Mind, body, and society : life and mentality in colonial Bengal 9780195637571, 0195637577

Contributed papers of series of lectures and seminars organized by the Department of History, Presidency College and Cal

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Mind, body, and society : life and mentality in colonial Bengal
 9780195637571, 0195637577

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Mind Body and Society Life and Mentality in Colonial Bengal

Edited by RAJ A T K A N T A R A Y



O xfo rd University Press , Walton Street , O xford 0 X 2 6D P


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Oxford New York Athens Auckland Bangkok Bombay Calcutta Cape Town Dar Es Salaam Delhi Florence Hong Kong Istanbul Karachi Kuala Lumpur Madras Madrid Melbourne Mexico City Nairobi Paris Singapore Taipei Tokyo Toronto and associates in Berlin Ibadan

© Oxford University Press 1995

ISBN 019 563757 7

Phototypeset at A ll India Press, Pondicherry 605 001 Printed in India at Trio Process, P 128, CIT Road, Calcutta 700 014 and published by Neil O’Brien, Oxford University Press, 5 Lola Lajpat Rai Sarani, Calcutta 700 020

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¿n ?1l'io f.O ^ A V 'V "5 )' ^> In Remembrance of Kuruvila Zachariah Professor of History The Presidency College of Bengal 1916-1930 and in Appreciation of his Distinguished Successors in the Department of History, the Presidency College of Bengal Susobhan Chandra Sarkar 1933-1956 A males Tripathi 1954-1969 Ashin Das Gupta 1960-1972

Preface This is a collaborative venture of the Department of History, the Presidency College of Bengal, and the Department of History, Calcutta University, in memory of Professor Kuruvila Zachariah, who taught history with distinction in both institutions. It also registers appreciation of his successors who shared the same distinction and who, as Heads of the Department of History in Presidency College, kept alive the tradition that he created: Susobhan Chandra Sarkar, Amales Tripathi and Ashin Das Gupta. In connection with the birth centenary of Professor Kuruvila Zachariah in 1990, the Reunion Committee of the Department of History, Presidency College, initiated a series of celebrations. A collection of Professor Zachariah’s writings were edited and brought out under the title: A Greek Interlude. Kuruvila Zachariah: His Life and Writings ed. Shireen Maswood (Calcutta, 1992). At the same time, a series of lectures and seminars were organized simultaneously in Presidency College and Calcutta University in course of 1990-91. The papers presented on these occasions are collected together in this work. The close collaboration between the Departments of History of Presidency College and Calcutta University in this venture would not have been possible but for the tradition and links fostered by Professors Zachariah, Sarkar, Tripathi and Das Gupta. The seminar in Calcutta University in memory of Kuruvila Zachariah was jointly directed by Dr Basudeb Chattopadhyay, Reader in the Department of History, Calcutta University, and myself. I recall with appreciation and gratitude the help of my other colleagues at Calcutta University, Dr Suranjan Das, Shri Bhaskar Chakravarti, Shri Manas Ghosh, Shri Tapan Shee and Dr Lakshmi Subramanian. Among my colleagues in Presidency College, the services of Professor Ajay Chandra Bannerjee as Bursar of the Reunion Committee, Department of History, Presidency College, proved to be critical in organizing the programme. Academic contributions came forth not merely from


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local scholars of Calcutta, but also scholars from Oxford University, the School of Oriental and African Studies, Dhaka University, Sydney University and the State University of New York at Old Westbury. This reflects the continuing vitality of the History Seminar of Presidency College, so actively fostered in the past by the four great teachers to whom this work is dedicated. It also reflects the tradition of close collaboration between the Depart­ ments of History of Calcutta University and Presidency College, which, too, they fostered.


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Professor and Head o f the Department o f History Presidency College o f Bengal & Honorary Lecturer in History Calcutta University

List o f Contributors 1. Raj at Kanta Ray, Presidency College, Calcutta 2. Sonia Nishat Amin, Department o f History, Dhaka University 3. Sekhar Bandyopadhyay, Department o f South East Asian Studies, Calcutta University 4. John Berwick, Formerly Research Scholar in History , Sydney University 5. Sambuddha Chakrabarty, Formerly Research Scholar in History , Calcutta University 6. Sutapa Chatterjee, Durgapur College, West Bengal 7. Sakti Nath Jha, Krishnanath College, Berhampore , Wesf Bengal 8. Jeanne Openshaw, School o f Oriental and African Studies, London 9. Bharati Ray, Pro Vice Chancellor, Calcutta University 10. Tapan Raychaudhuri, University





11. Gautam Chando Roy, Research Scholar, Calcutta University 12. Lakshmi Subramanian, Department o f History , Calcutta University 13. Judith Walsh, State University o f New York at Old Westbury

Note on Transliteration and Translation The essays in this book have been written by different authors who belong to different spelling traditions and they have transcribed vernacular phrases, names etc. according to their own phonetic rules. In transliterating Bengali and Sanskrit terms, some have adhered to Sanskrit orthography and some to Bengali pronuncia­ tion. It has been thought best to retain this diversity and no uniformity has therefore been imposed on this transliteration.



Introduction 1 Rajat Kanta Ray


The Pursuit of Reason in Nineteenth Century Bengal Tapan Raychaudhuri



C&ri-Candra Bhed : Use of the Four Moons Sakti Nath Jha


Raj Perspectives on the Worlds of a Little-known Bengali ‘Guru’ 109 Jeanne Openshaw


Popular Religion and Social Mobility in Colonial Bengal: The Matua Sect and the Namasudras 152 Sekhar Bandyopadhyay


PART II CHILDHOOD AND ADOLESCENCE VI. The Pathshala and the School: Experiences of Growing up in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Bengal 195 Gautam Chando Roy VII. Chatra Samaj: The Significance of the Student Community in Bengal cl870-1922 232 John Berwick

Contents PART III GENDER VIII. Changing Notions of Conjugal Relations in Nineteenth Century Bengal 297 Sambuddha Chakrabarti IX.

