Cachar district
Sculpture with columns of stone with trees behind
Shaheed Minar in Assam University, Silchar
Location in Assam
Location in Assam
Country India
StateAssam
DivisionBarak Valley
HeadquartersSilchar
Government
 • Lok Sabha constituenciesSilchar
 • Vidhan Sabha constituenciesSilchar, Sonai, Dholai, Udharbond, Lakhipur, Barkhola, Katigorah
Area
 • Total3,786 km2 (1,462 sq mi)
Population
 (2011)[1]
 • Total1,736,617
 • Density460/km2 (1,200/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+05:30 (IST)
ISO 3166 codeIN-AS-CA
Official languageBengali
Associate official languageMeitei (Manipuri)
Websitecachar.gov.in

Cachar district is an administrative district in the state of Assam in India. After independence, the pre-existing undivided Cachar district was split into four districts: Dima Hasao (formerly North Cachar Hills), Hailakandi, Karimganj, and the current Cachar district. Silchar is Cachar district's center of government.

Etymology

The word Cacahr is derived fro the Dimasa word Kachari and traces its origin to the Kachari Kingdom.[2]

History

Pre-independence period

Around 1536, the Dimasa Kachari's elder prince, Drikpati, and a younger prince, Dakhin, had a conflict. Dakhin and his followers were driven out and built a new capital at the Barak Valley, declaring themselves as Dibrasa or the Children of the Barak River (Di means "River", and Brasa means "Barak").[3][4] The Dibrasa were later known as Twiprasa and formed the Twipra Kingdom in the Barak Valley.

In 1562, the Koch dynasty King Chilarai invaded and captured the Barak Valley from the Twipra Kingdom. King Chilarai gave his brother, Kamal Narayan, authority over the region. The descendants of Kamal Narayan ruled the region until the 18th century. After the fall of the Koch kingdom due to no heir, the Dimasa Kingdom took over and ruled most of the undivided Cachar district.

Raja Shri Krishna Chandra Dwaja Narayan Hasnu Kacharihe was the most powerful king of the Dimasa Kingdom at Khaspur. During Krishna Chandra's rule, the Manipuri king sought help against the Burmese army. Krishna Chandra defeated the Burmese in battle and was offered the Manipuri Princess Induprabha in thanks. Because Krishna Chandra was already married to Rani Chandraprabha, he asked Princess Induprabha to marry his younger brother, Govinda Chandra Hasnu. During this period, Khaspur was the capital of Cachar. The last king of Cachar was Raja Govindra Chandra Dwaja Narayana Hasnu.

British period

Cachar and Nowgong districts in Northeast India (National Geographic, 1946)

The British moved into Assam in 1824 during the First Anglo-Burmese War, which was then under Burmese occupation.[4] At the time, the Cachar kingdom was ruled by two leaders—Raja Govindra Chandra Dwaja Narayana Hasnu in the southern plains, and Raja Tularam Thaosen in the North Cachar Hills (Dima Hasao). Raja Govinda Chandra was assassinated on 24 April 1840 at Haritikar.[5] Because he died without a natural heir, his territories were annexed by the British under doctrine of lapse, adding it as the Cachar district of Assam.[4][6][5]

The British sent army officer T. Fisher to oversee the region; he established its headquarters at Cherrapunji on 30 June 1830.[5] Fisher was both the magistrate and the collector, later becoming the first Superintendent of the District.[5] The British annexed Cachar plains on 14 August 1832.[5] The district's headquarters moved to Dudpatil in 1833, and later to its current location of Silchar.[5]

Northern Cachar remained a separate principality but came under British occupation in 1854 after the death of Tularam; the British justified this takeover of northern Cachar because of the "misconduct of its rulers."[4][5] Cachar district became part of the Chief Commissionership of Assam on 6 February 1874.[5]

In the later 19th century, southern Cachar was raided numerous times by the Lushais.[4]

Partition

After India's partition from Great Britain in 1947, the Karimganj sub-division of Sylhet District became part of the Cachar district.[5] North Cachar was separated from Cachar as Dima Hasao district in 1963, followed by Karimganj district.[7] Hailakandi district was formed from Cachar district in 1989.[7]

Aerial view of Sadarghat Bridge over the Barak River in Silchar

Geography

Cachar district occupies an area of 3,786 square kilometres (1,462 sq mi).[8][7] The district is surrounded on the south by Mizoram, to the east by Manipur, to the west by Hailakandi district and Karimganj district, and to the north by the Barali and the Jayantia hill ranges.[7] The Barak River is the main river of the district, along with its tributaries—the Jiri River and Jatinga River from the north, and the Sonai River and Daleswari River from the south.[4] The district consists primarily of plains but also includes several ranges of hills throughout the district.[7] At times, the wetlands of the plains flood, forming lakes.[4] The district is mostly a tropical evergreen forest, with large tracts of rainforests in the north and south of the district.[7]

