Friday, April 12, 2024

The People



The Ahoms are the only Mongoloid race whose arrival in Assam is historically recorded. This is because they came very late, viz, in 1228 AD. and they recorded their own activities in the chronicles called 'Buranjis', meaning 'store -house of unknown things'.

The Ahoms spoke Chinese-Siamese. In upper Burma and western Yunnan, they had styled themselves as Shans. The Ahoms, though scattered all over the valley, are concentrated in Sibsagar district, the seat of their  administration. Assam, the present name of the state, is in all probability an Ahom contribution. The other Shan tribes who followed the Ahoms along the same Patksi Range route are the Khamtis, Naras, Phakials, Aitaniyas,Turungs and Khamjangs, all Buddhists. The Ahoms were the only non-Buddhists. The Aryan Hindus of Assam are numerous with their sub-sects. Principal  castes or classes of people of Assam, excluding the tribes are: Brahmana, Kayastha, Kalita, Koch, Keot, Ganaka or Daivajna, Kaibarta, Kumara Hari, the  last two being potters. This classification is based on old records and present social conditions. They inhabit every nook and corner of the plains. They originally came to Assam  from the west  like other Aryan descendants of northern India, they are also tall and fair. The Kalitas are agriculturists by profession, though during Ahom rule they proved their might as soldiers also. The Brahmanas  and Kayasthas are generally given to intellectual pursuits such as learning, diplomacy, statecraft and religious teaching. It is they who are largely responsible for propagating the scriptures, building up literature and developing the Assamese language.