An Open-ended Tale
Himadri Roy
THE BRONZE SWORD OF THENGPHAKHRI TEHSILDAR by Indira Goswami Zubaan, Delhi, 2014, 132 pp., 295
April 2014, volume 38, No 4

Thengphakhri ‘Baideo’ is the first Indian woman to be awarded the position of Izardar (or Tehsildar) by the contemporary British regime. She was given the responsibility to collect taxes in Mahan, Sunkush and Burhidiya, all belonging to a landlocked place popularly known today as ‘Bodoland’—on one side Bhutan and Sikkim, on another Coochbehar, while on the other sides Ahom and Bijni kingdoms ruled this small land. She appears to be a loyal servant of the British kingdom, but as the story moves ahead there is a sense of a leader being born that leaves the book open ended. This is a collection of ten short stories by Goswami, one single story portraying ten different episodes of Theng-phakhri’s life.

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