Assam History

Assam is a state of India. It is located in the northeastern part of the country and is bounded to the north by the kingdom of Bhutan and the state of Arunachal Pradesh, to the east by the states of Nagaland and Manipur, to the south by the states of Mizoram and Tripura, and to the west by Bangladesh and the states of Meghalaya and West Bengal. The name Assam is derived from the word Asama, meaning “peerless” in the now extinct Ahom language. The neighbouring states of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram, and Meghalaya were once part of Assam. The capital, formerly Shillong (now the capital of Meghalaya), was shifted to Dispur, a suburb of Guwahati, in 1972. Area of Assam is 30,285 square miles (78,438 square km). Population of Assam according to 2011 census is 31,169,272.

Geography. Assam, which is shaped roughly like a Y lay on its side, is a land of plains and river valleys. The state has three principal physical regions: the Brahmaputra River valley in the north, the Barak River (upper Surma River) valley in the south, and the hilly region between Meghalaya (to the west) and Nagaland and Manipur (to the east) in the south-central part of the state.
⦁ Of those regions, the Brahmaputra River valley is the largest. According to Hindu mythology, the Brahmaputra rises as the son of the god Brahma from a sacred pool known as the Brahmakund, in neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh. The river enters Assam near Sadiya in the extreme northeast and runs westward through the length of Assam for nearly 450 miles (725 km) before turning south to enter the plains of Bangladesh. Studded with low, isolated hills and ridges that rise abruptly from the plain, the valley is rarely more than 50 miles (80 km) wide and is surrounded on all sides, except on the west, by mountains. Numerous streams and rivulets that flow from the neighbouring hills empty into the Brahmaputra.
⦁ Although only a small portion of the Barak River valley lies within Assam’s borders, it nevertheless forms an extensive lowland area that is important for agriculture in the state’s southern region. Geologically, the Brahmaputra and Barak valleys lie on ancient alluvial sediments, which themselves cover a variety of deposits from the Neogene and Paleogene periods (i.e., some 2.6 to 65 million years old). Among those deposits is hard sandstone, soft and loose sand, conglomerates, coal seams, shales, sandy clays, and limestone. The south-central hills between Meghalaya, Nagaland, and Manipur include the North Cachar Hills and form part of the Meghalaya Plateau, which may have been an extension of Gondwana (an ancient landmass in the Southern Hemisphere that once grouped together South America, Africa, Australia, and part of the Indian subcontinent). Isolated from the main plateau by the embayments of the Kepili River, the upland there displays a rugged topography. It generally has a northerly slope, with average elevations ranging from about 1,500 feet (450 metres) to about 3,300 feet (1,000 metres). Roughly between the Brahmaputra valley and the south-central hill region are the northern ranges, which extend northeastward from Dabaka (east of Dispur) to Bokakhat in east-central Assam. The Rengma Hills to the south of the ridge average about 3,000 feet (900 metres). Their most prominent peak is Chenghehishon (4,460 feet [1,360 metres]). Earthquakes are common in Assam. Among the most severe are those recorded in 1897, with the Shillong Plateau as the epicentre; in 1930, with Dhuburi as the epicentre; and in 1950, with Zayu (Rima) in Tibet at the Arunachal Pradesh border as the epicentre. The 1950 earthquake is considered one of the most disastrous in South Asia’s history. It created heavy landslides that blocked the courses of many hill streams. The floods that followed the bursting of those earthquake-generated dams caused more loss of life and property than the earthquake itself.
⦁ Climate. Average temperatures in Assam range from highs in the upper 90s F (about 36 °C) in August to lows in the mid-40s F (about 7 °C) in January. The cool season generally lasts from October to February and is marked by fogs and brief showers. The state escapes the normal Indian hot, dry season. Although some rain occurs from March through May, the heaviest precipitation comes with the southwest monsoon, which arrives in June, stays through September, and often causes widespread and destructive flooding. Annual rainfall in Assam is not only the highest in the country but also ranks among the highest in the world; its annual average varies from about 70 inches (1,800 mm) in the west to more than 120 inches (3,000 mm) in the east.
⦁ Plants and Animal Life. Forests, formerly extending over nearly two-fifths of the state’s area, were reduced by the creation of Meghalaya and Mizoram in the early 1970s. In the early 21st century about one-third of Assam was covered with various types of woodlands, including tropical evergreen and deciduous forests, broad-leaved hill forests, pine forests, and swamp forests, as well as grasslands. Assam is home to some 75 species of trees, many of which have commercial value. Sal (Shorearobusta) and hollong (Dipterocarpusrhetusus) trees are among the most bountiful of the hardwoods. Bamboo, orchids, and ferns also are abundant. Assam has numerous wildlife sanctuaries, the most prominent of which are two UNESCO World Heritage sites—the Kaziranga National Park (designated in 1985), on the bank of the Brahmaputra River, and the Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (designated in 1992), near the border with Bhutan. Both are refuges for the fast-disappearing Indian one-horned rhinoceros, and the sanctuary at Manas is known especially for its tigers and leopards. Among the other notable inhabitants of Assam’s forests are elephants, gaurs (wild oxen), wild pigs, various species of deer, and primates, such as langurs and hoolock gibbons. Common birds include cormorants, herons, ducks, and other water birds, as well as warblers, thrushes, owls, and peacocks. Hornbills are characteristic of Assam, although they are endangered in some areas. The state also has dozens of species of reptiles, including poisonous snakes, such as kraits, cobras, and vipers; an array of lizards, skinks, and geckos; and many types of turtles


