabha, the precursor of the Brahmo Samaj, a social - religious
• Ishwar Chandra Gupta Bengali: ঈশ বরচন দ র গ প ত 6 March 1812 23 January 1859 was a famous Indian Bengali poet and writer. Gupta was born in Kanchrapara
• Sanjib Chandra Chattopadhyay Bengali: সঞ জ বচন দ র চট ট প ধ য য Sanjeeb Chondro Chottopaddhae 1834 1889 was a Bengali writer, poet and journalist
• Harish Chandra Mukherjee Bengali: হর শ চন দ র ম খ প ধ য য 1824 1861 was an Indian journalist and patriot, who fought for the indigo cultivators
• Hindu College, amongst his classmates were Rajnarain Bose and Gobinda Chandra Dutt father of Toru Dutt When Hindu College was opened, orthodox sections
• Bengali: স ব দ প রভ কর was a Bengali daily newspaper founded by Ishwar Chandra Gupta. It began as a weekly newspaper in 1831 and became a daily eight
• Brahmo Samaj, literally the Society of Brahma was founded as a movement by Ram Mohan Roy. In 1850 Roy s successor Debendranath Tagore broke from Hinduism

• Sib Chandra Deb Bengali: শ বচন দ র দ ব Shib Chondro Deb also spelt Shib Chandra Deb, Shibchandra Deb, Shib Chander Deb 20 July 1811 12 November
• outburst of Bengali literature. While Ram Mohan Roy and Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar were the pioneers, others like Bankim Chandra Chatterjee widened it and built
• Umesh Chandra Dutta also spelt as Umeshchandra Datta or Umes Chandra Dutta 1840 1907 was one of the pioneer Brahmos who firmly established the Brahmo
• movement, the Brahmo Samaj, in Bengal, India, and a close follower of Keshub Chandra Sen. He was a leading exemplar of the interaction between the philosophies
• Charu Chandra Bhattacharya Bengali: চ র চন দ র ভট ট চ র য 1883 1961 was a prominent science teacher and writer of various scientific articles mainly
• progressives within the organisation, including Keshub Chandra Sen, Sivanath Sastri, Sib Chandra Deb, and Durga Mohan Das, were together. Their thinking
• While a youngster he used to translate news items and features for Iswar Chandra Gupta s Sambad Prabhakar. He even studied in Medical College for some time
• be translated and understood at that time. Notable among them was Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar, who standardised the alphabets and paved the path for literary

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Remembering Rammohan: An Essay on the Re‐emergence of Modern Hinduism [Excerpt]
by Brian A. Hatcher

[...]

THE BRAHMO SAMAJ AFTER RAMMOHAN

In the wake of Rammohan's departure and death, the energy and activities of the Brahmo Samaj were severely weakened. "The death of the Founder was almost fatal to the infant society," remarked J. N. Farquhar in his influential early study of the period.54 Attendance dwindled at its weekly meetings. To those familiar with the association it must have seemed as if Rammohan's vision and his Samaj would both soon fade from memory. Such might well have been the case, were it not for the dedicated work of Rammohun's closest associates. None was more instrumental in keeping the Brahmo Samaj alive than Ramacandra Vidyavagisa (1786-1845). As first preceptor, or acarya, of the Samaj, Ramacandra had delivered the inaugural discourse before the Samaj in 1828. After Rammohan's departure he faithfully presided over weekly meetings, continuing to deliver discourses on the Upanisadic theology first enunciated by Rammohan. As one later Brahmo commented: "Only the faithful Ram Chandra Vidyabagish remained steadfast; and for seven years he regularly and punctually conducted the weekly service, as directed by Rajah Ram Mohun Roy, often alone like the solitary watcher by the dim-burning pyre at the burning ghat."55 We should note that the image evoked here is one of the death of a movement, rather than its birth. For the Brahmo Samaj to survive would clearly require the agency of men such as Ramacandra.

Like Rammohan, Ramocandra was a Brahmin by birth. Unlike Rammohan, he had trained as a Sanskrit pandit.56 However, his world was drawn close to Rammohan's in many ways, not least because Rammohan had studied under Ramacandra's older brother, who had renounced worldly life and become a tantric ascetic known as Hariharananda Tirthasvami. It may even be that Rammohan and Ramacandra met one another through Hariharananda.

Clearly the two formed a powerful intellectual friendship. Ramacandra's mastery of Sanskrit literature was a valuable asset to Rammohan. In fact, Rammohan sent Ramacandra to study Vedanta, which he is said to have mastered in very little time.57 Sources indicate Rammohan also gave Ramacandra funds with which to open a Sanskrit school for teaching Vedanta....

The creation of the Tattwabodhini Sabha was to become, in retrospect, a defining moment in Brahmo history. It has claimed the attention of readers of Bengali literature for over a century and a half. In the simplest of terms it is a story about the meeting of two men, Rammohan's old friend Ramacandra and Debendranath -- the latter anxiously seeking God, the former faithfully tending to the legacy of Rammohan. Their encounter would not only mark an upswing in the fortunes of the Brahmo Samaj, it would also contribute significantly to the areas of Bengali literature, social reform, and scientific learning. We can only summarize the story of the creation of the Sabha here.66...

It was at this point that Debendranath chanced upon a stray page of Sanskrit text. Although he had studied Sanskrit, he could not decipher it. He sought help from the family's pandit. Recognizing it as the kind of wisdom popular among the Brahmos, the pandit referred Debendranath to Rammohan's friend Ramacandra, When Ramacandra was shown the page, he was instantly able to identify the passage as the first verse of the Isa Upanisad.70 He read the passage for Debendranath and explained its meaning....

In a second major development, four months after the publication of the Patrika, Debendranath joined twenty-one other members of the Tattvabodhini Sabha in taking formal initiation (diksa) into the Brahmo Samaj. The old Brahmo stalwart Ramacandra presided over the ceremony as acarya. As Debendranath later wrote: "This was an unprecedented event in the annals of the Brahma-Samaj. Formerly there had existed the Brahma-Samaj only, now the Brahma Dharma came into existence."82...

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Universal Worship, Part 2
by The Brown Struggler (GreenJayDeep)
Accessed: 3/24/21

In the year 1838, Devendra Nath Tagore, eldest son of Dwarka Nath Tagore, the friend and fellow-worker of Rajah Ram Mohun Roy, began to take interest in the Brahmo Samaj. As a boy, Devendra Nath had often seen Rajah Ram Mohun Roy and had been, in fact, a pet of his. It is said the Rajah foresaw the young boy would grow to carry on his own life-work. But, for many years, there was no sign of any religious tendency or interest in Devendra Nath. His early youth was like that of any other scion of wealthy families. In the year 1838, while attending on his grand-mother in her last moments at the burning-ghat, a strange feeling came over him: he experienced an indescribable joy in the felt presence of God. The pleasures and riches of the world appeared trivial to him. From that time a great change came over his life. He spent many days in meditation and felt that the idols they worshipped were not God, that God was one and could not be perceived by the senses. Then the memory of Rajah Ram Mohun Roy came back to him; he inquired about his Brahmo Samaj and sent for its Minister, Ram Chandra Vidyabagish.

Devendra Nath began to read the Upanishads under Ram Chandra Vidyabagish and established a society. the Tattwabodhini Sabha, for the study and diffusion of the ancient Theistic literature of India. This institution, which was at first composed of the brothers and cousins of Devendra Nath, began to expand rapidly. Ram Chandra Vidyabagish was appointed its minister; its anniversary was celebrated with great eclat in 1840. The Brahmo Samaj at this time was at the lowest ebb of its life. Fortunately, the Tattwabodhini Sabha came to its rescue at this juncture. The members resolved to take charge of it; the separate monthly service of the Tattwa Bodhini Sabha was discontinued and they began to attend the services of the Brahmo Samaj. Through their youthful energy and enthusiasm the Brahmo Samaj soon revived; and a period of great and growing activity followed. The faithful old Minister of the Brahmo Samaj, Pandit Ram Chandra Vidyabagish, had at last the satisfaction of seeing his devotion rewarded. But for his loyal perseverance, the sapling planted by Rajah Ram Mohan Roy might have perished in the dark days following the death of the founder.

The Brahmo Samaj now passed into the safe keeping of Devendra Nath. Drawn by his influence, many young men joined the Samaj. His active mind devised many new measures for the development of the Samaj.1 1842 the Tattwabodhfni Patrika was founded as the organ of the Brahmo Samaj, which exercised a very powerful influence over the rising generation of Bengal. The Brahmo Samaj, up to the time when Maharshi Devendra Nath Tagore joined it, was nothing but a motley congregation which occasionally met together in a half-serious, half-comical mood for listening to hymns, recitations from the Sanskrit Scriptures and religious discourses. There was neither any definite aim nor any settled conviction. The noble provision of the Trust Deed about the equal rights of all without regard to caste, creed or nationality was openly violated by disallowing the presence of non-Brahmins at the reading of the Vedas; doctrines about idolatry and incarnation were often preached from the pulpit. No sooner had Maharshi Devendra Nath joined the Brahmo Samaj than he turned his attention to rectifying these irregularities.

Institution of a Brahmo Covenant and Initiation: Under his influence and inspiration, it soon developed into a purely theistic congregation, He found that those who came to the service of the Brahmo Samaj were not inspired and animated by one common conviction. In their individual lives and at their homes they were idolaters as the ordinary Hindus. In order to make the Brahmo Samaj a body of men believing in the One God and worshipping Him in truth and spirit only, Devendra Nath drew up a Brahmo covenant containing a number of vows enjoining the renunciation of idolatry, the worship of the One Only in the Vedanta and the practice of virtue. God as described Devendra Nath himself took the lead in being initiated into Brahmoism by Ram Chandra Vidyabagish by signing this Covenant in Dec. 1843; twenty of his friends followed him in this new and momentous departure, Thus was formed the nucleus of a Brahmo community; and by 1874 the number of covenanted Brahmos rose to 767.

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Liturgy of the Brahmo Samaj
by the brahmosamaj.net
Accessed: 4/24/21

In this section we look in detail into the liturgy of the Brahmo Samaj. This liturgy has evolved through the ages.

During the time of Rammohun Roy, two Telegu Brahmins used to recite the Vedas in a side room screened from the view of the congregation - where non-Brahmins were not admitted. Utsabananda Vidyabagish would read the texts of the Upanishads -- which were later explained in Bengali by Pt. Ram Chandra Vidyabagish. Then he would give a sermon followed by a song by Govinda Mala. Several of these sermons were written by Rammohun himself. The universalist nature of Rammohun's new religion was evident in reciting the sruti texts of the Upanishads in front of non-Brahmins. The pundits reciting these texts were free from the orthodoxy of their Telegu counterparts.

The first great revival of the Brahmo Dharma took place under the leadership of Debendranath Tagore (1817 - 1905). The Brahmo Samaj as an organisation had gradually reached a moribund condition after Rammohun departed for England. Under Debendranath and the Tattwabodhini Sabha rituals and ceremonials of the new church were formulated. Debendranath wrote the Brahmo Dharma in 1848 at the age of 31. He dictated it to Akshay Kumar Datta and it took 3 hours to write the first part. The most prominent was the system of Initiation (Diksha). A notable doctrinal change that took place was the abandonment of the belief in the infallibility of the Vedas. It was declared that the basis of Brahmoism would henceforth be no longer any infallible book but "the human heart illuminated by spiritual knowledge born of self - realisation." Spiritually Debendranath laid more emphasis on bhakti or devotion rather than jnana or knowledge as propagated by Rammohun. He qualifies his Brahman with a number of personal attributes making thereby a near approach to Ramanuja's doctrine of Visistaadvaitabad. He was temperamentally averse to any drastic measure in the sphere of reform work which might defeat the purpose by causing an abrupt break with tradition.

The next phase is dominated by the dynamic personality of Keshub Chandra Sen (1838 -1884). He also introduced extempore prayers and speeches from the pulpit rather than fixed stereotyped liturgy. Codification of the doctrines came with the main principles of the Nava Samhita - the New Dispensation. These were as follows: 1) Harmony of all scriptures, saints, and sects. 2) Harmony of reason and faith, of devotion and duty, of yoga and bhakti. 3) The church of the Samaj stands for One Supreme God, to be worshipped without form. No idolatry in any form may enter the precincts of the church. 4) The church stands for universal brotherhood without distinction of caste or creed or sect. Texts from all world religions were used for prayer and worship. Keshub propagated a general theory of revelation in which he included nature, history, by which he means "great men," and inspiration. He clearly emphasized inspiration, as the most direct and significant form of revelation. He described it as "the direct breathing-in of God's spirit - which infuses an altogether new life into the soul, and exalts it above all that is earthly and impure. It is more powerful, being God's direct and immediate action on the human soul while revelation made through physical nature and biography is indirect and mediate".

In the era of Sadharan Brahmo Samaj, led by Sivanath Shastri and Ananda Mohun Bose, the liturgy gave a rational, monistic interpretation of the Upanishads, admitting the essential unity of the universal self and the individual self.

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RAM CHANDRA VIDYABAGISH
by Project Gutenberg Self-Publishing Press
Accessed: 3/24/21

Ramchandra Vidyabagish (Bengali: রামচন্দ্র বিদ্যাবাগীশ) (1786 – 2 March 1845) was an Indian lexicographer and Sanskrit scholar. He is known for his Bangabhashabhidhan, the first monolingual Bengali dictionary, published in 1817. He taught at the Vedanta College established by Raja Rammohun Roy, and later at Sanskrit College from 1827-37. Closely associated with the work of Raja Rammohun Roy in Kolkata, he was the first secretary of the Brahmo Sabha established in 1828 and initiated Debendranath Tagore and 21 other young men into Brahmo Samaj in 1843. After Raja Rammohun Roy went to England, his unparalleled erudition and the devotional singing of Bishnu Chakraborti helped in the survival of the Brahmo Samaj.

Although he was opposed to Raja Rammohun Roy’s move to abolish the practice of sati, he extended support to Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar in his move for remarriage of widows. He spoke strongly against the system of polygamy, then prevalent in Hindu society, primarily amongst the Brahmins.

He was associated with the Tattwabodhini Sabha and aimed at the advancement of Bengali language through it. He worked for some time on the government’s desire to replace Persian by Bengali as language of the courts. In this he had the active support of both David Hare and Prasanna Coomar Tagore. He strived hard for the use of Bengali as medium of education.

He was the younger brother of Nandakumar Vidyalankar (later Kulavadhuta Shrimad Hariharananda Tirthasvami), a wandering hermit, who had acquaintance of Raja Rammohun from his younger days. He was the worshipper of One True God according to the Mahanirvana Tantra.

WORKS
Vidyabagish compiled the first monolingual dictionary in Bengali in 1817 and was author of several books. His works include:

Bangabhashabhidhan (1817)
Jyotish Sangrahasar
Bachaspati Mishrer Vivadachintamanih
Shishusebadhi (1840)
Barnamala
Nitidarshan
Parameshvarer Upasana Bishaye Pratham Bakhyan

Sengupta, Subodh Chandra and Anjali Bose (1988) (ed.) Sansad Bangali Charitabhidhan (Biographical dictionary) (in Bengali), Calcutta: Sahitya Sansad, p. 482.

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https://www.google.com/books/edition/A_ ... frontcover

For writers not steeped in these notions, by contrast, such as Mrityunjay Vidyalankar, whose 1808 history of Bengal was commissioned by Fort William College ...

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Fort William College [East India College Calcutta]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 12/15/19

...

Languages

The College of Fort William emerged as both a centre of research and a publication unit, a cradle of creativity as well as scholarship. Planned originally to train probationer British civilians in the languages and cultures of the subjugated country, the college rendered services tantamount to those of a university in promoting modern Indian literatures, Bengali in particular… Under the leadership of William Carey, the College could also claim credit for drawing together Sanskrit pandits and Perso-Arabic munshis to reshape Bengali prose… The variety of the College’s publication also deserve note. From colloquies and popular stories, chronicles and legends, to definitive editions of literary texts.[2]

-- Majumdar, Swapan[3]


Fort William College aimed at training British officials in Indian languages and, in the process, fostered the development of languages such as Bengali and Urdu.[4] The period is of historical importance. In 1815, Ram Mohan Roy settled in Calcutta. It is considered by many historians to be the starting point of the Bengali Renaissance.[5]:212 Establishment of The Calcutta Madrassa in 1781, the Asiatic Society in 1784 and the Fort William College in 1800, completed the first phase of Kolkata’s emergence as an intellectual centre.[2]

Teaching of Asian languages dominated: Arabic, Urdu, Persian, Sanskrit, Bengali. Later, Marathi and even Chinese were added.[6] Each department of the college was staffed by notable scholars. The Persian department was headed by Neil B. Edmonstone, Persian translator to the East India Company's government since 1794. His assistant teacher was John H. Harington, a judge of Sadar Diwani Adalat and Francis Gladwin, a soldier diplomat. For Arabic studies, there was Lt. John Baillie, a noted Arabist. The Urdu department was entrusted to John Borthwick Gilchrist, an Indologist of great repute. Henry Thomas Colebrooke, the famous orientalist, was head of the Sanskrit department. William Carey, a non-civilian missionary and a specialist in many Indian languages, was selected to head the department of vernacular languages.[7] While notable scholars were identified and appointed for different languages, there was no suitable person in Calcutta who could be appointed to teach Bengali. In those days, the Brahmin scholars learnt only Sanskrit, considered to be the language of the gods, and they did not study Bengali. The authorities decided to appoint Carey, who was with the Baptist Mission in Serampore. He, in turn, appointed Mrityunjoy Vidyalankar as head pandit, Ramnath Bachaspati as second pandit and Ramram Basu as one of the assistant pandits.[8]

Along with teaching, translations were organized. The college employed more than one hundred local linguists.[6] There were no textbooks available in Bengali. On 23 April 1789, the Calcutta Gazette published the humble request of several natives of Bengal for a Bengali grammar and dictionary.[8]...

Fort William College was served by a number of eminent scholars. They contributed enormously towards development of Indian languages and literature. Some of them are noted below:

• William Carey (1761–1834) was with Fort William College from 1801 to 1831. During this period he published a Bengali grammar and dictionary, numerous textbooks, the Bible, grammar and dictionary in other Indian languages.[11]:112
• Matthew Lumsden (1777–1835)
• John Borthwick Gilchrist (June 1759 – 1841)
Mrityunjay Vidyalankar (c. 1762 – 1819) was First Pandit at Fort William College. He wrote a number of textbooks and is considered the first 'conscious artist' of Bengali prose.[12] Although a Sanskrit scholar he started writing Bengali as per the needs of Fort William College. He published Batris Singhasan (1802), Hitopodesh (1808) and Rajabali (1808). The last named book was the first published history of India. Mrityunjoy did not know English so the contents were possibly provided by other scholars of Fort William College.[8]
• Tarini Charan Mitra (1772–1837), a scholar in English, Urdu, Hindi, Arabic and Persian, was with the Hindustani department of Fort William College. He had translated many stories into Bengali.[11]:196
• Lallu Lal (also spelt as Lalloolal or Lallo Lal), the father of Hindi Khariboli prose, was instructor in Hindustani at Fort William College. He printed and published in 1815 the first book in the old Hindi literary language Braj Bhasha, Tulsidas’s Vinaypatrika.[4]
• Ramram Basu (1757–1813) was with the Fort William College. He assisted William Carey, Joshua Marshman and William Ward in the publication of the first Bengali translation of the Bible.[4]
• Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar (1820–1891) was head pandit at Fort William College from 1841 to 1846. He concentrated on English and Hindi while serving in the college.[11]:64 After discharging his duties as academician, and engagements as a reformer he had little time for creative writing. Yet through the textbooks he produced, the pamphlets he wrote and retelling of Kalidasa’s Shakuntala and Shakespeare’s A Comedy of Errors he set the norm of standard Bengali prose.[2]
• Madan Mohan Tarkalankar (1817–1858) taught at Fort William College. He was one of the pioneers of textbook writing.[11]:391

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Mrityunjay Vidyalankar
by Banglapedia
Accessed: 3/24/21

বাংলা
Mrityunjay Vidyalankar (c 1762-1819) linguist and writer, was born in Medinipur district, at that time in the province of Orissa, later in West Bengal. He studied at the court of the raja of natore and turned into a Sanskrit scholar. Although not known where he studied Bangla, he made his name as the best Bangla prose writer during the first two decades of the nineteenth century.

On the recommendation of William Carey, he was appointed as the head pundit in Bangla Department at the Fort William College on 4 May 1801. Later in 1805, again on Carey's recommendation, he was given the responsibility of the head pundit in Sanskrit Department. He worked at this college until July 1816, when he resigned his post and worked for the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, as his judge-pundit.


It was not because he published more books than any of his contemporary Bengali colleagues, but because of his prose style that he became so distinguished a writer; according to many, the best before ishawar chandra vidyasagar. Although his style was highly Sanskritised, he found the right and rhythmic structure of Bangla sentences with proper collocation, syntax and correlation of words. More significantly, in that formative stage, he played a vital role in shaping Bangla prose style giving it a formalised character, and thus, distancing it from spoken Bangla. He also persuaded Carey and his other Bengali colleagues to avoid, and even discard, Arabic and Persian elements, widely used in Bangla at that time, and to use more Sanskrit words instead. Consequently, he changed the whole course of Bangla prose style for the rest of the century. He wrote Batrish Singhasan (1802), Hitopadesh (1808), Rajabali (1808) and Prabodhachandrika (written in 1813, printed in 1833). He also wrote Vedantachandrika (1817). Even though these books are mainly translations from Sanskrit works, they acquired an originality because of his style.

As a sanskrit scholar he perceived as conservative in his social outlook, but he was, indeed, in some linguistic matters a modern man. He wrote against the practice of sati even before rammohun roy. When the latter first published his pamphlet in favour of banning the custom, he cited the same shastric endorsement as Mrityunjay had done earlier. He died in early June 1819. [Ghulam Murshid]

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History of Bengali
By Sanjeev Nayyar

1818 to 1905
Growth of Bengali Prose - As noted above there was no prose literature in B before the 19th century. The history of B prose literature started with the foundation of Fort William College in Calcutta in 1800 a.d. The college was established with a view to training the officials of the East India Company in the different languages of the country. It had a B section headed by Willaim Carey with eight teachers under him.

Carey felt very keenly the lack of textbooks so the authorities encouraged the teachers to come out with B books. A large number of books were composed by authors in the first ten years some of whom are Ramran Basu, Rajib-lochan etc. The most eminent was Mrityunjay Vidyalankar, four of whose works were published in 1813. For the first time he developed an artistic literary style and fully deserved to be called the ‘Father of Bengali Prose’. The credit is usually given to Raja Ram Mohan Roy but his first book was published in 1813. He made a contribution nevertheless but cannot be regarded as a pioneer in the field of B prose literature.

The early B books were mostly translations from Sanskrit, English and Persian but there were three original compositions all of historical character. Ramran basu and Rajib-lochan wrote the lives of Pratapaditya and Krishna-chandra Ray while Mrityunjay Vidyalankar wrote a history of India from the earliest period to the time of Warren Hastings.

Carey too made a significant contribution to the language. He composed a grammar of B literature in 1815 and a B-English dictionary in 1815. Another book written by him was Itihasamala or a collection of stories. On the whole the contribution of Carey to B prose is very great indeed. The following passage from the Introduction to his Bengali Grammar shows his appreciation of the B language –

“The Bengalee may be considered as more nearly allied to Sanskrit than any of the other languages of India, four-fifth of the words in the language are pure Sanskrit. Words may be compounded with such facility, and to do great an extent in Bengalee, as to convey ideas with the utmost precision, a circumstance which adds much to its copiousness. One these, and many other accounts, it may be esteemed one of the most expressive and elegant languages of the East”. Carey has rightly pointed out that B was more allied to Sanskrit than other Indian languages. One of its effects was the close imitation of Sanskrit prose style by B writers. Vidyashankar adopted Sanskritized style in some of his books to be followed by others later.

By doing so (looking to Sanskrit for sustenance & development) the authors of those times did a great service to B language which was saved from the dominating influence of Persian and Arabic, something that Hindi could or has not been able to avoid. While the language was thus remodeled and simplified, the B writers drank deeply at the fountain of English literature, which was gradually becoming accessible to them due to the spread of English education.

