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Ahom Warrior Lachit Borphukan

Context:

In Assam on a three-day visit, President inaugurated the year-long celebration of the 400th birth anniversary of Lachit Borphukan, commander of the Ahom forces and an icon of Assamese nationalism, in Guwahati. He also laid the foundation stone for the Alaboi war memorial, a tribute to soldiers who had fought and suffered a setback against the Mughals at Alaboi, two years before Lachit’s decisive victory at the battle of Saraighat in 1671.

Relevance:

GS I- History

Dimensions of the Article:
  1. Lachit’s era
  2. Alaboi and Saraighat battles
  3. Legacy of Lachit Borphukan

Lachit’s era

  • He was Born on 24th November, 1622.
  • Borphukan was known for his leadership in the Battle of Saraighat, 1671 in which an attempt by Mughal forces to capture Assam was thwarted.
  • He was the inspiration behind strengthening India’s naval force and revitalising inland water transport and creating infrastructure associated with it due to his great naval strategies.
  • He died on 25th April, 1672.
  • Ahom kings ruled large parts of Assam, and parts of neighbouring states, for nearly 600 years between the 13th and 19th centuries.
  • Between 1615 and 1682, the Mughal Empire made a series of attempts, under Jahangir and then Aurangzeb, to annex the Ahom kingdom.
  • In January 1662, Mughal Governor of Bengal Mir Jumla’s forces engaged with the Ahom army and went on to occupy part of the territory under Ahom rule.
  • Between 1667 and 1682, the Ahoms under a series of rulers, starting with Chakradhwaj Singha, (reigned 1663-70) launched a counter-offensive to reclaim lost territories. This included the battles Lachit is remembered for.

Alaboi and Saraighat battles

In 1669, Aurangzeb dispatched the Rajput Raja Ram Singh I to recapture territories won back by the Ahoms.

Battle of Alaboi
  • The battle of Alaboi was fought on August 5, 1969 in the Alaboi Hills near Dadara in North Guwahati.
  • While the Mughals preferred an open battle, Borphukan relied on his knowledge of the territory and engaged in guerrilla warfare, carrying out assaults on the Mughals.
  • After initial setbacks, Ram Singh sent his entire battery of Rajput soldiers and Mughal veterans and turned the tide of the battle. The Ahoms suffered heavy losses.
Battle of Saraighat
  • The battle of Saraighat was fought on the banks of the Brahmaputra in Guwahati in 1671.
  • It is considered as one of the greatest naval battles on a river which resulted in the victory of Ahoms over the Mughals.
  • Unlike in Alaboi, where he was forced to fight on land instead of a naval battle, Lachit in Saraighat entice the Mughals into a naval battle.

Legacy of Lachit Borphukan

  • On 24 November each year, Lachit Divas is celebrated statewide in Assam to commemorate the heroism of Lachit Borphukan and the victory of the Assamese army at the Battle of Saraighat.
  • Lachit Divas is celebrated to promote the ideals of Lachit Borphukan – the legendary general of Assam’s history.
  • The best cadet from the National Defence Academy is awarded the Lachit Borphukan gold medal.
    • It was first instituted in 1999 following an announcement by General VP Malik saying the medal would inspire defence personnel to emulate Barphukan’s heroism and sacrifices.

-Source: Indian Express

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