Assam

Travel travails in North East India in 1988-Return Journey

So we reached Nazira after harrowing experience. It was very cold there. In the winter, the sun goes down at about half past four in the evening. Those were the days when an extremist outfit called ULFA was very active. There were kidnappings and murders. So people ventured outside mostly in the daytime or under the protection of security forces. We left in the early mornings and came back early. We went to see the Sivasagar town which was the capital once upon a time of Assam under the rule of Ahom kings. Ahoms came from South-East Asia and settled… Read More »Travel travails in North East India in 1988-Return Journey

Doyen of Assamese Films

Assam and its sister states namely Meghalya, Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh & Nagaland jointly called 7 sisters once upon a time constituted only one state and were known as Assam only. Like every other state and great diversity of cultures in India, Assam and its sister states have preserved their unique culture. One reason for this is lesser contact with rest of the country due to nature of terrain and Central government’s apathy for years. Despite being very rich in resources, the area has not seen the prosperity due to it. The most important ingredients for an area to… Read More »Doyen of Assamese Films

Professor Yasmin Saikia

One day a program on Ahoms-the kings who ruled the state of Assam for almost 700 years-was telecast on Doordarshan TV. It talked about how Tai Ahoms came to Assam from Yunnan province and settled here bewitched by the natural beauty of the land. I have been to the place and stayed there for 3 years and I can vouch for the fact. Although they ruled the state for such a long period, adopted the language of the region, married into the local inhabitants, the truth about the history is not all that clear. I searched on Google and the… Read More »Professor Yasmin Saikia

Singphos: The original tea people of Assam

Robert Bruce is the Englishman who is credited with discovery of tea in Assam in the year 1823. But the Singphos, who were the major tribe of Upper Burma and their territory once  extended from Arunachal  into Assam, beyond Jorhat, and covered  large tracts in northern Burma, smirk at this statement. They contend that they had been drinking and using the tea plants in the food seven centuries earlier than 1823. Griffith also noticed that tea leaves were eaten as a vegetable food prepared in mustard oil and garlic. A similar salad recipe in Burma, called ‘Letpet’, promised marital bliss.… Read More »Singphos: The original tea people of Assam

Ants in Assam

Past few days, a great proliferation in the numbers and variety of ants could be seen here. Small ants, black and brown ants. They have made holes in the walls, throwing away their residue of black hue out of the walls. Thousands of them can be seen moving to and fro. They are everywhere: on the walls, clothes, bedsheets. Once an ant went inside my eye. If the lid of any container is even slightly loose, the ants waste no time for going inside. They seem to be on some suicide mission. They drown in the milk, they move gas… Read More »Ants in Assam

Bhupen Hazarika

During the course of my postings in different places of the country, I was in Sibsagar, which is very important town in the upper Assam. It was once upon a time the capital of Ahom Kings who entered the Assam from Myanmar. They established their capital first in a place called Cheraideo which is nearby Sibsagar. Sibsagar itself was established by the Ahom king Shiv Singh. All around Sibsagar you will see many temples called Dols and Lakes which reminds you about the times of Ahoms. From this land of mystery and pristine natural beauty hails the most original composer… Read More »Bhupen Hazarika

Tai Ahoms: The Easterly Kshatriyas

Indian subcontinent can be accessed on land and by sea from three sides. In the past, invaders entered it through West from the side of Afghanistan. It is protected from North by Himalayas which act as a formidable wall. The mountains which cover the India from North West to North East have been responsible for keeping the invaders entering from the North directly. lt is also responsible for creating the weather particularly the Monsoon which gives India respite from sweltering heat and helps in meeting the irrigation requirements and bestow bounteous crops to the region. Its snow capped mountains feed… Read More »Tai Ahoms: The Easterly Kshatriyas

Hibiscus: Showy Red Flowers

These days Hibiscus shrubs are in full bloom and laden with bright red color flowers. Many people are seen plucking them for offerings before the Gods in their homes and temples. They think Gods are confined to the places where we have placed them and cannot go out and watch and appreciate their own creation themselves. I think They won’t recommend plucking the flowers. These shrubs bear flowers almost all the year round except in the biting winter. But in summers, there is a glut of flowers on the shrubs. Anyway, as usual I went for walk slightly late. It… Read More »Hibiscus: Showy Red Flowers

Forgotten Cousins of Punjabi Sikhs

Just like many Marathi families settled in Tanjore during the time of rule of Marathas at this place, many Sikhs opted not to return to their native land but to settle in the Assam itself. These Sikhs trace their genealogies to few hundred Sikh soldiers which arrived in Assam to help the Ahom rulers in the year 1820. These Sikhs were sent by Ranjit Singh as a friendly gesture. Many of them perished but many among those who survived chose to settle down there. Many of them married the local girls. Most of the descendants are mostly concentrated in Nagaon… Read More »Forgotten Cousins of Punjabi Sikhs

My Peregrinations

I have returned back to the place where we were born, grew up, went to school in our own village of Manimajra, then to college and university in Chandigarh. Graduation and post graduation became possible because of the proximity of Chandigarh. Had this not been the case, there was no chance of my getting higher education in science. Even at that time, some 60 years back, our village was the largest of villages around Chandigarh. There were agricultural lands all around the village. The fields were irrigated with the water from Ghaggar river which flowed nearby emanating from Shivalik hills.… Read More »My Peregrinations