Calcutta Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Calcutta, 1861

CalcuttaSocForPreventionOf Cruelity2AnimalsX1

কলকাতা পশুপীড়ণ নিবারণী সভা, কলকাতা, ১৮৬১

The life and soul of the Calcutta Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was Colesworthey Grant, an eminent artist and a true friend of Calcutta people. He lived  in this city at the time of Company Raj, and here he died. He was one of those great raconteurs, like Charles D’Oyly, who had left for us vibrant visual documentation of the way of life in urban and rural Bengal that he captured in his innumerable drawings and sketches.
Colesworthey Grant was born in London on the 25th October, 1813 of a Scotch father and a Welsh mother. While living in Hare Street with his brother George, Colesworthey had a much loved Persian cat. The cat was unfortunately worried to death by his neighbour’s dogs. That downhearted event made a deep impression on his sensitive mind. In his morning walks and drives also he noticed that “the cattle and horses with hideous wounds, galls dislocations and mutilations” were being unmercifully used. Colesworthey began to agitate the matter. The result was the establishment of the Calcutta Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals on the 4th October, 1861, at a public meeting presided over by the Venerable Archdeacon Pratt and attended among others, by the Rev. Dr. Alexander Duff, Dr, Fredrick John Mouat, Baboo Peary Chand Mittra, Seth Apcar, Mr. M. Rustomjee, Raja Pratap Chandra Singh Bahadur, Maulavie Abdul Luteef Khan, Colesworthey Grant, and others. It was the first organization of its kind in Asia. Lord Elgin, the then Viceroy of India, lent his powerful support by consenting to become its first patron of the Society, and Colesworthey Grant its Honorary Secretary. The Royal Society of London gave it the benefit of its experience. See Manmathanath Ghosh

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Colesworthey Grant

Peary Chand Mittra, the life-long friend and biographer of Colesworthey, took the advantage of his position as a member of the Bengal Legislative Council to introduce in the Council two Bills for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which was passed into law as Acts I and III of 1969, in spite of opposition from a few Europeans, including Stuart Hogg, then Commissioner of Police, and later on, Chairman of Calcutta Corporation. The Corporation of Calcutta could not be persuaded to take up the responsibility unless the terms were revised, and finally decided to entrust the Society with its own administration and the Act was put into operation with effect from October, 1926. Till then it was an unregistered body.
On the 17th November, 1932, the Govt. appointed a Committee consisting of 9 members under the chairmanship of Mr. Justice H.G. Pearson to examine as to how the working of the Society could be improved. Though the Pearson Committee noted along with its other recommendations that the Society should be registered under the Society’s Registration Act (Act XXI of 1860), it was registered much later i.e., on the 5th February, 1954. See CSPCA website

At the beginning, the Society’s business used to be transacted at the residence of the Honorary Secretary, Mr. Grant, for which no rent was charged to the Society. After his death, the Society’s address was shifted to 276, Bowbazar Street from where it operates still now. Colesworthey Grant was in true sense the life and soul of the Society. The Royal Society presented him with accolade for his commendable devotion to the cause of humanity. Colesworthey died on the 31st May 1880. An obelisk was erected at the north-east corner of Dalhousie Square, where Colesworthey used to help animals drink water from a fountain, to commemorate the memory of the noble and kind man who toiled incessantly for the good of his fellow creatures.

Among books Colesworthey published, the most renown titles are:

Anglo-Indian Domestic Life: A Letter from an Artist in India to His Mother in England. 1862. and

Rural life in Bengal; illustrative of Anglo-Indian suburban life … letters from an artist in India to his sisters in England. 1864

However, his least-known work on Cruelty that he addressed to the children for arousing in their young minds empathy for the unkindly treated domestic animals and an urge to protect them from tortures and exploitation.
ColesworteyonCruelty-Childrenbook

Advertisements

2 comments on “Calcutta Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Calcutta, 1861

  1. Margarita Ray says:

    The work should be spreaded at a bigger horizon.Recently a nice and fit dog was beaten to death at Sarat palli in sankrail of howrah district mistaking it to be the mad dog which had bitten few people.I feel like crying whenever i pass its remains on the way to Bharat co-operative.Many young students are talking about it,everybody knows what has happened still everyone is acting blind and dumb about it . The dog was very good.I don’t know how to react ,i could’t stop myself writing this to you.

    • Thank you Margarita for sharing your uncomforting experience. Few months back, I had signed a mass petition initiated by Avazz.org to protest cruelty toward stray animals. You may explore this kind of global platform to raise your voice. Wish you best

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s