Know ASSAM: My Motherland
August 21, 2010 5 Comments
Know ASSAM: My Motherland
Assam…. a land of natural beauties, lush green, rivers, lakes, hills, animals -is a gateway to the north East India. It is a land of unexplored opportunities, gifted with abundant natural resources. It is one of the major cities of the North East India. Amazingly Assam is a multi- ethnic society and the mother tongue of the people of Assam is Assamese.
Assam is known as the Land of Evergreen Forest. The scenic beauty of the state can not be described in words. It is situated to the North-Eastern part of India. At the beginning, Assam was known by the name Kamrup when, along with Assam all other North-Eastern states of India were under a single border. But with time all the seven sisters namely Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, and Tripura got separated.
Assam can not be called a hilly state; neither can it be termed as a plain. Some parts of the state are hilly whereas others are plains. But all through the state, there is an eye-catching array of trees making the state green. The River Brahmaputra, which is also known as Kameng in Arunachal Pradesh, passes through the entire length of Assam to the Bay of Bengal dividing the state to almost equal halves, enriching the soil and beauty of the state.
WHY I AM SPEAKING ABOUT ASSAM:
Most of the times when I chat with my friends, they ask me a common question, where Assam is? I just reply them that it is towards the North-east of India & is known for its great one horned rhino’s & tea. It is also the land which houses the world’s largest river delta, Majuli. But it is somewhat annoying to answer the same question to everyone whom I met in my course of chatting. It is because, Assam is yet to gain a place in the World Map, and that’s what depresses me. Though our homeland is rich with its mesmerizing natural beauty, historical monuments, few world heritage sites and some National Parks and sanctuaries, it is yet to attract the world tourists. For this reason, I thought of bringing up a picture of our homeland Assam before the world, especially to those who knows a little or nothing about our homeland & its culture. Moreover, everyone in this world loves his or her motherland and I am not an exception.
Assam, the “Land of Evergreen Forest” or the “Gateway of North-East India”, has something special, something amazing, something celestial to offer. A voyage through this “Land of Red River” means to stir up your dormant poetic mind and free-flying like a kite in your imagination. The beauty of the nature alone is enough to enthrall you with romance & mystic satisfaction. Some of the tourists who visit our state call it a Green Paradise whereas the natives call it a Magic Land.
LOOKING BACK TO THE NAME:
The name of the state may be derived from the Sanskrit word “ASOM”, which means uneven, undulated or not leveled. The name may be due to the rugged surface of the state. The numerous hills and rivers make the surface of our state rugged. Some claims the ruling of AHOMS for a long tenure to be the reason for the name of our state. The Ahoms ruled Assam, for around 600 years until the early part of the 19th century. The words Ahom & Asom resembles phonetically to a greater extent thus the possibility of conferring the name Asom to our homeland.
LOCATION IN THE WORLD MAP:
Assam is located to the North-Eastern part of India. It has a surface area of 78,438 square kilometers (30,285 square miles). Assam is bounded to the North by the Kingdom of Bhutan & the state of Arunachal Pradesh; to the East by the states of Nagaland & Manipur; to the South by the states of Mizoram & Tripura and to the West by the states of Meghalaya, West Bengal & the Bangladesh.
ABOUT THE PEOPLE:
Our state is in fact a land of exquisite craftsmanship of Lord Vishwakarma pouring all his emotions while creating the land. Assam is the land of cultural richness & human wealth apart from her natural beauty. The land has a rich legacy of culture and human civilization behind her. Our Motherland is a home to different races of men – Aryan, Aurtric, Dravidian & Mongolians, who ventured different part of our hills in different points of time. Therefore, our homeland has developed a composite culture of variegated color.
LITTLE MORE ABOUT THE STATE:
Assam, along with its native states (the SEVEN SISTERS, as known to be), has evidences of human settlement from the stone ages itself. It is a land with an illustrious recorded history as early as the 4th century BC. Our homeland was an independent kingdom throughout its history till the end of first quarter of the 19th century, when the British conquered the Kingdom and annexed it to British India, called the Bengal Presidency. In between 1905-1912, Assam was separated & erected as a separate Province of Assam. During the Indian Independence, Assam constituted of all the states of the present North-East, excluding Manipur & Tripura. However, regional cultural variations were too distinct for the entire land to stay clubbed under a single political administration. This led to the separation of states from erstwhile Assam, one after another, starting with Nagaland in the year 1963, than Meghalaya & Mizoram in the year 1971 and finally Arunachal Pradesh in the year 1972.
The state capital of Assam, which was shifted from Shillong while united to Dispur at Guwahati, is under the Kamrup District. Guwahati was known in ancient times as Pragjyotishpura or The Eastern City of Light, was the capital of Kamrup, which finds frequent mention in the Great Hindu Epic the Mahabharata & other Sanskrit volumes and historical lore’s.
NOW LITTLE ABOUT THE IMPORTANT PLACES:
Kaziranga National Park:
Kaziranga National Park, The WORLD HERITAGE SITE, holds the worlds only one horned rhinos, being the natural home for these endangered species. The other important wildlife at Kaziranga includes wild buffaloes, hornbills and a number of free flying birds during the winter season. At the present time, i.e.; from sixth of February, an elephant festival is undergoing at this World Heritage Site, which one might not have heard in their lifetime. Hundreds of domestic elephants are marched to this beautifying homeland of one-horned rhinos and a numbers of wildlife just to show the harmony of people across the globes. There is a tourist village around the Kaziranga National Park to house those visiting tourists from across the globe. The visitors experience a complete Assamese lifestyle by living in a mud hut or thatch hut with pure Assamese dishes, which are known for free from oils and artificial spices.
