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Moran and Motok


Moran and Motok :

Assam presents a picture of great variety with her people belonging to different racial groups, speaking different dialects and professing different religious rites practices. Assamese culture, being thus a composite one, the true essence of it not properly understood without a study of the history and civilization of its different constituent elements. The Matak who formed a distinct community by themselves, developing certain cultural traits and patterns of social behavior under the Vaishnava reformers, form one of these important constituent elements. They also played a very significant role in the political developments of the history of the entire North East, since they became politically organized towards the later part of the 18th century till the annexation of their kingdom to British India in 1893.

An introduction:

Assam presents a picture of great variety with her people belonging to different racial groups, speaking different dialects and professing different religious rites practices. Assamese culture, being thus a composite one, the true essence of it not properly understood without a study of the history and civilization of its different constituent elements. The Matak who formed a distinct community by themselves, developing certain cultural traits and patterns of social behavior under the Vaishnava reformers, form one of these important constituent elements. They also played a very significant role in the political developments of the history of the entire North East, since they became politically organized towards the later part of the 18th century till the annexation of their kingdom to British India in 1893.
There is a great difference of opinion regarding the origin of the word MATAK and its actual interpretation. According to one school of thought, the actual spelling of the term is Matek, which means men of one principle-Mat-principle, ek-one. But according to the Tai-Ahom and Assamese chronicles the Ahom named the people they met according to their physical trait and nature. Sukapha the founder of the Ahom dynasty had to face a strong resistance from the section of the Maran. It is therefore said that the term Matak is coined by the Ahom, meaning thereby 'powerful men', Ma- powerful tak- means weighed or examined.

According to a census carried out by Sadau Assam Matak Sanmilan, the present population of the community is more than 12 lakhs. Most of them live in the present Dibrugarh and Tinsukia district which once formed the major part of their kingdom. The rest lie scattered throughout the Brahmaputra Valley, mainly, in the districts of Sibsagar, Lakhimpur, Darrang, and Nogaon.

MORAN - An Introduction

There are a number of opinions regarding the meaning of Moran. According to certain numbers of Elders, the word owes its origin to a myth. It is said that an old lady of this community, a physician by profession, had the supernatural power of giving life to dead ones, for which she was called 'Moran', meaning one who can call back a dead. Mor means die an means call back. Kedar Brahmachari expresses the view that a people knows a Maurang, Muurang or Morang, migrated to Saumar area (easternmost Part) of ancient Assam from Nepal and in course of time, came to be known as Morans. Benudhar Sharma has mentioned that many years before the coming of Sukapha to Saumar, a man from the Meram clan of the kingdom of Dharampala, a king of ancient Assam, became king in a place known as Lahdoi. The word Moran was coined from the name of this King. According to Endle, the original home of the Morans was in the Hukong Valley and the term Moran comes from the name of their progenitor 'Moran' who came over to Assam and settled near the Tiphuk River. J.P. Wade, one of the earliest British officers mentions the term 'Moran' to mean the rebels against the Ahom monarch. The Morans are presently found mostly in Tinisukia district of Upper Assam with some sprinkling in Arunachal Pradesh.

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