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Marine Anthropologist, Man, Who Lived With Fishermen And Temple Gods: Life And Works Of PRG Mathur

Contributed By:

Prof. P.K. Misra

Patron, UIAF

P.R.G. MATHUR (12th October 1934-16th November 22)

PRG as I affectionately called him is no more, this was the saddest news for me. We were colleagues at the Anthropological Survey of India (An. S.I) and friends for more than 60 years. It was indeed a long journey travelled together. I bow down and offer my shradhanjli to him.

The more I think of him after his departure, more I realize that he was an outstanding person, scholar, totally committed to research, continuously searching for new areas to work and a humanist to the core. He covered a wide variety of subjects in his research. Rigorous fieldwork was his forte and indeed it is amazing that he went on to do fieldwork on widely different subjects. He openly condemned the practice of obtaining data through research students. His concern for the poor and downtrodden was total. He strongly believed in the application of anthropological knowledge for the welfare of the people. He was hyper-critical of the people who obtained falsely scheduled caste or tribe certificates. He was prepared to go to any extent to prove their guilt.

After completing his tenure in Anthropological survey of India, he returned to Kerala to carve a new identity and pathway for future. He changed his dress to a white khadi panchey and a loose bush shirt and allowed his beard to grow. Over the years it became fully grey which gave him a saintly and senior citizen look.

In a caste-ridden society, he rose from a humble background and defeating every adversity and challenge, reached the pinnacle of his profession. For his research, on one side, he was rubbing shoulders with Mappila fisher folk and on the other with the most sacred Brahmins of Gurvayur and Sabrimala Ayyappa temples. He handled these sensitive and contradictory roles effortlessly with the sole objective of obtaining authentic and relevant data. He was never tired when it came to doing field work; I vividly recall an anecdote:

Long back If I recall correctly it was mid-70s, we were taking Fredric Barth, one of the pioneers of the research on nomadic communities in Kerala and south Asia to show him the places where we had conducted field researches. On the way, we noticed a group of Duck breeders, taking their stock across agricultural fields. PRG Mathur abruptly asked the Jeep driver to stop. Even before it came to a halt, he literally jumped out of it and got hold of the leader of the group. He sat down with him on the roadside and giving vent to his anthropological impulse, started interviewing him. He not only collected some relevant data about the group but also a detailed genealogy of the person, completely oblivious that we had a foreign scholar with us waiting for him to return. He came back loudly announcing to me that he had collected some valuable data on the nomadic duck keepers for my research. Barth appreciated what Mathur did, but he openly confessed that he could not have done it with his research population in South Persia.


I joined AnSI in 1958, a couple of months later Professor Nirmal Kumar Bose the then Director of AnSI launched the study of the distribution of the Material Traits Survey (MTS) in rural areas of India. I and Shri S. K. Ganguli had done a pilot study for this project in central India. Based on our finding the study was undertaken at all India level for which 16 scholars were appointed to conduct the MTS. PRG Mathur was one of them. The project was supervised by S. C. Sinha from the Central India Station of AnSI at Nagpur. Since two of us (I and Ganguli) had conducted the pilot survey we were asked to explain the project to the new scholars who joined the team and train them for collecting data by taking them to a village. This was the beginning of my association with PRG Mathur. I only have indistinct memories of those days, partly because of time lapse and partly due to our consistent engagement with new projects. We spent all our rest time thinking about our next field destination.

Our immediate boss Surajit Sinha was always friendly, sympathetic, and understanding, but when it came to meeting project deadlines, there was no compromise as our Guru and director of the project, Professor Nirmal Kumar Bose a Gandhian, a self-disciplined person expected the same from all those who worked with him. It was only after our return to Kolkata after the completion of our respective projects that we started interacting frequently for exchanging field notes and finalization of the report. Once that was done we got busy with our next research assignments. The next research assignments were part of a great design that Professor Bose had conceptualized. I must add that this phase proved to be a watershed in the research careers of some of us who worked in MTS which includes scholars like Mathur, B.N. Saraswati, N.K. Behura, Bikas Rai Chouduri, S.G. Morab, and Rajalakshmi to name only a few.