The Virtuous Wife and the Well-ordered Home: The Reconceptualization of Bengali Women and their Worlds 331 Judith Walsh


The Three Generations: Female Rivalries and the Joint Family in Bengal 1900-1947 364 Bharati Ray

XI. The Orthodox Discourse and the Emergence of the Muslim Bhadromohila in Early Twentieth Century Bengal 391 Sonia Nishat Amin


Literature and Folk Deities of the Sunderbans Sutapa Chatterjee


Rabindranath Tagore and the Problem of Self-esteem in Colonial India 449 Lakshmi Subramanian


I Introduction RAJ A T K A N T A R A Y 1

I NTELLECTUAL history has a long pedigree. Historical explorations of mentality are more recent. The Concise Oxford Dictionary thus explains the word mentality: ‘(loosely), mind, disposition, character.’ Webster’s Dictionary provides the following explanation of the word: ‘mode or way of thought: outlook'. In the Bengali language there is a corresponding word: manosikata. The related word ‘mind* is rendered in Bengali as mon. Neither mon, nor manosikata , however, correspond exactly to mind. The mind refers to the brain— the cerebral thinking process. M on , besides encompassing the brain, refers additionally to the heart— the emotions and feelings, both conscious and subconscious, of men, women and children. Mentality in the everyday sense of the term (as distinct from the French historians’ term mentalité) comprehends both thought and emotions. Its basis, as the reference to the brain and heart would imply, is the life experience gathered by the body in the course of its growth and decay. From birth through marriage to death, the body goes through a life experience which consists, initially, in the experi­ ence of growing up, until it attains reproductive capacity. It then experiences the complex range of emotions associated with marriage, love and sex. Finally, as the body grows old and approaches its unavoidable dissolution, there is the inevitable reckoning with death, which, ever since the dawn of civilization, has been the well-spring of all religious experiences and a variety of notions of the life beyond. The discussions embodied in this work addressed the range of



Mind Body and Society

life experience as it was recorded in Bengali society from the seventeenth2 to the twentieth century. The discussions brought the focus to bear on three fundamental motive forces which that society, and indeed all societies in history, have had to cope with. It may not be an exaggeration to say that the range of human drives may almost invariably be reduced to these three. To put them down in the right order of priority, there is, in the first instance, the will to live and to obtain access to the material substances that make it possible to live well (the materialistic interpretation of history by Karl Marx); next comes the desire to reproduce, and that associated lust for life which finds expression in sex, love, marriage, creativity (the concept of libido in the psychology of Sigmund Freud); finally, there is the desire to overcome the inevitable fact that death comes as the end. The will to ensure the continuity of one’s self is the point at which the first motive force passes into the third, i.e. the drive to find life beyond death. The search for immortality is manifest from time immemo­ rial: from Gilgamesh’s quest in the third millennum B.C. to the yearnings of the village Bauls of twentieth-century Bengal: it is the instinct underlying religion (a force as fundamental, according to Max Weber’s sociology, as Marx’s class struggle and Freud’s libido). As in other societies, so in Bengali society, too, these were the fundamental drives. But as the universal human instincts are mediated through particular social arrangements, in every society the primary impulse called Id by Freud finds a distinctive expres­ sion through what he defined as ego (loosely, personality). As the first Bengali lady novelist put it long before Freud in the mouth of the England-returned hero of her most well-known novel, ‘The novelist’s object is to bring out the myriad forms in which the human personality, propelled by destiny and disposition, develops amidst the inviolable laws of nature and the mutable laws of society’.5 The historian, whose source is literature, when he seeks to capture the mentality of a society, must pursue the same method. The notions of eternal life that arm the individual in his or her inevitable confrontation with death differ from one society to another, or from one level of the same society to the other.4 The social rules restricting and controlling the Freudian outlet of libido are also complex, and are therefore unique to each society.5 And



of course the training imparted to the growing child or youth to equip him or her in the material struggle for existence differs according to the particular structure of a society.6 A fragment from the diary of Sarat Chandra Das, the first visitor to the forbidden capital of Tibet, throws an unexpected light on the variable social manifestations of the same fundamental drive. In the summer of 1882 he visited Lhasa in the train of Lhacham Kusho, a ‘great lady’, wife of the Dahpon or Governor of Shigatse. With her pearl-studded headdress, her gold and ruby charm-boxes, her necklaces of coral and amber, and her clothes of satin and kinkab, she appeared to the Bengali explorer, as she rode with him from Shigatse to Lhasa, ‘like a heroine of romance, or a goddess.' On arrival at the capital he was invited to dine with her. June 5. Early this morning I was invited to dine with the Lhacham at Bangye-shag. I was received most graciously, and was led by the Lhacham to her drawing room... dinner was served me at noon, and while I ate she asked me many questions regarding the marriage laws of India and Europe. When I told her that in India a husband had several wives, and that among the Phyling (‘foreigners’) a man had but one wife, she stared at me with undisguised astonishment. ‘One wife with one husband!’ she exclaimed. ‘Don’t you think we Tibetan women are better off? The Indian wife has but a portion of her husband’s affections and property, but in Tibet the housewife is the real lady of all the joint earnings and inheritance of all the brothers sprung from the same mother, who are all the same flesh and blood. The brothers are but one, though their souls are several. In India a man marries well several women who are strangers to each other.’ ‘Am I to understand that your ladyship would like to see several sisters marry the same husband?’ I asked. ‘That is not the point,’ replied the Lhacham. ‘What I contend is that Tibetan women are happier than Indian ones, for they enjoy the privileges conceded in the latter country to the men.” The implicit assumptions could not have been more different. The Tibetan lady, the Bengali explorer, and the distant Englishman who figured in this curious conversation were habituated to mutually incomprehensible notions on the questions that preoccu­ pied all of them instinctively. What is the particular expression that such instincts found in Bengali society? What were the social arrangements for their outlet that are found to be peculiar to colonial Bengal? What kind of break with the past did the imposition of English domination produce in the life experience of


Mind Body and Society

the Bengalis?* How did the response differ from one level of the social structure to the other?’ These questions are explored here. The contributors have looked back at the folk deities of the past and the immemorial secret practices of the esoteric cults;10 they have also looked across the break with the past that occurred in the nineteenth century— the growth of a rational mentality, the reshaping of family life among the educated middle class, the differential response among the marginal and lower orders of society. The focus is on the mentality of a society in the midst of encounters that engaged both the brain and the heart. The picture that develops out of the contributions is ambiguous. The new scientific and rational mentality that appeared in the nineteenth century affected the life of a certain set of people. Beyond that circle lay other, less privileged sections of society, whose lives and aspirations, untouched by the new norms imparted by Western education, were expressive of other mentalities. Disappointed in his old age, Rabindranath Tagore wrote to Leonard Elmhirst, ‘It is well known that the education which is prevalent in our country is extremely meagre in the spread of its area, and barren in its quality. Unfortunately this is all that is available for us, and that has set up an artificial standard proudly considered as respectable. Outside the bhadralogue class, pathetic in their struggle for fixing a university label on their name, there is a vast obscure multitude who cannot even dream of such a costly ambition.’11 Disappointed though he was at the inconclusive transforma­ tion, the poet was still keenly appreciative of the tangible appearance of the new notions, attitudes, values, tastes and feelings of which he was himself a striking embodiment. The process was inevitably accompanied, under the alien hegemony, by intellectual and emotional stress. How acute the stress was may be seen in Lakshmi Subramanian’s study of the formation of the poet’s per­ sonality; Sonia Nishat Amin’s inquiry into the troubled emergence of the modern Muslim woman; Sambuddha Chakrabarti’s exposition of the ambiguities in the new notions of love and marriage; John Berwick’s and Gautam Chando Roy’s explorations into the tense emotional world of the emerging community of college students and school boys; and Sekhar Bandyopadhyay’s portrayal of the brittle cosmos of the Matua sect. All the same, Tapan Raychaudhuri’s examination of the development of reason, Judith Walsh’s portrayal



