Actually, it was ‘Monja Monsori’. This was the old name of the first ever Christian village on Garo soil, the present village of Rajasimla. This place was told to be first inhabited by the Bodo tribe (or Katchari tribe). They finally left and abandoned the village as it was frequented by the man-eating tigers then. It seems, the place was left unoccupied and became a thick jungle.
Bodo, group of peoples speaking Tibeto-Burman languages in the northeastern Indian states of Assam and Meghalaya and in Bangladesh. The Bodo are the largest minority group in Assam and are concentrated in the northern areas of the Brahmaputra River valley. Most of them are settled farmers, though they formerly practiced shifting cultivation. The Bodo consist of a large number of tribes. Their western tribes include the Cūtiyā, Plains Kachārī, Rābhā, Gāro, Mech, Koch, Dhimāl, and Jaijong; the eastern tribes include the Dimasa (or Hill Kachārī), Galong (or Gallong), Hojai, Lalung, Tippera, and Moran. The Bodo were formerly dominant in Assam until about 1825. The total number of speakers of Bodo languages in India was estimated at about 2.2 million in the late 20th century.
Naming as ‘Monja Monsori’
The place was called by Bodos in their language as ‘Monja Monsori’. They called it so, because it was told that one Garo woman hid her brass gong underwater in one deep pool near that village, as she feared that it would be stolen by others. But to her dismay, it could not be traced when she checked it again with much effort after few months. Therefore, the Boro residents use to say ‘Monja’ (equivalent to Garo “Man·ja”) meaning, “Don’t get”. “Monsori” (equivalent to Garo “Muni donga”) meaning “there is some magic charm or spell”. Therefore, “Monja Monsori” in Boro means that “you won’t get anything if it is hidden under this pool; there is some magic char or spell”.1
‘Ran Mari’ was actually “Rowmari” the name of a village near “Monja Monsori” later renamed as “Raj Simina” or “Raja Simina” that finally came to be known as “Rajasimla”. The old footpath to the Watrepara and Dambora villages of Matchokgre hills passed by this place. Rev. & Mrs. Bronson came to Rajasimla, bringing two elephants given by Campbell, then Deputy Commissioner posted to Goalpara by British government, specifically for this journey to inaugurate this first ever Christian Church on Garo Soil.
It was actually “Raj Simina” or “Raja Simina”, meaning the border of the kingdom of Bijni Kings. Later on, this village came to be known as “Raja Simula” meaning ‘The King’s Simul Tree’, after the simul tree that stood there, because the Bijni kings planted those ‘simul trees’ or ‘silk-cotton trees’ Bombax malabaricum to mark their territory as their borders. This clarifies that beyond this place, the hills were not included in the territory of Bijni’s kingdom. Ultimately, in the later years after founding of the Christian Church the village was named as ‘RAJASIMLA’. A memorial structure of a stump of Simul tree is found at one of the sites today.
- Rev. Dr. W. R. Marak, “What Bronson Has Got To Retell”, in Celebrating the Glory of God’s Grace for 150 Years, Garo Baptist Church Sesquicentenary Souvenir (Published by: Souvenir Committee, ABDK Sesquicentenary 2017, p30). This source was traced by Rev. Jaseng D. Marak, the present Pastor of Rajasimla Baptist Church and requested by Rev. Dr. W. R. Marak, the present Pastor of Tura Baptist Church, West Garo Hills, Meghalaya.
- Interview with Livingstone M. Sangma, Deacon of Rajasimla Baptist Church, 9 May, 2013.