Author:
Chandana Sarma
Subject:
World Cultures, Elementary Education, Higher Education, Social Science, Cultural Geography
Material Type:
Lesson, Reading, Student Guide
Level:
Middle School, High School
Tags:
  • Assam
  • Biodiversity
  • Description: The learner will learn about the state of Assam
  • People
  • State
  • culture and biodiversity.
  • culture-and-biodiversity
  • description-the-learner-will-learn-about-the-state
  • it's vibrant people
  • it-s-vibrant-people
  • lies in the northeast region of India
  • lies-in-the-northeast-region-of-india
  • License:
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike
    Language:
    English, Assamese

    ASSAM,THE LAND OF DIVERSITY

    ASSAM,THE LAND OF DIVERSITY

    Overview

    Name:  ASSAM,THE LAND OF DIVERSITY

    Description: The learners will learn about the state of Assam, located in the north-eastern part of India. 

    Overview: In this content, people will learn about  the state of Assam in brief. This is designed for 9th and 10th standard students as well as for aspirants of various competetive examinations. 

    The following topics will be covered in this content.

    • Assam - An Introduction
    • Assam -  The People
    • Assam - The Biodiversity

     

     

    Assam - An Introduction

    Assam, is a state in the north eastern part of India, situated south of the eastern Himalayas  The state is bordered by Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh to the  north; Nagaland and Manipur to the east Meghalaya, Tripura, Mizoram and Bangladesh to the south;  and West Bengal to the west via the Siliguri Corridor, a 22 kilometres (14 mi) strip of land that connects the state to the rest of India. The name Assam is derived from the word asama, meaning “peerless” in the now extinct Ahom language. The original name of Assam was 'Asom' and it was only the British who changed it as they could not pronounce it correctly. The neighbouring states of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram, and Meghalaya were once part of Assam.  

    The state has a geographical area of 78,438 sq. kms and has 33 districts as of now.

    Assam is located in between 2409'N - 2758'N latitude and 89042'' E - 9601' E longitude. The state is drained by numerous perennial river channels and the most famous is the river Brahmaputra flowing along the central parts of the state. To the south there is another major river by the name of Barak. The Brahmaputra valley covers around 56,194.00 sq. kms and 22,244.00 sq. kms falls under the Barak Valley. The flood prone area of the state is 31,500.00 sq kms as per the Rastriya Barh Ayog which is about 39.58 % of the total land area of Assam and is about 9.40% of total flood prone area of the whole country.

    Map 1 : District map of Assam

    From the climatic point of view the year in Assam can broadly be divided in two, the cold season and the rainy season. However, there are two other short seasons namely spring and autumn representing the transition between cold and rainy seasons and that between rainy and cold seasons respectively.

    Assam is basically an agriculture dependent state. More than 65 per cent of its total area is under agriculture. The increasing pressure of population and the lack of employment opportunity in other sectors, the pressure on agricultural sector is increasing alarmingly.

    Assam is famous for the rhino, Assam Tea, Assam Silk and oil drilling. The state was the first site for oil drilling in Asia

    Assamese is the official and the most common language. Additional official languages include Bengali and Bodo languages. Bodo in Bodoland Territorial Autonomous districts and Bengali in the three districts of Barak Valley is widely used.  

     

    Plate 1: Greater one-horned rhino, the state animal of Assam

     

    Assam - The People

    PEOPLE

    The Assamese people are a Socio-ethnolinguistic identity that has been described at various times as nationalistic or micro-nationalistic. This group is often associated with the Assamese language, though the use of the term precedes the name of the language. It has also been used retrospectively to the people of Assam before the term "Assamese" came into use. They are a physically diverse group formed after centuries of assimilation of Austroasiatic, Tibeto-Burman, Indo-Aryan and Tai population. The total population of Assamese speakers in Assam is nearly 15 million which makes up 48.38% of the population of state according to the Language census of 2011.

    Table 1 - Demographic character of Assam

    Assam is the meeting ground of diverse cultures. The people of the enchanting state of Assam is an inter-mixture of various racial stocks such as Mongoloid, Indo-Burmese, Indo-Iranian and Aryan. The Assamese culture is a rich and exotic tapestry of all these races evolved through a long assimilation process. The natives of the state of Assam are known as "Asomiya" (Assamese), which is also the state language of Assam.

