March 13 2013

Thanks to Peter Druckers we have an interesting description of Cachar over the years



The District of Cachar which is located in the southernmost part of Assam is one of the oldest districts of Assam. It is bounded on the north by Barail and Jayantia Hill ranges, on the south by the state of Mizoram, on the east by Manipur and on the west by sister districts of Karimganj and Hailakandi and Bangladesh. The district was created in 1830 after annexation of Kachari kingdom by the British. In 1854, North Kachar was annexed and tagged to the district. In 1951 erstwhile North Cachar Sub-Division was made a separate district and taken out of Cachar.In 1983 erstwhile Karimganj Sub-Division and in 1989, Hailakandi Sub-Division was made a separate District.


Origin of the name:

There are two possibilities regarding the origin of the name. They are:

1. The Kacharis gave this name Cachar when they ruled this land.

2. The word 'Kachar' in Sylhette(Bengali of Sylhet) means a stretch of land at the foot of a mountain.Hence the name Cachar might have been given by Bengalies of Sylhet as the land is surrounded by mountains.


The circumstances under which the Kacharis came and ruled this land is briefly stated below:

In December ,1706, the Kachari King Tamradhaja ,whose capital was at Maibong on the bank of the Mahur River,was invaded by the most powerful Ahom king Rudra Singha.Being defeated by the Ahom King ,Tamradhaja fled southwards to Khaspur.From this time onwards the Kachari princes seemed to have settled in the plains of Cachar, their court being located at Khaspur. The Kachari King Suradarpa Narayan set himself to recognise the people and improve the capital Brick buit palaces and temples were constructed in different parts of Khaspur.It is said that the demoness Hirimba,whom the second Pandava Bhima married ,resided in this place .Hence the kingdom was named Hirimba kingdom in memory of the demoness.


The first connection of British with the District dates from 1762, when Mr. Verelst marched from Chittagong to assist the Manipuri king Jay Singha who had been driven from his throne by the Burmese and halted with his army at Jatrapur near the present Silchar town.The army remained there for about a year, but due to death and disease among the army ,Mr Verelst could not proceed further and was ultimately recalled.


The next historical event of importance was the formal conversion of Kachari King Krishna Chandra to Hinduism in 1770.


A few years later,the last prince Gobinda Chandra was driven from throne by Marjit Singha of Manipur with the help of the Burmese.Afterwards the Burmese drove Marjit Singha from this place to Surma Valley. But the British Govt. which was in possession of Sylhet expelled the Burmese and handed back the district to Gobinda Chandra.In return he was required to pay an annual tribute of Rs. 10,000.The king then shifted his abode to Haritikar,but in 1830 he was assisinated by batch of Manipuri murderers.In the absence of a natural heir,this territory lapsed to the British Govt. under the term of a treaty executed in 1826.This district was formally annexed by the pro-clamation of August 14,1832.

The last of the Kachari Kings, Raja Gobin Chandra was assassinated by a group of seditious persons with the help of some of his personal attendants on April 24, 1830, at Haritikar. In absence of natural heirs, his territory lapsed to the British under the terms of an agreement executed in 1826. Mr. T. Fisher, an army officer was sent to take charge of the territory with the power of a Collector and Magistrate and he took over charge on June 30, 1830, with headquarters at Cherrapunji. In 1833, the headquarters were shifted to Dudpatil and then to Silchar. Plain portion of Cachar was formally annexed to the British dominion on August 14, 1832 by a proclamation of the Governor General-in-Council. Mr. T. Fisher was gazetted to the first post of the Superintendent of the district. He unfortunately died while in service and was succeeded respectively by Messrs I.G. Burns, E.R. Lyons, E. Pearson, P.G. Verner and others.


In 1854, North Cachar was annexed to the British dominion after the death of Senapati Tularam, and tagged with Cachar. In 1874, Cachar was included in the Chief Commissionership of Assam as per proclamation of February 6, 1874, and the post of Superintendent was re-designated as the Deputy Commissioner and Mr. R.. Stuart was the first Deputy Commissioner of the district. Hailakandi Sub-division was formed on June 1, 1869.


