The Rise of Lachit Borphukan: The Ahom General Who Shaped SE Asia’s Future

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To mark the 400th birth anniversary, Assam government decided to rename the police training centre at Dergaon after the great General.
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Lachit Borphukan Birth Anniversary: How Assam Govt Paying A Grand Tribute to the Great Ahom General
Lachit Borphukan statue in Guwahati

Guwahati: Unlike some low-key programs earlier, this year Assam government has been celebrating the 400th birth anniversary of legendary Ahom general Lachit Borphukan. The reason- chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma led state government has always dreamt of taking the valour of the great warrior to the global audience and introducing Assam’s history to the world.

For Assam’s chief minister, historians have failed to do justice to warriors like Borphukan. On Thursday, Sarma addressing the gathering at a program on the 400th birth anniversary of Lachit Borphukan in Delhi, said, “Our historians created such an atmosphere that the country was run only under the Mughal rule. In most of the Ahom-Mughal conflicts, Ahoms either defeated the Mughals or sent them back. Even if the Mughals won, they could not hold onto their gains for long. It’s unfortunate that the kingdoms never ruled by Mughals were neglected in Indian history books.”

Sarma claimed that had the Mughals defeated the Ahoms in the battle of Saraighat in 1671, the entire Southeast Asia would have been very different from now. “Battle of Saraighat determined the future of Assam as well as South East Asia. Mughals planned to invade Assam, enter South East Asia and spread Islam throughout the region. But Lachit Borphukan scripted history by foiling their attempts at Saraighat,” he added.

Citing the birthday of the warrior on November 24, the CM added that the event marked the crushing defeat of Mughals at the hands of Ahom army led by Gen Lachit Borphukan, halting an Islamic aggression into our region:

At a time when parts of our country were under the Mughal Empire, the bravery of Lachit Borphukan ensured that Assam was able to resist the imperialist designs of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, he added.

He also announced that to mark the 400th birth anniversary, the state government has decided to rename the police training centre at Dergaon after the great General.

Already, the state government has announced to set up a grand memorial including 150-ft bronze statue of Lachit Borphukan at his memorial site at Hollongapar, Jorhat. Besides, the Assam government planned to construct the Alaboi War Memorial to preserve the memory of Alaboi battle in 1669 and for a memorial building in honour of Lachit Borphukan at the National Police Academy, Hyderabad.

Earlier, Sarma had written a letter to his counterparts in other states, requesting them to include a chapter on Lachit Borphukan in the syllabus of the schools, and colleges in their respective domain.

On Thursday, union home minister Amit Shah while attending the ceremony in New Delhi marking Borphukan’s birth anniversary also endorsed the idea that the history of the valour of Borphukan should be known to all.

“There are controversies that India’s history was twisted and wrongly written on many occasions. But it’s not late yet. Today, we can still do our research and put the real history of the country before everyone. With such efforts, the real history and the truth will come to the fore,” Shah said.

The union home minister also requested the students and scholars of history to conduct massive research on 30 dynasties that ruled parts of India for over 150 years and 300 icons that needed to be highlighted.

The Ahom kings ruled Assam for nearly 600 years, from the early 13th century to the early 19th century. This prosperous kingdom witnessed a series of conflicts with the Mughals from 1615-1682, starting from Jahangir till Aurangzeb.

Lachit Borphukan was born on November 24 in the year 1622 in Charaideo, the first capital of the Ahom kingdom. He led two battles against the mighty Mughal army and is remembered for the daring naval battle in Saraighat, known as one of the last efforts of the Mughal Army to expand into the northeast frontiers.

Before the fateful battle of Saraighat, there was the battle of Araibol which was fought on August 5, 1669, in the Alaboi Hills near Dadara in North Guwahati.

History said that Mughal emperor Aurangzeb had ordered the invasion in 1669 under his ally Rajput Raja Ram Singh I. While the Mughals preferred an open battle, Borphukan engaged in guerrilla warfare, assaulting the invaders and then falling back until Ram Singh I unleashed his entire forces on the Ahoms, defeating them in the Battle of Alaboi.

Following the loss in Alaboi, Ahom fighters under the leadership of Borphukan engaged the Mughals in a naval battle, known as the battle of Saraighat and defeated the Mughal army.

Currently, Lachit Borphukan’s extraordinary valour has been honoured by the National Defence Academy (NDA) which awards a gold medal in his name every year since 1999 to the best cadet. A bust of Lachit also stands at the NDA’s entrance.

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