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Tabu Ram Taid
|Born||1 August 1942|
Ghunasuti Ayengiya, Lakhimpur, British India (now Assam, India)
|Occupation||Educationist, Linguist, Editor, Professor, Author, Administrator|
|Genre||Non Fiction, Language Studies, Linguistics, Grammar|
|Notable works||-Mising Gompir Kumsung (A Granary of Mising Words), published in 2010|
-A Dictionary of the Mising Language, published in 1995
Tabu Ram Taid (Assamese: টাবু ৰাম টাইড, Hindi: टाबु राम टाइड) known as 'Tabu Taid', is an Indian educationist, linguist, author and administrator. He was born in Ghunasuti Ayengia, a small Mising village in present-day Lakhimpur district in Assam, India on 1 August 1942. His father was (late) Ubbang Taid. Hailing from the Mising community, a small indigenous tribe of Assam, India, and from an economically challenged and geographically remote village 'Ghunasuti Ayengia', the challenges and obstacles to his formal education were many, but he pursued education single-mindedly nonetheless and eventually earned a Post Graduate degree from Delhi University, which was quite uncommon in his community at that time. Starting his career as a lecturer of English language in Cotton College, Guwahati, he further proceeded to obtain a Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Linguistics from the University of Reading, UK, and also successfully completed a course in Distance Teaching at University of London Institute of Education, UK. He served in various senior level posts in various educational arms of the Government of Assam. He was the founder President of the Mising Agom Kebang (Linguistic Society of the Mising, also known as Mising Sahitya Sabha), the apex body of the Mising community aiming for the preservation and development of the Mising language. His body of work includes the 'Mising Gompir Kumsung' (a 900-page dictionary of the Mising language with an introduction to Mising grammar), 'EkuNki nibondho', a collection of selected articles written in Assamese, 'Glimpses', a collection of articles written in English, research work on the Mising and Assamese language, editorial work on traditional Mising literary artifacts like folk songs, along with lexicographical works like dictionary, grammar and phonology of the Mising language. His work on his mother tongue, Mising, is his invaluable contribution to the Mising community and also to the Assamese people and culture at large.
Early life and education
Tabu Taid was born on 1 August 1942 in a geographically remote and economically challenged village Ghunasuti Ayengia in Lakhimpur district of Assam, India. His father was Ubbang Taid, a poor farmer who had to work hard to meet the needs of the family of two daughters, five sons and his wife, a nine-member family.
The village, 'Ghunasuti Ayengia' is a settlement of a small indigenous tribe of Assam, the Misings or Miri. Often visited by floods during the monsoon season, the villagers were poor subsistence level farmers. As of 1942, education or awareness of the need for formal education was not much prevailing in rural Assam. However, Ubbang Taid, being able to read and write in Assamese, the major language of the region, understood the need of formal education and sent his sons (excluding the eldest) to school.
Tabu Taid performed well in his academic life. After finishing lower primary in his native village, and upper primary and high school in the nearest town North Lakhimpur, Tabu Taid went on to receive intermediate and undergraduate level education under Calcutta University and postgraduate level education at Delhi University. Earlier, when Tabu Taid was in the 7th standard, the infamous 'Bor Bhumikampa', 1950 Assam–Tibet earthquake, devastated the Lakhimpur area in Assam, affecting the already poor, disadvantaged people living there, quite significantly. To top it, the flood situation worsened owing to the change of course of the rivers in the area due to the earthquake. So Tabu Taid's family was suffering acute financial crisis at that time. But, being a brilliant student, he was helped by the Ramakrishna Mission Vidyalaya, Narendrapur in Kolkata. They agreed to bear the cost for his post-Matric education. He received his graduation with honors in English from the Ramakrishna Mission Residential College, Narendrapur under Calcutta University in 1963 and moved on to Delhi for higher education. Working as a schoolteacher in Delhi for sometime, he enrolled in the Hindu College, University of Delhi in 1964 and obtained his Postgraduate degree in English from the University of Delhi in 1966.
