Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Assam's History - A journey from 200BC till now

About Assam's Glorious Past

An ideal meeting ground for diverse races, Assam gave shelter to streams of human waves carrying with them district cultures and trends of civilization.Austro-Asiatics, Negritos, Dravidians, Alpines, Indo -Mongoloids, Tibeto-Burmese and Aryans penetrated into Assam through different routes and contributed in their own way towards the unique fusion of a new community which came to be known in later history as--- the Assamese.

The migration of different human races to the ancient land of Assam began two hundreds years before the birth of Christ. The Karbis, being the descendents of Austric race, are like the Columbus of Assam. The Khasis, Jayantias, Kukies, Lusais(Mizo) are all from this race. The Kirats, being migrants from the western part of China, are from the Mongoloid race who speak Sino-Tibetan language. Bodo, Garo, Rabha, Deuries, Misings, Morans, Sutias, Dimasas and Koches(Rajbongshi), Lalung, Hajong, are also from the same race. The assimilation started as both the races co-existed in the same geographical area. This is the background where the historic assimilation of Assamese nation-building process took place. Then the Kaibartas and Banias from Drabirian race migrated from the coast of Mediterranean came into assimilation more or less.

The name of this geographic area was Pragjyotishpur in the 4th - 5th centuries. King Mahiranga (Danaba) from the Mongoloid race was the first monarch of Pragjyotishpur. King Hatak(asur), Sambar(asur), Rambh(asur), Ghatak(asur) and King Narak(asur) reigned serially in the throne of Pragjyotishpur as the descendent of Mahiranga Danab. On the other hand the Aryans from Cocasian race migrated through the Gangetic Plain in the 1st century to the land of Pragjyotishpur. The local king amongst the Mongolian majority society rehabilitated the Aryans, being the carrier of comparatively advanced religion and language-culture. In the presence of these people, the process of assimilation started long before the birth of Christ that has achieved a new acceleration. Narak(asur), the first monarch who was converted to Hindu religion, constructed the first temple and city at Kamakhya. As the king and the royal dynasty were converted to Hindu religion of the Aryans , the caste division also germinated in the tribal society of that time.

Middle Age The king and the Royal dynasty on one side formed a royal class with the Brahmin priest rehabilitated by them and on the other side the general people comprising the agri-slave, lower strata of the royal house formed the peasantry. After this stratification the first king of Barman dynasty reigned at Pragjyotishpur from 350 A.D to 380 A.D.

During this period, the name of Pragjyotishpur became Kamrup. Religious communalism penetrated to Kamrup in the last part of the reign of Salastambha dynasty (650 AD to 790 AD) and Pal dynasty (up to 1142 AD) after of the reign the Bhaskar Barman, the most powerful and the last king of Barman dynasty (he ruled till 650 AD). Thus religious communalism took firm roots in Assam (the then Kamrup) which infiltrated along with the migration of Brahmin priests to Assam.

The Hindu religion was divided into different branches like Sakta, Saiba, Baishnaba during the time of the Indian king Chandra Gupta Maurya.

In 1228 A.D, Tai speaker Sao Lung Sukapha of Mongolian race stepped on this land. During those period Kamrup was divided into four distinct zones such as Kam-peeth, Soumar-peeth, Ratna-peeth, and Swarna-peeth. Every zone was further divided into separate independent states under the rule of more than one tribal king. Sukapha established a powerful united feudal state through his broad strategy of "establishing one state by unifying seven(?) states" within Kamrup. Since then, Kamrup became to be known as Asom. The presence of the Tais has done the irregular process of social assimilation more forceful in between the migrant races such as Austrics, Mongoloids, Drabirs and Caucasians.

The relation and the synthesis among the different tribes, as being isolated before, were developed with the pace of the development of agriculture and communication system under the patronage of modern administration and military structure of Tai-Ahoms. Thus Assamese became the link language amongst the peoples who speak different dialects.

At the same time, a handful of rich class of businessmen and merchants developed. This brought about the development of society to a certain stage during the six hundred years of Ahom rule. On the other hand, at the Kam-peeth and Ratna-peeth a series of invasion took place under the commands of Muhammad Ghauri, Muhammad Bin-Bakhtier, Giasuddin, Nasirudin and Tughril Khan prior to the arrival of the Tais. Kamrup was still capable of keeping its sovereignty invincible. The Muslim captives of the war who were compelled to stay here after the wars have been assimilated into Assamese society. Under the leadership of Ahom administration, the sovereignty of Assam was preserved resisting the invasion of Asia-victor the Mugals for seventeen times with the help of different tribes of Assam.

During the time of Ahom administration, the Sikh religious priest Tegbahadur and the Muslim religious scholar Azan Fakir came to Assam and Srimanta Sankardeva, the preceptor of puritan Hinduism, was born in Assam. As the religious preceptors started the act of publicity of their religions, the language of royal house spread amongst the subjects. Again, the practice of upkeeping the history (Buranji) and the patronage from the royal house have made the language and literature richer.
During this period the religious communalism became strong enough inside classified society which was planted long before. However, till the time of His Highness Pratap Chadra Singh, the tribal system of royal administration was prevalent. But the tribal traditions became eroded due to the imposition of land surveying, population census, the introduction of PAIK system which crushed the tribal demography, the commencement of more developed feudal system and lastly the import and rehabilitation of Hindu religious Brahman-priest from India.
The contradiction between the ruling class consisting of tehe King, the royal family, the royal officers from the ministers to the Chamuas and the general peasantry comprising of Paike, Slave, House-man and war prisoners became intensified. Thereafter, the conflicts of the general feudal peasantry with the ruling class reflected through the Moamaria rebellion (1769-1826) in the form of religious communalism became intensified. The Ahom administrative system was crushed due to the conflict between the ruler and the subjects.

Again, the assimilated social life was isolated. The massive loss of life occurred and these undecided peoples' uprising caused the famine that made the total social life of Assam very weak. On the one hand the Burmese arrived accepting the call of Sarbananda Singha and on the other hand the British came in response to the invitation of Gaurinath Singha. There were enormous loss of life and property due to the invasion of these two foreign powers one after another. The Burmese occupied Assam for four years from 1822 to1826 AD after she was invaded thrice in 1817,1819 and 1821. The Assamese society was in such an era of decay that all efforts, individual and collective, for the resistance against the Burmese could not produce any positive result.