The first manifestation of the new spirit was the growth of B periodicals starting 1818. Three papers Bangal Gejeti (weekly Bengal gazette, did not last for than a year), monthly journal named Digdarsana and a weekly called Samachara-darpana (mirror of news). The last two were brought out by the Baptist missionaries of Serampore. Atleast seven other B periodicals were started between 1820 to 1850. These periodicals have historical value, people and life of that time, how people were waking up from a thousand years of slumber to enter into a new world.

They were also landmarks in the development of B language and literature. It became gradually free from Sanskrit compounds, which rendered it possible for masters like Bankim-chandra Chatterjee and Rabindranath Tagore to transform it into one of the most beautiful and highly developed languages of the world.

The Samachara-darpana got increasingly popular with time. It published news of what was happening in other countries especially England. From an historical perspective it is important because India’s downfall started when as a cultural unit it reduced its contact with the outside world – went into a shell. Towards the closing centuries of Hindu rule this is exactly what happened. Al-Biruni noted this as a great defect in the character of Indians as far back as 1030. Unfortunately there was no improvement on this count during the Muslim rule. It was left to the Brits to do so then. Today in 2002 it is the Internet and World Wide Web that has helped Indians connect / communicate as never before.

Poetry - While the B prose style was of recent growth, B poetical literature has a long history before the 19th century. However, most of the works were based on religious themes. The last great master of poetic styles that came into style in the 18th century was Dasarathi Ray 1806-57, best known for his spontaneity of diction and smiles.

The first poet to break a new ground was Iswardas Gupta 1812-59 who wrote poems on social and political themes and translated English verses. He was part old and part new school. The first great poet of the new school was Madhu-sudan Datta 1824-73 who brought about an epoch-making change in the form and spirit of B poetry. He introduced blank verses and his epic Meghanada-vadha-kavya breathes a new spirit. He used Indian themes but treated them in a distinctly European way. In his Vrajangana-kavya, based on the Radha-Krishna story he caught the depth of the old Vaishnava poets but in his own way.

Rangalal Banerjee 1827-87 wrote some poems on Rajput chivalry and other historical themes. Two of the greatest poets after Shri Datta referred to above were Hem-chandra Bandyopadhay 1838-1903 and Nabin-chandra Sen 1847-1909. The former is better known for his patriotic poems inspired by fervent nationalism. The latter is the author of a triology of epic poems, giving a new interpretation to the life and message of Sri Krishna. His best-known work is Palasir Yuddha based on the decisive Battle of Plassey. This epic and many short poems breathe a fervid sense of patriotism.

The next phase of development was the romantic poems, which began with Biharilal Chakravarti 1835-94 and culminated in Rabindranath Tagore.

Novels - The B novels, inspired as it were by English novels, did not reach the heights of excellence of B poetry. The greatest writer in this field was Bankim-chandra Chatterji 1838-94 whose first novel Durgesa Nandini was published in 1865. It heralded a new style in B literature for two reasons. One he introduced a new style of B prose that continued throughout the 19th century. Two he simplified the language and removed difficult Sanskrit words.

Bankim’s novels showed an astounding vigor of the present B language, combined with beauty and simplicity. They also revealed a new world of romance and idealism. He showed for the first time that the ordinary life of a middle class B can be a subject matter of a high class novel, and that religious / social views can be preached through novels without detriment to their artistic merit. Some of his novels were translated into English. What Bankimji did most importantly was to revive amongst Bengalis pride in their own literature. Besides novels he wrote religious treatise and essays on a variety of subjects. His Ananda-math (Abbey of Bliss) which contains the famous song Vande Mataram has attained all India fame on account of its patriotic fervor in the form of a quasi-historical romance. While Bankimji was influenced by European thought and literature his originality is beyond question. For half a century he remained the uncrowned king of Bengali literature.

Drama - It was only in 1831 that Prasanna-kumar Tagore set up the first B stage. However, the first public stage was enacted in 1872. It was named National Theatre. These performances led to the development of B drama.

Here again Madhu-sudan Datta’s play Krishnakumari based on the story of the princess of Udaipur and several comedies exposing social abuses were works of high order. The next dramatist Dinabandhu Mitra 1830-73 also showed great dramatic powers. His drama Nila-darpana that exposed the oppressions of indigo-planters created a sensation at that time. Rajakrishna Ray 1849-94 wrote on a number of dramas on Puranic themes and introduced the regular free verse – remarkable innovation in B dramas. Another playwright was Giris-chandra Ghosh 1844-1912 raised the genius of B dramas to a high level. There were other dramatists too.

Others - There were a number of stalwarts who wrote on a variety of subjects during this period. There was Keshab Chandra Sen, Sri Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda. When Rabindranath made his debut various branches of B literature had already attained a position of eminence. Poems, novels, short stories, dramas, satire, autobiography and essays of all kinds is where Tagore contributed to. But he was a real pioneer in lyric poems, in songs in the modern spirit and in short stories.

Before we conclude this period it is important to emphasize the debt, which B prose literature owes to English literature and Western ideas. One of the serious charges levied against English literature was that vernacular literature has suffered. In this case the fact remains the B literature attained the highest development in Bengal where English education was the most advanced. We may contrast this with Bombay, Madras and other parts of British India where the main stress was on vernaculars and not on English, as in Bengal. Having said that if we were to look at India in 2002 regional languages have suffered because of the importance given to the learning of English language. I see most parents today speaking to their children in English rather than in their mother tongues. I am not suggesting that we do not learn English but not at the expense of our mother tongue.

****************************
https://is.muni.cz/el/1423/jaro2016/SOC ... en;htmle=1
editors
Sherry B. Ortner, Nicholas B. Dirks, Geoff Eley
THE NATION AND ITS FRAGMENTS
titles

A PURANIC HISTORY
The first three books of narrative prose in Bengali commissioned by the Fort William College in Calcutta for use by young Company officials learning the local vernacular were books of history, Of these, Rdjabali (1808) by Mrityunjay Vidyalankar was a history of India—the first history of India in the Bengali language that we have in print.7 Mrityunjay (ca. 1762-1819) taught Sanskrit at Fort William College and was the author of some of the first printed books in Bengali. When he decided to set down in writing the story of "the Rajas and Badshahs and Nawabs who have occupied the throne in Delhi and Bengal," he did not need to undertake any fresh "research" into the subject; he was only writing down an account that was in circulation at the time among the Brahman
1
78 CHAPTER FOUR
literati and their landowning patrons.8 His book was; we might say, a good example of the historical memory of elite Bengali society as exemplified in contemporary scholarship.
The book starts with a precise reckoning of the time at which it is being written.
In course of the circular motion of time, like the hands of a clock, passing-through the thirty kalpa such as Pitrkalpa etc., we are now situated in the Svetavaraha kalpa. Each kalpa consists of fourteen manu; accordingly, we are now in the seventh manu of Svetavaraha kalpa called Valvasvata. Each manu consists of 284 yuga; we are now passing through the one hundred and twelfth yuga of Vaivasvata manu called Kaliyuga. This yuga consists of 432,000 years. Of these, up to the present year 1726 of the Saka era, 4,905 years have passed; 427,095 years are left. (R, pp. 3-4)
The calendrical system is also precisely noted. For the first 3,044 years of Kaliyuga, the prevailing era (saka) was that of King Yudhisthira. The next 135 years comprised the era of King Vikramaditya. These two eras are now past.
Now we are passing through the era of the King called Salivahana who lived on the southern banks of the river Narmada. This saka will last for 18,000 years after the end of the Vikramaditya era. After this there will be a king called Vijayabhinandana who will rule in the region of the Citrakuta mountains. His saka will last for 10,000 years after the end of the Salivahana era.
After this there will be a king called Parinagarjuna whose era will last until 821 years are left in the Kaliyuga, at which time will be born in the family of Gautabrahmana in the Sambhala country an avatara of Kalkideva. Accordingly, of the six eras named after six kings, two are past, one is present and three are in the future. {R, p. 8)
Whatever one might say of this system of chronology, lack of certitude is not one of its faults.
Mrityunjay is equally certain about identifying the geographical space where the historical events in his narrative take place.
Of the five elements—space [akasa], air, fire, water and earth—the earth occupies eight ana [half] while the other four occupy two ana [one-eighth] each. . . . Half of the earth is taken up by the seas, north of which is Jam-budvipa. . . . There are seven islands on earth of which ours is called Jam-budvipa. Jambudvipa is divided into nine varsa of which Bharatavarsa is one. Bharatavarsa in turn is divided into nine parts [khaifda] which are called Aindra, Kaseru, Tamraparna, Gavastimata, Naga, Saumya, Varuna, Gandharva and Kumarika. Of these, the part in which the varndsrama [caste] system exists is the Kumarikakhanda.
THE NATION AND ITS PASTS 79he modern world.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Tue Mar 23, 2021 11:48 pm

Panchamakara [Panca-makara]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/23/21


Panchamakara or Panchatattva, also known as the Five Ms, is the Tantric term for the five transgressive substances used in a Tantric practice. These are madya (alcohol), māṃsa (meat), matsya (fish), mudrā (gesture), and maithuna (sexual intercourse).

Taboo-breaking elements are only practiced literally by "left-hand path" tantrics (vāmācārins), whereas "right-hand path" tantrics (dakṣiṇācārins) oppose these.[1]

Interpretations of the Panchamakaras

Arthur Avalon (Sir John Woodroffe)


In the introduction of his translation of the Mahanirvana Tantra, Sir John Woodroffe, under the pseudonym Arthur Avalon, describes the Panchamakara thus:[2]

There are, as already stated, three classes of men: Pashu, Vira and Divya. The operation of the Guna which produce these types affect, on the gross material plane, the animal tendencies; manifesting in the three chief physical functions: eating and drinking, whereby the Annamayakosha is maintained; and sexual intercourse, by which it is reproduced. These functions are the subject of the Panchatattva or Panchamakara ("five Ms"), as they are vulgarly called--viz.: Madya (wine), Mangsa (meat), Matsya (fish), Mudra (parched grain), and Maithuna [sexual intercourse]. In ordinary parlance, Mudra means ritual gestures or positions of the body in worship and Hatha Yoga but as one of the five elements it is parched cereal and is defined as 'Bhrishta-danya dikang yadyad chavya-niyam prachaks-hate, sa mudra kathita devi sarvves-hang naganam-dini'. The Tantras speak of the five elements as Panchatattva, Kuladravya, Kulatattva and certain of the elements have esoteric names, such as Karanavari or Tirtha-vari, for wine, the fifth element being usually called Lata-sadhana (Sadhana with woman or Shakti). The five elements, moreover have various meanings, according as they form part of the Tamasika (Pashvachara), Rajasika (Virachara) or Divya or Sattvika sadhanas respectively.[2]


Vamachary and dakshinachara

In the right-handed path, the Dakshinachara (Dakṣiṇācāra), as described for example by the spiritual leader Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar,[3] the five M's have dual meanings, one crude (left-handed) and one subtle (right-handed).

The five M's / Crude meaning (Vamachara) / Subtle meaning[3] (Dakshinachara)

Madya / Wine / Amrita, divine nectar that drips from the glands in brain onto the tip of tongue and can be trapped using Khechari Mudra
Mamsa / Meat / Control of speech. It symbolizes the Khechari Mudra in which the tongue is swallowed back simulating eating meat.
Matsya / Fish / Ida and Pingala Nadis, controlled through pranayama. They are visualised as figure-of-8-shaped structures intertwining like two fish.
Mudra / Parched grain / Spiritual company, satsang; gestures the hands and body take when the Kundalini is activated and pass up through the central channel, the Sushumna Nadi.
Maithuna / Sexual intercourse, or female sexual discharge[4] / Raising kundalini to the Sahasrara chakra.


According to Sarkar, the purpose of the Five M's is dual: for people to practice yoga sadhana (meditation) while in the "midst of crude enjoyments" and then gradually reduce the consumption of wine, meat, fish, etc. and not to overindulge in sexual activities; and after learning to resist the allure of these activities, to engage in the subtle practices of Tantra meditation.[3]

See also

• Ganachakra
• Yogini#Panchamakara

References

1. Rawson 1978[page needed]
2. Avalon 1913, Introduction: Panchatattva
3. Anandamurti 1985[page needed] and Anandamurti 1993[page needed]
4. White 2006, pp. 83-85.

Cited sources

• Anandamurti, Shrii Shrii (1993). Discourses on Tantra. Ananda Marga.
• Anandamurti, Shrii Shrii (1985). Namah Shiváya Shántáya. Ananda Press.
• Avalon, Arthur (1913). "Introduction". Mahanirvana Tantra.
• Rawson, Philip (1978). The Art of Tantra. Thames & Hudson.
• White, David Gordon (2006) [2003]. Kiss of the Yogini: 'Tantric Sex' in its South Asian Contexts. University of Chicago Press. pp. 83–85. ISBN 978-0226894843.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Wed Mar 24, 2021 12:44 am

Shastra [Sastra]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/23/21

Shastra (शास्त्र, IAST: Śāstra, IPA: [ʃaːst̪rə]) is a Sanskrit word that means "precept, rules, manual, compendium, book or treatise" in a general sense.[1] The word is generally used as a suffix in the Indian literature context, for technical or specialized knowledge in a defined area of practice.[2]

Shastra has a similar meaning to English -logy, e.g. ecology, psychology, meaning scientific and basic knowledge on particular subject. Examples in terms of modern neologisms include

1. bhautikashastra "physics",
2. rasaayanashastra "chemistry",
3. jīvashāstra "biology",
4. vaastushastra "architectural science",
5. shilpashastra "science of mechanical arts and sculpture",
6. arthashastra "science of politics and economics"[3] and
7. nitishastra "compendium of ethics or right policy".


In Western literature, Shastra is sometimes spelled as Sastra,[4] reflecting a misunderstanding of the IPA symbol ‘ś’, which corresponds to the English ‘sh’.

Etymology

The word Śāstra literally means "that which has been instructed/decreed", from the root Śāsana which means "instruction/decree".[5][6]

Terminology

"Shastra" commonly refers to a treatise or text on a specific field of knowledge. In early Vedic literature, the word referred to any precept, rule, teaching, ritual instruction or direction.[1] In late and post Vedic literature of Hinduism, Shastra referred to any treatise, book or instrument of teaching, any manual or compendium on any subject in any field of knowledge, including religious.[1] It is often a suffix, added to the subject of the treatise, such as

1. Yoga-Shastra,
2. Nyaya-Shastra,
3. Dharma-Shastra,
4. Koka- or Kama-Shastra,[7]
5. Moksha-Shastra,
6. Artha-Shastra,
7. Alamkara-Shastra (rhetoric),
8. Kavya-Shastra (poetics),
9. Sangita-Shastra (music),
10. Natya-Shastra (theatre & dance) and others.[1][2]

In Buddhism, a "shastra" is often a commentary written at a later date to explain an earlier scripture or sutra. For example, Yutang Lin says that a text written by him and not given by Buddha, cannot be called a "Sutra"; it is called a "Sastra". In Buddhism, Buddhists are allowed to offer their theses as long as they are consistent with the Sutras, and those are called "Sastras."[8]

In Jainism, the term means the same as in Hinduism. An example of Jaina Shastra is the 12th-century Yoga Shastra of Hemchandracharya.[9]

Shastra is sometimes the root of compounded Sanskrit words. A custodian of Shastra, for example, is called Shastradhari (Sanskrit: शास्त्रधारी).[10]

References in the early textsThe term is found in several passages of the Rigveda (2nd millennium BCE), such as in hymn VIII.33.16.

नहि षस्तव नो मम शास्त्रे अन्यस्य रण्यति ।
यो अस्मान्वीर आनयत् ॥१६॥

— Rigveda 8.33.16, [11]


In this Rigvedic verse, the term means rule or instruction.

The Maitri Upanishad (mid to late 1st millennium BCE), similarly, mentions the materialist Charvakas and Brihaspati who disagreed that the Vedas are a treatise of knowledge, proposing relativism instead, in the following passage:[12]

बृहस्पतिर्वै शुक्रो भूत्वेन्द्रस्याभयायासुरेभ्यः क्षयायेमामविद्यामसृजत्
तया शिवमशिवमित्युद्दिशन्त्यशिवं शिवमिति वेदादिशास्त्रहिंसकधर्माभिध्यानमस्त्विति

— Maitri Upanishad 7.9, [12][13]


The term is found in other Upanishads as well as in Bhagavad Gita such as in verses 15.20, 16.23–16.24, and 17.1.[14]

The Ṛigvedaprātiśākhya (11.36; 14.30) uses the term Shastra to refer to the prātiśākhya tradition. Kātyāyana, Patañjali and Pāṇini's Aṣṭādhyāyī use the term. Similarly, the Vedāṅgajyotiṣa uses the term to refer to astronomical treatises. The term vedāṅgaśāstrāṇām, refers to the śāstra of the Vedāṅgas.

The term "śāstra" is found in Yaska's Nirukta (1.2, 14), where the reference is to Nirukta (etymology). An early use of the term śāstra with reference to the literature on dharma is found in the vārttika of Kātyāyana, who uses the expression dharmaśāstra[15]

Chronology and authenticity

Shastras are predominantly post-Vedic literature, that is after about 500 BCE. However, it is unclear when various Shastras were composed and completed. The authenticity of the manuscripts is also unclear, as many versions of the same text exist, some with major differences. Patrick Olivelle, credited with a 2005 translation of Manu Dharma-sastra, published by the Oxford University Press, states the concerns in postmodern scholarship about the presumed authenticity and reliability of manuscripts as follows (abridged):[16]

The MDh (Manusmriti) was the first Indian legal text introduced to the western world through the translation of Sir William Jones in 1794. (...) All the editions of the MDh, except for Jolly's, reproduce the text as found in the [Calcutta] manuscript containing the commentary of Kulluka. I have called this as the "vulgate version". It was Kulluka's version that has been translated repeatedly: Jones (1794), Burnell (1884), Buhler (1886) and Doniger (1991). (...) The belief in the authenticity of Kulluka's text was openly articulated by Burnell (1884, xxix): "There is then no doubt that the textus receptus, viz., that of Kulluka Bhatta, as adopted in India and by European scholars, is very near on the whole to the original text."

This is far from the truth. Indeed, one of the great surprises of my editorial work has been to discover how few of the over fifty manuscripts that I collated actually follow the vulgate in key readings.

— Patrick Olivelle, Manu's Code of Law (2005)[16]


The literature of late 1st millennium BCE such as Arthashastra,[17] and Shastras of various fields of knowledge from the early 1st millennium period is of great interest as it helped the emergence of diverse schools and the spread of Indian religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism in and outside South Asia.[3][18][19]

The shastras are both descriptive and prescriptive. Among the various Shastras, Manu's code of law has been among the most studied as the colonial British government attempted to establish different laws in British India based on Sharia for Muslims and Manu's code of law.[20][21][22]

The shastras are not consistent or a single consensus [of] documents. Dharma-sastras, for example, contain opposing views and contradictory theories. This is in part because they represent an ideal of human behaviour, while at the same time recognising the need to account for likely failings. The shastras do not present life as it was lived. Rather they reveal an idea of what life should be. The shastra texts constitute one of the great bodies of literature of the ancient world.[23]

Sutra

Main article: Sutra

Sutras are another genre of Indian texts that emerged in the 1st millennium BCE, particularly after the 600 BCE.[24] Sutra (literally "binding thread") denotes a distinct type of literary composition from Shastra. In Sanskrit, "sutra" typically referred to one or more aphorisms; hence sutras use short, aphoristic, evocative statements. In contrast, a Shastra is typically longer, with more detail and explanations. An example of a Sutra is Patanjali's Yogasutras (considered a classic Hindu treatise), while an example of Shastra is Hemachandra's Yogasastra (considered a classic Svetambara Jain treatise), both on yoga.[25]

Shastras and Sutras are among the numerous other genres of literature that has survived from ancient and medieval India. Other genres include Vedas, Upanishads, Vedangas, Itihasa, Puranas, Bhasyas, and Subhashitas.[26]

Major shastras by topics

• Vastu shastra, architecture
• List of vastu shastra sanskrit treatises on architecture
• Vaimānika Shāstra, early 20th-century, sanskrit text on "science of aeronautics"
• Dharma Shastra:
These [are] a genre of Sanskrit theological texts, and refers to the treatises (śāstras) of Hinduism on dharma. There are many Dharmashastras, variously estimated to be 18 to about 100, with different and conflicting points of view.[27][note 1] Each of these texts exist in many different versions, and each is rooted in Dharmasutra texts dated to 1st millennium BCE that emerged from Kalpa (Vedanga) studies in the Vedic era.[29][30]
• Kamashastra (Kama Shastra)
• Yoga Vasistha
• Moksopaya (mahayana uttaratantra shastra)
• Artha Shastra, financial affairs
• Natya Shastra, performing arts
• Surya Siddantha, astronomy
• Mahayana Sutras
• Samudrika Shastra
• Shilpa Shastra

See also

• Vaimānika Shāstra
• Dharma Shastra
• Kamashastra (Kama Shastra)
• Yoga Vasistha
• Moksopaya (mahayana uttaratantra shastra)
• Artha Shastra
• Mahayana Sutras
• Samudrika Shastra
• Shilpa Shastra

Notes

1. Pandurang Vaman Kane mentions over 100 different Dharmasastra texts which were known by the Middle Ages in India, but most of these are lost to history and their existence is inferred from quotes and citations in bhasya and digests that have survived.[28]
References[edit]
1. Monier Williams, Monier Williams' Sanskrit-English Dictionary, Oxford University Press, Article on zAstra
2. James Lochtefeld (2002), "Shastra" in The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Vol. 2: N-Z, Rosen Publishing, ISBN 0-8239-2287-1, page 626
3. Boesche, Roger (January 2003). "Kautilya's Arthaśāstra on War and Diplomacy in Ancient India". The Journal of Military History. Society for Military History. 67 (1): 9–37. doi:10.1353/jmh.2003.0006. ISSN 0899-3718.
4. JDM Derrett (1973), Geschichte, Volume 1, Series Editor: Jan Gonda, Brill, ISBN 978-9004037403, pages 34–36
5. "Knowledge-Net of Amarakosha (अमरकोश-ज्ञान-जालम्)".
6. "शासना at Spokensanskrit.org".
7. Alex Comfort and Charles Fowkes (1993), The Illustrated Koka Shastra: Medieval Indian Writings on Love Based on the Kama Sutra, Simon & Schuster, ISBN 978-0684839813
8. The Unification of Wisdom and Compassion Dr. Yutang Lin
9. Amritlal Savchand Gopani (1989), The Yoga Shastra of Hemchandracharya: A 12th Century Guide to Jain Yoga, Prakrit Bharti Academy, OCLC 21760707
10. disctionary meaning of Shastradhari
11. Rig Veda ऋग्वेदः मण्डल ८ Wikisource
12. Max Muller, Maitri Upanishad 7.9, Oxford University Press, page 342
13. Maitri Upanishad 7.9 Wikisource
14. Sanskrit: इति गुह्यतमं शास्त्रमिदमुक्तं मयानघ । एतद्बुद्ध्वा बुद्धिमान्स्यात्कृतकृत्यश्च भारत ॥ १५-२०॥;
English Translation: Winthrop Sargeant (2009), The Bhagavad Gita: Twenty-fifth–Anniversary Edition, State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0873958318
15. Olivelle, P. (2006). Explorations in the Early History of the Dharmaśāstra in P. Olivelle (ed.) Between the Empires: Society in India 300 BCE to 400 CE, New York: Oxford Unuiversity Press, ISBN 0-19-568935-6, p.169
16. Patrick Olivelle (2005), Manu's Code of Law, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195171464, pages 353–354, 356–382
17. Patrick Olivelle (2013), King, Governance, and Law in Ancient India: Kauṭilya's Arthaśāstra, Oxford UK: Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0199891825, pages 30–32
18. Robert Lingat (1973), The Classical Law of India, University of California Press, ISBN 978-0520018983, page 77;
Steven Collins (1993), The discourse of what is primary, Journal of Indian philosophy, Volume 21, pages 301–393
19. Keay, John, India, A History, New York, Grove Press, 2000
20. Rudolph, Susanne Hoeber; Rudolph, Lloyd I. (August 2000). "Living with Difference in India". The Political Quarterly. Wiley. 71 (s1): 20–38. doi:10.1111/1467-923X.71.s1.4.
21. Gaborieau, Marc (June 1985). "From Al-Beruni to Jinnah: Idiom, Ritual and Ideology of the Hindu-Muslim Confrontation in South Asia". Anthropology Today. Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland. 1 (3): 7–14. doi:10.2307/3033123. JSTOR 3033123.
22. Pollock, Sheldon, From Discourse of Ritual to Discourse of Power in Sanskrit Culture, Journal of Ritual Studies 4:2, 1990, 315-45
23. Doniger, Wendy, The Hindus, An Alternative History, Oxford University Press, 2010, ISBN 978-0-19-959334-7 pbk
24. Arvind Sharma (2000), Classical Hindu Thought: An Introduction, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195644418, page 205-206
25. Olle Quarnström (2002), The Yogaśāstra of Hemacandra: A Twelfth Century Handbook of Śvetāmbara Jainism, Harvard University Press, ISBN 978-0674009349
26. Ludwik Sternbach (1973), Subhashita – A forgotten chapter in the histories of Sanskrit literature, in Indologica Taurinensia, Torino, Vol I, pages 169–254
27. John Bowker (2012), The Message and the Book: Sacred Texts of the World's Religions, Yale University Press, ISBN 978-0300179293, pages 179–180
28. Kane, P.V. History of the Dharmaśāstras Vol. 1 p. 304
29. James Lochtefeld (2002), "Dharma Shastras" in The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Vol. 1: A-M, Rosen Publishing, ISBN 0-8239-2287-1, pages 191–192
30. Patrick Olivelle 1999, pp. xxiii–xxv.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Wed Mar 24, 2021 3:11 am

Anglo-Hindu law
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/23/21

Anglo-Hindu law refers to the laws enacted during the British colonial era, which applied to the Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs of British India.[1]

The first phase of Anglo-Hindu law started in 1772,[2] and lasted till 1864, where translation of some ancient Indian texts along with textual interpretation provided by British court appointed Hindu Pandits were the basis of Anglo-Hindu law, mirroring Anglo-Muslim law extracted from Quran and interpreted by Muslim Qadis for Indian Muslims.[3][4] The second phase of Anglo-Hindu law started in 1864, and ended in 1947, during which a written legal code was adopted, and the Hindu Pandits along with Muslim Qadis were dismissed due to growing inconsistencies in interpretation of texts and suspicions of corruption.[4] Anglo-Hindu law was expanded with a series of British parliament Acts between 1828 and 1947, that was based on political consensus rather than religious texts.[5][6]

History

In 18th century, the British East India Company, which started out as an agent of the Mughal emperor, soon took over the political and administrative powers in India, it was faced with various state responsibilities such as legislative and judiciary functions.[3] The administration pursued a path of least resistance, relying upon co-opted local intermediaries that were mostly Muslims and some Hindus in various princely states.[7] The British exercised power by avoiding interference and adapting to law practices as explained by the local intermediaries.[8] The colonial state thus sustained what were essentially pre-colonial religious and political laws for resolving conflicts, well into the late nineteenth century.[3][7]

That in all suits regarding inheritance, marriage, caste and other religious usages or institutions, the law of the Koran with respect to Mahometans [Muslims], and those of the Shaster [Shastra] with respect to Gentoos [Hindus] shall be invariably be adhered to.

