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Encyclopedia > People of Assam
People of Assam
Population: 26,655,528 (2001)
Sex Ratio: 935/1000
Rural: 87%
Literacy rate: 63.3%
Major Religions: Hinduism (65%)
Islam (31%)
Christianity (4%)
Buddhism (<1%)
Sikhism (<1%)
Others (<1%)
Source: Census of India (2001)

The people of Assam inhabit a multi-ethnic, multi-linguistic and multi-religious society. They speak languages that belong to three main language groups: Austro-Asiatic, Tibeto-Burman and Indo-Aryan. The large number of ethnic and linguistic groups, the population composition and the peopling process in the state has led to it being called an "India in miniature".[1] Hinduism (Sanskrit: eternal law; in several modern Indian languages[1] also known as ), is a religion that originated on the Indian subcontinent. ... Islam (Arabic:  ) is a monotheistic religion based upon the Quran, its principal scripture, whose followers, known as Muslims (مسلم), believe God (Arabic: الله ) sent through revelations to Muhammad. ... The Nasrani Menorah, the symbol of the Knanaya community in South India. ... Buddhism is a dharmic, non-theistic religion, a philosophy, and a life-enhancing system of psychology. ... Sikhism (IPA: or ; Punjabi: , , IPA: ) is a religion that began in sixteenth century Northern India with the teachings of Nanak and nine successive human gurus. ... Assam   (Assamese: অসম Ôxôm) is a northeastern state of India with its capital at Dispur - now a part of Guwahati. ... Austro-Asiatic languages The Austro-Asiatic languages are a large language family of Southeast Asia, and also scattered throughout India and Bangladesh. ... The Tibeto-Burman linguistic subfamily of the proposed Sino-Tibetan language family is spoken in various central and south Asian countries: Myanmar (the Burmese language as well as the languages of minorities like the Karens and Kachins), Tibet (Tibetan language), northern Thailand (Lahu, Lisu, Akha languages), southern China, Nepal, Bhutan... The Indo-Aryan languages form a subgroup of the Indo-Iranian languages, thus belonging to the Indo-European family of languages. ...

Contents

Peopling of Assam

Geographically Assam contains fertile river valleys surrounded by mountains. It is accessible from Tibet in the north (Bum La, Tse La, Tunga), across the Patkai (Diphu, Kumjawng, Hpungan, Chaukam, Pangsau, More-Tamu) and Myanmar across the Arakan Yoma (An, Taungup). In the west both the Brahmaputra valley and the Barak valley open widely to the Gangetic plains. Over time, eleven major waves and streams[2] of ethnolinguistic migrations have been noted. Tibet (older spelling Thibet; Tibetan: བོད་; Wylie: Bod; pronounced in the Lhasa dialect; Chinese: ; pinyin: or Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: [the two names are used with different connotations; see Name section below]) is a region in Central Asia and the home of the Tibetan people. ... The Patkai or the Purvachal are the hills on Indias eastern border with Myanmar. ... The Chin Hills is a range of hills in northwestern Myanmar that cross over into Assam, India. ... The Brahmaputra is one of the major rivers of Asia. ... This article is about the river. ... Ethnolinguistics is a field of linguistic anthropology which studies the language of a particular ethnic group. ... This article is about non-human migration. ...


Pre-historic

The earliest settlers were the Mon-Khmer speakers (Khasi, Synteng) (1) people from Southeast Asia. These people settled in the foothills but were pushed up into the hills (Khasi/Garo Hills, Karbi Anglong, North Cachar Hills) by the second group of people that spoke Tibeto-Burmese (2) of the Eastern Himalayan, North Assam, Bodo and Naga groups of languages. These people are today identified as Monpas and Sherdukpens of Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh; Mishings and Deuris of Upper Assam; the Bodo-Kachari groups scattered all over Assam and the Nagas of Karbi Anglong and North Cachar Hills. The Mon-Khmer languages are the autochthonous languages of Indo-China. ... A Khasi man Khasi people The Khasi are a tribe in Meghalaya, India and in parts of Bangladesh, who call themselves Hynniew trep (which means the seven huts in the Khasi language). ... Location of Southeast Asia Southeast Asia is a subregion of Asia. ... The Khasi Hills are part of the Garo-Khasi range in Meghalaya, India. ... The Garo Hills are part of the Garo-Khasi range in Meghalaya, India. ... Karbi Anglong is an administrative district in the state of Assam in India. ... North Cachar Hills is an administrative district in the state of Assam in India. ... The Monpa (&#38376;&#24052;) are an ethnic group in the Peoples Republic of China, with a population of 50,000, centered in the districts of Tawang and West Kameng. ... Two Sherdukpen Couples The Sherdukpen are an ethnic group related to both the Aka and Monpa. ... Arunachal Pradesh   (Hindi: Aruṇācal PradeÅ›, Chinese: 藏南 Zangnan) is a state of India. ... This article is being considered for deletion in accordance with Wikipedias deletion policy. ... Bodo-Kachari is a generic term applied to a number of ethnic groups predominantly in Assam speaking Tibeto-Burman languages or claiming a common mythical ancestry. ... Naga people The Naga people of about two and half million are found in Nagaland, parts of Manipur, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Myanmar. ... Karbi Anglong is an administrative district in the state of Assam in India. ... North Cachar Hills is an administrative district in the state of Assam in India. ...