Bose was a Gandhian in thought but in practice, he appeared benignly aggressive and certainly a person in a hurry. He was fiercely independent. He could differ from Gandhi and let him know about it. In Sinha’s (1984:1) words

He was, driven by the indomitable spirit of inquiry: he transgressed the boundaries of specific disciplines and the conventional divides between theoretical thinking and application of knowledge.

I have no reluctance in saying that he was perhaps the only nationalist anthropologist India has known. The field of anthropology in its formative phase in colonial India was enslaved by colonial concerns. Sadly, even after independence, Indian anthropologists did little to change those concerns. Bose felt rather strongly that they simply followed what was prevalent in the West. He expressed such views in several of his writings (Bose 1952:56, 1963:1). It was thus important for him to chart out a course that reflected Indian reality and knowledge. It was primacy of India and that of Indians that he wanted as the focal point of anthropological explorations. He insisted on applying Indian perspective, while documenting data at different levels. This included material, organizational as also abstract and establishing linkages between them. Under hist stewardship, we were trained to focus on the characteristic features of Indian civilization and show its underlying unity. He forcefully argued, “there is more unity in India’s variety than is likely to admit in moments of forgetfulness” (1961: VII).

Our mentor N. K. Bose visualized the structure of Indian society as a pyramid. There was more differentiation at the material base of life and progressively less at the social organizational level and further at the level of ideas and philosophy. He wanted anthropological research to reflect the inherent reality of India. He felt, it was imperative to resurrect India from the colonial umbrage of subjugation. Once he was assigned the responsibility of the Director of Anthropological survey of India in 1959, he initiated research projects towards that end. MTS designed with that perspective, aimed at generating data on material traits at all India level and importantly to rigorously train young scholars recruited for the project, to do systematic observation and record. After the successful completion of the MTS project that was meticulously executed by Sinha (1973:8), Director Bose unfolded the grand design for the study of pottery, metal crafts, the social organization of ancient crafts, fisherfolks, nomads, temples, and centres of religious learning.

Data generated across India through this mammoth exercise explored the contours of the Indian civilization from different vantage points. This was the beginning of Indian anthropology that focused on studying India’s diversity and nurtured a team of young researchers to explore India’s social reality from an Indian perspective. This way Bose and Sinha defined future course of anthropology. Mathur and I having socialized in this tradition moved on to study two different communities. Mathur opted to study fisherfolk Mappila in Kerala, and I went to Rajasthan to study the nomadic Gadulia Lohars. We moved on to pursue our respective journeys and maintained little contact with each other. These studies took several years to complete. Our relationship revived after these projects were completed. Thereafter, we started intensively interacting on various issues of anthropological interests. I settled in Mysore and he in Kozhikode, but physical distance was of no consequence. With these reminisces of our anthropological beginnings, I now want to present a brief profile of this indomitable scholar for the young researchers and to tell them to learn from him the spirit to say, ’never give up’!


He was born in Mathur village, Palakkad district, Kerala. His primary education was in the village school, and for his secondary and higher education he went to Palakkad. He acquired his master’s degree in Sociology and Anthropology from Agra University, Agra. He earned Ph.D. from Calcutta University, in 1973. His Ph.D. thesis was on the Mappila Fisherfolk of Kerala which was supervised by our mentor Professor Surajit Sinha. He served in ANSI for 15 years from 1959 to 1973. In 1973 he returned to Kerala as a Special Officer of the Tribal Research and Training Centre, Government of Kerala, Calicut which was hitherto held by the celebrated anthropologist, Professor A. Aiyappan. This institute was upgraded and renamed as Kerala Institute for Research, Training and Development Studies of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (KIRTADS) of which he became the first director. Under his stewardship from 1979 to 1987, this institute conducted a variety of studies on scheduled communities and conducted numerous seminars, conferences, and workshops, and organised many training programs for the officers of the state government engaged in the welfare of scheduled communities.

