Do you know that an annual procession taken out from the Haigrib Madhab temple in Hajo is incomplete without the participation of some local Muslims? And the fact that the ancestors of the Daullah family of Sivasagar town used to play the negera or drum at the Dols or temples during the reign of the Ahom kings? The indigenous Muslims of Assam are different from rest of the community in the country. Over the years, they have assimilated to the greater Assamese society to such an extent that barring religion, there is not much to differentiate them. The study unravels the journey of this community and looks at how they have contributed significantly to the composite heritage of the state. It profiles achievers in various fields and talks about groups like Deshis, Goriyas, Moriyas, Julhas, and also the Bengali-speaking Muslims of Barak Valley. It also mentions the unique cuisine of Assamese Muslims, actors, singers and writers, the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the controversial citizenship bill, besides how this community, of late, has been suffering the ignominy of being bracketed with illegal immigrants as ‘Miya’ by people who do not know much about it or tend to ignore its contribution.
Zafri Mudasser Nofil has been a journalist with over 20 years of experience and is currently associated with India's leading news agency Press Trust of India (PTI) in New Delhi. Starting his journalistic career as a freelancer before joining one of Assam's renowned newspapers The Sentinel in Guwahati, he also worked with Indo-Asian News Service (IANS). From reporting about conflict zones of Northeast India to covering the first democratic elections in Bhutan and from being the only journalist from India to be present at the Nobel Prize award ceremony in 2014 to writing about books and literature, Zafri has had extensive exposure. He takes pride to have conducted the last interview of former President A P J Abdul Kalam, less than a month before his death. An avid quizzer, he won several state-level competitions in his school and college days. Zafri considers himself a foodie and loves reading about culinary history. He often takes a trip down the memory lane with his scrapbooks that he collected since he was 10 years old. He lives in Delhi NCR with his wife. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and @zafrimn on Twitter.