Proto-historic and ancient

The third major ingress into Assam are attributed to the Hindus (3) from North India into the Brahmaputra valley after 500 BC,[3] and around the same time, from the Gangetic Delta of Bengal into the Barak valley. This signaled the dawn of the proto-Historic period and the immigration continued into the Ancient period, at the end of which the first Muslims (4), captive soldiers of the defeated Bakhtiar Khilji (in 1205), settled in the Hajo area. Dark green region marks the approximate extent of northern India while the regions marked as light green lies within the sphere of north Indian influence. ... Events January 6 - Philip of Swabia becomes King of the Romans April 14 - Battle of Adrianople (1205) between Bulgars and Latins August 20 - Following certain news of Baldwin Is death, Henry of Flanders is crowned Emperor of the Latin Empire Births Walter IV of Brienne Wenceslaus I, King of...


Medieval

The next major immigrants were the Ahoms (5) when Sukaphaa lead his group into Assam via the Pangsau pass in the Patkai from South China, which marks the beginning of the medieval period in Assam. The Ahoms were followed by the same ethnic people, but who were Buddhists (6), a stream that continued well into the colonial period. They are today the Khamti, Khamyang, Aiton, Phake and Turung peoples settled in Upper Assam. The Ahoms established the Ahom kingdom (1228-1826) in parts of present-day Assam and ruled it for nearly 600 years. ... Sukaphaa (reign 1228-1268) is the first king of the Ahom kingdom in medieval Assam. ... The Patkai or the Purvachal are the hills on Indias eastern border with Myanmar. ... Khamyang, also known as Shyam is a tribal group found primarily in Tinsukia district of Assam as well as adjacent parts of Arunachal Pradesh. ... Phake, also known as Phakial, is a Tai-speaking tribal group living in Dibrugarh district and Tinsukia district of Assam, principally along the areas of Dihing river, as well as adjacent parts of Lohit and Changlang districts in Arunachal Pradesh. ...


Colonial and post-independence

In the beginning of the colonial period in Assam after the First Anglo-Burmese War and the Treaty of Yandaboo (1826), the political instability led to the immigration of Kachin and Kuki-Chin people (7) into the region across the Patkai and Arakan Yoma. They constitute the Singphos in Upper Assam, and the Kuki-Chin tribes in Karbi Anglong and North Cachar Hills. The beginning of tea plantations in Assam (1835) by the British led to settlements of Mundari speaking people (8) (Munda, Santal, Savara, Oraon, Gond etc. tribes). The beginning of British administration also led to a large influx of service holders and professionals from Bengal, Rajasthan, Nepal, etc. (9). To increase land productivity, the British encouraged Muslim peasants (10) from Mymensingh district of present-day Bangladesh to settle in Assam that began in 1901. The last major group to immigrate are the Bengali Hindu refugees (11) especially from the Sylhet district of Bangladesh following the Partition of India. The British Empire at its zenith in 1919. ... The First Anglo-Burmese War lasted from 1823 to 1826. ... The Treaty of Yandaboo between the British East India Company and the Burmese King of Ava, signed on February 24, 1826 marked the end of the First Burmese War. ... The oldest surviving photograph, Nicéphore Niépce, circa 1826 1826 (MDCCCXXVI) was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Tuesday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar). ... The Singpho tribe of Arunachal Pradesh inhabit in the district of Lohit and Changlang and the Kachin State of Myanmar. ... | Come and take it, slogan of the Texas Revolution 1835 was a common year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ... Mymensingh is one of the districts of Dhaka division, Bangladesh, and is bordered on the north by Meghalaya state of India and Garo Hills, on the south by Gazipur district, on the east by districts of Netrokona and Kishoreganj, and on the west by districts of Sherpur, Jamalpur and Tangail. ... 1901 (MCMI) was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Wednesday of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... Shah Jalal Mazar (Tomb) Sylhet (Sylheti: Silôţ; Bengali: সিলেট, Sileţ, formerly Srihôţţo) is a major city in north-eastern Bangladesh. ... Britains holdings on the Indian subcontinent were granted independence in 1947 and 1948, becoming four new independent states: India, Burma (now Myanmar), Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), and Pakistan (including East Pakistan, modern-day Bangladesh). ...