⦁ Administrative Districts

1. Tinskia 2. Dibrugarh 3. Dhemaji 4. Charaideo 5. Sivasagar 6.Lakhimpur 7. Majuli 8. Jorhat  9.Biswanath 10. Golaghat 11. KarbiAnglong 12. Sonitpur 13. Nagaon 14. Hojai 15. Karbi AnglongWest 16. DimaHasao 17. Cachar 18. Hailakandi 19. Karimganj 20. Morigaon 21. Udalguri 22. Darrang 23. KamrupMetro 24. Baksa 25. Nalbari 26. Kamrup 27. Barpeta 28. Chirang 29. Bongaigaon 30. Goalpara 31. Kokrajhar 32. Dhubri 33. SouthSalmaraMankachar 34. Bajali
The 34 administrative districts of Assam are delineated based on geographic features such as rivers, hills, and forests. On 15 August 2015, five new districts were formed. Part of Sonitpur became the Biswanath district (9 in the nearby map)
⦁ Part of ⦁ Sivasagar became the ⦁ Charaideo district (4)
⦁ Part of ⦁ Nagaon became the ⦁ Hojai district (14)
⦁ Part of ⦁ Dhubri became the ⦁ South Salmara-Mankachar district (33)
⦁ The ⦁ KarbiAnglong district was divided into East (11) and West (15) districts
On 27 June 2016, an island in the Brahmaputra River was removed from the Jorhat district and declared the Majuli district, India’s first district that is a river island. On 12 January 2021 Bajali has been curves out from Barpeta district and formally declared as a district. With the announcement made by Governor Jagdish Mukhi, it has become the 34th district of Assam.
⦁ Subdivisions. The administrative districts are further subdivided into 54 “Subdivisions” or ⦁ Mahakuma. Every district is administered from a district headquarters with the office of the ⦁ Deputy Commissioner, District Magistrate, Office of the District Panchayat and usually with a ⦁ district court. The ⦁ local governance system is organized under the jila-parishad (District Panchayat) for a district, ⦁ Panchayat for group of or individual rural areas and under the urban local bodies for the towns and cities. There are now 2489 village panchayats covering 26247 villages in Assam. The ‘town-committee’ or nagar-somiti for small towns, ‘municipal board’ or pouro-sobha for medium towns and ⦁ Municipal Corporation or pouro-nigom for the cities consist of the urban local bodies. For revenue purposes, the districts are divided into revenue circles and mouzas; for the development projects, the districts are divided into 219 ‘development-blocks’ and for law and order these are divided into 206 police stations or Thana. ⦁ Guwahati is the largest ⦁ metropolitan area and ⦁ urban conglomeration administered under the highest form of ⦁ urban local body – ⦁ Guwahati Municipal Corporation in Assam. The Corporation administers an area of 216.79 km2 (83.70 sq mi). All other urban centers are managed under ⦁ Municipal Boards. A list of 9 oldest, classified and prominent, and constantly inhabited, recognized urban centers based on the earliest years of formation of the civic bodies, before the ⦁ Indian independence of 1947 is tabulated below:

