Beginning of the British Administration in Assam: SEBA Class 9 History

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Here are the notes/solutions/answers to the questions for History (social science) chapter 5 Beginning of the British Administration in Assam of class 9 (HSLC) for students studying under the Board of Secondary Education, Assam (SEBA). These notes/answers, however, should only be used for references and modifications/changes can be made wherever possible.

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INTRODUCTION: Initially, the East India Company had no special interest in Assam. During the reign of Ahom king Chandrakanta Singha, the Burmese attacked Assam three times, and the majority of the nobles sought refuge in British territory. The Burmese demanded that the British hand over these individuals to them. Hostilities between the Burmese and the East India Company persisted. Lord Amherst declared war on Burma in 1824. In 1824, the Burmese completely occupied Sahapur and raised their flag over the British-controlled city. Finally, the British drove the Burmese out of the Brahmaputra valley. The political situation in Manipur, Cachar, and Jaintia kingdoms deteriorated at the time. The British decided to expel the Burmese from these territories as well. The British sent military expeditions to Manipur, Cachar, Jaintia, Arakan, and other places. Finally, in 1826, the Burmese were forced to sign the Treaty of Yandaboo with the British, bringing the first Anglo-Burmese war to an end. Immediately following the Treaty of Yandaboo, Assam was saved from the Burmese. The British established their administration in Assam. Prior to the Treaty of Yandaboo, the British began to expand their influence in Assam in the name of expelling the Burmese. David Scott was appointed as the Governor General’s Political Agent for the North East Frontier in 1820 AD. The British divided Assam into two parts for administrative purposes: Upper Assam and Lower Assam. Captain Neufville was appointed as Assistant Agent, and he was tasked with overseeing Upper Assam.

Find out the correct answer (from Beginning of the British Administration in Assam)

1. The Jaintia king Rajendra Singh/Govinda Chandra/ Tirot Singh was deported to Sylhet by the British.

Answer: The Jaintia king Rajendra Singh was deported to Sylhet by the British.

2. The Last Ahom king was Chandra Kanta Sinha/Kamaleswar Sinha/Purandar Sinha/Jogeswar Sinha.

Answer: The Last Ahom king was Chandra Purandar Sinha.

3. Tirot Singh was a patriot of Khasi/ Manipuri/ Jaintia.

Answer: Tirot Singh was a patriot of Khasi.

Short answer type questions of Beginning of the British Administration in Assam

1. To which kingdom Govinda Chandra belonged?

Answer: Govinda Chandra was the king of Chachar.

2. Who was David Scott?

Answer: David Scott was the Governor General of Bengal’s agent. He was known as an efficient and foresighted administrator. He is credited with assisting the East India Company in gaining administrative and territorial clout in Assam.

3. Who was the next commissioner to David Scott?

Answer: After David Scott’s death in 1831, T.C. Robertson was appointed to his post in April 1832.

4. Of which kingdom Tirot Singh was the Siyem?

Answer: Tirot Singh was a Siyem of the Khasi Hills.

5. What was the title of the Muttock King?

Answer: The Muttock King ruled the territory between Burhi Dihing and the Brahmaputra in Upper Assam. The Muttock Kings used the title ‘Swargadeo.’

6. According to the instruction of Jenkins who lost the kingdom?

Answer: Jenkins annexed the kingdom of Purandar, Muttock, Kachari kingdom etc. to the British empire on the ground of non-payment of taxes to the British Empire.

7. What were the districts that Jenkins divided into in Lower Assam?

Answer: Jenkins divided Lower Assam into Goalpara, Darrang and Kamrup districts.

Long answer questions of Beginning of the British Administration in Assam

1. How was the revenue policy of David Scott? Discuss.

Answer: During David Scott’s tenure, a separate revenue system was established for Lower and Upper Assam. Scott kept the parganas of Lower Assam. Each pargana was kept under the supervision of a Choudhury. Sheristadar, Tahbildar, Patowaris, and Thakurias were tasked with collecting revenue. For revenue collection, a separate unit comprised of Nagaon and Raha was formed. Gauhati was given jurisdiction over this unit. Aside from land revenue, Scott imposed professional taxes on various professions. Scott also taxed rent-free lands such as Devotter Brahmatter and Dharmottar. Half of the tax, known as a contribution, was collected from these lands. Land used for opium cultivation was heavily taxed. Lower Assam imposed a two-rupee (gadhan) tax on each paik in exchange for three puras of land (gamati). Aside from that, every male was required to pay a poll tax.

2. What steps were adopted in the matters of the judiciary during the time of David Scott?

Answer: During his reign, some panchayats were formed with the local people to settle minor civil and criminal disputes. With the assistance of the panchayats, important cases were tried by the Commissioner’s Assistants. If someone was dissatisfied with the panchayat’s decision, they could file an appeal with the commissioner. David Scott entrusted the trial of important civil cases in upper Assam to Lombodar Barphukan. The Junior Commissioner tried criminal cases. In Lower Assam, two civil courts and one criminal court were established. David Scott also reformed the police system in Assam. He maintained cordial relations with the Moamariyas and Singhphos. As an efficient administrator David Scott attained an honourable position in contemporary Assam is still remembered with regards.

