Dr. Sirajul Islam


Nadia was one of the largest districts in the colonial Bengal. In the formative years of colonial administration, interior parts of Bengal had witnessed widespread crime and criminal activities. It was perpetrated largely by the antisocial elements of the society. Nadia was a crime prone district as it was being described in the official narratives. Nadia was certainly an area of high crime zone for a few selective heinous crimes like dacoity, murder and burglary. This district always stood high in the rank of crime list of the Bengal districts. But this paper has shown that Nadia was not the most crime prone district in the period under discussion.


Colonial, Nadia, Crime, Bengal

Full Text:



Judicial Civil Proceedings (hereafter JCP), West Bengal State Archives(W.B.S.A), 12 August, 1817, No.20

Replies to the Interrogations by A. Seton, Collector of Nadia, 16 January 1802, Parliamentary Papers, Vol. IX, 1812-1813, p. 367-370

G.T. F.S.Barlow Speede (1847),The Criminal Statistics of Bengal, Calcutta, p. 111-112

Judicial Judicial Proceedings (hereafter JJP), (W.B.S.A), June, 1861, No. 415

In 1836 there were 601.37 inhabitants per square miles in Hooghly, in Burdwan 353.46 and in 1860 the density of population in per square miles stood in Hooghly 976, in Murshidabad 417, in Burdwan 385, in Jessore 312.

Parliamentary Papers, 1812-1813, Vol. IX, p. 56


Calculated from the report of the Magistrate of Nadia, Bengal Judicial Criminal Proceedings( hereafter BJCP), 19 June 1807, No. 8

John Elliot, Magistrate of Nadia, BJCP, 24 November 1810, No.20 , JCP,12 August 1817, No. 20

Radhamadhab Saha, The Administrative Development of a Bengal District, Nadia : 1780-1835, (PhD thesis) University of Calcutta, 1977, p. 144

Calculated from the police report and magistrate’s report, for 1811, 1812 and 1813 see, JCP, 12 August, 1817, No. 20, for 1814, BJCP 27 September, 1815 No. 194, for 1815 &1816, Comparative statements of crimes, Bengal Districts, BJCP, 23 May 1817, No. 23 and for 1817 &1818, comparative statements of crimes in Bengal districts for 1817 and 1818, BJCP, 25 June 1819, No. 23

Replies to the Interrogations, C. Oldfield, Judge and Magistrate of Nuddea, 16 January 1802, Parliamentary Papers, 1812-1813, Vol. IX, p. 52

J.H.E. Garrett(1910), Bengal District Gazetteers, Nadia, Calcutta, 1910, p. 31

BJCP,24 September 1811, No. 5, 18 April, 1812, No. 18, JCP, 12 August 1817,No. 20

BJCP, 25 June 1819, No. 23

Enclosure with letter from the Officiating Judge of Calcutta Court of Circuit, BJCP, 24 November, 1810, No. 10

RSPLPB for 1845, Nuddea, p. 56

RSPLPB for First Six Months of 1841, p. 88

RSPLPB for 1846, Nuddea, p. 56

RSPLPB for First Six Months of 1838, Nuddea, p. 119


BJCP, 13 May, 1814, No. 24

RSPLPB for 1851, p. 51, also such murder cases also see RSPLB for First Half of 1841,Nuddea, p. 88

Annual Police report for the Nuddea Division for 1855, JJP, 4 December, 1856, No. 182

RSPLPB for Second Six Months of 1838, Nuddea, p. 104

RSPLPB for First Half of 1841, Nuddea, p. 88

Minutes of evidence by John Turnbull before the Select Committee, Parliamentary Papers , 1832, Vol. 1, General Appendix, p. 311

JJP, 25 October, 1855, No. 187

Calculated from the table - III

Circular orders issued from the late office of the Superintendent of Police in the Lower Provinces to the Magisterial and other Criminal Authorities and to the Ferry Fund Committee from November 1837 to February 1854 (hereafter Circular Orders), ed. W.R. Baillie, Calcutta, 1854 p.251

Calculated from the RSPLPB, 1844 to 1850, the homicide crime committed in Nadia in 1843,8, 1844,9, 1845,11, 1846,14, 1847,19, 1848,14, 1849,19 and 1850,9 making total 103 averaging 12. 88

Circular Orders, p.252, the average number of homicide committed in those districts was 29, 26, 24, 21, 23.75, 23.75, 21, 19, 18, 18, 18 and 17.4 respectively.

Ibid, p.253



Ibid, p.255

Ibid, p.257

Calculated from the RSPLPB 1844 to 1850

Circular Orders, p. 258

RSPLPB for 1851, Nuddea, p.51

Annual Police Report of Nadia Division for 1855, JJP, 4 December 1856, No. 182

JJP, 24 December, 1857, No. 509 and 510

Report on the Criminal Administration of Nuddea Division for the year 1860, JJP, June, 1861, No. 227

Annual Administrative Report of Nuddea Division for 1860, JJP, May, 1861, No. 471

H.L. Harrison(1872), Note on Criminal Statistics in the Lower Provinces of Bengal, Calcutta, Appendix, Nuddea, p.i


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.