The history of Assam is the history of a confluence of peoples from the east, west and the north; the confluence of the Indo-Aryan, Austro-Asiatic and Tibeto-Burman cultures. Politically, it has been invaded, but has never served as a vassal or a colony to an external power till the advent of the Burmese in 1821 and subsequently the British in 1826.

The history of Assam is known from many sources. The Ahom kingdom of medieval Assam maintained chronicles, called Buranjis, written in the Ahom and the Assamese languages. History of ancient Assam comes from rock inscriptions and the many copper plates and royal grants the Kamarupa kings issued during their reign. Protohistory is reconstructed from folklore, epics like Mahabharata, and two medieval texts compiled in the Assam region—the Kalika Purana and the Yogini Tantra.

Paleolithic cultures: The earliest inhabitants of the region are assigned to the Middle Pleistocene period (781,000 to 126,000 years ago) in the Rongram valley of Garo Hills. The Paleolithic sites, which used handaxe-cleaver tools, have affinities to the Abbevillio-Acheulean culture. Other Paleolithic sites include those in the Daphabum area of Lohit district in Arunachal Pradesh which used stone tools from metamorphic rocks. The cave-based Paleolithic sites at Khangkhui in Ukhrul, Manipur, is placed in the Late Pleistocene period.
There exists evidence of a microlithic culture in the Rongram Valley of Garo Hills that lie between the neolithic layers and virgin soil. The microliths here were made of dolerite, unlike those from the rest of India. Shreds of crude hand-made pottery indicate that the microlithic people were hunters and food-gatherers.
Neolithic cultures: Early Neolithic cultures based on the unifacially flaked hand-axe in the Garo hills have developed in line with the Hoabinhian culture, and it is conjectured that this region was the contact point for the Indian and the Southeast Asian cultures.
The Late neolithic cultures have affinities with the spread of the Mon Khmer speaking people from Malaysia and the Ayeyarwady valley and late neolithic developments in South China. Since these cultures have been dated to 4500-4000 BCE, the Assam sites are dated to approximate that period.
These neolithic sites, though widely spread, are concentrated in the hills and high grounds, due possibly to the floods. These cultures performed shifting cultivation called jhum, which is still practiced by some communities in the region. Some typical sites are Daojali Hading in Nort Cachar hills, Sarutaru in Kamrup district and Selbagiri in the Garo Hills.
Metal age: There exists no archaeological evidence of Copper-Bronze or Iron age culture in the region. This might seem as an impossibility given that corresponding cultures have been discovered in Bengal as well as Southeast Asia. It can only be conjectured that metal age sites in the region exist but have not yet been discovered.

Megalithic cultures: Though the metal age seems to be missing in Assam, the Iron Age Megalithic culture of South India finds an echo in the rich megalithic culture in the region, which begins to appear earlier than the first millennium BCE, and which continues till today among the Khasi and the Naga people. The affinity is with Southeast Asia. The megalithic culture was the precursor of the fertility cult and the saktism and the vajrayana Buddhism that followed.

Mythological Assam
Protohistoric Assam is reconstructed from epics and literature from early times (Mahabharata, Kalika Purana, Yogini Tantra, etc.). The earliest political entity seems to have been led by a non-Aryan Danava dynasty with Mahiranga mentioned as the first king. This dynasty was removed by Narakasura. Naraka appears to be a generic name for many kings belonging to the Naraka dynasty. According to legend, the last of the Naraka kings was killed by Krishna and his son Bhagadatta took the throne. Bhagadatta is said to have participated in the Mahabharata war with an army of "chinas, kiratas and dwellers of the eastern sea", thereby indicating that his kingdom, Pragjyotisha, included part of Bangladesh. The last in the Naraka dynasty was a ruler named Suparua.

Ancient Assam

Major kingdoms of Assam


The historical account of Assam begins with the establishment of Pushya Varman's Varman dynasty in the 4th century in the Kamarupa kingdom, which marks the beginning of Ancient Assam. This dynasty was most likely of aboriginal origin, but drew its lineage from Narakasura. The kingdom reached its zenith under Bhaskarvarman in the 7th century. Xuanzang visited his court and left behind a significant account. Bhaskar Varman died without leaving behind an issue and the control of the country passed to Salasthamba, who established the Mlechchha dynasty. After the fall of the Mlechchha dynasty in the late 9th century, a new ruler, Brahmapala was elected, who established the Pala dynasty. The last Pala king was removed by the Gaur king, Ramapala, in 1110. But the two subsequent kings, Timgyadeva and Vaidyadeva, though established by the Gaur kings, ruled mostly as independents and issued grants under the old Kamarupa seals. The fall of subsequent kings and the rise of individual kingdoms in the 12th century in place of the Kamarupa kingdom marked the end of the Kamarupa kingdom and the period of Ancient Assam.

Medieval Assam

A typical octagonal Ahom coin issued by Suramphaa Rajeswar Singha (1751-1769) of the Ahom dynasty

The beginning of Medieval Assam is marked by the rise of the Khen dynasty of the Kamata kingdom, established by Prithu in the western part of the old Kamarupa Kingdom, and the beginning of attacks by the Turks of Bengal. The Kamata kingdom, named after the capital at Kamatapur, was frequently attacked by the rulers of Bengal, and Alauddin Hussain Shah finally removed the last Khen king in 1498. But Hussein Shah and subsequent rulers could not consolidate their rule in the Kamata kingdom, mainly due to the revolt by the Bhuyan chieftains and other local groups. In the 16th century Viswa Singha of the Koch tribe established the Koch dynasty in the Kamata kingdom. The Koch dynasty reached its peak under his sons, Nara Narayan and Chilarai.

