Tuesday, June 7, 2011

First Muslim body donor in Assam

The body and organ donation movement in Assam, initiated by the Ellora Vigyan Mancha (EVM), got a boost when the family members of the former Communist Party of India (Marxist) legislator, Nizamuddin Khan, donated his body to the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) here on Sunday night, reported in english daily, THE HINDU.

The EVM, a voluntary organisation, handed over Mr. Khan's body to the GMCH authorities. The group said this was the first instance of body donation by a person belonging to the Muslim community in Assam.

“When we went to inquire about his health condition, Mr. Khan expressed his desire in the presence of his wife, family members and others that his body should be donated to the GMCH authorities for medical research.

He also requested us to prepare the will and other necessary documents so that he could sign them. Unfortunately, he passed away at 7.40 p.m. on Saturday before we could do that. Following his demise, his wife and other family members requested us to fulfil his last desire and arrange for handing over his body to the GMCH authorities,” Isfaqur Rahman, EVM's convener, told TheHindu.

GMCH Superintendent Ramen Talukdar accepted the body and lauded the role of the Mancha in spearheading the body donation movement.

Veteran State CPI(M) leader Hemen Das was among those present.

Mr. Khan, who died of cancer, was elected twice from the Sarukhetri constituency in lower Assam's Barpeta district as CPI(M) legislator. He was also a member of the State Secretariat of the Left party besides being president of the State unit of the All-India Kisan Sabha.

The formal handing over of Mr. Khan's body to the GMCH coincided with the eighth death anniversary of Ellora Roy Choudhury, who became the first woman from the north-east to have donated her body for medical research. Mr. Rahman is the husband of Ellora.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

New Ministry of Assam

Chief Minister of Assam Mr. Tarun Gogoi today distributed the portfolios to the members of his Council of Ministers and kept with himself key departments like Home, Political, Finance, Guwahati Development, Information Technology and other departments not allotted to any other Minister.

Senior Minister Prithibi Majhi has been given portfolios like Revenue and Disaster Management, Relief and Rehabilitation, Tea Tribes Welfare, Labour and Employment, while former Assembly Speaker Tanka Bahadur Rai, who has been included in the Ministry this time, has been given portfolios like Planning and Development, Judicial, Legislative, Pension and Public Grievances, etc. Gautam Roy will look after Public Health Engineering Department while Ajanta Neog has retained her PWD portfolio and has been given the additional charge of Urban Development and Housing.

Dr Ardhendu Dey will look after Irrigation and Soil Conservation Departments, while Akon Bora retained the portfolios of Social Welfare and Jail. Chandan Brahma retained his Transport portfolio and has been given additional departments like Tourism and WPT and BC in the BTAC areas. Khorsing Ingty has been given departments like Animal Husbandry and Veterinary, Mines and Minerals and Hill Areas Development.

Himanta Biswa Sarma has retained his Health portfolio. He has also been given other key portfolios of Education and Implementation of Assam Accord. Dr Nazrul Islam has retained his Food and Civil Supplies and Welfare of Minorities portfolios, while new entrant Nilamani Sen Deka has been given the portfolios of Agriculture, Horticulture and Food Processing and Parliamentary Affairs. Rockybul Hussain has retained his Forest portfolio and has been given the additional charge of Panchayat and Rural Development, while Pradyut Bordoloi has retained his Power and Industries portfolios. Another new entrant in the Ministry, Pranati Phukan has been allocated Handloom and Textiles, Sericulture and Cultural Affairs portfolios.

Among the Ministers of State with independent charge, Ajit Singh has been allocated Excise, Sports and Youth Welfare, Basanta Das Fisheries, Information and Public Relations and Printing and Stationery, Rajib Lochan Pegu Water Resources, WPT and BC (outside of BTAD areas) and Siddique Ahmed has been given Cooperation and Border Areas Development.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Muslim Members of Assam Legislative Assembly Election 2011

Muslim Members of Assam Legislative Assembly Election 2011
District and Party Wise Analysis


KARIMGANJ DISTRICT- PARTY- ASSEMBLYCONSITUENCY
1. Siddeque Ahmed, INC, Karimganj South
2. Jamaluddin Ahmed, INC, Badarpur

HAILAKANDI DISTRICT
1. Abdul Muhib Majumdar, INC, Hailakandi
2. Shahidul Alam Choudhury, AGP, Algapur

CACHAR DISTRICT
1. Anamul Haque Laskar, INC, Sonai
2. Ataur Rahman Majarbhuiya, AIUDF, Katigorah

DHUBRI DISTRICT
1. Zabed Islam, IND, Manakachar
2. Abdur Rahman Ajmal, AIUDF, Shalmara South
3. Jahan Uddin, AIUDF, Dhubri
4. Abdu Taher Bepari, INC, Golakganj
5. Hafiz Bashir Ahmed, AIUDF, Bilashipara West
6 Gul Akhtar Begum, AIUDF, Bilashipara East

GOALPARA DISTRICT
1. Monowar Hussain, AIUDF, Goalpara East
2. Sheikh Shah Alam, AIUDF, Goalpara West
3 Moinuddin Ahmed, AIUDF, Jaleswar

BARPETA DISTRICT
1. Abul Kalam Azad, AIUDF, Babhanipur
2. Abdur Rahim Khan, AIUDF, Barpeta
3. Rafiqul Islam, AIUDF, Jania
4. Sherman Ali Ahmed, AIUDF, Baghbar
5. Ali Hussan, AIUDF, Saruketri
6. Shukur Ali Ahmed, INC, Chenga

KAMRUP DISRICT
1. Rekibuddin Ahmed, INC, Choygaon

DARANG DISTRICT
1. Illiyas Ali, INC, Dalgaon

MORIGAON DISTRICT
1. Dr Nazrul Islam, INC, Lahrighat

NAGAON DISTRICT
1. Aminul Islam, AIUDF, Dhing
2. Muzibur Rahman, AIUDF, Ruphihat
3. Rekibul Hussain, INC, Shamaguri
4. Sirajuddin Ajmal, AIUDF, Jamunaghat

Thursday, October 30, 2008

MUSLIMS CONDEMNED ASSAM SERIAL BLASTS AND CALLED IT SENSLESS, HEINOUS CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY.

