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Title: The Bombay City Police - A Historical Sketch 1672-1916
Author: Edwardes, S. M. (Stephen Meredyth)
Language: English
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[Illustration: Mounted Police Constable

Bombay City]

                         THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE

                           A HISTORICAL SKETCH

                     S. M. EDWARDES, C.S.I., C.V.O.,
           _formerly of the Indian Civil Service and sometime
                     Commissioner of Police, Bombay_


                            HUMPHREY MILFORD
                         OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS


I have been prompted to prepare this brief record of the past history
and growth of the Bombay Police Force by the knowledge that, except
for a few paragraphs in Volume II of the _Gazetteer of Bombay City and
Island_, no connected account exists of the police administration of the
City. Considering how closely interwoven with the daily life of the mass
of the population the work of the Force has always been, and how large
a contribution to the welfare and progress of the City has been made by
successive Commissioners of Police, it seems well to place permanently
on record in an accessible form the more important facts connected with
the early arrangements for watch and ward and crime-prevention, and to
describe the manner in which the Heads of the Force carried out the heavy
responsibilities assigned to them.

The year 1916 is a convenient date for the conclusion of this historical
sketch; for in September of that year commenced the violent agitation for
Home Rule which under varying names and varying leadership, and despite
concessions and political reforms, kept India in a state of unrest during
the following five or six years.

Other considerations also suggest that the narrative may close most fitly
in the year preceding the memorable pronouncement in Parliament, which
ushered in the recent constitutional reforms. No one can foretell what
changes may hereafter take place in the character and constitution of
the City Police Force; but it is improbable that the Force can remain
unaffected by the altered character of the general administration. Ere
old conditions and old landmarks disappear, it seems to me worth while to
compile a succinct history of the Force, as it existed before the era of
“democratic” reform.

I am indebted to the present Acting Commissioner of Police for the
photographs of the portraits hanging in the Head Police Office and of
the types of constabulary; to the Record-Keeper at the India Office
for giving me access to various police reports and official papers
dating from 1859 to 1916; and to Mr. Sivaram K. Joshi, 1st clerk in the
Commissioner’s office, who spent much of his leisure time in making
inquiries and framing answers to various queries which the Bombay
Government kindly forwarded at my request to the Head Police Office.

                                                           S. M. EDWARDES

London, 1923



       I The Bhandari Militia, 1672-1800                        1

      II The Rise of the Magistracy, 1800-1855                 20

     III Mr. Charles Forjett, 1855-1863                        39

      IV Sir Frank Souter Kt., C. S. I., 1864-1888             54

       V Lieut-Colonel W. H. Wilson, 1888-1893                 79

      VI Mr. R. H. Vincent, C. I. E., 1893-1898                90

     VII Mr. Hartley Kennedy, C. S. I., 1899-1901             107

    VIII Mr. H. G. Gell, M. V. O., 1902-1909                  120

      IX Mr. S. M. Edwardes, C. S. I., C. V. O., 1909-16      148


    Mounted Police Constable                         Frontispiece

    Armed Police Constable                    To face page      9

    Police Constable                            ”      ”       34

    Sir Frank Souter                            ”      ”       54

    Armed Police Jamadar                        ”      ”       59

    Lieut-Col. W. H. Wilson                     ”      ”       79

    Mr. R. H. Vincent                           ”      ”       90

    Khan Bahadur Sheikh Ibrahim Sheikh Imam     ”      ”       97

    Mr. Hartley Kennedy                         ”      ”      107

    Mr. H. G. Gell                              ”      ”      120

    Rao Sahib Daji Gangaji Rane                 ”      ”      133

    Mr. S. M. Edwardes                          ”      ”      148







A perusal of the official records of the early period of British rule
in Bombay indicates that the credit of first establishing a force for
the prevention of crime and the protection of the inhabitants belongs
to Gerald Aungier, who was appointed Governor of the Island in 1669 and
filled that office with conspicuous ability until his death at Surat in
1677. Amidst the heavy duties which devolved upon him as President of
Surat and Governor of the Company’s recently acquired Island,[1] and at a
time when the Dutch, the Portuguese, the Mogul, the Sidi and the Marathas
offered jointly and severally a serious menace to the Company’s trade
and possessions, Aungier found leisure to organize a rude militia under
the command of _Subehdars_, who were posted at Mahim, Sewri, Sion and
other chief points of the Island.[2] This force was intended primarily
for military protection, as a supplement to the regular garrison. That
it was also employed on duties which would now be performed by the civil
police, is clear from a letter of December 15, 1673, from Aungier and his
council to the Court of Directors, in which the chief features of the
Island and its administrative arrangements are described in considerable
detail.[3] After mentioning the strength of the forces at Bombay and
their distribution afloat and ashore, the letter proceeds:—

    “There are also three companies of militia, one at Bombay,
    one at Mahim, and one at Mazagon, consisting of Portuguese
    black Christians. More confidence can be placed in the Moors,
    Bandareens and Gentus than in them, because the latter are
    more courageous and show affection and good-will to the
    English Government. These companies are exercised once a month
    at least, and serve as _night-watches against surprise and

A little while prior to Aungier’s death, when John Petit was serving
under him as Deputy Governor of Bombay, this militia numbered from 500
to 600, all of whom were landholders of Bombay. Service in the militia
was in fact compulsory on all owners of land, except “the Braminys
(Brahmans) and Bannians (Banias),” who were allowed exemption on a money
payment.[4] The majority of the rank and file were Portuguese Eurasians
(“black Christians”), the remainder including Muhammadans (“Moors”), who
probably belonged chiefly to Mahim, and Hindus of various castes, such as
“Sinays” (Shenvis), “Corumbeens” (Kunbis) and “Coolys” (Kolis).[5] The
most important section of the Hindu element in this force of military
night-watchmen was that of the Bhandaris (“Bandareens”), whose ancestors
formed a settlement in Bombay in early ages, and whose modern descendants
still cherish traditions of the former military and political power of
their caste in the north Konkan.

The militia appears to have been maintained more or less at full strength
during the troubled period of Sir John Child’s governorship (1681-90).
It narrowly escaped disbandment in 1679, in pursuance of Sir Josia
Child’s ill-conceived policy of retrenchment: but as the orders for
its abolition arrived at the very moment when Sivaji was threatening
a descent on Bombay and the Sidi was flouting the Company’s authority
and seizing their territory, even the subservient John Child could not
face the risk involved in carrying out the instructions from home;
and in the following year the orders were rescinded.[6] The force,
however, did not wholly escape the consequences of Child’s cheese-paring
policy. By the end of 1682 there was only one ensign for the whole
force of 500, and of non-commissioned officers there were only three
sergeants and two corporals. Nevertheless the times were so troubled
that they had to remain continuously under arms.[7] It is therefore not
surprising that when Keigwin raised the standard of revolt against the
Company in December 1683, the militia sided in a body with him and his
fellow-mutineers, and played an active part in the bloodless revolution
which they achieved. Two years after the restoration of Bombay to Sir
Thomas Grantham, who had been commissioned by the Company to secure the
surrender of Keigwin and his associates, a further reference to the
militia appears in an order of November 15th, 1686, by Sir John Wyborne,
Deputy Governor, to John Wyat.[8] The latter was instructed to repair to
Sewri with two topasses and take charge of a new guard-house, to allow no
runaway soldiers or others to leave the island, to prevent cattle, corn
or provisions being taken out of Bombay, and to arrest and search any
person carrying letters and send him to the Deputy Governor. The order
concluded with the following words:—

    “Suffer poor people to come and inhabit on the island; _and
    call the militia to watch with you every night_, sparing the
    Padre of Parel’s servants.”

The terms of the order indicate to some extent the dangers and
difficulties which confronted Bombay at this epoch; and it is a
reasonable inference that the duties of the militia were dictated
mainly by the military and political exigencies of a period in which
the hostility of the neighbouring powers in Western India and serious
internal troubles produced a constant series of “alarums and excursions”.

The close of the seventeenth and the earlier years of the eighteenth
century were marked by much lawlessness; and in the outlying parts of
Bombay the militia appears to have formed the only safeguard of the
residents against robbery and violence. This is clear from an order
of September 13, 1694, addressed by Sir John Gayer, the Governor, to
Jansanay (Janu Shenvi) Subehdar of Worli, Ramaji Avdat, Subehdar of
Mahim, Raji Karga, Subehdar of Sion, and Bodji Patan, Subehdar of Sewri.
“Being informed,” he wrote, “that certain ill people on this island go
about in the night to the number of ten or twelve or more, designing some
mischief or disturbance to the inhabitants, these are to enorder you to
go the rounds every night with twenty men at all places which you think
most suitable to intercept such persons.”[9] The strengthening of the
force at this period[10] and the increased activity of the night-patrols
had very little effect in reducing the volume of crime, which was a
natural consequence of the general weakness of the administration. The
appalling mortality among Europeans, the lack of discipline among the
soldiers of the garrison, the general immorality to which Ovington, the
chaplain, bore witness,[11] the prevalence of piracy and the lack of
proper laws and legal machinery, all contributed to render Bombay “very
unhealthful” and to offer unlimited scope to the lawless section of the

As regards the law, judicial functions were exercised at the beginning of
the eighteenth century by a civil officer of the Company, styled Chief
Justice, and in important cases by the President in Council. Neither of
these officials had any real knowledge of law; no codes existed, except
two rough compilations made during Aungier’s governorship: and justice
was consequently very arbitrary. In 1726 this Court was exercising civil,
criminal, military, admiralty and probate jurisdiction; it also framed
rules for the price of bread and the wages of “black tailors”.[12]
Connected with the Court from 1720 to 1727 were the _Vereadores_,[13] a
body of native functionaries who looked after orphans and the estates
of persons dying intestate, and audited accounts. After 1726 they also
exercised minor judicial powers and seem to have partly taken the place
of the native tribunals, which up to 1696 administered justice to the
Indian inhabitants of the Island.[14] So matters remained until 1726,
when under the Charter creating Mayors’ Courts at Calcutta, Bombay and
Madras the Governor and Council were empowered to hold quarter sessions
for the trial of all offences except high treason, the President and the
five senior members of Council being created Justices of the Peace and
constituting a Court of Oyer and Terminer and Gaol Delivery.

For purposes of criminal justice Bombay was considered a county. The
curious state of the law at this date is apparent from the trial of a
woman, named Gangi, who was indicted in 1744 for petty treason in aiding
and abetting one Vitha Bhandari in the murder of her husband.[15] She
was found guilty and was sentenced to be burnt. Apparently the penalty
for compassing a husband’s death was the same as for high treason: and
the sentence of burning for petty treason was the only sentence the
Court could legally have passed. Twenty years earlier (1724) an ignorant
woman, by name Bastok, was accused of witchcraft and other “diabolical
practices.” The Court found her guilty, not from evil intent, but on
account of ignorance, and sentenced her to receive eleven lashes at the
church door and afterwards to do penance in the building.[16]

The system, whereby criminal jurisdiction was vested in the Governor
and Council, lasted practically till the close of the eighteenth
century. In 1753, for example, the Bombay Government was composed of
the Governor and thirteen councillors, all of whom were Justices of the
Peace and Commissioners of Oyer and Terminer and Gaol Delivery. They
were authorised to hold quarter sessions and make bye-laws for the good
government etc. of Bombay: and to aid them in the exercise of their
magisterial powers as Justices, they had an executive officer, the
Sheriff, with a very limited establishment.[17] In 1757 and 1759 they
issued proclamations embodying various “rules for the maintenance of
the peace and comfort of Bombay’s inhabitants”; but with the possible
exception of the Sheriff, they had no executive agency to enforce the
observance of these rules and bye-laws, and no body of men, except the
militia, for the prevention and detection of offences. When, therefore,
in 1769 the state of the public security called loudly for reform, the
Bombay Government were forced to content themselves and their critics
with republishing these various proclamations and regulations—a course
which, as may be supposed, effected very little real good. In a letter to
the Court of Directors, dated December 20th, 1769, they reported that in
consequence of a letter from a bench of H. M.’s Justices they had issued
on August 26, 1769, “sundry regulations for the better conducting the
police of the place in general, particularly in respect to the markets
for provisions of every kind”; and these regulations were in due course
approved by the Court in a dispatch of April 25, 1771.[18]

Police arrangements, however, were still very unsatisfactory, and
crimes of violence, murder and robbery were so frequent outside the
town walls that in August, 1771, Brigadier-General David Wedderburn[19]
submitted proposals to the Bombay Government for rendering the Bhandari
militia[20], as it was then styled, more efficient. His plan may be said
to mark the definite employment of the old militia on regular police
duties. Accordingly the Bombay Bhandaris were formed into a battalion
composed of 48 officers and 400 men, which furnished nightly a guard of
12 officers and 100 men “for the protection of the woods.” This guard was
distributed as follows:—

    4 officers and 33 men at Washerman’s Tank (Dhobi Talao).
    4    ”      ”  33  ”  near Major Mace’s house.
    4    ”      ”  34  ”  at Mamba Davy (Mumbadevi) tank.

From these posts constant patrols, which were in communication with one
another, were sent out from dark until gunfire in the morning, the whole
area between Dongri and Back Bay being thus covered during the night.
The _Vereadores_ were instructed to appoint not less than 20 trusty and
respectable Portuguese _fazendars_ to attend singly or in pairs every
night at the various police posts. All Europeans living in Sonapur or
Dongri had to obtain passes according to their class, _i.e._ those in
the marine forces from the Superintendent, those in the military forces
from their commanding officer, all other Europeans, not in the Company’s
service, but living in Bombay by permission of the Government, from
the Secretary to Government, and all artificers employed in any of the
offices from the head of their office.

The duties of the patrols were to keep the peace, to seize all
persons found rioting, pending examination, to arrest all robbers and
house-breakers, to seize all Europeans without passes, and all _coffrees_
(African slaves) found in greater numbers than two together, or armed
with swords, sticks, knives or bludgeons. All _coffrees_ or other runaway
slaves were to be apprehended, and were punished by being put to work on
the fortifications for a year at a wage of Rs. 3 per month, or by being
placed aboard cruisers for the same term, a notice being published of
their age, size, country of origin and description, so that their masters
might have a chance of claiming them. If unclaimed by the end of twelve
months, they were shipped to Bencoolen in Sumatra.

The standing order to all persons to register their slaves was to be
renewed and enforced under a penalty. The Company agreed to pay the
Bhandari police Rs. 10 for every _coffree_ or runaway slave arrested
and placed on the works or on a cruiser; Re. 1 for every slave absent
from his work for three days; and Rs. 2 for every slave absent from duty
for one month; Re. 1 for every soldier or sailor absent from duty for
forty-eight hours, whom they might arrest; and 8 annas for every soldier
or sailor found drunk in the woods after 8 p.m. The money earned in the
latter cases was to be paid at once by the Marine Superintendent or the
Commanding Officer, as the case might be, and deducted from the pay of
the defaulter; and the total sum thus collected was to be divided once a
month or oftener among the Bhandaris on duty.

[Illustration: Armed Police Constable

Bombay City]

The officers in charge of the police posts and the Portuguese
_fazendars_, attached thereto, were to make a daily report of all that
had happened during the night and place all persons arrested by the
patrols before a magistrate for examination. The Bhandari patrols were
to assemble daily at 5 p.m. opposite to the Church Gate (of the Fort)
and, weather permitting, they were to be taught “firing motions and the
platoon exercise, and to fire balls at a mark, for which purpose some
good havaldars should attend to instruct them, and the adjutant of the
day or some other European officer should constantly attend.”

These Bhandari night-patrols, as organized by General Wedderburn, were
the germ from which sprang the later police administration of the
Island. We see the beginnings of police sections and divisions in the
three main night-posts with their complement of officers and men; the
forerunner of the modern divisional morning report in the daily report
of the patrol officer and the _fazendar_; and the establishment of an
armed branch in the fire-training given to the patrols in the evening.
The presence of the _fazendars_ was probably based on the occasional need
of an interpreter and of having some advisory check upon the exercise of
their powers by the patrols. In those early days the _fazendar_ may have
supplied the place of public opinion, which now plays no unimportant part
in the police administration of the modern city.

Notwithstanding these arrangements, the volume of crime showed no
diminution. Murder, robbery and theft were still of frequent occurrence
outside the Fort walls: and in the vain hope of imposing some check
upon the lawless element, the Bombay Government in August, 1776,
ordered parties of regular sepoys to be added to the Bhandari patrols.
Three years later, in February, 1779, they decided, apparently as an
experiment, to supplant the Bhandari militia entirely by patrols of
sepoys, which were to be furnished by “the battalion of sepoy marines”.
These patrols were to scour the woods nightly, accompanied by “a peace
officer”, who was to report every morning to the acting magistrate.[21]
Still there was no improvement, and the dissatisfaction of the general
public was forcibly expressed at the close of 1778 or early in the
following year by the grand Jury, which demanded a thorough reform of
the police.[22] In the course of their presentment they stated that
“the frequent robberies and the difficulties attending the detection
of aggressors, called loudly for some establishment clothed with such
authority as should effectually protect the innocent and bring the guilty
to trial”, and they proposed that His Majesty’s Justices should apply
to Government for the appointment of an officer with ample authority to
effect the end in view.[23]

This pronouncement of the Grand Jury was the precursor of the first
appointment of an executive Chief of Police in Bombay. On February 17,
1779, Mr. James Tod (or Todd) was appointed “Lieutenant of Police”, on
probation, with an allowance of Rs. 4 per diem, and on March 3rd of that
year he was sworn into office; a formal commission signed by Mr. William
Hornby, the Governor, was granted to him, and a public notification of
the creation of the office and of the powers vested in it was issued.
He was also furnished with copies of the regulations in force, and was
required by the terms of his commission to follow all orders given to him
by the Government or by the Justices of the Peace.[24]

Tod had a chequered career as head of the Bombay police. The first attack
upon him was delivered by the very body which had urged the creation of
his appointment. The Grand Jury, like the frogs of Æsop who demanded a
King, found the appointment little to their liking, and were moved in
the following July (1779) to present “the said James Todd as a public
nuisance, and his office of Police as of a most dangerous tendency”; and
they earnestly recommended “that it be immediately abolished, as fit only
for a despotic government, where a Bastille is at hand to enforce its

The Government very properly paid no heed to this curious _volteface_
of the Grand Jury, and Tod was left free to draft a new set of police
regulations, which were badly needed, and to do what he could to bring
his force of militia into shape. His regulations were submitted on
December 31, 1779, and were approved by the Bombay Council and ordered to
be published on January 26th, 1780. They were based upon notifications
and orders previously issued from time to time at the Presidency and
approved by the Justices, and were eventually registered in the Court
of Oyer and Terminer and Gaol Delivery on April 17, 1780. Between
the date of their approval by the Council and their registration by
the Court, Tod revised them on the lines of the Police regulations
adopted in Calcutta in 1778.[25] It was further provided at the time of
their registration that “a Bench of Justices during the recess of the
Sessions should be authorized from time to time to make any necessary
alterations and amendments in the code, subject to their being affirmed
or reversed at the General Quarter Sessions of the Peace next ensuing”.
Tod’s regulations, which numbered forty-one, were the only rules for
the management of the police which had been passed up to that date in a
formal manner. They were first approved in Council, as mentioned above,
by the authority of the Royal Charter of 1753, granted to the East India
Company, and were then published and registered at the Sessions under the
authority conveyed by the subsequent Act (13 Geo. III) of 1773. They thus
constituted the earliest Bombay Police Code.

Meanwhile Tod found his new post by no means a bed of roses. On November
30th, 1779, he wrote to the Council stating that his work as Lieutenant
of Police had created for him many enemies and difficulties. He had
twice been indicted for felony and had been honourably acquitted on
both occasions: but he still lived in continual dread of blame. “By
unremitting and persevering attention to duty I have made many and
bitter enemies”, he wrote, “in consequence of which I have been obliged
in great measure to give up my bread.” He added that his military title
of Lieutenant of Police had proved obnoxious to many, and he offered to
resign it, suggesting at the same time that, following the precedent
set by Calcutta, he should be styled Superintendent of Police. Lastly
he asked the Council to fix his emoluments. The censure of the Grand
Jury, quoted in a previous paragraph, indicates clearly the opposition
with which Tod was faced; and one cannot but sympathize with an officer
whose endeavours to perform his duty efficiently resulted in his
arraignment before a criminal court. That he was honourably acquitted on
both occasions shows that at this date at any rate he was the victim of
malicious persecution.

As regards the style and title of his appointment, the Bombay Council
endorsed his views, and on March 29th, 1780, they declared the office
of Lieutenant of Police annulled, and created in its place the office
of Deputy of Police on a fixed salary of Rs. 3,000 a year. Accordingly
on April 5th, 1780, Tod formally relinquished his former office and
was appointed Deputy of Police, being permitted to draw his salary of
Rs. 3,000 a year with retrospective effect from the date of his first
appointment as “Lieutenant”. On the same day he submitted the revised
code of police regulations, which was formally registered in the Court of
Oyer and Terminer on April 17th. In abolishing the post of Lieutenant the
Bombay Government anticipated by a few months the order of the Court of
Directors, who wrote as follows on July 5th, 1780:—

    “Determined as we are to resist every attempt that may be made
    to create new offices at the expense of the Company, we cannot
    but be highly displeased with your having appointed an officer
    in quality of Lieutenant of Police with a salary of Rs. 4 a
    day. Whatever sum may have been paid in consequence must be
    refunded. If such an officer be of that utility to the public
    as you have represented, the public by some tax or otherwise
    should defray the charges thereof.”

Before leaving the subject of the actual appointment, it is to be
noted that at some date previous to 1780 the office of High Constable
was annexed to that of Deputy of Police; for, in his letter to the
Court of Sessions asking for the confirmation and publication of his
police regulations, Tod describes himself as “Deputy of Police and High
Constable”. No information, however, is forthcoming as to when this
office was created, nor when it was amalgamated with the appointment of
Deputy of Police.[26]

The actual details of Tod’s police administration are obscure. At the
outset he was apparently hampered by lack of funds, for which the Bombay
Government had made no provision. On January 17th, 1780, he submitted to
them an account of sums which he had advanced and expended in pursuance
of his duties as executive head of the police, and also informed the
Council that twenty-four constables, “who had been sworn in for the
villages without the gates”, had received no pay and consequently
had, in concert with the Bhandaris, been exacting heavy fees from the
inhabitants. Tod requested the Government to pay the wages due to these
men, or, failing that, to authorize payment by a general assessment on
all heads of families residing outside the gates of the town. The Council
reimbursed Tod’s expenses and issued orders for an assessment to meet
the cost of the constabulary.

While allowing for the many difficulties confronting him, Tod cannot
be held to have achieved much success as head of the police. His old
critics, the Grand Jury, returned to the charge at the Sessions which
opened on April 30th, 1787, and protested in strong terms against “the
yet inefficient state of every branch of the Police, which required
immediate and effectual amendment”. “That part of it” they said, “which
had for its object the personal security of the inhabitants and their
property was not sufficiently vigorous to prevent the frequent repetition
of murder, felony, and every other species of atrociousness—defects that
had often been the subject of complaint from the Grand Jury of Bombay,
but never with more reason than at that Sessions, as the number of
prisoners for various offences bore ample testimony.”

They animadverted on the want of proper regulations, on the great
difficulty of obtaining menial servants and the still greater difficulty
of retaining them in their service, on the enormous wages which they
demanded and their generally dubious characters. So far as concerned
the domestic servant problem, the Bombay public at the close of the
eighteenth century seems to have been in a position closely resembling
that of the middle-classes in England at the close of the Great War
(1914-18). The Grand Jury complained also of the defective state of the
high roads, of the uncleanliness of many streets in the Town, and of “the
filthiness of some of the inhabitants, being uncommonly offensive and a
real nuisance to society”. They objected to the obstruction caused by the
piling of cotton on the Green and in the streets, to the enormous price
of the necessaries of life, the bad state of the markets, and the high
rates of labour. They urged the Justices to press the Bombay Government
for reform and suggested “the appointment of a Committee of Police with
full powers to frame regulations and armed with sufficient authority to
carry them into execution, as had already been done with happy effect on
the representation of the Grand Juries at the other Presidencies.”

The serious increase of robbery and “nightly depredations” was ascribed
chiefly to the fact that all persons were allowed to enter Bombay
freely, without examination, and that the streets were infested with
beggars “calling themselves Faquiers and Jogees (Fakirs and Jogis)”,
who exacted contributions from the public. The beggar-nuisance is one
of the chief problems requiring solution in the modern City of Bombay:
and it may be some consolation to a harassed Commissioner of Police
to know that his predecessor of the eighteenth century was faced with
similar difficulties. The Grand Jury were not over-squeamish in their
recommendations on the subject. They advocated the immediate deportation
of all persons having no visible means of subsistence, and as a result
the police, presumably under Tod’s orders, sent thirteen suspicious
persons out of the Island.[27]

Three years later, in 1790, Tod’s administration came to a disastrous
close. He was tried for corruption. “The principal witness against him
(as must always happen)”, wrote Sir James Mackintosh, “was his native
receiver of bribes. He expatiated on the danger to all Englishmen of
convicting them on such testimony; but in spite of a topic which,
by declaring all black agents incredible, would render all white
villains secure, he was convicted; though—too lenient a judgment—he was
only reprimanded and suffered to resign his station”.[28] Sir James
Mackintosh, as is clear from his report of October, 1811, to the Bombay
Government, was stoutly opposed to the system of granting the chief
executive police officer wide judicial powers, such as those exercised by
Tod and his immediate successors: and his hostility to the system may
have led to his overlooking the exceptional difficulties and temptations
to which Tod was exposed. The Governor and his three Councillors, in whom
by Act XXIV, Geo. III, of 1785 (“for the better regulation and management
of the affairs of the East India Company and for establishing a Court
of Judicature”), the supreme judicial and executive administration of
Bombay were at this date vested, realized perhaps that Tod’s emoluments
of Rs. 250 a month were scarcely large enough to secure the integrity of
an official vested with such wide powers over a community, whose moral
standards were admittedly low, that Tod had done a certain amount of
good work under difficult conditions, and that the very nature of his
office was bound to create him many enemies. On these considerations they
may have deemed it right to temper justice with mercy and to permit the
delinquent to resign his appointment in lieu of being dismissed.

The identity of Tod’s immediate successor is unknown. Whoever he was, he
seems to have effected no amelioration of existing conditions. In 1793
the Grand Jury again drew pointed attention to “the total inadequacy
of the police arrangements for the preservation of the peace and the
prevention of crimes, and for bringing criminals to justice.” Bombay
was the scene of constant robberies by armed gangs, none of whom were
apprehended. The close of the eighteenth century was a period of chaos
and internecine warfare throughout a large part of India, and it is only
natural that Bombay should have suffered to some extent from the inroads
of marauders, tempted by the prospect of loot. A system of night-patrols,
weak in numbers and poorly paid, could not grapple effectively with
organized gangs of free-booters, nurtured on dangerous enterprises
and accustomed to great rapidity of movement. The complaints of the
Grand Jury, however, could not be overlooked, and led directly to the
appointment of a committee to consider the whole subject of the police
administration and suggest reform.

This committee was in the midst of its enquiry when Act XXXIII, Geo. III.
of 1793 was promulgated and rendered further investigation unnecessary.
Under that Act a Commission of the Peace, based upon the form adopted
in England, was issued for each Presidency by the Supreme Court of
Judicature in Bengal. The Governor and his Councillors remained _ex
officiis_ Justices of the Peace for the Island, and five additional
Justices were appointed by the Governor-General-in-Council on the
recommendation of the Bombay Government. The Commission of the Peace
further provided for the abolition of the office of Deputy of Police and
High Constable, and created in its place the office of Superintendent of

The first Superintendent of Police was Mr. Simon Halliday, who just prior
to the promulgation of the Act above-mentioned had been nominated by
the Justices to the office of High Constable. So much appears from the
records of the Court of Sessions; and one may presume that after the Act
came into operation in 1793 Mr. Halliday’s title was altered to that of
Superintendent. His powers were somewhat curtailed to accord with the
powers vested in the Superintendent of Police at Calcutta, and he was
bound to keep the Governor-in-Council regularly informed of all action
taken by him in his official capacity.

Mr. Halliday was in charge of the office of Superintendent of Police
until 1808. His assumption of office synchronized with a thorough
revision of the arrangements for policing the area outside the Fort,
which up to that date had proved wholly ineffective. Under the new
system, which is stated in Warden’s Report to have been introduced in
1793 and was approved by the Justices a little later, the troublesome
area known as “Dungree and the Woods” was split up into 14 police
divisions, each division being staffed by 2 Constables (European) and a
varying number of Peons (not exceeding 130 for the whole area), who were
to be stationary in their respective charges and responsible for dealing
with all illegal acts committed within their limits.

The disposition of this force of 158 men was as follows:—

                                        |   Number   | Number |
            Name of Chokey              |     of     |   of   | Total
                                        | Constables | Peons  |
    Washerman’s Tank (Dhobi Talao)      |     2      |   12   |  14
    Back Bay                            |     2      |   10   |  12
    Palo (Apollo _i.e._ Girgaum Road)   |     2      |    6   |   8
    Girgen (Girgaum)                    |     2      |   12   |  14
    Gowdevy (Gamdevi)                   |     2      |    8   |  10
    Pillajee Ramjee[29]                 |     2      |    8   |  10
    Moomladevy (Mumbadevi)              |     2      |   10   |  12
    Calvadevy (Kalbadevi)               |     2      |    8   |  10
    Sheik Maymon’s Market               |            |        |
      (Sheik Memon Street?)             |     2      |   10   |  12
    Butchers (Market?)                  |     2      |   10   |  12
    Cadjees (Kazi’s market or post)     |     2      |    8   |  10
    Ebram Cowns (Ibrahim Khan’s         |            |        |
      market or post)                   |     2      |    8   |  10
    Sat Tar (Sattad Street)             |     2      |   12   |  14
    Portuguese Church (Cavel)           |     2      |    8   |  10
                                        |    28      |  130   | 158

The names of the police-stations or _chaukis_ (chokeys) show that the
area thus policed included roughly the modern Dhobi Talao section and
the southern part of Girgaum, most of the present Market and Bhuleshwar
sections and the western parts of the modern Dongri and Mandvi sections.
In fact, the expression “Dongri and the Woods” represented the area which
formed the nucleus of what were known in the middle of the nineteenth
century as the “Old Town” and “New Town”. At the date of Mr. Halliday’s
appointment, this part of the Island was almost entirely covered with
oarts (_hortas_) and plantations, intersected by a few narrow roads;
and if one may judge by the illustration “A Night in Dongri” in _The
Adventures of Qui-hi_ (1816),[30] a portion of this area was inhabited
largely by disreputable persons.

Simultaneously with the introduction of the arrangements described above,
an establishment of “rounds” hitherto maintained by the arrack-farmer,
consisting of one clerk of militia, 4 havaldars and 86 sepoys, and
costing Rs. 318 per month, was abolished. Mahim, which was still regarded
as a suburb, had its own “Chief,” who performed general, magisterial
and police duties in that area; while other outlying places like Sion
and Sewri were furnished with a small body of native police under a
native officer, subject to the general supervision and control of the
Superintendent. In 1797 the condition of the public thoroughfares
and roads was so bad that, on the death in that year of Mr. Lankhut,
the Surveyor of Roads, his department was placed in charge of the
Superintendent of Police; while in 1800 the office of Clerk of the Market
was also annexed to that of the chief police officer, in pursuance of the
recommendations of a special committee. In the following year, 1801, the
old office of Chief of Mahim was finally abolished, and his magisterial
and police duties were thereupon vested in the Superintendent of Police.
To enable him to cope with this additional duty, an appointment of
Deputy Superintendent, officiating in the Mahim district, was created,
the holder of which was directly subordinate in all matters to the
Superintendent of Police. The first Deputy Superintendent was Mr. James
Fisher, who continued in office until the date (1808) of Mr. Halliday’s
retirement when he was succeeded by Mr. James Morley.




As has been shown in the preceding chapter, the importance of the office
of Superintendent of Police had been considerably enhanced by the year
1809. Excluding the control of markets and roads, which was taken from
him in that year, the Superintendent had executive control of all police
arrangements in the Island, exercised all the duties of a High Constable,
an Alderman and a Justice of the Peace, was Secretary of the Committee of
Buildings, a member of the Town Committee, and a member of the Buildings
Committee of H.M.’s Naval Offices in Bombay. He had been appointed a
Justice of the Peace at his own request, on the grounds that he would
thereby be enabled to carry out his police work more effectively.
His deputy at Mahim was also appointed a Justice of the Peace on the
publication of Act XLVIII, Geo. III. of 1808.

The year 1809 marks another crisis in the history of Bombay’s police
administration, to which several factors may be held to have contributed.
In the first place crime was still rampant and defied all attempts
to reduce it. Bodies of armed men continued to enter the Island, as
for example in 1806 and 1807, and to terrify, molest and loot the
residents; and though these gangs remained for some little time within
the Superintendent’s jurisdiction, they were never apprehended by the
police.[31] In his report of November 15, 1810, Warden refers also to
an attack by “Cossids”, _i.e._ _Kasids_ or letter-carriers, who must
have been induced to leave for the moment their ordinary duties as
postal-runners and messengers by the apparent immunity from arrest and
punishment enjoyed by the bands of regular thieves and free-booters. In
consequence of the general lawlessness traffic in stolen goods was at
this date a most lucrative profession, and obliged the Justices in 1797
to nominate individual goldsmiths and _shroffs_ as public pawnbrokers
for a term of five years, on condition that they gave security for good
conduct and furnished the police regularly with returns of valuable
goods sold or purchased by them.[32] Another source of annoyance to the
authorities was the constant desertion of sailors from the vessels of the
Royal Navy and of the East India Company. These men were rarely arrested
and the police appeared unable to discover their haunts. The peons,
_i.e._ native constables were declared to be seldom on duty, except
when they expected the Superintendent to pass, and to spend their time
generally in gambling and other vices. In brief, the police force was
so inefficient and crime was so widespread and uncontrolled that public
opinion demanded urgent reform.

In the second place, the old system whereby the Governor and his Council
constituted the Court of Oyer and Terminer and Gaol Delivery disappeared
on the establishment in 1798 of a Recorder’s Court. The powers of the
Justices, who were authorized to hold Sessions of the Peace, remained
unimpaired, and nine of them, exclusive of the Members of Government,
were nominated for the Town and Island. It was inevitable that the
constitution of a competent judicial tribunal, presided over by a trained
lawyer, should, apart from other causes, lead to a general stock-taking
of the judicial administration of Bombay, and incidentally should direct
increased attention to the subject of the powers vested in the Police and
the source whence they drew their authority.

The powers of the Superintendent of Police at this epoch were very wide.
First, he had power to convict offenders summarily and punish them at the
police office. This procedure, in the opinion of the Recorder, Sir James
Mackintosh (1803-11), was quite illegal, inasmuch as the punishments
were inflicted under rules, which from 1753 to 1807 were not confirmed
by the Court of Directors and had therefore no validity. The rules made
between 1807 and 1811 were likewise declared by the same authority to
be invalid, as they had not been registered in the court of judicature.
On other grounds also the police rules authorizing this procedure were
_ultra vires_. Secondly, the Superintendent inflicted the punishment of
banishment and condemned offenders to hard labour in chains on public
works. Between February 28, 1808, and January 31, 1809, he (_i.e._ Mr.
Halliday) banished 217 persons from Bombay, and condemned 64 persons to
hard labour in the docks. During the three years, 1807-1809, about 200
offenders were thus condemned to work in chains. On the other hand, the
Superintendent frequently liberated prisoners before the expiry of their
sentence, and in this way released 26 persons on December 20, 1809,
without assigning any reason. He condemned persons also to flogging. He
kept _no_ record of his cases. “He may arrest 40 men in the morning”,
wrote Sir James Mackintosh, “he may try, convict and condemn them in the
forenoon; and he may close the day by exercising the Royal prerogative
of pardon towards them all.” It is hardly surprising that the mind of
the lawyer revolted against the system, and that in his indignation
he characterized the powers of the Superintendent as “a precipitate,
clandestine and arbitrary jurisdiction.”[33]

In the third place, the powers of the Governor-in-Council to enact police
regulations for Bombay were defined anew and enlarged by Act XLVII, Geo.
III. of 1808, under the provisions of which the Government was empowered
to nominate 16 persons, exclusive of the members of the Governor’s
Council, to act as Justices of the Peace. The promulgation of this Act,
which was received in Bombay in 1808, rendered necessary a thorough
revision of the conditions and circumstances of police control.

In consequence, therefore, of the prevalence of crime and the notorious
inefficiency and corruption of the Police, the hostility of the new
Recorder’s Court to the existing system of administration, and the need
of a new enactment under Act XLVII, the Bombay Government appointed a
committee in 1809 to review the whole position and make suggestions for
further reform. The President of the committee was Mr. F. Warden, Chief
Secretary to Government, who eventually submitted proposals in a letter
dated November 15, 1810. The urgent need of reform was emphasized by the
fact that the Superintendent of Police, Mr. Charles Briscoe, who had
succeeded Mr. Halliday in 1809, was tried at the Sessions of November,
1810, for corruption, as Tod had been in 1790, and that complaints
against the tyranny and inefficiency of the force were being daily
received by the authorities. Sir James Mackintosh was only expressing
public opinion when in 1811 he recommended Government “in their wisdom
and justice to abolish even the name of Superintendent of Police, and to
efface every vestige of an office of which no enlightened friend to the
honour of the British name can recollect the existence without pain.”

Warden’s proposals were briefly the following. He advocated the
adaptation to Bombay of Colquhoun’s system for improving the police
of London, and suggested the appointment on fixed salaries of two
executive magistrates for the criminal branch of the Police, to be
selected from among the Company’s servants or British subjects—“one for
the Town of Bombay, whose jurisdiction shall extend to the Engineer’s
limits and to Colaba, and to offences committed in the harbour of
Bombay, with a suitable establishment; and a second for the division
without the garrison, including the district of Mahim, with a suitable
establishment.” Both these magistrates were to have executive and
judicial functions, and were also to perform “municipal duties”.[34]
The active functions of the police were to be performed by a Deputy,
while “the control, influence, and policy” were to be centred in a
Superintendent-General of Police, aided by the two magistrates. The
latter officer was to be responsible for the recruitment of the Deputy’s
subordinates, and the _Mukadams_ (headmen) of each caste were to form
part of the police establishment.

Warden dealt at some length with the qualifications and powers
which the chief police officer should possess. He proposed that the
Superintendent’s power of inflicting corporal punishment should be
abolished, and that his duties should extend only to the apprehension,
not to the punishment, of offenders; to the enforcement of regulations
for law and order; to the superintendence of the scavenger’s and
road-repairing departments; to watching “the motley group of characters
that infest this populous island;” and to the vigilant supervision of
houses maintained for improper and illegal purposes. “He should be
the arbitrator of disputes between the natives, arising out of their
religious prejudices. He should have authority over the Harbour, and
should be in charge of convicts subjected to hard labour in the Docks,
and those sent down to Bombay under sentence of transportation. He
should not be the whole day closeted in his chamber, but abroad and
active in the discharge of his duty; he should now and then appear
where least expected. The power and vital influence of the office, and
not its name only, should be known and felt. He ought to number among
his acquaintances every rogue in the place and know all their haunts
and movements. A character of this description is not imaginary, nor
difficult of formation. We have heard of a Sartine and a Fouché; a
Colquhoun exists; and I am informed that the character of Mr. Blaqueire
at Calcutta, as a Magistrate, is equally efficient.” Warden, indeed,
demanded a kind of “admirable Crichton,”—strictly honest, yet the
boon-companion of every rascal in Bombay, keeping abreast of his
office-work by day and perambulating the more dangerous haunts of the
local criminals by night. It is only on rare occasions that a man of such
varied abilities and energy is forthcoming: and nearly half a century was
destined to elapse before Bombay found a Police Superintendent who more
than fulfilled the high standard recommended by the Chief Secretary in

The upshot of the Police Committee’s enquiry and of the report of its
President was the publication of Rule, Ordinance and Regulation I of
1812, which was drafted by Sir James Mackintosh in 1811, and formed the
basis of the police administration of Bombay until 1856. Under this
Regulation, three Justices of the Peace were appointed Magistrates of
Police with the following respective areas of jurisdiction:—

    (_a_) The Senior Magistrate, for the Fort and Harbour.

    (_b_) The Second Magistrate, for the area between the Fort
    Walls and a line drawn from the northern boundary of Mazagon to
    Breach Candy.

    (_c_) The Third Magistrate, with his office at Mahim, for all
    the rest of the Island.[35]

Included in the official staff of these three magistrates were:—

    a Purvoe (_i.e._ Prabhu clerk) on Rs. 50 per month
    a Cauzee (Kazi)                 ”   ”   8  ”    ”
    a Bhut (Bhat, Brahman)          ”   ”   8  ”    ”
    a Jew Cauzee (Rabbi)            ”   ”  12  ”    ”
    an Andaroo (Parsi Mobed)        ”   ”   6  ”    ”
    Two Constables            each  ”   ”   9  ”    ”
    One Havildar                    ”   ”   8  ”    ”
    Four Peons                each  ”   ”   6  ”    ”

The executive head of the Police force was a Deputy of Police and High
Constable on a salary of Rs. 500 a month, while the general control
and deliberative powers were vested in a Superintendent-General of
Police. All appointments of individuals to the subordinate ranks
of the force were made by the Magistrates of Police, who with the
Superintendent-General met regularly as a Bench to consider all matters
appertaining to the police administration of Bombay. European constables
were appointed by the Justices at Quarter Sessions, and the _Mukadams_
or headmen of each caste formed an integral feature of the police

The strength and cost of the force in 1812 were as follows:—

     1 Deputy of Police and Head
       Constable                          Rs. 500 per month
     2 European Assistants (at Rs.
       100 each)                          Rs. 200  ”    ”
     3 Purvoes (Prabhus, clerks)          Rs. 110  ”    ”
     1 Inspector of Markets               Rs.  80  ”    ”
     2 Overseers of Roads (respectable
       natives at 50 each)                Rs. 100  ”    ”
    12 Havaldars (at Rs. 8 each)          Rs.  96  ”    ”
     8 Naiks (at Rs. 7 each)              Rs.  56  ”    ”
     6 European Constables                Rs. 365  ”    ”
    50 Peons (at Rs. 6 each)              Rs. 300  ”    ”
     1 Battaki man                        Rs.   6  ”    ”
     1 Havaldar and 12 Peons for the
       Mahim patrol                       Rs.  80  ”    ”

    _Harbour Police._

    7 Boats _i.e._ 49 men                 Rs. 300  ”    ”
    1 Purvoe                              Rs.  50  ”    ”
    4 Peons (at Rs. 6 each)               Rs.  24  ”    ”
    Contingencies                         Rs.  74  ”    ”

Thus, including the Deputy of Police, the land force comprised 10
Europeans, one of whom was in charge of the markets, and 86 Indians, of
whom two were inspectors of roads. The clerical staff consisted of three
Prabhus. The water-police consisted of 53 Indians and one clerk. The cost
of the force, including the water-police, amounted to Rs. 27,204 a year,
to which had to be added Rs. 888 for contingencies, Rs. 1425 for the
clothing of havaldars and peons, and Rs. 2000 for stationery.[36]

The inclusion in the magisterial establishment of “a Cauzee” etc.
requires brief comment. Down to 1790 the administration of criminal
justice in India was largely in the hands of Indian judges and officials
of various denominations, though under European supervision in various
forms; and even after that date, when the native judiciary had ceased
to exist except in quite subordinate positions, the law that was
administered in criminal cases was in substance Muhammadan law, and a
Kazi and a Mufti were retained in the provincial courts of appeal and
circuit as the exponents of Muhammadan law and the deliverers of a formal
_fatwa_. The term Kazi on this account remained in formal existence till
the abolition of the Sadr Courts in 1862.[37] The object of associating
Kazis with the Bombay magistrates of police at the opening of the
nineteenth century was doubtless to ensure that in all cases brought
before them, involving questions of the law, customs and traditions of
the chief communities and sects inhabiting the Island, the magistrates
should have the advantage of consulting those who were able to interpret
and give a ruling on such matters. The Kazi proper was the authority on
all matters relating to the Muhammadan community; the “Jew Cauzee” on
matters relating to the Bene-Israel, who from 1760 to the middle of the
nineteenth century contributed an important element to the Company’s
military forces;[38] the Bhat presumably gave advice on subjects
affecting Hindus of the lower classes; while the “Andaroo” (_i.e._
Andhiyaru, a Parsi priest) was required in disputes and cases involving
Parsis, whose customs in respect of marriage, divorce and inheritance had
not at this date been codified and given the force of law.

The Regulation of 1812 effected little or no improvement in the state of
the public security. Gangs of criminals burned ships in Bombay waters
to defraud the insurance-companies; robberies by armed gangs occurred
frequently in all parts of the Island;[39] and every householder of
consequence was compelled to employ private watchmen, the fore-runners
of the modern Ramosi and Bhaya, who were often in collusion with the
bad characters of the more disreputable quarters of the Town.[40] Even
Colaba, which contained few dwellings, was described in 1827 as the
resort of thieves.[41] The executive head of the force at this date was
Mr. Richard Goodwin, who succeeded the unfortunate Briscoe in 1811 and
served until 1816, when apparently he was appointed Senior Magistrate of
Police, with Mr. W. Erskine as his Junior.

The proceedings of both the magistrates and the police were regarded with
a jaundiced eye by the Recorder’s Court, and Sir Edward West, who filled
the appointment, first of Recorder and then of Chief Justice, from 1822
to 1828, animadverted severely in 1825 upon the illegalities perpetrated
by the magisterial courts, presided over at that date by Messrs. J. Snow
and W. Erskine[42]. His successor in the Supreme Court,[43] Sir J. P.
Grant, passed equally severe strictures upon the police administration
at the opening of the Quarter Sessions in 1828.