— Warren Hastings, August 15, 1772[9]


For Muslims of India, the code of Muslim law was readily available in al-Hidaya and Fatawa-i Alamgiri written under the sponsorship of Aurangzeb. For Hindus and other non-Muslims, this information was unavailable.[3] The British colonial officials, for practice, attempted to extract from the Dharmaśāstra, the English categories of law and religion for the purposes of colonial administration.[10][11]

The early period of Anglo-Hindu Law (1772–1828) was structured along the lines of Muslim law practice. It included the extracted portions of law from one Dharmaśāstra by British-appointed scholars (especially Sir William Jones, Henry Thomas Colebrooke, Sutherland, and Borrodaile) in a manner similar to Islamic al-Hidaya and Fatawa-i Alamgiri.[4][12][13] It also included the use of court pandits in British courts to aid the British judges in interpreting Shastras just like Qadis (Maulavis) for interpreting the Islamic law.[4]

The arrival of William Bentinck as the Governor-General of British India in 1828, marked a shift towards universal civil code, whose administration emphasized preference for the same law for all human beings, individualism and equal treatment to help liberate, empower and end social practices among Hindus and Muslims of India that had received much public coverage in Britain through the publications of Christian missionaries and individuals such as Thomas Macaulay.[14]

Governor-General Dalhousie, in 1848, extended this trend and stated his policy that the law must "treat all natives much the same manner". Over time, between 1828-1855, a series of British parliamentary acts were passed to revise the Anglo-Hindu and Anglo-Muslim laws, such as those relating to the right to religious conversion, widow remarriage, and right to create wills for inheritance.[14] In 1832, the British colonial government abolished accepting religious fatwa as a source of law.[15] In 1835, the British began creating a criminal code that would replace the existing criminal code which was a complex conflicting mixture of laws derived from Muslim texts (Quran) and Hindu texts (Shastras), and this common criminal code was ready by 1855.[15] These changes were welcomed by Hindu law reform movement, but considered abrogating religion-defined rules within the Muslim law. The changes triggered discontent, call for jihad and religious war, and became partly responsible for the 1857 Indian revolt against the British rule.[16][17]

In 1864, after the East India Company was dissolved and India became a formal part of the British Empire, Anglo-Hindu law entered into a second phase (1864–1947), one in which British colonial courts in India relied less on the Muslim Qadis and Hindu Pandits for determining the respective religious laws, and relied more on a written law.[14] A universal criminal code for India was adopted in 1864, the expanded to include procedural and commercial code by 1882, which overruled pre-existing Anglo-Hindu and Anglo-Muslim laws.[15] However, the personal laws for Muslims remained sharia-based, while the Anglo-Hindu law was enacted independent of any text on matters such as marriage, divorce, inheritance and the Anglo-Hindu law covered all Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists in India.[18] In 1872, the British crown enacted the Indian Christian Marriage Act which covered marriage, divorce and alimony laws for Indian Christians of all denominations except the Roman Catholics.[19]

The development of legal pluralism, that is separate law based on individual's religion was controversial in India, from the very start.[9]

Sources of Anglo-Hindu law

John Mayne, in 1910, wrote that the classical Hindu law has the oldest pedigree of any known system of jurisprudence.[20] Mayne noted that while being ancient, the conflicting texts on almost every question presents a great difficulty in deciding what the classical Hindu law was. As more literature emerges, and is translated or interpreted, Mayne noted that the conflict between the texts on every matter of law has multiplied, and that there is a lack of consensus between the Western legal scholars resident in India.[20]

Mayne and others used the Smriti to extract elements of Anglo-Hindu law.[21] Sir William Jones translated the Manu Smriti into English, and it was largely the initial basis of Anglo-Hindu law.[22]

As new literature, such as Naradasmriti and Mitakshara were discovered, disagreements between the smritis became difficult to resolve. Later writers assumed that the Smritis constituted a single body of law, one part supplementing the other and every part capable of being reconciled with the other.[23][24] Regional differences in the texts made the situation more complex.[25]

Digests

Two digests were made under European influence. The Vivadarnava Setu was compiled at the request of Warren Hastings and is commonly known as Halhed's Gentoo Code. The Vivada Bhangarnava was compiled at the request of Sir William Jones by Jagannatha Turkapunchanana and translated by Henry Colebrooke. It is commonly referred to as Jagannatha's or Colebrooke's Digest. The Gentoo Code, in its English translation is "worthless",[26] because Halhed translated it from Persian, not from Sanskrit. This was not the case for Colebrooke's Digest.[27]

The code and its development

Colonial Hindu legal code marks a large span of nearly two-hundred years, beginning in 1772 and ending in 1947. This time period can be split into two main phases. The first phase, starting in 1772 and ending in 1864, is marked with three main proponents that include the translations of the dharmasastras by the British scholar administrators, the use of court pandits to define laws and rules, and the rise of case law. The second phase, starting in 1864 and ending in 1947, is marked by the dismissal of court pandits, rise of the legislative processes, and a codified law system.[28][29]

Translation of sources

The British were under the conviction that all Indian traditions were based on texts and ignored the tradition's customary significance. Furthermore, they thought that different commentaries and interpretations could be systematically sorted out by school and region. This led to the "objectification" of India, where the translation of the law code of India rendered it to more colonization.[30] The British cherrypicked the conflicting codes in ancient texts to assist colonial aims, through translation.[31]

Warren Hasting's plan of 1772 motivated the British in India to learn Sanskrit as it was necessary for them to govern Bengal. In Hasting's plan Indians were to be governed by Indian principles, particularly in relation to the law.[32] This collection of legal code, picked out from ancient texts of India, came to be known as Anglo-Hindu law. Hastings was aware that British law was too technical, complicated and inappropriate for the conditions in India. In 1774, Hastings wrote to the Lord Chief Justice denying the idea that India was ruled by nothing more than "arbitrary wills, or uninstructed judgments, or their temporary rulers". Hastings was confident that the Hindus and other original inhabitants of India knew written laws, and these were to be found in ancient Sanskrit texts. Initially, no European in Calcutta knew Sanskrit so Hindu pandits' were hired for the job. The original Sanskrit text was translated into a local language, which was then ultimately re-translated into English. Chains of translations were quite common and negatively impacted the value of the original text. The translation, completed by N. B. Halhed, was published in 1776 as A Code of Gentoo Laws; or Ordinations of the Pundits.[33] The code was used in the East India Company's courts until the early 19th century.[34]

Warren Hastings' Plan of 1772

Warren Hastings was appointed under a new parliamentary act in 1772 to the newly created position of governor-general and was instructed by the Court of Directors to stabilize the governance of the Bengal territories. Hastings' plan for the better administration of Bengal was centered on British officers being designated a "collector".[35] The collector would be assigned to a defined area (district) with provincial boundaries and would have mixed executive and judicial power in these areas. Hastings is a very significant figure in the realm of British Imperialism; he was the man who knew the natives and who was to represent the forces of law and order.

He maintained that the natives had an effective administration structure consonant with Indian theory and practice. Though it was clearly not based on European principles, he premised his plan on this notion. Unfortunately, during the fifty years leading up to Hastings' plan, the Bengali system had nearly collapsed. Fortunately, Hastings was more than qualified to essentially start anew. He had a European education and for the first fifteen years of his career, he was stationed near the court of the last effective provincial governors of Bengal. Hastings knew how an Indian state functioned and believed that it was the textual tradition that was relevant to developing British administrative institutions.

Hastings' plan called for two courts. One court dealt with revenue and civil litigation and was called the court of Dewani. The other court dealt with internal order and criminal law and was called the Faujdari court. The "collector", as mentioned above, acted as a judge as he established the facts in the case based on testimony, most commonly depositions from the witnesses, and the documentary evidence was put before the court. His assistant (dewan) and a pandit then found the law that was applicable to the case. Legal specialists, or law professors, interpreted the codes in the legal texts and provided authoritative decisions on the applicable codes. This was the basis for Anglo-Hindu case law. Hastings' was responsible for rejecting the despotic model of Indian law as he stressed the importance of utilizing "Indian law" throughout his career.

Colebrooke's Two Schools of Law

Colebrooke was appointed to the East India Company in 1782. He was skilled at Sanskrit and developed his own conception of the nature and function of Hindu law. Colebrooke led the English in fixing an interpretation of variation in legal texts and this eventually became standard in the British courts in India. He suggested that regional variations or differences existed in India, leading to various interpretations of the same text.

The term "school of law" as it applies to legal opinions of India was first used by Colebrooke.[36] Colebrooke established only two schools that were marked by a vital difference of opinion: those who follow the Mitakshara and those who follow the Daya Bhaga.[37] The Daya Bhaga and the Mitakshara differ in the most vital points[38] because each applied different principles. First, the Daya Bhaga treated religious efficacy as the ruling canon in determining the order of succession, rejecting the preference of agnates to cognates. Secondly, the Daya Bhaga denies the doctrine that property is by birth, the cornerstone of the joint family system. Thirdly, the brothers of the joint family system in the Daya Bhaga recognize their right to dispose of their shares at their pleasure. Fourthly, the Daya Bhaga recognizes the right of a widow to succeed her husband's share.[39]

Colebrooke's assumed that the commentaries on Hindu legal texts were the works of "lawyers, juriscouncils and lawgivers", and that these texts were actual law of India before the arrival of Islam, an assumption later scholars found as flawed.[40] Moreover, the British made a false analogy between Hindu law and Muslim law.

Like, the Koran among the Muhammedans, the Veda is put into the hands of children in the first period of their education; and continues afterwards to be read by rote, for the sake of the words, without comprehension of the sense.

-- Essays on the Religion and Philosophy of the Hindus, by Henry Thomas Colebrooke, Esq.


The British were familiar with the latter, from other British colonies in Africa and the Middle East, as well as having initially worked as agents of the rulers of Mughal Empire. As a result, Colebrooke sought from Hindu texts and yielded a Hindu law to match what were thought of as the schools of Muslim law.[41]

In Colebrooke's view each school had fixed "doctrines" and English judges therefore needed access to the reasons and arguments by which each school supported their doctrine. When Indian scholars could not provide the texts that demonstrated this, European methods were used. After Jones announced that he intended to provide Hindus with their own laws through the mediation of English judges assisted by court appointed pandits, a legal code was in practice. The British sought consistency over time and this created a case law based on precedent.[42]

Jones' Digest

Sir William Jones was appointed judge in the Supreme Court of Calcutta in 1783. He had studied Persian and Arabic at Oxford and had published a number of translations. Additionally, Jones had an active political career and was a very influential figure of the time. After beginning his judicial career in India he found Halhed's code to be more curious than it was useful. Though he had no intention of ever learning Sanskrit, reacting to the defectiveness of the available translations, he became motivated to do so. By 1786, Jones' Sanskrit was good enough to decide between conflicting opinions of his pandits by reading the appropriate translation of the appropriate text. He was able to discern whose interpretation of the law was correct.[43]

Jones believed there was a fixed body of laws and codes that had been objects of corruption over time. He wanted to provide the British courts in India, the Crown and the East India Company with a basis on which decisions could be rendered consonant with a pure version of Hindu law. Thus, believed Jones, the Anglo-Hindu law could become consistent and fair.[44]

By 1787, Jones had created a plan for the administration of justice in India that reflected the Indian's own principles of jurisprudence. He envisioned a digest (translation completed by Colebrooke) complete with Hindu and Muslim law on the subjects of contracts and inheritances. Jones plan was to find and fix a Hindu civil law with the topics that affected the ownership and transmission of property.[45]

In 1788, Jones requested government support from his plan by reiterating to Cornwallis that it would establish a standard of justice with principles and rules accessible to the English. Cornwallis agreed, and from 1788 until his death in 1794 Jones devoted his time to what would become "The Digest of Hindu Law on Contracts and Successions". By the time of his death he had compiled the Digest in Sanskrit and Arabic and had begun translating them to English. Colebrooke completed the translation in 1797.[46]

Other Anglo-Hindu law manuals

The digests and manuals that followed Halhed's contained more substance and covered more topics of Hindu law, simply because scholars acquired more texts and regional language skills over time. Sir Thomas Strange was the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Madras from 1801 to 1817. He, in 1825, published a manual of Hindu law.[47] Other sources on Hindu Law include:

1. Mayne, John Dawson. 1906. A Treatise on Hindu Law and Usage
2. Aiyar, Nandivada R. Narasimha. 1893 The Principles of Hindu Law
3. Stokes, Whitley. 1887. The Anglo-Indian Codes
4. Grady, Standish Grove. 1871. A Manual of Hindu Law
5. Strange, Thomas Andrew. 1830. Hindu Law (This is a unique text in so far as it addresses the opinions of the pandits in a question and answer format.)
6. Coghlan, William Mant. 1876. An Epitome of Some Hindu Law Cases
7. Rattigan, William Henry. 1871. Select Cases in Hindu Law Decided by Her Majesty's Privy Council and the Superior Courts in India


Case law

Hindu law was codified by the British in multiple ways: translation, case law, and enactment of various laws based on debate rather than texts. Legislation came to be the strongest source of law in India in so far as it held the highest jurisdiction when sources conflicted.[48][49] Examples include,

• The Hindu Widow's Remarriage Act of 1856: Allowed widows to remarry in certain situations.
• The Native Convert's Marriage Dissolution Act of 1866: Allowed for Hindus who had converted to Christianity to dissolve their marriage.
• The Child Marriage Restraint Act of 1929: Restricted marriages of children below a certain age.
• The Hindu Married Women's Right to Separate Residence and Maintenance Act of 1944: Gave special rights to Hindu married women.

Timeline of Court System

• 1726 - Charter by King George I
o This is where the British judicial system in India began.
o Made important changes to judicial administration in the three main Presidency towns of Bombay, Calcutta, and Madras.
• 1772 - Plan for the Administration of Justice
o Devised by General-Governor Warren Hastings
 Hindu law is formally established as part of the British legal system administered in colonial India.
 "In all suits regarding inheritance, marriage, caste and other religious usages or institutions, the laws of the Koran with respect to the Mohamedans and those of Shaster with respect to the Gentoos shall invariably be adhered to" (Sec. 27 of the Administration of Justice Regulation of 11 April 1980).
• 1773 - The East India Company Regulating Act
o Made provision to establish Supreme Court of Judicature at Fort William at Calcutta, which would supersede the then prevalent judicial system.
• 1774 March 26: the Supreme Court of Judicature at Fort William was established.
o Supreme Court: had full power and authority to hear and determine all complaints against any of His Majesty's subjects for any crimes and also to entertain, hear and determine any suits or actions against any of His Majesty's subjects in Bengal, Biar, and Orissa.
• 1780 - The Regulating Act
o Important date because it ended the practice of applying English law to Hindus and Muslims. It required all judges to administer the Islamic and Hindu law. Before this, it was certain whether the judges would apply English or religious law in a particular case.
• 1800 - Established Supreme Court of Madras under Charter issued by King George III
• 1803 - Established Supreme Court of Bombay under Charter issued by King George III
o Replaced the Recorder's Court
• 1833 - The India Charter Act
o Called for the creation of the Indian Law Commission, that would be composed of Hindu legal experts, appointed to identify various rules under Hinduism that could be applied to the laws and court system of British India. They were asked to make recommendations for how to consolidate or amend these laws in ways that would prevent gaps in the law.[50]
• 1859 - The Code of Civil Procedure and the Law of Limitation
• 1860 - The Penal Code
• 1861 - The Code of Criminal Procedure
• 1861 - The Indian High Court's Act
o "Reorganized the then prevalent judicial system in the country by abolishing the Supreme Courts at Fort William, Madras, and Bombay, and also the then existing Sadar Adalats in the Presidency Towns. The High Courts were established having civil, criminal, admiralty, vice-admiralty, testimony, intestate, and matrimonial jurisdiction, as well as original and appellate jurisdiction."[51]
• 1909 - Government of India Act
o Allowed for Indian participation, albeit limited, in both provincially and central legislative councils. Important step because it allowed Indians, to have a bigger influence the laws that would be administered to Hindus.
• 1935 - Government of India Act
o Provisions were included for the establishment of a Federal Court, which was necessary in order to make judicial administrations in various provinces more competent between the governmental bodies themselves. This was an important step in unifying India. The Federal Court was a precursor to the Supreme Court of India, which was inaugurated in 1950.

The High Courts of British India

The three High Courts of Bombay, Calcutta, and Madras were established in the three Presidency towns by Letters Patent from Queen Victoria. Before the Indian High Courts Act of 1961, all three Presidencies had Supreme Courts that were in charge of administering justice. Several other High Courts were established during British rule such as the Allahabad High Court and Karnataka High Court, established in 1866 and 1884, respectively.

Judicial Committee of the Privy Council

The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council served as the highest court of appeals for Anglo-Hindu law and British Indian law. The Privy Council, located in London, did not only handle Indian appeal cases, its jurisdiction spanned throughout many parts of the British Empire. With regards to India, the Privy Council was successful at infusing English concepts and principles into the British Indian legal system and they thus became an integral part of Indian law.

The right of appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council was retained after Indian independence, but terminated when the Abolition of Privy Council Jurisdiction Act 1949 came into force on 26 January 1950, when the Republic of India was declared. The Federal Court of India was replaced by the Supreme Court of India.