Climate

The average annual rainfall of Cachar district is more than 3,000 millimetres (120 in).[7] Its climate is tropical wet; the district has hot and wet summers and cool winters.[7]

Demographics

Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
1901301,884—    
1911339,107+1.17%
1921359,376+0.58%
1931386,695+0.74%
1941437,284+1.24%
1951541,891+2.17%
1961664,351+2.06%
1971823,515+2.17%
19911,215,385+1.97%
20011,444,921+1.74%
20111,736,617+1.86%
source:[9]

Population

According to the 2011 census, Cachar district has a population of 1,736,617.[1] It ranks 278th out of a total of 640 districts in India.[1] The district has a population density of 459 inhabitants per square kilometre (1,190/sq mi).[1] Its population growth rate over the decade of 2001 to 2011 was 20.17%.[1] Cachar has a sex ratio of 958 females for every 1000 males,[1] and a literacy rate of 80.36%. 18.17% of the population lives in urban areas. Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes make up 15.25% and 1.01% of the population, respectively.[1]

Religion

Hinduism is the main religion in Cachar, including 59.83% of the population. Christians are mainly found in tribal communities, and represent just 2.17% of the total population of the region. Among the Bengalis, Hinduism and Islam religions are equally represented, although Muslims are only 37.71% of the region's total population. Sikhism arrived in Cachar after Guru Nanak's visit to eastern India in 1508. In the early 20th century, most of the Sikhs lived in the northern part of Cachar where they worked for the Assam Bengal Railway.[10]

Religions in Cachar district (2011)[11]
Religion Per cent
Hinduism
59.83%
Islam
37.71%
Christianity
2.17%
Other or not stated
0.29%
Population of circles by religion
Circle Hindus (%) Muslims (%) Christians (%) Others (%)
Katigorah 45.00 53.55 1.32 0.13
Silchar 72.19 26.42 1.00 0.39
Udarbond 70.45 26.05 3.13 0.37
Sonai 41.17 56.92 1.76 0.15
Lakhipur 61.04 32.71 5.87 0.38

Language

Languages in Cachar district (2011)[12]

  Bengali (75.13%)
  Hindi (8.49%)
  Meitei (6.06%)
  Bhojpuri (3.32%)
  Dimasa (1.19%)
  Others (4.49%)

Bengali and Meitei (Manipuri) are the official languages of the Cachar district.[13][14] Bengali is spoken by 75% of the overall population; the main dialect is Sylheti.[12][7] Bengalis are the majority ethnic community, but indigenous ethnic groups also live in the district and speak Meitei (Manipuri), Bishnupuriya, Dimasa, Bhojpuri, and Rongmei-Naga. Immigrants from other parts of India are also present and are mainly Hindi speakers.[15]

Government

The district has three sub-divisions: Silchar, Lakhipur, and Katigorah. Silchar is the center of government. There are seven Assam Legislative Assembly constituencies in this district: Barkhola, Dholai, Katigorah, Lakhipur , Silchar, Sonai, and Udharbond.[16][7] These seven constituencies make up the Silchar Lok Sabha constituency.[17][7] Dholai is designated for scheduled castes, among the most disadvantaged socio-economic groups in India.[16][7]

Economy

Silchar is the district headquarters and is one of the most important business centers of Assam.[7] Because of its wet climate, the main crops of the district are rice and tea.[4]

The Indian government identified Cachar as one of the country's 250 most backward districts in 2006; there are 640 districts in India.[18][7] It currently receives funding through the Backward Regions Grant Fund program (BRGF).[18][7]

Ruins of Kachari kingdom

Arts and culture

Bar Dwari, Silchar
Kali temple of Sonai dungripar.

Architecture

There are several temples and historic sites in Silchar and Cachar. The village of Khaspur, 20 kilometres (12 mi) from Silchar, features the Sun Gate, Lion Gate, the king's palace, a temple, and other remains of the 17th century Kachari Kingdom.[3] The ruins of Kachari Fort in Dimapur, Nagaland, date to the 13th century. The Baro Dwari, Bishnu Mandir, Kali Mandir, Singh Duwar, and Snan Ghar are other ancient monuments in the Cachar district.[5] Other sites include Badarpur Fort in Badarpur, Bhubaneswar Shiva temple at Chandragiri in Sonai, Nrimata temple at Barkhola, and Siddeshwar temple in Badarpur.[3]

Museums

Silchar has several museums, including Assam State Museum, the Digboi Centenary Museum, the Railway Heritage Park and Museum, and the Sonitpur District Museum.[15]

Parks and recreation

Barail Wildlife Sanctuary is the only wildlife sanctuary in the district and was established in 2004.[7][19] The naturalist Dr. Anwaruddin Choudhury worked to create the sanctuary in the early 1980s.[20][7] Rare species in the sanctuary included the Hoolock gibbon, the phayre's leaf monkey, the pig-tailed macaque, the stump-tailed macaque, the masked finfoot, and the white-winged wood duck.[7] The sanctuary is also home to tiger, the hoolock gibbon, and the gaur. The Asian elephant is already extinct.[21][22] The southern part of the district was also recommended as a Dhaleswari wildlife sanctuary but has yet to receive that status.[23][24]

