Metamorphosis of a nature-lover, photographer doctor to a scholar, explorer and author
Dr Tilak Ranjan Bera was born into an educated, middleclass Bengali family where he was introduced to travelling in his childhood. Life for him was very normal since his younger days playing football, cricket, table tennis and reading the newspaper; the last one being a very important part of his daily life. By the time he completed schooling, he had seen major parts of India, his father being a senior officer in the Railways and his family having an addiction for travelling.
As an adolescent Dr. Bera always loved to go outdoors and explore. Along with fulfilling a rigorous routine of medical studies, he developed a parallel passion of wildlife photography and trekking, nurturing his love for nature.
Life as a doctor has been quite successful taking him to places and meeting new faces. As a defence doctor in the Navy, he was posted in the remotest areas of India. During this period he came across myriad archaeological marvels, indigenous stone-age tribes, ancient artefacts, geological puzzles, genetic identities, evidences of mythological events and most importantly, traces of unconvincing historical records. A strong desire to know about our past made him explore further, leaving him with nothing but unanswered questions, puzzles and the inaccurate history of India which we all have learned.
Dr. Bera unlearned and explored with a new mission to deal with the unexplained, never-thought-of possibilities. He says “Ancient prehistoric puzzles need to be solved, explained and interpreted with tools like anthropology, genetics, animal symbols, glacial movements, human migration and much more, to come to a possible understanding”. He claims that comprehending ancient Indian history cannot be complete unless we study within-India and out-of-India movement of anatomical modern humans on a macro level. He says, “Geological events like glacial maximum need a serious consideration while researching early human migration.”
The midlife crisis had set in when he wanted to replace the scalpel with a pen. The explorer in him wanted to pen down his experiences and explorations. Never- thought-of concepts and notions triggered him to travel more, write more and publish more.
“I find the Himalayas fascinating and larger than life,” he often says. Dr Bera’s researches are mostly based in India, which played a pivotal role in the history of anatomical modern humans: genetically, anthropologically, ethnically, culturally and intellectually. He says, “Ancient Indians interacted with other global ancient fraternities. Majority of this migration occurred through trans-Himalayan routes. Understanding the geo-physiology of the Himalayas and finding the alignment of the ‘Uttarapath’ is of utmost importance to understand the migration paths leading to ethnic connectivity of the early human beings”.
His journeys, photographs and experiences are well-documented in his publication of more than a dozen books under his name.
Academic achievement and publishing background –
Dr. Tilak Ranjan Bera, a doctor by profession, was born in Kolkata, India. He developed a passion for exploring the remote corners of India while he still was a practicing doctor. Eventually he developed a serious interest in this and focused his attention in documenting the still available evidences to understand the chronology of the pre-historic events of India.
Dr. Bera, a recipient of National Scholarship from Govt. of India, went on to graduate from the Calcutta Medical College and did his post-graduation, MS in ophthalmology, from University of Mumbai. He joined the Indian Armed Forces in 1984 and took an early retirement in 2007 just to follow his passion of exploring the history of ancient India.
Dr. Bera visited many places in India that are still unexplored by the travellers and has maintained extensive records of these places as a photojournalist. He initially published some of his articles in travel magazines. Later on, he was so intrigued by the history of these beautiful yet neglected corners of India that he seriously started researching about their history and culture. While doing so he stumbled upon several long-standing puzzles of pre-historic India. In fact, while Dr. Bera was posted in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, he came across different tribes who are very different from one another in culture, language, food habits and practice a very primitive lifestyle. This encounter with these stone-age tribes got him seriously interested to find out how, when and from where they had reached the islands.
From his extensive and repeated visits to many such areas, Dr. Bera came across glaring anomalies that made him question our existing knowledge of Indian history in the pre-recorded period. His endeavor is to arrange the sequence of events of ancient India as best as possible taking several scientific factors and geological events into consideration.
- Anatomical modern humans from Africa, following their “out of Africa” movement reached India first, about 65,000 years back.
- India is one of the few countries where evidence of their continuous existence is recorded.
- Ancient Indian fraternities became quite refined in culture, developed perfect language and gradually went on to become technologically advanced.
- They interacted with other ancient world civilizations and trans-Himalayan migration played a significant role in this.
Finally, he also feels that —
- There is a need to establish the alignment of the ‘Uttarapath’, which served as the northern highway for such migrations.
- History of pre-recorded India needs to be more elaborately established.
For over a period of fifteen years now his passion and only mission in life is to find out what really happened in India during those times. He prefers doing this in a logical manner with a scientific approach using evidences – archeological, anthropological from natural history – that are still there for everyone to see. Available genetic data is also a very important source of information. In this, he invites all the scholars who are interested in these subjects to participate in a lively discussion to establish whether India was the most ancient civilization of the world.
Dr. Tilak Ranjan Bera has authored several books. ‘Ladakh: A Glimpse of the Roof of the World’; ‘Goa: A Journey and Reminiscence’; ‘Andaman Islands: In Wonderland’, ‘Nicobar Islands: In Nature’s Kingdom’; ‘Andaman and Nicobar: The Mysterious Bay Islands of India’ and ‘A Journey through Nicobars’ are his most popular books widely appreciated by travellers, researchers and critics. A keen observer, his books contain information on all aspects of these regions including their natural, cultural and human wealth. His language is lucid, his presentation is unique and meticulous. The exclusive and breath-taking photographs make his books a collector’s choice. The most recently published book is on northeast India, namely, “Exploring Northeast : The Seven Pristine Pearls of India”. This is, perhaps, the only book where all the seven northeastern states have been discussed and described covering various aspects.
In recognition of his work, he has been awarded the Fulbright-Nehru Fellowship by the United States- India Educational Foundation as well as a Senior Research Fellowship by the Government of India. He was an associate at Yale University, Connecticut, USA, during his Fulbright fellowship.
He has fourteen published books under his name and one more is in the making. For details of his books please refer to the Publication section.
Interested readers may contact firstname.lastname@example.org regarding availability of his books.