7′ Sisters States, of India.

Northeast India (officially the North Eastern Region(NER)) is the easternmost region of India representing both a geographic and political administrative division of the country. It comprises seven  statesArunachal PradeshAssamManipurMeghalayaMizoramNagaland and Tripura (commonly known as the “Seven Sisters”)

History

The earliest settlers may have been Austroasiatic speakers from Southeast Asia, followed by Tibeto-Burman speakers from China, and by 500 BCE Indo-Aryan speakers from the Gangetic Plains as well as Kra–Dai speakers from southern Yunnan and Shan State. Due to the biodiversity and crop diversity of the region, archaeological researchers believe that early settlers of Northeast India had domesticated several important plants. Writers believe that the 100 BCE writings of Chinese explorer Zhang Qian indicate an early trade route via Northeast India. The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea mentions a people called Sêsatai in the region, who produced malabathron, so prized in the old world. Ptolemy‘s Geographia (2nd century CE) calls the region Kirrhadia, apparently after the Kirata population.

In the early historical period (most of the first millennium CE), Kamarupa straddled most of present-day Northeast India, besides Bhutan and Sylhet in Bangladesh. Xuanzang, a travelling Chinese Buddhist monk, visited Kamarupa in the 7th century CE. He described the people as “short in stature and black-looking”, whose speech differed a little from central India and who were of simple but violent disposition. He wrote that the people in Kamarupa knew of Sichuan, which lay to the kingdom’s east beyond a treacherous mountain.

The northeastern states were established during the British Raj of the 19th and early 20th centuries, when they became relatively isolated from traditional trading partners such as Bhutan and Myanmar. Many of the peoples in present-day Mizoram, Meghalaya and Nagaland converted to Christianity under the influence of British (Welsh) missionaries.

Formation of 7′ sisters states

Since the Moamoria disturbances, the Ahom dynasty was on decline,British appeared on the scene in the guise of saviors.[30] In the early 19th century, both the Ahom and the Manipur kingdoms fell to a Burmese invasion. The ensuing First Anglo-Burmese War resulted in the entire region coming under British control. In the colonial period (1826–1947), North East India was made a part of Bengal Province from 1839 to 1873, after which Colonial Assam became its own province,[31] but which included Sylhet.

After Indian Independence from British Rule in 1947, the Northeastern region of British India consisted of Assam and the princely states of Tripura Kingdom and Manipur Kingdom. Subsequently, Nagaland in 1963, Meghalaya in 1972, Arunachal Pradesh in 1975 (capital changed to Itanagar) (formed on 20 February 1987) and Mizoram in 1987 were formed out of the large territory of Assam. Manipur and Tripura remained Union Territories of India from 1956 until 1972, when they attained fully-fledged statehood. 

The city of Shillong served as the capital of the Assam province created during British Rule. It remained the capital of undivided Assam until the formation of the state of Meghalaya in 1972. The capital of Assam was shifted to Dispur, a part of Guwahati, and Shillong was designated as the capital of Meghalaya.

‘Parts of 7’ Sisters,

Arunachal Pradesh,

 ’Land of Dawn-Lit Mountains’) is a state in Northeastern India. It was formed from the erstwhile North-East Frontier Agency (NEFA) region, and became a state on 20 February 1987. Itanagar is the state capital and its largest town.

Arunachal Pradesh is the largest of the Seven Sister States of Northeast India by area. It borders the states of Assam and Nagaland to the south. It shares international borders with Bhutan in the west, Myanmar in the east, and a disputed 1,129 km border with China‘s Tibet Autonomous Region in the north at the McMahon Line.

As of the 2011 Census of India, Arunachal Pradesh has a population of 1,382,611 and an area of 83,743 square kilometres (32,333 sq mi). It is an ethnically diverse state, with predominantly Monpa people in the west, Tani people in the centre, Mishmi and Tai people in the east, and Naga people in the southeast of the state. About 26 major tribes and 100 sub-tribes live in the state, including AdiNyshiSingphoGaloTagin and Apatani.

A major part of the state is claimed by the People’s Republic of China, which refers to it as “Zangnan,” (lit. “South Tibet“).  China occupied a part of Arunachal Pradesh in 1962 but later withdrew its force.

Assam,

Assam  is a state in northeastern India, south of the eastern Himalayas along the Brahmaputra and Barak River valleys. Assam covers an area of 78,438 km2 (30,285 sq mi). The state is bordered by Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh to the north; Nagaland and Manipur to the east; MeghalayaTripuraMizoram and Bangladesh to the south; and West Bengal to the west via the Siliguri Corridor, a 22-kilometre-wide (14 mi) strip of land that connects the state to the rest of India. Assamese and Boro are the official languages of Assam, while Bengali is an additional official language in the Barak Valley.

