History of the Mising People
The Misings are the second largest group amongst the 25 Scheduled Tribes inhabiting Assam, the largest being the Bodos. One of the many Indo-Mongoloid groups of people, the Misings are ethnically close to the Tani groups of people in Arunachal Pradesh, India, especially to the groups known collectively as ADI. They had dwelt for long centuries in the Siang (Tsangpo in Tibet) valley of the eastern Himalayan ranges before their migration to the Brahmaputra (the name of Tsangpo >Siang in Assam) valley in Assam. Their migration to Assam took place in batches and the earliest batches are likely to have already been living in the riverine areas of the valley or in the areas in the Siang valley bordering Assam during the later days of the Chutia kingdom in the middle ages – a kingdom that was overthrown completely toward the end of the sixteenth century by the Tai-Ahom people, who had entered Assam from the northern Myanmar region in 1228 A.D. under the leadership of Siu-ka-pha, and later founded a kingdom that lasted till the advent of the British. This is supported by the fact that the name MIRI already finds a reference, along with Kachari, Khasi, and Garo, in the holy Vaishnavite scripture Kirtan Ghosha, composed by the Assamese saint-poet Srimanta Sankaradeva (1449 A.D.-1568 A.D.). Barring some oral traditions, there are no written records of their migration and so the exact dates of their migration to the Brahmaputra valley is difficult to ascertain. The basic reason for their migration to the plains in Assam appears to have been the search for more fertile, arable land for cultivation. Although they had their settlements earlier primarily in riverine areas, recurring floods and erosion of extensive areas inhabited and cultivated by them, especially after the earthquake of 1950, have forced many of them to settle in other places, away from rivers.
Presently, the population of the Misings is distributed in the eight districts of upper Assam, viz. Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Sivasagar, Jorhat, Golaghat, Sonitpur, Lakhimpur and Dhemaji with high concentration of their population in the district of Dhemaji and subdivision of Majuli. The Misings also inhabit some pockets of Arunachal Pradesh. According to the census of India 2001, the population of Misings in Assam is 5,87,310 and by now their number may have increased to nearly 7 lakh.