of the reconstitution of the nineteenth century middle-class household and Bharati Ray’s exploration of the educated and gainfully employed woman's determined struggle for self-expression and power within the twentieth-century Bengali joint family, leave us in no doubt of the genuine transformation that did take place in the life and mentality of ‘the bhadralogue class’. An old man of seventy writing in the Prabasi magazine in 1939 observed,4If, as I sometimes speculate nowadays, one of these conservative elderly housewives of the old generation were to wake up like Rip Van Winkle after a prolonged sleep of forty or fifty years, she would not be able to believe that the ladies wearing their present day clothes and conducting themselves in the present day manner are actually Bengali bhadramahilas and in fact her own grandchildren and great grandchildren.'13

II What were the contours of the new mental outlook that under­ pinned the transformation of the life of the bhadraiok ? Preoccupa­ tion with the mystery of existence had been a deeply ingrained characteristic of the Indian psyche. The speculative tendency, appearing early in the Upanishads, had hardened into Shankaracharya's doctrine of the illusory nature of the whole universe (mdyamayam idam akhilam). A conscious challenge to the doctrine of Maya spelt out, in the new outlook upon life, a close involve­ ment with the living world: Let any who will ponder with eyelids dosed Whether the universe be real or after all an Illusion I meanwhile sit and gaze with insatiate eyes On the universe shining with the light of Reality.“ As against the notion of the illusory nature of all phenomena, the characteristic features of the new mentality were the twin attitudes referred to as rationalism and humanism: the conviction that nothing is true unless it is in conformity with man's innate capacity


Mind Body and Society

for reasoning, and the allied belief in the dignity of the individual irrespective of birth. In his celebrated essay ‘Kalantar’ or ‘The Changing Age’14 Rabindranath Tagore identified two main changes that contact with the West had induced in the realm of ideas: one was reason and the other was justice. These were ideas which had taken firm shape in Europe during the eighteenth-century Enlighten­ ment. Bengal’s intellectual communion with the West may be said to have been initiated in around 1815 when Rammohun Roy finally settled down in Calcutta as a leisured gentleman of independent means. But even before this, an intellectual controversy had broken out in Bengal which echoed some of the notions of the Enlightenment despite the absence at that stage of any com­ munion with enlightened European thinking. Around 1805 Rammohun Roy published from Murshidabad his Persian work, Tuhfatul Muwahhiddin (A Gift to Deists), at a time when he could not read English with facility and was yet to make his acquaintance with Western thought. Zoroastrians, presumably Parsees in Calcutta, were provoked by his observa­ tions (though the work contained no direct criticism of their religion) to publish an attack on his views. In response to the unprovoked attack, a friend of Rammohun Roy, perhaps a Muslim who certainly shows no acquaintance with Western thought, published a Persian work entitled Jawab Tuhfatul Muwahhiddin in about 1820. This work, together with the better known Tuhfatul Muwahhddin itself is now available to scholars, but the Zoroastrian attack has not been recovered. The entire controversy was con­ ducted in the Persian language. It was independent of any Western influence: the intellectual world of the pamphleteers was entirely Perso-Arabic, rooted in the dying Indo-Muslim learned tradition of the Mughal age. The central issue in the controversy was the truth or falsehood of religion in general. It began with Rammohun Roy’s startling proposition: ‘Hence falsehood is common to all religions without distinction.’15 Refuting the proposition, the Zoroastrians came forward ‘to affirm the truth of all religions without distinction*. The technical details of the controversy16 belong to the medieval Perso-Arabic learned tradition and need not detain us. What is of interest here is that all three disputants appealed to reason and logic to prove their propositions, and Rammohun Roy in parti­ cular made an allusion to ‘inductive reason*. In doing this he went



beyond his opponents and supporters and groped towards an empirical and scientific position on the magical works of religion: ‘...th ere are many things, for instance, many wonderful inven­ tions of the people of Europe and the dexterity of jugglers, the causes of which are not obviously known and seem to be beyond the comprehension of human power, but after a keen insight or instructions of others, these causes can be known satisfactorily. This inductive reason only may be a sufficient safeguard for intelligent people, against being deceived by such supernatural works.* Rammohun Roy questioned all revelation that was ‘im­ possible to be proved by a knowledge gathered by external sense*. Without being acquainted with Locke or Newton, he had even at this stage advanced beyond deductive reasoning and was well on the way to grasping the importance of ‘scientific observation*. It is interesting that all who were party to the controversy accused each other of violating the ‘good’ of society. Thereby they implicitly adhered to the humanistic notion of the welfare of mankind in general. Rammohun Roy, specifically, associated reason, ‘the natural inspiration from God’, with ‘attending to social life with their [men’s] own fellow species’. He condemned all religious rites that were detrimental to social life and which did not tend to ‘the amelioration of the condition of society’. In his view the value of religion lay in ‘the fear of punishment in the next world*. This fear, along with the penalties inflicted by the state, held people back from committing unlawful deeds. His Zoroastrian opponents stressed the same idea in their defence of all religions in general. To discard religion ‘would mean that human beings are not bound to follow any moral law, leading to the disappearance of all distinctions between the lawful and the unlawful.* H ie writer of the Jawaby in his turn, accused the Zoroastrians of ignoring the public good: ‘They do not bother about the rules of a good civic and political life and they follow blindly the traditions of their own community*. These ideas, denoting an embryonic rationalist and humanist attitude of mind, might ultimately have enabled Bengal to link up with the Time Spirit of the nineteenth century even without the intervention of the British system of law and learning. Even at the popular level, as Sakti Nath Jha shows in ‘Cari Candra Bhed’, semi-materialist doctrines had long flourished secretly. But there is no doubt that under the stimulus of the new English education


