It was originally called “Monja Monsori.” The modern hamlet of Rajasimla was given this name when it became the first Christian settlement on Garo land. The Bodo (or Katchari) tribe is said to have been the first to settle in this region. When they ultimately fled and abandoned the town, the man-eating tigers continued to visit it. It seems that the area was left vacant and grew a dense forest.

The Bodos
The Bodo people of Assam, Meghalaya, and Bangladesh speak Tibeto-Burman languages. The Bodo, Assam’s biggest minority community, live mostly in the northernmost portions of the Brahmaputra River Valley. Despite their previous involvement in shifting cultivation, the bulk of them are now permanent farmers. The Bodo people are divided into various tribes. Their eastern tribes are the Dimasa (or Hill Kachr), Galong (or Gallong), Hojai, Lalung, Tippera, and Moran, while their western tribes are the Ctiy, Plains Kachr, Rbh, Gro, Mech, Koch, Dhiml, and Jaijong. Until before 1825, the Bodo constituted the majority in Assam. In the late twentieth century, it was believed that there were around 2.2 million speakers of Bodo languages in India.

Some Practices among the Garos
Among the Gāro, the village headman is usually the husband of the heiress, the senior woman of the landowning lineage. He transmits his headman’s office to his sister’s son, who marries the headman’s daughter (the next heiress). The lineages of the male headmen and the female heiresses are thus in perpetual alliance. Political title and land title are both transmitted matrilineally, one through one lineage, the other through the other. There are a dozen subtribes, with varying customs and dialects, but all are divided into matrilineal clans. Marriages involve members of different clans. Polygamy is practiced. A man must marry his wife’s father’s widow, who is in such cases the husband’s father’s sister, actual or classificatory. Such a wife takes precedence over her daughter, to whom the husband is already married. A man’s sister’s son, called his nokrom, stands therefore in intimate relationship to him, as the husband of one of his daughters and ultimately of his widow and the vehicle through which his family’s interest in the property of his wife is secured for the next generation, for no male can inherit property.1

Naming as ‘Monja Monsori’
Bodos referred to the location as “Monja Monsori” in their native tongue. They gave it that name because it was said that a Garo woman who lived nearby hid her brass gong underwater in a deep pool out of fear that someone would steal it. But when she laboriously checked it again a few months later, she was shocked to discover that she could not locate it. As a result, the Boro people often say “Monja,” which is equivalent to the Garo “Manja” and means “Don’t get.” “Monsori” (Galor “Muni donga” equivalent) denotes the presence of a magic charm or spell. Because of this, “Monja Monsori” in Boro means “you won’t get anything if it’s hidden under this pool; there’s some magic char or spell.”2

Ran Mari
“Ran Mari” was actually “Rowmari,” the name of a village close to “Monja Monsori” that was later renamed “Raj Simina” or “Raja Simina,” and eventually became known as “Rajasimla.” This location was on the ancient footpath that led to the Matchokgre Hills’ Watrepara and Dambora villages. Rev. and Mrs. Bronson traveled to Rajasimla with two elephants donated by Campbell, a former British deputy commissioner sent to Goalpara, specifically for the journey to open the first-ever Christian church to be built on Garo soil.

Raj Simda
The border of the Bijni Kings’ kingdom was actually called “Raj Simina” or “Raja Simina.” Because the Bijni kings planted those “simul trees” or “silk-cotton trees,” “Bombax malabaricum” to mark their territory as their borders, this village later became known as “Raja Simula,” meaning “The King’s Simul Tree,” after the simul tree that stood there. This makes it clear that Bijni’s kingdom did not extend outside of this location to the hills. In the end, the village was given the name “RAJASIMLA” in the years following the founding of the Christian Church. Today, one of the sites contains a memorial made of a Simul tree stump.

Cotton Tree Stamp

“O God my Father, just as the cotton silk of this tree is blown away in different directions, so also let your Gospel spread to every corner of the Garo land and to all over the world.”

 

  1. Britannica Dictionary, in https://www.britannica.com/topic/Bodo-people, p1.
  2. Wetterfield R. Marak, “What Bronson has got to Retell,” in Celebrating the Glory of God’s Grace for 150yrs, Garo Baptist Church Sesquicentenary Souvenir, 2017, p30. (This source was traced by Jaseng D. Marak, the Pastor of Rajasimla Baptist Church and requested by Rev. Dr. W. R. Marak, the Retired Pastor of Tura Baptist Church, Tura).

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