DAMANT, Guybon Henry

DAMANT, Guybon Henry. Cowes, Isle of Whight 9.5.1846 — Khorama, Nagaland 14.10. 1879. British Civil Servant and Ethnologist in India (1869-79). Son of Henry D., a lawyer, educated at St. Paul’s School (or Merchant Taylor’s School?) in London and from 1864 at Christ’s College, Cambridge. In 1868 M.A. in classics (Peile) and Sanskrit & Bengali (Cowell). Joined the I.C.S. and left in 25.11.1869 for India, where he served as assistant to the Magistrate and Collector in Dinajpur, from 1873 in Rangpur. Distinguished during the Bengal famine 1873-74. From September 1874 Assistant Commissioner in Kachar, in 1876 to Manipur on special duty. From April 1877 Deputy Commissioner, 4th grade, in the same year acting 3rd grade. From May 1878 Political Officer in charge of the Naga Hills. In summer 1878 he visited England and married. He died in battle leading an expedition to Khorma to seize illegal weapons. Damant was an ardent ethnographist and folklorist, also interested in linguistics and epigraphy. He greatly admired brave Nagas. He collected a Manipur Dictionary, but the MS. was destroyed by Nagas.

Publications: Articles, on Dinajpur legends and folklore (IA 1872), on Bengali folklore (IA 1872-75, 1879), on Manipur folklore (IA 1875, 1877); Notes on Sháh Ismáil Gházi (JASB 1874); Notes on Bengali language and inscriptions (IA 1873).

– “Notes on Manipuri grammar”, JASB 1875; “Notes on Manipuri character”, JASB 1877.

– “Notes on the Tribes dwelling between the Brahmaputra and Ningthi Rivers”, JRAS 12, 1880, 228-258.

Sources: Buckland, Dictionary; JRAS 12, 1880, Proc. iii-v; Alumni Cantabr.


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