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KRISTO DAS PAL (1839–1884)

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Originally appearing in Volume V20, Page 522 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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KRISTO DAS PAL (1839–1884), Indian publicist, was born in Calcutta in 1839, of the Tell or oil-man's caste, which ranks low in the Hindu social hierarchy. He received an English education at the Oriental Seminary and the Hindu Metropolitan College, and at an early age devoted himself to journalism. In 1861 he was appointed assistant secretary (and afterwards secretary) to the British Indian Association, a board of Bengal landlords, which numbered among its members some of the most cultured men of the day. At about the same time he became editor of the Hindu Patriot, originally started in 1853 and conducted with ability and zeal by Harish Chandra Mukerji until his death in 1861. This journal having been transferred by a trust deed to some members of the British Indian Association, it henceforth became to some extent an organ of that body. Thus Kristo Das Pal had rare opportunities for proving his abilities and independence during an eventful career of twenty-two years. In 1863 he was appointed justice of the peace and municipal commissioner of Calcutta. In 1872 he was made a member of the Bengal legislative council, where his practical good sense and moderation were much appreciated by successive lieutenant-governors. His opposition, however, to the Calcutta Municipal Bill of 1876, which first recognized the elective system, was attributed to his prejudice in favour of the " classes " against the " masses." In 1878 he received the decoration of C.I.E. In 1883 he was appointed a member of the viceroy's legislative council. In the discussions on the Rent Bill, which came up for consideration before the council, Kristo Das Pal, as secretary to the British Indian Association, necessarily took the side of the landlords. He died on the 24th of July 1884. Speaking after his death, Lord Ripon said: " By this melancholy event we have lost from among us a colleague of distinguished ability, from whom we had on all occasions received assistance, of which I readily acknowledge the value. . . . Mr Kristo Das Pal owed the honourable position to which he had attained to his own exertions. His intellectual attainments were of a high order, his rhetorical gifts were acknowledged by all who heard him, and were enhanced when addressing this council by his thorough mastery over the English language." A full length statue of him was unveiled by Lord Elgin at Calcutta in 1894. See N. N. Ghose, Kristo Das Pal, a Study (Calcutta, 1887).
End of Article: KRISTO DAS PAL (1839–1884)
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