Tabu ram Taid

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Tabu Ram Taid (Template:Lang-as, Template:Lang-hi) known as 'Tabu Taid', (August 1, 1942 – August 17, 2019) was 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.