(Last Updated on : 20/05/2016)
Maharaja Nandakumar was man of cultural and commercial genius in late medieval Bengal, served as diwan under British East India Company
, following the removal of Warren Hastings
from his post, soon after the Battle of Plassey
in 1757 and Battle of Bauxar
Life of Maharaja Nandakumar
Maharaja Nandakumar was born in 1705 in the then Sutanati in Bengal. He was a collector of taxes, more so a diwan for various areas in what is now West Bengal. He was appointed by the British East India Company to be the collector of taxes for Bardhaman District
, Nadia District
and Hooghly District
in the year 1764, following the removal of Warren Hastings from the post.
Accusation of Maharaja Nandakumar
In 1773, when Warren Hastings was re-instated as governor-general of Bengal, Nandakumar brought accusations of peculation against him that were entertained by Sir Philip Francis and the other members of the Supreme Council of Bengal. However, Warren Hastings could overrule the Council's charges. Thereafter, in 1775 Warren Hastings brought charges of fraud against the Maharaja Nandakumar. Maharaja Nandakumar was tried under Elijah Impey, Indias first Chief Justice, and friend of Warren Hastings, was found guilty, and hanged in Kolkata on 5th August 1775.
Effects on Death of Maharaja Nandakumar
Warren Hastings, along with Sir Elijah Impey, the Chief Justice, was impeached by Parliament. They were accused by Burke (and later by Macaulay) of committing judicial murder; but Sir James Stephen, who examined the trial in detail, states that the indictment for forgery arose in the ordinary course, was not brought forward by Hastings, and that Impey conducted the trial with fairness and impartiality.
Title of Maharaja
The title "Maharaja" was conferred on Nandakumar by Shah Alam II in 1764. He was appointed Collector of Bardhaman District, Nadia District and Hooghly District by the British East India Company in 1764, in place of Warren Hastings. He learnt Vaishnavism from Radhamohana Thakura.
Charges against Wareen Hastings
Maharaja Nandakumar accused Warren Hastings of bribing him with more than one-third of a million rupees and claimed that he had proof against Hastings in the form of a letter
Warren Hastings was then with the British East India Company and happened to be a school friend of Sir Elijah Impey. Some historians are of the opinion that Maharaja Nandakumar was falsely charged with forgery and Sir Elijah Impey, the first Chief Justice of Supreme Court in Calcutta, gave judgement to hang Nanda Kumar.
Judicial Murder of Maharaja Nandakumar
The hanging of Maharaja Nandakumar was called a judicial murder by certain historians. Lord Macaulay also accused both men of conspiring to commit a judicial murder.
Site of the Hanging of Maharaja Nandakumar
Maharaja Nandakumar was hanged at Kolkata, near present-day Vidyasagar Setu, during Warren Hasting's rule on 5th August 1775. In those days the punishment for forgery by any native was hanging. This site is now present and one can visit this place.
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