See also

• Gentoo
• Modern Hindu law
• Hindu Code Bill
• Hindu Inheritance (Removal of Disabilities) Act, 1928
• Hindu Personal Law

References

1. Ludo Rocher (1972), Indian response to Anglo-Hindu law, Journal of the American Oriental Society, 92(3), pages 419-424
2. Rosane Rocher, "The creation of Anglo-Hindu law" in Lubin, Davis & Krishnan, Hinduism and Law (2010), p. 78, doi:10.1017/CBO9780511781674.008
3. Donald R. Davis, Jr., "A historical overview of Hindu law" in Lubin, Davis & Krishnan, Hinduism and Law (2010), Chapter 1, doi:10.1017/CBO9780511781674.005
4. Michael Anderson in Arnold, David; Robb, Peter; Robb, Peter G. (1993), Institutions and Ideologies: A SOAS South Asia Reader, Psychology Press, Chapter 10, ISBN 978-0-7007-0284-8
5. Cohn, Colonialism and Its Forms of Knowledge (1996), Ch. 3
6. Rosane Rocher, "The creation of Anglo-Hindu law" in Lubin, Davis & Krishnan, Hinduism and Law (2010), pp. 78-89, doi:10.1017/CBO9780511781674.008
7. Washbrook, D. A. (1981). "Law, State and Agrarian Society in Colonial India". Modern Asian Studies. 15 (3): 649–721. doi:10.1017/s0026749x00008714. JSTOR 312295.
8. Kugle, Scott Alan (May 2001). "Framed, Blamed and Renamed: The Recasting of Islamic Jurisprudence in Colonial South Asia". Modern Asian Studies. Cambridge University Press. 35 (2): 257–313. doi:10.1017/s0026749x01002013. JSTOR 313119.
9. Rocher, Ludo (July–September 1972). "Indian Response to Anglo-Hindu Law". Journal of the American Oriental Society. 92 (3): 419–424. doi:10.2307/600567. JSTOR 600567.
10. Rocher, Ludo (2012), "Hindu Law and Religion: Where to Draw the Line", in Donald R. Davis, Jr.; Richard W. Lariviere (eds.), The Nature of Hindu Law, Volume 1, pp. 83–102, doi:10.7135/UPO9780857285782.007, ISBN 9780857285782 also in Malik Ram Felicitation Volume. ed. S.A.J. Zaidi (New Delhi, 1972), 190–1.
11. J. D. M. Derrett, Religion, Law, and the State in India (London: Faber, 1968), 96; For a related distinction between religious and secular law in Dharmaśāstra, see Lubin, Timothy (2007). "Punishment and Expiation: Overlapping Domains in Brahmanical Law". Indologica Taurinensia. 33: 93–122. SSRN 1084716.
12. K Ewing (1988), Sharia and ambiguity in South Asian Islam, University of California Press, ISBN 978-0520055759
13. A digest of Moohummudan law on the subjects to which it is usually applied by British courts of justice in India Neil Baillie, Smith, Elder & Co. London
14. Rudolph, Susanne Hoeber; Rudolph, Lloyd I. (August 2000). "Living with Difference in India". The Political Quarterly. Wiley. 71 (s1): 20–38. doi:10.1111/1467-923X.71.s1.4.
15. AK Giri in Costa, Pietro; Zolo, Danilo (2007), The Rule of Law History, Theory and Criticism, Springer Science & Business Media, pp. 596–597, ISBN 978-1-4020-5745-8
16. Llewellyn-Jones, Rosie (2007), The Great Uprising in India, 1857-58: Untold Stories, Indian and British, Boydell & Brewer, pp. 111–112, ISBN 978-1-84383-304-8
17. Cook, David (23 May 2005), Understanding Jihad, University of California Press, pp. 80–83, ISBN 978-0-520-93187-9
18. Kunal Parker in Larson, Gerald James, ed. (2001), Religion and Personal Law in Secular India: A Call to Judgment, Indiana University Press, pp. 184–199, ISBN 0-253-10868-3
19. Mallampalli, Chandra (2004), Christians and Public Life in Colonial South India, 1863-1937: Contending with Marginality, Routledge, pp. 59–64, ISBN 978-1-134-35025-4
20. Mayne, A Treatise on Hindu Law and Usage (1878), Stevens and Hynes, Harvard Law Library Series, see Preface section
21. Mayne, A Treatise on Hindu Law and Usage (1878), Ch 2. pp. 14-15
22. Mayne, A Treatise on Hindu Law and Usage (1878), Ch 2. pp. 20-22
23. Mayne, A Treatise on Hindu Law and Usage (1878), Ch 2. pp. 26-27
24. Brown, Mackenzie (1953). Indian Political Thought from Manu to Gandhi. University of California Press. p. 164.
25. Mayne, A Treatise on Hindu Law and Usage (1878), Ch 2. pp. 27-28
26. Mayne, A Treatise on Hindu Law and Usage (1878), Ch 2. pp. 33
27. Mayne, A Treatise on Hindu Law and Usage (1878), Ch 2. pp. 33-34
28. Cohn, Colonialism and Its Forms of Knowledge (1996), Introduction. pp. 5-6
29. Lariviere, Justices and Panditas: Some Ironies in the Hindu Legal Past
30. Cohn, Colonialism and Its Forms of Knowledge (1996), Foreword. pp. xv
31. Cohn, Colonialism and Its Forms of Knowledge (1996), Ch 2. pp. 20-21
32. Cohn, Colonialism and Its Forms of Knowledge (1996), Ch 2. pp. 26
33. Cohn, Colonialism and Its Forms of Knowledge (1996), p. 66
34. Cohn, Colonialism and Its Forms of Knowledge (1996), Ch 3. pp. 67
35. Cohn, Colonialism and Its Forms of Knowledge 1996, p. 60.
36. Mayne, A Treatise on Hindu Law and Usage (1878), Ch 2. pp. 38
37. Mayne, A Treatise on Hindu Law and Usage (1878), Ch 2. pp. 38-39
38. Mayne, A Treatise on Hindu Law and Usage (1878), Ch 2. p. 40
39. Mayne, A Treatise on Hindu Law and Usage (1878), Ch 2. pp. 40-41
40. Cohn, Colonialism and Its Forms of Knowledge (1996), Ch 3. pp. 73
41. Cohn, Colonialism and Its Forms of Knowledge (1996), Ch 3. pp. 74
42. Cohn, Colonialism and Its Forms of Knowledge (1996), Ch 3
43. Cohn, Colonialism and Its Forms of Knowledge (1996), Ch 3. pp. 68
44. Cohn, Colonialism and Its Forms of Knowledge (1996), Ch 3. pp. 69
45. Cohn, Colonialism and Its Forms of Knowledge (1996), Ch 3. pp. 69-71
46. Cohn, Colonialism and Its Forms of Knowledge (1996), Ch 3. pp. 70
47. Strange, Thomas Andrew. A Manual of Hindu Law on the Basis of Sir Thomas Strange
48. Cohn, Colonialism and Its Forms of Knowledge (1996), Ch 3. pp. 71
49. Marc Galanter, Law and Society in Modern India (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1989)
50. Gilchrist, R.N. (1921). Principles of Political Science. Longmans, Green and Company. p. 201.
51. "GlobaLex - A Guide to India's Legal Research and Legal System". nyulawglobal.org. Retrieved 1 October 2014.

Sources

• Cohn, Bernard S. (1996), Colonialism and Its Forms of Knowledge: The British in India, Princeton University Press, ISBN 0-691-00043-3
• Lubin, Timothy; Davis Jr, Donald R.; Krishnan, Jayanth K. (2010), Hinduism and Law: An Introduction, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-1-139-49358-1
• Mayne, John Dawson (1878). A Treatise on Hindu Law and Usage. Higginbatham.
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William Digby (writer)
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William Digby
Born: 1 May 1849, Wisbech
Died: 29 September 1904 (aged 55)
Occupation: Journalist; politician
Nationality: British
Period: 1878–1901
Subject: Politics, Famines, India
Notable works: Famine Campaigns in Southern India; Prosperous British India
Spouse: Ellen Amelia Little; Sarah Maria Hutchinson

William Digby (1 May 1849 – 29 September 1904) was a British author, journalist and humanitarian.

Early life and career

William Digby was born in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire on 1 May 1849. He did his apprenticeship with the Isle of Ely and Wisbech Advertiser. He was employed at the Sussex Advertiser from 1864 to 1871.[1] He was married twice – first to Ellen Amelia Little in 1874 (who died in 1878) and then to Sara Maria Hutchinson in 1879. William Digby moved to the Indian subcontinent in 1871 and worked as a sub-editor in The Ceylon Observer,[2] and as the editor of The Madras Times in 1877.[3] He also worked as the editor of the Liverpool and Southport Daily News in 1880 and that of the Plymouth Daily Western Mercury in 1879. He served as senior partner of William Hutchinson and Company in 1887.[3]

Activism and politics

While working in Sri Lanka, Digby was involved in a temperance campaign and another one for abolishing food taxes.[4]

Famine relief

While working in India, he witnessed the Great Famine of 1876–78 and involved himself in relief works. He served as the Honorary Secretary of the Executive Committee of the Famine Relief Fund.[5] He opposed the laissez faire famine relief policies of the Famine Commissioner, Sir Richard Temple and argued for more Government aid in mitigating the effects of famine. In 1878 he wrote an extensive book about the famine titled The Famine Campaign in Southern India, Vol I and Vol II. For his contribution to the famine relief works, he was made a Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire (C.I.E) in 1878. The failure of the Government of India to provide effective famine relief made William Digby an outspoken critic of the British Government's India policy.

Liberal politics

Digby returned to England in 1879 after his first wife's death.[4] In November 1882 he became the first secretary of the National Liberal Club, a post he held till 1887.[4] He advocated full economic and racial equality, then representative Government and eventually Self-Government for the Indians. He published Indian Problems for English Consideration in 1881. In it, Digby argued that Indian reform was 'a Liberal duty', and defined India as 'a larger Ireland'.[4] Digby was an admirer of Lord Ripon and published a pamphlet in February 1885 titled India for the Indians and for England in defence of Ripon.[4] He contested the 1885 General Election as a Liberal Party candidate from the Paddington North constituency on a platform of legislative reform in India. He lost to Conservative Party candidate Lionel Louis Cohen by a margin of 685 votes (out of a total 5345 polled).[6]

The Indian Agency

In May 1888 he set up the Indian Political and General Agency in London for the purpose of raising awareness about Indian grievances in the British Parliament and Press.[7] He served as its secretary during 1887–1892. He became a strong advocate of constitutional reform and acted as an unofficial guide to Indian National Congress leaders visiting London. He used his political contacts (obtained through his position as the secretary of the National Liberal Club) to raise India's grievances in the British Public sphere. Through his lobbying he was able to get Charles Bradlaugh to attend the Fifth INC Conference held at Bombay in 1889. Bradlaugh also agreed to introduce a bill in British Parliament for establishing legislative councils in India. During this time Digby also worked as the editor of the Congress journal India. Though he was well paid for his efforts, the Congress office bearers in India delayed paying the expenditure for his lobbying efforts. Digby met those expenditures by doing private lobbying for the Maharaja of Kashmir. As part of his lobbying, he wrote a book titled "Condemned Unheard" advocating the Kashmiri king's position. This private lobbying and incidents of Digby and Bradlaugh receiving money from the Kashmiri king for presenting petitions to and raising questions in parliament alarmed Allan Octavian Hume. Hume set up the "British Committee of the Indian National Congress" to oversee the Indian Agency's work. The Committee did not want payments to be made to Bradlaugh through its books and completely ended its association with the Indian Agency in 1890. Digby served as the secretary to the British Committee from 1889 to 1892. Digby's continuing private lobbying efforts were a major embarrassment to the Congress and it cut its connections to Digby in September 1892.[8] This ended Digby's association with the Indian National Congress.

1892 election

Digby contested the 1892 General Election as the Liberal candidate from the South Islington parliamentary constituency. He lost to the Conservative candidate Albert Rollit by 321 votes.[9]

Death

Digby died on 29 September 1904.[1] Condoling his death, The Hindu Organ wrote that "..his death is a great loss to all eastern subjects of His Majesty".[2] Gandhi wrote an obituary in the Indian Opinion on 29 October 1904 which praised him as follows:

By the death of William Digby CIE, India has lost a champion, whom it will be difficult to replace. His advocacy of the Indian cause was strenuous and well-informed... By his voluminous writings, the late Mr. Digby ever kept the different Indian questions before the public.[10]


Bibliography

• The Famine Campaign in Southern India: Madras and Bombay Presidencies and province of Mysore, 1876–1878, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 (1878)
• Forty Years of Official and Unofficial Life in an Oriental Crown Colony, being the Life of Sir Richard Morgan (1879)
• Indian Problems for English Consideration (1881)
• India for the Indians — and for England (1885)
• The general election, 1885. India's interest in the British ballot box (1885)
• 1857: A friend in need 1887: Friendship forgotten, An episode in Indian Foreign Office Administration (1890)
• Condemned Unheard: The Government of India and H.H. the Maharaja of Kashmir: a Letter to the Rt. Hon. Sir Ughtred Kay-Shuttleworth (1890)
• Prosperous British India – A Revelation from Official Records (1901)

See also

• 'Prosperous' British India
• Political history of Mysore and Coorg (1565–1760)
• British Raj

Notes

1. Riddick, P.256
2. Martyn, P.277
3. Kaminsky, P.237
4. William Digby and the Indian Question by Mira Matikkala
5. Digby(Famine Campaign Vol 2), P.1
6. Debrett, P.219
7. Owen, P.31
8. Owen, P.32-36
9. Constitutional Year Book 1914, p.113
10. Gandhi, P.285

References

• Brown, Frank Herbert (1912). "Digby, William" . Dictionary of National Biography (2nd supplement). London: Smith, Elder & Co.
• Digby, William (1878), The Famine Campaign in Southern India: Madras and Bombay Presidencies and province of Mysore, 1876–1878, Volume 1, London: Longmans, Green and Co
• Digby, William (1878), The Famine Campaign in Southern India: Madras and Bombay Presidencies and province of Mysore, 1876–1878, Volume 2, London: Longmans, Green and Co
• Kaminsky, Arnold. P (1986), The India Office, 1880–1910, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group, ISBN 0-313-24909-1
• Martyn, John. H (2003) [1923], Martyn's notes on Jaffna: chronological, historical, biographical, New Delhi: Asian Educational Services, ISBN 81-206-1670-7
• Gandhi, Mohandas K (1958), Collected Works, Volume 4, New Delhi: Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Govt. of India
• Kaul, Chandrika; Brown, 'F. H. "Digby, William (1849–1904)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/32823. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
• Owen, Nicholas (2007), The British left and India: metropolitan anti-imperialism, 1885–1947, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-923301-4
• Mair, Robert Henry (1886), Debrett's House of Commons, London: Dean and Son
• The Constitutional year book, Volume 1914, National Unionist Association of Conservative and Liberal Unionist Organizations, 1914
• Riddick, John F. (2006), The history of British India: a chronology, Greenwood Publishing Group, ISBN 0-313-32280-5

External links

• Famine Campaigns in Southern India: Volume 1, Volume 2
• 1857:A friend in need 1887: Friendship forgotten An episode in Indian Foreign Office Administration
• Prosperous British India – A Revelation

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William Digby
Dictionary of National Biography
1912

DIGBY, WILLIAM (1849–1904), Anglo-Indian publicist, third son of William Digby of Walsoken, Wisbech, by his wife Ann Drake, was born there on 1 May 1849. Scantily educated at the British schools, Wisbech, he studied for himself, and from 1864 to 1871 was apprentice in the office of the 'Isle of Ely and Wisbech Advertiser.' In 1871 he went out to Colombo as sub-editor of the 'Ceylon Observer.' There he advocated temperance and free trade, proved successful in his effort to abolish revenue farming, and publishing 'The Food Taxes of Ceylon' (1875) was elected in March 1878 an honorary member of the Cobden Club.

Cobden Club
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/24/21

Image
Free trade · Peace · Goodwill amongst nations—publishing logo as used by the Cobden Club in 1881 works

The Cobden Club was a society and publishing imprint, based in London, run along the lines of a gentlemen's club of the Victorian era, but without permanent club premises of its own. Founded in 1866 by Thomas Bayley Potter[1] for believers in Free Trade doctrine, it was named in honour of Richard Cobden, who had died the year before. Potter was honorary secretary of the Cobden Club from its foundation until his death in 1898.[1]

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Thomas Bayley Potter DL, JP (29 November 1817 – 6 November 1898) was an English merchant in Manchester and Liberal Party politician...

Potter became Chairman of the Manchester branch of the Complete Suffrage Society in 1830. While he was generally aligned with the Radicals, there was a rift between their leaders John Bright and Richard Cobden over the Crimean War, which the Potter brothers supported; and Sir John Potter successfully stood against Bright in 1857. Potter, who was in many ways a follower of Cobden, tried to smooth matters over at the end of the 1850s.

In 1863 Potter was the founder and president of the Union and Emancipation Society. Initially simply the Emancipation Society, it was prompted by Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation that had freed enslaved people on 1 January 1863. Potter put his own money into the organisation, which adopted the pamphleteering publicity tactics of the Anti-Corn Law League, and ran frequent meetings. It was joined by prominent supporters of the Union in the American Civil War, including Edward Dicey, J. S. Mill and Goldwin Smith.

In 1865, Potter entered the British House of Commons and sat as Member of Parliament (MP) for Rochdale. This was the seat of Cobden, who had died that year. Potter kept it until 1895. In the House of Commons he was known as "Principles Potter".

Potter established the Cobden Club in 1866 and was honorary secretary until his death. He had proposed a "political science association" in a letter to J. S. Mill of 1864, taking as model the Social Science Association. It operated as a publisher, funded education in economics, and held an annual dinner, under a name suggested by Thorold Rogers. It was fundamentalist about free trade.

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"the Manchester school". Potter as caricatured by Spy (Leslie Ward) in Vanity Fair, June 1877

A personal friend of Giuseppe Garibaldi, Potter also supported Italian unification. The finance for Garibaldi's purchase of the island of Caprera was arranged at a dinner given by him.

-- Thomas Bayley Potter, by Wikipedia


Unusually for contemporary clubs, it had a publishing arm. The publishing arm was instrumental in publishing Cobden's collected speeches in 1870, under the co-editorship of John Bright, one of the club's early patrons. Because of its Free Trade connection, it mainly attracted Liberals as members, but with the fading of both the Liberals as a national force, and of Free Trade as a popular cause, the club fell into decline in the 20th century. The popularity of Temperance reform among members also made it unappealing to potential recruits with the passing years.

In 1958 the Cobden Club, by now moribund, was taken over by the classical liberal activist Oliver Smedley.[2] Like many other clubs, it went through substantial financial difficulties in the late 1970s, and closed at the end of that decade.

It is unrelated to the Cobden Working Men's Club founded in Kensal Town, London in 1880 (other than their both having been named after the same person). Nor is it related to a later west London private restaurant and bar of that name founded in 1996, which claimed to be a "refounded" Cobden Club, but which had no connection to the old club, and had no political affiliation,[3][4] and later closed.

See also

• List of London's gentlemen's clubs

References

1. Manchester Faces & Places (Vol X, No 3 ed.). London & Manchester: JG Hammond & Co Ltd. December 1898. pp. 42–46.
2. Richard Cockett, Thinking the Unthinkable. Think-Tanks and the Economic Counter-Revolution, 1931–1983 (London: Fontana, 1995), p. 126.
3. "Cobden Club - Welcome to Cooper and Dean Events".
4. http://www.rockabaret.co.uk Archived 2007-05-17 at the Wayback Machine


As official shorthand-writer for the legislative council, he prepared six volumes of the Ceylon 'Hansard' (1871-6).

In 1877 he became editor of the 'Madras Times,' and persistently urged the need of alleviating the great Southern Indian famine. Largely owing to his representations a relief fund was opened at the Mansion House in London, and 820,000l. was subscribed. He was active as honorary secretary in India of the executive committee, which distributed relief through 120 local committees. He was made C.I.E. on 1 Jan. 1878, and in his 'Famine Campaign in Southern India' (1878, 2 vols.) faithfully described the visitation.

Returning to England in 1879 for domestic reasons, Digby edited the 'Liverpool and Southport Daily News' for a few months in 1880, and from that year to 1882 was editor of the 'Western Daily Mercury' at Plymouth. From Nov. 1882 till 1887 he was the energetic secretary of the newly founded National Liberal Club in London, and eagerly flung himself into political work. He contested unsuccessfully in the liberal interest North Paddington in 1885 and South Islington in 1892. In 1887 he established, and became senior partner of, the firm of William Hutchinson & Co., East India agents and merchants. Meanwhile he pursued in the press and on the platform with almost fanatical warmth the agitation for extending self-government among the natives of India. In 1885 he published 'India for the Indians and for England,' a book praised by John Bright in a speech at St. James's Hall on 25 Feb. 1885. In 1887 he founded, and until 1892 he directed, the Indian political agency, which distributed information about India to the English public. In 1889 he became secretary to the newly constituted British committee of the Indian national congress, and he edited the committee's organ, 'India' (1890-2). In 'Prosperous British India' (1901) he claimed to prove a steady growth of poverty among the Indian masses under British rule.

Digby died from nervous exhaustion at his home, Dorset Square, London, N.W., on 24 Sept. 1904, and was buried by the side of his second wife at Bromley cemetery. An oil-painting of him by John Colin Forbes, R.C.A., was presented to the National Liberal Club by friends and admirers on 19 Dec. 1905. He married (1) in 1874, Ellen Amelia, only daughter of Captain Little of Wisbech; she died in June 1878, leaving one son, William Pollard Digby, electrical engineer; and (2) in December 1879, Sarah Maria, eldest daughter of William Hutchinson, some time mayor of Wisbech; she died in January 1899, leaving a daughter and three sons, the eldest of whom, Everard, has been editor of the 'Indian Daily News,' Calcutta.

Besides many pamphlets and the works cited, Digby published 'Forty Years of Official and Unofficial Life in a Crown Colony' (Madras, 1879, 2 vols.), being a biography of Sir Richard F. Morgan, acting chief justice in Ceylon.

[Digby's books and pamphlets; Biographical Mag., July 1885; Isle of Ely and Wisbech Advertiser, 24 and 27 Sept. 1904, and 20 Dec. 1905; personal knowledge.]


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The Ceylon Observer
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/24/21

Image
The Ceylon Observer
Fiat justitia
Image
Front page of The Observer and Commercial Advertiser first issue, 4 February 1834
Type Daily newspaper
Owner(s): Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited
Founded: 4 February 1834
Language: English
Ceased publication: February 1982
City: Colombo
Country: Sri Lanka
Sister newspapers: Ceylon Daily News; Dinamina; Silumina; Sunday Observer; Thinakaran; Thinakaran Varamanjari
OCLC number: 1781404

The Ceylon Observer was an English language daily newspaper in Sri Lanka published by Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited (ANCL). It was founded in 1834 as The Observer and Commercial Advertiser and was published from Colombo. It ceased publication in 1982.

History

The Observer and Commercial Advertiser was started on 4 February 1834 by Colombo based British merchants.[1][2] It was under the control of E. J. Darley who was also its first editor.[3] The merchants then appointed George Winter editor.[3] The paper was published on Mondays and Thursdays but later became an afternoon daily.[2][4] In its first year the paper's editor and publishers were tried for libel after the paper printed a letter criticising the superintendent of police but were acquitted.[1]

Christopher Elliott, colonial surgeon for Badulla, became editor of the paper in 1835 and later its owner.[1][3] Elliott changed the name of the paper to The Colombo Observer.[1] The paper was critical of Governor Wilmot-Horton's administration which resulted in a pro-government paper, The Ceylon Chronicle, being established by a group of civil servants in 1837.[5][6] The Colombo Observer supported Governor Stewart-Mackenzie's administration but opposed the Campbell and Torrington administrations.[1] A monthly (later fortnightly, then weekly) sister newspaper, The Overland Observer, commenced in 1840.[3]

Alastair Mackenzie Ferguson joined the staff of The Colombo Observer in 1846 and bought the paper in 1859 after Elliott became the Principal Officer of the newly created Civil Medical Department.[3][7] Ferguson's nephew John Ferguson joined the paper in 1861.[7] The paper changed its name to The Ceylon Observer in 1867.[3][7] John Ferguson became joint-editor in 1870 and a partner in 1875.[3] Following A. M. Ferguson's death in 1892 John Ferguson became editor of the paper.[7] John Ferguson was succeeded as editor by his son Ronald Haddon Ferguson.[3]

The paper was bought by a company owned by the European Association of Ceylon in 1920.[8] D. R. Wijewardena bought the paper in 1923, adding it to his growing media empire (later known as Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited).
[9] A Sunday edition of the paper, the Sunday Observer, commenced on 4 February 1928.[10]

In the early twentieth century The Ceylon Observer and its sister newspaper Ceylon Daily News actively campaigned for constitutional change in Ceylon.[11] ANCL and its rival Times of Ceylon Limited (TOCL) dominated the newspaper industry when Ceylon obtained independence from Britain in 1948.[2] The ANCL newspapers were seen as pro-United National Party.[2] In July 1973 the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) led United Front government nationalised ANCL.[2] The legislation which nationalised the ANCL, the Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited (Special Provisions) Law No. 28 of 1973, required broad basing of its publications but successive governments have failed to carry this out and ANCL is today still the largest newspaper company in Sri Lanka. Its various publications are slavishly pro-government irrespective of which party is in power.[2]

The Ceylon Observer ceased publishing in February 1982.[12] The Sunday Observer, which is still in circulation, is sometimes referred to being the same newspaper as The Ceylon Observer.[8][13]

References

1. "Periodicals and Newspapers in Ceylon" (PDF). Journal of the Dutch Burgher Union of Ceylon. XXXI (4): 137–152. April 1942. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 September 2015.
2. Karunanayake, Nandana (2008). "18: Sri Lanka". In Banerjee, Indrajit; Logan, Stephen (eds.). Asian Communication Handbook 2008. Singapore: Asian Media Information and Communication Centre, Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University. pp. 446–460. ISBN 9789814136105.
3. Beven, Francis. "The Press". In Wright, Arnold (ed.). Twentieth Century Impressions of Ceylon. Asian Educational Services. pp. 301–319.
4. "Ceylon Times' begins publication". The Sunday Times. 9 July 2006.
5. "Significant events in May: An English newspaper". The Sunday Times. 30 April 2006.
6. Scott, Andrew (15 May 2012). "Newspapers and journals in early Sri Lanka". Daily News.
7. Martyn, John H. (1923). Notes on Jaffna – Chronological, Historical, Biographical (PDF). Tellippalai: American Ceylon Mission Press. pp. 205–206. ISBN 81-206-1670-7.
8. "The 'Observer' is 180 years old". Daily FT. 31 May 2014.
9. "Newspaper proliferation and the vanishing tribe" (PDF). The Nation. 20 May 2007.
10. Chandrarathne, Ranga (3 February 2008). "Sunday Observer 80th Anniversary: Eighty years in print". Sunday Observer.
11. Salgado, Upali (1 February 1998). "Those good ole days!". The Sunday Times.
12. "1834–1982, English, Periodical, Newspaper edition: Ceylon observer". National Library of Australia.
13. "Till we meet again". Daily News. 1 March 2002.

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The Madras Times
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/24/21

The Madras Times
Type: Daily newspaper
Language: English
Headquarters: Madras
Country: India

The Madras Times was an English-language newspaper which was published in the then Madras Presidency from 1835 to 1921.

