‘If it exists, I will find it.’
Paul Streumer studied in the gymnasium (the Dutch grammar school) with a heavy emphasis on western classical languages and history. He broadened his horizon—and practised his English—during travels overland to South Asia, which he funded by working as a hand in the metal industry. He then read philosophy at the University of Amsterdam, historical anthropology and rural economics at the University of Utrecht, and did postgraduate development studies at the University of Amsterdam, in that order. He obtained his PhD in Languages and Cultures of South Asia from the University of Leiden in 2003.
Paul taught sociology of development of South Asia and China at the University of Utrecht, was a consultant on knowledge management to several Dutch ministries, and a board member of the Friends of the Institute Kern, the Indological Department of the University of Leiden.
From 2003 till 2023 he was the chairman of the Stichting Buitenlandse Partner, and webmaster of its website. A self-help website for Dutch citizens with partners from outside the EU, it grew under his direction to over 690,000 posts by close to 60,000 members.
He works on the tribal history of India as an independent researcher.
To get the feeling of the culture, he regularly visits the country of the HOS and its villages in Jharkhand’s West Singhbhum District. For this book, Paul did intensive research spread over three decades in archives in London, Kolkata, Patna, and New Delhi. His research motto is: ‘If it exists, I will find it’.
Dr Paul, as he is known, loves diyeng, the HO rice beer.