In the eastern part of the old Kamarupa kingdom, the Kachari and the Chutiya kingdoms arose, with portions of the north bank of the Brahmaputra river controlled by the Bhuyan chieftains. In the tract between the Kachari and the Chutiya kingdoms, a Shan group, led by Sukaphaa, established the Ahom kingdom. The Ahom kingdom in the course of time expanded into the Chutiya kingdom to its north and pushed the Kachari kingdom further south. After the death of Nara Narayan of the Koch dynasty in the late 16th century, the Kamata kingdom broke into Koch Bihar in the west and Koch Hajo in the east. The rivalry between the two kingdoms resulted in the former allying with the Mughals and the latter with the Ahoms. Most of the 17th century saw the Ahom-Mughal conflicts, in which the Ahoms held the expansive Mughals at bay epitomized in the Battle of Saraighat of 1671, and which finally ended in 1682 with the defeat of the Mughals at Itakhuli—and the Ahom kingdom reached its westernmost boundary. Though the Ahom kingdom saw itself as the inheritor of the glory of the erstwhile Kamarupa kingdom and aspired to extend itself to the Karatoya river, it could never do so; though an Ahom general, Ton Kham under Swargadeo Suhungmung, reached the river once when he pursued a retreating invading army in the 16th century.

After the Ahom kingdom reached its zenith, problems within the kingdom arose in the 18th century, when it lost power briefly to rebels of the Moamoria rebellion. Though the Ahoms recaptured power, it was beset with problems, leading to the Burmese invasion of Assam in the early 19th century. With the defeat of the Burmese in the First Anglo-Burmese war and the subsequent Treaty of Yandaboo, control of Assam passed into the hands of the British, which marks the end of the Medieval period.

Colonial Assam

British annexation of Assam

After the Burmese occupied Assam, the British began their campaign against the Burmese. In 1824, lower Assam (originally Koch Hajo) was formally annexed. The following year the British defeated the Burmese in upper Assam leading to the Treaty of Yandaboo. In this war against the Burmese the Ahoms did not help the British. In March 1828, lower Assam was formally annexed. In the same year, the Kachari kingdom was annexed under the Doctrine of Lapse after the king Govinda Chandra was killed. In 1832, the Khasi king surrendered and the British increased their influence over the Jaintia ruler. In 1833, upper Assam became a British protectorate under the erstwhile ruler of the Ahom kingdom, Purandhar Singha, but in 1838 the region was formally annexed into the British empire. With the annexation of the Maran/Matak territory in the east in 1839, the annexation of Assam was complete.

Colonial rule

Bengal Presidency (1826-1873): Assam was included as a part of the Bengal Presidency. The annexation of upper Assam is attributed to the successful manufacture of tea in 1837, and the beginning of the Assam Company in 1839. Under the Wasteland Rules of 1838, it became nearly impossible for natives to start plantations. After the liberalization of the rules in 1854, there was a land rush. The Chinese staff that was imported earlier for the cultivation of tea left Assam in 1843, when tea plantations came to be tended by local labor solely, mainly by those belonging to the Kachari group. From 1859 central Indian labor was imported for the tea plantations. This labor, based on an unbreakable contract, led to a virtual slavery of this labor group. The conditions in which they were transported to Assam were so horrific that about 10% never survived the journey. The colonial government already had monopoly over the opium trade.
There were immediate protests and revolts against the British occupation. In 1828, two years after the Treaty of Yandaboo, Gomdhar Konwar rose in revolt against the British, but he was easily suppressed. In 1830 Dhananjoy Burhagohain, Piyali Phukan and Jiuram Medhi rose in revolt, and they were sentenced to death. In the Indian rebellion of 1857, the people of Assam offered resistance in the form of non-cooperation, and Maniram Dewan and Piyali Baruah were executed for their roles. In 1861 peasants of Nagaon gathered at Phulaguri for a raiz mel (peoples' assembly) to protest against taxes on betel-nut and paan. Lt. Singer, a British officer got into a fracas with the peasants and was killed, after which the protests were violently suppressed.

Chief Commissioner's Province (1874-1905): In 1874, the Assam region was separated from the Bengal Presidency, Sylhet was added to it and its status was upgraded to a Chief Commissioner's Province. The capital was at Shillong. The people of Sylhet protested the inclusion in Assam. Assamese, which was replaced by Bengali as the official language in 1837, was reinstated alongside Bengali. In 1889, oil was discovered at Digboi giving rise to an oil industry. In this period Nagaon witnessed starvation deaths, and there was a decrease in the indigenous population, which was more than adequately compensated by the immigrant labor. Colonialism was well entrenched, and the tea, oil and coal-mining industries were putting increasing pressure on the agricultural sector which was lagging behind.

The peasants, burdened under the opium monopoly and the usury by money lenders, rose again in revolt. Numerous raiz mels decided against paying the taxes. The protests culminated in a bayonet charge against the protesters at Patharughat in 1894. At least 15 were left dead and in the violent repression that followed villagers were tortured and their properties were destroyed or looted. In 1903, Assam Association was formed with Manik Chandra Baruah as the first secretary.

Eastern Bengal and Assam under Lt. Governor (1906-1912): Bengal was partitioned and East Bengal was added to the Chief Commissioner's Province. The new region, now ruled by a Lt. Governor, had its capital at Dhaka. This province had a 15-member legislative council in which Assam had two seats. The members for these seats were recommended (not elected) by rotating groups of public bodies.

The Partition of Bengal was strongly protested in Bengal, and the people of Assam were not happy either. The partition was finally annulled by a royal decree in 1911. The Swadeshi movement (1905-1908) from this period, went largely unfelt in Assam, though it stirred some, most notably Ambikagiri Raychoudhury.

Beginning 1905 peasants from East Bengal began settling down in the riverine tracts (char) of the Brahmaputra valley encouraged by the colonial government to increase agricultural production. Between 1905 and 1921, the immigrant population from East Bengal increased four folds. The immigration continued in post colonial times, giving rise to the Assam Agitation of 1979.

Assam Legislative Council (1912-1920): The administrative unit was reverted to a Chief Commissioner's Province (Assam plus Sylhet), with a Legislative Council added. The Council had 25 members, of which the Chief Commissioner and 13 nominated members formed the bulk. The other members were elected by local public bodies like municipalities, local boards, landholders, tea planters and Muslims.

As Assam got sucked into the Non-Cooperation Movement, the Assam Association slowly transformed itself into the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (with 5 seats in AICC) in 1920-21.