He became the Director and Professor of Ananthakrishna Iyer International Centre for Anthropological Studies, Mathur Agraharam, Palakkad, Kerala. He was the Chairman, International Commission on Urgent Anthropological research, South Indian Regional Centre, Palakkad. He founded Muddha Moopan Centre for Tribal Medicine Development Hospital at Mathur of which he was the Managing Trustee. He was passionately involved in patronising this centre, which also is a testimony of his commitment to the application of anthropological knowledge for the welfare of the people as well as his passion for the promotion of traditional practices.


Mathur’s professional career in anthropology spanned approximately six decades. He was a devoted researcher, and after he became the director of the Tribal Research Institute, he guided the research of many scholars. His research interest was spread over a variety of subjects. Some of these include study of tribes, fishing communities, sacred complex, development, and application of anthropological knowledge. Given his voluminous publications, it is difficult to sieve a short list, nonetheless some of his frequently cited and significant publications include:

Caste Councils among the Namputiri Brahmins of Kerala, in The Eastern Anthropologist, Vol. XXII, No.2, 1969:

Caste Councils among the Ezhavas of Kerala in the Proceedings of World Malayalam Conference, 1975.

Tribal Medicine: A Study of Irula Science and Superstition, in Tribal Thought and Culture in honour of Surajit Sinha, edited by B.N. Saraswati.

Customary Law among the Matrilineal Tribes in Encyclopaedia of Dravidian Tribes Vol.1 Pp. 305-313 edited by T. Madhav Menon, 1996.

Devadasis of Kerala in Studies in Indian Anthropology, edited by P.K. Misra, Rawat Publication, 2004.

Sanskritization of Non-Brahman Communities in Kerala in M.N. Srinivas: The Man and His Work, edited by P.K. Misra et al., Rawat Publication, 2007.

I regard these as some of his landmark publications. Whatever subject he chose, he dealt with it in depth. However, here I will concentrate on three areas, namely his study of fisherfolks, studies of tribes, and study of sacred complex. The reason I have selected these because his first major intensive field investigation started with the study of the Mappila, and the study of tribes remained his lifelong interest. It was also an outcome of his official obligation as the director of the tribal research institute in Kerala. In the later phase of life, his spiritual devotion coaxed him to apply his anthropological understanding in discovering various aspects of sacred complexes. One may call these as participatory research of the sacred complexes.


Marine fisherfolks operate in two distinct ecological regions-sea and the land. While the sea provides them resources for their existence, land provides them the opportunity to interact with other human beings, exchange their goods and obtain certain services required for their day-to-day living as well as for celebrating life cycle rituals and festivals. To extract resources from the sea the fisherfolks must develop an understanding of the ways of the sea, which is, what they see as ‘facts’, what they imagine and what is handed down to them as part of their traditions is folklore. They systematically observe waters, currents, waves, winds, fauna, flora, and the cosmos which envelop it all. All this information is classified and codified as part of the indigenous knowledge and is critical for survival in turbulent conditions in which they pursue their livelihood. Any miscalculation on their part endangers their life and hence this meticulous understanding drawn from experiential learning is irreplaceable.

The horizons of the sea have remained ‘beyond’, both in-depth and expanse to the members of any fishing community. For this reason, the sea is associated with awe and mystery. Its tremendous power and potentialities, its unpredictable behaviour challenge perception of the fisherfolks in their day-to-day decision-making process. Marine fisherfolks constitute a unique set of people, but for an inexplicable reason India has a huge coastline and expectedly marine fishing has been the primary means of livelihood for a large section of the population of India since prehistoric times, yet the anthropology in India for some inexplicable reason neglected the study of marine fishing communities.

