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Assam: 175-year-old Orunodoy magazine to be on display in exhibition

For the first time in Assam’s history, the 175-year-old Orunodoy magazine will be on display in the majestic Mahabahu Brahamputra Heritage Centre by the Nanda Talukdar Foundation on December 1.

“The exhibition shall be there for 3 months starting from December 1, 2021 to February 28, 2022 and I wish every Assamese see this historic piece and pride of Assamese heritage,” said Nanda Talukdar Foundation secretary Mrinal Talukdar.

This exhibition was co-organized by the Nanda Talukdar Foundation and the GMDA, and it is the first time Orunodoy has been displayed anywhere in the world.

A few copies are held in the British Museum in London, Oxford University Library, Oxford Cambridge University Library, and the National Library in Kolkatta, in addition to the only surviving copy in Assam.

“This is for the first time, people of Assam will be able to see the physical copy of Orunodoy,” said Talukdar. The Christian Missionaries began publishing the magazine in 1846 and continued it until 1882, heralding the Assamese language’s golden age.

The missionaries brought the printing press and Assamese fonts all the way from the United States, but the English administration refused to help them. For the first five years, Oliver T Cuttar was the editor, and then Dr Nathan Brown took over.

There were 577 first-year subscribers, 249 of whom were natives. It eventually grew to 800 people, but by 1882, it was no longer viable. The exhibition will be opened by Asomiya Praidin editor Jayanta Barua at a ceremony.

The Nanda Talukdar Foundation (NTF) has come a long way in the last 25 years to emerge as a name to reckon with in Assam, especially in the spheres of publication, contemporary social history research, social audit, media advocacy, and ground-level intervention. It all started with making public the personal library of renowned litterateur late Nanda Talukdar in 1996.

The Nanda Talukdar Foundation has now established itself as a focal point for pioneering contemporary social history, advocacy, and intervention, with their activities spreading both horizontally and vertically, first in Assam and then gradually throughout Northeast India.

“For the Assamese literature, the library of the Nanda Talukdar Foundation is considered as one of the final frontiers. No research on Assamese literature in the past five decades has been completed without the Foundation’s help,” the Foundation said in a statement.

“The Foundation is the treasure house of the Assamese literature of the early nineteenth century to the twentieth century, where scientifically the documents, journals and books are preserved through digitalization as well as conventional method,” it added.

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