Assam is known for Assam tea and Assam silk. The state was the first site for oil drilling in Asia. Assam is home to the one-horned Indian rhinoceros, along with the wild water buffalopygmy hogtiger and various species of Asiatic birds, and provides one of the last wild habitats for the Asian elephant. The Assamese economy is aided by wildlife tourism to Kaziranga National Park and Manas National Park, which are World Heritage SitesDibru-Saikhowa National Park is famed for its feral horsesSal tree forests are found in the state which, as a result of abundant rainfall, look green all year round. Assam receives more rainfall than most parts of India; this rain feeds the Brahmaputra River, whose tributaries and oxbow lakes provide the region with a distinctive hydro-geomorphic environment.

Manipur,

Manipur is a state in northeast India, with the city of Imphal as its capital. It is bounded by the Indian states of Nagaland to the north, Mizoram to the south and Assam to the west. It also borders two regions of MyanmarSagaing Region to the east and Chin State to the south. The state covers an area of 22,327 km2 (8,621 sq mi). The official and most widely spoken language is Meitei language (officially known as Manipuri language). Native to the Meitei people, it is also used as a lingua franca by smaller communities, who speak a variety of other Sino-Tibetan languages. Manipur has been at the crossroads of Asian economic and cultural exchange for more than 2,500 years.It connects the Indian subcontinent and Central Asia to Southeast AsiaEast AsiaSiberia, regions in the ArcticMicronesia and Polynesia enabling migration of people, cultures and religions.

The Meitei people represent around 53% of the population of Manipur state, followed by various Naga ethnic groups at 24% and various Kuki/Zo tribes (also known as Chin-Kuki-Mizo people) at 16%. Manipur’s ethnic groups practice a variety of religions.According to 2011 census, Hinduism and Christianity are the major religions of the state. Between the 1961 and 2011 censuses of India, the share of Hindus in the state declined from 62% to 41%, while the share of Christians rose from 19% to 41%.

Manipur has primarily an agrarian economy, with significant hydroelectric power generation potential. It is connected to other areas by daily flights through Imphal airport, the second largest in northeastern India. Manipur is home to many sports and the origin of Manipuri dance, and is credited with introducing polo to Europeans.

Meghalaya,

Meghalaya was formed on 21 January 1972 by carving out two districts from the state of Assam: (a) the United Khasi Hills and Jaintia Hills and (b) the Garo Hills. The population of Meghalaya as of 2014 is estimated to be 3,211,474. Meghalaya covers an area of approximately 22,429 square kilometres, with a length-to-breadth ratio of about 3:1.

The state is bound to the south by the Bangladeshi divisions of Mymensingh and Sylhet, to the west by the Bangladeshi division of Rangpur, and to the north and east by India’s State of Assam. The capital of Meghalaya is Shillong. During the British rule of India, the British imperial authorities nicknamed it the “Scotland of the East”. English is the official language of Meghalaya. Unlike many Indian states, Meghalaya has historically followed a matrilineal system where the lineage and inheritance are traced through women; the youngest daughter inherits all wealth and she also takes care of her parents.

The state is the wettest region of India, with the wettest areas in the southern Khasi Hills recording an average of 12,000 mm (470 in) of rain a year. About 70 per cent of the state is forested. The Meghalaya subtropical forests ecoregion encompasses the state; its mountain forests are distinct from the lowland tropical forests to the north and south. The forests are notable for their biodiversity of mammals, birds, and plants.

Meghalaya has predominantly an agrarian economy with a significant commercial forestry industry. The important crops are potatoes, rice, maize, pineapples, bananas, papayas, and spices. The service sector is made up of real estate and insurance companies. Meghalaya’s gross state domestic product for 2012 was estimated at ₹16,173 crore (US$2.0 billion) in current prices. The state is geologically rich in minerals, but it has no significant industries. The state has about 1,170 km (730 mi) of national highways. It is also a major logistical center for trade with Bangladesh.

In July 2018, the International Commission on Stratigraphy divided the Holocene epoch into three, with the late Holocene being called the Meghalayan stage/age, since a speleothem in Mawmluh cave indicating a dramatic worldwide climate event around 2250 BCE had been chosen as the boundary stratotype.

One of the biggest Central Institutes, the North Eastern Council Secretariat, is also situated in Shillong.

Mizoram,

Mizoram  is a state in northeast India, with Aizawl as its seat of government and capital city. The name of the state is derived from “Mizo“, the self-described name of the native inhabitants, and “Ram”, which in the Mizo language means “land.” Thus “Mizo-ram” means “land of the Mizos”. Within India’s northeast region, it is the southernmost landlocked state, sharing borders with three of the Seven Sister States, namely TripuraAssam and Manipur. The state also shares a 722-kilometre (449 mi) border with the neighbouring countries of Bangladesh and Myanmar.

Like several other northeastern states of India, Mizoram was previously part of Assam until 1972, when it was carved out as a Union Territory. In 1986 the Indian Parliament adopted the 53rd amendment of the Indian Constitution, which allowed for the creation of the State of Mizoram on 20 February 1987, as India’s 23rd state.

According to a 2011 census, in that year Mizoram’s population was 1,091,014. It is the 2nd least populous state in the country . Mizoram spans over an area of approximately 21,087 square kilometres, of which approximately 91% is forested.