    “The calendar is a heavy one. Several of the crimes betoken
    a contempt of public justice almost incredible and a state
    of morals inconsistent with any degree of public prosperity.
    Criminals have not only escaped, but seem never to have been
    placed in jeopardy. The result is a general alarm among native
    inhabitants. We are told that you are living under the laws of
    England. The only answer is that it is impossible. What has
    been administered till within a few years back has not been the
    law of England, nor has it been administered in the spirit of
    the law of England; else it would have been felt in the ready
    and active support the people would have given to the law and
    its officers, and in the confidence people would have reposed
    in its efficacy for their protection.”[44]

The punishments inflicted at this date were on the whole almost as
barbarous as those in vogue in earlier days. In 1799, for example, we
read of a Borah, Ismail Sheikh, being hanged for theft: in 1804 a woman
was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment for perjury, during which
period she was to stand once a year, on the first day of the October
Sessions, in the pillory in front of the Court House (afterwards the
Great Western Hotel), with labels on her breast and back describing her
crime: and in the same year one Harjivan was sentenced to be executed
and hung in chains, presumably on Cross Island (_Chinal Tekri_), where
the bodies of malefactors were usually exposed at this epoch. One James
Pennico, who was convicted of theft in 1804, escaped lightly with three
months’ imprisonment and a public whipping at the cart’s tail from Apollo
Gate to Bazaar Gate; in 1806 a man who stole a watch was sentenced to two
years’ labour in the Bombay Docks.[45] The public pillory and flogging
were punishments constantly inflicted during the early years of the
nineteenth century. The pillory, which was in charge of the Deputy of
Police, was located on the Esplanade in the neighbourhood of the site now
occupied by the Municipal Offices. The last instance of its use occurred
in 1834, when two Hindus were fastened in it by sentence of the Supreme
Court and were pelted by boys for about an hour with a mixture composed
of red earth, cowdung, decayed fruits and bad eggs. At intervals their
faces were washed by two low-caste Hindus, and the pelting of filth
was then resumed to the sound of a fanfaronade of horns blown by the
Bhandaris attached to the Court.[46] Meanwhile the English doctrine of
the equality of all men before the law was gradually being established,
though the earliest instance of a Brahman being executed for a crime
of violence did not occur until 1846. The case caused considerable
excitement among orthodox Hindus, whose views were based wholly upon the
laws of Manu.[47]

The early “thirties” were remarkable for much crime and for a serious
public disturbance, the Parsi-Hindu riots, which broke out in July,
1832, in consequence of a Government order for the destruction of
pariah-dogs, which at this date infested every part of the Island. Two
European constables, stimulated by the reward of eight annas for every
dog destroyed, were killing one in the proximity of a house, when they
were attacked and severely handled by a mob composed of Parsis and Hindus
of several sects. On the following day all the shops in the Town were
closed, and a mob of about 300 roughs commenced to intimidate all persons
who attempted to carry out their daily business. The bazar was deserted;
and the mob forcibly destroyed the provisions intended for the Queen’s
Royals, who were on duty in the Castle, and stopped all supplies of food
and water for the residents of Colaba and the shipping in the harbour. As
the mob continued to gather strength, Mr. de Vitré, the Senior Magistrate
of Police, called for assistance from the garrison, which quickly
quelled the disturbance.[48]

The Press of this date recorded constant cases of burglary and dacoity.
“The utmost anxiety and alarm prevail amongst the inhabitants of this
Island, especially those residing in Girgaum, Mazagon, Byculla and the
neighbourhood, in consequence of the depredations and daring outrages
committed by gangs of robbers armed with swords, pistols and even
musquets, who, from the open and fearless manner in which they proceed
along the streets, sometimes carrying torches with them, seem to dread
neither opposition nor detection, and to defy the police.” It was even
said that sepoys of the 4th Regiment of Native Infantry, then stationed
in the Island, joined these gangs of marauders, and when two men of the
11th Regiment were arrested on suspicion by a magistrate, their comrades
stoned the magistrate’s party. “It would be far better that the Island
should be vacated altogether by the sepoy regiments,” said the _Courier_,
“than that it should be exposed repeatedly to these excesses.” Fifty men
of the Poona Auxiliary Force had to be brought down to aid the police and
to patrol the roads at night.[49]

According to Mrs. Postans, the police administration had improved and
robberies had become less frequent at the date of her visit, 1838.
“The establishment of an efficient police force,” she writes, “is one
of the great modern improvements of the Presidency. Puggees (_Pagis_
_i.e._ professional trackers) are still retained for the protection of
property: but the highways and bazaars are now orderly and quiet, and
robberies much less frequent.”[50] The authoress admitted, however, that
the Esplanade—particularly the portion of it occupied by the tents of
military cadets—was the resort of “a clique of dexterous plunderers,” who
during the night used to cast long hooks into the tents and so withdraw
all the loose articles and personal effects within reach.[51] The
prevalence of more serious crime is indicated by her remarks about the
Bhandari toddy-drawers:—

    “It appears that in many cases of crime brought to the notice
    of the Bombay magistracy, evidence which has condemned the
    accused has been elicited from a Bundarrie, often sole witness
    of the culprit’s guilt. Murderers, availing themselves of the
    last twilight ray to decoy their victims to the closest depths
    of the palmy woods and there robbing them of the few gold or
    silver ornaments they might possess, have little thought of the
    watchful toddy-drawer, in his lofty and shaded eyry.”[52]

That the improvement was not very marked is also proved by the fact
that in 1839, the year after Mrs. Postans’ visit, the Bench of Justices
increased their contribution to Government for police charges to Rs.
10,000, the additional cost being declared necessary owing to the rapid
expansion of the occupied urban area, and to the grave inadequacy of
the force for coping with crime. So far as watch and ward duties were
concerned, the police must have welcomed the first lighting of the
streets with oil-lamps in 1843. Ten years later there were said to
be 50 lamps in existence, which were lighted from dusk to midnight,
and the number continued to increase until October, 1865, when the
first gas-lamps were lighted in the Esplanade and Bhendy Bazar. On the
other hand drunkenness was a fruitful source of crime, and the number
of country liquor-shops was practically unlimited. “On a moderate
computation” wrote Mrs. Postans “every sixth shop advertises the sale of
toddy.” With such facilities for intoxication, crime was scarcely likely
to decrease.

But other and deeper reasons existed for the unsatisfactory state of the
public peace and security. Throughout the whole of the period from 1800
to 1850, and in a milder form till the establishment of the High Court in
1861, there was constant friction, occasionally of an acute character,
between the Supreme Court and the Company’s government and officials.
Moreover, the original intention of the Crown that the Supreme Court
should act as a salutary check upon the Company’s administration was
frustrated by several periods of interregnum between 1828 and 1855, the
Court being represented frequently by only one Judge and on one occasion
being entirely closed owing to the absence of judges. This antagonism
between the highest judicial tribunal and the executive authority could
not fail to react unfavourably on the subordinate machinery of the
administration, and coupled with inadequacy of numbers, insufficiency of
pay, and a general lack of integrity in the Police force itself, may be
held to have been largely responsible for the comparative freedom enjoyed
by wrong-doers and their manifest contempt for authority.

Contemporary records indicate that the Police Office at this period
(1800-1850) was located in the Fort; the court of the Senior Magistrate
of Police was housed in a building in Forbes Street, and the court of the
Second Magistrate in a house in Mazagon. The powers of both Magistrates
were limited, and all cases involving sentences of more than six months’
imprisonment, or affecting property valued at more than Rs. 50, had to
be sent to the Court of Petty Sessions or committed to the Recorder’s,
subsequently the Supreme Court. The Court of Petty Sessions was composed
of the two Magistrates of Police and a Justice of the Peace (the
Superintendent-General of Sir J. Mackintosh’s draft Regulation), and sat
every Monday morning at 10 a.m. at the Police Office in the Fort. The
constitution of this Court was afterwards amended by Rule, Ordinance and
Regulation 1 of 1834, which, though not registered in the Supreme Court
as required by Act XLVII, Geo. III, was subsequently legalized by India
Act VII of 1836. By that Ordinance the Court was composed of not less
than three Justices of the Peace, one of whom was a Magistrate of Police,
the second was a European, and the third was a Native of India, not born
of European parents. It remained in existence, with extended powers,
until the year 1877, when, together with three Magistrates of Police, it
was superseded by the Presidency Magistrates Act.

A word may here be said on the subject of the well-known uniform of the
Bombay constabulary, the bright yellow cap and the dark blue tunic and
knickers, which once caused a wag to style the Bombay police-sepoy “the
empty black bottle with the yellow seal.” The origin of the uniform is
obscure; but it was certainly in use in 1838, for Mrs. Postans describes
the dress of the men as “a dark blue coat, black belt, and yellow
turban.”[53] An illustration in _The Adventures of Qui-Hi_, entitled “A
Night in Dongri,” shows that the uniform was worn at a still earlier
date. In the background of the picture two persons are obviously having
an altercation with a police-constable, and the latter is depicted
wearing the flat yellow cap and blue uniform familiar to every modern
resident of Bombay. The dress of the constabulary must therefore have
been adopted at some date prior to 1816, and it is probably a legitimate
inference that it dates back to the reorganization of 1812, and was
possibly adapted from an older dress worn at the end of the eighteenth
century. In any case the distinctive features of the dress of the Bombay
police-constable of to-day are well over one hundred years old.

[Illustration: Police Constable

Bombay City]

When Thomas Holloway relinquished the office of High Constable
in 1829, his place was taken by one José Antonio, presumably a
Portuguese Eurasian, who had been serving as Constable to the Court of
Petty Sessions. José Antonio seems to have performed the duties of
executive police officer until 1835, when Captain Shortt was appointed
“Superintendent of Police and Surveyor etc. etc.” Between 1829 and 1855
the following officials were responsible for the police administration of

     Period |                |                 |    Constable
       of   |     Senior     |      Junior     |        or
     Office |   Magistrate   |    Magistrate   | Supdt. of Police
    1829-33 | J. D. de Vitré |  H. Gray        |  José Antonio.
      1834  |   J. Warden    |    Do.          |       Do.
            |                |                 +------------------
            |                |                 | Supdt. of Police
            |                |                 +------------------
    1835-39 |   J. Warden    |    H. Willis    |   Capt. Shortt
    1840    | J. Warden      |  E. F. Danvers  |   Capt. Burrows
    1841-45 | P. W. Le Geyt  |       Do.       |        Do.
    1846    | G. L. Farrant  |       Do.       |  Capt. W. Curtis
    1847-48 |    G. Grant    |       Do.       |        Do.
    1849    |      Do.       |       Do.       |  Capt. E. Baynes
    1850-51 |    A. Spens    |       Do.       |        Do.
    1852-53 |      Do.       | L. C. C. Rivett |        Do.
    1854-55 | A. K. Corfield |   T. Thornton   |        Do.

It will be apparent from this list that from 1835 to 1855 the executive
control of the Police force was entrusted to a series of junior officers
belonging to the Company’s military forces, who probably possessed little
or no aptitude for police work, were poorly paid for their services,
and had no real encouragement to make their mark in civil employ.
Consequently, despite increased expenditure on the force, these military
Superintendents of Police secured very little control over the criminal
classes, and effected no real improvement in the _morale_ of their
subordinates. In 1844, for example, a succession of daring robberies was
carried out in the Harbour by gangs of criminals, who sailed round in
boats from Back Bay. The most notorious of them was known as the Bandar
Gang[54]; and their unchecked excesses led to the formation of a separate
floating police-force under the control of a Deputy Superintendent on Rs.
500 a month. House-breaking was of daily occurrence in Colaba, Sonapur,
Kalbadevi and Girgaum,[55] and constant complaints of dishonesty among
the European constables and of the gross inefficiency of the native rank
and file were made to the authorities by both public bodies and private
residents.[56] Corruption was prevalent in all ranks of the force,
and most of the subordinate officers, both European and Indian, were
in secret collusion with agents and go-betweens, some of them members
of the higher Hindu castes, who assisted their acts of extortion and
blackmail and shared with them the proceeds of their venality. Bands of
ruffians infested the thoroughfares and lanes of the native city, and no
respectable resident dared venture unprotected into the streets after

The period immediately preceding the year of the Mutiny was also
remarkable for two serious breaches of the public peace. The earlier
occurred at Mahim in 1850, on the last day of the Muharram festival, in
consequence of a dispute between two factions of the Khoja community,
and resulted in the murder of three men and the wounding of several
others.[57] The later riots broke out in October, 1851, between the
Parsis and Muhammadans, in consequence of a very indiscreet article on
the Muhammadan religion which was published in the _Gujarati_, a Parsi
newspaper. The Muhammadans, incensed at the statements made about the
Prophet, gathered at the Jama Masjid on October 17th in very large
numbers, and after disabling a small police patrol, stationed there to
keep the peace, commenced attacking the Parsis and destroying their
property. The public-conveyance stables at Paidhoni, which at that date
belonged to Parsis, were wrecked, liquor-shops were broken open and
rifled, shops and private houses were pillaged. Captain Baynes, the
Superintendent of Police, and Mr. Spens, the Senior Magistrate, managed
with a strong force to disperse the main body of rioters, capturing
eighty-five of them: but towards evening, as there were signs of a fresh
outbreak and the neighbourhood of Bhendy Bazaar was practically in a
state of siege, the garrison-troops were marched down to Mumbadevi and
thence distributed in pickets throughout the area of disturbance. This
action finally quelled the rioting, and the annual Muharram festival,
which commenced ten days later, passed off without any untoward

In the year 1855 the post of Senior Magistrate was held by Mr. Corfield,
Messrs. T. Thornton and N. W. Oliver being respectively Junior and Third
Magistrates. In that year the public outcry against the police had become
so great, and the general insecurity had been reflected in so constant
a series of crimes against person and property, that Lord Elphinstone’s
government determined to institute a searching enquiry into the whole
subject. With this object they appointed to the immediate command of
the force in 1856 Mr. Charles Forjett, who was serving at the moment as
Deputy Superintendent. Through his energy and activity, they were able
to satisfy themselves fully of the prevalence of wholesale corruption
in the force. Drastic executive action was at once taken; and this was
followed by the drafting and promulgation of Act XIII of 1856 for the
future constitution and regulation of the Police Force. At the same time
Mr. Corfield was succeeded as Senior Magistrate by Mr. W. Crawford. The
credit for the introduction of the reforms and for the restoration of
public confidence belongs wholly to Charles Forjett, whose successful
administration during a period fraught with grave political dangers
deserves to be recorded in a separate chapter. His appointment in 1855
may be said to inaugurate the _régime_ of the professional police
official as distinguished from the purely military officer, and to mark
the final disappearance of an antiquated system, under which inefficiency
and crime flourished exceedingly. Henceforth a new standard of
administration was imposed, whereby the Bombay Police Force was enabled
to maintain the public peace effectively and also to acquire by degrees
a larger share of the confidence and co-operation of the general body of




Charles Forjett[60], who was appointed Superintendent of Police in 1855,
was of Eurasian (now styled Anglo-Indian) parentage and was brought up
in India. His father was an officer of the old Madras Fort Artillery
and had been wounded at the capture of Seringapatam in 1799. In _Our
Real Danger in India_, which he published in 1877, some few years after
his retirement, Forjett states that he served the Bombay Government for
forty years, first as a topographical surveyor and then successively
as official translator in Marathi and Hindustani, Sheriff, head of
the Poona police, subordinate and chief uncovenanted assistant judge,
superintendent of police in the Southern Maratha Country, and finally as
Commissioner of Police, Bombay. He first earned the favourable notice
of the Bombay Government by his reform and reorganization of the police
in the Belgaum division of the Southern Maratha Country; and there is
probably considerable justification for his own statement that the peace
and security of the southern districts of the Presidency during the
period of the Mutiny were chiefly due to his constructive work in this

He owed his later success as a police-officer to three main factors,
namely his great linguistic faculty, his wide knowledge of Indian
caste-customs and habits, and his masterly capacity for assuming native
disguises. Born and bred in India, he had learnt the vernaculars of the
Bombay Presidency in his youth, and had been familiar from his earliest
years with those subtle differences of belief and custom which the
average home-bred Englishman knows nothing about and can never master.
His black hair and sallow complexion—in brief, the strong “strain of the
country” in his blood—enabled him, when disguised, to pass among natives
of India as one of themselves. A story is told to illustrate his powers
of disguise. He once told the Governor, Lord Elphinstone, that in spite
of special orders prohibiting the entrance of any one and in defiance
of the strongest military cordon that His Excellency could muster, he
would effect his entrance to Government House, Parel, and appear at the
Governor’s bedside at 6 a.m. Lord Elphinstone challenged him to fulfil
his boast and took every precaution to prevent his ingress. Nevertheless
Forjett duly appeared the following morning in the Governor’s bedroom—in
the disguise of a _mehtar_ (sweeper). With these special qualifications
for police work were combined a strong will and great personal courage.

Forjett’s fame rests mainly upon his action during the Mutiny, and one is
apt to overlook the great but less sensational services which he rendered
to Government and the public in subduing lawlessness and crime in Bombay.
As mentioned in the previous chapter, he was serving as Assistant
or Deputy Superintendent of Police for some few months before Lord
Elphinstone placed him in control of the force, and during that period
he set himself to test the extent of the corruption which was believed
to prevail widely among all ranks. By means of his disguises he managed
to get into close touch with the men who were acting as go-betweens and
receivers of bribes, and even dined with one of them, a high-caste Hindu,
without betraying his identity. Through these men he also contrived on
various occasions to test the integrity of individual members of the
force. In consequence he was able in a very short time to expose the
whole system of corruption and to furnish Government with the evidence
they required for a drastic purging of the upper and lower grades.

That duty accomplished, he turned his attention to the criminal
classes.[61] “At a time” wrote the late Mr. K. N. Kabraji in his
_Reminiscences of Fifty Years Ago_, “when the public safety was quite
insecure, when the city was infested by desperate gangs of thieves and
other malefactors, Forjett had to use all his wonderful energy and acumen
to break their power and rid the city of their presence. He strengthened
and reformed the Police, which had been powerless to cope with them.
There was a notorious band of athletic ruffians in Bazar Gate Street,
consisting chiefly of Parsis. They used to occupy some rising ground,
from which they swooped down on their prey. Their daily acts of crime and
violence were committed with impunity, and their names were whispered by
mothers to hush their children to silence.

“I may here give a personal instance of the insecurity of the times. As
I was returning one night with my father from the Grant Road theatre
in a carriage, a ruffian prowling about in the dark at Falkland road
snatched my gold-embroidered cap and ran away with it. The road had been
newly built and ran through fields and waste land. Khetwadi, as its
name implies, was also an agricultural district. Grant road, Falkland
road and Khetwadi were then lonely places on the outskirts of the City,
and it is no wonder that wayfarers in these localities could never be
secure of purse or person. But on the Esplanade, under the very walls
of the Fort, occurred instances of violence and highway robbery, which
went practically unchecked. Not a few of the offenders were soldiers.
They used to lie in wait for a likely carriage with a rope thrown across
the road, so that the horse stumbled and fell, and then they rifled the
occupants of the carriage at their leisure. It was Mr. Forjett, whose
vigilance and activity brought all this crying scandal to an end.”[62]

The rapid change for the better which followed Forjett’s appointment to
the office of Superintendent is illustrated by the fact that whereas
in 1855 only 23 per cent of property stolen was recovered, in 1856 the
percentage had risen to 59. Mr. W. Crawford, “Senior Magistrate of
Police and Commissioner of Police”, in his annual return of crime for
the year 1859 remarked that “the total continued absence of gang and
highway robbery is most satisfactory”, and drew pointed attention to the
efficiency of the “executive branch of the police” under Mr. Forjett.[63]
In the following year, 1860, there were only three cases of burglary,
and although the value of property stolen amounted to Rs. 187,000, the
police managed to recover property worth Rs. 73,000. Serious offences
against the person also seem to have decreased in number during Forjett’s
_régime_. The Senior Magistrate observed with satisfaction that “the
debasing spectacle of a public execution was not called for” during
the year 1859; and such records as still exist of the later years of
Forjett’s administration point to the same conclusion.[64]

It must not be assumed, however, that this period lacked _causes
célèbres_. A brief reference to a few of the more important cases will
serve to show the varied character of the enquiries carried out by the
Police. In 1860 a European seaman, the chief mate of the _Lady Canning_,
was arraigned before the Supreme Court for an attempt to administer
poison to the Master and three others belonging to the vessel. The chief
witness for the prosecution, however, though bound by recognizances to
appear at the trial, sailed from Bombay before the proceedings commenced
and could not be brought back. The prisoner was therefore acquitted. In
the same year a Bene-Israel and two Hindus were convicted of piracy at
the Sessions and sentenced to seven years’ transportation, for having
plundered a vessel at anchor off Alibag of ten thousand rupees in silver.
In 1861 a Parsi contractor was committed for trial on a charge of
manslaughter. He was in charge of the work of digging foundations for a
new cotton-spinning mill in Tardeo (probably one of Sir Dinshaw Petit’s
mills), when an accident occurred in which five men lost their lives.
The contractor was held to have shown a culpable lack of caution; but
the Grand Jury threw out the bill against him, and further action was
abandoned. A more famous case in the same year was the Bhattia Conspiracy
Trial, connected with the famous Maharaja Libel Case of 1862, in which
Gokuldas Liladhar and eight other Bhattias were accused of conspiracy
to obstruct and defeat the course of justice, by intimidating witnesses
and preventing them from giving evidence in the libel-suit brought by
Jadunathji Brijratanji Maharaj against Karsondas Mulji and Nanabhai
Ranina, editor and printer respectively of the _Satya Prakash_.[65]
Forjett and one of his European constables, George Gahagan, gave evidence
before the Supreme Court of the meeting of the conspirators. The accused
were found guilty, and Sir Joseph Arnould sentenced the two leading
members of the conspiracy to a fine of Rs. 1000 apiece, and the rest to
a fine of Rs. 500 each. There was considerable disturbance in Court when
these sentences were pronounced.

Forjett served as Superintendent of Police until the end of 1863 or the
early part of 1864, with a period of leave to Europe in 1860, during
which his work was carried on by Mr. Dunlop, Deputy Superintendent in
charge of the Harbour or Water Police.[66] In addition to his duties
as head of “the executive police,” he was a member of the old Board of
Conservancy (1845-1858), and later one of the triumvirate of Municipal
Commissioners, established by Act XXV of 1858, which was responsible for
the entire conservancy and improvement of the town of Bombay until its
supersession in 1865 by a full-time Municipal Commissioner and the body
corporate of the Justices. It was in this capacity that Forjett in 1863
conceived and inaugurated the project of converting the old dirty and
dusty Cotton Green into what later generations know as the Elphinstone
Circle. The scheme was warmly supported in turn by Lord Elphinstone
and Sir Bartle Frere. The Municipal Commissioners bought up the whole
site and resold it at a considerable profit in building-lots to English
business firms; and by the end of 1865, two years after Forjett had
proposed the scheme, the Elphinstone Circle was practically completed and
ready for occupation.[67]

In addition to regular police duties, the Superintendent of Police at
this date was also in charge of the Fire Brigade—an arrangement which
lasted until 1888, and which accounts for the fact that an annual return
of fires signed by Forjett and his successor formed a regular feature of
the annual crime return submitted to Government by the Senior Magistrate
of Police. The officers and men of the brigade were members of the
regular police force, the European officers performing both police and
fire-brigade duties and the Indian ranks being restricted to fire-duty

During Mr. Forjett’s tenure of office, the post of Senior Magistrate was
held by Mr. W. Crawford, between whom and the Superintendent of Police
the most amicable relations existed. The position of both officials was
considerably strengthened by the passing of Act XLVIII of 1860, amending
Act XIII of 1856, which gave the police wider powers for the regulation
and prevention of nuisances, and enabled the magistracy to deal promptly
and effectively with offences to which the old Act of 1856 did not

The period of the Mutiny (1857) was fraught with anxiety for the English
residents of Bombay. Between May and September rumours and hints of
the probability of a rising of the native population were constantly
disseminated, and more than one Indian of standing narrowly escaped
arrest for treason as the result of false complaints laid before the
authorities by interested parties. Among those thus secretly impeached
was the famous millionaire, Mr. Jagannath Shankarshet (1804-65), who
might well have succumbed to the attacks of his accusers, had the
Governor, Lord Elphinstone, been less calm, circumspect and resolute.
Jagannath’s guilt was firmly believed in by several influential
Englishmen, who brought their views to the notice of the Governor. He
instructed Forjett to investigate the matter; and the latter was able to
prove that the charges were wholly without foundation.[70] The belief
in Jagannath’s treasonable dealings with the mutineers in Bengal may
perhaps have resulted from action taken by Forjett immediately after the
outbreak of the Mutiny. In the garden of Jagannath Shankarshet’s mansion
was a large rest-house or _dharamshala_ intended for the accommodation of
wandering Brahman mendicants, who during the day begged food and alms in
the town. _Sanyasis_ and _Bhikshuks_ from all parts of India visited this
rest-house, bringing all kinds of information of events in Bengal and
the upper Provinces: and Forjett lost no time in placing an intelligent
up-country Brahman, disguised as a mendicant, on detective duty in the
_dharamshala_. It is quite possible that this plan may have been partly
responsible for the rumour that Jagannath was in collusion with the
infamous Nana Saheb. On the other hand the detective must have supplied
Forjett with much of the evidence which enabled him to disprove the Hindu
millionaire’s complicity in the Sepoy rebellion.[71]

At this date the military forces in Bombay comprised three native
regiments and one British force of 400 men under the command of Brigadier
Shortt. The native troops were implicitly trusted by their officers,
and the chief danger apprehended by the Bombay Government was from the
Muhammadan population of the city, which numbered about 150,000. Forjett
from the first combated this view and wrote a special letter to the
Governor’s Private Secretary, warning him that the main danger was from
the troops. His own inquiries had convinced him that the townspeople
would not rise unless the native regiments gave them the lead, and that
the latter were planning mutiny. Much to the disgust of General Shortt,
he made no secret of his views, declaring that the sepoys were the real
potential source of disturbance and danger. Forjett’s own force consisted
of 60 European police and a number of Indian constables; but on the
fidelity of the latter he could not implicitly rely. Consequently, after
news reached Bombay of the disasters at Cawnpore and other centres, he
obtained Lord Elphinstone’s special permission to enrol a body of 50
European mounted police.[72]

Meanwhile the Muharram, which was always an occasion of anxiety and
frequently of disturbance, was drawing near. The plans made by the
Government for maintaining order involved the division of the European
troops and police into small parties, which were posted in various
parts of the town.[73] Forjett disapproved wholly of this arrangement,
as no considerable body of European troops or police would be at hand
to quell a mutiny of the sepoys, which was certain to break out in the
neighbourhood of their barracks. He was naturally not empowered to revise
the arrangement of the military forces; but he definitely informed Lord
Elphinstone that he felt bound to disobey the orders for the distribution
of the police. “It is a very risky thing”, said the Governor, “to disobey
orders; but I am sure you will do nothing rash.”[74]

Despite the risk, Forjett disobeyed the orders and concentrated all his
efforts on outwitting the plotters. He summoned a meeting of the leading
Muhammadans and addressed them in very strong terms on the subject of
fomenting disorder—a step which earned Lord Elphinstone’s personal
commendation. Then, night after night, both before and during the
celebration of the festival, he wandered about the city in disguise, and
whenever he heard anyone speaking of the mutineers’ successes in other
parts of India in anything like a tone of exultation, he arrested him on
the spot. A whistle brought up three or more of his detective police, who
took charge of the culprit and marched him off to the lock-up. The bad
characters of the town were so much alarmed by these mysterious arrests,
which seemed to indicate that the authorities knew all that was afoot,
that they relinquished their plans for an outbreak. In his dealings with
the _badmash_ element, Forjett received valuable assistance from the Kazi
of Bombay, from a Muhammadan Subehdar of police, and from an Arab with
whom he used, when disguised, to visit mosques, coffee-shops, and other
places of popular resort.[75]

The Muharram would have ended peacefully but for the stupidity of a
drunken Christian drummer, belonging to one of the native regiments, who
towards the end of the festival insulted a religious procession of Hindus
by knocking down the idol which they were escorting. He was at once
arrested and locked up. The men of his regiment, incensed at the action
of the police, whom they detested on account of Forjett’s known distrust
of themselves, hurried to the lock-up, released the drummer and carried
him off, together with two police-guards, to their lines. An English
constable and four Indian police-sepoys, who went to demand the surrender
of the drummer and the release of their two comrades, were resisted
by force. A struggle ensued, and the police had to fight their way
out, leaving two of their number seriously wounded. The excitement was
intense, and the sepoys of the native regiments were bent upon breaking
out of their lines. On receiving news of the disturbance, Forjett
galloped to the scene, leaving orders for his assistant, Mr. Edginton,
and the European police to follow him. He found the native troops trying
to force their way out of the lines, and their officers with drawn swords
endeavouring to hold them back. At the sight of Forjett the anger of the
men rose to white heat. “For God’s sake Mr. Forjett,” cried the officers,
“go away”. “If your men are bent on mischief” was the reply, “the sooner
it is over the better.” The sepoys hesitated, while Forjett sat on his
horse confronting them. A minute or two later Mr. Edginton and fifty-four
European police rode up; and Forjett cried, “Throw open the gates. I
am ready for them.” The native troops were unprepared for this prompt
action, and judging discretion to be the better part of valour, remained
in their lines and gradually recovered their senses.[76]

But the trouble, though scotched, was not killed. A few days later
Forjett erected a gibbet in the compound of the Police Office, summoned
the chief citizens whom he knew to be disaffected, and, pointing to the
gibbet, warned them that on the slightest sign that they meditated an
outbreak, they would be seized and hanged. This forcible demonstration
had the desired effect. Forjett had quashed all chance of a rising in
the bazar. But the danger from the native troops remained. Forjett
redoubled his detective activities and soon discovered that a number of
them were regularly holding secret meetings in the house of one Ganga
Prasad, who had gained the confidence of the sepoys in the triple rôle
of priest, devotee and physician.[77] Forjett had this man arrested and
induced him to confess all he knew. The next night he went in disguise
to the house in Sonapur (Dhobi Talao) and listened to the sepoys’
conversation. He learnt that they intended to mutiny during the Hindu
festival of Divali in October, pillage the city, and then escape from
the Island. He reported the facts at once to the military officers, who
received them with incredulity. But Forjett eventually persuaded Major
Barrow, the commandant of one of the regiments, to accompany him in
disguise to the house and hear the details of the plot from a convenient
hiding-place. Major Barrow was convinced and reported the facts to
General Shortt, who exclaimed:—“Mr. Forjett has caught us at last!”
Court-martials were promptly held: the two ringleaders—a native officer
of the Marine Battalion and a private of the 10th N. I.—were blown from
guns on the Esplanade, and six of their accomplices were transported
for life. According to James Douglas, thirty men deserved the same fate
as the ringleaders, but owed their reprieve to the clemency of Lord

Thus by his energy, courage and detective ability did Forjett save Bombay
from a mutiny of the garrison. His services had more than local effect,
for in Lord Elphinstone’s opinion, if the Mutiny in Bombay had been
successful, nothing could have saved Hyderabad, Poona and the rest of the
Presidency, and after that “Madras was sure to go too.”[79] The formal
thanks of the Bombay Government were conveyed to Forjett in a letter from
the Secretary, Judicial Department, No. 1681 of May 23rd, 1859, nearly
six months after the Queen’s Proclamation announcing the end of the East
India Company’s rule. The words of the letter were as follows:—

“The Right Honourable the Governor in Council avails himself of this
opportunity of expressing his sense of the very valuable services
rendered by the Deputy Commissioner of Police,[80] Mr. Forjett, in
the detection of the plot in Bombay in the autumn of 1857. His duties
demanded great courage, great acuteness, and great judgment, all of which
qualities were conspicuously displayed by Mr. Forjett at that trying

The scars left by the Mutiny in India were barely healed, when Bombay
entered upon that extraordinary era of prosperity, engendered by the
outbreak of the American Civil war and the consequent stoppage of
the American cotton-supply, which gave her in five years 81 millions
sterling more than she had regarded in previous years as a fair price
for her cotton, and which eventually led, after a period of great
inflation, to the financial disasters of 1865. An enormous influx of
population took place; the occupied area rapidly expanded; and the
burden thrown upon the police force, which was numerically inadequate,
must have been excessive. It redounds to Forjett’s credit that in spite
of all difficulties, and in conjunction with his duties as a Municipal
Commissioner in a time of feverish urban progress, he contrived to keep
crime within reasonable bounds, and put an end finally to the hordes of
ruffians who infested the skirts of the town and nightly lay in wait for

The Indian merchants of Bombay were not slow to recognise his services
to the city, and showed their gratitude for the security which he
had afforded to them by presenting him in 1859 with an address, and
subscribing at the same time “a sum of upwards of £1300 sterling for the
purpose of offering to him a more enduring token of their esteem.”[82]
That was not all. After his retirement to England early in 1864, the
Indian cotton-merchants sent him a purse of £1500, “in token of their
strong gratitude for one whose almost despotic powers and zealous energy
had so quelled the explosive forces of native society that they seem to
have become permanently subdued:” while the Back Bay Reclamation Company,
which was formed at the height of the share mania, allotted him five
shares in his absence, and when the price reached a high point, sold them
and sent him the proceeds in the form of a draft for £13,580.[83] These
large sums, presented to Forjett after his final departure from India,
form a striking testimony to the value of his work as a police-officer
and to the great impression left by his personality upon Indians of all
classes in Bombay.

Forjett’s services at the time of the Mutiny were separately
acknowledged. From the public he received various addresses and a
purse of £3,850, subscribed by both English and Indian residents. The
Government, whose eulogy of his action has already been quoted, granted
him an extra pension and also bestowed a commission in the Army upon his
son, F. H. Forjett, who was in command of one of the native regiments in
Bombay at the time of the great Hindu-Muhammadan riots of 1893.[84] Yet
Forjett is said to have regarded himself as slighted by Government in not
having received from them any decoration.[85] It certainly seems curious
that so admirable a public servant should not have been rewarded with a
Knighthood or admitted to one of the Orders of Chivalry. But in Forjett’s
day the Government bestowed decorations very sparingly, and it may have
been thought that this faithful servant of the vanished East India
Company was sufficiently recompensed by the grant of a commission to his
son and by permission to accept the handsome pecuniary rewards offered to
him by a grateful urban population.

After his retirement, Forjett purchased a property near Hughenden,
which he called “Cowasjee Jehangir Hall” after the well-known Parsi
philanthropist, who gave so largely to educational and charitable
institutions in Western India.[86] In 1877 he published _Our Real
Danger in India_, in which he sought to explain the lesson of his own
experience during the Mutiny and gave an account of the events of that
period in Bombay. He died in London on January 27th 1890, but at what
age is unknown, as the date of his birth has never been satisfactorily
determined. He can hardly have been less than thirty-five years of age
when he was appointed Superintendent of the Bombay Police in 1855, and
was possibly older. Sir Lees Knowles of Westwood, Pendlebury, met him in
1886, and describes him at that date as “a man of middle height, with
a very pale olive complexion, and highly nervous: he could not without
shaking raise a glass of water to his lips.”[87] Forjett’s pension was
paid in rupees, and after the more or less permanent decline in the
exchange-value of the rupee, he requested the British Government on more
than one occasion to permit him to draw his pension in sterling, but
failed to obtain sanction to his request.

Here it is well to take leave of Charles Forjett, the first efficient
chief that the Bombay Police ever had. One hesitates to imagine what
might have happened in Bombay, if a man of less courage and ability had
been in charge of the force in 1857: and looking back upon all that
he achieved during his nine years of office, one realizes why Lord
Elphinstone trusted him so implicitly, and why the Indian and European
public regarded him with so much respect and admiration. His name still
lives in Forjett Street, a thoroughfare of minor importance leading from
Cumballa hill into the mill-area of Tardeo. He himself will live for
ever in the history of the “First City in India” as the man who raised
the whole tone of police administration, brought the criminal classes of
Bombay for the first time under stern control, and saved the city from
the horrors and excesses which must inevitably have attended a rebellion
of the native garrison.




Forjett was succeeded in 1864 by Mr. Frank H. Souter, son of Captain
Souter of the 44th Regiment who was a prisoner in Afghanistan in 1842.
Mr. Souter had served as a volunteer against the rebels in the Nizam’s
dominions in 1850, and was appointed Superintendent of Police, Dharwar,
in 1854. During the Mutiny he captured the rebel chief of Nargund, for
which he received a sword of honour, and two years later (1859) was
engaged in suppressing the Bhil brigands of the northern Deccan. This
task he successfully completed by killing Bhagoji Naik, the notorious
Bhil outlaw, and capturing his chief followers, showing on several
occasions so much courage and resource that he was recommended for the
Victoria Cross. He thus had several years of distinguished service to his
credit before he assumed charge of the Bombay Police Force in 1864.

[Illustration: SIR FRANK SOUTER]

The appointment of Mr. Souter, who was awarded the C.S.I. in 1868 and
was knighted by H. R. H. the Prince of Wales in 1875, synchronized with
a thorough revision of the strength of the force. As already stated,
the period 1860-65 witnessed a phenomenal expansion of the town, in
consequence of the great profits derived from the sale of cotton during
the American Civil War. Much reclamation of land from the sea was carried
out, the mill-industry throve apace, the town spread northward with
amazing rapidity, and shoals of immigrants of all classes poured into
Bombay in the hope of making a fortune or securing a livelihood from the
many economic and industrial projects then floated. In the large army of
workers that invaded the Island there were naturally many persons of bad
character and shady antecedents, who soon found their level among the
criminal classes and helped to swell the crime-returns. It was obvious
at the date of Mr. Forjett’s retirement that the police-force had not
been augmented _pari passu_ with the growth of the population and the
expansion of the residential area, and the Census of 1864, carried
out by the Health Officer under the instruction of Sir Bartle Frere’s
government, proved beyond cavil that the force was quite inadequate to
deal with the population of 816,562 then recorded.

Accordingly in 1864 Colonel Bruce, Inspector-General of Police with
the Government of India, was despatched to Bombay to investigate local
conditions and make recommendations for the future constitution of the
force. His proposals, which were approved and adopted in 1865, were
briefly the following. The total force was to number 1456, as he was
“unable to perceive that the work could be done with fewer hands”,
divided under the following main heads:—

    Land Police                                1239
    Police Guards for Government buildings      116
    Harbour Police                              101
                           Total               1456

Besides these, there were 84 police for the Government Dockyard, who had
existed for several years and were paid for by the Marine Department,
and a few miscellaneous police, who guarded municipal graveyards and
burning-grounds and were paid for by the Municipal Commissioners. Neither
these nor the Dock police were available for ordinary police work.
Excluding the Harbour police, who numbered 101, the police force proper
in 1865 was composed as follows:—

    Superintendents                               6
    Inspectors                                   22
    Sub-Inspectors                               12
    Jemadars                                     24
    Havildars                                    62
    Men                                        1216
    Mounted Police                               13[88]

These numbers were appreciably in excess of the total strength of the
force in Mr. Forjett’s time and placed the Bombay police on a level with
the forces maintained in the sister-towns of Calcutta and Madras.

The office of Commissioner of Police dates also from Colonel Bruce’s
reorganization of 1865. He proposed that the appointments of Police
Commissioner and Municipal Commissioner should be amalgamated: but
this suggestion was very wisely negatived by Government. The senior
officer of the police force was thenceforth made responsible solely
for the police administration of the city, with the title of Police
Commissioner, while under the new Municipal Act of 1865 the executive
power and responsibility in municipal matters were vested in a Municipal
Commissioner appointed for a term of three years. From this date,
therefore, the Commissioner of Police, though he still controlled the
fire-brigade and sat on the Municipal Corporation as an elected or
nominated member, ceased to exercise any official powers in regard to
conservancy, rating, lighting and the water-supply.

For the first thirteen years of Sir Frank Souter’s tenure of office,
the old system of Magistrates of Police and the Court of Petty Sessions
continued unaltered.[89] In 1866, for example, when Sir F. Souter took
furlough and Major Henderson was acting for him, the Senior Magistrate
was Mr. J. P. Bickersteth, with Messrs. F. L. Brown and Dosabhai Framji
Karaka as his colleagues. He was succeeded in turn by Mr. Barton, Mr.
John Connon, in whose memory the John Connon High School was founded, and
Mr. C. P. Cooper, who was in substantive charge of the office at the
time of the passing of the Presidency Magistrates Act IV of 1877. This
Act abolished the Magistrates of Police and the Court of Petty Sessions,
and invested the Presidency Magistrates, who succeeded them, with powers
to deal with all cases formerly committed to the Petty Sessions, and
with a large number of cases formerly triable only by the High Court.
Nevertheless the Chief Presidency Magistrate continued for a few years
longer to submit an annual report to Government on the state of crime in
Bombay, which contained _inter alia_ a few returns, and occasionally a
few remarks on undetected murder cases, by the Commissioner of Police.

These annual reports of the Senior Magistrate, and later the Chief
Presidency Magistrate, were doleful documents, consisting of a mass of
figures relative to various classes of crime, and unrelieved, except on
very rare occasions, by illuminating comment or interesting fact. The
reviews by Government of these returns were little better. Occasionally
an Under-Secretary would try to infuse life into the dry bones of the
crime-tables, and suggest new avenues of inquiry: but in the end the
figures, like the thorns of Holy Writ, sprang up and choked him, and he
had to content himself with echoing the uninspired deductions of the
magisterial bench. In 1883 the Bombay Government decreed the abolition
of these magisterial reports on the state of crime, and in the following
year Sir Frank Souter, as Commissioner of Police, submitted the first
annual report on the working of the Police in the Town and Island of
Bombay.[90] The change, though overdue, was none the less welcome, for
the Commissioner, with his fingers on the pulse of the city, was in a
position to supply more valuable information and lend a more human touch
to the report than was possible so long as his annual review of police
activity was confined to a list of fires and a table showing dismissals
and resignations from the force. The Chief Presidency Magistrate, with a
tenacity worthy of a better cause, continued to submit a return of crime
until 1886, when Government ordered its discontinuance. Since that date
the only annual report on police and crime has been furnished by the
Commissioner, who is accustomed to forward it for remarks to the Chief
Presidency Magistrate before submitting it to Government.

During the later years of Sir Frank Souter’s _régime_ the police force
was seriously undermanned. Colonel Bruce’s proposals had brought it
to approximately the right strength in 1865, but the city continued
to expand so rapidly that the numbers then deemed adequate no longer
sufficed for the purposes of watch and ward. In 1871 the force numbered
1473, of whom 285 were paid by Government and 1188 by the Municipality,
exclusive of 396 men who did duty on the railways. In the following
year the Senior Magistrate of Police, John Connon, remarked that “the
European Police Force, though now too much reduced, is upon the whole a
most respectable body of men, always ready for duty and capable of it.
I can conscientiously say as much of numbers of natives of different
ranks in the force.”[91] The reduction in numbers, to which he referred,
apparently lasted for several years, the total strength of the force
varying from 1402 in 1873 to 1408 in 1877. In 1879 it had decreased still
further to 1392 men, of whom 262 were classed as Government and 1130 as
municipal police (_i.e._ paid by the Municipal Corporation). In 1881
the number paid for by Government had risen to 324, but the number of
“municipal police” was less by 58 than in 1871. The subject was alluded
to by the Commissioner in his annual report of June 6th, 1885, and he
emphasized the fact that, despite minor increases during the previous
twenty years and in spite of a definite expansion of the scope and
character of police-work, he was actually in command of 101 men less than
in 1865.

[Illustration: Armed Police Jamadar

Bombay City]

In 1885 the Bombay Police Force was composed as follows:—

    (_a_) _Land Police_

             1 Commissioner of Police
             1 Deputy Commissioner of Police
             6 Superintendents
            36 Officers on Rs. 100 per month and over
            92 Officers on less than Rs. 100 per month
          1020 Constables

    (_b_)   98 Police guards for Government buildings

    (_c_) _Harbour Police_

             1 Superintendent
            13 Subordinate Officers
            87 Constables

    (_d_) _Dockyard Police_

             7 Subordinate Officers
            77 Constables

    (_e_)    5 Police-guards for distilleries

    (_f_) _C. D. Act Police_

             2 Subordinate Officers
            10 Constables

    (_g_) _Prince’s Dock Police_

             6 Subordinate Officers
            44 Constables

    (_h_)   20 Constables at burning and burial grounds.

The total cost of this force, including rent, contingencies, allowances
and hospital expenses, was Rs. 475,297. The cost of the Land Police
was borne by Government, the Municipal Corporation giving a fixed
contribution towards it. The Corporation paid also for the constables
posted at the burning and burial grounds. Government bore the whole cost
of the Harbour Police, while the charges of the Prince’s Dock Police were
debited to the Port Trustees.

While the force numbered 101 less than in 1865, the population of Bombay
had increased from 645,000 in 1872 to 773,000 in 1881; while between
1872 and 1883 nearly 4000 new dwelling-houses had been erected and 6½
miles of new streets and roads had been thrown open to traffic. Again,
whereas in Calcutta the percentage of police to population was 1 to 227,
in Bombay the percentage was 1 to 506. In consequence the strain upon the
men was excessive. Most of them worked both by day and night and obtained
no proper rest: and this fact, coupled with the exiguous pay of Rs. 10
per month allotted to the lowest grade constable, injured recruitment and
obliged the Commissioner to accept candidates of less than the standard
height (5′ 6″) and chest-measurement. Sir Frank Souter also remarked that
only 110 officers and 297 men, out of the whole force, were able to read
and write, that no provision for their education existed, and that even
if it were provided, the men were so overworked that they would be unable
to take advantage of it. He urged the Government to sanction an immediate
increase of 200 men in the lower ranks and to abolish the lowest grade
of constable on Rs. 10 per month, on the ground that this was not a
living wage and compared unfavourably with the salaries obtainable in
private employ. The Bombay Government, while admitting the force of the
Commissioner’s arguments, declared that financial stringency prevented
their granting the whole increase required and therefore sanctioned the
cost of an additional 101 men, thus merely bringing the force up to the
number declared to be necessary twenty years before.

The total strength and cost of the force during the last four years of
Sir Frank Souter’s _régime_ were as follows:—

    Year     Number of all grades    Annual Cost

    1885            1521             Rs. 475,297
    1886            1580              ”  493,116
    1887            1612              ”  510,690
    1888            1621              ”  505,135

The small increase of 100 men between 1885 and 1888 was absurdly
disproportionate to the extra burden of work entailed by the growth of
the mill-industry, by the growing demands of the public, and by the
activity of the legislature. Among the additional duties devolving on
the Bombay police, which came prominently to notice after 1865, were the
supervision of the weights and measures used by retail merchants and
the prosecution of those whose weights did not conform to the official
standard. In 1873, 112 shopkeepers were prosecuted for this offence
and all except six were convicted. A year later Government commented
unfavourably on the small number of prosecutions under the Arms Act and
instructed the Commissioner to exercise a much stricter supervision
over the importation and unlicensed sale of arms and ammunition. The
Contagious Diseases Act, which no longer exists, was also the source of
much extra work and fruitless trouble. In 1884 the Commissioner reported
that there were 1435 women on the register, and ten years later 1500.
“I regret to say,” he wrote in the course of a report submitted in the
former year, “that in the existing state of the law the efforts of the
Police to control contagious diseases are almost futile. Hundreds of
women, who are well known to be carrying on prostitution in the most
open manner, cannot be registered because Magistrates require evidence
which it is next to impossible to obtain.” He added that the working of
the Act involved a great deal of unnecessary expense, that the police
were unable to discharge their duties satisfactorily, and that unless
the hands of both the magistrates and the police were strengthened, it
would be wiser to abolish the Act altogether. This view eventually found
favour and, combined with strong pressure from other quarters, led to the
abolition of the Act in July, 1888. A special staff of two officers and
ten constables were released from an unpleasant task and were absorbed
into the regular police force.