Killing innocent in anyform is barabric. Today,s serial blasts shaken my heart, GOD save my native state. As a Muslim we have full sympathy with the victims, we pray for the speedy recovery of those who injured. However, it is rubbish to brand any community in particular, investigation should have completed only then we would know the truth. But unfortunately whenever there is a blast some people triggered their prejudices aganist one particular community. Even after the Agartala blast Muslim militants group were accused, some Muslims were picked up including one cleric but finally it is found that the ATTF tribal group is the party who carried the blast. similarly after Imphal blast Manipuri militants claimed the resposiblity. In Assam many bomb blast were carried by seperatisits militants, how can we forget those?
Everybody should remember many of those who died in today,s blasts are poor Muslims like their compatriots. We hope real culprits will be detected and punished which ever religion they belong.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Ghiyashuddin Awliya: Sufi of Assam: Hajo Pilgrimage

GHIYASHUDDIN AWLIYA,S LIFE
Ghiyasuddin Awliya (c. 1330 A.D.)
Ghiyasuddin Awliya was a famous Sufi saint of Brahmaputra Valley. Still Assamese irrespective of their religion visited shrine at Hajo. The source of information on Ghiyasuddin’s life is very limited. Traditions and Deodar Burunji are the only sources through which know something on his life and activities. Most of the writers on Hajo, Poa Makka and Ghiyasuddin Awliya, used traditions and the belief of local people to narrate Ghiyashuddin. Mohini Kumer Saikia, Rofiul Hussain Barua and Maheswar Neog write about the importance of Ghiyasuddin Awliya and Hajo in the history of Assam. According to the most acceptable tradition, Ghiyashuddin came to Brahmputra valley with Ghiyasuddin Bahadur Shah, the son of Sultan Shamsuddin Firoz Shah (1301-22) of Luknawti, in the second quarter of 14th century[i].He first came to Garigaon near Guwahati and stayed for sometimes, before permanently shifted to the north bank of Brahamputra at Hajo. His decision to move their might be because of administrative and social importance of the place. M.K.Saikia on the basis of another tradition opined that Ghiyasuddin was from Arab, and after wondering a few places in India, finally came to Brahaqmaputra Valley with three disciples or companions Hazrat Shah Burug and Hazrat Gudur and Hazrat Jainal, and settled on the mountain at Hazo in Kamrupa District[ii]. The Assam District Gazette of B.C.Allen also mention that a shrine of Hazrat Ghiyasuddin Awliya is located at Hajo, and the near by Masjid was probably built by Sultan Ghiyasuddin Bahabur Shah during his stay in Kamrup[iii]. Mohini Kumer Saikia discussed another tradition which is believed and accepts by a large section of people, who seems it is more trustworthy. It claims that Ghiyasuddin Awliya came to stay in Hajo around 1257-58, when Ikhtiyar Uddin Malik Yuzbek invaded Kamrupa and established his ruled there, he eracted Maszid in Kamrup and the place of the Masjid could Hajo since the Dargah of Hazart Ghiyasuddin might known by Yuzbek in his sojourn at Kamrup[iv]. Yahya Taimizi finally opined that Sultan Ghiyasuddin was the name of a saint, whose grave is located in Hajo. He could not provide details on latter’s life[v]. However on the basis of local tradition, Ghiyasuddin is appeared a great Sufi, who devoted his whole life to the cause of Islam. He is the person who made the original structure of the Masjid, where he is buried. Still his dargah and Hajo are held in great esteem and considered a sacred place by Muslim’s so much that it became a centre of pilgrimage. People of Brahamaputra Valley called the place Powa Macca, (i.e. one fourth of Makkah). They believe that the soil from Makkah was put in the Masjid complex that is why those who visit the place get one-fourth sawab of a Haj.
We know that since 1205 A.D. Muslims gradually settled in lower Assam. It is obvious that some Sufis also came to Brahmputra valley along with Muslim different Muslim generals, administrator and commoners. They had preached the message of Islam among the masses through humanitarian and other services. So it is assume that Ghiyashuddin Awliya was one of them, and along with many others, who’s preaching, helped to emerge a large Muslim society in lower Assam. It can be concluded that the old Muslim society of Hajo is the result of Ghiyashuddin Walleye’s influence. Hindus and Muslims visiting the shrine of Ghiyashuddin Awliya offer Shinni ad lit candles from generation to generation as a token of respect to the late Sufi[vi].
Still there are two Muslim villages at some five miles from Hajo called Kalita Kuchi and Bamun Bari. According to a local writer, these villages were once inhabited by two major Hindu castes Kalita and Brahman, who became converted to Islam at the influence of one Adam Guru, a Sufi. Muslims of these villages believe that their ancestors were Hindus and they had embraced Islam[vii].
[i] Yahya Taimizi, op. cit., p.91
[ii] Mohini Saikia, op. cit., p. 190
[iii] B.C.Allen, Assam Disrrict Gazetteers, Kamrupa, Shilong, 1905, p.103
[iv] Mohini Saikia, op. cit., p. 192
[v] Yahya Taimizi, op. cit., p.92
[vi] Rafiul Hussain Barua, Muslim Oitijya Aru Asham, Jorhat, 1989, p.19
[vii] Seyad Mukibur Rahman, Ashamar Musalman aru Hajo, Manikunt, Souvenir, Asham Shahitya Sabha, Hajo, 1999, pp.46-7

