Assam is a state where people belong to numerous communities live while keeping their ethnic identities alive. All the ethnic communities identify themselves as Assamese people. Their contributions to the Assamese society cannot be ignored. ldentities of some ethnic groups of Assam are given below;-

Ethnic groups in Assam

Ethnic groups in Assam are;-

Ahoms: The Ahoms belong to Tai origin. They entered Assam in 1228 A.D. by crossing the Patkai Hills. Chaolung Sukafa established a kingdom in Assam and they ruled nearly 600 years in the state. They completed the integration of Assam and the state took its present shape during their rule. They mainly live in Charaideo, Sivsagar, Dibrugarh, Jorhat, Golaghat, Lakhimpur, Dhemaji and Tinsukia districts of the upper Assam. According to a survey conducted by Tai Ahom Development Council in 2012-14, the population of the Ahoms is 25 lakhs. They are agriculturist and now they follow traditional religious belief and Hinduism. They started the tradition of writing Buranjis or chronicles of the Royal families.

Koch Rajbongshis: Hindu by religion, Koch Rajbongshis is one of the most important culturally rich communities of Assam. Some opine that Kochs and Rajbongshis are two separate communities. According to Buchanan Hamilton, both communities have their roots in the same origin. Assamese is their lingua-franca. But they use Rajbongshi language amongst themselves. They celebrate various traditional festivals and rituals. Once they established a strong Empire covering entire Assam and North-east under the rule of Narnarayan.

Khasi: They live in some villages of Karbi Anglong, Dima Hasao, Cachar, Hailakandi and Karingan districts. They have cultural and linguistic similarities with the Jaintias.

Garos: The Garos are one of the most important ancient communities of the state. Most of the Garos live in the bordering areas of Meghalaya. Religiously they followed their primitive style of worship, butlater most of them adopted Christianity after the advent of the British.

Chutiyas: The Chutiyas is an important ancient inhabitant of Assam. They are a branch of the Mongoloid Bodos. They were culturally very rich as most of their people lived in towns called Kundil Nagar, Bhismak Nagar etc. They ruleda vast kingdom in the upper Assam. In 1523 A.D., their kingdom was captured by the Ahoms.

Barmans: The Barmans are an important tribe of Assam. They mainly live in Udalguri, Baksa, Chirang, Kokrajhar, Dhubri, Darrang, Kamup, Goalpara, Nagaon, Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, Barpeta and Cachar districts of Assam. Moreover, they are found in Meghalaya (Garo hills and Khasi hills), Tripura and Nagaland. Barmans are also found in the North Cachar hills district area. They can be termed as a branch of the Dimasa Kacharis. The Barmans of Cachar were a part of the Dimasa, but now their culture is much more different than that of the Dimasas. From linguistic angle, they are of Tibeto-Burman, but those Barmans Ihving in Cachar use Bangla. Of late, their language has come under the influence of Bangla and even some Bangla Words penetrate into the Dimasa language used by the Barmans. The Barmans have their own mother tongue, and they call it "Thar". But along with time the language is going to be oblivion. According to the Census of 1971, the population of Barmans in Cachar district was 13,210, which increased approximatelyto 20,819 in 1987. In 2017, the population of the Barman Kacharis rose to 24,237 out of which 12,555 are male and 11,503 are female. They follow Hindu Brahmanic marriage system.

Hajongs: The Hajongs are Indo-Mangoloid tribe. They live in Goalpara, Dhubri, Kamrup, Baksa, Udalguri, Chirang, Darrang etc. districts. They are agriculturist by profession and socially divided in five divisions. They follow Hinduism. A culturally rich tribe, the Hajongs observe many rituals including various pujas. 

Hmars: Apart from Assam, the Hmars live in Mizoram and some places of outside of India too. It is believed that they have their roots in China. Culturally and traditionally, they are richer than any other tribes of Assam.

Dimasa Kacharis: The Dimasas live in the Dima Hasao, Dimapur of Nagaland, Hojai and Karbi Anglong districts of Assam. They are divided in 42 different clans. Shibrai is their prime deity. Busu Dima is their harvest festival. They inherit many colourful tradition and culture.

