A three-day celebration of the 400th birth anniversary of the legendary Assamese general and folk hero Lachit Borphukan began in New Delhi.
GS I: History
Dimensions of the Article:
- History of the Ahom kingdom
- Legend of Lachit Borphukan
History of the Ahom kingdom
- The Ahom kings ruled large parts of what is now known as Assam for nearly 600 years, from the early 13th century to the early 19th century.
- This was a prosperous, multi-ethnic kingdom which spread across the upper and lower reaches of the Brahmaputra valley, surviving on rice cultivation in its fertile lands.
- The Ahoms engaged in a series of conflicts with the Mughals from 1615-1682, starting from the reign of Jahangir till the reign of Aurangzeb.
- One of the major early military conflicts was in January 1662, where the Mughals won a partial victory, conquering parts of Assam and briefly occupying Garhgaon, the Ahom capital.
- The counter-offensive to reclaim lost Ahom territories started under Ahom King Swargadeo Chakradhwaja Singha.
- After the Ahoms enjoyed some initial victories, Aurangzeb dispatched Raja Ram Singh I of Jaipur in 1669 to recapture the lost territory — eventually resulting in the Battle of Saraighat in 1671.
Legend of Lachit Borphukan
- Lachit was a brilliant military commander who knew the terrain of the Brahmaputra valley and the surrounding hills like the back of his hand.
- He was chosen as one of the five Borphukans of the Ahom kingdom by king Charadhwaj Singha, and given administrative, judicial, and military responsibilities.
- Unlike the Mughals who preferred battles in the open with their massive armies, Borphukan preferred guerrilla tactics which provided an edge to his smaller, but fast moving and capable forces.
- Much like Shivaji’s encounters with the Mughals in Marathwada, Lachit inflicted damage on the large Mughal camps and static positions.
- His raids would kill unsuspecting Mughal soldiers and frustrate the mighty armies that were too ponderous to respond swiftly.
- When the monsoon set in, Mughal plans were complicated further.
- However, as the Mughals were able to successfully camp around the foothills of Alaboi, the Ahom king ordered Borphukan to carry out a frontal assault which led to the deaths of nearly 10,000 Ahom warriors and ended in a weary Mughal victory in 1669.
- As the Mughals attempted to progress through the valley, they realised that travelling by the river would be faster. Lachit, who was a great naval warrior and strategist, created an intricate web of improvised and surprise pincer attacks.
- Lachit Borphukan died a year after the Battle of Saraighat from a long festering illness.
- In fact he was very ill during the Battle of Saraighat, as he heroically led his troops to victory.
Source: Indian Express