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Bodoland Territorial Area Districts (BTAD), or Bodoland for short, is a set of four districts that form an autonomous administrative unit in the extreme north on the north bank of the Brahmaputra river, within the state of Assam, Northeast India, by the foothills of Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh. The region is predominantly inhabited by the indigenous Bodo people. The official map of Bodoland includes four districts of BTAD recognised by the Government of India. It is administered by the Bodoland Territorial Council, which covers over eight thousand square kilometres. The territory came into existence under the BTC Accord in February 2003.[1]

Bodoland

Location of Bodoland
Capital
and largest city
Kokrajhar
26°24′N 90°16′E / 26.4°N 90.27°E / 26.4; 90.27
Official languagesBodo, Assamese, English, Hindi
GovernmentAutonomous Territorial Council in India
• Chief, BTC
Hagrama Mohilary
• Deputy Chief, BTC
Kampa Borgoyary
LegislatureBodoland Territorial Council (legislative powers in 40 subjects) and Assam Legislative Assembly
Establishment
• BTC Accord
10 February 2003
Area
• Total
8,821.68 km2 (3,406.07 sq mi)
• Proposed area
25,478 km square
Population
• Census
3,155,359
• Density
374/km2 (968.7/sq mi)
CurrencyIndian rupee
Time zoneUTC+5:30 (IST)
Date formatdd-mm-yyyy
Driving sideleft
Calling code+91

Contents

EtymologyEdit

It is said that the original home of Bodos was in the north of China in between the head-waters of the Huang He and the Yangtze rivers from which they moved out and dispersed in different directions. One of the groups moved into Tibet and settled there for centuries. Thus Tibet became their home before coming to India. As is known, the original name of Tibet was Ti-bod. It is conjectured by some of the scholars that the Mongoloids who lived in Ti-bod were identified as bod who later changed to Bodo.

Before the impact of Sanskritisation they were known as Kachari by the Hindus, in Assam and as Meches in Bengal. The controversial spelling of the word is ‘Bodo’ where the letter’ is pronounced not as ‘d’ but as hard’ r.’ It was Brian Hodgson who first applied the generic name Bodo to this group of languages but their own name for their race is Boro. This generic name is also applied to the tribes and sub-tribes belonging to the Bodo group. The Bodo intellectual leaders of the national convention who took the decision to accept the generic name’ Bodo’ as the racial name were aware of it as it was already in use. At present, it is found that the use of the names Bodo and Boro are going on in parallel. The decision of the 1952 national convention is thus honored.[2]

HistoryEdit

Historically it was inhibited by the Boros or Bodos or the Kacharis before the intrusion of the Aryans. The British gained control of the region through the Treaty of Yandabo upon winning the First Anglo-Burmese War in 1826. The war was primarily for the control of Northeast India between the British and Burmese empires. It was than known as the Kachari Dwars or Kachari plains or Kachari country by the British during the British Raj. The Bodo people in the Brahmaputra Valley have survived in the midst of Aryan and Shan invaders and settlers, while one of its cousins known as Koch, that ruled various parts of Lower Assam and North Bengal have now gradually become a semi-Hinduised aboriginal caste, due to inter-marriage who now speak Kamtapuri or Assamese. Surviving remnants of the royal family of Koch empire proved aboriginal members of the Koch caste spoke Bodo language.

Demand for a homelandEdit

Along with the other parts of Northeast India, regional aspiration in the region reached a turning point in the 1980s. The isolation of the region, its complex social character, and its backwardness compared to other parts of the country have all resulted in the complicated set of demands ranging from demand for autonomy and opposition to 'outsiders' to movements for secession.

The region is also the gateway to the North Eastern Region of India, where one of the main students organization, All Bodo Students Union (ABSU), allied with National Democratic Front of Boroland - Progressive (NDFB-P), National Democratic Front of Boroland - D.R. Nabla faction, People's Joint Action Committee for Boroland Movement (PJACBM) which is an amalgamation of over three dozen Bodo organisations[3] and its supporters are demanding from the Government of India that a separate state (within the Indian Union) be created comprising the seven districts of Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa, Udalguri, Sonitpur, Lakhimpur and Dhemaji of Assam which have a significant Bodo population.[4][5] On the other hand, it is also claimed as a sovereign state (Complete independence) by the separatist insurgent group NDFB.[6]

The Bodoland movement is similar to the story of Mizoram and the Mizo National Front except that the later was granted full-fledged statehood with special powers and MNF agreeing to give up secessionist struggle, the former has not yet had such a happy ending and the region continues to be extremely sensitive.[7]

It is currently an autonomous Administrative unit constituted under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India covering an area of 8,795 km2 (Provisional).

