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300th birth anniversary celebration of Tai scholar Tengai Mohan

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  9 July 2015 12:00 AM GMT

From a Correspondent

JORHAT, July 8: Tengai Mohon, a Tai scholar who was the first ever lexicographer of Assamese and Tai language in the soil of Assam, was paid rich tribute on Wednesday at a dignified tricentery function held at Jatiya Bhavan, the house of the Assamese tiol Dictiory. Presided over jointly by Jibeswar Mohon, former president of Purbanchal Tai Sahitya Sabha, Prof Bhava Chetia and Jagat Borthakur, retired ADC, the function was co-ordited by Santa Sarma, editorial staff of Assamese tiol Dictiory.

The Tai-Assamese lexicon compiled in 1795, that is 31 years before the advent of the British into Assam, had 2500 entries in Tai and their meanings in Assamese language, but in Tai script. The entry words were arranged alphabetically in contrast with the thematic arrangement of the entry words of LatiAmra, another Tai-Assamese lexicon compiled by Ramakanta Molaigharia Barua around the same time.

Dr. Devabrata Sharma, chief editor, Assamese tiol dictiory, rrated how he first came to know of the lexicon dating back to last decade of 18th century, i.e. more than a century before Hemkosh, from Jibeswar Mohon, Atul Phukon, Medini Madhav Mohon, all of whom belonged to the Ahom priestly clans. Thereafter, two public hearings were held at Patsako Rukang village where the kith and kin of the late scholar let the Asom Jatiya Prakash team know that the lexicographer-cum- historian was also the first person from Assam to visit London for six years. He is known to be taken to London by Captain Welsh in order to help decipher Tai scriptures and manuscripts. If it is true, then Tengai Mohon would not only be the first person from Assam to visit London, but he must have been a person knowing at least three languages, viz, Tai, Assamese and English, Dr.Sharma asserted.

Jibeswar Mohon released the book published to commemorate the tri-centery while other speakers, Atul Mohon, Joram Sangbun, Medini Madhab Mohon, Anjali Chetia, Jagat Borthakur and Dr. Nirmala Sharma highlighted different aspects of the life and time of the great scholar. The meeting not only dedicated its rich lexicon corner comprising more than 500 dictiories and vocabulary of so many languages to the memory of the scholar but also urged upon the Assamese intelligentsia to read the writings of the wall, and to acknowledge the truth that the history of Assamese lexicography that did not start in 1900 with Hemkosh, but it started way back in late 18th century, thanks to the great Assamese lexicographer Tengai Mohon. The meeting also called for recognizing the lexicographical contributions of Ruchith Buragohain, Brajath Singha, Jaduram Deka Barua, Harriet B. L. Cutter, Susan R. Ward, Miles Bronson and several others besides Hemchandra Barua.

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