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Kachari


Kachari a term probably of Hindi or Marathi origin. The word kachari got currency in Bengal in the seventeenth century through the European companies. It refers to a courthouse, a hall, an office of administration, a place of business transactions, and zamindari management office, etc. In Madras and Mysore, the offices are commonly called kacharis. Even the authorities are often addressed as kacharis, as in Bengal people used to address the government as Sarkar Bahadur.

In the early official records of the Mughal government, the word duftar is more frequently encountered than kachari. Whereas murshid quli khan removed his diwani duftar from Dhaka to Murshidabad in 1704 and not his kachari; Warren hastings shifted in 1772 the revenue kachari from Murshidabad to Calcutta and not the revenue duftar. From the beginning of the establishment of the company's Calcutta Zamindari, we find the company gomosthas of the zamindari transacting their businesses in kachari, not in duftar. The agency houses and indigo planters called their offices kacharis, not duftars.

The ascendancy of the British in Bengal had contributed to the replacement of the north Indian duftar with the south Indian kachari. From 1765, all revenue offices including the zamindari duftars came to be known as kacharis. The district collectors held offices at kacharis. In the early twentieth century literature, we thus find sarkari (government) kachari, district kachari, zamindari kachari, mahazani kachari and bania (business) kachari. Every district had thus kachari pada where people of authorities lived and transacted their businesses. Now kachari has been superseded by English terms, such as, department, office, directorate etc. Now people no longer go to kacharis, though the term is still used by many elderly people for District Collector's office. [Sirajul Islam]