Mind Body and Society

and the growing acquaintance with Western thought, the dual notions of reason and justice reached new heights and came to form the supporting arch of a new structure of values. Tapan Raychaudhuri’s observations in this context recall an earlier authoritative opinion17 on the influence of Western litera­ ture on Bengali literature: ‘It is generally lost to view that such changes are not wholly due to the West; after all, the western influence viewed against a larger background ceases to be western, and becomes identified with the movement of the Time Spirit’. As Priyaranjan Sen’s careful study of early nineteenth-century Calcutta’s favourite Western authors shows, ‘Young Bengal responded creatively, and not just imitatively, to European literature’. They were the first in the non-European world to do so. Captain D . L. Richardson, Principal of Hindoo College and an outstanding teacher of English literature, popularized Shakespeare in the 1830s. From then on, Shakespearean studies and dramatic per­ formances became an integral part of the Bengali intellectual tradition. Richardson’s inspired teaching of Shakespeare stirred a new romantic feeling. The European epic tradition, from Homer and Ovid to Dante and Milton, also made a powerful impact on the Bengali poets. Michael Madhusudan Dutt, while writing the Meghnad Vadh Kavya , looked upon Milton as his model: ‘Nothing can be better than Milton. . . I don’t think it is impossible to equal Virgil, Kalidas and Tasso. Though glorious, they are still mortal poets. Milton is divine.’ The English romantic poets, especially Byron, were also popular around the 1830s. Among novels, Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe, George Elliot’s works, as well as the French work Paul and Virginia, made a powerful impact. Finally, English literature opened the way to European thought, especially utilitarian doctrines and Comte’s positivism, which was perhaps the single most important philosophical influence on Bengal between 1860 and 1880. Tom Paine’s Age o f Reason and Rights o f M any and Macaulay’s Essays were also widely read and much admired in Bengal between 1830 and 1850. Later, John Stuart Mill’s Subjection o f Women became influential.1' Rationalism in thought and romanticism in emotion were the twin characteristics of Young Bengal’s psyche which was moulded by the two most distinguished teachers at Hindoo College— Henry Louis Vivian Derozio and Captain D .L . Richardson. Rabindranath Tagore, as we have seen, singled out reason and



justice as the underlying notions of the new rational humanist mentality in his famous commentary on ‘The Changing A ge’ (Kalantar). Logical reasoning had been an integral part of both Nyaya, the principal subject of philosophical studies at the Sanskrit tois in Nadia, and Islamic theology, as taught, for instance, in the madrasa at Kusbe Bagha in Rajshahi district since the time of Shah Jahan.19 But the new Reason was something wider than logic. Its tendency was to push the frontiers of knowledge by discovering the inner workings of all phenomena by empirical observation and scientific experiment— an attitude that bore fruit in the experi­ ments of Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose and P.C .R ay in physics, botany and chemistry at Presidency College (earlier called Hindoo College) towards the end of the nineteenth century. Knowledge of the world’s mysteries— declared Akshay Kumar Datta’s Children’s Reader (Charu Pdfh) which had gone into more than thirty editions by the end of the century— was capable of giving the mind far greater delights than anything else. The pure sense of wonder and delight with which young minds reacted to the new knowledge of the world proved Datta’s point.20 The new generation of educated Bengalis came to appreciate that Europe had conquered the world of knowledge by ‘the purity of its strenuous exercise of reason’. The new empirical reason had certain far-reaching social implications. It provided a standard by which to judge all institu­ tions; where an arrangement did not conform to its dictates, educated Bengalis felt a new need to modify.21 The notion of justice presupposed the emergence of the individual with his conscience as the irreducible unit of the moral universe. Traditional Indian society was profoundly unjust in its treatment of women and the lower castes, and to this had been added the economic, racial and political injustices inflicted on a subject population by the alien rulers of the country. The proli­ feration of the ‘Mirror’ plays after the Mutiny— The Mirror o f the Indigo Planter (Nildarpa.i), The Mirror o f the Zamindar (Jamidardarpan) and The Mirror o f the Tea Planter ( Chakardarpan)— reflected the growth of political and social protest against exploita­ tion by the alien and the native alike. The idea gained ground that man was equal before God and that the crime did not vary with the status of the person, despite any fiat to the contrary by some sage of old. ‘The inner voice of our people,’ wrote Rabindranath Tagore, ‘has begun to tell them that what is manifestly wrong


Mind Body and Society

cannot be made right by force of custom, scripture, or superior strength...'.22 British law and Christianity, both assisted the spread of the notion. But the notion of an ideal moral standard, by which everything must be judged, was soon turned against the rule which had fostered it.

Ill As time went on the growth of a rational scientific outlook altered the theories upheld regarding the universe. How profound the change was may not be grasped unless we look back at the views that prevailed in the eighteenth century on the origin and shape of the cosmos. In the beginning, we learn from the Sunya Parana and the Golaka Samhita , there was the Great Void. There was no heaven, nor hell, and all lay under a pall of smoke (Swarga maratya ndhi chila sabi dhudukar). Over the darkness and smoke lay the still air. There was no shape, until King Turtle rose over the waters. On King Turtle stood the Heavenly Elephant. And the Great Serpent, who had a thousand hoods, raised his Great Hood. On it rested the Seven Hells: Fathomless, Bottomless, Deep End, Bottoms Bottom, Water Grave, Great Bottom and Dead Land. Over the Seven Hells rested the Earth. Earth was bound by the Seven Seas. What were the Seven Seas? Salt Sea, Sugar Sea, Wine Sea, Butteroil Sea, Curd Sea, Milk Sea, Waters End— one stretched after the other. The Seven Seas encircled the Seven Islands: Blackberry Island, Wing Island, Thomgrass Island, Gold Island, Rock Island, Lake Island, Lands End— seven in all.23 Muslim cosmology, which differed from that of the Hindus, was set out in the form of questions by Princess Malika, and replies by Gada the fakir. She asked, ‘Where did the sun and the moon spring from? And tell me, how did semen originate?’ The Fakir replied, ‘They sprang from His contemplation. And it originated from His corporeal light (nurer anga).’ Question: ‘How were fire, earth and wind made?’ Reply: ‘The Lord made it from the sweat of His corporeal light.’ Question: ‘What do the seven lands rest upon?’ Reply: ‘The earth supports its weight on the fish. The fish floats on the endless waters. It has horns on its head shaped like those of a cow. By Allah’s will, the horns float above the waters.’24