3. How was the revenue administration of Robertson?

Answer: The revenue reforms were implemented by Robertson. In Assam, a land revenue tax is levied based on the quality of the land. To end the oppression of exactions, a revenue system was established to fix rates based on the quality and quantity of land, as well as to ensure the details of cultivators’ names and addresses. On this foundation, he established the system of issuing pattas to cultivators. In addition to land tax, the ryots were required to pay a capitation tax on their house in Karmrup, hearth in Darrang, and head in Nowgaon. This reform and taxation increased the British treasury. To check oppressive exactions collectors, Robertson gathered information about lands, households, forests, and so on, and imposed taxes accordingly. The ryots were given tax receipts, and copies of all records were to be kept in the collector’s office for future reference.

4. What were the steps adopted by Major Jenkins regarding the welfare of Assam?

Answer: Captain Jenkins was one of the few British officers who worked hard to ensure Assam’s progress. Jenkins, like Scott, had a lot of plans for Assam. His name is linked to the tea, coal, and oil industries. Scott removed the Kandahar checkpoint, believing that it was impeding the free flow of Assam-Bengal trade relations. Jenkins also got rid of the other checkpoints. For the first time during his reign, a steamship sailed down the Brahmaputra River. He was also concerned with transportation and road communications. English medium schools were established in Gauhati and Sivasagar as part of a commitment to the spread of education.

5. How did Jenkins divided Assam into different districts?

Answer: Jenkins divided districts into Tangani revenue units, which were assigned to Phukan, Rajkhowa, and Baruah. Hazarika, Saikias, and Boras assisted them. They received a portion of the total revenue collected. Tanganis was later replaced by the formation of Mauzas, which were managed by the ‘Mauzadars.’ Apart from aristocratic individuals, respected commoners were also appointed as Mauzadars. This aided in the reduction of class distinctions in Assamese society.

6. Who was Tirot Singh? Why did he rise against the British?

Answer: Tirot Singh was a Khasi chief. 

Following their occupation of the Brahmaputra Valley, the British saw the need to build a road through the Khasi Hills to establish a direct line of communication between Assam and Sylhet. Tirot Singh granted permission for the proposed road from Rani to Nangkhlou to be built. Meanwhile, Tirot Singh’s relationship with the British deteriorated. The British did not assist Tirot Singh in his dispute with the king of Rani, but rather supported the king of Rani. Tirot Singh and a band of Khasis attacked the British in 1829 AD, killing two British officers. This sparked a war between the Khasis and the British, and Tirot Singh eventually surrendered on June 13, 1833.

Short notes (from Beginning of the British Administration in Assam)

1. Tularam Senapati: Tularam was Gobinda Chandra’s General. Following the death of Gobinda Chandra in 1830, General Tularam demanded the entire Cachar region from the British because Chandra was heirless. As a result, the British recognised Tularam as the ruler of North Cachar. Tularam’s two sons, Nakul Ram Barman and Brajanath Barman, ruled Cachar jointly after his death. Soon after, a squabble erupted between the two, and the Nagas joined in. As a result, the British occupied Cachar.

2. Purandar Sinha: Purandar Sinha was the last king of the Ahom kingdom. He was crowned king twice. He was installed for the first time by Ruchinath Burhagohain in 1818 CE, following the deposition of Chandrakanta Singha from the throne. During the second Burmese invasion of Assam in 1819 CE, his first reign came to an end. Following the First Anglo-Burmese War, the British East India Company occupied Assam from Burmese invaders and decided to restore Upper Assam. Purander Singha was found suitable for this role, and the entire Upper Assam was formally handed over to him in April 1833 CE, with the exception of Sadiya and Muttock region.

3. Tirot Singh: Tirot Sing was one of the Khasi chiefs in the early nineteenth century. He was a constitutional monarch who shared corporate authority with his Council, who were general representatives of the leading clans in his domain. Tirot Sing declared war on the British and fought them for control of the Khasi Hills. He died on July 17, 1835. In Meghalaya, his death is commemorated as U Tirot Sing Day.

4. Gomdhar Konwar: Gomdhar Konwar was the first person to speak out against British rule in Assam. He was a member of the Ahom royal family. When the British lifted martial law in upper Assam and the soldiers were relocated, Gomdhar took advantage of the situation and declared himself the Swargodeo. However, all of the conspirators against the British, including Gomdhar Konwar, were apprehended, and Gomdhar was sentenced to seven years in prison. British commissioner David Scott then sent him to Rongpur jail, from which he fled to the Naga hills. He was apprehended, however, and sentenced to seven years in prison at Rongpur. What happened to him after that is unknown.

5. Occupation of Singphou kingdom by the British: The Singphos lived between the Dihing plains to the east of Muttock kingdom and the Tengapani river. Gaum was the chief of the Singphos. The Gaum’s signing of a subsidiary treaty with the British resulted in their territory falling under British control. The Singphos agreed to inform the British of the approaching enemies from the east. The Singphos revolted against the British at the instigation of some Ahom nobility. Captain Neuvile suppressed the revolt once more after receiving this information.

6. British occupation of Jaintia kingdom: Despite the fact that Jayantia king Rajendra Singh maintained good relations with the British by signing a treaty, he was unable to assist the British during the turmoil of the Burmese war. While making inroads into British territory via the Jayantia Pargana, the Jayantias faced the threat of British invasion. Captain Lister took over the Jayantia kingdom in 1835. As a result, a political agent was appointed to oversee the Jayantia territory. Rajendra Singh later voluntarily surrendered to the British and was deported to Sylhet with a pension of 500 rupees.

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