Dyarchy (1921-1937): Under the Government of India Act 1919 the Assam Legislative Council membership was increased to 53, of which 33 were elected by special constituencies. The powers of the Council were increased too; but in effect, the official group, consisting of the Europeans, the nominated members etc. had the most influence.

Assam Legislative Assembly (1937-1947): Under the Government of India Act 1935, the Council was expanded into an Assembly of 108 members, with even more powers. The period saw the sudden rise of Gopinath Bordoloi and Muhammed Saadulah and their tussle for power and influence.

Post-colonial Assam

In 1979, Assam flared into Assam Agitation (or Assam Movement) a popular movement against illegal immigration. The movement, led AASU and AAGSP, set an agitational program to compel the government to identify and expel illegal immigrants and prevent new immigration. The agitational programs were largely non-violent, but there were incidents of acute violence, like the Nellie Massacre. It ended in 1985 following the Assam Accord that was signed by the agitation leaders and the Government of India. The agitation leaders formed a political party, Asom Gana Parishad, which came to power in the state of Assam in the Assembly elections of 1985.


350-380 AD Pushya Varman establishes the Varman dynasty in Kamarupa
636 Xuanzang visits the court of Bhaskarvarman (594-650 AD) in Kamarupa.
650 Bhaskarvarman dies. End of Varman dynasty
655 Salasthamba establishes Mlechchha dynasty in Kamarupa.Among Salastambha dynasty rulers Shri Harshadeva (725-750 AD) acquitted himself as a good king. After the last king of this dynasty, Tyaga Singha (970-990),
c900 Brahmapala establishes Pala dynasty in Kamarupa
c1100 Jayapala, the last Pala king removed by Ramapala of Gaur Year Medieval Assam Contemporaneous events Date source
1185 Prithu establishes the Khen dynasty and the Kamata kingdom
1187 Birpal establishes Chutiya kingdom 13th century
1189 Chutia king Birpal established his rule at Sadia
(1206 &1226 AD) The first Mohammedan invasion of Kamrupa took place during the reign of Prithu who was killed in a battle with Illtutmish's son Nassiruddin in 1228.
1228 Sukaphaa enters Assam
1252 Sukaphaa establishes capital at Charaideo
During the second invasion by Ikhtiyaruddin Yuzbak or Tughril Khan, about 1257 AD, the king of Kamrupa Saindhya (1250-1270AD) transferred the capital 'Kamrup Nagar' to Kamatapur in the west. From then onwards, Kamata's ruler was called Kamateshwar. During the last part of 14th century, Arimatta was the ruler of Gaur (the northern region of former Kamatapur) who had his capital at Vaidyagar. And after the invasion of the Mughals in the 15th century many Muslims settled in this State and can be said to be the first Muslim settlers of this region.

1268 Sukafa died
1268-1281 - Suseupha's rule
1397-1407 - Sudangpha's rule
1497-1539- Suhungmung's reign is counted as one of the most memorable in 600 years of Ahom rule.He assumed the Hindu name Swarganarayan. He was popularly known as Dihingia Raja, because he shifted the Ahom capital to Bokota near Dihing river. He annexed the Chutia and the Kachari territories to the Ahom domains. He created a third class of Ministers: Borgohain, Buragohain and Borpatra Gohain. It was during his reign that the first ever census took place. The economic scenario of the State was also comprehensively surveyed. During his reign, the Mughals invaded thrice but they could not taste victory. This invasion taught Ahoms the use of gunpower, which was a deviation from the traditional system of warfare which comprised of bows, arrows and swords.
1539-1552--Suklengmung like Aurangjeb conspired to kill his father and became king, shifted the capital to Gargoan from Bokota which is why he is called 'Gargainya Raja'. Plenty of battles between Ahoms and the Koch took place during his reign. Under his supervision 'Gargaon Pukhuri', a pond, was dug and a road named 'Naga Ali' was constructed.

1603--Susengpha, a descendant of Suklengmung, ascended the throne in 1603. He took on the name of Pratap Singha. It was during his time that war between Ahoms and Mughals reached its peak and needless to say that Pratap Singha acquitted himself with full honours and was able to extend the boundaries of the state. He created a new post of Barphukan to look after the administration of the areas beyond Kaliabor. The three classes of ministers Buragohain, Borgohain and Borpatra Gohain had their well defined areas to rule and those part of the kingdom which did not fall under their jurisdiction were brought under the control of Barbaruah, a new post created during the rule of Pratap Singha. Momai Tamuli Barbaruah was the first official to hold this post. Pratap Singha tried his level best to upgrade the life of citizens. He also introduced Pyke (common rayat) system. Under this system, people were divided into groups of 1000, 100 and 20, and over groups- officials Hazarika, Saikia and Bora were elected. Creation of other posts like Rohiyal Barua, Jagiyal Gohain, Kajalimukhiya Gohain is also credited to him. For his organizational capability, political acumen and his great wisdom, he is also known as Buddhi Swarganarayan.
Supungmung or Chakradhvaj Singha (1663- 1669) was an independent minded king who prepared himself for another fight against the Mughals. He enlisted the help of Lachit Barphukan, who was the son of Momai Tamuli Barbaruah. In August 1667, under the excellent leadership of Lachit Barphukan, the Ahoms were able to get back Guwahati and Pandu. Hearing the news of this defeat Aurangzeb sent a huge force with Ramsingh to attack the Ahom kingdom once again. A fierce battle took place between the Ahoms and the Mughals in 1671 at Saraighat. As expected, the Mughals suffered an ignominious defeat. Consequently in the west the Manas river became the demarcation line between the Ahom and Mughal territories and remained so until the British occupation in 1826 AD.
Supatpha or Gadapani who assumed the Hindu name Gadadhar Singha (1681-1696), waged a war against the Mughals which is also famously known as Itakhulir Rann (war of Itakhuli) and captured back Guwahati from the Mughals. He was a Shaivite and to help propagate this form of Hindu worship he built 'Umananda Devaloi' at Guwahati. He also built the 'Dhodar Ali', a road near Golaghat . Gadadhar Singha's eldest son Lai succeeded him. He took on the Hindu name of Rudra Singha (1696-1714) and the Ahom name Sukrumpha. In the honour of the memory of his mother Joymoti, he dug the Joysagar tank. Other architectural monuments and structures accredited to him are Kareng Ghar, stone bridge built over the Namdang river, Kharikatia Ali, Metaka Ali. Rudra Singha gave royal patronage to 'Bihu'. He also created Khels or positions like Khaund, Kotoki, Bairagi, Doloi, Kakoti.
In (1714-1744) Sutanpha, son of Rudra Singha took on the Hindu name of Siva Singha. He became a Shakti worshipper, as he was initiated in the tenets of the Shakti cult by Krishnaram Bhattacharya, who was later on installed as head priest of Kamakhya temple which is situated atop the Nilachal Hills. Siva Singha was a weak person who relied heavily on astrologers which explains the fact that when an astrologer told him that he was in danger of being dethroned, he installed his Queen Phuleswari, who assumed the name Pramateswari (one of the name Durga), as Bor Raj, or chief king, thus engineering the beginning of the end of the Ahom Dynasty. Phuleswari was an orthodox Shakti worshiper who persecuted the Moamoria Mahantas by forcibly making them to take prasad of Durga worship and anointing their foreheads with sacrificial blood. This resulted in the famous Moamoria rebellion. After Phuleswari died in 1731, Siva Singha married her sister Drupadi or Deopadi and made her the next Bor Raja, with the name Ambika. She was the one who constructed the Shiva Dol (temple) at Sibsagar, which is the highest Shiva temple in Assam. It was during her reign that 'Dhai Ali' was constructed at Sibsagar. Gauri Sagar tank and Sibsagar tank were dug at the instruction of 'Bor Raja' Phuleswari and Ambika respectively

