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|Assamese (and dialects; Kamrupi • Goalpariya)|
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Assamese Brahmins are the Brahmins present in Assamese society, being one of the four traditional Hindu social divisions along with the Kshatriyas, Vaisyas, and Sudras. There are two classes in Assam, of which the Ganaks, who are also known as Daivajna, are one. That group follows the Atharva Veda (the solar cult).
There they promoted learning, Vedic religion and astrology, besides imparting general vedic knowledge to the public. Their origin was probably the Gangetic Plain: according to the Nidhanpur copper plate, around 200 Brahmin families of various gotras and ved–sakhas moved from there to Assam on the invitation of Bhutivarman in the 6th century CE.
Tradition and culture
Traditionally, the ceremony of Lagundeoni – one of the Sanskaras or rites of passage marking acceptance of a student by a Guru, is a quite prevalent ritual within the community. A sacred thread – Lagun, given by a Pujari during the ceremony is a symbolic reminder to the young male born to the Brahmin family of his purpose at school, as well as a social marker of the student as someone who has embarked his journey into formal education, where education itself is not limited to ritual and philosophical speculations, but extends to all practical aspects of culture and life in general. The ceremony is typically performed between ages 12 – 14 among Brahmin males.
Brahmins of the valley follow a different death ritual as opposed to the other indigenous communities in Assam. A religious rite, known as Caturthā is performed on the 4th day of a person's demise unlike Tiloni, performed on the 3rd day of person's demise by non–Brahmin indigenous communities.
Although in general Brahmins observe all the customary rituals, they appear usually less rigid in some of their traditional lifestyle choices, such as they may eat meat, fish, unlike their counterparts in North India.
The Brahmins constitute one of the Forward classes of Assam based on the classifications of Government of India, although the recent trend on economic condition has not been very well within the community. Assam's former Chief Minister, Tarun Gogoi announced setting up of development councils for several communities in the state, including Brahmins.
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