Lachit Borphukan [1622-1672] | ahom warrior who saved north-east from Mughal invasion

Introduction

This “Lachit Borphukan history” will provide you the great details of his phenomenal courage, leading power of commanding a great army and using brilliant tactics and warfare skills to turn the ball in his court against the Aurangzeb’s army under Ram Singh.

Lachit Borphukan was the chief general of the Ahom Kingdom in Assam whose remarkable warfare skills and dedication for his motherland resisted an Islamic invasion in the north-east region in the late 17th century .

He was infamous for his magnificent victory in the battle of Saraighat which took place in 1761 AD.

The name of Lachit borphukan has been written in golden letters  in the pages of history for his astounding courage and remarkable skill for protecting his motherland like a son .

NameLachit borphukan
FatherMomai Tamuli
Birth24th Nov , 1622 AD
Famous forSaving Assam from Islamic invasion ( battle of Saraighat )
Death 1672 AD

The Battle of Saraighat ” was one of the most exciting and breathtaking war happened between the army dispatched by Aurangzeb and the Ahom army of Lachit Borphukan .

It is scarcely credible that how seriously sickened Lachit Borphukan jumped into the war and emerged as a great warrior who not just saved Assam but the whole north-east region from the Islamic invasion .

 Assam is considered to be the Gateway of North East  States . So if  Assam had been Captured by the Islamic invaders in the mid 17th century , they had successfully expanded their territories to the whole North East region .

So the warrior Lachit  not only saved Assam but the whole North East region from cruel invaders . 

The “Lachit Divas” is celebrated on 24th november every year by the Assamese people to recall the heroic and dynamic act of Lachit Borphukan and his biggest role in protecting assam from Islamic invasion.

His fearless and heroic victory compel us to turn back the pages of history and listen to the sonnet of the great warrior . 

Important geographical Background

The Brahmaputra river divided the Assam state into two banks . The North bank and the south bank . Lengthwise, it was divided into two divisions . One lower Assam from Manaha to Kaliabar and second upper Assam from Kaliabar to Sadiya .

Lower Assam was governed by a viceory known as Borphukhan having headquarter in Guwahati. 

The rulers of the organised principalities in the mountain regions ( upper Assam ) admitted their Alliance with Ahom king and they assisted them paramount Lord and sovereign with men and provisions during times of War.

According to the Treaty signed in 1639 AD between the Ahom general Momai-tamuli-Barbarua ( father of Lachit ) and Mughal commander Allah Yar khan for diplomatic purpose , Western Assam ( lower Assam ) commencing from Guwahati passed into the hands of Mughals.

But the Jayadwaj Singha then king of Assam (1648-1663 AD) expelled the Mughal from Guwahati and chased them beyond river Manaha. 

Seeing such loss, Aurangzeb ordered Mir Jumbla to invade Cooch Behar and Assam and again re-established Mughal power in Eastern India.

The army of Ahom was defeated in the war and eventually a treaty was concluded at Ghilajhari-Ghat in January 1663 AD.

According to the Treaty, Ahom ceded Western Assam to the Mughals. The King was also compelled to deliver his only daughter Ramani and his niece to the harem of Mughal.

Jayadwaj Singha died in 1663 AD just before waging war against Mughal .

Early Life

Lachit was born on 24th November 1622 AD in Charaideo , Assam . He was originally came from the famous ‘ Lukhurakhan ‘ family. He was the youngest son of  Momai Tamuli who was a general ( Chief commander ) or Borbarua under Ahom Kingdom in the time of the wars when Mugal was reigned by Shah Jahan and Jahangir .

Lachit’s father was famous for enacting distinctive strategy in famous treaty with Allah Yar Khan in 1639 which was for betterment of Ahom and Mughal relations in coming decades . 

“ Like father, like son “ proverb is absolutely suitable for Lachit and his father . Lachit  had taken the unusual skill from his father  and also the whole heartedly dedication for the motherland .

Lachit’s early education was in his father’s courtroom . As Barbarua , Lachit’s father used to perform transactions of state business , listening to complaints ,developing revenue , diplomacy , state-craft and much official work in his courtroom which were keenly noticed by his youngest son Lachit . 

Apart from this education , he also ingrained the knowledge of Arthashastra and dandanities from the learned Pandit . 

At a very young age Lachit was made scarf bearer of the premier which was considered to be the first step of becoming an astonishing politician or a marvellous diplomat .

He had also gone through the breathtaking military training which was Compulsory for every noble person.

He first served as Ghora Barua which was the same as the superintendent of the royal horses .From here he started to climb the ladder of success after breaking all the barriers and the turbulence which came before him . 

Lachit Borphukan who protect North east

Entry of Lachit Borphukan in war

After the death of Jayadhwaj Singh in 1763 AD, Chakradwaj Singh ,his cousin , became the king and decided to take back the  Western Assam which was  then had been captured by Muslim invader Aurangazeb .

To meet his purpose, he required a completely dedicated person who can lead the war valorously and valiantly . And the only name which resonated in his mind again and again was the name of  Lachit borphukan . 

Western Assam was then in the hands of Mughal and a large portion of the war-indemnity still remained undelivered .