Inputs from these and other smaller groups have gone towards the building of a unique multi-ethnic socio-cultural situation.

A temporal model of Peopling of Assam based on ethnolinguistic groups[1]
Austro-Asiatic Sino-Tibetan Indo-Aryan
Period Tibeto-Burman Siamese-Chinese[4]
Pre-historic (1) Mon-Khmer
- Khasi
- Synteng
(2) Tibeto-Burman
- Eastern Himalayan
- North Assam
- Bodo-Kachari
- Naga
Proto-Historic (3) Hindus
Ancient (4) Muslims
Medieval (5) Ahom
(6) Later day (Buddhist) Tai
Colonial (8) Munda (7) Kuki-Chin, Kachin (9) Hindus
- Bengali
- Rajasthani traders
- Nepali
(10) Bengali Muslim peasants
Post Independence (11) Bengali Hindu Refugees

Austro-Asiatic languages The Austro-Asiatic languages are a large language family of Southeast Asia, and also scattered throughout India and Bangladesh. ... Sino-Tibetan languages in red. ... The Indo-Aryan languages form a subgroup of the Indo-Iranian languages, thus belonging to the Indo-European family of languages. ... The Tibeto-Burman linguistic subfamily of the proposed Sino-Tibetan language family is spoken in various central and south Asian countries: Myanmar (the Burmese language as well as the languages of minorities like the Karens and Kachins), Tibet (Tibetan language), northern Thailand (Lahu, Lisu, Akha languages), southern China, Nepal, Bhutan... The Mon-Khmer languages are the autochthonous languages of Indo-China. ... A Khasi man Khasi people The Khasi are a tribe in Meghalaya, India and in parts of Bangladesh, who call themselves Hynniew trep (which means the seven huts in the Khasi language). ... Bodo-Kachari is a generic term applied to a number of ethnic groups predominantly in Assam speaking Tibeto-Burman languages or claiming a common mythical ancestry. ... Naga people The Naga people of about two and half million are found in Nagaland, parts of Manipur, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Myanmar. ... The Ahoms established the Ahom kingdom (1228-1826) in parts of present-day Assam and ruled it for nearly 600 years. ... Munda Languages are spoken in north east India. ... Birthplace of Marwari Clans Marwaris are a group of Indo-Aryan people from the Marwar region of Rajasthan in India. ...

Notes

  1. ^ a b Taher 1993
  2. ^ Taher 1993. Waves are migrations at a particular point of time, whereas streams were continuous migrations over time, at albeit different rates
  3. ^ Guha 1984, p75. The Indo-Aryans brought with them a system of wet rice cultivation (sali), iron, plough and cattle. The later myths on Parashurama, Bashistha and Narakasura attest to this colonization.
  4. ^ Some of the languages listed here under Siamese-Chinese are no longer classified under Sino-Tibetan

Narakasura was the son of Goddess earth, (referred to as Dharthi), by Lord Vishnu himself during his Varaha (boar) avatar. ...

References

  • Taher, Mohammad (1993) The Peopling of Assam and contemporary social structure in Ahmad, Aijazuddin (ed) Social Structure and Regional Development, Rawat Publications, New Delhi
  • Guha, Amalendu (1984) Pre-Ahom Roots and the Medieval State in Assam: A Reply, Social Scientist, Vol 12, No. 6, pp70-77


State of Assam
Assam Topics | History | Politics | People of Assam
Capital Dispur
Districts Barpeta | Bongaigaon | Cachar | Darrang | Dhubri | Dibrugarh | Dhemaji | Golaghat | Goalpara | Hailakandi | Jorhat | Karbi Anglong | Kokrajhar | Kamrup | Karimganj | Lakhimpur | Marigaon | North Cachar Hills | Nagaon | Nalbari | Sibsagar | Sonitpur | Tinsukia
Major cities BarpetaBongaigaonDhubriDibrugarhDiphuGoalparaGuwahatiJorhatKarimganjNagaonNorth LakhimpurSibsagarSilcharTezpurTinsukia

 
 

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