Society for Language Technology Development, Assam

Political map of Assam: a Historical Sketch

  • Namita Devi

Pre Historic Assam

Ancient Assam, which is primarily known as Kamarupa or Pragjyotisha covers a large area. The boundary of Ancient Kamarupa comprises today’s Assam with is surrounding hilly area, north Bengal, northern and eastern area of Bangladesh and Tibet. There were a numerous references regarding the boundary of ancient Assam in Ramayana and Mahabharata, Puranas, and in Kautilya’s Arthasastra. Some of them mentioned about the South Western and northern boundary,. Another interesting point is that there is no mention of the eastern boundary in all the 38 discovered copper and iron edicts of ancient Assam. All the sources are only related to the western boundary which is varied from time to time.according to Kalika Purana and Yoginitantra, the eastern boundary of Kamarupa was Dikkhu and Dikkarbasini, Kortoya River in the west, in the northern side there is Kanchanjangha Mountain and Brahamaputra and Lakha river in the south. The country was extended around 100 yojonas (450 miles). That is to say, it included the Brahamaputra valley, Bhutan, Rangpur, Koch Bihar, the north east of Maimansingh and possibly the Garo hills.

According to these two sources, the country is divided into four portions—(i) Kampith (from Kortoya to Sonkosh). (ii) Ratnapith (from Sonkoch to Rupachi) (iii) Suvarnapith( Rupachi to Bharali) (iv) Saumarpith (Bharali to Dikrang)

Historical Age: Barman Dynasty

The political map of Assam has been largely extended during the time of the king Bhaskar Barman. Hi-en-Tsang has mentioned as the ‘King of the Eastern World’. In his account, he mentioned that the political boundary of Assam was extended up to the Mursidabad districts of Bengal in the northern sides and up to Tripura and Syllet and in the eastern area, it is up to the hilly area of Arunachal, the Patkai and downwards area of Naga hills.

Salastambha Dynasty:

The political history of Kamrupa has been in obscure after Bhaskarbarmana for 75 years. The dignity of kamarupa was again established during the time of Sree Harsha of Salastambha dynasty. The Stone edict of Jaypal , the King of Nepal mention Sree Harsha as the king Gauda(north west Bengal), Oudra(a part of west Bengal and Orissa), Kalinga(area between Mahanadi and Godabari river), Koshal(north Bihar). According to Kanaklal Barua and Pratap Chandra Chaudhuri, the extend of Harsha’s country was Sadiya in the east up to Ayodha in the west, in the northern side from the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal in the south

Pala Dynasty:

The political extension of ancient Assam during the pala dynasty has not been concretely known to us due to the lack of definite historical source. It is said that Kamrupa was extended up to sea at that time.

Political Condition of Assam from13th to16th Century:

The political condition of Assam has changed with the downfall of Pala dynasty and the continuous invasion of Turko-Afgan of 12th century A.D. The capital of Kamrupa has transferred from Kamrup to Kamatapur of Kochbihar in the middle of the 13th century and then north east Bengal became the political centre of the state. Thereafter the state Kamrupa came to be known as Kamatapur. The Kamatapur kingdom comprised of the some parts of today’s Kamrup district, lower Assam, north Bengal, and the Maimansingh area of Bangladesh. Some independent or semi independent chiefs, Feudal lord, Bhuyans rose in the adjoining areas of Nogaon, Morigaon, Lakhimpur, Darrang, Sonitpur and Kamrup distrcts. At the same time, the Bodos had established independent kingdom in the area between the Dikhou and Kapili in the northern bank Brahamaputra. Again the Morans and Barahis had established their own statein upper Assam. The Ahoms initially established a tiny state in between the Buridihing and Dikhou river. The Chutiyas had created an independent state centering today’s Sadiya and some parts of north Lakhimpur Dhemaji, Dibrugarh, and Tinchukia district. Therefore in between 13th and 16th century, there were some parallel state in Assam sych as Kamata Rajya, Barabhuyans, Kachari, Ahom and Chutiyas.

Ahom Period:

During the period of Sukapha the country comprised of Buridihing in the east,Dikhou in the South, in the western side, there was river Brahmaputra and Naga Hills in the east. Swargadeo Suhungmung extended its boundary up to Karatoya River and Dhaca and makes the Ahom state a great kingdom.by defeating the Mughals in the Battle of Itakhuli, King Gadadhar Singha extended the Ahom territory up to Hajo.

Bibliography

  1. Barua, K,L, Early History of Kamrupa,gauhati,1988
  2. Barua,S,L,A Comprehensive History of Assam,New Delhi
  3. Bhuyan,S,K,Kamrupar Burangi, Guahati,1930
  4. Barpujari,H,K, The Comprehensive History of Assam
  5. Gait,Sir,Edward, History of Assam,1962,(2nd ed.)

 

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