Bodo-Kacharis: The most influential amongst all tribes of Assam is the Bodos. They are a branch of the great Bodo family. They predominantly live in the Kokrajhar, Baksa, Chirang and Udalguri districts of Assam, which fall in the Bodoland Territorial Region. Bathou is their main religion, and Bathou Bourai is their main deity. Some of them accepted Vaishnavism, Christianity and Brahma as a way of life. Bardoisikhla and Bagurumba are their famous dance forms. Culturally, they are very rich and have been nurturing their traditions since time immemorial.

Thengal Kacharis: Most of the Thengal Kacharis live in the upper Assam area. Some anthropologists opine that they belong to the great Bodo community of the state. Nowadays, they follow Assamese culture and Hindu religion. They inherit multi-coloured traditions, which they follow in day-to-day life.

Deoris: They live in the upper area of the Brahmaputra valley including Arunachal Pradesh. They are divided into four khels. They are also from Tibeto-Burman family. They are pious people who follow their traditional Kundi religion. Kundimama is their prime deity. They celebrate all prominent festivals of the state including Bihu along with their own rituals.

Tiwas: They are too one of the important branches of the Bodo tribe. They live in the Nagaon, Marigaon Kamrup, Karbi Anglong, Jorhat etc. districts and follow their colourful traditions. Khel system is

available in their society. They observe many traditions. Junbeel Mela is one of their traditional fairs held in the Assamese month of Magh where people exchange their things following the barter system.

Morans: The Morans are one of the oldest inhabitants of Assam. Bodousa ruled the Morans during the advent of the Ahoms. Later, their kingdom was occupied by the Ahoms. Culturally, they are very rich.

Bihu is their prime festival. Khel system was prevalent amongst them. They consider orange cultivation as a prestigious job. Elephant is their National animal, and Hollong is their National tree.

Misings: They are the second largest tribe of Assam. They are also known as Miri. Agriculture is their prime profession. They offer obeisance to Donyi-polo or the Sun and the Moon and believe that they

direct the life of every person. Ali-aye-ligang is their prime festival. 0i Nitom songs reflect their inner feelings. Their social life is disciplined as they don't have class system. 

Nepali speaking Gorkhas: The Nepali speaking peoples are a mix of the Aryans, Kiratas and the Mongols. They are also known as Gorkhas. According to the 2011 Census, in Assam a total of 596,210 people speak Nepali. Amongst the Gorkhas, 2063 are Tamang, 780 are Limbu and 1110 are Rai. They are well known for their bravery and trustworthy nature. Tiz and Tihar are two important festivals celebrated by the Gorkhas of Assam.

Sonowal Kacharis: In the Dimasa language, the word Sonowal means bright and worthy. The Sonowal Kacharis belong to the Mongoloid section of people. According to Upendra Chandra Guha, the Sonowals lived on the banks of the river Subansiri. Some historians opine that they collected gold from the sands of the river and offered it to the king. Now, they live in Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Sivsagar etc. districts. They follow both Shakti and Vaishnavism as religion and observe many traditional rituals.

Karbis: The Karbis live in Karbi Anglong and West Karbi Anglong. Both districts are included in the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council. They live in some other districts also. They celebrate Peng Hemfu, Rongker etc. They have five clans, namely, Timung, Teron, Terang, Inghi and Ingti. They are one of the most culturally rich tribes of the state.

Motoks: They are a branch of the Tai-Mangoloid community. They settled in the Tipam area of the upper Assam where the adventurer Prince Sukapha met their ruler. They followed Tao religion. Later,

they became ardent follower of Aniruddhadeva who established Mayamara sect of Vaishnavism. Matak

leader Sarbananda Singha established a kingdom at Bengmora.

Goriya-Moriya: Bakhtiyar Khilji entered Assam in 1206 A.D. and thus started the Islamic penetration. During later period, Islamic forces attacked Assam many times but failed to establish their sway in this land. Many soldiers of attackers remained here as the prisoner of war. The merciful Ahom king settled them in various places and they come to be known as the Goriya-Moriya community. Some of them identify themselves as Desi too. Syed Abdul Malik, Bahadur Gaonburha etc. are some famous names belong to this community.

