ADVENT OF THE BRAHMANAS IN EARLY ASSAM

RAJESH SINGH

Abstract


Northeast (India) has been a meeting ground of various tribes with the Brahmanical faith. History of the region bears testimony of the merger of Little with Great Traditions; the broad Hindu social spectrum being largely moulded by conversion of tribal groups to the Hindu fold. In fact many of the ethnic groups referred to as non-tribal today have had tribal elements in the distant past. Assam has been experiencing the waves of population movement since the days of the Pragjyotisa-Kamarupa kingdom. In Ancient Assam, there was no caste system in the strict sense as found elsewhere in India, but there were some functional groups which in all probability gradually identified with the social differentiations in terms of varna or caste. The coming of the Brahamans and the role played by them forms an important aspect of understanding not just the religious but also socio-economic and political history of Assam.

This research aims for a reconstruction of the history of the advent of the Brahmanas to early Assam (Pre- Ahom period) in the light of both literary and archaeological evidence (i.e. architectural remains, epigraphs, icons and sculptures etc.). It attempts to gain insights into the contribution made by the Brahmanas in the spread of the Brahmanical faith, the implications of which may be seen in the gradual absorption of the faith by many ethnic communities like the Bodos, Misings etc. in Assam.


Keywords


Brahamans, Epigraphs, Varnasrama, Tribes, Pragjyotisha, Land-grants, Gotra.

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References


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