Name of the Book reviewed: The Kacharis
Name of the Author: Rev. Sidney Endle
First published: 1911 BY Macmillan and Co.
First Bina Library Edition: January,2007
Bina Library, College Hostel Road ,Guwahati-78001.
Reviewed by Dr. Surya Kumar Daimari
(Introduction: This book, "The Kacharis", by Rev. Sidney Endle, is not a biblical book. It's a monograph about a race among which the author had lived his life, dedicated his whole self and preached the Gospel. It's a kind of a missionary book preparing the land for sowing the seeds of the Gospel in the Far East from England, the land of tigers and evil spirits. This author finds reason to review the book for the world to see it.)
A Preface to the Author and the Book :
Rev. Sidney Endle, the author of the book, " The Kacharis", may well be described as a good friend of the Kacharis i.e., the Boros or the Baras, the Pioneer of modern education , the Torch Bearer , the Morning Star of education , the Great Social Reformer and the Eye Opener in the true sense of the term. His name and contributions especially to the Boro-Kacharis should be written with golden ink. His book ,"The Kacharis" is a monograph about the aboriginal racesthe Boros (Bodos)- their origin , physical, religious, moral, social and domestic life. This book, per-excellence deserves to be called as the "Magnum Opus"- a great book, because it serves as the original document of the Boros(Bodos), the oldest and the first ever historical book that needs to be preserved with utmost care. Prior to this book, we do not have any kind of historical evidence or document or any literary work in the language of the Boros. This wonderful man born in 1840 in the Sturdy Yeoman Clergy family educated at Totnes Grammar School and then in St. Augustine's College at Canterbury in England became a missionary. He came to India in February 1864 as a missionary sent by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (SPG) and worked under Mr. Hesselmyer at Kachari Mission, stationed at Tezpur, Assam. Ordained as a deacon in 1865 by Bishop of Calcutta, he took the charge of the SPG mission among the tea-garden coolies at Dibrugorh. After the death of Mr. Hesselmyer, Rev. Endle became the chaplain of the tea garden areas in the district of Darrang now Udalguri and Sonitpur and also took the charge of the Kachari Mission in that district with the Head-quarter at Tezpur. This was the beginning of his work among the Kacharis or the Boros who dedicated his whole life sacrificing every bit of his pulse. In the language of J. D. Anderson, I.C.S. retired in his introduction to "The Kacharis", Rev. Endle has been described as "the most unworldly and simple of men, almost an ascetic in his personal taste and habits-------could sympathize with and understand men". Being a man with a native shrewdness and a quiet sense of humor rarely found in other English men beyond the seas, Mr. Endle could easily attract the hearts of the people he loved . This writer would like to quote the same verse what J.D. Anderson has quoted from the Chaucer to describe him at his best.
" He was a shepherd and no mercenerie,
And though he holy were and virtuous,
He was to (too) simple men not dispitous,
Ne of his speech dangerous ne digne
Bat in his teaching discrete and benigne ."
He was a gregarious person, a man of benevolence, a real catholic in his love for the Kacharis with an all embracing character , because , he was like a good shepherd around whom the flocks gathered together to listen to his voice to be loved and to be cared of . His incredible love for the people, his unselfishness of nature, his simplicity and joyous nature delighted the simple village folk who affectionately called him gaminibrai, the old man of the village. His contributions to his beloved Kacharis cannot simply be analyzed from the religious point of view as he was chiefly in his missionary work but also to be judged from the educational, social and literary point of view. He came down to Udalguri area from Tezpur and founded the first ever Church called St. Paul Church (1864-1873) at Bengbari village. He also founded simultaneously the first ever L.P. school at Bengbari in 1865 and also introduced Roman Script for Boro medium of instruction. He also established L.P. school at Ghagra near Bengbari , one at Sekhar near Tangla during 1865-1870 and another one at Borigaon (Duamokha) in 1893. It is a matter of pride and also amazing to think that education began in a most backward and remote area like Harisinga in the Northern part of the then Mangaldai Sub-Division as early as 1864 which is almost 146 years old from now where there was no any formal system of education in the entire undivided Assam. It was only in 1926 that an act of education known as the Primary Education Act of Assam was passed. Another Act of Education was passed in 1947 to make the Primary Education compulsory that was also acted in certain selected parts of Assam only. He also extended his works in almost all parts of the Kachari land from Tezpur to Kamrup and established several village schools. According to the records found in "Role of Missionaries" (Anonymous) , by March 1868, there were 15 schools in connection with the Church Mission Society of Tezpur during Rev. Endl's time which were under his supervision . The names recorded are Tezpur Normal School, Bar Dolota, Barpathar, Bengbari, (Ghagra ), Ressoria, Bihuguri, Dimarugaon, Halleswar, Kalaigaon, Koriapara, Mirigaon, Pithakhowa, Sopai (Mangldai) and Udalguri (July 1869).