In 1967 AnSI decided to address it and accordingly, Mathur went to study the Mappila Fisherfolk of Kerala. He later pursued the subject for his Ph.D. under the guidance of former Vice Chancellor of Visva-Bharati, Surajit Chandra Sinha. Focus of his research was a village inhabited by the Mappila fisherfolk in the Malappuram district of Kerala. In two consecutive field trips spread over nine months, he studied not only these two villages but also visited some neighbouring villages. This resulted in the publication of a book entitled The Mappila Fisherfolk of Kerala (1977) published by the Kerala Historical Society, Trivandrum. It is a pioneering work and extremely rich in providing ethnographic details. He has shown that the fishing economy of the Mappila is inseparable from their kinship structure, rituals, and belief systems.

Mathur provides a wealth of information on Mappila’s knowledge of the marine environment and cosmology. It is worthwhile to mention that Mappila identifies eleven types of waves, eight kinds of winds and eight kinds of currents. They carefully mobilize their knowledge and technical resources in trapping different kinds of fish. Mathur’s work convinces us that though the community has no formal education, their knowledge system is as robust as any validated scientific study. They make rational choices based on their empirical knowledge of the marine environment. The Mappila fisherfolk are Muslims and are divided into distinct endogamous caste-like groups graded in a status hierarchy. The book is well illustrated with relevant sketches and photographs and would remain a basic text in marine fishing. This is important to note that in the last few decades, significant changes have taken place in the technology of fishing, transportation of the yields and several other fields and therefore what Mathur has produced provides authentic base line data for those interested in studying processes of social transformations.

Mathur wrote another book on fishing entitled Ecology, Technology and Economy(2008) jointly published by Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya, Bhopal and Rawat Publications, Jaipur. This book is premised on P.R.G. Mathur’s persistent engagement with marine communities in his long research career. He worked with the Mappila from 1970-72, with some Hindu fishing communities from 1980-82 and then again with other fishing communities in 2006. Both in terms of time depth and spatial spread of his studies, he was in a unique position to provide insight as to what is happening to the fisherfolk in Kerala. It is this perceptiveness that he provides in his 2nd book. This text provides a rich ethnographic account of social and technological transformations that the fishing communities are experiencing across Kerala. To study these communities, he made several significant methodological innovations. For example, he demarcated three major regions of fisherfolk in Kerala. From each region, he selected 3 to 5 fishing communities. The idea was to capture significant variations among the communities with reference to their fishing operations, their traditional knowledge, trade, rituals, and development.

Significant innovations in fishing technology have reduced the limitations imposed by nature. Now trawlers can sweep the ocean clean of any object moving or crawling. Echo sounders or fish finders can pick up even the weakest signals generated by fish even at the bottom of the ocean. GPS and constant weather monitoring systems have certainly considerably reduced the hazards of marine fishing. These along with rapid changes in communication, transport, refrigeration facilities have not only enormously increased the yield, but also expanded the market and profitability of the enterprise. It is ironic that these technological transformations have encroached on the fundamental rights of fishing of the native communities. Poor fisherfolk are resource constrained to invest in trowels and modern fishing equipment and are thus further impoverished.

Marine fishing still has tremendous potential, though serious concerns about the regeneration of resources have arisen, resulting in certain restrictions on some technological innovations, particularly in specific seasons. Climate change, fragile ecological conditions, and invasive expensive technologies, along with yearning for maximizing profit have adversely impacted traditional fishing communities. Empirical data generated by P.R.G. Mathur discussed the role of banks and middlemen that has further marginalized the poor. One may rightly ask where the level playing field is for them; the world is becoming flatter or pyramidal?

However, it is interesting to note that some fishing communities have shown remarkable resilience. The caste and community identities have remained intact along with respective cultural, ritual practices and values associated with status and hierarchy. Gender discrimination too continues. It is legitimate to point out that the existence of these along with revolutionary changes in technology and globalization are intriguing, particularly in the context of Kerala which is a model state from a development perspective. Theoretical inputs drawn from his research add to the growing perception that the caste question in India is extremely complex. Even a state like Kerala that has performed relatively much better on socio-economic indicators and remained politically rooted in the ideology of communism failed to challenge caste hierarchies and prejudices. Many under-privileged individuals opted for religious conversion but even there they carried the caste burden with them.

