[ Murder in the Punjab during the Indian independence struggle. ] Manuscript volume of pre-committal reports of Police Sub-Inspectors into criminal cases involving fatalities and murders, with a typed 'Judgment Sheet', and two newspaper reports.

Author: 
[ L. Prabhu Dial and W. Powell, Magistrates, 1st Class, Jhelum District, Punjab, British India (now Pakistan); the Raj; British rule ]
Publication details: 
Jhelum District, Punjab, British India (now Pakistan). Entries between October 1917 and December 1918.
£750.00
SKU: 17149

180pp., folio. Paginated 1-181 with one blank page. In red buckram half-binding. Internally in good condition, on lightly-aged paper, in heavily worn binding. On cover: 'ELUM DISTRICT. | CASES. | October 1917 - December 1918.' (For information regarding the loosely-inserted 'Judgment Sheet' see the end of this description.) The volume provides a mass of information providing a marvellous insight into the workings of British policing and colonial justice in India at the time of the Amritsar Massacre, as well as a vivid picture of Punjabi life in the early twentieth century. It comprises a series of detailed entries for the use of the Magistrates Court at the time of committal hearings. The entire volume is written in the same close, neat hand, and it includes eight family trees, three of them full-page. Each entry gives details of statements by witnesses and the accused, and of various dated reports into each case by native Police Sub-Inspectors. Each entry is under a heading giving the place where the case was investigated or heard: Chakwal; Choa (or 'Chua') Saidan Shah; Dina; Domeli; Duhman; Jalalpur; Jhelum City; Kallar Kahar; Lilla; Nila; Pind Dadan Khan; Sadar Jhelum; Sohawa. Each entry is preceded by a series of reference numbers, and details of 'Place of occurrence', 'Date of occurrence', 'Date of report', 'Deceased' (or in one case 'Wounded') and 'Accused'. Each entry ends with details of the outcome. For example, in one case: 'Sent for trial | Committed to Sessions on 31.8.18. | Convicted - death. | Sessions (Dundas). 8/10/18. | Acquitted by Chief Court on appeal. | (Martineau & Shadi Lal - JJ). | 20/12/18.' The volume also includes lists of 'Rewards'. Most pages are ticked through in blue pencil, with occasional additions (for example capital convictions) in red ink. The very first entry (pp.1-2) is a good example of the content. It begins: 'At 9.0 a.m on 23/9/17 Chaudri, Lambardar, and Hyat Chowkidar of Arar came to the Thana and made a report to the following effect: - | Last night, some time after midnight, there was an uproar in the house of Ganda Mal, khatir. All the Lambardars, Chowkidars, and several others went to the house. They found Ganda Mal lying murdered in a bed. There was a wound caused by a Kulhari on the left side of his forehead. Sitting by the bed was the deceased's daughter-in-law, and for fear of her own life. The deceased was an old man, and in bad health. The deceased's son, Ram Lobanja, went to Talagang with a marriage procession about 4 days ago. Nothing is known about the motive for his murder. | Hearing that the S[ub].I[inspector] was at Dalwal we first went there, but finding that he was not there we have come to the Thama. The delay in making the report is due to rain and our going first to Dalwal. S.I. Muzaffar Khan & Cons[table] 445 Sher Khan and Cons 41 Karam Etahi proceed to spot'. The six entries of report by the Sub-Inspector follow, the first beginning: '23/9/17. Reaches spot at 1.0 p.m. Ganda Mal found lying dead on a bed inside his house. A severe wound on head between the eyes. Underneath the bed a brass "tarami". (vessel), and an enamelled cup, and a small earthenware "rakhdan", were found, all stained with blood. The blood on bags nearby, walls, roof, etc. At 2.0 p.m Masth Parbati questioned. A few scratches on neck and says she has some on her knees. Her daughter Ram Piari has abrasions on her back. Masth Parbati states that [...]'. Two cuttings of reports from the 'Civil and Military Gazette' (Lahore) are present. The first cutting (p.8), dated 2 March 1918, and titled 'Punjab Chief Court .| Murder of a Lambardar', relates to a case the report for which covers the four pages 9-12 (Jalalpur). The committal hearing was before 'Mr. W. Powell, Magistrate, 1st class, Pind Dadan Khan', and the case related to three men, led by Mohammed Khan, accused of murdering Raja Ghulam Mehdi Khan, a 'Lambardar of Bajwala Dattan', the conclusion of 'a long-standing quarrel [...] which, though not always in acute form, showed itself occasionally in village disputes'. The second cutting (pp.180-181), dated 2 March 1920, and titled 'A Punjab Drama. | Murder, Love and Treachery', relates to a case described by the newspaper as 'An interesting chapter in the history of crime, more sensational than many a cinema film'. It involves the abduction and murder of a woman and her child, and the hiring of a 'professional murderer' to kill the abductor Ghulam Mahomed, who had previously 'contracted an immoral intimacy with his employer's wife, Mussammat Hassan Bi, induced her to assist him in poisoning her husband with arsenic and his dead body was thrown into a pond'. The entry on this case in the volume covers no fewer than fifteen pages (pp.116-118, 126, 142-150 at Chakwal; pp.152-153 at Dina). On appeal one man (Qadir) was sentenced to death, and one (Amir) to transportation for life, with two (Ghulam Ali and Farman) being acquitted. The newspaper report of the case features the heading 'A Complicated Plot', and the numerous statements by the various parties and police reports within the fifteen pages within the volume devoted to the case reflect this. Loosely inserted is a typed 'True Copy', signed by the clerk of the court, of a 'Judgment Sheet for Appeals in the Court of the Sessions Judge' (3pp., folio), regarding an order by 'L. Prabhu Dial M.A. Magistrate 1st Class Jhelum District, dated 31-5-1918', concerning 'a riot [which] took place in Bharpur Kallan Tahsil Chakwal concerning the propriety of the appointment of one Ghulam Mohammad to the position of Imam of the mosque' ('To all intents and purposes, therefore, the whole business was a mere turn up with stones, in which the side accused of culpable homicide had decidedly the worst of it.'). Annotated in blue pencil, with two exclamation marks in the margin at the suggestion of 'a substantial reduction of sentences'. The 'Judgment Sheet' is complete, but in frail condition, in three parts.