His love and contributions towards the Kachari language is another remarkable area that we need to focus upon . His compilation of the "Manual of the Kachari Language "published in 1884 by the Assam Secretariat Press is another milestone for the Boros. He also contributed many papers on the subject of the Boros and their language to the "Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Bengal for which he was elected as an Honorary Fellow of St. Augustine's College in England in recognition of his eminence in linguistic studies. He was perhaps the first ever Boro writer and the first Boro grammarian who showed his skills of writing in his short writings of folk tales and grammatical analysis of the language .
Hence, in this article, attempts have been made to summarize the book in a nutshell and pin point the logical and the invaluable contributions of this man to the society of the Boros.
The Book :
It has already been stated that the book, "The Kacharis" is a monograph a treatise on the history of the Boros . It is an awe-inspiring document of the Boros to remove the curtain of darkness and bring the Boros to the fore front of the world scenario. The book was first published in 1911 with an introduction from J. D. Anderson, Cambridge University , London. The main contents of the book have been classified under the following sections.
Section I- Characteristics, physical and moral : origin, distribution and historic summary.
Section II- Social and domestic life.
Section III- Laws and customs
Section IV- Religion
Section V- Folk-lore, traditions and superstitions
Section VI Outline Grammar, etc.
An Appendix has been added to the book by his old friend , J. D. Anderson .
Appendix- I The Tribes closely allied to the Kacharis
Appendix- II- Specimens of the Bodo language .
Attempts have been made to squeeze the contents as far as practicable to a brief summary . As we read the book we need to keep in mind that the history and social life of the Boros as has been described by Mr Endle were written almost more than one hundred years before from today . Many spontaneous transitions and changes have taken place in the social and political life of the Boros during the past decades. This is very true that the last decades of the twentieth century have constituted an era of revolutionary, social, economic, religious and literary changes. It is therefore important that we focus on the radical changes that are taking place today and make a comprehensive and a comparative study of the book and pass a judicious judgment.
According to Mr. Endle, the Kachari race is closely allied to the Mongolian type as the most of the historians agree. He sees Tibet and China as the original home of the race. He describes the physical structure of the Kacharis as having "square set faces, projecting cheek-bones, with almond-shaped eyes and scanty beard and mustache"- They are completely different from the Hindu neighbors physically, mentally as well as intellectually, far bellow the higher castes among the Hindus .On the other hand, they have been described to be physically and morally more powerful than other castes. Their strength of will power and firmness of their mind are a good quality- so powerful and resolute that they can act upon any good or evil in a matter of time. Together with, Mr Endle has mentioned many virtuous characters of this simple folk, like, the honesty, truthfulness, straightforwardness and general trustworthiness which deserve great honor
The Kachari race as has been stated by Mr. Endle, was divided into two main streams as the two great immigrants when entering the rich valley of the great Brahmaputra. The first immigrant entered Assam through north-east Bengal and western Assam through the valley of Tista, Dhorla and Sankosh. The other group of immigrants entered Assam through Subansiri, Dibong and Dihang valley.
The Kochari race is then widespread into different groups. Mr. Endle has grouped the race into main two groups taking the great Brahmaputra river as the dividing rule or demarcation-
The Northern group and
The Southern group.
1. Among the Northern group (1228 AD)-
2.The Southern group.
1. Dimasa- (big water folk) folk of the Dwima sher
6. Hill Tippra (Tripura)
In his book , "The Kacharis", Mr. Endle has mainly focused his attention to the main stream Boro-Kachari or the Bara or the Boros living in the Northern valley of the Brahmaputra river. According to him, " the people known us as Kacharis and to themselves as Bada or Bara were in earlier days the dominant race in Assam." In his language,"..it may well be that the Kachari race were the original "autoch-thones" of Assam and that even now, though largely Hinduised, they still form a large perhaps the main constituent element in the permanent population of the province." Also, according to the great historian, Sir Edward Gait, the Kacharis were the oldest inhabitant of the great valley of river Brahmaputra.
