Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 2, p. 438.
438 THEE INDIAN EMPIRE
literature has taken are history and the drama. The histories
(called Maha-Radza- Weng) are national chronicles and go back
for some eighteen hundred years, but are said to be of doubtful
value. The dramas are extremely popular. They are of every
kind-opera, tragedy, comedy, and broad farce-and are often
of portentous length and fescennine in their humour. Of the
Tai races, the Shan literature is said to be very extensive,
Ahom but little is known about it. The Ahoms, the Tai race which
literature. conquered Assam, and whose language is now extinct, had also
a large literature. The most valuable portion of both these
literatures appears to be their histories. It was the Ahoms
who introduced the cult of history into Assam, and the Assam-
ese name for 'history,' bu-ran-ji, is an Ahom word meaning
'store of instruction for the ignorant.'
G. A. GRIERSON.