Assam,s Muslim History: An Introduction

Assam,s Muslim History
An Introduction:
Scope: Assam is the second largest Muslim populated state of India (in terms of percentage) only after Jammu and Kashmir. Muslims constitute about thirty percent of the state population[i]. They are historically concentrated in the south and west Assam in large numbers. Five of the six Muslims majority districts of Assam lie in these regions and also the other districts in these regions have significant percentage of Muslims[ii]. Interestingly in Assam it is found that, wherever Muslim political structure once developed, has high percentage of Muslims living there. Besides, the southern and western region, central Assam (mainly in the districts of Nagaon and Marigaon) has significant Muslim populations. Presently the state has almost eighty lakhs Muslim population. History of the origin of this huge numbers of inhabitants does not represent one single period. Almost a quarter of their Islamic origin belongs to 13th to 15th century A.D., which is the timing of my study on Muslims Socio-Political History.
Since last three-four decades the histories of Muslims have been the center stage of many movements and violence in the state. The allegations and counter allegations not only draw the attention of national media, politicians, and the masses but also the international media and organizations[iii]. They are marginalized in every possible way. They are looked merely as invaders and intruders in history and now suspected as immigrants. This twist and criticism, however, in turn led the curiosity of some writers and historians to explore the Muslim history in the state and their relation with power. But unfortunately most of the works carried out by them are neither comprehensive nor insightful. Their writings unveiled a small part of Muslims total history in Assam. For instance, some one may writes on Assam or specifically on Muslims, but they would either forget or ignore regions other then Brahmputra valley. So their studies are confined to Brahmputra valley only, for that matter Barak valley received scant attention[iv]. It became a fact that so far nobody has made any such move on any specific period to explore the history of Muslims of Assam in true sense. A systematic study from 13th century, which is the starting point of their history, is crucial in the construction of both Brahmputra valley and Barak valley’s Muslim history.
The history of the Muslims of Assam is important for a comprehensive history of Assam. In fact, the way history of our country is incomplete without the reference of Assam. A history of Assam is also incomplete without the reference of Muslims history. In Assam, Muslim community is heterogeneous in character. Unlike other religious groups of the state, they are also divided culturally, ethnically and linguistically[v]. A systematic study of these different groups, in the light of various sources and conditions is necessary, for the sake of a comprehensive history of state and Muslims in particular. Actually historical processes of conversion in to Islam, settlement of Muslims from outside and the geographical variance of the state paved their division. It is a fact, neither at single point of time Muslims had entered Assam, nor the locals belong to Hinduism and tribal faith embraced Islam at a time. Muslims arrived and settled in different places at different stages of history. Similarly the conversions to Islam occurred at various point of times. The newly settled Muslims (13th to 15th A.D.) of Turk, Afghan, Arabic, Persian and other backgrounds, mingling with the newly converted Muslims, and Non Muslims paved the way for the enhancement of language, Polity, economy and society of Assam. Thus local languages and dialects became filled with new words used by the adventurer. Both Assamese and Bengali languages are fraught with Arabic and Persian words. So Muslims added new dimension to Assam, what every new community develops certain trends and cultural diversities in the society and polity of that land, which in turn enrich the existing one.
The history and cultural heritage of each and every community of a place express the composite nature of that place and its greatness. Assam for its reach diversity in religion, language, ethnicity and culture forms a distinct and interesting identity in the history and heritage of India. The legacy of Muslims is a significant part of it. So their history is imperative to develop a comprehensive history of Assam. And finally of course a study of the past of Assam’s second largest community Muslim will definitely help to develop better understandings among different ethnic groups.
Geography: Assam is located in the north east corner of India between the latitudes 28°18´and 24° N, and the longitudes 89°46´-97 E. It covered an area of 78.523 square Kilometers. Assam denote in this study contemporary Assam. However in some cases reference of Syllhet, a district of colonial Assam is imperative[vi]. Because the present district of Karimganj has been a part of Syllhet throughout its history. It has the sane society, culture as that of Syllhet. When in 1947 Sylhet was declared a part of Pakistan, Karimganj subdivision was retained with India[vii].
Assam is in the center of Northeast India. It is surrounded on the north by Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh, on the east by Arunachal, Nagaland, Manipur, on the south Mizoram, Tripura, and on the west lays Bangladesh, Meghalaya, and West Bengal. Except its border with west Bengal and Bangladesh from all other sides, Assam is bounded by hills. The state is physically divided into three parts:
I. Brahmaputra Valley named after the river Brahmaputra, which flows from the east to the west in the northern part of Assam.
II. Barak Valley identified by the name of the river Barak that flows from east to the west in south Assam.
III. Hilly region comprising two hilly districts of Borail Range and Karbi Anglong Hills in the middle of Assam.
Borail Range and Khasi-Jaintia hills separate Barak and Brahmaputra Valley. This hilly barrier makes geographical oneness of both valleys almost in accessible. So are the cultures and histories of the people of two valleys. That is why, in this study the Socio-Political history of two valleys discussed separately. There are very few instances of uniformity existed between these valleys during medieval period also.

