Prafulla Kumar Nath.

A renowned scholar of Assam has filed a police complaint alleging that a professor at Gauhati University plagiarized a book edited by him.

Dr. Jyotirmay Jana, a former associate professor at Nowgong Girls’ College, in his complaint alleged that Dr. Prafulla Kumar Nath, who teaches Assamese at Gauhati University, was involved in piracy of intellectual property, copyright violation and plagiarism.

The retired college teacher in his complaint alleged that Nath copied a large portion of his edited book from ‘Bongal Bongalani Natak’, which was edited by Dr Jana and published in 2014.

“In his brazen act of plagiarism and copyright violation, Dr Nath has reproduced, unchanged and unmodified, the second section of my book (Text with footnotes). Apart from the first three pages and the first seven lines of the fourth page, all other pages of the first section of Dr. Nath’s book subsist, in the main, by drawing materials from what I had written in the first section of my book,” Dr. Jana alleged.

He said that while the first section of Dr. Nath’s book comprises, to a large extent, the substance of the first section of Jana’s book, the third section is characterized by a reproduction of the content in summarized form, frequently his words.

“The most ludicrous element in Dr. Nath’s verbatim plagiarism is noticeable from the second section of his book where he, while blindly reproducing the footnotes from my book, copied the citations also, exactly as they had been in my book. Importantly, all the references, including those in the footnotes, were prepared by me in accordance with some kind of methodology, e.g. while quoting a piece of information from p. 272 of Sarbeswar Rajguru’s book, “Asomiya Prasad”, published by Balgopal,” said the retired Nowgong Girls’ College teacher.

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Dr. Jana has also written to the vice-chancellor of Gauhati University requesting to take stern punitive measures against Dr. Nath.

“I recovered a rare nineteenth-century text titled “Bongal Bongalani Natak” by Rudraram Bordoloi. It was published in 1871 by Sibsagar Mission Press and had been inaccessible to most of the scholars, not to speak of common readers, for over a century. I painstakingly edited the book and it was published in December 2014 by Bhabani Books under the title “Rudraram Bordoloi’s Bongal Bongalani Natak: Mool Natak aru Alochana,” the letter read.

Dr. Jana said though the “Bongal Bongalani Natak”, edited by him was the recommended text of the Gauhati University, his publishers were complaining that its sale was being hampered by the clandestine sale of a fake product.

“Of late, it came to my notice that a slim book containing hugely plagiarized materials from my book was selling in the market. The editor and compiler of this plagiarized product is Dr Prafulla Kumar Nath of Gauhati University, and its publisher is Bookland, Panbazar, Guwahati. Apart from pirating my intellectual property and violating my copyright, Dr. Nath had sold the copyright of his product, which, in reality, is a distorted and plagiarized by-product of my book, to his publisher,” Dr. Jana said.

If one turns the first three or four pages of the book with a certain amount of minute observation, one is sure to notice the well-designed incongruity through which the whole exercise was carried on, he mentioned.

“As the cover shows, Bookland is the publisher of the work titled Bangal Bangalani Natak by Dr. Prafulla Kumar Nath. As there is no mention of Rudraram Bordoloi’s name on it, Dr. Nath can easily be supposed to be the author of the title.

“But, as the title page shows, Rudraram Bordoloi is the author of Bangal Bangalani Natak, Dr. Prafulla Kumar Nath is its editor and Bookland is the distributor of the product. There is no mention of the publisher’s name on this page.

“As the copyright page shows, Dr. Prafulla Kumar Nath is the editor and compiler of the farce Bangal Bangalani, and Bookland is its publisher. And, surprisingly indeed, in the line that immediately follows it, there is a clear declaration that the book is “Published by: Aditya Book Distributors.” The incongruity is well-intentioned and motivated, and calculatedly carried on by a racket of which Dr. Nath is a member,” he pointed out.

Despite repeated attempts, Dr. Nath was not available for comment.  The story will be updated if Dr. Nath responds.

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Mahesh Deka

Mahesh Deka is Senior Copy Editor of Northeast Now. He can be reached at: