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The word Saikia, (Assamese: শইকীয়া Xôykiya) (Assamese pronunciation: [xɔʏkija]) is a derivative of the Assamese word - Xô, meaning 'one hundred - 100'. It was a military title given to the officials of the Ahom monarchy.
The Ahom Kingdom of medieval Assam used the Paik system, a form of corvee labour In this system, a Paik (one soldier) was the tiniest unit of the Ahom military system. A Saikia was the commanding officer of 100 such paiks. The appointment of a Saikia was the responsibility of his Phukan (commander of 6000 paiks) or Rajkhowa (governor of a territory who could command 2000 to 3000 paiks). The paiks had the right to reject a Saikia and request another officer of their choice. Appointments were made irrespective of the paik's religion or ethnicity.
Over the years, the usage of this title has ceased to be a professional or military title. The surname is now common to Hindus in Assam. Among the Hindus, the surname belong mostly to the Sutiyas, while other community carrying the surname may belong to Kalitas, Koch, Ahoms and Sonowal kachari.
Famous people with the surname of Saikia
- Bhabendra Nath Saikia - Physicist, Novelist, Film director.
- Hiteswar Saikia - Politician, Chief Minister of Assam from 1983-1985 and 1991-1996.
- Ankush Saikia - Novelist, editor, and former journalist