In 1884 occurs the earliest reference by the Commissioner to a matter
which was destined to give him and his successors much additional work,
namely the Haj or annual Muhammadan pilgrimage to Mecca. The number
of pilgrims passing through Bombay had reached nearly 8,000, and had
necessitated the appointment in 1882 of a Protector of Pilgrims and a
regular system of passports. A Pilgrims Brokers’ Act was also under
consideration by the Indian legislature. Three years later, 1887, the
task of issuing passports for Jeddah and selling steamer-tickets was
entrusted to Messrs. Thomas Cook and Sons; but the success of this
arrangement was discounted by the ignorance and helplessness of the
pilgrims themselves, who failed to make full use of the facilities
offered by the firm. The number of pilgrims passing annually through
Bombay was far less than during the early years of the twentieth century:
but their presence was nevertheless responsible for the building of one
_musafirkhana_ in Pakmodia street in 1871 and of another in Frere road
in 1884. The growth of the Haj traffic before the outbreak of the Great
War in 1914 added immensely to the volume of work annually devolving upon
the Police Commissioner, and acquired additional importance from the
political significance given to it by Indian Moslem agitators.

From time to time public interest was aroused during these years by
sensational crimes. The earliest occurred in 1866, when four Europeans
(3 Italians and an Austrian) murdered four Marwadis as they lay asleep
in a house in Khoja Street. The motive of the crime was robbery; and
the culprits were fortunately caught by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr.
Edginton, and some European and Indian police, who pursued them from
the scene of the crime. At the end of 1872 the Senior Magistrate of
Police received information that a Parsi solicitor of the High Court and
a Hindu accomplice had instigated a Fakir named Khaki Sha to kill one
Nicholas de Ga and his wife by secret means for a reward of Rs. 5000.
Similar information was also conveyed to Khan Bahadur Mir Akbar Ali, head
of the detective police. Mr. R. H. Vincent, who was then acting Deputy
Commissioner, Mir Akbar Ali, Mir Abdul Ali, Superintendent Mills and an
European inspector concealed themselves behind a bamboo partition-wall in
the Fakir’s house in Kamathipura and thus overheard details of the plot
against the de Gas. It transpired that Mrs. de Ga was entitled to certain
property, of which the Parsi solicitor and a Mrs. Pennell were executors;
and having mismanaged the property, the latter were anxious to obviate
all chance of inquiry by the interested parties into their misconduct.
The solicitor and his Hindu accomplice were both convicted. A curious
case occurred in 1874, when Mr. James Hall of the Survey Department was
accused of causing the death in Balasinor of three Indian troopers,
attached to that department, and was adjudged at his trial to be of
unsound mind. The murder of a European broker named Roonan by a European
Portuguese, de Britto, in 1877 caused some temporary excitement, as also
did a murder in the compound of H. H. the Aga Khan’s house in Mazagon,
perpetrated at a moment when most of the Khoja residents had gone to
Byculla railway station to receive the corpse of the late Aga Ali Shah.

The last, and in some ways most interesting, case happened in November,
1888, when a Pathan strangled his wife, with the help of a friend, in a
room in Pakmodia street. The two men placed the corpse of the woman in
a box, tied up in sacking, and took it with a mattress on a cart to the
neighbourhood of the Elphinstone Road railway station. There they left
the box and mattress in charge of a cooly, telling him to watch them
until they came back. They then walked into the city, where they sold the
woman’s jewellery and purchased tickets for Jeddah out of the proceeds.
A day or two later they sailed together for the Hedjaz. The cooly, after
waiting some time, took the box and mattress to his house, where they
lay until November 23rd, three weeks after the murder. By that date the
stench from the box was so overpowering that the cooly in alarm removed
them to a dry ditch in the vicinity, where they were discovered by the
police on November 24th. The woman’s body was naturally so decomposed
that identification was impossible. But by means of the box and the
clothes of the deceased, Mir Abdul Ali and his men managed to trace the
offenders, who were eventually arrested at Aden and brought back on
December 10th to stand their trial.

Among other _causes célèbres_ was the destruction of the _Aurora_ in
1870, the morning after she had left Bombay, in pursuance of a conspiracy
on the part of the master of the vessel and three other Europeans to
defraud the underwriters by means of false bills-of-lading. The vessel
was supposed to be laden with a heavy cargo of cotton which actually
was never shipped. All the culprits, of whom two were ship and freight
brokers in Bombay, were sentenced to long terms of penal servitude. Two
interesting examples of the manufacture of false evidence occurred in
1872. In one case seven persons were charged with causing one Kuvarji
Jetha to be stabbed by two men at Ahmedabad, in order that the fact of
the stabbing might be adduced in evidence against a third party, against
whom they bore a grudge; while in the second case three persons were
convicted of robbery at Surat on evidence which the Bombay Police proved
conclusively to have been manufactured by seven conspirators in Bombay.
Two remarkable cases of cheque-forgeries by Parsis on the National and
the Hong-Kong and Shanghai banks were committed to the Sessions in 1875.

The growth of intemperance was a noticeable feature of the period. In
1866-67, the Senior Magistrate, Mr. Barton, advocated more drastic
restrictions on the sale of liquor, and in 1871 the Bombay Government
commented upon the excessive prevalence of drinking, which was the
immediate cause of twenty-one deaths in that year. In 1876 drunkenness
was reported to have increased greatly among Indian women of the lower
classes;[92] a further increase was reported in 1884, when 4,800 persons,
including 224 Europeans, were charged with this offence; and in 1886
the total number of cases had risen to nearly 7,000. While the growth
of a floating European population, connected with the harbour and
shipping, certainly contributed to swell the returns of intemperance,
the main causes underlying the increase were the rapid expansion of the
textile industry and the growth of the industrial population, which,
in the absence of facilities for decent recreation and in consequence
of scandalous housing-conditions, was prone to drown its discomforts
by resort to the nearest liquor-shop. Not a few of the problems, which
still confront the Bombay executive authorities, can be traced back to
this period when a large and important industry was suddenly developed
by the genius and capacity of a number of Indian merchants, and a huge
lower-class population, almost wholly illiterate and lacking moral
and physical stamina, was introduced into the restricted area of the
Island at a rate which defied all efforts to provide for its proper

The growth of routine police-work during these years is apparent from the
number of persons placed before the magisterial bench. Between 1874 and
1880 it increased from 21,500 to nearly 28,000, the exceptional number
of 33,000, recorded in 1879, being due to the presence of a large body
of immigrants, who had fled from the famine of the previous year in the
Deccan and remained in Bombay in the hope of improving their condition
by stealing. The volume of offences against property likewise expanded
and would probably have been greater, but for the chances of steady
employment afforded by the opening of new mills and the construction of
dock works. Among the most unsatisfactory features of crime recorded
during these years were the steady increase in the number of juvenile
offenders and the comparatively large number of cases in which children
were murdered for the sake of the gold and silver ornaments they were
wearing. As Sir Frank Souter remarked, it is practically impossible for
the State to provide an effective remedy for this evil, so long as Indian
parents persist in a practice which offers overwhelming temptation to
the criminal classes. The prosecution of persons for adultery, which is
an offence under the Indian Penal Code, was another noteworthy feature
of the crime records of the ’seventies. In 1872 nineteen, and in 1873
twenty-three offenders were prosecuted by the police for this offence,
and all of them were acquitted. The extreme difficulty in a country
like India of proving a criminal charge of this character led doubtless
to the abandonment of such prosecutions in all but the rarest cases. A
remarkable case of criminal breach of trust, in which no less than 51
separate charges were brought against a Parsi woman, who was convicted on
three counts, and a clever theft of silver bars and coin from the Mint
by some sepoys of the 10th Regiment N. I., owed their discovery to the
detective abilities of the police.

The criminality of Europeans was due to specific causes connected with
the growth of the port. As early as 1867 the prevalence of low freights
and the difficulty of obtaining employment afloat or ashore led to much
distress and crime among European seamen, and the Police were forced to
undertake the task of finding work for some of this floating population
and of shipping others to Europe. On the opening of the Suez Canal at
the end of 1869, the old sailing vessels, in which the trade of the port
had up to that date been carried on, yielded place to steamers, which
remained only a short time in harbour and discharged and took in cargoes
by steam-power. To this change in the shipping-arrangements was ascribed
the prosecution in 1871 in the magisterial courts of 812 refractory
sailors. A gradual improvement, however, took place in consequence of
“the facilities of communication afforded by the telegraph”, whereby
“the amount of tonnage required for merchandize to be exported from
Bombay to Europe can be regulated to a nicety. There are far fewer ships
in the harbour seeking freight, while the crews of the Canal steamers
being engaged for short periods and subject to only a brief detention
in the port, the causes which produced discontent are not so prevalent
as formerly.”[93] Most of the European offenders, as is still the case,
belonged to the sea-faring or military classes or to the fluctuating
population of vagrants, and it was their conduct, not that of the regular
European residents, which caused the proportion of offenders to the whole
European population to compare very unfavourably with the proportion in
other sects or communities. Much improvement of a permanent character
resulted from the opening of the Sailors’ Home by the Duke of Edinburgh
in 1876, while from 1888 the police were relieved of the duty of
prosecution in many cases by a decision of the magistracy that under the
Mercantile Marine Act the police should no longer arrest European seamen
summarily, but should leave the commanders of vessels to obtain process
from the courts against defaulting members of their crews.

Only on three occasions was the public peace seriously broken during Sir
Frank Souter’s tenure of office. The first disturbance occurred in 1872
during the Muharram festival—the annual Muhammadan celebration of the
deaths of Hasan and Husein, which up to the year 1912 offered an annual
menace to law and order. Writing of this festival in 1885, Sir Frank
Souter stated that it was always “a laborious and anxious time for the
police, as until recent years it was almost certain to be ushered in by
serious disturbances and often bloodshed, arising from the longstanding
and at one time bitter feud existing between the Sunni and Shia sects.
For many years it was found necessary to place a strong detachment of
troops in the City, where they remained during the last two or three
days of the Muharram, and it is only within the last few years that
the usual requisition at the commencement of the Muharram to hold a
party of military in readiness has been discontinued.” By the middle of
the ’eighties a better feeling existed between the two sects; but the
excitement during the festival was still intense and the congregation
in Bombay of Moslems from all parts of Asia rendered the work of the
police extremely arduous. Apparently in 1872 the sectarian antagonism
developed into open rioting, resulting in serious injury to about sixty
people, before Sir Frank Souter gained control of the situation.[94] This
outbreak was followed about a month later by a serious affray between two
factions of the Parsi community outside the entrance to the Towers of
Silence on Gibbs road. The police speedily put an end to the disturbance
and arrested fifty persons for rioting, all of whom were subsequently
acquitted by the High Court.[95]

These disturbances were trivial by comparison with the Parsi-Muhammadan
riots of February, 1874, which ensued upon an ill-timed and improper
attack upon the Prophet Muhammad, written and published by a Parsi in a
daily newspaper. Shortly after 10 a.m. on the morning of February 13th, a
mob of rough Muhammadans gathered outside the Jama Masjid, and after an
exhortation by the Mulla began attacking the houses of Parsi residents.
Two _agiaris_ (fire-temples) were broken open and desecrated by a band
of Sidis, Arabs and Pathans, who then commenced looting Parsi residences
and attacking any Parsi whom they met on the road. One of the worst
affrays occurred in Dhobi Talao. The Musalman burial-ground lies between
the Queen’s road and the Parsi quarter of that section, and an important
Parsi fire-temple stands on the Girgaum road, which cuts the section from
south to north. Alarmed at the approach of a large Muhammadan funeral
procession from the eastern side of the city, the Parsis threw stones
at the Muhammadans, who retaliated, and a free fight with bludgeons and
staves, in which many persons were injured, was carried on until the
police arrived in force. Much damage to person and property was also done
in Bhendy Bazar and the Khetwadi section.[96] On the following day the
attitude of the Muhammadans was so threatening that the leading Parsis
waited in a deputation on the Governor, Sir Philip Wodehouse, and begged
him to send military aid to the Police, who appeared unable to cope with
the situation. Sir Philip Wodehouse refused the request; and when, in
revenge for their losses some Parsis attacked a gang of Afghans near
the Dadysett Agiari in Hornby road, the Governor summoned the leading
Parsis and urged them to keep their co-religionists under better control.
The hostility of the two communities, however, defied all efforts at
conciliation, and in the end the troops of the garrison had to be called
in to assist in the restoration of order.[97] The police eventually
charged 106 persons with rioting, of whom 74 were convicted and sentenced
to varying periods of imprisonment. During the progress of the riot,
while the police were fully occupied in trying to restore order, the
criminal classes took advantage of the situation and disposed of a large
quantity of stolen property, which was never recovered.[98]

The Parsis were greatly dissatisfied with the attitude of the authorities
and subsequently submitted a memorial to the Secretary of State, begging
that an enquiry might be held into the rioting and blaming the police for
apathy and the Government for not at once sending military assistance.
The Governor’s refusal to call out the troops, until the police were on
the point of breaking down, was apparently due to his belief that his
powers in this direction were restricted. He was subsequently informed
by Lord Salisbury that extreme constitutional theories could not safely
be imported into India, and that therefore troops might legitimately be
used to render a riot impossible.[99] The Secretary of State to this
extent endorsed the views of the Parsi community, which felt that it had
not been adequately protected.

Both before and after the passing of the Presidency Magistrates Act IV
of 1877 the relations between the magistracy and the police were usually
harmonious, and the court-work of the latter was much facilitated by
the publication in February, 1881, of rules under that Act, designed
to secure uniformity of practice in the four magistrates’ courts and
the better distribution and conduct of business. The question of delay
caused by frequent adjournments to suit the convenience of barristers
and pleaders, was also under consideration: and although no rules,
however carefully framed, would suffice to prevent entirely the evil of
procrastination, some amelioration was effected under the instructions
and at the instance of the Bombay Government. The matter acquired added
importance from the application to the Bombay courts on January 1st,
1883, of the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code (Act X of 1882),
which increased considerably the work of the Presidency Magistrates.

In 1887, the year preceding Sir Frank Souter’s retirement and death,
the Acting Chief Presidency Magistrate, Mr. Crawley Boevey, displayed a
rather more critical attitude than had previously been customary towards
the work of the police. He commented unfavourably upon the number of
minor offences dealt with under the Police Act, and suggested that the
Police sought to raise their percentages by charging large numbers
of persons, some of whom were respectable residents, with trivial
misdemeanours under local Acts, and that they might devote greater
attention to the more serious forms of crime. At the same time Mr.
Crawley Boevey evinced the strongest objection to the practice, hitherto
followed as a precautionary measure by the constabulary, of searching
suspicious characters at night; and he actually convicted and sentenced
to a term of imprisonment an Indian constable who had arrested and
searched a townsman in this way, under the authority given by section 35
of the old Police Act XIII of 1856. His decision was reversed on appeal
by the High Court: but the practice, which had on several occasions led
to the discovery of thefts and furnished clues to current investigations,
was nevertheless temporarily abandoned, until Mr. Crawley Boevey had left
the magisterial bench. It was resumed under Sir F. Souter’s successor
with the full concurrence of the Bombay Government, who recognized that
the searching between midnight and 4-30 a.m. of wanderers who were
unable to give a good account of themselves, was a valuable measure of
precaution in both the prevention and detection of crime.

The Commissioner of Police remained responsible for the working of the
Fire-Brigade practically up to the date of Sir Frank Souter’s retirement.
By 1887, however, the marked expansion of the city and the increase of
police-work proper obliged Government to relieve the European police of
all fire-brigade duty. The engineers of the Brigade were transferred
in that year to the Municipality, and in the following year the whole
organization, composed of engineers, firemen, tindals, lascars, coachmen
and grooms, became an integral part of the municipal staff under the
provisions of the new Municipal Act III of 1888. One of the largest fires
dealt with by the Police, prior to the transfer, occurred in 1882, when
the Oriental Spinning and Weaving Company’s mill at Colaba, which dated
from 1858, was completely destroyed.

The detective branch of the police-force, which was the nucleus of the
modern C. I. D., was a creation of this period. Forjett, as has already
been mentioned in connection with the events of 1857, had founded this
department; but his own powers and activities as a detective resulted
in little attention being paid to the plain-clothes men who served
under his immediate orders. When Sir Frank Souter succeeded him, the
progress of the city in every direction demanded administrative capacity
rather than detective ability in the Commissioner; and apart from the
fact that no Englishman at the head of the force could hope to emulate
Forjett’s personal success as a detective, the increasing volume of
routine work would in any case have obliged the holder of the office
to delegate the special detection of crime to a picked body of his
subordinates. The detective branch first came prominently to notice in
1872, in connexion with the de Ga and False Evidence cases mentioned
in an earlier paragraph. At that date the head of the branch was Khan
Bahadur Mir Akbar Ali. He was assisted by a more remarkable man, Khan
Bahadur Mir Abdul Ali, who eventually succeeded him. Under their auspices
the branch attained remarkable efficiency and was instrumental in
unravelling many complicated cases of serious crime, such as the murder
of the Pathan woman in 1887, and in breaking-up many gangs of thieves and
house-breakers. Not the least important of their duties was the constant
supply of information to the Commissioner of the state of public feeling
in the City, and the exercise of a vigilant and tactful control over the
inflammable elements among the masses at such seasons of excitement as
the Muharram.

If it is true that a really successful detective is born and not made,
Sir Frank Souter must be accounted fortunate in securing the services
of two such men as Mir Akbar Ali and Mir Abdul Ali, of whom the latter
wielded a degree of control over the _badmashes_ of the City wholly
disproportionate to his position as the superintendent of the _safed
kapadawale_ or plain-clothes police. Among his ablest assistants at
the date of Sir Frank Souter’s retirement were Superintendent Harry
Brewin, who was likewise destined to leave his mark upon the criminal
administration, Inspector Framji Bhikaji, and Inspector Khan Saheb Roshan
Ali Asad Ali. None of these men could be described as highly educated,
and the majority of the native officers and constables under their orders
were wholly illiterate: but they possessed great natural intelligence and
acumen, an extraordinary _flair_ for clues, and indefatigable energy.
These qualities enabled them to solve problems, to which at first there
seemed to be no clue whatever, and to keep closely in touch by methods of
their own with the more disreputable and dangerous section of the urban
population. It was for his services as Superintendent of the Detective
Branch that Khan Bahadur Mir Abdul Ali was rewarded by Government in 1891
with the title of Sirdar.

From time to time the arrival of distinguished visitors threw an
additional strain upon the police; and much of the success of the
arrangements on these occasions must be attributed to the energy of the
Deputy Commissioners of Police and the European Superintendents of the
force. At the commencement of this period the Deputy Commissioner was
Mr. Edginton, who had served under Mr. Forjett and shared with him the
burdens of 1857. In 1865 he was deputed to England to qualify himself for
the office of chief of a steam fire-brigade, then about to be introduced
into Bombay, and he is mentioned as acting Commissioner of Police in
1874. During a further period of furlough in 1872, his place was taken
by Mr. R. H. Vincent, and in 1884 permanently by Mr. Gell, both of whom
were destined subsequently to succeed to the command of the force. Among
the occasions demanding special police arrangements were the visit of
the Viceroy, Lord Northbrook, in 1872, of the Duke of Edinburgh in 1870,
of the Prince of Wales in 1875, of the Duke and Duchess of Connaught in
1883, the departure of Lord Ripon in 1884 and the Jubilee celebrations
of 1887. The general character of the police administration is well
illustrated by the statement of Sir Richard Temple (Governor of Bombay,
1877-80) that “the police, under the able management of Sir Frank Souter,
was a really efficient body and popular withal,”[100] and by the words
of Mr. C. P. Cooper, Senior Magistrate of Police, in 1875 that “during
the time H. R. H. the Prince of Wales was in Bombay (November, 1875),
when the City was much crowded with Native Chiefs and their followers,
and by people from many parts of India, and when all the officers of
the Department were on duty nearly the whole of the day and night, the
Magistrates had, if any thing, less work than on ordinary occasions.
This result was due to excellent police arrangements.”[101] These
eulogies were rendered possible by the hard work of successive Deputy
Commissioners and of the non-gazetted officers of the police force.

Apart from the numerical inadequacy of the force, to which reference has
already been made, the most vital needs during the later years of Sir
Frank Souter’s administration were the provision of police-buildings and
the proper housing of the rank and file. In his reports for 1885 and
1886 the Commissioner explained that all except a fractional proportion
of the constabulary were living in crowded and insanitary _chals_, the
rent of the rooms which they occupied being much in excess of the monthly
house allowance of one rupee, granted at that date to the lower ranks.
The absence of sanitary barracks or lines was one of the chief reasons
for the high percentage of men in hospital, and, coupled with the arduous
duty demanded of a greatly undermanned force, had led directly to a
decline in recruitment. The European police were in no better plight.
In default of suitable official quarters they were forced to reside in
cramped and inconvenient rooms, the owners of which were constantly
raising the rents to a figure much higher than the monthly house
allowance which the officers drew from the Government treasury. In some
cases it was quite impossible for an officer to find accommodation in the
area or section to which he was posted, and the discomfort was aggravated
by his being obliged, in the absence of a proper police-station, to
register complaints and interview parties in a portion of the verandah of
his hired quarters. Some relief was afforded by the construction between
1871 and 1881 of the police-stations at Bazar Gate, facing the Victoria
Terminus, and at Paidhoni, which commands the entrance to Parel road
(Bhendy Bazar): while from 1868 the police were allowed the partial use
of the old Maharbaudi building in Girgaum, which served for twenty-five
years as the Court of the Second Magistrate.

In 1885 the Bombay Government sanctioned the building of a new Head
Police Office opposite the Arthur Crawford market. This work, however,
was not commenced till the end of 1894, and the building was not
occupied till 1899; and meantime the Commissioner annually urged upon
Government the need of adding barracks for the constabulary to the
proposed headquarters, on the grounds that the chosen site was far more
convenient than that of the old police office (built in 1882) and lines
at Byculla, both for keeping in touch with the pulse of the City and for
concentrating reinforcements during seasons of popular excitement and
disturbance. Further relief for the European police was also secured in
1888 by the completion of the Esplanade Police Court, which superseded an
old and unsuitable building in Hornby road, occupied for many years by
the courts of the Senior and Third Magistrates. Quarters for a limited
number of European police officers were provided on the third floor of
the new building, which was opened in May, 1889.

Thus, apart from the task of perfecting arrangements for the prevention
and detection of crime on the foundations laid by Sir Frank Souter, the
chief problem which his successors inherited was the proper housing
of the police force, in a city where overcrowding and insanitation had
become a public scandal. The inconvenient and unpleasant conditions in
which the police were obliged to perform their daily duties resulted
directly from the phenomenal growth of Bombay since the year 1860, and
from the inability of the Government to allot sufficient funds for
keeping the police administration abreast of the social and commercial
development of the city. During his long _régime_ of twenty-four years
Sir Frank Souter saw the extension of the B. B. and C. I. Railway to
Bombay, the opening of regular communication by rail with the Deccan and
Southern Maratha Country, the construction of the Suez Canal and the
appearance in Bombay of six or seven European steamship-companies, the
feverish prosecution of reclamation of land from the sea, which increased
the area of the Island from 18 to 22 square miles, the construction of
many new roads and overbridges, the building of great water-works, the
projection of drainage schemes, and the lighting of the streets with gas.
He witnessed the old divisions of the Island develop into municipal wards
and sections; saw the opening of the Prince’s, Victoria and Merewether
docks; saw the first tramway lines laid in 1872, and watched the once
rural area to the north of the Old Town develop into the busy industrial
sections of Tardeo, Nagpada, Byculla, Chinchpugli and Parel. The number
of cotton-spinning and weaving mills increased from 10 in 1870 to 70 at
the date of his retirement, and the urban population increased _pari
passu_ with this expansion of trade and industrial enterprise. Between
1872 and 1881 the population increased from 644,405 to 773,196, and by
1888 it cannot have been much less than 800,000.

Sir Frank Souter relinquished his office on April 30th, 1888, and retired
to the Nilgiris in the Madras Presidency, where he died in the following
July. Thus ended a remarkable epoch in the annals of the Bombay Police.
It says much for the administrative capacity of the Commissioner that,
in spite of an inadequate police-force and the difficulties alluded to
in a previous paragraph, he was able to cope successfully with crime and
maintain the peace of the City unbroken for fourteen years. Frequent
references in their reviews of his annual reports show that the Bombay
Government fully realized the valuable character of his services,
while the confidence which he inspired in the public is proved by the
testimony of trained observers like Sir Richard Temple, by the great
memorial meeting held in Bombay after his death, at which Sir Dinshaw
Petit moved a resolution of condolence with his family, and by the
erection of the marble bust which still adorns the council-hall of the
Municipal Corporation. His own subordinates, both European and Indian,
regretted his departure perhaps more keenly than others, for he occupied
towards them an almost patriarchal position. All ranks had learnt by long
experience to appreciate his vigour and determination and his even-handed
justice, which, while based upon a high standard of efficiency and
integrity, was not blind to the many temptations, difficulties and
discouragements that beset the daily life of an Indian constable.
Realizing how much he had done to advance their interests and secure
their welfare during nearly a quarter of a century, the Police Force paid
its last tribute of respect to the Commissioner by subscribing the cost
of the marble bust by Roscoe Mullins, which stands in front of the main
entrance of the present Head Police Office.

The memory of Sir Frank Souter is likely to endure long after the last
of the men who served under him has earned his final discharge, for he
was gifted with a personality which impressed itself upon the imagination
of all those who came in contact with him. More than twenty years after
his death, the writer of this book watched an old and grizzled Jemadar
turn aside as he left the entrance of the Head Police Office and halt
in front of the bust. There he drew himself smartly to attention and
gravely saluted the marble simulacrum of the dead Commissioner—an act
of respect which illustrated more vividly than any written record the
personal qualities which distinguished Sir Frank Souter during his long
and successful career in India.

[Illustration: LIEUT.-COLONEL W. H. WILSON]




Lieut-Colonel W. H. Wilson, who belonged to the Bombay District Police,
succeeded Sir Frank Souter on July 4th, 1888. He had already acted once
as Commissioner from October 1885 to May 1886, during his predecessor’s
absence on furlough. During the period which intervened between Sir F.
Souter’s departure on April 30th and Colonel Wilson’s appointment in
July, the duties of the Commissioner devolved upon Mr. H. G. Gell, the
Deputy Commissioner. Colonel Wilson held the appointment for five years,
during which he was twice absent on leave, once from May to December,
1889, when Colonel Wise was appointed _locum tenens_, and again for three
months in 1890, when his place was filled by Major Humfrey.

Throughout his term of office Colonel Wilson, like his predecessor,
was hampered by lack of men. The force at the date of his assumption
of control numbered 1621 and cost annually Rs. 505,135. By 1892 there
had been a trivial increase to 1634, while the annual cost had risen
to Rs. 513,896. This lack of men was undoubtedly responsible for a
decline in the prevention and detection of crime, as for example in
1888, when many cases of house-breaking were undetected, and in 1891,
when a serious increase of crime against property was recorded in
Mahim and other outlying areas. It also resulted in the force being so
seriously overworked that the percentage of men admitted to hospital
showed a constant tendency to increase. In his report of 1892 Colonel
Wilson informed Government that the burden of duty sustained by the rank
and file had become almost intolerable, that the men frequently became
prematurely aged from overwork, and that many of the superior officers
were ill from exposure and lack of rest. The Bombay Government endorsed
the Commissioner’s complaints and admitted the urgent need of increasing
the Force.[102] A reorganization of the Force, involving a considerable
addition to its numbers, had in fact been under consideration for several
years; but owing partly to financial stringency and partly to the delay
inseparable from all official transactions, the much-needed relief was
not granted until August, 1893,[103] by which date Colonel Wilson had
left India and Mr. Vincent had taken his place. The former thus had
little or no chance of securing any improvement in the criminal work of
the divisional police, and on more than one occasion he found his force
singularly inadequate to cope with special and emergent duties.

Like Sir Frank Souter, he also found the lack of police-stations and
buildings a serious obstacle to efficient administration. Within a few
months of assuming office he reported that the building at Byculla, in
which he worked, was very inconvenient and too far distant from the
business quarters of the City, and he urged the early construction of the
proposed Head Police Office on Hornby road. He reiterated his demands in
1890, 1891, and 1892, stating that no real improvement could be effected
until that office and additional quarters for the men were constructed.
As mentioned in the preceding chapter, accommodation was provided for
two European police officers in the Esplanade Police Court, which was
occupied for the first time in 1889; while in the last year of his tenure
of office, the divisional police secured some extra accommodation by the
full use of the old Maharbaudi building, which had proved inconvenient
to the public and was therefore vacated in 1893 by the Second Presidency
Magistrate in favour of a Government building in Nesbit Lane,
Mazagon.[104] In the latter building also accommodation was provided for
two European police officers.

The capabilities of the detective police were tested by several serious
crimes. The first, known as the Dadar Triple Murder, occurred in 1888
and aroused considerable public interest. Two Parsi women and a little
boy, residing in Lady Jamshedji road, were brutally murdered by a Hindu
servant, who was in due course traced, tried and executed. In 1890 the
murder of a Hindu youth at Clerk Road was successfully detected, and this
was followed in 1891 by the Khambekar Street poisoning case, in which a
respectable and wealthy family of Memons were killed by a dissolute son
of the house. The police investigation, which ended in the trial and
conviction of the murderer, was greatly obstructed by the collateral
relatives of the family, who made every effort to render the enquiry
abortive and were actively assisted by the whole Memon community.

These crimes, however, were cast into the shade by the famous Rajabai
Tower case, which caused great public agitation. On April 25th, 1891, two
Parsi girls, Pherozebai and Bacchubai, aged respectively 16 and 20 years,
were found lying at the foot of the Rajabai Clock Tower, in circumstances
and under conditions which indicated that they had been thrown from
above. When discovered, one of the girls was dead, and the other so
seriously injured that she expired within a few minutes. Suspicion fell
upon a Parsi named Manekji and certain other persons: but the latter were
released shortly after arrest, as there was no evidence that they were
in any way concerned in the death of the two girls. The Coroner’s jury,
after nineteen sittings, gave a verdict that Bacchubai had thrown herself
from the tower in consequence of an attempted outrage upon her by some
person or persons unknown, and that Manekji was privy to the attempted
outrage; and further that Pherozebai had been thrown from the tower by
Manekji, in order to prevent her giving information of the attempt to
outrage herself and her friend. Manekji was tried by the High Court on a
charge of murder and was acquitted. Various rumours were afloat as to the
identity of the chief actors in the crime, among those suspected being a
young Muhammadan belonging to a leading Bombay family. No further clue
was ever obtained, and to this day the true facts are shrouded in mystery.

The police dealt successfully with an important case of forgery, in
which counterfeit stamps of the value of one rupee were very cleverly
forged by a man who had previously served in the Trigonometrical Survey
Department of the Government of India and was afterwards proved to
have belonged to a gang of expert forgers in Poona. The collapse of
a newly-built house prompted Superintendent Brewin to make a lengthy
and careful inquiry into all the details of construction, which ended
successfully in the prosecution and punishment of the two jerry-builders
who erected it. House-collapses are not unknown in Bombay, particularly
during the monsoon, when the weight of the wet tiles causes the posts
of wooden-frame dwellings to give way; but so far as is known, the case
quoted is the only instance on record of a builder being prosecuted and
punished under the criminal law for causing loss of life by careless or
defective construction. The Sirdar Abdul Ali was equally successful in
unravelling an important case of illicit traffic in arms and ammunition
carried on by a gang of Pathans with certain transfrontier outlaws—a
matter in which the Government of India at that date (1888) took
considerable interest.

The offence of gambling in various forms occupied the attention of
the police to a greater degree than before, and the prevalence of
rain-gambling led to a test prosecution in the magisterial courts. This
form of wagering used to take place during the monsoon at Paidhoni,
where a house would be rented at a high price for the four months of the
rains by a group of Indian capitalists. There were two forms of _Barsat
ka satta_ or rain-gambling, known familiarly as _Calcutta mori_ and
_Lakdi satta_. In the former case wagers were laid as to whether the rain
would percolate in a fixed time through a specially prepared box filled
with sand, the bankers settling the rates or odds by the appearance and
direction of the clouds. In the latter case, winnings or losses depended
on whether the rainfall during a fixed period of time was sufficient to
fill the gutter of a roof and overflow. The gambling took place usually
between 6 a.m. and 12 noon, and again between 6 p.m. and midnight, the
rates varying according to the appearance of the sky and the time left
before the period open for the booking of bets expired. The practice,
which was very popular, was responsible for so much loss that in 1888 two
of the principal promoters of rain-gambling were prosecuted by the order
of Government. The Chief Presidency Magistrate, Mr. Cooper, who tried the
case, decided that rain-gambling was not an offence under the Gambling
Act, as then existing, and his decision was upheld on appeal by the High
Court. Consequently Colonel Wilson applied for the necessary amendment
of the Bombay Gambling Act, and this was in due course effected by the
Legislature. Since that date rain-gambling has been unknown in Bombay.

In 1890 and 1891 the police made continual raids on gambling-houses,
and in 1893 were obliged to adopt special measures against a form of
bagatelle, known as _Eki beki_, which had a wide vogue in the City. The
Public Prosecutor himself visited one of the more notorious resorts
in order to acquaint himself thoroughly with the system, which in
consequence of continuous action by the police was for the time being
practically stamped out of existence. Bombay, however, has always been
addicted to gambling, whether it be in the form of the well-known
_teji-mundi_ contracts, the _ank satta_ or opium-gambling, or the
ordinary gambling with dice and cards: and notwithstanding that the
police at intervals pay special attention to the vice and secure some
improvement, the evil reappears and rapidly increases, directly vigilance
is relaxed. The promoters of gambling are adepts in the art of misleading
the authorities: they rarely use the same room on two successive
occasions; they have elaborated a vocabulary of warning-calls; and they
employ spies and watchmen to keep them posted in all the movements of the
police. Some of the latter have probably at times accepted hush-money and
presents to turn a blind eye on the gamblers’ movements: for otherwise
it is difficult to understand why men, who are widely known to have been
organizing gambling reunions for years, should have successfully evaded
the law and in some cases have accumulated a considerable fortune in the

Two matters of a novel character engaged the attention of the divisional
police during Colonel Wilson’s _régime_. The first was a series of
balloon ascents, which drew immense crowds of spectators. The earliest
ascents were performed in the opening months of 1889 from the grounds of
old Government House, Parel, by a Mr. Spencer, who successfully descended
with a parachute. He was followed in 1891 by Mr. and Mrs. Van Tassell,
who, except on one occasion when the lady’s parachute did not open
immediately, carried out their performances without a hitch. This form
of public amusement, however, came to a sudden and unhappy conclusion on
December 10th, 1891, when Lieutenant Mansfield, R. N., essayed an ascent.
When he had reached a height of about 1000 feet, the balloon suddenly
burst, and he fell headlong to earth and was killed in full view of a
large crowd of spectators. Since that date and up to the outbreak of the
War in 1914, the only aerial spectacle offered to the Bombay public was
a much-advertised aeroplane flight from the Oval. This venture was a
fiasco. The aeroplane would only rise a few feet from the ground, and at
that elevation collided violently with the iron railing of the B. B. and
C. I. railway and was wrecked.

The second event, which evoked much comment, was a strike by the
_employés_ of eleven cotton-spinning mills as a protest against a
reduction in wages. So far as can be gathered from official records, this
was the first strike of any magnitude that occurred in the industrial
area, and seems to have been the earliest effort of the labour-population
to test their powers of combination. The police had to be concentrated
in the affected area, in order to guard mill-property and quell possible
disorder: but the mill-workers at this date were quite unorganized and no
disturbance occurred. The action of these mill-hands, however, carried
the germ of the disorders which have since caused periodical damage to
the industry and have interfered frequently with the normal duties of the
police force.

It is convenient at this point to refer to the problem of European
prostitution, which has repeatedly formed the subject of comment in more
recent years. Before the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, the foreign
prostitute from eastern Europe was practically unknown in Bombay, and
such immorality as existed was confined to women of Eurasian or Indian
parentage. Once, however, the large European shipping-companies had
established regular steamer-communication with India, and Port Said had
become a port of call and an asylum for the riff-raff of Europe, the Jew
procurer and “white-slave” trafficker gradually included India within the
orbit of a trade, which was characterized by a fairly regular demand and
by large and easily earned profits. The Foreigners Act III of 1864, under
the provisions of which the Bombay Police arrange for the deportation
of foreign pimps, as well as of prostitutes whose conduct demands their
expulsion, was apparently not used frequently before the last decade of
the nineteenth century, except against troublesome Pathans and Arabs,
belonging respectively to the transfrontier region or to the territory
of Indian Princes. But the immigration of foreign women must have begun
tentatively during the _régime_ of Sir Frank Souter and continued to
expand under the auspices of the international procurer, until by the
last years of the nineteenth century these unfortunates had secured a
strong foothold in certain houses situated in Tardeo, Grant road and
other streets of the Byculla ward.

The growth of the European population, resulting from the expansion of
the trade of the port, and an increasing disinclination on the part
of Government and society to countenance the old system of _liaisons_
with Indian women, may have induced the authorities to regard the
establishment of the European brothel and the presence of the European
prostitute as deplorable but necessary evils. Provided that the women
were kept under reasonable control and the police were sufficiently
vigilant to ensure the non-occurrence of open scandals, no direct steps
were taken to abolish a feature of urban life which struck occasional
travellers and others as inexpressibly shocking. To the peripatetic
procurer, who visited Bombay at frequent intervals in order to relieve
the women of their savings and ascertain the demand for fresh arrivals,
the Police showed no mercy; and the regular use which they made of the
Foreigners Act towards the close of the last century indicates that
by that date Bombay (like Calcutta and Madras) had become a regular
halting-point in the procurer’s disgraceful itinerary from Europe to the
Far East.

It must be remembered that the number of European professional
prostitutes in India has never been large, and the worst features of the
traffic, as understood in Europe, are fortunately absent. That is to
say, the women of this class who find their way to the brothels of the
Grant Road neighbourhood and to the less secluded rooms in and around
the notorious Cursetji Suklaji street, which used to be known on this
account as _safed gali_ or “white lane”, are not decoyed thither by
force or fraud. The women usually arrive unaccompanied and of their own
choice, and they are well over the age of majority before they first set
foot on the Bombay _bandar_. Their treatment in the brothel is not bad
and they are not subjected to cruelty. The “mistress” of the brothel,
who is herself a time-expired prostitute and has sometimes paid a heavy
sum to her predecessor for the good-will of the house, feeds and houses
the women in return for 50 per cent of their daily earnings; and as her
own livelihood and capital are at stake, she is usually careful to see
that nothing occurs to give the house a bad name among her clientèle or
to warrant punitive action on the part of the police. The “mistress”
acts in fact as a buffer between the women of her house and the male
visitor, protecting the general interests and health of the former and
safeguarding the latter from theft and robbery by the women, who are
usually drawn from the lower strata of the population of eastern Europe
and who would, in the absence of such control, be liable to thieve and
quarrel, and would also commence visiting places of public resort, such
as the race-course, restaurants etc., and walking the streets of the
European quarter.

European women of this class are found only in the chief maritime cities
of India—Calcutta, Bombay, Madras, Karachi and Rangoon, the only places
in India which contain a considerable miscellaneous European population.
Their total number is not large. Some of them doubtless were originally
victims of the “white-slave” trafficker; but their first initiation to
the life happened several years before they found their way to India,
with funds advanced to them by the pimp or, as they style him in their
jargon, “the fancy-man” who first led them astray. There have been
instances in Bombay of these women contriving to accumulate sufficient
savings in the course of ten or twelve years’ continuous prostitution
to enable them either to purchase the good-will of a recognized brothel
or to return to their own country and settle down there in comparative
respectability. One or two, with their savings behind them, have been
able to find a husband who was prepared to turn a blind eye to their
past. Thus has lower middle-class respectability been secured at the
price of years of flaming immorality. But such cases are rare. These
women as a class are wasteful and improvident, and are prone to spend
all their earnings on their personal tastes and adornment. Most of them
also, as remarked above, have become acquainted early in their career
with a procurer, usually a Jew of low type, who swoops down at intervals
from Europe upon the brothel in which they happen to be serving and there
relieves them of such money as they may have saved after paying the
recognized 50 per cent to the “mistress” of the house.

During Colonel Wilson’s Commissionership little mention is made of action
by the police against the foreign procurer. The latter was probably not
so much in evidence as he was at a later date. The opening years of the
twentieth century witnessed a change, however, in this respect, and
a short time before the outbreak of the Great War, the Government of
India made a special enquiry into the scope and character of European
prostitution in India, in consequence of the submission to the Imperial
Legislature of a private Bill designed to suppress the evil. The report
on the subject submitted at that date (1913) by the Commissioner of
Police, Bombay, was directly responsible for a decision to give the
police wider powers of control over the casual visits of European
procurers—a decision which was carried into effect after the close of
the War by strengthening the provisions of the local Police Act and
the Foreigners Act. In 1921 the Government of India was represented at
an International Conference on the Traffic in Women and Children, held
at Geneva under the auspices of the League of Nations; and shortly
afterwards India became a signatory of the International Convention of
1910, by which all the States concerned bind themselves to carry out
certain measures designed to check and ultimately to abolish the traffic.

There is little else to chronicle concerning the work of the police under
Colonel Wilson. The arrangements for the visits of the late Prince Albert
Victor and the Cesarewitch in 1890 were carried through without a hitch,
despite the acknowledged inadequacy of the force. The annual Moslem
pilgrimage to Mecca brought to Bombay yearly about 8000 pilgrims, whose
passports and steamer-tickets were supplied by Messrs. Thomas Cook and
Sons, the general supervision of the pilgrims and their embarkation at
the docks being performed by the Protector of Pilgrims and a small staff,
in collaboration with the Port Health officer. The period was remarkable
for the establishment of several temperance movements in various parts
of the City, which were declared in 1891 to have imposed a check upon
wholesale drunkenness. No diminution, however, of the volume of crime
against property was recorded, despite the activities of the Detective
Branch and the action taken by the divisional police against receivers
of stolen property, of whom 80 were convicted in 1889 and 64 in the
following year. The property annually recovered by the police in cases
of theft and house-breaking amounted to about 50 per cent of the value
stolen, the paucity of the constabulary being the chief reason for the
non-detection of constant thefts and burglaries which occurred in Mahim
and other outlying areas. Considering how greatly he was handicapped by
lack of numbers, ill-health among the rank and file, and the absence
of proper accommodation for both officers and men, Colonel Wilson’s
administration may be said to have been fairly successful. Fortunately
he was spared the task of dealing with any serious outbreak of disorder,
such as occurred during the early days of his successor’s term of office.




When Colonel Wilson left Bombay for England in April, 1893, his place
was taken by Mr. R. H. Vincent, who had previously acted as Deputy
Commissioner for a few months in 1872. A foreigner by birth, Mr. Vincent
had served in his youth in the Foreign Legion of Garibaldi’s army. He
came subsequently to India and obtained an appointment in the Bombay
District Police, in which his linguistic faculties and general capacity
soon marked him out for promotion. He was appointed Acting Commissioner
in April and was confirmed in the appointment shortly afterwards,
when Colonel Wilson sent in his papers. His five years of office were
remarkable for two grave outbreaks of disorder, one of them being the
most serious riot that ever occurred in Bombay, for the outbreak of
plague, which threw an enormous extra strain upon the police-force, and
thirdly for the initiation by political agitators of the public Ganpati
festivals, which supplied a direct incitement to sedition and disorder.

[Illustration: MR. R. H. VINCENT]

A reorganization of the police-force was finally sanctioned by Government
in an order of August 28th, 1893, in consequence whereof the strength of
the force at the close of that year was reported to be 1831, exclusive
of 99 harbour police paid for by the Port Trustees. The extra number of
men, coupled with revised rates of pay and allowances, brought the annual
cost of the force to Rs. 518,078. A further addition to the force was
sanctioned at the beginning of 1894, the net increase of men enlisted
during that year being 287, of whom five were Europeans, fourteen were
native officers, and fifty-three were mounted police. The armed police
were augmented by 66 men and the unarmed by 140, including 15 European
and 11 Indian officers. The mounted police were placed under the command
of an Inspector named Sheehy, specially recruited from a British cavalry
regiment. In consequence of these additions, the Commissioner at the
close of 1894 was in command of a total force (exclusive of the harbour
police) of 2111, costing annually Rs. 710,528. The harbour police were
also increased to 114 in 1895.

Excluding a small body of seven constables recruited in 1896 for special
duty under the Glanders and Farcy Act, the sanctioned strength and
cost of the force remained unaltered during the last three years of
Mr. Vincent’s term of office. The number, though more adequate than in
Colonel Wilson’s time, was yet barely sufficient to cope with all the
duties imposed upon the force, while the advent of the plague and other
events aggravated the strain. During the decade following upon Mr.
Vincent’s retirement appeals for more men were followed by spasmodic
additions to the force until the publication in 1905 of the report of the
Police Commission appointed by Lord Curzon. This resulted in a thorough
scrutiny of the various police administrations and led in the case of
Bombay to the preparation of a new and radical scheme of reform.

In the matter of crime, the period of Mr. Vincent’s Commissionership
was remarkable for several murders, fifteen of which occurred in the
year 1893. One of the most sensational crimes was the “double murder”
at Walkeshwar in April 1897, when a Bhattia merchant and his sister
were killed in a house near the temple by a gang of six men, all of
whom were traced and arrested by the police after a protracted and
difficult investigation. Five of the culprits were eventually hanged.
The police were also successful in 1893 in breaking up two gangs of
_dhatura_-poisoners, who had robbed a large number of people. In 1895
Superintendent Brewin, with the help of the Sirdar Abdul Ali and his
detectives, successfully unravelled a case of poisoning, perpetrated
with the object of defrauding the Sun Life Assurance Company. A Goanese
named Fonseca insured the life of a friend, Duarte, with the company and
shortly afterwards administered to him a dose of arsenic, which he had
obtained from a European employed in Stephens’ stables, who used the
poison for killing rats. Prior to insuring Duarte’s life, Fonseca had
him medically examined by two Indian Christian doctors of Portuguese
descent, well-known in Bombay, who made a very perfunctory examination.
Subsequently, when Fonseca asked them to certify the cause of Duarte’s
death, they acted even more negligently and gave a certificate of death
from natural causes without any inquiry. Certain facts, however, aroused
the suspicions of the manager of the Assurance Company; the police were
called in; and in due course Fonseca was tried and convicted of murder.

