Rajib Sarma is a practicing hereditary Chandipathak Priest of the Kamakhya Temples’ Complex located in the Nilachala Hills, Guwahati, Assam. He is also a Purnabhisheka Sadhaka (full adept) in the Kulacara Tantra Marga (Tantric tradition) of the Kamakhya Temples’ Complex.
He was awarded the prestigious “KRISHI VISHARAD SAMMAN” by organizations under the Ministry of Agriculture, Govt. of India on December 23, 2002 in New Delhi for his contribution towards conservation and sustainable management & utilization of Agro-biodiversity and PGR of the North-Eastern Region of India.
He has conducted extensive exploratory study, research and documentation on history; demography; archaeology; socio-cultural tradition; biodiversity at large with a special emphasis on diversity of cultivated plants, wild edible plants, wild relatives of the domesticated plants, edible & non-edible medicinal plants, wild plants with economic value; indigenous technical knowledge (ITK); traditional knowledge; ethnographic traditions; ethnomusicology; indigenous performing arts; socio-religious & ritualistic tradition; tantric tradition; esoteric traditions; mythology; religious literature; religious philosophy of India with a special emphasis on North Eastern Region of India since 1998.
He has provided research assistance and guidance to international PhD scholars and Post Graduate students since 2005. At present two (2) PhD scholars and one (1) Post Graduate student are working on their dissertations / theses under his guidance and assistance. The present PhD scholars are from the California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, USA, and the University of Rome, Italy. The Post Graduate student is from Brooklyn College, The City University of New York, USA.
Rajib established the Foundation for History and Heritage Studies as a non-profit making research organization, reference library and archive in 2007, opening the reference library & archive for the use of general public from his own residence. Though the Foundation for History and Heritage Studies wasn’t established until 2007, he began this work in 1996, collecting rare and valuable books, journals, rare documents, handwritten manuscripts (both ancient & modern), maps, etc., for the reference library & archive. He has continued the process of upgrading, expansion, and enlargement of the collection ever since. On May 11, 2017, the Foundation for History and Heritage Studies was registered as a charitable trust under the Indian Trusts Act, 1882 at Guwahati, Assam (India), for the welfare of society.
Founding Member of the Spiritual Advisory Board of Sri Sri Kamakhya Mahavidya Mandir
- Founder Member and Chairman (Honorary), Foundation for Development Integration (FDI), registered under the Societies Registration Act. XXI of 1860 as a non-profit organization
- Founder and Director (Honorary) of Foundation for History and Heritage Studies (A Research Organization, Reference Library and Archive), registered as a charitable trust under the Indian Trusts Act, 1882 at Guwahati, Assam (India)
- Life Member of North East India History Association (NEIHA) [Permanent Office: Department of History, North Eastern Hill University (NEHU), Shillong, Meghalaya, India]
- Life Member of Institute of Historical Studies, Louden Street, Kolkata, West Bengal, India. Website: www.ihskolkata.org
- Life Member of Pachimbanga Itihas Samsad, Woodburn Park, Kolkata, West Bengal, India. Website: www.paschimbangaitihassamsad.edu.in
- Research projects and initiatives undertaken as part of the vision, mission and objective of the Foundation for History and Heritage Studies.
- Project Lead in a project titled “In Search of the Bauls in their Homeland” jointly launched in collaboration with Foundation for History and Heritage Studies, Dr. Vikram Sampath (Sahitya Academy Award winner Author / Historian and musician), Founder-Director of Archive of Indian Music (AIM) and Mr. Ricky Kej (Grammy-Award winning internationally acclaimed musician, a RoundGlass Ambassador and National Youth Icon Award winner). The project aims to extensively explore and document the Baul tradition of Birbhum district (West Bengal). The field work for the project has been already completed.
- Project Lead in a project titled “Creation of a Digital Ethnographich Archive of the indigenous communities of North Eastern India” jointly initiated in collaboration by Foundation for History and Heritage Studies in collaboration with Dr. Vikram Sampath (Sahitya Academy Award winner Author / Historian and musician), Founder-Director of Archive of Indian Music (AIM) and Mr. Ricky Kej (Grammy-Award winning internationally acclaimed musician, a RoundGlass Ambassador and National Youth Icon Award winner). The ground work or base-lining phase of the project is in progress.
- Research and compilation of a 3 volume series on History, Heritage, Religious Tradition, Socio-cultural tradition; Landscape & Habitat and Tantric / Esoteric Tradition of the Kamakhya Temples’ Complex and other religious & sacred sites / temples’ complex of earstwhile Kamarupa. Volume 01 has been already published.
- Partner/collaborator in the project titled “MAINSTREAMING AGROBIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION AND UTILIZATION IN AGRICULTURAL SECTOR TO ENSURE ECOSYSTEM SERVICES AND REDUCE VULNERABILITY”, a UN Environment Implemented GEF (Global Environment Facility) project jointly executed in India by Indian Council for Agriculture Research (ICAR), Ministry of Agriculture, Govt. of India and Bioversity International (a member of the CGIAR Consortium).
- Collaborator in the DST sponsored National Seminar on “sustainable conservation strategies for biO-resources of north east india” organized by Arya Vidyapeeth College, Guwahati on Novemeber 6-7, 2015.
- Co-operating Centre Principal Investigator (CCPI) in “NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL TECHNOLOGY PROJECT (NATP) on Sustainable Management of Plant Biodiversity and Conservation of Agro-biodiversity (Plant Genetic Resources)” [in short NATP(PB) project] implemented by Indian Council for Agricultural Research(ICAR), Ministry of Agriculture, Govt. of India and executed as the Lead Institute by National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR), Pusa Campus, New Delhi.
- Co-investigator in the project titled “Studies on Plant Species Usage of the Tai-Ahom Community of Assam for their Bioactive Properties: A Bioinformatics Approach”. Project sponsored by: University Grants Commission (UGC).
Publications and Visual Documentation
- 4 Books, 3 Research Papers, 10 Reports, 12 General Articles, 15 Documentary Films
Other Activities / Initiatives Undertaken
- Documentation of plants used in religious ceremonies, rituals and festivals in the Kamakhya Temples’ Complex and other temples of erstwhile Kamarupa.
- Conceptualized and initiated a project for GIS Mapping of the Nilachala Hill (Kamakhya Temples’ Complex). The project has been undertaken in collaboration with North East Space Applications Centre (NESAC), Deptt. of Space, Govt. of India.
- Conceptualized and initiated a project to establish a Museum Complex inside the Kamakhya Temple Campus in 2001 (the same is now open for the public).
- Conceptualized and initiated the “Kameswari Rhythm and Dance Festival” (as an annual event to be organized at the Kamakhya Temples’ Complex) in 2007. Unfortunately, the annual festival continued from 2007 till 2011.
- Audio-Visual Documentation of the Musical Tradition of Kamakhya Temples’ Complex: Completed audio-visual documentation of the musical traditions, devotional songs, hymns, prayers, and rhythms of Kamakhya Temples’ Complex.
Research Presentations (for 2017-18)
- Delivered a ‘Public Lecture’ at the Assam State Museum on October 6, 2017.
- Made presentation in the inaugural session of South Asia Regional Conference of the International Society for Music Education (ISME) held in Bangalore, India during November 27 to 29, 2017. [ISME is an UNESCO organization]