By the time of Mr. Endle, the race was nick-named as the Kacharis (Ku-achar-bad habit) perhaps by the Aryans as the race had been abused and neglected by the higher caste societies. According to Gait, the name Kachari might have also come from the root word"Khachar" a Sanskrit root word meaning, "Frontier" or the Neighboring Place as the Kacharis used to live in the great valleys of the Brahmaputra and Kochi rivers called "Khachar"- Kachar. But most contrary to this name, the Kacharis of Endle's time called themselves as Bada or Bara. This writer has reason to believe that the word Bara might have come from the root word,' Brai' or' Barai' meaning, the old man ( a word that signifies full of respect and reverence) rather than 'Bod'. In the real sense , the Baras is the oldest race, the real indigenous people in the whole North-East Province of India as has been stated by Mr. Endle.This might justify their name. The domination of the race is apparently found in the first syllable of the names of many rivers and places in the province. The key syllable is "Di". "Di" means doi or dwi (water) such as in Diputa, Dihang, Dibang, Dibru, Dihing, Dimu (Dwimu), Desang,Dikhu (Dwikhou), Dkrang, Diphu (Dwini phungkha), Digaru also in the names of such places a in Dimapur (Dwimapuri), Maibong (much paddy).
The Kacharis under the name of Chutiyas had ruled a powerful kingdom in the eastern part of the provinc i.e. in Sodiya extending their kingdom to Dimapur but eventually moved their capital to Maibong when the Ahoms succeeded in capturing Dimapur. The Kacharis of Darrang or the Kachari Duars of the North at the foot of the Bhutan Hills often called themselves as "Bhimnifisa" (children of the Bhim)- as the mythological ancestor of the "Bhima of Mahabharat".The last Kachari king was Gobinda Chandr who continually had to flee from one plac to another due to the attacks of the Burmese. This was the reason why he had to take refuge under the British rule in the district of Sylhet. However, he was reinstated in the power by the East India Company in 1826. But he was murdered and his kingdom was brought under the Dominion of the British. After his death the Kachari races defeated remained in the great valley of Assam and came under the main conquerors, i.e. the Ahoms. The race afterwards mixed up with other tribes and fused as one nationality largely Hinduised in the later period. Many of the Baras of the Kachari Duars of Darrang district became Christians with the advent of the missionaries in the later period of the 19th and 20th century . The prolonged fight between the Chutiya Kachari and the Ahoms has been the most unforgotten part of the history of Assam. The Kacharis being finally beaten up by the Ahoms endeavored to escape by crossing the big Brahmapurta river to the South Bank. But violent storm or a sudden flood in the river might have prevented many of the fugitives from crossing the riversas has been told in the traditional tales. The remaining captives took up their way to the unhealthy "Terai Land" in the north bellow the Bhutan Hills, now known as the "Kachari Duars".
The Social and Religious Life of the Bodos :
Mr. Endle lived and worked his whole life among the Boros- Most particularly among the so called, the "Kachari Duars" bellow the Bhutan Hills in the present district of Udalguri. His historic summary of the social and domestic life, laws and customs, religion, folk-lore, traditions and superstitions etc are mostly concerned with the Boros of this region.
A Kachari village in Endle's time was abounded in so many live-stocks like ducks, fowls, goats, pigs and cattle. The houses were built more closely together usually the walls being of ekra and of split bamboo and the roof of the thatch. Agriculture was the main great industry both in the hot summer and the cold season of the year. The farmers usually constructed irrigation canals and earthwork embankments by themselves for proper supply of water into their rice fields. Mr Endle has praised their unity of work and helping each other during the time of harvesting. In his words, "This whole system of mutual help in time of pressure is a marked feature of Kachari, social and domestic life.." (p-14).
The Kacharis is a race by no means restricted to any kind of food. However, the main delicacies were and still are-
1.Pork : Pork is said to be the great delicacy of the Boros. Almost every family of the race tames pigs either for sale or for food
2. Na-gan (na-gwrn)- dry fish: Small fishes are dried in the sun. This kind of dried fish was greatly prized by the Kachari peasant.
3. Zu or Zau : Like other Sub-Himalayan tribes , the Boros also had certain weaknesses for what they called Zau, a kind of rice beer that had become a kind of national beverage. This was however, comparatively harmless than present day liquor. The Kacharis used to take this special kind of zau during the time of weddings, funerals and festivals like Bihu or Boisagu and more specially at the time of " first eating of the new rice "- "Mikham gudan zanai". The use of this zau as a national beverage some times had been looked with an effect of over-indulgence.