The records of 1893 mention the arrest and conviction of a leading member
of the famous _Sonari Toli_ or Golden Gang of swindlers, which for some
time made a lucrative livelihood by fleecing the more credulous section
of the public. But in the case of ordinary theft and robbery the police
were less successful in recovering stolen property than in previous
years, the percentage of recovery for the five years ending in 1894 being
only 48 and declining to 35 in 1898. Much of this crime was committed
by professional bad characters and members of criminal tribes belonging
to the Deccan and other parts of the Bombay Presidency. The prevalence
of robbery and theft was viewed with such dissatisfaction by the Bombay
Government that in 1894 they urged the Commissioner to make use of the
provisions of chapter VIII of the Criminal Procedure Code, which had
been applied with much success in up-country districts. Unfortunately
the Bombay magistracy required as a rule far more direct evidence of bad
livelihood than was procurable by the urban police, and any regular use
of that chapter of the Code was therefore declared by the Commissioner to
be impracticable.

The court-work of the police under the local Act was indirectly affected
by the closing of the opium-dens of the City in 1893. This was one
result of the appointment in that year of a Parliamentary Commission to
inquire into the extent of opium consumption in India, its effects on
the physique of the people, and the suggestion that the sale of the drug
should be prohibited except for medicinal purposes. In consequence of
the anti-opium agitation in England, the consumption of opium was from
that date permitted only on a small scale in one or two “clubs” in the
City, frequented by the lower classes. The opponents of the practice did
not foresee that opium-smoking cannot be entirely abolished by laws and
regulations, and that the stoppage of supplies of the drug merely results
in the public seeking other more disastrous forms of self-indulgence. In
Bombay the closing of the opium-shops led directly to a great increase
of drunkenness,[105] and a few years later to the far more pernicious
and degrading habit of cocaine-eating. The experience of most Bombay
police-officers is that the smoking of opium does not _per se_ incite men
to commit crime, and when practised in moderation it does not prevent a
man from performing his daily work. Cocaine on the other hand destroys
its victims body and soul, and the confirmed cocaine-eater usually
develops into a criminal, even if he was not one previously.

The practice of affixing bars to the ground-floor rooms in Duncan road,
Falkland road and neighbouring lanes, occupied by the lowest class of
Indian prostitutes, is usually supposed to have been introduced during
the period of Mr. Vincent’s Commissionership. Strangers who visit Bombay,
as well as respectable European and Indian residents, are apt to be
shocked by the sight of these Mhar, Dhed and other low-caste women
sitting behind bars, like caged animals, in rooms opening directly on the
street. It is not, however, generally known that the bars were put up,
not for the purpose of what has been styled “exhibitionism”, but in order
to save the woman from being overwhelmed by a low-class male rabble,
ready for violence on the smallest provocation. Before the women barred
the front of their squalid rooms, there were constant scenes of disorder,
resulting occasionally in injuries to the occupants; and it was on the
advice of the police that about this date the women had the bars affixed,
which oblige their low-class clientèle to form a queue outside and enable
the women to admit one customer at a time. Considering that a prostitute
of this class charges only 4 annas for her favours and lives in great
squalor, it is not surprising that venereal disease is extremely common,
and that the offering of four annas to Venus ends generally in a further
expenditure of one or two rupees on quack remedies.

As regards regular police-work, Mr. Vincent made an attempt in 1894 to
improve the regulation of traffic on public thoroughfares. This was
necessitated by the steady increase of the number of public and private
conveyances, the former having risen from 5392 in 1884 to 8301 in 1894,
and the latter at the same dates from 2674 to 5416. On the other hand
the width of the roads had, with here and there occasional setbacks,
remained constant for twenty years, and the majority of the streets
were totally inadequate for the increased volume of daily traffic. The
Commissioner’s efforts to control traffic more effectively did result
in a decrease of street-accidents, but they failed at the same time to
meet with “the approval of the entire native community”. Therein lies one
of the chief obstacles to efficient traffic-regulation in Bombay. The
ordinary Indian constable, though more able and alert than he used to
be, is still a poor performer as a regulator of traffic. He is not likely
to improve, so long as Indians persist in using the roads in the manner
of their forefathers in rural towns and villages, and so long as he is
doubtful of the support of the magistracy in cases where he prosecutes
foot-passengers and cab-drivers for neglect of his orders and of the
rule of the road. Apart also from the possibility of the constable not
being supported by the bench, as he usually is in England, the great
delays which are liable to occur in the hearing of these trivial cases,
through the procrastination of pleaders for the defence, act as a direct
discouragement to prosecutions. A real and permanent improvement in
traffic conditions cannot be secured, until the Indian public develops “a
traffic conscience” and insists upon the relinquishment of ancient and
haphazard methods of progression inherited from past centuries.

In the same year (1894) the Commissioner reported that, in accordance
with the orders of Government, he had introduced the Bertillon system of
anthropometry at the Head Police Office, but he expressed a doubt whether
results commensurate with the cost of working would be obtained. The
following year he stated definitely that the system was a failure, but
was urged by Government to persevere with it. The system, nevertheless,
was doomed, and in 1896 was superseded by the far more accurate and
successful finger-print system which was introduced into India by Mr.
(afterwards Sir Edward) Henry, the Inspector-General of Police in Bengal.
Although the Bertillon system was not finally abolished till the end of
1899, Mr. Vincent was able to report in 1898 that a finger-print bureau
had been established, that two police officers had been deputed to Poona
to learn from Mr. Henry himself the details of the system of criminal
identification, and that by the end of the year 300 finger-impressions
had been recorded. This was the origin of the Bombay City Finger-Print
bureau, which by steadily augmenting its own record of criminals and by
interchange of slips with the larger Presidency bureau at Poona, has
compiled a very useful reference-work for investigating officers.

The rapid extension of the scope of police work and the need of dealing
more quickly and effectively with various classes of offences had for
some time impressed upon the local authorities the need for a new police
law. The old Act XLVIII of 1860, under which the police worked in the
days of Mr. Forjett, had been followed by three successive Town Police
Acts, Nos. I of 1872, II of 1879 and IV of 1882. But the provisions
of these Acts needed amendment and consolidation to meet the altered
conditions of later years; and the Commissioner was justified in saying,
as he did in 1898, that the police were “working at a disadvantage
and were hampered in many ways” by the want of a comprehensive and
intelligible City Police Act, which would enable them to deal effectively
with the investigation of crime and the arrest and detention of
offenders and with the special offences peculiar to a large city. He
expressed a hope that the new City Police Bill, which had been under the
consideration of Government for several years, would be enacted without
further delay. Four years were still to elapse before this hope was
fulfilled by the passing of Bombay Act IV of 1902. In the meanwhile the
police, as well as the magistrates,[106] had to perform their respective
duties as best they could under the old law. Such success as the police
achieved in dealing with crime and other evils was due largely to the
energy and experience of the older Divisional Superintendents, such as
Messrs. Crummy,[107] Ingram, Grennan, McDermott, Sweeney, Nolan and
Brewin, of the Sirdar Mir Abdul Ali, and of tried Indian inspectors
like Rao Saheb Tatya Lakshman, Khan Saheb Roshan Ali and Khan Saheb
(afterwards Khan Bahadur) Sheikh Ibrahim Sheikh Imam.


Joined the Force, 1864—Retired, 1911.]

Mr. Vincent’s term of office was marked by the first outbreak of plague
in the later months of 1896. When the disease first assumed epidemic
form, there was a wild panic among all classes, and people fled in crowds
from the city, leaving their homes unoccupied and unprotected. This led
for the time being to a large increase of offences against property,
committed by professional bad characters who took immediate advantage of
the general exodus. The decrease of police cases in 1897 was due solely
to the fact that the constant demands upon the force for duties connected
with plague-inspection and segregation etc., left them no leisure to deal
with the criminal classes, who throughout the early days of the epidemic
indulged in an orgy of theft and house-breaking. It was estimated in
February, 1897, that 400,000 inhabitants had fled from the city, most of
whom left their houses entirely unprotected. The Bombay Government was
faced with “a difficult and delicate problem—the extent to which it was
possible in view of Indian prejudices and convictions to put into force
the scientific counsels of perfection pressed upon them by their medical
advisers. The doctors drew up plans for house-to-house visitation,
disinfection, isolation hospitals, segregation-camps, and inoculation,
all of which were intensely distasteful to the Indian population with
their caste regulations and their jealousy of any infringement of privacy
in their home life.”[108]

The police were constantly requisitioned to assist in one way or another
the official attempts to stamp out the epidemic, and considering the
extra strain thrown upon them by the various plague-preventive measures,
it is surprising that they managed to cope as effectively as they did
with their regular duties. In 1897 Mr. Rand of the Indian Civil Service
and Lieutenant Ayerst, who had been engaged on plague-work, were
assassinated at Poona. In connexion with the inquiry which followed
Superintendent Brewin was summoned from Bombay and placed on special
duty in Poona. In the following year occurred the plague-riots, to
which reference will be made in a later paragraph. The difficulties
which confronted the police during the first two or three years of the
plague epidemic were aggravated by the unscrupulous campaign against the
Government’s precautionary measures conducted by the native Press, and
the expedient then adopted of strengthening the law against seditious
publications merely served to intensify popular feeling. It was not till
after 1898 that the Indian Government, recognizing the genuineness and
sincerity of the public opposition to plague-restrictions, abandoned
their more stringent rules in favour of milder methods.

In one direction only—the annual pilgrimage to the Hedjaz—may the plague
be said to have brought any relief to the overworked police-force.
The arrangements made by Messrs. Thomas Cook and Sons for shipping
the pilgrims were discontinued about 1892, and in 1893 the Police
Commissioner, acting through his pilgrim department and with the aid of
the divisional and harbour police, shepherded the large number of 13,500
pilgrims to the embarkation sheds. Approximately the same number sailed
in 1895. Directly the plague, however, had firmly established its hold
upon Bombay, the annual exodus of pilgrims was prohibited, in response
partly to international requirements, and during the remainder of Mr.
Vincent’s term of office the Haj traffic practically ceased. A few
pilgrims from Central Asia (1300 in 1898) and other distant regions found
their way yearly to Bombay, in the hope of proceeding to Mecca: but they
were sent back every year to their homes, until the restrictions were
removed and the traffic was re-opened.

Upon the health of the police force the plague naturally exercised a
disastrous effect. A fairly high percentage of sickness was recorded in
1895 and was ascribed chiefly to overcrowding in squalid tenements. The
appearance of plague in the last quarter of 1896 raised the death-roll
of that year to 50 and increased the number of admissions to hospital by
nearly 300. The experience of 1897 was worse. Eighty-two men died, of
whom fifty-two were plague-victims: recruiting for the force entirely
ceased. More than 3,000 admissions to hospital were recorded, some of
the constables being obliged to undergo treatment there three or four
times during the year. To make up in some degree for the deficit, the
Commissioner was obliged to take men from the Ramoshi force, which
supplies night-guards to shops and offices and is paid by the employers.
Many of these semi-official watchmen also succumbed. Several years
elapsed before the police-force recovered from the effects of the early
years of the plague, when the loss of physical power of resistance to the
disease, engendered by continuous overwork, was aggravated by the lack of
commodious and sanitary lines and barracks. Those who, like the author,
can recall the panic which prevailed in those years, and who day by day
and night after night saw the sky above the Queen’s road crimson with the
glow of the funeral-pyres in the Hindu burning-ground, will not grudge
a tribute of praise to the Indian constables who went about their work
unflinchingly, while men were dying around them in hundreds and their own
caste-fellows in the factories and the docks were flying from the scourge
to their homes in the Deccan and the Konkan.

In 1893 occurred numerous strikes of mill-hands, which interfered to
some extent with the ordinary work of the police and caused loss to the
textile industry. But these outbreaks were trivial by comparison with
the grave Hindu-Muhammadan riots, which broke out on August 11th in that
year and afforded startling evidence of the deep sectarian antagonism
which underlies the apparently calm surface of Indian social life and
may at any moment burst forth in fury. The predisposing cause of the
disturbance must be sought in the rioting which had occurred earlier
in the year at Prabhas Patan in Kathiawar during the celebration of
the Muharram, when a Muhammadan mob had destroyed temples and murdered
several Hindus. For a fortnight or more before the outbreak of violence
in Bombay, agitators had been at work among the more fanatical elements
of the population and were assisted by leading Hindus, who convened
large mass-meetings to denounce the authors of the outrages at Prabhas
Patan. This agitation aroused intense irritation, which was aggravated
by the persistent demand of the Hindus that the killing of cows, and
even of sheep and goats, should be prohibited by Government. The Moslem
population became fairly persuaded that the Hindus had the sympathy of
the authorities and that their religion was in danger. They determined to
rise _en masse_ in its defence.

Shortly after midday on Friday, August 11th, a large Muhammadan
congregation emerged from the Jama Masjid and amid cries of _Din,
Din_ (“the Faith”) commenced to attack an important Hindu temple in
Hanuman Lane. The more respectable Moslem worshippers took no part in
this attempt to desecrate the temple and held aloof from all violence.
But the low-class mob, which was constantly reinforced, took control
of the neighbourhood for the time being. Mr. Vincent had foreseen the
possibility of an attack upon the Hanuman Lane temple and had kept a
large proportion of his force on duty up to 3 a.m. on Friday morning—a
precaution which resulted in postponing the rising of the mob for a few
hours. When the disturbance began, all but a small body of European and
Indian police had been withdrawn for a much-needed rest, and it fell to
the lot of these few men to hold the rioters in check, until the arrival
of reinforcements drove the mob from the temple. Meanwhile the spirit
of revenge spread rapidly, and within a short time the whole of Parel,
Kamathipura, Grant road, Mazagon and Tank Bandar were given over to

The tumult was enormous. The Muhammadans attacked every Hindu they
met; the Hindus retaliated; and then both sides rounded on the police.
Stones and _lathis_ (iron-shod bamboo cudgels) were the rioters’ chief
weapons, and they were used with murderous effect. Little care was taken
by the Muhammadans to confine their attacks to the enemies of the Faith.
Peaceful wayfarers were brutally assaulted; tram-cars and carriages
were murderously stoned; post-office vans were attacked; messengers
carrying money were savagely beaten and openly robbed. The crowds,
raging from street to street, demolished Hindu temples, and dragged out
and desecrated the idols in the most obscene and shameful manner. The
_Chilli-chors_ or Musalman drivers of public conveyances, most of whom
hail from the Palanpur State in Kathiawar, stormed the Hindu quarter
of Kumbharwada, while the Julhais or Muhammadan weavers from upper
India attacked the Pardeshi Hindu milk-merchants and set fire to the
milch-cattle stables in Agripada. All business was perforce suspended and
the whole city was thrown into the greatest consternation.

Noting the rapid spread of the disorder, Mr. Vincent applied early for
military assistance with a view to restricting the area of rioting. At
4 p.m. two companies of the Marine Battalion under Colonel Shortland
marched into the City and were followed in quick succession by the 10th
Regiment N. I. under Colonel Forjett, son of Mr. Charles Forjett, by the
Royal Lancashires under Colonel Ryley, and by a battery of Artillery.
The Bombay Volunteer Artillery under Major Roughton and the Bombay Light
Horse under Lieutenant Cuffe were also called out. The Government sent
reinforcements of British and Indian troops from Poona, and detachments
of armed police were also drafted into Bombay from Thana and other
districts. The troops, which numbered three thousand with two guns, were
under the orders of General Budgen. Eighteen European citizens were
appointed Special Magistrates to assist the Presidency Magistrates, Mr.
Cooper and Mr. Webb, who were on duty in the streets night and day. The
Municipal Commissioner, Mr. H. A. Acworth, and the Health Officer, Dr.
Weir, made strenuous efforts to prevent the interruption of the sanitary
service of the city, which in some wards temporarily broke down, and of
the daily supply of food to the markets. One serious feature of the early
part of the disturbance was the refusal of the butchers at Bandora to
slaughter any cattle, and it needed prompt and tactful action on the part
of Mr. Douglas Bennett, superintendent of municipal markets, to overcome
their contumacy.

The troops were posted in various parts of the city and were forced to
open fire on several occasions owing to the defiant attitude of the
mob, which was being constantly reinforced. A notable instance occurred
at the well-known Sulliman Chauki in Grant road, where a detachment of
native infantry was so furiously attacked that it had to fire several
times to avoid being overwhelmed by the rioters. Despite these measures,
the rioting and looting continued on August 12th in all parts of the
city, and many murders and assaults occurred also on the 13th. From the
evening of the latter date, however, tranquillity gradually supervened,
and eventually the efforts of the authorities, aided by the prominent
men of both communities, effected a reconciliation between the excited

The effects of the outbreak were for the time being serious. All business
in the City was suspended for nearly ten days, and fifty thousand people,
chiefly women and children, fled from Bombay to their homes up-country.
About one hundred persons were killed, and nearly 800 were wounded,
during the progress of the rioting, while the loss of property was
enormous. The damage done to Hindu temples and Moslem mosques amounted
respectively to Rs. 51,300 and Rs. 23,200, exclusive of the property
stolen from them, which was estimated to be worth nearly 2 lakhs of
rupees. During and for a few days after the disturbances, when the
police were fully occupied in efforts to restore order and in prosecuting
fifteen hundred persons arrested during the rioting, a great many cases
of robbery, house-trespass and theft occurred, which, though registered
by the police, could not be investigated and were never brought to court.

The second serious outbreak occurred in the last year of Mr. Vincent’s
term of office, and was due directly to the hostility of the public to
the measures adopted by Government for combating the plague. The Julhais,
or Jolahas, professional hand-weavers from the United Provinces, who
have for many years formed a colony in the streets and lanes adjoining
Ripon road, compose one of the most ignorant and fanatical sections of
Muhammadans. The trouble commenced on March 9, 1898, with an attempt by
a party of plague-searchers to remove a sufferer from a Julhai house in
Ripon cross road. The Julhais in a body took alarm, seized their _lathis_
and any weapon that came to hand, and attacked a body of police who had
been sent to keep order and protect the plague-authorities. The position
rapidly became serious; and as the mob refused to disperse and showed
signs of increasing violence, the third Presidency Magistrate, Mr. P. H.
Dastur, who had been summoned to the spot and had himself been slightly
wounded by a stone, ordered the police to fire. This served for the
moment to disperse the Julhai mob. But in a very short time the disorder
spread to Bellasis, Duncan, Babula Tank, Grant, Parel, Falkland and Foras
roads, where many Hindus were celebrating the last day of the annual
Holi festival by idling and drinking. The rioters tried to set fire to
the plague hospitals; murdered two English soldiers of the Shropshire
Regiment in Grant road; burned down the gallows-screen near the jail;
and tried to destroy the fire-brigade station in Babula Tank road. On
this occasion also the Muhammadan butchers at the Bandora slaughter-house
refused to do their work, but were eventually forced to remain on duty
by Mr. Douglas Bennett, who hurried to Bandora with a small body of
native infantry and taught the refractory a sound lesson. An unpleasant
feature of the rioting was the attacks by the mob on isolated Europeans,
several of whom were protected in the pluckiest manner by Indians of
the lower classes. The outbreak was quickly quelled by military, naval
and volunteer forces, who were wisely called out on the first sign of
trouble. By the following day peace was restored. The casualties were
officially stated to be 19 killed and 42 wounded, and the police arrested
247 persons for rioting, of whom 205 were convicted and sentenced to
varying terms of imprisonment.

The Hindu-Muhammadan riots of 1893 were directly responsible for the
establishment in Western India of the annual _public_ celebrations in
honour of the Hindu god Ganpati, which subsequently developed into one
of the chief features of the anti-British revolutionary movement in
India.[109] The riots left behind them a bitter legacy of sectarian
rancour, which Bal Gangadhar Tilak utilized for broadening his new
anti-British movement, by enlisting in its support the ancient Hindu
antagonism to Islam. “He not only convoked popular meetings in which
his fiery eloquence denounced the Muhammadans as the sworn foes of
Hinduism, but he started an organization known as the “Anti-Cow-Killing
Society,” which was intended and regarded as a direct provocation to the
Muhammadans, who, like ourselves, think it no sacrilege to eat beef.” As
his propaganda grew, assuming steadily a more anti-British character,
Tilak decided to invest it with a definitely religious sanction, by
placing it under the special patronage of the elephant-headed god Ganesh
or Ganpati. In order to widen the breach between Hindus and Muhammadans,
he and his co-agitators determined to organize annual festivals in
honour of the god on the lines which had become familiar in the annual
Muhammadan celebration of the Muharram. Their object was to make the
procession, in which the god is borne to his final resting-place in the
water, as offensive as possible to Moslem feelings by imitating closely
the Muharram procession, when the _tazias_ and _tabuts_, representing the
tombs of the martyrs at Kerbela, are immersed in the river or sea.

Accordingly, on the approach of the Ganpati festival in September, 1894,
Tilak and his party inaugurated a _Sarvajanik Ganpati_ or public Ganpati
celebration, providing for the worship of the god in places accessible
to the public (it had till then been a domestic ceremony), and arranging
that the images of Ganpati should have their _melas_ or groups of
attendants, like the Musalman _tolis_ attending upon the _tabuts_. The
members of these _melas_ were trained in the art of fencing with sticks
and other physical exercises. During the ten days of the festival, bands
of young Hindus gave theatrical performances and sang religious songs,
in which the legends of Hindu mythology were skilfully exploited to
arouse hatred of the “foreigner,” the word _mlenccha_ or “foreigner”
being applied equally to Europeans and Muhammadans. As the movement grew,
leaflets were circulated, urging the Marathas to rebel as Shivaji did,
and declaring that a religious outbreak should be the first step towards
the overthrow of an alien power. As may be imagined, these Ganpati
processions, which took place on the tenth day of the festival, were
productive of much tumult and were well calculated to promote affrays
with the Muhammadans and the police. A striking instance occurred in
Poona, where a mela of 70 Hindus deliberately outraged Moslem sentiment
by playing music and brawling outside a mosque during the hour of prayer.

These celebrations helped to intensify Tilak’s seditious propaganda;
and although they are barely mentioned in the annual reports of the
Police Commissioner, they had become firmly established in Bombay
and other places by the date of Mr. Vincent’s retirement, and were
destined to impose a heavy burden of extra work on the police-force
for several years to come. At the present date the public celebration
of the _Ganesh Chaturthi_ still takes place and necessitates special
traffic arrangements, when the crowds pour out of the city to immerse the
clay-images of the god in Back Bay. But the more disturbing political
features of the festival have gradually disappeared. This change may
be held to date roughly from Tilak’s second trial for sedition and
conviction in 1908, which dealt a severe blow to the seditious side of
the movement. A few _melas_ appeared in the following years; but the
strength of the movement was broken by the incarceration of the leader of
the Extremists and by judicious action on the part of the divisional and
detective police.

This brief record of the period 1893 to 1898 will suffice to show that
any improvement in the prevention and detection of crime, which might
have been expected to follow on the increase in the numbers of the
police force, was largely discounted by outbreaks of disorder and by the
prevalence of a disastrous epidemic. With his police constantly being
summoned to assist in plague-operations of a difficult character, and
being forced in consequence of overwork and illness to seek constant
treatment in hospital, the Commissioner was scarcely able to insist upon
a standard of police-work suitable to normal times. In spite, however, of
these difficulties and of additional work of a novel character arising
out of the gradual spread of the anti-British revolutionary movement, the
Bombay police under Mr. Vincent’s control contrived to achieve reasonable
success in their dealings with the criminal elements of the population,
and set an example of adherence to duty under very trying conditions
which earned more than once the express approbation of the Bombay

[Illustration: MR. HARTLEY KENNEDY

[Photograph taken 20 years after retirement]]




When Mr. Vincent left India at the end of 1898, to spend the remainder
of his days in Switzerland, he was succeeded by Mr. Hartley Kennedy of
the Bombay District Police. Mr. Kennedy took charge of the Commissioner’s
office on January 9th, 1899. Like his predecessor, he had to reckon
with the continued presence of plague, and also with the effect upon
the urban police administration of severe famine in various districts
of the Presidency. These natural disasters synchronized with a severe
slump in the Bombay textile industry, due chiefly to over-production and
the consequent glutting of the China market, which at that date absorbed
the bulk of the Bombay mill-products. According to a leading mill-owner,
the industry in 1899 was in a most critical position; nearly all the
mills were closed on three days in the week, and some had altogether
ceased working. A strike of mill-hands was threatened, which the Police
were called upon, and managed, to settle before it came to a head. The
position of affairs in 1901 was very little better.

The police were thus faced with an abnormal volume of crime resulting
from disease, starvation and unemployment. In 1899 two real dacoities
of the type common in up-country districts, perpetrated probably by
Pardesis from Northern India, occurred in the suburbs and obliged the
Commissioner to establish night-patrols of mounted and foot police in
the north of the Island. The following year witnessed a marked increase
of crime against property, resulting from high prices and unemployment.
Famine-conditions were responsible for an abnormal number of cases of
exposure of infants in 1899 and for many instances of robbery by means
of _dhatura_ poisoning in 1900. But, apart from these temporary symptoms
of economic disorder, the last decade of the nineteenth century witnessed
a steady increase of cases of all kinds under the Indian Penal Code
and miscellaneous laws. Cases under the Police Act would probably have
shown a similar upward tendency, but for the fact that prosecutions were
purposely avoided, in deference to the reluctance of the Presidency
Magistrates to convict offenders on the sole evidence of police
witnesses. It has always been difficult to find private persons willing
to appear in court and give evidence in such matters.

As in most parts of India, the number of false complaints brought to the
police was considerable, many of these cases falling within the category
of “maliciously false”. The Commissioner estimated the proportion of
false to true cases in 1900 at one in 375. The false complaint, supported
by false evidence, has been a feature of the criminal administration of
India from early days and adequately explains the reason why Europeans
have always clung so strenuously to the right, secured to them by the
criminal law, of being tried by a jury containing a majority of their
own countrymen. It is the only safeguard they possess against false
prosecution and illegal conviction. Some such protection for the European
minority is essential in a country, where the administration of justice
by Indian courts has not reached so high and detached a level as it has
in England.

The year 1901 was prolific of murders, twenty-one cases being
investigated by the police. Among the chief _causes célèbres_ was the
murder in the streets by followers of H. H. the Aga Khan of certain
Khojas belonging to the Asna Ashariya section, which had announced its
determination to secede from the main body of Khojas. The precise reason
for the murders is unknown. They may have been decided upon by one of
the factions as a protest against the constant absences of H. H. the
Aga Khan, or on the other hand may have been intended by the party
which supported His Highness as a celebration of his safe return from
abroad. Faction feeling in the community was at the time running high,
and the more fanatical of the Aga Khan’s followers were incensed with
those Khojas who were disinclined to subscribe blindly to the opinions
on communal matters held by the more conservative section. His Highness
himself, who happened to be in Europe on one of his periodical visits,
had no knowledge whatever of the murder-plot; otherwise his influence
would certainly have been directed towards restraining the fury of his
Ismailia followers. He himself was much perturbed by the tragedy and gave
Mr. Kennedy every assistance in the enquiry which followed. The three
victims were stabbed to death in the streets, almost at the moment of his
arrival, and the police found their time fully occupied in trying to calm
the passions thus aroused. The murders produced such rancour between the
Ismailia and the Asna Ashariya Khojas that, for many years afterwards,
the police were obliged to prohibit the funerals of the latter passing
through the recognized Khoja quarters to their separate grave-yard in
Mazagon. It was not until 1913 that the Commissioner found himself
justified in relaxing the more stringent precautions, owing to the
passage of time and the prevalence of a better feeling between the two
sections of Khojas. The knives, with which the murders were committed,
were preserved for many years in one of the lockers in the inner room
of the Commissioner’s office, and were handed over to the Criminal
Investigation Department as an exhibit for the museum, when that branch
was reorganized in 1910.

Most of the crime in respect of property was, as usual, committed by
Mhar and Mang robbers from the Deccan, by the Wagris or gipsy tribes, by
professional thieves and beggars from Kathiawar, and by north-country
Hindus and Pathans. Bombay has a large floating population of these
wanderers, who visit the city for criminal purposes, and, having attained
their object, travel to other parts of India, where all trace of them is
frequently lost. Among cases of special importance were the prosecutions
of two licensed dealers in arms and ammunition in 1899, a “golden
gang” or swindling case in which a respectable Indian firm was cheated
of Rs. 63,000, and which was successfully investigated by Inspector
(afterwards Superintendent) Sloane, and the conviction for sedition of
the editor of a vernacular newspaper, the _Gurakhi_, which, as an organ
of the revolutionary party in Western India, had indulged in violent
anti-British propaganda. The effect of plague and famine conditions upon
the activities of the police was apparent in the returns of recovery
of stolen property; and their normal duty of watch and ward suffered
also to some extent from the imposition of such emergent tasks as the
registration, accommodation, feeding and repatriation of a large number
of war-refugees who arrived from the Transvaal in 1899. The restrictions
upon the Haj traffic continued; but this did not absolve the police
from the task of “shepherding” large numbers of returning pilgrims—the
backwash of former pilgrimages—or of repatriating hundreds of poor and
illiterate Moslems, who, knowing nothing of the stoppage of the traffic,
arrived every year in Bombay in the hope of being allowed to embark for

The total strength of the police-force remained unaltered during Mr.
Kennedy’s term of office. Including the constables attached to the
Veterinary Department, the force numbered 2118. The annual cost,
however, had increased in 1900 to Rs. 792,959, in consequence of extra
allowances and contingencies. These charges were met partly from
imperial, partly from provincial, and partly from municipal and other
revenues. The municipal contribution was recovered under section 62 of
Bombay Act III of 1888, and continued to be so till 1907, when under
the provisions of Bombay Act III of that year the Government became
responsible for the whole cost of the force. Besides the police-force
proper, the Commissioner recruited and controlled a force of 1048
Ramoshis or night-watchmen, whose wages, as previously mentioned, were
recovered from the individuals and firms employing their services. The
Ramoshis as a class were not very satisfactory; and though nominally
under the supervision of the police-officers of the division or section
in which their post lay, there was really no one to see whether they
kept awake at night and really did their duty. Had there been any proper
and comprehensive beat-system for the divisional constabulary, such as
there is in London, the existence of a Ramoshi force would have been
quite unnecessary: but the total number of police-constables was never
sufficient to admit of the introduction of such a system.

For administrative purposes, Bombay was composed in 1899 of the eleven
police divisions mentioned below, which were sub-divided into sections
or areas controlled by a “police-station”. The staff of a station
comprised usually an European inspector and sub-inspector and a number of
subordinate native officers (jemadar, havildar, naik) and constables.

    | Division |                 Sections                      |
    |    A     | Fort                                          |
    |    B     | Umarkhadi, Market, Mandvi                     |
    |    C     | Bhuleshwar, Nal Bazar, Dhobi Talao            |
    |    D     | Girgaum, Khetwadi, Mahalakshmi and Walkeshwar |
    |    E     | Byculla, Mazagon, Kamathipura                 |
    |    F     | Dadar, Sewri, Matunga, Parel                  |
    |    G     | Worli, Mahim                                  |
    | H and I  | Harbour and Docks                             |
    |    K     | Detective Branch                              |
    |    L     | Reserve (Armed and unarmed)                   |

Housing-accommodation was provided for only about one-tenth of the
force. The Head Police Office at Crawford Market, which Colonel Wilson
had so often asked for, was completed and occupied in 1899, and lines
for 120 men had been built on the western boundary of the parade-ground
adjacent to the Gokuldas Tejpal hospital. Stabling for twenty horses
of the mounted police was also built, the main body of the mounted
police being accommodated in the old Government House Bodyguard lines at
Byculla. With the exception of the 200 men or so, who occupied the old
police-lines in Byculla and the newly-erected quarters in the compound of
the Head Police Office, the whole force was living in hired rooms of an
undesirable and insanitary type in various parts of the city. The monthly
house-allowance paid to constables barely sufficed to pay the rents of
their squalid rooms, while in the case of the European officers it was
quite insufficient to secure proper accommodation. The difficulty was
acute in the A. division (Fort and Colaba), where suitable residential
accommodation was extremely limited and fetched a high rent. To anyone,
like the author of this book, who has seen the very unsuitable quarters
in which most of the European and Indian police were obliged to reside
at the beginning of the present century, it will always be a matter of
surprise that the force accomplished as much as it did and that the
death-roll among both Europeans and Indians was not far heavier. Even
the comparatively modern buildings at Bazar Gate and Paidhoni left much
to be desired in the way of reasonable space and ordinary comfort. The
occupants of the Paidhoni station, which mounts guard over a crowded
lower-class neighbourhood, possessed the additional disadvantage of an
atmosphere heavy with the smells and miasmata of an Eastern city. It says
much for the _dura ilia_ of the British soldiers recruited for the Bombay
police force that so many of them were able to live and carry on their
work in these conditions without a permanent loss of health.

The reiterated complaints of successive Commissioners had impressed upon
the Bombay Government the need for the proper housing of the force. But
their wishes were dependent upon the state of the provincial exchequer,
which after several years of plague and a series of disastrous famines
was quite unable to provide money for police-accommodation schemes. A
solution of the difficulty was, however, secured by the passing of Act IV
of 1898 (City Improvement Trust Act), under the provisions of which the
newly-constituted Trust could be called upon by the Government to build
quarters and barracks for the police in various parts of the Island.
By 1901 the Government had already formulated their first demands,
and the engineers of the Trust were preparing plans and schemes for
police stations, quarters and lines, in Colaba, Princess Street (a new
street-scheme of the Trust), Nagpada and Agripada and in other crowded
localities. These buildings took many years to complete, and some of
them in the northern suburbs had not been commenced in 1916. But the
first step towards a comprehensive solution of the grave problem of
police-accommodation was taken during Mr. Kennedy’s _régime_, when the
City Improvement Trust assumed the task which the Government with the
best will in the world, found themselves quite unable to fulfil.

Though his period of office was not long, Mr. Kennedy left his mark
upon the police administration, and there are persons still alive who
remember the energy and activity with which he tackled some of the evils
of urban life. He was a sworn foe of gambling in any form, and had barely
gripped the reins of office ere he commenced an offensive against the
bagatelle-players, the cardsharpers and the dice-gamblers of the lower
quarters. The divisional police learned to their cost that it did not pay
to wink at gaming, and that the Commissioner, working through private
agents of his own, possessed an uncomfortably accurate knowledge of what
was going on in various quarters of the city. The performances of one
of his chief informers are still within the recollection of the oldest
members of the force and of some of the superannuated gamblers of the
old B. and C. divisions. The immediate result of Mr. Kennedy’s action
was a large increase of cases under the Gambling Act, sixty prosecutions
being launched in the year 1900 alone. The effect of these prosecutions,
however, was minimised by the Magistrates’ practice of imposing merely a
fine on conviction. Such fines acted as very little deterrent to men who
dealt week by week with comparatively large sums of money. In the case of
the most inveterate gamblers a short term of imprisonment would probably
have had a more salutary effect.

Another problem, which occupied Mr. Kennedy’s attention, was that of
the beggars who infest Bombay. They comprised not only the thousands
of able-bodied religious mendicants, who form an integral feature
of Hinduism and are largely protected from official action by the
religious atmosphere surrounding them, but also the still larger class
of professional beggars of every sect, who descend on the city like
locusts from the rural districts and do not hesitate, as opportunity
occurs, to commit crime. In 1899 Mr. Kennedy raised the question of the
best method of dealing with the latter class, and pointed out that daily
prosecution, followed by the imposition of a small fine, failed entirely
to effect any amelioration of the evil. He therefore decided on more
drastic measures. In 1900 he deported 9,000 beggars to the territories
of Indian Princes and 10,000 to various districts in British India. This
wholesale expulsion caused a temporary improvement in the condition of
the streets. But such deportations, to be really effective, must be
carried on ruthlessly year by year; and methods would have to be adopted
to penalise beggars of an undesirable type, who dared to return after
deportation. Mr. Kennedy’s action was not pursued by his successors,
and the beggar-nuisance consequently continued unabated. In 1920 it
had become so intolerable that a special committee of Government and
Municipal representatives was appointed to study the problem in all its
bearings and devise measures for its solution.

In the matter of the immoral traffic in women Mr. Kennedy displayed
equal activity and achieved more success. The foreign pimp and procurer,
who swooped down at intervals upon Bombay to acquaint himself with the
demand for fresh women and to relieve the European prostitutes of their
earnings, met with no mercy at his hands. He used the provisions of the
Aliens Act freely against them, deporting 30 of them in 1900 and 37 in
1901. Officers of the detective branch were entrusted specially with the
duty of watching the European brothels, meeting the steamers of foreign
shipping-companies, and marking down every Jewish trafficker who showed
his nose in Bombay. It is only quite recently that the Indian Government,
in response to domestic and international opinion, have strengthened
the provisions of the Foreigners Act, in order to give the police in
Bombay and other large maritime cities more effective control over these
disreputable and degraded persons: and as a result of the pressure of
public opinion, endorsed by the League of Nations, the activities of the
international trafficker are more restricted and more easily controlled
than they were at the close of the nineteenth century. It is much to Mr.
Kennedy’s credit that, working with the unamended Act, he was able in
two years to secure a definite reduction in the number of professional
traffickers visiting Bombay.

He paid constant attention also to the offence of kidnapping or procuring
minor Indian girls for immoral purposes. It is well known that both Hindu
and Muhammadan recruits for the prostitutes’ profession are obtained
from among the illegitimate children of courtesans, or from among female
children adopted by prostitutes, or thirdly, by purchase from agents
who travel throughout Gujarat, Central India, Rajputana and other
districts, picking up superfluous and unwanted girls of tender age for a
small sum, sometimes as little as Rs. 5 or Rs. 6, and then selling them
at a profit to brothel-keepers in the large cities and towns. Leaving
out of consideration the custom, prevalent among Maratha Kunbis and
Mhars, of dedicating their female children to the god Khandoba, which in
practice condemns the girls to a life of prostitution, and the customs
of degraded nomadic tribes like the Kolhatis, Dombars, Harnis, Berads
and Mang Garudas, who habitually prostitute their girls, it may be said
that among the lower social strata in India female life is held very
cheap. A daughter is apt to be regarded rather as a domestic calamity,
owing largely to the heavy expense usually involved in getting her
married. Cases therefore often occur of young girls being abandoned by
their relatives, who are unable to provide the funds required for their
regular betrothal; and these little derelicts sometimes drift into
brothels, where they are fed, clothed and taught singing and dancing
until they reach puberty, when the brothel-keeper arranges to sell their
first favours for a round sum to some well-to-do libertine. Muhammadan
prostitutes, who are numerous throughout India and range from the inmate
of the low-class brothel to the wealthy courtesan, who earns a high fee
for her singing, occupies well-furnished quarters, and drives in her own
motor-car or carriage, are recruited in the same way. In one case, which
occurred a few years ago, a lower class Moplah of the Malabar coast,
having borrowed money at a high rate of interest to provide dowries for
his two elder daughters and being unable to raise any further sum for his
third daughter’s betrothal, sold her outright to a Bombay brothel-keeper
for Rs. 40. The girl was about eight years of age when she entered
the brothel, and by the age of thirteen she was helping to support
her worthless father and two young brothers out of her earnings as a

Mr. Kennedy also pointed out to Government that year by year “scores
of young girls,” belonging chiefly to Gujarat and Kathiawar, were
either picked off the streets by native pimps of both sexes or were, as
mentioned above, brought down from rural areas by regular traffickers and
sold to the local brothel-keepers for sums ranging from Rs. 10 to Rs. 50.
In many cases the police rescued these waifs and restored them to their
homes: but they could not make much headway against a system which had
attained such large proportions. Moreover, in addition to the difficulty
of tracing the girls’ relatives in a country like India, their task was
not rendered easier by the absence of any strong public opinion against
such practices, and by the non-existence of properly organized orphanages
and homes. In several instances girls were discovered prostituting
themselves under compulsion from a male “bully” or female brothel-keeper;
and in such cases, as well as in cases of kidnapping, every effort was
made by the police, under Mr. Kennedy’s orders, to arrest the offenders
and bring them to trial. Wherever it was impossible to secure the
conviction of an offender under the Indian Penal Code, Mr. Kennedy had
resort to the provisions of Chapter VIII of the Criminal Procedure Code.
Here he met with more success than his predecessor, who, as already
mentioned, complained that the Magistrates required evidence under that
chapter which it was extremely difficult to procure. Mr. Kennedy found in
Chapter VIII, C. P. C. an invaluable weapon against “bullies” and other
bad characters of the same type, whom it was inexpedient or impossible
to charge with an offence under the Penal Code; and the Magistrates
showed no objection whatever to supporting the action of the police in
such cases. Thus for three years a very wholesome check was placed upon
this deplorable traffic, at a time when there was little articulate
Indian opinion to support the activity of the Commissioner. It was not
till twelve or thirteen years later that the Indian Government was
invited to consider Bills introduced by non-official Indian members of
the Legislature, designed to check or suppress both the immigration of
European unfortunates and the _swadeshi_ traffic in minor Indian girls.

Mr. Kennedy’s personal activities during the earlier months of his
Commissionership were to some extent reminiscent of the methods of Mr.
Forjett. He is said to have sometimes assumed a disguise—the full-dress
of an Arab or the _burka_ or covering of a Musalman _pardah-nashin_,—and
thus attired to have wandered about the city after nightfall in company
with one of his agents. He would pay surprise visits in this way to
various police-stations and _chaukis_, in order to discover at first
hand what sort of work his European and native officers were doing;
and all ranks learned to fear the consequences of their negligence or
other shortcomings being discovered by the Commissioner and performed
their duties with greater caution and zeal. He made himself feared by
the evil-doer and the lazy, who tried occasionally to forestall him by
obtaining previous information of his nocturnal visitations. They met,
however, with little success; the Commissioner was more than a match
for them. These constant surprise visits during 1899 and 1900 enabled
him to keep his finger on the pulse of the city and to checkmate the
criminal on several occasions. During the greater part of his term of
office, however, an injury to one of his ankles, which produced a limp,
practically deprived him of the power to pass unnoticed in disguise.
The lower classes thenceforth knew him as _Langada Kandi Saheb_, i.e.
‘the lame Mr. Kennedy’, and he is thus spoken of to this day by the old
law-breakers and disreputables who recollect his efforts to bring them to

Short as was his tenure of the Commissioner’s appointment, Mr. Kennedy
managed to inspire the unworthy, whether belonging to the police-force
or to the lower-class urban population, with a wholesome fear of
retribution; and he spared no effort to tighten up the divisional police
administration to discover by personal inquiry the character of his
subordinates, and to place a check upon immorality. The discipline which
he inculcated in the police force was evident at the census of 1901,
when, in response to the request of the census authorities for assistance
in enumerating the large cosmopolitan population of the city, he placed
his European police officers in charge of the census-sections, directed
the Sirdar Mir Abdul Ali to secure the co-operation of the leaders of
the various sections and castes among the lower classes, and made the
divisional police responsible on the actual night of the census for
counting the large army of homeless and wandering people, who are a
permanent feature of the capital of Western India. Mr. Lovat Fraser, then
editor of the _Times of India_, wrote a graphic account in his paper of
this “Counting by Candle-light”, and paid a tribute to the thoroughness
of the census organization. The author of this book, who happened to
be in charge of the urban census, under the orders of the Provincial
Superintendent, Mr. R. E. Enthoven, can testify truly that his plans
for the enumeration could not have been successful without the active
assistance of a police-force inspired by its chief with a high standard
of efficiency.


MR. H. G. GELL, M.V.O.


When Mr. Kennedy left Bombay on furlough preparatory to retirement, his
place was taken by Mr. Herbert G. Gell, who had held the substantive
appointment of Deputy Commissioner since 1884, and on three occasions
had acted for short periods as Commissioner. “Jel Saheb,” as the Indian
constables called him, was thus no stranger to the police-force or to
Bombay, when he took charge of the Commissioner’s office. So far as
personal popularity with all classes was concerned, the Government could
not have made a happier selection. In his younger days Mr. Gell had been
a good cricketer and the best racket-player in Bombay; and while this
counted in his favour chiefly with his own countrymen, his genial address
and straight-forwardness commended themselves equally to Europeans and
Indians. During his term of office, which lasted a little more than seven
years, he was granted furlough twice—in 1904 when Mr. Michael Kennedy,
afterwards Inspector-General of Police, Bombay Presidency, carried on his
duties, and again in 1906 when Mr. W. L. B. Souter, a son of Sir Frank
Souter, acted as _locum tenens_. During Mr. Gell’s first year of office,
the Deputy Commissioner’s post was filled by Superintendent J. Crummy, a
good police officer of the old type, who joined the force as a constable
in 1866 and finally retired from the service in 1903. He was succeeded
by Mr. R. P. Lambert (1903-1905), Mr. Reinold, who died prematurely, and
Mr. R. M. Phillips (1905-09), all of whom belonged to the Imperial Indian
Police service.

[Illustration: MR. H. G. GELL]

The years of Mr. Gell’s administration were fraught with anxiety and
difficulties of various kinds. Social and semi-political events like
the festivities in connexion with the Coronation of King Edward VII
and the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Connaught in 1903, the arrival
of the Prince and Princess of Wales in 1905, and the visit of the Amir
Habibullah of Afghanistan in 1907, imposed much extra work upon the
force. On the whole, however, they probably caused the Commissioner less
real anxiety than the Muharram riots of 1904, the Bombay Postal strike of
1906, the mill-hand strikes of 1907 and 1908, the serious Tilak riots of
1908, and last but not least the strike of the Bombay Indian constabulary
in 1907. Besides these symptoms of local discontent, the Commissioner
and his somewhat old-fashioned detective agency had to grapple with a
constantly growing stream of enquiries, reports and references, arising
out of the spread of the dangerous Indian revolutionary movement, which
was partly fostered and directed by men of extreme views living in France
and America.

The baneful activities of Krishnavarma and the India House in London, of
the brothers Savarkar, of Bal Gangadhar Tilak in the Deccan, and of the
anarchists of Bengal, had many ramifications in India, and, coupled with
the malignant incitements to sedition disseminated by certain vernacular
newspapers, imposed a large burden of confidential and secret work upon
the various provincial and urban police-forces. Some of these were but
poorly equipped to cope with this secret menace to the State. Bombay
from its proximity to the Deccan, which was the focus of intrigue in
western India, and from its position as the chief port of arrival from
Europe, had an important part to play in the official struggle against
the revolutionary movement. The difficulties which beset Mr. Gell’s
administration resulted largely from the fact that he was working with
a machine designed for dealing mainly with ordinary urban crime against
person and property, and numerically inadequate even for that purpose.
A thorough reorganization in respect of personnel, numbers and pay was
required to render the Bombay police force capable of dealing effectively
with the problems of the early years of the twentieth century.