About 95% of Mizoram’s population descends from a diverse tribal origin. Mizos first began to settle the area in the 16th century, coming in waves of immigration from Southeast Asia. This immigration lasted through the 18th century. Among all of the states of India, Mizoram has the highest concentration of tribal people. The Mizoram people are currently protected under the Indian constitution as a Scheduled Tribe. Mizoram is one of three states of India with a Christian majority (87%). Its people belong to various Christian denominations, being mostly Presbyterians in the north and Baptists in the south.

Mizoram is a highly literate agrarian economySlash-and-burn farming, also known as Jhoom farming is the most common form of farming. In recent years, the jhoom farming practices have been steadily replaced with a significant horticulture and bamboo products industry. The state’s gross state domestic product for 2012 was estimated at 69.91 billion (US$880 million). About 20% of Mizoram’s population lives below the poverty line, with 35% rural poverty as of 2014. The state has about 871 kilometres of national highways, with NH–54 and NH–150 connecting it to Assam and Manipur respectively. It is also a growing transit point for trade with Myanmar and Bangladesh.

Nagaland,

Nagaland  is a landlocked state in the north-eastern region of India. It is bordered by the Indian states of Arunachal Pradesh to the north, Assam to the west, Manipur to the south, and the Sagaing Region of Myanmar (Burma) to the east. Its capital city is Kohima and its largest city is the twin ChümoukedimaDimapur. The state has an area of 16,579 square kilometres (6,401 sq mi) with a population of 1,980,602 as per the 2011 Census of India, making it one of the smallest states of India.

Nagaland is home to diverse indigenous ethnic groups, each with its distinct customs, traditions, and languages. The land has been inhabited by various indigenous ethnic groups for centuries. The earliest recorded history of Nagaland dates back to the 13th century. In the 19th century, British colonial forces began expanding their influence in Northeast India, including the Naga Hills. The British encountered fierce resistance from the Nagas who opposed foreign rule.

After India’s independence in 1947, the question of the Naga Hills’ political status emerged. The Naga National Council, led by Zapu Phizo, demanded an independent Naga nation and launched an armed struggle for an independent state. The Indian Government, however, maintained that Nagaland was an integral part of India. The conflict between the Naga National Council and the Indian Government resulted in a protracted insurgency that lasted for several decades limiting its economic development. It became the 16th state of India on 1 December 1963.

Nagaland is home to a rich variety of natural, cultural, and environmental resources. It is a mountainous state and lies between the parallels of 95° and 94° eastern longitude and 25.2° and 27.0° latitude north. The high-profile Dzüko Valley is at Viswema, in the southern region of the state. The state has significant resources of natural minerals, petroleum, and hydropower, with agriculture as the state’s most important economic activity, accounting for over 70% of its economy. Other significant activities include forestry, tourism, insurance, real estate, horticulture, and miscellaneous cottage industries.

Tripura,

Tripura  is a state in Northeast India. The third-smallest state in the country, it covers 10,491 km2 (4,051 sq mi); and the seventh-least populous state with a population of 36.71 lakh (3.67 million). It is bordered by Assam and Mizoram to the east and by Bangladesh to the north, south and west. Tripura is divided into 8 districts and 23 sub-divisions, where Agartala is the capital and the largest city in the state. Tripura has 19 different tribal communities with a majority Bengali population. BengaliEnglish and Kokborok are the state’s official languages.

The area of modern Tripura — ruled for several centuries by the Manikya Dynasty — was part of the Tripuri Kingdom (also known as Hill Tippera). It became a princely state under the British Raj during its tenure, and acceded to independent India in 1947. It merged with India in 1949 and was designated as a ‘Part C State’ (union territory). It became a full-fledged state of India in 1972.

Tripura lies in a geographically isolated location in India, as only one major highway, National Highway 8, connects it with the rest of the country. Five mountain ranges — Hathai KotorAtharamuraLongtharaiShakhan and Jampui Hills — run north to south, with intervening valleys; Agartala, the capital, is located on a plain to the west. The state has a tropical savanna climate, and receives seasonal heavy rains from the south west monsoon.

Forests cover more than half of the area, in which bamboo and cane tracts are common. Tripura has the highest number of primate species found in any Indian state. Due to its geographical isolation, economic progress in the state is hindered. Poverty and unemployment continue to plague Tripura, which has a limited infrastructure. Most residents are involved in agriculture and allied activities, although the service sector is the largest contributor to the state’s gross domestic product.

According to the 2011 census, Tripura is one of the most literate states in India, with a literacy rate of 87.75%. Mainstream Indian cultural elements coexist with traditional practices of the ethnic groups, such as various dances to celebrate religious occasions, weddings and festivities; the use of locally crafted musical instruments and clothes; and the worship of regional deities. The sculptures at the archaeological sites UnakotiPilak and Devtamura provide historical evidence of artistic fusion between organised and indigenous religions.

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