Brajendranath De

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Brajendranath De
Born(1852-12-23)23 December 1852
Died20 September 1932(1932-09-20) (aged 79)
Spouse(s)Nagendranandini De (nee Bose)

Brajendranath De (23 December 1852 – 20 September 1932) was an early Indian member of the Indian Civil Service.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

De studied at Canning College, Lucknow, and later travelled to England, where he was called to the Bar by the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple.[2] He was also admitted to St. Mary Hall, Oxford, where he spent one year on a Boden Sanskrit Scholarship.[3] He then joined the ICS,[4] of which he was one of the earliest Indian entrants.[5][6]

His fourth daughter was Saroj Nalini Dutt,[6] and his fifth son-in-law was Jyotish Chandra De,[7] who was a member of the Indian Medical Service. Two of his great-grandchildren were the singer Uma Bose[8] and the cameraman Subrata Mitra.[9]



He was assistant magistrate and collector of Shahabad, Bengal in 1881.[10] He served as the district magistrate and collector of Khulna.[11][12] He became the magistrate and collector of Balasore in Orissa and then of Malda and Hooghly.[13] He was an acting commissioner of the Burdwan Division.[14][15]

As the district officer of Hooghly, he started the Duke Club there which was meant to be exclusively for Indians.[16] One of his Commissioners once told him not to entertain the thought of wanting to join a British club in the district.[17]

After retirement he remained actively involved in the work of the Calcutta Improvement Trust.[18][19]


While still in service he translated Kalidas's 'Vikramarvasi' and 'Manichudabadana' from Sanskrit to English.[18]

In his post-retirement years he served as a vice-president of the council of the Asiatic Society, Calcutta.[20][21]

He was the translator and editor, in two volumes, Nizamuddin Ahmad's Tabaqat-i-Akbari. The third volume, which he had left fully prepared, was published posthumously by Beni Prasad.[22][23]


A road in Chinsura, Hooghly is named after him.[24]

At the time of his centenary celebration in 1952, his second son, Basanta Kumar De, Esq., a senior officer of the BNR[25] took the initiative to publish in three articles sections of his reminiscences in the Calcutta Review. This work was entrusted to Tapan Raychaudhuri, then of the Department of Islamic History and Culture of the University of Calcutta.[26]

In 2001, approximately 2,000 photographs of himself and his family members were given in loan by one of his grandsons, Barun De,[5][27] to the photographic archives of the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta. Later, when the archive was shifted to the newly established Jadunath Bhavan Museum and Resource Centre, CSSSC, Calcutta, the photographs too were deposited there.[28]


  • (ed. & tran.), Kālidāsa's play Vikramorvasi, 'Vikramorvaçi', Canto I., in Calcutta Review, Oct. 1884, pp. 440–2.[29]
  • (ed. & tran.), The Tabaqat-i-Akbari of Khwaja Nizamuddin Ahmad: A History of India from the Early Musalman Invasions to the Thirty-eighth year of the Reign of Akbar (in 3 Vols.), (Calcutta, reprint, 1973)[30]
  • "Reminiscences of an Indian Member of the Indian Civil Service", in Calcutta Review, (1953–5).[31]


  1. ^ Indiasaga Who's Who
  2. ^ University of Wisconsin Law Library
  3. ^ Oxford University Calendar, 1875, p. 366
  4. ^ India Office, Great Britain (1905). The India List and India Office List 1905. Harrison and Sons. p. 447.
  5. ^ a b "Situating an Eminent Historian Eminently" - Sabyasachi Bhattacharya Retrieved 2015-03-21.
  6. ^ a b Forbes, Geraldine Hancock (1996). Women in Modern India. The New Cambridge History of India. IV.2. Cambridge University Press. pp. 28–29. ISBN 978-0-521-65377-0.
  7. ^ Lives Less Forgotten: Lieutenant Colonel Jyotish Chandra De
  8. ^ Lives Less Forgotten: Uma Bose
  9. ^ Lives Less Forgotten: Subrata Mitra
  10. ^ Military and ICS Manual
  11. ^ Heehs, Peter (2008). The Lives of Sri Aurobindo. New York: Columbia University Press. p. 33. ISBN 978-0-231-14098-0.
  12. ^ "Govt. Notifications: Orders by the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal". The Liberal and the New Dispensation. Calcutta: R.S. Bhattacharji. XII (30): 9. 6 August 1893.
  13. ^ "Mr. B. De", in Bengalee, 7 September 1910; see also Indian Daily News, 3 September 1910
  14. ^ Gupta, Tapati Dutta (1993). Social Thought of Rabindranath Tagore: A Historical Analysis. Abhinav Publications. p. 122. ISBN 9788170173021.
  15. ^ "Late Mr. B. De.: Passing Away of an Old Civilian" in Liberty, Friday, 30 September 1932
  16. ^ Sinha, Mrinalini (October 2001). "Britishness, Clubbability, and the Colonial Public Sphere: The Genealogy of an Imperial Institution in Colonial India". The Journal of British Studies. 4 (44): 489–521. JSTOR 3070745. (Subscription required (help)).
  17. ^ Ballantyne, Tony; Burton, Antoinette M. (2005). Bodies in Contact. Duke University Press. p. 193. ISBN 0-8223-3467-4.
  18. ^ a b 'Late Mr. B.De: Passing Away of An Old Civilian' in Liberty, Friday, 30 September 1932
  19. ^ "Late Mr. B. De, Calcutta Corporation Tributes", in Liberty, Saturday, 1 October 1932
  20. ^ "Birth Centenary of B.De Celebrated" in The Statesman, Wednesday, 24 December 1952
  21. ^ "He Rehabilitated Persian in Bengal: Tributes to Late B.De: Birthday Celebration" in Amrita Bazar Patrika, Wednesday, 24 December 1952
  22. ^ "Mr.B.De Dead Retired Member of the Civil Service" in The Statesman, 30 September 1932
  23. ^ Sudha Sharma, Status of Muslim Women in Medieval India, Allahabad
  24. ^ Map of Chinsura, Hooghly, Bengal
  25. ^ Lives Less Forgotten: Basanta Kumar De
  26. ^ Mrinalini Sinha, "Reconfiguring Hiararchies: The Ilbert Bill Controversy, 1883-84", in Reina Lewis and Sarah Mills, Feminist Post-Colonialist Theory: A Reader, New York and London, Routledge, 2003, p. 456
  27. ^ Lives Less Forgotten: Barun De
  28. ^ Jadunath Bhavan Museum and Resource Centre, (Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta, 2009), p. 7
  29. ^ Schuyler, Jr., Montgomery (1902). "Bibliography of Kālidāsa's Mālavikāgnimitra and Vikramorvaçī". Journal of the American Oriental Society. 23: 93–101. doi:10.2307/592384. JSTOR 592384.
  30. ^ Tabaqat-i-Akbari by Khwaja Nizamuddin Ahmed
  31. ^ Reminiscences of an Indian Member of the Indian Civil Service' in the Calcutta Review

External links[edit]