One of the chief industries other than agriculture among the Kacharis is that of the manufacture of the eri cloth. Eri threads are prepared from cocoons. According to Mr. Endle, the Kachari woman worked placidly and contentedly at her eri loom devoting herself steadily to her work in hand. It is worthwhile to mention that he has compared the dignity of the women with the benevolent influence of the Pax Britannica. He explains how the Kachari woman as the good wife sat at her loom the greater part of her day and at the same time preparing the food for her husband and taking it to the field shielded from rain and the sun. The Kachari race is a wholesomely prolific one", says Mr Endle, "gambolling and tumbling over each other in high delight. " The Kachari woman enjoyed "a large measure of freedom" but this freedom had not been utilized for evil purposes. She has been regarded as having absolute frankness and most perfect modesty in her approach to any human being. Mr. Endle esteems the Boro woman very high and describes her having high moral character. According to Mr. Endle, the social and domestic life of the Kacharis is "for the most part far sounder and wholesome than the life of the great cities whether in Asia or Europe."
Laws and Customs:
The Kachari race in early days is said to have been divided into several sub-tribes based on a totemistic basis. However, this distinction has not been recognized this day and makes no restrictions on the matter of intermarriage among the sub-tribes. The existence of sub-tribes is however seen in the titles they bear, such as in
Swarga-aroi (Heaven)- tribe of heaven
Bosumati-aroi (Bosumati-earth) the tribe of the earth.
Mosa-aroi (Mosa-tiger, Mosani Hari)- The tribe of the tiger.
Narze-aroi (Narze- jute)- The jute tribe.
Doimaroi (Doima- rive;Doimani Hari)- The tribe living by the river side.
Goibari-aroi (Goi- the areca palm)
Khangkhlo-aroi (Khangkhlo- folk)- Khangkhlo is apparently the name of a certain jungle grass mainly used for religious ceremonies.
Baghlaroi (Bagh-tiger)- The tiger folk, Etc.
It has long been a matter of debate that whether the Kacharis were endogamous or exogamous. In early days the race was absolutely endogamous but slowly the restrictions on marriage seemed to be diminished and intermarriage among their cognate tribes were occasionally seen . On the other hand, the race is strictly monogamous. Polyandry is absolutely prohibited. But however men having two wives have been occasionally seen in rare cases. The standard of chastity before marriage between man and woman was one of the most important characters of the whole race .The law of chastity explains that the couple before marriage should remain pure and holy and be faithful to their marriage vows. But those who broke the law of chastity; they were called to gather around the Siju tree along with the whole family and ask to confess their guilt. The offenders of the law were subject to follow certain social rules or give slight compensation depending upon the seriousness of their guilt. This is a kind of social rule how the chastity is maintained and how the domestic life is kept pure and holy.
The religion of the Kacharis was earlier said to have been called an "Animistic" believing in animals, earth, air, water, trees etc having spirits which they usually called, "Modai"- all possessing powers and faculties. The Kachar duars of the Darrang District in earlier days were repeatedly attacked by a kind of virulent malarial fever. The common belief for it was that they were attacked by "Modai"- a kind of evil spirit which took hold of them. In ancient times, the Kacharis did not seem to believe in any specific god or goddess. (The fore fathers of the Boros were not Budhist as some would suggest. The great Chinese Traveler Hiuen Tsang, as mentioned in Mr. Edward' Gait's "A History of Assam" (p-22) said, "They adore and sacrifice to the Devas and have no faith in Budha"). It seems probable that they barrowed their deities from their Hindu neighbors as their national pantheon.
The main Household Deities of the Kacharis are-
Mainao- Bhulli Buri- looked upon as Bathou's wife.
Bra Bagh Raja
BATHOU: The main deity is believed to be the guardian of the family and he is never represented by any idol in any form or murti. He is rather represented by a living Siju tree (Euphorbia splendors). The tree is surrounded by a fence of split bamboo. Many kinds of offerings like heads of goats, pigs, fowls, tamul-nuts, pan-leaves, gazi etc,are humbly laid down at the feet of Bathou. It is believed that Bathou, being the powerful guardian of the family keeps away all kinds of diseases, famines and misfortunes from the family.
Next to Bathou is Mainao, who is held in very high regard. She is worshipped mainly during the period of harvesting, the asu and the Sali season of the year. Thus she is given two fold titles such as, Asu Mainao and Sali Mainao.