Thus did the not inconsiderable number of Bengalis capable of reading and writing, both Hindu and Muslim, view the cosmos one century after Isaac Newton had explained the laws of motion governing the universe. Within less than another century, their views were to change more profoundly than at any other period in history. The process may be dated back to 1815 when Rammohun Roy began his renderings from the Vedanta and the Upanishads. With the debates that started in Calcutta then, the ancient metaphors and images of the Upanishads once again became familiar: Brahma^, the Ultimate, from which the whole universe is derived, is like the spider that weaves a web of its own and absorbs it again into its own body. The pulsating urge for creation within the undiminishing Ultimate brought forth the golden embryo (Hiragya Garbha) of life from which sprang consciousness. From consciousness were derived the five elements— earth, water, wind, space and energy— and from the five elements, the world.25 In his translations and commentaries on the Vedanta, however, Ram­ mohun Roy penetrated deeper than the five elements. He anti­ cipated the awakening of the scientific spirit in his examination of the theory that atoms and sensible perceptions combined to create the body. They might mutually cause each other, but what fused them together was another entity, i.e. the B r a h m a n By recording the most abstract philosophical speculation in the vernacular prose, he showed what the language was capable of— though his style was stilted and different from the speech of the common people. To wage his war of reason against idolatry, Rammohun Roy naturally adopted the terms of reference prevailing in his society: he resorted to ‘revelation’ as rediscovered from the Vedanta and the Upanishads in his pioneering studies between 1815 and 1820. The precocious growth of the scientific spirit in the next generation induced the crusade against idolatry to turn against revelation too. It was at first a revolt of the adolescents in the newly founded Hindoo College, led by a firangi preceptor— Henry Louis Vivian Derozio (1809-1831)— who, his enemies alleged, denied God altogether. The revolt of this Eurasian teacher’s hot-headed students, whose social protest is said to have taken the typically adolescent form of greeting the image of the goddess Kali with the words, ‘Good morning, Madam', petered out. Gradually a greater number of educated Bengalis moved towards a rational and scientific view of the universe, though it took a couple of decades


Mind Body and Society

before Newton’s cosmology became generally known through children’s primers. By the mid-nineteenth century, the Bengali Geography , Physics and Children’s Reader of Akshay Kumar Datta, whose lessons for children pronounced Newton to be the greatest man bom on earth,27 laid the foundations of a more widespread scientific education for boys and— as time went on— for girls. The clear and concise language in which he set out the proper­ ties of matter and the laws of motion in his Physics book of 1856, showed that Bengali prose had taken firm shape. But more than that, his stunning vision of the infinite universe— countless galaxies governed by immutable properties invested in every single atom by an omnipotent and imponderable creator— altered the vision of the cosmos for generations of schoolgoing children to come.2* The new outlook did not imbue the world-view of all, or even of most Bengalis. The majority of the predominantly rural Muslim community, for instance, were hardly touched by the new ideas and feelings. Manuscript tracts in archaic verse (these were called puthis and they were subsequently printed in large numbers by popular presses known as baf tald) continued to be written in the nineteenth century, explaining, in the same manner as the medieval Bengali poet Sayyid Sultan’s epic Nabi Vam sa* the origin of the world and the mystery of Muhammad’s birth.30 The Kàydani Kitàb of Shaikh Muttalib (eighteenth century) was copied by hand in 1839 and again in 1842. Contrary to high orthodox Islamic theology, it conceived the Prophet Muhammad as part of Allah’s Light (Nur) from before the Creation. The world sprang from the Light that was Muhammad (Nur Nabi). Subsequently Iblis the devil came down to earth to lead men astray. To undo his machinations once and for all, Allah resolved to create His friend and companion Muhammad, and at His command, the angel Jibrail brought the Light down in a bouquet and threw it at Abu Muttalib’s son Abdullah of Mecca. At night Abdullah made love to Bibi Amina, transmitting the Light into her womb, and the Prophet was born.31There was a widespread popular belief, no less among the Muslims than among the Hindus, that the entire universe was contained within the human body. Allah’s light was in fact equated in the minds of the beshara fakirs and bauls with the light of semen.32As Islamic revivalist campaigns gathered force in the nineteenth century, there was an attempt by the ulama to stamp out these beliefs.



Among the low caste Hindus, too, pre-scientific views of the universe continued to find expression through obscure religious cults. Such viewpoints seemed strange to contemporary intellec­ tuals like Akshay Kumar Datta who were curious enough to investigate these phenomena. The disciples of the Baldhari sect, for instance, believed that their untouchable guru, Balar§m (died 1851) of the hari (H§ Apart from this Guruchand’s annual sradh ceremony provided a similar occasion for socio-religious gatherings, which the Namasudra leaders skilfully used to inculcate their political message among the ordinary members of their community.141 Thus they systema­ tically tried to convert their strength of number into a source of political power— a political imperative which Guruchand himself had drawn their attention to.

V The Matua sect, as it would appear from the foregoing discussion, had developed along with the emergence of a low ranking, upwardly mobile community— the Namasudras of eastern Bengal. A s the amphibious boatmen were transformed into a peasant community, with the reclamation of the marshy wastes, they developed certain emotional and practical needs to adjust themseves to the new social situation. First of all, the new social identity that was now

The Matua Sect and the Namasudras


constructed had to be asserted and this necessitated an attempt to subvert the ritual hierarchy or defy the social authority of the dominant higher caste elites. This required, in other words, a reworking of the relations of power in local society, for which the Matua sect provided them with solidarity and self-confidence. The congregational nature of the sect and the ritual of group singing of devotional songs, helped them to develop, and conti­ nually reinforce, a sense of collectivity, and this was possible as the sect remained more or less coterminous with this particular community. On the other hand, as these people developed their peasant identity, it became mandatory for them to adopt and internalize the prevalent cultural ethos of the settled agricultural society. Accommodation within the main structure of Hindu society would alone legitimize their new social status and there­ fore, they felt the compulsion to conform to the dominant moral and behavioral codes of that society. And the Matua sect helped them in this process of acculturation, by undertaking the reforma­ tion of the manners and customs of the community at a mass level. As the Matua sect was an integral component of the socio­ political movement of the Namasudras, its philosophical tenets were determined by this community’s cultural and material needs. It therefore selectively and creatively appropriated or adapted ideas and symbols from the existing philosophical discourses. It oscillated in, and never tried to break out of, a continuum that had the rationalist universal humanism of the Bengal Renaissance at the one end, and the heretical radicalism of the deviant religious sects at the other. Its universalism could not be pushed very far, because of its community-centric moorings. Its subversive edge was blunted by this community’s urge for accommodation. While sexual morality and structured family life were stressed upon, there was also an attempt to generate a rational motivation for accumulation of wealth. Above all, there was always an awareness of the relations of power in society and a consequent earnest desire to aquire power through participation in institutional politics. The alienation of the leaders of the Namasudra community from mainstream nationalism ultimately gave place, in course of three generations, to an integrationist stand, as it was felt that their strength of number had now been converted into a position of power. But what had really effected this conversion was the social organization of the Matua sect. By facilitating social interaction