The administrative unit has been created with a mission to accomplish development in the area of economic, education, preservation of land right, linguistic aspiration, socio-culture and ethnic identity of Bodos and above all to speed up the infrastructure development of communities in the BTC area. The actual functioning of the council was started on 7 December 2003 by constituting the 12 members of the Council provisionally. After the Council Election on 13 May 2005 and subsequent bye-election in November 2005, the 40-member Legislative Council has been formed to look after the development works in the Bodoland Territorial Area Districts. The remaining six members are nominated by the Governor of Assam from the unrepresented Communities. Thus there are altogether 46 members of the Council, representing all communities of BTC Area known as Member of Council Legislative Assembly (MCLA).

PoliticsEdit

The BTC AccordEdit

The Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) is a territorial council that was established in the Assam state of India according to the Memorandum of Settlement of 10 February 2003. BTC came into existence immediately after the surrender of Bodo Liberation Tigers Force (BLTF) cadres. The BLTF laid down their weapons on 6 December 2003 under the leadership of Hagrama Mohilary and Hagrama was sworn in as the Chief Executive Member (CEM) on 7 December 2003. The BTC has 46 executive members each looking after a specific area of control. The area under the BTC jurisdiction is called the Bodoland Territorial Area District (BTAD). BTC constitutes 35% of marginalised Tribal groups like Bodos, Rabhas, Garos etc. who are against the hegemony of Assam government.

GovernmentEdit

Executive CouncilEdit

Minister Ministry
1 Hagrama Mohilary Chief of the Council, PWD, P & RD, WPT & BC, IBA
2 Kampa Borogoyary Deputy Chief of the Council, Forest, Tourism, Education
3 Lwmsraw Daimary PHE, Museum & Archaeology, Excise
4 Bonjar Daimary Food Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs, Cinema, Cultural Affairs
5 Rajib Brahma Irrigation, WPT & BC (Plan Fund)
6 Mritunjay Narzary Social Welfare, Information & Public Relations
7 Alindra Mushahary Land Revenue & Disaster Management, Printing & Stationery, Market & Fairs
8 Ganesh Kochary Health Services, Cottage Industry
9 Doneswar Goyary Urban Development and Town & Country Planning, Sports & Youth Welfare
10 Ansumwi Khungur Boro Agriculture, Weight & Measure
11 Deben Boro Handloom & Textile, Sericulture
12 Shyam Sundi Fishery, Animal Husbandry & Veterinary, Labour & Employment
13 Jagadish Sarkar Soil Conservation, Transport, Cooperation
14 Maheswar Basumatary Water Resources, Library Services

Administrative DivisionsEdit

The BTAD has been divided into four districts for administrative purpose. It has been further subdivided into 10 Civil Subdivisions and 40 Development Blocks. The area and population under the four districts has been estimated as follows:

Sl No Name of
the District
Area in km2. Population (census 2011)
1 Kokrajhar 3,169.20 887,142
2 Chirang 1,069.96 482,162
3 Baksa 3,056.89 950,075
4 Udalguri 1,673.93 831,668
Total 8,969.98 3,151,047

[8]

GeographyEdit

The geographical boundary of BTAD lies between 260 7'12'' N to 260 47' 50'' N Latitude and 890 47' 40'' E to 920 18' 30'' E Longitude and is in the North Western part of Assam. Kokrajhar town the Administrative Head Quarter lies roughly between 260 25' N Longitude and 990 16' 38'' E Latitude.

Its strategic location is blessed with beautiful forests of flora and founa.[8]

EconomyEdit

 
Agriculture in Kokrajhar district

The economy is largely agricultural based and is lagging behind in urbanization and development. The region is industrially backward with most of its population depending on agriculture for livelihood. Most of the industries like oil, gas and major industries of the state are located in upper Assam.

UrbanizationEdit

The region is one of the most underdeveloped and backward regions of India of which only 3 percent of the population live in urban areas.

TourismEdit

Tourism in the region is regulated by the department of Bodoland Tourism. Manas National Park is the major tourist attraction of the region. It also has many wildlife sanctuaries, reserve forests, site seeings, picnic spots, and events.[9]

Manas National ParkEdit

Manas, the nature's abode is at the foothills of Bhutan with its unique biodiversity and landscape. The blending of the dense jungle and grassland at the confluence of Indian, Ethiopian and Indo Chinese realms enhances it as one of the richest region of wild animals. The Park harbours 60 species of mammals of which 23 has been listed in Schedule 1 under the Indian Wildlife Protection Act 1972. The Park also has a recorded count of 36 species of reptiles and 476 species of birds. The Park is home for Elephant, Rhino, Tiger, Gaur, Wild Buffalo, Deer, Wild Hogs, and many other Reptiles, Birds and Insects including some highly endangered species like Pigmy Hog, Golden Langur & Bengal Florican. It is not only a significant National Park of India but also an important migratory corridor for the elephant population of the entire Indo-Bhutan region. Manas is also included in the much ambitious plan nomenclature as Indian Rhino Vision -2020 (IRV-2020) since 2006, with the support of Govt. of Assam in collaboration with Wildlife Trust of India. (WTI), Bodoland Territorial Council, WWF-India, International Rhino Foundation, and US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Trekking of Baukungri HillEdit

Baukungri hill trekking is an exciting and adventurous event that is organised every year on the first day of the year according to Bodo Calendar which falls in mid-April. People from neighbouring states along with the host state arrives every year for a week. International tourists from neighbouring Countries and Westerns Countries are also among those who wait for this exciting event. Cultural and traditional fusion of various ethnic groups can be seen during this event. Tourists can have the taste of this rich cultural event with wide range of mouth-watering cuisines of the native people.