The history of Assam went through various phases of formation and fragmentation before to take the shape of modern one. Modern Assam is a creation of British colonialism[viii]. In 1874, Assam was created as colonial province under a chief commissioner for an inexpensive and effective administration[ix]. Consideration of historical continuity or cultural contiguity was not in the mind of British imperialist. The territories that formed the new province are:
I. Mughal territories of Bengal Subah comprising lower parts have Brahmaputra valley (West Assam) and Barak valley (South Assam)[x].
II. The territory of Ahom Kingdom comprising upper portion of Brahmaputra Valley (central and eastern part of modern Assam)[xi].
III. Territories of Dimacha-Kachari Kingdom comprising two hilly districts and a portion of Barak valley[xii].
IV. Some other small Kingdoms Domaria, Darang Etc[xiii].
That is why the history of contemporary Assam is not synonymous with the history of Ahom Kingdom or the area that came to be referred as Assam, after British colonization as well as in the post independent period[xiv]. During colonial period, British annexed hilly states like Nagaland, Meghalaya, and Mizoram etc. into Assam. But after independence except the present territory of Assam, which is under study, all other places gradually parted away as separate states while major portion of Syllhet went to East Pakistan (present Bangladesh). Since Brahmaputra Valley constitutes the two third territory of present Assam; In general its past is what history designates of Assam today to the most modern historians.
During ancient and medieval period Brahmaputra Valley is known by different names in the Epic, Puranic and early historical literature. It is mentioned as Pragjyotisha in both the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. Pragjyotisha included not only the whole of Brahmaputra Valley and parts of North and East Bengal but also the hilly tracts up to the border of China. It is known for the first time as Kamrup in Allahabad pillar inscription of Samudra Gupta and in the Early Puranas. The boundaries of Pragjyotisha or Kamrup did not remain static, underwent changes in different age for political and other reasons[xv]. After the expedition of Bakhtiyar Khilji in 1226 A.D., the big state of Pragjyotisha-Kamrupa collapsed. There emerged small states. The remnants of Kamrupa named as Kamata. It was in 15th century Thai Ahoms, belong to the Shan stock in South East Asia, who had ruled Upper Brahmaputra Valley from 13th to early 18th century, able to unite large tracts of Kamrup into one identity. The western limit receded from the river Karatoya to the river Manas. The river Manas was western frontier not all times, only during the high times of Ahoms[xvi].
The territory of Ahoms is called Asham in Ain-e-Akbari and Asam in Padshahnaamaa. The same word is applied by, Francis Hamilton in his account on Assam compiled during 1807-8. Assam is apparently the English form of Asam. Again, there are differences of opinion among historians on the origin of the word Asham. According to one group of historian Mughal called Brahmputra Valley in the name Asham, as the land is uneven or peerless and in Sanskrit Asham means uneven. The second opinion is that Asham originated from the word Tai-Ahom, the ruling dynasty of mainly upper Assam[xvii]. Shihabuddin Talish the noted historian of the Mughal governor of Bangla subah Mirjumla, in his account Fatihat I Ibriyat referred Asham as, the territory beyond Hajo and Kamrup Sarkar of Mughal Empire. So the term originally been applied to the tract of the country ruled by the Ahom, subsequently used to refer the area under the control of Assam[xviii].
The upper portion of Barak valley is known as Kachar. According to local dialect Sylheti Bangla, Kachar means a stretch of land on the foot of mountains. While the lower portion of the valley comprises undivided Sylhet district which included present Karimganj district of Assam. The picturesque valley of Barak is the natural extension of vast Bengal plain. According to Nihar Ranjan Roy, author of Bangalir Ithihas, Barak and Surma valley is the extension of Meghana valley. There is no natural boundary between these two valleys. That is why the society and culture of East Maimansingh, Plain Tripura is well tied with Sylhet and Kachar that there is no difference exist between the two[xix]. It was included in various Kingdoms that had emerged during prehistoric and early historic period like Gauda, Samatata and with the Aryanisation it include as Pratyant. During 6th and 7th century this land became part of Kamrup and later in early medieval period an independent state of Harikala emerged[xx].
Like other parts of Bengal Austric people are the first to settle in the valley of Barak. The next group of people migrated to valley are Indo-Mongoloid Bodos, who gradually mixed with Austric people. Khasis are considered to be the descended of Austric speaking people but physically looked more as Mongoloid[xxi]. Aryans are the third group of people settled around 6th and 7th century A.D. As the valley of Barak is extension of Meghna valley, Aryans moved to this place from East Bengal. It was the fertility of soil which, attracted large number of Aryans, most of them were Brahmins. This is the way, the influence of the language of Aryan spread to the greater Sylhet and Kachar[xxii]. Historian P.C.Choudhury opined that Srihatta is one of the last of the last Buddhist center in India. Mr. Choudhury writes details on Srihatta in his history of Assam. However, in this study, Sylhet is also used in reference with the present territory of Assam, for its historical continuity with, modern Karimganj district of Assam[xxiii].
The geography has to do a lot with the history and culture of a place. It played a great role in shaping the destiny of people and their history. Assam surrounded by mountain barriers from three sides. The land of Assam connected with rest of the world through many routes such as Patkai route, which was use by Ahoms and other Tibet-Burman tribes of the North East. The hilly passes of Bhutan, Tibet and Nepal were also probably used by certain waves of the Tibet-Burman tribes’ movement. The landed western boundary of both Brahmputra valley and Barak Valley are, with Bengal. These two land borders were two important routes, through which the Aryan migration from North India took place. Actually, all migrations and invasions, from Gangetic valley or North India had occurred through those two routes, including that of Turkish, Afghans, and Mughals during medieval period.
People: Assam is described as the land of anthropological Museum for its diverse ethnology. Population of Assam is composed of various races and tribes. The ancestor of these tribes and races migrated to Assam in different period of times. Details have been briefly mentioned earlier. Khasis of Austric origins were the first to settle in Assam. Subsequently Bodos of Mongoloid origin established in different regions, and gradually, became divided in to various groups, identified as Rabha, Bodos, Tiwa, Karbi and Dimasa etc. The northern Assam’s tribes Miri, Mishing, Daflas also entered Assam in the same period that of Bodos but remained concentrated on the northern bank of Brahmputra in the north east corner of Brahmaputra valley, bordering Arunachal Pradesh. The original term Bodo denote a large number of peoples-Garo, Rabha, Koch, Mech, Hajong, and Lalung etc, who speak Bodo languages. Not a very distant past the Bodos proved themselves to be very powerful occupying almost the entire Brahmputra valley. The other tribes Kakis, Nagas and Mar entered the hilly regions of central Assam at the same time of Bodo’s, through the Burma-Manipur route. Jaintia is another tribe that settled at the same period, in some areas of Barak valley. Indo-Aryans moved to Assam from Northern India by 6th and 7th century. Those groups of Aryans settled in different pockets of Brahmaputra and Barak valley. Brahmins of Srihatta are the first Aryan settlers and Kalitas of Brahmputra valley, who claimed to be Aryan origin[xxiv].