Main Festivities of the Boros:
Mikham Guddan Zanai- "eating of the new rice". This was a feast generally held during the month of December. It was a kind of harvest festival. People of the village gathered together and enjoyed the new rice and entertained themselves with marry makings.
.Mahu hanai( or thamfoi hasa-nai)- the driving away of mosquitoes. It was a kind of marry making mainly the young people gathered together to drive away the mosquitoes by shouting and dancing. The meaning was to "celebrate the departure of the mosquito plague (malaria) for the cold season
Baisagu- Bihu Among the festivals of the Boros, Bihu or the Baisagu is the most celebrated festival. However, according to Mr. Endle, this festival was not exclusively Kachari festival but burrowed from their neighborhood Hindus. Generally, the Boros of the Darrang district held the festival in the month of January and April. The Bihu is also certainly a Harvest Festival. Mr. Endle calls it a "Harvest Home," because, the festival is largely 'an expression of their joy and gladness at being relieved from this hard and irksome duty" (hard work in the field). Baisagu is also an expression of the love, joy, impatience and eagerness of the young men and women. The songs like the following represent the exchange of playful ban tern of two young man and woman (brother and sister).
Agoi,Boisagi, faida nong,
Dana bather janai-khai rang zagan zang.
Ada pua Ram, laga laga thangdong;
Gamsa hadong , fali hadong, mano brabdong ?
( 1. Sister, Baisagi,come
This is the season, come let us enjoy.
2.Brother Puaram, has gone quickly
I'm giving you Gamsa, fali, why should you get angry?)
It should be made clear that this writer has not attempted every thing in detail that has been described in this book about the social and religious life of the Boros or the Baras. But attempts have been made to cover all the major aspects of the book in a nutshell to make it a point to be justified and clear and not to make it blurred otherwise.
Mr. Endle's Contribution to Boro Literature and Grammar.
The contributions of Mr. Endle to Boro literature and grammar cannot be overstressed or simply overlapped but they need to be properly analyzed and honestly valued. Mr. Endle was perhaps the first Boro writer who gave a new life to the language by writing folk tales and doing translation works from the Bible stories. He collected series of Kachari folk tales since fifteen years till 1906 from an intelligent member of a Kachari family in the district of Darrang. Few important and finest of folk tales have been included in his book. They are-
Duima doisani khourang (How the rivers were made)
Sase alsia gotha ni khourang (The story of a lazy boy)
Bamun aru sakor ni khourang (The Brahmin and his servent)
Boroni "Akha khurumnai aro akha moblibnai"( Kachari theory of thunder and lightning.
The stories are full of morals and give a pen picture of the society, their faith, their traditions and the simple way of the country life of the humble folk.
Mr. Endle's the "Outline Grammar of the Kachari (Bara) Language "published in 1884, is an attempt to give a well defined outline of the Kachari Grammar. His outline of grammar gives us an insight into the whole structure of the language. His definition o grammar and establishing of some basic rules to the grammar are indicative of his clearness of knowledge of the language. His analysis and classification of nouns, adjectives, comparison and mostly the syntax of the verbs are remarkable.
According to Mr. Endle, the language of the Baras is------
Euphonic: "Euphonic" means musical, pertaining to or exhibiting euphony, sounds that are pleasing to the ear, or agreeable in sound. It has "vivid force" and "picturesqueness" often wanting even in more cultivated tongues.
Agglutinative: The language that the Baras of the Darrang district spoke was undoubtedly "Monosyllabic and Agglutinative". "Agglutinative"- means pertaining to agglutination; tending to unite, or having power to cause adhesion; adhesive (that can stick to). According to Mr. J.D. Anderson, "The language was as monosyllabic as Chinese."
The Syntax of the Verbs: The syntax of the verbs of the Baras is one of the most vibrant, dominant and remarkable features of the verb forms. Two or more verbal infixes mostly monosyllabic are generally combined together with the original verbal root to form a large kind of compound verb. The verbs are agglutinative in character with its stems and infixes with admirable force and clearness in meaning. For example, consider the following verbs or words in the following sentences.
Dao fra bir- lang-thar-bai (The birds have completely flown away).
Bir- root verb
Lang- implies completion
Thra or thar- an intensitive that strengthens the meaning of the first verbal root.
Bai- denotes continuous action.
Dao a bir-hang bir-hang tha-bai.
Dao a bir-hang-bai-man. Also see the verbs like-
Gu-glui-nai-khai . etc.
The words like these with new infixes are heavy laden with meanings, prolific in their breeding, luxuriant in their growth, continually sprouting like green shoots with a new meaning every time when they are used. This kind of syntax of verbs as one single word is rarely found in other languages.
