ELWIN, H. Verrier

ELWIN, H. Verrier. Dover 29.8.1902 — Delhi 22.2.1964. British Anthropologist in India. Son of the Right Rev. Bishop Elwin of Sierra Leone, educated at Merton College, Oxford. Went to India as member of Christa Seva Sangha in 1927, but retired soon into lay life, collaborating with Gandhi and I.N.C. In 1932-46 and 1949-53 he lived among tribals in Central India. Citizen of India 1954. In 1940 hon. Ethnographer to Bastar State, 1944 Anthropologist to Government of Orissa, in 1946-49 Deputy-Director of Department of Anthropology, Government of India, from 1954 Adviser for Tribal Affairs in North-East Frontier Agency in Shillong, 1960-61 Member of Scheduled Tribes Commission. Married 1940 Kosi, a Raj Gond of 13, one son, divorce 1949, and then Leela, of Pardhan tribe Chattisgarh, three sons. He was both respected and controversial figure.

Publications: Leaves from Jungle. 243 p. L. 1936; The Baiga. 550 p. 56 pl. L. 1939; The Agaria. 35+292 p. 1942 (a primitive blacksmith tribe); Muria Murder and Suicide. 29+259 p. 50 fig. L. 1943; Folk-Tales of Mahakoshal. 26+523 p. 1944; Folk-Songs of the Maikal Hills. 30+410 p. 1944 (with S. Hivale); Folk-Songs of Chhattisgarh. 61+466 p. L. 1946; The Muria and their Ghotul. Calcutta 1947; Myths of Middle India. 16+532 p. Specimens of Oral Literature of Middle India 4. Madras 1949; Bondo Highlander. 20+290 p. 72 pl. Bombay 1950; The Tribal Art of Middle India. 17+214 p. 229 fig. Oxford 1952; Tribal Myths of Orissa. Specimens of Oral Literature of Middle India 5. Calc. 1954; The Religion of an Indian Tribe. 24+597 p. 72 pl. L. & Bombay 1955 (Saora).

– “Conception, Pregnancy, and Birth among the Tribesmen of the Maikal Hills”, JASB 3:9 Letters, 1943, 99-148, and further articles.

A Philosophy for the N.E.F.A. Shillong 1957; Myths of the North-East Frontier of India. 22+448 p. Shillong 1958; The Art of the North-East Frontier of India. 16+211 p. Shillong 1959; India’s North-East Frontier in the 19th century. 32+473 p. L. 1959; Nagaland. 108 p. Shillong1961.

edited: The Nagas in the 19th century. 662 p. 12 pl. Bombay & L. 1969 (extracts from contemporary literature).

The Story of Tata Steel. 117 p. Bombay 1958.

posthumously published autobiography: The Tribal World of Verrier Elwin. 356 p. O.U.P. 1964.

Sources: *R.C. Guha, Savaging the Civilized. V.E., His Tribals and India. 408 p. 1999; *D. O’Connor, Din-sevak. V.E.’s Life of Service in Tribal India. 1993; Who Was Who 1961-1970; Wikipedia.


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