What is Dark Age of Assamese language?


The 37 years long period from 1836 to 1873 is called “Dark Age of Assamese language”. In 1836, British made Bengali the official language of Assam. The colonial rulers took the decision without considering the views of local people. Introduction of Bengali created social, economical and political implications. Progress of education became slow, students faced hardship due to non-use of mother tongue and peasants got deprived from judicial services. Assamese educated, middle class protested this move and demanded replacement of Bengali. Foremost among those who took the cause of Assamese language were Anandaram Dhekial Phukan, Hemachandra Barua, Gunabhirama Barua, Nathan Brown and others. But the British took nearly four decades (37 years) to change their minds. In 1873, British restored Assamese as official language of Assam. The period between 1836 to 1873 is referred to as the Dark Age for Assamese language.

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5 comments in “What is Dark Age of Assamese language?

  • Nehemiah Narzary on

    Bengali for Assam ? So that conversion to Islam was made easy? I’m Baptist and I’m proud of Nathan Brown’s work. Every people have right to speak and write in their mother tongue.

  • sangramjit gogoi on

    mr. naved mirza. it was not american missionaries who has separated assamese from but assamese is a separate and even older than most indic languages earliest assamese script is found inscripted around 150 bc found in golaghat tengarjan village by ashok sarmah. n assamese is the only indo aryan language which didn’t aquire dravidian touch like retroflex and retains pronounciation of ‘x’ which cannot be find in modern indo aryan languages which debunk this theory that assamese has its roots in gangetic belt. assamese is the mother of bengali, oriya and maithili

  • Assam’s official language was destined to be Bengali just like Bihar embraced Hindi instead of their very own Maithali language. But the American missionaries instigated the Assamese to fight against Bengali, the lingua franca of Eastern India, in order to propagate their religion amongst the rural mass.

  • Dhruba Phukan on

    Before declaring Assamese as an independent language in 1873, once the British government called a representation from Assamese people and asked them to speak Assamese, and asked the Bengali audiences to explain the meaning. They spoke fifteen sentences, and the bengalis couldn’t apprehend. One of these sentences was “তিতা তিয়নী সলাই পিনধিলো”
    In the last hundred years or so Assamese has become so much Bengali like that most of the Assamese will not understand the meaning of this sentence now .

  • Others are sharing these words without giving credit to this site. Thanks for this concise info.

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