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Lachit Divas: Untold Story Of Hero Lachit Borphukan, Who Curbed the Mughal Empire’s Expansion in Northeast India

Much like Shivaji, Lachit too fought relentlessly to curb Mughal Empire’s expansion in Assam

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Statue of Lachit Borphukan (in the middle) at Sivasagar with other Ahom Warriors. Wikimedia Commons.
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November 24, 2016: We have heard a lot about the valour of Shivaji, Bajirao and others, but not much is known about the Ahoms. In 1682, the Ahom Kingdom was attacked by the Mughal Army in the Battle of Itakhuli. While we praise, the valor of others, we often forget a few. Lachit Borphukan is one such legend who did not make a rightful place in our history textbooks.

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  • Each year, 24th November is celebrated as Lachit Divas in Assam to commemorate the heroism of Lachit Borphukan.
  • He never got the recognition he deserved. On his birthday, let’s remember the hero, forgotten for long and tell the tale of his passion and courage.
  • Lachit Borphukan was an army general from the state Assam. He is known for his victory against the huge Mughal army headed by Ram Singh during the time of Aurangzeb, in the Battle of Saraighat.

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  • Much like Shivaji, Lachit too fought relentlessly to curb Mughal Empire’s expansion in Assam.
  • In the Battle of Saraighat, Lachit was the commander. In 167, the battle was fought between the Ahom Kingdom and the Mughals at Saraighat, on the Brahmaputra River, which is now in Guwahati.
  • The Ahom Army defeated the massive Mughal Army by using brilliant techniques and by clever diplomatic negotiations in order to buy time.
Statue of Lachit Barphukan at his maidam. Ahoms led by general Lachit Barphukan defeated the Mughls led by Ramsingh in battle of Saraighat in 1671. He died a year later and his last remains were laid under this tomb (Maidam) constructed by Swargadeo Udayaditya Singha in 1672 at Hoolungapara, 16 kms east of Jorhat city. Wikimedia Commons.
Statue of Lachit Barphukan at his maidam. Ahoms led by general Lachit Barphukan defeated the Mughls led by Ramsingh in battle of Saraighat in 1671. He died a year later and his last remains were laid under this tomb (Maidam) constructed by Swargadeo Udayaditya Singha in 1672 at Hoolungapara, 16 kms east of Jorhat city. Wikimedia Commons.
  • They also use guerrilla tactics, military intelligence, psychological warfare, and exploited the only weakness of the Mughal army, that is the navy.
  • Lachit’s devotion and patriotism to his land comes in forefront in the battle of Saraighat where he even went to the extent of beheading his own uncle for the sake of his country.
  • Before the battle, Lachit ordered to construct an earthen wall for fortification within one night and kept his maternal uncle as the supervisor. It was not progressing satisfactorily. When he didn’t get any proper explanation, he beheaded his uncle on the spot, and said, “My uncle is not greater than my country”.
  • Lachit, in spite of being ill, carried himself on a boat along with seven boats accompanying him to fight against the Mughals. He said, “If you (the soldiers) want to flee, flee. The king has given me a task here and I will do it well. Let the Mughals take me away. You report to the king that his general fought well following his orders.”
  • Unfortunately, the great general of the Ahom Army was lost his life because of the illness soon after the victorious battle of Saraighat.

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  • At the Lachit Maidam, Lachit Borphukan’s last remains lie in rest.
  • Lachit Borphukan’s tales of bravery, devotion and patriotism remained confined to Assam for more than three centuries until the nation decided to introduce the great general by unveiling his statue at the National Defense Academy in Khadakvasla, near Pune in Maharashtra on November 14, 2000.

– by Pinaz Kazi of NewsGram. Twitter: @PinazKazi

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Lachit Borphukan : The undefeated warrior in Battle of Saraighat who resisted Mughal conquest of Northeast India

Not many of us know about the unsung hero of Battle of Saraighat, Lachit Borphukan, the military commander of Ahom Kingdom who resisted Mughal conquest in Northeast India

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Battle of Saraighat
Lachit Borphukan statue (SM)
  • When Mughal empire was brutally expanding under Aurangzeb, then the commander of Ahom dynasty, Lachit Borphukan made them taste their worst defeat in historic Battle of Saraighat

With mighty army of Mughals Aurangzeb was eyeing at Northeast India. But he was not aware of what fate his army will meet when they clash with Ahom dynasty of Assam under commandership of Lachit Borphukan, the man who shattered dreams of Mughal empire to conquest Northeast India. We are quite familiar with the valour of Maharana Pratap and Shivaji but somehow we were not told much about the unsung hero of Battle of Saraighat, Lachit Borphukan. Battle of Saraighat would always be remembered for the victory of a much smaller Ahom army over the mighty Mughal Army, through a combination of tactical brilliance, guerrilla warfare and intelligence gathering. It was the last attempt by the Mughals to extend their empire into Assam.

The valiant Ahoms had successfully repulsed frequent attacks on their motherland since the time of Muhammad Ghori for around seventeen invasions.

Battle of Saraighat
Lachit Borphukan, commander of Ahom dynasty (Wikimedia)

The Mughals, were comparatively very well equipped, but failed to make any advances towards the Ahom army in the first phase of the war. So they offered Lachit Borphukan a bribe of one lakh rupees to abandon Guwahati but Lachit Borphukan refused to surrender.

From the capital city of Guwahti to the depths of the forests the Ahom warriors fought and held back the tide of invasion. The proud warriors of Central Asia, Mughals and Pathans alike were retreated  by the valiant resistance of the Ahoms.