Tabu Taid started his professional life as a lecturer of English in Cotton College, Guwahati, Assam. He went to the United Kingdom after being awarded a scholarship under a competitive State Overseas Scholarships Scheme, where he obtained a Postgraduate diploma on Applied Linguistics from University of Reading, UK (1973–1974). He also completed a certificate course in Distance Education at the University of London Institute of Education, UCL Institute of Education, (1982) under a British Council fellowship program.
He was recommended for the Indian Foreign Service by the Union Public Service Commission, Government of India, making him the first person in the Mising community to attain such an honorable distinction. However, he could not join the service due to health problems at that time.
Work as an educator and education administrator
Tabu Ram Taid started his career as a school teacher. After completing his higher education, he joined as a lecturer in English at Cotton College, Guwahati. Tabu Ram Taid left the teaching post he held at Cotton College for fourteen years (1967–1981) and joined as an educational administrator in 1981, being posted first as a Deputy Director of Public Instruction. Later he was elevated to different higher posts such as Director, SCERT, Director of Secondary Education, Director of Higher Education, Chairman, Board of Secondary Education, Chairman, State Selection Board (higher education), etc. under the Education Department of the Government of Assam. The state government had also deputed Prof. Taid as the first Director of the state-sponsored Institute, named Anundoram Borooah Institute of Language, Art and Culture, entrusting him with the responsibility of building it up as an institute for research and publications, especially in the areas of indigenous languages, literature and culture – a job which he accomplished well. He retired from state government service in the year 2000, but continued as the Chairman of the State Selection Board (higher education) till February 2004. During the years of his assignment as the chairman of the board of Secondary Education, Assam (1996–2000), he was the unanimous choice for the chair of the Zonal Council of Boards of Secondary Education (COBSE), North-East Zone, and he was due to take over as the Chairman of the national body (COBSE) on 4 April 2001, but meanwhile he had returned to his parent post on 1 April 2000.
Tabu Taid, over the years, has held various other positions of public responsibility and service. He was formerly:
Member, Education Reforms Commission, Assam, 1993; Member, Publication Board, Assam; Member, Regional Committee (Assam), Sahitya Akademi and National Book Trust; Member of a Committee, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India (for selection of institutes/organizations for disbursement of grants for tribal art and culture); Member, Executive Council, Gauhati University; Member, Executive Council, Dibrugarh University; Member, Board of Management, Krishna Kanta Handiqui State Open University; Consultant for the National Council of Educational Research and Training project on State Studies in School Education (for the state of Assam); Chairman, Zonal Committee of Council of Boards of Secondary Education (COBSE), North East Zone; Chairman, Executive Committee, Anundoram Borooah Institute of Language, Art and Culture; Founder President, Mising Agom Kebang (Mising Sahitya Sabha), 1972-1980.
Tabu Ram Taid has been active in preserving his native tribal language, Mising. In 1972, he founded the Mising Agom Kebang (Linguistic Society of the Mising), serving until 1980 as its president. The organization helped reintroduce the language into primary schools. He has published a number of papers about the Mising language as well as an orthography and dictionary of the language, and he has edited collections of Mising folk songs.
Authorship and editorial work
Tabu Taid authored a series of lessons in English for school students which have been broadcast over radio multiple times since the mid-1970s. He has also authored a number of English textbooks for elementary students and several key volumes about Mising, Mising Bhaxar Banan Poddhoti (an orthography) and Mising Gompir Kumsung (a 900-page dictionary).
He has written widely in periodicals in Assamese, English and his native tribal language, Mising. There are two volumes of his collected articles, Ekunki Nibondho (Bouquet of Articles) and Glimpses. 'Banikanta Kakati, the Man and his Works' was compiled and edited by Prof. Tabu Ram Taid and Prof. Ranjit Kumar Dev Goswami in 1987 and published by the Publication Board, Assam. He authored 'A Dictionary of the Mising Language' which was the very first dictionary of the Mising language (published in 1995 by an association of Mising language teachers). His 'Mising Folk Tales' was published by the Sahitya Akademi in 2013.
