Written more than hundred years ago, this book stands unrivalled in the literature on wild races of South-Eastern India. It was written as a daily account of interactions with the people of the area over a three-year period. Its authenticity is vouchsafed by the fact that the author made a minute study of the kind of life of these wild races by living and moving in their midst, conversing with them in their language.
The book has been divided into three parts. Part I deals with the Chittagong hill tracts inhabited by independent tribes known by the generic name of Kookies and Chakmas who invited trouble for themselves only when they committed murderous outrages on British subjects of the adjacent district of Tipperah now known as Tripura. Their economic life is marked by what is called 'joom cultivation' which means that the site of the village is changed as often as the spots fit for cultivation in the vicinity of their village are exhausted. Land once 'joomed' cannot be recultivated.
Part II of the book divides hill tribes into two types--the Khyoungtha (Sons of the river) who are of pure Arracanese origin and Toungtha (children of the hills) who are of mixed origin. The former, like the Burmese, are Buddhists and believe in the transmigration of soul. There is o such thing as caste among them.
Part III deals with hill tribes like the Lhoosai or Kookies and the Shendoos or Lakheyr.
Describing their marital life, the author says, the crime of infidelity amongst wives was almost unknown, so also harlots and courtesans were held in abhorrence amongst them and there was a free mixing of males and females before marriage.