Assam is the native language of the state of Assam. Assam has a rich history, cultural roots heritage with a deep connection embedded in the Assamese language. This paper can be attempted by those candidates who are well versed with the Assamese language.
It is very interesting to note that this language is not just spoken within the state of Assam. It is also widely spoken in the regions of Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh within our country. Outside our country the language is spoken in Bhutan and Bangladesh as well. The main reason for the popularity of this language is its linguistic similarities with Bengali.
Almost 20 million people speak Assamese. The native people of Assam who live in and around the Brahmaputra valley are well versed with the language and its spoken dialects.
UPSC Assamese Syllabus – Explained
Answers must be written in Assamese
Section-A : Language
- History of the origin and development of the Assamese language-its position among the Indo-Aryan Languages-periods in its history.
- Developments of Assamese prose.
- Vowels and consonants of the Assamese languages-rules of phonetic changes with stress on Assamese coming down from Old Indo-Aryan.
- Assamese vocabulary-and its sources.
- Morphology of the language-conjugation-enclitic definitives and pleonastic suffixes.
- Dilectical divergences-the standard colloquial and the Kamrupi dialect in particulars.
- Assamese scripts-its evolution through the ages till 19th century A.D.
Section-B : Literary Criticism and Literary History
- Principles of Literary criticism upto New criticism.
- Different literary genres.
- Development of literary forms in Assamese.
- Development of literary criticism in Assamese.
- Periods of the literary history of Assam from the earliest beginnings, i.e. from the period of the charyyageets with their socio-cultural background : the proto Assamese-Pre-SankaradevaSankaradeva-post SankaradevaModern period (from the coming of the Britishers)-Post-Independence period. Special emphasis is to be given on the Vaisnavite period, the gonaki and the post-Independence period.
This paper will require first-hand reading of the texts prescribed and will be designed to test the candidates’ critical ability. Answers must be written in Assamese
- Ramayana (Ayodhya Kanda only)-by Madhava Kandali.
- Parijat-Harana-by Sankaradeva.
- Rasakrida-by Sankaradeva (From Kirtana Ghosa).
- Bargeet-by Madhavadeva
- Rajasuya-by Madhavadeva.
- Katha-Bhagavata (Books I and II)-by Baikunthanath Bhattacharyya.
- Gurucarit-Katha (Sankaradeva’s Part only)-ed. by Maheswar Neog.
- Mor Jeevan Sonwaran-by Lakshminath Bezbaroa.
- Kripabar Barbaruar Kakatar Topola-by Lakshminath Bezbaroa.
- Pratima-by Chandra Kumar Agarwalla.
- Gaonburha-by Padmanath Gohain Barua.
- Monamati-by Rajanikanta Bordoloi.
- Purani Asamiya Sahitya-by Banikanta Kakati.
- Karengar Ligiri-by Jyotiprasad Agarwalla
- Jeevanar Batat-by Bina Barwa (Birinchi Kumar Barua)
- Mrityunjoy-by Birendrakumar
- Samrat-by Navakanta Barua.
A slice of history
The Assamese language finds formal status provided on par with other languages in the constitution of our country. The Assamese language can be traced back to almost 7th century AD. People from the Indo Aryan race were familiar with this language soon after that.
Towards the beginning of 14th century, people even started Assamese literature. Studies have shown that ancient manuscripts dating back to 14th century have been found abundantly in the region by exploring archaeologists. Very old folklores, popular folk songs and hymns, group ballads and traditional festival songs and practices have been laid down in the form of songs to showcase the rich tradition and culture that Assam was a part of.
The Prakrit language and the Sanskrit language are the two main ancestral hierarchies for the Assamese language. In fact many researchers contribute a greater part of the language to have been narrowed from the original Sanskrit literature. But evidences also show the presence of Prakrit essence, particularly of the Magadha dynasty ruling period.
Rich culture and heritage
‘Prahlada Charitha’ is one of the most famous ancient written scriptures in Assamese by Hema Saraswati . It was written as early as the 13th century. In the 14th century, Madhava Kandali re-wrote the epic scripture ‘Ramayana’ in the Assamese language. The creation of the Puranas in the language is till date a fabulous piece of literary work together with the ‘Mantras’. The Puranas were written down by Pitambara and Manakara in the 15th century.
Other famous personalities in the literature field include Rajanikanta Bardaloi, Hiteshwar Bezbaruah, Benudhar Raj Khowa etc from the pre-independence era. In modern times, Raghunath Chaudhari made a mark in the literary field by reflecting the prevailing socio-political and economic scenario post-independence and the struggle of the middle class to keep up with the educated urban counterparts.
In today’s times, we have a rich patronage of Assamese writers ranging from Indira Goswami to Manoj Kumar Goswami, who are contemporary thinkers and writers, amazing people with their marvelous creations.
The Assamese literature is not just restricted to ancient texts and folk songs and traditions. Many subjects like astrology, medicine, health, technical writings, wellness, lifestyle, etc find varieties of writers plunging in mass numbers to create magic in their respective fields.
The Assamese language has seen a great level of transformation from the old and ancient literature to the modern day phonetically-driven language processes. Multiple dictionary formats to help easy learning of spellings have been enhanced by stalwarts in the literature field which has made learning the language simpler by native speakers.
Assamese in modern times
Now let’s ponder upon various factors that every language has mater-of-fact. Every language enjoys its own special status and has various literary personalities churning out beautiful creations out of the basic, raw language. As times change and we advance towards the modern times, the inflow of people from various cultures and regions adds its own flavor to the native language.
It is here that the language somehow begins to lose its natural essence and becomes a blend or mix of many other languages. It is true with Assamese too.
Today we can find that the youth of the state are almost non native speakers who have hardly put in an effort to learn the native language of Assamese and instead brought in a mix of Assamese and English. Though a greater population speaks Assamese in Bangladesh, the influx of Hindi from several migrants over many years has only been a detrimental factor for the language.
If we have to study statistics, almost more than half the population of Assam is filled with people from other cultural and religious backgrounds. That means, only 49.08% as on 2018 are native Assamese speaking population and the figures are continuously declining.