Later Life

The later life of Baboo Mutty Lall Seal would see many problems with various lawsuits. Firstly in the case of Dhurmtollah Bazar, Seal had to encounter a strong opposition from the party of late Ananda Narain Ghosh, who attempted to establish a rival ‘bazaar’ under the denomination of the ‘ Anando Bazaar’ (Mitter 1993:16). The opposition held out every inducement to the vendors of Dhurmatollah to remove the new bazaar, and succeeded in many cases. In this case, Seal was accused for involving in the functioning of Calcutta Police in many English newspapers. One of his eminent biographers K.C.Mitter writes “the state of the Calcutta Police from top to bottom was during his time notoriously corrupt as was subsequently and abundantly proved by the searching inquiries instituted by Mr. J.R.Colvin and Mr. W. Dampier, who had been appointed commissioners by the Government ”. Finally, both the parties came to their senses and an agreement was signed.

Mutty Lall Seal’s portrait in his Free College

Another legal problem started when in 1830, the Government wanted to build a new strand road, and called upon the proprietors of the neighbouring lands to surrender their proprietorship. Everybody complied with the requisition except Mutty Lall Seal. After much persuasion he agreed to surrender his portion of land but put forward a condition that paying a nominal rent, he should continue to occupy the land. But unfortunately after his death the government acquired the land after much litigation with the family, which went as far as the Privy Council, London.

In the third instance, Seal became a victim of a long drawn out conspiracy against him. In 1852, Joy Gopal Chatterjee was accused by  Seal of perjury and Chatterjee was acquitted by a Cossitollah jury for reasons that are unclear (See Mitter 1869). They, however, pressed counter-charges against Seal. Seal was associated with the late Baboo Ramaprasad Roy, Mr. W.N.Hedger and Mr. J.C.Michael co-defendants. The defendants were accused of a conspiracy to cheat the prosecutor out of his monies. Although Mr. Peterson, Counsel for the Prosecution, attempted to conspire against Seal and the co-defendants;  the case of fraud lodged by Joy Gopal Chatterjee as disclosed in these counts was disproved on the most conclusive evidence.

Kissory Chund Mitter writes that ‘the series of incidents proved nothing but great sagacity, wisdom and tenaciousness of Baboo Mutty Lall Seal. A person who started his career from an infinitesimal endeavour ended being a great entrepreneur in the history of Bengal. Mutty Lall Seal took his last breath on 20th May, 1854 at the age of sixty three years after suffering from fever accompanied with diarrhoea and congestion of blood in the chest. After the declaration of his doctor,  Mutty Lal was removed, at his own request, to his ghat and expired there at one o’clock at night. Mitter writes ‘this melancholy event cast a gloom on native society, and was regarded as national calamity’ (Mitter 1869). The Hindoo Patriot wrote in his obituary, ‘The use which Baboo Muttyloll Seal made of this magnificent fortune was, as is well-known, such as few persons learn to make. He was, munificent in all that he did or gave— and his munificence was not stimulated by the love of fame or by the flattery of those who benefited by his gifts’ (Hindoo Patriot 1854). Read the full obituary here.

Motilal Seal left a deed of settlement, a will and organized a trustee-board for proper functioning of his huge wealth and property after his death. His alms house in Belghoria and Seal’s Free College are still working under the patronage of his Trustees. He left his property to his second wife Aunundomoyee Dassee, his five sons and six daughters. His wife, Aunundomoyee was the executrix and his three sons, Heeralal, Chunilal and Pannalal were named executors of his will. His other sons were Kanailal and Gobindlal. He had five daughters  with Aunundomoyee who were called Rajranee (after whom he named one of his ships), Radharanee, Golapmoney, Auttormoney and  Fulkumari. He also has a daughter with his first wife, Nagree Dassee, called Kshetramonee. The Seal family tree is to be found here.