The total numbers of the force in 1902 were 2,126 and the annual cost Rs.
773,580. The numbers remained practically stationary during Mr. Gell’s
_régime_, despite a great expansion of the residential area and a steady
increase of population during the first decade of the present century.
The prolonged visitation of the plague led many of the richer Indian
merchants to forsake their old family-houses in the crowded and low-lying
parts of the city and to seek a new domicile on Malabar and Cumballa
hills, which had previously been occupied almost wholly by European
residents. Many of the less well-to-do citizens sought new quarters in
the empty areas (the F and G divisions) in the north of the Island. The
Commissioner drew the attention of Government in 1903 to the alterations
which were taking place in Mahim, Sion, Matunga, Naigaon and adjacent
parts, and emphasized the consequent need of more police for watch and
ward. His view was corroborated by the census taken by the Municipal
Health authorities in 1906, which showed that the total population of
Bombay had increased by more than 200,000 since 1901, the increase being
general over all sections of the City and Island. In the light of these
facts a revision of the police establishment was obviously necessary, and
but for two events of primary importance it would probably have taken
the form of spasmodic increments to the existing strength and small
enhancements in the salaries and allowances of the constabulary.

The first important event was the publication in 1905 of the report of
the Police Commission appointed by Lord Curzon and presided over by
Sir Andrew Frazer. Of the Indian police service generally the report
was highly condemnatory, declaring it to be ‘far from efficient ...
defective in training and organization ... inadequately supervised
... and generally regarded as corrupt and oppressive.’ Though these
strictures referred chiefly to the district police forces of the various
provinces, it was admitted that the police organization of the large
cities required considerable overhauling. The Commissioners of Police in
Calcutta, Bombay and Madras were therefore instructed to submit proposals
for a thorough reorganization, based _mutatis mutandis_ upon the broad
lines laid down by the Police Commission. Owing to pressure of work and
other reasons Mr. Gell did not submit his proposals for reform for more
than two years after the publication of the report of Sir A. Frazer’s
Commission, and when they eventually reached the Bombay Government,
the latter found it impossible to accept them. Moreover, circumstances
connected with the outbreak and handling of the Tilak riots of July,
1908, led Government to believe that the police force needed a far more
comprehensive reorganization than was contemplated by the Commissioner.

In September, 1908, therefore, the Governor, Sir George Clarke,
(afterwards Lord Sydenham) appointed a special committee of three
officials—Mr. (afterwards Sir William) Morison of the Indian Civil
Service, Mr. S. M. Edwardes, also a member of the I. C. S., and Mr.
Pheroze H. Dastur, 2nd Presidency Magistrate—to scrutinize Mr. Gell’s
proposals, to take any evidence that might seem necessary, and finally
to submit detailed proposals for the numerical strength, pay and duties
of the various branches of the Police force. This committee held several
meetings in September and October, examined the Commissioner, Deputy
Commissioner and other members of the force, as well as certain leading
citizens, and submitted its report at the end of October, 1908. The
policy and proposals therein advocated met with the approval of the
Bombay Government; but the further step of introducing the changes in
the constitution of the force thereby involved, was not undertaken until
after Mr. Gell’s departure on leave in 1909. The broad details of the
scheme eventually sanctioned in September, 1910, can be explained more
suitably in the next chapter, which deals with the administration of Mr.
Gell’s successor. The facts mentioned above show the reason why the
actual numbers of the force at the date of Mr. Gell’s departure were
practically the same as they had been in 1902.

The second event of importance was the police strike, which obliged the
Bombay Government to introduce revised rates of pay for the constabulary
in advance of the general reorganization of the force. Rents in the
city and the cost of living had been steadily rising since 1900, and
the Indian police-constables, in common with other low-paid servants of
Government, found the burden of supporting themselves and their families
almost intolerable. The majority of them were Konkani Marathas—the large
class which supplies the bulk of the mill-labour and the menial staff
in public and private offices, and they could not remain unaffected by
the general demand for higher wages which was being made at this time
to all employers of labour. Their superior officers had assured them
more than once that their appeals were being favourably considered and
that some concessions would be granted, while the open sympathy with
their circumstances and their difficulties shown by Mr. Souter, when
acting as Commissioner in 1906, inspired them with the idea that their
claim to increased pay was absolutely unquestioned and deserved instant
confirmation by Government. They were also affected to some extent by the
constant and often bitter criticism of the authorities, which appeared in
the native Press, and by the incitements of professional agitators who
urged them to follow the lead of the postmen, who went on strike in 1906,
and adopt more overt measures to secure their demands. The unrest thus
created culminated in a strike of a large proportion of the constabulary
in 1907. Refusing to don their uniforms and report themselves for
duty until Government assented to their request for higher pay, the
men assembled in a body on the Esplanade _maidan_, where they were
addressed by the chief agitators in their own ranks. The Commissioner
was left to carry out the routine-work of the force with the help of
the European police, a certain number of constables who remained loyal,
and the comparatively useless body of Ramoshis. In brief, the police
administration was practically at a standstill.

By resorting to a strike, the men had rendered themselves individually
liable to prosecution; and when the strike was declared, Mr. Gell,
with the approval of Government, caused some of the ringleaders to be
arrested. But the Bombay Government was aware that their resort to
illegitimate action was the outcome of a real grievance, which could only
be redressed by enhancing the pay of the various grades. Consequently,
of the men arrested, only two were subsequently placed before the Courts
and sentenced to pay a nominal fine; and they and others were afterwards
reinstated in the force. Simultaneously the Government sanctioned the
long-delayed increase in the pay of the constables and native officers.
The old fourth-grade constable on Rs. 10 per mensem disappeared for ever,
the monthly pay of the lowest rank being fixed at Rs. 12 and of the three
upper ranks at Rs. 13, Rs. 14, and Rs. 15. The pay of the havildars was
also augmented. The announcement of the new rates put an end to the
_impasse_ caused by the men’s defection, and within a few days the force
was again working with full vigour.

It was unfortunate that the concessions in respect of pay and allowances
should have had the appearance of being extorted from the authorities by
methods which, often objectionable in the case of private employees, are
deplorable in the case of men appointed to be guardians of the public
peace. The Bombay Government was not so much to blame for procrastination
as might at first appear. They were perfectly prepared to grant the
required increments of salary to the lower ranks of the force: but they
wished to treat the revision of salaries as part and parcel of the
general reorganization, rendered necessary by the Report of the Police
Commission and by the increase of work resulting from the growth of
the City. They had instructed the Commissioner to formulate proposals
for reorganization, which had not been submitted at the date of the
strike, and which, when they eventually received them in 1908, they found
themselves unable to approve without further enquiry by an independent
committee. The responsibility for the delay in granting relief to
the constabulary cannot therefore be assigned wholly to the Bombay
Government. A more rapid effort to prepare without delay a comprehensive
scheme of reform might have helped to prevent the occurrence of an
episode, which did not redound to the credit of the force.

The result of the revision of the pay of native officers and constables,
secured in the manner described above, was an increase of the annual
cost of the force from Rs. 773,000 odd in 1902 to Rs. 975,000 in 1908.
These charges fell wholly upon the Provincial Government, in accordance
with the provisions of the Bombay Police Charges Act of 1907. Since 1872
the cost of the force had been borne partly by Government and partly by
the Bombay Municipality under Act III of 1872 and the subsequent Act
III of 1888. The arrangement did not prove wholly satisfactory, and
the Municipal Corporation evinced a tendency to deprecate increased
expenditure on a department over which it had no direct control. After
much discussion, therefore, between the Bombay Government and the
Corporation’s representatives, Bombay Act III of 1907 was passed by the
legislature. Under this enactment the Government was pledged to pay the
whole charges of the police-force, and the Municipal Corporation was
bound in return to shoulder the cost of primary education and, within
certain limits, the cost of medical relief in the City. This arrangement
in no wise absolved the Bombay Port Trust from its liability to pay a
moiety of the charges of the harbour police and the entire cost of the
police employed in the docks. On the other hand it enabled the Government
to sanction, without the intervention or concurrence of the Corporation,
such additional expenditure as might be involved in a thorough scheme of
reorganization. When the latter scheme had been introduced by Mr. Gell’s
successor, the improvement and standardization of the uniform of the
European officers of the force and the abolition of the old municipal
helmet-badges followed naturally upon the settlement of the changes
embodied in the Act.

Another important matter in the legislative sphere was the passing of
the Bombay City Police Act IV of 1902, which consolidated the provisions
of the preceding enactments and vested the whole control of the police
force in the Commissioner. The Act removed the difficulties of which
Mr. Kennedy had complained in 1898, and furnished the police with all
the legal authority required for the performance of watch and ward
duties, the investigation of offences, and the arrest and detention of

During the first decade of the twentieth century the volume of crime
steadily increased. The annual average number of cases for the
quinquennial periods ending in 1900 and 1905 was respectively 32,411 and
30,814: in 1908 the police dealt with nearly 41,000 cases. The number
of persons arrested likewise increased from 37,000 in 1900 to 44,000 in
1908, while the number of convictions secured in 1908 was 41,500, as
compared with 19,900 in 1880 and 34,450 in 1900. The value of property
stolen in 1880 was estimated at Rs. 146,000; in 1900 at Rs. 333,000; and
in 1908 at Rs. 353,000; while the percentage of recoveries during Mr.
Gell’s _régime_ decreased from 59 in 1902 to 37 in 1905 and rose again
to 56 in 1908. The annual migration of the people to plague-camps during
the hot months still offered special facilities to the professional
house-breaker, and was occasionally responsible, as in 1903, for an
abnormal number of thefts. A somewhat similar epidemic of robberies
resulted from the immigration of famine-stricken refugees in 1906. Many
of these cases defied investigation, as they were not immediately
reported; and in the case of thefts from houses temporarily vacated
during the season of heavy plague-mortality, the losses were often not
reported to the police until the owners returned two or three months
afterwards to their homes.

These failures, which may be ascribed in some measure to the absence of a
proper beat-system, were counter-balanced by the capture of two notorious
professional house-breakers, one of whom was a Parsi, Nanabhai Dinshaw
Daruwala, and the other a Borah named Tyebali Alibhai. Nanabhai was a
criminal of more than ordinary courage and address, who had gathered
around him a gang of clever assistants and had contrived to defy justice
for more than twenty years. He had amassed considerable wealth by his
house-breaking exploits, and as he spent his ill-gotten gains freely and
was ready to pay ample hush-money, he secured immunity from arrest for
many years. His capture was long sought without success. But at last, in
1907, the detective police managed to run him to ground, and, despite
the offer of heavy bribes for his release, secured his conviction and
imprisonment for a long term of years. The Borah, Tyebali, was a man of
much less ability, and confined his attention almost entirely to the
houses of respectable residents on Malabar Hill. In this area he carried
out a series of daring robberies both by day and night, and had disposed
of much valuable plate and jewellery before he was finally arrested and
convicted in 1908.

Hardly a year passed without one or more murders, the number which
occurred in 1902 and 1904 being respectively 18 and 20. Most of them were
of the usual type—murder for the purpose of robbery or as the punishment
of a wife or mistress for infidelity. With a few exceptions, all these
cases were successfully investigated by the detective branch of the
force. A prolonged and complicated series of forgeries, devised and
carried out by eighteen men possessed of education and private means,
was cleverly brought home to the culprits by Superintendent Sloane, who
was appointed head of the detective branch on the retirement of the
Sirdar Mir Abdul Ali in 1903.[110]

Neither the divisional nor the detective police, however, succeeded
in discovering the origin of the disastrous cotton-fires which took
place at Colaba in 1906. The value of the cotton destroyed or rendered
unsaleable was estimated at 40 lakhs of rupees. Since that date similar
conflagrations have occurred at intervals, in circumstances which seem to
justify more than a suspicion of deliberate incendiarism. But in spite
of special precautions and special police arrangements no practical
proof of complicity has ever been obtained. In 1913 these fires at the
Colaba cotton-green were so frequent and so disastrous that the Bombay
Government appointed a special committee under the chairmanship of Mr.
S. M. Edwardes, the Commissioner of Police at that date, to investigate
the circumstances and origin of the conflagrations and make proposals for
minimising the risk of them in future. The result of that committee’s
enquiry will be mentioned on a later page; but it may be here stated that
on each occasion of these wholesale conflagrations at the old Colaba
cotton-green the police found it very difficult to initiate and prosecute
inquiries about firms or individuals, suspected of aiding and abetting
incendiarism, owing to the disinclination of the insurance companies,
with whom the cotton was insured, to assist the inquiries or register a
formal complaint in respect of their losses. The system of underwriting
adopted by all the fire insurance companies in Bombay resulted in the net
loss incurred in any fire being divided among so many parties that the
actual sum paid out by the company concerned was comparatively trivial,
and did not, in their view, justify the adoption of proceedings, which
might have frightened the cotton-merchants into refusing to insure
their goods with them in future. Consequently, the only chance the
police had of discovering an offence was to arrest an incendiary _in
flagrante delicto_, and this was rendered practically impossible by
the character of the cotton, which will smoulder unseen for some time
before it bursts into flame, by the enormous width and height of the
stacks of cotton-bales, crowded on far too small an area on the edge of
a main thoroughfare, and by the ease with which any person could escape
detection in the labyrinth formed by the various _jethas_ or collections
of bales.

The question of traffic regulation in the streets demanded attention
during this period. By 1903 the number of public and private conveyances
in Bombay had risen to nearly 16,000, and although the style and
condition of the victorias plying for hire showed considerable
improvement,[111] rash driving was exceedingly common and street
accidents had largely increased. The position was aggravated by a steady
rise in the number of motor-vehicles, necessitating the creation of a
special branch of the police-force for the registration of motor-cars and
the issue of driving-licenses. One of the first owners of a car in Bombay
during the closing years of the nineteenth century was the late Mr. B. H.
Hewitt, one of the Municipal Engineers; and after 1900 his example was
followed by a constantly increasing number of residents, some of whom
showed a tendency to drive at excessive speed and to pay little attention
to the orders of the police on traffic-duty. Thus, between 1905 and 1907
more than 900 new motor-cars appeared on the streets, and in the latter
year the traffic-problem was further complicated by the abolition of the
old horse-tramcars and the opening on May 7th of the electric tramways.

In these circumstances the incapacity of the average Indian constable
to regulate traffic in the European manner became more marked, and
some of the Divisional Superintendents had to spend more time than they
could really spare in trying to inculcate an aptitude for directing
and controlling pedestrian and wheeled traffic. Their efforts were not
very successful, and it was generally felt that, although a few Indian
officers and constables had profited by tuition and showed improvement
in this branch of their duties, the presence of European police was
absolutely essential at crowded points during the busy hours of the day.
As previously remarked, the difficulties of the Indian constable were
much aggravated by the studied disregard of his orders and warnings,
frequently shown by his own compatriots.

As regards the beggar nuisance, Mr. Gell was disposed to continue the
policy of his predecessor; and accordingly in 1902 he deported no less
than 10,000 mendicants, mostly belonging to the territories of Indian
Princes. But this procedure was peremptorily forbidden by Government in
the following year, on the grounds that deportees of this class were
prolific disseminators of plague infection. After 1903, therefore, the
expulsion of beggars ceased, with the result that Bombay became once
again a popular resort for penurious and homeless vagrants from all parts
of India.

Efforts to rid Bombay of the foreign procurers, who subsisted on the
traffic in European women, continued unabated. In 1902 the Commissioner
deported 29 of these rascals; in 1903, 30; in 1904, 20; and in 1905,
2. No action was recorded in 1906 and 1907, but ten men were deported
in 1908. These figures indicate in some measure the dimensions of the
traffic and the lucrative nature of the business. The prospect of trivial
profits would scarcely have persuaded 81 aliens within a period of
four years to risk the chances of arrest and deportation. The history
and description of these foreigners were recorded in the files of the
detective branch, and in most cases their finger-print impressions were
taken by the Criminal Identification Bureau, which under the auspices of
Mr. Kirtikar and his assistant was rapidly acquiring a reputation for
useful work.

The daily work of the police in the courts was directly affected by
the establishment in 1904 of three benches of honorary magistrates in
Girgaum, Mazagon and Dadar, which were intended to afford relief to
the Chief Presidency Magistrate, Mr. J. Sanders Slater, and his three
colleagues in the disposal of unimportant police cases. A fourth bench
was established at the Esplanade Police Court in 1908, to deal with
petty cases from the Harbour and Docks. These benches were empowered to
deal with cases arising under certain sections of the Bombay City Police
Act, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, the Public Conveyance
Act, the Gambling Act, the Railways Act, and under section 352 of the
Indian Penal Code. They proved very convenient to the police of the
outlying F and G divisions, who were formerly obliged to bring offenders
and witnesses all the way to the stipendiary court in Mazagon, but they
involved much extra work for the European police officers of the various
sections, who had frequently to attend both the stipendiary and honorary
magistrates’ courts. The latter commenced their work daily at 8-45 a.m.,
and the stipendiary courts at 11 a.m., so that European officers of busy
sections had often to spend most of the working day in the courts. During
their absence the registration and investigation of complaints at the
police-station had perforce to remain in abeyance. One of the most urgent
requirements during Mr. Gell’s Commissionership was the creation of
properly equipped and staffed police-stations, at which, no matter what
the volume of work in the courts, at least one superior police officer
would be found on duty at any hour of the day or night, ready to record
complaints and initiate inquiries. The establishment of the benches of
honorary magistrates served to accentuate the inadequacy of the old
police system and the inability of the force to cope with a greatly
increased volume of case-work.


A serious obstacle to any re-arrangement of duties was the illiteracy of
the great majority of the Indian subordinate officers and constabulary.
As early as 1868 the Bombay Government asked the Commissioner to mention
in his annual reports the progress made by the police in simple reading
and writing; to which the Commissioner replied that as each member of the
force was on actual duty for twelve hours out of the twenty-four, any
form of education was impracticable. In 1885, when the total strength of
the force was 1,721, there were only 113 officers and 362 men able to
read and write, and of these only the European officers were literate in
English. These numbers had slightly increased by the end of the following
decade, in consequence presumably of the gradual spread of primary
education. The numbers of officers and men able to read and write in 1896
were respectively 194 and 570. Occasionally an Indian with practically
no education would rise to a high grade in the force by sheer natural
ability and devotion to duty. Such men were the Subehdars Ramchandra
and Daji and Inspector Khan Bahadur Sheik Ibrahim Imam, of whom the
latter served for 47 years and on his retirement in 1911 was granted by
the Bombay Government a special _jagir_ (landed estate) in the Poona
District, in recognition of his long and meritorious service.[112] The
value of these men lay in their extraordinary knowledge of the urban
population, their _flair_ for criminal investigation, and their power of
mediation between conflicting sects. Their lack of education and their
ignorance of English debarred them from affording any relief to the
European police in the registration of complaints and the prosecution of
offenders in the courts.

No effort had been made to open a career in the force for literate
Indians of the upper-classes, and it became obvious during Mr. Gell’s
_régime_ that in this respect the composition of the force had not
kept abreast of the spirit of the age. While the general standard of
literacy in Bombay had widened appreciably, and the growth of population
had resulted in an increased number of cases of all kinds, the bulk of
the Indian element in the force remained ignorant of English and was
also often uneducated in its own vernaculars. Consequently the whole
responsibility for the routine duties of the force fell upon a limited
number of European officers, many of whom could claim no higher standard
of education than that provided for the rank and file of the British
Army. Among the latter, however, there were men of natural ability who by
dint of application and study at odd moments had acquired a fair standard
of general knowledge and could frame a good report of facts. To this
category belonged men like Superintendents McDermott, Grennan, Nolan,
Sloane, Williamson and others; and on their reports and administrative
capacity the Commissioner and his Deputy necessarily placed much
reliance. There were others, however, who acquired no literary polish
throughout their career and whose educational attainments were no higher
than when they first joined the force as supernumerary sub-inspectors. On
the other hand, these men were always a solid asset in times of popular
disturbance or at seasons of public festivity requiring the preservation
of order among large crowds. From the Superintendent down to the latest
joined Sub-Inspector, the European police contributed the leaven, which
stiffened the force at the periodical Muharram outbreaks and ensured the
orderly progress of events on the occasions of Royal and Viceregal visits.

The annual pilgrimage to Mecca again assumed large proportions during
these years. In 1902 the restrictions, imposed originally as a
precautionary plague-measure, were abolished, and the period opened
with the arrival in Bombay of about 1,000 pilgrims and with the return
of 3,376 Hajis, who had to be repatriated to various districts of
British India. In the following year the number of outgoing pilgrims was
8,700, and in 1904, 16,593, the large increase in the latter year being
ascribable to the occurrence of the _Akbari Haj_, which falls once in
ten years. But the traffic continued to expand. In 1905, 19,000 pilgrims
embarked at Bombay for Jeddah and nearly 14,000 returned; in 1906, 24,300
embarked and 16,000 returned; and in 1907 more than 20,000 from all parts
of India, from Bokhara, Turkestan and other parts of Central Asia, from
Ceylon and Java, had to be shepherded on board by the Pilgrim Department
of the Commissioner’s office. The majority of these people were wholly
uneducated; the existing _musafirkhanas_ (rest-houses) provided for them
in the City were quite inadequate for their proper accommodation; while
the vessels provided for the passage to Jeddah by two or three merchants
or companies were ill-found and equipped, and were becoming unseaworthy
by reason of age.

At the same time the treatment of the pilgrims at various stages of
their self-imposed journey, the behaviour of the pilgrim-brokers, who
arranged for the purchase of tickets and were responsible generally for
assisting pilgrims under the supervision of the Pilgrim Department, the
arrangements for their embarkation and the disinfection of their clothing
and effects, carried out by the Port Health authorities, and various
other matters connected with the annual exodus, occupied the increasing
attention of the Muhammadan community and occasionally formed the subject
of rather acid criticism. It was asserted that the whole subject of the
pilgrimage required more attention than an overworked Police Commissioner
could give it, and that more facilities should be accorded to respectable
Moslem residents for expressing their views on the details of the traffic
and for keeping in touch with the local arrangements for booking and
embarkation. Accordingly, the Bombay Government, with a view to disarming
criticism and in the hope of giving some relief to the Commissioner,
appointed in 1908 a Haj Committee, composed of leading Muhammadan
residents of Bombay, with the Commissioner of Police as _ex-officio_
President. During the first year of its existence, this Committee did not
do very much; but later it developed into a useful consultative body,
and gave much assistance to Mr. Gell’s successor in matters connected
with the comfort of the pilgrims and the local arrangements for housing
and disembarkation. On several occasions the members of the Committee
subscribed money from their own pockets to relieve cases of distress and
secure the repatriation of penniless Moslems stranded in Jeddah.

This period witnessed the preparation of schemes for the housing of
the police and the construction of police-stations. In 1902 the City
Improvement Trust forwarded to Government for approval plans for stations
and residential quarters at Wodehouse road in the Fort and at 1st.
Nagpada: and these buildings, together with quarters for the Risaldar
of the Mounted Police and stables for the sowars, were completed and
occupied in 1906. Meanwhile the Commissioner was pressing for the
provision of more accommodation for the constabulary, and he found a
powerful ally in the Police Surgeon, Dr. Arthur Powell, who reported in
1905 that the prevalence of pneumonia and consumption in the force was
primarily due to the residence of the men in dark, crowded and insanitary
_chals_. A little relief was afforded in 1908 by the completion of
a block of lines for constables and quarters for native officers in
Duncan road, and a set of quarters for European officers, with lines
for the men, was also completed at Sussex road in the same year. Much
expenditure, however, had still to be incurred before the force could be
said to be suitably housed.

Two other important buildings of a different character were provided
during Mr. Gell’s _régime_—the Northcote Police Hospital and the office
of the Protector of Pilgrims. Up to 1866 constables requiring medical
treatment were admitted to the Sir J. J. Hospital on Parel road. In
that year the stable of the old Hamilton Hotel was assigned as a
separate hospital for the police, and was so used till 1870, when the
Municipality placed an old workshop in Mazagon at the disposal of the
Police Commissioner. This ramshackle building, which accommodated only
35 indoor patients, was totally unsuited for a hospital and was a source
of constant and justifiable complaint. Nevertheless the police were
forced to put up with it, until Lord Northcote, the Governor, (1900-03)
sanctioned the construction of a proper building, accommodating 94
patients, on one of the new roads at Nagpada constructed by the City
Improvement Trust. The building was formally opened by Lord Lamington in
August, 1904.

The growth of the annual Haj traffic, mentioned in a previous paragraph,
rendered accommodation for the office of the Protector of Pilgrims an
urgent necessity. A ground-floor building, consisting of a large covered
porch and two or three rooms, was therefore built in 1907 in the compound
of the Head Police Office and served as the headquarters of the Pilgrim
department, until the reorganization of the Criminal Investigation
Department by Mr. Edwardes and his Deputy, Mr. F. A. M. H. Vincent,
rendered necessary a re-arrangement of the accommodation at headquarters.

Before we describe the disturbances which occurred during Mr. Gell’s
tenure of office, a word may be said of the courage and resource
occasionally shown by Indian constables in the course of their daily
duty. In 1903 a havildar was awarded the medal of the Royal Humane
Society for rescuing two boys from drowning; a constable received the
medal for similar action in the following year; while in 1906 the Society
rewarded three constables for saving life in difficult and dangerous
circumstances. On several occasions also the Commissioner rewarded
constables for actions marked by conspicuous courage or intelligence.
These instances serve to support the opinion that under proper leadership
the Maratha of the Konkan and the Muhammadan of the Deccan will show
plenty of sang-froid in emergencies. Considering that the men received
little or no training before being placed on duty in the streets, that
they had little or no education, and that they served year after year in
a climate which is notoriously enervating and under conditions productive
of ill-health, it is greatly to the credit of the police constable that
he performed his duty with so few serious mistakes and that he frequently
gave proof of personal courage and tenacity. If at times he appeared
to cling too closely to the _pan-supari_ shops in the vicinity of his
post or beat, or to lack alertness in directing traffic, it must be
remembered that he was rarely off duty for any length of time, that he
had singularly little opportunity for recreation and amusement, and that
long hours of point-duty under the Bombay sun would try the strongest

Twice during Mr. Gell’s term of office the peace of the City was
broken by rioting at the annual celebration of the Muharram. The first
occasion was March 23rd, 1904, the fifth day of the festival, when the
ancient antagonism between the Sunni and Shia sects developed into open
hostility. The ostensible cause of the disturbance was the determination
of the Sunni processionists to play music and beat their tom-toms
in front of the Bohra mosque in the notorious Doctor Street. Casual
street-fighting between the Bohras and their antagonists occurred daily
up to March 27th (the _Katal-Ki-Rat_ or night of slaughter), and the
aspect of affairs was so ominous that Mr. Gell decided to cancel the
license for the _tabut_ procession from Rangari _moholla_ (i.e. Abdul
Rehman street and adjoining lanes), the inhabitants of which had been
directly responsible for several assaults upon the Bohras. This order was
strongly resented by the general Sunni population, which resolved not to
carry out the _tabuts_ for immersion on the final day of the festival.
As usual, the abandonment of the _tabut_ procession released large
bodies of hooligans and bad characters, who testified to their annoyance
by attacking the police and the general public. At the same time the
Bohras were seized by a general panic, the results of which might have
been disastrous, and this fact, combined with the open disorder in the
streets, led Mr. Gell to summon the military forces to his assistance.
The Cheshire Regiment, a Battery of the R. A., the Railway Volunteers,
the Bombay Light Horse and H. E. the Governor’s Bodyguard were despatched
to various points of the disturbed area and picketed the streets
until April 1st, when peace was finally restored. The casualties were
fortunately few, and serious loss of life was prevented by the speedy
arrival of the troops.

Another serious disturbance marred this festival during the last year
of Mr. Gell’s Commissionership. On the morning of February 13th, 1908,
a fracas occurred between a Shia tabut-procession, composed of Julhais,
Mughals, Khojas and a few Bohras, and a body of Sunni Muhammadans
congregated at a mosque in Falkland road. The police arrested some of
the Sunnis who appeared to be the ringleaders in the affray. The news of
the encounter spread rapidly to other quarters; and the arrest of their
co-sectaries so annoyed the Sunni Muhammadans that they declined to take
out their _tabuts_ in procession. This resulted, as usual, in letting
loose on the streets hundreds of low-class and combative Muhammadans, who
usually accompanied the processions, and they straightway proceeded to
sow the seeds of disorder in various parts of the bazar. In the hope of
averting a catastrophe Mr. Gell gave orders early in the afternoon for
the release of the men arrested after the fracas in the morning. But the
temper of the mob had by that time been aroused, the cry of _Huriya,
Huriya_, was raised, and the ominous stampedes and rushes which usually
preceded an outbreak of disorder occurred in the streets and lanes
bordering on the Grant and Parel roads. The mob confined itself to these
tactics and to spasmodic attacks on the Bohras and other Shias until the
late hours of the afternoon, when serious rioting broke out on Parel
road. Here the Pathan element joined forces with the mob; shops were
looted and set on fire; all traffic was stopped and the tram-cars were
stoned. General panic supervened. As the mob was truculent and refused to
disperse, Mr. Gell ordered the European police, who were facing the mob
in Parel road (Bhendy Bazar), to use their revolvers. The firing put a
stop to the actual rioting, but in view of the general demeanour of the
crowds, troops were called out in the evening in aid of the civil power
and remained on duty in the disturbed quarter until the next day.

These Muharram disturbances, though imposing a severe strain upon the
Commissioner and the police force, caused less concern to the general
public than the prolonged rioting in the industrial quarter in July,
1908, when more than 400,000 mill-hands broke into open disorder after
the conviction of the late Bal Gangadhar Tilak for sedition by the High
Court. Tilak had been arrested in Bombay on June 24th on charges arising
out of the publication in his paper, the _Kesari_, of articles containing
inflammatory comments on the Muzaffarpur outrage, in which Mrs. and Miss
Kennedy had been killed by a bomb—the first of a long list of similar
outrages in Bengal. The bomb was extolled in these articles as ‘a kind of
witchcraft, a charm, an amulet’, and the _Kesari_ delighted in showing
that neither ‘the supervision of the police’ nor ‘swarms of detectives’
could stop ‘these simple playful sports of science.’ Whilst professing
to deprecate such methods, it threw the responsibility upon Government,
which allowed ‘keen disappointment to overtake thousands of intelligent
persons who have been awakened to the necessity of securing the rights
of _Swaraj_’. “Tilak spoke for four whole days in his own defence—21½
hours altogether—but the jury returned a verdict of “Guilty”, and he was
sentenced to six years’ transportation, afterwards commuted on account of
his age and health to simple imprisonment at Mandalay.”[113]

From the moment of his arrest, Tilak’s agents and followers descended
upon the mill-area of Bombay and sedulously spread the story that Tilak
had been arrested because he was the friend of the industrial workers and
had tried to obtain better wages for them. Some of them were reported
to have declared during the trial that there would be a day’s bloodshed
for every year to which he might be sentenced by the Court. Most of the
‘jobbers’ who control the supply of labour were easily won over, and
Tilak’s Brahman emissaries from Poona found many co-adjutors among their
own caste-men in Bombay, and among the Bhandaris and Konkani Marathas
living in Parel, Tardeo, Chinchpugli and Dadar sections. Curiously
enough the Ghatis, or Marathas from the Deccan, showed far less interest
in the trial of Tilak and far less disposition to violence than their
caste-fellows from Ratnagiri and other districts of the western seaboard.
The Deccan mill-hands at Sewri, for example, at the very height of the
rioting, informed an Englishman with whom they were familiar that he need
fear no harm from them, and they confirmed their words by taking no share
in the disturbance which lasted for six days. The hostile attitude of the
Konkani Marathas was due to the continuous efforts of agitators, and this
was particularly the case in the neighbourhood of Currey and De Lisle
roads, where special agents from their own districts had been introduced
by Tilak’s revolutionaries.

The probability of a disturbance was foreseen by the authorities, and Mr.
Gell took various precautions to circumscribe the area of the outbreak.
British regiments, Indian infantry and cavalry were held in readiness;
a barricade was erected on Mayo road leading to the High Court; several
officials and non-officials were appointed Special Magistrates and were
posted at important points to watch the progress of events, assist the
police, and take all feasible measures for securing the peace of the
City. The Special Magistrates were a curiously mixed body. Among them
were Mr. James Macdonald, a sexagenarian Scotsman, who had served the
City for years as a member of the Municipal Corporation; Colonel Cordue,
R. E., the Master of the Mint; Mr. Philip Messent, Engineer of the Port
Trust; Mr. Arthur Leslie of Messrs. Greaves, Cotton and Co., who filled
his pockets with lemon-grass oil for the benefit of the men of the Royal
Scots, who were posted at the old police _chauki_ in Jacob’s Circle and
had their bare knees badly bitten by the mosquitoes and other forms of
low life which shared the _chauki_ with the police-constables; the author
of this work, who was at the time enjoying a spell of comparative ease in
the literary backwaters of the Bombay City Gazetteer; and last but not
least, the Hon. Arthur Hill-Trevor, a commercial free-lance and honorary
magistrate, who regarded himself as a sort of Honorary and Supernumerary
Deputy Commissioner of Police, and in that capacity executed various
blood-curdling manœuvres which caused no little apprehension to his more
pacific colleagues.

It so happened that some of the precautions proved superfluous. There
was no attempt on the part of the rioters to rush the High Court or even
to attend the trial of Tilak: there was no organized attempt to march on
the European residential quarter or to attack the European population
_en masse_. Although the rioting assumed at times a very threatening
character, it was confined wholly to the mill-area, except on one
afternoon, when the Bania merchants, employed in the cloth-market of
the C division, turned out in force and had to be dispersed by firing.
A consideration of all the circumstances of the Tilak riots leads one
to infer that the Commissioner was not as well served by his detective
agency as he might have been, and that the disturbances might have
been more disastrous and have lasted longer, if Tilak’s emissaries and
agents had had more time at their disposal in which to foster the spirit
of violence. By the end of the first day’s rioting it was clear that
outlying areas like the Fort and Malabar Hill were exposed to no danger,
and consequently most of the Special Magistrates gravitated from their
original posts to Jacob’s Circle, which divided the industrial quarters
from the central portion of the City and served as a gathering-ground for
the forces of law and order.

Within the mill-district the rioting was fairly continuous and
occasionally serious, and isolated Europeans whose duties obliged them to
reside in the area north of Jacob’s Circle found it wise to vacate their
houses for the time being and seek shelter in Mazagon, the Fort and other
parts. Much damage was done to mill-property, and in several encounters
with the mob the European police were forced to use their revolvers and
the troops had to fire in self-defence. The Indian cavalry were stoned
from the _chals_ on more than one occasion, and small parties of unarmed
police fared badly at the hands of the rioters, who had accumulated
considerable stores of brick-bats and road-metal at convenient

The Bombay Government, realizing that the trouble was not a sudden
and spontaneous outburst of popular feeling and that the rebellious
mill-hands were the victims of an unscrupulous agitation, based on
malevolent falsehood, had issued strict orders for the avoidance of
bloodshed as far as possible: and both the military forces and the police
exercised such steady self-restraint that the casualties were relatively
few. Nevertheless the continuance of rioting and the dislocation of
business in the City set many people wondering whether other methods
of restoring peace might not be tried. About the fifth day of the
disturbance the Chamber of Commerce sent a deputation to the Governor,
to point out the loss sustained by the commercial and trade-interests
of the City and to urge upon Government a stronger effort to dissuade
the mill-population from violence. The author of this history, who had
witnessed the whole sequence of events at Jacob’s Circle and had on one
occasion accompanied a detachment of the Northampton Regiment to Dadar
to protect certain isolated Europeans, had already asked permission
of Mr. (afterwards Sir John) Jenkins, Member of Council, to visit the
heart of the disturbed area in company with certain Indian gentlemen
who had offered their assistance, and endeavour to produce a milder
feeling among the mill-hands. The permission was granted. Accordingly
the writer, accompanied by the late Rao Bahadur Narayan T. Vaidya, Dr.
Dinanath Naik Dandekar and four or five others, visited a large number of
mill-hands’ _chals_ and dwellings in Parel and Dadar, spoke to several
groups of mill-hands, and urged them to resume their regular duties. In
places the party was met with sullen hostility and with shouts of _Tilak
Maharaj ki Jai_, but the eloquence of the Indian members of the party
was not without effect, and when Rao Bahadur N. T. Vaidya urged them to
substitute _Satya Narayan ki Jai_ for their Tilakite war-cry, some of
them seemed disposed to accept the suggestion.

Though some were inclined to look askance at their intervention, the
efforts of this little peace-party did engender a better feeling, and
this, coupled with a natural weariness of prolonged hostilities and the
loss of their wages, resulted in the gradual return of tranquillity
after the sixth day. By the end of the first week of August, affairs had
resumed their normal course, the mill-hands were again at work, and the
Bombay Government were at liberty to consider the salient features and
lessons of the outbreak. Sir George Clarke, the Governor, was blamed
in some quarters for having paid a sympathetic visit, after the close
of the riots, to wounded mill-hands in the Sir J.J. Hospital. But his
policy in this matter was dictated by an earnest desire to smooth away
the bitterness which measures of repression are calculated to provoke,
and by a conviction that there had been an absence of contact between
the local authorities and the industrial population, which had been
permitted to fall completely under the lawless influence of Tilak and his
immediate followers. The fact that the disturbances lasted for a whole
week invited a doubt whether the police arrangements were as effective as
they might have been, and whether indeed a more efficient intelligence
organization might not have facilitated a speedier conclusion of the
unsatisfactory duties which the military were called upon to perform. An
impression prevailed that, although the mill-hands who defied the police
and troops had been severely punished, the real authors and fomenters of
the disturbances had managed to escape scot-free, and that they could
not have enjoyed such immunity, if the police had had their fingers more
closely upon the pulse of the City.

So far as concerns the prosecution and conviction of Tilak, Sir George
Clarke won “the respect of the vast majority of the community, and
although he failed to secure the active support which he might have
expected from the ‘moderates’, there were few of them who did not
secretly approve and even welcome his action. Its effects were great
and enduring, for Tilak’s conviction was a heavy blow to the forces
of unrest, at least in the Deccan; and some months later, one of the
organs of his party, the _Rashtramat_, reviewing the occurrences of the
year, was fain to admit that ‘the sudden removal of Mr. Tilak’s towering
personality threw the whole province into dismay and unnerved the other

Having thus secured the discomfiture of the revolutionary party in
Western India, the Governor applied himself to the problem of the Bombay
City Police administration, which appeared to him to need revision, not
only in response to the general findings of the Police Commission, but
also by reason of its apparent failure to keep closely in touch with
political intrigue, such as that which precipitated the riots of July
1908. Apart from the mere question of numbers and pay, the force appeared
to the Governor to be working on somewhat obsolete lines and to need
keying up to the pitch at which it might cope more successfully both
with its regular duties of watch and ward and with the large amount of
confidential investigation necessitated by the rapid and alarming growth
of political unrest and sedition. These were the main reasons underlying
the appointment of the Morison Committee, which has been described in an
earlier paragraph. One of the most important sections of that committee’s
report was concerned with the reorganization of the old detective branch
of the police-force, hereafter to be called the Criminal Investigation
Department (C. I. D.), upon which devolved the task of watching the trend
of political movements and of accumulating knowledge of the antecedents
and actions of the chief fomenters of unrest.

The work of a police-officer in an Indian city has always been extremely
arduous, and few men in these days are able to bear the strain for many
years without some loss of vitality and health. There is little doubt
that the extra work and anxiety entailed by the Royal Visit of 1905,
which was followed a few days later by the arrival of Lord Minto and the
departure of Lord Curzon, had much to do with the temporary breakdown of
health which obliged Mr. Gell to take furlough in 1906; while the strain
inevitably imposed upon him by the Muharram and Tilak riots of 1908 was
partly the cause of his again taking leave to England in the early part
of 1909. In doing so, his long service in the City came to an end: for
by the time his leave had expired, his successor was in the midst of a
comprehensive reorganization scheme, which would have suffered in the
event of his reversion to his own grade in the Indian Civil Service.
In order, therefore, to enable him to complete his full period of
pensionable service, Mr. Gell, on his return from England, was appointed
Deputy Inspector-General of Police for the Presidency and a little later
for Sind. It was in Sind that he completed his official career, and from
Karachi that he sailed finally for England. His long connexion with the
City of Bombay is commemorated, though not perhaps adequately, in the
name of one of the newer streets opened by the City Improvement Trust in
the neighbourhood of Ripon road. Memories of his equability of temper and
his impartiality are still cherished by the older officers and men of the
police-force, who pay a willing tribute to his character as an officer
and a gentleman.




Mr. S. M. Edwardes, who succeeded Mr. Gell as head of the Bombay City
Police Force, was the first member of the Indian Civil Service to hold
that appointment. He had previously held various appointments in Bombay
ranging from Assistant to the Collector and Chief Inspector of Factories
to acting Municipal Commissioner, and had acquired considerable knowledge
of the population and past history of Bombay by his work as Census
Officer in 1901 and later as Compiler of the Gazetteer. Shortly after the
Tilak riots in 1908, he was nominated a member of the Morison Committee
which, as previously stated, was appointed by the Bombay Government
to consider the working of the urban police administration and make
proposals for its future organization.

[Illustration: MR. S. M. EDWARDES]

This Committee, which met in the Secretariat, directed particular
attention to the provision of properly equipped police stations, to
the reconstitution and enlargement of the detective branch, hereafter
to be known as the C. I. D., to the creation of a trained Indian staff
for the investigation of crime in the Divisions, and to the numbers
and personnel of the European and Indian branches of the force. The
Committee came to the conclusion from the facts and evidence before them
that in dealing with political crime and seditious movements, planned,
promoted and carried out by an Indian _intelligentsia_, the police
were handicapped by the absence of educated Indians in the subordinate
ranks of the force, and that the investigation of ordinary crime by the
divisional police suffered from being in the hands of an old-fashioned
agency, which conducted its inquiries in a multiplicity of small and
sometimes obscure _chaukis_ and kept no proper record of its cases.
Concentration of the staff in a definite number of properly-equipped
stations in each division, and the inclusion in the force of a new cadre
of Indian officers for the divisional investigation of crime were two
obvious desiderata, upon which the Committee laid particular stress.
They decided also that the time had arrived to place the C. I. D. under
the immediate control of a gazetted officer of the Imperial Police, who
would occupy the position of a Deputy Commissioner, leaving the existing
Deputy Commissioner to deal with the divisional police and with the large
amount of miscellaneous work requiring the attention of the headquarters
staff. Proposals, of a more or less tentative character, were also
made regarding the numbers, grading and duties of the European police,
the recruitment of Indian constables, and the numbers and work of the
Harbour, Docks and Mounted Police.

After drafting the report of the Committee and arranging for its
submission to Government in October, 1908, Mr. Edwardes took leave
to England. While there, he received an intimation from the Bombay
Government of their intention to appoint him Commissioner of Police
_vice_ Mr. Gell, who proposed to take leave in 1909. He was at the same
time instructed to visit Scotland Yard and study at first hand the
organization of the Metropolitan Police. Armed with a letter from the
Home Office to the Chief Commissioner, Sir Edward Henry, Mr. Edwardes
accordingly spent some time in the early part of 1909 in acquainting
himself with the distribution of work and the machinery for the
prevention and detection of crime in a typical London police division,
with the details of the Metropolitan beat-system, with the work of the
constables’ training-school in Westminster, with the organization of
the Finger Print Bureau, and with the staffing, equipment, structural
features and general management of one of the latest and most up-to-date
London police-stations. The knowledge thus acquired was of the greatest
value, when his own proposals for the reorganization of the Bombay City
Police were under preparation.

Mr. Edwardes assumed charge of the Commissioner’s office on May
7th, 1909, with Mr. R. M. Phillips as his Deputy Commissioner and
Superintendent Sloane as head of the Criminal Investigation Department.
The former was succeeded in July by Mr. Hayter, who made way in September
for Mr. Gadney. The latter served as Deputy Commissioner until November,
1913, when his place was taken by Mr. O. Allen Harker, who held the
appointment until after the expiry of Mr. Edwardes’ term of office. In
pursuance of the recommendations of the Morison Committee, an additional
appointment of Deputy Commissioner in charge of the C. I. D. was
sanctioned by G. R. J. D. 3253 of June 8th, 1909; and, Superintendent
Sloane having been promoted to the cadre of the Imperial Police and
transferred to a district, the new post was given to Mr. F. A. M. H.
Vincent, son of the former Commissioner of Police, who held it until the
beginning of 1913, when he was appointed Deputy Director of Criminal
Intelligence at Simla. He was succeeded in Bombay by Mr. F. C. Griffith,
who remained in charge of the C. I. D. during the remainder of Mr.
Edwardes’ term of office. Both Mr. Vincent and Mr. Griffith subsequently
succeeded in turn to the Commissioner’s appointment. In 1914 a third
appointment of Deputy Commissioner was sanctioned by G. R. J. D. 9249 of
December 19th, 1914, under the style and title of Deputy Commissioner of
Police for the Port of Bombay. Mr. G. S. Wilson was chosen for this post
and became responsible, under the general authority of the Commissioner,
for all work connected with the Harbour and Dock Police and the Pilgrim
Traffic. This period thus witnessed the permanent appointment of three
Deputy Commissioners in place of a single officer of that rank, and
the consequent delegation to them by the Commissioner of much of the
work which he had hitherto been expected to perform without adequate

Mr. Edwardes’ appointment was not received favourably at first by
the members of the Imperial Police Service, who naturally felt some
resentment at such a post being given to one who was not a professional
police-officer. This feeling led to the submission of memorials on the
subject to the Bombay Government, who were able without difficulty to
justify their departure from the usual practice. The discontent also
communicated itself to the rank and file of the City police, who during
the first few months of Mr. Edwardes’ _régime_ displayed a spirit of
captious criticism, which was fanned at last by a few malcontents into
overt disobedience. The movement culminated on January 7th, 1910, in the
refusal of a certain number of Indian constables to receive their pay.
The Commissioner, who had kept himself informed of the course of the
movement, had arranged with the European officers of the Divisions what
action should be taken in the event of open insubordination. The men who
declined to accept their pay were therefore marched immediately to the
Head Police Office and, after inquiry into their conduct, were dismissed
from the force. This action completely quashed the movement, which was
based upon no real grievance and was designed merely to cause trouble to
a Commissioner, whose policy and plans they had been taught to regard
with suspicion.