Mind Body and Society

across status barriers within the community, it had articulated a community consciousness among the Namasudras and thus had helped their leaders to mobilize a mass following in support of their politics. It was largely because of this cohesive impact, that by the end of the 1930s the Namasudras were being recognized as a well organized power base in the institutional politics of Bengal. The real significance of the Matua sect therefore lies in the fact that it had offered a philosophy and organization which, in course of little more than half a century, could effectively elevate a backward community to a position of social and political importance. It had helped them to construct and assert a new collective selfimage, when necessary even by attempting a subversion of the existing relations of power. But when their protest was ultimately coopted into the hegemonic order, it was this sect again which palliated that accommodation process. Its philosophy was neither revolutionary and radical, nor irrational and exotic. Its proper meaning and importance can be comprehended only if it is situated in its social context, provided by the impulsive urge of an upwardly mobile community to establish itself in a position of honour within the wider matrix of social and political relations in colonial Bengal.

NOTES 1. David Hall, ‘Introduction’, in Understanding Popular Culture: Europe from the Middle Ages to Nineteenth Century, edited by Steven L. Kaplan, (Berlin, 1984), p.6. 2. Barry Reay, ‘Popular Religion’, in Popular Culture in Seventeenth Century England, edited by Barr)' Reay, (London, 1988), p.91. 3. Ibid., p .ll l. 4. Natalie Z. Davis, ‘Some Themes and Tasks in the Study of Popular Religion', in The Pursuit o f Holiness in Late Medieval and Renaissance Religion, edited by C. Trink aus and H.A.Oberman, (Leiden, 1974), pp. 308-9, 313. 5. Roger Chartier, ‘Culture as Appropriation: Popular Cultural Uses in Early Modern France’, in Understanding Popular Culture, p.235. 6. Ibid., p.233. 7. H.H.Risley, The Tribes and Castes o f Bengal, (First published, London, 1891, Reprint, Calcutta, 1981), Vol. I, p.189; Census o f India, 1901, Vol. VI, Part I, pp. 395-6, 459; Vol. VIA, Part II, Table XIII, p.246; Bengal District Gazetteers, B Volume, (Calcutta, 1933), for the districts of Bakarganj, Faridpur, Jessore and Khulna; Naresh Chandra Das, Namasudra Sampraday O Bangladesh, (in Bengali), (Calcutta, 1368 b .s .), p.l.

The Matua Sect and the Namasudras 8.



11. 12.


14. 15.


17. 18. 19.

20. 21.


Gobinda Chandra Basak, Bangiya Jolimaia, (in Bengali), (Second edition, Dacca, 1318 b .s .), P-67; James Wise, Notes on the Races, Castes and Trades o f Eastern Bengal, (London, 1883), p.257; H.H.Risley, Tribes and Castes, Vol. I, pp. 183-5; Nihar Ranjan Ray, Bangali Hindur Vamabhed, (in Bengali), (Calcutta, 1352 b .s .), p.104. Jogindra Narayan Ray, Jatitattva, (in Bengali), (Calcutta, 1316 b .s .), p.38; Jogeschandra Dasgupta, Jatibikash ba Chudamanitattva, (in Bengali), (Rangpur, 1319 b .s .), p.67; Asutosh Mukhopadhyay, Jati-bijnan, (in Bengali), (Jaynagar, 24-Parganas, 1321 b .s .), p.82; Pitambar Sarkar, Jati-Bikas, (in Bengali), (Calcutta, 1910), pp. 48, 75-6, 82-3. Brihaddharmapuranam, edited by H.P.Shastri, Bibliotheca Indica, Asiatic Society of Bengal, (Calcutta, 1888), p.578; Brahmavaivarttapuranam, edited by Panchanan Tarkaratna, (Calcutta, 1391 b.s.), pp. 22, 25-7. Bani Chakraborti, Samaj Sanskarak Raghunandan, (Second Revised edition, Calcutta, 1970), pp. 33, 256-1. Mukundaram, Chandimangala, edited by Sukumar Sen, Sahitya Academy, (New Delhi, 1975), p.81; also see, Bharatchandra, Annadamangala, in Bharaichandra Granthabali, edited by Brojendranath Bandyopadhyay and Sajani Kanta Das, Bangiya Sahitya Parishat, (Third edition, Calcutta, 1369 b .s .), p. 171. Report (of the enquiry) by H.E.Stapleton, D.P.I., Bengal, to Secretary, Government of Bengal, Education Department, 22 March 1929, Government of Bengal, Appointment (Appointment) Department Proceedings, File No.5M-114 of 1928, February 1930, Proceedings Nos. 7-20, West Bengal State Archives, Calcutta (hereafter WBSA). Gobinda Chandra Basak, Bangiya Jatimala, Part I, (in Bengali), (Mymcnsingh, 1901), pp. 108, 113-14. See various reports in ‘Ethnographical Papers: Social Status of Castes’, Vol. VI, Mss.Eur.E.101, India Office Library, London (hereafter IOL), pp. 59-60, 103, 108, 117, 125, 128, 130, 133, 136ff. For anecdotal evidence of such ambivalent behaviour, see Madhusudan Sarkar, ‘Sparshadosh Prathar Rakshashi Murti’, Nabyabharat, 12:12, Chaitra 1301 B.S., pp. 641-643; Haridas Palit, Bangiya Patii Jatir Karmee, (in Bengali), (Calcutta, 1322 B.S.), pp. 2—3; Sarat Kumar Ray, Mahdtma Aswini Kumar, (in Bengali), (Calcutta, 1333 B.S.), pp. 97-8. For some examples of this type of literature, see note 9. Lalmohan Vidyanidhi, Sambandhanimaya, (in Bengali), (Calcutta, n.d.), p. 133. Census o f India, 1901, Vol. VIA, Part II, pp. 480-1; Census o f India, 1911, Vol. V, Part II, pp. 370-3; for further details, see Sekhar Bandyopadhyay, ‘Social Protest or Politics of Backwardness?—The Namasudra Movement in Bengal, 1872-1911’, in Dissent and Consensus: Social Protest in Pre-Industrial Societies, edited by Basudeb Chattopadhyay Hari S.Vasudevan and Rajat K. Ray, (Calcutta, 1989), pp. 175-81. For details on reclamation, see Sekhar Bandyopadhyay. ‘Social Protest’, pp. 176-7. For different meanings, see H.H.Risley, Tribes and Castes, Vol. I, p.183, note 3; and Naresh Chandra Das, Namasudra Sampraday, p.68.


