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Mitra, Kishori Chand


Mitra, Kishori Chand (1822-1873) writer, civil servant, and social worker. Born in a banian family of Kolkata, Kishori Chand Mitra was educated at hindu college. His father was Ramnarayan Mitra, and peary chand mitra, the famed novelist, was his brother. In 1846 Kishori Chand Mitra became a deputy magistrate, the highest civil post accessible then to the natives. As the deputy magistrate of Rampur-Boalia (present Rajshahi) for about eight years, Mitra was actively involved in organising public works. He motivated the landholders and local people to construct roads and bridges, to excavate ponds, and to establish charitable dispensaries and schools.

In 1854 Mitra became a police magistrate of Kolkata. That position, unfortunately, cost him his career. The white civilians became hostile to him for his persistent criticism of the double standards of the colonial justice system. Under the existing law, Europeans were outside the jurisdiction of the native judges. Mitra opposed this discriminatory policy. While at Rampur-Boalia, Mitra wrote a long article entitled 'Bengal Ryot' in the Calcutta Review anonymously, in which he exposed the hypocrisy of colonial rule by elaborating on the loss of peasant rights and its impact on society and the economy. He wrote several other anonymous articles in various periodicals highlighting the sufferings of the people under the British administration. Due to his 'disloyalty' to British rule he eventually lost his job in 1858.

Kishori Chand Mitra established a weekly newspaper entitled Indian Field (1859) which was merged with the Hindu Patriot in 1865. As a critical essayist he contributed extensively to the Calcutta Review, Hindu Patriot, Bengal Spectator and Bengal Magazine. Among his essays which stirred the contemporary literati were 'Raja Rammohan Roy', 'Zamindar and Ryot', 'Hindu College', 'The Mutiny', 'The Government and the People, Memoir of Dwarkanath Tagore' and 'Orissa Past and Present'. He was actively involved in the foundation and functioning of the Hare Memorial Society, bethune society, Social Science Association and Hindu Theosophical Society. [Sirajul Islam]