The strength and cost of the City Police Force underwent much alteration
during this period of seven years, in consequence of the reorganization
scheme prepared by the Commissioner. His proposals for the future
constitution and character of the force, which were submitted in July,
1910, were sanctioned by the Government of India in September, 1911; but
owing to very heavy work connected with the visit of Their Majesties the
King and Queen in November of that year, the scheme was not actually
introduced until the beginning of 1912. As early as 1909, however,
certain changes were made in consonance with the proposals of the
Morison Committee, and to meet emergent requirements, which resulted in
an increase of the total number to 2,408. This total included additions
to the Dockyard police, temporary sanitary police for service under the
Port Health Officer, temporary constables for traffic-duty at various
railway level crossings, and finally the revised strength of the C.
I. D., which was fixed by G. R. J. D. 2708 of May 10th, 1909, at 1
Superintendent, 6 Inspectors, 7 Sub-Inspectors, 23 Head Constables and
41 Constables. In 1910 an additional Inspector was sanctioned for the
Motor Vehicles department; and 9 Indian sub-inspectors, 3 head constables
and 9 constables were added to the force, to enable the Commissioner to
introduce tentatively in three areas the new divisional organization
which formed the salient feature of his administrative proposals. Thus by
1911 the force numbered 2,505, which was equivalent to a proportion of
one policeman to every 394 of population, and cost annually, inclusive
of temporary police and contingent charges, Rs. 10,93,351. In 1913,
when the reorganization was well in hand, the total strength of the
force stood at 2,844 and cost Rs. 12,73,834; while at the end of 1915,
a few months before Mr. Edwardes relinquished office, the total number,
inclusive of a small temporary staff for watching transfrontier Pathans
in the City, was 3,011, and the annual cost amounted to Rs. 13,37,208.
The proportion of police to population at this date was 1 to 327, which
compared unfavourably with the proportions in Calcutta and London. Had
the Commissioner’s first proposals been sanctioned without alteration,
the proportion of police to population in Bombay would have been far more
favourable; for he had worked out a complete beat-system on the London
model for the whole of the City. The number of men, however, required
for this purpose was naturally large, and as the Bombay Government
were compelled by the Government of India to restrict the additional
annual cost of the force to 2½ lakhs of rupees, the Commissioner was
obliged to jettison the beat-system and utilize the available funds in
other directions, such as perfecting the divisional machinery for the
investigation of crime, increasing the number of fixed traffic posts, and
augmenting the inadequate pay of the European police.

This force of just over 3,000 men was distributed among the following
divisions at the close of 1916:—

    Division |              Sub-divisions or Sections
       A     | Colaba, Fort South, Fort North, Esplanade
       B     | Mandvi, Chakla, Umarkhadi, Dongri
       C     | Market and Dhobi Talao, Bhuleshwar and Khara Talao
       D     | Khetwadi, Girgaum, Chaupati, Walkeshwar
       E     | Mazagon, Tarwadi, Kamathipura, New Nagpada, Mahalakshmi,
             |   Jacob’s Circle
       F     | Parel, Dadar, Matunga, Sion
       G     | Mahim, Worli
     H and I | Harbour and Docks
       L     | Head Quarters Armed and Unarmed Police
       M     | Mounted Police
       N     | The Government Dockyard
    and The Criminal Investigation Department (formerly the K division).

With the appointment of Mr. F. A. M. H. Vincent as Deputy Commissioner,
C. I. D., and the increase in its personnel, the Criminal Investigation
Department entered upon a period of remarkable activity. The staff
was divided into four branches—Political, Foreign, Crime, and
Miscellaneous—each in control of one or more Inspectors; work-books were
introduced, which fixed responsibility upon individual officers for
cases entrusted to them for inquiry and served as a check upon delay
in the submission of final reports of investigations; a confidential
strong-room was provided, and the card index system and upright filing
of records were substituted for the old methods in vogue at this
date in most official departments. In addition to the investigation
of cases, some of the more remarkable of which will be mentioned
hereafter, the department made confidential inquiries, often of a
delicate character, into political, religious and social movements;
it scrutinized plays for performance licenses, amending or rejecting
those that were objectionable; it took vigorous action under the Press
Act, confiscating on occasions as many as twenty-one thousand copies of
proscribed books; it maintained a constant watch upon the arrivals and
departures of steamers, assisted the Excise authorities, collaborated
with the police of other districts and provinces, supervised and, if
necessary, prohibited the songs sung by the _melas_ at the annual Ganpati
celebration, and performed an immense amount of confidential work in
connexion with the Muharram. It also assisted or secured the repatriation
of all manner of destitute persons stranded in Bombay, including English
theatrical artistes, Arabs belonging to French territories, ladies from
Mauritius, Bengali seamen, Pathan labourers expelled from Ceylon, and
deportees from the Transvaal.

The establishment at the beginning of 1911 of a “Police Gazette”,
appearing thrice in the twenty-four hours and containing full details of
all reported crimes, persons wanted, property stolen or lost, etc., was
a further step in the direction of increased efficiency. Prior to this
date, when a case of theft occurred, the first duty of the Inspector, in
whose jurisdiction it took place, was to prepare with his own hand thirty
or forty notices for dispatch to other police-stations in the City.
Much valuable time was thus wasted; and when the notices were ready,
several constables had to be released from their proper duties to act as
messengers. Under the system introduced in 1911 the duty of the sectional
officer consisted simply in telephoning full details to the Deputy
Commissioner C. I. D., who arranged for their insertion in the next issue
of the “Gazette”, copies of which were delivered at every police station
within a few hours of the occurrence. The arrangements were adapted from
the system followed in London and effected a great saving of time and
trouble in the divisions. In 1915 the Police Notice Office, composed of a
European Inspector and an Indian head constable, circulated in this way
nearly 10,000 paragraphs and 67 supplements dealing with murders, thefts,
deserters and persons wanted, and also published and circulated to the
divisions forty pages of special orders concerned with daily routine.

Another salient feature of the reorganization, as mentioned above, was
the creation of a special agency for the divisional investigation of
crime. This was dependent upon the provision of properly-equipped police
stations of a definite type, recommended by Mr. Edwardes, comprising
the necessary offices, charge-room, cells, quarters for the European
and Indian staff, and barracks for the constabulary. The scheme, as
sanctioned, contemplated the provision of 17 stations of this character.
At the date when Mr. Edwardes was appointed Commissioner, none of the
existing police-stations fulfilled these requirements, and in some
divisions paucity of accommodation directly hampered the daily work of
the police. In 1911, for example, the station of the Khetwadi section
of the D division was described as practically non-existent. The lease
of a building having expired, and no alternative accommodation being
available, the Inspector was holding his office in the dressing-room
of an Indian theatre in Grant road, the station-stores and constables’
kit-boxes were temporarily placed in a tea-shop in Falkland road, and
the two European officers of the section were forced to reside in very
poor quarters in an adjoining section. Most of the older stations were
very inconvenient and insanitary. The only office consisted of one of
the sectional Inspector’s dwelling-rooms or of a portion of a verandah
screened off; prisoners and witnesses were herded together on the stairs
or in the street; the residence was surrounded by old-fashioned and
odoriferous latrines; and every odd corner was choked with kit-boxes and
with the recumbent forms of constables taking a rest before going on duty.

By the end of 1910, however, a complete programme for new stations had
been prepared, and sanctioned by Government, and a commencement had been
made in Colaba, Nagpada and Agripada, where the newer police-stations
erected by the Improvement Trust were subjected to structural alterations
and additions, in order to make them conform with the plan adapted
from the London model. Each of these stations was equipped with a
staff composed of one Inspector, one Deputy Inspector, three Indian
Sub-Inspectors for criminal investigation, plain-clothes constables
and a clerical staff; the first information sheet, case-diary and
other records used by the District Police were so adapted to urban
requirements as to secure a complete record of every case taken up by
the police; and the time-table of duties was arranged so that at any
moment during the twenty-four hours an English-knowing officer, with
power to record complaints and commence inquiries, would be found in the
general charge-room of the station. At the outset most of the Indian
Sub-Inspectors were chosen from among the few English-knowing Jemadars
and Havildars, already in the force; but from 1910 onwards a regular
supply of such officers was secured by choosing young Indians of good
middle-class standing and deputing them to the Provincial Police Training
School at Nasik for an eighteen months’ course of tuition in law and

At the beginning of 1913 the Commissioner opened two more stations on the
new model at Princess Street—a building erected by the Improvement Trust
in 1910, and at Maharbaudi: and two more in 1914 in the new buildings of
the Harbour and Dock police at Mody Bay and Frere road respectively,
which were completed and occupied in January. At the beginning
of January, 1916, three more stations were established under the
reorganization scheme at Khetwadi, Hughes road, and the Esplanade, while
at the close of the same year similar stations were organized in the
new buildings erected at Gamdevi, Lamington road and Palton road. Thus,
by the end of 1916 thirteen out of the seventeen model police-stations,
originally proposed by the Commissioner, had been opened with a full
complement of officers and men, while plans had been approved for similar
accommodation in Mahim, Parel and other places in the northern portion
of the Island of Bombay. Where it was found impossible to build full
residential accommodation for both officers and men on the site allotted
for these new stations, ancillary accommodation schemes were prepared,
which, when completed, would ensure the proper housing of the majority of
the force as it existed at the date of Mr. Edwardes’ departure.

A sustained effort was made during these years to teach English to the
Indian constabulary, with the object of giving the men themselves a
better chance of promotion and enabling them to hold their own more
confidently with the large English-speaking population. In 1910 the
number of officers, exclusive of Europeans, able to read and write was
127, of whom only 36 were literate in English, while literate constables,
of whom only one or two knew English, numbered 584. In July 1911 the
Commissioner commenced sending a chosen number of Muhammadan and Hindu
constables to two free night-schools for instruction in English and
one vernacular language. The success attending this experiment led the
Bombay Government to sanction a proposal to open an English school for
constables at the Head Police Office, under a qualified teacher from
one of the official training-schools maintained by the Educational
Department. This school was attended by 150 constables from the various
branches of the force, who were given a three years’ course of tuition
in English, and on Saturdays attended lectures on their duty to the
public, their powers under the Police Act, and matters of simple hygiene.
In 1913 the number of men attending the school had risen to 200, and the
master had been forced to obtain gratuitous assistance in teaching the
various classes. The question of accommodation also became urgent, and
during 1915 and 1916 the classes had to be assembled in the Elphinstone
Middle School, which the educational authorities allowed the police
to use during the early morning and evening hours. The men, who were
encouraged to study by the grant of small rewards and occasionally of
promotion, if they were successful in the periodical examinations,
derived distinct advantage from the school-course, and the number of
constables literate in the English language showed a steady increase
between 1911 and 1916. In the latter year 846 constables were reported
to be able to read and write, and 72 of them were literate in English.
Connected with the subject of education was the foundation of a fund
in the name of the Commissioner—the S. M. E. Memorial Fund—subscribed
by Hindu and Muhammadan residents, with the object of assisting Indian
constables of the force to educate their sons. The proposal was made in
the first instance by Mr. Kazi Kabiruddin, a barrister and Justice of the
Peace, and at his instance sufficient funds were subsequently provided
to admit of the grant of monthly scholarships and stipends to the sons
of constables attending primary schools maintained by the Municipal

A large amount of routine work devolved upon the police under the Arms,
Explosives, Petroleum and Poisons Acts. Under the Arms Act licenses of
various kinds were granted or cancelled, the shops and store-rooms of
licensed dealers were regularly inspected and their stocks checked,
and constant inquiries, numbering several thousand annually, were made
to verify purchases from local dealers and trace the whereabouts of
fire-arms. In 1911, just before the arrival of Their Majesties the King
and Queen, five revolvers were stolen from a licensed dealer’s shop.
The C. I. D. were successful in recovering the arms and in obtaining
the conviction of the thieves: but in consideration of the approach of
the Royal Visit, the Commissioner decided to take charge of the entire
stock of arms and ammunition held by five Indian dealers, and kept it
in deposit in the Head Police Office until after the departure of Their
Majesties. Under the Explosives Act licenses were issued for manufacture,
possession and sale; and magazines for the storage of explosives were
regularly inspected by the special branch maintained for this purpose
at headquarters. Similar duties were carried out under the Petroleum
Act; while from April 1st, 1909, the Police became responsible for
licensing the sale of poisons and checking stocks,—duties which up to
that date had been performed by the Municipality. The task of licensing
theatres and granting performance licenses, which was transferred to
the Arms department at the close of 1909, imposed a heavy additional
burden on the special staff. Most of the theatres at this date were
devoid of proper exits and of means of protection against fire, and these
seven years witnessed a continuous struggle to secure the erection of
fire-proof staircases etc. and the provision of fire-proof drop-curtains.
Fortunately the Police were able to obtain the help of the Chief of the
Fire-brigade and of the Government engineering and electrical experts,
in deciding what improvements were essential in each case, and it was
chiefly due to this collaboration that a better fire-service had been
installed by 1913 in each of the thirteen theatres of the City, and that
many important structural alterations in both theatres and cinematographs
had been introduced by the close of 1916. Perhaps the most notable
achievement of the headquarters staff under Chief Inspector M. J.
Giles was the preparation of a set of theatre rules, applicable to all
structures used for public performances, which were brought into force
in August 1914, and gave the police power to insist upon the provision
of fire-appliances, water supply, exits, and fire-proof materials. As
mentioned in a previous paragraph, the C. I. D. was made responsible for
the scrutiny of plays, for which a performance license was required,
and licenses were granted only to such plays as were declared by that
department to be unobjectionable on political, moral or general grounds.

The growth in the number of motor-vehicles continued unchecked and
ultimately necessitated the promulgation of new rules under the Motor
Vehicles Act in 1915. In 1909, the total number of motor-vehicles
registered since 1905 was 1,295, while in 1915 this figure had increased
to 4,947. But a good many of these gradually disappeared in the course
of ten years, and the actual number estimated to be on the roads in
1915 was 2,482 as compared with only 814 in 1909. Heavy motor-vehicles
of the lorry type also appeared during this period and numbered 70 in
1915. This increase of motor-traffic synchronized with, and was partly
responsible for, a steady increase in the number of street accidents.
While reckless driving was unquestionably the cause of many accidents,
despite energetic action in several directions to prevent it, the large
majority of the casualties reported from year to year were the outcome
of that carelessness and lack of alertness on the part of the average
Indian pedestrian, with which all who have driven cars or carriages in
Bombay are only too well acquainted. Accustomed as they are to the peace
of a sequestered country life, many of the foot-passengers in the streets
of the city seem totally unable to exercise any caution or to acquire
the habit of keeping to the side of the road, while in the case of the
mill-workers, whom one meets in Parel and elsewhere, the sense of hearing
seems to have been permanently dulled by the constant rattle and clatter
of the machinery at which they labour during the greater part of the day.

The Haj traffic continued to expand between 1909 and 1911, the total
number of pilgrims who left Bombay for Jeddah in those years being
19,748 and 21,965 respectively. From 1912 the numbers commenced to
decline until the year after the outbreak of the War, when the traffic
virtually ceased altogether. The period witnessed a struggle on the
part of a British shipping-firm to secure the monopoly of the Red Sea
trade, including the pilgrim traffic, by ousting the few Muhammadan-owned
vessels which had hitherto catered for the pilgrims. The firm in question
was unquestionably in a position to offer better vessels and a better
organization for the return journey than the Indian ship-owners: but
one or two of the latter resented the effort to drive them out of the
traffic, with the result that the Commissioner of Police and the Pilgrim
department, who endeavoured to act in a strictly neutral manner, ran
the risk of blame from both parties for showing undue preference to
their rivals. At the moment of the Declaration of War all the vessels
engaged in the traffic were owned by the British firm, except one or at
most two which belonged to a well-known Muhammadan resident. It might
have been supposed that, considering the wholly Islamic character of
the pilgrimage, a British firm would have acquiesced in the continued
presence of a Muhammadan-owned vessel, and have trusted to time and the
ordinary economic law for its ultimate disappearance from the Jeddah
route. Such, however, was not the case; and at the instance of the local
manager of the firm, a pushing Scot from Aberdeen, the Bombay Government
was asked practically to insist upon the Commissioner and the Pilgrim
department refusing all facilities to the Muhammadan ship-owner to sell
his tickets and dispatch his vessel. The outbreak of War in 1914, and the
consequent cessation of the traffic to and from Jeddah, solved a dispute
which for some time imposed additional work upon the Police and Pilgrim

The Finger Print Bureau steadily maintained its efficiency and had
compiled a record of more than 45,000 slips by the end of 1915. At the
request of the municipal authorities, it commenced about 1912 to take the
finger-impressions of hundreds of candidates for employment as sweepers
in the Health department, and was able to prove annually from its records
that a certain proportion of these people had previous convictions under
the Penal Code. In another direction—revolver-practice by the European
police—a considerable improvement was effected. Up to 1914 it was
customary to arrange for the practice in a field at the back of the China
Mill at Sewri, which was sufficiently remote and secluded to obviate
danger to the public. But the distance of the site from the centre of
the City rendered the regular attendance of all officers practically
impossible, and in consequence, on the rare occasions when the European
police were called upon to use their revolvers at disturbances, their
shooting was inclined to be a trifle erratic. In the Muharram riots
of 1908, for example, when Mr. Gell ordered the European officers to
fire on the mob in Bhendy Bazar, a Parsi who was watching the rioting
from the window of a third upper-storey was unfortunately killed by
a revolver-shot, directed at the crowd in the street. To ensure more
regular practice by all officers, therefore, the Commissioner obtained
the approval of Government to the erection of a safety revolver range in
the compound of the Head Police Office, which was opened in September,

Before dealing with the record of crime, a brief reference is desirable
to the extraordinary volume of miscellaneous work performed under the
orders of the Commissioner. Derelict children were constantly being
picked up in the streets by the divisional police and forwarded to the
Head Office, when the Commissioner had to make the best arrangements he
could for their maintenance and welfare; penniless women and children
were repatriated to various parts of India, to Persia, Mauritius,
Egypt, South Africa and Singapore, with funds collected by the Police
Office for each individual case from charitable townspeople; penurious
women were assisted to get their daughters married, and on one occasion
a Muhammadan and his wife, who desired a divorce and applied for
police assistance, were granted facilities for the ceremony at police
headquarters. On another occasion the Commissioner was asked to assist in
the rebuilding of a mosque belonging to the Sidis or African Musalmans
of Tandel Street, and was able to obtain the necessary funds from
several well-to-do Muhammadans in the city. The Police dealt also with
a large number of lunatics; they traced deserters from the Army and
Navy; they made inquiries into the condition of second-class hotels and
drinking bars in the European quarter and took action, when necessary, in
consultation with the Excise authorities; they dealt with a very large
number of prostitutes under the Police Act. The number of summonses which
they were called upon to serve annually on behalf of magisterial courts
in Bombay and other Provinces was enormous, and their work in connexion
with the grant of certificates of identity to persons proceeding to
Europe, with the grant of passes for processions and for playing music in
the streets, and of permits to enter the Ballard Pier on the arrival and
departure of the English mail-steamer, was heavy and continuous. Appeals
for unofficial assistance from private individuals and from societies
like the League of Mercy, engaged in rescue-work among women, were also
never refused. Miscellaneous activities of this varied type formed no
small portion of the annual task of the force and were rendered effective
by the close collaboration of the staff at headquarters, the C. I. D.,
and the divisional police.

The difficulty of providing suitable shelter and guardianship for the
many derelict girls of tender age found wandering in the streets by
the police led directly to the foundation by the Commissioner of the
Abdulla Haji Daud Bavla Muhammadan Girls’ Orphanage. With the possible
exception of one or two Christian missionary institutions, to which it
would have been impolitic on political and religious grounds to send
children, no organization or society existed in 1909, which was prepared
to take charge of homeless girls. Consequently, many little waifs
gravitated into the brothels of the city or were gradually absorbed in
the floating criminal population. Moreover, when a child was found in
the streets, homeless and friendless, the police had no shelter to offer
her except the cells at the sectional police-station; and these, being
regularly filled with the dregs of the criminal population, were a most
undesirable environment for girls of tender years. As caste-prejudices
offered peculiar obstacles to any scheme for the benefit of Hindu girls
belonging to the Shudra class, the Commissioner determined to concentrate
his attention upon a home for Muhammadan girls, and accordingly drew up
a scheme and issued an appeal, which was widely circulated among the
Muhammadan community. The appeal was favourably received, and about 2
lakhs of rupees were collected within a few weeks. To this sum were
added more than 3 lakhs from the estate of the late Abdulla Haji Daud
Bavla, whose executors offered the amount on condition that the orphanage
should bear his name, that his trustees should be represented on the
managing committee of the orphanage, and that the objects, constitution
and maintenance etc. of the orphanage should be embodied in a legal deed
of trust. At the request of the Commissioner, the Bombay Government
agreed to become a party to the deed and bound themselves to appoint
the Commissioner of Police, or any other of their officers resident for
the time being in Bombay, as chairman of the board of trustees of the
orphanage. The legal preliminaries having been completed and the funds
duly invested in gilt-edged securities, a suitable building was taken
on a lease, and furnished at the expense of a philanthropic Muhammadan
merchant, and in December, 1910, the orphanage was formally opened by
Sir George Clarke (now Lord Sydenham) and Lady Clarke. The institution
soon justified its existence; the number of girl-inmates steadily
increased, their physical health and welfare being under the general
supervision of a trustworthy Englishwoman, and their religious exercises
and elementary lessons being given by a Mullani and her assistants. The
problem of the girls’ future was solved in the only feasible way by
arranging for their marriage with Muhammadans of their own class, as
soon as they reached the age of maturity. These hymeneal arrangements
were made by a chosen officer of the C. I. D., Khan Saheb M. F. Taki,
in consultation with the _jamats_ and leaders of the various Musalman
sections. Experience has proved that the establishment of institutions
like this Muhammadan Girls’ Orphanage is an essential preliminary to any
serious effort to combat the deplorable traffic in children, which still
flourishes in India and constitutes the chief means of recruitment for
the brothels of the larger towns and cities.

This period witnessed a steady increase in crime up to 1915, when the
stringent measures taken during the pendency of the War to clear the
City of undesirables imposed a notable check upon the normal increase
in reported crime. Previous to that date the rapid increase in recorded
crime was the natural result of the changes which took place in the
force after 1909, and particularly of the improvement in registration
which followed the introduction of the new divisional police-stations.
Not only did these stations offer increased facilities for the reporting
and detection of crime, but it was also impossible under the new system
for cases to escape registration and final inclusion in the returns.
The improvement in the registration of cases was manifested also in a
marked diminution of the number of complaints classed as made under a
misapprehension of law or fact. By 1916 the sanctioned strength of the
police force had been augmented by one-third since 1906, and this fact
by itself would have sufficed to account for a large increase in the
amount of crime brought to light. When coupled with the reorganization of
the various police-stations, each of which was furnished with a strong
registering and investigating staff, the increase in recorded crime
became inevitable. It was likewise due to more accurate estimates of the
value of property stolen that the percentage of recovery declined from 56
in 1908 to about 40 in succeeding years.

Murder and attempts at murder were still deplorably frequent, including
cases of infanticide which are extremely difficult to detect in an
Oriental city. The number of murder cases varied from 16 in 1909 to 31 in
1910, 25 in 1911, 31 in 1912, and 24 in both 1913 and 1915. The largest
number, 35, occurred in 1914. The most notable murder was that of a
young and wealthy Bhattia widow, residing in her own house on Malabar
Hill. Her husband, Lakhmidas Khimji, who had died some time previously
in circumstances which gave rise to ill-founded rumour, had been a
well-known figure in Indian commercial circles. His widow Jamnabai, was
brutally strangled by a gang of six men from northern India, two of whom
belonged to well-known criminal tribes in the United Provinces and a
third was a night-watchman in the employ of a Jain resident on Malabar
Hill. At first there appeared to be no clue whatever to the crime; but
a few days after its occurrence the commissioner received an anonymous
letter in Hindi, which was translated for him by the Subehdar of the
Armed Police, who happened to be a north-Indian Brahman conversant with
that language. The letter, which was written by one of the criminals
in revenge for not receiving what he regarded as a fair share of the
ornaments stolen from the widow’s house, gave sufficient details to
enable the Police to arrest five of the gang the same evening. The sixth
accused was subsequently arrested at Bassein. All of them were placed on
trial for murder and convicted.

By the year 1909, the vice of cocaine-eating had attained an
extraordinary hold upon the lower classes of the population. Women and
even children had fallen victims to a habit which plainly exercised a
deplorable effect upon their health and morals. The supplies of the drug
came in the first instance from Germany in packets bearing the name
of Merk, and were frequently smuggled into India in ways that defied
detection. Moreover the traffic in the drug, which was international in
character, was so cleverly organized that it was practically impossible
to trace and prosecute the importers and distributors. Action was
therefore confined to prosecuting the smaller fry for the offences of
illicit sale and possession, and the majority of such cases occurred
in the notorious Nal Bazar area of the C division, which for the last
thirty or forty years has sheltered a large population of disreputables.
The Police were not held primarily responsible for the control of the
cocaine-traffic. This duty devolved upon the Collector of Bombay, who
maintained a large and well-paid excise staff for the purpose.[115]
But the obligation which rested on the police to assist the excise
authorities as far as possible, and the direct stimulus to crime provided
by the cocaine-habit, rendered the question of combating the traffic of
more than ordinary importance. With this in view, the Commissioner in
1909 put a special police-cordon on the area devoted to the traffic for
about six weeks. This produced satisfactory results for the time being,
but had to be abandoned, to allow of the men reverting to their regular
duties which suffered by their absence. In 1911 a second attempt was
made to restrict the evil by placing a European Inspector and a staff of
constables on special duty in the C division for a period of about two
months, during which nearly 600 individuals were caught and convicted
by the courts. These incursions into the area of the retail-traffic were
not the only successes achieved by the police. In 1911 the Dock Police
arrested an Austrian steward of the S. S. _Africa_ with 300 grains of
cocaine concealed in the soles of his boots; in 1912 the Superintendent
of the Harbour Police secured the arrest of a fireman from a German
merchant-ship with 40 lbs. of the drug, valued at Rs. 45,500, in his
possession; another large consignment, valued at Rs. 17,000 was traced
by Khan Saheb M. H. Taki and Khan Saheb F. M. Taki of the C. I. D. to a
house in Doctor Street in 1913; and on two occasions Indian constables on
duty in the Docks arrested on suspicion persons belonging to vessels in
the harbour, with large quantities of the drug concealed on their person.
It cannot be asserted, however, that these arrests and prosecutions
secured any real diminution of the traffic from abroad. They did upset
the local market for the drug, and interfered temporarily with the supply
of the tiny paper packets sold in the darker corners of the C division.
The traffickers were not thereby daunted, for when the real article was
difficult to procure, they palmed off powdered magnesia and Epsom salts
on their unfortunate victims, who were naturally unable to complain of
the deception. The first real check to the traffic was provided by the
drastic restrictions on imports and exports imposed after the declaration
of War in 1914, and by the sudden cessation of the continental steamship
companies’ traffic between Europe and the East. At a comparatively recent
date the question of the traffic in cocaine has been discussed at Geneva
under the auspices of the League of Nations, and the view seems to be
generally accepted that the evil can only be adequately countered by
stringent supervision of the primary sources of supply and joint action
on the part of all the States concerned.

Of the many important criminal cases successfully investigated by the
Police during these seven years, a few deserve special mention. In
1910 and 1911 some very seditious books were brought to the notice of
the Bombay Government by certain persons to whom they had been sent
anonymously. In the course of their inquiries the Police discovered a
large store of these books at Navsari in the Baroda State, and also
secured proof that the books were printed at Mehsana in the same
territory. A prominent Indian pleader of Kaira, who was concerned in
their distribution, was prosecuted and duly convicted. H. H. the Gaekwar
of Baroda was in England at the time of the inquiry; but on his return
he deported the author of the books, who was one of his own subjects,
for a period of five years. In 1912 the police successfully dealt with
a swindler named Amratlal, who had victimised a firm of jewellers in
Germany to the extent of nearly 2 lakhs of rupees, and they also detected
the perpetrator of a series of thefts on board the P. and O. Company’s
ships, including a case of tampering with the mails. In the following
year the premises of the well-known firm of Messrs Ewart, Latham and
Company were destroyed by fire. Immediately after the fire, a stolen
cheque filled in for Rs. 10,826 and bearing a forged signature, was
presented at a bank for payment and cashed. One of the firm’s employés
was eventually arrested and charged with the offences of theft, cheating
and forgery, the police investigation establishing also the moral
certainty that the accused had set fire to the office in the hope of
obliterating all trace of his crime. The accused was committed to the
Sessions, where a peculiarly stupid jury, failing to appreciate the
evidence, brought in a verdict of “not guilty.” The presiding Judge
discharged the accused and passed severe comments on the perversity
displayed by the jury. A case, which contained elements of both tragedy
and comedy, concerned the marriage of a Koli girl, about 9 years old, to
a sexagenarian Bania. Three Hindus, acting on the principle that love is
blind, falsely represented that the girl was a Bania, and thereby induced
the elderly Lothario to pay Rs. 1,500 for the privilege of wedding the
girl. After the marriage the old gentleman discovered the deception
practised upon him, and made a formal complaint to the police, who traced
the three culprits and secured the conviction of two of them.

In 1914 the embezzlement of Rs. 1,000, representing the fees paid by
students at the Government Law School, led to the arrest and conviction
of a clerk on the school staff, who was proved in the course of the
police-inquiry to have embezzled no less than Rs. 12,000 between
the years 1902 and 1912. At the request of the police of the United
Provinces, two charges of filing false civil suits, with the object of
avoiding payment of sums due by them, were successfully proved against
natives of upper India; and these were followed by an equally long and
intricate inquiry into a case of cheating, in which three Hindus, one
of whom had a local reputation as a palmist and astrologer, persuaded
two Bhandaris of Bombay to pay them Rs. 4,000, on condition that they
would use their supposed influence with the excise authorities to
obtain two liquor-licenses for their dupes. In 1915 the Bohra thief and
house-breaker, Tyebali, whose conviction during Mr. Gell’s _régime_
has already been mentioned, completed his term of imprisonment and
recommenced his thieving exploits. After committing several thefts from
houses in Nepean Sea road he was caught, convicted and sentenced to
a fresh term of six years’ imprisonment. All the stolen property was
recovered from a Bohra receiver, who worked with Tyebali. In September
of the same year information was received from the Director of Criminal
Intelligence, Delhi, that three valuable Persian manuscripts had been
stolen from the library of Nawab Sir Salar Jung Bahadur at Hyderabad.
After a lengthy inquiry the Bombay police traced one of the manuscripts,
a _Shahnama_, with illuminated headings and illustrations in colours and
gold, which was declared by experts to be an artistic treasure of immense
value. A chance remark furnished a clue to the whereabouts of the
manuscript, which was in due course returned to its owner in Hyderabad.

Anonymous communications are exceedingly common in India, and as a rule
it is practically impossible to trace their authorship. A case of this
type, which presented unusual features, was successfully investigated by
the police in 1915. For more than two years a series of objectionable and
defamatory postcards and letters had been received by high officials,
prominent Indians, and clubs. Any event of public interest during that
period resulted in a shower of these typed communications, which were
always very scurrilous and occasionally flagrantly indecent. They were
addressed not only to residents of Bombay, but to officials in other
parts of India also, to the Governor, the Viceroy and even to members of
the Royal Family in England. The C.I.D. had been able to establish the
fact that all the cards and letters were typed on a single machine of a
particular and well-known make; and having done that, they proceeded,
with the approval of the postal authorities, to subject all the postcards
received in the General Post Office to close scrutiny throughout a
period of several weeks. At length their patience was rewarded. A card
was found, which on careful scrutiny was seen to have been typed on the
missing machine, and as it was an ordinary and _bona fide_ business
communication it was not difficult to locate the machine. It proved to
be the property of a well-known Indian merchant, and further inquiry
rendered it certain that he was the author of the anonymous cards. He was
therefore arrested and released on bail. While the Police were collecting
further evidence to support the charge against him, the accused, who had
many influential friends, confessed his guilt to one of them and asked
his advice. The friend advised him to make a clean breast of the whole
matter to the Commissioner of Police and throw himself on his mercy. This
he agreed at the moment, but in the end failed, to do and a few days
later, while ostensibly endeavouring to light a gas-stove with a bottle
of methylated spirit, he was so severely burned about the body that he
died in a few hours. The case caused some commotion in the community, to
which the accused belonged, and the Commissioner was urged to refrain at
the inquest on the deceased from any allusion to the criminal inquiry
into the authorship of the postcards. But this the Commissioner refused
to do, in view of the wild rumours about the case which were being
spread about the City, some of which placed the police in a false and
undesirable position. It was doubtless satisfactory to the friends of the
deceased that the Coroner’s jury found themselves able to pronounce a
verdict of accidental death. It only remains to add that after the arrest
of the accused the plague of anonymous postcards entirely ceased.

The criminal record of these years would be incomplete without a
reference to the collapse in 1913 of a number of Indian banks. The most
notable of all, the Indian Specie Bank, was never made the subject
of a criminal investigation, though the apathy of its Directors was
unquestionable, and its manager, who had set out to “corner” silver
against the Indian Government with the monies of the bank’s depositors,
found it desirable, when the crash came, to die suddenly at Bandora.
Orders were issued by the Bombay Government to the Police to investigate
the transactions of several lesser banks and bring the guilty to trial;
and accordingly a protracted and intricate inquiry was commenced by
Inspector Morris of the C. I. D. into the accounts and balance-sheets of
the Credit Bank, the Bombay Banking Company and the Cosmopolitan Bank.
In the case of the first-named bank, charges of criminal breach of trust
and falsification of accounts were proved against the manager, who was
sentenced in 1914 to ten years’ rigorous imprisonment, while the manager
of the Bombay Banking Company and his nephew were likewise convicted of
criminal breach of trust and cheating and sentenced to varying terms
of imprisonment with hard labour. In the third case the police proved
clearly that the bank was not a bank at all, and had neither funds,
business nor influence; but the manager and the “bank’s” broker, who
were charged by the police with cheating, were eventually discharged
by the trying magistrate. These bank-failures were not confined to
Bombay, but took place in other Provinces also, notably in the Punjab.
When the collapse commenced, an attempt was made to draw some of the
European-managed banks into the vortex, with the object of showing that
the failures were due rather to general economic conditions than to bad
management. The attempt failed; for the Scotchmen, who form ninety per
cent of the European banking community in India, were too cautious and
too solidly entrenched to succumb to any artificial panic, and despite
the assertion of some Indian politicians that the European-managed banks,
by withholding assistance from these mushroom Indian concerns, had
deliberately precipitated the crisis, the general conclusion was that the
failures were primarily due to careless or fraudulent management. This
view found confirmation in the verdicts delivered in the Courts.

The collapse of at least one bank was due to the uncontrolled habit
of speculation which has always distinguished the City of Bombay. Few
persons now remain who can remember the famous Share Mania of the early
’sixties: but the spirit of gambling which underlay that colossal
financial fiasco is still alive and manifests itself from time to time in
wild speculation in the cotton and share markets. The abnormal readiness
of the average Indian to follow the lead of any man of outstanding
personality, and the ease with which credit is obtained and renewed
in Indian circles only serve to aggravate the evil. The suicide of
Mr. Dwarkadas Dharamsey, a leading Bhattia mill-agent and merchant,
in September, 1909, provided an example of the latitude allowed to
one whose financial position had for several years been very unsound.
Dwarkadas Dharamsey was a man of great mental capacity, but devoid of
scruple. He occupied a leading position in the mercantile and social
world, was well-known on the race-course as an owner of horses, was a
member of the Municipal Corporation and of the Board of the Improvement
Trust, and had been appointed Sheriff of Bombay two or three years before
his death. Yet in the very heyday of his prosperity he was spending more
than he possessed, staving off importunate demands by all manner of
temporary expedients, and juggling with the funds of the mills of which
he was director and agent. Faced at last with almost complete insolvency
and unable to raise further funds, he shot himself with a revolver
at his house in the Fort. He left a kind of confession behind him in
which he explained the reason for his action and referred in ambiguous
language to some greater crime that he had committed. Though various
conjectures were made as to the nature of this act, no definite solution
was ever forthcoming. His secret died with him. Immediately after his
death, the police discovered that the operatives of his four mills had
not been paid their wages for two months, and owing to the closing of
the mills they were left stranded and unemployed. With the assistance
of Mr. R. D. Sethna, the Official Receiver, the Commissioner was able
to get the mill-hands’ wages treated as a first charge on the estate
of the deceased, and within a short time the wages due to the men were
liquidated under Mr. Sethna’s orders.

On several occasions Indian constables distinguished themselves by
acts of bravery and examples of professional acumen. The detection of
a burglary in the showroom of an English firm was due entirely to the
action of a Hindu constable, who noticed on a piece of furniture the
mark of a foot possessing certain peculiarities, which he remembered
having seen before in the foot of an ex-convict. Another Hindu constable
grappled with a European who had stabbed a townsman, and though severely
wounded in the stomach and bleeding profusely, managed to pursue the
offender and hold him down till help came. On three other occasions
Indian constables sustained severe wounds, when grappling single-handed
with armed Pathans and others, and on each occasion they clung to the
prisoner until his arrest was secured. Several instances occurred of
women and children being saved from drowning, and in two cases the men
were rewarded with the bronze medal of the Royal Humane Society. The
action of a young Hindu constable, who had been only three months in
the force, deserves more detailed description. About 3 a.m. one morning
in August, 1912, a Punjab Muhammadan murdered his comrade in a room in
Bapty road. The murder was not discovered till some time afterwards. At
4 a.m. the constable on duty at the junction of Falkland and Foras roads
saw a man hurrying in a suspicious manner through the shadows towards
Gilder street. He stopped and questioned him; and, his suspicions being
aroused, decided to search the man. The fugitive offered the constable
a bribe of Rs. 5, Rs. 10 and finally Rs. 30 to let him go; but the
constable arrested him and marched him to the Nagpada police station,
where a report of the murder had by that time been received. It was then
found that the arrested fugitive was the murderer, and that the money
with which he had tried to bribe the constable was stained with blood
and formed part of the sum which he had stolen from his victim. Further
investigation proved beyond doubt that the murdered man had himself
stolen the money from an Englishman in Mussoorie. A unique case, in
which an accused asked permission of the Magistrate to pay a reward to
the constable who arrested him, occurred in 1914. The prisoner, on being
questioned, explained that, owing to his timely arrest, he had managed to
retain possession of a sum of money, of which he would certainly have
been robbed by the disorderly persons with whom he was consorting at the
time the constable locked him up.

Among the special events of these years which imposed extra work for the
time being on the Police were the Nasik murder and conspiracy trials in
the High Court in 1910, the visit of Lord Minto in 1909, the arrival of
Lord Hardinge and the visit of the ex-German Crown Prince in 1910, and
the arrival of Lord Chelmsford in 1916. For the first time on record,
the Mounted Police under their European officers were permitted to form
part of the escort both of Lord Minto and the German Crown Prince, and,
riding grey Arabs in their handsome full-dress uniform, they provided not
the least showy part of the spectacle. These Viceregal progresses from
the railway terminus or the Apollo Bandar to Malabar Hill had changed
in character since the beginning of the twentieth century. Formerly the
route chosen for the arrival of a new Viceroy or the departure of his
predecessor lay as a matter of course through Kalbadevi road and Bhendy
Bazaar, and thence by way of Grant road, or later Sandhurst road, to
Chaupati and Walkeshwar. No particular precautions were taken, for none
were deemed necessary; the people were well-disposed and always ready to
welcome the King’s representative as he was driven through the heart of
the Indian quarters. But as the anarchical and revolutionary movement
spread and attempts were made upon the lives even of Viceroys, the old
route through the city was, except for very special reasons, gradually
abandoned, and the incoming and departing potentates were escorted along
the safer route of Queen’s road. The distance of this thoroughfare from
the heart of the City, and the growing nonchalance of the majority of the
inhabitants in regard to Viceregal appearances in public, were naturally
responsible for an absence of sight-seers on the processional route, and
at times there were few persons to be seen except the foot-police lining
the sides of the road. On the occasion of Lord Chelmsford’s arrival in
April, 1916, one of the Superintendents, through whose division a portion
of the route passed, determined to keep up appearances of loyal welcome,
by collecting the necessary crowd at Sandhurst Bridge and instructing
them beforehand in the art of hand-clapping and other manifestations
of popular satisfaction. As it was obviously impossible to impress
respectable householders and others for this duty, the sectional officers
were instructed to shepherd their bad characters of both sexes to the
fixed point, after arranging that they all donned clean clothes and were
paid 2 annas apiece for their trouble. The plan worked well. As the new
Viceroy’s carriage swept out of Queen’s road on to the bridge, the signal
was given and a hearty burst of hand-clapping, punctured with cries of
_shabash_, rose from the little crowd of disreputables at the corner.
No one knew who they were, except the police who had hunted them out
of their haunts a few hours previously: and the Viceroy was doubtless
gratified at this signal expression of welcome. When the last of the
escort had passed, the unfortunates were taken back to their quarter and
there set free to resume their ordinary and less harmless avocations.

There was no need of artificial welcomes of this character when Their
Majesties visited Bombay in 1911, or at their final departure in
1912. They drove through the heart of the City; and both in the wide
thoroughfares of the European business-quarter and in the narrower
streets of the Indian city they were affectionately greeted and welcomed
by thousands of their subjects of all castes and creeds. Their progress
was, indeed, a triumph. The choice of the route had not been settled
without some doubt and misgiving. The authorities in England declared
that the royal procession must not pass along any road of less than
a certain width: the Commissioner of Police pointed out that this
restriction would entirely debar Their Majesties from entering the City
north of Carnac road. The restriction was therefore waived, on condition
that the Police adopted all possible measures to render the route
completely secure. This by no means easy task was achieved by the C. I.
D. and the divisional police, of whom the former spent the three months
preceding the Royal Visit in mapping out the houses on the route, making
themselves acquainted with all the inmates, posting plain-clothes men and
agents in the upper-storeys, and keeping a daily register of arrivals
and departures. In one or two cases the divisional police, whose duties
lay in holding the route and directing traffic, imposed even stricter
conditions than the C. I. D., as the following incident proves. Three
or four days before Their Majesties’ arrival, an elderly Muhammadan
woman of the lower class visited the Head Police Office and asked for an
interview with the Commissioner. Her request was granted; and on being
shown in, she informed the Commissioner that she occupied a room in the
upper-storey of a house near the junction of Sandhurst and Parel roads,
and that she desired permission to look out of her window at the royal
procession. “But,” said the Commissioner, “you need no permission for
that.” “Yes, Huzur, I do”, she answered; “the section-wala (_i.e._ the
officer in charge of a police-station) says that unless I obtain a permit
I must keep my window shut on the day”. It was clearly useless to argue
with the old lady, who was honestly bent upon obtaining _darshan_ of the
_Padshah_. The Commissioner, therefore, wrote out the following pass in
his own hand, signed it, and sent her away satisfied:—

    “To all Police Officers and those whom it may concern.

    This is to certify that Aminabai, living in House No. —— ————
    street, second floor, is hereby granted permission to look
    out of her own window at His Majesty the King-Emperor, on the
    occasion of the Royal Progress through Bombay on December 2nd.

                                                  S. M. Edwardes,
                                        _Commissioner of Police_.”

As an additional precaution the Commissioner of Police asked the Bombay
Government to invest him with special magisterial powers, which would
enable him to deal summarily with persons of bad character, whose liberty
it might be necessary to curtail during the period of the Royal Visit.
The request having been granted, the Commissioner proceeded to remand
to jail the majority of the well-known hooligans and bad characters,
to the number of 400. Fully another three hundred persons with guilty
consciences decided to leave Bombay for a holiday up-country, in the
belief that they would be sent to jail if they stayed in the City. In
this way the City was cleared of seven or eight hundred of its worst
characters, and the daily crime returns subsequently proved that the
action thus taken produced a very marked diminution of crime during the
period of the Royal Visit. Moreover, respectable townspeople, learning
of the incarceration of the criminal classes, were able to leave their
houses freely at night to visit the illuminations, without fear of
burglaries occurring in their absence or of having their pockets picked
in the crowd. Political offenders, who usually belonged to a higher
stratum of society, were treated differently. In one or two cases they
were remanded to jail for treatment as first-class misdemeanants: but
the majority were given the option of spending a fortnight in some
place chosen by themselves, the police of that place being warned of
their arrival and of the need of keeping them under surveillance. In
one instance a _détenu_ asked to be allowed to visit Ceylon, which he
had never seen, and he was accordingly sent there in company with a
plain-clothes officer of the C. I. D., who duly escorted him back again
at the end of fifteen days. The entire absence of any protest on the
part of the public or the Indian press against the Commissioner’s action
shows that the powers were wielded cautiously and that special measures
of this kind were generally accepted as appropriate to the occasion. The
wholesale disappearance for the time being of the criminal and hooligan
element certainly contributed to the peaceful and orderly progress of
the Visit, and produced an immediate and marked decline of crime, which
enabled the police to concentrate all their attention on the special
arrangements for the functions held during Their Majesties’ stay.

Both before and during the Royal Visit, the Police received much help
from the public. There was scarcely a householder who did not willingly
undertake to carry out the suggestions of the police, and a large number
of people, drawn from various classes and communities, volunteered to
serve as special constables during the Visit. As to the manner in which
the police force itself performed its heavy work, it will suffice to
quote the words of the Governor-in-Council, who was “commanded to express
to the Police of the City of Bombay His Imperial Majesty’s ‘entire
satisfaction with the admirable police arrangements made during His
Imperial Majesty’s recent visit to Bombay and with the manner in which
they were carried out’”. In recognition of the exemplary performance
of heavy additional duties, all ranks of the force, from inspectors
downwards, received a special bonus, equivalent to ten days’ pay. Four
Superintendents and three Inspectors received the medal of the Royal
Victorian Order from the King-Emperor himself.

The subject of cotton-fires at the Colaba Green was revived by the
disastrous epidemic of fires in the cold weather of 1913-14. As
previously mentioned, a special committee was appointed by Government,
with the Commissioner of Police as chairman, to enquire into the origin
of the fires and suggest precautions for the future. The report of this
committee, which found that the weight of evidence pointed to wholesale
incendiarism, was submitted only a few weeks before the outbreak of
War in 1914, and consequently received early burial in the records of
the Secretariat. The deductions of the Committee were strengthened to
some extent by the inquiries carried out by the C. I. D. during 1914.
A thorough examination of the books of various companies established
beyond a shadow of doubt that large fortunes had been made over the
fires by persons in the cotton trade, as a result of fraudulent dealing,
mixing and classification of cotton. This system of dishonesty had been
facilitated by slack methods of insurance, which in turn were rendered
profitable by clever underwriting. It is doubtful whether these little
‘idiosyncrasies’ of the Bombay cotton market will ever be wholly

It is possible that long after the details of the reorganization of
the police force have passed into oblivion, Mr. Edwardes’ tenure of
office will be remembered for the abolition of the dangerous and rowdy
side of the annual Muharram celebration. At the time he was appointed
Commissioner, the Muharram, which had been a cause of excitement and
anxiety from the days of Forjett, had degenerated into an annual scandal
and become a menace to the peace of the city. No respectable Musalman
took part in the annual procession of _tabuts_, nor would permit his
family to visit the _tazias_ and _tabuts_ during the ten days of the
festival, for fear of insult and annoyance from the _badmashes_ and
hooligans, who chose the sites of the _tabuts_ in the various _mohollas_
as their gathering-ground. The cost of building and decorating each
_tazia_ and _tabut_ was defrayed by a public subscription, which
had degenerated into pure and simple blackmail, levied by the less
respectable denizens of each _moholla_ upon the general public. The
Marwadi and other Hindu merchants suffered particularly from this
practice; at times they were threatened with physical injury if they did
not subscribe; on other occasions the collecting-party, composed of four
or five Muhammadan roughs, would visit the shops of the Jain merchants,
carrying a dead rat, and threaten to drop it into the heaps of grain and
sugar if the shop-owner did not forthwith hand out a fair sum. By the
exercise of pressure and threats, some _mohollas_ contrived to raise
comparatively large sums, aggregating several hundred rupees, and as
only a fractional portion of this money was required to defray the cost
of the _tabut_ and the paraphernalia of the final procession, the balance
was devoted to the support of the hooligans of the _mohollas_ during
the following few months. Attached to each _tabut_, and accompanying
it whenever it was carried out in procession, was a _toli_ or band of
attendants, usually varying in numbers from 50 to 200 and composed of
the riff-raff of the lower quarters. In some cases these _tolis_ had
been gradually allowed to assume a gigantic size, as for example that
of the Julhai weavers of Ripon road (Madanpura), which comprised from
two to three thousand men, all armed with _lathis_ tipped with brass or
lead. Similarly the notorious Rangari _moholla_ (Abdul Rehman street),
Halai Memon _moholla_, Kolsa _moholla_ and Chuna Batti _moholla_, could
count upon turning out several thousand followers, armed with sticks and
staves, who could be trusted to render a good account of themselves if
there was a breach of the public peace.

