Assam

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Assam

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.

Quotes[edit]

  • 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.
  • Men professing Islam had symbolic presence in lower Assam from the early 13th century to the end of the 15th century. The Ahom– Mughal relation entered a critical phase in the 17th century. There was no record of any Muslim settlement in the 16th century. After suffer- ing a serious setback, the Ahom king recovered western Assam from the Mughals in 1682. A fair chunk of Mughal soldiers and their camp followers preferred to stay back in the settled condition of life where they came as aggressors in batches. Obviously, they made a choice. This, I would like to argue, has to be understood in the backdrop of the agrarian crisis of the Mughal state and the civil war in the second half of the 17th century. They lost their faith in the invincibility of the Mughal power and resolved to try their luck elsewhere. Soon, they endeared themselves to the Ahom-ruling class by their expertise in various professions. Since then, they have been an integral part of the Assamese nationality.
    • Nani Gopal Mahanta - Citizenship Debate over NRC and CAA_ Assam and the Politics of History (2021, SAGE Publications India) x
  • Since time immemorial, Assam has been a part of the Indian civilizational axis. It is a continuation of a connected history of the ancient kingdom known as Pragjyotishpura and Kamarupa.
    • Nani Gopal Mahanta - Citizenship Debate over NRC and CAA_ Assam and the Politics of History (2021, SAGE Publications India)
  • Roughly from 1930 till 1947, the Muslim League phase was one of the most violent and aggressive phases of Assam’s politics. The Congress leadership in Assam had to confront them at all levels. The British and the colonial administration were important partners of Muslim League, as the former wanted the Muslim League to take on Congress to check the burgeoning nationalism in the easternmost part of the country. Besides, the British were all in favour of opening up grazing land, wasteland and agricultural land to the immigrants so that they could earn revenue to the maximum extent possible.
    • Nani Gopal Mahanta - Citizenship Debate over NRC and CAA_ Assam and the Politics of History (2021, SAGE Publications India)
  • But our objection is to those outsiders who have come here with arms and are bent to destroy our national existence. Those hooligans thousand in numbers are creating a war-like situation in the rural areas by encroaching land and property at gunpoint. Their agenda is to create lawlessness and anarchy—those undesirable elements are our enemy.
  • We have no place to go and hide. Those oppressors are coming from Mymensingh and Noakhali of Bengal. If Assamese people are subjected to such torture where would they go? We have no place except the hill areas. Even there we shall be eliminated. So what is the way out for the Assamese?
    • Ambikagiri Raichoudhury, in Nani Gopal Mahanta - Citizenship Debate over NRC and CAA_ Assam and the Politics of History (2021, SAGE Publications India)
  • From 1939, Hamid Khan became the vanguard of a radicalized organization called the Muslim League whose main objective was the attainment of Pakistan and the forcible inclusion of Assam into it. In the actions of Maulana of Bhasani, the people of Assam for the first time witnessed such polarizing politics in the name of God:
    Not only do I kick at the law by means of which the houses of the lakhs of people have been burnt down, I declare Jehad in the name of Allah. It is not possible for the minority Mussalmans of Assam to end this oppression. It is not possible to solve this problem without resorting to Jehad for the sake of Allah. … [T]he whole world is docile before the Mighty and killer of the weak … the days have come now to get your demands fulfilled by becoming Swahids in the path of Allah. Everything depends on your unity and organisation. (italics in original)
    • Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani, in Nani Gopal Mahanta - Citizenship Debate over NRC and CAA_ Assam and the Politics of History (2021, SAGE Publications India)31
  • We the Muslims who ruled India for more than 700 years, lost independence 200 years ago. We are now sleeping. We have not only lost our intelligence and courage but also have forgotten our social and religious culture. What a severe oppression is going on upon us. If we wish to save ourselves, we the 10,000,000 (ten millions) of Muslims should be united and get ready to sacrifice our lives for the freedom of our country. Ten millions of Muslims should give a slogan that we want to be freed from the shackle of slavery. If necessary, we should sacrifice our lives in the midst of the waves of blood. We shall make the blood flow. Without bloodshed there is no means of obtaining freedom.
    • Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani, in Nani Gopal Mahanta - Citizenship Debate over NRC and CAA_ Assam and the Politics of History (2021, SAGE Publications India)83
  • Beliram Das contended that the sudden onrush of immigrants into Assam was an actual invasion of the province under the political design of the Muslim League. He referred to the speeches by the members of the League party who expressed that the immigration had no connection with their demand for the inclusion of Assam in the Eastern Zone of Pakistan. In this connection, Beliram Das referred to a speech of Maulavi Abdur Rouf, leader of the immigrant Muslims, in course of his address as the chairman of the Reception Committee of the League meeting presided over by Chaudhury Khaliquzzaman, held at Barpeta on 7–8 March 1944. He said:
    The same fresh blood which runs through their veins even to-day again took the rudder to tow their boats against the Current of the ever flowing Jomuna, to make their way for a new conquest of Assam. Being deprived of their arms shields and swords by the mercy of the British Rulers, they with a cane shield bamboo stick, spears and plough came and effected their landing either in chars or in the jungles adjacent to the rivers. The soul of martyrs and devotees of past, are witnessing this new expedition of the Bengalee Muslims - the Holy servants of Allah, from above with yawning eagerness and thankfulness too with increased vitality in the life of the community and with the help of numerous new reinforcements, the figure in the sub-division of Barpeta alone could be raised up to 65000.
    • in Nani Gopal Mahanta - Citizenship Debate over NRC and CAA_ Assam and the Politics of History (2021, SAGE Publications India)66ff
  • A prominent Christian tribal leader of the state, Nichols Roy said We know what the policy of the Muslim league is in Assam. Even now the Muslim League in Bengal wants to send thousands upon thousands of immigrants to Assam and take possession of the land of Assam. That is feared by everyone. The people of the Hills are afraid of immigration and say that they will fight it to the last. The people of the plains don’t want to be swamped. They don’t want Assam, which is a non-Muslim majority province now, to be turned into a Muslim majority province. … Once we go into the section, we are committed to a wrong principle, we are acceding to the unjust demand of the League.
    • James Joy Mohan Nichols Roy in Nani Gopal Mahanta - Citizenship Debate over NRC and CAA_ Assam and the Politics of History (2021, SAGE Publications India)80

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