To humiliate King Chakradwaj Singh , Aurangzeb sent a ‘khelat’ or robe of honour to king and insisted him to donning in their presence . Chakradwaj roared in the court and said ” I would rather prefer to die ” .He started to organize a strong army under Lachit Borhukan .

After testing Lachit Borphukan on each step , Ahom king Chakradwaj Singh got satisfied with his extraordinary skills and his complete dedication for the motherland and finally appointed him as the general of the Ahom Kingdom.

Though Lachit had faced multiple wars with Mughals but here we will discuss some of his great war took place in different time periods . The battle of Saraighat was the most vital war happened between Mughals and Lachit army which shaped the free Assam .

Ahom retakes Guwahati

On 20th August 1667, the Ahom Army started their expedition to restore Guwahati from the clutches of Aurangzeb. They encamped at Kaliabar from where they could conduct the operation against Mughal .

Syed Feroz Khan , governor of Guwahati , wasn’t prepared for such attack . In that much short time , he didn’t get assist from Rangamati nor from Dacca .

The chief objective of the Ahom was to capture Itakhuli which was small hill on the bank Brahmaputra river from where one can have the panoramic view of the river from Agiathuti Hill on the west to the Kurua Hills on the East .

On 2nd November 1667 , Ahom Army started to regain many regions of Guwahati. Itakhuli also fell into the hands of Ahom . The enemy was chased down to the North of the Manaha river . Syed Firoz Khan was captured by the Ahom army .

After the reoccupation of Guwahati it became a major challenge for the Ahom Army to retain power in this territory . So the fortification of Guwahati started . 

Atan Buragohain was appointed as the head  for the fortification and Lachit borphukan was in charge of posting the contingent of soldiers at each strategic point .

So the Ahom army were making themselves ready for the action for a fresh encounter with the Muslim invaders . In response Aurangzeb  dispatched the Strong Army to recapture Guwahati under the leadership of Raja Ram Singha.

Raja Ram Singha, son of Mirza-Raja Jai Singha, with their heavy Army consisted of 500 artillerymen ,  30000 infantry ,  18000 Turkish cavalry , 15000 Koch archers began to move towards the army of Lachit .

He was with his commanders : Raja Idramani , Chadmend Khan , Alam Khan Dui Hazari , Zulel Beg , Raja Prithu , Dilir Khan Daudzai and many others .

Lachit Borphukan with his army

 

When Lachit Borphukan got the information of the coming army sent by Aurangzeb under the leadership of Raja Ram Singh ,he understood very well that it’s  going to be one of the toughest  battles for them to protect Assam .

Lachit wanted the work intensity of fortification to be faster and completed soon without any foible .He was working intensely day in and out planning to encounter the invaders .

Even he didn’t spare his own maternal uncle who was entrusted with the  construction of a parapet near Amingaon On the north Bank .

When his uncle failed in constructing the parapet at a fixed period of time , he executed him by saying “ My uncle is not greater than my motherland “ . This rampart is still known as Momai-kata-garh.

This act of Lachit Borphukan made the army to drop their inattention and dereliction of duty and worked intensely for the war .

The forts which were constructed on the top Hills by Ahom were proven indomitable in wars against the invaders .

September 1669 war

Lachit was heading the army from the South Bank of Brahmaputra . He was carrying his sword and his bow with himself .

He also visited Kamakhya temple to take the blessings of Ma Kamakhya . He prayed ” O mother , eat up the foreigners and protect all our people ” .

He had  already  announced among the Army that he is not going to tolerate or spare anyone who will show slackness in their work and this statement of him was also supported by the king Chakradwaj Singh  because he knew it very well that this statement is the need of the hour and nobody will show any kind of slackness in the war field because of this dreadful words spoken by Lachit .

The Ahom Army had the  mastery in Gorilla attacks and was expert in attacking during the rainy season too .During September 1669 ,  the Ahom Army continued the Gorilla attack on Ram Singha Army .

They heavily attacked at night which caused immense damage to the Army of Ram Singh and Compelled them to leave that territory . 

Lachit had understood that fighting on the land was not going to help him because of the enemy’s large army . So the only option left was to fight in the water of Brahmaputra river . So  now they had to allure the rivalry’s army to fight in the water . 

Ram Singh too was unable to continue his fight because of the construction of fortification to the river banks and This fortification stuck the mind of him which led to exasperation .

At Alaboi

Ram Singh after getting frustrated from his continuous failed negotiation with Ahom of evacuating Guwahati , now tried to create dissension between the king and the chief commander Lachit Borphukan. 

Ram Singh tied a letter to an arrow and shot it in the camp of Miri Sandikai  Phukan. The letter was addressing Lachit.And it was as follow :

” Oh Borphukan , yesterday you accepted a reward of 1 lakh from us and signed a written agreement to abstain from fighting against us but it seems like you didn’t abandon the war array. Can you give me the reason for that “

Immediately, the letter was sent to the Ahom king who grew suspicion in his mind against Lachit but fortunately the intervention of Atan Buragohain, favoured the loyalty of Lachit and pointed out the hostile hand in the affair.

