‘The remarkable story of a remarkable person placed at a remarkable time in modern Assam’s—and modern India’s— history.’—Sudeep Chakravarti, author of The Bengalis: A Portrait of a Community
The frontiers of any country have been known for centuries for their wars, romance, songs and dances and most importantly for their colourful and beautiful people.
In British India, too, the North-West and North-East Frontiers were very unlike the rest of the sub-continent. To gain the support and affection of the peoples who lived in these mountainous tracts required a different approach to administration. The administrators who were sent out to these frontiers, more often than not had military backgrounds. ‘Rules are for Fools’ was often what they believed in—and they were prepared to live and work in very trying circumstances.
Jawaharlal Nehru saw good reason to continue with this system after India’s Independence. A unique administrative service for NEFA and the Hill Tracts of North East India was set up. This service comprised mainly of officers from the armed forces.
Lala Bimalendu Kumar Dey was one such person who fitted the slot ideally—a man who held duty to the country and its people above all else. He was also one who loved to ride alone deep into the forests where he restored his clarity and composure, gaining wisdom and strength from the world of nature and the voice of his own conscience.
From Sylhet to Shillong, he bore the journey and life’s challenges and excitement with true grit. Bijoya Sawian, his daughter, tells his remarkable story with the insight and perspective that only an insider can have.