    The state has a large number of tribes, each unique in its tradition, culture, dress and exotic way of life. Diverse tribes like Bodo, Kachari, Karbi, Miri, Mishimi, Rabha, etc co-exist in Assam, most tribes have their own languages though Assamese is the principal language of the state. 

    The Gamocha is one of the most easily recognizable cultural symbols of the Assamese people besides the tamol-paan (areca nut & betel leaf) which is an integral part of almost all socio-religious ceremonies.

    Weaving is one traditional craft that every Assamese woman takes pride in. The Assamese women produce silk and cotton clothes of exquisite designs in their looms. Assam is renowned for its exquisite silks namely Eri, Pat and the world famous Muga silk. 

    Bihu is the most popular folk dance of Assam. Bihu dances are performed by young boys and girls during the Bihu festivities which represent youthful passion, reproductive urge, and joy.It is characterized by brisk dance steps, and rapid hand movement. Dancers wear traditionally colorful Assamese clothing. The dances are accompanied by musical instruments like dhol (dholak), pepa, gagana, banhi (flute) etc.

    Bodo community has many folk dances to boast. Among them, the best and the most attractive is the Bagurumba dance. A tourist in Assam can see this dance in the Bodo inhabited areas of Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, Nalbari, Darrang and Sonitpur districts. It is the usually practiced during Bwisagu, a festival of the Bodos in the Bishuba Sankranti or Mid-April. The Bagurumba dance is also called "butterfly dance" because of this attractive folk dance of the Bodo tribe of Assam.

      

    Assam - The Biodiversity

    BIODIVERSITY

    Biodiversity refers to the variety of life forms at all levels of organization, from gene through species to higher taxonomic forms and also includes the variety of ecosystems and habitats as well the processes occurring therein. Biodiversity is fundamental to the fulfilment of human needs - a biodiversity rich region offers wide options and opportunities for sustaining human welfare including adoption to changes.

    India is one of the 17 Mega bio-diverse countries in the world and accounts for 7-8 % of the recorded species. The State of Assam is a constituent unit of the Eastern Himalayan Biodiversity Region; one of the two biodiversity “Hot Spots” in the country. The climatic condition and wide variety in physical features witnessed in Assam have resulted in a diversity of ecological habitats such as forests, grasslands, wetlands, which harbour and sustain wide ranging floral and faunal species placing

    The biodiversity of Assam, a state in the north eastern part of India is a biological hotspot with many rare and endemic plant and animal species. The biggest success story from the region in recent years has been the conservation of the Greater One Horned (GoH) or Indian rhinoceros. The elephant, tiger, swamp deer, water buffalo, pygmy hog, hispid hare, hollock gibbon, river dolphins, are some of the other important wildlife species found in Assam.                               

                                                  TABLE 1 - WILDLIFE PROFILE OF ASSAM

     

    Broadly speaking the forest in Assam can be described into following types/ sub types.

    1. Tropical Wet Evergreen Forests.
    2. Tropical Semi Evergreen Forests.
    3. Tropical Moist Deciduous Forests.
    4. Sub-tropical Broadleaf Hill Forests.
    5. Sub-tropical Pine Forests.
    6. Littoral and Swamp Forests.
    7. Grassland and Savannahs.

    Assam is also known for Orchids in addition to the valuable plant species and forest products. In Assam as many as 293 species of Orchids are reported which represent 24.42% of the species found in India. Orchids as a group of flowering plants exhibit wide range of habits and have specific macro climatic requirements for their growth, development and regeneration. 

                                       TABLE 2 - PROTECTED AREAS & RESERVED FORESTS OF ASSAM

     The Kaziranga National Park is one of the most famous natural biodiversity areas of India situated in the central parts of the state of Assam. It is basically a formation of the geo-hydrological process of the ever dynamic Brahmaputra river system. It has vast expanses of wet alluvial grasslands, patches of deciduous and evergreen forests interspersed by numerous wetlands. The park is famous for its successful conservation of the Indian rhinoceros and currently has the highest population of 2413 rhinos as per the census done in 2018. The park is home to the big five in India that includes the elephant, tiger, swamp deer and water buffalo in addition to the rhino.  It is also designated as a World Heritage Site of Assam in addition to Manas NP and is also the core part of a tiger reserve. The National Park declared in 1905 currently has an area of approx. 859 sq. kms in total including its additional areas.  

                                                      PLATE 1- PROTECTED AREAS & RESERVED FORESTS OF ASSAM