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ASSAM, INDIA'S TEA GROWING NORTHERN STATE

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converted to Christianity, some continue to practice traditional local religions. Cultural life The cultural life of Assam is interwoven with the activities of a number of cultural institutions and religious centers, such as the satra (seat of a religious head known as the satradhikar) and namghar (prayer hall). Satras in Assam have been looking after the religious and social well-being of the Hindu population since the 15 th century. The Assamese people observe all the pan- Indian religious festivals, but their most important celebrations are the three Bihu festivals. Originally agricultural festivals, they are observed with great enthusiasm irrespective of caste, creed, and religious affinity. Weaving is another important aspect of the cultural life of the people of Assam, particularly the women. Nearly every Assamese household, irrespective of caste, creed, and social status, has at least one loom, and most women are expected to be skilled in producing fine silk and cotton cloths. Legend and History of Assam The State had different names before becoming known as Assam. The oldest name known is Pragjyotisha, it was found from Sanskrit records and supposedly covered the entire Brahmaputra Valley. This name was also mentioned in the epics of the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. Later, the name Kamrupa came up, which supposedly covered the Western part of the state. This name was found in an inscription of Samudra Gupta and from the records of Hiuen Tsang, a Chinese pilgrim. The name Assam was not even in use in the region until the Ahoms came to it. The Ahoms are a Shan tribe from Burma, they crossed the Patkai Range and conquered Assam. Other evidences state that the name Assam has some relations to the Tai and the Mongoloid people, mostly from other countries in Southeast Asia. In fact, the Thai and Siamese people are referred to as Shan, a variation of Syam, but pronounced with an n as Burmese words ending in ‘m’ are pronounced with an ‘n’. Syam was later changed to Asam, Ahom, Aham, Ahomiya and Axomiya. Historically, from the Ancient Era during 350 AD, when Assam was referred to as Pragjyotisha and Kamrupa, it has been conquered by different dynasties. Salasthamba of the Mlechchha Dynasty ruled the region from 655 AD to 990 AD. In the Colonial Era, there was a surge of tea plantations in Assam. However, this was also the time when the first Anglo- Burmese War ensued in 1824. The war ended in 1826, after the Treaty of Yandabo was established. The treaty lasted until 1838 until the British annexed Assam. Assam was first separated from Bengal during the year 1874. It was then known as the Assam Chief Commissionership. In 1905, it was established as a part of the new province of Eastern Bengal and Assam. It was only in 1912 that it became the Assam Province. In the year 1970, Assam was separated into several states to fulfil the national aspirations of the tribal people living in it. Assam State symbol

DIBRUGARH NORTHERN ASSAM