Oldest recognized urban centres of Assam
Urban Centres Civic Body Year Airport Railway Station Railway Junction Road Networks Category
Guwahati Guwahati Town Committee 1853 Yes Yes Yes Yes Tier – III
Guwahati Municipal Board 1873↑ Yes Yes Yes Yes Tier – II
Guwahati Municipal Corporation 1974↑ Yes Yes Yes Yes Tier – I
Dibrugarh Dibrugarh Municipal Board 1873 Yes Yes Yes Yes Tier – II
Goalpara Goalpara Municipal Board 1875 No 1 Yes No 2 Yes Tier – II
Dhubri Dhubri Municipal Board 1883 Yes Yes Yes Yes Tier – II
Nagaon Nagaon Municipal Board 1893 No 3 Yes Yes Yes Tier – II
Tezpur Tezpur Municipal Board 1894 Yes Yes Yes Yes Tier – II
Jorhat Jorhat Municipal Board 1909 Yes Yes Yes Yes Tier – II
Golaghat Golaghat Municipal Board 1920 No 4 Yes Yes Yes Tier – II
Silchar Silchar Municipal Board 1922 Yes Yes Yes Yes Tier – II
Tier-I: a big city with an urban conglomeration (in the true sense) administered by a Municipal corporation. Tier-II: a medium–sized city for an urban agglomeration administered by a Municipal Board.
Tier-III: a small town, larger than a township with a sizeable human settlement. Upgraded to the next highest form of civic body.
⦁ Demographics.
⦁ Population Composition. The people of the plains of the Brahmaputra and Barak valleys are mainly of Indo-Iranian ancestry. By the time of their arrival in the region, however, the local Aryan peoples had become intermixed with Asiatic peoples. The Ahom people, who arrived in the region from mainland Southeast Asia during the 13th century, ultimately stem from Yunnan province of southern China. A significant minority of the population consists of rural indigenous peoples who fall outside the Indian caste system; as such, they are officially designated as Scheduled Tribes. The Bodo constitute the largest of these groups. Most of the Scheduled Tribes live in the south-central hill region and are of Asiatic descent. Assamese, an Indo-Aryan language, is the official and principal language of the state, and an unbroken record of Assamese literary history is traceable from the 14th century. Tibeto-Burman languages are spoken by most of the Scheduled Tribes, although the Khasi people speak an Austroasiatic tongue; some groups have adopted Assamese as their first language. The people in the Barak valley in southern Assam mostly speak Bengali (also called Bangla), which, like Assamese, is an Indo-Aryan language. About three-fifths of the Assamese are Hindus, the majority of whom follow Vaishnavism, which venerates the deity Vishnu. Roughly one-third of the population practices Islam, most Muslims being settlers from Bangladesh or converts from the lower strata of Hindu society. Although many of the Scheduled Tribes have converted to Christianity, some continue to practice traditional local religions; the Mikir and Kachari peoples are mostly Hindus.
⦁ Settlement patterns and demographic trends. The great majority of Assam’s people live in rural areas. The distribution of population is uneven, however, reflecting the hilly terrain, the number of rivers, the forests, the small amount of cultivable land, and the lack of industrialization. The agricultural zone of the Barak River valley supports relatively dense settlement. Since the late 20th century, population growth has been unusually rapid, mostly due to immigration into Assam of tea garden laborers, herders from Nepal, Muslims from West Bengal, and refugees from Bangladesh. Increasing population in the state’s urban areas reflects not only the growth of industries and the expansion of commercial activity but also the tendency of many of the immigrants particularly those from Bangladesh to live near towns. In the early 21st century Guwahati had the most significant urban population.
⦁ Population by religion.
⦁ Assam population in 2021 is estimated to be 36 Million (3.6 Crores), As per Unique Identification India data, updated 31, May 2020, by mid of year 2020 the projected population is 35,607,039. Currently Assam state has an area of 78,438 sq km with density of 397 people per sq km. As per NitiAayog 2016 report, Total Fertility Rate of Assam is 2.3.
⦁ The first census conducted in the era of British India in 1901 is recorded as 3.28 million. The 6th census was conducted by Independent India in 1951 and the recorded population growth was 2.44 times in the span of 50 years from 1901 to 1951 is 8 million, and for the next 50 years from 1951 to 2001 the population growth recorded was 3.44 times and the 2001 census was 26 million. The growth rate from 2011 to 2021 is 13.54%.
⦁ According to 2011 census Assam population religion wise, Hindu is the major religion with 61% of population, followed by Muslim with 34%. Christianity accounts for 3.7%, and other religions like Buddhism, Jainism are less than 1%. 54,993 Buddhists and 25,949 Jains are living in Assam at the time of 2011 census.

⦁ Population by districts. According to UID (Unique identification), Assam population in 2020 is estimated to be 35 Million (3.5 Crores).
⦁ District wise population in Assam. Below is the Assam district wise population as per Census 2011 and 2020 projection.