The Muslim of Turkish, Afghani and other origin, came from North India to enter Assam during medieval period, for different reasons, a brief of that has already been given. Besides, a large number of newly converted Muslims of Bengal settled down in different areas of Assam. The other group of peoples who entered Assam followed by the Muslim was Tai Ahoms[xxv]. Initially, they settled in upper Assam but gradually moved further west up to the Central Assam. Both of these two groups of people Muslims and Ahoms migrated to Assam from two opposite direction, Muslims from the west and Ahoms from the East of Assam.
Language: Assam is a land of languages and dialects, as many as forty-five languages spoken by its communities. It is a mini India in terms of language. There are many ethnic groups, each have their own language, culture and tradition and of course very distinct customs. From a small tribe of four to five thousands Mech, to Bengali the largest ethnic group, every one have their language, culture and dialects. At present Assamese and Bengali are two principle languages of Assam. Assamese is the official language of Brahmputra valley and it is the common language of same valley. People of different languages, dialects used Assamese as the medium of communication with others in Brahmputra valley; many even officially accepted it as their mother tongue. Ahom having their own tribal dialect now speak and used Assamese as their mother tongue. Similarly Muslims of Bengali origin officially used Assamese as their mother tongue; though in their homes speak different Bengali dialects[xxvi]. The reason of Bengali Muslim accepting Assmese is largely because of political compulsion and security[xxvii].
Assamese is a language of Sanskrit origin directly connected with proper Magadhi Apabramsha. Cultural fusion among various tribes and races among themselves has shaped the development of this language for centuries. That is why influences of Austro-Asiatic, Mongoloid and Tibet-Burman dialects are palpable in Assamese language. During medieval period Arabic, Persian played important role in the development of Assamese language[xxviii]. Bengali the official language of Barak valley is also the common language of Barak and acted as medium of communication among various linguistic groups. Eighty percent of the people of Barak valley have Bengali as their mother language. Hindi speaking tea garden labours, Bishnupria Manipuri speaking peoples, Khasia and all other small groups of valley use Bengali in common interaction. However majority of Bengali speak a dialect known as Sylheti Bangla[xxix]. Bodo is third popular language of Assam and second in Brahmputra valley. The total number of Bodo is much larger then the Bodo speakers. The number of Bodo speaker is increasing. More and more Bodos now, officially adopting Bodos as their mother tongue[xxx]. English is use in two hilly districts. Hindi and Bodo are the two other popular languages of the state. Besides language having significant number of speakers are Rabha, Santhali, Nepali, Mishing, Manipuri, Garo, Rabha, Dimasa, and Bisnupria etc. Many of these languages have neither own script nor written form. People of Assam also used language and dialects like Ahom, Koch Rajbanshi, and Lalung.
Historically both Assames and Bengali developed out of Sanskrit language as early as in the 7th century A.D. Their direct ancestor is Magadhi Apabramsha. Maghadi was the principle dialect, which correspondents to the Eastern Prakrit. East Magadhi was spoken prachya Apabramsha also spread to the east keeping north of the Ganges and reached to the Assam. Each of the descendents of Magadhi Apabrahmsa viz, Oriya, modern Bengali and Assamese equally connected with the common immediate parents. S.R.Chattarjee classified Eastern Apabramsha in to four dialect groups as (1) Radha dialects which comprehend West Bengal, gives literary Bengali, colloquial and origin in the South-West (2) Varendra dialects of North Central Bengal (3) Vanga dialects comprehends the dialects of Eastern Bengal and (4) Kamrup dialects which comprehend Assamese and the dialects of North Bengal.[xxxi]
Sources: Sources played most important role in the writing of history of a place, community etc. The richness in sources means writing is easier, more details and perfect. Though incase of my study, source materials are not ample, but did found almost all sorts of materials primary and secondary. Writers on ancient Assam relate various aspects of Bengal with the society and polity of Assam in making the comprehensive history of latter. Both primary and secondary sources are used in this study. However, the less number of primary sources made more depended on secondary sources. Inscriptions and archeological remains, found at different places of Karimganj and rest of Assam can be counted in primary Sources. Secondary sources are large number of books and articles published in different languages by medieval and modern writers. Language of these books and articles are mainly Persian, English, Bengali and Assamese. Some of those books written on a particular region or particular aspect of Muslims in Assam can be considered as an initiative, to put forward the so far unnoticed sides of Muslims life and history. Writers on ancient Assam relate various aspects of Bengal with the society and polity of Assam in making the comprehensive history of latter. As S.Chatterjee a historian on Assam history describes Assam is a sister state of Bengal. That is why the reference of Bengal is imperative in the history of medieval Assam too. Rafiul Hussain Barua’s Islami Oitijya Aaru Asham and Mohini Saikia’s Assam-Muslim Relation and Its Cultural Significance are two books devoted on Assam’s Muslim history. But these books lack lot of information and proper analytical point of view. Their woks are mainly political narratives and they do not try much to explore more beyond the Brahmputra valley. On the other hand mainstream books on Assam history merely depicted Muslims as invaders, foreigners while largely ignoring the fact that Muslims contributed a lot to society, culture and economy of Assam. Most of these authors did not even try to incorporate the rich history and heritage of the Muslim of Barak Valley, where Muslims have been an important political and social force since 14th century.
