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Dhakapattys


Dhakapattys (in Assam) were the habitats of the earliest migrants from Dhaka to Assam during the British period. When the British occupied Assam in the early 19th century, the East India Company officers and the tea planters brought with them a large number of people from Dhaka for certain specialized jobs, such as making biscuits, cookies, bread, tailoring, book binding, mattress and cushion making. The British helped them to settle down in appropriate places in Assam and gave them necessary protection. The process of bringing the specialised working people from Dhaka started from the early nineteenth century when the British decisively took over Assam. The large settlements of the Dhaka migrants grew in Jorhat and Nagaon in the Brhamaputra Valley and Silchar in Barak Valley. These settlements came to be known individually and collectively as Dhakapattys (Dhaka settlements) and these are known as Dhakapattys even now. The people of Dhakapattys originally were almost all sponsored by the British and were mostly specialized in various skills and services not then available in Assam.

The first Dhakapatty was established in Jorhat in 1826 soon after the conquest of Assam. The pioneer was one Gulzar Bepari, who started a biscuit-making factory called Sultan Bakery at Chawk Bazaar. Later on, a chain of bakeries was established throughout Assam, especially in tea gardens and administrative centres where demand for biscuits and other non-Assamese consumer goods were created. Nagaon, a newly established town in central Assam was the next most important centre where Dhakapatty was established. One Amiruddin Bepari is said to have been the pioneer of Nagaon Dhakapatty. The construction of Assam-Bengal Railway in the wake of the creation of the new province of East Bengal and Assam (1905) province accelerated the processes of migration of Dhaka people to Assam. From 1905, the migrants from Dhaka to Assam were mostly Hindus, most of whom were shopkeepers and sellers of Ayurvedic medicines. They established Shadhana Aushadalay chains of shops all over Assam. Many of those shops are still in existence. Most of the Hindus from Dhaka went to Silchar. As settlers most of them assumed the title of 'Bonik' as Muslims took the title of Bepari. Paresh Chandra Banik was the pioneer Hindu migrant to Silchar and also the founder of Dhakapatty there. [Sirajul Islam]

See also line system.