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KOLKATA

THE EARLY HISTORY AND GROWTH OF CALCUTTA

BY

RAJA BINAYA KRISHNA DEB

PREFACE

It was during the search for and collection of the materials for the Memoirs of Maharaja Nabakrishna Deb Bahadur by Mr. N N Ghose, FBSL, Bar-at-law, Editor, Indian Nation, that an opportunity was afforded me to have a peep into the old records of the early transactions of the British in this country. That was in 1894 and 1895. I am glad to be able to say that the facilities thus offered have been usefully employed. Needless to say that I constantly kept the subject before me, never casting it aside, as it has a great fascination for me. It would be too tedious to my readers, were I to describe how fondly and with what dogged perseverance and tenacity I have pursued my favorite study. In the meantime certain articles anent the early reminiscences of Calcutta, etc., which appeared in the Hitabadi newspaper, attracted my attention, and my friend the talented editor of the paper allowed me to point out some of the inaccuracies in the articles referred to, and I began to write. The editor was so pleased with my contribution that he pressed me to continue the subject, which he said was appreciated by the public. It was a source of satisfaction to me that other newspapers made extracts from my articles. Thus emboldened, I seriously contemplated to write in Bengali a History of Calcutta. But it was at the suggestion and request of my wife and dear cousin Romesh Chandra Ghose, BA, that I commenced writing the present volume in English. I am too well aware of the serious venture in which I have embarked, and no one feels the grave responsibility of the situation so keenly as the writer. At the same tune, I must say I do not regret the choice I have made. It is no use concealing the fact that I derive great self-satisfaction by studying some of the problems connected with one of the most interesting and epoch-making periods of Indian History. Therein lies my consolation.

I owe it to myself to acknowledge gratefully the encouragement I received from my esteemed friend Mr. N N Ghose, and I shall be wanting in my gratitude were I to omit to record my grateful acknowledgment to Mr. A. E. Mitchell, M A, Dr. J N Cook and Mr. Geo. Coppard, Babus Bidhu Bhusan Banerji, Romesh Chandra Ghose, B.A., Baidyanath Mukherjee, B.A. my nephew Kunja Behari Basu, B.A., and many other friends.

Lastly, it is necessary that I should state here that for all opinions expressed in the work and for the arrangement of the book I alone am responsible. Should my “History of Calcutta” be favorably received, I contemplate to add in the next edition a few more Chapters, such as on “Ancient families,” “Sports and Amusements,” “Social and Political Revolutions in Bengal.”

I conclude with the fervent hope that my readers will pardon me for several mistakes and omissions, for the Mss. were sent to the press when I was afflicted with a serious illness.

BINAYA KRISHNA

CHAPTER

  1. Introduction

  2. Early History of Calcutta

  3. Capital

  4. Topography and Population of Calcutta

  5. Religious, Charitable and Educational Institutions

  6. Trade and Commerce

  7. The History of Civil and Criminal Judicature under British Rule

  8. The Press

  9. European Society

  10. Hindu Society

Calcutta – Naming Of the City

Calcutta was not founded by Briton

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