Anthropologically, the Bodos are of Mongoloid descent, but linguistically, they are of Sino Tibetan descent. Bodos migrated from North Western China between the Huang Ho and Yang tsze Kiang rivers around 2000 B.C. and are now scattered throughout North East India. This indigenous group has its own language, culture, and traditions. Despite the fact that they did not have written literature at first, their oral literature and folk tale culture are noteworthy.
Following the Treaty of Yandaboo in 1826, Baptist missionaries arrived in the North East with the sole purpose of spreading Christianity.
Learning a community's language seemed the best way to socialise with them, and the missionaries did just that.
*Reverend Sidney Endle's publication of Outline Grammar of Kachari (Bara)language, the first book on bodo grammar, laid the groundwork for Bodo literature.
*In 1895, J.D. Anderson compiled and published A collection of Kachari folk tales and rhymes.
*The Gauranga Mission purchased the first Bodo magazine, PHUNGI HATHORKHI (Morning Star), with the goal of spreading Christianity.
Other books include Jishnui maonai dangnai (Jesus' work), Girjani huda, 1938 (Role of Church), 1939 Gwjam radaini bathra (Old Testament Tales)1939 Gwdan radai (New Testament Tales)
THE EMERGENCE OF INDEPENDENT AMATEURS WRITERS
These publications inspired the amateur writers of the Bodo community to contribute their writings to the enhancement of their mother tongue.
The following two books marked the important beginning of Bodo literature.
Borani phisa o ayen
The HABARAGHAT BODO SANMILANI was formed in the by the Bodos of Dudhnoi for the development of the Bodo literature.
Ganga Charan Kachari, a distinguished member of the association wrote borani phisa o ayen (Bodo people and law). The first part of the book deals with the historical development of the tribe and the second part deals with their social customs.
Bathou Nam bwikhaguni gidu
Another landmark in this phase was the publication of bathou Nambwikhaguni gidu, the first book of bodo poems . The book consists of prayer to bathou,their Supreme God. These prayers are sung mainly during the baisagu festival.
The Bodo Chatra Sanmilani was formed by the Bodo students of Cotton College in 1919. It published the trilingual magazine BIBAR in 1920 in handwritten form in the persuasion of a resolution adopted at the first conference of the association.
The first 4 issues of 1924 and the same number of 1925 were published in printed form. The period from 1920 to 1952 is the "Bibar Age," as it encouraged many aspiring writers to showcase their talent.
Some important highlights of the Bibar age are as follows
POST BIBAR AGE
After 1952, young poets ,influenced by western philosophy, published their works in various magazines like ALARI,ALAYRAN,etc. The prominent contributors were:
Nalabuha, the first Bodo drama, was written by Satish Chandra Basumatary . It was performed at the annual conference of Bodo Chatra Sanmilan held at Kokrajhar in 1920.
Initially, the bodo scriptwriters were influenced by the Bengali jatras .
The plays were staged in villages.
Some of the worthwhile plays are:
Many one-act plays were also written in the Bodo language. such as Siman, Gwrwnthi Sannai, etc.
BODO BECOMES AN INSTRUCTION MEDIUM
On November 16th, 1952, a new milestone for Bodo literature was laid with the formation of the Bodo Sahitya Sabha.
On July 28th, 1952, the Bodo Literary Club was formed with Rajendra Brahma as the secretary. It was later spread to the whole district of Goalpara. The Bodo Sahitya Sabha, in its first meeting, strived for Bodo as a medium of instruction in educational institutions. This was realised in 1963. This introduction inspired many writers . Some of the books published during this period were:
In his book "Poem in Prose", Lipendra Kumar Singha presented a wide range of poetry styles. Modern poetry has also become an integral part of Bodo literature. Some prominent poetry books are:
"A SHORT STORY"
The first short story in the Bodo language was penned down by Ishan Mushahary in 1930. He was followed by Lila Brahma,Maikel Basumatary, and Pramila Brahma, who published their works in various magazines. In 1970, Chittaranjan Mushahary published Phwimal mijink, the first book of Bodo short stories. Other short story books that have been published to date include
Jujaini, or , by Chittaranjan Mushahary, was the first Bodo novel . It was published in 1962 ,followed by Bikhaya Gawo Khugaya Gewa in 1972. He contributed to a good number of novels, such as Undaha, Sujata, Bilwgw, Mwdwi, etc. Meanwhile, Ramchandra Basumatary's novel Khaphlani Bwswn was published in 1972. Manoranjan Lahary published Kharlung in 1976. Some of the novels published in subsequent years which find a place in Bodo literature are:
Serja sphung , the first book of tales for children in Bodo, was published by Rohini Kr Brahma in 1964.
Sukumar Basumatary 's collection, abwi abouni solo, appeared in 1968. His khwnapheri solo was published in 1972.
Mohini Mohan Brahma's book, Bodo Kachari Solo, was published by Gauhati University in 1972. Madhuram Bodo, Nabin Mala Bodo, Rupnarayan Brahma, and Bhupen Narzaree have also contributed significantly towards Bodo literature.
Bodo literature has gracefully developed and flourished over the course of a century. The Indian government has now recognised Bodo as a MODERN INDIAN LANGUAGE. Multiple languages have been used to translate a number of significant bodo works. The efforts of native writers are indeed commendable. They are working selflessly to improve their mother tongue in a world where the average person is transitioning to a westernised lifestyle.
We are sharing our rich heritage through this platform, starting with the cultural preservation efforts by voices of indigenous communities themselves.