We have heard a lot about the valor 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.
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 of 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 the Mughal Empire’s expansion in Assam. In the Battle of Saraighat, Lachit was the commander. In 1670, 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.
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 come to the 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.
Want to read more in Hindi? Checkout: असम के आज़ादी की कहानी, महान यौद्धा लचित बरफूकन
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 an illness soon after the victorious battle of Saraighat.
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.
(The article was originally written in 2016, and is re-edited on 24 November 2020)