The Government of Assam bestowed a literary pension on him to recognize his contributions to literature.
Honors and awards
He was awarded the prestigious ‘Bhasha Samman Award’ by the Sahitya Akademi for his contributions to Mising language and literature, in 2010. The Sahitya Akademi instituted 'Bhasha Samman' in 1996 to be given to writers, scholars, editors, collectors, performers or translators who have made considerable contribution to the propagation, modernization or enrichment of various Indian languages. The awards are given to three or four persons every year in different Indian languages on the basis of recommendation of experts' committees constituted for the purpose.
Mr. Tabu Taid was conferred the Sukapha Award 2011–2012, by the Department of Cultural Affairs, Government of Assam, in recognition of his valuable contribution to education, literature, culture, scholarly work, linguistics, arts, authorship and public service. He was presented with the award on 2 December 2011, by the Chief Minister of the State, Mr Tarun Gogoi in a ceremony held in Dibrugarh, Assam.
The ‘Basudev Jalan Award’, 2012, was awarded to Prof. Tabu Ram Taid by the Asam Sahitya Sabha. The award is conferred on an individual who has contributed towards the growth of language, literature and culture of the ethnic communities in the region.
Prof. Tabu Taid was honored with the title ‘Axom Shreshtho 2015’ for his lifelong contribution to Education in the state of Assam. The 'Axom Shreshtho 2015' awards are an endeavor of The Telegraph (Calcutta) to celebrate and honor eminent people who have made the state of Assam proud.
- "Linguistics of the Tibeto-Burman Area". University of California, Berkeley. 7 November 2015. Retrieved 7 November 2015.
- "Mising Agom Kebang". Mising Agom Kebang. 7 November 2015. Retrieved 7 November 2015.
- "Bhasha Samman Awardees". Sahitya Akademi. 7 November 2015. Retrieved 7 November 2015.
- "Tabu Taid receives Sukapha Award". The Assam Tribune. 2 December 2011. Retrieved 3 December 2011.
- "Tabu Taid presented Basudev Jalan award". The Assam Tribune. 16 February 2012. Retrieved 7 November 2015.
- "Salute to 11 achievers, the pride of Assam". The Telegraph. 13 September 2015. Retrieved 7 November 2015.
- The Telegraph, Calcutta, India (Friday, 23 April 2010)
- Linguistics of the Tibeto-Burman Area; Vol. 10 Issue 1, 1987; Vol. 18, 1995
- Mising Agom Kebang (Linguistic Society of the Mising) – History
- The Assam Tribune, 3 April 2010, AHSEC decision on CBSE syllabus decried
- The Telegraph, Calcutta, India, 17 June 2010; Conclave for Youth
- Cotton College, Department of English
- IGNCA Newsletter Vol. V November–December 2002 – National conference on cultural heritage and traditional knowledge base of the indigenous communities of north-east India
- Members of Academic Council, Gauhati University
- Banikanta Kakati, The Man and his Works – Book Listing (Open Library)
- A Short Note on Mising Phonology – Pdf file
- Google Books – Linguistic bibliography for the year 1996
- The Assam Tribune, 15 November 2010; Contributions of Banikanta Kakati recalled
- Mising Agom Kebang Presidents of the Mising Agom Kebang.
- Sahitya Akademi, Bhasha Samman Awardees, Sahitya Akademi, India.
- The Assam Tribune, 2 December 2011; Tabu Taid receives Sukapha Award
- The Assam Tribune, 16 February 2012; Tabu Taid presented Basudev Jalan award
- The Telegraph, 13 September 2015; Salute to 11 achievers, the pride of Assam