The Khamtis in Assam

THE KHAMTIS IN ASSAM
Census of India Report, 1891.

     The Khamtis first appeared in Assam after the dismemberment of the kingdom of Pong by Alomphra, and established themselves on the Tengapani with the permission of the Ahom kings. They subsequently ejected the Sadiya-Khowa Gohai, and the Khamti chief took his place. Being unable to oust him the Ahoms recognized the latter as governing on their behalf During his rule the Khamtis reduced the local Hindu population to slavery, and it was probably owing to the discontent caused by our releasing these slaves that they rebelled in 1839 A.D. They succeeded in surprising the Sadiya garrison, and in murdering Colonel White, who was in command there, but were eventually defeated and scattered about the country, and during the following year many of them returned to their former home in Bor-Khamti, which is situated high on the Irawady. The remainder where divided into four parties and settled in different parts of the Lakhimpur district. In 1850 as fresh colony, numbering 300 to 400 persons, came and settled in Assam. The total number now living in the 1881 figures include the Phakials. Practically, the whole of the Khamti population is found in the Lakhimpur district.

     The Khamtis are Buddhist, are far more civilized than most of the other Shan tribes in the province. They have their own priests, and these, as well as a large proportion of the laity are literate.