History

Chennai-historian, S. Muthiah claims that The Madras Times was founded as a bi-weekly in 1835-36, though most sources point to 1859, the year of its supposed acquisition by Gantz and Sons, as the founding date of the newspaper. Gantz and Sons also acquired The Spectator, the first major newspaper in South India. The paper was converted to a daily in 1860.

The Madras Times flourished throughout the second half of the 19th century. [b]During the 1870s and 1880s, the paper was edited by William Digby Seymour [NO, William Digby (writer) [above]!], the celebrated Indophile.

The Madras Times was purchased by business magnate John Oakshott Robinson in 1921. The paper was subsequently merged with The Mail.

Orientation

The newspaper was liberal in its views and favoured amicable relationship between the British who ruled India and the Indian inhabitants. The paper was edited by Charles Cornish and Henry Cornish in 1860s. The duo were later embroiled in a dispute with the management and quit to start The Madras Mail which was the Times' most popular rival and opponent throughout the late 1800s.

References

• Muthiah, S. (2004). Madras Rediscovered. East West Books (Madras) Pvt Ltd. pp. 51–53. ISBN 81-88661-24-4.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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Part 1 of 2

Krishnakanta Basu, Rammohan Roy and Early 19th Century British Contacts with Bhutan and Tibet
by John Bray
Kumamoto
The Tibet Journal
Vol. 34/35, No. 3/2, Special Issue: THE EARTH OX PAPERS, pp. 329-356 (28 pages)
Autumn 2009-Summer 2010
Published by: Library of Tibetan Works and Archives 

In mid-1815 Krishnakanta Basul and Rammohan Ray -- later famous as one of the leading figures of the 19th century Bengali renaissance -- set out from Rangpur in northern Bengal on a sensitive diplomatic mission. In late 1814, the East India Company had declared war against the Gorkha state in Nepal: the task of the two emissaries was to brief Bhutan's Deb Raja ('Brug sDe srid)2 on the background to the war, and to assure him that the Company had no designs on his own country. If possible, they were to convey a similar message to the Tibetan authorities in Lhasa.

In the event, the main military theatres of the 1814-1816 war with Nepal took place far to the west, and the mission to Bhutan proved to be of no more than minor diplomatic significance. It is therefore mentioned in standard accounts of the war,3 but in a peripheral manner. The purpose of this paper is to bring the mission and its two main India protagonists to centre-stage, and to place them in their wider political and cultural context.

Rammohan Ray returned to India after delivering the initial message to the Deb Raja, and had no further contact with Bhutan, but Krishnakanta Basu stayed on for more than a year. Although he had scant success in his diplomatic role, he used his time to good effect by collecting information on the language and culture of Bhutan. His literary legacy includes a detailed "Account of Bhutan", which was first published in 1825 in Asiatic Researches, the journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal; as well as a manuscript "Grammar and Vocabulary of the Bhotan Language". Although his main role was to serve as a Company official, he arguably can be regarded as an early forerunner of modern Indian scholarship on Bhutan and Tibet. His struggles and achievements deserve to be more widely recognised.

This paper draws on archival sources at the British Library's Oriental and India Office Collection in London.4 It begins with an introductory review of the Company's relations with Bhutan in Tibet in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, with a particular focus on the Indian intermediaries who facilitated communications on both sides. The second part of the paper analyses the political circumstances of the 1815 mission to Bhutan in some detail. The paper concludes with a discussion of Krishnakanta's contributions to Western knowledge of the Himalaya.

British diplomacy and Indian intermediaries

The 1815 mission took place some 40 years after the opening of the first substantive British contacts with Bhutan and Tibet, and the challenges that Krishnakanta and Rammohan faced reflect the legacy of this period.

The common themes include first a continuing sense of suspicion on the part of both Bhutan and Tibet concerning British ambitions in the region. The leaders of both countries feared that the Company's commercial expansion might serve as a prelude to political and military intervention, as had already happened in Bengal. A second theme is the role played by Indian intermediaries. No more than a handful of British emissaries were able to visit Bhutan and Tibet in person. During these visits, and still more in the long intervals when no British official was able to visit either country, Indian intermediaries played an essential interpreting role to both sides. These intermediaries fell into three categories: Gosains, Kashmiris and, in due course, the two Bengali officials that are the main subject of this paper.

Hastings, Bogle and Purangir

The first diplomatic opening came in 1774 when the Company intervened on behalf of the Maharaja of Cooch Behar in a conflict with Bhutan. The Third Panchen Lama, Blo bzang gpal ldan ye shes (1738-1780), sought to mediate on Bhutan's behalf. Governor-general Warren Hastings (1732-1818), took advantage of the opening to send George Bogle (1747-1781), a young Scottish official, via Bhutan to Tashi Lhunpo where he was to make direct contact with the Panchen Lama.

Hastings had two broad strategic objectives. The first was to develop a trade route from India via Bhutan to Tibet: this was to serve as a replacement for the hitherto more important route via Kathmandu which had been blocked as a result of the expansion of the Gorkha state under Prithvi Narayan (1723-1775). His second, more distant aspiration was to explore the possibilities of establishing communications via Tibet with China.

Bogle's main guide and mentor in Tibet was Purangir, a member of the north Indian Gosain community, which had an extensive network of contacts on both sides of the Himalaya.5 The Gosains were religious devotees, who combined regular pilgrimages with trade, and were of service to the Tibetans -- as well as the British -- as a source of knowledge and advice on developments on either side of the Himalaya. As Bogle reported following his return from Tibet:

The Gosseines, the Trading Pilgrims of India, resort hither [i.e. to Tashi Lhunpo] in great numbers. Their humble deportment, and holy character heightened by the merit of distant Pilgrimages, their accounts of unknown countries, and remote Regions, and above all their possession of high veneration for the Lamas, procure them not only a ready admittance but great favours. Tho' clad in the garb of poverty there are many of them possessed of considerable Wealth. Their trade is confined to articles of great value and small bulk. It is carried on without noise or ostentation, and often by Paths unfrequented by other merchants.6


The Kashmiri community, many of whom had intermarried with Tibetans, constituted a second group of Indian origin that was well-represented in Tashi Lhunpo. Kashmiri traders operated an extensive personal and commercial network from Ladakh, Nepal, and Bengal right across Tibet as far as Xining and beyond.7 According to Bogle, the Tibetan merchants of Tashi Lhunpo believed that the Kashmiris and Gosains had an advantage over them in that they were better suited to the Indian climate:

They [the Tibetans] said that being born in this country they were afraid of going into a hot one; that their people would die in Bengal; that they had heard from tradition that about eight hundred years ago the people of this country used to travel into Bengal, but that eight out of ten died before their return; that the Kashmiris and Gosains travelled into different countries, but that they could not.8


Bogle himself had to contend with suspicions that he had come to "spy out the nakedness of the land,''9 but he was nonetheless able to establish a warm personal relationship with the Panchen Lama. Both he and Hastings hoped that these beginnings would prepare the way for an eventual expansion of British trade with Tibet, and in due course for a new communications route with China.

On Bogle's return journey from Tashi Lhunpo, he opened negotiations with the Deb Raja of Bhutan on a possible trade agreement with the Company. Bogle reported that:

Foreign merchants have always been excluded [from Bhutan] except the Kashmiri houses who in consideration of a large sum of money are permitted to transfer otter skins, chank [conch shells] and a few other articles through the country.10


He added that, having been cut off by the mountains from the rest of the world, the Bhutanese were "averse from innovations and ignorant of all the advantages which flow from a free and extensive commerce."11

As in Tibet, a major factor impeding the negotiations was the Deb Raja's fear that the presence of British merchants in his country might turn out to be a precursor of military conquest. The eventual compromise was that the Deb Raja agreed to allow Hindu and Muslim traders to pass and repass through his country between Bengal and Tibet. At the same time Bhutanese traders were to be allowed special privileges at an annual fair in Rangpur, and the Deb Raja sent the first of a series of vakils (envoys) to represent his interests in Calcutta. However, he did not reciprocate to the extent of allowing the Company to station its own vakil in Bhutan, and the country remained closed to European merchants.

The late 18th and early 19th centuries

Despite these promising beginnings, the Company's relationship with Bhutan and Tibet did not develop as had been hoped. One factor was the demise of two of the most important personalities: in 1780 the Panchen Lama died of smallpox while on a visit to Peking (with Purangir in his entourage). Bogle, who meanwhile had been appointed Collector of Rangpur, died in a drowning accident the following year. Hastings sent Samuel Turner to Bhutan and Tibet in 1783, and he was able to meet the infant Fourth Panchen Lama in Tashi Lhunpo. Turner was greatly taken with the child's dignity and composure but was unable to enter substantive diplomatic negotiations either with the new Panchen Lama or his regent.

A second, even more serious factor was a shift in overall policy under Lord Cornwallis, who succeeded Hastings as Governor-General in 1786. Cornwallis was more preoccupied with developments in southern India than with the Himalaya, and may have missed diplomatic opportunities as a result. In 1788, the Regent in Tashi Lhunpo sent two Kashmiris, Mohammed Rajeb and Mohammed Wali, to carry letters to Cornwallis in Calcutta seeking British assistance to repulse a Gorkha assault on Tibet.12 Cornwallis refused to intervene, and his offer of mediation following a second Gorkha war with Tibet in 1792 came too late to be of practical assistance.

The outcome of the 1788 and 1792 Gorkha wars with Tibet was a strengthening of Manchu authority over Lhasa, and the tightening of border controls of the Himalayan passes, making it all but impossible for Europeans to visit the country.13 Cornwallis's slow and heavily-qualified response to Tibetan appeals for assistance had raised suspicions in Lhasa that the Company had actually supported the Gorkhas, and it seems that the Gosains were caught in the backlash against the British. In 1800 Turner wrote of Tibet that:

A most violent prejudice prevails even against the Hindoo Goseins, who are charged with treachery against their generous patrons, by becoming guides and spies to the enemy [i.e. the British], and have in consequence, it is said, been proscribed their accustomed abode at Teshoo Loomboo, where they had been ever patronised in great numbers by the Lama, and enjoyed particular favour and indulgence.14


Meanwhile, the Company's relations with Bhutan fared little better. Again, the main underlying reason is likely to have been fear of possible British military expansion. The annual fair in Rangpur continued to take place but was poorly attended, and overall trade with India was limited in scale. For example, in 1796, the Baptist missionary Dr. John Thomas reported:

I went to a great Fair ... toward Bootan where the natives come down yearly & having found only two real Bootanese, I enquired the reason & find, they have suffered losses by thieves which have discouraged them from coming to the Fair. These 2 Persons were a Merchant and his servant, with woollen Blankets, Elephants' Teeth etc for sale ... 15


A further reason for poor relations was a series of disputes along the boundary between Bhutanese territory in the Duars and the princely state of Cooch Behar which had been under British protection since 1774.16 Hastings had tended to favour Bhutan in these disputes, perhaps taking the view that minor territorial concessions were worthwhile if they served the Company's wider diplomatic and commercial interests. However, Hastings' successors and their local representatives tended to take a more legalistic view, and frequently ruled against Bhutan.

British and Indian officials in Rangpur

On the British side, the frontline management of these boundary disputes fell to the Commissioners in Cooch Behar and the Collectors in Rangpur. The key protagonists in the early decades of the 19th century include: James Morgan, who was Collector of Rangpur from 1807 to 1809; John Digby, who succeeded him from 1809 until 1814; and David Scott who was successively Collector in Rangpur from 1814 to 1816, and then Commissioner in Cooch Behar.17

Krishnakanta Basu and Rammohan Ray

All three men were of course supported by an extensive Indian staff. Among these were Krishnakanta Basu who joined government service as a junior official in the Rangpur Faujdari 'Adalat (criminal court) in 1807,18 and Rammohan Roy who first came with Digby to Rangpur in 1809. Rammohan had been born into a wealthy Bengali family in 1774, and had entered Digby's service in 1805, initially as a private munshi (secretary) and then as temporary sar-ristadar (head clerk) of the Ramgarh Faujdari 'Adalat in northern Bihar.19 He moved with Digby successively to Jessore (Bengal), Bhagalpur (Bihar) and finally to Rangpur.

Digby evidently held Rammohan in high regard. In November 1809 he wrote to the Board of Revenue describing Rammohan as a "man of very respectable family and excellent education" and seeking the Board's approval of his appointment as his diwan.20 However, the Board rejected the appointment, arguing that Rammohan was insufficiently qualified. When Digby sought to protest, citing Rammohan's excellent qualifications and references, the Board confirmed its original decision and reproved him for the style in which he had addressed them.21 Despite this setback, Rammohan remained in Rangpur. Two Bengali-language letters from 1812 and 1814 refer to him as diwan,22 and it therefore appears either that he was reappointed to the post, or that he continued to hold the title unofficially.


The Maraghat boundary dispute

The most important of the Bhutan/Cooch Behar boundary disputes in the period under review concerned the Maraghat district, some 25 miles from Jalpaiguri. Maraghat was awarded to Bhutan in the 1774 treaty with the Company, and this was confirmed by a Council at Dinajpur in 1777. However the Raja of Cooch Behar claimed the southern part of the district, which was known as Gird Maraghat.23 In 1807 Morgan conducted an on-the-spot enquiry and decided in favour of Cooch Behar. In 1809 Digby confirmed Morgan's ruling awarding Gird Maraghal to Cooch Behar, and the Maharaja took possession of the territory two years later.

The Bhutanese never accepted these decisions. For example, in 1811 a letter to the Company from 'Penlow Sahib, a chief of Bhutan', complained that an officer of the Maharaja of Cooch Behar had been causing trouble over the boundary for the previous three years, and expressed fears that war might ensue.24 Similarly in 1812 a letter from the Deb Raja again referred to Maraghat, appealed for assistance in resolving the dispute, and said that 'Diwan Rammohan' knew all the facts of the case.25 In May 1814 the Maharaja of Cooch Behar appealed to Norman McLeod, the Commissioner of Cooch Behar, asking him to arrange for the deployment of 50 sepoys to protect the Maraghat frontier from Bhutanese infringements.26

The Maraghat dispute was therefore far from being resolved in late 1814 when it was overtaken by the outbreak of the Company's war with Nepal. At that point Maraghat became one factor in a much wider set of strategic calculations on the part of the British, and it was these that in due course led to Krishnakanta's and Rammohan's mission to Bhutan.

The Nepal war and the mission to Bhutan

In the course of the 18th and early 19th centuries both the East India Company and the House of Gorkha had extended their control over vast new swathes of territory. In the Gorkha case these included much of Sikkim as well as Kumaon, Garhwal and the Himalayan foothills as far west as the river Sutlej. The immediate cause of the Nepal war was a boundary dispute in northern Bihar. However, the rival interests of these two expanding South Asian powers arguably were bound to lead to conflict sooner or later.27

British policy in the war was formulated in Calcutta by the Governor-General, Francis Rawdon Hastings (1754-1826). who was then known as Lord Moira and from 1817 became the First Marquess of Hastings. Moira had two concerns with regard to Sikkim and Bhutan. The first was to ensure that they either remained neutral or joined the Company's cause. Sikkim was to be encouraged to join forces with the Company in the hope of regaining territory that had earlier been lost to the Gorkhas.28

At a wider geostrategic level, Moira was concerned about the potential conflict's impact on British relations with China, which since 1792 had claimed Nepal as a tributary.29 He therefore hoped that it would be possible to send a message via either Sikkim or Bhutan to the Chinese authorities in Lhasa, emphasising that the Company's quarrel was solely with Nepal.

The Company's prospects of achieving these objectives were impeded by its weak diplomatic connections and poor intelligence sources for all the Himalayan kingdoms, including Nepal as well as Bhutan and Tibet. One of its first tasks was therefore to review the sources that were in fact available. Eager to be of service, the veterinary surgeon and explorer William Moorcroft (1770-1825) reviewed his own contacts at the outset of the war, and these evidently included "fakirs" (Gosains) as well as a Kashmiri merchant named Ahmed Ali.30 However, none of these traditional sources were available for Bhutan and Tibet, and the Company therefore had to find other means of making contact.

Alarms in the north-east

In the immediate aftermath of the outbreak of war, British officials in the north-east were primarily preoccupied with local concerns. In early November 1814, Norman Mc Leod, the British Commissioner in Cooch Behar, reported rumours that the Gorkhas had sent a vakil to incite the Deb Raja to join forces with them against the British, and that he was mobilising armed forces along his western frontier.31 Captain Barre Latter, who commanded the Company forces in the north-east, expressed the "decided opinion that no time ought to be lost in preparing to repel the first aggression on the part of the Deb Raja."32 If he had possessed any firm information regarding the reported Bhutanese mobilisation, he would on his own initiative have occupied the Bhutanese post of Kyrantie.33

Scott's view from Rangpur was more balanced: on 28 November he wrote to Calcutta suggesting that the Deb Raja's deployment of troops on the Western Passes might be "merely precautionary, to prevent our attempting to enter Nepaul [i.e. the parts of Sikkim then controlled by the Gorkhas] by the roads leading from Bhutan."34 In any case, he thought that Bhutan's lack of military capability rendered it "highly improbable that the Deb Raja should seriously think of engaging in a war, in which he can gain nothing, and may lose, without an effort on the part of his enemy, the whole his territories below the hills [i.e. the duar's]."35 Two days later he reported that a party of Bhutanese merchants had arrived with horses and other products or the hills for sale. He had made secret enquiries but could not find any evidence of preparations of a warlike nature in Bhutanese territory.36

The British authorities in Calcutta ultimately agreed with Scott's assessment, noting that Latter's proposed occupation of Kyrantie might have involved the British Government "in a state of hostility with an unoffending, friendly neighbouring chief."37 The conflict with Nepal made it all the more important to maintain good relations, and on 26th November 1814, John Adam, the Secretary to the Government of India, wrote to Scott requesting him to make contact with both Tibet and Bhutan:

His Excellency [the Governor-General] further desires that you will be pleased to endeavour to open a channel of communication with the administration of Lassa, in order to afford the means of conveying to the authorities there such an intimation of the origin and objects of our proceedings towards the Nepaulese, and the encouragement which it is proposed to afford to the Raja of Siccim, as shall enable them to appreciate the justice and moderation of our conduct. A similar communication might also be conveyed to the Deb Raja.38


He added that the deputations to these countries need not be particularly grand:

It is not necessary that either of these communications should assume the appearance of a regular mission. The deputation of a decent person to each court, furnished with the necessary information, and known at the same time to proceed from an English authority, will enable you to convey the communication in an authentic and satisfactory manner, without the parade of a formal mission.39


The letter to the Deb Raja, which was composed by the Government's Persian Department,40 duly emphasised that:

The utmost harmony and friendship have always subsisted between the British Government and you; and I am perfectly satisfied of your disposition to maintain those relations in the true spirit of cordiality.41


The letter went on to request the Deb Raja to refuse entry to any Gorkhas seeking to enter his country "for the purpose of exciting disturbance in the British territories."42

Scott initially had difficulty in forwarding the letter. On 10 January he reported that he had had to apply for permission to the Deb Raja for permission to send a person to his court because of the "jealousy of the Bootan government inducing it to refuse admission to strangers into the interior of the country."43 He commented:

The precautions taken to prevent the entrance of strangers into Bootan rendered it necessary for me to choose between making a formal application of this nature, and sending a person in disguise; and the latter was a mode of procedure which was neither likely to prove agreeable to any person duly qualified for the duty in question, nor appeared to me to be compatible with the dignity and views of the British Government.44


While waiting for the Deb Raja's response, he had sent a message to Bhutan via the Raja of Bijni, a small territory on the borders of Bhutan.45 Meanwhile, he also reported difficulties in opening communications with Tibet:

I have hitherto been prevented from forwarding a letter to the Court of Lassa, from not being able to find a person who could write it in the language of Tibet. I however expect that a man who understands that dialect will arrive in the course of a few days, and his Lordship may depend upon every precaution being taken to ensure its safe and speedy conveyance to that Capital.46


Scott added that if the Deb Raja agreed to his request to send a person to his court, then "the obstacles which at present oppose themselves to the journey to Lassa will be removed."

The Deb Raja eventually replied to Scott in a letter received on 20 March 1815.47 He insisted that there was no truth in the report that the Gorkhas had sent a request for military aid. At the same time, he referred to the continuing boundary disputes -- which evidently were his own principal concern -- and duly enclosed a passport for a trustworthy British representative to come to Bhutan so that both sides should be informed of each other's affairs.

Selecting the messengers

Scott now had the task of selecting a suitable representative, and eventually decided on Krishnakanta Basu. Krishnakanta himself described the background in an application for a pension (translated from Bengali by Scott) which he wrote in 1821. Like Bogle's Tibetan merchants, he observed that the contrasting climates of the plains of India and the Himalaya presented a major obstacle:

.... no person at Rungpore could be found to undertake the duty, the Climate of the hilly Country being from the snow and extreme cold exceedingly hostile to the Constitutions of the natives of Bengal .....48


Religious ritual concerns were another major factor. Bengali Hindus were:

... further deterred from proceeding into those Countries by the difficulty and occasional impossibility they experience in selling those articles of provision to which they are accustomed, as well as by the manners and impure habits of the people which are so repugnant to the customs of the Hindoos that few persons of the latter religion will venture into Bhootan from fear of losing their Caste.49


Krishnakanta nevertheless decided to take on the task, partly for material reasons:

Notwithstanding the above considerations your petitioner being grateful for the subsistence afforded by the Government and hopeful for future advancement and eventual benefit, bound himself with the girdle of courage and regardless of the consequences, not to say despairing of returning alive, agreed to undertake the journey.50


It seems that he received an immediate benefit in that his salary was raised from Rs. 14 per month as a 'Mohurrer' (a writer in local languages) to Rs. 70 when he was in Bhutan. However, Scott confirmed that Krishnakanta had not been exaggerating when he referred to the difficulty of finding someone to undertake the journey:

For the accuracy of such parts of his petition which relate to the unwillingness displayed by the natives at Rungpore to undertake the journey to Lhassa and the danger attending to it, I can safely vouch, as no capable person but himself could be found to undertake the business and the risk from the climate at the particular season was such that thinking it not improbable that the petitioner who was ill at the time of his departure might die on the way, I sent another man to go along with him as far as Bhootan in case of the occurrence of such an accident.51


From the Deb Raja's subsequent correspondence, it is clear that Rammohan Roy was this 'other man' and -- particularly since he would have been senior to Krishnakanta -- it is odd that Scott does not mention him by name. Very speculatively, one wonders whether this was because he was no longer in formal government service by the time he travelled to the Deb Raja's court, and therefore had no official status.52

Krishnakanta's stay in Bhutan

Krishnakanta gives a vivid description of the journey in his 'Account of Bootan'. Before reaching the hills, he had to pass through the Bhutanese Duars, and he describes a series of perils in the jungles:

The jungle is of such height that an elephant or rhinoceros cannot be seen in it when standing up, and it is so full of leeches that a person cannot move a hundred yards without having his body, wherever it has been scratched by the grass, covered with these animals, so that a single man cannot get rid of them without assistance. In this jungle, when the sun shines, the heat is intolerable, and when the sun ceases to shine a person cannot remain in it without a fire on account of innumerable musquitoes [sic] and other insects with which it is filled.53


His account of the terrain once he reaches the hill is more matter-of-fact, noting the various habitations that he encountered en route, the degree to which they were cultivated, and the extent to which the roads would be passable for horses or elephants.

At all events, the two men duly arrived in 'Wandipoor' (Wangdi Phodrang), and presented their credentials. The Deb Raja responded by sending a letter to Scott in Rangpur in which he acknowledged a present of five pieces of broadcloth, five coats and a telescope.54 He said that Scott's letter to the two representatives of China -- presumably the two Ambans -- had been forwarded to Lhasa: The two emissaries had explained that one of them was to stay in Bhutan while the other -- Rammohan Ray -- was to return to Rangpur.

The rest of the letter is a clear indication of the Deb Raja's priorities inasmuch as it mainly concerns his grievance over the continuing boundary disputes with Cooch Behar and Baikunthapur. He only refers to the Nepal war -- which from Scott's point of view was by far the most important matter at a hand -- in a postscript. There he notes the Gorkhas had wronged the Company, according to what he had learnt from Rammohan and Krishnakanta, and he will therefore reject any Gorkha approaches in connection with the war. He then returns to the boundary disputes, requesting that Scott either come to the frontier for a local enquiry, or send Rammohan back with a clear decision in the matter.