15th century

1449 Srimanta Sankardev is born
1490 First Ahom-Kachari battle
1498 Hussein Shah of Gaur removes the last Khen ruler of Kamata kingdom

16th century

1515 Vishwa Singha establishes Koch political power and Koch dynasty
1522 Chutiya kingdom annexed to Ahom Kingdom under Suhungmung
1527 Nusrat Shah's invasion, the first Muslim invasion of the Ahom kingdom, ends in failure.
1532 Turbak attacks Ahom Kingdom, the first commander to enjoy some success.
1533 Turbak defeated and killed. Ahoms pursue Gaur army to Karatoya river.
1536 Ahoms destroy Dimapur, the capital of the Kachari kingdom
1540 Nara Narayan succeeds his father to the throne of Kamata kingdom
1563 Chilarai occupies Ahom capital Garhgaon, end with Koch-Ahom treaty.
1568 Srimanta Sankardev dies
1581 Nara Narayana divides Kamata kingdom into Koch Bihar and Koch Hajo (to be governed by Raghudev).
1587 Naranarayana of Koch dynasty dies.
1588 Raghudev, son of Chilarai and ruler of Koch Hajo declares independence.

17th century

1609 Momai Tamuli Borbarua restructures Paik system in Ahom kingdom.
1609 Koch Bihar becomes a Mughal vassal
1613 Koch Hajo is annexed by the Mughal Empire
1615 Ahom-Mughal conflicts begin
1637 Bali Narayan dies of natural causes, and Koch rebellion again Mughals collapse
1639 Treaty of Asurar Ali signed between the Ahom kingdom and Mughal Empire
1662 Mir Jumla occupies Garhgaon, the Ahom capital.
1663 After Treaty of Ghilajharighat Mir Jumla returns to Dhaka, dies on the way.
1671 Ahoms win Battle of Saraighat
1679 Laluk-sola Borphukan deserts Guwahati
1681 Gadadhar Singha becomes Ahom swargadeo
1682 Ahoms win battle at Itakhuli. End of Ahom-Mughal conflicts with Ahom win

18th century

1714 Rudra Singha dies, and with him dies the Kachari, Jaintia etc. grand alliance to remove the Mughals from Bengal
1769 First phase of Moamoria rebellion, Ahom capital falls but recaptured in few months
1783 Ahom capital Rangpur fell the second time to Moamoria rebellion. Rebel leaders strike coins in their names.
1794 Captain Thomas Welsh restores Rangpur to Ahom king from Moamora rebels.

19th century

1817 The first Burmese invasion of Assam
1826 Treaty of Yandaboo signed
1832: Division of Assam into the districts of Goalpara, Kamrup, Darrang, Nagaon
1832:Kochaari Kingdom consisting of current districts of Karbi Anglong, Cachar and others annexed to Assam, made part of Nagaon district
1833: Upper Assam made an independent kingdom and Purandar Xingha made king 1834: Independent Kochaari Kingdom reestablished
1835: Tea Plantation Inauagarated
1835: Jaintia Hills were annexed to Assam
1836: Assamese language was replaced by Bengal as the official language of Assam
1838: Upper Assam again annexed by the British, districts of Sibsagar and Lakhimpur established
1842: Matak Kingdom around Xodiyaa annexed by British into Assam
1850: Kochaari Kingdom re-annexed to Assam
1861 Phulaguri Dhawa, the first peasant uprising against British rule was repressed
1866: Angaami Naga Kingdom annexed to Assam, made a district
1869: Garo Kingdom annexed to Assam, made a district
1873: Assamese was once again made the official language of Assam after a period of 37 years
1874: Assam separated from Bengal and made into a separate province
1884: Jagannath Baruah formed the first socio cultural organisation and named it Sarbajanik Sabha at Jorhat.
1886: Assam's participation in the national wave dates back to 1886 at the second session of Indian National Congress held at Calcutta, where Debi Chandra Baruah, Gopinath Bordoloi, Kamini Kumar Chandra, Bipin Chandra Pal, Satyanath Baruah, Joy Gobindasom represented Assam.
1894 Patharughat, peasant uprising against British taxes left about 140 peasants dead Year Post Indian Independence Assam Contemporaneous events Date source
1898: Lushaai Kingdom annexed by British, made a district of Assam

