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The word Saikia, (Assamese: শইকীয়া Xôykiya) (Bengali 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 to Kayastha/Kshatriya caste commonly known as "Kalita" caste in Assam, as well as 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