SARDOKA PERRIN KAY: 1805-1905

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By Roton Teron
terronroton@gmail.com

Sardoka Ingti a young Mikir man emerged to be the  first intellectual among the Karbis, at those time where no academic field was yet to develop in the region this man manage to developed himself the skill of both writing and speaking the English ,Assamese, Jaintia and Khasis languages as  well.  This man occurred as a tool of education in the midst of 15 century, when the British was still ruling India or what they called it “ The Land of the Golden Bird” Probably he was the first among the Karbis to convert into a Christianity, He was baptized in the Nagaon American Baptist Mission by Rev. Perrin Kay in the year 1882. Sardoka himself adopted the name of his sponsored at Baptism, Perrin Kay as a mark of respect, from there on Sardoka generalized his formal name as Sardoka Perrin Kay in every text and documents. The young bright Mikir Lad a convert of the American Baptized being achieved by the light of Missionaries he then became active and live member of the American Baptist Mission of Assam. He also became the right hand of Perrin Kay in every step towards the mission of preaching the “good news” and visiting every nook and corner of Jaintia Hills, Nagaon and Mikir Hill and other parts of Assam. It was under the guidance and care of Kay, that Sardoka had done many marvelous works, not only the texting work on book but also towards the path of light and education as a motto of life which they aimed at.

It was in the year 1882, Edward Stack, was appointed as the first Director of the Agriculture department as well as the landlords, which was newly created by the British East India Company, being allotted by the task as Director of the province, he made himself the availability of time and applied himself to the interest of learning the local language and their customs, especially about the Mikir Tribes, he had just passed ten years in Indian Civil service , which he joined in 1872, in those ample years, he had been fruitful in varied interest and activity towards the strenuous life in the district, Edward himself being a district and settlement officer in North-Eastern province of government of India, after attending all the high ranking position in North-Eastern region he left for Persia for six months, there also he had a keen interest in the people and speeches of all the tribes and language there also he had carried all his amassed text of the Mikir and went on by the work until his returned to Assam, never changing his character he came back to India from Persia after much of his travel, he again started travelling the whole of North-East region, during the cold season of 1882-1883 he spent most of his time travelling up and down in the Brahmaputra valley and the rest part of Assam. He spent much of his time in learning observing things and noting down on the local flavor like Mikir, Assamese and others. He also acquired a working knowledge in Mikir Assamese and others dialects, he also had a deep interest in learning the Mikir language especially;  and does the work eventually, and his work began on the study of the Mikir people his interest on the subject gradually grew. Again in 1884 he was called to take up the Chief Commissioner at that period of his leisure time he gave a keen interest about the Mikir and its dialect. It was in that beautiful time of the year in 1884 he became acquainted with a bright young Mikir Lad Sardoka Ingti , a man who convert into Christianity and  added the name as Perrin Kay as a mark of respect in Baptism to which he was accustomed to add the name of his sponsored at baptism Perrin Kay.

Sardoka Perrin Kay under the guidance and care of the missionaries, he did much of the work with honest and sincerity, Sardoka Perrin Kay became the Co-Author of the Mikir book he had worked together with Stack in authoring the language work, they had began doing the work like illustrating sentences, correcting and supplementing the materials contained in their textbook. For the whole dictation and textualization Edward Stack had much depend on Sardoka’s help in regards on vocabulary, phrase and idioms, from these they went on searching on some stories and folk-tales like “ Mosera ke- hir” ( the karbis origin) story of the frog, orphan and his uncle etc. apart from the grammar Sardoka and Stack also written the customs of the Karbi, food habit, settlement, habitations, population distribution, families and their clans, all the write up are perspicuously elaborated. Sardoka in spite of little done in academic field, he helped Stack much beyond the expectation, he himself made available in all steps of requirement, the writing style includes grammar to folk-tales and much , they have done with careful attention to systematic orthography, by Sardoka dictation Stack have wrote series of words and grammar each day with the passage of time, work progress with a series of lengthy notes elucidating every difficult task in it. While Stack certainly led the fruitful venture as the senior and more knowledgeable partner Sardoka remained ever faithful collaboration. Then in 1886 their fruitful venture progressed.

Sardoka also helped both Sir Charles Lyall and Edward Stack the twin author of the Mikir putting all together with Lyall and Stack their work became progressive in 1887. Unfortunately during the latter half of 1887 Stack’s health became critical and after some months his health gradually became weak, during his journey to Adelaide, in South Australia he died at sea on 12th January 1884, at the age of 37.

After Stacks death, Sardoka served in Assam secretariat for nearly twenty years later he was transferred from secretariat to Revenue collector, popularly called Mauzadar of the territorial division of Duar Administration in 1904.

The long dream journey of Stack and Sardoka had never been an easy one, in spite of all the official work and individual business they had managed to put forward the work together within their term of togetherness. After Stacks death Sardoka managed to take up the job on some of the written worked of Stack and other materials gathered. In order to put amass the papers the struggled work into complete account, which consist of Mikir and their language, folk tale Sardoka and Lyall took up the task, which were fully illustrated. In the midst of Lyall work, a few months after Stacks death his few papers of the Mikir were sent at Shillong to Lyall. Charles Lyall on receiving the paper of some text to be able to carry out the purpose, he request Sardokas help to do. But due to steadily increasing pressured of their duties, they weren’t able to carry out the work on proper level. Lyall left Shillong on a long tour in

November 1887 again after his return in spring 1887 he was again transferred to the post of commissioner in Assam valley eventually leaving the province in the autumn in 1889.

Till then Sardoka remained as Mauzadar under the government of British India, he has been an co-author of the book the Mikir which now newly emerged under the title “ THE KARBI” which still remained the only reference book of the Karbi. Sardika also helped both Lyall and Stack in bringing the book into fruitful work. Today the work of Sardoka “the Karbi “authored by Lyall and Stack is the only ethnographic work on Karbi till date. Which was published in 1908, English-Mikir Dictionary in 1904

Sardoka Perrin Kay this pioneering Karbi dies of Cholera on 8th March 1905 unsung and virtually unknown.