Assam

Indian state

Assam is a state in northeastern India, south of the eastern Himalayas along the Brahmaputra and Barak River valleys. The state is bordered by Bhutan and the state of Arunachal Pradesh to the north; Nagaland and Manipur to the east; Meghalaya, Tripura, Mizoram, and Bangladesh to the south; and West Bengal to the west via the Siliguri Corridor, a 22 kilometres (14 mi) strip of land which connects the state to the rest of India.

Assam

QuotesEdit

  • As an integral part of the Republic of India, Assam is not conventionally thought of as a part of Southeast Asia, yet it shares many characteristics with the nations to the east and there is justification for including it with Southeast Asia when considering the role of tribal peoples. Like the nations of Southeast Asia, Assam has a minority of tribal mountaineers who differ in many ways from the lowland majority. As in much of Southeast Asia proper, the hill men live largely by swidden agriculture; they are fragmented into dozens of linguistic groups, and until the colonial period no political system based in the plains was able to extend its control consistently into the hills. Except for recent converts to Christianity, the hill men (like most of their cousins to the east) fall under that vague rubric of “animism” and are thus set off from their Hindu neighbors in the valley. And, as in other parts of Southeast Asia, lowlanders tend to look upon the hill people as naive and primitive rustics, while they are often seen in return as wily, sophisticated scoundrels.
  • “The Musalman invasion of the Brahmaputra valley was repeated on several occasions during the next five centuries of Muslim rule over north India, but most of these expeditions ended in disaster and Islam failed to make any inroads into the valley.”
    • Ram Gopal, Indian Resistance to Early Muslim Invaders Upto 1206 A.D., Quoted from S.R. Goel, (1994) Heroic Hindu resistance to Muslim invaders, 636 AD to 1206 AD.
  • The Turuskas obtained annihilation on arriving in Kamarupa.
    • Kannaibarshi inscription. About the (failed) invasion of Assam by Bakhtiyar Khilji on 7 March 1206 CE. quoted in Misra, R. G. (2005). Indian resistance to early Muslim invaders up to 1206 A.D. p.84
  • The Ramayana and Mahabharata mentioned Assam as Pragjyotisa. According to the Mahabharata, at a site named Pandunath at the western end of Nilachal Hill, the Pandava brothers took a ceremonial bath in the Lauhitya River after their period of ajyatavas was over. They then worshipped goddess et ro to regain their lost kingdom (Bhuyan and Nayak 2010: 9). The Kalika Purana, composed in the tenth century CE, explained the meaning of Pragjyotisa, “Formerly Brahma staying here created the stars; so the city is called Pragjyotisapura, a city equal to the city of Indra” (Barua and Murthy 1988: 1). The Kalika Purana also stated that Naraka, son of the Varaha incarnation of Vishnu, established a township (puri) and subjugated Pragjyotisa, which was in the midst of Kamarupa. He subsequently brought priests (dvijas, Brahmins) and other people from northern India and settled them there. The Kalika Purana indicated that some Kirata kingdoms once existed in the region and Kamakhya was their deity. Naraka was said to have defeated the last Kirata king, Ghataka, and assumed custody of the Kamakhya yonimandala of Pragjyotisa (Bhuyan and Nayak 2010: 2-5, 10-11, 13-14).
    • Jain, M. (2019). Flight of deities and rebirth of temples: Episodes from Indian history. 227ff
  • E.A. Gait (1863-1950), who served as Assistant Commissioner of Assam and, from 1890 as Provincial Superintendent for the 1891 census in the region, linked the word Pragijyotisa to astrology. He stated, Prag means former or eastern and jyotisha a star, astrology, shining. Pragjyotishpur may, therefore, be taken to mean the City of Eastern Astrology. The name is interesting in connection with the reputation which the country has always held as a land of magic and incantation and with the view that it was in Assam that the Tantrik form of Hinduism originated (Gait 1906: 15).
    • Jain, M. (2019). Flight of deities and rebirth of temples: Episodes from Indian history. 227ff
  • Ibn Battuta, during his visit to the region, observed the commonness of spells, “the inhabitants of these mountains ... are noted for their devotion to and practice of magic and witchcraft” (Rehla 1953: 237-38).
    • Jain, M. (2019). Flight of deities and rebirth of temples: Episodes from Indian history. 227ff
  • Assam is going to become another Kashmir. Satras are in great danger because of aggression by a section of people. At the same time, the Hindus living in the tea belt and far-flung border areas of the state are also on the verge of extinction because of massive aggression…I urge upon the RSS karyakartas to go to the areas and consolidate Hindus to save the institutions from the danger. You can do it because you have a grassroot-level organization and strong bond with common people in remote areas. I request the Sangh to help the government in this direction.

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