Lachit Borphukan

FEB 28

Preliminary   > Modern Indian History   >   Personalities   >   Kingdoms and dynasties

Why in news?

  • Recently, President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated the year-long celebration of the 400th birth anniversary of Lachit Borphukan, commander of the Ahom forces and an icon of Assamese nationalism

About Lachit Borphukan (1622 - 1672)

  • Lachit Borphukan was a commander and Borphukan (Phu-Kon-Lung) in the Ahom kingdom.
    • Borphukan was one of the five patra mantris (councillors) in the Ahom kingdom, a position that was created by the Ahom king Prataap Singha.
    • The position included both executive and judicial powers, with jurisdiction of the Ahom kingdom west of Kaliabor river.
  • He was the son of Momai Tamuli Borbarua, the first Borbarua of upper-Assam and Commander-in-Chief of the Ahom army under King Pratap Singha.
  • He is known for his leadership in the 1671 Battle of Saraighat that thwarted a drawn-out attempt by Mughal forces under the command of Ramsingh I to take over Ahom kingdom. He died about a year later due to illness.
  • The battle of Saraighat was fought on the banks of the Brahmaputra in Guwahati.

More about battles of Alaboi and Saraighat:

  • Ahom kings ruled large parts of what is now Assam, and parts of what are neighbouring states today, 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 of Alaboi and Saraighat, for which the Lachit is remembered for.
  • Battle of Alaboi:
    • In 1669, Aurangzeb dispatched the Rajput Raja Ram Singh I to recapture territories won back by the Ahoms.
    • The battle of Alaboi was fought on August 5, 1669 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.
    • Ahoms suffered severe reverses and thousands of its soldiers were killed.
  • Battles of Saraighat
    • Unlike in Alaboi, where he was forced to fight on land instead of a naval battle, Lachit in Saraighat enticed the Mughals into a naval battle.
    • Ahom forces combined a frontal attack and a surprise attack from behind.
    • They lured the Mughal fleet into moving ahead by feigning an attack with a few ships from the front.
    • The Mughals vacated the waters behind them, from where the main Ahom fleet attacked and achieved a decisive victory.

PRACTICE QUESTION:

With reference to ‘Ahom Kingdon’, consider the following statements:

1. Battle of Alaboi was fought between the Ahoms and Mughals in which the Ahoms suffered severe losses.

2. The battle of Saraighat was fought on the banks of the Godavari

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer