Assam’s history goes back to ancient times. The base of this history can be found in Tantric literature, Buddhist literature, Assamese folklore and Vedic literature. However, first mention of the state of Assam is found in the epics and religious legends. The Aryans belonging to the priestly and warrior classes found their way into Assam in very early times. Various places mentioned in the epics, like Mahabharata etc. are now identified with sites in this State. The first known ruler of Assam was Mahiranga Danava of Danava dynasty, who was succeeded in turn, in the direct line by Hatakasur, Sambarasur and Ratnasur. After them there was a chief named Ghatakasur, the ruler of the Kirats. Gh-atakasur, it is said, was defeated and slain by Narakasur, who is the hero of various stories told in the Puranas and Tantras. He made Pragjyotishpur (the modern Guwahati) his capital, and settled numerous Brahmans at Kamakhya. There is a hill close to modern Guwahati which is still known as the hill of Narakasur. His rule extended from the Karatoya on the west, to the Dikrang on the east. Narakasur was killed by Lord Krishna of Dwaraka.
His (Narakasur’s) successor, Bhagadatta, figured in the Mahabharata was leading a vast army against the Pandavas. Naraka’s descendents continued to rule for nineteen generations. The last king of his line was Suparua, who was afterwards killed by his ministers. Sri Krishna frequently appears in Assam Mythology. Sri Krishna fought against king Bhismaka of Kundil (now Sadiya) in his bid to marry Bhismaka’s daughter Rukmini. Another king Banasura of Sonitpur (now Tezpur) fought against Sri Krishna, when Banasura’s daughter Usha was kidnapped by Anirudha, the grandson of.Sri Krishna. Bhaluka, the grandson of Banasura, made his capital at Bhalukpung, not far from Balipara (near Tezpur), at the foothills of the Aka hills. According to Raghu Vansa, a king named Raghu crossed the Lohit, i.e., Brahmaputra, and defeated the king of Pragjyotisha. According to Jogini Tantra a Sudra named Debeswar was ruling in Kamrupa at the commencement of the Saka era. Mention is also made of Nagakhya or Nara Sankar who flourished towards the end of the fourth century at Pratapgarh near Bishwanath Chariali and of tour kings — Mimang, Gajang, Sribang and Mrigang, who ruled for two hundred years in this region. A Kshatriya named Dharma Pal, it is said, came from the west and founded a kingdom. He made his capital west of Guwahati and attracted there a number of Brahmans and other high caste Hindus from North India. The sage Kendu Kulai is said to have lived in his reign. He was succeeded in h rn by Padma Narayan Chandra, Narayan and others, ending with Ram Chandra, whose capital was at Ratanpur in Majuli. Arimatta was also another king who ruled over Kamrupa.
• Political History Historically speaking, the first king who ruled over Kamrupa was Pushya Varman (350-380 AD), who was a contemporary of Samudragupta (350-375 AD). He took on the title of Maharajadhiraj and ensured steps to establish Kamrupa as a frontier state. He was followed by Samudra Varman (380-405/410 AD), Bala Varman (405-420 AD), Kalyan Varman (420-440 AD), Ganapati Varman (440-450 AD) and Mahendra Varman (450-485 AD). Mahendra Varman was the first king of Kamrupa who waged a successful war against Gupta army and also first Varman king who performed the Ashwamedha Yagya. The rule of the Varman dynasty found its apex in the rule of Bhaskar Varman (594-650 AD), because it is with the rule of Bhaskar Varman, that a new epoch of Assam history opened. It was during his reign that Hiuen Tsang visited Kamrupa and wrote a memorable account of his visit to Kamrupa in his book Si-Yu-ki. Harshavardhan (606-648 AD) was a contemporary of Bhaskar Varman. Friendship was the keyword in the relation of these two kings. Harshavardhan honoured Bhaskar Varman at a conference held at Kanauj. He was a bachelor king, that is why he was known as Kumar Bhaskar Varman. The dynasty of the Varman kings ended with Bhaskar Varman (650 AD). The Salasthambha dynasty was the next in line which began with the reign of a chieftain called Salasthambha. Among all the kings of the Salasthambha dynasty; it was Shri I iarshadeva (725-750 AD) who acquitted himself as a good king. His kingdom extended upto Gaur (North Bengal), Orissa, Kalinga and Kushal (North Bihar). After the last king,of this dynasty, Tyaga Singha (970-990AD), it was Brahmapala (990-1010 AD), who opened the doors to a new dynasty — the Pala dynasty. Ratnapala (1010-1040 AD), the son of Brahamapala was the most famous king of this dynasty. Jayapala (1120-1138 AD) was the last ruler of this dynasty.
The first Mohammedan invasion (1206 & 1226) of Kiiinrupa took place during the reign of a king called Prithu who was killed in a battle with Illtutmish in 1228. During the second invastion by Ikhtiyaruddin Yuzbak or I ughril Khan, about 1257, the king of Kamrupa Saindhya (1250-1270) transferred the capital ‘Kamrup Nagar’ to Kamatapur in the west. From then onwards, Kamata’s ruler was called Kamateshwar. According to traditions, Lower Assam and the adjacent part of Bengal subsequently formed a kingdom called Kamata, and its ruler at the beginning of the fourteenth century was Durlabh Narayan (1330-1350). He is followed by lndranarayan and probably he was the last ruler of this dynasty. 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. The last descendent of Arimatta was Mriganka, who died childless, followed by the rule of the Bhuyans. 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. In the 15′” century a line of Khen kings rose to power and Nilambar, the third and the last of this line, was overthrown in 1498 by Hussain Shah, who after a long seize, took the capital, Kamatapur by his stratagem. • Chutia Kingdom During the earlier part of the 13t” century, when the Ahoms established their rule over Assam with the capital at Sivasagar, the Sovansiri area the area and by the banks of the Disang river were under the control of the Chutias. According to popular Chutia legend, Chutia king Birpal established his rule at Sadiya in 1189. He was succeeded by ten kings of whom the eighth king Dhirnarayan or Dharmaraj had a son, Sadhak Narayan and a daughter Sadhani. In his old age he handed over his kingdom to his son-in-law Nitai or Nityapal. Later on Nityapal’s incompetent rule gave a wonderful chance to the Ahom king Suhungmung or Dihingia Raja, who annexed it to the Ahom kingdom. Sadhani and Nityapal committed suicide.
• Barobhuyans The Bhuyans were petty chiefs who had their petty principalities towards the east of Kamrup-Kamata area. They were politically aware and accordingly they made the adjustments, sometimes accepting the suzerainty of kings more powerful than them or sometimes declaring their independence. The title ‘Bard is a title of honour given to twelve chieftains who, even though were not kings, established in their independence they stood united against any common enemy. They took up arms against the Ahoms also, but it was the Ahom king Pratap Singha who crushed the rebellion of the Barobhuyans. Mention here should also be made of Srimanta Sankardeva, the most illustrious of the Bhuyans.
Koch Kingdom- The progenitor of the Koch kingdom was a Mech or Koch, named Hariya Mandal, a resident of Chikangram, a village in the Khutaghat paragana of the Goalpara district. The son of Hariya Mandal, Bishwa Singha (1515-1540) laid the foundation of the Koch dominion over Kamata Kingdom in the early part of the 16’h century and established his capital in Coch-Behar. Bishwa Singha died in 1540. After his death, his son Malladeva ascended the name — Naranarayana. His brother Sukladhvaj became his commander-in-chief. He was also called ‘Chilarai’ because of his ability to attack the enemy like a Chita (hawk). Naranarayan’s rule was the most glorious epoch of Koch kingdom. It was during his reign that the Ahoms suffered defeat in 1562. Chilarai also annexed the Kachari kingdom. Manipur, Tripura, Jayantia and Srihatta and extended its boundaries. Then again there was a battle with the Nawab of Gour. During that time Chilarai was attacked by smallpox and died on the banks of the Gangas. Naranarayan died in.1584 after a reign of nearly fifty years (1540-1584). In his times the power of the Koch kings reached its zenith. Naranarayan’s rule is also remarkable, for it was during his reign that Assamese literature and culture flourished, which was inaugurated by Srimanta Sankardeva. Naranarayan was a great patron of learning and some of best-known Assamese writings date from his reign. Many Vaishnava hymns and homilies were written by Sankardeva and Madhabdeva; Purushottam Bidyabagish compiled a grammar; Bakul Kayastha wrote a book On Mathematics; Ram Saraswati translated the Mahabharat, and Ananta Kandali translated the Bhagavat and other books into Assamese. After the death of Naranarayan, the Koch kingdom was not able to retain its glory. Internal dissensions became the order of the day. Consequently the Afghans and the Mughals took advantage and in 1615, the Koch kingdom was annexed to the Mughal Empire. But the then Koch king Balinarayan with the help of the Ahom king was able to get back the area between Bharali and Barnadi. He accepted the.suzerainty of the Ahom king and assumed the name Dhaftnanarayan as a vassal king, a tradition which continued till the time of British occupation of Assam. • Kachari Kingdom The early part of the 13th century saw the rise of the Kachari kingdom, which had extended along the south bank of the Brahmaputra, from the Dikhow to the Kalong, or beyond, and included also the valley of the Dhansiri and the tract which now forms the North Cachar Hills district. The Kacharis claim decent from Ghatotkacha, the son of Bhima. lowards the end of the 15th century the Kacharis had to
surrender their capital Hidimbapur (now Dimapur) and the dwils adjoining it to the Ahoms. The Ahoms then put the Kiichari king Detsung on the throne as a vassal king. After live years of subjugation, Detsung rose to rebellion but was crushed by the Ahoms in a fierce battle that took place in 1536. During the days of Ahom king Rudra Singha, Kachari king Tamradhvaj declared-his independence but was no match for the Ahom king and in the end had to accept his overlordship. The third and the final invasion of the Kachari kingdom took place in 1803. When the king Krishna Chandra refused to’send back the Moamarias to the Ahom king The last king of the Kachari kingdom was Gobinda Chandra (1813-1830). • Jayantia Kingdom Jayantia was a matriarchal race which had established their kingdom in and around Jayantia hills. This race forged matrimonial relation with the. Ahoms and fought alongside during the invasion of the Mughals. In the 17′” century Jayantia king Dhanmanik helped the Ahoms in the war against the Kacharis. One of their ruler, Jashomatta Rai was the contemporary of the Ahom king Nariya Raja (1644-1648). He claimed back the possession of Dimoria, Gobha, Nellie and Khola principalities which led to the souring of relations between the Jayantias and the Ahoms. Bijayanarayan was the last Jayantia ruler after whom this kingdom passed into the hands of the British along with the Ahom kingdom. • Ahom Rule The 13th century witnessed the advent of the Ahoms, led by their first king Sukapha who was the prince of Monlurig of Upper Burma (now Myanmar). In early 13′” century he together with a band of followers settled in the Patkai Mountains. In 1228 he entered the boundaries of Assam through the NagaSukapha : founder of the Ahom Kingdom kingdom. He formed his capital at Charaideo in 1253. The base for 600 year Ahom rule was set up by Sukapha. Sukapha died in 1268 AD. His son Suseupha (1268-1281) succeeded and extended the bodndaries of the Ahom kingdom from the area adjoining Dikhow river to Namdang river. The kings who succeeded Suseupha were Subinpha (1281-1293), Sukhangpha (1293-1332), Sukrangpha (1332-1364) and Sutupha (1364-1376). There was no able ruler after Sutupha who could hold the reins of the kingdom in a firm . grip, which resulted in ministers’ rule twice from 1376 to 1380 and then again from 1389 to 1397. In 1397 Sudangpha (1397-1407) was crowned as king. Another name of Sudangpha was Bamuni Konwar because he was born and brought up in the house of a Brahmin. His accession marks the first stage in the growth of Brahminical influence amongst the Ahoms. He built a town at Dhola, but afterwards made his capital at Charguya near the Dihing river. Awar between Tipams and Ahoms took place during his reign but was later on peacefully concluded. The place where peace culminated with both sides sacrificing chickens is-still known as Patkai (Pat = to cut, Kai = chicken). After Sudangpha, there came Sujanpha (1407-1422), Suphapha (1422-1439), Susenpha (1439-1488), Suhanpha (1488-1493) and Supimpha (1493-1497). It was Supimpha’s son Suhungmung whose reign (1497-1539) is counted as one of the most memorable in the 600 years of Ahom rule. He assumed the Hindu name Swarganarayan. He was also popularly known as Dihingia Raja, because he shifted the
Ahom capital to Bokota near Dihing river. He was an intelligent, powerful politician and He annexed the Chutia and the Kachari territories to the Ahom domains. He created a 3rd class of ministers known as Barpatra Gohain to the already existing two classes of ministers : Borgohain and Burhagohain. It was during his reign that the first ever census took place. The economic scenario of the State was also comprehensively surveyed during his time. During his reign, the Mughals invaded thrice but they could not taste victory, These invasions taught the Ahoms the use of gunpowder, which was a deviation from the traditional system of warfare which comprised of bows, arrows and swords. The Mughal invasions had another positive effect; the Mughals who were taken as prisoners of war were settled in different areas of Assam. Most of them prepared utensils of bell-metal. Later on, they came to be popularly known as ‘Morias’. Srimanta Sankardeva got full impetus to preach his Vaishnava Dharma during the rule of Swarganarayan. In 1539 AD he died at the hands of a Kachari servant as a result of a conspiracy hatched by his son Suklengmung (1539-1552), who after becoming king, shifted the capital to Gargaon from Bokota which is why he is also called ‘Gargainya Raja’. Plenty of battles between the Koch and the Ahoms took place during his reign. Under his supervision ‘Gargaon Pukhuri’, a pond, was dug and a road named ‘Naga Ali’ was constructed. Suklengmung was succeeded by his son Sukhampha (1552-1603) who was also known as the Khora, or Lame Raja, owing to his having hurt his foot, while bunting elephants, shortly after his accession. His reign is remembered for the large scale propagation of Vaishnavism. Sukhampha’s son, Susengpha ascended the throne in 1603. He took on the name of Pratap Singha. It was during his time that wars 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 his state. He also created a new post of Barphukan to look after the administration of the areas beyond Kaliabor. The three classes of ministers Borgohain, Burhagohain and Barpatra Gohain had their well defined areas to rule, and those parts 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 high 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 each group – 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 organisational capability, political acumen and his great wisdom, he is also known as Buddhi Swarganarayan. He died in 1641. Pratap Singha was succeeded by Surarhpha (1641-1643) and Sutyinpha (1644-1648). Sutyinpha was usually known as the Nariya (sick) Raja on account of his ailing health. He suffered from curvature of the spine, hence, the nickname Kekora (crab) was also sometimes applied to him. After Sutyinpha, his son Sutamla (1648-1663) ascended the throne and assumed the Hindu name Jayadhvaj Singha. Owing to his flight from Gargaon at the time of the Muhammadam invasion, he is also known as the Bhagania (fugitive) Raja. He took opportunity of the internecine quarrels among the Mughals and was able to wrest away Goalpara and Kamrup which was under Mughal occupation. Meanwhile after Aurangzeb was crowned as Mughal king, he ordered his commander-in-chief Mir Jumla to attack Assam once more. In keeping with the royal decree, the Mughal forces attacked Assam and occupied Gargaon in 1662. But Jayadhvaj Singha did not face the Mughal commander-in-chief. This was the 11th invasion of Kamrup. In 1663 AD an accord was signed between the Mughals and Ahoms. Accordingly Jayadhvaj Singha had to part with his daughter — Ramani Gabharu and large amount of money. Supungmung or Chakradhvaj Singha (1663-1669) succeeded Jayadhvaj Singha and ruled from 1663-1669. He 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. He was also assisted by Aton Buragohain. 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 portion 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. It is an unfortunate period of Ahom history unfolded itself from 1670 to 1681. After Chakradhvaj, Sunyatpha or Udayaditya Singhe (1669-1673), an Ahom prince was deposed by his brother Suklampha or Ramadhvaj (1673-1675) who succeeded him. Debera Hazarika was the brain behind the conspiracy. He was awarded with the title of Barbaruah. As expected, he misused power and spread a reign of terror among the local population. He was responsible for the death of three kings and ultimately met the end he deserved at the hands of Aton Burhagohain. Even though many kings came after Ramdhvaj Singha, it was Aton Burhagohain who kept the reins of power in his hands. Although some historians point out that he was wrong and unscrupulous.
REIGN Comme Sukapha Suseupha Subinpha Sukhangpha Sukhrangpha Sutupha INTERREGNUM Tyaokhamti INTERREGNUM Sudangpha Sujangpha Suphapha Susenpha Suhenpha Supimpha Suhungmung or Dihingia Raja Suklengmung or Gargainya Raja Sukhampha or Khora Raja Susenghpa or Burha Raja or Pratap Singha Surampha or Bhaga Raja Sutyinpha or Nariya Raja Sutamla or Jayadhvaj Singha Supungmung or Chakradhvaj Singha Sunyatpha or Udayditya Singha
nced Ended REIGN Commenced Ended 1228 1268 Suklampha or 1268 1281 Ramadhvaj Singha 1673 1675 1281 1293 • Suhung 1675 1293 1332 Gobar 1675 1332 1364 • Sujinpha 1675 1677 1364 1376 Sudaipha 1677 1679 1376 1380 • Sulikpha or 1380 1389 Lora Raja 1679 1681 1389 1397 . Supatpha or 1397 1407 Gadadhar Singha 1681 1696 1407 1422 • Sukhrumpha or 1422 1439 • Rudra Singha 1696 1714 Sutanpha or 1439 1488 • 1488 1493 • Siva Singha 1714 1493 1497 •• Bor Raja Phuleswari 1714 1731 . Bor Raja Ambika 1731 1738 ‘ Shiva Singha 1738 1744 1497 1539 . Sunenpha or • Pramatta Singha 1744 1751 1539 1552 •• Surampha or • Rajeswar Singha 1751 1769 1552 1603 • Sunyeopha or • Lakshmi Singha 1769 1780 Suhitpangpha or 1603 1641 Gaurinath Singh 1780 1794 • Suklingpha or 1641 1644 Kamaleswar Singha 1795 1810 • Sudinpha or 1644 1648 Chandrakanta Singha 1810 1818 • Purandar Singha 1818 1819 1648 1663 • Burmese Rule 1819 1824 • Burmese explled 1663 1669 by the British 1824 • Purandar Singha rules 1669 1673 • in Upper Assam 1833 1838 the mention of Laluk Sola Barphukan becomes pertinent al this stage, because with him, Ahom history entered one of its (h phases. In his thirst for power, he murdered Aton I Iiirhagohain. He then had installed a very young boy Sulikpha or Ratnadhvaj Singha (1679-1681) as king, which is why he Is also known as Lora Raja (the boy king). Needless to say it was Laluk Sola Barphukan who was the power behind the throne. In order to safeguard his position he passed an order that all the princes belonging to different clans should either be maimed or killed, a cruel plot which met with almost full success, but for the escape of Gadapani who belonged to Tunghungia clan. Laluk Sola tried his best to find about his whereabouts from his wife Joymoti. But Joymoti was determined to save her husband, therefore she revealed nothing even after suffering the most inhuman torture. In her martyrdom she stands as a bright example of patriotism, devotion to her husband, mental strength and ability to withstand the greatest pressure. But what is evil has never lasted for very long. Laluk Sola Barphukan met his death at the hands of Gadapani. Gadapani then ascended the throne in 1681. He assumed the Ahom name Supatpha and Hindu name Gadadhar Singha (1681-1696). He made his capital at Barkola. First of all, he waged a war against the Mughals which is also famously known as Itakhulir Rann (War of ltakhuli) and captured back Guwahati from the .Mughals. He was a Shaivite and to help propagate this form of Hindu worship built ‘Umananda Devaloya’ at Guwahati. He also built the ‘Dhodar Ali’, a road near Golaghat. He also had the lands surveyed. The earliest known copper plates recording grants of land by Ahom king to the Brahmins dates from the period of Gadadhar Singha. Besides this, he suppreSsed many rebellions — both internal and external troubles from the various tribes. In this manner, he was able to establish peace and prosperity in the State.Gadadhar Singha’s eldest son Lai succeeded him. He of Rudra Singha (1696-1714),and the Ahom name Sukhrumpha. In the honour of the memory of his mother Joymoti, he dug the Joysagar tank and built Joydoul. Other architectural monuments and structures accredited to him are stone bridge built over the Namdang river, Kharikatia Ali, Meteka Ali etc. Rudra Sing ha gave royal patronage to ‘Bihu’. He also created Khels or position like Khaund, Kotoki, Bairagi, Doloi, Kakoti. He also created high posts like Satriya Baruah, Gayon Baruah, Senchowa Baruah, Kukurachowa Baruah, Bezbaruah etc. He also subjugated the Kacharis and the Jayantias, who had to remain content as vassal kings and accept the overlordship of the Ahoms. In this manner the boundaries stretched from the Manas river in the west to Kartowa river in the east, Throughout his long reign, Rudra Singha tried his level best to raise the standard of living of the people, which is why even now his rule is emblazoned as a glorious chapter in the annals ofAhom history. He died in 1714. He was succeeded by his eldest son Shiva Singha (1714-1744). He took on the Ahom name of Sutanpha. He became a Shakti worshipper, as he was initiated in the tenets of the Shakti cult by Krishnaram took on the Hindu name Joydoid, Sivasagar
Bhattacharya, who was later on installed as head priest of akhya temple which is situated atop the Nilachal hill. Since hi) was priest of a temple built on a hill (Parbat), he and his descendents were called Parbatiya Gossains.. Shiva Singha was a weak person who relied heavily on astrologers which explains the fact that when an astrologer told him that he was in the danger of being dethroned, he installed his Queen Phuleswari, who assumed the name Pramateswari (one of the name of Durga), as Bor Raja, 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 parsed of Durga worship and anointing their foreheads with sacrificial blood. This resulted in the famous Moamoria rebellion. After Phuleswari died in 1731 Shiva 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 Doul (temple) at Sivasagar, which is the tallest ShiVa Doul in Assam. Drupadi died in 1738. Shiva Singha then married the daughter of Salal Gossain whose name was changed to ‘Sarbeswari’ from ‘Anadori’. It was during Shiva Singha’s reign that ‘Dhai Ali’ was constructed at Sivasagar. Gaurisagar tank and Sivasagar tank were dug at the instruction of Bor Raja Phuleswari and Ambika respectively. Shiva Singha’s reign is remembered for developments in literary and cultural matters. But this positive aspect was ultimately overshadowed by the sharp rise in fanatic Shaivism which ultimately paved the way for the downfall of the Ahom rule. Shiva Singha’s brother Pramatta Singha (1744-1751) was next in line as per the instructions of their father Rudra Singha: Pramatta Singha or Sunenpha’s reign is chiefly remembered for the various temples and other buildings constructed in his reign. For example Singhaduar (main gate) at Gargaon, Sukleswar and Rudreswar temples at Guwahati. Swargadeo Rudra Singha under whose instructions originally the Ranghar was built of bamboo and wood, was later on given the present shape by Pramatta Singha. Rudra Singha’s fourth son Surampha took on the mantle of kingship. He took on the name of Rajeswar Singha (1751-1769). He stopped the atrocities of the Dafalas and Miris on the people of the plains. He also extended full support to the Manipur king to fight against the Burmese. Rajeswar Singha sent Haranath Phukan with forces to the aid of Manipuri king. The Ahom forces had to make way through dense forests which is why this particular battle is also called ‘Lata-Kata Rann’. In gratitude the Manipuri king gave his daughter. Kuranganayani in marriage to Rajoswar Singha. Towards the end of the reign of Rajesar Singha, Borbaruah Kirtichandra alias Gendhola became powerful. He passed an order to burn all the Buranjis (History books) written by Numali Borgohain, because he had adopted a negative stance against Gendhela’s family in the Buranjis. As a result much useful information was lost. Like previous kings who had proceeded him, Rajeswar Singha constructed Kareng Ghar at Gargaon, Basistha Ashram, Navagraha Mandir, Monikarneshwar Mandir, Chitrachal Mandir, Har-Gouri Devalaya at Guwahati and Talatal Ghar at Sivasagar. He died in 1769. Lakshmi Singha or Sunyeopha (1769-1780) was installed as king by Kirtichandra Barbaruah. There was doubt regarding his legitimacy, since the Parbatiya Gossain refused to initiate him. Following this Lakshmi Singha was initiated by Na Gossain from Bengal, Lakshmi Singha was the antithesis of what a king should be, hence, the seat of power was actually occupied by Kirtichandra Barbaruah. • Moamoria Rebellion The rebellion by Moamorias is a dark chapter of Assam history. The final impetus was provided by the atrocities committed by Kirtchandra Barbaruah. Two examples are given as an illustration of high handedness of Barbaruah. On one occasion, Moamoria Gossain was humiliated by Kirtichandra when he did not pay his respects to him, who was with the king. Another day a disciple of Moamoria Gossain and leader of Moran, Nahar gifted an elephant directly to the king without meeting Kirtchandra. Kirtichandra caused serious physical harm to Nahar, the disciple. • •In 1769, Moamorias raised the standard of revolt against Ahom rule and occupied Rangpur as a measure of independence. The Moamorias captured Lakshmi Singha and murdered Kirtichandra Barbaruah. The throne was now without a heir. The Moamorias placed their nominee Ramkanta on the throne. But this state of affairs was not to last long for their inexperience in matters of the state and internal dissensions cost them the throne. Consequently after one year, Lakshmi Singha was again installed as king and in an act of revenge ordered terrible punishments for the Moamorias. But one thing could not be denied that the Ahom rule was inevitably heading towards the end, and the atrocities perpetuated on the Moamorias only served to fan the fire of the revolt. Lakshmi Singha’s successor and son Suhitpahgpha or Gaurinath Singha (1780-1794) followed the policy of his father. This only served to alienate the Moamorias further, thus turning them into sworn enemies of the Ahoms. As a result, in 1782, the Moamorias revolted for the second time. Even though Purnananda Burhagohain tried his best to quell the rebellion but he met with partial success. In 1786, the Moamorias captured Gargaon, forcing Gaurinath Singha to flee to Guwahati. As expected, insecurity and lawlessness became the order of the day. Gaurinath Singha was faced with no other option, but to ask help from the British, thus paving the way for their advent in Assam. Lord Cornwallis acceeded to his request and sent Captain Wells to quell the rebellion in 1792. The Moamorias were no match for the British forces. They were defeated. Gaurinath Singha was again re-installed as king and Captain Wells went back to West Bengal in 1795. The revolt of the Moamorias, however, was far from over. Hence, Gaurinath Singha thought it wise to shift the capital from Rangpur to Jorhat. Gaurinath was the most incompetent, blood-thirsty disreputable and cowardly of all the Ahom Kings. Gourinath neglected entirely the duties of his kingly office, which he left to his intriguining and corrupt favourites. Satram. When Purnananda Burhagohain came to learn of t3adan Chandra Borphukan’s involvement in the plot, he sent Maheswar Parbatiya Phukan to capture him. Coincidently, Badan Chandra Borphukan’s daughter was Purnananda Burhagohain’s daughter-in-law. When she came to learn about the developments, she sent a warning to her father Badan Chandra. In this manner, Badan was able to escape to Burma and seeked help from the Burmese king, thus making a dangerous move, bec,ause Assam had to suffer many invasions by the Burmese in times to come. In 1815. Badan Chandra Barphukan attacked Assam with a 8000 strong Burmese force. In the war with the Burmese, Purnananda Burhagohain was killed. Some say that he committed suicide. Badan Chandra Barphukan also had to pay with his life, for such gross betrayal, a betrayal which was to cost Assam dearly. To take revenge for his father Purnananda Burhagohain’s death, his son Ruchinath Burhagohain occupied Jorhat and maimed Chandrakanta Singha. He then had Purandar Singha (1818-1819) installed as a King. The friends of murdered Barphukan fled to Burma and informed the King of that country of the course of events in Assam. A fresh force was despatched under a general named Ala Mingi (or Kio Mingi). This resulted in the second invasion by the Burmese in 1819. They attacked Assam and installed Chandrakanta Singha on the throne which of course was only an eyewash for they were the real power behind the throne. But in 1820 when the Burmese Commander-in-Chief Mingimaha Tilwa left for Burma, Chandrakanta Singha tried to regain his lost power and prestige which resulted in the third Burmese invasion in 1821 and even though Chandrakanta Singha fought with the Burmese to the best of his ability, he could not make a dent in the Burmese stronghold, which lasted from 1819 to 1924. They let loose a reign of terror on the local people, Indiscriminate killings became the order of the day. The people were robbed of their land and property. All these took a toll on the social fabric. The foundation of the prevalent social order was shaken to the very core. So much so that even now that period is remembered with much hatred as Maanar Din (Days of Maan). The situation further worsened when the Burmese invaded British occupied territory. The British did not take it lightly and consequently the first battle between the British and Burmese took place in the 1824. The Burmese did not met their match in the British and were upstaged by them on account of their superior warfare techniques. Two years later a treaty was signed on 24 February in 1826 at Yandaboo — a treaty which came to be called as ‘Yandaboo Treaty’. Assam passed into the hands of British, thus pulling the curtains on the glorious 600 years rule of the Ahoms. • Rule of the British In the beginning, the people welcomed the British with open arms because they were seen as saviours. The Assamese had suffered more than enough on account of the Burmese invasion, Moamoria rebellion, downfall of the Ahom kingdom. The British, however, saw it as a golden opportunity to annex Assam to the vast British empire which consisted of almost the whole of India. The Pyke system was alive and posts were filled up with non-Assamese, which did not go down well with the people, specially the intellectuals. Thus plans were afoot to overthrow the British and re-establish the Ahom rule. The first notable revolt against the British was led by Dhananjay Borgohain and Gumadhar Konwar in 1828, a revolt which did not meet with much success. Gamadhar Konwar was sentenced to seven years in prison and Dhananjay Borgaohain who was given orders to be hanged, fled to Matak kingdom. There he together with his sons Harakanta and Haranath, son-in-law Jeuram Dualia Baruah, Piyoli Barphukan, Rupchand and many others secretly set up a plan to attack Rangpur. But before they could execute
Chief Ministers of Assam
Sailed Muhammad Saadulla April 1, 1937 November 17, 1939 August 25, 1942 Gopinath Bordoloi September 19, 1938 February 11, 1946 August 9, 1950 December 28, 1957 November 11, 1970 January 31, 1972 March 12, 1978 September 9, 1979 December 12, 1980 January 13, 1982 February 27, 1983 December 24, 1985 June N, 1991 April 22, 1996 May 15, 1996 May 18, 2001 May 24, 2016
Bishnu Ram Medhi Bimala Prasad Chaliha Mohendra Mohan Choudhuri Sarat Chandra Singha Golap Borbora Jogendra Nath Hazarika Sayeda Anowara Taimur Kesab Chandra Gogoi Hiteswar Saikia Prafulla Kumar Mahanta Hiteswar Saikia Dr Bhumidhar Barman (Acting) Prafulla Kumar Mahanta Tarun Gogoi Sarbananda Spnowal
September 19, 1938 – December 24, 1941 – February 11, 1946 – November 17, 1939 August 6, 1950 December 27, 1957 November 6, 1970 – January 30, 1972 – March 12, 1978 – September 9, 1979 – December 11 1979 – June 30, 1981 – March 19, 1982 – December 23, 1985 – November 27, 1990 April 22, 1996 – May 14, 1996 – May 17, 2001 – May 24, 2016 – May 24, till date the plan, Sadiya Khowa Gohain informed the British of their plans, because he wanted to prove his loyalty to the British. Piyoli Barphukan, Jeuram Dualia Baruah were hanged to death in 1830 and the rest were expelled from the country. In 1833 Purandar Singha was reinstated by the British, a mere puppet in their hands. He could not do anything without their permission. This left the elite section of the society bitterly frustrated as all their hopes were crushed. This turned them against the king and the British who were waiting for such an opportunity removed him on the flimsy ground of a incompetent ruler. Thus Assam passed into the hands of the British. Besides Assam, they annexed Khamti, Singhphow, Matak, Kachari, Naga, Garo, Luchai and other hilly kingdoms to the evergrowing empire.
The people, however, did not benefit in any manner, for the economic scenario did not improve. The time had come when the people decided to take matters in their own hands. The famous revolt of 1857, found an echo in Assam under the leadership of Maniram Dewan and Piyoli Barua, who were consequently hanged in 1858. Other leaders like Madhu Mullick, Kamala Baruah, Dutiram Baruah, Marangi Khowa Gohain were banished from the State. Two others viz. Formud Ali and Bahadur Gaon Burha were sent to the Andamans i.e. Kaliapani. The British dispensed justice in a high handed manner, without making distinction between innocent and the guilty. Sir Holroyd had this to say in connection with the innocents pleading for fair play that, ‘We will hang you first, try you afterwards.’ Although the first armed revolt did not meet with success, the spark for independence was truly lit. Assam was put under a Commissioner in 1859. Around that time, farmers of Phulguri, Mangaldoi (Pathorughat) and Uttar Kamrup organised public meetings or mels where they sought to enlighten people about the reality of British rule. Agrarian revolts look place at Phulaguri, Patharughat, Rangia and various places of north Kamrup protesting against imposing excessive taxes. On the other hand, the British sought to clamp the linguistic freedom of the natives by introducing Bengali as the medium of instruction in 1837. It was an unsuccessful attempt since the unstinted efforts by the American Baptist—Missionaries, and front ranking personalities of the day like Anandaram Dhekial Phukan, Hemchandra Barua, Gunabhiram Baruah — Assamese regained its place as the medium of instruction in 1873. During those days Calcutta was the Mecca of higher learning. The Assamese students who pursued their higher studies there formed various cultural organisations which were aimed at regenerating Assamese culture and literature. They thought it was important that the element of cohesiveness should rejoin the social fabric of it III State, so that the fight for liberty could percolate to every ntritta of society. In 1884 Jagannath Barooah formed the first !,iich organisation and named it Sarbajanik Sabha at Jorhat. I he foundation of the organsation is a landmark in the history of political associations in Assam. It was followed by Assam Association formed by Manik Chandra Baruah. Notable freedom fighters of the period like Nabin Chandra Bordoloi, Tarun Ram Phukan, Gopinath Bordoloi, Rohini Kumar Hati Baruah, Vidyadhar Sarma, Chandranath Sarma etc. made the association a platform for their future political career. Later on this particular association came to be recognised as the Assam branch of Indian National Congress in 1919. In 1916 Asam Chatra Sanmilan and in 1917 Assam Sahitya Sabha (formerly known as Sadou Asom Sahitya Sanmilani) were formed. In 1919-20 like the rest of the country Assam also plunged into the non-cooperation movement launched by Gandhiji. Leaders like Nabin Chandra Bordoloi, Tarun Ram Phukan, Chandranath Sarma etc. had to undergo imprisonment. There was full scale participation. Assam participated in the national Congress held at Calcutta, where Debi Charan Baruah, Gopinath Bordoloi, Kamini Kumar Chandra, Bipin Chandra Pal, Satyanath Baruah and Joy Gobinda Som represented Assam. 1921 is a memorable year in 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 1921 Assam passed into the hands of a Governor, thus paving the way for a dual administration, which lasted till 1936. The 41st session of Indian National Congress took place at Pandu at Guwahati in 1926. It Was presided over by Srinivas lyengar. This session was an eye-opener, for it serve as a medium for helping the voice of freedom reach every nook and corner of Assam. People learn how make handspun cloths and thereby reject foreign made goods.
In 1930 Civil Disobedience was launched by Gandhiji and Assam too plunged into it. Leaders like Hemchandra Baruah, Bishnu Ram Medhi, Omeo Kumar Das courted imprisonment. Even a large number of women participated in this struggle. In 1935 self governance in Assam was introdUced. In the elections held in 1937 although the Congress was able to secure the maximum number of seats, they were not able to get a majority. Therefore, the leader of Muslim League Sir Sayed Muhammad Saadulla formed the first council of ministers after securing the approval of other parties. Later on the Congress came to power, its leader being Gopinath Bordoloi. Finally during the second world war; Bordoloi ministry resigned and Sadulla ministry came back to power in 1939. 1942 was the year of the historic Quit India Movement which was also popularly known as Peoples’ Revolution. This movement is historic because it was the last movement before India gained independence. In Assam, leaders like Jyotiprasad Agarwala, Gopinath Bordoloi, Siddhinath Sarmah, Mohammed Tayebullatl, Fakaruddin Ali Ahmed, Bishnu Ram Medhi were the leaders of this movement, who were also i-mprisoned. In various places this movement acquired a violent char’acter. Post offices, police stations were put to fire, rail communication was”disrupted. There were many people who laid down their lives for the sake of freedom of India. They are the people like Bhogeshwari Phukanani, Kanaklata, Laxmiram Hazarika, Thogiram Sut, Baloram Sut, Mukunda Kakati, Routa Kachari, Madan Barman etc. Almost 30,500 people were arrested. Finally in 1945, after the end of second world war, the Labour party headed by Clement Attie came to power in Britain. In 1946 Cabinet Mission sat in discussion with the political leads of India and decided on the transfer of power. The ‘transfer’ which took place on 15th August, 1947 earned India its independence.
• Assam After Independence The first Governor of independent Assam was Sir Akbar Hydari and chief minister was Gopinath Bordoloi who saw the foundations laid of Gauhati. Gauhati
Governors of Assam
Sir Henry Joseph Tuynam Sir Robert Niel Reid Andrew Gourlay Clow Rederik Chalmers Bourne Sir Henry Foley Knight Andrew Gourlay Clow Sir Akbar Hydari Ronald Francis Sri Prakasha Jairam Das Daulatram Saiyid Fazal Ali Chandreswar Prasad Sinha Satyawanta Manalla Shrinagesh Bishnu Sahay Satyawanta Manalla Srhinagesh Bishnu Sahay B K Nehru Justice P K Swami B K Nehru Lalan Prasad Singh Prakash Mehrotra T S Misra Bhishma Narayan Singh Harideo Joshi Justice Anisetti Roghuvir Devi Das Thakur Lok Nath Misra Sriniwas Kumar Sinha Ajoy Singh Arvind Dave (Acting) Shivcharan Mathur* K S Narayan (Acting) Sibete Raji J B Patnaik P B Archarya Banawarilal Purohit Jagdish Mukhi ‘Died in office
24 February, 1938 — 4 October, 1939 5 October, 1939 — 3 May, 1942 4 May, 1942 4 April, 1946 4 September, 1946 — 23 December. 1946 24 December, 1946 — 3 May, 1947 4 May, 1947 — 28 December, 1948 30 December, 1948 — 15 February, 1949 16 February, 1949 — 26 May, 1950 27 May, 1950 — 14 May, 1956 15 May, 1956 — 22 August, 1959 23 August, 1959 — 13 October, 1959
14 October, 1959 — 12 November, 1960 12 Novermber, 1960 — 12 January, 1961
13 January, 1961 — 7 September, 1962 7 September, 1962 — 16 April, 1968 17 April, 1968 — 7 December, 1970′ 8 December, 1970 — 4 January, 1971 5 January, 1971 — 18 September, 1973 19 September, 1973 — 10 August. 1981 10 August, 1981 — 27 ,March, 1984 28 March, 1984 — 15 April, 1984 15 April, 1984 — 10 May, 1989 10 May, 1989 — 21 July, 1989 21 July, 1989 — 2 May, 1990 2 May, 1990 — 17 March, 1991 17 March, 1991 — 1 September, 1997 1 September, 1997 — 4 June, 2003 5 June 2003 — 3 July 2008 21 April — 12 May 2003 4 July 2008 — 25 June 2009 25 June — 26 July 2009 27 July 2009 — 9 December 2009 10 December 2009 — 11 December 2014 12 December 2014 — 22 August 2016 22 August 2016 — 30 September, 2017 30 September 2017 — till date
High Court (1948), Guwahati station of All India Radio. Gopinath Bordoloi died in 1950, and then Bishnu Ram Medhi took over as the next chief minister of Assam. His stint was from 1950-57. First Five-Year Plan was started in his time. Panchayat system of governance was introduced and the agricultural sector got more importance in his tenure. Prasad Chaliha was the third chief minister from 1957 to 1970. In 1958 the 66′” session of Congress was held at Jalukbari, Guwahati. The Saraighat Bridge was constructed over the Brahmaputra river (1965), an Oil refinery was established at Noonmati, Guwahati in 1962 during his time. In 1959-60 the famous language revolt took place in Assam, and as a result Assamese became the official language of the State and Bengali also enjoyed the same status in the Cachar District of Barak Valley. Mohendra Mohan Choudhury assumed the mantle of chief minister in 1970. The foundation of Bongaigaon Petro-Chemicals, Paper Mill at Jogighopa and Jute factory at Silghat in Nagaon were laid in his tenure). In 1972 Sarat Chandra Sinha came to power after Congress secured absolute majority. In 1973 the capital was finally shifted to Guwahati from Shillong. 1978 witnessed in the Janata Dal coming to power in the State and Golap Borbora succeeded Sarat Chandra Singha. Then came Keshab Gogoi as the Chief Minister for a short stint. President’s rule was introduced for the first time in 1979. • Assam Agitation Onwards During that time (1979), a mass agitation against the illegal foreign national staying in Assam started to take roots under the leadership of the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), which was to spread all over the State in a large scale. Famous as ‘Assam Agitation’, this agitation got support from other organisations like the Gana Sangram Parishad, Karmachari Parishad and even many women organisations. Hundreds died as martyrs and many more were put under bars in this
Spell of President’s Rule in Assam
• 25 December, 1941 — Novermber, 1942 : Governor’s Rule for want of majority of any party • 2 October, 1945 — 11 March, 1946 : Governor’s Rule for want of majority of any party. • 12 December, 1979 — 6 December, 1980 : President’s Rule. • 30 June, 1981 — 13 January, 1982 : President’s Rule. • 19 March, 1982 — 27 Febraury, 1983 : Prsident’s Rule. • 27 November (midnight), 1990 — 30 June, 1991 : President’s Rule
agitation. At last an accord (known as ‘Assam Accord’) to end this agitation was signed between the AASU and the Central Government headed by then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, in the early morning of the 15th August, 1985. See also ‘Assam Accord’ During this time, in an election held in 1983, the Congress (I) party headed by Hiteswar Saikia got elected to form the government. But after the ‘Assam Accord’ of 1985, that government was dismissed and in the election held in December of that same year the regional party — Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) constituted by the leaders of ‘Assam Agitation’ got the majority and for the first time in the history of Assam, regional party formed the government. Prafulla Kumar Mahanta became the Chief Minister of Assam. But in 1990, still with one month left to complete its term, the central government implemented the President’s rule in the State. After this in 1991 the Congress (I) party won the hustings and a new government headed by Hiteswar Saikia was formed. Then after the death of Hiteswar Saikia on 22nd April, 1996, Dr Bhumidhar Barman took charge as the acting chief minister for a few days. In the elections held in that year, the AGP got the majority and a governm6nt led by Prafulla Kumar Mahanta took charge on 15th May, 1996. In the elections held in 2001, 2006 and 2011 the Congress (I) party headed by Tarun Gogoi got elected thrice to form the government. In 2016, the BJ P-led National Democratic Alliance won a majority of seats in
the legislature, with 86 seats, followed by Congress with 26 seats and AIUDF with 13. Sarbananda Sonowal of BJP became the Chief Minister of Assam. The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government has been functioning till date.
• 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. 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 which, Assam was allotted five seats. In 1912 Assam was
Speakers of Assam Legislative Assembly Name From to 1. Babu Basant Kumar Das April /, 1931 M.irch 11, 1946 2. Debeswar Sarmah March 1;’, 1!141, ( )(,i(ther 10, 1947 3. Lakshewar Barooah November 5, 194 / March 3, 1952 4. Kuladhar Chaliha March 5, 1952 June 7, 1957 5. Devkanta Barooah June 8, 1957 September 15, 1959 6. Mohendra Mohan Choudhury December 9, 1959 March 19, 1967 7. Hareswar Goswami March 20, 1967 May 10, 1968 8. Mani Kanta Das August 27, 1968 March 21, 1972 9. Ramesh Ch. Barooah March 22, 1972 March 20, 1978 10. Jogendra Nath Hazarika March 21, 1978 September 4, 1979 11. Sheikh Chand MohamMad November 7, 1979 January 7, 1986 12. Pulakesh Baruah January 9, 1986 July 27, 1991 13. Jiba Kanta Gogoi July 29, 1991 December 9, 1992 Speakers of Assam Legislative Assembly )obesh Chandra :hakravorty Dec. 21, 1992 June 11, 1996 ;anesh Kutum June 12, 1996 May 24, 2001 ‘rithibi Majhi May 30, 2001 May 19, 2006 Lanka Bahadur Rai May 29, 2006 May 26, 2011 ‘ranab Gogoi June 6, 2011 May 19, 2016 tanjit Kumar Das June 1, 2016 Dec 26, 2016 litendra Nath Goswami Jan 30, 2017 till date 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 am 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 1st April, 1921 of which 41 were elected members and the remaining 12 were nominated. The Government of India Act, 1935 was adopted by the British Parliament on 2″ 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 (Reorganisation 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.