Meanwhile, Ram Singh dispatched an army under Mir Nawab against Lachit. In retaliation, Lachit also dispatched an army under Charingia Pelan Phukan and other commanders too. 

Lachit was entirely aware of the massive army forces of Ram singh . So, here he played a mind game to defeat Ram Singh. He conveyed message to Ram Singh that he had dispatched only 20,000 soldiers. Ram Singh in his over-confident sent only 10,000 . 

A terrible contest took place on the Plains of the south of the Alaboi Hill. In the beginning of the war, Ram Singh army was crushing the Army of Ahom but soon the super activeness of Ahom army to dig trenches and fought from there made them victorious.

Eventually, Mir Nawab was captured by Luthuri Rajkhowa. 

This success was temporary, as Ram Singh called Lachit a trickster for misrepresenting the number of soldiers he had dispatched from his side during the war. 

Immediately, ordered his Army to engage the Assamese forces when they were returning to their forts with their spoils and captives. This time the Army of Ram Singh was well equipped with machines and ready with their horsemen. They suddenly fell upon the Army of Lachit.

The sudden attacked of Ram Singh Army killed around 10000 soldiers of Ahom at Alaboi.

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The Battle of Saraighat

The battle of Saraighat was a naval battle fought between Mughal army and Ahom Kingdom in 1671 AD on the Brahmaputra river in Assam . During the battle, the Mughal army was led by Ram Singh while Ahom was led by Lachit Borphukan .

Mughal army was self-assured that in absence of Lachit , they would certainly win the war but they forgot that Lachit is a man of dedication . The severe illness didn’t make him stop from his commitment of serving the motherland .

The battle of Saraighat was the war which played the vital role in exterminating Mughals completely from the north-east region .But the war of victory for Lachit started with one of the tragedies which occurred during the war was his severe illness .

Ram Singh took the advantage of the illness of Lachit and started to breach Andharubali .The Assamese Army started to retreat  as their captain wasn’t present to encourage them or to lead them .

Lachit Borphukan even in his severe illness was watching the whole situation from his sick bed at his archery Store. After capturing Juria, Mughal was heading towards Ashwakranta .

His Army was nearly on the verge of extermination which gave a shock to Lachit . After watching the annihilation of his Army , he didn’t stop himself from taking part in the war even in his severe illness .

Astrologer Achyutananada Doloi played a significant role during the battle of Saraighat . His all prediction was so precise that even Lachit had great faith in him . Only on the advice of Achyutananada , Lachit waited for auspicious time to enter into the war of Saraighat .

Lachit Borphukan during war

 

Lachit Borphukan knew that his army was in dire need of him to reunite them so he eventually  jumped  into the war on his boat with his other six war vessels and again repeated the same statement that he will behead those who will run out of the war from fear . 

Lachit Shouted :

” Let the Mughal captured me alive or let my people go home with peace ” .

After the intervention of Lachit , the warfare became dreadful between the two armies . Lachit started to fire volleys from his guns and moving towards his enemies .

The Brahmaputra river  at the triangle Between Kamakhya ,  itakhuli and Ashwakranta was completely filled with the war-boat . The Ahom army erected an improviso bridge across the Brahmaputra by placing one boat after another over the whole breadth of the river .

The Army of Lachit was bravely fighting with the goal of protecting their motherland from Mughals . The Mughal army was strarted to struggle for their lives and eventually chased down to Pandu . 

After historical victory in 1671 AD for Ahom Kingdom, the Mughals never dared to enter the north eastern part of India . 

Mughal were brutally defeated by the Ahom in the battle due to the intervention of physically debilitated Lachit Borbhukan . Even Ram Singh praised the valour and skill of Ahom army in rowing boats , in shooting arrows , digging trenches so quickly and welding guns and canons .

Lachit borphukan death

Lachit borphukan died in 1672 due to his illness . But his name remained forever in the hearts of every north eastern person .

He was such an exceptional man who didn’t care about his own severe illness before his motherland . 

The death of Lachit borphukan left a huge gap in the state of Assam . Assam became the center point of dissension, fight and assassination among kings and ministers for the power attaining. This deplorable state of affairs lasted till the time it found its strongest king Swargadeo Godadhar Singha in 1781 AD.

Conclusion

Such a great warrior is somehow missing from school textbook . Very few people of India are aware of his gigantic work which not just saved the legacy and culture of Assam but whole north east from the havoc of Islamic invasion .

He will always stay in the heart of Assamees and Indian people. We all are indebted to his courage and fearless work which saved our motherland . Thanks a lot to Sri Lachit Borphukan.

Why was Lachit Borphukan famous?

Lachit Borphukan was famous for his courageous and fearless ” battle of Saraighat “in 1671 AD in which he had defeated the army of Aurangzeb brutally even after suffering from severe sickness .

Why did Lachit Borphukan died?

Lachit Borhukan died in 1672 AD because of his illness . He had faught the battle of Saraighat in his severe sickness but still managed to win the battle because of his prowess and fearless and dedication for motherland .

Who is known as Lion of Assam?

The great Lachit Borbhukan of Ahom dynasty is known as Lion of Assam for his courageous battle of Saraighat .

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