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.
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- 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.