Mind Body and Society

22. Naresh Chandra Das, Namasudra Sampraday, p.38. 23. James Wise, Notes on the Races, pp. 194, 256. 24. ‘Ethnographical Papers: Sodal Status of Castes', Vol. VI, Mss.Eur.E.101, IOL, p. 128. 25. Caste File No.IIT, Mss.Eur.D.191, IOL, pp. 100, 104, 115. 26. Jogeschandra Pal, ‘Banglar Hindu’, Bangabani, 5 (2nd Half): 4, Agrahayan 1333 B.S., pp. 397-8; also see, Rohini Kumar Sen, Bakla, (in Bengali), (B ansa I, 1915), p.290. 27. C. S. Mead, The Namasudras and Other Addresses, (Adelaide, 1911), p.76; for other details see, H. Beveridge, The District o f Bakarganj: Its History and Statistics, (London, 1876), pp. 260-5. 28. Edward C. Dimock Jr., The Place o f the Hidden Moon: Erotic Mysticism in the Vaishnava Sahajiya Cult o f Bengal, (Chicago A London, 1966), pp. 71-2, 77. 29. Hitesranjan Sanyal, Social Mobility in Bengal, (Calcutta, 1981), pp. 29, 58-59; ‘Trends of Change in the Bhakti Movement in Bengal’, Occasional Paper No.76, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta, 1985. 30. Edward C. Dimock Jr., The Place o f the Hidden Moon, pp. 68-71, 78-81. 31. Ramakanta Chakraborti, Vaishnavism in Bengal, (Calcutta, 1985), pp. 321-2, 333. 32. Quoted in Madhusudan Tattwabachaspati, Gaudiya Vaishnava Itihas, (in Bengali), (Hooghli, 1333 B.S.), p.329. 33. Ramakanta Chakraborti, Vaishnavism in Bengal, pp. 90, 322. 34. Edward C. Dimock Jr., The Place o f the Hidden Moon, pp. 70-1, 82-3. 35. Ramakanta Chakraborti, Vaishnavism in Bengal, pp. 321, 325, 328-35, 339-340; J.N. Bhattacharya, Hindu Castes and Sects, (Second edition, Calcutta, 1968), pp. 160, 185-6, 195, 200-12, 280, 367-9. 36. H.H.Risley, Tribes and Castes, Vol. I, p. 187. 37. H. Beveridge, The District o f Bakarganj, pp. 260-5. 38. Jogendranath Gupta, Bikrampurer Itihas, (in Bengali), (Calcutta, 1316 B.S.). pp. 370-371. 39. Jasimuddin, Murshida Gaan, (in Bengali), Bangla Academy, (Dacca, 1977), pp. 36-42, 259, 262. 40. Madhusudan Tattwabachaspati, Gaudiya Vaishnava Itihas, pp. 399, 403-5. 41. For details of this movement, see Sekhar Bandyopadhyay, ‘Social Protest’, pp. 183-4. 42. Memo from District Superintendent of Police to Magistrate of Faridpur, 18 March 1873, Government of Bengal, Judicial Department Proceedings, March 1873, No. 179, WBSA. 43. Paramananda Haidar, Matua Dharma Darshan, (in Bengali), (Thak urn agar, 1393 B.S.), p.47; Nityananda Haklar, Srihari Darshan, (in Bengali), (Thakurnagar, 1392 B.S.), p.54. 44. Jibe dayd ndme ruchi mdnushete nishthd, Ihd chhdtjd dr jato sab kriyd bhrashtd. Tarak Chandra Sarkar, Sri Sri Harileelamrita, (in Bengali), (Faridpur, 1323 B.S.), p.23. 45. Matua Dharma Darshan, pp. 74-5, 78-9.

The Matua Sect and the Namasudras


46. Nityananda Haidar. Matua Dharma Ki-O-Keno, (in Bengali), (Thakumagar. 1394 B.S.), pp. 1-4. 6-7; H arilefiam m a, p.67; Matua Dharma Danhan, pp. 85-86. 47. Harileelamrita, p. 107; Matua Dharma Danhan, pp. 157-8, 163. 48. Nityananda Haidar, Matua Dharrna-Tattwa-Sar, (in Bengali), (Thakumagar, 1393 B.S.), p 90; Srihari Danhan, p.54. 49. Matua Dharma Ki-O-Keno, p.7. 50. ‘Kshatra garba nash(a kariSamatà ànite Hari Brahman Chanci ài sabe samajog dey.’ Mahananda Haidar, Sri Sri Curuchand-charit, (in Bengali), (Calcutta, 1943), p.72. 51. Ibid., pp. 203, 360. 52. Srihari Danhan, pp. 112-13. 53. Tarak Chandra Sarkar, Sri Sri Mahasamkirtan, (in Bengali), (Ninth edition, Thakumagar, 1394 B.S.), p.69. 54. Ibid.. p. 107. 55. Ibid., p.31. 56. Matua Dharma Danhan, pp. 158-9. 57. Curuchand-charit, p.203. 58. Chintaharan Chattopadhyay, Brahman, (in Bengali), (Faridpur, 1317 B.S.), pp. 70-1. 59. Madhusudan Tattwabachaspati, Gaudiya Vaishnava Itihas, pp. 196-7. 60. Ramakanta Chakraborti, Vaishnavism in Bengal, pp. 81-2, 321. 61. HarUeelamarita, pp. 24, 73. 62. Guruchand-charit, p. 14. 63. Matua Dharma-Tattwa-Sar, p.33. 64. a) K ij ki àmàr mantrabije Harichùnd-chhabi rabir kirane uthalilo rr.adhu hritsaroje. Mahasamkirtan, p.59. b) Gururupe Hari turni, ese samsóre, Tumi Hari haye Hari bole, nàm dili sakalàre. Matua Sangeet. Part I. compiled by Matua Mahasangha, (in Bengali), (Sixth edition, Thakumagar. 1393 B.S.), p.65. c) Jaya jagatbandhu Guruchandrahe, Namasudra Kuloddhàran kripdsindhe. Matua Sangeet, p. 11. 65. Guruchand-charit, p.23. 66. Ibid., p.315. 67. Ibid., pp. 23, 69. 68. Ibid., p.573; also, ‘Tuliyà nàmer dheu prem plAbanete/Dhuye muchhe niba sab nàm plàbanete’, Harileelamriia, p.73. 69. For examples, see note 64. 70. Hitesranjan Sanyal, Bangla Kirtaner Itihas, (in Bengali). (Calcutta. 1989). pp. 20-30, 38-46. 240-6. 71. Mahasamkirtan. p.2. 72. Matua Sangeet. p. 10. 73. Ibid., p. 18.