The time-honoured sectarian enmity between Sunni and Shia usually showed
itself by the second day of the festival, in the form of insults hurled
at the Bohras (Shias) by the Sunni rag-tag and bobtail in the various
streets occupied by the former. The most notorious of these centres of
disturbance was Doctor Street, which debouched into Grant road opposite
Sulliman _chauki_; but none of the Bohra quarters were safe from
disturbance; and year after year Bohra merchants had to leave Bombay
during the festival, or had to secure special protection, and even had to
disguise their women in male attire, in the hope of thereby minimising
the chance of insult by the lower-class Sunnis. Muharram rioting, which
had become much too frequent during the first decade of this century,
usually commenced with a fracas of some sort between Sunnis and Bohras,
in which the former were generally the aggressors; and when the Police
intervened to restore order, the mob on one pretext or another declared
war against them with the inevitable result. The Sunni hooligans would
never have reached the pitch of insolence which marked their behaviour in
1910, had they not felt assured that they had the support of the leading
Sunnis residing in the _mohollas_, many of whom, though comparatively
wealthy, were almost illiterate and totally uncultured; and the latter
in turn were prompted to foster the more rowdy and disreputable aspects
of the festival by the belief that the Moslem community thereby acquired
more importance, even though of a sinister character, in the eyes of
Government, and that the possibility of disturbance could be occasionally
used as a lever to secure consideration or concessions in other

This belief was partly confirmed by the attitude of the authorities,
who persisted in attaching undue weight to the religious character of
the festival,—a character which had practically ceased to have any
influence on the celebrants, and in accordance with the time-honoured
principle of strict religious neutrality showed great reluctance to
impose any restrictions upon the celebration. The Police, who in times
of disturbance often reaped a fair harvest of tips and presents from
timorous townspeople who desired protection from mob-violence, and who
also discovered in the aftermath of rioting an easy means of paying off
old scores, had never troubled to explain to Government the precise
character and danger of the annual Muharram. The old doctrine of “the
safety-valve” was still in favour, with the result that during the
concluding days of the festival Bombay used to witness the spectacle
of police officers of the upper ranks urging the most uncompromising
rascals to lift the _tabuts_ and form the processions, regardless of the
fact that at any other season of the year they would not have hesitated
to lock up most of these disreputables at sight. In short, under the
cloak of religion, the worst elements in the bazaar were permitted to
burst their bounds for ten days and flow over the central portion of
the City in a current of excessive turbulence, to terrorize the peaceful
householder and to play intolerable mischief in the streets. If the
leaders and wire-pullers decided that there should be a disturbance,
culminating in a conflict with the police, all they had to do was to
pass the order to the various _mohollas_ not to “lift” their _tabuts_ on
the tenth day and to the Bara Imam shrine in Khoja street not to send
out the _sandal_-procession on the ninth night. This latter procession
was, so to speak, the barometer of the Muharram, and its non-appearance
in the streets invariably indicated storm. Once it had been decided not
to “lift” the _tabuts_, the huge _tolis_, which should have accompanied
them to their final immersion in the sea, were let loose in the streets
with nothing to do, and a breach of the peace was rendered practically
inevitable. When this point was reached on the last day, it was customary
for the Afghans and Pathans, residing in the B division, to collect in
groups in the lanes behind Parel road (Bhendy Bazar), and at the right
moment to commence looting and setting fire to shops. In the Muharram
riots of 1908 it was these people who set fire to a shop on Parel road
and threw a Hindu constable into the middle of the flames. The only
unobjectionable feature of the old Muharram was the _Waaz_ or religious
discourse, which was delivered nightly in each of the leading _mohollas_
by a chosen _Maulvi_ or _Mulla_. Unfortunately these were very little
patronized by the hooligans and damaged characters, who composed the
_tolis_ and monopolized the celebration of the festival in the streets.

Mr. Edwardes’ first Muharram in 1910 ended without an actual breach of
the peace: but the behaviour of the _mohollas_ was so insolent, and
the license and obscenity displayed by the mob were so intolerable,
particularly in the Bohra quarter of the C division, that he determined
to impose restrictions at the Muharram of January, 1911. Accordingly
in December, 1910, he issued a notification closing Doctor Street and
the neighbouring lanes running parallel with it to all processionists
throughout the period of the festival, and from the first night he
placed a strong cordon of police round the prohibited area, to prevent
any attempt by the mob to break the order. Practically the whole police
force was on continuous duty for ten days and nights in the streets, and
commissariat arrangements for both European and Indian police had to be
made on the spot. Though no serious trouble occurred during the first
few days of the festival, there were several indications of trouble
brewing, and the Commissioner therefore arranged with Brigadier-General
John Swann to hold garrison troops in readiness. On the tenth night
or _Katal-ki-rat_ a serious disturbance broke out in Bhendy Bazar
about 3 a.m., in connexion with the procession of the Rangari _moholla
tabut_. Free fighting between the processionists and the mob from other
_mohollas_ took place all the way from Grant road to Pydhoni, and it was
due solely to the efforts of Mr. Vincent, the Deputy Commissioner, and a
handful of police who were escorting the procession, that the _tabut_ was
eventually brought back to its resting-place. The mob by this time had
tasted blood and displayed so truculent an attitude that the Commissioner
decided to telephone for the troops and picket them throughout the danger
zone. By 4 a.m. on January 12th the troops had taken their places, and
the mob, for the moment deeming discretion the better part of valour,
melted away in the darkness. About 5 p.m., however, in the afternoon
of the same day, the mob, which declined to carry out the _tabuts_ in
procession, collected on Parel road and Memonwada road and commenced
stoning the troops and police. They also stopped all traffic, stoned
tram-cars and private carriages, and roughly handled several harmless
pedestrians. The police made several charges upon them from Pydhoni,
but were unable permanently to disperse the rioters. At length the
Commissioner, seeing that the two mobs refused to disperse and were
practically out of hand, and that the Pathans were on the point of
breaking loose, called Rao Bahadur Chunilal H. Setalwad, one of the
Presidency Magistrates, who was on duty at Sulliman Chauki, and asked him
to give the order to the troops (the Warwickshire Regiment) picketed at
Pydhoni to fire on the mob. The order was given at once and the rioting

Like Napoleon’s famous “whiff of grapeshot”, the firing of the Warwicks
may be said to have blown the old Muharram into the limbo of oblivion.
From that date, January 1911, the processional part of the Muharram, with
its _tolis_, its blackmail, its terrorism and its obscenities, ceased
to exist and has not up to the present 1922 been revived. Before the
succeeding Muharram drew near, the Commissioner had framed new rules
for the celebration, of which the deposit by _tabut_-license holders
of ample security for good behaviour and a complete revision of the
processional route for each _tabut_ were two of the main features. He had
also contrived to persuade the leaders of the various Muhammadan sections
and _mohollas_ that the orgiastic method of celebrating the festival
was an anachronism, not countenanced by Islamic teaching and gravely
injurious to the City. In thus securing the obliteration of the customs
and practices, which for more than fifty years had been responsible for
periodical outbreaks of disorder, the Commissioner was greatly assisted
by some of the leading men of the Sunni _jamats_, of whom the most
conspicuous and most helpful was Sirdar Saheb Sulliman Cassum Haji Mitha,
C. I. E., of Kolsa _Moholla_. He led the way at succeeding Muharrams in
popularizing the _waaz_ or nightly religious discourses and in spending
upon them, and upon illuminations and charitable distribution of food to
the poorer classes, the money which was formerly wasted on irreverent
and turbulent processions. For this fundamental change in the character
of the festival none perhaps were more grateful than the _Maulvis_ and
_Mullas_ who presided over the _waaz_; for with the disappearance of
the _tolis_ and their paraphernalia their audiences were enormously
increased. But respectable Moslems and the general public also breathed a
sigh of relief, on realizing that the longstanding annual menace to law
and order had been exorcised. In December, 1914, on the conclusion of the
fourth Muharram celebrated in the new manner, the Bombay Government wrote
to Mr. Edwardes, expressing their thanks for his unremitting efforts and
skilful management of the festival. “The result”, they remarked, “is
in large measure due to the excellent relations which you established
between the Muhammadan leaders and yourself, thus rendering it possible
to relegate to the past the disreputable ceremonies which used to
disfigure the Muharram. It is now possible to regard the new regulations
as having become permanently established”.

Such, very briefly, is the history of the purification of the Bombay
Muharram. The old days, when the police were on continuous duty for
ten days and nights, when the Bohras were subjected to volleys of the
vilest and most obscene abuse and to open assault, when the lowest and
most turbulent portion of the population was permitted to take charge of
the central portion of the city, and when rioting with its complement
of drastic repression was liable to recur in any year—those days have
passed, and one hopes that a weak administration will never permit them
to recur. The present puritanical and more reverent method of celebration
was firmly established during Mr. Edwardes’ Commissionership with the
help and approval of leading Muhammadans, who realized at length that the
annual orgy in the streets was a disgrace to Islam.

It remains only to notice the effect upon the police of the outbreak of
the Great War in August, 1914. The day after War was declared, local
shopkeepers, particularly the dealers in foodstuffs, commenced to raise
their prices to famine level, and large numbers of the poorer classes
appealed to the police for assistance. Government having decided to
appoint a food-price committee, the Commissioner ordered a _battaki_
to be beaten throughout the City for three days; several shopkeepers
who were disposed to be recalcitrant were called up to the Head Police
Office and warned; and in several cases constables were posted at shops
to see that prices were not unduly raised. Excess amounts received by
shopkeepers from mill-hands and others were in many cases recovered and
paid back to the purchasers, and a series of judiciously-fabricated
reports were spread by chosen agents, describing the imaginary fate which
had overtaken certain shopkeepers, who had extorted fancy prices from the
public. Somewhat similar action was taken with excellent effect in the
case of retail-dealers, who refused to accept currency-notes of small
denominations from the poorer classes. Within a few days these measures
produced the required effect, and trade again became normal. The police
were on constant duty day and night at the Government Dockyard, at the
various military camps erected for the Indian Expeditionary Force, and
during the economic disturbance in the early days of the War at the
banks and Currency Office. They assisted the military authorities to
find Dhobis, Bhistis and other camp-followers for enrolment, they traced
absentee followers and native seamen, and during the heavy rain-storms of
October, 1914, they found accommodation in permanent buildings for the
troops under canvas. They took charge of coal-stacks for the Director, R.
I. M., and did much extra duty at the Wadi Bandar railway goods-sheds.
They displayed great tact in their management of the crowds which used
to collect in the streets to hear the special editions of the vernacular
newspapers read out during the early months of the War; and during the
aeroplane scare, they were equally successful in dealing with the mobs
which used to scan the skies for airships. While the _Emden_ was seizing
vessels in the Bay of Bengal and bombarding Madras, there was again a
scare in the City and some of the more timorous merchants, taking their
cash and jewellery with them, fled to their homes in Native States, where
in several cases the local police kindly relieved them of most of their
valuables. Others, equally timorous but more reasonable, applied to the
Police Commissioner for advice, and were satisfied with his assurance
that if it should become necessary to vacate Bombay, he would give them
ample warning beforehand. Trusting to this promise, many Hindu merchants
remained in the City, who would otherwise have fled.

During the movement of the Expeditionary Forces, the scenes in certain
quarters of the bazar, which were heavily patronized by soldiers and
sailors, both European and Indian, beggared description. The Japanese
quarter appeared to offer special attractions to fighting-men of
Mongolian type, and the divisional police had a hard task to settle
disputes and maintain order in these areas. In the mill-district there
was unrest for some little time; but this was at length discounted by the
labours of three Hindu gentlemen, Messrs. H. A. Talcherkar, S. K. Bole,
and K. R. Koregaonkar, who volunteered their services as intermediaries
between the Police Commissioner and the industrial population, and by
means of lectures on the war, social gatherings and so forth, helped to
keep the police in touch with popular feeling and to minimise panic. Very
arduous work fell upon the Harbour police in connexion with the patrol of
the various bandars and wharves, the boarding of all vessels entering the
harbour, and the many miscellaneous and emergent requisitions entailed by
war conditions. The old police launch which at its best was never very
seaworthy, broke down under the strain and had to be docked for repairs
to her machinery; but the Harbour police continued to carry on their
duties by borrowing launches from other departments. The desertion of
lascar crews at the beginning of the submarine scare caused much trouble
to the Shipping Master and to the steamship-companies, and on several
occasions _serangs_ and other Indian seamen were brought to the Head
Police Office to have their apprehensions allayed. When Turkey entered
the war, the Divisional police took a census and compiled a register of
all Turkish subjects in the City, excluding certain wealthy Arabs of the
upper class, who were visited by Muhammadan police officers specially
deputed for this duty by the Commissioner.

The bulk of the confidential war work fell naturally upon the Criminal
Investigation Department. Before the organization of the Postal Censor’s
office, and in some cases also afterwards, the department scrutinized
letters addressed to enemy subjects; it studied closely the daily and
weekly newspapers in all languages, and prepared a daily report for the
military authorities on the publication of war-news; it carried out
requests for information and assistance from the Brigade Office, the
Customs Department, and the Controller of Hostile Trading Concerns. It
prepared lists for Government of hostile, allied and neutral foreigners
resident in Bombay; it mustered all German and Austrian males, numbering
respectively 189 and 37, at the Head Police Office, confiscated their
fire-arms, and eventually dispatched them under arrest to the Ahmadnagar
Detention Camp, whither were also sent many enemy foreigners subsequently
removed from enemy ships in the harbour. It also kept under surveillance
a certain number of persons who were permitted to remain on parole
in Bombay; it kept under observation and deported a large number of
transfrontier Pathans and tribesmen, under special powers granted for
this purpose to the Commissioner; it arrested the officers and crew of
a captured Turkish vessel and placed them in detention, and deported
many Turkish subjects to Jeddah. The department also housed and fed for
two months two hundred and sixty Chinese, who were removed from German
prize vessels. One of the more amusing features of their arrival was the
disgust shown by the Muhammadan police-officer, told off to arrange for
their supply of food, when they begged him in a body to buy up all the
pork he could find in the bazaar. Military prisoners from Mesopotamia
were taken over and placed in charge of the proper authorities; constant
inquiries were made about firms suspected of trading with the enemy; and
from the end of 1915 the department had to organize a system of passes
for all persons desiring to land at Basra or Mohammerah.

The process of clearing Bombay of hostile aliens of both sexes was
finally completed in 1915. Among them were six ladies, a few children,
one or two Jesuit priests, and eighteen prostitutes, who were sent to
Calcutta for repatriation to Holland by the S. S. _Golconda_. This
party left Bombay by special train, the respectable women and children
being placed in the front carriages, the priests and the police-escort
in the centre, and the unfortunate denizens of the brothels in the
rear-compartments. The moment of departure was enlivened by a gentleman,
belonging to the priestly class of a well-known community, who had
been keeping one of the Austrian harlots. He came to see the lady off
and burst into floods of tears and loud groans, as the train steamed
out of the station. One of the most ticklish duties entrusted to the
police occurred during the Muharram of 1915. A regiment composed of
north-country Muhammadans was on the point of embarking for Mesopotamia,
when one of the men murdered their English major. He was court-martialled
without delay and sentenced to be hanged; and the military authorities,
who handed him over to the police pending his execution, were very
anxious that his punishment should be witnessed by the rest of the
regiment. There was a general undercurrent of unrest at the time in the
Muhammadan quarter, owing to sympathy with Turkey, and the Muharram
festival was in progress. Any undue publicity given to the execution, and
the overt movement of troops through the City, might have brought about
an outbreak. Arrangements were therefore made by the Police to hang the
culprit at the Byculla jail before daybreak and to march the regiment to
the spot by a circuitous route, with a British regiment in attendance to
prevent any attempt at mutiny. The execution was carried out without a
hitch, and the regiment was back at its temporary quarters in the docks
before the City was properly awake.

In conclusion it may be added that the whole police force, and the
clerical staff of the Commissioner, subscribed one day’s pay apiece to
the Bombay Presidency Branch of the Imperial War Relief Fund. This sum
was augmented to a total of Rs. 15,000 by subscriptions received by the
Commissioner from a motley assortment of local characters, among whom may
be mentioned the leading Hindu dancing-girls, the Sadhus and Bairagis in
Bai Jankibai’s _dharamshala_, the local Pathans working in the Docks, the
Sidis or African Muhammadans, the Persian Zoroastrians or Iranis, who
are mostly tea-shop keepers, and a Parsi amateur theatrical company. It
says something for the good relations subsisting between the police and
the general public that classes such as these voluntarily offered their
contributions as soon as the general appeal for funds was issued under
the auspices of Lord Willingdon, the Governor.

In two respects the Commissioner’s _régime_ was fortunate. He had an
excellent and very hardworking clerical staff; and the relations between
the Magistracy and the Police were uniformly cordial. Shortly after
Mr. Edwardes joined the appointment in 1909, the old head-clerk, Mr.
Ramchandra Dharadhar, retired, and his place was taken by Mr. Vinayakrao
Dinanath, whose early service dated back to the days of Sir Frank
Souter. Under him and the second clerk, Mr. Chhaganlal M. Tijoriwala,
I.S.O., who has since succeeded to the head-clerk’s post with the title
of “Superintendent of the Commissioner’s office,” an immense volume of
correspondence was dealt with, which was often of so urgent a character
that the staff was obliged to work on Sundays and to give up the public
and sectional holidays allowed to all departments of Government.

Throughout this period the appointment of Chief Presidency Magistrate
was held by Mr. A.H.S. Aston, whose transparent honesty of thought and
purpose would have been an asset to any Bench; and he was ably seconded
by Rao Bahadur Chunilal H. Setalwad, C.I.E., Mr. Oliveira, and Mr.
Gulamhussein R. Khairaz. Mr. Setalwad combined with wide legal experience
a valuable knowledge of the customs and idiosyncrasies of the many
classes resident in Bombay, and in seasons of unrest and disturbance he
was among the first to offer his services to the Police Commissioner
towards the restoration of order. While he and his colleagues gave the
police every support from the Bench, they never hesitated to inform
the Commissioner personally of cases in which, in their opinion, the
subordinate police had acted in error or exceeded their powers—a course
of action which was most helpful to the head of the police force.

By the end of 1915 the strain of nearly seven years’ work and the
additional burden imposed by war conditions had told so heavily upon Mr.
Edwardes’ health that he asked the Bombay Government to transfer him to
another appointment. He was offered and accepted the post of Municipal
Commissioner, and bade a final adieu to the Police force on April 15th,
1916. But he was not destined to serve long in the Municipality. An old
pulmonary complaint, which was seriously aggravated by the constant
strain of police duty, developed so rapidly that he was obliged to take
furlough to England in the following October and eventually to retire
from the service on medical certificate in April, 1918. A few months
after his final retirement, the Governor of Bombay, Lord Willingdon,
unveiled at the Head Police Office a marble bust of the ex-Commissioner,
which, in the words engraved on the pedestal, was “erected by
subscriptions from all ranks of the Bombay City Police in appreciation of
many and valued services rendered to the Force”.



No. 1431

_Bombay Castle, 8th March, 1911_

_Disturbances in Bombay during the Moharram of 1911_

No. 545—C, dated 20th January, 1911

    From—S.M. Edwardes, Esquire, I.C.S.,
          Commissioner of Police, Bombay;

    To—The Secretary to Government,
          Judicial Department, Bombay.

I have the honour to state with regret that a serious outbreak took place
in the City on the early morning of the 12th January in connection with
the Moharram Tabut procession and that it was followed on the afternoon
of the same day by a violent disturbance of such a character that I was
forced to send for a magistrate to give an order to the troops on duty at
the scene of disturbance, to fire on the mob. I submit hereunder a full
account of the circumstances which rendered this order necessary.

2. The Moharram of 1911 commenced on the 2nd January. As Government
are aware, I had with their approval issued a notification, dated 8th
December 1910, closing Pakmodia Street, Dhabu Street, Doctor Street,
Chimna Butcher Street and Mutton Street to all processionists throughout
the Moharram. This order was rendered necessary by the behaviour of
the Mahommedan Mohollas at the Moharram of 1910 and by the intolerable
rowdiness and obscene license which for the last 6 or 7 years have
characterized the progress of the procession through the Shia Borah
locality of Doctor Street and neighbouring lanes.

3. The notification was not favourably received by the lower classes who
take part in the Bombay Moharram, but was welcomed both by the Shias
and respectable Sunnis as a step in the right direction. Till about a
week before the first night of the festival it was generally understood
that the various Mohollas would not apply for licenses and that they
would sulk as they did last year. This in itself constitutes a serious
menace to public peace and order, as the non-appearance of the tabuts
and tazias in the streets lets loose the gangs or _tolis_ (numbering
several thousands and composed of the riff-raff of the Musalman quarter)
which usually accompany the mimic tombs to the water-side. However,
after considerable vacillation, the leading Mohollas, Rangari, Kolsa,
Chuna Batti and others, held a meeting at which it was decided openly
to apply for licenses to me and to celebrate the festival in the usual
manner. Shortly after this meeting it transpired that one of those who
advocated most strongly the application for licenses and the observance
of the police orders regarding Doctor Street was one Badlu, who lives in
Madanpura and controls a tabut supported by the Julhai weavers of that
locality. It appears that his action was part of a settled policy between
himself and the notorious Rangari Moholla, the nature of which will
be disclosed a little further on. It also transpired that the Konkani
Mahomedan Mohollas were up in arms both against my order and against
Rangari Moholla and its leader, Latiff, the tea shop-keeper, and that
they found strong sympathisers among the Mohollas of the E division, and
Bengalpura, Teli Gali, Bapu Hajam and Kasai Mohollas in the B division.
The bone of contention was the closing of Doctor Street. The Konkani
Mahomedans declared that the behaviour of the Mohollas at the Moharram
of 1910 had obliged the Police Commissioner to take action in regard
to Doctor Street, which was perfectly true, and secondly that that
behaviour had been dictated and forced upon all the Mohollas in 1910 by
Latiff and the Memons of Rangari Moholla, which was equally undeniable.
They were incensed to find Latiff now advocating the observance of the
festival and obedience to the Police Order, and declared that _they_
would not lift their tabuts and would not have anything further to do
with Rangari Moholla. Nevertheless, while thus secretly determined not to
go out in procession and nursing violent hostility to Rangari Moholla,
they declared openly that there was nothing amiss and applied for tabut
licenses as soon as Rangari, Kolsa and Chuna Batti Mohollas applied for

4. The policy of Badlu and Latiff of Rangari Moholla became apparent as
soon as Latiff applied for his tabut-license. He asked me personally to
grant the Julhais a pass for the procession. For, finding that there was
considerable feeling against him among the Konkanis and the Mohollas who
sympathised with them, he foresaw that, unless he commanded a strong
following from some other quarter, the Rangari Moholla procession would
be rather a poor one. He therefore without doubt arranged with Badlu that
if he (Latiff) could squeeze a pass out of the Police, the Julhais were
to amalgamate with his Moholla and make a brave display in front of the
recalcitrant Mohollas.

I refused absolutely to give a pass, after consulting all persons who
were in a position to give an opinion on the point. Government are aware
that the Julhais are an extremely illiterate and fanatical population.
When once an individual gets influence over them, they will do anything
that he asks; and it has always been the policy of the police to forbid
their bringing their tabut out in the ordinary procession and to prevent
them coming anywhere south of the Parsi Statue on the _Katal-ki-rat_ and
the last day. The Julhais can, if they obtain a pass, bring out a _toli_
of about 3,000 men, all armed with _lathis_, many of which are knobbed
and tipped with brass or iron. I have had something to do with them, in
the matter of getting them re-employed after a strike and obtaining their
back wages from their employers: and in view of the gratitude which they
professed for this help, I decided to send for Badlu myself and explain
to him that it was impossible for me to grant them a pass, much as I
regretted my inability to do so. Badlu after 20 minutes’ talk with me was
quite reasonable and undertook not to worry any more about a pass and to
keep his following cool. Apparently Latiff and Rangari Moholla were not
very pleased at my having checkmated them, and from that moment Latiff
began to talk somewhat ambiguously about the possible failure of the
procession. Badlu, however, stuck to his promise to me, and the Julhais
in a body took their tabut out and immersed it in the usual way in the
area north of the Parsi Statue.

5. The next symptom of possible trouble concerned the _ugaráni_ or
collection of funds for the tabut and procession, which each Moholla
levies on the general public. Government are possibly not aware that it
costs a Moholla anything from Rs. 100 to 400 to erect a Tabut and carry
it out, and there are 105 Mohollas in the city which usually do so. The
bulk of this money is extorted—there is no other word for it—from Marwadi
and Bania merchants, who are threatened with physical injury unless they
subscribe liberally. Just prior to the commencement of the Moharram,
certain Marwadi merchants came and made a complaint at the Paidhuni
Police Station that they were being harassed and assaulted by Bengalpura
Moholla. The Divisional Police very properly made an enquiry into the
complaint and finding it to be true, sent for the leaders of that Moholla
and gave them a strict warning not to extort any more money from Hindu
merchants. This was treated as a grievance, and Latiff himself had the
impertinence to come to the Head Police Office and complain that “the
police were not assisting the collection of funds”.

Added to these alleged grievances, rumour was also rife that the Bohras
had been openly boasting that they had got Doctor Street closed and
that they had won a victory over the Sunnis. I believe there is some
foundation for this report, and that some of the lower-class Bohras, who
number amongst them several very bad characters, did inflame the minds of
individual Sunnis by talking and acting in a very indiscreet manner.

6. Such was the position at the opening of the Moharram on the 2nd
January. In view of the notification alluded to above and in order to
prevent any attempt to rush Doctor Street, I had to place a permanent
cordon round the prohibited area from the first night, consisting of 324
native police and 30 European officers. In addition to this I had strong
guards at Paidhuni, Sulliman Chowkey, the J.J. Hospital corner and Nall
Bazaar, which were strengthened from the 6th night of the Moharram with
pickets of armed police and mounted police. The men on the cordon and at
the places mentioned were on practically continuous duty for ten nights
and days, a few only being allowed off duty as opportunity offered to get
their meals. I bring to the notice of Government that the strain on these
men was very great, and that in consequence of the disturbance on the
last day I had to retain them for three days and nights after their duty
should in ordinary circumstances have ceased.

7. Nothing of any importance happened on the first night, except a
little scuffle at the Shia Imambara on Jail Road, when a Sunni _toli_
was passing with music. The care-taker dashed out and abused the _toli_,
which retorted by flinging a few stones at the Imambara and playing more
loudly than before. This trouble was however allayed and no serious
consequences ensued. On the 2nd night (following the first day) nothing
of importance occurred, and the same was the case up to the 5th January.
On that day I personally interviewed the leaders of the Pathans, Sidis
and Panjabis and asked them to warn their respective class-fellows
against going out and joining any _toli_. This they promised to do.
No Sidis or Panjabis came out: but on the last day when the trouble
commenced, the Pathans and Peshawaris were out in considerable force,
throwing stones at the tram-cars and the Police, in spite of the fact
that Samad Khan, one of the Pathan headmen, tried his best to hold his
branch in check.

On the same day (5th January) I received a report from the D division
that, according to rumour, the only Mohollas that intended to go out
with their tabuts were Rangari, Kolsa and Chuna Batti Mohollas, and that
if they actually did go out there would be trouble in Nagpada. Other
rumours of an equally disquieting nature were abroad, which obliged
the C.I.D. and Inspector Khan Bahadur Shaikh Ibrahim to redouble their
efforts to smooth away spurious grievances and bring about a feeling of
tranquillity. Nevertheless we hoped for the best and watched the _panjas_
and the _pethis_ come out on the 5th night (6th January) and pass down
Grant Road, without making any serious attempt to break away down Doctor

8. On the 7th night of Moharram (Sunday the 8th January) the Rangari
Moholla _toli_ and the Halai Memon Moholla _toli_ turned out in force
at a very late hour. In spite of the Police order that they should be
back in their Mohollas by 2 a.m., it was 4 a.m. before they reached home
and it was 4-30 a.m. before the Deputy Commissioners and I were able to
leave the City. Before they started a reminder was sent to them about the
carrying of “lathis” and bludgeons, and, so far as I can gather, out of
the two to three thousand persons composing each _toli_, a considerable
number were unarmed when they left their Mohollas. They wandered out of
the B division into the C division, and thence gradually up Khoja Street
to Grant Road. When they arrived at Sulliman Chowkey, Superintendent
Priestley, who had been with them on their peregrinations for 2 hours
and 20 minutes, reported that they had collected sticks on the route and
had even torn down and armed themselves with the poles which support
the awnings over the shops. As they passed me they appeared to be in a
condition of considerable exaltation, and I was able to note the scum
of which the _tolis_ were composed. There is no question of religion or
religious fervour here. The _tolis_ are irreligious rascality, let loose
for five days and nights to play intolerable mischief in the streets and
terrorize the peaceful householder.

On their way out from their Moholla the Rangari _toli_ took a new route.
Instead of coming direct up Abdul Rehman Street, as it always has done,
it turned off into the Koka Bazaar, where many Bohras live and where
there is a Bohra mosque, and there it drummed and played and hurled
obscene abuse at the Bohras in the same way as it has done in Doctor
Street. In fact, it passed the word round that though Doctor Street had
been closed by the Police, it had found a new Doctor Street and had
checkmated the Commissioner.

9. The action of these two _tolis_ produced the inevitable result. Some
of the others, who were hesitating about coming out, got their blood
up and turned out in great force on the following night (Monday the
9th). They were Kolsa Moholla, Kasai Moholla (the beef-butchers), the
Bapty Road Chilli-chors or hack victoria drivers, and Teli Gali. These
_tolis_ also were fully armed. We held a consultation as to whether
it was advisable to rush in and disarm the crowds; but in view of the
enormous size of the _tolis_, and the fact that most of our police were
locked up in the cordoned area, and further that any show of force would
have inevitably led to a disturbance of a serious character, I let the
question of sticks slide and confined the police to urging the _tolis_
home as quickly as possible. From the 6th night we had to exercise the
greatest caution in order not to precipitate a conflict, and in doing so
we were obliged to wink at certain things which with a stronger police
force we might have forcibly put down. We kept Doctor Street and the
other streets hermetically closed from the beginning to the end, but this
was only achieved by denuding our main posts and a considerable portion
of the city of both European and Native police.

Two points deserve notice in connection with the _toli_ procession of
the 9th January. First, Kasai Moholla on its way home turned into Koka
Bazaar, assaulted one or two Bohras, and looted a few shops. On hearing
this I drew off my armed police guard at Paidhuni and placed it in Koka
Bazaar, and also placed 5 armed native police at each end. Secondly,
Teli Moholla took the ominous step of coming out a short distance and
then going back to its quarters. This is invariably a dangerous sign;
and there is little doubt that Teli Moholla did this as a signal to the
Konkani Mohollas, Bengalpura, and the Mohollas of the E division that the
Moharram was to be wrecked, partly as a protest against the closing of
Doctor Street and partly out of enmity to Rangari Moholla. Once more the
C. I. D. and Khan Bahadur Shaikh Ibrahim did their best to smooth away
difficulties, and once more we looked forward with slightly diminished
hopes to the next day (10th January). When one left for home at 5 a.m. on
the 10th January, one could not help feeling that the odds were slightly
against our getting through the festival without trouble, but I still
hoped that if Rangari, Kolsa and Chuna Batti Mohollas came out properly
on the 10th night or _Katal-ki-rat_, the others would lift their tabuts
on the last day, and all would be well.

10. On the 9th night (10th January) we exerted all our influence to
keep the various Mohollas in a good temper. Mr. Vincent went with his
most trusted C. I. D. officers to the E division Mohollas, spoke with
the crowd, listened to their _Waaz_ or nightly discourse, subscribed to
their funds and finally left them apparently happy and determined to
carry out their tabuts properly. Meanwhile Mr. Gadney and I visited the B
division tabuts, talked with the tabut wallas, and endeavoured to allay
the tension, which was obviously spreading through the Musalman quarter.
At the four chief Mohollas we visited we were received in friendly style;
but I was made to understand secretly that none of them would lift
their tabuts unless Rangari Moholla gave the lead, and that the Konkani
Mohollas were absolutely obdurate and hostile.

The latter fact was sufficiently proved by the non-appearance of the
Bara Imam Sandal procession, which usually starts from Khoja Street
on the 9th night. It serves as the barometer of the Moharram and its
non-appearance in the streets usually indicates storm. Every form of
persuasion was used to make the licensee start out, as soon as the news
of his recalcitrance reached me. But to no avail. Whether the licensee
was a member of the cabal bent upon creating disturbance or whether he
was, as he stated, afraid to move out, I cannot exactly say. But it is
tolerably certain that the recalcitrant faction, including Bengalpura
and Teli Gali, sent him a secret message that if he dared to leave Khoja
Street, he and his processionists would be mobbed and hurt.

In spite of this we persuaded Chuna Batti Moholla to issue, and they were
followed by old and new Bengalpura who were playing a double game, and
by Kasar Gali and Wadi Bandar, whom Mr. Vincent had screwed up to the
starting-point by his diplomatic visit. Nothing of note occurred during
this procession of several thousand persons, except that they started
late and kept us in the streets till 4-45 a.m.

11. Thus we reached the 10th night or _Katal-ki-rat_, which precedes the
last or Immersion Day (January 12th). On the night of the 11th January I
reached Paidhuni at 10 p.m. and there met Rao Bahadur Chunilal Setalvad,
who had heard conflicting rumours and had offered his services to me in
case I required them. We determined to wait there until the processions
of the B division began to move out round the City, which should have
happened about 11-45 p.m. By midnight the streets were crowded, but
there was no sign of a procession. At 12-30 a.m. I received information
that Latiff and Rangari Moholla had started out. In order to make quite
certain I went down Abdul Rehman Street to find out where they were
and give them a lead forward. I could not find them for some time, but
finally caught sight of their torches moving down the south end of Koka
Bazaar towards Carnac Road, in other words in the opposite direction
to which they ought to have been moving. The next thing I heard was
that they had turned back, placed their tabut down in its _mándwa_ and
declined to go any further. Knowing that this in itself spelt trouble,
and having been told that unless Rangari Moholla lifted its tabut none
of the others would, I sent the divisional police to fetch Latiff, and
told him that if he did not take out his tabut in procession along the
proper route I would leave no stone unturned to punish him. Latiff was
genuinely afraid and promised to start out again. So at length, about
1-45 a.m., the Rangari Moholla tabut moved up Abdul Rehman Street towards
Paidhuni, with drums, band, torches, and a bullock cart containing
oil and wood to replenish the torches. On arrival at Paidhuni, Latiff
implored police protection for his procession, in view of the anger
of Teli Gali, Bengalpura and the Konkani Mohollas. I therefore sent 4
sowars, several foot police and 4 European officers with the procession,
while Mr. Vincent and some C. I. D. men undertook to walk ahead and see
them safely into the C division limits.

Having thus started Rangari Moholla, I went down to Kolsa Moholla, Chuna
Batti and Halai Moholla to get them to start out. Kolsa Moholla had
already set forth once, but had retreated on hearing that Rangari Moholla
had also done so. After immense delay, caused by these Mohollas making
excuses that they had no coolies to carry the tabuts and that their
bandsmen had run away, we managed to get all three into one long line
containing several thousand persons and brought them out to the junction
of Memonwada Road and Bhendy Bazaar. It was now about 3-30 a.m. At the
moment that the front ranks turned the corner I looked up Bhendy Bazaar
and saw in the far distance the lights and flares of Rangari Moholla
returning. Knowing the hereditary animosity between Kolsa and Rangari
Mohollas, and believing that if they met face to face in Bhendy Bazaar
there would be a free fight, I managed with the help of Khan Bahadur
Shaikh Ibrahim and the B division police to push the whole procession
into Goghari Moholla, on its way up to the Nall Bazaar and Khoja Street,
before Rangari Moholla had had time to get as far south. I sent two
European police officers and some native police with the procession to
see it safely through the C and E divisions.

Meanwhile I had received information from Mr. Gadney, who was at Sulliman
Chowkey, that a very ugly-looking crowd was following behind the Rangari
Moholla _toli_; and having got rid of the three other Mohollas, I
determined to await the arrival of Rangari Moholla at Paidhuni and see
what happened. About 3-45 a.m. it reached me in very sorry plight. It
appears that having seen the tabut and _toli_ safely into the C division,
Mr. Vincent walked by a side street to Nall Bazaar and escorted it
thence to Sulliman Chowkey. By that time the _toli_ was being followed
by an obviously hostile crowd, whistling and shouting “Huriya, Huriya”,
the usual signal for disorder. Four more European officers from Sulliman
Chowkey and the Doctor Street guard were therefore sent with the
procession, while Mr. Vincent and a few C. I. D. officers walked behind
the procession and between it and the crowd. Thus they left Sulliman
Chowkey. After rounding the J.J. Hospital corner into Bhendy Bazaar the
trouble began. The crowd, which was strengthened every minute by swarms
of malcontents from the side _galis_, practically mobbed the police
and the tabut procession all the way down Bhendy Bazaar. They shouted,
whistled and used the filthiest language: they stoned the police and
Rangari Moholla unceasingly; they beat the sowars and their horses with
_lathis_, bringing one down; they carried on a hand-to-hand conflict as
far as Paidhuni. The torch-bearers of Rangari Moholla put down their
lights and fled, and the mob threw the lighted wood at the police. The
tabut was within an ace of being abandoned when the Police seized the
bearers and forced them to carry it on. Latiff was quivering with fear.
Several times the European police begged Mr. Vincent to give orders to
fire on the mob, which it was increasingly difficult to ward off, and
each time Mr. Vincent refused, telling them to use their batons only and
force the tabut and procession into the safer lanes of the B division.
So they gradually arrived, fighting with the mob the whole way and being
continuously stoned. A European officer and 2 native constables had to be
sent to hospital to get their wounds dressed. At one point of the route
a Pathan ranged himself on the side of the police and did remarkable
execution on the mob with a _lathi_.

12. On hearing from Mr. Vincent at Paidhuni what had happened, and seeing
that the crowd was increasing round the police station, I decided (_a_)
to call for military assistance in picketing the streets and (_b_) to
have a baton-charge on the mob. By this time it was quite obvious that
the mob was composed of the worst elements in the recalcitrant Konkani
Mohollas, Bengalpura and Teli Gali, aided, I believe, by the Kasai
Moholla and Babu Hajam Moholla _badmashes_, who had definitely declined
to lift their tabut. Since the 6th night I had, with the approval and
assistance of General Swann, quartered 2 companies of the Warwickshire
Regiment in the Head Police office as a precautionary measure. For
eighty of these I at once telephoned and they arrived within 7 minutes.
I ordered them to be stationed at Paidhuni, Koka Bazaar, Nawab’s Masjid,
the junction of Erskine and Sandhurst roads, the J. J. Hospital corner,
the Nall Bazaar and Doctor Street.

Having telephoned for the troops, I ordered the police to charge and
disperse the mob. This they did with very good will and considerable
success, though it was very difficult in the darkness to see what damage
was done. Anyhow the mob dashed up the darker lanes and streets leading
off Bhendy Bazaar and Paidhuni, and before they could collect again in
force the troops had arrived. The sight of these put a check upon the
mob’s intentions and they gradually melted away for the time being.

Meanwhile, fearing that Kolsa Moholla, Chuna Batti and Halai Moholla
would be subjected to a similar attack, I sent police to call them back
at once to their Mohollas from the C division. The police discovered
Kolsa Moholla and Halai Moholla and turned them back, but Chuna Batti
had gone far ahead and was lost for the time being in the north of the C
division. By the time, however, that it reached the Bhendy Bazaar I had
posted the troops and the procession had therefore a comparatively quiet
passage back to its Moholla.

I append a copy of Mr. Vincent’s report to me on the disturbance in the
early hours of Thursday morning.

13. In view of the rather serious situation created by the above
circumstances I decided to leave the city for rest for 3 hours only. Mr.
Vincent and I left at 6 a.m. and returned at 9 a.m., while Mr. Gadney
stayed on till 9 a.m. and then went off on relief till 12 noon (on
Thursday the 12th January). I also warned Rangari Moholla, Kolsa Moholla,
Chuna Batti and Halai Moholla that if they wished to immerse their tabuts
in the afternoon at Carnac Bandar, they must go straight down from their
Mohollas to Carnac Road and not attempt to move up to and north of
Paidhuni, They, however, refused to lift their tabuts or go out at all.

14. By 1 p.m. on Thursday it was fairly obvious that we were in for
trouble. Huge crowds paraded the streets, and about 2 p.m. I received
news that there was a certain amount of spasmodic stone-throwing at
Paidhuni. I had definite information that not a single Moholla would
lift its tabut. Believing that there was likely to be trouble in the
neighbourhood of Doctor Street, I remained on duty at Sulliman Chowkey,
where I was joined by General Swann and Major Capper. About 4-40 p.m., as
no further news had come from Paidhuni, I decided to go and lie down for
a short time, as I had had only 4 hours’ sleep on the morning of the 11th
and none since. I went down Doctor Street to see that all was well and
inspected the position there, and was making my way outside the Musalman
quarter, when I was overtaken by the Commandant, Mounted Police, who
told me that a message had just been received at Sulliman Chowkey to the
effect that the situation at Paidhuni was very serious. I therefore rode
straight back to Paidhuni.

On arrival there I found the road littered with new road-metal which was
being flung at the police and the tram-cars and the military pickets
by two large mobs situated, the one in Bhendy Bazaar and the other in
Memonwada which debouches on Paidhuni. It was reported to me that about
4 p.m. the mob began to be very troublesome and the Paidhuni police went
out with some mounted police to move them, but were forced to retire.
At 4-15 the police again made a sally on the mob, but were stoned back
again to Paidhuni. At about 4-30 p.m. the tram-traffic between the J. J.
Hospital and Paidhuni came to a standstill. A European in a motor-car was
stoned. The police then rushed out again and the mob retreated a little
distance up Banian Row and Paidhuni Road and stoned them from there.
Meanwhile a gang of Mahomedans at the junction of Chuna Batti was stoning
carriages and trams. A tram-car in which a lady was seated was stopped
by another gang and stones were thrown at the lady, who was hit on the
left cheek. Then a number of Musalman youths got hold of the lady’s
skirts, and as far as Sub-Inspector Butterfield (who was coming up to her
rescue) could see, tried to pull the lady out of the car. Sub-Inspector
Butterfield and 3 privates of the Warwicks with 6 constables then
appeared on the spot. They were met by a shower of road-metal, but forced
the mob some 20 or 25 paces up Chuna Batti, whence they were continuously
stoned. Each time that they retired the crowd pressed forward again. At
about 5 p.m. their retreat was cut off by another mob, which commenced
throwing stones from the opposite side in Banian Cross Road and Pinjrapur
Road. At 5-10 Sub-Inspector Butterfield saw the military officer at
Paidhuni signal to him and the soldiers to get away from the danger zone,
and as their retreat was cut off and they were unable to fight their
way through, they ensconced themselves behind a municipal urinal at the
junction of Chuna Batti and held the crowd off until firing commenced.
While in this position they were continuously stoned both from the street
and from the houses. Among those injured by the stoning of the trams was
a Hindu solicitor, whose companion reports that there was a group of
Pathans with stones at Nawab’s Masjid, and that the car in which he and
his friend were sitting was stoned by bodies of rioters on both sides of
Bhendy Bazaar from Nawab’s Masjid to Paidhuni. Mr. Paton of Messrs. W.
and A. Graham and Company, who had come down with his wife to see the
tabut procession and occupied an upper room in a house at the corner of
Memonwada and Bhendy Bazaar, reports that he had to close the windows of
the room in the side and rear against stones that were flung from the
street. In referring to a group of Pathans who halted under the verandah
of the house he writes:—

    “In my twenty years’ experience of this country I never before
    witnessed behaviour which so impressed me with a sense of
    sinister intentions.”

Such was the position when I arrived about 5 p.m. The first thing I did
was to ride forward a little way and have a look at both crowds. This
produced a volley of road-metal. In the Memonwada crowd I observed 3
Pathans throwing stones and urging on the rest, and that established
my conviction that the Pathans were on the war-path. My experience of
previous disturbances shows that the Pathans at the very first sign of
trouble begin to collect in small gangs at various points, and if the
crowd once gets out of hand, they turn out in force and begin setting
fire to shops and looting. This is unquestionably what they were
preparing to do when I saw them.

I then looked at the Bhendy Bazaar mob, which completely covered the
street as far as the eye could reach. In the front of it I noticed
several boys throwing stones. I had already made up my mind that firing
would have to be resorted to, as we had exhausted all attempts at
pacific methods by Thursday morning at 3 a.m., and as also there was
every possibility of the mob rising at Nall Bazaar, Two Tanks and
Sulliman Chowkey, if the Bhendy Bazaar mob was not given a proper lesson.
But I wanted to get rid of the boys first. Therefore about 5-10 p.m. I
called the officer (Lieutenant Davies) in charge of the military picket
and asked him to line up his men across both roads and place them in
position to fire, but _not_ to fire until they received the order to do
so. I hoped that the appearance of the soldiers would (_a_) frighten
the boys in the Bhendy Bazaar mob away and (_b_) induce the mob to
cease throwing stones and disperse. As regards (_a_) the movement had
the desired effect and the small boys bolted; as regards (_b_) the mob
retreated for a minute and then came forward again within 30 or 40 yards’
distance of the soldiers and recommenced stoning them. I was standing
immediately behind the soldiers and saw them dodging the metal, while
a stone hit Lieutenant Davies, near whom I was standing. At about 5-17
p.m. Rao Bahadur Setalvad, 4th Presidency Magistrate, for whom I had
telephoned at 5-10 p.m., arrived on the scene and I pointed out the
general position to him and told him that I thought we should have to
fire. He saw both mobs, he saw the troops being stoned, and he saw the
condition of the road. At roughly 5-20 p.m. he gave the order to fire.