20th Century

1905-12: Assam made a part of the new province of East Bengal and Assam under a lieutenant governor
1912: Division of Bengal ends, Assam made a part of Bengal again; Assam is overseen by a chief commissioner
The year 1912 is a memorable year is the annals of Assam history because of three things, which were: (1) Gandhiji's visit to Assam, (2) Strikes by Assam Bengal train service and steamer companies, which were the cause of widespread unrest and (3) After a period of 63 years i.e., in 1912, Assam passed into the hands of a Governor, thus paving the way for a dual administration, which lasted till 1936.
1916 the Assam Chatra Sanmilan formed
1917: Kuki Naga Kingdom annexed to the District of Nagaland in Assam
1917 Assam Sahitya Sabha(formerly known as Sadou Asom Sahitya Sanmilani) was formed.
1919: Assam made a separate province again, Sylleht made a district of Assam
1919: Assam Association formed by Manik Chandra Baruah, joined the Assam branch of Indian National Congress.
1921: Governorship is created in Assam
1947: District of Sylleht votes to join East Pakistan
1948: University established in Guwahati
1948: North East Frontier Agency was separated from Assam, for security reasons
1951: Dewangiri in Kamrup ceded to Bhutan
1962: Indo-China war. Assam and the North-East faced the brunt of the war. It was a big psychological blow to the people of the North-East and it sent a strong signal to prospective investors that Assam is not a safe place for investment. The 1962 war also perhaps changed the perspective of the national policy makers vis-a-vis Assam from development to defence. Soon thereafter the Indo-Pak war of 1965 broke out. Once again Assam had to go through the trauma of the war. The riverine route from Assam to the outside world through the then East Pakistan were sealed as a result of the war. The next severe blow came in 1971 when Assam not only had to suffer the war-time tension and inconveniences of the Bangladesh liberation war but also had to give shelter to millions of refugees from erstwhile East-Pakistan for more than a year.
1963: District of Nagaland separated from Assam and made into a state
1972: NEFA, Garo and Khaasiyaa Hills, Mizoram, Manipur, Tripura separated from Assam.Gaaro and Khaasiyaa Hills become the state of Meghalaya(21st Jan. 1972), Manipur and Tripura also become a state.
1974: Assam shifts its capital from Shillong to Guwahati.
1979 Assam Agitation begins
1985 Assam Accord signed. End of Assam Agitation
1987 NEFA becomes the state of Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram becomes a state.
1989-91 President's Rule imposed in assam and Operation Bajrang and Operation Rhino is carried out by Indian Army to flush out ULFA terrorists.
1991-Till now President's Rule was revoked in 1991 and normalcy slowly returns through election of new governments under Hiteshwar Saikia, Prafulla Mahanta and two consecutive terms by Tarun Gogoi.


History of the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee


Background and Formation

The birth of the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee can be traced to a historical past. Just as the mother organisation, the Indian National Congress have its roots in the freedom movement, the formation of the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee was an outcome of nationalist zeal against British rule.

British occupation of Assam after the Treaty of Yandaboo in 1826 exposed its people to the sinister machinations of British imperialist designs. The winds of dissension against alien dominance which was beginning to stir the people of India in the early 19th century began to have its impact in Assam as well. Assam was an active participant in the 1857 `War of Independence' when personalities like Maniram Dewan and Piyali Barua were sentenced to death for anit-British rebellion. Gradually the voice of dissent against British rule found expression in the writings of several prominent personalities of the time arousing feelings of nationalism. Several socio-cultural organisatons were formed to highlight the problems and aspirations of the common people. But a real political organisation in the true sense of the term was formed in 1884 by Jagannath Baruah in Jorhat called the Jorhat Sarbajanik Sabha. The Sabha was organised `for the purpose of representing the wishes and aspirations of the people to the government…' .

The formation of the Indian National Congress in 1885 marked the beginning of a new era in the freedom movement of India. In Assam the intelligentsia were moved by the ideals of the Indian National Congress and a telegram was sent to the first session of the Congress held in Bombay `welcoming the idea of Congress and wishing its success'. Thereafter many organisations began to send their representatives to the various sessions of the Congress. In the second session of the Congress held in Calcutta in 1886, the Indian National Congress was able to attract grassroot level representatives like Gopinath Bordoloi and Debi Charan Baruah of Upper Assam Association, Kali Kanta Barkakoti of Shillong Association, Satyanath Borah of Nowgong Ryot Association, Bipin Chandra Pal of Sylhet Association and Joy Gobinda Shome and Kamini Kumar Chanda of Habiganj People's Association.

The need of the hour was however a broad based provincial forum to apprise the Government of the wishes and aspirations of the people and urge for reforms in administration for people's welfare. This led to the preparation of groundwork for the formation of the Assam Association in 1903 and subsequently in 1905 , in its first session held in Dibrugarh it formally elected Raja Prabhat Chandra Baruah as its President , Jagannath Baruah as Vice-President and Manik Chandra Baruah as General Secretary. The Association served as the mouth piece of the people of Assam in presenting to the authorities their 'needs and grievances, hopes and aspirations'. The Assam Association played a major role in maintaining the unity and integrity of Assam at the time of the Partition of Bengal in 1905 and its efforts led to the declaration of Assam as a major province equal in status with other provinces of India. Gradually the Assam Association got actively involved with the programmes initiated by the Indian National Congress like the Non-Co-operation Movement. Finally its members felt that Association should identify itself with the aims and ideals of the Indian National Congress and change its provincial outlook in order to serve the larger interest of the country's ultimate goal in the struggle for freedom. A discussion to this effect took place at a meeting of the association held at Jorhat on 18th April, 1921 with Chobilal Upadhyay in the chair.In a subsequent resolution , at the initiative of leaders like Chobilal Upadhyay , Nabin Chandra Bordoloi, Krishna Kanta Bhattacharya decided to merge itself in the newly formed Assam Provincial Congress Committee(APCC) in 1921 which was affiliated to the Indian National Congress.By virtue of being the President of the meeting which initiated the formation of the APCC, Chobilal Upadhyay is regarded as the first President of the APCC.