As a result of the partition of India in 1947, four Thanas of erstwhile Karimganj Sub-division of Sylhet district were transferred to Cachar. On November 17, 1951, North Cachar Sub-division was carved out of this district and made part of the newly formed district of United Mikir and North Cachar Hills.

On July 1, 1983, Karimganj Sub-division was taken out of Cachar and declared a separate district.

On October 1, 1989, Hailakandi Sub-division was taken out of Cachar and declared a separate district.


The District is a heterogeneous plain composed of both low lands and high hills and level plains. Actually the whole of the District lies at the foot hills. The Bhubban ranges on the eastern side of the district covers a considerable area. The river Barak, along with the tributaries ,Jiri, Chiri, Madhura, Jatinga,Sonai, Katakhal and others are flowing through the centre of the plain valley of the district. On the average, the soil of the district is a sandy-loomy and sand-clay and is fertile. Explorations by ONGC in different parts of Cachar have indicated that there are huge mineral oil and gas deposits in various parts of the district. The district covers an area of 37861.1 Sq Km. With a population of 12,15,385 as per 1991 census. The rural population is 10,96, 161 where urban population is only 1,19,224. Thus the majority of the population live in rural area and their main source of livelihood is agricultural activities. Almost 70% of the total population is dependant on primary sector, i.e on agriculture. According to 1971 census, 42.70% of total workers are cultivators and 19.60% are agricultural labourers. The percentage of workers to total population is 29.16. Other agricultural allied activities such as mining ,querry, livestock, forestry, fisheries etc are pursued nearly 14.77% of the total work force of the district. The rest are engaged in trade and commerce, household industries, construction, manufacturing, transport etc.

The socio-economic condition of the district remains backward with lack of major industrial establishment in the district. However there are potentialities for improving the economic condition of the district in view of the huge water recourses ,forest product, oil and natural gas reserves present project, exploration of natural gas and extension of Broad gauge railway line up to the head quarter of the district will help in a great way to accelerate the process of socio-economic development in the district. As in the other districts of Assam, the Govt. has taken up and implemented various developmental schemes/projects through the different departments in the district of Cachar for upliftment of the Socio-economic condition of people.


The District of Cachar lies between longitude 92° 24' E and 93° 15'E and Latitude 24° 22' N and 25° 8' N and is bounded on the north by the North Cachar Hills District and the State of Meghalaya, on the East by Manipur State,on the South by the State of Mizoram and on the west by Hailakandi District and Bangladesh.It has two sub-divisions -Silchar and Lakhipur .Named after the Kacharis who once ruled over this part of the State.Cachar district has prominently figured in the histories of Manipur and the Kachari Kingdom.Ruins that still invoke memories of the Kachari's past glory are scattered at several places of the district.


Silchar, the district headquarter town, situated on the South bank of the Barak river is an important commercial centre of the state .A gateway to Mizoram,Manipur and Tripura, the town naturally plays a vital role so far supply of essential commodities etc to those states is concerned.A medical college ,a station of All India Radio,a TV Station and several other organisations have helped the town grow in importance. A Central University is also set up in the district. The district of Cachar is the home of a large number of Tea Gardens of the State.Lakhipur is the richest pine-apple growing area in the country.Natural Gas is found in Adamtilla area of Cachar.One LPG bottling plant is already been commissioned at Harincherrah of Silchar Subdivision.Khaspur,a past capital of the ancient Kachari Kingdom, with numerous ruins and architechtural remains,provides nostalgic times to those with historical interest.


The main river of the district is Barak which comes down from the southern slopes of lofty ranges of Nagaland and forms the northern boundary of Manipur.It is joined with many small tributaries from the hills with are Chiri,Jatinga,Sonai,Dhaleshwari.Katakhal etc.

Climate of Barak Velley is significant for excessive humidity and being shut in by ranges of hills on North,East and South , heat during summer becomes unbearable.During rainy season , the air is surcharged with moisture and rainfall is extremely heavy.The winter is not so cold as that of Brahmaputra velley.The rainy season starts from May and continues upto October.

Area - 3786 Sq. Km

Total Population - 14,42,141 (as per 2001 Census)

HeadQuarter - Silchar

Subdivision -Silchar, Lakhipur