In the event, rather than returning to Bhutan, Rammohan moved to Calcutta where he soon achieved prominence as the founder of the Brahmo Samaj, and one of the leading Bengali intellectuals of his generation.55
Krishnakanta was therefore left to fulfil his role as the resident Company vakil in Bhutan as best he could. According to his own account, this was far from being a pleasant experience:

During the period of your petitioner's residence in Bhootan, he as well as all the people who accompanied him, remained almost constantly sick, and one of the latter died from the cold and unhealthiness of the climate and owing to the want of their accustomed food, and on account of the impure habits of the people and their hostility to the Hindoo Religion, your petitioner also passed the time in a most disagreeable manner.56


Scott later noted that Krishnakanta did not seem to "possess all the discretion requisite for such an employment."57 However, he went on to say that Krishnakanta's diplomatic role was in any case limited by the fact that the Bhutanese watched him with "extreme jealousy", and he therefore had "little opportunity of learning anything except what the Bootan Government wish him to know, and which they would probably communicate at any rate".58 The Deb Raja had repeatedly prevented Krishnakanta from sending messengers to India, a practice which naturally limited his value as an intelligence source.59

While Krishnakanta was in Bhutan the main events of the Nepal war unfolded elsewhere. The Company's armies met fierce Gorkha resistance in the first campaign which took place in late 1814 and early 1815.60 However, the British General David Ochterlony had rather greater success in the second campaign which began in the autumn of 1815. By early November British and Gorkha representatives were negotiating a draft treaty at Segauli. Fighting briefly resumed in early 1816 before the treaty was signed and ratified in March, thus bringing the conflict to an end.

Krishnakanta spent all this time in Bhutan. In June 1816 Scott reported to his superiors that he was "now exceedingly desirous of returning home in consequence of continued and severe sickness", and requested instructions as to how he should respond.61 John Adam, the Government Secretary, duly replied that Krishnakanta could now return from Bhutan "agreeably to his own desire"62 However, it seems that the Deb Raja prevented Krishnakanta from receiving Scott's message, which was sent via a Bhutanese official since it did not contain anything of consequence, and he was still in Bhutan two months later.

After Scott had sent a further message in August, the Deb Raja responded on his own account, explaining that Krishnakanta had now recovered from his illness. Since the roads were now impassable anyway because of the rains, he requested that Krishnakanta should stay a little longer until the Maraghat border dispute had been settled.63

A Chinese army in Tibet

By this time a new diplomatic crisis was beginning to unfold following news that a Chinese army led by Sai-Ch'ung'a, a senior Manchu official from Sichuan, had arrived in Tibet with orders to investigate the outcome of the Nepal war.64 Lord Moira had been long feared that the conflict might lead to a dispute with China, which claimed Nepal as a tributary, thus imperilling Britain's growing economic interests in East Asia. Now it seemed as though his worst fears were about to be realised. The crisis therefore reinforced the need for accurate intelligence from the Himalayan states, and the information that Krishnakanta might be able to gather in Bhutan took on a new importance.

Krishnakanta's main contribution was a detailed report of a conversation in September 1816 with the Deb Raja's brother which touched on developments in Tibet. The conversation was wide-ranging, but selective in that -- to echo Scott's earlier observation -- the brother was presumably telling Krishnakanta what he wanted the British to know. He began with the ingratiating observation that "the Goorkha Raja was a Villain" who had "wantonly made war on the British Government". Having found himself unsuccessful, the Raja had appealed to China for assistance, and the commander of the Chinese army had in his turn called on Bhutan to provide aid.

The Deb Raja's reply was reportedly to the effect that ..... his army consists of Bhotiahs who would die if they were sent into the plains, and that his Country is quite destitute of supplies".65 He went on to suggest to the Chinese general that "it is not proper to make war on the Company as many lives will be lost on either side, and that is therefore advisable for him to make peace."66 In his own analysis, the Deb Raja's brother commented that:

We will give not assistance at all for there is a close friendship between the Company and Dhurum Raja, & as our country affords no supplies we are enabled to subsist only by means of the traffic carried on with the Company's territories.67


If the Chinese tried to exact Bhutanese assistance by force, he would appeal to the British for aid. Playing the diplomat in his turn, Krishnakanta assured him that such aid would be forthcoming, although it is highly unlikely that the Company would in fact have risked a confrontation with China over Bhutan.

Krishnakanta's despatch also contained an amalgam of information on Chinese forces in Tibet compiled from various "persons of credit." According to his sources, the Chinese had designs on both Calcutta and Assam. Indeed, an army of about ten or twelve thousand men had already set out from Lhasa in the direction of Assam. Another army of nearly twenty thousand men had advanced towards Nepal. Making the most of all available information, he concluded with an analysis of the military implications of local market prices:

In consequence of the number of troops which have marched from Lassa to the westward, Tea has become scarce here, for this place is supplied from Lassa, and the consumption there has been greatly increased. The price is accordingly double what it was before. From this circumstance I infer that the army is of considerable strength.68


In forwarding the report to Calcutta on 24 September, Scott commented that there was no doubt that there had been a great increase in the strength of the Chinese army in Tibet.69 However, he rightly added the cautionary note that Krishnakanta's accounts "do not appear to be probable or consistent" in all respects, and he doubted that China really had designs in Assam. He nevertheless observed that there had recently been a dispute between the Dharma and Deb Rajas, and there was still a risk that this would lead to civil war. If that happened:

... it seems not improbable that that one or other of the parties may call in the Chinese to their assistance and that the authority of that Government may finally be established in Bootan to the same extent as it is at present in Thibet.70


Fortunately for all parties, the threat of Chinese intervention in both Nepal and Bhutan was soon averted. Already on 13 September, Captain Latter had been able to report that he had received favourable news from Lhasa via Sikkim to the effect that the Gorkha envoys to Sai-chung'a had been put under constraint and were now in close confinement.71 It seems that the Chinese general took a sceptical view of Gorkha claims, and blamed them rather than the British for the outbreak of the conflict. The British were able to send a series of messages explaining their view of the war, and Sai-chung'a in due course responded that he was "perfectly satisfied" with the British response.72

In those circumstances there was from the British perspective no further need for Krishnakanta to remain in Bhutan, and in October 1816 -- no doubt much to his own relief -- he was duly recalled.
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Part 2 of 2

The settlement of the Maraghat dispute

There remained the unfinished business of the Maraghat dispute. In 1816 the Deb Raja sent agents to Rangpur to explain the nature and ground of his claims to the territory.73 At the same time, the authorities in Calcutta instructed Norman McLeod, the British Commissioner in Cooch Behar to conduct an enquiry concerning his claims.

The enquiry was eventually carried out on the orders of Scott who by that time had succeeded McLeod as Commissioner. In 1817 he decided the main part of the disputed territory had -- with the exception of twenty-six isolated and very inconsiderable villages -- been in the undisturbed possession of Bhutan from 1780 to 1811. Important government documents from the 1770s, which were not taken into account in 1809, expressly stated that the territory belonged to Bhutan, and it was duly returned to the Deb Raja.74 This relatively generous attitude may in part have been a reflection of the Company's gratitude at Bhutan's neutrality during the Nepal war.

In 1818 year Krishnakanta was given the task of staking out the new Maraghat boundary with bamboos and transferring the disputed land to a Bhutanese official, thus bringing the affair to a close.75

Krishnakanta's contribution to Himalayan studies

Krishnakanta remained in the service of the East India Company until 1821, still working for Scott in his capacity as Commissioner in Coach Behar. At this point he announced his desire to resign "on account of urgent private affairs" and, as noted above, applied for a pension.76 Scott duly forwarded Krishnakanta's application to Calcutta along with two of the products of his stay in Bhutan. These were his 'Account of Bootan' , which Scott had himself translated from Bengali, and his 'Grammar and Vocabulary of the Bootan Language'. Scott's accompanying letter vouched for the facts of the case, as represented in Krishnakanta's letter.

The Governor-General in Council eventually decided that Krishnakanta's length of service did not entitle him to a pension. However, the Council nevertheless decided to present him with a "pecuniary donation" as a "recompense for his trouble" and "in consideration of the zeal and industry displayed by him in compiling the vocabulary and interesting account of Bhootan".77

The 'Account of Bhutan'

Krishnakanta's report gained a wider audience in 1825, when it was published under the title "Some Account of the country of Bhutan" in Asiatic Researches, the journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. The Asiatic Society was the leading learned society in India, and played a major role in the development of Western scholarship on the region.78

The only previous published description of Bhutan in English had appeared in Turner's Account of an Embassy to the Court of the Teshoo Lama in Tibet, which had come out in 1800. Turner's book is written with a degree of literary flourish, and represents one of the earliest examples of Western romantic travel writing on the Himalayan region. Krishnakanta's Account on the other hand is a much more workaday document, crammed with economic and political detail: it is more of a proto-gazetteer than a literary text.

The Account begins with a short summary of the arrival from Tibet of the first 'Dhurma Raja' (Zhabdrung), the foundation of the Bhutanese state, and the Zhabdrung's subsequent reincarnations. The descriptions of the court summarise the roles of the main officials, togelher with their sources of income -- information that would have been important to Krishnakanta in his official capacity. Examples include the specialists who are responsible for the court's external correspondence in Bengali and Persian, and are seen as people of high status:

Kaiti are the Bengal and Persian Secretaries. They get each 2 lbs of rice and have each two Poes [described elsewhere as 'fighting messengers' ], and receive from the Soubahs and Pillos about 1,000 Rupees, and also something for causes and liberty in the lowlands.79


Krishnakanta took a critical view of Bhutanese politics noting that:

The intestine broils, which so frequently occur in Bootan, are usually occasioned either by the Deb Raja doing something contrary to custom, or by his remaining too long in his office, in which case the Zimpens, Pillos, & c., assemble and require him to resign, and in the event of refusal a battle ensues.80


As Scot had noted, these internal disputes at the top of the government made Bhutan potentially vulnerable to Chinese intervention. The lower ranks of the administration were unstable for similar reasons:

When a person gets a good appointment he is not allowed to keep it long, but at the annual religious festivals frequent removals and arguments take place. The Deb Raja himself after a time is liable to be thrust out on some such a pretence as that of his having infringed established customs, and unless he have either Tongso or Paro Pillo on his side, he must, if required to do so, resign his place or risk the result of a civil war: on this account the Deb Raja strives, by removals and changes at the annual festivals, to fill the principal offices with persons devoted to his interest. The Booteahs are full of fraud and intrigue ... 81


In his capacity as a Company official, Krishnakanta naturally was interested in the country's imports and exports:

Bootan produces abundance of tangun horses, blankets, walnuts musk, chowries or cow tails, oranges and manjeet (madder) which the inhabitants sell at Rungpore; and thence take back woollen cloth, pattus, indigo, sandal, red sandal, asafoetida, nutmegs, cloves, nakhi and coarse cotton cloths, of which they use a part in Bootan and send the rest to Lhassa, and from the latter country they import tea, silver, gold and embroidered silk goods ... Besides the Officers of Government and their servants no person can trade with a foreign country, nor can any of the inhabitants sell tangun mares without the Deb Raja's permission.82


As discussed above, Krishnakanta felt that the Bhutanese lifestyle was incompatible with Hindu ritual requirements, but he nevertheless thought that he detected similarities with his own religion:

The religion of the Booteahs assimilates in some points with that of the Hindoos; they worship the images of the deities, count their beads at prayers, and offer clarified butter to the gods by throwing it on the fire ... The image of Laberem buche [Lama Rinpoche?) resembles that of Ram; his countenance is similar, and he holds in his hands a bow and arrow; the Bootan deity is, however, made of copper and gilt. There are also many images of deities with four arms, the manufacture of which is constantly going on in the palace, and together with the subsequent ceremonies, occasion the chief expense of the government.


Overall, the Account naturally reflects the time at which it was written, and must be read with the particular political and religious preoccupations of the author in mind. At the time, it represented a significant advance of Western knowledge of the Himalaya. In 1865, some 40 years after it was first composed, it was still considered to be of sufficient merit to justify republication under the slightly different title "Account of Bootan" in a collection of reports on Political Missions to Bootan. Clearly it needs to be balanced by additional sources from Bhutan itself,83 but it is still of value as an important historical record.

The Grammar and Vocabulary of the Bootan Language

Scott placed a high value on Krishnakanta's Grammar and Vocabulary commenting that:

The chief merit of the performance is the perfect accuracy with which the pronunciation of the Letters and words has been marked, being likely to be impaired by being transposed into the European Character by a person not conversant in such matters.84


At the time Tibetan studies was in its infancy, and Krishnakanta was studying the language entirely on his own. However, rudimentary his researches may have been, they amounted to a work of true originality.

A manuscript copy of the Grammar and Vocabulary survives in the National Library in Calcutta.85 It bears the title in Bengali, Bhot Deshiya Bhashar Vyakarana O Shabda, and consists of 216 pages, of which the first 40 are an introduction to the Tibetan alphabet and grammar. The remainder list Tibetan words in Tibetan script with their equivalent in Bengali. A bibliographic note at the library states that this version was a copy made under the superintendence of the Baptist missionary William Carey (1761-1834) in 1821 /22. The original had been sent back to the Political Department in 1834, and may therefore still exist in the Indian National Archives.

According to Scott, an earlier copy had been sent to Rev Friedrich Christian Gotthelf Schroeter.86 Schroeter was a German Lutheran in the service of the Church Missionary Society (CMS) who studied Tibetan in Titalia from 1816 until his death in 1820, and started work on a Tibetan dictionary.87 His main source was an earlier manuscript Tibetan-Italian dictionary prepared in Lhasa by the Capuchin missionary Orazio della Penna (1680-1745). However, he supplemented della Penna's work with his own enquiries, and therefore presumably made use of Krishnakanta's vocabulary.

After Schroeter's death his unfinished manuscript came into the hands of the government, which had paid his salary while he was working on the dictionary. The Governor-general in council appointed Carey to evaluate Schroeter's draft: he duly recommended publication, and was given the task of revising the text for the press together with his younger colleague John Clark Marshman (1794-1877). In 1826 the final version was published in Serampore with the title A Dictionary of the Bhotonta, or Boutan Language. Despite the title, the work is explicitly a dictionary of Tibetan.

The Serampore dictionary is a composite work bearing the mark of at least four contributors: della Penna, Schroeter, Carey and Marshman. It is entirely possible that at least some of Krishnakanta's contributions may have found their way into the final text either via Schroeter or via Carey, both of whom had copies of his manuscript.

One feature of the Serampore dictionary is that it contains repeated references to the Hindu equivalents of Buddhist deities. To take a random example, page 142 contains the definitions 'Krishna' for dgra po, 'Indra' for dgra mtshing 'dzin and 'Ganesha' for dgra lta can. These definitions could scarcely have come from della Penna from his time in Lhasa. It is possible that they might have been introduced by Schroeter, Carey or Marshman, all of whom worked in India. However, since Krishnakanta was a devout Hindu, he is perhaps the more likely candidate. A definitive answer can only come from a careful comparison of Krishnakanta's manuscript with the Serampore dictionary. At all events, it is clear that his pioneering linguistic researches deserve further study.

Conclusions

In his 1821 pension application, Krishnakanta presented his own achievements in the self-effacing manner of a lowly supplicant seeking the munificence of his superiors. Even if we take this humility at face value, it is clear that he deserves respect for -- as he puts it -- binding himself with the 'girdle of courage" and travelling to territories that were then considered remote and inhospitable. Despite the apparent discomforts of his stay in Bhutan, he proved to be a keen and diligent observer. He merits an honourable place in the lineage both of officials and of scholars who worked in the Himalayan region.

In placing him within this lineage, it is appropriate to look both forward and back. As a source of intelligence, Krishnakanta was in many ways a successor to the 18th and early 19th century Gosains and Kashmiri merchants who travelled between India and Tibet, and provided news and information to officials, traders and ordinary people on both sides of the Himalaya. However, he contrasts with them in that he had no previous experience or personal contacts in the region, and was a full-time government servant. In many respects, he was as much of an outsider in Bhutan as a British official would have been.

His Account, though originally written in Bengali. addressed the kinds of question that a European observer would have asked, and was readily adapted to the purposes of the Asiatic Society. Similarly, his Grammar and Vocabulary was compiled at a time when Western scholars, officials and missionaries were in the early stage of developing a more systematic understanding of other Asian languages. Like Rammohan Ray, he belonged to the first generation of Bengali intellectuals who were both influenced by and contributed to Western learning.


References

Archival sources


British Library, Oriental and India Office Collection (OIOC). Records of the Board of Commissioners for the Affairs of India: Board's Collections. F/4/551/13382. Narrative of Proceedings connected with the advance of a Chinese force towards the frontier of Nepaul. June 1814-November 1816.

OIOC F/4/552. Papers regarding the advance of a Chinese force towards Nepal.

OIOC F/4/ 771/20906. The Bengal Government sanction the claim of the Deb Raja of Bhutan to the district of Maraghat, which had been occupied by the Raja of Cooch Behar.

OIOC. F/4/810/21274. Grammar and Vocabulary of the Bootan Language compiled by Kishun Kunt Bose. Remuneration to him on this account and for his Services in 1815/16.

Regent's Park College, Oxford. Baptist Missionary Society papers. IN/16. Letters to the Society from Dr John Thomas.

Published primary sources

Bose, Kishen Kant [Krishnakanta Vasu]. 1825. "Some Account of the country of Bhutan, by Kishen Kant Bose." Translated by D. Scott, Esq. Asiatic Researches 15 , pp. 128-156.

Bose, Kishen Kant [Krishnakanta Vasu]. 1865. "Account of Bootan." In Political Missions to Booton. Comprising the Reports of the Hon 'ble Ashley Eden etc ... . pp. 187-206. Calcutta: Bengal Secretariat Office. Reprint ed.: New Delhi: Asian Educational Services, 2001.

Chanda, Rai Bahadur Ramaprasad & Majumdar, Jatindra Kumar. Eds. 1938 Selections from Official Letters and Documents relating to the Life of Raja Rammohun Roy. vol. I. 1791-1830. With an introductory memoir. Calcutta: Calcutta Oriental Book Agency.

Papers Respecting the Nepaul War ['PRNW' in footnotes] 1824. Printed in conformity to the resolution of the Court of Proprietors of East India Stock of 3rd March 1824. London, 1824.

Political Missions to Bootan, Comprising the reports of The Hon 'ble Ashley Eden, 1864; Capt. R.B. Pemberton. 1837, 1838, with Dr W. Griffith's Journal and the Account by Baboo Kishen Kant Bose. Calcutta: Printed at the Bengal Secretariat Office, 1865; reprint ed., New Delhi: Asian Educational Services, 2001.

Prinsep, Henry Thoby, 1825. History of the Political and Military Transactions in India during the Administration of the Marquess of Hastings. London.

Sen, S.N. (Ed.) 1942. Pracinii Bangala Patra Sarikalana. A Collection of Old Bengali Letters. Records in Oriental Languages. Vol. I. Calcutta: Calcutta University Press.

Schroeter, Frederic Christian Gotthelf. 1826. A Dictionary of the Bhotanta, or Bouton Language. Serampore.

Turner, Samuel. 1800. An Account of on Embassy to the Court of the Teshoo Lama in Tibet. London: Messrs G. and W. Nicol.

White, Adam, 1832. Memoir of the Late David Scott, Esq. Agent to the Governor General, on the North-east Frontier of Bengal, and Commissioner of Revenue and Circuit in Assam. Edited by Archibald Watson. Calcutta: Printed at the Baptist Mission Press.

Secondary sources

Ads, Michael. 1994. The Raven Crown. The Origins of Buddhist Monarchy in Bhutan. London: Serindia.

Barooah, Nirode K. 1910. David Scott in North-East India. 1802-1831. A Study in British Paternalism. New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal.

Bayly, C.A. 1996. Empire and Information. Intelligence Gathering and Social Communication in India, 1780-1870. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Bray, John. 2005. "Early Protestant Engagement with the Himalayan Region and Tibet," in Ladakh; Histories: Local and Regional Perspectives, pp. 249-270, John Bray (ed.), Leiden: Brill.

Bray, John. 2008. "Missionaries, Officials and the Making of the Dictionary of Bhotanta, or Bouton Language." Zentralasiatische Studien 37, pp. 34-75.

Bray, John. 2010. "Trader, Middleman or Spy? The Dilemmas of a Kashmiri Muslim in Early 19th Century Tibet," In Islam and Tibet. Interactions along the Musk Routes. Anna Akasoy, Charles Burnett. and Ronit Yoeli Tlalim (eds.), Aldershot: Ashgate.

Bray, John. Forthcoming. ''Captain Barre Latter and British Engagement with Sikkim during the 1814-1816 Nepal War." In Sikkim History. Proceedings of the Golden Jubilee Conference of the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology. Gangtok, Sikkim. 1-5 October 2008. Edited by Alex McKay and Anna Balicki. Gangtok: Namgyal Institute of Tibetology.

Camman, Schuyler. 1951. Trade through the Himalayas. The Early British Attempts to Open Tibet. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Chattopadhyaya, Alaka. 1984. "Introduction." In: Sarat Chandra Das, Tibetan Studies, Edited by Alaka Chattopadhyaya. Delhi and Calcutta: K.P. Bagchi & Company.

Cohn, Bernard S. 1963-1964. "The Role of the Gosains in the Economy of Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Upper India." Indian Economic and Social History Review I, pp. 175-182.

Collet, Sophia Dobson. 1962 The Life and Letters of Raja Rammohun Roy. 3rd ed. Edited by Dilip Kumar Biswas and Prabhat Chandra Ganguli. Calcutta: Sadharan Brahmo Samaj.

Deb, A. 1971. "George Bogle's Treaty with Bhutan (1775)." Bulletin of Tibetology 8, No.1, pp. 5-14.

Deb, Arabinda. 1976. India and Bhutan. A Study in Frontier Political Relations (1772-1865). Calcutta: Firma KLM Private Ltd.

Engelhardt, Isrun. 2002. "The Closing of the Gates: Tibetan-European Relations at the End of the Eighteenth Century." In Tibet. Past and Present, pp. 229-245. Edited by Henk Blezer. Leiden: Brill.

Fu, Lo-Shu (ed). 1996. A Documentary Chronicle of Sino-Wesern Relations 1644-1820). Tucson: University of Arizona Press.

Gaborieau, Marc. 1973. Recit d'un voyageur musulman au Tibet. Paris: Klincksieck.

Gupta, Shantiswarup. 1974. British Relations with Bhutan, Jaipur: Panchsheel Prakashan.

Kejariwal, O.P. 1988. The Asiatic Society of Bengal and the Discovery of India's Past. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

Lamb, Alastair. 1986. British India and Tibet. 1766-1910. 2nd ed. London and New York: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

Lamb, Alastair. 2002. Bhutan and Tibet. The Travels of George Bogle and Alexander Hamilton. 1774-1777. Hertingfordbury: Roxford.

Mandhar, Vijay Kumar. 2004. A Comprehensive History of Nepal-China Relations up to 1955 A.D. New Delhi: Adroit Publishers.

Michael, Bernardo A. 1999. "Statemaking and Space on the Margins of Empire: Rethinking the Anglo-Gorkha War of 1814-1816." Studies in Nepali History and Society 4, No.2, pp. 247-294.

Pemble, John. 1971. The Invasion of Nepal. John Company at War, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Pommeret, Francoise. 2000. "Ancient Trade Partners: Bhutan, Cooch Bihar and Assam (17th-19th centuries)." Journal of Bhutan Studies 2, No. 1.

Potts, E. Daniel. 1967. British Baptist Missionaries in India. 1793-1837, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Richardson, H.E. 1973. "A Ch'ing Missive to Tibet", Alia Major 18 (1) 1973, pp. 79-87; reprinted in: Hugh Richardson, High Peaks, Pure Earth, Michael Aris (ed .), London: Serindia, 1998.

Robertson, Bruce Carlisle. 1995. Raja Rammohan Ray. The Father of Modern India. Delhi: Oxford University Press.