The ride through the forests over the back of the elephant or an Elephant Safari across the jungle will give you a number of opportunities to encounter wildlife grazing or jumping around playfully, much nearer to click with your digital camera. Just imagine the natural appeal you will find when free flying birds will sing in their unique rhythm with their ear touching voices at the time of sunset over the water spread area inside the forest. The sun slips gently in to the water spreads and you can touch the image over the surface while sailing on small boats, along with the varied birds swimming around you.
Manas National Park:
Some of the one horned rhinos are shifted to this National Park cum Sanctuary, a World Heritage site too, because of the flood de-homing the inhabitants of Kaziranga. I forgot to talk about the wild deer and other species of animals found at Kaziranga, which are also found in this wonderland.
Dibru-Saikhowa National Park:
It is the house of wild horses. It is believed that, after British left Assam, they did not carried their horses and left them open in this Forest, which with time acquired the name of wild horses. I am not sure how far this is true.
Tea Belt of Upper Assam:
Assam has been divided as Upper Assam and Lower Assam with the height of the land. The Upper Assam has a large tea belt. You can smell the ascent of tea across the greens spread up to your HORIZON. Whichever way you may through your gaze, your eyes would be full of green bushes of tea of varied age groups. India’s 60 percent of tea production is met by my Homeland and yet it is neglected by the center.
Assam is one of the major exporters of Orthodox Tea and its major consumer is United Kingdom. One can say that every household of Upper Assam owns a tea garden.
LITTLE HISTORY ABOUT SETTING UP OF TEA GARDENS:
While British were ruling India, they had been attracted by the wilderness and the scenic beauty of this State and started establishing their shelter over here. They took up tea plantation in the rich soil of Assam Valley and that was the beginning of Tea Plantation in our part of the Nation. Whatever Tea Gardens they had started, they are still continuing to operate in Assam.
The river Brahmaputra, which flows through the entire length of the state to the Bay of Bengal, has enriched the soil for cultivation of varied agricultural products. The land is rich with natural manures and so people used to be healthier for their life time in our part of the country. There were sufficient natural resources for the people of the state. But, due to influx of un-authorized immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh has spoiled a lot of our natural beauty. The trees has been cut for consumption making the hills dry and the bank of Brahmaputra has been occupied to build refugee houses by these unauthorized immigrants.
Oil and Natural Gases:
Assam is also known for its store of oil and natural gases. There are a number of oil fields across the state which has an enormous production capacity. Moreover, there are coal fields too. Although these resources are available in our state, we are deprived of their revenues as they are drained out of our state to contribute to the Central Revenue of which we get a very little share.
There are a numbers of historical monuments across the state and of those the ones that are widely popular are Jaidaul, Shivadaul, Rong Ghar, Kareng Ghar, and Talatal Ghar, all speaking the history of Ahom Rule in Assam. The main pillar of Assamese community was built by Mahapurush Srimanta Shankardeva. His place of “Kirton”, Bordowa is a place for pilgrims. Moreover, there is a single hill in the Districts of Goalpara, which stocks in it more than one lakh of idols of different God and Goddess of Hindu Mythology. River Brahmaputra has the worlds largest Delta in it, The MAJULI, which itself is a dreamland, but due to ignorance of Government, the island is eroding itself to the heart of Brahmaputra.
There are a number of tribes and sub-tribes in Assamese community with distinct and varied cultural differences, yet uniting together in harmony in this beautiful land. But, all together are tagged to Assamese Community and the major festival of this community is BIHU. There are three types of Bihu’s called Magh Bihu or Bhogali Bihu as this festival is celebrated after harvesting of crops in the month of January. The next is Kati Bihu or Kangali Bihu, which is celebrated in a famine stage of the land. There will be scarcity of feeds and all and the earth will appear dull during that season. It is celebrated in the months of October.
The most celebrated and well known Bihu festival of Assamese Community is the Bohag Bihu or Rangali Bihu, which falls in the month of April. This festive season lasts for a month and is celebrated extensively all across the State and over at many places of the world among the Assamese Community. It is the festival of Love and Romance. The minds of people get romanticized during this season. The Bihu is marked by a dance called Bihu Dance, which borne the image of Assamese people in the cultural world. The dance is very attractive and does not have any fixed constraints except for the dress code. There is a special dress for the Bihu Dancers, which are knitted out of MUGA SILK (the latest fashion sensation of world designers). The lips of the dancers should be painted in red and they wore an orchid in their hairs. (Native Name of the orchid is KOPOU FUL).
If I keep on telling about my motherland, I would never end up. As there are no established tourist projects to showcase our state, we don’t get many tourists except for the Annual Elephant Festival at Kaziranga during the month of February and to JAATINGA, the bird mystery of the globe during winter months. Some tourists slip in to the river delta Majuli, which is the house of Assamese Culture, to know the Assamese Community better. Moreover, there is nearby Arunachal Pradesh, which in turn is known for its Natural Beauty, and is called as the Switzerland of India. Shillong has the Mousinram, where you can push the clouds to make out your way ahead in the world’s highest rainfall area.
I am happy that I am a child of this magnificent state of Greens and Invite you all to drink the scenic beauty, intoxicating yourself in the free-floating romance, all round you, amid the hills, tea gardens, butterflies, un-identified birds, clean and clear rivers, wilderness of animals, and most importantly in the heart of innocent, hospitable Assamese People.
N.B. Reference from Internet.
Images from Assam Tourism