190 74. 75. 76. 77. 78. 79. 80. 81. 82. 83. 84. 85. 86. 87. 88. 89. 90. 91.

Mind Body and Society

Ibid., p. 12. Ibid., p.20. Ibid., p. 134. Hitcsranjan Sanyal, Bangla Kirtaner Itihas, p.43. Srihari Darshan, pp. 38-39. Harileelamrita, pp. 24, 73. Guruchand-charit, p. 165. Srihari Darshan, p. 127. Guruchand-charit, p.74. Harileelamrita, p.24; Matua Dharma Darshan, pp. 129, 288. Matua Dharma-Tattwa-Sar, p. 17; Srihari Darshan, p.94. Guruchand-charit, p.54. Srihari Darshan, pp. 76-77. Guruchand-charit, p.2. Ibid., p.251; Matua Dharma Darshan, p.322. Harileelamrita, p.24. Guruchand-charit, p.236. Srihari Darshan, p. 158; Matua Mahasangher Sangbidhan ba Gathantantra, (in Bengali), (Second edition, Thakuraagar, 1988), pp. 5-6. 92. Guruchand-charit, pp. 567-8. 93. Ramakanta Chakraborti, Vaishnavism in Bengal, pp. 74, 333-334; Edward C. Dimock Jr., The Place o f the Hidden Moon, p.69. 94. Narendranarayan Ray Chaudhury, Samaj-chitra, (in Bengali), (Calcutta, 1322 B.S.), p. 117; Madhusudan Tattwabachaspati, Gaudiya Vaishnava Itihas, pp. 399-402. 95. James Wise, Notes on the Races, p.259. 96. Rohini Kumar Sen, Bakla, p.37; Nihar Ranjan Ray, Bangaleer Itihas: Adi Parba, (in Bengali), (Third edition, Calcutta, 1386 B.S.), p.296. 97. Kaliprasanna Biswas, Jatibibaran, (in Bengali), (Rangpur, 1319 B.S.), p.29; Brahmavaivarttapuranam, translated into Bengali in verse by Gayaram Batabyal, (Calcutta, 1881), p.475. 98. Harileelamrita, p.24. 99. Srihari Darshan, p. 100. 100. Matua Sangeet, p. 138. 101. Achhe dasyu ekjanre, ndm tdr madan, Mahasamkirtan, p.74. 102. Bisuddha prem mahdbhave, ghafbe akdm kdmand, Mahasamkirtan, p.50. 103. Anonymous, Hindu Dharmaniti, (in Bengali), (Calcutta, 1794 Saka), p.83. 104 Matua Sangeet, p.35. 105. Ibid., pp. 109-11. 106. Age jadi jdntem dmi, eto garal e ramani, Phele giye omni kartem gurur dhy&n. Ibid., p.79. 107. See note 64. 108. Matua Dharma Darshan, pp. 140, 150, 151; Harileelamrita, pp. 292-3; Matua Dharma-Tattwa-Sar, p.39. 109. Ramakanta Chakraborti, Vaishnavism in Bengal, pp. 78-9. 110. Matua Dharma Darshan, pp. vi-vii; Srihari Darshan, p. 113.

The Matua Sect and the Namasudras 111.

112. 113. 114. 115.

116. 117. 118. 119. 120. 121. 122.


124. 125. 126. 127. 128. 129. 130. 131. 132. 133. 134. 135. 136. 137. 138. 139. 140. 141.

142. 143.


Matua Sangeet; pp. 8-9, 51, 60-61, 113, 117, 120-1; Mahasamkirtan, p.75; Aswini Kumar Sarkar, 5ri Sri Hari Sangett, (in Bengali), (Tenth edition, Thakurnagar, 1395 B.S.), pp. 18-19, 23. Hari Sangeet, pp. 17, 23. Matua Sangeet, pp. 51, 78, 113, 117. H. H. Ri&lcy, Tribes and Castes, Vol. I, p. 188. Sashi Kumar Badoi Biswas, Namasudra Dwija Tattwa, (in Bengali), (Barisal, 1317 B.S.), pp. 45, 49, 59; Parbatinath Sarma, Namasudrachar Chandrika, (in Bengali), (Jessore, 1913), pp. 6-9. Guruchand-charit, p. 123. Sashi Kumar Badoi Biswas, Namasudra Dwija Tattwa, pp. 52-4. Hari Sangeet, p. 150; Matua Sangeet, p. 101. Rashbehari Ray, Saral Namasudra Dwija Darpan, (in Bengali), (Khulna. 1321 B.S.), p.37. Ramakanta Chakraborti, Vaishnavism in Bengal, p.325. H.H.Risley, Tribes and Castes, Vol. I, p. 187. ‘Some Aspects of Popular Hinduism |Dacca|’, File 32 mis.D, Paper no.26, Diary no.341, ‘Risley Collection’, microfilm. Roll no. 6, National Archives of India, New Delhi. Magistrate of Khulna to Commissioner of Presidency Division, 5 June 1911, Government of Bengal, Political (Police) Proceedings, File no. P5R-1, B July 1911, Progs. Nos.326-8, WBSA. Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, Satyagrahas in Bengal (1921-39), (Calcutta, 1977), pp. 159-181. Naresh Chandra Das, Namasudra Sampraday, p. 14. Ibid., p. 15. Cited in Ramakanta Chakraborti, Vaishnavism in Bengal, p.84. Guruchand-charit, pp. 442, 569. Ibid., pp. 130. 530. Guruchand-charit, pp. 100-2, 108. 564, 569. C. S. Mead, The Namasudras, p.8. Guruchand-charit, p.442. Ibid., pp. 205-6; Naresh Chandra Das, Namasudra Sampraday, pp. 36-8. Raicharan Biswas, Jatiya Jagaran, (in Bengali), (Calcutta, 1921), pp. 62-7. For details, see Sekhar Bandyopadhyay, ‘Social Protest’, p.211. Gunichand