Subsequently, an ad hoc committee of Assam Provincial Congress Committee (APCC) was formed in June 1921,with its headquarter at Guwahati and Kuladhar Chaliha as its president. Later Tarun Ram Phookan became the president and the reconstituted APCC elected Phookan, Gopinath Bordoloi, Bimala Prasad Chaliha, Chandranath Sarmah, Krishna Nath Sarmah and Kanak Chandra Sarmah as members of the All India Congress Committee. Under the initiative of the new committee Gandhiji was invited to Assam in 1921 to propagate the message of non-co-operation amongst the masses. His visit gave tremendous impetus to the congress workers to carry out the non-cooperation movement and implement the principles of Swadeshi. In 1926, the 41st All India Congress Committee session was hosted by the Assam provincial Congress Committee at Pandu, Guwahati which was presided over by Srinivas Iyenger. A galaxy of front ranking national leaders like Motilal Nehru, Sardar Ballav Bhai Patel, Dr.Rajendra Prasad, Madan Maohan Malaviya, Muhammad Ali, Shaukat Ali, Sarojini Naidu, S.Satyamurthy, Abul Kalam Azad, et al, attended the session.

In subsequent years leaders like Bishnuram Medhi, Siddhinath Sarmah, Maulana Tayebullah, Ambikagiri Raichoudhury and a host of prominent members took the initiative to implement the plans and programmes of the Indian National Congress to further the cause of the freedom movement. The first officially elected President of the Assam Provincial Congress Committee was Bishnuram Medhi who was elected in 1930 for a period of 9 years. Prior to independence weathering several ups and downs the Congress party finally secured a major victory in the general elections held in 1946 and Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi became the first Premier of the Assam Province. In 1946 when the Cabinet Mission proposed to merge Assam and the entire North East into `C' group with east Bengal, the Congress party under Bordoloi fought tooth and nail the Mission's proposal, succeeding in establishing Assam's separate identity and inclusion in India.

After independence the Congress party continued to hold power under the leadership of Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi. The contributions of the Congress leadership of Assam in the process of nation building starting from the conceptual exercises to final implementation of plans and policies are far too many to be elaborated here. But it can be stated in no uncertain terms that the wheels of development in the state started rolling as a result of the able leadership of the Congress.

Subsequently the Assam Provincial Congress Committee came to be called as Assam Pradesh Congress Committee.

Historical Profile of Assam Legislative Assembly

The Assam Legislative Assembly came into being on the day of its first sitting on April 7, 1937 in the Assembly Chamber at Shillong, the erstwhile Capital of the composite State of Assam.
Situated in the North East of the Country, Assam has had a glorious history of her own. Popularly known as the ethnological museum of India, Assam has been described as Mini-India, having a rich cultural heritage with diverse race, religion and culture. Assam under the provisions of India Council Act, 1861 did not have its own democratic institution but was tagged with East Bengal in 1905 and the Institution was then called "Legislative Council of Eastern Bengal and Assam", which started functioning from December 18, 1906. In 1909, the Council had a strength of 40 members and out of 40 seats, Assam was allotted 5 seats. In 1912 Assam was reconstituted into a Chief Commissioners' province. In the year 1913, after Assam was granted a Legislative Council under the Government of India Act. 1909, the Assam Legislative Council came into being with a strength of 34 members of which 13 were nominated by the Chief Commissioner and 21 were elected by the people. The Legislative Council of Assam first met on 6th January, 1913 at 11 a.m. at Shillong, which was presided over by Sir Archdale Easle, the Chief Commissioner of Assam. Under the Government of India Act. 1919, the strength of the Legislative Council was raised to 53 members with effect from Ist April, 1921 of which 41 were elected members and the remaining 12 were nominated.
Assam AssemblySince 1937

The Government of India Act, 1935 was adopted by the British Parliament on 2nd August, 1935 and was implemented in 1937. The Government of India Act 1935 made provisions for a Legislative Assembly in each province and as a result the Legislature in Assam became bicameral. The Assam Legislative Assembly had the strength of 108 members and all of them were elected members. the strength of the Legislative Council (Upper House) was not less than 21 and not more than 22 members.
After the partition of India, Sylhet district of Assam was transferred to the then East Pakistan by a referendum and the strength of the Assembly was reduced to 71. However, after Independence, the strength of members were again raised to 108. The bicameral Assam Legislative Assembly became unicameral with the abolition of the Assam Legislative Council in 1947. In the years that followed, Assam was truncated to several smaller states. In 1963, Nagaland came into being as a separate State. With the passing of North Eastern (Reorganization Areas) Act in 1971 by the Parliament, Meghalaya became a full-fledged state. Subsequently, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh also followed suit. After the creation of Meghalaya as a separate state, Shillong continued to be the joint capital of both Assam and Meghalaya. However, in 1972, the Government of Assam decided to shift the Capital to Dispur, Guwahati. Accordingly, the first sitting of the Budget Session of the Assam Legislative Assembly was held at the temporary capital at Dispur on the 16th March, 1973.
With the changing geographical boundaries together with the shifts in the population graph of Assam, the strength of members of the Assam Legislative Assembly has fluctuated during the last fifty odd years. In 1952-57 it was 108, reaching still lower to 105 in 1957-62 (the Second Assembly) and then to 114 in 1967-72 (the third Assembly) until it reached a strength of 126 members in 1972-78 (the fifth Assembly) and it has continued to maintain that figure till the 11th Assembly.
Although the Article 172 provides the duration of State Legislative Assembly as 5 years due to the imposition of National Emergency in 1975 the fifth Assam Assembly lasted for 6 years.
The Assam Legislative Assembly has so far 16 Speakers since its inception. Late Babu Basanta Kumar Das was the first and Shri Tanka Bahadur Rai is at present the elected Speaker of the latest Assam Legislative Assembly.