Santals: They are known as "Hor Hapan" in their own Santhali language. According to Dr Banikanta Kakati, the Santhals have been living in Assam many years before the start of tea cultivation. They have 12 gotras or clans. They live in villages. Their social life is colourful.

Kalitas: The Kalitas are one of the most ancient communities of Assam. It is believed that the first team of the Kalitas migrated to Assam nearly 5000 years before the birth of Jesus Christ. In Assam, the divided in various sects known by different surnames and professions. Now, they are considered one of the most populous communities of the state.

Manipuris: They live in both Brahmaputra valley and Barak valley. The word Meitei reflects both language and community. They are divided in seven yek-salais or khels. Sub-sects are called sagoi or yumnak. Lai Haraoba is their main festival.

Rabhas: They live in Goalpara, Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, Chirang, Baksa, Udalguri, Kamrup etc. districts of Assam. Their society is divided into various sects: Rangdani, Pati, Maytori, Dahori, Bilotiya, Hana etc. Baikho puja is their prime festival. They are rich in folk culture and rituals. Rishi or Mahadev is their prime deity. Kalaguru Bishnuprasad Rabha is the most famous person of the tribe.

Nath-Jogis: An important ancient community of Assam, the Nath-Jogis live in Bongaigaon, Kokrajhar, Darrang, Nagaon, Morigaon, Hojai, Sonitpur etc. districts. The ancestors of this community propagated yoga extensively and that is why they became popular as Yogis. Their contributions to the Freedom Movement were commendable. The Assam Pradeshik Yogi Sanmilan is the prime organization of the community.

Aadibasis: This is a common name representing various ethnic communities like Kol, Vil, Bhumij, Chawar, Churia, Pahadia, Munda, Mahali, Kisan, Gor, Parja etc. They commonly use Sadr language but have their own dialects too. Karam and Tusu are their prime festivals. 

Koivarta: They are gentle in nature. In the lower Assam, they are known as Namashudra, Jaliya or Saloi.

Hiras: They are scheduled caste people. They earn their livelihood by cultivation and making earthen pots.

Baishyas: They are business communities by origin. In Assam, they are divided in three sections known as Saud Baishya, Arya Baishya and Sonari Baishya. The Saud Baishyas claim to be descendants of the legendary Chando Sadagor of famous Manasa Kavya.

Suts: The Suts boast themselves as descendants of Karna, the famous warrior of Mahabharata. They are also known as Sutradhar.

Salois: Their popular name is Keot. They are divided in three sects: saloi, mali and jaloi. Most of them are cultivators.

Saraniya Kacharis: Some Kacharis accept the Vaishnavism and they are known as Saraniya Kacharis. The government of Assam has formeda development council for the community.

Modahis: It is believed that they are Kirata Kachari people originally live on the bank of the Modai River of Nepal. Most of them live in the B.T.R. area of Assam.

Singphos: Singphos are one of the most prominent plain tribes. They immigrated to Assam during 18th century from the Shyan state of the Northern Burma. The Singpaw or Singphos are known as Kachin in Burma. In Assam, they are called Singpho. The Tai Ahoms called them Seng Phala Ring Gam. They are divided amongst some small khels or units under their respective nayaks or gaams. They have different names in different countries. In Assam, they are known as Singphos while their name in Myanmar is Kachin. Now, they are living in Margherita sub-division of Tinsukia, Dibrugarh and Changlang districts of Arunachal Pradesh. It is known that the Burmese (Maan) and the Shyans afraid of the Kachins. The Burmese gave them their Kachin name.

Assamese Sikhs: During the third Burmese attack, Ranjit Singh helped the then Ahom king with nearly 500 Sikh soldiers. After the war was over, most of them settled in Nagaon district and came to be known as Assanmese Sikh.

Assamese Muslims: The mighty Mughals attacked Assam 17 times, but failed to extend their sway over this area. The prisoners of war were settled in various places of the state. They accepted Assamese culture like the Assamese Sikhs.