The jostling among those who are in the caste system and those who had gone out of the Hindu society for higher status is interesting. These tensions make the concept of ‘purity’ relevant. To sustain hierarchical positions, new symbols are invented, and narratives generated. The detailed observations of Mathur in his later studies and the one on Mappila, along with that of Arne Martin Klaussen (1968) a Norwegian anthropologist are extremely useful and relevant for developing meaningful discourse on social transformations, particularly in the wake of profound technological and political changes in the wider arena. The question posed by Klaussen on differential response by different communities to the development stimuli remains relevant even today.


In addition to his passion for studying fishing communities, Mathur also published several articles on tribes in different journals and as occasional publications. Besides a book on a tribe in Odisha and a book on the Khasi of Meghalaya, bulk of his writings on tribes are from Wynaad region in Kerala. A volume on Tribal Situation in Kerala (1977) is a collection of the essays written between 1973-76 on the tribals of Kerala. Recognising its relevance and potential the volume was published by the Kerala Historical Society. Most of these articles were invited presentation in seminar or workshop across the country. K.S. Singh former director of the Anthropological Survey of India in his foreword to the book writes that in 1969 the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla convened a seminar on Tribal situation in India, which stimulated efforts in many parts of the country to build up regional profiles of tribal situation. Mathur’s book is one such effort in that direction He further writes “Ultimately, it is regional studies like this that will help build up a truly national and all India picture of a tribal picture of tribal situations with a rich pattern of regional diversities and variations’’ (1977: IX).

The book begins with the Introduction: Tribal Demography: An Appraisal. In this chapter, after giving a demographic picture of the tribes in India, he focuses on tribes in Kerala. He identifies seven tribal regions in Kerala and describes characteristic features of each tribe in each region. While summing up he makes an important observation that the tribal communities not only differ from one another but also from their neighbouring non-tribals. He observed that two tribes speaking different dialects but belonging to the same linguistic family may sometimes vary in their means of subsistence, whereas there may be two tribes following similar economic pursuits but have no linguistic affinities (ibid;9). This observation should be noted by the scholars who build pictures of the migration of populations in a hurry.

Besides the introduction, the book is divided into four parts namely I. Primitive Tribal Communities, II. Tribal Situation: Perspective and problems III. Tribal Development and Integration and IV. Movements and Leadership. The tribes he has described under the category of ‘Primitive’ Tribal Communities (hereafter Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups, acronym PVTGs) are Cholanaikan and Kurumbas of Attapady. Discussing Tribal situation, he emphasizes on the transfer and alienation of tribal land and bonded labour system and the perpetual indebtedness of the tribes in Attapady. The strength of his description lies in the fact that he has given the details of the cases of indebtedness and how year after year the so-called contract of bondage is renewed in front of a deity.

The chapter that follows is focused on the issue of electrification in tribal areas. He notes that the use of electricity in the tribal area particularly in Wynaad is minimal. He wryly writes “all the tribal houses except an M. L. A. and three Mullu Kurumbas are reported to be without electricity” (ibid; 131). Following chapters focus on the government residential school in Wynaad and the status of women in some of the tribes in Kerala. It is important to note that there are significant differences among the studied tribes. The last part is focused on the tribal movement in Wynaad. In this chapter, Mathur has briefly discussed that most of the forest areas in the Wynaad in the past were under feudal control and it was during this time “extensive tracts of tribal land have been surreptitiously acquired or usurped by……….. who are immigrants from the plains, particularly from Travancore area” (ibid 187). After independence and liquidation of feudal control, there was an intense influx of people from outside the region which led to further dispossession of tribes from the base of their life-support resources. In the course of time, several political parties became active. Mathur briefly touches on the Naxal movement which started from Wyanand in Kerala.

