This book enlarges the frontier of out knowledge of the hitherto unknown socio-political life of the people of Assam which stands out as a glaring example of a socially more progressive society than that foud in other parts of India. The traditional Hindu social order had placed different caste groups in the ascending scale of reverence and discending degree of contempt. but this inquitous social stratification entrenched in the caste system did not flourish in Assam where the traditional heritage with its horizontal divisions underwent characteristic adaptability and became linked up with humanistic trends. It is in Assam that a more egalitarian and liberal Hindu way of life appeared in its true manifestation and became a force of social change and progress. The process of secularisation had democratised caste relations in a spectacular way and this trend became evident in Assam much earlier than elsewhere in India. The Brahmins, elsewhere considered as perpetuaters of caste rigidity, have been broad-minded in Assam and even today are held in esteem. Today Assam is the only State in India which has been officially declared to be free from the evils of untouchability. Besides it has been sigularly free from any case of atrocities on the Harijans in the recent past. In addition, social tensions arising out of the issue of conversion is conspicious by its absense. The concept of pollution and ritualistic purity found no enchorage in the Assamese Society. This pioneering study on the cosmogony and development of caste in Assam throws new light on hitherto unexplored processes of vertical social mobility against the background of intration between the entrenched and the ascendent castes. The politicisation of the castes provided the motive force in ensuring the rapid interaction of the caste groups with the modernising trends. The authors have made commendable efforts in writing a book which is packed with so much information about hitherto unknown facets of caste phenomenon in Assam. It is no doubt an invaluable addition to the current literature on the strategic north-eastern region in India.
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