Nirmal Kumar Bose – Leading Indian Anthropologist, Educationist and a Gandhian


Nirmal Kumar Bose

Quick Facts

  • Name: Nirmal Kumar Bose
  • Famous As: Anthropologist, Educationist, Sociologist, Social Worker
  • Nationality: Indian
  • Birth Date: 22 January 1901 (Kolkata, West Bengal)
  • Died On: 15 October 1972
  • Awards: Annandale Gold Medal (1948), Padma Shri (1966)


Early Life

Nirmal Kumar Bose attended different schools in three states around the country, which were – Bihar, Bengal, and Orissa. Passing his Matriculation in the year 1917, following Intermediate (Science) in the year 1919, Bachelor of Science with Honors in Geology in the year 1921 and Master of Science in Anthropology in the year 1924. He completed both Geology and Anthropology at the University of Calcutta. Being a ‘Gandhian’, he dropped out of the course of MSc program in Geology. Later he earned MSc degree in the course of Anthropology from the University of Calcutta (Bengal).

Career Life

On his Initial work stage, he worked in Juang of Orissa. It was a part of his master’s work at Calcutta University. Nirmal Kumar Bose developed a worldview of anthropology and culture by bringing out cultural anthropology. Publication of ‘Canons of Orissan Architecture’ in 1932, ‘Some aspects of caste in Bengal’ in 1958, ‘Calcutta 1964: A Social Survey’ in 1968 and ‘Anthropology and some Indian problems’ in 1972; showed his interest in art, architecture, sociology, and urbanism.

President of Anthropology & Archaeology of Indian Science Congress

Other important works include the study “Peasant Life in India” in 1961, based on a wide study with data collected from 311 out of 322 districts of India, Commenting – “on the whole independent of language as well as of physical types” about interpenetration in the material culture of rural India.

Apart from being involved in the political struggle and government offices, he was editor of the journal ‘Man in India’, from 1951 until his last days. As a Director, he visited the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Chicago for the survey. Also, he did the survey of the ASSAM Hill districts and the tribal regions of Arunachal Pradesh (1965).

In his sophisticated lifework, Nirmal Kumar Bose wrote more than 700 articles and thirty books (almost), both in Bengali and English, for the community and as a scholarly article. In spite of having a great & distinctive career and inspiring work in anthropology, he was an obvious part of the national movement for India’s Independence. He also went jail for nationalist activities for freedom struggle.

Nirmal Kumar Bose – Leading Indian Anthropologist (1901-1972)

A Robust Gandhian

One man to power his fiery soul was Gandhi. Being a close companion & secretary of Gandhi, he was immensely drawn towards his ideology. Watching them getting live persuaded him to do everything he did for mankind. Overwhelmed by ‘My Experiments with Truth’, an autobiography of Mahatma Gandhi, in which he tells about uncovering the facts of righteousness by experiencing life.

Some of his Major Works

1. Prathmik Adivasi Vimarsh (2017) 
by Nirmal Kumar Bose (and others)

2. The Structure of Hindu Society (1976)
by Nirmal Kumar Bose

3. Studies in Gandhism (1962)
by Nirmal Kumar Bose

4. Bharat Ka Gramin Jivan: Ekta avam Vividhta (Peasant Life in India) Hindi (2013)
by Nirmal Kumar Bose (and others)

5. Tribal Life in India (1971)
by Nirmal Kumar Bose

6. Excavations in Mayurbhanj (1948)
by Nirmal Kumar Bose

7. Gandhi Laxalu Ashayalu (2011)
by Nirmal Kumar Bose

8. Culture and Society in India (1977)
by Nirmal Kumar Bose

9. My Days with Gandhi (1988)
by Nirmal Kumar Bose


Nirmal Kumar Bose was awarded Annandale Gold Medal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal in 1948 for his work in Anthropology. Following that he was elected as the President of Archaeology Section of Indian Science Congress in 1949. And in 1955 he was elected as the Fellow of National Institute of Science of India. Apart from his career Achievements, he was always socially active, reaching out his country through words and so received Padma Shri in 1966.


Written By: Milan Bhardwaj


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