11 Feb, 2015
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General Studies, India & States,
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Capital : Dispur
Chief Minister : Sarbananda Sonowal (BJP)
Governor : Banwarilal Purohit
Geography and Demography
– Assam is one of the seven north eastern states of the country (often called seven sisters)
– Assam touches boundary of 7 states of India and is the state which touches second largest number of states of the country (after Uttar Pradesh)
– Assam also touches international boundaries of two countries – Bangladesh and Bhutan
– Assam displays unique mix of plains and hilly terrain
– Plains of Assam are primarily made by Brahmaputra River and its numerous tributaries
– The Brahmaputra River is also called as ‘Life-line of Assam’ in spite of the fact that it brings immense floods to Assam
– Majority of rains in Assam take place from the North-Eastern Monsoon system
– Hilly region of Assam is situated on the Eastern Himalayas and Karbi-Anglong and North Kachar Hills
– Guwahati is the largest city of Assam
– Guwahati is also called “Gateway to the North-East”
– Other important cities of Guwahati are Silchar, Dibrigarh, Jorhat and Nagaon.
– Total number of districts in the state are 27.
Polity and History
– Evidence of human settlements in Assam dates back to the Neolithic Period
– Ancient Assam was ruled by the Varman Kingdom and Kamrup is an old name of Assam
– Chinese Buddhist traveler Hueng-Tsang wrote in his inscriptions that a powerful king named Bhaskar – Varman ruled Assam (Kamrup) in the periods between 600-650 A.D.
– Guwahati is the largest city of Assam and was known as Pragjyotishpura in ancient times
– Ahom Kingdom (1228 AD – 1826 AD) was the most important kingdom to have ruled Assam and present Assam is known as fruit of initiatives taken by this kingdom.
– It is believed that name Assam derived from Ahom
– There was almost negligible impact of Muslim and Islamist rulers in Assam, which had ruled over much of North India during medieval periods
– The British impact was seen in Western regions of Assam after the historic Yandboo Accord of 1826 AD
– The British kept Assam as part of the Bengal Presidency
– After Bengal Partition of 1905, Assam was excluded from the Bengal Presidency and was made part of East Bengal and Assam
– Shillong was made Assam’s capital by the British after Assam was given autonomous status from East Bengal
– Assam was one among the first 16 states, which made the Union of India after India’s Constitution was put into effect in 1950
– But in due course of time as many as four states were carved out from Assam, which are – Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram
– Out of seven states of the group of Seven Sisters (a term given to seven states of north-eastern India) four have been carved out of Assam. It is the state from which highest numbers of states have been carved out
– Assam had to face the problem of extremism and various extremist organizations raised their heads in the state
– In the 70’s an extremist organization called United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) was established, which put forward various demands like greater autonomy and powers for it
– The demand of a separate Bodoland by Bodo tribe of Assam as well as those who reside out of Assam has produced one of the most violent phases in the state.
– Ethnic problems associated with ULFA and Bodo are still prevalent in Assam
– Many radical organizations of Assam were born out of the fact that Assam had been facing serious crisis from migrant Bengali citizens coming into the state through neighbouring Bangladesh
– These radical organizations have been demanding a strict ban on Bangladeshi migrants into the state, which were and are disturbing the demographical pattern of the state as well as are impeding opportunities of native Assamese people in their own state
– All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), a students’ organization was very successful in placing its demanding of deportment of all Bangladeshi migrants
– Later AASU’s Prafulla Mohanta established the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), a political party which won the legislative elections in the state in 1985.
– Prafulla Mohanata became Chief Minister of Assam at the age of 33 years, which is still a record for being the youngest Chief Minister of any Indian state
– The protests against illegal Bangladeshi migrants, which took place in almost whole of Assam in 1979-85, became famous as ‘Assam Revolution’ and is listed as the longest peaceful protest in any Indian state since independence
Art, Culture and Spiritualism
– Saint Shankardev spread the Bhakti-dhara during 16th Century AD in Assam. He was able to bring Assam under influence of Vaishnavism and brought together two strong kingdoms of Assam – the Ahoms and Kochs, by virtue of his influence
– Kamakhya Devi Temple, sitting atop a hillock in Guwahati is one of the most revered temples of not just north-east but of whole India. It is one among the few Shakti-peeths of Maa Durga in the country
– The administrative capital of Assam Dispur, is believed to get its name from ancient capital of Assam – Pragjyotishpura
– Bihu is the most famous folk dances of Assam and is performed mainly during Assamese New Year. There are however three forms of Bihu – Rangoli Bihu (the most famous), Kangoli Bihu and Bhogali Bihu
Ali Ai Lilang, a traditional dance performed by the women belonging to the Mising tribe is also a popular folk dance form of the state
Bhupen Hazarika (1926-2011) was the most famous cultural icon of Assam and was often called ‘Voice of Assam’. He was successful in making Assamese music popular all over the world. Hazarika was a singer, song writer, music composer, film maker and author rolled in one
– Indira Goswami was one of the most celebrated writers produced by Assam
– Assam is famous for its petroleum production. However, production has fallen drastically in recent years. The state is still contributing about one-fourth in country’s total petroleum production
– Petroleum was first discovered in India in Assam’s Makum (in present Tinsukhia district) in 1867 by the British
– India’s first commercial oil well was dug at Digboi (also in Tinsukhia district) in Assam in 1889
– India’s first petroleum refinery was commissioned in Digboi in 1901
– Second petroleum refinery of Assam was commissioned in 1962 at Nunmati (Noonmati). This refinery was established by Indian Oil Corporation
– Assam’s third petroleum refinery was also commissioned in 1962 at Dhaligaon (Near Bongaigaon)
– In 1999 Assam’s fourth petroleum refinery was commissioned at Numaligarh (in Golaghat district)
– Besides petroleum Assam also produces natural gas in ample amount
– Natural gas is mainly produced in the areas near the Brahmaputra Valley such as Moran, Naharkatiya, Rudrasagar, etc.
– Assam Oil is a sister-concern of Indian Oil Corporation and it operates in whole of Assam
– Assam is India’s largest producer of tea leaves
– Assam is often termed as the ‘Region to produce Largest Amount of Tea in the World’
– Scottish tourist Robert Bruce discovered tea-leaves growing amongst wild bushes of Assam in 1823
– Bruce also started commercial plantation of tea in Assam
– Assam’s tea is in contrast to other popular tea varieties of India like Darjeeling Tea and the Nilgiri Tea, both of which grow at upper mountain ranges. Assam tea is mostly grown in lower mountain ranges and in valleys
– Assam’s climate and soil both are very conducive to excellent tea production
– Assam is known for its very rich bio-diversity
– Kaziranga National Park has been a symbol of Assam’s rich bio-diversity. This national park is dedicated to the one-horned rhino. This park is listed as a world heritage site
– Manas National Park is also a famous national park of the state. This park is also listed as a world heritage site
– Kaziranga and Manas are listed in UNESCO’s world heritage list
– Assam is also famous for a special variety of silk – the Mooga Silk
– Guwahati is a city on the banks of the Brahmaputra River and is the largest city of Assam
– It is also the largest city of whole north-east and is known as ‘Gateway to North-Esat’
– In literal term Guwahati means – Bazaar of betel-nut (Supari)
– Dispur, the administrative capital of Assam, is close to Guwahati
– Guwahati has also been described as ‘Durjeya’ – a city which cannot be won
– The Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport is in Guwahati and is named after renowned freedom fighter and Assam’s first Chief Minister
– India’s sixth IIT was established in Guwahati in 1994
– Guwahati’s main temples are Kamakhya, Umananda, Navagraha and Shukreshwara
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