Rose, Leo.1971. Nepal. Strategy for Survival, Berkeley: University of California Press.

Sarcar, S. C. 1931. "Some Notes on the Intercourse of Bengal with Northern Countries in the Second Half of the Eighteenth Century." Bengal Past and Present 41 , pp. 119-128.

Singh, Amar Kaur Jasbin. 1988 . Himalayan Triangle. A Historical Survey of British India's Relations with Tibet, Sikkim and Bhutan. London: British Library.

Stiller, Ludwig. 1995. The Rise of the House of Gorkha. 2nd ed., Kathmandu: Human Resources Development Research Center.

Teltscher, Kate. 2007. The High Road to China. London: Bloomsbury.

Tuladhar, Kamal. 2004. Caravan to Lhasa. Newar Merchants of Kathmandu in Traditional Tibet. Kathmandu: Tuladhar family.

_______________

Notes:

1 In contemporary texts his name is transliterated as Kishen Kant Bose.

2 The Deb Rajas or 'Drug sDe srids were the senior lay officials of Bhutan during this period in contrast to the Zhabs drungs, or 'Dharma Rajas' in British parlance, who were the main source of spiritual authority. The Deb Rajas typically were chosen from among the region's ruling families, and served for a defined period of years. In this paper I have chosen to stick to the term 'Deb Raja' as this was the term most used in contemporary British archival sources.

3 E.g. Pemble (1971), Lamb (1986), Singh (1988). The mission likewise appears in historical accounts of Bhutan such as Gupta (1974), Deb (1976) and Aris (1994), but again in a somewhat peripheral manner.

4 More detailed records may be available at the National Archives of India in New Delhi, but I have not to date been able to consult them. It is conceivable that still further records survive in Bhutan and in Rangpur, which is now in Bangladesh.
 
5 On the Gosains see in particular Cohn (1963).

6 Bogle's report of 1775-1776. Cited in Sarcar (1931).

7 On the Kashmiri network in Tibet see in particular Gaborieau (1973) and Bray (2010).

8 Bogle's journal, 29 March 1715. In Lamb (2002), p. 260. On Bogle see also Teltscher (2007)

9 Lamb (2002), p. 238.

10 Bogle to Hastings, 9 June 1715, Cooch Behar. In Lamb (2002), p. 315. On the treaty see also Deb (1971).

11 Ibid.

12 Sarcar (1931), p. 126; Lamb (2002), p. 470. On the diplomatic repercussions of the 1788 and 1792 conflicts between Nepal and Tibet, see also Engelhardt 2002.

13 The one exception was Thomas Manning who managed to visit Lhasa in 1811.

14 Turner 1800, p. 422.

15 Thomas to the Society. 25 April 1796. Baptist Missionary Society Papers. IN/16. Regent's Park College Archives, Oxford. On the Baptists in early 19th century Bengal, see in particular Potts (1967).

16 The Duars were lowland tracts analogous to the Nepali terai that were then under Bhutanese control. They were annexed by the British after the 1865 war with Bhutan. On the boundary disputes, see in particular Gupta (1974), pp. 57-69.

17 On David Scott (1786-1830) see in particular White (1832) and Barooah (1970). Scott came from Dunninald, near Montrose in the north-east of Scotland. His connection with India came via his uncle, another David Scott (1746-1805) who had served in the East India Company and eventually became its Chairman. The younger David came to India in 1802 and served first in Gorakhpur and Purnea. By the time he reached Rangpur he was still only 28.

18 The Petition of Kishun Kunt Bose inhabitant of Baluakoudee purgannah Kassinnuggar in Zillah Idalopore. OIOC. F/4/810/21274, p, 17.

19 Robertson 1995. p. 20

20 Digby to Board of Revenue, 5 November 1809. In Chanda & Majumdar 1938, p. 41.

21 Board of Revenue to Digby, 8 February 1810. In Chanda & Majumdar 1938, p. 44

22 Letter from tile Deb Raja, received 18 August 1812, in Sen (1942), p. 50; letter from the Raja of Cooch Behar to the Commissioner, received 9 May 1814, in Sen ( 1942) pp. 55-56.

23 Gupta (1974), p. 63.

24 Letter from 'Penlow Sahib', received 26 November 1811. In Sen (1942). pp. 48-49.

25 Letter from Deb Raja, received 18 August 1812. In Sen (1942). p. 50.

26 Raja of Cooch Behar to McLeod, received May 1814. In Sen ( 1942), p. 58.

27 This argument was in fact made by Henry Prinsep, one of Moira's senior officials. See his account of the Nepal war in Prinsep (1825). On the events leading so the war, see also Pemble (1971), Stiller (199S) and Michael (1999).

28 For Sikkim's role in the war, and the eventual success of Moira's strategy, see Bray (forthcoming).

29 Nepal's quinquennial tribute missions to China continued until the early 20th century. See Mandhar (2004).

30 For a far-ranging analysis of the Company's intelligence limitations see Bayly (1996). On Ahmed Ali, see Bray (2010).

31 See Papers Respecting the Nepaul War (hereafter PRNW), pp. 410-412.

32 Latter to MacLeod, Tilalia. 19th November 1814, PRNW. pp. 411-412. See Bray (forthcoming) for an account of Latter's part in the Nepal war and his alliance with Sikkim.

33 Ibid.

34 Scott to J. Monckton, Acting Secretary to Government in the Political Department, Rangpur, 28th November 1814, PRNW, pp. 411-412.

35 Ibid.

36 Scott to Moncklon, Rangpur, 30th November 1814, PRNW, p. 412.

37 Monckton to Scott, Fort William, 6 December 1814. PRNW, p. 413.

33 Adam to Scott, 26 November 1814, Papers relating to the Nepaul War (hereafter 'PRNW') , p. 266.

39 Ibid.

40 Persian was still the main language of diplomatic exchange in South Asia, although it seems -- as will be seen below -- that the Deb Raja's response was in Bengali.

41 To the Deb Raja, from his Excellency the Vice-President, 29th November 1814. PRNW, p. 414.

42 Ibid.

43 Scott to Adam, Rangpur, 10 January 1815, PRNW, pp. 430-431.

44 Ibid.

45 On the status of Bijni see Deb (1912), pp. 49-51.

46 Scott to Adam, Rangpur, 10 January 1815, PRNW, pp. 430-431.

47 Sen 1942. pp. 60-61.

48 The Petition of Kishun Kunt Bose inhabitant of Baluakoudee purgannah Kassinnuggur in Zillah Idalopore. OIOC. F/4/810/21274, p, 17.

49 Ibid., p. 8. The Gosains evidently did not share these ritual concerns. However, it is interesting to note an echo of similar preoccupations in the case of early 20th century Newar traders returning from Tibet to Nepal.  
According to Taladhar (2004, p. 18), returnees were kept in 'ritual quarantine' for two weeks. He adds: "The family kitchen and chapel were off-limits to them. They had only one meal a day and washed the dirty dishes themselves. They had to gel a note from the royal priest detailing the procedure they had to follow to cleanse themselves. At the end of the period, they performed a purification ceremony and invited their relatives and friends to a feast."

50 Ibid, pp. 18-19.

51 Ibid, pp, 12-13.

52 for a discussion of Rammohan's status during this period see also pp. 39-41 of the 'supplementary notes' by Biswas and Ganguly in Collet (1962).

53 Kishen Kant Bose [Krishnakanta Basu], 'Account of Bootan', 1865 edition, p. 203.

54 Deb Raja to Scott, received 12 November 1815. In Sen (1942), pp. 64-65.

55 There is of course an extensive literature on Rammohan's subsequent career. Classic texts include Collet (1962), and Chanda & Majumdar (1938). For a more recent study, see Robertson (1995).

56 OIOC. F/4/810/21274, pp. 19-20.

57 Scott to Adam, Rangpur 24 Sept 1816. OIOC. F/4/552, p. 112.

58 Ibid.

59 Scott to Adam, Rangpur 24 Sept 1816. OIOC. F/4/552, p. 110.

60 For a detailed account of military developments in the war see Pemble 1971.

61 Scott to Adam, Rangpur, 10 June 1816. OIOC. F/4/551 13382, p. 110.

62 Adam to Scott, 22 June 1816. OIOC. F/4/551 13382. p. 115.

63 Scott to Adamm Rangpur 24 Sept 1816. OIOC. F/4/552, p. 111.

64 Fu (1966). pp. 401-402 and pp. 618-619. This episode is also discussed in Rose (1971), pp. 75·95; Lamb (1986), pp. 34-38; Richardson (1973) and Manandhar (2004), p. 196 ff. British archival sources refer to Sai-Chung'a variously as 'Shea Chanchoon', 'Teo Chang Chan' and 'Thee Chanchan'.

65 Translation of Enclosure in a letter from the Magistrate of Rungpore to the Political Department, dated 24th September. OIOC. F/4/552, pp.121-123.

66 Ibid.

67 Ibid., pp. 123-124

68 Ibid., p. 128.

69 Ibid, p. 110.

70 Ibid. pp. 114-115.

71 Latter to Adam, Titalia, J3 September 1816. OIOC F/4 552.

72 Latter to John Adam, Titalia, 30 October 1816. OIOC, F/4/552, p. 175.

73 OIOC F/4/771/20906.

74 Ibid.

75 Gupta (t974), pp. 67-70.

76 Scott to George Swinton, Cooch Behar, 21 September 1821. OlOC. F/4/810/21274, pp. 15-16.

77 Swinton to Scott, Calcutta, 24 November 1821. Ibid, pp, 130-131. Scott was invited to state his opinion "as to the extent of the remuneration which it might be proper to grant him". I have not been able to find Scott's answer in the British Library archives but Gupta (1974, p. 68), perhaps drawing on records available in India, says that the figure was Rs 2,000.

78 On the scholarly contributions of the Asiatic Society see Kejariwal (1988).

79 'Account' (1865), p. 192.

80 'Account' (1865), p. 196.

81 'Account' (1865), pp. 201-203.

82 'Account' (1865), p. 198.

83 For a study making use of such sources see Aris (1994).

84 Scott to Swinton, Cooch Behar, 21 September 1821. OIOC. F/4/810/21274, pp. 13-14.

85 Chattopadhyaya 1984, p. iii. I am grateful to Geza Bethlenfalvy for drawing this reference to my attention. I have not myself been able to examine the manuscript, and the details that follow come from the same reference.

86 Swinton to Captain Lockett, Secretary to the Council of the College of Fort William, 24 November 1821. OIOC. F/4/810/21274, pp. 132-133.

87 On Schroeter and the Serampore dictionary, see Bray 2008. Titalia is now known as Tetulia, and is in northern Bangladesh.
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Remembering Rammohan: An Essay on the Re‐emergence of Modern Hinduism [Excerpt]
by Brian A. Hatcher
History of Religions Vol. 46, No. 1, pp. 50-80 (31 pages)
Published by: The University of Chicago Press
August 2006

[...]

RAMMOHAN THE FOUNDER

[...]

Rammohan promoted a version of monotheism he hoped would restore the rational and moral basis of Hinduism; he translated the ancient Upanishads into Bengali and English; he publicly debated the truths of Hinduism and Christianity with a variety of interlocutors, Hindu and Christian; he supported the spread of English education in India; and he campaigned to suppress the practice of widow immolation, known to the British as suttee. But in the present context, Rammohan's most relevant accomplishment was the founding of a society in 1828, the Brahmo Samaj, to foster his vision of Hindu monotheism.

Though born a Brahmin, Rammohan's spiritual development took him down a number of intellectual avenues. Early in life he is said to have studied in both Patna and Benares, centers for Arabic and Sanskrit learning, respectively. His first published essay was a lengthy rationalistic appeal for monotheism, written in Persian, Tuhfat al-Muwahhidin (A present to the believers in one god).33 Much of his most mature work would focus on mastering and translating Sanskrit texts on Vedanta from the Upanishads to the Brahma Sutras. In addition to his immersion in Indo-Persian and Vedantic learning, Rammohan also studied Tantra and had worked in close contact with the English collector, John Digby, for a dozen years in the outlying districts of Bengal. Thus, by the time he settled in Calcutta in 1815, he had amassed the kind of experience that would earn him acclaim as a polymath scholar and polemicist.

A further reason for poor relations was a series of disputes along the boundary between Bhutanese territory in the Duars and the princely state of Cooch Behar which had been under British protection since 1774.16 Hastings had tended to favour Bhutan in these disputes, perhaps taking the view that minor territorial concessions were worthwhile if they served the Company's wider diplomatic and commercial interests. However, Hastings' successors and their local representatives tended to take a more legalistic view, and frequently ruled against Bhutan.

British and Indian officials in Rangpur

On the British side, the frontline management of these boundary disputes fell to the Commissioners in Cooch Behar and the Collectors in Rangpur. The key protagonists in the early decades of the 19th century include: James Morgan, who was Collector of Rangpur from 1807 to 1809; John Digby, who succeeded him from 1809 until 1814; and David Scott who was successively Collector in Rangpur from 1814 to 1816, and then Commissioner in Cooch Behar.17

Krishnakanta Basu and Rammohan Ray

All three men were of course supported by an extensive Indian staff. Among these were Krishnakanta Basu who joined government service as a junior official in the Rangpur Faujdari 'Adalat (criminal court) in 1807,18 and Rammohan Roy who first came with Digby to Rangpur in 1809. Rammohan had been born into a wealthy Bengali family in 1774, and had entered Digby's service in 1805, initially as a private munshi (secretary) and then as temporary sar-ristadar (head clerk) of the Ramgarh Faujdari 'Adalat in northern Bihar.19 He moved with Digby successively to Jessore (Bengal), Bhagalpur (Bihar) and finally to Rangpur.

Digby evidently held Rammohan in high regard. In November 1809 he wrote to the Board of Revenue describing Rammohan as a "man of very respectable family and excellent education" and seeking the Board's approval of his appointment as his diwan.20 However, the Board rejected the appointment, arguing that Rammohan was insufficiently qualified. When Digby sought to protest, citing Rammohan's excellent qualifications and references, the Board confirmed its original decision and reproved him for the style in which he had addressed them.21 Despite this setback, Rammohan remained in Rangpur. Two Bengali-language letters from 1812 and 1814 refer to him as diwan,22 and it therefore appears either that he was reappointed to the post, or that he continued to hold the title unofficially.


The Maraghat boundary dispute

The most important of the Bhutan/Cooch Behar boundary disputes in the period under review concerned the Maraghat district, some 25 miles from Jalpaiguri. Maraghat was awarded to Bhutan in the 1774 treaty with the Company, and this was confirmed by a Council at Dinajpur in 1777. However the Raja of Cooch Behar claimed the southern part of the district, which was known as Gird Maraghat.23 In 1807 Morgan conducted an on-the-spot enquiry and decided in favour of Cooch Behar. In 1809 Digby confirmed Morgan's ruling awarding Gird Maraghal to Cooch Behar, and the Maharaja took possession of the territory two years later.

The Bhutanese never accepted these decisions. For example, in 1811 a letter to the Company from 'Penlow Sahib, a chief of Bhutan', complained that an officer of the Maharaja of Cooch Behar had been causing trouble over the boundary for the previous three years, and expressed fears that war might ensue.24 Similarly in 1812 a letter from the Deb Raja again referred to Maraghat, appealed for assistance in resolving the dispute, and said that 'Diwan Rammohan' knew all the facts of the case.25 In May 1814 the Maharaja of Cooch Behar appealed to Norman McLeod, the Commissioner of Cooch Behar, asking him to arrange for the deployment of 50 sepoys to protect the Maraghat frontier from Bhutanese infringements.26

The Maraghat dispute was therefore far from being resolved in late 1814 when it was overtaken by the outbreak of the Company's war with Nepal. At that point Maraghat became one factor in a much wider set of strategic calculations on the part of the British, and it was these that in due course led to Krishnakanta's and Rammohan's mission to Bhutan...

Selecting the messengers

Scott now had the task of selecting a suitable representative, and eventually decided on Krishnakanta Basu. Krishnakanta himself described the background in an application for a pension (translated from Bengali by Scott) which he wrote in 1821. Like Bogle's Tibetan merchants, he observed that the contrasting climates of the plains of India and the Himalaya presented a major obstacle:

.... no person at Rungpore could be found to undertake the duty, the Climate of the hilly Country being from the snow and extreme cold exceedingly hostile to the Constitutions of the natives of Bengal .....48


Religious ritual concerns were another major factor. Bengali Hindus were:

... further deterred from proceeding into those Countries by the difficulty and occasional impossibility they experience in selling those articles of provision to which they are accustomed, as well as by the manners and impure habits of the people which are so repugnant to the customs of the Hindoos that few persons of the latter religion will venture into Bhootan from fear of losing their Caste.49


Krishnakanta nevertheless decided to take on the task, partly for material reasons:

Notwithstanding the above considerations your petitioner being grateful for the subsistence afforded by the Government and hopeful for future advancement and eventual benefit, bound himself with the girdle of courage and regardless of the consequences, not to say despairing of returning alive, agreed to undertake the journey.50


It seems that he received an immediate benefit in that his salary was raised from Rs. 14 per month as a 'Mohurrer' (a writer in local languages) to Rs. 70 when he was in Bhutan. However, Scott confirmed that Krishnakanta had not been exaggerating when he referred to the difficulty of finding someone to undertake the journey:

For the accuracy of such parts of his petition which relate to the unwillingness displayed by the natives at Rungpore to undertake the journey to Lhassa and the danger attending to it, I can safely vouch, as no capable person but himself could be found to undertake the business and the risk from the climate at the particular season was such that thinking it not improbable that the petitioner who was ill at the time of his departure might die on the way, I sent another man to go along with him as far as Bhootan in case of the occurrence of such an accident.51


From the Deb Raja's subsequent correspondence, it is clear that Rammohan Roy was this 'other man' and -- particularly since he would have been senior to Krishnakanta -- it is odd that Scott does not mention him by name. Very speculatively, one wonders whether this was because he was no longer in formal government service by the time he travelled to the Deb Raja's court, and therefore had no official status.52

Krishnakanta's stay in Bhutan

Krishnakanta gives a vivid description of the journey in his 'Account of Bootan'. Before reaching the hills, he had to pass through the Bhutanese Duars, and he describes a series of perils in the jungles:

The jungle is of such height that an elephant or rhinoceros cannot be seen in it when standing up, and it is so full of leeches that a person cannot move a hundred yards without having his body, wherever it has been scratched by the grass, covered with these animals, so that a single man cannot get rid of them without assistance. In this jungle, when the sun shines, the heat is intolerable, and when the sun ceases to shine a person cannot remain in it without a fire on account of innumerable musquitoes [sic] and other insects with which it is filled.53


His account of the terrain once he reaches the hill is more matter-of-fact, noting the various habitations that he encountered en route, the degree to which they were cultivated, and the extent to which the roads would be passable for horses or elephants.

At all events, the two men duly arrived in 'Wandipoor' (Wangdi Phodrang), and presented their credentials. The Deb Raja responded by sending a letter to Scott in Rangpur in which he acknowledged a present of five pieces of broadcloth, five coats and a telescope.54 He said that Scott's letter to the two representatives of China -- presumably the two Ambans -- had been forwarded to Lhasa: The two emissaries had explained that one of them was to stay in Bhutan while the other -- Rammohan Ray -- was to return to Rangpur.

The rest of the letter is a clear indication of the Deb Raja's priorities inasmuch as it mainly concerns his grievance over the continuing boundary disputes with Cooch Behar and Baikunthapur. He only refers to the Nepal war -- which from Scott's point of view was by far the most important matter at a hand -- in a postscript. There he notes the Gorkhas had wronged the Company, according to what he had learnt from Rammohan and Krishnakanta, and he will therefore reject any Gorkha approaches in connection with the war. He then returns to the boundary disputes, requesting that Scott either come to the frontier for a local enquiry, or send Rammohan back with a clear decision in the matter.

In the event, rather than returning to Bhutan, Rammohan moved to Calcutta where he soon achieved prominence as the founder of the Brahmo Samaj, and one of the leading Bengali intellectuals of his generation.55


-- Krishnakanta Basu, Rammohan Ray and Early 19th Century British Contacts with Bhutan and Tibet, by John Bray


After settling in Calcutta, Rammohan created one firestorm after another, attacking both Christian Trinitarian doctrine and what he took to be the idolatry of Hindu religious life. Whether drawing upon Muslim mutazilite theology or Enlightenment ideals of reason, Rammohan was a quintessential rationalist. That his rationalist critique of religion could build upon Hindu and Muslim intellectual traditions suggests the degree to which his work challenges any neat dichotomy of tradition/modernity...

Rammohan's rationalist critique was at times Deistic in its tone (this is most noticeable in his English works) and at others it retained its indebtedness to sacred Hindu scripture (something made very clear in his Bengali writings). What was central to his vision was what he once referred to as a "simple code of religion and morality."35 This simple code could be found at the heart of all religions, and Rammohan worked to explicate both its Christian and its Hindu articulations. The core of authentic religion -- which for Rammohan would need to be disentangled from the fanciful myths and idolatrous rites of his own day --- was belief in one ultimate Being who is "the animating and regulating principle of the whole collective body of the universe" and who is the "origin of all individual souls." All that was required to worship such a Being was compassion or "benevolence towards each other."36

This was the theological and moral bedrock upon which Rammohan established a new religious organization, the Brahmo Samaj, or the "society of the worshippers of the absolute," that met for the first time in north Calcutta on August 20, 1828 (6 Bhadra 1750 Saka). At this point there was "no organization. no membership. no creed."37 Those gathering with Rammohan were encouraged to know the Supreme God according to Rammohan's reading of the Upanishads, which he referred to as the Vedant (i.e., Vedanta). Following the classical Hindu tradition, acquisition of such knowledge would require study, meditation, and diligent restraint of the passions. But Rammohan also insisted that everything done in this world should be done in a spirit of dedication to God.38 He was just as opposed to renunciatory forms of Hindu worship as he was to idolatry and polytheism. His ideal was the brahmanistha grhastha, the "godly householder."39


On January 23, 1830 (11 Magh 1752 Saka), meetings of the Brahmo Samaj were shifted to a new building on Chitpur Road in north Calcutta. This date marked a new level of organization and self-awareness for the group, as evinced by the publication of the Brahmo Trust Deed. This document testifies to Rammohan's desire to create a public form of worship open to all people "without distinction" and dedicated to worship of the "Immutable Being who is Author and Preserver of the Universe."40 We shall see below that the 1830 date would assume great liturgical significance in the later Brahmo movement.

The year 1830 was also significant insofar as it was in November of this year that Rammohan set off on a mission to England. There he had many supporters, chiefly among the Unitarians, who saw in him a fellow rationalist and theist. While in England, Rammohan had an opportunity to deepen his Unitarian contacts while completing a mission on behalf of the Mughal emperor in Delhi, Akbar II. However, his visit ended in his untimely death in 1833, while staying with friends in Bristol...

To return to Rammohan's world, we can note that early nineteenth-century Calcutta witnessed the rapid emergence of any number of voluntary associations or "elective fraternities." The earliest of these is usually said to have been Rammohan's Society of Friends (Atmiya Sabha), which he formed in 1815.46 Over the next three decades, a wide variety of other voluntary associations were formed in Calcutta: the Indian Agricultural and Horticultural Society (1820), the Gaudiya Samaj (1823), the Dharma Sabha (1830), the Society for the Acquisition of General Knowledge (SAGK. 1838), the Landholders Society (1838), and the Hindu Theophilanthropic Society (1843), to name but a few of the most prominent organizations in the first few decades of the century.47...

Rammohan's strategy was to retrieve the Vedanta of the Upanishads from oblivion and to identify in it a religion that could both answer the challenges of modernity and provide new norms of collective identity. Toward this end he created the conditions for a small group to meet, discuss, and worship according to this Vedantic monotheism... Initially that space was filled by Unitarianism, but this was a tradition to which Rammohan and his associates could not fully commit. Instead, a contemporary account tells us that two of Rammohan's closest associates, Candrasekhar Deb [Sib Chandra Deb] and Tarachand Chakravarti, suggested to him that rather than attending Unitarian services as they had been doing, they should establish their own place of worship analogous to what the Christians had...