The strength of this book lies in that he has scrupulously followed the anthropological dictum of describing the facts as seen by him and highlighting the problems of the tribes in the region. Mathur was concerned about the development of the tribes and has given his recommendations at the end of each chapter. One of the serious flaws as many of his contemporary anthropologists did was to categorize communities as ‘primitive’ and isolated. This is not the place to discuss this issue but critical to understand that the forest is a most important resource base in Indian civilization. The extraction of natural resources has traditionally been in the hands of professional forest dwellers for their own consumption and for trade with the peasantry under multiple arrangements. These were disturbed because of colonial penetration, massive extraction of timber and the introduction of a plantation economy in forest regions. The people living in the forest were labelled ‘primitive’ and subjected to massive and inhuman exploitation (see Misra 2018).


Mathur produced two significant studies on the sacred complex. After his exhaustive and very well-illustrated study of Gurvayur, he wrote an equally valuable book on the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple. The Sabarimala Ayyappa temple is not only anthropologically relevant it has acquired political significance too. Mathur did this study in a failing state of health, but his determination speaks volumes for the kind of research commitment he nourished. He was not able to climb long staircase to the sanctum sanctorum and thus hired a palanquin to make several field visits. He sat there each day for hours observing every ritual being performed. Meticulous details that characterized his research journey was followed in this study too, as he refused to rely on any field data provided to him by his support staff. It is indeed astonishing that he succeeded in completing this task before putting his pen down. This book systematically and rigorously uses anthropological methodology. He made several trips to the temple both as a scholar and as a devotee. His zeal to carry on with research and probe deeper and deeper remained indomitable. The study also raised many serious questions, and I will reflect on it in some detail here.

This simple ethnographic account of the temple presents a text, which continues to draw the attention of scholars and devotees because of the authenticity of the account. Scholars interested in religious studies and pilgrims visiting the temple, are inquisitive to explore ritual significance and history of the sacred complex. The temple is visited by thousands of pilgrims each year. The mysteries of cosmos and uncertainties of every day trials attract people to these sacred complexes. Rhetoric of modernization and discourse on scientific temper has not deterred the faithful from paying their obeisance at places of worship. This explains why devotees throng the temple every year and why the popularity of the sacred complex has grown exponentially.

Study of the sacred sites in India draws attention to therein location on hilltops in forested areas. However, this documented fact is not extensively explored. Forests, sacred sites, and tribal inhabitants of these forested areas are intimately related. Mathur’s study tells us though the Sabarimala region is inhabited by several tribal groups but their involvement in the ritual complex at Sabarimala is negligeable. He also informed his readers that the Ayyappa temple is associated with a hunting deity, and those going for their first pilgrimage to Sabarimala undergo a ritual that is reminiscent of hunting expeditions. Yet, it has been incorporated as part of the great Sanskritic tradition. The learned Brahmins conduct all the rituals, and the deity is part of the Hindu pantheon. How did this happen? Obviously, it indicates that there must have been a long period of interaction between folk and literati. This interaction certainly needs to be underlined to understand the making of the Indian civilization in which folk traditions were like tributaries to the mainstream. The process through which it was achieved needs to be researched in each case.

The mythologies associated with the Ayyappa swami are unique. It is believed that Ayyappa (Hariharaputra) is born of the union of Mohini (Vishnu) and Siva. Women devotees in the reproductive phase of their life are prohibited from entering the temple. Even the depiction the Ayyappa swami is unique. He is in a squatting posture and his knees are held together by a band called Yoga-patta. His face is lively with open eyes. There are eighteen sacred steps to reach the temple and are significant in performing the pilgrimage. It is important to note that the Sabarimala temple is open to all irrespective of caste, creed, or religion. Mathur finds that the Ayyappa cult exercises inimitable influence over the socio-religious and political life of South India. The cult is an amalgamation of diverse faiths like tribal religion, Brahminical religion, the Buddhist tradition, Savism and Tantric tradition. It even incorporates obeisance to a Muslim saint.