InfrastructureEdit

TransportationEdit

Bodoland is served by the transportation department of the Bodoland Territorial Council.[10]

EnergyEdit

ElectricityEdit

State Power Sector Reform Programme under the provision of electricity act 2003 resulted in the unbundling of Assam State Electricity Board into three new succeeding companies namely Assam Power Generation Co. Ltd., Assam Electricity Grid Corporation Ltd. and Assam Power Distribution Company Ltd.

The Assam Power Generation Corporation Limited is mainly responsible for maximum energy generation to meet up the energy demand in the state of Assam,[11] while the latter is responsible to efficiently transport electrical power from electrical power bulk heads to the distribution company networks in the state of Assam.[12]

The primary purpose of the Assam Power Distribution Company Limited is to undertake distribution, trading and supply of electricity in the state of Assam or outside of it.[13]

DemographicsEdit

PopulationEdit

Bodos are the majority community in the region followed by Bengali Muslims, who form the largest minority group.[14] The population of BTC area as per 2001 Census report is 2,920,000 out which the ST population is around 52% or approximately 1,500,000 of which only 3% of the total population live in urban area. The average density of the population in BTC is 326 Sq.K.m. compared to 340 per Sq.K.m. of Assam. Amongst the ST/SC population Bodos, Rabhas, Keots(Kaibartas) and less quantity of Garos are inhabiting in this area out which Bodos will be 90% or approximately 1,400,000.[14] The other communities like Rajbongshi, Sarania are inhabiting in large part of BTC. Other immigrant Tea and Ex Tea-tribes including Santhal, Oraon etc. are also available. Moreover, other immigrant general communities like Bengali, Nepali and few numbers of Hindi speaking people are also found in the Council area.[15]

EducationEdit

Literacy rateEdit

Bodos have a literacy rate (7 years and above) of 61.3% while the Rabhas have 66.7%.[16]

CultureEdit

 
A green coloured Aronai with white Agor (design)

The Bodos have a distinct culture from the rest of the world, ranging from dance and music to festivals and attires. It also contributed significantly to the development of the Assamese culture.

SportsEdit

Football is the most popular sport in the region. The region has many Football clubs of which Baarhoongkha AC, Udalguri FC and Global FC is the most widely known as they participate in Assam State Premier League, the premier football league of the state. Bodoland Martyrs Gold Cup is organised every year in memory of Bodoland martyrs, who sacrificed their lives for the cause of Bodoland movement.[17] The region has also produced many national level athletes. Other sports followed in the region are Badminton, Basketball, Volleyball, Cricket, Taekwondo, Kabaddi, Chess, Archery, and other indigenous sports.[18]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) Accord". cdpsindia.org.
  2. ^ Goswami, Madhurima. "The BODOS: Culture and Society".
  3. ^ "Bodo groups impose 12-hour 'bandh' in Assam over statehood demand". www.hindustantimes.com. 11 September 2017.
  4. ^ "A demand for Bodoland, with blood". www.telegraphindia.com.
  5. ^ [1][dead link]
  6. ^ T8N (14 September 2017). "NDFB(S) eyes Bodoland sovereignty".
  7. ^ "History of Mizoram". mizoram.nic.in.
  8. ^ a b "About Bodoland". www.bodoland.in. 2 December 2018.
  9. ^ "Bodoland Tourism". www.bodolandtourism.org. Retrieved 26 March 2017.
  10. ^ "Bodoland Transport Service Takes Off". 30 September 2008. Archived from the original on 2 January 2018 – via www.highbeam.com.
  11. ^ "company profile". www.apgcl.org.
  12. ^ "comprofile". www.aegcl.co.in.
  13. ^ [2]
  14. ^ a b "Bodos say most Muslim settlers are illegal migrants - Assam violence: Chief reasons behind the rivalry - The Economic Times". m.economictimes.com.
  15. ^ "Bodoland Territorial Council | Kokrajhar". bodoland.gov.in. Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  16. ^ "2011 Estimates as per Census report 2001" (PDF).
  17. ^ "Bodoland martyrs gold cup kicks off". Assam Times.
  18. ^ "Assam State Premier League".

External linksEdit