Thursday 30 June 2016

Assam’s Majuli becomes India’s 1st island district

BJP leader and Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has declared Majuli, an island in the Brahmaputra a district. The BJP-led government also announced appointment of 10,000 TET-qualified school teachers by March 2017. The decision to upgrade Majuli – till now a sub-division within Jorhat district – was taken in the first cabinet meeting of the new BJP-led government that had assumed office
on May 24 after the BJP and its allies clinched a historic victory over the Congress that was in power for three consecutive terms.

Majuli, whose area has shrunk from about 1250 sq kms in 1891 to about 515 sq kms now because of massive river-bank erosion caused by the Brahmaputra, has been vying for a spot in the list of World Heritage Sites of UNESCO. With 22 satras (Vaishnavite monasteries) – and home to the colourful Mising tribals, Majuli has emerged as a major tourist destination despite seasonal floods and erosion.

Mājuli has been the cultural capital of Assamese civilisation since the 16th century; based on written records describing the visit of Srimanta Sankardeva — a 16th-century social reformer. Sankardeva, a pioneer of the medieval-age neo-Vaishnavite movement, preached a monotheist form of Hinduism called Vaishnavism and established monasteries and hermitages known as satra on the islet. The dwellers of Mājuli are mostly of the Mising tribes from Arunachal Pradesh who immigrated here centuries ago. Apart from them, the inhabitants are from the Deori and Sonowal Kacharis tribes.

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