Muslims Relation: Islam starts its journey in India almost from 8th century A.D[xxxii]. Merchants, Sufis and political adventurers basically made it to spread Islam throughout India. Sufis can be called the torchbearers of Islam in India. Moinuddin Chisti, the famous Indian Sufi settled at Ajmer by the end of eleventh century[xxxiii]. The Arab merchants, however, brought Islam to the coast of Kerala in 7th century, and by that time a large Muslim society got developed in Malabar[xxxiv]. Similarly the Arab and Persian merchants visited coastal areas of Bengal, places like Chittagong much before the political conquest of northern India by the Turks. According to historians, during pre Turkish period, Sufis and merchants had entered Bengal in many occasions for preaching and trading purposes. Persian and Arab merchants even established important colonies in the contemporary towns of Bengal for commercial and maritime contact much before its conquest by the Muslim forces of Turkish origin (1205-6 A.D)[xxxv]. History of Bengal is important for writing a history of Assam because Bengal and Assam being two land bordering states influenced each other’s society and polity for a long period of times. During many times the frontiers of Assam extended into Bengal, similarly the frontier of Bengal penetrated into Assam. Kamrup the old name of Assam was not unknown to Arabs. We find references of the word Kamrud in various accounts of Arab geographers and writers, which discussed trade relationship of Arab with Kamrud. Arab geographer Al Idris mentioned about the import of aloe wood from Kamrud.[xxxvi] The word Kamrud is the arabisation of the name Kamrup. The trade relationship of Arabs, tends to believe that Arab Muslims while trading with the coastal Bengal might visited Assam, as latter was well-known to them. We know from Minhajuddin, author of Tabaqat e Nasiri that Muslim traders were frequent to Navadip, the capital of Bengal. So, the people of Lucknawti misunderstood Bakhtiyar Khilji and his small number of soldiers, as Arab horse traders because Arab horse traders were regular to Bengal[xxxvii]. Similarly we find evidences of Muslim settlements in Sylhet, which was also known as Khanda Kamrupa before its political conquest by Muslims (1303). It is not confirmed whether those
Muslims belong to the merchant class or general. Burhanuddin was a Muslim from that community, his story with Gaur Govinda, the local ruler of Sylhet known to all[xxxviii]. Infact, the killing of Burhanuddin’s son is considered an immediate cause of Muslim political interference in Sylhet. The story is largely represented in every book written on Shahjalal and the history of region. Both traditions and literature are the sources of these events. However, for us it pointed Muslim presense in Barak valley even before its conquest by the later. It was a brief introduction of Muslim relationship with Assam in pre Turkish Bengal and Assam.
Formal history of the Muslim Socio-Political life in Brahmaputra valley begins in 1206 A.D. it was in this year, as per the records of history, Assam first witnessed the arrival of Muslims. It was when Turkish military commandant Ikhtiyaruddin Mohammad Bakhtiyar Khilji (1201-06) - the first Muslim ruler of Bengal entered Kamrup – was on his way to Tibet expedition[xxxix]. Thus the beginning of 13th century is a landmark in the history of Assam in general and Muslims in particular. The Muslim Socio-Political life actually started taking off from that time. Bakhtiyar Khilji’s (1201-06) Tibet campaign through Kamrup and his disastrous retreat left many of his soldier’s prisoners in the hands of hostile Kamrup forces. When local king freed these soldiers, they adopted the land of Assam as their home. Ali Mech, a tribal chief of Mech tribe embraced Islam and became a trusted guide of Bakhtiyar Khilji during this campaign[xl]. Many of his fellow tribes might accept Islam at that time. We found Koch and Mech came forward to rescue Khilji and his soldiers. Bakhtiyar Khilji might get defeated at a sudden attack but this campaign brought West Assam under the Muslim rule of Bengal. Since after Khilji’s Tibet expedition, the Turkish and Afghan rulers of Bengal led a series of invasions in Assam to further their territorial limits and to repel the revolts against the authority of Lakhnawati in West Assam[xli]. During this political interference in Brahmputra valley, Sufis and new group of Muslim ruling class entered Assam and established Muslim settlement in different places. They gradually developed a new society and culture, which by and large contributed many new things to Assamese society and local languages[xlii]. During those successive wars of medieval period, many Muslim soldiers of Turk, Afghan and Muslims of other origins settled in Brahmputra valley. Some of them were war prisoner, while rest might voluntarily settle down in valley. It was obvious that with the expansion of Turkish rule in lower Brahmputra valley, Muslim officials were appointed in different parts of newly controlled areas. Many of them might choose to remain in Assam. There were Muslim artisans, traders, etc. settled across Ahom territories at the invitation of Ahom Kings[xliii].
A formal history of the Muslim in Barak valley begins after the conquest of Sylhet by Sikandar Khan Ghazi in 1303 A.D. However, the evidence of Muslim settlements this date is testified by the presence of Burhanuddin in Sylhet. But the process of Muslim settlements got intensified, just after the political conquest of Sylhet by the Sikandar Khan Ghazi, nephew of Sultan Shamsuddin Ferozshah (1301-22), the sultan of Bengal[xliv]. The great Sufi saint Hazrat Shahjalal Mujrrad accompanied Muslim forces and acted as a strong spiritual guide who also advised warfare. With this conquest a large number of Muslims belong to different origins like Turkish, Afghan, and Arabic settled in the valley, besides Muslims from other parts of Bengal and northern India also settled down in the undivided Barak valley[xlv]. This process of settlement from the outside of valley continued while at the same time many locals belong to Hinduism and tribal faiths embraced Islam. So the political conquest of Sylhet led the expansion Muslim rule in South Assam. Even during 18th century, the Raja of Dimasa-Kachari Kingdom encouraged Muslim peasants, soldiers and traders from lower Barak valley and Bengal to migrate to his territory i.e. Cachar[xlvi].
The final wave of the Muslim settlement took place during late 19th and early 20th century. To enhance income from revenue, British brought thousands of peasants from East Bengal districts of Dhaka, Maimansing, Rangpur, etc. who cleared low alluvial forest in Brahmaputra valley and made Assam economically sound for British. These peasants came to form about one tenth to one sixth of the population of Assam by 1951.[xlvii] .In the early 19th century, thousands of people from districts of Sylhet and Cachar (Barak valley) of colonial Assam shifted to undivided Nagaon district in Brahmaputra valley. Majority of these people were Muslims. At the same time British planters brought thousands of tea garden labourers from U.P., Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Andra Pradesh, etc. to both of the valleys of Assam[xlviii]. These people later on became permanent residents of Assam; almost all of them were Hindu by faith, however, some of them belong to Muslim community also.
The objective of my study is to give an idea of the Socio-Political History of Muslims belongs to a period from 13th to 15th century. It is large work and covered varied topics and sites of the Muslim of that period. It is already mentioned that the valley of Brahmputra and Barak are quite different to each other and so that its history. My study covers the Muslims socio-political history of 13th and 14th century in Brahmputra valley while in Barak valley 14th and 15th century. As we know Muslim as a political force, emerged in the valley of Brahmputra by 1206 A.D., and in valley of Barak, almost one hundreds year after, during 1303 A.D. I have divided the whole work in to six chapters, for better understanding and easy narration. Every chapter has analytical views, descriptions and objective study.

