|13,168,484 (2001 census)|
|Regions with significant populations|
|India||13,010,000 (2001 census)|
|Kamrupi • Goalpariya)|
Majority: HinduismIslam • Christianity • Sikhism
|Related ethnic groups|
Surname families:Acharya • Barman • Barooah (and its variations) • Bhagawati • Bharali • Bhattacharya • Bordoloi • Borah • Borthakur • Chakraborty (and its variations) • Chaudhary • Das • Deka • Dutta • Gogoi • Gohain • Goswami • Hazarika • Kalita • Kotoky • Phukan • Rajbongshi • Rajkhowa • Saikia • Sarma • Sutiya • Tamuli • Thakur
^[*] The ethnic tribal groups, such as Bodos, Dimasas, Karbis, Misíngs classify as separate sub-groups and thus generally don't associate with this sub-group linked with Assamese language.
The Assamese people (অসমীয়া জাতি) are a subgroup of the people of Assam (অসমৰ জনগোষ্ঠী). The Assamese people make up the majority of Assam's population (অসমৰ জনসংখ্যা). The population of Assamese people in Assam is 13,000,000 making up 45.00% of Assam population at 2011 census (চৰকাৰী আদমশুমাৰি). This subgroup is often associated with the Assamese language (অসমীয়া ভাষা) Historically, the definition of the "Assamese people" has remained in flux and this has had strong political repercussions in Assam, especially in the colonial (1826–1947) and post-colonial (after 1947) periods.
The lack of a definition has put stumbling blocks in implementing clause 6 of the Assam Accord (অসম চুক্তি), an agreement signed by the activists of the Assam Movement (অসম আন্দোলন) and the Government of India (ভাৰতৰ কেন্দ্ৰীয় চৰকাৰ) in 1985. Since a legal definition is important to provide "constitutional, legislative and cultural" safeguards to the Assamese people, the Government of Assam (অসম চৰকাৰ) had formed a ministerial committee to finalize the definition in March 2007. To address the clause 6 issue AASU (সদৌ অসম ছাত্ৰ সন্থা) had announced a definition on April 10, 2000 which was based on residency with a temporal limit: All those whose names appeared in the 1951 National Register of Citizens (ভাৰতীয় নাগৰিকৰ ৰাষ্ট্ৰীয় পঞ্জী) and their progenies should be considered as Assamese. Difficulty in definition is rooted in the heterogeneous nature of inhabitants of the Assam state (অসম ৰাজ্য).
The first usage of the English word "Assamese" is noted in colonial times; based on same principle as Sinhalese (সিংহলী ভাষা), Nepalese (নেপালী ভাষা) and Canarese (কন্নড় ভাষা), derived from the Anglicised (ইংৰাজী ভাষাৰ ৰুপানতৰন) word "Assam" with the suffix -ese, meaning "of Assam."
In contrast, Western Assam (পশ্চিম অসম / নামনি অসম) in pre-colonial times was known as "Kamrup" (কামৰূপ) (instead of Asama, and considered a politically, socially and culturally separate unit from the rest of the state.
In the 16th-century, the Ahom kingdom (আহোম ৰাজ্য) came to be known as the "Kingdom of Acham" to the Mughals (মোগল); and following them, the British. In 1682 the eastern Kamrup (পূব কামৰূপ) was annexed by Ahom kingdom and the expanded kingdom continued to be called "Kingdom of Assam" till 1821 when the Ahom kingdom became part of the Burmese Empire (কোনবাউং ৰাজবংশ).
Just as "Assam" was associated with the Ahom kingdom till the 19th century "Asamiya" was used for the subjects and soldiers of that kingdom who belonged to different ethnic and linguistic backgrounds and not solely to the Ahom community (আহোম জনগোষ্ঠী).[not in citation given]
After Assam became part of British India (বৃটিছ ভাৰতৰ), the newly constituted province came to be known as Assam after its largest constituent, and the name Assamese / Asamiya (অসমীয়া) came to be associated with the Assamese language erstwhile known as Kamrupi (কামৰূপী).
According to Yasmin Saikia, "the group that now identifies as Tai–Ahom (টাই–আহোম) were historically seen as Assamese people. However, the term ethnic Assamese is now associated by the Indian government at Delhi (দিল্লী) with the Assamese speaking Indo-Aryan (ইণ্ডো-আৰ্য) group (comprising both Hindus and Muslims) of Assam (অসম). The latter group is the majority people of Assam, while the Tai-Ahom people were a dominant minority during the Ahom Rule (আহোম ৰাজ).