[Assam] Official/ Court Language of Assam 1826-1836 (Persian or Assamese)?
kjit.deka at gmail.com
Sun Aug 8 08:06:01 IST 2010
I think,Government of Bengal ( Bengal Presidency) made Bengali in
place of Persian the language of the court in April 1831( not in 1835)
( source:Bengal Political Consultations,1830,April 30,Nos.65-6).
In Assam ( which was made a part of Bengal Presidency by the Brtitish
initially),Assamese was displaced by Bengali as court language between
1837 and 1873.
In regard to your question as to what was the official language in
Assam between the year 1826 through 1837,I believe, Assamese was the
lingua franca in Brahmaputra valley which is based on following
Firstly,In spite of the repeated invasions of Assam by the
Turko-Afghans and Mughals ( Persians) beginning with the 13th century
till the close of 17th century,the Muslims had a insignificant impact
on the population of the state.There are a very few epigraphs written
in the Persian language and those are confined to the modern district
Secondly,till British came,written documents were not much in use and
writing was not essential to most of the public functionaries.
Thirdly,,according to historian S.L.Baruah " AFTER ALLOWING THE
INDIGENOUS SYSTEM OF EDUCATION TO CONTINUE FOR QUITE A FEW YEARS,THE
BRITISH WITH A VIEW TO IMPARTING ENGLISH EDUCATION TO THE ASSAMESE
YOUTHS,SET UP THE FIRST ENGLISH SCHOOL AT GAUHATI IN 1835."
Finally,D Neog quoted the following remark made by British officer
Bronson " Assamese is the language spoken by the entire population of
the Brahmaputra valley and in most cases,it is only the medium of
intercourse with the bordering hill tribes.There is nothing to show
that Assamese race and their language have not existed from time
immemorial.It is surprising that during the change of rulers,there are
no trace of any material change in their language".
WHAT DOES RAJEN BARUA KOKAIDEW THINK? I WOULD LIKE TO HEAR HIS OPINION.
On Sat, Aug 7, 2010 at 7:20 AM, uttam borthakur
<uttamborthakur at yahoo.co.in> wrote:
> Srijut KJ Deka,
> I have been trying to find a categorical answer to the question as to whether Assamese was the official/ court language in Assam during the particular period 1826 to 1836 that was replaced by Bengali. This replacement must obviously relate to court, offices and educational institution under the British, and not to those under Swargadeo Purandar Singha's (till 1833). Not being an institutional scholar, I have not been able to lay my hands on some suggestive materials available on the net, and I have not found the time to collect it from other sources.
> I have found a suggestion in this behalf in the following: -
> "5.16 Under orders of Lord William Bentinck, the then Governor- General, reform In the language was introduced by the Bengali and Persian Language Act (Act No . XXIX of 1837). The Act stated: "It shall be lawful for the Governor-General-in-Council by an order In the Council, to dispense either generally or within such local limits, as may seem to him meet, with any provision of the Bengal Code which enjoins the use of the Persian language in any judicial proceedings or any proceedings relating to the Revenue, and to prescribe the language and character to be used in such proceedings." (Source:http://www.education.nic.in/cd50years/u/47/3Y/473Y0601.htm)
> It also summarized as follows: -
> " 5.22 At the turn of the century, the position of the court language in general, as provided by the laws prevailing in Indict, can be summed up as under :
> (i) Persian was abolished as the court language in 1835.
> (ii) Its place was given to English, which was accepted as the official language for use in the high court, the chief court, the subordinate courts,while evidence could be recorded in varnaculars. The language to be used by the presiding officers was to be English.
> (iii) Both in respect of proceedings governed by the Civil Procedure Code and the Criminal Procedure Code, the State Governments had the authority to declare what would be the language of surbordintate courts."
> Similarly, I had found some indications on this issue in
> "Ahom palace intrigue and political turmoil due to the Moamoria rebellion aided the expansionist Burmese ruler of Ava to invade Assam and install a puppet king in 1821. With the Burmese having reached the East India Company’s borders, the First Anglo-Burmese War ensued. The war ended under the Treaty of Yandaboo in 1826, with the Company taking control of Lower Assam and installing Purander Singh as king of Upper Assam in 1833. The arrangement lasted till 1838 and thereafter the British gradually annexed the entire region. Initially Assam was made a part of theBengal Presidency, …….. ( Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assam)" [ What was the official/ court language in Bengal Presidency if we have to believe that Act XXIX of 1837 abolished Persian and replaced it with English ?]
> " Since English was increasingly being employed as the language of instruction, Persian was abolished as the official language of the Company's administration and courts by 1837." Source: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Company_rule_in_India)"
> Some indications are there in the following links:
> HISTORIOGRAPHY OF THE FORMATION OF ASSAMESE IDENTITY: A REVIEW (MADHUMITA SENGUPTA)
> A thematic review of Planter Raj to Swaraj: Freedom
> Struggle and Electoral Politics in Assam, 1826-1947 by A.
> Guha; Assam: A Burning Question by H. Gohain; Roots of
> Ethnic Conflict: Nationality Questions in North East India
> by S. Nag; Social Tensions in Assam Middle Class Politics
> by A.K. Baruah; and India Against Itself: Assam and the
> Politics of Identity by S. Baruah.).(Source:http://himalaya.socanth.cam.ac.uk/collections/journals/pdsa/pdf/pdsa_02_01_07.pdf)
> Should you find any conclusive material on this point, any whichever way, at any time, please let me know. I shall also keep up my effort. Incidentally, Assam in the Days of the Company and Oxomor Nabajagoron aru Ona Oxomiya Xomprodaiyar Bhumika are also not available in the market!
> Uttam Kumar Borthakur
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