Story of Lachit Borphukan

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Submitted by: KEKIEHEIGUMLE

Lachit Borphukan who was a commander of the Ahom Kingdom is notable for his initiative in the 1671 Battle of Saraighat. He is likewise renowned for fighting tirelessly to control the expansion of the Mughal Empire in Assam. Initially named as Lachit Deca, Lachit Borphukan, the fierce and tireless Ahom Commander, was born during the early seventeenth century (1622) at Betioni in the Golaghat District of Assam. His father, Momai Tamuli Borbarua was the Governor as well as the Commander-in Chief of the Ahom kingdom during King Pratap Singha’s reign (1603-1639). Lachit got military training ever since he was young and joined the Ahom King Jayadhvaj Singha (1648-1663) as a ‘scarf-carrier’ or ‘Soladhara Barua’ who was a part of the king’s personal staff. In the ensuing time, Lachit was delegated as ‘Ghora Barua’ or ‘Director of Royal Horses’ and later was elevated to the post of Commander of the Simulgarh Fort arranged at the south bank of Brahmaputra. Lachit was appointed as the Superintendent of the royal guards when Chakradhwaj Singha came to the throne during 1663. At long last, King Chakradhwaj Singha named Lachit as ‘Borphukan’, which is one of the best five councilors in the Ahom realm which was initiated by King Prataap Singha (1603-1641). Borphukan is a position inserted with both executive and judicial powers with its base camp at Kaliabor in Assam. Lachit moved the central command to Itakhuli in Guwahati. At that point onwards, Lachit Deka was known as Lachit Borphukan.

The very name Assam, with its underlying foundations in the word Asama or invincible, signifies how this land stood its ground, through the vast majority of India’s medieval history.
Ruled by the amazing Ahoms for a long time from the mid thirteenth century, the Mughals could not touch Assam. Indeed, it is here that they endured their most humiliating destruction. Lachit led the fight from the front and inflicted crushing defeat to the Mughals at every front. Lachit outmanoeuvred the army of Raja Ram Singh at every war, which led to the stalemate of the battle. Aurangzeb asked his general to initiatem diplomacy and sign a friendly treaty for the time being. But Lachit’s trusted lieutenant Atan Burhagohain, who later became the Commander-in-Chief opposed such a deal stating that the treaty would be an example of typical Mughal treachery. The final battle was fought in early 1671 when the Mughals made a desperate attempt to break through the fortifications. On the day of Saraighat battle, Lachit was terribly unwell.
However, despite being ill, he displayed tremendous valour, extraordinary bravery and exemplary leadership. Lachit heroically got out of his sickbed and rowed his boat straight at the enemy. Such an action by an ailing yet forceful Lachit motivated his troops. They fought the battle with fierce zeal and intense courage. This galvanized the Ahom army to such a frenzy that the Mughal forces were annihilated. The Mughal army suffered comprehensive defeat in the hands of Lachit’s army.

The battle, which would become known as the battle of Saraighat, was fought on the Brahmaputra. Ahom boats built an impenetrable fortification on water placing their boats in a row, one after the other across the breath of the river. The whole stretch of Brahmaputra flowing through Guwahati between Kamakhya, Itakhuli and Aswakranta became littered with boats boats and dead bodies. The Mughal flotilla was completely smashed and the Mughal admiral Munwwar Khan was shot dead. It was a completed and decisive victory for the Ahoms.
This battle of Saraighat came to be immortalised in Assamese literature and even today, one will find a small village called ‘Sarai’ on the banks of the Brahmaputra where the battle was fought. Lachit Borphukan would die in 1672. His remains lie in rest at the Lachit Maidaam constructed in the same year by King Udayaditya Singha at Hoolungapara 16 kms from Jorhat. After the victory at Saraighat, the Ahom kings ruled Assam for over 150 years more, that is till the annexation of the kingdom by the British in 1826. On 24 November each year, Lachit Divas is celebrated throughout the state of 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.

Image Source – Wikipedia

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