Brahmins have incorporated the deity in the Hindu pantheon. They have also generated a cult around the deity and rituals for the pilgrims. A conscious effort is made to promote spirit of syncretism by imbibing a symbolic identity of devotees of Ayyappa Swami in lieu of their respective religious or caste identities. All devotees follow a singular code of conduct for 41 days and offer prayers together in the morning and evening and then get into a collective synergy creating an atmosphere of spirituality and sacredness. The temple complex becomes a melting pot in which differences are submerged. These practises stand out as Hindu religion is associated with the dictum of purity. This unique experience provides a different perspective for understanding the role of religion in society and the making of Indian civilization.

Students of social and political history must explore role of religion in extending control over the frontier regions. These frontier regions were inhabited by a variety of forest-dwelling people fiercely conscious of their autonomy. Forests have always been a rich and diverse resource and of critical importance to the growing needs of all. The people in power want to have absolute control over them and keep frontiers secure. The denizens of the forest have always played an important role as a bridge and buffer between powerful kingdoms. Power equations dramatically shifted during the colonial regime. Mathur’s research has added another dimension by bringing in a spiritual link between forest dwellers and the greater Indian civilization. In the past, these aspects had not been systematically explored by colonial anthropologist. Deliberate attempts were made to keep forest dwellers in isolation. Erudite scholar Mathur was able to penetrate these silos and use his experiential learnings to show the presence of the folk element within the cultural and ritual precincts of Ayyappa temple complex.

Numerous legends associated with the shrine indicate its antiquity and its plural character. Each community involved in its construction interpreted it according to their own understanding and tradition. However, there is need for systematic interpretations of the stories, symbols, and rituals of the temple complex. Though religious tourism is making any further scientific understanding more complicated. Management of the temple complex is being taken over by political and commercial interests. This has resulted in prolonged legal battles. Over the years, we have witnessed a paradox that poses an anthropological enquiry asking how modern courts based on reason and rationality can resolve conflicts arising out of faith. State seems to be distancing and diluting its responsibility and shying from manging a large congregation of people. The emerging problems are real and urgent. One of which is an environmental concern. Mathur has highlighted the environmental impact of commercial promotion of the shrine whichthe state will have to address in the larger interest of the people and ecology. Mathur was indeed a great scholar. The vast body of publications, he left behind would not only be an inspiration for budding scholars but also a source of theoretical understanding.


Bose, N.K. 1952. Current Research Projects in Indian Anthropology. Man in India vol.32. No.3

Bose, N.K. 1961. Introduction in N.K. Bose (ed.) Peasant Life in India: A study of Unity and Diversity. Calcutta: Anthropological Survey of India.

Bose, N.K. 1963. Fiftyyears of Science in India: Progress of anthropology and Archaeology. Calcutta: India Science Congress Association.

Klaussen, A.M. 1968. Kerala Fishermen and Indo-Norwegian Pilot Project. London: Allen & Unwin.

Mathur, P.R.G. 1977. Tribal Situation in Kerala. Trivandrum: Kerala Historical Society.

Mathur, P.R.G. 1977. The Mappila Fisherfolk of Kerala. Trivandrum: Kerala Historical Society.

Mathur, P.R.G. 1977. Ecology, Technology and Economy. Bhopal: Indira Gandhi Rastriya Manav Sanghralaya. Jaipur: Rawat Publications.

Misra, P.K. 2018. Tribal Heritage: an overlooked chapter of Indian History. New Delhi: Aayu Publications.

Singh, K.S. 1977. Foreword: In P.R.G. Mathur Tribal Situation in Kerala. Trivandrum: Kerala Historical Society.

Sinha, S.C. 1973. Anthropology of Nirmal Kumar Bose. Varanasi: Nirmal Kumar Bose Memorial Foundation.

Sinha, S.C. 1984. Nirmal Kumar Bose Scholar Wanderer. New Delhi: National Book Trust.

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