The first Chapter discusses the scope and the relevance of my study with the contemporary society and polity of Assam and provides details on the sources used in work. A brief introduction of contemporary demography, ethnicity and languages of Assam are the subjects of this chapter. It also deals with the geography of Assam and the relevance of geography with the socio-political history of Assam. First chapter closes with an idea of relationship between Muslims and Assam, from pre Bakhtiyar to British period.
Second Chapter deals with the Socio-Political condition of Assam on the eve Turkish advent. It gives details from the decline of Brahmapala dynasty (c.900-1100 A.D.) of Pragjoytisha-Kamrupa to the development of political chaos in Brahmaputra valley in the end of 12th century. It separately discusses the political development of Barak valley from the end of 12th century to thirteen century when a number of small states emerged there. This chapter also deals with the society of both Brahmputra valley and Barak valley during 12th and 13th century respectively.
The third Chapter deals with the Muslim political structure of Brahmputra valley from Bakhtiyar Khilji’s expedition in 1206 to Ghiyashuddin Azam Shah’s (1390-1411) authority while in Barak valley, Sikandar Khan Ghazi’s conquest of Sylhet in 1303 to Alauddin Hussain Shah’s reign (1494-1520). This chapter describes the reign, campaigns and subsequent influences of the Sultans of the great eastern Indian Muslim state, whom sometimes we call the ruler of Luknauti, sometimes Sultan of Bengal. Besides, this chapter also describes about Pratabgarh, a small Muslim State in the Karimganj in Assam.
The fourth Chapter deals with the development of Society and Culture in the both valleys of Assam. It discusses the settlements of Muslims from outside of Assam and the conversion of local people in to the fold Islam. And this chapter also deals with influences and contribution of Muslims in the society, languages and development of cultural identities like Gariya and Sylheti.
Chapter fifth is on the role and influence of Sufis in Assam. It deals activities and contributions of the Sufis in Brahmaputra and Barak valley from 13th to 15th century, their gradual settlements at different places and mingling with the local population. Finally this chapter makes a brief survey on the life some great Sufis like Hazrat Shahjalal, Ghiyashuddin Awliya.
The Last Chapter is the Conclusion which gives an assessment of the value and importance of the Muslims Socio-Political History in Medieval Assam from 13th to 15th century A.D. It also discusses the contribution made by Muslims in all spheres of contemporary period and their significance in social and political life of the people of contemporary Assam. It also gives a brief idea of Sufis relevance to the development of medieval social system.

