NIHAR RANJAN CHAKRABORTY - The Bridge between Anchient and Modern Inda

NIHAR RANJAN CHAKRABORTY, civil servant, mathematician, Vedic scholar, author, poet, columnist, literary critic, teacher, linguist, cultural anthropologist, champion all-around-student, sportsman, philosopher, community leader, patron of classical music, intellectual and mystic attained mahasamadhi (spiritual transition) in India in Ballygungunge, Calcutta on February 23, 2001. He was born on December 23,1916 in Bajitpur, Mymensingh district of Bengal, India. He remained active till the very end.

As a magistrate, Chakraborty yielded maximum powers--legal authority in his court to try cases under Indian Penal Code and Indian Criminal Penal Code--and traveled in many parts of Bengal by boat, on horseback and on foot to serve the poor and the needy with dedication and impeccable integrity. Needless to say, he touched many lives and won many hearts. In Calcutta, Chakraborty served as a Presidency Magistrate and later headed the Vigilance Commission. While working in the Himalayas, he was deeply drawn to the dwindling nation of the Lepchas whose homeland was the Himalayan kingdom of Sikkim. He trekked through many remote places in Sikkim and Darjeeling to communicate with them directly without an interpreter--the first ever to do so--to make a complete record of their rich, unique and ancient civilization. Chakraborty wrote two books on this subject: Kanchanjanghar Chhelemeye (The Children of Kanchenjungha): The Complete History of the Nation of the Lepchas and Lepcha Upakatha (The Lepchas Mythology) for children. They were highly acclaimed, seminal works on cultural anthropology and sociology in India. Since his early childhood, his writings and poetry appeared in magazines in India and abroad including the U.S.A.

Following his father's wishes, Chakraborty became a civil servant. His brief teaching career earned him life-long relationship with some of his former students. He was also a leader of various cultural, social and religious institutions and events. As a senior, he continued to inspire the youth and remained a community leader till his passing.

Among nine siblings, Chakraborty was always the loving, giving, devoted head of the family. In 1988-89 he traveled with his wife, Ivy, in Canada and coast-to-coast in the States and made many friends.

At heart, Chakraborty was a true Brahmin. Gone with him forever is the invaluable knowledge and wisdom of ancient India. He is survived by Ivy, two sons, a daughter, two grandchildren, five brothers and sisters.

Last rites for Chakraborty will be held on Monday, March 5, 2001 in Calcutta.