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Lachit Borphukan: The Unsung Hero

Author: Pallabi Nandi





There are stories that we read in books and newspapers, some stories come from browsing the internet, and some remain unheard and unknown. Those stories come out to be the most heartfelt reality of the country. Lachit Borphukan is one of those browsed and unheard figure, an unsung martyr. Lachit Borphukhan hailed from Assam. The name Assam which is from the word Asama or invincible shows, how the land itself is. The place reigned by powerful Ahoms for 600 years since the mid-13th century and did not let any Mughals touch this beautiful state, instead gave them an embarrassing defeat.


Lachit Borphukan, whose actual name is Lachit Deca, a tumultuous and unwearied Ahom commander, came into the earth in the 17th century at Betioni in the Golaghat district of modern Assam. He hailed from a well-off family where his father, Momai Temuli Borbarua under King Pratap Singha, was the Governor of the kingdom and also ‘commander-in-chief’ of the Ahom army during the rule of 1603 to 1639. Lachit was an enthusiast, and that pulled him towards the profession of the military at a very young age and thus joined as a scarf bearer of the Ahom King Jayadhvaj Singha. That post was considered, as a part of the obligatory in King's staff. Dr. Saroj Kumar Rath quoted,

His unparalleled heroism, bravery and will to take on the mighty Mughals, Lachit has been a hero and inspiration for generations of Assamese. LachitBorphukan is an example of bravery, courage, and statesmanship to be emulated by every Indian.”[1]

Lachit was so signed in his work that soon his excellent performance in the military training paid, and he got appointed as Ghora Barua or Superintendent of Royal Horses. Later he got appointed as Commander of the Simulgarh[2] Fort located at the south bank of Brahmaputra. His hard work was getting answered through his promotion to ranks higher. He became Superintendent of the Royal Guards during the reign of Chakradhwaj Singha of the Ahom dynasty (1663 to 1669). But until then, the most prestigious rank he bagged was Borphukan by King Chakradhwaj Singha. Lachit Deca is known as Lachit Borphukan. Borphukan is the position of the top five councilors of the Ahom kingdom, which was initiated by King Pratap Singha (1603-1641). It holds both judicial and executive powers, which has its headquarters at Kaliabor, Assam. The headquarters was later shifted by Lachit, to Itakhuli in Guwahati.


At the time when the whole of India was facing the invasive Islamic intrusion, Assam was not an exception. In 1662, Mughal general Nawab Muazzam Khan attacked Gargaon. He got defeated by Ahom king Jayadhwaj Singha. Finally, Muazzam was forced to sign a humiliating treaty with the King. During this time, Lachit was posted at Kaliabore. In 1667, Chakradwaj Singha appointed Lachit Borphukan, the Commander in chief of Ahom kingdom.


The growth of immense power of Ahom kingdom under Lachit enraged Mughal emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir. At this time in 1668, he sent a strong contingent of the Mughal army under Raja Ram Singh Kachwaha of Amber. Raja Ram Singh brought a massive Mughal troop opposite to Borphukan’s few thousand soldiers. The battle of Saraighat in 1671[3] was the culmination of many small fights between two armies. Lachit led the war and defeated the massive Mughal front crushing them to an enormous defeat. The valor of Lachit made the Mughals worry about the future and made them initiate diplomacy, which got rejected. The final battle of Saraighat in 1671 showcases the tremendous bravery of Lachit Borphukan on the battleground. Despite being ill, he single-handedly crushed the Mughal army and made them suffer a comprehensive defeat. Finally, in 1672, Lachit died at his Kaliabore headquarters.


During the last phase of the battle of Saraighat[4] 1671, when Mughals were attacking the Assamese forces through the river in Saraighat, many Assamese soldiers lost the will to fight; it was Lachit’s determination and brave call to all the soldiers that made them fight till the last breath.


CONCLUSION


Still, now his bravery is sung among the heroes in the national defense academy where the Lachit Gold medal is conferred to best passing out cadet since 1999 honoring his valor. In the state of Assam, the heroism of Lachit Borphukan is sung every year on 24th November as Lachit Diwas. His valor, determination, loves for the mother nation, and perseverance are something that we can teach in our daily lives, even at the worst of the situation. Thus, the unsung hero of India reminds us of the pangs of gaining independence.


References

[1] ‘Lachit Borphukan: The Unsung Hero of Ahom Kingdom’. Voice of the Nation Organiser. 24 November 2019, https://www.organiser.org/Encyc/2019/11/24/Lachit-Borphukan-The-Unsung-Hero-of-Ahom-Kingdom.html [2] A place in Assam [3] Who was LachitBorphukan?’ November 25, 2020, https://www.civilsdaily.com/news/pib-who-was-lachit-borphukan/ [4] A place in Assam

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