History of Assam Part 2

All about Assam History (Part 2)

The victory at Saraighat was followed by a spell of treacherous court intrigues which threatened the very existence of the Ahom kingdom until Rudra Sinha assumed power and took the Ahom kingdom from strength to strength. From this zenith however it was a plunge straight down, starting with the uprising of the Vaisnavite Moamoria Mahantas in protest against the religious harassment meted out to them at the instigation of the Sakta Ahom queen Phuleswari, in the eighties of the Eighteenth Century. It was during the troubled times of the uprising and many court intrigues and dissension sapping the strength of the Ahom rulers that the Burmese invaded Assam through its eastern borders.

It was history repeating itself, and just as the Ahoms themselves had overran the land six centuries before, so also were they themselves humiliated by the Burmese who were to be the rulers of the land till the British appeared on the scene in 1826 and forced them to cede Assam by the Treaty of Yandabu.

That their latest acquisition was by no means a land of docile inhabitants was soon realized by the British when within four years of their conquest they had to face a joint resistance by the people of Assam. The bid was abortive but marked the beginning of the confrontation between the nationalists and the imperialist which was to end with the country achieving her independence in 1947.

The years in between, as in rest of the country, witnessed the saga of the Indian Independence Movement marked by ungrudging sacrifices and unbreakable determination. Assam played a major role in the freedom struggle of India. Maniram Dewan, Piyoli Phukan and Piyali Barua were hanged in connection with the Sepoy Mutiny. Martyrs like Kanak Lata, Kushal Konwar and Bhogeswari Phukanani gave their lives during the independence movement. It was only because of the courage, dedication, vibrancy, patriotism and sacrifice of these and many other freedom fighters, India became independent.

The Chinese aggression of 1962 was to pose a real enough threat to the independence of this particular part of the country and was thankfully averted by a strong military response and last-minute political understandings. But what was Assam back in 1947 constituted all the states of the present-day Northeast except Manipur and Tripura. However, regional cultural variations were too distinct for the entire land to stay clubbed under a single political administration. Hence we have the phenomenon of new states being carved out from erstwhile Assam one after the other. It started with the creation of Nagaland in 1963, followed by the separation of Meghalaya and Mizoram in 1971, and ended with the formation of Arunachal Pradesh in 1972. The part that remained as a single entity is the Assam of today.

And cultural identity has always featured prominently in the socio-economic and political scenario of Assam. Thus we have the unprecedented Assam Movement of the 1980s which is largely deemed to be an endeavor to preserve the cultural identity of the State endangered by large-scale infiltration of illegal immigrants from across the border from Bangladesh. In recent times, the State has also been badly suffered by the terrorism propagated by some extremist elements.

Read Part 1 of History of Assam

2 comments in “History of Assam Part 2

  • Piyoli phukan was not hanged to death because of sepoy mutiny. He was condemned to death 28 years ago along with jeuram dulia, 1st martyr from assam in British rule.
    Piyoli barua and maniram dewan sacrificed their life during sepoy mutiny

  • Very informative article thanks

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