Governors of Assam
(since 1937 onwards )

1.H.E. Sir Henry Joseph Tuynam K.C.S.I.C.I.E. 24th Feb. 19384th Octber 1939
2.H.E. Sir Robert Niel Reid. K.C.S.I.K.C.I.E. (K) 5th October, 19393rd May 1942
3.H.E. Sir Andrew Gourlay Clow K.C.S.I.C.I.E.4th May, 1942
4.H.E. Sir Rederik Chalmers Bourne C.B.I.C.I.E., ICS4th April, 1946
5.H.E. Sir Henry Foley Knight4th Sept, 194623rd Dec., 1946
6.H.E. Andrew Gourlay Clow K.C.S.I.C.I.E., ICS24th Dec., 1946 3rd May, 1947
7. H.E. Sir Akbar Hydari K.C.I.E.C.S.I., ICS4th May, 194728th Dec.1948
8.H.E. Ronald Francis Lodge, ICS30th Dec., 194815th Feb., 1949
9.Shri Sri Prakasa16th Feb., 194926th May, 1950
10.H.E. Shri Jairam Das, Daulatram27th May, 195014th May, 1956
11.Shri Saiyid Fazal Ali15th May, 195622nd August 1959
12.Shri Justice Chandreswar Prasad Sinha, Chief Justice, Assam23rd August, 195913th Oct., 1959
13.General Satyavant Mallannah Shrinagesh14th Oct., 195912th Nov., 1960
14.Shri Vishnu Sahay, ICS12th Nov., 1960 12th Jan., 1961
15.General Satyavant Mallannath Shrinagesh13th Jan., 19617th Sep., 1962
16.Shri Vishnu Sahay, ICS7th Sept., 196216th April, 1968
17.Shri B.K. Nehru, ICS17th April, 19687th Dec., 1970
18.Shri Justice P.K. Goswami, Chief Justice, Assam8th Dec., 19704th Jan. 1971.
19.Shri B.K. Nehru, ICS5th Jan., 197118th Sept., 1973.
20.Shri L.P. Singh, ICS19th Sept., 197310th August, 1981.
21.Shri P. Mehrotra10th Aug. 198127th March, 1984.
22.Shri T.S. Misra28th March, 198415th April, 1984.
23.Shri B. N. Sing15th April, 198410th May, 1989.
24.Shri Harideo Joshi10th May, 198921st July, 1989.
25.Shri Justice Anisetti Roghuvir, Chief Justice, Assam21st July, 19892nd May, 1990.
26.Shri D. D. Thakur2nd May, 199017th March, 1991.
27.Shri Lok Nath Misra17th March, 19911st Sept., 1997.
28.Lt.Gen.(Retd.) S.K. Sinha, PVSM1st Sept., 19974th June, 2003.
29.Lt. Gen.(Retd.) Ajai Singh, PVSM, AVSM 5th June, 2003.

Chief Ministers of Assam
since 1937 onwards

1.Maulavi Saiyid Sir Muhammad Saadulla, PremierApril 1, 1937September 19, 1938
2.Gopinath Bordoloi, PremierSeptember 19, 1938November 17, 1939
3.Maulavi Saiyid Sir Muhammad Saadulla, PremierNovember 17, 1939December 24, 1941 4.Maulavi Saiyid Sir Muhammad Saadulla, PremierAugust 25, 1942February 11, 1946 5.Gopinath Bordoloi, PremierFebruary 11, 1946August 6, 1950
6.Bishnu Ram MedhiAugust 9, 1950December 27, 1957
7.B.P. ChalihaDecember 28, 1957November 6, 1970
8.Mohendra Mohan ChoudhuryNovember 11, 1970January 30, 1972
9.Shri Sarat Chandra SinhaJanuary 31, 1972March 12, 1978
10.Shri Golap BorboraMarch 12, 1978September 4, 1979
11.Shri Jogendra Nath HazarikaSeptember 9, 1979December 11, 1979
12.Shrimati Anowara TaimurDecember 6, 1980June 30, 1981
13.Shri Kesab Chandra GogoiJanuary 13, 1982March 19, 1982
14.Shri Hiteswar SaikiaFebruary 27, 1983December 23, 1985
15.Shri Prafulla Kumar MahantaDecember 24, 1985November 27, 1990
16.Shri Hiteswar SaikiaJune 30, 1991April 22, 1996
17.Dr. Bhumidhar BarmanApril 22, 1996May 14, 1996
18.Shri Prafulla Kumar MahantaMay 15, 1996May, 17, 2001
19.Shri Tarun GogoiMay 17, 2001

Speakers of Assam Legislative Assembly
since 1937 onwards

1. Babu Basanta Kumar DasApril 7, 1937March 11, 1946
2.Shri Debeswar SarmahMarch 12, 1946October 10, 1947
3.Shri Laksheswar BarooahNovember 5, 1947March 3, 1952
4.Shri Kuladhar ChalihaMarch 5,1952June 7, 1957
5.Shri Dev Kant BarooahJune 8, 1957September 15, 1959
6.Shri Mahendra Mohan ChoudhuryDecember 9, 1959March 19, 1967
7.Shri Hareswar GoswamiMarch 20, 1967May 10, 1968
8.Shri Mahi Kanta DasAugust 27, 1968March 21,1972
9.Shri Ramesh Ch. BarooahMarch 22, 1972March 20, 1978
10.Shri Jogendra Nath HazarikaMarch 21, 1978September4, 1979
11.Shri Sheikh Chand MohammadNovember 7, 1979January 7, 1986
12.Shri Pulakesh BaruaJanuary 9, 1986July 27,1991
13.Shri Jiba Kanta GogoiJuly 29, 1991December 9, 1992
14.Shri Debesh Chandra ChakravortyDecember 21, 1992June 11, 1996
15.Shri Ganesh KutumJune 12, 1996May 24, 2001
16.Shri Prithibi MajhiMay 30, 2001May 19, 2006
17.Shri Tanka Bahadur RaiMay 29, 2006-

Term-wise list of Members since 1937


Shri Methias Tudu has represented Gossaigaon constituency for a record 8 terms. (1957-1962,1962-1967,1967-1972,1972-1978,1978-1983,1983-1985,1985-1991, 2001-2006)


Its Binanda. said...

thank you for your information

Hidimba Bojhom said...

"With the annexation of the Maran/Matak territory in the east in 1839, the annexation of Assam was complete."

I beg to differ. Senapati Tularam's Country (Dimasa) which constituted of part Nagaon ,Karbi Anglong, Sivsagar, Dimapur and Dima Hasao was annexed only in 1854 AD after the death of Tularam.

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