Transportation

Silchar has an airport, which is located at Kumbhirgram.[7] It is served by regular flights from IndiGo, Air India, and SpiceJet. Broad-gauge railways connect the district to Guwahati in Assam and other parts of India including New Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai; from here, regular train service is provided to all cities in North-East India.[7] Roads connect the district to the rest of the country.[7] In addition, there is regular bus service to cities in North-East India.[7]

Education

Government Boys School
Language Martyr's Memorial, Silchar railway station

Cachar district has several well-known educational institutions. Silchar is a major learning hub of Assam. The district has a central university, the Assam University, which is situated at Dorgakuna, 18 kilometres (11 mi) from Silchar.[25][26] It also has National Institute of Technology, Silchar one of the thirty NITs in India.[27] Silchar Medical College and Hospital is also located in Silchar and is the only medical college in southern Assam.[28][26]

Colleges

The district includes nine degree colleges.[26]

Schools

As of 2023, Cachar district includes 1,234 elementary schools and 158 secondary schools.[26] Notable schools include:[26]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "District Census Handbook: Cachar" (PDF). censusindia.gov.in. Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India. 2011.
  2. ^ "District at Glance | Cachar District". Government Of Assam, India. Retrieved 7 April 2024.
  3. ^ a b c "The Historical Splendor of Cachar District | Shanku Sharma | Photographs: Partha Seal | Travel and Deal". 2 June 2018. Retrieved 18 October 2023.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h "Cachar" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 4 (11th ed.). 1911. p. 924.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "History of Cachar | Cachar District | Government Of Assam, India". cachar.gov.in. Retrieved 18 October 2023.
  6. ^ Dutta, P.N. (1962). Glimpses into the History of Assam. Guwahati: Bina Library.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v "District Profile | Cachar District | Government Of Assam, India". cachar.gov.in. Retrieved 18 October 2023.
  8. ^ Srivastava, Dayawanti, ed. (2010). "States and Union Territories: Assam: Government". India 2010: A Reference Annual (54th ed.). New Delhi, India: Additional Director General, Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (India), Government of India. p. 1116. ISBN 978-81-230-1617-7.
  9. ^ Decadal Variation In Population Since 1901
  10. ^ Allen, B. C. (1905). Assam District Gazetteers. Vol. 1: Cachar. Calcutta: Baptist MIssion Press. p. 58 – via Internet Archive.
  11. ^ "Table C-01 Population By Religion: Assam". census.gov.in. Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India. 2011.
  12. ^ a b "Table C-16 Population By Mother Tongue: Assam". censusindia.gov.in. Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India. 2011.
  13. ^ "Govt withdraws Assamese as official language from Barak valley". Business Standard India. Press Trust of India. 9 September 2014. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  14. ^ Purkayastha, Biswa Kalyan (24 February 2024). "Assam recognises Manipuri as associate official language in four districts". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 26 February 2024.
  15. ^ a b "District Profile | Cachar District | Government of Assam, India".
  16. ^ a b "List of Assembly Constituencies showing their Revenue & Election District wise break - up" (PDF). Chief Electoral Officer, Assam website. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 March 2012. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
  17. ^ "List of Assembly Constituencies showing their Parliamentary Constituencies wise break - up" (PDF). Chief Electoral Officer, Assam website. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 March 2012. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
  18. ^ a b Ministry of Panchayati Raj (8 September 2009). "A Note on the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme" (PDF). National Institute of Rural Development. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 April 2012. Retrieved 27 September 2011.
  19. ^ Choudhury, A.U. (2005). Amchang, Barail, and Dihing-Patkai – Assam's new wildlife sanctuaries. Oryx 39(2): 124–125.
  20. ^ Choudhury, A.U. (1989). Campaign for wildlife protection: national park in the Barails. WWF-Quarterly No. 69,10(2): 4–5.
  21. ^ Choudhury, A.U. (1999). Status and Conservation of the Asian elephant Elephas maximus in north-eastern India. Mammal Review 29(3): 141–173.
  22. ^ Choudhury, A.U. (2004). Vanishing habitat threatens Phayre's leaf monkey. The Rhino Found. NE India Newsletter 6:32–33.
  23. ^ Choudhury, A.U. (1983). Plea for a new wildlife refuge in eastern India. Tigerpaper 10(4):12-15.
  24. ^ Choudhury, A.U. (1983). Plea for a new wildlife sanctuary in Assam. WWF - India Newsletter 4(4):15.
  25. ^ Assam University, Official website
  26. ^ a b c d e f "Education | Cachar District | Government Of Assam, India". cachar.gov.in. Retrieved 18 October 2023.
  27. ^ Official NIT, Silchar website
  28. ^ Official website of Silchar Medical College

25°05′N 92°55′E / 25.083°N 92.917°E / 25.083; 92.917