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An incident in the history of Ahom resistance radiates the spirit which animated their fight for freedom, when Lachit Borphukan, the Army General of Ahom king Chakradhwaj Singha had beheaded his maternal uncle for dereliction of duty while preparing to face the Mughals. His execution of his own uncle for not showing sufficient dedication to the war effort was not just an act of impulse but a reminder to his soldiers that in the service of one’s Dharma, it is not possible to adopt double standards of judgement. This act of selflessness and dedication further motivated the troops, who were charged with full energy and enthusiasm to the battle field. Such examples are not very uncommon in Indian history where Dharma is upheld.

Battle of Saraighat
Lachit borphukan, might warrior of Ahom kingdom (zeenews)

The reason why small Ahom army under Lachit Borphukan defeated mighty army of Mughals lies in the elaborate defense organized by him along the Brahamputra river which denied the use of the waterway to a large army of Aurangzeb comprising 1800 Turkish cavalry, 30,000 infantry and 500 cannons manned by the Portuguese. In the final stages of the battle, despite being seriously ill, he rallied his soldiers and personally led an assault forcing them to retreat. It is recorded that he said:“When my countrymen are suffering from invasion, and when my army is fighting and sacrificing its life, how can I think about resting my body due to a mere illness? How can I think about going home to my wife and children when my entire country is in trouble?”

The Mughal Commander-in-Chief, acknowledging his defeat by the Ahom soldiers and their Commander-in-Chief Lachit Barphukan, wrote, “Glory to the king! Glory to the counselors! Glory to the commanders! Glory to the country! One single individual leads all the forces! Even I, Ram Singh, being personally on the spot, have not been able to find any loophole and an opportunity!”

Lachit died soon after his victory at The Battle of Saraighat due to illness. It is sad that Lachit Borphukan is an unsung hero, let us give him the recognition he deserves, we must tell his tale of valour to coming generations and derive inspiration, he is an example that no matter how strong opponents and barbaric forces were, someone, somewhere resisted and fought against them for protection of motherland.

 

– by SHAURYA RITWIK, Shaurya is Sub-Editor at NewsGram and writes on Geo-politcs, Culture, Indology and Business. Twitter Handle – @shauryaritwik

One response to “Lachit Borphukan : The undefeated warrior in Battle of Saraighat who resisted Mughal conquest of Northeast India”

  1. THE FIRST EVER MUSLIM INVASION OF WESTERN ASSAM(THE NAME ASSAM DID NOT EXIST AT THAT TIME AND WAS KNOWN AS KAMRUPA OR KAMATAPUR) WAS IN THE YEAR 1206 BY THE DESTROYER OF NALANDA AND VIKRAMSHILA UNIVERSITY,THE GREAT TURKIC GENERAL AND RULER OF BENGAL BAKHTIAR KHILJI( FROM THE KHIJI TRIBE OF AFGHANISTAN).HE ATTACKED KAMARUPA WITH THE INTENSION OF CAPTURING TIBET.IN KAMRUPA HE HAD TO FACE GREAT RESISTANCE FROM THE KOCH KING PRITHU AND RETURN BACK EMPTYHANDED AFTER A CRUSHING DEFEAT.THE SECOND ATTACK HAPPENED IN 1227 AGAIN DURING PRITHU’S RULE BY BENGAL RULER GHIYASUDDIN IWAJ.THE THIRD ATTACK HAPPENED IN 1228 BY BENGAL GOVERNOR NASIRUDDIN AND THIS TIME PRITHU WAS KILLED.AFTER THAT SEVEN MORE ATTACKS FOLLOWED ON KAMARUPA OR KAMATAPUR.THE FIRST MUSLIM INVASION OF EASTERN ASSAM( ASOM OR AHOM) WAS ONLY IN 1516 OR 1527 BY THE GREAT WAZIRS DURING REIGN OF AHOM KING SUHUNGMUNG .THE AHOMS CAME TO UPPER ASSAM(INHABITED AND RULED BY GROUPS OF KACHARI PEOPLE NAMELY THE MORANS ,BORAHIS AND THE GREAT CHUTIAS) FROM THE BORDER REGIONS OF MYANMAR AND CHINA ONLY DURING THIRTEENTH CENTURY. AT THAT ASSAM WAS DIVIDED INTO THREE PARTS – CHUTIA KINGDOM(UPPER ASSAM).KACHARI KINGDOM(CENTRAL ASSAM) AND KAMATAPUR RULED BY THE KOCHES(WESTERN ASSAM).THE WORD ASOM OR AHOM EXISTED ONLY FROM THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY AFTER THE AHOMS SUBJUGATED THE CHUTIAS AND THE KACHARIS AND BROUGHT THE WHOLE OF UPPER AND CENTRAL ASSAM UNDER THEIR CONTROL.PEOPLE OF KAMATAPUR OR WESTERN ASSAM THEN CALLED THE EASTERN REGION AS THE ASOM OR AHOM KINGDOM.THE BATTLE OF SARAIGHAT WAS THE 17TH AND FINAL ATTACK BY MUSLIMS.IT HAPPENED IN THE YEAR 1671.IT WOULD BE VERY WRONG TO SAY THAT ONLY THE AHOMS DEFEATED MUGHALS ALONE AS THERE WERE THOUSANDS OF KOCH SOLDIERS OF KOCH HAJO.THERE WERE ALSO DAFLA SOLDIERS FROM ARUNACHAL,GARO SOLDIERS FROM MEGHALAYA,MUSLIM SOLDIERS WHO WERE PRISONERS OF WAR . IT WOULD BE BETTER TO SAY THAT THE BATTLE AGAINST THE MUGHALS WAS WON WITH THE UNIFIED SOLDIERS OF VARIOUS TRIBES UNDER GENERAL LACHIT BORPHUKAN.SIMILARLY THE MUGHAL ARMY ALSO CONSISTED OF THOUSANDS OF KOCH SOLDIERS FROM KOCH BEHAR AND RAJPUT SOLDIERS.