This article has been extracted from
THE IMPERIAL GAZETTEER OF INDIA , 1908.
OXFORD, AT THE CLARENDON PRESS.
Note: National, provincial and district boundaries have changed considerably since 1908. Typically, old states, ‘divisions’ and districts have been broken into smaller units, units, and many tahsils upgraded to districts.Many units have since been renamed. Therefore, this article is being posted mainly for its historical value.
A section of the sub Himalayan hills, lying north of Darrang District, Eastern Bengal and Assam, between the Dhansiri and Dikrai rivers. The hills have steep ridges covered with dense forest but owing to the inhospitable nature of the country and of its inhabitants they have Never been explored. The Aka tribe is divided into two sections, nicknamed the Hazari-khoas, or 'tribe supported by a thousand groups of ryots,' and the Kapas-chors, or ' thieves who lurk in the cotton fields'; and, in the time of the Assam Rajas, they regularly harried the inhabetants of the plains.
For many years the chief of the Kapas chor tribe, Tagra Raja, violated the frontier, and in 1829 he was captured and lodged in the Gauhati jail. In 1832 he was released, but immediately resumed his attacks, and in 1835 massacred all the inhabetants of the police outpost and British village of Balipara.
Six years later he sur rendered, and an agreement was made by which both sections of the tribe received a yearly allowance in consideration of good conduct. In 1883 Medhi, the Kapas-chor chief, detained a mauzadar who had visited his villages, while his brother carried off from Balipara a clerk and ranger in the employ of the Forest department.
A punitive expedition was dis- patched which occupied Aka territory and recovered the captives, with the exception of the mauzadar, who had died. Since that date they have given little trouble ; but in 1900 a party of armed Akas forcibly entered the shop of a trader at Balipara, in order to exact the amount which they alleged was due to them for rubber tapped in the hills.
A fine was imposed on the tribe ; but in order to minimize the chances of friction, it was decided to discontheue the practice under which coolies had been sent into the hills to tap rubber, and to leave the hillmen to bring down this product themselves. The Akas are apparently of Tibeto-Burman origin, and, though a small tribe, are warlike and in dependent.
Their strength lies in their position, which enables them to attack British subjects without difficulty, while punitive expeditions sent into their hills are costly out of all proportion to the damage inflicted on the enemy. An account of the Akas will be found in Colonel Dalton’s Ethnology of Bengal.