Wednesday, 11 December 2013

NAGAJATI: First Bengali Book on the Nagas

My maternal grand father, Dr. Surendra Nath Majumdar (1884 – 1976) was a LMS and he was a physician by profession. He was in Assam Medical Service and was posted in Nagaland as Assistant Surgeon for three years from March 1913 to December 1915. During this stay in the Naga Hills, Dr. Majumdar travelled different parts of that North East Frontier region and he came to contact with different prominent people belonging to various sections of the Naga community. Then he could gather lots of information about the Nagas – their social structure, kinship, customs, culture, economic condition etc. He wrote some papers on these issues during his leisure time and they were published in some reputed journals like “Probasi” (Bengali), “Sourav” (Bengali), Sreebhumi (Bengali), “Modern Review”, “Man in India” (Vol. IV, No. 1-2-1924). In the year 1925, he published a book, in English, on the Nagas. Almost fifty years later, in 1973, Dr. Majumdar published a Bengali book named “Nagajati”. In this book, he takes pride to be the first ‘Indian (Bengali)’ to produce a book on the Nagas. His efforts to document the social life of this tribe was lauded by many eminent people. They include G.H. Hutton; Professor N. K. Bose, Commissioner of Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Retd.), Surajit Sinha, President, Anthropological Survey of India etc.

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