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Pal, Kristodas


Pal, Kristodas (1838-1884) journalist, orator, writer and politician, was born in the village of Kansari Para in April 1838. His father, Ishwarchandra Pal, worked in a small shop in Kolkata. After early schooling at a village pathshala, Kristodas studied at the Oriental Seminary and at the Hindu Metropolitan College. While in college, Kristodas organised the Calcutta Literary Free Debating Club. His essay, 'The Young Bengal Vindicated', presented at a meeting held in memory of david hare on 1 June 1856 attracted notice from the Calcutta literati.

Kristodas started his professional career as a translator in the Court of the District Judge of Alipore. In 1858 he joined the british indian association as an assistant secretary He became its secretary in 1879. He was efficient and became popular in both government and non-government circles.

In 1863 Kristodas became Justice of the Peace and was nominated Municipal Commissioner to the Calcutta Municipal Council. He became a member of the bengal legislative council in 1872. In 1883, during the Bengal Tenancy Bill controversy, Lord Ripon appointed him to the Viceroy's Legislative Council. Kristodas was awarded the title 'Rai Bahadur' in 1877 and made CIE in 1878.

Kristodas was associated with various journals such as the Morning Chronicle, the Citizen, the Phoenix and the Patriot from his student days. When kali prasanna singha bought the proprietary rights of the hindu patriot in 1861, he appointed Kristodas editor. Kristodas continued to work in this post till his death on 24 July 1884. While working at the Hindu Patriot he also started the Calcutta Monthly Magazine.

In spite of being a loyalist, Kristodas realized the need for autonomy. He actively supported the Ilbert Bill and strongly believed in the freedom of press. He wrote in favour of the labourers working in the tea gardens and described the Immigration Bill as 'The Slave Law of India'. He loudly protested the policy of curtailing higher education. [Sambaru Chandra Mohanta]