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N. G. Majumdar remembered

January 31, 2011

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THIS is apropos of your news item (Jan 17) and letter (Jan 18) about archaeologist Nani Gopal Majumdar. The report wrongly mentioned his birth year as 1868. It is Dec 1, 1897.

It referred to Majumdar village as his birthplace though he was born in Jessore, now in Bangladesh.

Sindh, then a western province of undivided India and mostly unexplored, is grateful to Majumdar for his groundbreaking works in the field of archaeology and also feels sorry for his assassination in Dadu.

During his stay in Sindh, he discovered approximately 62 sites. Nani Gopal was born to Dr Baradaprasnna and Sarojini Majumdar. He passed his M.A in 1920 and secured first class first position. He was awarded a gold medal.

He continued his studies and from 1921 to 1923 he showed extraordinary performance in research field.

During this period he was awarded the Griffith Memorial Prize for an interesting thesis on Vajra by Calcutta University.

Majumdar was married to Snchalata Mukherji and had two daughters and a son, Tapas Majumdar. Tapas was 10 when Majumdar was assassinated. He remained superintendent, central circle, Archaeological Survey of India, from April 22 to May 9, 1929. He was then transferred to Calcutta on May 11, 1929 as assistant superintendent, Archaeological Survey of India.

Majumdar was deputed for six months to complete a survey of prehistoric sites of the Indus Valley Civilisation on Oct 1, 1938.

He started work at the foothills of the Kheerthar range and adjoining highlands and plains in Sindh and discovered during his three weeks’ exploration half-a-dozen Chalcolithic sites.

He was shot dead by a band of dacoits on Nov 11, 1938. It was morning when the bandits attacked his camp, thinking he must be possessing some treasures. In those days, people considered archeologists as treasure hunters and they used to think that in ancient ruins treasures of ancient people are hidden and explorers excavated such treasures.

Majumdar was killed at the site of ‘Rohel Ji Kund’ on the right bank of the Gaaj river, Johi, Dadu district.

Among his six books, ‘Explorations in Sindh’ is really firsthand information about the ancient history of Sindh.

It is suggested that the department of archeology and the government of Sindh should build a cenotaph at the place where he was assassinated to pay tribute to the archeologist from Bengal.

PROF AZIZ KINGRANI Johi, Dadu