Tarachand Chukraburtree/Chakravarti (1806-1857) was born into a poor Brahmin family and educated at Hindu College. He was one of the leaders of Young Bengali, and a lieutenant of Rammohun (Ram Mohan Roy), of whose Brahma Samaj he became the first secretary. Chakravarti was proficient in English, Sanskrit, Persian, and Hindustani. He joined the Calcutta Journal as its English translator in 1822, and started working with HH [Horace Hayman] Wilson to translate the Puranas into English a year later. He founded the Society for the Acquisition of General Knowledge in 1838 and became its first president. He was a founding member of the British Indian Society and a major contributor to the Bengal Spectator. He advocated for equal rights for all, and the abolition of polygamy and early marriage. He was the first Bengali to compile an English-Bangla dictionary in 1832.

-- Tarachand Chukraburtree, by Middlebury.edu


The question to be asked is... after Rammohan's departure for England in 1830 and his death there in 1833 -- a mere five years after the creation of the Brahmo Samaj ... How did the movement fare in those subsequent years? Can we rightly speak of a movement at this point? Had the elective fraternity acquired in those early years the requisite sense of its own story, its own identity, to warrant calling it a religious association?

The argument of this essay is that the Samaj had not by this time realized itself as a religious association, let alone a movement. The evidence indicates, in fact, that after Rammohan's departure for England, the affairs of the Samaj suffered greatly. More importantly, as Benoy Ghosh once remarked, during the 1830s the Brahmo Samaj was little more than a group of people who gathered to worship God.53 Ghosh was implying that something else had to happen before it could become a religious organization, properly speaking (what he called, in Bengali, a dharma-gosthi). He provides 1843 as the date for this transformation. We shall see presently what makes 1843 such a special year. For now, what is important is Ghosh's insight into the fact that the birth of the Brahmo Samaj as religious movement should perhaps not be dated to Rammohan's founding act of 1828.... the creation of the Brahmo Samaj as a religious movement can be identified with the moment when ... the members created a narrative about themselves that included reference to a founding figure. That figure was, of course, Rammohan Roy.

THE BRAHMO SAMAJ AFTER RAMMOHAN

In the wake of Rammohan's departure and death, the energy and activities of the Brahmo Samaj were severely weakened. "The death of the Founder was almost fatal to the infant society," remarked J. N. Farquhar in his influential early study of the period.54 Attendance dwindled at its weekly meetings. To those familiar with the association it must have seemed as if Rammohan's vision and his Samaj would both soon fade from memory. Such might well have been the case, were it not for the dedicated work of Rammohun's closest associates. None was more instrumental in keeping the Brahmo Samaj alive than Ramacandra Vidyavagisa (1786-1845). As first preceptor, or acarya, of the Samaj, Ramacandra had delivered the inaugural discourse before the Samaj in 1828. After Rammohan's departure he faithfully presided over weekly meetings, continuing to deliver discourses on the Upanisadic theology first enunciated by Rammohan. As one later Brahmo commented: "Only the faithful Ram Chandra Vidyabagish remained steadfast; and for seven years he regularly and punctually conducted the weekly service, as directed by Rajah Ram Mohun Roy, often alone like the solitary watcher by the dim-burning pyre at the burning ghat."55 We should note that the image evoked here is one of the death of a movement, rather than its birth. For the Brahmo Samaj to survive would clearly require the agency of men such as Ramacandra.

Like Rammohan, Ramocandra was a Brahmin by birth. Unlike Rammohan, he had trained as a Sanskrit pandit.56 However, his world was drawn close to Rammohan's in many ways, not least because Rammohan had studied under Ramacandra's older brother, who had renounced worldly life and become a tantric ascetic known as Hariharananda Tirthasvami. It may even be that Rammohan and Ramacandra met one another through Hariharananda.

Clearly the two formed a powerful intellectual friendship. Ramacandra's mastery of Sanskrit literature was a valuable asset to Rammohan. In fact, Rammohan sent Ramacandra to study Vedanta, which he is said to have mastered in very little time.57 Sources indicate Rammohan also gave Ramacandra funds with which to open a Sanskrit school for teaching Vedanta. In some respects it is remarkable that a rationalist reformer like Rammohan could find common cause with a custodian of Brahmanical tradition. But this should only serve to remind us how difficult it is to generalize about ideological orientations in colonial Calcutta. It is not that one man was more modern than the other; rather, both men worked creatively within a modern context to reinterpret the traditions most meaningful to them.

Having said this, it should be noted that Calcutta society was at this time fractured by competing ideologies -- religious, social, economic and political. We must attend to these fractures if we are to appreciate why the Brahmo Samaj went into decline following Rammohan's death. The Samaj faced intellectual challenges on at least three fronts: (1) from English-educated Hindu youth, (2) from Christian missionaries, and (3) from advocates of existing forms of Hindu orthodoxy.58...

Attendance at the Samaj fell off drastically. In such a climate, even if one were sympathetic to the goals of the Samaj, it would have been far easier simply to stay out of public view. As Amiya Kumar Sen has noted, many members of the Samaj at this time "simply accepted its principles intellectually and did not follow them in their daily lives and activities."62 Sen also notes that what was lacking was the institutional means to counter the charges leveled at the Brahmo Samaj by each of these opposing constituencies. Most important, Sen observes. "There was nothing in the Samaj itself to unite them into a community. Even the works of Raja Rammohan Roy became scarce and did not wield that influence which they did when he was alive. There was thus a void in the social and religious thought in the country."63...

BRAHMOISM WITHOUT RAMMOHAN

Ironically, the means to save the Brahmo Samaj came neither through aggressively recruiting new members nor through more active advocacy of the Samaj in print, but inadvertently by the creation of yet another voluntary association. This new association would take up Rammohan's cause, but it would do so under the terms of a new synthesis.65 The name of this new association was the Tattvabodhini Sabha, or the Society for the Propagation of Truth. It was established in 1839 under the leadership of Debendranath Tagore (1817-1905).

The creation of the Tattwabodhini Sabha was to become, in retrospect, a defining moment in Brahmo history. It has claimed the attention of readers of Bengali literature for over a century and a half. In the simplest of terms it is a story about the meeting of two men, Rammohan's old friend Ramacandra and Debendranath -- the latter anxiously seeking God, the former faithfully tending to the legacy of Rammohan. Their encounter would not only mark an upswing in the fortunes of the Brahmo Samaj, it would also contribute significantly to the areas of Bengali literature, social reform, and scientific learning. We can only summarize the story of the creation of the Sabha here.66

Debendranath was the eldest son of Dwarkanath Tagore, patriarch of the Tagores of Jorasanko, a family whose history is intimately bound to the history of the Brahmo movement in particular and the "renaissance" of Bengali culture more generally. Dwarkanath was a businessman with extensive contacts with European traders and a wide range of commercial interests.67 Dwarkanath had also been a great friend and patron of Rammohan. He was a trustee of the Brahmo Samaj and one of the few stalwarts who attended meetings of the Brahmo Samaj after Rammohan's death. He paid the bills to keep the Samaj afloat during those lean years.68

When Debendranath was eighteen, his father went on a journey to north India. While he was away, Debendranath's grandmother died. Debendranath was close by throughout this period. Sitting near her on the night before her death, he felt his worldly concerns melt away, along with his desire for worldly power. In their place, he experienced a profound sense of bliss that led him to ask about the meaning and purpose behind life. Finding no earthly cause for such bliss, Debendranath concluded it was a gift from God. Subsequently Debendranath fell into extended meditation on the religious life.

Around this time he remembered the work of Rammohan Roy. Rammohan's books on religion had been stored in his father's library and his father had also arranged for Debendranath to attend the school Rammohan had established in north Calcutta. Debendranath even remembered playing in Rammohan's garden as a boy, picking fruit and being pushed on the garden swing by the great reformer himself. Recalling that Rammohan "did not take part in any image-worship or idolatry," Debendranath vowed to adopt the same practices.69


It was at this point that Debendranath chanced upon a stray page of Sanskrit text. Although he had studied Sanskrit, he could not decipher it. He sought help from the family's pandit. Recognizing it as the kind of wisdom popular among the Brahmos, the pandit referred Debendranath to Rammohan's friend Ramacandra, When Ramacandra was shown the page, he was instantly able to identify the passage as the first verse of the Isa Upanisad.70 He read the passage for Debendranath and explained its meaning.

Of this moment, Debendranath would later write, "nectar from paradise streamed down upon me."71 He had found the Brahmo God. Suddenly the position he held at his father's bank meant nothing to him. Instead, Debendranath now saw a divine presence (and purpose) behind creation. And he saw a new purpose for his own life. Henceforth, he would work to translate the content of his awakening into a coherent spiritual message. Indeed, he spoke of "a strong desire to spread the true religion."72

This desire was manifested in the creation of the Tattwabodhini Sabha in 1839. Debendranath described the goals of the Tattwabodhini Sabha: "Its object was the diffusion of the deep truth of all our shastras and the knowledge of Brahma as inculcated in the Vedanta. It was the Upanishads that we considered to be the Vedanta, -- we did not place much reliance on the teachings of the Vedanta philosophy."73 At this point, Debendranath and the other members of the new Sabha were not thinking of themselves as Brahmos, nor do the goals of the Sabha yet make explicit reference to Rammohan. This, despite the fact that the knowledge of God, or brahmajnana, sought by members of the Tattwabodhini Sabha was understood in precisely the terms Rammohan had understood it -- as a "monistically oriented monotheism," to borrow Wilhelm Halbfass's characterization.74 The path described is one based on both reason and scripture. Worship was understood as knowledge and love of God coupled with the performance of those deeds that are pleasing to God.


The absence of Rammohan from the picture at this point is made strikingly clear in a little-known set of discourses delivered by members of the Tattwabodhini Sabha in Calcutta in its inaugural year, 1839-40, and subsequently published as a small volume in 1841.75 In these discourses, a range of different members present their interpretations of what it means to live according to a rational, monotheistic theology of this-worldly worship that is accountable both to the sastras and to reason. In their recourse to Upanishadic scriptural emblems (e.g., passages from the Katha and Mundaka Upanisads), in their attempt to balance the demands of reason and scripture (or sastra), in their marvel at the purpose behind God's creation, in their rejection of the renunciatory ethic, and in their call to an active expression of moral diligence and spiritual reflection, these discourses remind us in concrete ways of the teachings of Rammohan. However, at no point in the published collection of these discourses is any mention made of the Brahmo Samaj or Rammohan Roy. This is Brahmoism without Rammohan...

In an interesting turn of events, the revival of the fortunes of the Brahmo Samaj -- indeed its real constitution as a religious body -- would come only when the members of the Tattwabodhini Sabha remembered the one man to whom their vision could be traced, Rammohan.
As the discourses from 1839-40 reveal, this had not happened in the first years of the Sabha's existence. But within a few short years this would change.

REMEMBERING RAMMOHAN

The discourses printed in Sabhyadiger vaktrta were published in 1841. The very next year, Debendranath attended a meeting of the Brahmo Samaj. He tells us that it was on this visit that he witnessed how far the Samaj had declined.77 In response. he pledged to revive the Brahmo Samaj by arranging for the Tattwabodhini Sabha to begin managing its affairs. Simultaneously, he mandated that the spiritual activities of the Sabha would henceforth be carried out by the Brahmo Samaj. In this moment, the Tattwabodhini group acquired a representation of themselves; they became Brahmos...

Now, under Debendranath's new arrangement, the Tattwabodhini Sabha abandoned its own monthly Sunday meetings in order to meet during the Brahmo's regular worship time. In a final mark of the absorption of the Sabha into the Samaj, it was decided that henceforth anniversary meetings would be held on the date of January 23 (11 Magha). In time this date would acquire an aura of great sanctity, thanks in large part to the work of the Tattwabodhini group.80

In this way the dynamism of the Sabha began to contribute to the revitalization of Brahmo worship. Under Debendranath, the Brahmo Samaj would begin a new phase of self-definition -- liturgical, theological, and social. The process of redefinition was marked by two further developments during the following year, 1843.

First, the Tattwabodhini Sabha launched a new Bengali periodical, the Tattvabodhini Patrika. As with the original Sabha, it was dedicated to the goal of propagating Vedanta. However, the Patrika also announced its commitment to republishing the writings of Rammohan Roy, which it noted had fallen into near obscurity since his death.81 In a second major development, four months after the publication of the Patrika, Debendranath joined twenty-one other members of the Tattvabodhini Sabha in taking formal initiation (diksa) into the Brahmo Samaj. The old Brahmo stalwart Ramacandra presided over the ceremony as acarya. As Debendranath later wrote: "This was an unprecedented event in the annals of the Brahma-Samaj. Formerly there had existed the Brahma-Samaj only, now the Brahma Dharma came into existence."82 As this comment indicates, by this point Debendranath had come to see the Brahmo path as dharma, a code, a religion, a way of life. And as the explicit commitment to republishing the works of Rammohan suggests, this dharma was clearly traced to the founding efforts of Rammohan...

Preserving the memory and propagating the vision of the group's "father" now became the mission of the Sabha. Ironically, the decision made by the Tattwabodhini group to embrace Rammohan and the Brahmo path would also mark the beginning of the end of the Sabha. While the Sabha continued to meet independently until 1859, it was eventually dissolved, its identity and its mission by then synonymous with the Brahmo movement.

It is as if the followers of Debendranath had originally been moved by a vision, but could not conceptualize themselves as standing in a tradition....

Once the Tattwabodhini group began to think of themselves as Brahmos carrying on the work of Rammohan, the integrity and plausibility of their religious movement was secured. At this point, members began to say explicitly, as they did in an English-language proclamation from 1844, "We follow the teachings of Rammohan Roy."86

Rammohan could now clearly be called a "founder."87 A report for the year 1843-44, composed in English and published in the Tattwabodhini Patrika, shows the Sabha in the process of rewriting the story of their establishment to include explicit mention of their newly remembered founder: ''The TUTTUVOADHINEE SUBHA was established ... by a select party of friends, who believed in god as 'the One Unknown True Being, the Creator, Preserver and Destroyer of the Universe,'... The avowed object of the members was to sustain the labours of the late Rajah Rammohun Roy." However, the conclusion of the report makes it clear not only that there had been a hiatus in the collective memory brought on by Rammohan's departure and death, but also that the revitalization of the Brahmo movement was dependent upon the work of the Sabha:

The members are fully aware of the extent, to which the cause of religion was carried during the time of the celebrated Rammohun Roy. But it is no less a fact that, in his lamentable demise, it received a shock from which it was feared it could hardly have recovered. The exertions of the Tuttovoadhinee Society, however, have imparted renewed energies to the cause. They have led a large number of the educated and respectable members of society, to appreciate the knowledge of God. The meetings of the Braumhu Sumauj are now attended by overflowing congregations, and religious discussion are extensively maintained in Native society.88


Further evidence of the elevation of Rammohun to the status of founder is given in a passage from an annual report of the Sabha for 1846, which describes Rammohan as having descended (avatirna semantically akin to the concept of avatara) into Bengal to establish the Brahmo Samaj,89

This is the background against which we should also read an English-language passage written by Debendranath in 1846 in which he outlines the moral and theological tenets of his new dharma. While Rammohan is not explicitly invoked, the concept of the "godly householder" (brahmanistha grhastha) -- to which we have seen Rammohan gave pride of place -- is clearly emphasized: "As spiritual worshippers of our All-Benevolent Legislator and followers of the Vedant -- of Ooponeshud .... we are Bhrummunistha Grihustha, or monotheistic householders .... The object of our humble exertions is not merely a negative reformation in the religious institutions of our countrymen, but a positive one too, -- not merely the overthrow of the present systems, but the substitution in their place of more rational and proper ones."90

Clearly Rammohan's Brahmo ideals provided the Tattwabodhini Sabha with the means to ratify their own identity as a movement. This rearticulation of the group's self-understanding was made clear at a meeting held on May 28,1847. Hitherto the Tattwabodhini Sabha had defined its goal as the propagation of the "true religion as taught by Vedanta" (vedanta pratipadya satyadharma). At the May 1847 meeting it was resolved to formally replace this language with the explicit rubric of brahmadharma; the Sabha would now propagate the Brahmo religion of Rammohan.91

Years later, in 1864, Debendranath gave a Bengali address in which he looked back over the previous twenty-five years of the Brahmo Samaj. In that address, Debendranath clearly identified Rammohan as the founding father of the movement, referring to him as "the country's first friend" (deser prathama bandhu).92 Indeed, Debendranath crafted a virtual creation myth that depicts Rammohan appearing in the midst of darkness and lethargy to plant the seeds of monotheistic worship. In this evocation of Rammohan as pioneer, father, and founding guru, Debendranath offered the Brahmo Samaj a representation of itself as an ongoing lineage of belief traced to a founder whose memory now served to unite them as a religious association. And, as Debendranath remarked toward the close of his address, it was not as if he and Rammohan had different visions; their goals were one and the same.93

What is equally striking about this address is that while it takes us back to the time of Rammohan and his founding of the Brahmo Samaj in 1828, if read carefully, it also becomes clear that the scope of this twenty-five-year retrospective really only takes the reader back to 1839, the year the Tattwabodhini Sabha was founded. We are thus led to see in rather graphic terms the very time lag -- the lapse of memory, if you will -- between Rammohan's creative action and the birth of the organization that was to revive his vision.

Of course, this was not the end of the process. As J. N. Farquhar remarked laconically, "there were difficulties."94 The pressures of colonial modernity would continue to threaten the plausibility structures that supported the Brahmo movement. In the decades after Debendranath's adoption of the Brahmo faith, it was repeatedly forced to review and revise its store of memories. Space permitting, one could go on to explore the way the movement struggled in the coming years with such issues as the proper weight that should be accorded to scripture versus reason, as well as with the authority of personal intuition. At critical junctures new developments were accommodated to new memories. What is more, in time the creative agency of other "father" figures would need to be invoked to integrate and commemorate the evolving sense of group continuity. In time Debendranath himself would become one such "father," as would Keshub Chunder Sen (1838-84) later still, when he founded the New Dispensation (nava vidhana) in 1879.95

In fact, Keshub's views on Rammohan from the mid-1860s are particularly interesting. While he recognized Rammohan as the "great man" who brought his fellow citizrns together to worship the One God, Keshub did not credit Rammohan with founding a religious movement. His views in this respect seem to anticipate Benoy Ghosh's observation about the early Samaj. As one scholar has remarked, "Keshab especially emphasized that Roy did not found the Brahmo community of the decades to come," emphasizing only that he created a place and reason for people to worship.96

At this point, Keshub was clearly less interested in historical observation than in the ongoing validation of the movement, its memories, and its leaders. Chief among his concerns around this time was the question of leadership. Who would be granted creative agency? Even as he broke with Debendranath to form the Brahmo Samaj of India, Keshub could praise the role of his former patron and spiritual mentor, Debendranath: "When the patriotic, virtuous, great-souled Raja Ram Mohun Roy established a public place for the holy worship of God in Bengal, the true welfare of the country began .... But that great man being within a short time removed from this world, the light of Divine worship kindled by him came very nearly to be extinct."97 Referring to Debendranath, Keshub went on to say, "God raised you, and placed in your hands the charge of the spiritual advancement of the country .... Thus have you generally served the Brahma community after the ideals of your own heart, but you have specially benefited a few among us whom you have treated as affectionately as your children. These have felt the deep nobleness of your character, and elevated by your precept, example, and holy companionship, reverence you as their father."98

Keshub's break with Debendranath and his subsequent move to form the New Dispensation are striking illustrations of the very fluid process that was the construction of Brahmo religious identity throughout the nineteenth century.
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Sib Chandra Deb
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Sib Chandra Deb
শিবচন্দ্র দেব
Born: 20 July 1811, Konnagar, Hooghly District, West Bengal[1][2]
Died: 12 November 1890 (aged 79)
Nationality: Indian
Occupation: Deputy Collector

Sib Chandra Deb (Bengali: শিবচন্দ্র দেব Shib Chôndro Deb) (also spelt Shib Chandra Deb, Shibchandra Deb, Shib Chander Deb) (20 July 1811 – 12 November 1890) was one of the leading Derozians, virtually the first generation of English-knowing Indians. He had joined Hindu College in 1825 and was subsequently drawn towards Derozio. Sivanath Sastri recalls that even in his old age he fondly recalled in detail what Derozio used to say. A brilliant student he won a scholarship while studying at Hindu College. As a student, he occasionally attended the meetings of the Brahmo Sabha established by Raja Rammohun Roy. Initially, he joined the survey department as he had acquired proficiency in higher mathematics but changed over to general administration to become a deputy collector in 1838. The English allowed Indians to be promoted/ posted as deputy collectors in 1833. He was one of the early English-knowing Indian officials in government service.

Brahmo Samaj

He joined the Brahmo Samaj in 1843, around the same time as Debendranath Tagore, and rose to be one of its prominent leaders by the 1850s. He established the Medinipur Brahmo Samaj in 1846 and the Konnagar Brahmo Samaj in 1863. At the time of founding of the Brahmo Samaj of India, he was with the progressives and assisted the movement in many ways. At the time of establishment of the Sadharan Brahmo Samaj, his sympathies were with the protesting party. He was one of the leaders of the Sadharan Brahmo Samaj, along with Sivanath Sastri, Ananda Mohan Bose, Umesh Chandra Dutta and Durga Mohan Das, when it was established in 1878 and was its first president and subsequently for many years.

After the second break-up of the Brahmo movement, his house at Konnagar became a place of pilgrimage to the members of the new samaj. They would often flock there so that his example of earnest piety, inborn humility, wide range of knowledge, methodical performance of the smallest duties of life, moderation in speech and conduct and constant attention to the good of others could inspire them. Indeed, he was the living embodiment of an ideal Brahmo life.

He was one of strongest proponents of women's education because he was convinced that society could not progress unless women were educated. He admitted his daughters into Bethune School. In 1860, he opened a girls' school in his own house. It later shifted to a building of its own. He wrote a book Sishupalan (child care) for use by women.

Posted for sometime in 24 Parganas, he participated actively in the social life of Kolkata during the period. He contributed considerably to the development of Konnagar, including the inauguration of Konnagar railway station in 1856 and a post office in 1858. He was commissioner of Serampore municipality from 1865 to 1878. His father Braja Kishore Deb was in government service and was considered to be a moneyed man.


Brahmo marriage consternation

Satyapriya Deb, son of Sib Chandra Deb, was married, in 1876, to Saratkumari, daughter of Kalinath Bose, a close friend and devotee of Keshub Chunder Sen. Trouble started with a notice in the Indian Mirror about performance of the marriage as per the reformed ceremonies of the Brahmo Samaj. It was to be organised without the presence of Brahmin priests and without any salagram shila (family stone deity) or the traditional hom or fire witnessing (agni sakshi). Many considered it a challenge to traditional Hindu society and systems. There was considerable public consternation about the marriage and the possibility of large-scale demonstrations against the proposed marriage rites loomed large over the occasion. The danger of people coming and physically disrupting the marriage ceremony was a distinct possibility.

Kalinath Bose rushed to Keshub Chunder Sen. He took personal interest to find a suitable alternative place of wedding on Circular Road. Almost everything had to be organised afresh. The groom's party came by boat under police guard. There was a distinct fear that somebody could attack the groom en route. The marriage took place under extremely difficult circumstances. Many of those who came to attend the wedding were jeered.

Sivanath Sastri mentions this marriage as one of the notable social incidents of that period in his book Ramtanu Lahiri O Tatkalin Banga Samaj. Saratkumari Deb has given vivid details of the wedding ceremony in her book Amar Sansar.

References

1. Shastri, Shibnath, Ramtanu Lahiri O Tatkalin Banga Samaj, 1904, p 134, S.K.Lahiri & Co.
2. Lethbridge, Roper, Sir, Ramtanu Lahiri-Brahman and Reformer, published 1907, p. 189, Swan Sonnenschein & Co. Limited, London
• Ramtanu Lahiri O Tatkalin Banga Samaj in Bengali by Sivanath Sastri
• Sansad Bangali Charitabhidhan (Biographical dictionary) in Bengali edited by Subodh Chandra Sengupta and Anjali Bose
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