Concluding Remark : A comprehensive study of the book, "The Kacharis", may lead us to many revelations of the rock of ages- the bye gone days of our ancestors and find in it the truth, innocence, honor and virtues of life they had lived. It serves as a mirror where the race can see the image of itself in one hand and feel the new impulse of a new dawn on the other. The book can be called a Compendium, a short history book that takes a glimpse into the history of the Boros giving away a pen picture of the social and religious way of life. Thus, the book has become an Epitome of the whole society. The great thing that this writer has seen in Endle's book is the way of his presentation of the raceas morally civilized a nation. No where, by any chance, does the author talk of any ill about the Baras, rather says he,
"---for the most part (the Baras are) far sounder and wholesome than the life of the great cities whether in Asia or Europe" (P-23)
"The Kachari race is a wholesomely prolific one".
----it is pleasing to be able to say that among them are to be found many simple virtues of great price, i.e., honesty, truthfulness, straightforwardness and a general trustworthiness deserving of all honor." (p-2)
Mr. Endle has compared the dignity of the Bara woman with the benevolent influence of the Pax Britannica. He also esteems the Boro women very high and describes her having high moral character. She has a distinct place in the society. There is a demoralizing creed which says, "Woman is but dust, a soul-less toy for tyrant's lust". The Kacharis, however, have nothing to do with such a degrading creed. Instead, they treat their wives with distinct respect and give equal status in the society. The phrase most commonly used is, "Be angni burui" which literally means, "This is my old woman". Mr. Endle says, "The words are not used jeeringly at all, but with much real respect and affection; and are obviously so regarded by the speaker's life- partner, whose face and features, somewhat homely in themselves may often be seen to light up at once with a very pleased and pleasing smile on hearing herself thus referred to by the sharer of her life's joys and sorrows."
Mr. Endle was indeed a great man whose love and respect for the race are reflected in his writings. We can see the genesis of his spirit of compassion for the people he loved through his works and sacrifice. His valuable contributions in the spreading of education and social justice along with religious works are another remarkable milestone for the Boros. From his writings of the history of the Boros, this is crystal clear that he has not mentioned any where in his book about the progress of education and literature in the society in his time. This clearly suggests that the Boro race in his time was in total darkness so far as education is concerned. It is only recently that the Boros are coming up as a new emerging race. It was perhaps, Mr. Endle , the first man ever, who initiated and sacrificed himself for the great cause more than one and half century (150 years) ago from now . It was Mr. Endle, who established the first ever L.P. school at Bengbari in 1865 in the entire district of present Udalguri . There was no any L.P. school established by the Govt. or any Local Board prior to 1925 other than the schools run by the missionaries (after Mr. Endle). The Boro medium of instruction in L.P. school was first introduced in1963 in Kokrajhar district and in 1968 in Udalguri district. But Mr. Endle introduced Boro medium of instruction in L.P. school he had established as early as 1865 by introducing Roman Script more than one hundred years ago from now. Unbelievable! The Boro Sahitya Sobha was born in 1952. But Mr. Endle started his literary venture since 1865. His "Outline Grammar of the Kachari (Bara) Language "was published in 1884.
His " A Collection of Kachari Folk Tales " compiled by Mr. J. D. Anderson was published in 1895. He also translated some parts of the Bible, mostly the New Testament in Boro language.
This book, "The Kacharis", was probably written towards the close of the19th century (1890) but first published in 1911. During the time of its publication, the Boros did not have any literature of its own of any kind and neither could they read any book. This book could not have been any value to the Boros. What prompted the author to write this book? It was perhaps his moral responsibility that prompted him to write for the higher class society and bring to light that there is a nation called the Baras. They need special attention of the world for their survival and their progress in the society. His chief mission was to propagate the Gospel of Christ to the poor and the oppressed. And he choose the Baras to fulfill his mission but with a clear vision to raise the race from darkness to light, from ignorance to wisdom. Perhaps, this was his mission and vision for the Baras. Here, in this lies the tremendous significance of the Book.
( Other sources of information: Mr. J. D. Anderson's , Introduction to 'The Kacharis'; Sir Edward Gait's , 'A History of Assam' ; Rev. Khalason Machahari's," Role of Missionaries in the spreading of education in the Northern part of Mangaldai "(Assamese) , Smriti Grantha, Golden Jubili, Borigaon M.E. School, 1998; "Role of Missionaries" (Anonymous) )