The troops fired 72 rounds and put an end to the disturbance. As a
result of the firing, 14 persons were killed, 6 persons were injured and
subsequently died in the hospital, and 27 were injured, of whom 6 were
treated and discharged immediately. Of the dead, 7 were Hindus who were
mixed up in the mob and the rest were Mahomedans; and of the 27 injured,
19 were Mahomedans, 7 were Hindus and one was a Christian.

15. I greatly regret that we had to resort to extreme measures: but
considering that the mob had been out at 3 a.m. and had had to be
repulsed by the police, that the temper of the _badmash_ element had
been getting steadily worse, and that the mob collected again in the
afternoon in spite of the presence of the troops; considering also that
stone-throwing had been going on for fully an hour before I arrived at
Paidhuni, that all traffic was stopped, that the police at Paidhuni
had three times tried to clear the mob, that the Pathans were bent on
mischief, and that I was very apprehensive of trouble in other parts
of the city if the disorder at Bhendy Bazaar was not put down very
sharply, I am of opinion that by resorting to firing on the two mobs at
Paidhuni we probably saved firing in other parts of the Musalman quarter
and therefore greater loss of life. Government are aware how rapidly the
spirit of tumult spreads, particularly among a populace like that of
the Moharram celebrants, who belong to the lowest classes and actually
regard the Mohorram, not as an opportunity for religious emotion but
as the one chance vouchsafed them during the year of letting loose the
forces of rascality and disorder and attacking the police and the public
in more or less organised gangs. The information which I received from
the _Katal-ki-rat_ onwards showed that there was a definite intention to
create disorder, and the fact that new road-metal had been collected in
the lanes leading off Bhendy Bazaar clearly shows that an outbreak was
contemplated. I believe firmly that, had we not taken extreme measures at
Paidhuni, we should have had to face rioting throughout the whole area
bounded by Two Tanks, Falkland Road and Bhendy Bazaar.

16. I also regret greatly the presence of Hindus amongst the killed and
wounded. It is impossible on such occasions to protect the innocent; but
considering that the crowd had collected and been throwing stones for
fully an hour before firing took place and that the divisional police
had warned them to disperse, it is a matter of great regret that the
Hindus, if they were innocent, did not disappear. I do not think the
firing of the troops was in any way haphazard or open to censure, for had
it been so, they must have killed an old beggar woman who was sitting
on the pavement of Bhendy Bazaar with rioters on both sides of her. On
either side of her a man was shot, but she was left untouched, and was
subsequently led into Paidhuni by the police.

On the other hand it is an undeniable fact that Hindus, and particularly
the sectional bad characters amongst them, take a prominent part in the
Moharram _tolis_ and mob. Mr. Paton, who was an eye-witness of the whole
outbreak, writes:—

“Under our eyes, and we were between the mob and troops all the while,
the troops and police were murderously stoned, happily without any
serious mishap, for close upon three-quarters of an hour. No law-abiding
citizen had therefore any right to have been in either of the mobs and
most certainly not at the late moment when the firing took place. If any
were there at the outset of the stone-throwing he had most ample time and
warning in which to get away, and if any stayed out of curiosity he had
only himself to blame if he suffered along with the _badmashes_ with whom
he chose to herd.”

17. Just after the firing ceased and both mobs had disappeared, General
Swann arrived at Paidhuni; and at his suggestion I called up from the
Head Police Office the balance of the Warwickshire Regiment, and from
Marine Lines 4 companies of the 96th Berár Infantry. These were posted
at once throughout the disturbed area. The measures taken at Paidhuni,
however, had such an effect that by 10 p.m. I was able to draw off some
of the military from each picket. By 12 midnight on Thursday I was able
to send all British troops back to barracks, and by 12 midnight on Sunday
the 15th January I was able to send back all the native infantry and
reduce the police guard. This was partly due to the action of the police
on Friday and Saturday in arresting a large number of persons who were
identified as having played a prominent part in the disturbances of
Thursday morning and Thursday afternoon. All those persons against whom
definite evidence is forthcoming are being placed before the magistracy.
By Friday morning all was outwardly quiet and the City had resumed its
normal aspect. Since then there has been nothing to record beyond the
fact that the bad characters of a particular type, who signalize their
mode of life by wearing their hair long in front and curled, have had
their locks cropped by the barber for fear of being arrested by the
police as participants in the _toli_ disturbances.

18. There are certain points in this sorry business of the Moharram of
1911, which give some cause for satisfaction:—

_First._—The police carried out their orders regarding Doctor Street to
the very letter and kept it hermetically closed from the first to the
last day.

_Secondly._—The self-restraint shewn by Mr. Vincent, the European
officers, the 4 sowars and the native foot police, who accompanied the
Rangari Moholla tabut from the J. J. Hospital to Paidhuni in the early
hours of the 12th under a continuous attack with stones, lighted wood and
_làthis_, is worthy of commendation.

_Thirdly._—The material support which was received from General Swann
and his staff went far towards recompensing the Police Commissioner for
the anxiety of a ten days’ struggle to checkmate the forces of disorder.
General Swann himself spent the 6th night with me at Sulliman Chowkey up
to 4 a.m., with the sole object of shewing the public that he and I were
working together. And many must have recognized him and drawn their own
conclusions. General Swann was also present at Sulliman Chowkey on the
last day and also at Paidhuni. I cannot sufficiently express my thanks
for his help, and for the ready assistance afforded by Lieut-Colonel H.
R. Vaughan and his regiment, and subsequently by Colonel Powys Lane and
the 96th Berár Infantry.

_Fourthly._—I must express my thanks to Inspector Khan Bahadur Shaikh
Ibrahim and the Mahomedan officers of the Criminal Investigation
Department for their continuous efforts throughout a period of nearly
three weeks to smooth away all difficulties and keep the Mohollas in a
good temper. That their efforts ultimately proved fruitless was no fault
of theirs, but was due to circumstances beyond their control. I have a
lively sense of their unremitting efforts to ensure a peaceful Moharram.

_Fifthly._—Mr. Ardeshir Umrigar deserves special mention in that for
a period of a week he supplied free of all cost at Paidhuni, Sulliman
Chowkey and Nall Bazaar mineral waters, tea, coffee, sandwiches and light
refreshments for the use of the European police officers who were on
continuous duty at and near those points both by day and night. For the
native constables who were in the streets for ten days and nights and who
had no time to go to their homes, I provided 2 annas _per diem_ apiece to
enable them to buy a meal and tea. A portion, if not the whole of the sum
thus involved, has been offered to me by Rao Bahadur Keshavji N. Sailor,
so that possibly I may not have to ask Government to sanction this extra
but necessary expenditure.

_Sixthly._—Credit is due to Badlu and the Madanpura Julhais for accepting
the position, keeping their promise to me, and performing their Moharram
and tabut immersion in the regular way without giving the smallest
trouble to the police.

_Seventhly._—Great credit is due to the divisional police of all ranks
for the manner in which they performed a vigil of ten days and nights
and for the self-restraint which they shewed in dealing with the mob.

19. In conclusion, I must raise the question as to what should be
our policy for the future in regard to the Moharram. As matters are
at present, there is no vestige of religion or religious fervour in
the _toli_-processions and the tabut-processions. On the contrary the
Moharram has become, and is utilized as merely an excuse for rascality
to burst its usual barriers and flow over the city in a current of
excessive turbulence. For ten days every year the Hindu merchants are
blackmailed and harassed until they pay a contribution to the cost of
the processions; the police, who are not half numerous enough to guard
the whole area involved, are kept in the streets for ten days and nights
and ordinary police work simply disappears, as there is no officer at
the police-stations to record complaints and no native police to take up
an enquiry; a large portion of the Shia population has to evacuate its
houses and take refuge in Sálsette for fear of insult and assault; and in
the end, if the police hold fast and insist upon rascality keeping within
certain limits, the city has to face the distressing spectacle of open
disorder and its complement of drastic repression.

The only unobjectionable features of the ten days’ celebration are
the nightly _Waaz_ or religious discourses by chosen preachers. But,
unfortunately, these are little patronized by those to whom they would do
most good, namely, the bad characters in the _tolis_.

    _Statement made by Mr. N. J. Paton, J. P., partner in the firm
    of Messrs. W. & A. Graham & Co._

    On Thursday, 12th January, at 2 p.m., at the invitation of a
    Mahomedan friend I went with Mrs. Paton to the house at the
    junction of Parel Road and Kolsa Moholla (otherwise Memonwada)
    with a view to witnessing the Moharram procession.

    The house, on the first floor where we were, has windows at the
    back and on the Kolsa Moholla side and a verandah on the Parel
    Road side, the latter affording a clear view down the Parel
    Road and of the open space in front of the Paidhuni Police

    The crowd came and went without much incident until about 3,
    when two Mahomedans were brought up under arrest amid a good
    deal of apparently sympathetic shouting on the part of the

    After that the temper of the crowd seemed to change; but,
    although several carriages with European ladies drove past,
    they were suffered to do so without molestation.

    I was not myself then anxious, but my Mahomedan friend at
    about 4 o’clock warned me that the crowd was now anything but
    peaceably disposed. Shortly thereafter I became apprehensive
    of coming trouble on noting the overt truculent bearing of the
    Pathans, of whom there were many, and notably of a group which
    halted for some time under our verandah. In my twenty years’
    experience of the country I never before witnessed behaviour
    which so impressed me with a sense of sinister intentions.

    At about 4-30 the police made a systematic attempt to clear the
    pavements and street in front of the Police Station down to
    opposite our verandah.

    This the crowd resented and there was considerable hooting.

    A few minutes later one stone was thrown from the crowd in
    Kolsa Moholla, and almost immediately stone-throwing of a very
    serious and dangerous kind commenced on both sides of us.

    We were obliged to close our windows at the back and Kolsa
    Moholla side; but, although numerous stones fell on our house,
    none entered and no one was injured.

    From the verandah it was possible to see not only what was
    going on in Parel Road but also to note the fusillade of stones
    that came from Kolsa Moholla.

    The trams were still running in Parel Road; and, as each passed
    the end of Goghari Moholla, it was met by murderous volleys
    of stones, which by pure luck alone failed to result in most
    serious consequences to the passengers.

    Occasionally the police endeavoured to keep the crowd at a
    distance by themselves throwing stones.

    In this way half an hour passed, when about 5 o’clock or
    thereabouts Mr. Edwardes arrived and took charge.

    Under his direction the detachment of the Warwicks, which
    had been standing under arms in the neighbourhood all the
    afternoon, was drawn in line across Parel Road and Kolsa
    Moholla and knelt down in readiness to fire.

    The officer in charge waved his handkerchief in the hope that
    any law-abiding persons who might still be in the crowd would
    clear away.

    About 5-15 Mr. Setalwad and Mr. Vincent arrived; and, as the
    stone-throwing was then proceeding as vigorously as ever, Mr.
    Setalwad gave the order to fire, an order that was immediately
    carried out. After two or three volleys, occupying about a
    minute, “cease firing” was ordered.

    The mob had by this time cleared off, leaving between thirty
    and forty dead and wounded.

    It is said some innocent Hindus have suffered. I hardly think
    this is possible.

    If the troops had fired hurriedly it might have been so, but
    they did not fire without the most ample warning.

    Under our eyes, and we were between the mob and the troops
    all the while, the troops and Police were murderously
    stoned, happily without any serious mishap, for close upon
    three-quarters of an hour.

    No law-abiding citizen had, therefore, any right to have been
    in either of the mobs and most certainly not at the late moment
    when the firing took place. If any were there at the outset of
    the stone-throwing he had most ample time and warning in which
    to get away, and if any stayed out of curiosity he had only
    himself to blame if he suffered along with the _badmashes_ with
    whom he chose to herd.

    It is impossible to under-estimate the seriousness of what
    might have occurred if the drastic lesson that was administered
    had been longer delayed, and it is puerile for those who were
    not present to presume to criticise it.

    The two mobs numbered many thousands of the most lawless
    and fanatical men in the city, and the manner in which the
    fusillade of stones was started and kept up indicates clearly
    that stones must have been purposely brought to the ground in
    readiness for the fight and in very considerable quantity.

    Viewing the situation as a whole, I consider that the mob
    without doubt was given more leniency than it had any right to
    expect, and that to have postponed the firing any longer, or to
    have restricted the firing to a single volley, must inevitably
    have seriously imperilled the safety of a large section of
    the city and would have involved much greater bloodshed than
    unhappily occurred, before order could have been restored.

    Those who were eye-witnesses like myself can hold but one
    opinion as to the judgment, restraint and patience with which,
    in circumstances of intolerable and protracted provocation,
    Mr. Edwardes dealt with a situation of extreme gravity and

RESOLUTION.—The Governor-in-Council has given careful consideration to
the reports of the disturbance which took place in the city of Bombay
on 12th January, 1911 on the occasion of the Moharram festival. He is
of opinion that the police acted throughout with great discretion and
restraint and that the final appeal to military force was necessary
for the public security. The loss of life which occurred is much to be
regretted, but the military do not appear to have done more than was
consistent with dispersing the mob. The Governor-in-Council desires to
express his thanks to the military authorities for the prompt assistance
rendered by them and to Mr. Edwardes, Commissioner of Police, and the
force under his charge, for their great exertions throughout the whole
period of the Moharram.

2. It now remains to consider the measures to be taken for the future.
Government have done all that lay within their power to enable the
Moharram processions to be held with due regard to the safety of the
law-abiding mass of the community, but without success. In 1909 and
1910 there were no processions; but this year, as in 1908, in spite of
every precaution there were scenes of disorder and violence which had
ultimately to be quelled by military force with considerable loss of
life. Government cannot allow the recurrence of such disturbances, and
it has become necessary to consider whether the procession of tabuts,
with their attendant _tolis_, should not be prohibited next year. Before
arriving at any final decision, however, Government trust that the
Mahomedan community will, through their leaders or otherwise, endeavour
to concert effective measures to secure that, while the religious
character of the observance of the Moharram is retained, there may be a
reasonable guarantee that it shall not again degenerate into lawlessness,
discreditable to all concerned and gravely injurious to the interests of
Bombay. The Governor-in-Council will be ready to give the most careful
consideration to any such proposals, but it will be possible to adopt
them only if they seem to provide a reasonable guarantee against any
future disturbance of the peace.

3. In this connection the leaders of the Mahomedan community could do
much to assist the cause of law and order by explaining to the people
that the tabut processions and _tolis_ are in no way necessary to
the religious celebration of the Moharram. Government have received
information that for many years Kâzis in Sind have been issuing _fatwâs_
inveighing against the degradation of the mourning ceremony into
processions of jesters and mountebanks, and that in the town of Sujāwal
the people have themselves put a stop to all tabut processions.

_By order of His Excellency the Honourable the Governor-in-Council_,

                                                       C. A. KINCAID,
                                                 Secretary to Government.


[1] Charles II transferred Bombay to the E.I. Company in 1668.

[2] Gazetteer of Bombay City and Island, Vol. II. 238.

[3] Gazetteer of Bombay City and Island, Vol. II, pp. 65 ff.

[4] R. and O. Strachey, _Keigwin’s Rebellion_, p. 19 and App. E.

[5] The letter of December 15, 1673, from Aungier and Council mentions
these as some of the chief classes of Hindus in Bombay.

[6] R. and O. Strachey, _Keigwin’s Rebellion_, p. 41.

[7] Ibid. p. 68.

[8] Bombay Gazetteer, Vol. XXVI. (Materials), Part III, p. 8.

[9] Bombay Gazetteer, Vol. XXVI, Part iii, p. 8.

[10] Gazetteer of Bombay City and Island, Vol. II, p. 238.

[11] Rev. F. Ovington, _Voyage to Suratt in 1689_. London, 1696.

[12] P. B. Malabari, _Bombay in the Making_, p. 437.

[13] Ibid. p. 465. _Vereador_ means procurator or attorney. The
_Vereador_ wore a gown as Vereador da Camera or member of a town council
(Da Cunha).

[14] Gazetteer of Bombay City and Island, Vol. II, p. 212.

[15] Bombay Gazetteer, Vol. XXVI, Part iii, pp. 8 ff.

[16] P. B. Malabari, _Bombay in the Making_, p. 287.

[17] Warden’s Report in W. H. Morley, _Analytical Digest of Cases decided
in the Supreme Court of Judicature_ (London, 1849), Vol. II, p. 458.

[18] W. H. Morley, _Digest etc._, Vol. II (Warden’s Report); Bombay
Gazetteer, Vol. XXVI, iii.

[19] General Wedderburn was killed at the storming of Broach in November,

[20] The fact that it was called the Bhandari militia implies that the
Native Christian element had largely disappeared, and that Bhandaris and
other Hindus of the lower classes formed the bulk of the force.

[21] Bombay Gazetteer, Vol. XXVI (Materials), Part iii.

[22] Morley _Digest_ etc. (Warden’s Report).

[23] Ibid.

[24] Ibid. Bombay Gazetteer, Vol. XXVI, Part iii.

[25] At that date the office of Superintendent of Police existed at

[26] Gazetteer of Bombay City and Island, Vol. II, p. 241 (note) Morley,
_Digest etc._

[27] Morley, _Digest etc._ (Warden’s Report) Vol. II; Bombay Gazetteer,
Vol. XXVI, Part III, 67.

[28] Sir J. Mackintosh’s letter in Morley, _Digest etc._, Vol. II, p. 513.

[29] It is not clear whether this post is identical with “Pilaji Ramji’s
Naka” of the twentieth century, which is the name familiarly applied to
the junction of Grant Road and Duncan Road near the Northbrook Gardens.
Here some years ago one Pilaji Ramji occupied a corner house, in which
he used to place an enormous figure of the god Ganesh during the annual
Ganpati festival. Large crowds of Hindus used to visit the house to see
the idol, and hence gave the name “Pilaji’s post” to the locality. It
is quite possible that the name first came into use in the eighteenth

[30] Published in 1816, with illustrations by Rowlandson.

[31] Morley, _Digest etc._ (Warden’s Report), Vol. II, p. 492.

[32] _Bombay Courier_, February 4th, 1797.

[33] Sir J. Mackintosh’s letter of October, 1811, in Morley, _Digest
etc._ Vol. II.

[34] Warden’s Report in Morley, _Digest etc._ Vol. II, pp. 482 ff.

[35] The Third Magistrate was not appointed until 1830. The other two
were appointed in 1812, and the Second exercised jurisdiction over the
whole Island, excluding the Fort and Harbour.

[36] Morley, _Digest etc._ (Warden’s Report), Vol. II.

[37] Hobson-Jobson, 1903, s. v. Cauzee.

[38] The Kazis of the Bene-Israel officiated at all festivals of the
community until the latter half of the nineteenth century, when, as
education advanced, the office gradually became extinct. One Samuel
Nissim was Kazi in 1800 (Gazetteer of Bombay City & Island, Vol I, pp.
250 ff.)

[39] One of the most notorious gangs was that of a certain Ali Paru,
described in the _Times of India_ of July 27, 1872.

[40] _Bombay Courier_, March 3rd, 1827.

[41] Gazetteer of Bombay City and Island, Vol. II, p. 143.

[42] One Thomas Holloway appears in the Annual Register as “High
Constable” in 1827.

[43] The Supreme Court supplanted the Recorder’s Court in 1823, and was
opened in 1824.

[44] F. D. Drewitt, _Bombay in the days of George IV_.

[45] P. B. Malabari, _Bombay in the Making_, p. 283.

[46] _Times of India_, September 22, 1894.

[47] Gazetteer of Bombay City and Island, Vol. II, p. 224 (note 2.)

[48] Gazetteer of Bombay City and Island, Vol. II, p. 146-7.

[49] S. T. Sheppard, _The Byculla Club_, p. 5.

[50] Mrs. Postans, _Western India_ in 1838, Vol. I, p. 27. The _Pagis_
received about Rs. 7 a month for prowling about the compounds of houses
by night.

[51] Ibid., Vol. II, p. 222.

[52] Mrs. Postans, _Western India in 1838_, Vol. I, p. 92.

[53] Mrs. Postans, _Western India in 1838_, Vol. I, p. 27.

[54] _Bombay Times_, Feb. 22, 1845.

[55] Ibid., July 31, 1844.

[56] Report of Bombay Chamber of Commerce, 1854-55, pp. 11, 12.

[57] _Bombay Times_, December 14th, 1850.

[58] _Bombay Times_, October 18, 1851.

[59] _Report on the Administration of Public Affairs in the Bombay
Presidency for 1855-56._ “During the year 1855 great reforms have been
effected in the Police within the jurisdiction of His Majesty’s Supreme
Court. Complaints were made by the Chamber of Commerce of the venality
of the European constables and of the inefficiency of the general force.
These complaints, and other circumstances which induced suspicion,
determined Government to place in immediate command of the Police, Mr.
Forjett, the most active and efficient of the Mofussil Superintendents,
a gentleman who had once been a Foujdar, and who had risen to high and
responsible appointments, solely through his own remarkable energy,
acuteness and ability. An enquiry by this gentleman soon showed the
existence of corruption among the European Constables, a corruption
which impaired the efficiency of the whole force. A considerable number
were summarily dismissed, and a thorough reform in Police arrangements
throughout the Island was commenced by the new Superintendent. These are
still in progress: but the Government has been assured that a feeling of
entire security as to life and property is now entertained by all classes
of the community.”

[60] Mr. B. Aitken in _Old and New Bombay_ states that Forjett was partly
of French descent, and that the family name was originally Forget. Owing
to constant mispronunciation, Forjett eventually anglicised the name in
the form now familiar to students of Bombay history.

[61] See General Adm. Report, Bombay, 1855-56 and 1858-59.

[62] Gazetteer of Bombay City and Island, Vol. II, p. 244.

[63] The Annual Adm. Rep. Bombay Pres. for 1858-59 mentions that only
one case of burglary had occurred in that year and that “robberies with
violence have entirely disappeared”.

[64] Annual Police Returns, showing state of crime, for 1859-61. (India
Office Records).

[65] Report of the Maharaja Libel Case, Bombay Gazette Press, 1862.

[66] Dunlop had been 3rd Assistant to the Master Attendant of the
Government Dockyard, and was appointed head of the Water Police in 1844.
Prior to that year no proper water police force was in existence.

[67] Gazetteer of Bombay City and Island, Vol. III, 252; _Times of
India_, January 2nd, 1865; Annual Adm. Rep. Bombay Presidency, 1862-63.

[68] Gazetteer of Bombay City and Island, Vol. III, 49.

[69] Annual Crime Return, 1860; Gazetteer of Bombay City and Island, Vol.
II, 244.

[70] Gazetteer of Bombay City and Island, Vol. II, p. 157.

[71] C. Forjett, _Our Real Danger in India_, 1877; _Bombay Gazette_,
December 25th, 1907.

[72] C. Forjett, _Our Real Danger in India_, 1877; Holmes, _History of
the Indian Mutiny_.

[73] Apparently it was customary during the Muharram festival in the
’fifties of last century to post a body of 200 Europeans in “the Bhendy
Bazar stables”. Presumably additional European police were brought
in from Poona and other districts. The Muharram danger was finally
eradicated in 1912.

[74] The Gazetteer of Bombay City and Island, Vol. II, 158.

[75] C. Forjett, _Our Real Danger in India, 1877_.

[76] Gazetteer of Bombay City and Island, Vol. II, 158-9.

[77] C. Forjett, _Our Real Danger in India_.

[78] Douglas, _Bombay and W. India_, I, 211.

[79] C. Forjett, _Our Real Danger in India_.

[80] The use of the phrase “Deputy Commissioner of Police” is explained
by the fact that, strictly speaking, the Senior Magistrate was at this
date Commissioner of Police, and Forjett as head of the “executive
police” was his Deputy. Forjett in his book speaks of himself as
Commissioner of Police: but this title was not given to the head of the
force till 1865. In the Senior Magistrate’s Annual Crime Return for 1860
Forjett is styled Superintendent of Police: but in his evidence before
the Supreme Court in the Bhattia Conspiracy Case, Forjett stated, “In my
official capacity as Deputy Commissioner of Police, I received a letter.”

[81] In earlier days one of the chief haunts of these gangs was a deep
hollow near the site of the present Arthur Crawford Market (J. M.
Maclean, _Guide to Bombay_, 1902, p. 206.)

[82] Gazetteer of Bombay City and Island, II, 244; Ann. Adm. Rep. Bombay
Presidency, 1858-59.

[83] C. Forjett, _Our Real Danger in India_.

[84] F. H. Forjett joined the 59th Foot in 1865 and in 1870 was
transferred to the Bombay Staff Corps. He served mostly in the 26th
Bombay N. I., which in the “seventies” and “eighties” was known
familiarly as the “Black Watch”, owing to its having no less than
three Eurasian British officers, namely John Miles, the Commandant, a
half-caste of dominating personality, John M. Heath and F. H. Forjett.

[85] C. E. Buckland, _Dictionary of Indian Biography_.

[86] J. Douglas, _Bombay and Western India_, I, 211.

[87] Letter to _Morning Post_, August 30th, 1921.

[88] Prior to 1865 there appear to have been 26 mounted police.

[89] First Annual Rep. of the Commissioner of Police, 1884; Gazetteer of
Bombay City and Island, II, 245.

[90] G. R. J.D. No. 5628 of August 10th, 1883.

[91] Annual Crime Return, 1872.

[92] G. R. J. D. 2633 of April 21st, 1877.

[93] G. R. J. D. 2427 of April 29th, 1873.

[94] _Times of India_, 1872; Gazetteer of Bombay City and Island, II, 179.

[95] Senior Magistrate’s Report of Crime, 1873.

[96] _Times of India_, February 14th, 1874; the Annual Register, 1874; J.
M. Maclean, _Guide to Bombay_ (1902) p. 285; Gazetteer Bombay City II,

[97] Memoir of Sir Dinshaw Petit, Bart. by S. M. Edwardes, 1923.

[98] Annual Report of Senior Magistrate, 1874.

[99] Letter from Lord Salisbury to the Governor-General in Council, July
9th, 1874.

[100] Sir R. Temple, _Men & Events of My Time in India_.

[101] Annual Report of Senior Magistrate of Police for 1875.

[102] G. R. J. D., June 24th, 1892.

[103] G. R. J. D., 5389 of August 28th, 1893.

[104] Gazetteer of Bombay City and Island, II, 237. A Fourth Presidency
Magistrate was appointed in 1892 and was accommodated in the Esplanade
Police Court. After the occupation of the Nesbit Lane building by the
Second Presidency Magistrate, the Court of the Fourth Magistrate was also
located there.

[105] Report of Comm. of Police for 1893.

[106] Mr. Cooper, the Chief Presidency Magistrate, retired in 1893 and
was succeeded by Mr. J. Sanders-Slater.

[107] Mr. Crummy acted more than once as Deputy Commissioner of Police.

[108] P. E. Roberts, _Hist. Geography of British Dependencies_, Vol. VII,
p. 508.

[109] The account which follows is taken, in some passages _verbatim_,
from Sir V. Chirol’s _Indian Unrest_, 1910.

[110] The Sirdar served for 38 years, having joined the force as a
second-class Jemadar in 1865. Apart from his work as a detective, he
is remembered as the founder of the Maratha Plague Hospital, which he
organised and opened in 1898.

[111] G.R.J.D. 3051 of June 4th, 1903.

[112] He received the title of Khan Bahadur in 1904 and the King’s Police
Medal in 1910.

[113] V. Chirol, _Indian Unrest_, pp. 55, 56.

[114] V. Chirol, _Indian Unrest_, p. 57.

[115] Prior to 1913 the Excise authorities were not empowered to
prosecute offenders in the Courts. The Police had to conduct all
prosecutions. From the year mentioned the Excise department was given the
necessary powers.

[116] A full and detailed report of the disturbance is given in Mr.
Edwardes’ letter to Government, No. 545 C. of January 20th, 1911, printed
below as an Appendix.



    Acworth, H. A., 102

    Adultery, 66

    Aga Khan, H. H. the, 63, 108-9

    American Civil War, 50-54

    Andhiyaru (“Andaroo”), 25, 28

    _Ank Satta_, 84

    Anonymous Postcards case, 171-2

    Anthropometry, Bertillon system of, 95

    Antonio, José, 34, 35

    Armed Police, 9, 91

    Arms Act, 61, 158-9

    Arms traffic, illicit, 82

    Asna Ashariya Khojas, 108, 109

    Aston, A. H. S., 193

    Aungier, Gerald, 1, 2, 5

    _Aurora_ Conspiracy, 64


    Back Bay Company, 51

    Balloon ascents, 84

    Bandareens, see Bhandaris

    Bank, Credit, 72

    Bank, Cosmopolitan, 172, 173

    Bank, Specie, 172

    Bank failures, 172, 173

    Barrow, Major, 49

    _Barsat ka Satta_, see Gambling, rain

    Baynes, Capt. E., 35, 37

    Bazar Gate, 41

    Beggars, 15, 114, 115, 131

    Bennett, Douglas, 102, 104

    Bhagoji Naik, 54

    Bhandari Militia, 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 9

    Bhandaris, 2, 7 and _n_, 8, 9, 13, 30, 32

    Bhat, 25, 27, 28

    Bhattia Conspiracy Case, 43

    Bhendy Bazar, 32, 37, 47_n_, 69, 75, 140, 176, 184, 185 and App.

    Bickersteth, J. P., 56

    Bombay Banking Company, 172, 173

    Bombay Light Horse, 101, 139

    Bombay Volunteer Artillery, 101

    Brewin, Superintendent H., 73, 82, 91, 96, 98

    Briscoe, Charles, 23, 28

    Brown, F. L., 56

    Bruce, Colonel, 55, 56

    Budgen, General, 101

    Burrows, Captain, 35


    Calcutta _mori_, see Gambling, rain

    Cauzee, see Kazi

    Census (1864), 55; (1901), 119; (1906), 122

    Chamber of Commerce, 144

    Cheating cases, 169, 170

    Chelmsford, arrival of Lord, 176, 177

    Chhaganlal M. Tijoriwala, 192, 193

    Child, John, 2, 3

    Children, murder of, 65, 66, 107

    Chief of Mahim, 19

    Chief Presidency Magistrate, 57, 58, 96_n_, 193

    _Chilli-chors_, 101 and App.

    City Improvement Trust, 113, 147, 156, 174

    Clarke, Sir George (Lord Sydenham), 144, 145, 165

    Cocaine, 93, 166-68

    Colaba, 28, 30, 36, 120

    Commission of the Peace, 17

    Commissioner of Police, appointment of, 50_n_, 56, 57

    Committee, Morison, 123, 146, 148-9

    Connon, John, 56, 58

    Constabulary, European, 17, 18, 26, 36, 46, 47_n_, 48, 58, 74, 75, 90,
      125, 134

          ”       Indian, 17, 18, 26, 36, 46, 48, 58, 74, 90

          ”         ”    good work of, 137, 138, 174-76

    Contagious Diseases Act, 61

    Conveyances, number of, 94, 130

    Cooper, C. P., 56, 74, 83, 102

    Cordue, Colonel, 142

    Corfield, A. K., 35, 37

    Cotton-fires, 129, 130, 180-81

    Court of Petty Sessions, 33, 34, 56, 57

    Crawford, W., 37, 42, 45

    Crowley Boevey, Mr., 70, 71

    Crime, 4, 7, 9, 10, 14-16, 20, 21, 28-33, 36-7, 41, 51, 74, 89, 92,
      97, 103, 106-110, 127-8, 165-6, 169

    Criminal Investigation Department, 109, 137, 146, 148-50, 152-4, 160,
      171, 178, 190

    Criminal Procedure Code, 70, 92-3, 117

    Crummy, Superintendent, 96 and _n_, 120

    Cuffe, Lieut., 101

    Cursetji Suklaji Street, 86, 87

    Curtis, Capt. W., 35


    Dacoity, 31, 107

    Daji Gangaji Subehdar, 133

    Danvers, E. F., 35

    Dastur, Pheroze H., 103, 123

    De Ga case, 62, 63, 72

    Deputy-Superintendent (Mahim), 19, 20

    Detective Police, 62, 71-73, 81, 89, 92, 146

    de Vitré, J. D., 30, 35

    Dinanath N. Dandekar, 144

    Dockyard police, 55, 59, 126, 150, 152, 168

    Doctor Street, 138, 168, 182, 184

    “Dongri and the Woods”, 7, 17, 18, 19

    Dosabhai F. Karaka, 56

    Dunlop, Mr., 43, 44_n_

    Dwarkadas Dharamsey, 173, 174


    Edginton, Mr., 48, 62, 73

    Edwardes, S. M., 123, 129, 137, 148-194 and App.

    _Eki-beki_, 83

    Elphinstone, Lord, 37, 40, 44, 45, 46, 47, 49, 50, 53

    Elphinstone Circle, 44

    Embezzlement case, 170

    Enthoven, R. E., 119

    Erskine, W., 28

    European offenders, 42, 64, 65, 66, 67

    Ewart, Latham & Co., fraud on, 169

    Explosives, 158, 159


    False complaints, 108, 170

    False evidence, 64, 72

    Famine, effects of, 107, 108, 127

    Farrant, G. L., 35

    _Fazendars_, 7, 9

    Finger-Print Bureau, 95, 96, 131, 132, 161, 162

    Fire-brigade, 44, 56, 71, 73

    Fisher, James, 19

    Foreigners Act, 85, 86, 88, 115

    Forgery, 64, 82, 128, 129

    Forjett, Charles, 37, 38 and _n_, 39-53, 72, 73, 96, 118

    Forjett, F. H. (Colonel), 52 and _n_, 101

    Forjett Street, 53

    Framji Bhikaji, Inspector, 73

    Fraser, Lovat G., 119

    Frere, Sir Bartle, 44, 55


    Gambling Act, 83, 114

    Gambling, rain, 82, 83

       ”      ordinary, 83, 84, 113, 114

    Ganga Prasad, 49

    Ganpati celebrations, 90, 104-106, 154

    Gayer, Sir John, 4

    Gell, H. G., 73, 79, 120-147, 149, 162

    Gentus (Hindus), 2

    Giles, Chief Inspector M. J., 159

    _Golconda_, S. S., 191

    Goodwin, Richard, 28

    Grant, G., 35

    Grant, Sir J. P., 28, 29

    Grant Road, 41, 86, 100, 102, 103, 140, 155, 176, 182, 185

    Gray, H., 35

    Grennan, Superintendent, 96, 134

    Griffith, F. C., 150

    _Gurakhi_, 110


    Haj Committee, 136

    Haj Traffic, 61, 62, 89, 98, 110, 134-6, 150, 161

    Halliday, Simon, 17, 19, 22, 23

    Harbour police, 26, 27, 36, 44, 55, 59, 91, 126, 150, 168, 189

    Harker, O. A., 150

    Henry, Sir E., 95, 149

    Hewitt, B. H., 130

    High Constable, 13, 17, 20, 26, 34

    Hill-Trevor, A., 142

    Holloway, Thomas, 28_n_, 34

    Humfrey, Major, 79


    Ingram, Superintendent, 96

    Intemperance, 32, 64, 65, 89, 93


    Jacob’s Circle, 142, 143, 144

    Jagannath Shankarshet, 45, 46

    Julhais, 101, 103, 182 and App.

    Justices of the Peace, 5, 6, 10, 11, 14, 17, 20, 21, 22, 25, 26, 32,
      34, 44


    Kabraji, K. N., 41

    Kazi, 25, 27

     ”  of Bombay, 47, 48

    Kazi Kabiruddin, 158

    Keigwin, Richard, 3

    Kennedy, H., 107-19, 127

    Kennedy, M., 120

    Khairaz, G. R., 193

    Kidnapping, 115, 116, 117

    Kirtikar, Mr., 132

    Koregaonkar, K. R., 189


    _Lakdi Satta_, see Gambling, rain

    Lambert, R. P., 120

    Lamington, Lord, 137

    Law and Justice (1700), 5, 6

     ”         ”    (1800), 29, 30

    Le Geyt, P. W., 35

    Leslie, A., 142

    “Lieutenant of Police”, 10, 12, 13


    Macdonald, James, 142

    Mackintosh, Sir J., 15, 22, 23, 25, 33

    Magistrates of Police, 23, 24, 25, 26, 28, 33, 37, 44, 56, 57

    Mansfield, Lieut., 84

    Manslaughter, 43

    Mayor’s Court, 5

    McDermott, Superintendent, 96, 134

    Memorial Fund, S. M. E., 158

    Messent, P., 142

    Mills, Superintendent, 63

    Mir Abdul Ali, Sirdar, 63, 64, 72, 82, 92, 96, 119, 129 and _n_

    Mir Akbar Ali, 62, 63, 72

    Moors, 2

    Morison, Sir W., 123

    Morley, James, 19

    Morris, Inspector, 172

    Motor-vehicles, 130, 160

    Mounted Police, 46, 90, 91, 112, 136, 176

    Moharram, 36, 37, 46-8, 67-8, 72, 105, 181-84, 186-7, 191 and App.
      (See also “Riots, Moharram”)

    _Mukadams_, 24

    Municipal Commissioner, 44, 51, 56, 102, 193

    Municipal Corporation, 56, 59, 77, 126, 174

    Murder, Khoja Street, 62

      ”     Roonan’s, 63

      ”     Khoja (1), 63, (2), 108-9

      ”     Pakmodie Street, 63, 64

      ”     Dadar triple, 81

      ”     Clerk Road, 81

      ”     Khambekar Street, 81

      ”     Rajabai Tower, 81, 82

      ”     Walkeshwar (1), 91, (2), 166

      ”     Duarte’s, 92

      ”     Bapty Road, 175

      ”     Regimental, 191-2

    _Musafirkhana_, 62, 135

    Mutiny days, 39, 45-50, 54


    Nall Bazaar, 167

    Nanabhai Dinshaw, 128

    Narayan T. Vaidya, 144

    Nasik murder trial, 176

    Nolan, Superintendent, 96, 134

    Northcote, Lord, 137


    Oliveira, Mr., 193

    Oliver, N. W., 37

    Opium-dens, 93

    Oriental spinning and weaving mill, 71

    Orphanage, Abdulla H. D. Bavla, 163-5


    _Pagi_, 31 and _n_

    Parsi hooligans, 41

    Pawnbrokers, 21

    Petit, Sir Dinshaw, 43, 77

    Petit, John, 2

    Petroleum Act, 158, 159

    Phillips, R. M., 120, 150

    Pilaji Ramji’s naka, 18 and _n_

    Pilgrim Brokers, 62, 135

    Pilgrim Department, 62, 89, 98, 135, 137

    Pillory, 29, 30

    Pimps, foreign, 85, 86, 87, 88, 115, 131

    Piracy, 28, 43

    Plague, 97, 98, 107, 122, 127

      ”     effect on police of, 90, 97, 98, 99, 106

    Poisoning, 42, 91, 92, 108

    Poisons Act, 158, 159

    Police, corruption among, 15, 23, 33, 36, 37, 40, 41

      ”     health of, 60, 74, 79, 80, 89, 98, 99

      ”     literacy of, 60, 73, 133, 134, 157, 158

      ”     pay of, 13, 14, 60, 124, 125, 126

    Police buildings and housing, 74, 75, 76, 80, 112, 113, 132, 136, 155,
      156, 157

    Police Charges Act, 111, 126, 127

    Police Commission, 91, 122, 123

    Police Court, Esplanade, 75, 80, 132

    Police   ”    Mazagon, 80, 132

    Police Divisions, 7, 9, 17, 18, 111, 153

    Police force, cost of, (1812), 26, 27, (1885), 59, (1888), 60, 79,
      (1892), 79, (1893), 90, (1894), 91, (1900), 110, (1902), 122,
      (1908), 126, (1911), 152, (1913), 152, (1915), 152

    Police force, strength of (1793) 18, (1812), 26, 27, (1865), 55,
      56, (1871), 58, (1879), 58, (1881), 58, (1885), 58-60, (1888),
      60, 79, (1892), 79, (1893), 90, (1894), 90, 91, (1900), 110,
      (1902), 122, (1909), 152, (1911), 152, (1913), 152, (1915), 152

    Police Gazette, 154-5

    Police Hospital, 137

    Police Office (Fort), 33;
      (Byculla), 75, 80;
      (Hornby Road), 75, 80, 112, 137, 162, 188, 190

    Police precautions (Royal Visit), 177-80

    Police Regulations and Acts, 6, 7, 11, 12, 22, 25, 37, 45, 71, 88,
      96, 127

    Police reorganization, 7, 8, 9, 10, 16, 17, 18, 19, 23, 25, 26, 31,
      38, 54-6, 80, 90, 91, 123, 145-6, 148-9, 151-7

    Police Stations, Agripada, 113, 156

       ”      ”      Bazar Gate, 75, 112

       ”      ”      Colaba, 113, 156

       ”      ”      Esplanade, 75, 80, 157

       ”      ”      Frere Road, 157

       ”      ”      Gamdevi, 157

       ”      ”      Hughes Road, 157

       ”      ”      Khetwadi, 157

       ”      ”      Lamington Rd., 157

       ”      ”      Maharbaudi, 75, 80, 81, 156

       ”      ”      Mahim, 157

       ”      ”      Mody Bay, 156

       ”      ”      Nagpada, 113, 136, 156, 175

       ”      ”      Paidhoni, 75, 112

       ”      ”      Palton Road, 157

       ”      ”      Parel, 157

       ”      ”      Princess Street, 113, 156

       ”      ”      Sussex Road, 136

       ”      ”      Wodehouse Road, 136

    Police work, growth of, 60, 61, 65, 66, 96, 108, 110, 121, 165, 166

       ”     ”   miscellaneous, 154, 162, 163

       ”     ”   during War, 187-92

    Port Trust, 59, 126

    Powell, Dr. A., 136

    Presidency Magistrates, 57, 70, 80_n_, 81_n_, 83, 101, 102, 132

        ”        ”        Honorary, 132

    Presidency Magistrates Act, 34, 57, 70

    Property stolen and recovered, value of, 42, 89, 92, 127, 166

    Prostitution, 61, 85-9, 93, 94, 115, 116, 117, 118, 131

    Punishments and penalties, 29, 30


    Ramchandra Dharadhar, 192

    Ramchandra, Subehdar, 133

    Ramoshis, 99, 111, 125

    Rangari _moholla_, 138, 182, 185 and App.

    Receivers of stolen property, 21, 89

    Recorder’s Court, 21, 23, 28, 33

    Regulation I of 1812, 25, 28

        ”      ” ”  1834, 33, 34

    Reinold, Mr., 120

    Revolutionary movement, Indian, 104, 106, 121, 145, 148

    Revolver-practice, 162

    Revolvers, theft of, 159

    Riots, Hindu-Muhammadan, 52, 99-103, 104

      ”    Khoja, 36

      ”    Moharram, 36, 67, 68, 121, 138-40, 146, 162, 184-6 and App.

      ”    Parsi, 68

      ”    Parsi-Hindu, 30, 31

      ”    Parsi-Muhammadan, 36, 37, 68, 69

      ”    Plague, 103-4

      ”    Tilak, 121, 123, 140-5, 146

    Rivett, L. C. C., 35

    Roshan Ali, Khan Saheb, 73, 97

    Roughton, Major, 101

    Royal Visits, 73, 74, 89, 121, 146, 177-180

    Ryley, Colonel, 101


    _Safed gali_, see Cursetji Suklaji Street

    Sanders-Slater, J., 96_n_, 132

    School, Constables’, 157-8

    Seditious books case, 169

    Setalwad, Rao Bahadur C. H., 186, 193 and App.

    Sethna, R. D., 174

    Share Mania, 173

    Sheehy, Inspector, 91

    Sheikh Ibrahim, Khan Bahadur, 97, 133 and App.

    Sheriff, 6

    Shortt, Brig.-General, 46, 49

    Shortt, Capt., 35

    Shortland, Colonel, 101

    Sitaram K. Bole, 189

    Sloane, Superintendent, 110, 129, 134, 150

    Snow, J., 28

    _Sonari toli_, 92

    Souter, Sir Frank, 54-78, 79, 86, 192

    Souter, W. L. B., 120, 124

    Special Magistrates, 101, 142, 143

    Spens, A., 35, 37

    Street Accidents, 94, 160

    Street Lighting, 32, 76

    Strikes, industrial, 85, 99, 107, 121

    Strike, Police, 121, 124, 125

    Strike, Postal, 121

    _Subehdars_ (of militia), 1, 4

    Sub-Inspectors, Indian, 156

    Sulliman Cassum Haji Mitha, Sirdar Saheb, 186

    Sulliman _chauki_, 102, 182, 186

    “Superintendent of Police”, 12, 17, 20, 23, 35

           ”        ”    ”    powers of, 20, 21, 22, 24

    Superintendents of Police, European, 73, 96, 131

    Superintendent-General of Police, 24, 26, 33

    Supreme Court, 28 and _n_, 33

    Swann, General John, 185 and App.

    Sweeney, Superintendent, 96


    Taki, Khan Saheb F. M., 165, 168

      ”    ”     ”   M. H., 168

    Talcherkar, H. A., 189

    Tatya Lakshman, Rao Saheb, 96-7

    _Teji-mundi_, 84

    Temple, Sir Richard, 74, 77

    Textile Industry, 107

    Theatres, licensing of, 159, 160

        ”     rules for, 159, 160

    Thornton, T., 35, 37

    Tilak, Bal Gangadhar, 104, 105, 106, 121, 140-2, 143, 145

    Tod, James, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 23

    Traffic in Women and Children, 88, 165

    Traffic-regulation, 94, 95, 130, 131

    Tyebali Alibhai, 128, 170


    Uniform (of constables), 34

       ”    (of European police), 127


    Vereadores, 5, 7

    Viceregal Visits, 73, 146, 176

    Vinayakrao Dinanath, 192

    Vincent, F. A. M. H., 137, 150, 153, 185 and App.

    Vincent, R. H., 62, 73, 80, 90-106, 107


    Warden, F., 17, 20, 23, 24

    Warden, J., 35

    War Relief Fund, 192

    Webb, Mr., 102

    Wedderburn, General D., 7, 9

    Weights and Measures, 61

    Weir, Dr. T., 102

    West, Sir E., 28

    Williamson, Superintendent, 134

    Willingdon, Lord, 192, 194

    Willis, H., 35

    Wilson, G. S., 150

    Wilson, Lieut.-Col. W. H., 79-89, 112

    Wise, Colonel, 79

    Wodehouse, Sir P., 69, 70

    Wyborne, Sir J., 3

           Printed by V. P. Pendherkar, at the Tutorial Press,
                     211a, Girgaum Back Road, Bombay
     Published by Humphrey Milford, at the Oxford University Press,
                 17-19, Elphinstone Circle, Fort, Bombay

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