[i] Sanjib Baruah, India Against Itself: Assam and The Politics of Nationality, New Delhi, 1999, p.19
www.assam.nic.in, Demography of Assam, Official Website of the Govt. of Assam
The Statesman’s Year Book, 2007, p. 620
[ii] Social, Economic and Educational Status of the Muslim Committee of India: A Report of Prime Minister High Level Committee, Cabinet Secretariat, Government of India, New Delhi, 2006, p. 33
[iii] Sanjib Barua, India Against Itself, Assam and The Politics of Nationality, New Delhi, 1999, p.23
[iv] David R. Syiemlieh, A survey of research in History on North East India 1970-1990, Regency Publication, New Delhi, p.6, 1999
[v] B.K. Bordoloi and R.K. Athparia, General Edited by K.S. Singh
[vi] Makhanlal Kar, Muslims in Assam Politics, New Delhi, 1997, pp. 1-2
Sujit Choudhury, Folklore and History: A Study of the Folkcults of the Bengali Hindu of Barak valley, New Delhi, 1995, p. 1
[vii] Sujit Choudhury, Srihatta Cacharer Prachin Itihash, Silchar, 2006, p. 11
www.karimganj.nic.in, History of Karimganj, Official Website of Karimganj District, Assam,
Kamaluddin Ahmed, Bangiyo Chaturtadash Shatake Surma-Barak, Shatabdir Tatyapunji, Silchar, 1998, p.19
Manorama Year Book, 2006, p. 610
[viii] Sanjib Barua, India Against Itself: Assam and The Politics of Nationality, New Delhi, 1999, p.21-37
[ix] H.K. Barpujari, Administrative Reorganisation, edit. H.K. Barpujari, Comprehensive of Assam, vol. iv, Guwahahti, 2004, pp. 260-64, 267-73
[x] Makhanlal Kar, op.cit. pp. 2-3
Edaward Gait, A History of Assam, Guwhati, Reprint 2005, pp.263-264
Sanjib Barua, op. cit., p. 24
[xi] Edward Gait, op. cit. pp. 196-203
[xii] Ibid., pp. 245, 275
[xiii] Edward Gait, op.cit., pp. 283, 288-290, 293-95
[xiv] Sanjib Barua, op. cit., p., p. 24
[xv] H.K. Barpujari, Introduction, Edit., H.K.Barpujari, A Comprehensive History of Assam, Vol. I, Guwahati, 2004, p.1
[xvi] Mirza Nathan, Baharistan-I-Ghaybi, Trans. Moidul Islam Borah, Guwahati, 1992, pp.479- 588
Shihabuddin Talish, Introduction of Fathihat –i-Ibriyath (A History of Assam), Transl. Tajul Haque Choudhury, unpublished Thesis , J.M.I, New Delhi, 2006, P. 20-30
Sanjib Barua, op. cit., p. 22
[xvii] H.K. Barpujari, Introduction, Edit., H.K.Barpujari,, The Comprehensive History of Assam, vol. I, Guwahati, 2004, p.1
[xviii] Shihabuddin Talish, Fathiya-I-Ibrtiyah ( History of Assam), Introductin and Editing, Tajul Haque Choudhury, unpublished Thesis , J.M.I, New Delhi, 2006, P. 31
[xix] Sujit Choudhury, Srihatta O Caharer Itihash, Silchar, 2006, p. 11
[xx] Jayanta Bhushan Bhattacharya, Cachar under British Rule in North East India, New Delhi, 1977, pp. 3,4,
[xxi] Sujit Choudhury, op. cit., p. 21
[xxii] Hrishikesh Choudhury, Srihatter Prachin Itihash, Agartala, 1998, P.22
[xxiii] P.C. Choudhury, History of the Civilization of The People of Assam, Guwahati, 1959, pp. 423-25
Sujit Choudhury, op. cit., p.218
[xxiv] H.K. Barpujari, op. cit., pp. 9-24
Hamid.Naseem.Rafiabadi, Assam From Agitation To Accord, New Delhi, 1998, p. vii
[xxv] H.K.Barpujari, op.cit. p.17
[xxvi] B.K.Bordoloi and R.K. Athaparia, People of India, Assam, vol. xv, Calcutta, 2003, p. No xiv,
[xxvii] Monirul Hassan, The Assam Movement: Class Ideology and Identiry, Delhi, 1993, p. 27,
[xxviii] Rekibuddin Ahmed, A Study of Persian Language and Literature in Assam from 13th to 18th Century, Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, Dept of Persian, J.M.I, New Delhi, 2000, p. 10
[xxix] Manorama Year Book, 2006, p.610
www.assamgovt.nic.in/languages. asp, State Govt. Official Website, Assam
[xxx] Sanjib Barua, op. cit., pp.19, 20
[xxxi] S.K.Chattarjee, Origin and Development of Bengali Language, vol. 1, Calcutta, 1926, p, 140
B.K.Barua, History of Assamese Language, Guwahati, 1956, p, 1
[xxxii] Khalique Ahmed Nizami, Some Aspects of Religion and Politics in India During The Thirteen Century, Delhi, 1978, p. 75
[xxxiii] Ibid., p. 77
[xxxiv] Dr. K.K.N. Kurup, The Sufis and Religious Harmony in Kerela, (edit.) Asghar Ali Engineer, Sufism and Communal Harmony, Printwell, Jaipur, 1991, p. 80
[xxxv] Prof. Shahid Ali, Dr A.K.M.Ayub Ali and Dr M.A.Aziz edit. Islam in Bangladesh, Dhaka, 1995, p. 11-14
[xxxvi] Ibid., p. 12
[xxxvii] Minhaj Siraj, Tabqat-i-Nasiri, Trans. H.G.Raverty, vol. I., New Delhi, 1970, p. 557
[xxxviii] Abdul Karim, Advent of Islam in Sylhet and Hazrat Shahjalal in Sylhet, Edit. Sharif uddin Ahmed, Sylhet: History and Heritage, Dhaka, 1999, p. 129
[xxxix] S.L.Barua, Acomprehensive History of Assam, , New Delhi, 1997, p.172-173
[xl] Minhajuddin Siraj, op. cit. p. pp.560-61
[xli] Mohini Kumar Saikia, Assam Muslim Relation and Its Cultural Significance, Golahghat, Assam, 1978, pp.130-36
[xlii] The Brahmputra Beckons, edit. by Devdas Kakati, Madrass, 1982, p. 38
[xliii] Mohinki Kumar Saikia, op. cit., pp. 144-53
[xliv] Abdul Karim, Advent of Islam in Sylhet and Hazrat Shahjalal in Sylhet, Edit. Sharif uddin Ahmed, Sylhet: History and Heritage, Dhaka, 1999, p. 130-34
[xlv] Richard Eaton, The Rise of Islam and The Bengal Frontier, London, 1996, pp.173-77
[xlvi] Jayanta Bhushan Bhattacharya, op. cit., pp. 32-34
[xlvii] Problem of immigration in the Brahmaputra valley- a crisis there of, published in the journal of North East India Council for Social Science Research, Shillong, October 2006, pp. 22-23
[xlviii] Ibid., pp.23-24
Sanjib Barua, op. cit., 53-55

Monday, October 6, 2008

BODO VERSUS MUSLIMS CLASH OR ETHNIC CLEANSING

Unfortunate, Shocking: Stop mindless killing of people.
Samayik Prasanga published this impartial news
A Section of national media publishing bias news, they brand all Muslims as Bangladeshis.